We had a nice quiet Christmas at home, it was very simple, partly to go along with the year of simplicity, and partly because I was trying to keep my saltines and ginger-ale from coming back up, but it was a sweet time. We have many traditions that had to be set aside this year, for example we didn't have a tree, but I think we came up with some new ones too. We were supposed to have dinner with friends for Christmas Eve, but they ended up with the flu so we stayed home. Since I hadn't planned on making dinner, we had to throw something together quickly. It was pouring rain and very gray, which also didn't lend a cozy white Christmas feeling, but we made do. We played a very long game of Risk, drank hot chocolate, read the Christmas story in the Bible, and opened our traditional Christmas Eve gift, pajamas.
This winter has been a little rough on us. I know it has been bad everywhere, but I do think we had some special challenges living in a tin can with no heat. Sometime during a heavy wind storm our awning busted off. We had to move our dresser of shoes into the van and now we are constantly tripping over shoes that don't have a place. Without the awning the freezer also filled with rain which promptly froze, so we had to chip our food out. Now it is covered with a tarp. There isn't a closet for the 7 winter jackets the we had to spend 5 hours digging out of the storage unit, so they too, are being constantly tripped over.
We were told that winter is very mild in Mississippi, so we were a bit shocked to wake up and find our tap water frozen. We were lucky, it froze in the filter right outside so we warmed up some water we had in a jug and poured it over the filter and it thawed with out any other trouble. Our neighbor wasn't so lucky, in the afternoon when the temperature rose enough, water was spraying from a busted pipe under his trailer. Yikes. So for a week we had to keep our water running at all times. I spent forever teaching my children to make sure they got the faucet all the way off only to spend two weeks making sure they left it on. For some reason that is funny to me. It was so cold outside that you couldn't even wash your hands in the kitchen sink!
We had only one space heater and with it on high we could only get the trailer up to 52 at night. We dug out all of our sleeping bags from the storage unit (thank goodness for our camping trips in the Rocky Mountains) and moved all the kids to the main room where the heater was. After a couple of nights of that we borrowed another space heater from a friend and had to rig some things to keep the circuits from popping, but it was a nice and warm 68 with both heaters.
Funny thing is that when we lived in Colorado we had a challenge of sorts each winter- to see how long we could go without turning the furnace on. Maybe we are just bored, maybe it is the first born in both of us, maybe we just like making life hard, I don't know. We made it until the 20th of December one year. On that day we had a blizzard and got 5 feet of snow in less then 12 hours. We didn't really want to cave, but we didn't want to live in an ice box either. We finally turned the heater on.
It is a little different when the challenge is a choice vs. "forced" but either way, it works for us...
During this two week period of below freezing temps, Mr. Pilot caught the flu- very high fever and sore throat and such that lasted over 3 days. Of course, most of the children took their turn with it too. Once that was over, one of the children began the another cycle of fever and runny noses that went through about half of us. That was really fun.
It finally warmed up and I finally started to feel better from the morning sickness so I decided to pull the sheets off the beds and sterilize the house. During this process I discovered that due to the extreme cold, the dehumidifier wasn't able to keep up with the condensation. I had to pull all the mattresses outside, so they could air dry. I gathered up everything that was damp, mostly what was shoved in the corners of the beds that we had been using as storage while the kids were sleeping in the living room. At one point I couldn't even see from one side of the trailer to the other. I ended up with about 16 loads of laundry (sheet, blankets and covers mostly, not clothes) to haul up to the bath house. We finally got it all up there and I got the children in the showers (the two littles get to sit in a 50 gal. rubbermaid in the shower, it's is their bath while Guys supervises) while I loaded up the wash machines. I got my soap poured in and fed my quarters to the machines and went to get in the shower myself. Just as I got in the water, it shut off. I look at my children in their bath, Guys had just put shampoo in their hair. I thought maybe it was because I had all the wash machines running, but we do that all the time. I shut the faucet off and then back on. Nothing. About that time, Boy starts yelling from the other side of the bath house. So I get my clothes back on, go over to him, and he is completely covered with soap from head to toe. I just start laughing. Tears in my eyes, rolling on the floor laughing. This is just about all I can take! I call down to the front office while my children are dripping with soap. Turns out it had warmed up enough for all the pipes to thaw out and the main waterline for the entire park busted. It would be hours before it was repaired. Seriously??? I had Boy run from his shower over to ours and I used the now cold and not really clean water from the littles bath to sort of rinse them all off. We went home with sort of clean and a little soapy bodies and left the wet, soapy laundry behind. We had no water to make dinner and no blankets to take a nap with. When Mr. Pilot got home that night the water was still not on but we decided to go make sure the laundry hadn't run off. (I may have secretly wished it had, shhhh) and we discovered that when we shut the lid, the water would run for a few seconds. If we opened and closed the lid again, more water would run. We tried this several times and it kept working so we stood there opening and closing all of our washers so they could fill up with water in hopes that once full, they would run through to the rinse cycle and we could just open and close them again. It took about 20 minutes to get all the washers to fill, but it worked, and we laughed our heads off the entire time. We will NEVER forget our year in the travel trailer! Sometime after 9pm we finally had the beds made and the rest of the laundry folded. It took them about 4 days to get the water line fixed so we had water off and on with no warning for a while. By the way, I did get a personal apology for the shower ordeal from the front office, they realized they should have checked the showers before shutting off the water. Ya think? ;~0
I am so glad it is finally warm out. These are Good Times!