Wednesday, December 23, 2015

RV Polar Express

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I think we are suffering from "RV fever." I am not talking about the strain that makes people want to go out and buy a new rig. I'm talking about the strain that more resembles "cabin fever."

We decided to spend more time in northern Arizona this winter. We tired of the desert cactus and wanted more pine. Now I am pining for cactus but my husband wants to stick it out here in the Siberian region of Arizona.

He spent a lot of time and money insulating our water and sewer lines, increasing our propane capacity and adding skirting insulation. That all works very efficiently, but now we spend more time inside our rig than out. We might just as well stay at home in Minnesota sitting on top of the wood stove.

How can I convince him this is a failed experiment and we must abort the mission.
--Polarized in Payson

Dear Polar:
With the recent crazy weather flip flops it is hard to plan a pleasant destination. In the West it is all about elevation. You can research historic temperature data but it will only give you averages.

It also depends on what you enjoy doing and what temperatures you feel comfortable spending time outdoors.

You can run, but you cannot hide. We just experienced a snowstorm while visiting the Biosphere 2 north of Tucson, Arizona. The eight people that spent 2 years in that controlled environment experienced the same thing you are going through now. According to the tour guide they ended up in two separate tribes that were not communicating with each other.

You two need to start communicating again. A better plan might be to roam a bit with the seasons. The nice thing about living on wheels is the opportunity to relocate when your best laid plans do not pan out.

Northern Arizona is a wonderful place to explore and spend time. I would suggest spending fall and spring in the north and finding a place you both can agree on when the temps drop. If you find the north country is experiencing above average winter temps, you could be there in a matter of days, even hours.

One of the wonderful things about the RV lifestyle is flexibility. Use it to your advantage. Don't get stuck in a frozen rut.

--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


jean said...

Such wise words in a year when temperatures are absolutely CRAZY! Dayton, OH hasn't hit cold yet - and Michigan is finally hoping snow will arrive. Thunderstorms north of Petoskey brought down wires, trees, but not the temperatures there. Lake Michigan was frozen in parts last year - but this year? Not even starting.
Most important is not to spend your wonderful winters sitting and watching TV when you could be out - getting to know your area. Don't waste those years! Life is about today - and it sounds as if this couple could not have it much more conveniently lovely!
Jean (who is :Smilin!"

Lizzie said...

I'm a Marriage and Family Therapist and RV Traveler. It's easy to tell folks to communicate, but marriage didn't come with a manual so it's sometimes hard to start the process to communication. Here are some basic rules:
1. Treat each other with kindness. Look up the word and follow the definition. We often treat spouses in ways we would never treat our friends.
2. When things get heated - set a time to "get back together," set a timer and do something else (think about what you want to convey, read a book, go lie down). The agreement is that nobody will chase the other or bother them during the mutual time-out.
3.Try this process for making the decision to stay or move somewhere 'nicer' for the duration:
a) each person writes a pro and con list for BOTH positions - in this case whether to stay with one partner in misery or to move on to somewhere more congenial.
b) each person write two other solutions. One might be move and stay with the cacti for a week or two and then go back to pineywoods; another might be to go for a week stay in a hotel; another might be that the uncomfortable spouse gets to choose the next destination or two etc. be creative.
c) Get back together and flip a coin. Heads the flipper talks first - tails the watcher talks first. As listener, since both get to take both parts, your job is show you are listening by repeating back to the talker sound bites of what you understand is being said. As talker your job is to make sure the listener understands what you are saying by trying again when the listener doesn't understand what you said - you're the communicator after all. Share your list of pros and cons with each other then play a little with the solution lists you wrote.
Bet something shifts. You might have fun, you might discover things about your own thinking and your partners that make you feel better. Who knows?
Most of all, BREATHE. In for 6 count, hold for 4 count, out for 8 count. That'll clear out the gunk from your brain and lungs so communication is easier.