Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Driveway Camping - Central Alabama (September 2018)

We made a decision to renovate our home instead of moving. We like our home and it’s location. After looking at several options, we couldn’t identify anywhere we would rather live.

The next step was to find a contractor to take on our planned upgrades. It didn’t take long to settle on a local company with a strong reputation for quality work. Of course we needed to pack our “nic knacks” to help protect them from breakage when the workers moved our stuff from one room to another for the project. 

 It was amazing how the definition of nic knacks morphed into packing nearly everything that wasn’t furniture into boxes and how many trips we made to Home Depot to buy more boxes. I couldn’t wait for the workers to show up so I could watch them work instead of us packing. 

There is one other problem that we need to put on the table. One of us has asthma and removing tile floors and ripping carpets was guaranteed to kick up enough dust to launch that medical issue into orbit. Staying in our home during the renovations wasn’t an option, but we had be there because decisions must be made on the spot while the crew was working. 

Rosie, our 25 foot Airstream trailer, was the perfect solution. We could camp in our driveway while the crew worked. To help make this idea better in our minds, we placed a 30 amp electrical connection near our driveway a couple of years ago. That allowed us to use Rosie’s air conditioner while unloading her during the summer months. Now that electrical connection would allow us to be comfortable while camping in our driveway. This was a perfect solution. 

Rosie in the driveway

Well, maybe not as perfect as we thought. In less than 24 hours after parking Rosie in our driveway, an email arrived from our HOA (Home Owner's Association) demanding to know how long our trailer was going to be in front of our house because they have rules about such things and rules are rules. After an exchange of emails where we pleaded there was a medical necessity that brought Rosie to our home, our HOA manager said she would note our justification on our record. I wonder if this is a continuation of the permanent records that haunted us all through elementary and junior high schools?

Our adventure kept Rosie in the driveway for two weeks. I guess we became less of a curiosity as the huge red dumpster parked next to Rosie started filling up with the remains of old carpeting, tile floors and our never really loved counter tops. I was convinced that nothing else could be added to that dumpster by the end of the first week, but the workers were adapt at stacking more stuff in it as the renovations progressed. 

Updating the family home

The workers declared our renovations a victory late on a Friday afternoon and raced away leaving us in a cloud of dust. Did I mention how much dust is created when you remove tile flooring? The larger dust particles were easy to remove as they quickly fell on everything we owned. The tiny dust particles are worrisome as they are going to take a while to settle. 

During this process, we kept joking about this being one of the worst campgrounds we ever stayed in. Our view was our driveway and the looks from our curious neighbors. Some neighbors were brave enough to ask what we were doing. I guess the others saw the big red dumpster, the sign from our contractor and figured that we renovating our home. 

With the workers gone, we went back to work on a campaign to eradicate dust. We were amazed at how the dust permeated the drop cloths. Dust was everywhere. How did dust get inside the microwave? How did dust get inside places that were “protected” by multiple layers of plastic?

The next week was a blur. We wiped dust off everything in the house. We washed every dish and glass item in the kitchen. Rosie was our calming sanctuary in the evenings. We could lock up the house, go inside Rosie and rest after a full day of hard work trying to make our house livable again. 

Rosie in the driveway

The deciding factor in taking Rosie back to Fort Rosie, the warehouse we store her in, was the dumpster. We knew that we wanted Rosie out of the driveway before the truck arrived to pick up the dumpster. We completed cleaning Rosie, hitched up and parked her at Fort Rosie. 

We had asked Rosie this time to serve as a safe place of rest and relaxation during our home renovations. Rosie is mostly our adventure pod, but she proved that she can always serve as a refuge when necessary. 

We were exhausted on the day we took Rosie back to storage. Besides getting Rosie ready to travel, we spent the day cleaning up dust in the house. Our local unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) was holding its monthly meeting that evening. We needed a break from cleaning and it was great to see our “Airstream” friends and to relax. 

By the way, we love the updates and renovations to our home. And we loved that Rosie played a staring role in that process. 

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