Timeline: April 2017
Previous post on our job timeline: Travel PT: Eastern North Carolina (January-April 2017)
Finding Our Next Jobs
This was last year, in April 2017, when we were finishing up our first contracts in Eastern North Carolina, and we really wanted to extend and stay through the summer. However, that didn’t work out at the time (luckily, we got another go at Eastern NC in 2018). We were also thinking about going to the Midwest to begin our journey across the country toward the West Coast. However, I wanted to stay in the south for a couple more months because of a few events going on, including going on a cruise with my mom and sister leaving out of Florida, my 5 year college reunion/alumni event in Charleston SC, and a family member’s wedding in Virginia. So, we found ourselves again looking for jobs in Virginia (our home state) or NC (where we were at the time). We weren’t finding any good outpatient options unfortunately (our preferred setting), so we started broadening our search to other settings. We were presented with an option for a SNF in Northern Virginia, where we would both be working in the same building, and which also had some home health responsibilities. We both had been interested in learning about home health, but had been scared to take a full contract, so this actually sounded like a unique opportunity for us to learn. And Jared had never worked full time in a SNF, while I’d worked in 3, so it would’ve been a “safe” opportunity for him to learn that setting with me there as well to help him. They were also able to accommodate the time off request I had for my cruise, while still allowing Jared to be working during that time. So although it was not at all what we had imagined for ourselves, there were definitely some perks, so we ended up taking the jobs.
We were leaving NC and headed to our new home, which was going to be in West Virginia. There weren’t many good campground options in Northern Virginia (colloquially known as “NOVA”) because it’s so close to big cities like Washington D.C., so we decided to live just over the state line at a campground in West Virginia, which was only a 25 minute drive to our facility. Again, we can never have a normal and uneventful move. When we were about to leave NC, we noticed a problem outside underneath our living room slide-out on the RV (where we previously had some damaged wood repaired in September 2016). The protective covering over the wood that they had applied, which was like a tarp material, was hanging down. We figured it would be a bad idea to pull the slide in, because the material could get caught in the slide-out mechanism. So I thought about trying to stick it back on/tape it on, but realized that might not hold, so instead I just ripped it off. Well, what I failed to realize was there was some heavy duty adhesive underneath, and when we started pulling the slide in, it made a lot of noise and didn’t want to come in very easily, probably because it was stuck somewhere. We didn’t think much of it, and we hit the road to leave.
We drove a little out of the way to go home to Roanoke, Virginia for a night and see family. We parked the camper in front of my sister’s house where there’s a big stretch of open grass and we figured nobody would care for one night. It’s always a struggle to figure out where to park it short term during moving. I also wanted to do a photo shoot with our RV while we were home, so when we were ready to leave on Sunday, we went onto the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to take some pictures before heading the rest of the way to our new home. Unfortunately, we failed to realize that this route, although “possible” on the map, was not friendly for towing a trailer. This is something we have run into before in terms of picking trailer-friendly routes and also planning ahead for appropriate gas stations to stop at that have enough room for the truck/trailer. We ended up with two faux pas during this short 3 hour drive. First, we scraped the back end of the trailer going 5mph around windy, curvy roads with big dips. Second, we scraped it again trying to get out of a gas station with a very steep grade exit. We ended up damaging one of the stabilizer jacks on the back, which we had to remove (current situation, one year later: still haven’t replaced it… we are bad at camper maintenance). Note: with the fifth wheel hitch so high up in the bed of the truck, it makes our camper hang down lower in the back, which makes it more likely to scrape than a regular pull behind trailer.
So we finally arrived at our campground in WV, and soon realized the biggest problem was yet to come. As we went to bring the living room slide out, it really sounded stuck and made a lot of noise (cue: previous error with pulling off the material before we left leaving sticky stuff exposed). It finally started to go out, but it would not seal out completely on both sides. We were stuck with it locked out on one side, but still with a big gap on the other side. Some nice neighbors came over and tried to help us even it up, and with backgrounds as electricians they were pretty mechanically inclined. Unfortunately, we were not able to solve the problem. We were contemplating what to do and how we would get it fixed. Long story short, we ended up putting it off and putting it off to be fixed later, because it’s a challenging thing to have a major repair like that done when you are living in the camper. It would’ve meant taking it in to a repair shop, and having to move out and go stay somewhere else. And of course we started our jobs the next day per our usual quick moves from place to place. So for the time being, we did some ghetto insulation using plastic shopping bags, and we just lived with it like that. Mistake? Probably. (current situation: still not fixed, one year later. Yes, we are really bad at camper maintenance).
So there we were, Sunday evening, living at a campground in West Virginia, with a very broken camper. Time to start our new jobs on Monday!
Check out the next part to this post: Travel PT: Living in WVA, Working in VA… A Crazy Assignment, Plus a Broken Arm! (April-August 2017)