Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Good Investment

Home Sweet Temporary Home
 In mid-summer, I was blessed to find a buyer for the camper that Buck and I lived in for eight months (end of January through the end of September, 2008) while we built our new home. Moving into our humble abode on our wide open acre, in the coldest part of winter, made it quite the adventure! If you know anything about campers, you realize that they are not designed for year round living, unless, you are located in an area with moderate temperatures. That certainly doesn’t describe winter in southeastern Pennsylvania.  

Although our small, interim home was modern and cozy, winter dictated that we had no indoor plumbing as long as there was the possibility of freezing conditions. So, that meant no running water until May and yes, we had a rented outhouse! We had the luxury of access to water in a neighbor’s barn and that was our source for filling and toting our water jugs. We heated water on our three burner propane cook-top, for washing dishes and for our “bird baths”, as I lovingly referred to them. We made weekly trips to my daughter and son-in-laws home to shower and do our laundry. My daughter, Sarah, used to joke about our visits being like your kids coming home from college, only we would usually show up with food as well as bags of dirty clothes.  

Our temporary home was quite comfy for the two of us. Although we didn't have running water for three and a half months; we did have electricity, a propane furnace, small oven, tiny microwave and a compact, but adequate frig and mini-freezer. Much to Buck's delight, we were able to have cable and I was thrilled to have internet access and high speed at that, which I had never had before! We never felt deprived in any way! Except for the inconvenience of our water situation, for us, it was cushy camping at it's best and we both were so happy and excited to be there on our little piece of heaven! I'm so thankful that we had those eight months to enjoy together and to build sweet memories that I will always cherish!

Our hilltop location meant exposure to high gusty winds and on one blustery February day my absentmindedness got me in trouble. It was so windy that I was frightened by the way the camper was rocking and I decided it would be better to pull in our slide outs, providing less area for the winds to push against. It would have been a better idea, if I would have remembered that we had hay bales stacked around the perimeter to block the cold air and better insulate the floor. By the time I realized why there was resistance to pulling in our bedroom slide out, it was too late. I was sickened when I comprehended what I had done! I ran outside to access the damage and found the side panel grossly altered. I was beside myself and called Buck to confess my stupidity. When he got home from his workday, he reassured me that it was no big deal and he could make it like new again. How blessed I was to have such an easy going, forgiving husband!

It didn't take long for us to understand just how poorly insulated campers really are. Being fashioned for three season habitation at best, our fuel dollars didn't go very far as we tried to stay warm during the bitterness of that winter. We were shocked when we figured out that it cost more to heat our 30 foot camper when compared to heating our three bedroom A-Frame style home! We had to be resourceful to create a comfortable sleeping environment, as some nights literally felt like we were sleeping in a tent! We were thrilled when spring finally arrived!

When I sold the camper, I was disappointed by how much value was lost in those two years of ownership. It was a temptation to think we had made a bad investment, only getting a return of half of our purchase price. But as I look back, I am so thankful that we had the opportunity to live on and enjoy our property for those eight months while our dream home was coming together. Living there made Buck's role as general contractor so much easier as we went through the stressful home-building process and we made so many sweet memories there as we "roughed it" in our small, comfortable residence . Those precious memories made it worth every penny and I have no regrets about our decision to make the camper our temporary home. They are a treasure I will forever hold in my heart!


  1. Wow! Renee, you certainly have been through some interesting times. I guess you are very glad now to live in a warm house. One of the places we lived when my husband was a pastor was a very breezy house, meaning when the wind blew in the winter you felt it inside the house. And then there was the winter that the pipes froze in that house. But we all survived and had our love, as well as His Love, to keep us warm.

  2. Our challenging circumstances yield some precious memories, don't they Birdie?! I had my share of frozen pipes when I lived in the cabin in Whiteford. I am very thankful for my wonderful, warm home, for sure!

  3. Renee', I agree with Birdie. As I was reading this, I was thinking how interesting your life has always been. You are very blessed! Thank you again for sharing your life and journey with us. We are very blessed, too! Love you. Tess :)

  4. Renee, I love your story. You are a great writer!

  5. Tess, Until I started writing, I never thought my life was all that interesting. Now, coming to view my life through my readers eyes, I am learning that my life has been quite unique. I'm so blessed that you and others are blessed by my stories. That encourages me! Thank you! Melody, So sweet of you to stop by. Thanks for your kind words. Look forward to seeing you on Wednesday!