2 + 2 + 5 + 5 = 14. It’s simple math, but makes for what would appear to be a complex schedule. Our new schedule looks something like this over a 2-week cycle. 2 off, 2 on, 5 off, 5 on. It’s really not all that complex. Here’s a visual….
Since December, we had been working the same 4 days a week (Thursday - Sunday) at our workamping job at Texas Lakeside RV Resort. When another workamping couple (Frances & Mike) started in March, the owners had asked us to divvy up the days a little more evenly. We printed off some calendars and started throwing around some ideas. Okay, we didn’t really throw anything it was more like we whipped out some highlighters and made the calendar look a little be like a rainbow. We were hoping to somehow have even hours between us, get every other weekend off, and have it be somewhat consistent week after week. We didn’t find the perfect solution, but we had set a schedule. Then the owners of the campground sent over a few suggestions that are used for custody situations. Never would have thought to look to those type of schedules as a solution, but it makes sense. Two parents who are trying to get exactly half the time with their kiddo and keep it somewhat consistent for the sake of the kid’s sanity. The 2-2-5-5 is not one we would have come up with on our own, but I think we are really going to like it. One of our reasons for spending a year in Texas was to be able to explore the state. At 268,596 square miles, it is the second largest state of course, after Alaska. So if we need to spend a year in Texas, we will need to spend even more time in Alaska. Hmmmm….we might have to spread that out over a few years, because I don’t picture Charlie being overly comfortable in Alaska in the winter months! I’m blaming Charlie, but I’m the real wimp here. Just ask Russ how many times I’ve stated “I’m cold!” during our mild winter here in Texas.
So back to that schedule, it will give us 5 consecutive days off every other week to explore, whether a few day getaway to somewhere several hours or away or a chance to catch up on home projects with some more local sightseeing and adventures mixed in. Plus with the schedule, we know which days we will work well in advance and can easily make travel plans and look for fun events going on nearby. With all this opportunity, guess what we did on our first FIVE days off? Probably something like swam with the dolphins in the Gulf or Skydiving into the Alamo in San Antonio, right? Close but so far away. We stayed around all weekend, knocking things off the to-do list. Boring, but necessary! However, it always feels so good to accomplish things or is that just my Type A personality telling me that?
Our first project was to rid the camper of signs of cold weather. Let’s back up about 5 months. When we first arrived in Texas after spending the beginning of fall in Maine, the northeast, and midwest we got pretty excited and started putting all our cold weather clothes away, including tucking the electric heater we use to supplement Charlie’s propane heater away. Unfortunately, this tactic didn’t work as we found ourselves digging these things back out. We were tempted to put them away again and even temporarily stacked them in a corner of the closet, but we found ourselves needing them and that trusty little heater several times as Texas experienced a colder winter than in year’s past. And I thought I was lucky; there goes that theory! But May being only about a week away, we decided to try again. So far, our optimism has worked as the skies have been blue and the temperatures warm. Maybe, just maybe those cold weather clothes and heater can stay safely tucked away in the sleeper of the Big Tow’er for many, many months. With that done, on to the next project…
RV’s don’t have a reputation of being the most durable things out there. While we have been fortunate with Charlie, there are minor things that need to be repaired or reinforced. For instance, it only took one trip towing Charlie before the clothes rod was laying on the closet floor. After a trip to a home improvement store (Okay, okay - as usual it probably took more than one trip. What project doesn’t?), the new metal clothing rod was reinforced and hasn't budged since. Good job, Mr. Fixit Gibbons! Another similar project, was the shelves in the bottom of our cabinets. While they weren’t damaged, they had become a little saggy. We all do with age, right? But, Charlie is still a toddler, his shelves shouldn’t be saggy. After prying the paper thin pieces of faux wood panel out of the base of the cabinets. Russ replaced these with sturdy MDF plywood which he supported with cut-to-size 2 x 4’s. To keep the look the same, we then put the faux wood back on the base of the cabinets. The bad part about a project like this, the before and after pictures look the same. While it looks like we didn’t do anything, we can now place our cast iron skillet or crockpot on the shelf in confidence, knowing it won’t damage the shelf. While stability was the main reason for this small project, Russ also didn’t like that he didn’t have access to the room under the shelving. Our sink and plumbing are in the island where these cabinets were and when we one time slightly overfilled our gray tank, we noticed a small waterfall of bubbles coming from under the island. With the current design, there was no way to get to where the water was. In our new design, Russ created a notch to be able to pull up the shelving if access to this area is needed. Believe it or not, this little home improvement project only took one trip to the hardware store. We must have forgotten to do something.
In another kitchen related project, like many RV’s our sink has covers to match the countertop. This provides a little more counter space which is at a premium in tiny homes and small spaces. We always say things we keep in our RV should serve a dual-purpose and these sink covers did just that as the other side was a cutting board that could be used over the sink. While it sounds good in theory, we found these cutting board surfaces didn’t stay clean enough to use. So when the cutting board side started coming unattached, we weren’t disappointed. However, they did leave the one side of the cover glazed in sticky adhesive. We let it go for several weeks, throwing around some ideas of what we could put on the other side to allow them to stay dual-purpose. We finally decided to allow the covers to simply do one job, cover that sink, and do it like a boss! Palm sander in hand, we removed that pesky adhesive and silicone. The first sink cover was easy peasy, but we we got to the second one, it seemed to take a little more elbow grease. It kept ripping the piece of sandpaper off the sander. We couldn’t figure out what was so different from the first to the second one, when all the sudden I realized that the beautiful Texas sunshine was making the adhesive a little extra tacky. After, popping the sink cover into the freezer for a few minutes, the adhesive came off much easier. After a quick setback and some problem-solving, Project #3 for the weekend was complete.
The project that was our number one priority to complete for our days off is difficult to talk about. Okay, not really, but we had severely neglected Charlie of a clean skin. Throughout our travels, we had not washed him since being in Florida in January. While that seems like it wasn’t really that long ago, it was OVER a year. We went to the office to pay our $25 to wash the RV at our site and got to work. It started with a ladder and Russ heading up on the roof. While I didn’t head up the ladder for a peek at it myself, judging from the water that was running off the roof as Russ sprayed it off, the roof was dirty!
Next up it was time to double-team the four sides of Charlie. One with the hose (me) and one doing the washing (Russ). After about 4 hours, he was back to his prime and had a shiny smile. Charlie we aren’t worthy of your love and loyalty after such neglect. We promise to not let it happen again!
Since Charlie had received a little much needed tender, loving care, we couldn’t leave his travel companion, the Big Tow’er, out of the picture. While Russ had started the truck a few times over the last 5+ months, he had yet to take it out on a drive. Diesel engines are built to run, so it was time to let that Cummins N-14 gallop. While I did a little grocery shopping in Port Lavaca, Russ took the Big Tow’er on a 40-mile round trip drive between Port Lavaca and Victoria. Russ said he thought the Big Tow’er missed his travel companion “Charlie” (our 5th wheel), but he enjoyed getting out for some exercise anyway.
We did a few more projects around the house, but also created a list of other things we needed to take care of in the next few months. We ordered a few things that will keep us reminded to do some of those projects like water filters and replacement USB lights. Stay tuned for more projects, but not before we post about more exciting things. It’s all about the balance.