The 49-year-old whippersnapper, or: how I survived the over-55 RV park by acting my age. Sort of.

Not so very long ago, we stayed in one of those RV parks. 

You know the type. 

The age-restricted kind with so many rules that you quit reading after about the 5th one, and decide that just being a good person for the duration of your stay will probably cover most of them anyway?

When we checked in at this park, we received a packet that contained a list of 25 rules on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, single spaced, small font, both sides. Rule 15, dealing with the laundry room, also had subsections a-f.

I know.

And there were a few additional rules on the park map.

And even more rules printed on signs scattered about the property. 

And don’t get me started on the club house. Let’s just say that not everybody should be allowed access to a label maker, printer, or even paper and a Sharpie. Especially people of a certain age, with a lot of time on their hands. 

(If you’re humming, “Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?” you’re not alone.)

So being possessed of a deliciously sideways sense of humor, I decided to have a little bit of fun during our stay in the Land of Many Rules. 

OK, a lot of fun.

To be clear, I was not on a mission to break the rules. They’re there for a reason. I get it.

I just thought I could give those fine folks cause to come up with a few more they mmmaybe hadn’t thought of. 

Yet. 

Remarkably.

Attempt 1: Go topless
Nothing says I have to wear a shirt over my sports bra.

Attempt 2: Wear a boob joke
And furthermore, nothing says that the shirt I do wear over my sports bra can’t be a brow-raiser.
(Relax. I’m a breast cancer survivor, and my right “pear,” although still original, is no longer perfect. I bought this shirt as a reminder to keep my sense of humor about it.)

Attempt 3: Purple hair don’t care
Like most of the women here, I’ve got gray hair, despite my being a decade or two younger. There was no rule against hair dye, so why not go bold for a few washes?

Attempt 4: Get yourself up to no good
Okay, so most of the men I encountered in the park were old enough to be my dad, so I really couldn’t be a cougar there.
But Tim, at 51, could totally have been cougar bait!
Mrowrrrr

Attempt 5: Dare them to repeat it
It would have fit on there a 5th time, and I’m pretty sure instructions need to be repeated five times before they require obedience. Law of the teenager. Right?

Attempt 6: Hang out
We were allowed to use the community clothesline. They didn’t specify what we were allowed to use it for.

Attempt 7: Seek balance
“No walking on the site dividers” was not a rule.
I checked.
And then I did it.

Attempt 8: Grow something green
The park featured a community herb garden — and no sign specifying what could or could not be planted there.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and… Wait. Is that what I think it is?

Attempt 9: Maximize efficiency
Who among us has never stripped off a dirty item of clothing and tossed it directly into the washing machine? It’s a time saver. And there was no rule posted against it in the park laundry room.

Attempt 10: Run with scissors!

Attempt 11: Make items multi-functional
It’s a pole. Poles are for dancing. Didn’t everybody know that?

Final attempt: Take matters into your own hands
If all else fails, amend the Standing Rules yourself.
(For those with eyes that need a little help, click on the photo to enlarge it.)


Disclosure 1: Neither one of us is over 55. We were able to get a guest spot for a limited time.

Disclosure 2: Park name and location have been withheld to protect the… well… a park that’s really quite nice, and I know that it’s because of a lot of those rules. I’m pretty sure they can take a little ribbing, but just in case they can’t, I’ll keep their identity under wraps. We’d like to be able to stay there again.

Disclosure 3: Photos originally appeared on the author’s personal Facebook and Instagram accounts, and I give thanks to my partners in crime. They know who they are.

Ah, what the hell.
Bylaws are always so boring.
Might as well amend those too.

Home for the month: not lake side, nor even lake view, but kind of lake near

After ten days of “leave at 8:00, commute 45 minutes to Norfolk, work on house all day, drive 45 minutes back home, shove something edible in our faces, get clean, go to bed, and repeat,” we took today off to explore our home at Davis Lakes Campground.

Here we are. Our spot's off to the right, near the recreation area. And the dumpsters. The spots around the lake are all parallel parking for better views, although "parking" seems like too temporary a term for some of the set-ups we saw.

Here we are.
Our spot’s off to the right, near the recreation area. And the dumpsters.
The spots around the lake are all parallel parking for better views, although “parking” seems like too temporary a term for some of the set-ups we saw.

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Many lakeside encampments blur the line between temporary and permanent, with patios and other covered structures built on.

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The Plunging Swirling Hole of Transport to the Middle of the Earth! OK, so it’s probably just a drainage thing, but there’s no fence around it, which is astounding, because if I were 8 years old? First place I’d go.

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Best part of camping here: daily bunny outside our doorIMG_5869

Funniest part: signs

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True story: the odometer in the BFT hit 99,999 as we rolled by this sign a few days ago.

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Every RV’er needs to review the departure checklist. No spouse left behind! Well, not by accident anyway.

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Um… this is a section of our lease. It very clearly and consistently follows the “If you’re not sure when to use an apostrophe s, just use it everywhere” rule.

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No fish were using the sinks today.

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… of gravity?

Worst part: lack of time and/or warm enough weather to enjoy the lakes

Don't let the sunshine fool you. It's 67 degrees today. So not beach weather. Talk to me when it's 20 degrees warmer.

Don’t let the sunshine fool you.
It’s 67 degrees today — not beach weather. Talk to me when it’s 20 degrees warmer.

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But hey, I’ve got a sassy new shirt to wear when we do get a chance to spend a day on the lake. Thanks, B!

When home changes, but it’s always the same, and will never be the same

A few days ago, I added an event to our calendar because “Oh. We’re in town! We could go to that!” 
 
Didn’t hit me until yesterday that San Antonio is not the town we’re in anymore.
 
It’s due to a combination of having so many places we think of as home, thanks to Tim’s military career, and the fact that the interior of our home no longer changes along with our location, so I sometimes forget where we are.
 
Also, I’ve been inhaling a lot of paint fumes, as we work on our S&B house (in Norfolk — I know we’re in Norfolk now), so that may be part of it too. But look at how much progress we’ve made!
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Those are cedar shake shingles. After priming and replacing them for nearly two weeks now? Only a mad man…

Just don’t remind me that this is Project 1 out of 5. Five big ones, most of which we are doing ourselves, before listing this house for sale with an agent. If you or someone you know wants to get in at a pre-listing price, please see this ad (link removed 6/11/16), and give us a holler! Our neighbors are so good, they are actually helping us get this done. Who wouldn’t want to live in a ‘hood like this one?
And speaking of homes, we’ll be leaving this one tomorrow, the Sea Mist RV Park at Dam Neck Annex, because our reservation expires. Wish we could have enjoyed more of the beach out our back door, but neither the weather nor our work schedule supported it. But we knew we were on a military base (again), when we were greeted by this sign:
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and noted the following verbiage in our page of rules and regs:
“Surfing, fishing and sunbathing are allowed on the beach any time it is not secured for drone launching.”
Right, then.
~ ~ ~
A final heartbreaking note: if you’ve been following us on social media (all the links are over there on the left side), you already know that our home will never be the same. Due to advanced kidney disease, we had to say goodbye to our faithful RV dog, Lola, earlier this week. It was a comfort that we were here in Norfolk, where we adopted her nearly ten years ago, and could take her to her old veterinarian to ease her way out of this life. She came home to go home, and we will miss her terribly.
Lola. Oil on canvas by my sister-in-law, Whitney, who gifted us with this art for Christmas, before knowing of Lola's illness. It's even more of a treasure now, and displayed prominently here in this home.

Lola.
Oil on canvas by my sister-in-law, Whitney, who gifted us with this artwork for Christmas, before knowing of Lola’s illness. It’s even more of a treasure now, and displayed prominently, here in this home.

Other posts on this topic:

  1. How it all started
  2. Getting things started
  3. Coping Inappropriately
  4. Before & Afters

You know you’re lazy when you explore only half a small town

Yeah, so we waited until noon to head out today, by which time it was 90+ degrees, which is way too hot for a walking tour of historic homes, so we drove by them in the BFT with the AC blasting, tried not to think about our carbon footprint, and then went to a bakery.

Castroville, known as the Little Alsace of Texas, is neatly bisected by Highway 90. We checked out the south side today.

Castroville, known as the Little Alsace of Texas, is neatly bisected by US Highway 90. We checked out the south side today.

First stop, Castroville Regional Park, for a hike up Cross Hill, so named for, well, you'll see.

First stop, Castroville Regional Park, for a hike up Cross Hill, so named for, well, you’ll see.

Something took a hell of a bite out of this cross.

Something took a hell of a bite out of that cross.

The view from Cross Hill (Per castroville.com: It is an old European custom for a village to proclaim its faith by erecting a cross in a prominent place, and the Alsatians brought the tradition with them when they came to the Medina Valley. Since then it has been called Cross Hill and was used by the Catholics in earlier times for pilgrimages and prayer petitions, such as Rogation Days. Today you can walk a path up to Cross Hill to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Castroville.)

The view from Cross Hill
(Per castroville.com: It is an old European custom for a village to proclaim its faith by erecting a cross in a prominent place, and the Alsatians brought the tradition with them when they came to the Medina Valley. Since then it has been called Cross Hill and was used by the Catholics in earlier times for pilgrimages and prayer petitions, such as Rogation Days. Today you can walk a path up to Cross Hill to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Castroville.)

I don't know who else would be up here, other than perhaps a grammar nazi who really wished she had some white paint in her pocket.

I don’t know who else would be up here, other than perhaps a grammar queen who really wished she’d had some white paint stashed in her pocket.

I do believe we are here at the peak of poppy season!

I do believe we are here at the peak of poppy season!

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Look. I tried three times for a poppy selfie. First shot: frowning Second shot: crooked Third shot: cleavage overload You're welcome.

Look. I tried three times for a poppy selfie.
First shot: frowning
Second shot: crooked
Third shot: cleavage overload
You’re welcome.

We stopped by the famous Steinbach Haus, built in France in the 17th century, shipped to Castroville and rebuilt in the early part of this century. It now serves as the town's welcome center.

We stopped by the famous Steinbach Haus, built in France in the 17th century, shipped to Castroville and rebuilt in the early part of this century. It now serves as the town’s welcome center.

Final stop of the day: Haby's Alsatian Bakery. It's kind of a big deal in these parts. That brown sphere on the right is a chocolate filled chocolate cupcake dipped in chocolate. The clerk made us buy it. I love how people in small towns look out for each other, don't you?

Final stop of the day: Haby’s Alsatian Bakery. It’s kind of a big deal in these parts. That brown sphere on the right is a chocolate filled chocolate cupcake dipped in chocolate. The clerk made us buy it. I love how people in small towns look out for each other, don’t you?

Tomorrow we’ll make up for both the auto emissions and the calorie count by starting earlier and biking the 4 miles into town to investigate the north side.

I’m no princess, but there’s a good joke here about kissing frogs

I've never kissed a frog. I have, however, kissed a fish. (Mayport, FL, 1993)

I’ve never kissed a frog.
I have, however, kissed a fish.
(Mayport, FL, 1993)

People ask from time to time if our RV has a name.

It’s been 18 months since we bought the thing. Shouldn’t it have a name by now?

We already know, or know of, vehicles with adorable names like Kermie, Betsy, Goldie, and BART (Big Ass Red Truck). We ourselves once owned a GPS we called Dolores, pretty much from Day 1, because she sounded so much like a Dolores.

But it took until today for RV inspiration to strike. Or maybe it was my head’s unfortunate encounter with the screen door on Monday?

Anyway. Ladies? Gentlemen? Allow me to introduce you to our freshly christened home on wheels …

The Toad

The Toad

Because as a fifth wheel, it goes where it’s towed.

And as an 8-year-old unit that has required numerous, frequent, and expensive repairs in its year and a half with us (this week: shorn off front shocks, probably as a result of the Tire Incident), I think it’s fair to say the beast’s got warts.

Thank you, Google. I'm not sure which definition I find more pleasing. Or accurate.

Thank you, Google. I’m not sure which definition I find more pleasing. Or accurate.

Our next move is Saturday, so if you’re driving between San Antonio and Castroville, be on the lookout for The BFT & The Toad!