We’re back in Milwaukee, and it’s zero out. Yup. You read that right. It’s ZERO degrees here in Milwaukee… during the day. Which means it’s -15 or -20 at night. Not fun, especially in a motorhome. Especially in the midst of a second polar vortex that’s making winter here even more arctic-like than in years past. In this weather, frostbite is a risk and not just for us. At potty time, I carry the bark babies out, plop ’em down to do their business, and quickly cart them back into the rig.
It’s not like we didn’t know we’d be dealing with crappy weather when we decided to go mobile in a hallway on wheels. For at least one week a month, from October to March, Mike teaches at Harley-Davidson’s service school on Juneau Avenue. It’s been that way since he started his biz, and there are no indications that it’s going to change. Milwaukee at this time of year is just going to be cold and snowy. No way around it. We planned for it buy purchasing a higher-end rig with good insulation that was designed for heavy-duty full-timing.
All the knowledge and planning in the world doesn’t make it any easier to live through, though. The bottom line is that it sucks.
We’re getting better at managing it. After our last stay here in December, Mike learned how to insulate the water hoses. He also replaced a part on our pump that had frozen and broken. We added electric and propane space heaters to the rig to supplement our propane furnace. That way, we wouldn’t be running our propane tank down to nothing every couple of days, which would mean unhooking, bringing in the slide, and driving the RV across the park to refill because they don’t deliver.
But last night our furnace broke. (Not sure what happened. Mike has been researching it, and I know he’ll get it sorted out soon.) Then there was apparently a TINY section of uninsulated hose which froze, so we couldn’t use the park water. Shortly after we switched to the pump to use our fresh water tank reserves, that froze, too. Once again, we have no water coming into the rig. Praise be for bottled water! Then this morning, while we were getting dressed for work, Mike noticed my Sorel boots were smoking. They were too close to the propane space heater and nearly caught on fire! (For those of you concerned about fire safety, all of our space heaters have tip-over protection, and we don’t leave the propane one on when we’re not in the rig. We normally allow plenty of room around the propane heater, but we’ll be even more careful about that going forward.)
Thankfully, we’ve been warm and dry. We have plenty of food and bottled water. We have our furry family. Best of all, we have each other, and we balance the workload. I take the bark babies out, and Mike troubleshoots in the bays. Both of us suffer a little, but it’s a shared burden. After it’s all said and done, we cuddle up with each other. And we laugh about the fact that we both somehow thought this was a good idea!
It’s not easy to find the humor in these situations. Try to anyway.
Laughing about it means you’re pretty bad ass and should be wearing a cape and a tiara. Laughing about it means marveling at the fact that you’re sharing an extraordinary journey with an amazing partner. And that makes it all worth it.