My first breakdown

I won’t lie. Living out of a camper with a dog and a cat isn’t the easiest life. Can I say “FUR”?! Everywhere. On the floor, on the bedspread, in the sheets, on the counters, on the gas stove top…. I know, I make it sound like we live like hooligans, but I swear, we don’t! I’m sure it was this way in our house. But spread out over a lot more square footage and therefore not nearly as noticeable.

I had my first breakdown the other day. But in order to justify it I should first explain the argentine ants.

We are currently staying at Cedar Hill State Park in Texas. Great park! I highly recommend it. Site 128 is a great location for a long camper, 5th wheel or RV. Did I mention they have 50/30 amp service and sewer at a lot of sites?! (including 128) This site even has water access to the lake.

But the park also has argentine ants. I had no idea what those were. Apparently when you check in they are supposed to give you a little sheet explaining how to keep them out of your campsite. Which, by the way, is sprinkle Sevin dust around your site. We received no such warning. So a few days later those little suckers had crawled up through our electric line and into the camper and started to swarm out of the crevices of the ceiling DURING our conference call with a CPA.

Do you know how hard it is to have a professional conference call on SPEAKERphone while quietly trying to swat down armies of ants from your ceiling? And comprehend the exceptionally important information being given to you over the phone??

That phone call couldn’t have ended fast enough and I was back on the phone with the front office asking how in the heck to control these critters. I was not excited about the answer even though I knew what was coming.

Chemicals.

I’m not fanatical about NO CHEMICALS but I really don’t want to be spraying chemicals into a tiny camper with two humans and two pets in such close proximity. And I’m not comfortable sprinkling Sevin dust (a pesticide) around a camping area with a dog constantly tied up and walking around, not able to tell the difference to step over the dust ring. But so be it. I’d rather that than a camper full of ants.

So I got the spray, which says it’s ok for pets once dried, and just sprayed where we saw the invaders, not around every single opening, as per instructions. Plus it said the spray could be used inside and out, so I decided to spray the heck out of the electrical entry (not the outlet) and cord instead of sprinkling the dust. Although I bought it, if needed.

So I thought I had the ants under control. I started to breathe easy when a I saw a new trail snaking down behind the stove.

ACK!

That was it. That when I realized how dirty everything was and I lost it.

The ants broke me.

Dog and cat hair was everywhere. The floor was filthy. “OUT!” I yelled to Mike. “Take the dog and get out! I MUST clean! I can’t take it anymore!”

I kicked them out. They went out for a walk and hadn’t been gone 15 minutes when it started to downpour.

I felt terrible. I called. I asked if I should come get them but he said no. They were fine. And so I continued to clean. And clean. And clean.

And even though the camper reeked of wet dog by the time they got back it was rid of hair, ants and filthy floor scum.

And I felt better.

Horn if you’re Honkie

My 20 year high school reunion was this summer and I didn’t go.  I lived in NY and the school was in SC…  yada, yada, yada…. But I did follow all the shenanigans on Facebook (those that were posted, anyway *wink*wink*)

Side note: Yes, I’m acutely aware I just essentially told you my age. I don’t care. I’m 38 and will be 39 in January. If you’re going to lie about your age tell me you’re 50 when you’re only 40 because then I’ll think you look fabulous. Why in the world do people want others to think they are younger than they really are?!?! All you do is have people think you look like crap for your age. It’s not becoming.  Please stop. We all age. Just accept it and be thankful you lived to live another day. And while you’re at it – make each day you have worth living!

Sorry – end of rant. 🙂 

One of the girls at my reunion was Rebecca, one half of the duo, The Nouveaux Honkies. The other half happens to be her husband whom she met sometime after high school. The two are exceptionally talented musicians who play roots Americana, old blues, old country. Great stuff! Several months ago she had announced that the two of them had bought an old 5th wheel and were gutting it to rebuild so they could live in it and hit the road to tour. I had been keeping track of their progress when Michael and I had decided to become full time RVers too.

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I shared our plans with Rebecca and we kept in touch as she and Tim hit in the road in the summer. Turns out, one week into our adventure we both were headed to Austin, Texas! Small world!

I may not have made it to our reunion but Rebecca and I finally got back in touch, in person, after 20 years! And all because of full time RVing! We parked together at the same park and hung out all week. Michael and I watched them perform a few times and they showed us some of the great, authentic places Austin has to offer.

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First you need to check out South Congress Ave. and Texas National Outfitters. Although an awesome store they also have a little stage and live music during the week!

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Did I mention it was Halloween while we were in Austin? Did you know the town’s’ motto is “Keep Austin Weird”?  The problem when rolling into a new town known for it’s uniqueness around Halloween is you don’t know what’s “normal” and what’s “holiday” dressings. For example:

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Ok, ok, you got me. This is “The Headless Horseman” and, I believe “God”. (I think.Don’t quote me on the second one. Maybe Noah??) Obviously Halloween characters. But don’t be fooled. These are people, on HORSES, riding on the streets of downtown Austin. But the twist? The Headless Horseman actually plays at Texas National Outfitters too. WITH HIS HORSE! He brings the horse INTO THE STORE! (Not the ass, he harasses the customers. haha!)

Lifelong RV Living Prep

I didn’t realize it, and I’m sure he didn’t intend it, but it occurred to me this morning that my dad has accidentally had me in “RV Living Prep” my whole life. I was reminiscing about all the camping and backpacking dad and I did when I was growing up as I was strolling to the showers not just an hour ago. The first shower I’d had in a few days….

Yes, our camper has a shower. And it works great too, I might add. But for those of you not accustomed to this lifestyle, a shower fills up our gray water tank quickly, regardless of the extra low-flow shower head and the “off” switch I added. So it’s easier to use the local facilities and save our contraption for when we’re dry camping.

We are currently at a state campground so you can see why childhood memories of camping popped up so easily. We’d camp at a campground. Or even backpack into the wilderness, carrying everything we needed on our backs. Our adventures always happened in the summer. Dad was a teacher. We’d hit the road and just keep going June through August. We’d hike for hours, sweaty, gross…. set up camp for the night and do it all over again. We don’t need no stinkin’ showers!

Little did I know that this stink and grim tolerance would suit me as an adult. Not that we’re living a disgusting, fly-infested life in our camper. All truth be told, it’s probably cleaner than my house was. When living in such a small place you really have the urge to wipe every surface after every use. But sometimes I feel a little grimy. I blame it on the close quarters. But I can handle it. Sometimes better than Mike. But then again, it’s one hundred percent easier for a guy to jump in a shower and “rinse off” than a girl. There’s no “rinsing off” with medium length hair and legs to shave. I can skip the legs but only a time or two… unless Mike wants to get shredded in the middle of the night and bleed out.

So I’d like to give a big thanks to my dad, Randy, for all the outdoorsy camping and backpacking adventures that prepared me to tolerate the “unusual conditions” I’m currently living in.

Thanks Dad.
Growler Carrier
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me and dad posing with the growler carrier he made us!!)

Learning to Not Get Overwhelmed

These past few days have been a whirlwind. We drove, in less than 2 days, from North Carolina to Texas after an eventful but short stay in Asheville, NC. We’ve been here in Texas for a few days in a state park, parked across from the Nouveaux Honkies, a music duo comprised of a high school friend I haven’t seen in 20 years and her hubby! Crazy how this meandering RV life brings people together!!

I’ve had such interesting and funny stories to blog about but have been so busy, tired and stuck to know where to begin to write. So I signed up for Blogging 101. I hope taking this month long online course will teach me how to write better and make your reading of our adventures more interesting!

As many of you already know, we recently began living full-time in our camper, moving around the US. Mike owns a computer software and consulting company. I am his sales and marketing “department” and we are traveling around, calling on customers and experiencing the great American outdoors at the same time.

So far (a whopping two weeks) it’s been great running, hiking, biking through parks. Experiencing new towns and people. A bit stressful – trying to learn to live on the road in a camper with a dog and a cat – but we’re making it! My previous corner office has nothing on a camp chair, laptop on my lap, sitting under the tree shade with a light breeze rustling my hair.

I haven’t been blogging regularly since we started because, I won’t lie, I’ve been completely overwhelmed. By traveling, by trying to live in a confined space, by having our plans constantly changing, by the thought of having to write it out for everyone. I want to share. But I get exhausted just thinking about trying to relay the stories again. Hopefully life will settle down and with the help of this course I will learned to not get overwhelmed and we will all have fun!