A Day in the Life of a Full-Time RVer

There is never a dull moment when living full-time in Gypsy.

If you miss taking the trash off by one bag  (to the local campground dumpster), you then have two bags, three bags….. and/or the list goes on until you finally decide it’s too much to do the convenient thing and head to the campground dumpster so you do the nice thing instead and head to the dump. Good. Very good.

Except ‘dump’ day ends up being on a holiday, as you so conveniently have forgotten. Drats!

But that’s not all. As stated before in some other post, making a house a home requires some things that are just plain useless but happens to give a sense of happiness and fulfillment when looked at or touched. Oh dear! That does include the ‘greenhouse’ that lives out in the front yard, the rainforest full of tropical foliage, overseen by Matilda, the pink flamingo, who’s beauty is probably seen only by me. Oh well. Still, it’s good. Very good.

Then there’s the over-abundance of clothes which are in all different sizes so as to accommodate the big span of weight difference that varies, sometimes significantly from day to day. So we’re keeping the biggest clothes and the rest are being sorted in various boxes to be donated whenever. Dump day sounds good.

Then there’s the camper toilet. If there’s one thing that needs to be maintained in a camper, it’s the toilet (most especially the grey and black water tanks). Any questions or problems are answered by YouTube, complete with demonstrations. No problem. None at all – until you find out there’s something that you should or should not have done and it should have started a year ago when the Gypsy first started being a home. Oh, good grief! Talk about live and learn! Chalk up another notch in the belt.

Thank goodness for the knowledge of the electric cord and the breaker switch – otherwise, this last hook-up might have turned sweet Gypsy into cinders. There’s nothing quite like the sounds of ‘snap, crackle and pop’ when you plug in the cord, all before you even turn the breaker on! That’s what you call being on your toes. Easy fix though – plug the 30 amp electric plug into a 50 amp converter and it runs as smooth as flowing water. Chalk another one up for the belt.

One thing that’s not good but not strong enough to do anymore is lower the stabilizers. Four of them. Oh yea, they’re total manual, as in a lot of elbow grease. There is zero energy to turn the hand crank to get it done. It’s been mentioned to get a whatever it’s called and do it mechanically but it will void the warranty. However, with things the way they are, it might be useful to have that tool on board, just in case. Otherwise, everything is cool and we’ve been completely safe.

The smoke detector does not like cooking and proceeds to let everyone in the general vicinity know on a pretty regular basis by yelling – loudly. Repeatedly. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with Gypsy’s smoke detector because we don’t hear anyone else’s smoke detector going off. That’s just the cooking part. Wait until it tells you it’s time for a new battery. Peace and quiet then, all of a sudden, you’re about to make a new door through the roof! Battery changed. Mission accomplished.

Even the carbon monoxide detector has to put its two cents worth in every now and again. If that’s not a royal pain in the butt, I don’t know what is. Get on the floor with a lighter and see what happens. Good grief! Nothing happens. The flame doesn’t blow out and we’re not dead. There are candles and incense burned inside and no problems yet. Think it’s just testing itself for something to that effect but don’t know that for sure. Maybe it is something but so far, everything and everyone is alive and well.

Many, many things to learn while living and traveling in Gypsy but the one that takes the cake is the one that happened today.

The a/c. As in quit. Stopped. Kaput. Died. No juice. None. Oh NO! Not only is it hotter than hades here, the humidity is higher than the temperature a lot of the time. Here come the tears as the sweat begins to poor. Weird thing is I’d been reading about the RV a/c online today, about how to maintain it, what to do when there’s condensation, how the heat AND humidity affect the unit, among other things I found to add to the knowledge bank.

Then it died. Dead and not working and would not come on; the coming dread of being stuck inside a hot box with no a/c was quickly overpowering. Calm down, you can do this because you are no dummy. Okay. No Problem. Since the pep talk was working, I pulled up the instructions I already had, briefly read the Greek, then went and turned the whole unit off. Probably blew a fuse was the thought, at least that’s what the most hopeful thought was. Dead, as in graveyard dead, did not fit into this thought process. Grabbed the mag light (a.k.a. the lethal weapon) and hit the floor in front of the fridge. Why do you always have to get on the floor to fix something? Anyway, pulled away the fuse panel cover and looked around. Hmmm…. this was interesting. It wasn’t one of those little fuses you pull out and replace with one of the 20 extras you already have. No, it was like a regular fuse in a regular house, all neatly marked and organized, thank you very much. Flipped the switch for the a/c then flipped it back. That one didn’t blow. Good news. Then there was the Master switch. Flipped that one off and back on. Wasn’t that. Things weren’t looking too promising at that point. Then I noticed this ‘thing’ above the Master switch. Pushed it and it stayed in. So I pushed it again and it stayed out. Pushed it back in again and stood up. Have to try it and see if I’m even close to being on the right track. Either it’s going to work or it won’t. Turned the thermostat back on to low a/c and voila, a/c came on! It must have gone into overload mode and the safety switch popped it off. The ‘hot box’ was steamy within five minutes after the a/c quit but is now cooling the air nicely. First time there’s been a goose bump all day.

Another notch in the belt.

A lot of ladies I know would never do this, travel or live in a camper and go thousands of miles away because they don’t think they can do it.

Yes, they can. Yes, you can. It only takes one time and you can pep talk yourself into anything you think you can’t do.

You learn by the predicaments you get yourself into and by figuring how to get out of them. You store away every little bit of knowledge that YOU experience and rely on that in the future. You ask for help when you are really in a jam and someone will be right there to help you. (Believe me, I would have searched the world over (actually, the campground) for Ron if the a/c did not come back on and he would have helped)! Most fear failure – the only failure there is will be if you don’t try something outside of your boundaries and comfort zone, especially if you want to badly. It doesn’t have to be camping – it can be anything you want it to be.

Just believe in yourself. You’re smarter than you think you are and a lot smarter than most people think.

On a personal note, there are many legitimate fears in my life that will never be conquered before I leave this life, and I don’t want to waste any more precious time trying to beat those fears when I can do the one thing that doesn’t cause me fear. Gypsy. Towing Gypsy. Living in Gypsy. Traveling in Gypsy, Miss Ellie and Hershey, the Wonder Dog. She’s home, no matter where we are. It’s a great feeling to hook her up and set off to some far off place with no specific plan in sight. The feeling that brings trump any and all ‘real’ fears.





The End of Summer

It has been a most interesting summer on the Eastern Shore with things happening beyond our control and yet making it one spectacular place to be this year. It’s been quite a while since there’s been a summer this interesting.

Speaking of summer, where was it? After the very serious, no holds barred, cold of this past winter, with more snow, ice and below freezing temperatures than I can ever remember, spring finally came in all her glory. Which, of course, led us straight into the summer months. But where WAS summer?

It sure wasn’t the summer like we’ve always had out here before in our little neck of the woods. Usually, by late May we are already in the 90’s with heat indexes about and beyond 100. One of those situations where you take a cold shower, dry off, only to find yourself wet all over again. Humidity will kill you! The heat is hot but the combined humidity makes you think you’re trying to breathe under the water. Awful, terrible and this is where I’ve lived most of my life, and it gets worse with each passing summer, except this past one.

Temperatures in the 80’s, for the most part, still with humidity but the heat indexes usually didn’t call for watches or warnings. So what’s up with the weather? Better yet, since it stayed like this most of the summer, who’s complaining? Certainly not I. Mother Nature had to be giving us a break after pounding us so hard over the winter. I LOVE winter but I can say in all honestly that I was SO glad to see it go this time.

So summer comes, which brings the critters. First on the list are the birds. I started with one feeder and ended up with about fifteen. Apparently, every flying friend in the neighborhood, to include family, friends and frenemies had discovered that the little, silver Gypsy was the place for free food. There were birds I’d never seen before so I began looking them up. At the beginning, they would disrespect each other to see who would be the head honcho but that soon ended as the feeders increased in number. Eventually, they all began to get along, for the most part. When one, two or three vacated the feeder, two, three or four more would show up in it’s place. It was non-stop birds. That’s not including the hummingbirds that showed up for their own special treat, complete with organic sugar and no food coloring.

They were spoiled to the max, no doubt about it, and I enjoyed filling the feeders every day just so I could spend endless moments of precious time watching them. They were most interesting to watch and observe. I remember it took a Blue Jay about three days before he ever made it to the feeder. He’d hang back on the pear tree, then he’d come closer, to the cedar tree (which was always full of birds waiting their turn). One day, he came right up to the feeder and that was it. He was hooked. But he was still a little skittish.

I found that birds are not the only one’s of God’s creatures that like a free meal. I woke up several mornings with the feeder dumped over, all the food out, or the feeder pulled to the ground. The weirdest of all was the first time, when the feeder was just gone. Poof. Just like that. I couldn’t find it anywhere and thought a bear had made off with my feeder! I walked all around the yard, looking for the feeder, looking for bear tracks or scat or anything that would lead me towards what had happed to the feeder. Nothing. Nada. Until I walked back towards Gypsy. There, on the canopy above where the feeder hung, was the feeder with all the seed dumped on the canopy. Oh my gosh! A bear was that close?

Thump, thump, thump went my heart. Still, there was nothing anywhere to indicate that a bear had visited during the night although I knew that was a real possibility because the woods around Gypsy is full of wildlife. There’s a big cat that lives in the woods and when he/she goes off in the middle of the night, it wakes me up and I’m already halfway through the process of making a new ‘doorway’ through the aluminum roof of the camper! I speak truth here!!!

So this feeder dumping/disappearing act continued for a few nights until I wised up a little. Not to mention that Hershey, the Unwonder dog that should be on high alert was dead to the world under the covers. Now why didn’t he wake up and alert me and go out and take care of whatever was out there? After almost 7 years together, he’s just the pet, just like those spoiled birds out there. But a Nanny’s got to do what a Nanny’s got to do and Nanny had a great idea, she hoped.

I love a bungee cord, almost as good as I like duct tape. They are both so handy but the bungee cord was going to be the weapon of choice. Oh, did I also mention that I feed the neighborhood cats as well as the birds and whatever the “other wildlife” is, and also have quite a few wind chimes? More chimes than what I had bird feeders but this ‘rascal’ was only after one particular feeder so I was going to ‘play with him’ and see what he/she/it would do.

Nanny put her plan in action. First, all the feeders are scattered around in various locations around Gypsy but there was a particular one this critter liked a lot. It happened to be the one I could see from the couch window. I had a hummingbird feeder and a birdseed feeder in view from the window and these were the only two I could see from inside. Well, it was time to do a little rearranging and figure this out. I moved the hummingbird feeder closer to the canopy pole and the regular feeder closer to the walkway into the house as I had a decorative pole there which I kept Hershey’s walking lead on. I also had a six foot leash that I was going to put to good use. Then, I moved the biggest of the wind chimes, the BIG one that booms when it hits the center part. I mean boom’s loud enough you can’t miss it and it will wake you up. That was not the original location but for the purpose of this experiment, it was the new home.

Everything was set. Whatever it was that was visiting had so far appeared on a nightly basis, and my curiosity was at an all time high. Planning went well and everything was set. All I had to do was wait until nightfall and for the birds to quit singing for the day.

When that happened, I hooked one end of the bungee cord to the feeder stand and the other end to the decorate pole by the door. The I hooked the leash to the feeder stand also and tied it tight to the pole. Chimes were set to go off when whatever it was stepped on the canopy or reached out to grab said feeder.

Our night carried on as usual and finally Hershey had knocked out for the night and I soon followed.

Mere seconds later, or so it seemed to me, the booming wind chimes started going off! My first thought was not so nice so I won’t say but Hershey sure did wake his little butt up and put himself in full action mode, meaning he was barking his head off while starring out the window from which he couldn’t see anything but night. I, however, jumped up, flipped both switches for the outdoor lights and had the shock of my life, then my laughing hysterically button turned over.

Good grief, it was a raccoon! Possibly the fattest raccoon I’d ever seen, especially since he’d been eating my birds foods for quite a while now! He was caught red-handed, right in the act. Hanging upside down on these legs, the fourth had a hold of the bird feeder the was trying so hard to get down and it wouldn’t budge an inch! I was laughing, Hershey was growling and barking and the Birdseed Bandit raccoon was righting himself as we speak to make a quick getaway. He took himself to the end of the canopy, past the wind chimes again, and crawled DOWN the canopy pole, easing down from there into the darkness, making a quick getaway. Me? I had my broom in hand, yelling at the fella, telling him to leave my bird feeders alone! Yea, I’m sure we woke the neighbors.

Oh lord, I laughed so hard and so much! I wondered if he would be back? I certainly didn’t need to wonder about that any because he did, frequently, at various times during the night and, on some nights, he would try two or three times!

All of this continued until the farmers started picking their corn crops. Everybody left; the birds, the raccoon, even the possums that would show up occasionally. Gone, not to return, or they haven’t yet. A few birds have made an appearance but it looks like the farmers have me beat when it comes to the free food department.

Either way, it’s been quite an enjoyable summer with many good experiences.



Redneck Stuff

the big dogs

the big dogs

I did not know that ‘redneck’ was considered a derogatory term until I looked up it’s meaning. Uneducated could not be farther from the truth. Being a “GRITS’ chick myself (Girl Raised in the South), a redneck one at that (forget the part that I’m past the half century mark), I consider redneck a high standard of achievement and certainly not for the faint at heart. Not everyone can be a redneck either; it takes a lot of guts and courage to be a true redneck! (BIG laugh)! Besides, it a lot of fun and that’s what counts.

hershey enjoying his saturday of no chores

hershey enjoying his saturday of no chores

Saturday dawned a beautiful day. There was too much to do before there could be any fun. They call that self-discipline, which I don’t seem to have too much of, but I did that day. So I took off the trash, came home and did the chores, all of them (well, almost all of them), then took my usual cold shower before going to the laundromat. No redneck here. I was the pristine and proper Southern Belle and dressed for it, just because I could. Besides, I was sick of shorts and t-shirts and being in Gypsy because of pounding ear infections and by golly, I wanted to be a lady and go visit with my best friend! Well, as the saying goes, Bless My Heart!

So, I went to the laundromat, threw the clothes and stuff in the washers, fed them their meal of quarters and left to go visit my best friend, who lived a mile down the road. Well that was the plan but when I got there, she wasn’t home. Fiddle. I called her and she had taken it upon herself to go galavanting around with brother-in-law to parts unknown. How dare she and not let me know! Shucks, I hate sitting at the laundromat but at least I had brought a good book, “The Snowflake Effect”. While I’m sitting in the truck yakking with her, her hubby appears at my truck window and scares the poop out of me! Geez! He’s pulled up behind me and I had not heard him. We’re shooting the rifles, want to go? You got it, I sure do! Haven’t target practiced since before my dad died so yea, I sure did want to go. I followed hubby down to where they’re shooting and then run back to the laundromat to get my laundry. “Bring it here”, they said. No problem! In their dryer it goes. Out of the house I go. (How I end up with a pair of underwear that belongs to neither of us, I do not know. I shudder at that thought.)Back to the range in the woods I go.

Only to pick up hubby to head back to the house to get his Son’s truck, the big four-wheel drive, to “unstick” somebody that was stuck. Apparently, someone got stuck, Son took dad’s truck to pull that person out and he had stuck dad’s truck. Now we were on the way with Son’s truck to “unstick” everybody that was stuck.

Well, we showed up at the giant mud hole and what a sight to behold, all those stuck trucks. Yes, it was hilarious and yes, there was lots of laughter. How could there not be? This was redneck heaven! Son gets in his truck (remember, I am said passenger in his truck, dressed as a Southern Belle, in the middle of the woods with a gigantic mud hole around. Nowhere else for me to go other than sit tight and hang on because it was going to be a bumpy, muddy ride! Oh YES, thought the redneck GRITS ‘girl’ in me. Southern Belle or not, this was going to be fun!

hmmm...not looking too good from this angle

hmmm…not looking too good from this angle

Hang on tight, I’m going to snatch. Yea, I’ve heard those words plenty of times before over the years. And he snatched, and snatched, and snatched, until his truck was stuck slam up to the rims and the mud was directly under the footstep of the door. Way to go, young man! By that time, I had lost it completely. I had NO place to go! My whole world was one giant mud hole and I couldn’t quit laughing! Well, let’s see how they figure on working this one out.

Hubby ends up riding the four-wheeler to the nearest farm and grabbing a John Deere tractor. Actually, in my not so humble opinion, it was nothing more than an oversized lawnmower but hey, this might work. Obviously, I didn’t have much confidence in that particular John Deere and was thinking we need to go to my family’s farm and get the John Deere 4840. Now that one would pull all three vehicles out in one shot. But alas, that was not to be. Somehow or another, that oversized lawnmower pulled Son’s truck out. Woo Hoo!

looks even worse from this angel

looks even worse from this angel

Since it was so late in the day, we left the tractor and stuck trucks to go get all the shooting equipment we had left at the range in the woods and take it home, or so we thought that’s what we were doing. Weren’t long before a call came in. The oversized lawnmower had pulled everyone out but the original stuck truck was stuck again, in the same big hole that Son had been stuck in and said tractor would not pull it out. Oh my, it kept getting funnier and funnier. Definitely not the afternoon planned and it was getting dark outside now, but laughter was great.

So, here we go again, Son and I, to get double-stuck truck out of said monster mud hole. Oh, she was stuck and I mean good. Had to use a hoe to clear the mud away from the hitch just to get the rope on it. Another round of laughter. That seemed to take forever as we were all overtaken by mud. Funnier and funnier. Mind you, I’m still a Southern Belle passenger in a world of mud. Could NOT get any better than this except my rubber boots would have been really handy right then instead of my dressed to impress sandals. Good grief, I should have come dressed as a normal redneck GRITS!

things get funnier by the minute

things get funnier by the minute

Hang on tight, I’m going to be snatching hard and a lot. Yep, told you I had heard those words before. And he did, and did, and did, and did, and I wondered if we needed to go get the John Deere 4840 after all, and he still did, and did, and did, and I was soon overtaken by laughter as everything in the front went into the back and everything in the back was trying it’s best to come up front, and still he did and still I laughed until finally, the truck was free! Free! Free at last!

Out of the mud, on dry road, darkness falling quickly, I eased myself out of the big truck and laughed at the afternoon. Three stuck trucks, one stuck twice, an oversized John Deere lawnmower, a redneck Southern Belle in the midst of a redneck happy reunion, plenty of thank you’s and a lot of laughter; I call that a great afternoon!

Gotta love a redneck!

Afterthought – my dressed to impressed sandals ended up spending the night soaking in Clorox water to remove all the mud stains. Ha!