One of the things I learned in college was how to be cheap. Yes, I ate ramen noodles and we kept our heat set to 60 degrees. Heat was expensive and we decided we could just bundle up and used candles. We also used the oven a lot.
You may be asking yourself why I am telling you this. Well, reason being is today around 5am I was rudely awoken by a bitter cold blowing out of my heat ducts. Yes, I said cold was coming out of my heat ducts. It was so cold in Wanda that my thermostat couldn’t even register that low.
What in the world is going on? I snuggle deep in to my blankets, close my eyes and pray that I am dreaming or overreacting. That is until my boys come snuggling up and try to get under the covers. For the most part they are anti-under the covers. If they are trying to sneak under, it must not be a dream. Here the pet mom kicks in and I brave the cold to see what is going on.
I start by turning off the heat and waiting a few minutes. While waiting I check my gauges to make sure I’m not out of propane. Nope, says I have a full tank. Next I turn on the water heater. If I can get the water heater full and turn on the shower, the steam should help warm it up. About now is when I turn the heat back on. You guessed it…..COLD.
At this point I am freaking out. I don’t know anything about the heating system, who to call, how much it’s going to cost me and what to do in the meantime. So, I turned to my go-to. I am part of several Facebook groups that are for RVers. So, I posted in several different groups what was going on and posted pictures of my cats to get some attention and sympathy. I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received and the direction that was given.
Now I’m out in the kitchen again seeing how much hot water I have to get it warmed up in here. Well, it turns out that the water heater isn’t lighting. Now I’m really confused. I don’t even know how to light the pilot. How could it be out? It wasn’t windy. At least, I think that’s how it works. So, reluctantly I go outside to check out my propane tank.
You aren’t going to believe this. Completely out of propane. BONE dry. So the good news is I can get more propane at 11:30 and it’s not going to cost me a fortune. The bad news is, it’s only 7:30 and we are FREEZING, oh, and my gauge doesn’t work. Here is where frugal college girl kicked in. I got a pot and boiled water to create some heat and steam and turned on my convection oven and left it open. As you can imagine, it didn’t really do a lot considering it’s below freezing outside and we are technically in a metal box. Next step, candles. I got out all of my candles and lit them for a little added heat. And then finally I decided I needed to make a hot breakfast and have some hot coffee. That should do it.
Now, you might be asking why I didn’t just turn on Wanda and run the heat off of the rig. Yeah, I thought about that. When I turned Wanda on I was rudely reminded that we were almost out of gas. See, we have a floating gas gauge and we didn’t plan accordingly. So, I was not going to run the rig and take the chance of running out of gas. This meant only one thing. I had to pack up everything, disconnect everything and prepare Wanda for a road trip. I had to go get gas for Wanda and take that little stressor off the list while waiting for the propane guy to arrive.
My first go outside seemed to be successful. I got the awning up, the tire covers off and stuff moved away from the rig. When I got inside Wanda my fingers and toes were so cold I could barely feel them. So, I did what any freezing person would do. I put my hands in the oven and warmed them up. I also took off my socks and held my legs up over the boiling water to warm up my feet. Hey, don’t judge me. I did what I needed to do to warm up. After all I still had a lot to do outside.
Now that I’m warmed up I needed to head back outside and disconnect Parton (the car dolly), crawl on top of the rig and disconnect the antennas (that’s a whole different story) and disconnect the hoses and shore power. I get all of that done and head back inside for another dose of “warm up”. After I warmed up I started to crank down the antenna. BANG!!!! What in the world!?!?! What now?!?!? The antenna had busted off the roof, slammed against the side of Wanda and was dangling there. Unreal! What else could go wrong?!?!
Back on the roof to get the antenna disconnected from the roof and down on the ground. It’s pretty difficult to crawl down a ladder with a large antenna in your hand, let alone with your fingers frozen and toes aching in pain but I did it. Now it’s time for the drive in to town to fill up the gas tank and head back and wait for the propane. Fingers crossed that there is enough gas in Wanda to make it the whole way.
Great news is we made it. I’m not sure how much gas we had left, but we made it. Now it was time for the wait for propane. Wouldn’t you know, it actually warmed up. I could take off that extra pair of socks and possibly my sweatshirt while waiting.
The maintenance guy arrived to fill up the tank and when he started doing whatever it is they do, he confirmed, yep, bone dry. Another relief. After the way my day was going I was worried he was going to tell me that there was propane in the tank and then I was back at square one of trying to figure out how to get heat. After getting it filled I went back to my site to re-set up camp. By this time I was sweating like crazy but ecstatic that everything was done and I was going to have hot water and heat tonight. So, it’s 1 pm at this point and I realize it’s lunch time and I have the whole day ahead of me still. I guess it wasn’t all that bad…….or was it?!!?
Confession time: I am a little embarrassed to admit this but it’s only right that I reveal everything. I was so excited to have everything done that when I pulled in to my site I started setting up camp right away. You might be thinking “Of course you did. What else would you do?”. Well, the answer to that is: check to make sure my heat and water heater are working. Yeah, I was excited, tired, stressed and just needed a break which caused me to have a ‘DUH’ moment. Especially the way my luck was going, it could have very easily been another problem. The good news is I remembered that I should check it out right before putting on my tire covers (yeah, the last step), ran inside, turned on the heat and wouldn’t you know it……I HAVE HEAT!!!
Moral of this story is a few things:
- Gauges lie
- Sometimes being frugal in your lifetime can benefit you later on
- Always be over prepared because you are never truly prepared
- Have an alternate heat source for those just in case moments
- Always have an extra bottle of wine handy