Thursday, July 21, 2011

The RV Check List

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We just tore the TV antenna off our rig. My husband blamed me immediately. I read the manual that came with our fifth-wheel and it doesn’t say anywhere, “Wife is supposed to crank TV antenna down before leaving campground.” I could have reminded him that he was the last one to watch TV, but I didn’t. I could have told him it was his job to check the exterior of the rig, but I didn’t. I could have told him we should share the responsibility and choke it up as a learning experience, but I didn’t. You couldn’t print what I did tell him but let’s just say it was loud and long. I know that is not how I should have handled the situation but it sure felt good at the time. What would you suggest?
Winegard Whining in Winnipeg

Dear Winnie:
You were both wrong. He should not have blamed you and you should not have doused him with a verbal flamethrower. Did it solve anything? I like your “could have” about calling it a learning experience. Arguing is such a waste of time and energy. You should also work on avoiding conflict by avoiding little disasters.

What you two need is “The Check List.” I talk about this all the time because it solves so may problems before they ever occur. It is not only important to make a list but to check it religiously before even starting the engine. Lists can be long, short or even compartmentalized. On this list you put important reminders like: Is the antenna down? Is the cat in, or still on his leash? Is the refrigerator locked? Is the tow vehicle hooked up correctly? Are the cupboards secure? Does the engine have plenty of oil? Are the vents down? Have we unhooked the power and water lines? What is the fuel level? Are the bikes secure? Are the tires inflated properly? Have I hugged my spouse today?

These small reminders will keep you in the habit of taking a few minutes before blast off and making sure all systems are GO. You might even consider an abbreviated list for short gas and rest stops.

When you replace the antenna, get the new design that never needs cranking up. The less cranking, will make you both less cranky.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink

10 comments:

Merikay said...

I like your style! Now if I can get my husband to create the checklists for our future RV, he might use them. He will at least give them to me to observe!

Anonymous said...

For our motorhome, we have one of those antenna tags on a blank key. The key occupies the ignition but won't start the vehicle. It reminds us that we should not destroy a second antenna.

SHvnDave

PapPappy said...

The checklist is only as good as the user....I'd recommend that you put some sort of reminder on the steering wheel, or maybe even hang the keys from the antenna crank, since that is one of the most frequent "misses" that people make with an RV. "Out of site, out of mind"....

Edie said...

We use a simple reminder. A brightly colored hair "scrunchie". It stays on the antenna handle crank when traveling. When we put the antenna up, we move the scrunchie to the gear shift handle in the driver's seat. When the driver gets ready to start the vehicle, the scrunchie is a reminder to put down the antenna.

Anonymous said...

We use something a lot more simple. If the remote for the TV is out(of the drawer it travels in)the antenna is still up. The remote is NEVER put away until the antenna is down.

heynavt1 said...

I'm a pilot in the Air Force, when we bought our first RV (35' 5er) last year, the first thing my wife and I did was creat a checklist. It's posted on the back on the cabinet door in which all the slide controls, etc are. The checklist has been revised several times as we figure things out as we go along. But we are religous about checking off every item on the list before we lock the door and pull away.... just like we do in the airplane. It's saved us from doing something stupid on more than one occasion.

Anonymous said...

We use a colored clip and keep in on the release for the brakes on left hand side of the MH steering wheel (cannot release brakes until it goes on the antenna reminding us to bring the antenna down). Works every time!

Roy Brody said...

My wife and I, from the beginning made a check list, Every time we hook up and leave a campground we uses it. We may Yell and Scream at each other but we go through it every time. Each time we seem to find something She, well maybe me forgot. :)
It works so use it.

Anonymous said...

Whoever is driving, or towing the RV is the one resposible for safe operation.

That person must do a safety check and walk around visual inspection of the RV and any/all tow systems before moving the RV.

The OPERATOR (driver) is the one who is fully, 100 percent, totally resposible. In our case, that responsibility falls to me, and me alone.

Elaine said...

We have check lists and we share the responsibility of performing them..then we also do a safe check walk around the rig and toad...and we double check each other..when we have visitors with us we always request they sit and enjoy the last few minutes before take off..even tho they offer to help-not a good thing to let them do...once we are sure all is ok its into the MH for a take off kiss and prayer..works good for us...