Sunday, August 14, 2016

Come on in

What everyone says when they first step into our little home is -- "Wow!  It's so big!"  Followed with -- "It doesn't look that big on the outside."

The funny thing is ... it looks HUGE on the outside.  Can we say, "behemoth"?  Forty feet long and 12' 9" high, to be exact.  It's tall enough to cause uneasiness going under overpasses or through tunnels.  You know you'll clear it, but still you find yourself ducking, as if that would help.   Yet everyone expects it to feel small and crowded on the inside, and are taken aback when they see it isn't.

So let's go on a tour.

Our motorhome is ten years old and so the decor is a bit dated.   The price of these rigs when they're new, as well as their notorious reputation for first-year glitches, not to mention the horrendous instant depreciation within minutes of purchase, has prompted many a buyer to opt for used.  As did we.   We went for a good brand with (extremely) low miles and meticulous care by the one previous owner.  We hope we chose well.   Trendy, it isn't.  But at least we avoided 1980s brass fixtures, birds and flowers etched in the mirrors, and grandma-ish oak trim which RV manufacturers were installing well past the 90s.  We enjoy tile floors, solid surface counters, and real cherry wood cabinets.

We have three "slides", meaning walls that move outward when parked, to give more space.  Two in the front and one in the bedroom.   We replaced the original TV with a new HD model that picks up a few local stations and when we have wifi, the world opens up with Netflix.  Otherwise we hit up Red Box, the library, or friends/family for movies, and become reacquainted with books.  One sofa is a hide-a-bed and the other flattens out like a futon.  Technically, we can sleep five.  But if anyone asks, our answer is -- two.

If we were planning to live in this long-term, I'd campaign for swapping out one sofa for a recliner and computer desk.  But for now, our table doubles as a desk for my laptop.  The table has an extra leaf and can be expanded to seat four, if needed.

I love my little kitchen.

There's a stove under there and yes, I just did the dishes.
Our former house had a huge kitchen with a pantry and an island.  And I filled it all. Moving into this tiny space meant paring down, to say the least.  And this is where I discovered I LOVE minimalism.  All that rarely used equipment stayed behind.   I have one fry pan, two sauce pans, and a stockpot.  I also bought an electric fry pan at Goodwill and now wonder how I ever survived without it.  My big Kitchenaid mixer is in storage, as are the 87 other small appliances I thought I needed, which means I now make cookies like I did as a child ...  by hand.   I still have my bread machine, toaster, crockpot, and popcorn popper to prove no one is roughing it here.   And surprisingly, there's plenty of space to store it all out of sight.  I keep only a few pieces of Tupperware-type containers that fit in one small drawer.  Lids from cottage cheese containers no longer breed like rabbits in my cupboard because they go right into the trash.  Talk about freeing!   This is one change I hope carries into my future home.  I honestly don't miss a dishwasher.  The fridge is spacious, makes its own ice, and even keeps ice cream reasonably firm.  What more do we need?

Then there's the bathroom.

We used to spread out on a long counter with double sinks which, 90% of the time, was cluttered with my stuff and the day's contents of Husband's pockets.  (I believe one never needs to apologize for the state of one's bathroom counter nor one's sewing room.  They both count as creative work spaces.)  But now .... everything stays out of sight behind mirrored cabinet doors and inside drawers.  Who knew I could be so tidy?  A lot of the stuff is gone and for some reason it's just easy now.    We have a comfortable single-stall shower and separate space for the commode.

This, in my humble opinion, is a terrific floor plan for a motorhome.  There's plenty of privacy and/or space when you need it.

Our bedroom had a second TV and a washer/dryer which we removed.  We don't need two TVs and there are plenty of laundromats around.  I now store a small ironing board and vacuum in that cabinet and extra towels and blanket where the TV was, covered by a curtain that I made.

We added a memory foam mattress topper on the queen bed.   (Note:  If you are still sleeping on a regular mattress, go immediately to your nearest Costco.   These toppers are a must!  Your bed will instantly transform from mediocre to luxurious.)   Finally, a full-wall closet isn't exactly the large walk-in I used to have, but it's enough.  Off-season clothes are packed away and we all know we only wear a fraction of what's in our closet.  Am I right?

Underneath our motorhome you'll find large slide-out storage compartments, called bays, where we keep the BBQ, camping chairs, mats, a few tools, and various items pertaining to Husband's current list of hobbies.

So that's it.  You've had the full five minute tour.   Everything is convenient and cleaning takes just minutes.  We have front and rear air conditioners and the water heats in just seconds.  Do I miss my big house?  Only when we gather with our kids.  Otherwise, not at all.  I no longer fret about a messy garage, weeds in the backyard, or dust gathering in the basement and guest rooms.  We've been on wheels for five months now and I'm still smitten.  It's a beach house, mountain cabin, or vacation retreat depending on where we're parked.  And no matter where we go, we're always home.