Monday, October 3, 2016

Update from Creep-ville

I never moved into the RV with the hope or expectation of “finding love”.  I really thought I would only be in it for 2 years while going to grad school.  I have written often about the characters I meet in the RV park.  Sometimes they honestly creep me out. 

Last summer one of my neighbors was raking my yard.  He was moving the plants and getting up under the RV which both felt too close and personal.  I appreciated it, but it felt creepy.  He never asked, or offered, he just did it.  I find raking leaves therapeutic.  This is the same guy who was leaving the blinds open between our trailers.  He set up a front porch and was setting up a “back porch” complete with plants, hummingbird feeder and a chair, facing my trailer directly.  I was uncomfortable with this and finally mustered up the nerve to say, “Hey, what’s going on?”  I let him know I felt real uncomfortable with the situation and let him know I can rake my own leaves. He stopped, for a while. 

In the last couple of months another neighbor has crossed more than one boundary.  This guy has got kids my age!  I don't mean to be ageist, but that's just too old.  I'm okay being with someone who has kids, I prefer they be significantly younger than me. This guy went out and bought a motorcycle helmet, so I can ride his motorcycle with him.  (If you can’t see, my eyebrows are all furrowed.)  We had a couple of conversations, but he never asked if I wanted to ride and certainly never asked if I wanted to ride with him.  I recently had to replace my bicycle helmet, so I know there’s some financial commitment in helmets.  A motorcycle helmet’s got to be a lot more expensive than a bicycle helmet.  I am very picky about who I’m going to ride on the motorcycle with. 

It feels creepy that this neighbor bought a motorcycle helmet for me.  He didn’t ask.  It was too small anyway.  Lately he has been driving by and stopping on the weekends.  Most recently I didn’t answer the door because I was taking a nap after a long weekend.  He came back around a second time and I didn’t answer the door.  He doesn’t call.  He doesn’t text.  If you want to know how I’m doing I’ll tell you, just ask.  I’m prone to give you an honest answer.   

Today, I found myself asking, “Does this happen in the ‘real world’?”  Do those of you who are single have people that creep on you like this?  It has me rethinking my whole approach to dating, maybe I’ve been the one that was creepy.

Years ago some of my neighbors used the phrase, “Don’t (crap) where you sleep.”  It holds true.  We live too close to each other and if things don’t work out it’s just too close for comfort.  I don’t go for guys who live in the same park as me.  I can hang out and visit.  I will ask for help, when I need it, but I am generally not a damsel in distress. 

Boundaries, they are different in the RV park.  We live in small spaces.  We know more about each other than we care to know.  We can be a tight knit community.  My neighbors keep tabs on when I come home and when I leave.  I’ve had more than one talk about the long hours I keep, so I know they notice. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dream Big Dreams

I've been thinking about my ideal RV. What features would it have?

Most of my ideal features involve my audio system.  One if the features I fell in love with quickly almost 10 years ago was the "surround sound ". It's not surround sound like the IMAX, but I can sit in the living room and hear the radio, wash dishes in the kitchen and hear the radio. No matter where I go,  I can hear the radio. I luv it!! My radio isn't fancy. It came standard with the RV, complete with am/fm and.... cassette.  I got rid of most of my cassettes,  but thd cassette player doesn't work anyway.  The stereo is installed in the RV, much like your car stereo.

For the first 7 years I didn't have a TV. Most of that time the radio was my entertainment.  I knew my favorite stations and my favorite programs, just like you have favorite TV shows and know when they come on, well before Netflix.

For a while I had another radio simply because I could set a sleep timer, so it would turn itself off after a certain amount of time and it had a CD player. I got rid of this radio player because it was taking up space I needed and I was using my computer to play music. My computer doesn't have a timer to turn off the radio player after a certain period of time.

Tonight I realized my ideal feature would be a stereo that would play CD, that I could play music via my computer  (an auxiliary cable?) and it would have a timer. That is the number one feature I would like to have in my RV.

This RV is too old to justify putting a new stereo in and it will be a while before I'm able to buy another RV.

This RV doesn't have slideouts, and that's ok. Yeah, they add room, but they're a pain to maintain when you stay in the RV log term.

I love that the shower has a valve,  so I can turn off the water flow when I don't need water.

There it's that simple,  or is it simple?

I have many more projects I'd like to work on, but considering the age of the trailer and my lack of carpentry skills, it's not worth the time or money.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Open Spaces

I have been longing for wide open spaces.  For the better part of a year I have longed for a piece of land where I can live that I can throw a rock, or a coconut, in any direction and not hit any neighbors.  In my current space if I threw a rock I would hit about three neighbors spaces.  It has been quieter this year than it has been in the past several years, and for that I am grateful.  I still joke that my neighbors know when I fart. 

Tonight on my way in I thought, "This is the kind of weather where I want to come home and sit on the porch."  I want to eat dinner on the patio and not have to entertain all of the neighbors.  I want to watch the storm roll in.  I want to be able to eat or drink without a clear view of my neighbor's septic system. 

This is something I have spoken about often here. 
Catching some sun
Walls Caving in
Stretching Out

In looking back at some of the previous posts I am reminded I used to have an awning.  I would roll out the awning to create some shade so I could sit outside and read, or relax.  Earlier this year I was rolling the awning out.  It got stuck and then tore to an extent I can no longer use it.  One of my neighbor's said no amount of duct tape could fix it.  Snap!!!  The amount of money I would spend on a new awning would be better set aside for a new RV. 

In looking back there's a common theme, did you catch it?  Most of the time when I talk about spreading out, or wanting more space, I go outside to nature.  I absolutely love being outdoors.  My current position has me working inside for most of the day.  I make an effort to walk across campus to get outside and to help get my daily steps in.  A friend and I recently got together and caught up.  We both preferred to sit outside, even though the temperature was well above 90 degrees. 

There are only a few things I can do to create more space inside the RV.  I can't build a wall to make the kitchen, or any other room, bigger. I have been in RV's that had a bedroom "upstairs" and those trailers seemed to have a lot more room.  I have been in trailers where I could reach my hands up and not touch the ceiling, but this is not the case in my trailer.  My trailer does not have a slide out, that can make one room wider than the whole trailer. 

For the past several years I have found at least one house in my daily commute that I think about.  The houses are currently uninhabitable.  They don't have windows or doors and are in disrepair.  I have been considering why these small houses have caught my attention.  I often think about what the house was like in it's "prime", when it was not in such disrepair.  The houses are larger than my RV and would allow me more space, but the house itself has a small footprint. 

This is one of those houses along my current commute.  This is not a house I would consider inhabiting in it's current state, but what was it like 60 years ago?  There's a fireplace to keep you warm in the winter.  There's open land.  Currently this house is right off a highway, so that may be unappealing, but so is it's current condition. 

I still enjoy looking at large houses, don't get me wrong.  I think about how many times my RV would fit in that house, but then I am reminded of how much it may cost.  I started living in the RV because it's affordable.  Previous neighbors have talked about moving out of their house because they did not want to be a "slave to the house".  In a house there's always a lawn to be mowed, a leak to fix or a roof to replace.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Common Characters

By now I have been living the RV lifestyle for 9 years.  In that time I have lived in 6 RV parks and each park has some common characters. 

In my first park I learned there is always someone with a story to tell.  In this park I found a neighbor who had written about the characters in the park and self published a book series.  I bought one of the books and when I was able to read it, the book gave me a good laugh.  It is this park I find myself having missed the most in the last 9 years.  If I knew then what I know now...  There will always be someone in the park who is a writer. 

RV Parks always have some smart people.  Sometimes they are disguised, so best to treat it as a treasure hunt.  One RV Park where I lived had about 9 residents with graduate degrees and a couple with a PhD. 

Most of the parks where I have lived have had one character who cooks "groceries" and then shares the goods with those he considers friends that live nearby.  This always involves him cooking outside using fire and wood.  It reminds me of a different time in our history, but still very applicable. 

RV parks and beer go hand-in-hand.  Often times the beer of choice is Natural Light or Coors Light.  One of my current neighbors firmly believes Natural Light gets it's name from the FACT that it is made of all natural ingredients, so it's organic.  It is common to find more than one individual who enjoys their daily case of beer.  They make fun of me, which I deserve, because I enjoy dark beer or things they cannot pronounce, like Leinenkugel. 

When I bought the RV the age demographic that was most frequently buying RV's were those in my generation.  I now see why.  Many of them are buying the RV to live in while they do contract work in another part of the state or the country.  My experience with contractors is they are just passing through.  They do not see this as a community, but a place where they are just passing through.  RV parks rely on these residents, because they come into the area to do work, often construction and bring their own trailer, transportation and their friends.  They keep the park occupied, often at capacity.   

RV parks seem to also have a number of people with mental illness.  This really is not different than any other community.  Those with a significant mental illness are marginalized and often treated as subservient.  What I have witnessed more than once with this population living in an RV park is that they are again and again taken advantage of.  In the RV Park, those with a mental illness seem to have more needs.  I am currently in an RV Park with several who would otherwise be homeless.  Several of them have come to the live in the RV Park off of the streets.  We are not near any resources for those who do not have transportation.  We are not walking distance from a grocery store, unless you consider the Convenience Store a place to regularly get groceries.  I hope this is because we as a culture have come to see that those with mental illness can live in community and not be hospitalized, as they can live in a community.   

RV parks are seldom in the urban communities, but often in rural areas or the outskirts of town.  They generally do not draw a lot of revenue for the city and it has been my experience the land is bought by developers who capitalize on the land. This leaves RV Park residents who do not have transportation struggling to find public transportation.  One RV Park with more than a mile from the public transit, which in Texas is very unreliable.  In my current location the public transit is rather non-existent.  For those from marginalized populations this really seems to further promote their difficult situation. 

There are not a lot of single women who live in RV Parks.  I have a lot of theories as to why.  One, it makes for a hard pick up line.