MW and I have been married for twenty-five years and best friends for almost 40.  We thought we got along pretty well.  Then we bought a travel trailer.  As it turns out, we have communication issues.  I think we may need counseling or maybe some type of twelve step program for people who are incessantly flipping each other off.  Ugh!

Although I occasionally drive and back Penelope in, we have fallen into a routine of MW doing most of that.  My job is usually to get out and direct.  We each are under the impression that we are good at what we do.  Apparently we are both wrong.  Here are some examples:

Let’s start with hand signals.  I have a lot of them, and like most languages, there are more than one for the same thing.  Just like you can say back up, reverse, come on, etc., I can do a single wave back, a double wave back, just a finger wave back, etc.  Whoa, stop, halt…high five gesture, waving left to right, closed fist.  You get the gist.  Imagine my surprise when MW said he just wasn’t sure what I was telling him to do.  I was frantically gesturing come back another two inches…wave back, wave back, fingers spread apart two inches, wave back wave back.  Nothing!  Repeat.  Nothing!  REPEAT…that is where you are exacerbating the movements so he knows you are silently yelling.  Nothing!  Flip off and storm up to the window of the truck.  “I’m not sure what you are telling me to do?”  WTH????  Can’t you understand common sign language?  “I need you to use the same sign for the same action every time.”  Hmmmm…okay, so that does make sense.   Problem solved…most of the time.  Like the vocabulary addict I am, there is the occasional back slide, but I am trying.

It is raining buckets, and I’m behind the trailer guiding him back.  Umbrella in one hand, I gesture.  Nothing.  I gesture again.  Nothing.  This time I am using the “MW approved” gesture list, so he has to know what I am saying.  NOTHING!  I restrain from the flip off and storm up to the window.  “I can’t see you in the mirrors when it is raining.”  Ugh!  Solution…when it is raining, the windows have to be down so he can hear me.

I’m behind Penelope motioning for MW to come on back.  However, he followed my previous instruction and turned the rear end, so now I can’t see the mirrors.  Amazing…just like a truck on the highway, if you can’t see the mirrors, he can’t see you.  I’m working on using my little grey cells more.

MW is backing in, and is almost where I want him to stop.  I motion for him to turn Penelope’s rear slightly to the right.  Not realizing that he is almost there, he decides it will be easier to pull forward and back in straighter.  NO!  We almost had it, but let’s just start over!

We are trying to get Penelope into a particularly challenging spot.  MW has backed up and pulled out a couple of times, so she is in a slightly better location.  I’m telling him to turn her rear to the right.  That means backing the rear of the truck to the left.  I’m not taking into account the very large tree near the front of the truck at all, and am admittedly getting pretty darned frustrated.  MW finally figures out how to solve the problem, and later explains why he could not do what I was trying to get him to do.  Wow, how did I miss a tree????  Grey cells not in use there.

This was my favorite:  It has just started slightly drizzling, so we are trying to get hooked up and out before it really starts coming down.  We’ve raised the stabilizer jacks, loaded everything in the storage area, and locked all of the doors.  The last step is checking the lights and making sure the wheels are rolling.  MW is in the truck, and I am standing at the rear.  I gesture for left lights.  Nothing.  I gesture again.  Nothing.  I smack the side of the trailer.  Nothing.  I’m heading to the front when MW rolls down the window and apologizes.  He forgot I was out there waiting for him and was reading the map!

I guess, like all things in life, this is a learning process.  We are learning how to communicate to move Penelope around the country.  I’m learning to use my middle finger less and make sure I can see the truck mirrors.  MW is learning to clean the windows and mirrors on the truck when it is raining and to not forget I’m back there trying to do something.  Who says retirement means you don’t work…this is like a new JOB!