Jan 242009

My friends, longtime RV columnists and speakers Joe and Vickie Kieva, call the chores around an RV blue jobs and pink jobs.

Typically the pink jobs are the ones inside the RV – cooking, housecleaning, packing when it’s time to hit the road. The blue jobs are the outside ones – hooking up utilities, pulling out the awnings, dumping the holding tank.

By the names the Kievas have given them, traditionally the blue jobs are the ones the guys handle, while the lady of the house is responsible for the pink jobs. Of course, this is a generality. In many homes on wheels, all of the duties are shared by both parties. And of course, there are plenty of solo fulltime RVers who don’t have anyone to help carry the load and are responsible for everything.

Dumping the holding tanks seems to be the most dreaded and unpleasant chore for many RVers, and I’ve noticed that it is almost always the man who gets this duty. I always wondered about that, and brought it up one night when a bunch of us were sitting around the campfire. “Why are women so against dumping the tanks,” I asked. “After all, aren’t they usually the ones who changed all of the diapers?”

“Yes, I changed all of the diapers,” one lady responded. “That’s why I refuse to empty the tanks. I’ve already paid my dues!” Makes sense to me.

I don’t mind emptying the holding tanks, though Miss Terry certainly is capable and willing to do whatever task comes up. I also handle all of the other outside duties, as far as hooking up and unhooking the utilities, checking the oil and water before we pull out of a campsite, etc. We usually hook up our Blue Ox tow bar together and run a light check on the bus and van.

Inside the bus, Miss Terry is the worker bee. Partly because we still have some things we need to finish building in on the bus, and she has her own way of securing thing so they don’t go airborne in an accident, and also because by the time I’m finished outside getting ready to take off, she has most of it done.

When we’re set up at our destination, I usually stay out of the day to day things. I think I’m more than capable of washing the dishes, but Terry says I make too much of a mess, and who am I to argue with her? After all, it’s her kitchen!  So I leave her to it, and I stay at my computer “working” all day long.

(Here’s a tip for any newlywed guys out there – all you have to do is break one or two of her favorite dishes, and you’re relieved of KP duty for life. Fill the RV with smoke while you make her breakfast in bed just once, and you’ll never have to do more than make coffee forever more. Laundry? Remember all the reds and light colors go into the washing machine together! There’s another job you’ll never have to do again.)

Of course, once in a while I have to get off my rear end and actually do something to justify my existence. I carry out the trash, visit the neighborhood dogs, and hand Terry the tools when something needs fixing.

My least favorite job in the whole world is making the bed. One reason for that is because in the close quarters of our bedroom, with no slide out, it is difficult to reach the head of the mattress to hold it up while we change the fitted sheets. And because I’m basically a slob and Terry is a perfectionist, I always think that if the sheet and bedspread cover the mattress and the pillows are at the head of the bed instead of the foot, we’re done. Terry says we have to tuck in the sheets and smooth out the wrinkles. My argument that it’s a waste of time, since we’ll just mess them up when we go to bed, falls upon deaf ears.

So what is your least favorite chore around the RV?

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Nick Russell

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  12 Responses to “Blue Jobs And Pink Jobs”

  1. Washing dishes and cooking.

    The dishes part of it is why I installed a dishwasher after those-who-washed-the-dishes grew up and left home.

    I’ve never cared for cooking. When it comes to making do for myself, it’s amazing how I can stick with the same easy stuff, meal after meal, day after day — Granola bars for breakfast, raman noodles well seasoned with Tabasco sauce for lunch, and “whatever” for supper. I have difficulty coming up with a good answer to her question, “What do you want for supper.”

    In the camper, she’s got everything organized and stowed away in just the right place and I just stay out of the way — unless she asks for help, of course.

    Mike Goad (at home in Arkansas)
    Haw Creek Out ‘n About

  2. […] the original:  Blue Jobs And Pink Jobs | Tags: aransas-pass, conversion, gypsy-gathering, holding, journal, life-on-wheels, on-my-soapbox, […]

  3. I think that we both try to focus on the things that we each like, first. First to get to it gets to do it. Once all of the “good” tasks are done we are still picking the more preferred tasks to the ones that individually drag our feet on. This goes on until the list is finished and whoever finishes first usually thanks the one that finished last “for all your help… I know it is not your favorite thing to do and I appreciate it.”

    So far, this has worked great because finishing last gets the kudos (and sometimes, kisses). It also has the advantage of not being “responsible” for a fixed set of tasks so its “not MY job” if I screw it up.

    One big advantage with this approach is that we each stay in touch with all of the tasks necessary to keep things working smoothly and when something hasn’t been done neither one of us can ever say “are you going to do xyz?” because the pat answer would always be “why, are your arms broken, today?”

    As for making the bed, neither of us is a stickler for getting it made up on a daily basis. We have a king size velux blanket ($19) that “throws” nicely and floats well enough to be easily manuvered over everything; pillows, sheets, sleeping gear, etc. as it settles. I usually do it just because my arms are a bit longer and I am a bit taller and can maneuver it a little more easily. We started this when Katie (our CockaPoo joined us, mostly to keep trash out of the bed. Usually, changing the sheets is a two person job just to make it faster. The King sized mattress slides footward to make reaching the top corners for the fitted bottom sheet. With one on each side, it makes a much easier task since that full innerspring mattress must weigh a couple of tons.

    Like you and Miss Terry, getting ready to move is a combined effort and while I am doing the heavy lifting outside (including the sewer hose and 50 amp black anaconda) She is securing the inside, closing slides (synchronized with my work, of course) and then coming out to pick up any pads, risers, chocks, etc. and double checking the rest of my work.

    Finally, I go inside and double check her work, too. Neither of us usually says anything other than “thanks” when something has been missed.

    our motto from the first day of marriage has been” “nobody wants to keep score.. so nobody does” and everything seems to get done, eventually.

  4. Wow!!! Two blogs for the price of one today. I’ve found a drop or two of bleach on her favorite $125 skirt gets you out of laundry better than mixing reds an colors!!!!!

  5. It is funny that discussing the pink and blue jobs just came up for us too. Paul is having hip replacement surgery at the VA hosptial in San Antonio and since we are more or less “off the road” caring for an elderly parent in Weslaco Texas, the motorhome is in semi-storage state. I don’t like motels, don’t like sleeping in a strange bed and don’t sleep well since I am a “worry-wort” who thinks someone is trying to break in with every little noise and creak I hear. It took me three weeks to convince Paul that we need to take the motorhome to San Antonio . We have stayed at Traveler’s World in the past and it is easy access to just about everything I’ll need. Paul will be in the hospital for about 5 days, and we have a full day of tests the day before surgery. A week in a motel is just not acceptable to me…I want my home on wheels…my bed, my coffeemaker, my “stuff”. Paul is sure that I cannot unhook the utilities to the MH and hook up the car. Well, this is just baloney! If HE can do it so can I for goodness sakes! Well, gee, I also have the ability to speak and if I have any problems, I am sure some kind soul at the RV park could give me some pointers or an assist (not that I am looking for one, lol!) I have watched and assisted countless times with outside duties and I was a bit miffed that he thought I was unable or unwilling to do the “blue” jobs. Ha! I told him that I will drive the MH w/toad, do the complete hookup at the park and he can “observe”. I reminded him that I would be his “angel” while he is in the hospital, so the criticism better be constructive and not nassty…there could be “payback” during his hosptial stay. So, roles will be reversed come Tuesday. Wish us luck…me with the new responsibilites, him with his hip!

    Dennise Ziaja
    Weslaco Texas

  6. Solo fulltimer here, so I get to do it all. I don’t actually “mind” any of it. However, I am a practicing procrastinator, so things tend to pile up (like laundry) until I can’t stand it. Then I heave a big sigh and do it. I have a tiny rig so no amenities, like washer/dryer; everything is manual. As to the single bed in the cabover, I use a fitted sheet on the bottom (not too hard to get on) and a sleeping bag (open) for a top, so it works like a duvet and covers everything beautifully (and if it’s really really cold, I can zip it up and sleep toasty warm).

    I, too, eat a lot of the same simple things. I don’t cook as much as I would because the stupid stovetop cover is hinged so that I have to take everything off it to have access to one burner. I’m going to punch out the rivets one of these days!

    I think my least favorite chore is dusting because everything always needs dusting.

    It takes me about 30 minutes to get ready to roll. It helps that I maintain the inside in partially ready-to-go state all the time (latches always seated, rubber matting on all surfaces so things don’t slide, dishes washed every day, etc). I close and shut off everything inside, and then I move to the outside: put on gloves, turn off water, disconnect hose so it can drain, unplug power cord and surge protector, stow the SP, feed the power cord into its compartment (I usually have a baby wipe in hand to clean the cord while feeding it in), coil water hose and stow in rear bin, close gray tank, disconnect sewer line and stow in bumper, put cover on tank outlet. Done.

    Oh yeah, I forgot that I usually have the hood open when I’m staying at a place for more than a night so as to discourage critters from nesting. So I have to close the hood. Fluids etc were checked at my last fuel stop so I don’t check them again (unless there’s drippage on the ground).

    Now really done. Start the engine and drive off to a new road. See ya!

  7. We pretty much both do everything. We believe in “cross training”:-) Wes has always insisted I know how to do everything “just in case” a situation comes up that I might HAVE to. He can do all of my chores also (just not as well). He likes cooking and has enjoyed having the opportunity and time since retirement, which is fine with me since I don’t particularly enjoy it. I never mind cleaning up if he will cook. He does make the bed daily, because our rule is “last one out, makes the bed”. However, when it’s time for clean sheets, I do that. I find if I do a really good job with tight corners etc, then it’s easier for him on a daily basis.

    We do the laundry together at the laundromat and have a system down that lets us get 2 weeks + done in about 1 1/2 hours – all folded and ready to put away when we get home.

    We also clean the outside together. I do the bottom half and does the top:-)

    We also both double check the other when we are ready to move out.

  8. First of all let me thank you for your great work.

    Ok, next – what a great laugh you provided for me this am. We only have a little 15 ft. Aliner Cabin A3 for our fun trips. Not a lot of rig compared to some, but I do have all the good stuff the big one’s have. So, all the things needing done are the same.

    Who does what? with us it depends on who is moving the fastest. Which is usually me and I don’t mind. One of the reason’s I got the little rig is so that I could take it myself and go. I have taken my little home out on over a dozen trips in the little over two years I have had it. I have let my hubby go with me on three of them. So doing the “thing’s” that need to be done are mostly done by me. I can do them faster, easier and am more familiar with all of it anyway. I do make hubby do some of it cause he need’s to learn. He is getting better at it by the way.

    Thank’s again Nick for all your humor, help and advice. Keep it up.

  9. My least favorite job is washing and polishing the outside of the motorhome. That’s why it looks like it hasn’t been done for a long time: it hasn’t. Suzy’s least favorite is dusting.

    One of Suzy’s favorites is driving the motorhome, so she does all of it I can plead and wheedle all I want, but I don’t often get to drive. I’m the navigator and flight attendant.

    As for hooking up the toad, that’s a shared job.

    We have made sure that Suzy knows how to, and CAN, do all the “blue” jobs.

    Inside, I wash dishes, Suzy dries, we both put away. We make the bed together, but are not fussy about doing it every day. Suzy usually makes dinner and lunch, I usually make breakfast (I make really good omelets!). We’ll do the interior cleaning together, often on a random basis — unless we are expecting company, when a more thorough job is done.

    The main thing is, we live a good life, we love and take of each other, doing whatever is necessary, appropriate, or just plain fun.

    Thanks for asking!

  10. Being a solo I have to do everything, and being new at it I find something every day that I should have been doing but didn’t know about. I dreaded having to empty the tanks, but find that it really isn’t that bad a job, especially when you have a sewer connection at your campsite. Cleaning the hose out when you’re ready to leave isn’t fun, but it’s not all that bad. I haven’t yet used a dump station.

    The thing I dread most is running out of propane. I cannot lift a full tank and I’ve been lucky to have always had someone to do that for me, as well as to hook it up in the compartment.

    Going solo has its own rewards, but I do miss the companionship as well as division of duties. Men are generally inclined to try to fix things, and if they’re not certain how to do it they keep that to themselves and try it anyway, bless their hearts!


  11. My least favorite job in the motor home is TV/Satellite Receivers/Cable/DVD/surround sound/and that other “black box” stuff. Pushing all the right buttons on all the right clickers with all the right “components” powered off/on as needed. Just when I get things all set up on Satellite, my mister will ask, “well, see what you can get on cable/local.” Neither one of us is very good with all this technology but at least I can figure it out. He can’t! The worst part of it all, for me, is that I don’t even care what’s on TV! I’ve got a book.

    I do most of the inside stuff with exception of cooking. He plans/shops/prepares/serves food. I would just have a bowl of cereal if left to my own. (Remember, I have a book!). Now, he doesn’t really like this job but he likes to eat more than I do. I help clean up. He “does” the dishes. Since we’re just half-timers, we use paper plates most of the time. But there is the silverware, pots, pans, cups, glasses.

    Changing sheets is a two person job. Making the bed is done by whoever doesn’t want to see it messed up. Often one of us will come help the other if one starts the job. In cold areas we use a down comforter — easy to shake out and toss over the bed. Cool climes call for the thin quilt and flannel sheet. Again, easy. Warm/hot places, well we just straighten the sheet.

    He drives. I navigate. I can drive. He can’t navigate!

    As for other blue and pink tasks, he mostly does all the blue, I do the pink. He readies the outside while I ready the inside. Each of us can do the whole job if needed. We check each other with a walk-around/walk-through. Then get to the checklist. I read it off from mid-coach and do visuals. He confirms from the cockpit.

    All in all our system has worked for us since we started this “go see America” thing in 1957. First, sleeping in our ’56 VW convertable, then tents, pop-ups, back to tents, then a Class C, now a Class A that our neighbor calls “that great big grey thing!”

    We are best buddies, best friends and a great travel team. God Bless my Sweetie and America.

  12. The job I hate more than anything is hitching up to head back home, never seems to be a problem when we’re leaving home!! You guys fulltiming are on to another adventure, this day is coming for Deb and I, just not quick enough.

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