Have you missed us? We are terribly missable. Just kidding. But here is a quick synopsis of why my blogging has been terrible:
Weeks 2-3: I wrote a detailed post about week 2 that I will publish after I finish the last sentence or two. I got distracted somehow and never completed it. Week 3 I didn’t blog about at all. RVing with 4 kids is beyond a full time job, and I feel like I have no time for anything. And that our RV is still not put in order so it makes it hard to function. Most nights I get into bed like a zombie at 930 after wrestling kids and can’t really do anything. Like blog.
Weeks 3-6: Seattle. Our poor RV went to the shop for almost two weeks. The hydraulic pump motor was broken, which meant the slideouts and the leveling system jacks didn’t work. In fact, one got stuck open, so we had to drive from Bellevue to Puyallup (about an hour) with the slideout stuck open 6″. Terrifying. The good news was after pulling teeth to get the repair shop to fix it, it cost only a quarter of what we were expecting. The other good news was we stayed in my dad’s downstairs for free. In almost any other part of the country we would have been paying for a hotel and griping a lot more.
We did do a lot of cool things in Seattle. Obviously we saw lots of my family which was great. I’m sure we gave them more grandchild/niece & nephew action than needed, so they can easily last until our next visit. We also got to see a few old friends which is also the best. Sightseeing included: The Pacific Science Center & IMAX whale movie, tide pools, horseback riding, Burgermaster, bike riding, playgrounds, riding in Pop’s sports car, boat ride, and Aaron and I even got to go on our awesome customary date to Mediterranean Kitchen.
After we got our RV back from the shop we felt so happy to be reunited. It already feels so much like “our home”. This past week on Tuesday we moved our RV out from it’s squeezed spot in my dad’s driveway and brought it to Fall City (out in the country). My mom helped me and the kids drop it off and brought us back to get Aaron in Bellevue later in the day, and when we came back that night there was water spewing out of both sides of the bottom of the RV. Not good. When I set up the systems before leaving, I had set up the water correctly, with the intake set to “city water” which means just like it sounds, the RV runs the water from the hose when I turn on a faucet inside. Instead the RV had decided to fill the water tank, so the water was coming out of the water tank overflow and also the hose where it was entering on the other side. Fantastic. We already knew that our water pump was on the fritz, but were not expecting this. Luckily everything inside was dry and fine. But we are already sick of fixing things… We spent an hour or more trying to get things fixed. Eventually we had to settle on turning the city water hose off and just running from the tank. After research Aaron found that a broken water pump could be causing that to happen, along with the other problems we have been having with it. Fantastic. Did I say that 200 times yet? Did you feel the sarcasm? Good. We ordered a new water pump and Aaron hopes to find time to install it Saturday.
Let me stop here and interject with a life lesson for you: If you don’t have a lot of time and/or aren’t handy and/or aren’t mass rich, don’t buy an old RV. Or a new one. It seems that we are having thing after thing break on our 12 year old RV (which only had 66,000 miles when we bought it).
Which leads me to my next story. Soonish after we started our trip, we noticed that our batteries weren’t holding their charge. We knew that there were some issues from our test trip and messing around in our driveway, but we now knew that both the RV “house” batteries (they run lights, water pump, and ??? mysterious things that drain it?) and the engine battery were draining at an accelerated rate. They should in theory charge when you run the engine, which they do, but they don’t hold that charge as long as they should. Also when we are plugged into 50 amp power (at an RV park) it should both charge all of those batteries, and not drain them. But they drain. On 50 amp power. Still quickly. So that is a bust, because Aaron has almost zero time to figure out what is going on, and also he is not an electrician. This morning I checked the batteries (there is a little button on the control panel in the hallway) and they were the lowest ever. We hurried to turn on the engine to try to charge them, but it was too late. Dead battery. Already too long story slightly shorter: we plugged the battery jumper into the power (ON THE RV) and charged it up until it was able to jump start the RV which then ran for a while and charged the batteries. FAN-TAS-TIC! Another whole system that doesn’t really work well.
I only include these stupid annoying stories to point out that RVing is still life. It is not perfectly blissful, and stuff still goes wrong. “Warts and all” as my friend said to me the other day. Speaking of, here is an emotional analysis of where we are at about RVing:
Kelsey: I love being on the road. I love seeing new places, going on adventures. I don’t love the endlessness feeling of never really having our stuff put away yet. This was exacerbated by the fact we had to pull almost everything out of the RV (and all over my dad’s downstairs) when it went to the shop. Just tonight we brought the last load of it from my dad’s and there is stuff EVERYWHERE. That part is really stressful. It is hard to put away while taking care of and homeschooling 4 kids. The other part I dislike is I feel like I have no time for anything. When we lived in a “sticks and bricks” house, things were already in their places (ha ha, right, there was just more room to spread it out) so I could do things like sew and leave it where it was. Now to sew (or do anything, eat, sleep, school, toys) it requires getting stuff out, setting it up, doing it, taking it down, putting it away, every time. I thought life was going to be a little bit simpler in the RV but so far it doesn’t feel that way. But on the whole I am liking it so far. There is a trade off in everything, so really aside from the RV that wants to break in every way, I am pretty happy.
(Kelsey’s assessment of) Aaron: It is ok. He is not in love with it. This is primarily because he still has a full time job that he works 40-50 hours at a week. It is not fun to see your family go hiking at Crater Lake or go to the tide pools when you have to stare at a computer screen. Also his work station is not very efficient. He has back problems, and needs a standup desk for part of the day, which he has built in a closet, but it is not wide enough, and not working great. In my opinion this will continue to be a problem and will quite possibly put a huge damper on the trip if we can’t figure something better out. He is also not pleased with the multiple things wrong with our RV. I will give him immense credit and thanks for building a super sturdy table bunk situation which I promise to photograph soon. Also, for the record, he is a real sport about things and says he wants to keep going.
Harmon: Legitimately misses his friends in Utah, which is both sweet and sad. Enjoys all the outings we are doing, loves school except for handwriting. I think he is having a pretty awesome time, but really does miss his friends.
Sammy: Loves it. Was probably the happiest to be reunited with the RV after it’s extended stay in the shop. Loves being so (physically) close to her family at all times. She really loves exploring and loved visiting family. She claims she can’t wait to be “on the road for real” again.
Allison: Loves everything. Except when she doesn’t. She is two. I think she is enjoying it. Except that she can’t always do everything Harmon and Sammy do. Being 2 is rough.
Mikey: Best baby ever. Happy, army crawling, rolling like a maniac, two teeth on bottom, 3 broken through on top (within the last week) with a 4th coming in the next day or two. Not as good at sleeping as he used to be, but with those teeth I can’t really say I blame him. Smiles at everyone, best smiley eyes. Did I mention best baby ever? For reals.
That was way too long. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Free driveways??