Dear RV Shrink:
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
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
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