Community and a Possible Change of Venue

We had to move our trailer again today – when we returned from our 72-hr pullout the only open space was one of the larger ones – nice but not for our little trailer, at least not for long.  As soon as a smaller space opened we had to move.  So today, once the kids were in school, we shifted the trailer half a block to the small space at the end of the street. For the most part ‘community’ in the RV Park is limited to the friendly wave or nod when you pass each other on the way to the dumpster or laundry room.  But every once in awhile it goes a bit farther and you engage in conversation and even reach out a helping hand to each other.  That stood us in good stead today as another tenant at the park moved us – free of charge (which is nice because some people have been charged $100 just to have their rig moved from one spot to another) and helped us get hooked back up (every time you move you disconnect water, sewer, and electric systems, and turn off propane, wind up the jacks… it’s a process and if you don’t do it regularly you have to remind yourself not to unplug the electricity before pulling in the partial slide!).  Another tenant lent me her level so we could make sure we were level enough to put the slide out (we had one but my young son worked his magic on it and I couldn’t find it).  And yet another helped restart the water heater (oh, yeah – it’s got to be reconnected to the battery) and promises to come back later to help figure out why the oven doesn’t work.  So we are ‘settled’ in for the rest of the month at least and perhaps longer. 

I’m hoping it’s just the rest of the month and this is why – I’ve applied to be a campground host at the local state park.  If we get the “job” (completely volunteer- no money involved) we will get a free campsite that includes a much larger spot, a picnic table and fire ring.  Water, electricity and sewer hook ups are included (no internet sadly).  The job is a ‘natural resources’ host  – which means I’d spend a certain amount of time each week helping to protect endangered shore bird nesting habitat in exchange for our camp spot and the position could last as long as 5 months.  It could limit my ability to collect unemployment but the rent savings would be great and the additional space would make it easier to undertake the floor replacement project.  It’s not a sure thing by any means – in fact I have the impression that it might not come through because the park administration would prefer a host without children – but I should know next week.  If we get it, it will be worth the hassle of shutting down, pulling out and setting back up again!  Especially as the visit to the dentist yesterday revealed my middle daughter needs a root canal to deal with the cavity in her permanent molar.

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13 Responses to Community and a Possible Change of Venue

  1. unavocis says:

    First of all, what a great blog. I understand that your circumstances perhaps aren’t quite what you would have wished for , but you are doing a pretty good job handling the cards that have been dealt, and have been able to make quite a bit of lemonade, too. You write well, and are providing your children with a home, love, and all of the essentials. Bless you for that. For being you, I guess.
    Second, I hope you get the volunteer job. As you mentioned, the savings in rent, electricity, etc., alone would be invaluable.
    I’m a pretty new reader to your blog (and to my own, as well), but I look forward to getting caught up with your older posts, as well.

  2. Ruth says:

    For the first time in YEARS I checked out teflchina and saw your post about moving to China with your family. I won’t start posting there again, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask. in 1999 we moved to China with our two kids and had some great times and some yukky ones too; ended up staying for 6 of 7 years!

    cheers from Ruth, up the coast in Victoria BC Canada, missing China just now.

  3. Barb says:

    I work at community college which annually offers a children’s dental health day in which free services are provided to children ages 2 to 19 who do not have dental insurance. It is an event that involves many members of our community–last year more than 200 volunteers served over 300 patients, providing more than $70,000 worth of services. Maybe you can find something like that in your region.

    I also want to add that I have been reading your blog for a while and I have nothing but admiration for you. I know firsthand the challenges of parenting alone, and you are handling your current situation with grace, intelligence, compassion and humor.

    There are a lot of people rooting for you!

    • Thanks! I have some potentially good news on the dental front- California has begun to enroll low-income families in their low cost health insurance program (when I checked after losing my job they not only weren’t enrolling families they were removing families from the rolls due to budget problems) so I’m sending in our application today!

  4. Sherry says:

    I thought that unemployment was only affected by income. I wouldn’t think that taking a volunteer position would change your unemployment at all. Someone correct me if I’m wrong since I’m obviously guessing here lol. Good luck on the position though. It would be great if you could get it and it not affect your unemployment benefits…….you might even be able to stash away a few dollars!

  5. Little House says:

    I really hope you get the campground host position. It sounds like it would save you quite a bit of money. As for your daughter’s dental care, Shannon’s comment is a really good idea, check out your local medical school universities. I wonder if you could apply for Medi-cal or a similar program for your kids? I’m not sure what state you live in, but if you are in CA, you might be able to qualify (I should say, while the state’s still offer these services – some states are essentially broke!). Then at least they would be covered. Good luck!

  6. Sheri M says:

    I have to concur with the poster above about a second opinion. In 2000, when I was jobless and living with friends and relatives (and in my car), I cracked an old filling in a molar. The first dentist I went to said I needed a root canal and a crown and quoted me a price I simply couldn’t afford. I asked around for recommendations, found a different dentist, got on her wait list for an appt as soon as possible, explained my situation to her when I was in the chair, and she replaced the cracked filling without a root canal – just lots of antibiotics, and no guarantee. I still don’t have a crown on that tooth – and I’ve never needed a root canal. You can’t wait on these things, tho – pain means the nerve is still alive – and may still be salvageable.

  7. k2 says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and I think it’s great that someone in your situation is writing (in such a wonderful manner, too) about her experiences. (By the way, I have to say that some comments you say that you get about having four children, ‘where is the father’ etc. are just incomprehensible from a European point of view; to me you are simply admirable).
    I saw in one of your posts that you are thinking of taking up writing for money. There is one more thing that someone with your skills could do – I don’t know if it works in the US, but it surely works in the places I’ve lived in (i.e. in Europe): you could take up editing texts (for example, papers of students in a local college or university, or maybe even books for publishing houses), doing translations if you have a good level of knowledge of a foreign language (I’m in the social sciences too – doing a PhD on history – and I’ve done some translations), or even tutoring (aren’t there any students around whose native language isn’t English and could use some help?).
    I hope everything works out for the best for you.
    Greetings from Greece.

  8. Della says:

    Hoping for the best for you on the campground host position. Seems like it would help quite a lot. Also on the dental situation… ugh.

  9. Shannon says:

    I needed a root canal once back when I didn’t have dental insurance and I went to a dental school to have it done and it saved me a lot of money. They did a great job (I went to UCLA’s dental school). I don’t know if they take children as patients or not, but it’s definately something to look into. I also agree with the other poster who says to get a second opinion, unless you saw the xrays yourself and it was obvious that the decay went down to the nerve.

    • Good idea! I recall doing that as a college student in San Diego when I needed a crown and had no insurance. It might mean going farther afield but since the estimated cost (the dentist recommended a specialist since my daughter’s tooth is small) is around $1500 any savings would be worth it! The dentist agreed to email the x-rays to whatever dentist we to to in order to help save money (and exposure to more radiation).

  10. Jim Wildman says:

    My wife and I, our 2 youngest (teenagers at the time) and a dog lived in a trailer for about 2 years as a result of a job change. The ‘bad’ part (besides the space constraints) was that it was in Ohio.. Here is a picture of my wife outside the trailer in the winter. We had about a foot of snow on the top of the trailer at one point.

    It was supposed to be an adventure, and it was. Just not the one we thought it would be.

    One conclusion from the experience is that we Americans have a very inflated sense of how much space is needed. 4 kids in a trailer full time would be pretty tough in any case though. Hats off to you for doing what you need to do…

  11. Pete says:

    If you can, get a second opinion on the root canal. Our kids dentist was gung-ho to give our son one, so we asked another dentist. She filled it for 1/8th the cost and continues to monitor it in case we need to go a more drastic route later. For what it’s worth, the first dentist shuttered his practice.

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