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Two People, Two Cats, Two Hundred Square Feet

April 11th, 2008

So how do you fit two people and two cats in a truck camper long term? The classic answer is to stack the people on top of each other in a corner and strap them down, then let the cats fight over the remaining 194 square feet. Since we’re not having any of that, the cats are having to learn to deal with it. Somehow, they’ve convinced me to let them use one of my drawers as a ‘princess seat’ in between the times I actively need to get clothes from them.

For those of you that haven’t met our local anarchic overlords, the gray tabby is simply ‘The Cat’ as she was here first and hasn’t bothered to tell us what she prefers to be called, although she has no such compunctions against telling us when its time to be fed. The Siamese is Hunter. I was all for calling her ‘The Other Cat’, but Jenn overruled me and now we have a Siamese cat that thinks she is people because she has a name.

What you can’t see in these oh-so -cute pictures of napping cats is the constant turf war that goes on. Sure, it’s peaceful now, but there’s nothing more entertaining than watching these kids both jump in the drawer, get on their hind legs, lay their ears back and bat each other about the head and neck. OK, maybe we’re just lacking for entertainment, but it’s still pretty interesting.

In the bottom right hand corner of the first picture, you can see their food and water bowls. I took one of the faces off of a small cabinet that happened to be just the right size so we wouldn’t be constantly knocking over their bowls.

But what about the people you ask? One of our special requests when we ordered the camper was to have a couch instead of a dinette. This makes lounging more comfortable and makes the inside of the camper seem larger.

The problem with this arrangement is that Northwood still tries to fit a ginormous table in front of the couch. Sure, it’s been engineered a bit so that it slides in and out to make it easier to walk past it, but you almost have to turn sideways to get onto the couch! And forget sitting anywhere but the very ends of the couch, those metal legs will be in your way. The final straw was trying to get past the table while the slide was in: overnighting in parking lots, stopping for a quick snack or bathroom break, etc. Jenn had a bit easier time, but I get awfully tired of trying to ‘suck it in’ and having so much of the camper practically unusable.

After thinking about just what to do with the table for over a month, Jenn and I finally came up with this solution:

We built a new table that is roughly 25% of the size of the OEM table. It is considerably narrower as well as being shorter, so there is no trouble walking past it while the slide is in and we can easily hop in and out of the couch. Since it only has one leg, it can be swiveled to use as a work surface such as a sewing table.

To make up for the lack of surface area, we made a couple of lap desks from 1/2″ plywood and an ‘end table’ that mounts onto the divider wall next to the stove.

The final piece of the puzzle is a vinyl center console intended as an add-on for vans apparently. It acts as a clutter catcher for all those things that never seem to have a place but need to be where you can get to them easily. I didn’t take a picture of it as it is doing an excellent job of keeping lots of miscellaneous junk organized at the moment!

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One Response to “Two People, Two Cats, Two Hundred Square Feet”

  1. LiveWorkDream says:

    Oooh, I think you’re onto something there, guys!

    We opted out of the camper because our 70 lb. dog wouldn’t fit in a drawer. Lucky you!

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