Monday, June 22, 2015

Finding our footing.

When we lived in a house it seemed like laundry was a never-ending process.  There was always a pile somewhere waiting to be hung up, a dryer beeping in the background, a heap of towels on the laundry room floor.  Life in the camper is very different.  There’s no room for laundry to pile up in a camper.  We also don’t have enough clothing per person to make it more than a few days without getting it done.  Strangely, this has been an incredible blessing.  LAUNDRY is one of my favorite things about living on the road!  In less than 2 hours I can have 4 loads of laundry washed, dried, folded, hung and put away. 

Food prep for our little army has been much the same way.  With a dorm-sized fridge and only a couple of tiny cabinets for food we’ve been forced to stay on top of meal planning.  I’ve found that we’re wasting less food, cooking from scratch for almost all meals and hardly eating out.  We cook 90% of our meals outdoors in a crock pot or on a griddle.  Each week I sit down with one kiddo who gets to select lunches and dinners from a spreadsheet of 80 camper-friendly meals I’ve developed.  We inventory the food we have, create a shopping list, and head into town to buy for the week.  So far it’s working out well.  One concession I’ve had to make is letting go of reusable plates and forks in favor of disposables.  And by “letting go”, I mean that I came back from the store one day to find that Bruce had thrown them all away.  I have to admit that this change significantly cut down our time spent washing dishes.  Dirty pots, pans and spoons are wiped down and tossed into a dishtub where they accumulate all day.  At the end of the day we do one small load of dishes and put them away.

But don’t let me fool you into thinking there hasn’t been total calamity as well.  

It’s rained half of the days we’ve lived in the camper.  The last ten days here in Arkansas have been filled with pounding thunderstorms that leave us, and everything we own, soggy.  Muddy bikes.  Muddy shoes.  Muddy kids.  We’ve even dropped a basket of clean laundry in a mud puddle on the way back from the laundry room.  

This week I decided that an afternoon at the Walmart Children’s Library in Rogers would lift our spirits and give us a little breathing room.  The kids would be occupied idyllically working on a group project on the State of Arkansas and Bruce and I would enjoy several hours to work.  The library is full of interactive learning stations for toddlers, reading nooks, computers, puppet theaters and coloring tables.  But, having scheduled our time there during nap time, my grouchy children melted down almost immediately.  Frazzled after only 30 minutes, we gathered up the kids, ran out to the van in the rain and headed back to be cooped up in the camper.  We arrived back home in time for dinner except, in a rush to make it out the door, I'd forgotten to turn the crockpot on.

Another fun fact about living in a camper, and I won’t go into details, but there is some “business” that cannot be done in our tiny bathroom.  Additionally, in some bizarre natural phenomenon, my children’s digestive systems have aligned with the forces of nature.  As soon as a monsoon begins outside several little people inevitably approach me asking to be escorted to the camp bathrooms. 

Despite these bumps in the road, this little shoebox on wheels is beginning to feel like home.  We’re working out the kinks and finding our footing… even in flip flops in the mud. 

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