Go big or stay home

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We have spent five wonderful years with the 21 Fifth Wheel we dubbed The Cozy Coupe.

We had many good times but as the wonderkids have grown, and bring equally sized friends we have found it getting a bit cramped.

Mr. Wonderful had started mentioning that we probably needed to think about replacing it. I never felt we needed anything bigger or fancier.

Cozy

We enjoyed our camper and being forced into the great outdoors because, quite frankly, there simply wasn’t room to sit inside it for long unless you stuffed yourself into the refrigerator. That’s only fun on the hottest days.

There was a time when someone asked how we would amuse ourselves if we were stuck in such a tiny space for days at a time.

I had always explained that if I ever had to sit inside a 21 trailer for days at a time I would be quite comfortable back home, in my house. Then it rained.

Cramped

We experienced a steady deluge of unending precipitation. Now it’s always a blessing to be dry and happy when it rains and that we were.

It is also a blessing to be surrounded by family and friends too. We had somehow become the camper at camp where all the kids (and not so little kids) played.

There we were with two adults and seven kids (many who are full grown adult sized people) crammed in less than 21 feet of space.

People were crammed onto the couch and hanging off bunks. We were bursting at the seams.

The want ads

We immediately began perusing the want ads. It took a few weeks of looking at some truly scary finishes to find the one we wanted.

I understand that recreational vehicles, like home designs, are a matter of personal taste. Nonetheless, I couldn’t make sense of the throwback fabrics and groovy designs on even the newer models.

RV upholstery appears to come from some sort of rip in the space time continuum where it is perpetually the 1970s. Lots of stiff polyblends in never-seen-in-nature shades. Still we soldiered on.

We finally found one that fit the bill, was in our budget, and came with fabrics and finishes that appeared to have evaded the love of blue, burnt orange, and naugahyde. We agreed to buy it the same day.

Our camper is tall, not dark, and very handsome. We all fell in love. It is roomy. It has rooms. If it rains we can hold dance parties.

If I reach for the wrong switches in the dark two rooms slide in. Granted, that last feature could be a problem, but it’s thrilling too.

Lengthy

We realized after purchasing it that it would fit perfectly into the barn. We had actually not checked that prior to purchase. Winging it does not even begin to explain how we did this.

The first time the camper was backed into the barn, Mr. Wonderful and I made quite a team. Mr. Wonderful moving it back mere inches at a time. Me on a cellphone spotting from inside the barn.

Eventually the camper cleared the doors with inches to spare. Only then did Mr. Wonderful hop out of the truck and point out that neither one of us had double checked the clearance of the air conditioner unit on the roof and the door height. We were still good.

We spent the first week just sitting in it in the barn. (Yes we are that family.) We couldn’t wait to take it camping.

Maiden voyage

Eager to get out and enjoy this newfound life of luxury, I quickly booked us a weekend at a nearby state park. Let’s get to roughing it folks.

First let me grab the coffee maker, snacks, shower loofah, fluffy robe, radio, coziest blankets and some brand new super soft pillows. Just because we are camping doesn’t mean we have to live like savages.

The plan was for Mr. Wonderful to go down to the campsite early and get her all set up. I would arrive later with the kids.

Midafternoon I received a text from Mr. Wonderful. It was a single photo of our camper, parked just inches away from a very large tree.

Then he sent one more photos. The entire camper wedged on a campsite. The hitch almost grazed the road. Oops.

Challenge

I had booked us a site that would have been perfect for our previous camper. Let’s be honest, we could have parked that on a postage stamp. The new one needs a bit more breathing room.

Did everyone but me know that a 30 living space means the trailer itself is 34 feet 7 inches long? Good thing it wasn’t the full 35 or it would never have fit.

Fortunately, Mr. Wonderful likes a challenge. You’re welcome dear. We also have a new motto: “go big or stay home.”

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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