Dear Diary Apr10

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Dear Diary

In comparing Lin’s blog posts to mine, it occurs to me that my style of writing is more like ‘dear diary’ and Lin writes more like she’s drafting a screenplay for an Annie Lamont novel. So, for my next version of Dear Diary I’ll share an insider’s perspective on genuine, rig living. Sure, there’s plenty of amazing elements about this lifestyle, which you’ve already read about, so this post will focus more on the dirty secrets (pun intended), the less glamorous if you will.

Most of you know that I’m a little fastidious, keep my spaces tidy, and almost always have a clean kitchen. These are extremely difficult behaviors to maintain when living in 232 sq feet, driving on dirt roads, equipped with only a tube of Clorox wipes and Barbie style vacuum. Dirt is everywhere, and I don’t just mean outside our home. The good news is that vacuuming takes just 2 minutes, but I have to do it every single day.

The vacuum actually lives pinned behind the small TV in the bedroom.

The vacuum actually lives pinned behind the small TV in the bedroom.

My sister, Ann told me that our travel plan was essentially camping – to which I replied, no, we have plenty of comforts of home, if anything it was going to be glamping. Well, whatever you call it, she was right. I have completely given up that I will have clean fingernails before early 2014, so I’ve simply re-framed my perspective to one of reenacting the ways of my ancestors of centuries ago. And since I can’t really confirm it, I maintain that I’m bathing slightly more frequently than they might have.

How do you define dirty?

How do you define dirty?

Define dirty. 6 months ago this was an easy question with a straightforward answer. Generally, if I’d worn an article of clothing once, it was dirty. Now days, dirty is like a sliding scale, with the dirt end of the spectrum being any visible stain or smell that I can’t mask or hide. As such, things like kinda clean or not totally dirty, now exist in our vocabulary. It occurs to me quite clearly that what I do is more important than what I look like while doing it. While my focus is much more introspective these days, I can’t deny that I found some pleasure in dressing up on Easter Sunday to go to church. I dug out my high heals from beneath the bed and felt a little more like a lady. I’m also looking forward to joining our friends for their anniversary dinner in St. George, Utah. Reason #2 to wear high heals, yeah Nan, you were right!

Now, let’s talk privacy. This will be a short paragraph, because there isn’t any privacy. If Lin & I are at opposite ends of the rig, we can still hear each other blink or swallow. And with neighbors typically a mere 10 feet on either side, we often feel like we’re living in a bubble. We can see into others campers, so surely someone is watching us from afar. Inside the rig, we have a privacy screen that shields the driving section & front windshield from the living space. On departure days, Lin has been known to tidy up and remove said cloth screen prematurely, like when I’m getting out of the shower. Good thing modesty isn’t my middle name. (I know which of you are giggling at that reference.) Options to get said privacy include: visiting the public restrooms or laundry or my new personal favorite, offering to go to the grocery store.

Still multi-tasking! Checking the oven, washing my foot, and grabbing a soda.

Still multi-tasking! Checking the oven, washing my foot, and grabbing a soda.

A little back-story here, years ago when we were evaluating this vehicle we now call Lucy, our friend JoDee was visiting, so she tagged along to the dealership. We felt so fortunate have someone with us who already owned a rig and could better judge the pros & cons. She was quick to point out the storage under the bed, but the memory that remains vividly clear was when she climbed into the shower, raised her hands above her head & noted doing so without her elbows hitting the side walls. Ok, barely, but they cleared. Yet, showering isn’t so straightforward. One legitimate concern is the grey water tanks, because filling it up with shower water means having to dump & you’ve already heard the potential pitfalls of that dirty job. So we are pretty conservative (something I’m becoming much more familiar with through this process, but I still couldn’t spell the word without help – wink). Back to the shower, in effort to conserve water, we turn it off while soaping, shaving, or washing hair. But that trick doesn’t work with a face full of soap as one needs to one her eyes to see the dial to make water flow again. The most recent shower amusement came when I discovered today that I can’t get out of the shower without my boobs hitting the sliding door. No matter how much I sucked it in to squeeze past the doors, it doesn’t change the dimension of my chest.

Laundry, I’ll sum up that glorious chore by saying laundromat. So next time you do a load in your bathrobe or at your leisure (say, after 8 PM), relish in it.

Dear diary, I wonder if I’ll ever have flowing, curly, non grey hair again. Most days, it’s a recycled (do over) ponytail. Good hair hasn’t been a priority. Maybe someday my hair prince will come.

On the positive side, we were delighted to discover that Lucy has a hidden feature. We have a 3′ by 3′ sauna a.k.a the bathroom which has it’s own heat vent. Although we haven’t had many super chilly days, when we do, we retreat to the baño for concentrated heat & the first phase of the exfoliation process (completely moisture free skin). Queue creepy song – it puts the lotion on its skin. A dermatological example of Newton’s Law of Motion that every action has a reaction, I bake myself in the bathroom, my skin shrivels up like dried fruit.

dried fruit

Shaving has sort of become an unnecessary luxury. This will likely change once shorts weather returns, but for now, we know it’s time to shave when the lotion sticks more to the leg hair than the actual leg. The shaving ritual takes place outside with a pink electric razor, a Christmas gift from Jen. Mostly, we’re going for a rough cut, not baby butt smooth. Remember the dirty scale, well there’s a similar one for leg hair.

This whole experience has reminded me of the risk of having standards that are too high. My mom worked tirelessly to try and instill a balanced perspective. She and Farmer Hoggett of the movie Babe were of like minds when he claimed “that’ll do pig, that’ll do.”