They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and after my post last week sharing my concerns about my move, I would tend to agree.
The following morning I woke up feeling distinctly emotionally lighter and ready to take up the challenge I have put in front of myself, and so this week has been a hive of activity.
First, we should crack on with the exciting stuff and talk about my new home, and by that I mean Belle, the RV.
I will admit I was a little nervous coming to meet her for the first time. After all, I had left it totally down to Loops to find and select her, check her over and decide this would be the bus for us.
As time has progressed I have been sent a plethora of photos and videos, he’s kept me updated on all of the changes Belle has had made during her makeover. I’ve had reports from his family members who have visited her and gone for a jolly old ride and said how wonderful she is.
So, wouldn’t it just be a total kicker if I downright hated her on our first meeting?
Like we’d make our introductions and she’d act like a total stuck up cow that doesn’t like me or think I’m fit to be her new owner? She’d be all ‘No way, that Brit has like totally has no clue what she’s doing, whatever’ (yeah, I don’t know why she’d sound like some Beverly Hills teenager either).
Anyway, we pull up at the RV parking garage where Belle has been over wintering, and there are about 50 other RV’s here. I feel a little tense and nervous about the whole thing, and instinctively sense my first test should be being able to identify my new home from all the others.
Of course it doesn’t take much to pick her out. Amongst the common whites, silvers and creams, she has very distinctive colouring; she’s looks like a decorated Christmas tree ornament – all green, red and gold.
As luck, or fate, would have it, I love her on first sight.
On second glance, my thought is, holy hell, she’s is freaking massive.
She is 43ft in length. You stand at the front of her and it’s like she extends off to the horizon. Well, that’s how she seems to me, especially when I am expected to drive her. Honestly, she’s longer than a public bus. I’d be better off learning to drive the Springvale number 6 at home.
While a part of me wants to dash inside, I feel I need to take everything slowly to not rush this important moment, so I walk all around her outside. Loops is hovering nearby quietly while I look over the paintwork, the storage bays underneath, the lights, the petrol tank – all in silence.
We then make our way inside. I test out the passenger and pilot chairs, sit on the sofa and the recliner, plonk myself at the dining room table. I pull open cabinets and the refrigerator, pop my head in the closet toilet, stand in the shower and lay on the bed.
As I’m still silent, I think Loops is getting a little nervous. He tells me little anecdotal things about the interior, flicking the light switches and pointing out all of the cupboards.
I walk back down the inside to the front and sit down again. I let out a deep breath and pronounce that I think she’s fantastic and that he’s done a bang up job finding her.
She feels like home already.
Now I could just say that everything continued in a fine and dandy vein all week, but that would be a bit of a fib. For while Belle was indeed superb, I was at a bit of a loss as to exactly what it was I was supposed to do with her.
I felt I’d just been given this new, amazing and extremely complicated toy which required some assembly before I could play with it, but no one had given me the instructions.
Unlike me, Loops has previous experience of jobbing around in an RV, he has some familiarity with them, a good practical knowledge base and had been tinkering for the past three months.
I however, couldn’t work out the light switch in the bathroom.
While he happily got underway with his projects outside under the bus, I sat inside with not the faintest clue as to what I should be getting on with. It looked fairly clean inside, I had no idea what jobs needed to be done and I felt a bit at a loose end.
I started to feel sad. I started to feel confused and lost. I started to feel sorry for myself again.
So I went and lay in the back of the bus, curled up in my 900 down PHD sleeping bag and blubbed to myself until I fell asleep for the rest of the day.
Ok, so my positive thinking hadn’t lasted all that long.
The next day I realised I needed a bit of a time out. I was just feeling a bit overwhelmed and needed to get my shit together. I had to do something to cheer myself up – so I imposed on both Loops’ mum and sister and went shopping.
While Loops slaved away fixing up Belle, I exercised my credit card and shopped for household goods for my new home. God dammit, if I was going to be miserable for a while, I was going to do it while using my new kettle and slow cooker!
By the way, the irony of buying all new cookware having only just sold my perfect working British goods at home has not been lost on me.
After a couple days of gathering new items to surround myself with, I headed back to see Belle with the very simple goal of stocking my new kitchen.
As it turns out, the inside of the RV wasn’t quite as clean as I thought.
I opened the sliding pantry doors where our food will live only to find hordes of ancient mouse droppings.
I begin to wonder if the previous occupants died of Hanta virus and that’s why Belle had been for sale – note to self, ask Loops.
Well as luck would have it, I consider myself a professional cleaner; all those years of sweeping up after animals weren’t in vain it seems. Arming myself with bottles of 409 (rather strong smelling equivalent of Flash, could knock out an elephant), a hoover and a stream cleaner – I set about sanitizing every nook and cranny I could find in the RV.
I emerge 4 hours later looking like I’ve been working out in a sauna. My hair is frazzled, I have sweat over every inch of me and I smell like I’ve been medically sanitised and would have clearance in any Level 4 biohazard lab in the world.
Despite this, Loops still has reservations about the disease levels present and rounds the whole thing off with a full can of Lysol – thereby rendering Belle uninhabitable for the rest of the day, unless you want a case of iron lung.
I feel now I need a little bit of a treat, and so talk Loops into taking me over to one of my favourite places – Hooters at John’s Pass. The chicken wings really are the best ever.
John’s Pass is a little waterfront area across the road from Madeira Beach (which I also like very much). Fishing boats, dolphin tours and even a pirate ship continually pull in and out of the harbour here; there are many fine tacky shops in which to find holiday tat for your home as well as having shops selling sugar in many forms, my choice being salt water taffy. The store that sells it is a particularly fine establishment that guarantees to put you into a diabetic coma the moment you enter and breathe in.
We spend some time watching the pelicans before rounding off the afternoon sharing delicious ice cream from The Candy Kitchen while sitting out in the sun.
Now that the RV is as clean as clean can be, I return to spend the rest of the week rather glamorously measuring, cutting and lining the kitchen and bathroom cabinets with non-slip rubber matting. In order to guard against things flying around in the cupboards, jars smashing and the like, while I am corning it on two wheels, the matting is a must.
It turns out I have a knack for this type of impressive interior design and after two days, my handiwork has paid off and now have the slightly more fun task of deciding where all my new gadgets and gizmos can go. I feel like I’m five years old and playing house.
And that’s how my week has been shaping up, with much of next week looking pretty much the same. I’m leading the rock and roll lifestyle I always imagined as you can tell. I hope you all feel super jealous.
For now, Loops is finishing off the water tanks and I’m hoping he’ll show me how to change out the light fixtures inside as we are converting some to LED lights, and I’d really rather not electrocute myself just yet.
Everyone keeps asking me when we will actually be traveling (me too!), our plans are a little fast and loose at the minute I’ll admit.
Loops has spent the past 3 months doing nothing but cleaning, updating and fixing up the RV, I have done nothing but worry about finishing work, packing and moving; so let’s just say, we haven’t actually gotten around to really figuring out what we’re going to be doing.
However, we have booked in our first overnight travel and stay for the 12th April, heading a couple hours north to visit my grandfather. It will give us a chance to try everything out properly before deciding what else has to be tinkered with. Keep your fingers crossed that by the end of April we will be fully on the move (god that seems like so far away!)
Next entry – I’m going to be giving you a video tour of the bus – stay tuned folks!
PS – I passed my written driving test…. 🙂