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Raking Poop and Other Things to Appreciate While I Still Can

“Practice an attitude of gratitude.”

The first time I heard that saying I was sitting in an AA meeting. No, I’m not a good enough drinker to qualify for membership. But my mom was!

My mother was practically paralyzed by the thought of interacting with others – even those who’d traveled down some of the same rough roads she had. If she brought a kid along to a meeting, she not only had a buddy but someone who’d deflect attention from her.

Donuts with “drunks” ❤ #gratitude
Mom was an extreme introvert who avoided the outside world whenever possible. She’d pay me a quarter to make phone calls for her when she couldn’t figure out another way to take care of business, telling me exactly what to say and standing by during the call to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

The moment she asked for help with her drinking problem, though, she was the one who picked up the phone and made the call. I stood behind her, relieved.

Once mom was in AA, my sisters and I figured everything was hunky-dory. Being kids, we moved on to what was in it for us. And that was donuts. Although mom attended meetings in the same places for weeks and eventually months, she never really got over her fear of going alone. Even though AA meetings were usually pretty boring for a kid, they always had donuts.

To sugar-deprived heathens like us, sitting through a meeting was a small price to pay to be able to eat a donut. Or two. As a bonus, we sometimes heard the most interesting stories when members recounted tales of the inebriated life.

“The drunks,” as mom’s fellow AA members referred to themselves, were good-hearted people who were kind to us and to our mom. She later fell off the wagon, then – after years of hard times – attained sobriety on her own. During the brief period she was in AA, mom met at least one friend who brought her out of her shell a bit and seemed to genuinely care for her.

I can only guess at why she lost touch with her friend. But it doesn’t change what the woman did for my mom. I thought about trying to track her down and thank her, but I don’t think I could do it without wanting to ask her all kinds of questions about what my mom went through, and what she was like when you weren’t her kid.

The “Attitude of Gratitude” saying popped into my head as I was raking up dog poop in the back yard, and after I’d written what you’ll find below. I was thinking about how, if we were already in our RV, I wouldn’t be doing (exactly, anyway) what I was doing.

It’s too easy to feel antsy about how long it’s taking to progress toward full-time RV life. Brian and I both want to be there. But at the same time, things will change. Not all of the changes will be convenient. Almost every day lately there’s something that I stop and appreciate a little more than normal, simply because I know I won’t have it much longer.

In an effort to practice genuine gratitude – and lighten the mood around here – I’m sharing the things I find myself appreciating most often where we’re at now. Even if some of them are a little unconventional.

Plenty of private PT space

The workout programs I use* don’t require equipment or much space. I think they’re probably about as good as it gets if you’re serious about staying in shape and you don’t have a gym or empty room to work out in.

Xena: Warrior Princess
Me, at workout time. #beastmode
But still – in a varied program there will sometimes be jumping up and down. Or movement in more directions than any room in a 320-square-foot RV can accommodate. And then there’s the big ol’ dogs who think it’s their job to be right where I need to be. And no, I don’t want to exercise outside. In front of people (creepers or not).

Inside my house, I am a badass with the boxing routines and kicks and burpees – not a semi-flabby, pasty white chick with an attitude, who’s trying like hell to fight off middle age.

While I work on being a badass in public as well as in private, I’ll appreciate that right now I have no prying eyes to challenge that badassery. Or to witness the belly pouch sagging beneath my otherwise solid plank.

* These programs and the entire website they’re housed on is a wonderful fitness resource that is totally free. Check them out if you want to get or stay healthy – especially if you have obstacles like time, physical limitations or budget.

Stretching out in a huge bed

Lately I’ve had our king bed to myself way more than I should (thanks, dog) – a lavish waste of space compared to our RV sleeping arrangements.

Before Brian and I got married in 2008, he and I had both been single for years. Single as in single parents, each with multiple children – not single party animals with revolving boudoir doors and frequent bedmates.

I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sleep (yes, actual sleep) with anyone. I suspect Brian was thinking the same thing, because before we moved in together, we agreed we needed king-sized bed.

While RVs with king beds are out there, none were a good fit in other, more important areas. Like, not having shoddy construction or costing an arm and a leg.

So in our beautiful, high-quality, low(ish)-price Dutch Star we have a cozy queen bed. And since Brian insists he has to sleep on the right side of the bed (quote: “I don’t like change!”), in the RV it’s me who’s closest to the doorway, and who the dogs wake up in the middle of the night.

Unlike Brian, I head back to bed after these mid-night excursions, because I can usually get back to sleep. That means instead of sleeping in a king bed and having it all to myself for half the night, in the RV we share the queen bed pretty much all night. It’s hard to roll over without elbowing Brian. I guess I’m not doing any noticeable damage since so far he’s slept really well in the RV.

At the house, as long as I have the space to spread out, I’m gonna take it. If Brian doesn’t come back to bed when the dog gets him up, I’ll claim his side, too. Somebody might as well get some use out of it.

Unlimited internet that (mostly) doesn’t suck

Me, after a long day in front of the TRS-80.
Until two months ago, we used Comcast Business internet at the house. Our connection only rarely crapped out; for the most part it was fast and far more reliable than what we expect to find out on the road.

Mobile internet is pretty reliant on cellular data, and even in our hyperconnected world there are still plenty of places you can’t get a good cellular signal. Yes, even with Verizon.

Brian got a couple of solutions (Sprint and AT&T devices) for our RV internet arsenal, and we plan to add another when we switch my phone service to one with a third carrier and hotspot and data options. Once we tried the Sprint device and it proved reliable, we decided to use it at the house and canceled Comcast.

Or, we tried to cancel it. Being business customers means they use us to make up for whatever they can’t get from regular consumers. They made us give them two months’ notice and pay for the service even though we weren’t using it 👿

As luck would have it, just as our divorce from Comcast became final, we felt the effects of mobile internet when our Sprint connection went on the fritz. Hooray for that preview, right?

I’m sitting in a Chick-fil-A as I write, enjoying lunch and free WiFi so I can finish a client’s website fixes and work on this post. Before early this morning the Sprint connection worked like a champ. Well, maybe a second-string champ, since it’s not as speedy as Comcast.

Today’s issues are probably tower related, since my phone (also on the Sprint network) has had zero bars for most of the day. We know Sprint has the least coverage of all networks, but it normally works around here and it was super cheap – like, $10 per month. Pretty sweet compared to Comcast’s $90 a month, huh?

So, yeah – today our internet sucked. But it’s been great up until now. In case it’s not back to normal tomorrow, Brian will grab the AT&T Mobley from the RV and we should be back in business. Until we hit the road, I’ll enjoy our (mostly) reliable internet connection – and its cheeeep price tag 😉

Update: It was a one-day outage. Back to cheap internet – hooray!

The luxury of a self-decomposing and draining sewage system

What a pretty, green lawn.
Of all the ways to deal with human waste, septic tanks are in my opinion the best. Well, as long as you keep the system healthy, anyway. Too much crap and not enough bacteria, and you got trouble with a capital P that stands for pee (and it’s full of poo).

In SoCal and pretty much every other place I lived, when you flushed the toilet all the crap would go to a central location to be dealt with. It has a pretty name – effluent…just rolls off the tongue – but it’s disgusting to think about how many gallons of shit soup are right now winding their way under homes and streets before emptying into giant, sludgy poo pools at a treatment plant.

So we don’t think about it. We just flush the toilet and leave it to someone else to handle our shit.

Even with septic tanks, as long as the system’s in balance (and no one flushes a tampon from a basement toilet…Christina), it’s the same, worry-free flush and we never have to see Mr. Hankey again. Whee!

Am I eager to take off in our RV, where our waste will never be more than a few feet away? You betcha. But until then, I’ll appreciate having at worst a brief glimpse before sending another contribution out to green up the back yard.

Inappropriate back yard attire

Ah, yes – speaking of the back yard…

With a six-foot privacy fence and strategically placed trees and bushes, our back yard can cover a multitude of fashion faux pas. No pants? No problem! Sports bra, sans shirt? Who cares?!!

Try that in an RV park. It’ll either get you kicked out or win you the undying affection of every dirty old man parked nearby. Neither option is all that attractive to me.

When we’re boondocking miles from anywhere or anyone, who knows what I may or may not bother to put on. But in an RV park or campground, keeping boobs and butt cheeks from ogling eyes (or from inducing nausea – definite possibility there) is job #1.

For now? Let it all hang out!

Raking dog poop

Our super duper pooper scooper
Our super duper pooper scooper.
If you think I’ve gone off the deep end, please hear me out. I assure you this is a matter of lesser evils. In the case of dog waste disposal, much lesser.

Greyhounds are for the most part the best dogs ever, but with big dogs come big piles of 💩. Multiple dogs produce pounds of potentially squishy piles per day.

When we’re out and about with our hounds we carry Mutt Mitts, which are probably the thickest poop bags on the market. In addition to overall greater thickness, the bottom of the bag – where you place your hand to grab the load – is gusseted and made with two layers. That allows it expand to hold the most gargantuan of poo piles. But still…

No bag – not even Mutt Mitts – can put sufficient distance between me and my dogs’ dookie. I have no choice but to feel the warmth of freshly picked poo piles radiating through the bag, though I do try to escape the acrid aroma by holding my breath long enough to get the bag tied.

At our house, we’re blessed to have our trusty poop rake and crap pan – a lowly combo that places an extra three feet between me and the objects of my affliction. Not only does this shit-scooping wonder allow me to escape the poop’s steamy stench, but it is a far more effective crap cleaner than a hand inside a bag.

With a deft flick of my raking wrist, I can fling all but the drippiest turds into the pan. Even slimy “oops I shouldn’t have let him eat that” excretions clean up better with the rake than a poo bag.

Sadly, I see no reasonable place in the RV to stow a set of large, crap-covered tools, even in a storage bay. Yucko! Believe me, I’ve tried to think of a sanitary and space effective way we could bring them along, but no – when we go, they go.

Until then, I’m appreciating this lowly crap collection combo with every single turd I rake ❤

It’s the little things

Sure, I’ve been a bit silly about some of the things I’ve included here, but except for local family and friends these are the things I think about most often. Weirdo or not.

When I come back to the house after being in the RV, the list of things I appreciate about the RV is considerably longer than the one above. I can’t get down about it – we are getting closer to the point where moving into it may be doable. So I figured I’d just have a little fun with it.

Dead serious about the poo rake, though 😥


What about you?

If you moved into an RV, what would you/did you miss? Share it below, even if it’s weird. Especially if it’s weird! 😀

13 thoughts on “Raking Poop and Other Things to Appreciate While I Still Can”

  1. Ha – I giggled at the various pop music references. And your poo section. As a longtime multiple dog owner involved in rescue with nearly all friends who are also dog owners, I’ve thought about and talked about poo faaaaaaar too much. I feel your pain. I’ve just been using poo bags for years and it rarely bothers me any more. I HAVE seen people out walking with their claw-style scooper — maybe you could store it with the sewer hose? I dunno….

    Since we’ve been full-timing for 9 months now, I’d add to the “miss it” list: a garbage disposal, ice maker (if your fridge doesn’t have that capability), unlimited hot water for showers, a standalone freezer, and my oversize pantry.

    Oh – and THANKS for the darebee recommendation, I’m looking it over now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yeah, Andrea – I’m gonna miss the oversize pantry. How do you have only one or two oils, or vinegars? I want five kinds of flour, too 😛 Haven’t had a garbage disposal in years (not supposed to be a good idea with septic tanks), but I’m with you – that’s a nice convenience to have.

      Hmmm…a poop claw…definitely smaller to store. I wonder if it works well enough to justify the space. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Darebee has made a huge difference in how I feel. Hope you find the same. Look for their “Choosing A Program” page so you can get one that’s challenging enough without hurting you.

      Like

  2. This is a such a great article! I too am a “semi-flabby, pasty white chick with an attitude, who’s trying like hell to fight off middle age.” Actually, more like already in middle age I guess, but still… And I was totally trying to think of a way to contain the poop rakes! In all seriousness, unlimited fast internet is by far the thing I miss the most. Hope to meet you on the road one day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brian keeps trying to tell me I’m middle aged. Not buying it. I figure humans were designed to live to 120 (even if we don’t always make it there) so middle age shouldn’t start until at least 60.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Julie. Looking forward to meeting you at the Summit in February 🙂

      Like

  3. I love how freely RVers talk about poo! In all it’s forms! 😉

    As a parent to two huge Pyrs, I appreciate our large backyard very much, and do not look forward to 3-5 poop bags per dog per day when RVing.

    Best of luck in finding a solution! Maybe bag the ends of the scoopers so you can toss those, too, after each pickup?

    Like

  4. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsWhile I can’t sympathize with dog poop tasks (that sound like a never ending chore) I can say that i miss having more space between our sleeping and eating quarters and the litter boxes. We now kee one on the passenger floorboard and the other at the foot of our bed, under the built in RV ‘vanity’.

    Surprisingly, we’ve had nary a stench and the most annoying thing about has been being woken up in the night by a cat who incessantly digs and digs and DIGS..

    Could be worse!

    Oh, and do I EVER miss taking baths – but that’d be just another waste of the precious fresh water i’ve dedicated myself to saving!

    Liked by 1 person

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