“Why did you become a full-time family?” is one of the first questions we are asked often.
Let’s go back to the year 2012. Zachary had been working in the damage recovery business for years but was focused on residential and small commercial properties. In August of 2012, he made the leap and was hired by a company to be the Project Manager for large commercial insurance losses. His first project took him to Tampa, Fl. At the time we were in Jacksonville, FL. (This was our 10th location in our current 8 years of marriage. Our many moves will be a future blog post.)
Zachary was posted in Tampa for 3 months! Thankfully being his first project, he wasn’t too far away. We made that drive once a month to see him. Our life took on a new normal. One where we didn’t see our “daddy” every day. At first it was tough, but we were sure to FaceTime at least once a day and usually before bed.
At the end of the project, Zachary was told that most of his jobs would be in the northeast part of the country. Zachary went up and started working on various projects there while looking for a house for us in his off time. That left me to pack up all our belongings with a few weeks notice, with 3 kids who were 7, 5 and 2. I was also babysitting a few kids here and there as well. This was a fun time when I look back on it.
What is this white slushy stuff?
What crazy people move to the north during the WINTER?! Well, we did! The last week of Dec ’12, we move to PA. Over the next year and a half, Zachary would drive to his various projects all over the northeast, mostly in New York City. He would stay nearby during the projects, there was no reason for him to commute 2ish hours to get back to us.
It was during this time as well, that he was officially in a hotel for 47 weeks. Not necessarily meaning he had been in a hotel for a solid 47 weeks. I’ll repeat that, he spent at least one night a week in a hotel, but usually more. He would come home roughly once every few weeks for a few days and relax. Then he would get a phone call to get back on the road. He was one in Connecticut for a longer project, so the kids and I packed up and hung out in his hotel room for a week.
Towards the end of ’14, he was being flown to projects which had us scratching our head, why were the kiddos and myself in PA anyway? This is the time we started toying with the idea of living in an RV but we decided to move back to Sunny Florida. Oh Florida, the state of no income tax! And we chose Orlando, because Why Not?! There is so much to do in Central Florida. Being at most 2 hours away (depending on what time you’re driving) to get to either coast, it just made perfect sense for us!
Hello, Sunny Florida!
Now that we’re living in Florida, Zachary continues to be flown to his various projects, FaceTiming every night and coming home when a project is completed. Times varying from weeks to months at a time but never longer than 3 months. Middle of ’15 he started a project in Riverside, California. This lovely project lasted SIX. FULL. MONTHS! For this project, we saw Zachary once. That was rough for us.
This project solidified the idea for us to start looking into RV’s and make this a reality. Over the next year, the kids and I and Zachary, when he was home, went to every RV place and show we could get to within an hour or two drive. We looked at everything from travel trailers to Class A Motorhomes and we finally settled on “Dancer” in August of ’16.
Nov 1, 2016 was our official move in day. You can watch our launch video here! Life since that day has been amazing! Zachary still is gone from time to time, but NOTHING like before! He gets a call, flies or drives to his project. If it’s short, the kids and I stay put and enjoy the area. If it’s going to be a long job, we start heading his way. Yes, you read that right. I am the primary driver of “Tiny Dancer.” We named the rig after a song by Elton John, we’ll do another blog post about that.
And that my friends is why we became a full-time family, to bring my family back together!