Sometimes living in a MH sucks

Not a dig@the lifestyle (that would be dumb, since it’s mine!) this post is for those interested in both sides of the MH story. I feel we are fearful of seeming “critical” on social media these days, but there really is a vast difference between being a dick or stating things you’ve experienced / observed.

I think there’s gotta be a few things we ALL have found take some time to adjust to, when moving to full time MH living, and this is my list:

SPACE (or lack of) 

Actually I wonder if I should use the word chaos, rather than space, in the ‘headline’. Cos while I kind of knew the ‘chaos” aspect could be an issue for me, I truly didn’t know how much of one it was to be, ‘til doing it.

I have seen so many people discuss downsizing as they prepare for this lifestyle, so I think it is a biggie for many of us.

When you buy a motor-home it is probably gonna be EMPTY! So, when you view the pics, it looks so spacious and you go “WOW, that is so cool! Look at that! I SO can live in that!”

Then ya buy it and fill it with your life!
*chuckle*

I do not have a lot of ‘doo dads’, nik naks etc. I am not a junk / treasure or trinket collector. I don’t have stuff that needs a sill, shelf or space on which to perch. Or perhaps I should say that if it isn’t useful (OK OK, we prolly need to leave the animals out of this k! hehe) or used often: it is gone-burger. I don’t have a single thing hanging on the walls. Except for soap dispensers and a towel rail! I sold / stored my art collection – am doing the minimalist thing there, for sure!

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As you can imagine, a tiny space gets chaotic / messy very easily. I went from quite a large house, complete with high stud, 200 or so sqm I think it was (I also had a ton of space outside too) to 12m (in entirety!) I can reach the ceiling of my “home” without even having to tip toe, in my “house”, I couldn’t reach the ceiling using a ladder!

Neatly tying in with the small space chaos thing is this: I have seen many people say “oh it’s so easy to clean a MH ”. Well to them I say a big giant (albeit slightly envious) “hooey!” And Imma chuck in some bollocks for good measure 😉

Granted, my assortment of animals does not make having a spotless living space thing, thaaaaaaaaaat easy. But I am not merely talking about clean, I am talking about tidy, ordered.. non-chaotic.

Cos when you have less space, you generally need to *upcycle* said less space.

“Eh, wot, I hear you say?”

Well let’s see if I can explain with some examples:

When I lived in my house, I had a couple of spare rooms, they were nice. Complete with big beds, all made up ready for visitors. They had a couch or arm chair, a chest of drawers, bedside tables, lamps etc.

I did not store my laundry basket, my office supplies, dog food bowls, (dog) fish oil tablets, baking trays / cooling racks, wooden chopping board, bag of onions, eggs, bread, 5kg bag of walnuts waiting to be shelled, electric fry pan and sandwich press on the bed in my spare room.

I do store these items (and more!) on the top bunk (“spare bed”) in my MH.

Nor did I store my office chair on my drivers seat (I didn’t have one in my house tbf, haha) or my vacuum cleaner, mop & broom in my shower alongside my shampoo, conditioner and such.

In a house, most items have their space – where they ‘belong’. In a motorhome, every space must be useful, and of course we all use ‘em differently but this is something I have to say I do struggle with at times.

And I have OODLES of space / storage compared to some MHs, which makes me SO glad I opted to get the biggest I could.

STUFF..
Stuff is a biggie!

You will get rid of stuff you should keep and you will keep stuff you don’t end up needing. Probably self-explanatory. Luckily, I had stored the bulk of my stuff, so when I realised I *could* use my sammie press or my electric fry pan – I simply hauled ‘em out of storage and bought them aboard.

And I store that stuff on the top bunk next to the office supplies and dog bowls 😉

One of the things I kept too much of was linen. I think 2 sets of sheets is probably sufficient and I prolly don’t need my 10 bath towels but they fit in the cupboard (and are good quality ones!) so they’re staying!

Some additional points going to feature in my “I don’t hate it all the time” post are simmering and include how you have to answer questions from people who just don’t get why you would willingly recreate the cramped feeling of the dorm room you had at boarding school .. 😉

ENTERTAINING

It can be .. hard entertaining in a MH. I guess that’s why so many have awnings, so everyone can sit outside / spread out. But I am a bug-magnet and being outside is a traumatic and exhausting (slap slap jump yelp slap wave: then repeat but add in some cursing) experience! Even walking the dogs I get chomped by greeblies, it is so annoying!

So I can have 4 or 5 people visit (inside) with ease. But add in anymore and it can be a lil bit .. cosy. Esp if the zoo want in on the act 😉 The other aspect of entertaining is that you have your guests seated in your entire living space and by that I mean in your bedroom, kitchen etc. No more can you have a messy kitchen and usher people into a nice tidy living room .. they’re kinda ALL the same space in a MH!

Luckily .. (hmm, luck no – actually, I’ll change that: I shopped around!) I chose a MH with 2 sets of cavity slider doors, so I can shut off the bunk room or the master bedroom .. but for me, it feels claustrophobic when I do that .. so I tend to leave it all open .. And hope people don’t notice that I have a Winnie the pooh blanket on my bed 😃

POOS AND WEES

I think it’s fair to say that something I was not entirely prepared for is that you have to get so very close to your poop.. and to other people’s, too.. No one really can explain this to you, ‘til you’re doing it – they mention hygiene (take gloves and gum boots etc) and they talk of types of loo paper, cleaners / sanitisers etc. They talk etiquette (it’s not the done thing to dump alongside others – and why would you want to!??! Ughhhhhh)

So yeah dump sites and such things are uh.. quite an experience.

Once every 4-5 weeks (I tried that cheap thin loo paper to see if I could go 6-8 weeks but went back to my nice 3 ply, I’d rather do regular empties than use that nasty-ass stuff thank you!) I haul the manor to the closest dump site and proceed to connect my bus via hoses to the council’s sewer system and dispose of the last few weeks of excrement and such delights.

Now, if you are squeamish stop reading now!

Ready?

OK .. so here’s how it goes for me:

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I pull up to the dumpsite. Tell the dogs to be good and wait. Shut off the water pump. Apply gloves, put gumboots on and sally forth..

The tank locker is opened.

A hose is connected to my “waste” tank and then placed into the hole in the ground linking to the council system.

Sometimes the system / location is cleaned by me before using, cos some grot has left it nasty. Sometimes it is just ready to go ..

The “open” lever on my black tank is pulled and I trot upwind – as fast as I can.. I can move quite fast at times, it turns out 😉

I was at this exact stage last “run” when someone came around the MM and asked if they could dump their cassette at the same time.

I said “by all means, please .. uh, help yourself / have fun” .. while taking a few more steps back .. (they’d driven in a car and didn’t wanna sit and wait for me to finish .. generally if another MH pulls in behind you, they go do the refill potable water thing down the road first .. ) But she was clearly not fazed or in a hurry.

What was gorgeous was the slightly awkward chit chat she attempted, while she sloshed her poos and wees into the drain alongside mine (Oh I TOLD you not to read if squiffy heheh) 😃

So yeah, dump sites and an almost “new-born Mum” type of obsession with all things faecal isn’t something I’d fully comprehended, prior to buying a MH.

CLEANING

I touched on how many people say that it’s easy to keep a MH clean.
Rotten liars!  hehe

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I did not plan on cleaning for a minimum of 1-2 hours a day, when I got my MH. But that is the reality of it for me.. Yes, I hear ya: “duh, woman you have a zoo on board” Would I be without my zoo? Hell no..

And so I have adapted / accepted & try not to lose my mind completely (esp as this has been the wettest winter ever!) and instead have developed ways of minimising and handling the mess.

I had a cleaner, before buying my MH. I also had a robot vacuum cleaner. And those 2 things made life very nice for me.. I have neither now! If I had space, I’d chuck a wee (no poo tho!) pity party 😉 cos the cleaning thing really does get a bit tedious.

But something to think about, when embarking on this lifestyle. For example, can you vacuum for 2 hours or 2 minutes, before your batteries give out on you?

TEMPERATURE (and the weather)

This is another subject I am sure not all of us think about before embarking on our new lifestyle..

I often say my bus is like a menopausal woman. We can go from pleasantly cool to melting down – in a matter of seconds, it feels like. It’s a tin can on wheels, go figure! Also, since buying my MH I have become obsessed with the weather. As already mentioned: this has been the wettest winter in history (cheers, universe: You suck!) and I got mine during autumn so haven’t even seen what summer will be like .. but the words “omg horrid” come to mind? I guess we shall see!

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On a plus note, it is easy to heat a small space, and with my diesel heater – warmth was no problem over winter, it was lovely and toasty aboard the MM.

One thing I have learned is it is easier to keep the ambient temperature down, rather than try to cool the bus down. So, on a hot day: draw those blinds / shut out the sun and you might survive – very much reminds me of living in PNG, in that regard.

I am curious about how bad cooking could be in summer? Not done a summer in the MM yet but I think I can see why so many motor-homers have BBQs. i.e.; cook outside. I baked a quiche yesterday, and it wasn’t that warm of a day. But the bus heated up rather a lot! Think my bread making experiments will be a 100% winter exercise 😉 Even using the stove top warms the bus up quickly! Lots of salads and sarnies ahead, obviously!

Oh yeah: 

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What bought on this negative post?

Well .. a few things but the main one is that I belong to a few online Motorhome groups / forums. And they are an amazing source of advice & expertise (plus as an unexpected bonus:  I’m making some really neat friendships!) But every now an’ then I see a post that leaves me .. gemfloxed..

A new member will post: “Considering buy a MH for full time living, appreciate your insights.”

Some replies will be detailed, insightful and it’s obvious a lot of thought has gone into the comment. Others will be short / to the point, and yet others will contain a cutesy quote about life being short etc.

So yeah I suppose the post doesn’t leave me perplexed, moreso the comments that follow.

Cos no one ever admits that sometimes living in a motorhome sucks!

Sucks

i.e.; no one mentions the things they had to adapt to . . the things they struggle/d with.

I get the whole “don’t be negative” thing. But seriously, there’s a vast difference between being pragmatic or real/honest, vs. waxing lyrical about how wonderful everything *always* is.  Somewhere in the middle is what I try to deliver, if I comment on these types of posts.

The comments (chucked out like minties at a lolly scramble) kinda go like: “Oh just do it!” “You only live once!” “Life is short!” or my all time fave: “Don’t over think it”.

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But for me, I wanna say: “Omigosh.. think think and think some more, please, people!”

Hence this *negative* post!

Cos from where I sit? I feel it’s really important to understand, (just like living in a house without wheels), there are challenges to face. It aint always a laugh a minute. It’s not just picturesque sunsets, happy hours, strolls around scenic spots or e-bike rides thru gorgeous glades.

Sometimes it can suck.. 

Anyway, I am on the brink of rambling so will shut up and post this. If you’re reading, and are motorhoming, what is something you’ve learned that you didn’t even consider before embarking on this lifestyle?

Please post it in the comments .. Wouldn’t it be great to share, and help others with these insights!

BTW, did you know that the square footage of an average MH is a mere 7-9 times larger than a coffin? Just thought I’d share that random snippet..

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Checklists, chilli flakes & coffee confetti..

When I got the MM I fast realised the value of a “pre-drive” check list. As I only tend to drive her every few weeks, and live full time aboard, there’s a decent amount of stuff to move and it is a bit of a process. Can also be a *bit* exciting if ya forget anything. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a cutlery drawer flying open* as you round a corner, to give the nerves a bit of a wake up!

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My pack up process takes an hour, on average. From the frequently used items shown above (oils, spices, chilli flakes, salts etc) next to the stove, to the herbs growing in pots on the dash, to the external paraphernalia (hoses, mats, animal beds, insect screens) .. each of these things has to be put .. somewhere else.

This move however, was extra special – cos I had to empty my lockers as I’d be having the doors taken off. I don’t have much stored in the lockers but one did have all the old carpet from when I got vinyl laid. (I wasn’t sure if I could perhaps upcycle it, and so it languished in a locker these last few months..) I finally was able to decide it could go on the burning pile.

And so I hauled it (damn, carpet is heavy!) out and along the way got myself a lovely scratch from some tacks dragging down my thigh. The bruises? Well that’s just a mystery .. clearly I bumped into something .. and it won, lol

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Anyway, when I pack the bus up to move it I figure since I have created all these empty surfaces, its good to add to my stress levels (derrrr @ me!) by cleaning everything. But seriously, it just seems silly not to take the chance. This way when I park up again, I can re-position everything onto nice clean surfaces. This process tends to take just under an hour, getting things set back up .. “normal-like”, I mean 😉

Oh something else that’s a must do is to lock every cupboard and door, (incl the fridge and freezer!)  there’s also the cavity sliders between rooms and of course, the roof vent, all the windows, take down the fly screens, remove the door catch off the outside of the bus and sooooo the list goes on..

I have to admit, I have been known to find myself chortling to myself (I don’t get out much, remember!) while locking the cupboards and cabinets – they have the same type of latches that are used in some airplanes and it satisfies my long-ago held notion of being an air hostess .. or flight attendant, as they’re now known.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with what I can get away with leaving ‘out’ and what I really *must* lock down / put away. I have that AWESOME non-slip mat stuff in all my cupboards, and I got some to chuck on the stove top and the last 2 trips, have left small items on it, to see how they fare. Up ‘til yesterday it was a roaring success. Nothing has moved, and it’s a few less things to have to chuck on the bunk or couch / easier to put back into it’s usual position once stationary.

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So anyway, when I got the call to take the bus to the panel-beaters, the usual batten-down commenced. Sliiiiight difference to normal: it was 30+ degrees.

Dun’ take long for a tin can on wheels to heat up, so I was fair sweltering doing the pack up, before take-off. I got to the panel beaters and – cos it was so hot – decided to open a few windows to allow air thru’ while it was parked up on concrete, in a built up part of the Napier industrial area.

Now, for reasons that elude me (sigh) after I got back to my ‘home base’ (which was 100% home-less lol) and had a brief walk with the dogs, I opted to do some weed eating of my 2 acre block of land. Mad dogs and poms had nothing on me. It was soo-oo vile / hot, but had to be done as long grass poses a fire risk over summer.. and (this is the real reason lol) I had nothing else to do (or home in which to do it!) so it filled in some time.

I then gratefully went to my Dad’s where I showered and hung out ‘til he gave me a lift back to the panel beaters to collect the now locker-door-less bus.

By now it was quite late in the day. I was tired. I was hot. I was grumpy. And I was tired, hmm, did I say that already?? 😉

It was so good to get the MM “home” .. I parked up and got busy setting up the external hoses and filling my fresh water tank, before doing animal chores and then coming inside to re-position all the stuff I’d moved, pre driving away earlier in the day.

Then it dawned on me .. I had noticed it was a bit noisier (snort) while driving, but didn’t think about it too much ..

Yeah .. rookie mistake, I know now.

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Ya know how I had opened the windows?

And had been experimenting with not putting away all the usual goodies before driving?
Mm..

In my haste to get home and sorted out, I didn’t think about a check list not even one iota!

I just drove ..  And then got back to find there were chilli flakes and coffee grinds ALL thru’ the MM. I swear, I could feel them in my bed, hours later when I tried to sleep.

They flew around better than any confetti I’ve ever seen before!

Argh!

The reason for the coffee grinds will be something only “real” coffee drinkers perhaps know. When you grind your coffee beans, some grinds always fall to the wayside and I have a little tray under the grinder, to capture these bad boys.

They fly like the wind, at 90km it turns out lol

Ai Ai Aaaiii ..

Anyhoo .. before embarking on the much needed clean-up, I went to the loo.. only to find the toilet paper roll had unravelled while I drove. The open window and roll meant that stuff went everywhere and boggy soggy papery water was dripping out of the bowl onto the floor and mat, yeah – thanks, capillary action ☹

So yeah … it’s fair to say that about this time I packed what can only be called an epic paddy. No other way to call it. I told the planet *just* what I thought of it. I told every coffee grind and chilli flake how much I doubted it’s heritage (and then some!)

I raged and I raged. And I raged some more.. Yep. You got it: I. Lost. My. Shit.

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It achieved absolutely nothing but I felt a little better as I swept, wiped and vacuumed – all the while raging at the wind (a Nor’Wester had flared up .. cos you know, it wasn’t warm enough yet) and tried to get my bus so it was slightly less than 100% gritty an’ horrid.

After a short time I just gave up, made myself a vodka and ice (don’t judge me, I will hurt you!) turned the fan onto full.. (and tried to convince the dogs I wasn’t that scary – they don’t like when their Momma is a grumpy ol’ troll!)

It was not the happiest day aboard the MM, tis fair to say!

On a plus note, I didn’t get pulled over for not having locker doors. Geez, imagine that poor cop had he stopped me! 😲

Ah joy. Oh well, it was a day above ground, and that’s always a good day!

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*Sounds like a thousand plates being smashed right behind ya! And my god it’s scary!

 

Little miracles

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2 weeks ago my mutt Abigail was firmly in the dog-box having run thru’ the nest zone of my little plover duo Shirl and Phil. I was busy faffing with a new generator, and didn’t heed the normal “distress” cry of the birds, ‘til I turned in time to see a ball and a large dog, perilously close to the plover nest ..

A shriek from me got the dog out of the zone and in I went.. dodging enraged / very stressed out plovers, I peered into the nest .. and my heart sunk.

2 of the 4 eggs in the nest had holes in them 😦

Needless to say it was a glum night in the MM as the dog was heartbroken, having upset her Mama so much .. (“stern words” were had as we walked back from the nest zone!) and her Mama was imagining two dead plover babies en-shell and feeling all kinds of sad ☹

Now I feel it is time to point out that until 2 months or so, a plover was a bird I utterly loathed. They are shrill, annoying, nasty and downright horrid (on a good day!)  How many other birds fly around screaming bloody murder in the dead of the night? Ugh, I have oft fantasised about going outside with a powerful torch and a 22!😉

However, I now find myself smiling when I hear the different hideous noises these birds make. Cos I realise .. they’re just protecting their babies!

They’re warning them of danger.
They’re telling them where to hide or when to hide.
They’re being amazing parents.
And how can anyone be grumpy at that?

Which brings me back to what happened the next day, post the drama created by aforementioned idiot GSD.

Shabs.jpgFilled with doom and gloom, I went outside to walk the dogs and as we made our way past the nest zone, we were treated to not one, but two tiny baby plovers poncing about in the grass.

I was speechless (I know ..  not a common thing, you get the idea of how I felt perhaps?? Hehe) and delighted and happy and confused lol

The dogs picked up on my energy and as we ran across the property away from dive bombing parents, I couldn’t help but ponder at the incredible, wonderful, beautiful marvel that is nature.

Even if it has been ‘assisted’ by yours truly 😉

For the last few weeks, ever since I found the nest (literally smack bang in the middle of the run zone for the dogs! Sheesh!) I have been on baby alert.

Each day I have filled a puddle nearby (the bane of my existence due to a dog wot likes to lay in said puddle then come inside for cuddles .. sigh!) because google told me they like to feed off bugs in water (and they bathe often in said puddle too!)

I have learned plovers will eat couscous, won’t eat fruit or pasta and don’t much like mooshy food ie cat bix  or chook-mash .. but they loooove finely grated meat. I do not wish to gross you out but grating frozen slabs of rump steak is about as nasty as it sounds! But Phil and Shirl love it.

I would go outside, waving one arm above my head, carrying a bowl of thawed out meat shavings .. place it by their nest site and run back to the MM to watch them scoff it down.

For the record, prior to moving onto my little chunk of earth here in HB, I’d never seen a plover egg / nest or baby. I’d seen (and heard!) the adults many many times .. and hated on them the entire time .. but the babies and nests were something new to me.

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Plover eggs are kinda ugly, a mottled green – very neatly camouflaged. Which is just as well, cos the parents just make a nest (for wont of a better word) on a piece of dirt and lay some eggs. ARGH! Stress!

Why stress?
Cos that nest was 100% where I used to throw the ball for my dogs – how did they not trample the eggs??

Why stress?
Cos two days ago Phil, Shirl & the kidlets were in the driveway and a courier hooned up right toward Phil .. who responded by standing with his wings outspread “come at me brah!” stylz .. in the ultimate game of chicken.. how incredibly brave and stupid it was to see such a thing!

I ran outside to tell him to stop (the courier!) just in the nick of time.

The babies were on the driveway hence the bravado from Dad!

Why stress?
Cos those bloody baby birds can VANISH before your very eyes! In pursuit of pics, one minute you see ‘em. Aw so cute. Next thing, they’re gone. A shriek from Shirl or a squawk from Phil and these little bundles of fluff become completely invisible ..

You walk (cautiously!) one step .. two steps .. omg where are they?

All the while being bombed by outraged parents.

To no avail, those babies are gone. You’ve stood on them. The courier ran them over. Aliens took them!? They’re dead.. Did they even exist??

A short time later you see them toodling about in the grass quite cheerfully. Ably protected by Mum and Dad .. SHEESH!

Like I said above, it is so much easier now to hear the shrill noises and realise there’s a Mum or Dad protecting their babies from so many dangers. Hawks, magpies, rampaging dogs, horses, cars .. the list goes on.

I wish I was clever enough to come up with some amazing quote about how understanding something makes even bad things seem OK, but let’s just roll with “plovers are no longer on my hit list” (in fact if I could, I would steal one of those bubbies and raise it with my ragtag bunch aboard the MM hehe)

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My friend with cancer is a total jerk!

0364f100fa913ff7aaf1a22a474e8857The “problem” started when I attempted that oh-so-painful conversation (“have you thought about what might happen or need to happen, if you kick the bucket” .. mm hmm – that one!)

It didn’t go as well as I had hoped, altho to be fair, I didn’t have high hopes for a fun chat!

First she laughed. Which we all know is a great way to handle fear. But I persisted and then she became downright cranky – the bitch even yelled at me! I was quite taken aback (she’s the nice, calm one of the two of us lol) ..  she ended her mini-tirade (she’s too weak to go on for too long, phew!) with telling me to get out of her house amid something I swear was along the lines of “and never darken my door again!”

Rude, ungrateful, unthankful, mean & nasty old cow!

The next morning I went over to pick up the kids and take them to school, as is our usual routine. We chatted as we drove.. Seems Mum was a bit tetchy – but no worse than usual .. lol, kids..

I dropped them off and sent her a message to say the egglets had landed or something – just so she knew they’d arrived safely at school. I could see the …. (dots) indicating she was typing (for 3 freakin’ hours, bitch!) a reply and then I finally got a “k, thanks” around about noon.

Now I dunno about you but to me “k” basically means “Oh go fk yourself” and “k thanks” just means “please go fk yourself” .. She was on my hate list for the remainder of the day, as I walked the dogs and pondered how to handle a grumpy tart who may or may not die from a ghastly disease that one wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.

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And I opted, in the end (cos I am good this way!) for denial!

So for the last 5 or so weeks, I have been invading my hateful friend’s home. Making food that I know she likes to eat, or needs (protein is good for growth and repair, so I make all these egg and meat dishes – and hope she eats them!)  I do her laundry and clean her house. I keep picking up the kids as was previously agreed / arranged months earlier. I take her to appts (those car rides, omg talk about awkward central!) and generally try to carry on as per ‘normal’.

Hodgkin lymphoma isn’t the worst cancer you can get, so she assured me when it first up-ended our worlds. She was happily ignoring the fact that a 5-year survival period isn’t that long, and I let her hang on to that – cos I’d want something positive, were I in her shoes!

But I know they’re now talking about a diagnosis (luckily, I have the ear of everyone involved in her oncology world) and I realise, this is why she is acting so mean ..

My friend is terrified and trying to be brave.

And by broaching the subject of a bad outcome, I poked a wound with a very sharp, annoying stick.

When she wasn’t ready to talk ..

I KNOW I could have waited. But there’s kids involved .. And I didn’t want to be faced with making decisions – big ones, without her input. So yes, I could wait til she is ready to talk. But this is the same damn woman that didn’t tell me about her miscarriage til I had mine .. 5 bloody years after she had hers.

And I don’t know if we HAVE 5 years here!? Argh.

Anyway, there you have it, the latest on my *friend* with cancer. I type the word *friend* in this way cos if I put it in asterisks that makes it feel less shitty! <– Jane logic heh
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PS I don’t really hate her. I am guessing you all know this but figured I’d say it to ensure no one thinks I am a total monster! She’s my bestie and I will help that cranky & mean ol’ cow til .. er, the cows come home? 😉

 

 

Do you miss a “normal” life?

I’m often asked if I miss my old life, now that I live full time in a bus / no longer have a job or house (etc). Some people are curious, some claim to be envious, others are in shock – I suspect unable to imagine a life without going to work each day and all that other normal stuff? 😉

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Well, I have never been able to properly answer that Q, simple though it may seem.

However, visiting friends recently, I had a bit of an “a-hah” moment! So here goes!

You see, while I was visiting – I had the chance to observe their daily routines. And so on day 2, circa 6am, I wandered downstairs. He’d gone to work already, to avoid the traffic.

She called out a cheery good morning from the laundry, where she was putting on a load of washing (this machine not only washes, but also dries everything!)

I called back hullo and let my dogs outside for their morning ablutions.

The washing she was putting on would be folded and left in neat little piles on everyone’s beds by the end of the day. The housekeeper would see to that.

My friends dry cleaning was hanging by the front door, ready for her to take into town.. expensive, corporate garb that she didn’t trust to the washing machine.

A quick flick of a button or 2 and the robot vacuums were sent cleaning the 2 floors of the house, and she walked into the kitchen where I was making coffee, and began emptying the dishwasher. I told her I’d do it, (while I used their wonderful rocket coffee machine!) but she has her routine and just got busy doing what she normally did..

Her coffee went into a ‘keep’ cup, so it’d stay warm during the commute, mine went in my fave cup, to be savoured..

Throughout all this, we chatted .. and she made one comment that particularly stuck with me:

“Thank goodness for all these life & time saving devices!”
As she ran out the door..
It was 6.54am.

Their normal life – well underway..

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I waved her off and went back to the kitchen to make myself some breakfast. I decided on scrambled eggs and toast. My friend had grabbed a handful of protein snack type bars, 2 mandarins & a bag of mixed nuts and would either buy a sandwich, nibble on her snacks or go without lunch, depending on how busy her day was..)

Her hubby would have had nothing, but around 10am would go buy a muffin and coffee to get him thru’ his day.

As I ate my breakfast, alone, in this beautiful home that my friends own, I found myself thinking about the difference in our lifestyles, now that I had retired early and lived in a manky ol’ bus aka the MM.

You see, prior to becoming a “filthy hippy”, I lived the exact same life ‘style’ as my friends. I had a beautiful home. That I left every day for an average of 10 hours a day. I took work home most evenings or weekends, I travelled a lot (which sounds exotic but is damn tiring, truth be told) I too, had all the time (life?) saver devices but even so? I was constantly exhausted, taking supplements, B12 jabs, iron injections – you name it, to help me survive my “lifestyle”.

I sat feeding the magpie some of my toast and eggs, and considered a few of the other things we did, to help us live our lives. Now to be reasonable, it really cannot be a fair comparison – she has kids and a hubby to consider, whereas for me the nest is empty & I am single, so it is different – that can’t be denied.

But as best as I can, here are the two worlds set out below:

Each week my friends get “My food bag” delivered, it’s something like $45 a meal. And they get a couple of meals from each delivery. It’s kinda cool: everything is there, you just combine ingredients – 1 spring onion, a packet containing the spices, veg, meat, whatever .. and voila: a wholesome, healthy dinner is ready to eat in quick order.

At least once a week the family all go out to dinner. It’s lovely, and they chat and relax a little, together. Probably spending enough to feed a family for more than a couple of nights, meals out don’t come cheap in Wellington. But it is tiring to cook a healthy, family meal after a 10+ hour day. So a meal out to the local, often ethnic eatery, is very much enjoyed.

Come back to me – at my friends house now, it’s 7.50am.

I fed my dogs – now that the doggy day-care van has been to collect their pooch – Yep (I used to use the same service!) dogs have day-care – it’s great! And they pick them up and drop them home at the end of the day! Brilliant service.

I know that a few times a week my friend heads off to the gym after work, because she is keen on maintaining good health, and we all know exercise helps with that! Her hubby goes for a walk in his lunch break, if time permits. Otherwise it’s a short run after getting home from work circa 6.30pm.

To assist in (probably maintaining her sanity!) they have the aforementioned housekeeper who lets herself in and does an assortment of chores twice a week. As well, a single young Mum she knows, does their ironing for a bit of pocket money. And they have a gardener.

I’ve never asked, but suspect she doesn’t want to spend her weekends gardening and cleaning – she has to get the kids to sports and probably has some more work to do, in between trying to cram in a few hours of life..

40084626-women-working-in-busy-too-company.jpgThere’s church on Sunday. Community meetings. Book group.  Wine club. Time to go get a haircut. See a Dr. PTA Meetings. Parent teacher meetings. Have a coffee catch up or maybe even brunch out with a friend. All these things get crammed into a few hours on any ‘normal’ week..

I was feeling quite thoughtful as I went out to walk my dogs..
It was now 8am.

Most houses appeared empty, gates shut, lights out. Everyone was gone – to work, day care and school.

And I know that’s “NORMAL” and I don’t mean to sound even one iota judgy in this post.

Cos as I said, it was my life, ’til a fairly traumatic series of events made me stop and take stock of my life. To ponder what mattered to me. To think about what I wanted to do with my life (I was always a slow starter hehe)

So here we are: as my 50th birthday approaches I find myself “retired”.
Living in a house bus on a small chunk of dirt in the wine district of Hawke’s Bay.
With my 3 dogs, 2 hens, 1 rooster, elderly cat and a crippled magpie.

I have a freedom so many cannot imagine.
I want to do nothing? I can!
I want to go somewhere, anytime? I can!
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I no longer have a housekeeper. I can keep the bus clean easily on my own.
I don’t use dog day-care – me and the dogs get to go play regularly, throughout the day.
I haven’t got someone who does my ironing (I didn’t keep anything that needs ironing lol)

I have all day to potter about creating things in the kitchen, so don’t dine out often, if at all. And the extent of my gardening is to water my basil plant and mow the grass around the MM before a rainy day.

I still wake early most days. Habit? I guess so. But I rather like mornings, there’s a freshness and ‘pleasing’ energy to them. And I have an almost insatiable desire to witness the sunrise. Always have..

So, early mornings I have in common with my working friends! 😉 But that’s about all.

OK sure, I miss once a month seeing my bank balance increase. That doesn’t happen any more! Quite the opposite! 

I also do sometimes miss the satisfaction of going to work and handling a multitude of ‘stuff’ in any given work day, and of working alongside talented & hard-working professionals.

BUT:

I do not miss the alarm going off early every single day.
I do not miss the commute.
I do not miss the sitting in airport lounges, waiting for flights.
I do not miss not knowing where to go for a decent coffee or where the loo is (when travelling)
And I do not miss the meetings (I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate meetings lol)
I do not miss working dinners.

And I do not need all those time saving devices my friends have, that I once used: cos time I have. For now.

Hmm, I feel like I am writing a poem for a Dr Suess book!

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So yeah, I think it’s fair to say I am not overly missing my “normal” life.

And that’s kinda cool 😊

PS: I am sometimes told I am lucky. This pisses me off more than anyone could possibly comprehend and is the subject of a post, yet to be finished. Luck didn’t enable or put me on this path. Hard work plus some horrific situations and experiences: that’s what got me to where I am currently!
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Time will tell, I guess?

I don’t know why but this didn’t publish when I intended it to – back in Jan/Feb before I had bought my MH! Whoops.. So here it is: Things I think I will miss once aboard a MH full time.

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This is being done solely out of curiosity, so that in a year or so, I can look back and go “nope, I was totally wrong about that one!” or “Omg, yes! I do miss whaddeveritwas”.

Remember, I am in the depths of “the planning phase”, so have NO idea what it is actually like to live in a motorhome, I had never even set foot in one until a couple of months ago.  But I have a vivid imagination (not always a good thing!!) and so without any further ado, here goes:

I think I will miss:

Space 

I live in a large villa right now, own a small farm and I also grew up on a farm. Everywhere around me is SPACE! I have a lovely large lawn, wide open spaces between the house and the fences. No neighbours hindering my views of the skyline, sunset and sunrise each day. High stud ceilings mean I have no hope of reaching them even with a broom (that’s my excuse for the cobwebs shhh!) and there’s a sense of spaciousness everywhere I look. Inside, and out.

Add in large bedrooms (the smallest room has a king sized bed in it and there’s still room to swing a few cats – should Gareth, lord help us, ever come to visit!)

My kitchen is bigger than many people’s motorhomes. My stove bigger than the entire kitchen area in most motorhomes… OK I need to stop I am freaking myself out 😀

Suffice to say I do wonder if I will find it a little claustrophobic at times, being in a motorhome.
Time will tell!

Entertaining 

Now this is a biggie, I feel.

I LOVE to host people, having a large home and enjoying cooking means it’d be rude of me not to host people, right!? Nothing pleases me more than to have a house full of people, groups of folk sitting around eating, drinking and sharing good times together. Maybe a game of pass the pigs or if we’re feeling brave: pictionary (good way to end relationships, in my experience lol) how the heck am I gonna entertain groups of friends in a motorhome?

Will my social life dry up and become a distant memory?!?
Time will tell. 

Making laundry 

Yep, making it. I am a prolific maker of laundry. I’m shocking! I’ll use a tea towel to dry the dishes and then, while it’s in my hand I will use it to mop up a mess when I have a perfectly good kitchen cloth that I could use, rinse and dry – to reuse again. Instead, I use the tea towel and chuck it in the laundry hamper. Just a habit I got into – cos I can.

As do most people: I like to wear clothes that are freshly laundered, especially if I have been sweating up a storm in the garden, so this is another way to create laundry. I know I won’t have a garden in a motorhome but I might go on a long walk – same thing, effect-wise.

Time to look for wash and wear garments eh 😉

Mind you, if my social life dries up who will notice if I am in the same manky outfit 4 days in a row? Dogs won’t care, I’ll probably smell FABULOUS  – to them, hehe

I am training myself to use the dishcloth rather than a tea towel in such a ‘frivolous’ fashion pre-MH purchase! Or maybe I buy a MH with a washing machine in it? What luxury that would be!

Stability (or perhaps this could be called “the hassle factor”?) 

Will I one day look out of my cosy tiny home on wheels and think “I don’t want to DO this any more?”

I don’t want to drive somewhere random. Park somewhere random. Find a place that handles me and my menagerie. I don’t want to have to pack everything up (I don’t even know if this a thing? Never been a MHer before lol but I expect it is a part of mobile living) I don’t wanna go to a dump station or whatever they’re called. I don’t want new, every day: I want comfort and things that make me feel comfortable and “at home”..

I suspect the day comes when everyone feels this way? And obviously it’ll vary from person to person.

But I also kinda feel the logical answer is: So go buy a house, and stop travelling then. Or am I over simplifying it? One reason I plan to stay in the real estate market is that it should make getting a home “off wheels” simpler. But will it? Who knows what the real estate market will do in the coming decades / years.
Time will tell..*

Conclusions?

I am rather chuffed that I have struggled to find more things I think I will miss. For all they are kind of important items. Maybe it would have been easier to make a list of things I do NOT think I will miss!

I have made myself a diary note to check this blog posting in 12 months, I’ll keep ya posted!

*Hah I removed THAT issue by buying a little bit of land to have as a base. Or is it an anchor, either way (say it with me now?) “Time will tell!”

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Pets in a MH, who’d do that?

While most MHers post pics of gorgeous sunsets, stunning beaches or jaw dropping mountain vistas; I can assure you, none of ya wanna see the pics I could have shared lately.
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Where do I begin. Hmm, 2 nights ago (circa 3am cos you know: who needs sleep) the cat decided to *vomit, the next day a hen ripped a hole in my ear lobe and let’s not ever, ever, forget the post operative poo-nami ala my rescue mutt, Rox earlier in the week ..

Geez, the only well-behaved animal aboard the MM is the magpie. And that isn’t at all normal! 😊

I’ll start with explaining why my hen savaged (😉) me – I was holding her, while moving the 3 of them to their new digs (a new hen house, and it fits in one of the MM lockers, most exciting!) and I wasn’t holding her securely enough *apparently* so she freaked out and my ear and neck copped a jolly good rake of her claws. It hurts like a mothe.. it hurts a lot.

On a cutesy note, my daughter pointed out that it kind of looks heart shaped ..
Lovely ..

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The girls and their gorgeous beau, William have settled in brilliantly to my little chunk of dirt here in Hawke’s Bay. Rescue chooks, they’re paying me back in eggs each day and helping me manage food waste / leftovers, it’s awesome! Plus they add many delightful moments to my days, I won’t tell you how much time I spend just wandering around with them hot on my heels. Tis most cute. Except for the rake to the neck / ear thing!

The poo-nami is just going to be left to your imagination. Suffice to say it was horrid and thank heavens for carpet cleaners, Dettol, smelly diffuser type devices and fine weather so I could have the entire MM open 24/7 for a few days. The 1st night it dropped down to 2 degrees, but wasn’t raining etc so we just burrowed under blankies and endured open doors all night long .. airing helped, a lot.

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Remind me, why did I get a dog, again? 😉

The cat, well she’s .. special.. Elderly (coming up 15yo) she repays me buying her expensive cat food each week by deciding not to like it the day after I buy it. She likes to wake me up several times a night with a scratch to the face, indicating she needs to come under the covers (thank you very much I’m a bit cold, you really should heat my bed for me, but I’ll just use yours) and scratches ten bells out of me if I do anything except avoid her.

Yes, she’s that bad. I defy anyone to pick her up – nooooo way Jose. A rescue cat, with an horrific “kittenhood” that she’s never really gotten over – we have a .. careful relationship, to say the least.

But (and hence the asterisk) one thing I have learned thanks to her (cos she eats all sorts of things, a hang-over to her starving days, I am told) is that you never EVER (I mean NEVER!) yell at a vomiting cat.

I don’t mean yell, I guess .. That sounds mean. What I refer to is the shriek of all pet owners, upon hearing the UGHNNNGGHGHGG UNGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHH GACCCCKKKKKKK noise of a pre-vomitous animal.

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Your 1st instinct (tends to work with dogs but in no way is it advisable with cats) is to yell “ARGH!” and run to open a door. This is a mistake, folks. Trust me.

If you ever hear this sound, just wait / lay silently, til the cat has puked its guts out and thank me for my sage counsel. Cos if you yell and run .. the cat runs too.

BUT IT KEEPS PUKING WHILE IT RUNS!

And so it is that I lay in bed listening to a cat puking her ring out in my bedroom. Yep, on the carpet, there aint much left in here but she was right there, on the carpet. Relfing. At 3am. Cos, sleep is for pussies. (Groan, that wasn’t even intended .. I think I have sleep deprivation hah)

Actually, she vomited in my shoes..

I am still trying to work out if this is better than cat spew the carpet?

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Free to a good home:

1 cat

3 dogs

2 hens

1 rooster

1 magpie

1 plover baby (evil grin)

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Happy Travels everyone 🙂