Holy emotional roller coaster, Batman!
We knew things could get tough. Things were going to fail or break and people were going to lose their minds.
We had our first sleep in the trailer and I woke up near tears wondering if we’ve made the right decision in this journey.
Eric and I practiced backing, parking, set-up, tear-down, system operations, etc. over half a dozen times over these past two weeks. We were patting ourselves on the back with how amazing we communicated (ha – we’ll pass the trailer backing relationship test no problem!) and how great Eric did getting the trailer in and out of our tight little practice spaces.
SO many things had to fall into place in order for us to get to this stage and the fact that we were able to get everything done was a reminder that this life-changing step was going to work itself out for the best.
However, last night we were doing our first REAL set-up in a campground. We wanted to have a couple of nights in the trailer while we were finishing the final touch-up and cleanings of our place, so a Thursday night “launch” was what we’d planned.
We got to the site. It was a pull-through site which was a relief, but the hookups put our front door on the street instead of the campsite, so we thought we’d just back it in and hope our connections to power and water were long enough.
Backing in, we all of a sudden forgot which how to communicate which direction to turn the wheel to make the trailer back go right or left. Kids were antsy and wanted to get in the trailer and were hungry and just overall inpatient. Trying to remember everything in the order we’d practiced and not letting all the anxious energy from the kiddos caused a little grumpiness to set in. We checked our C’s: cords, connections, and clearance. Cords and connections wouldn’t reach so we had to move our door to the less ideal street side. No biggie, but all that backing and turning discussion our neighbors got to listen to was for not.
Eric pulled it around the loop and through the spot again like a champ. We began to unhitch and the fuse we had put in to fix the power tongue jack 3 days prior blew. Back to the manual cranking of the hitch, but this beast is NOT light, so it’s quite a workout. This little break threw us off for our set-up from then on. We put down the stabilizers before we were unhitched (no-no), we unlocked the ball hitch before the sway bars were released (another no-no), and even started to put the slides out before we were fully level. We spent much longer than we should have just re-working and doing the steps in the correct order. The site was so uneven that we didn’t have enough chocks and blocks to make a level surface, so we called it good enough with a mostly level trailer.
Once kids got inside, they brought all their belongings in. I was a crab and annoyed at how unsettled we all were. Eric was annoyed with me being grumpy. Jill’s shampoo spilled, so we searched for dirty soapy spots on her belongings and the trailer floor. Gabe was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the changes and wanted to get back onto his electronics, so he had a bit of a fit when he tripped over some of the stuff. Joe was fighting being frustrated and not knowing why, and Ethan was not his typical goofy self and instead wanted to just be by himself and not talk to anyone. We were all hungry. All tired. All sick of moving and downsizing. We quickly realized we didn’t have enough space for even the minimal stuff we’d had so belongings were strewn all over waiting for a home. More work on the horizon for that one.
At 9 pm we made one more hour round trip to the apartment to grab a few food items and some last toiletries. This has been an expensive endeavor getting all the supplies we needed to start up, so we were low on food, fuel, and money. It all got a bit overwhelming and I nervously bit off all of my remaining nails that hadn’t broken yet while looking for something to bring the kids to eat. Thankfully, we had plenty of eggs, and all the kids like scrambled eggs.
We get back to the trailer, Eric cooked a big batch of eggs, I made our bed and attempted to find homes for some of the items we had. The kids ate, practiced to washing their dishes by hand, and headed into their sanctuary bedroom. I hung their curtain room dividers the best I could and they were happy and cozy on their electronics with their strands of colorful lights.
While we were grabbing supplies, Ethan built our new house-warming gifts. Two of my absolutely generous co-workers/friends purchased adorable stools for us to use as extra dining seating, footstools, and whatever else we’ll need a stool for. I loved them so much that they really did make the whole stress of the evening melt away a bit.
After sleeping on the mattress in the ‘wild’ I decided it’s just not comfortable. Maybe someday we’ll move our large mattress into the bedroom, which should make the height of the bed just enough to be able to get on it if we start with a run and use a springboard.
I woke this morning, tired and feeling weepy. I started wondering why we’re doing this. It’s been so much work, we are worn out and there is a lot left to do.
Thankfully, Eric is the calm to my storms when I have them. He sent me this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOA6_xh4neM&feature=youtu.be and the lines, “…at some point we all bought into this lie that we have to feel ready in order to change. We are not designed to do things that are uncomfortable or scary or difficult and in order to change, in order to do all those things you know you want to do with your life, with your work, with your dreams, you’re going to have to do things that are difficult, uncertain, or scary.” and “You and I are designed to be purpose seeking mechanisms. When we’re not, when we live a life in our comfort zone, we live a life of survival.”
So I got into work, hair unbrushed (I forgot my brush) and tight, dry skin (forgot my face lotion), and got ready to seize the day. I shared a few first night experiences during water cooler chats and was reminded by one of my co-worker cheerleaders that we have grit and strength and are embarking on a remarkable journey. We’re almost to the point where we can enjoy the fruits of some of this labor. So one last push, a couple more days of moving and sorting and minimizing, and we can enjoy those things we seek. Freedom, adventure, knowledge, nature, and most of all, spending this precious time with our family.