Without the usual overhead of a traditional S&B house, I was able to fulfill a dream to wear the green apron and work at Starbucks. And I just finished an ebook about it.
Really. When will I be able to take a bath again?
I miss our bathtub.
I didn’t really like the house when we looked at it. It was a tri-level on a corner, not a very nice color, outdated features. But it was in a great neighborhood and had a great bathtub.
The first time I saw that bathtub, I knew it would be a great place to be during labor. I knew it would be prefect for kids’ baths. I knew it would help sell the house when the time came.
And it was all of those things.
When we moved into the house, I was pregnant with Jane. She was born in the tub, and loves to tell people about it.
I was pregnant with Anne when we started selling mini donuts at the farmers market. After being on my feet for more than 5 hours (every Saturday morning during the last 5 months of that pregnancy), I would come home and get in the tub.
I remember how wonderful the water felt, along with how excited I was by our donut success and another baby on the way.
Now I have a job that keeps me on my feet again, and I haven’t exercised regularly in a year, so a nice hot bath would be lovely. We had nice hot tubs at a few RV campgrounds – Sky Valley Resort in Desert Hot Springs, Williamsburg RV and Camping Resort, and Moody Beach RV Campground in Maine.
Although sharing a hot tub with strangers isn’t quite the same as taking a hot bath alone. In peace. Maybe some wine. Maybe some relaxing sound effects.
I think I know what’s going on my Christmas list.
One year ago today we left Moscow, Idaho.
The kids look so little in the pictures from that week when we sold the house. We had no idea what was ahead of us. I wondered where we would be in a year.
I remember walking on the beach in Oregon. John and I weren’t sure how we were supposed to feel. It was weird not to have jobs or businesses or schools to go to the next day. And it’s weird now to be living in an RV in a campground, working a job with younger people, in such a different place from where we’ve lived before.
Instead of weird, I should say it’s different, but exciting. It’s exciting to not be bound by a house, a mortgage, or a full-time job. It’s exciting to be surrounded by new people, places, and food. Even though we’re in one place for a little while, we’re learning new things everyday that we wouldn’t have learned if we’d stayed in Idaho waiting for a new opportunity.
Looking at the pictures from this past year, I’m so grateful the kids have had this experience. We took them from a great home and school in a great town to see what else is out there, almost without any complaints.
They’ve seen the Redwoods, the Grand Canyon, the Alamo, the French Quarter, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, the Fountain of Youth, Jamestown, Washington DC, Times Square, Niagara Falls, the Mississippi River. I hope it will have a lasting positive effect on them.
And I’m still wondering where we’ll be in a year. Will we travel next summer? Will we find a campground to buy this year? Where will the kids be in school next fall?
I can’t wait to find out.
We live in a campground now. Just one campground for a while. That was the point of this adventure, though, to buy, operate, and live in a campground.
We found jobs as workampers at the Las Cruces, New Mexico KOA. We’re learning how a campground is run while working a few hours in the office each week for our spot. We’ve switched positions, checking in RVers after a long day’s drive, giving them directions to restaurants and area attractions.
The kids started school in August. They’re happy to be with kids their own ages and back to a daily routine. They still seem happy to be living in an RV. But on their first day of school, I had a bit of a breakdown.
At first I thought it was because I had thrown them into unknown public schools. After attending a caring, touchy-feely charter school, I thought it was cruel to push them into ordinary schools. Then it occurred to me that it wasn’t the schools they were in, but the fact that they were in school at all.
The days of all of us together, doing whatever we wanted, were over. Now they spend more time with teachers than us. That really upset me.
So I decided to get a job at Starbucks. Yes, once a loyal daily customer, now a barista on the other side of another counter. It’s a pretty good swing financially and I’m learning how to make yummy coffee drinks that I can one day make for our campers. I get my daily dose of fancy caffeine for free on the days I work, or at a nice discount when I’m off. I also get to bring home free coffee beans each week.
The pace is still pretty slow compared to our S&B conventional life. I think we can handle it for a while.
We visited the Women’s Rights National Historic Park. I had no idea such a place existed. We watched a short film about the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848. That was 168 years ago. It wasn’t until 1920, 72 years after that convention, that women were allowed to vote.
On the way back to the RV, I started to imagine how the attendees made their way there. There were stories of groups in wagons meeting others along the way, and then at crossroads, soon creating a wagon procession.
I wondered how many women wanted to be there but couldn’t. Maybe they didn’t have the resources to get there. Maybe they had no one to take them. I assume many women suffered ridicule or abuse for simply wanting to attend. I imagine some were ridiculed or abused for signing the Declaration of Sentiments.
The film and exhibits stirred several emotions in me. They illustrated the origin of male propaganda still in circulation today, repeated so often and with such conviction, many females themselves accept it as unequivocal.
For years men claimed that higher education and vigorous physical activity were detrimental to women’s health. Women were supposed to keep house and raise children. That was it. It is still presumed that women are not as competent as men intellectually or physically.
Men still try to control women in their homes, in their relationships, in their communities, and in their offices.
When I started to feel the anger, the pride, and then sorrow for the women who began the campaign for women’s rights, I thought about Hillary Clinton. Now, in 2016, we have a female presidential candidate. Can you imagine the shit she’s been through? She is smart. She is ambitious. She is articulate. She is blond.
She was successful throughout school, but was told she couldn’t be an astronaut or a marine because she is female. Hillary has taken up the work of those pioneers and is getting the same reactions they did. She is ridiculed and criticized daily on everything from her appearance to her marriage to her history of public service.
She, and other successful women, are held to standards imposed by men long ago. Men are not criticized for their imperfect appearance, their failed marriages, their business mistakes, their parenting missteps.
Every fight Hillary fights takes us another step closer to equality. Every time she jumps another gender hurtle, every time she answers to her male peers, every time she is criticized by other women, it moves the country another step toward equality.
Hillary has made historic steps for women throughout her life. And I can’t wait for the next one.
I’m sure Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Martha Wright, Jane Hunt, and Mary Ann Mcclintock are watching.