Sunday, July 11, 2010

Home Again

It's pretty weird being home again. It's not that I wasn't already prepping myself to step back into my "real" shoes as the final miles of the trip ticked away. I was making another of those mental lists, reminding myself of what I'd completely shed for two weeks: check mail, mine & Daddy's, pay bills, go through the personal care details, think about grass height in the yard and having Paul mow, what's needed for work (checking uniforms, charge the Nextel, fill car tank, prep for brown-bagging lunches), check on Saturday auction time, wonder about weather, changing bed, unpacking, what are the flowers/fruits/birds doing? It almost was like falling back upwards through the rabbit hole.

Cell communication was rare - at least for me. I kept the phone off except to call out, and didn't always have a signal in the mountains. Certain others of the group ran out of battery early on and needed to wait for an electrical hook-up to recharge, but I won't name names. Let's just say I didn't need to keep in constant touch with my mother and friends. Other communications were cut off as well. For me, the news and politics junkie, it was a complete break from that. I have no reason to assume the RV radio does not work. It just never got tried. I had to ask at the park headquarters why the flags were flying at half staff. Otherwise, no outside information at all, except the humdrum details from home. It was great!

And of course, there were the how-do-I-blog-about-the-trip questions. I'm thinking about chronologically, but it could be done by topic, like a critique of showers each place we stopped, or wildlife sightings, or scenery. Add pictures as I go? Or come back in later? I have about 16 gigs of pics, especially since the camera was on motordrive setting - or that's what it would have been called back in the bad-old film days. Plus Paul was getting pretty good at taking the camera and doing his own shooting with it. I'd ask for a particular shot on occasion so I wouldn't have to abuse my knees any more than necessary (and necessary was quite a lot!) and he'd see a flower or chase chipmunks and ground squirrels. There's a whole lot to sort out. I have not begun to start.

Best part of being home: my own bed again. I know that RVing sounds luxurious. It can be, for those with a huge budget. For example, I've seen the inside of Steve's brother's Cougar. It has a full bedroom on one end, a set of 4 bunk beds on the other for their 4 kids, and a nice kitchen/dining/living area in the middle. They don't have to convert a table to a bed, or a sofa to a bed with uneven cushions so you're always falling downhill, leaving about a 5" aisle to maneuver through. There's a full bathroom in theirs with an actual tub! And a microwave and TV!

By contrast, what we actually do have is a 1986 Ford Honey RV. For all I know, it could be the oldest RV still on the road! The front several feet of its 26 foot total length are engine and seats for the driver and passenger. The bathroom - which pretty much everybody but me refused to use- is teeny. Try this: sit on your toilet. enclose yourself in imaginary walls two inches to each side - that's before you spread your legs to do anything useful like wiping - and two inches in front of your knees. Try to stand up without leaning forward enough to pop open the door: are your thighs and calves strong enough? Really? If (when!) you do have to slide forward to wipe behind, it's a case of apologizing to your fellow travelers and asking them to please be polite and look elsewhere. Once you stand and adjust your clothing, it's a case of turning around, pulling the lever halfway to add water, then fully forward to flush by opening the little trap door. If it starts to splash back before you get that door shut it's close to time to empty your blackwater tank.

The size is not really the worst inconvenience. To enter the toilet, one has to step down, step up again at a right angle and over a lip, lift the lid and hope you're level enough it stays up until you sit, and level enough that the outer door stays open or shut as you desire. In the middle of the night, add fighting out of your sleeping bag ( no biggie if the zipper doesn't get caught), getting your legs one at a time down to the floor into that 5" aisle space with your feet twisted in the direction of travel, stepping on the tiny rocks your shoes have all dragged in (I have a tiny hole in the ball of my foot from one) , and sliding out from between the beds. With all that, pray you get there in time. If your bladder is full enough to wake you from a sound sleep....


Needless to say, it's a bit hard on the knees. As silent as it usually is in the middle of the night, the grinding sounds are startlingly loud. So the 2nd best thing about being home is the recliner, sitting with my feet up. In fact, it's calling to me now.

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