Life in a travel trailer….in a Colorado winter….in freezing temperatures, is….interesting. We have been without heat a couple of times due to running out of propane once and a bad regulator on another occasion. But, we have electric blankets and hot cocoa. We have had frozen pipes so no water a couple of times but we have a space heater which thaws things out fairly quickly and a daughter who lives only a couple of miles away in a true “I gotta shower right now!” emergency. All in all, though, it isn’t fun. Not like camping in a travel trailer in the mountains or on the beach is fun. It’s not even fun like staying at a KOA because you are heading to somewhere fun. No. It’s just not fun. At all.
You know what is also not fun? It’s not fun to want to have a few minutes (or a few hours) to yourself to take a leisurely bubble bath and process something your sex addict husband has done…only you can’t. Because, well, you don’t have any privacy in a 30 foot trailer, or any bubble bath…or a tub. So, that’s not fun either. The closeness is really, really close. All. The. Time. There is no bedroom door to close to isolate for awhile. In fact, there isn’t really any door. There is a privacy curtain…but it’s just not the same. I know that recovery, for both of us, is all about finding the closeness and emotional intimacy that he has been incapable of for so long, and I completely get that. But, may I just point out, that there is such a thing as overdoing it?! When winter weather set in, our outdoor space was no longer available so our actual living space is literally 30 feet by 8 feet. Which we share with our 70 pound Collie. And in that space there is a sofa, a dining table and a queen size bed. And a kitchen and a bathroom. So….small. Puny. Tiny.
In case you haven’t guessed, I am completely over this trailer park life and am counting the days now until we can move into our new home (23!!). But I will say this: throughout all of this ridiculous adversity, I have grown into someone I respect. I did not have a meltdown when we had no water. I did not rage when the heat went out (although, I may have made a crack about it being a cold, cruel world 😜), and Will has not become the victim of a murderous insane spouse, pushed beyond all limits….so that’s a win. I have been able to maintain my sanity and dignity (except for the pooper scooper incident which I will not go into here). And even more satisfying for me is that I feel like this was a major hurdle or challenge that we have conquered. Living in a confining space for an extended time, over 6 months for us, is difficult for anyone. For a couple who is trying to recover from addiction and trauma..well, most folks would say that it was a death wish. But, we are doing it..have nearly done it…and not only survived, but grown in our recovery and in our marriage. We are going to be okay I think.
And, for the record, I don’t ever want to go camping again. Like, ever.
Day 2 – Willy
This is Willy. He is a purebred mahogany colored rough collie. I adopted him from the Collie Rescue and Shelter when he was two years old. He was such a handful! He had been purchased from a pet shop as a puppy and had been in four different homes in his two years of life. His records showed that he was in excellent health but was a “problem” child. He had a history of incessant barking, getting into open trash cans, digging, and pulling on a lead. In other words….he was being a dog. What the records did not note, was that he had a fear of golf clubs, brooms and baseball bats. We were unaware that he had severe attachment disorder and that he had suffered neglect and finally was abandoned. His last owner took Willy because the man had a heart attack and needed a new heart. His chances at getting a heart were low so he wanted a companion for his final days. Then, a heart became available, he had a new lease on life and went on a cruise. Willy went to the shelter.
True to his problem behavior reputation, the first few weeks were rough. He would howl from his kennel whenever I left the house. He dug holes in the yard so monitoring him became a constant effort. When the digging was curbed, he discovered that he could jump the fence to chase the deer and foxes and rabbits….or just to show that he could. He stopped jumping over but then bolted right through it into the neighbor’s yard to play with their dog. This earned him the title of Willy the Wonderdog. When we were finally able to leave him out of his kennel at night, we left him out in the house during a quick grocery store run. We came home to a nearly demolished living room. Long streaky paw prints all over the front windows where he had tried to get out of the house. He was shaking with relief when we returned home, oblivious to the destruction, only overwhelmed with happiness that we had come back. I sat on the floor with him, sometimes for hours then before I left the house. He would start to panic whenever I picked up my purse and car keys. I would sit with him, keys and purse next to us and he would sit mostly in my lap. I would stroke him and speak softly to him and tell him that I was going to run to the store, then drop something off to my daughter and I would be right back. I left for fifteen minutes…then thirty…then one full hour. He knows now that I will always be back. He knows I love him and that I won’t ever hurt him. He is the best boy ever.
In return, Willy loves me unconditionally. He still barks but stops when I tell him “quiet!” He no longer freaks out when I sweep or if Will gets his golf clubs out…he knows he won’t be hit. Sometimes he sniffs at the trash can…then he looks at me, ducks his head and walks away. He makes me smile and laugh a lot. He talks to me in the way only Collies do. He still thinks he’s a lap dog (all 70 pounds of him!) and still likes to sit in my lap when I’m on the floor. He knows when I am sad or sick or angry and he is by my side. He follows me from room to room (or in the trailer from one end to the other…all 8 steps) and lays his head on my lap sometimes just to say hello and to invite me to scratch his ears. Mostly he makes me happy. He never says no to a hike. He obediently sits and waits for his cookie before retiring to his bed at nite. His ears perk up and he wiggles all over when I ask if he wants to go “bye-bye” in the car. He always listens to me…and I am fairly sure he understands most of what I’m saying. He is nearly eleven years old now and is getting a little white around his nose. I know he is aging and I can empathize. Some days we just laze around together and don’t do much of anything….he’s ok with that. He is faithful, he is compassionate, he is Willy. He makes me happy. . . Willy, Willy happy. 😊