I have been taking a good long look at my budget for the upcoming roadtrip. That’s way more fun than thinking about how to manage conflict.
An RV would be $15,000-$25,000 depending on what I was able to find. There are occasional “steals” at $15k. Plus a massive amount of ongoing maintenance I can’t predict now. Plus twice as much gas as I originally planned. Plus learning to manage a longer, taller vehicle that will be hellishly difficult to park.
A pop up tent would be $6,000-$11,000. Plus ongoing expenses I can’t predict. Plus learning to drive a 30′-40′ vehicle. Plus much more gas than originally hoped for.
Did I mention that my original budget for this trip is $12,000?
Whereas I can get a roof storage container, portable toilet, tent that kind of telescopes onto the back of the van for privacy and space to stand up, nice camp kitchen set up, and the odds and ends I want for over $2k. I could probably get much cheaper if I was willing to troll Craigslist patiently.
It’s going to be much much physically harder. I’m not “looking forward” to how physically hard this will be. All of my other plans will have to scope down until I can handle things.
On the upside I can’t find any advice on tent traveling with kids for extended periods more recent than say… settling the US. People don’t do it. I bet I will find some interesting writing material off of this trip. Ha.
The kids have some super rad tumbling mats from Ikea ($10 a pop) that fit sideways in the van if you leave some of the sections folded. If I take out the middle row seats and have the car seats come in and out (The Britax Frontier is not that hard to install–it’s just getting a tight seatbelt connection instead of those FROM HELL clips on the True Fit I have.) from the back row… we could sleep in the van and use the exterior space more optionally for other purposes.
We don’t *have* to set the tent up every night. I am going to have a fabulous roof container to store shit so I can have a versatile potential set up.
Ok, part of me thinks it is kind of hilarious that I am going to attach a tent to my van that has a main room and a vestibule so the vestibule can be my bathroom.
As this morning demonstrates to me once again… I can’t be without toilet access in the middle of the night. Just can’t. Must have access. Luckily these days there are some darn nifty little numbers that will be easy to bring with us. And from the pictures it looks an awful lot like you can unscrew the storage tank and walk to a public toilet and slowly dump it in with two or three flushes and you are good to go.
That seems like a level of septic management I can handle. I was frankly a little terrified of the whole RV hook up thing.
I’m scared. This seems like… a fuck ton of work. It’s going to be hard. But I want this experience and I really don’t want to spend my entire budget before I hit the road, know what I mean?
I was asked, “But couldn’t you resell the RV or trailer when you get home?” The answer being, “I hope but such things are hard to predict and I would have to just be prepared to eat the money. Plus lots of other money in the future if I want the vehicle to be in good enough shape to sell.”
I want to pay off my mortgage. Buying an RV would seriously derail me. It would derail the international trip.
Ok fine. I can suck it. Yes, it will be hard. We will also be staying at friends’ houses pretty frequently. It will work out.
I’m more worried about Noah joining us than just the three of us. It will make sleeping harder. I’m not sure if the four of us can sleep in the van together. We may need to have options for sleeping on the ground those nights anyway. In general my plan is to sleep in the van. I really prefer the idea of sleeping behind metal and glass and locks. Is the van totally secure? Of course not. But I like my illusions.
I have woken up from sleeping in a tent to find a grizzly bear foot print less than three feet from where my head was. That scared the crap out of me. Of course I took a picture. (And DA remembers–see, that proves it.)
Do you know what part of it is? If I let the budget for this trip explode… Noah will sigh, put his head down, and “try to earn more money”. Naw, the original budget will be more than adequate. I am already fleecing him in ways that give me the vapors. I feel like I am taking advantage of him. But he is agreeing and such. He wants his kids educated by me. In whatever way I see fit. He sees it as an investment the same as a private school.
Life is complicated.
There is exactly one bike rack on the market that will allow us to take three independent bikes plus the recumbent trailer we are endeavoring to learn how to use. We haven’t fallen yet! I’m proud of us. *phew*
Shanna says she is looking forward to this trip. I told her that our screen time will be severely limited. I won’t be able to be online either. She clapped her hands and said, “So you will be forced to play with us ALL DAY EVERY DAY. That sounds wonderful.”
I told her that every single day I would need to take private time and the way that is going to work is I will sit in a chair outside where I can see them and I will put head phones on. I don’t want to talk the whole time I have the head phones on. I need time to be private inside my brain. She said she can agree to that because they will be able to see me so it’s all good.
She jumped up and down and squeed. She is so fucking excited that I won’t be able to hide in the garage. Sigh.
Sometimes it is hard for me to understand how much my kids like me. I’m not sure I have ever in my life had as unmixed of emotions as my kids have. They love me and adore me and nearly worship me. There isn’t a lot of hesitation.
I have never seriously hurt them and the minor injuries I cause tend to involve lots of apologies and noticeable change in my behavior so I don’t duplicate the fuck up.
Some days, some moments I am able to see that I am doing what I want to do as a mother. Even though it is hard and I am very scared. I am doing it.
The only thing Calli understands about the trip at this point is, “I get to go to Disney World, right?”
Since everyone decided they didn’t want my points for Hawaii, you can be at Disney World for a really long time, kiddo. I’m sorry that my friends had life events come up that caused them to not go on their trips. I’m ok with getting more time to luxuriate around a pool at Disney World. I won’t have to set up a tent for a month. Sounds fucking awesome.
Although if I wanted to conserve points… Disney World has a camp grounds. Ha.
I don’t want to stay longer than four weeks so the point conservation is less mandatory than it could be. There are too many things to do in the country to spend all of our time at fucking Disney World. But I think a month in the middle of this trip will be decadent.
I want to save budget money for going to the fancy princess tea party at Disney World, no I don’t want a fancy RV or pop up trailer that bad. I’d rather get to do all the things I want to do than have a posh sleeping place.
Because now my budget is down to being about $10,000 because I’ve spent the first $2,000.
(I had to decide. I had to just do it. We have a camping trip in two weeks and… I don’t have a plan as to how to provide for it. Erf. I told Noah that I want to put the tent up and down four times during the weekend while I have a grown up there to help me. The last time or two I want to put it up alone. Shanna says that I will never put it up alone. She will always help. We’ll see.)
The funny thing is, I bet Shanna will be able to be all the help I need. By the time we leave on this trip she will be seven. I have felt shocked her entire fifth year by how competent and capable she has become. I expect seven to knock my socks off.
She says she is looking forward to “all that nice lazy time for me to practice my cooking–we won’t have anything else to do.” She says that by the end of the trip she intends to be an expert at preparing camping meals.
And Calli says she is looking forward to me having to read to them for hours every day. She says that will be her favorite part. I have been a slacker asshole on reading for a while. I have been overwhelmed by life and my emotions.
We won’t drive every day. On driving days we will go three or four hours then set up camp. Camp set up needs to be perfected in under an hour. Take down needs to be perfected in half an hour. I will have to practice until I can get it. If I include food prep that will put me up to about six hours a day of “work”.
I won’t be able to garden or socialize much. I won’t have to clean the house. I won’t have my whole library with me so I can read a book or two a day. I won’t be reading on the screen because that’s just fucking rude after a while. Plus, I don’t want to spend the whole time obsessing over charging my fucking phone.
With sleep that will account for 14-16 hours of the day/night. That leaves me with a solid 8-10 hours every day of leisure time. I should probably schedule an hour in the morning of writing time and an hour after dinner of “mommy-quiet” time. That gives me 6-8 hours a day of paying attention to them.
I’m looking forward to sleeping with them more. If it didn’t seem so mean to Noah I would probably do it all the time. I love waking up to see them. I can’t believe I made you.
I feel so lucky. Even when we fight or have disagreements, I still feel so passionately in love with my kids. Not sexual passion. It’s not like that at all. I feel pretty grateful that I missed the pedophile gene in my family. I experience no arousal at the sight of a child.
But I have intense surges of emotion. Sometimes they feel so strong I almost can’t keep standing.
This is the best thing I have ever done. This is the best me I have ever shared with anyone.
A few months ago in February it marked ten years since I met Noah. In August (actually on my nephew’s birthday) it will be ten years since I broke up with my Owner-turned boyfriend. He wasn’t my Owner by the time I left. That had been over for a year because it was “too much work”. In September it will be eight years of marriage. Next month marks eight years of living in this house.
Time keeps passing. It isn’t like it used to be. I used to mark the seasons of my life by which trauma occurred and where I was living. “Well I was raped when I was going to x school so I must have been y age because that is the correlation to the grade I know I was in at that school. So-and so died or had a violent accident while I was at that other school.”
The most terrible break ups of the past ten years have involved Puppy (not that horrible and I’m happy to be rid of him) and my family (terrible, but necessary and contained in scope of harm) and Sarah. And she’s not completely gone. That we may be able to grow past some day. We ain’t dead yet.
Uncle Bob’s death and divorcing my family is probably the biggest trauma in the past eight years. Ok, that last rape is hanging on to the curve. Kind of sucky that it will always overlap the marriage timing.
But we had lots of therapy over that shit.
Now I’m marking the years by “the year I hired an awesome guy to build up my backyard” or “the year I added trees” or “when we went on that trip”.
Is this what “normal” life is like?
I’m trying to psyche myself up for the conversation I will need to have soon. I’m leaning towards:
“Hi. May I talk to you kind of privately? We don’t know very much about one another. Sometimes when you don’t know someone very well, humor is especially tricky. Humor either creates a feeling of shared experience or alienation and it’s a difficult line to walk. At this moment in time I am giving you all the benefit of the doubt in the world. I believe you are trying hard to create camaraderie within the group. Unfortunately I’m not really someone who has a “typical” sense of humor.
Which is a long-handed way of saying that sometimes your “jokes” are kind of personal and they feel denigrating to me. I don’t like feeling denigrated. I need to avoid people who evoke those feelings in me and I’m hoping I don’t have to start avoiding you. Outside of a few specific jokes we have otherwise had positive interactions and I would really prefer to continue down the positive path.
My kid is kind of in love with your kid. It would be super rad if we could all get along. I’m really struggling with your humor. I need you to lighten up on me. I’m on the sensitive side and that has to be ok.”
I have been thinking about it a lot. It is a lot less aggressive. A lot more from the point of view of getting along. Less threatening sounding. Less attacking sounding… but I make it clear I will avoid her if I have to.
It is ok for her to have the sense of humor that she has and it is ok that I am a sensitive fucking snowflake. Surely we can find a way to get along. Not that my issues are online. But that Wired article is pretty cool.
And hey Lisa–it’s funny that you tell me that it’s not an option for me to leave the group but you are ALWAYS talking about how much you want to move. If I did smileys on my blog I would stick my tongue out at you. But I have more dignity than that. So neiner.
Today I feel less like every one hates me and I should go eat worms. That is nice.