Friday, December 9, 2022


Avoid little RVing disasters to reduce marital conflict



Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
We just tore the TV antenna off our rig. My husband blamed me immediately. I read the manual that came with our fifth-wheel and it doesn’t say anywhere, “Wife is supposed to crank TV antenna down before leaving campground.” I could have reminded him that he was the last one to watch TV, but I didn’t. I could have told him it was his job to check the exterior of the rig, but I didn’t. I could have told him we should share the responsibility and chalk it up as a learning experience, but I didn’t. You couldn’t print what I did tell him but let’s just say it was loud and long. I know that’s not how I should have handled the situation but it sure felt good at the time. What would you suggest? —Winegard Whining in Winnipeg

Dear Winnie:
You were both wrong. He should not have blamed you and you should not have doused him with a verbal flamethrower. Did it solve anything? I like your “could have” about calling it a learning experience. Arguing is such a waste of time and energy. You should also work on avoiding conflict by avoiding little disasters.

What you two need is “The Checklist.” I talk about this all the time because it solves so may problems before they ever occur. It is not only important to make a list but to check it religiously before even starting the engine. Lists can be long, short or even compartmentalized. On this list you put important reminders like: Is the antenna down? Is the cat in, or still on his leash? Is the refrigerator locked? Is the tow vehicle hooked up correctly? Are the cupboards secure? Does the engine have plenty of oil? Are the vents down? Have we unhooked the power and water lines? What is the fuel level? Are the bikes secure? Are the tires inflated properly? Have I hugged my spouse today?

These small reminders will keep you in the habit of taking a few minutes before blast-off and making sure all systems are GO. You might even consider an abbreviated list for short gas and rest stops.

When you replace the antenna, get one that never needs cranking up. Less cranking will make you both less cranky. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his new e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.


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5 years ago

While hubby goes and puts down the antenna wifey can go out and dump tanks

5 years ago

The last thing on our checklist is
Check that lights work, hoses and power cables are unhooked and stowed, tail gate is closed, antenna down, vents closed, slides in all the way, tires are good, door is closed and locked, steps are up, no blocks are left, trash is picked up and of course, hitch is correctly locked. No short cuts!

And we all know – HAPPY WIFE-HAPPY LIFE!

Dennis Johnson
5 years ago

I was 67 when found I needed something like a constant post it for a message to do something with RV setup/leaving. I finally found the RVminders at Camping world. They wrap around the RV steering wheel and you have to look at them before you can proceed – very cheap solution for getting older and I recommend them, more now since I am 70 now.

5 years ago

We always go over a mental check list. We don’t have written duties for each of us but we do have specific jobs we do when setting up and breaking down. We check each others duties and have seldom ever run into anything that we have forgotten. In the way of the antenna, we hang a key ring type object on the inside antenna crank handle. This also has a piece of fluorescent tape tied to it to make it really obvious it is there and the antenna is up. Works well for us and have never pulled out of a campground with the antenna up or down and to the side. Knock on wood!

Wayne Caldwell
5 years ago

When we are ready to leave home or the camp site, my wife starts inside while I’m working outside. When we finish our areas, we trade and double check what the other completed and occasionally find something missed. Then just before starting the truck, we both go back around everything outside looking up, down and around one more time rechecking lights, chains, hitch, levelers, jack, blocks, antenna, awning,storage doors, hoses, cables, entry doors, battery and propane botles. This extra time has so far prevented any problems and neither one is offended by the other one checking their work.

Karin Callander
5 years ago

Typically, I handle the inside, hubby handles the outside. Once we have each completed our pack up tasks, we go behind the other one And check to make sure everything is done. We also heard the unmistakable thump thump of a flying anetenna…we just looked at each other and in unison, chimed, well, that’s a lesson learned!

Sometimes now, I have to turn off the gas, and sometimes he has to turn off the hot water heater or close a window. No big deal. RVing is a TEAM sport, so is a happy marriage.

Jerry X Shea
5 years ago

Yes, a check list is a must. But here is a helpful way to always lower the antenna – put your ignition key to the coach on the crank handle. You can’t start the engine without it and your antenna always goes down. 2nd note: Don’t put the ignition key on a key ring with the door keys. Make it a separate, by itself, key ring that hangs on the antenna crank.

Bob Godfrey
5 years ago

Since I am a retired pilot and used to checklists, we both decided that before leaving a site we needed to have one to protect our goodies. We use it religiously every time we pack up to move our rig. However, you must also be diligent about covering all the items on the list and adhering to it otherwise it is useless. Works well. Try it!