Saturday, November 23, 2013

Santa Made an Early Stop

I got paid (finally!) yesterday. I say finally because that particular client likes to push it out as long as possible and I usually have to fire off an email reminding them that THEIR policy is to pay in 30 days, not mine. So, two weeks later, I got the money. Naturally, money and I are soon parted, especially when Jenny is in a mood to buy musical instruments.

We went to Artichoke Music in Portland, hoping to get a stand for her hammered dulcimer, but they had none. Instead, they had something I wanted, something they NEVER can keep in stock. This is it:

It's a Firefly banjo ukulele, a cross between an ukulele and a banjo. The ease of playing of a uke (only four strings, nylon strings for comfort, lightweight) and the twangy, loud sound of a banjo. It's a kick to play,  even though the classical songs I usually play sound a bit odd on it. Guess I'll have to learn some new songs.

Instead of the hammered dulcimer stand, Jenny noticed a recorder in a glass case. It's a Moeck Rottenburg 439 alto recorder. We have several recorders and I don't like the sound of the sopranos (too high) and can't play the tenor (too big for my small hands), but this one is just right.  In fact, it's better than just right. This is an amazing instrument. And it sells for more money than I would ever pay for an instrument, but this was supposedly used (with no signs of wear) and they sold it to us for a fraction of the cost. In fact, it cost considerably less than the Firefly. And the sound! This is so rich and deep.

I don't like high sounds. They hurt my ears. So the reason I don't like opera is that they feature the sopranos, and I sit there and cringe and tremble like a whipped puppy.  But I could listen to this one for hours. And I can also play it. Only one problem. An alto recorder is tuned differently from the others so music has to be either written specifically for it, or transposed.

Transposed is a word Jenny can use in a sentence with authority. I can barely pronounce it and certainly can't do it. For me to play it a couple of things will have to happen. Jenny will have to transpose and write the music down. I will have to learn how to play the recorder. But with this recorder, it will be worth it.

So Merry Christmas to us! It's merry and bright and musical around here tonight.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Something I'm Looking Forward To

Well, I actually look forward to lots of things. But one thing I can't wait for is getting rid of Beavercreek unCooperative Telephone. If you like being connected to things like phone, TV, and Internet, I strongly advise you to forget about the whole "back to the basics," living in the country thing.

For starters, if you're stupid enough to have a BCT telephone, you know that EVERYWHERE is long distance. Except Beavercreek. Which consists of a diner, a saloon, a veterinarian, a car mechanic, two convenience stores, an empty piece of land where people sell old cars and RVs, and a post office. This is not a bustling 'burb, nor does it need to be since we are three miles from Oregon City and about 15 from Portland.

This phone thing bugged me so much that I bugged them. I called about every week asking if I still had to have a phone. See, the deal with small towns is this: If you want Internet and cable TV, you have to have a phone. Or at least you did. I think my calling on a regular basis tipped the scales. Anyway, a year or two ago they let us get rid of the telephone which was only used by salesmen and politicians.

Now, I've never had cable TV in my life, but out here you have no choice. Well, I guess you could shoot your TV, but if you want to see NCIS and get your news from John Stewart and Steven Colbert, you have to have cable. Because there's no freakin' TV here either.

Which brings me to the Internet. I have to have Internet in order to work. But I really object to paying high speed prices for dial-up service. Oh, it's not really dial up. But it sure feels that way.

Because I'm a night owl, I often work late at, well, duh, night. Which is when all the crooks in our little hamlet (smallest municipal designation in the's a real thing, not just the name of a play) run Torrents. Which, you may have guessed by my crafty use of the word "crooks," is illegal. I once asked the guys on night support (who I have on speed dial) why this was allowed. It's illegal. Why do they get to degrade service so I can't watch reruns of Warehouse 13, while I still get charged a ridiculous amount of money for the slowest service in the state. Upshot, they still run Torrents, but I did get our level of service increased while we paid the lower rate.

So what am I looking forward to? Real Internet. Yep, something that doesn't stutter through every dang show we try to watch. Something that runs 24 hours a day instead of crapping out on me around midnight when all the crooks come out.

Anyway, enough whining.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Trailer Update

So, Calamity Jane (aka CJ) is in the shop. See, there were these wrecks. The one where we hit the sign, the one where we hit the tree, the one where we hit a bumper, the one where we backed into the house. Remind me what we think we are doing?

She's been there for two weeks and will probably be there two to three more. That's because the shop can't seem to order parts until the RV is there, rather than ordering them to be there when the RV is there. If this keeps up, we may spend most of retirement living in an RV repair shop. Which apparently you can do.

Fortunately, we still have the house but it's for sale. And people come through whenever they feel like it, violating the mysterious real estate law that says they should CALL FIRST!

So at least twice I've been in bed when the invasion occurs. Which means I have to hurry into some clothes. Since most of my clothes are in the RV, this sometimes means throwing on dirty clothes as I can't just waltz through the house to the utility room to pull things out of the dryer.

Then I'm, well, here. While they look. The problem is we got rid of one car and if we have to draw straws for who gets the truck, I automatically lose since Jenny has one of those jobs that requires her to be some place. My job requires me to be some place, too, but my place is right here, in the house, in my office.

Anyway, not having a car at my constant disposal is harder than I thought it would be.  I hate to drive, I don't drive often, but when I want to drive, I want a car to drive.  Mostly I don't have one, which means I mostly talk to animals.

Not that I don't like Dr. Doolittle (the one with Rex Harrison) but I'm not him. The dog tricks me all the time, the cats either totally ignore me or sit on top of me while I'm trying to work. Now, think about this. Right now we have 2400 sq ft, plenty of room for two oversized adults and four animals.

But the trailer, with all the slides out, is maybe 500-600 sq ft. The animals all want to be where the people are, and as long as Jenny is still working, I'm the people they want to be with most of the time. This should be an interesting experiment.

However, at the rate the shop is fixing the RV, and given that a half-naked woman running through the house all un-showered, disheveled, and blind (my glasses live in my office), I doubt we'll ever sell the house. They must think it's possessed. I am the ghost in the house.

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What can you say.....

...about another day wasted trying to sleep off this crud? My only productivity was making split pea soup and finding my missing VISA card.

Oh, well. By being sick now, there's a chance we won't be sick around here over the holidays. Last year we spent the whole Christmas season on our own because Jenny was contagious and I was recovering from whatever I gave her.

I hope this whole month doesn't devolve into a history of illness, but illness is what we have. And I've watched all the seasons of Warehouse 13 to be found on Netflix. I know there are two more seasons, but I don't know how to access them. Uh, oh, rambling has set in. Never a good sign.

Anyway, time for this sicko to hit the sack.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday. Monday

Just a quickie:

Went to the store to buy Melatonin to help me get some much needed sleep.  They have time release Melatonin. Why?

Now off to take some, not time release, and see if I can FINALLY sleep through the night and on into the day tomorrow.....

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Smiles: Things that Made Me Smile this Week

Since I feel like death on a stick, in part due to fibro and in part due to a lingering flu, not much made me smile this week. But it's hard to keep a comic from laughing and I am no exception.

Things that made me smile:

  • Banter with Meg, our lovely youngest daughter.
  • Hearing my friend Mary Jean laughing in our living room while I was sleeping.
  • Watching our old dog, Good Dog Gwyneth, go from a lazy semi-dead state to a bouncy puppy state after hearing the words "dinner" and "dog" used in the same sentence.
  • Finding Jenny working at home when I thought she was at the office.
  • Hearing that our RV may be ready sooner than we thought.
  • Best of Craigslist. Never fails to make me laugh, even when I feel like crap.
  • Discovering the Progressive Christian Alliance and Christian Universalism. Maybe there is a place for me.
Sorry it's short, but I'm sick. Hopefully tomorrow may be better.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Have I Done?

I may have bitten off too much by deciding to post a blog every SINGLE day in November.  It's not as bad as NaNoWriMo: writing 1667 words every day for a month is INSANE. But I'm already running out of material. Those who know me in person are looking puzzled and shaking your heads. Me? Run out of material? NEVER. But I don't have any of you here spurring me on with ideas.

Today, all I have had to think about is a) food, b) haircut, and c) groceries. Of course, I didn't get up until 3 pm. (In all fairness, I didn't fall asleep until around 7 am.)

Yes, my days and nights are reversed. This must be that regression thing that happens when you get old. I'm becoming a baby again.

Since I've given myself a four-day weekend, I can't even tell you about what I'm working on because I've yet to open the files for the most recent book I'm indexing. Time enough for that on Monday. Or Tuesday.

So, I shall leave you with this. I NEED MATERIAL. Remember, folks, I have no life. I work for myself, which means I'm alone all the time. I do have a partner, but she works a lot for someone else and travels all over. The dog is feeling punk so she doesn't come visit my office as often as she usually does. (She's getting old, too.) And I have a truly noxious neurological condition that makes sleep almost impossible and ALSO demands that I sleep a LOT.

That's it for today. Maybe tomorrow will be more entertaining. It can't be less.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy Birthday, Meg!

I  sort of wish I was normal. I generally go to bed around 4 am and get up around noon, so the fact that it is now 12:09 on November 2nd means little to me. In fact, in my world it's still November 1st. 
November 1st is the Feast of All Saints or All Hallows (hence All Hallows Eve or Halloween), and it's always had some religious significance for me, raised as I was in Episcopal schools. But its real significance is that 24 years ago my youngest child was born.
Beyond the fact that I'm clearly too young (at 62!) to have a 24-year-old, let alone the 32 and 30 year-olds, I am constantly amazed at this remarkable child. 
Not only is she smart and beautiful and nice and upbeat, but she can do this:

This is the child who came home at age 16 and said, "Don't freak out. I promise I'll go to college, but I want to join the circus." For her it made perfect sense. And join the circus she did. Now at age 24, she makes her living performing and teaching circus arts. She has trained in Portland and Europe, and has performed all sorts of places. She is also a phenomenal actress.

But she's not just a circus performer, she's one of the wisest women I know. She's a hoot to be with, she's a brilliant writer and conversationalist, and she knows who she is. She's only 4'10", but she's one of the biggest souls I've ever met.

Anyway, we took her out for dinner tonight, and she entertained us and let us amuse her. Jenny and I are so proud to be her moms.

Happy Birthday, Meg!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Football: A Theological Perspective (A not-so-instant replay)

This is a rerun, a Monday Memory. Therefore, some of you have already read it. It's still funny. It's aged well. Enjoy

I spent the day with friends today and we watched football.
I hate football. I don’t understand football. Here’s what I know about football.
My history with football started in high school. I never missed a football game. I was there to watch the cheerleaders and smoke under the bleachers. I was there to go to the dance after the game. I was there to get out of the house. I was not there to watch football. I knew the object of the game was to carry the ball down the field to the goal place and that other people tried to knock the person with the ball down. Mud was part of the game. As was rain which caused the mud. But, from the bleachers, I could never find the ball. Never. Once in awhile, I would see some guy run down the field, chased by other guys, and I assumed he had the ball. Then he would end up in the mud and the cheerleaders would yell this:
“First in ten, do it again, we like it.” Huh? But they were cute when they did it and I was there, after all, to watch them. Did I mention I’m a lesbian? So when the cheerleaders said it, so did I.
(At basketball games they said “Get it on the rebound, rebound, rebound” and I knew what that meant. But “First in ten, do it again, we like it?” WTF were they talking about?)
Aside:  I graduated from high school in 1969. When I was twelve I went through confirmation classes in the Episcopal Church. I knew that the fact I would graduate in 1969 was funny for some reason but had no idea why.  What I learned in confirmation classes was this:
  • Parts of the prayer book did not really exist (The 39 articles. Have you ever seen them? I thought not.)
  • The Holy Spirit would descend on me when I was confirmed.
  • After that I could eat the body and blood of Christ which was actually fish food and wine.
So I get confirmed. Bishop Carmen had some sort of palsy and when he laid his hands on your head it felt like you were being attacked by a blender on high. Your whole head shook and then you were confirmed. For a long time I thought the Holy Spirit was part kitchen appliance, part bird. Then, after he finished shaking all our heads, he gave us a verse. The point of the verse was this: When we saw him, we were to say the verse and he would know which year he had confirmed us. (Stay with me. We will get back to football after this brief half-time show).
Now, remember this. We are twelve, so sixth grade. The girls had brand new breasts, the boys were still short, we were all, basically, morons. We already know there is something funny about the fact that we will graduate in 1969 but we have no idea what and our older siblings and friends refuse to tell us.  And Bishop Carmen gives us this verse: “Whatsoever he saith unto you do it.” But, he wants to make it easy and tells us we just have to come up to him and say, “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Although we are not quite sure about the mechanics, we do know that “Do it” means sex. We also suspect that 1969 has something to do with sex and we find this quite funny. We spend the next several years looking for excuses to tell the bishop “Do it, Bishop Carmen.” Hell, we were twelve, we amused easily, especially if it had to do with sex, which we only understood in a clinical 5th grade health class sort of way.
Now back to football. By the time I was in high school I had a better idea about the whole concept of “doing it” and I even had an inkling about what made 1969 so dang funny. And there are the cheerleaders, for no reason I can understand, yelling “First in ten, do it again, we like it.” One of them is my next door neighbor whom I have had a crush on for years. She was four years older than I was, a senior when I was freshman, and beautiful. She moved like the dancer she was (she went pro with SF Ballet) and I have always had a thing for dancers.  So, between smoking under the bleachers and watching the cheerleaders, I’m pretty sure this particular cheer has something to do with sex. That whole “First in ten” thing is a freaking mystery and remains so for my entire high school career. But I was sort of getting behind the whole sex idea and if it involved the cheerleader next door, I was all for it. So I was pretty sincere on the whole “Do it again, we like it” although at that point I had no idea if I would like it or not.
Fast forward. I never went to a single game in college because I was too busy being a hippy and doing that whole sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll thing. Yes, I did it. And I liked it. After college, I went to a New Year’s Day party some college friends still hold today, some 30 years later, and we played an annual game of flag football. However, since these were mixed teams, flag meant the guys tackled the girls into the mud. Sort of as if we were still in sixth grade only in our late 20s. Morons. Some guy on my team tackled me. You read that right. ON MY TEAM. And my glasses broke so I had to sit out. I am blind without them. That is the only time I ever played football, I was tackled in the first 30 seconds, and couldn’t even see the rest of the game. If I remember correctly, there was a bong involved.
Another fast forward. I meet the beloved Jenny who actually likes football. I make it clear that I will not watch football with her and she decides that she will watch only the Super Bowl. Or maybe the Rose Bowl. I get those two mixed up. So once a year she goes butch on me, watches a football game complete with yelling at the TV which I patiently explain cannot hear her, and I go in the office and do something else.  For about 13 years this works just fine. Then our kid, the Divine Miss M, decides to be a cheerleader. She makes the squad freshman year and by senior year is star of the show and team captain. Suddenly I have to go to football games. All the time.
I no longer smoke, you can’t get under the bleachers anyway, and I’m still there to watch the cheerleaders. There is no bong involved although I wish there was. But Jenny is determined to teach me to like football. So start the endless repetition of the FACTS OF FOOTBALL, listed below:
  • There are two teams.
  • The home team wears white. This means that if we are at home, we’re the white guys, if we are not at home we are the blue guys. Except Maggie’s school always wears blue so one of my certainties flies right out the window.
  • Each team has two lineups, one for offense, one for defense (finally I know why there are always so many guys just standing around)
  • On the far side of the field, the one I can’t see because I am blind, are two, or maybe three or four, guys with orange numbers on sticks.
  • The number guys move around depending on where the ball lands and they flip the numbers to figure out many yards the ball went. This has something to do with the white lines on the ground if it isn’t too muddy.
  • There is still something called “First in ten” and I still don’t know what it means. Or maybe it’s “First and ten.” Either way it’s meaningless to me. Jenny explains it every game. And every game I forget. Did I mention the brain injury?
  • The game still consists of about 20 minutes of action and three and a half hours of standing around.
Every week she explains this (or something close to it) and every week I have no clue. (You have to know that one of my daughters played soccer year round for almost two decades and I never understood offsides either) (and, I find out, football has offsides as well but I have no idea what that means either) (However, I’m pretty sure that football offsides and soccer offsides are not the same but it doesn’t matter because I don’t understand either.) I watch the cheerleaders.
(Note: I am no longer interested in the cheerleaders in that way because they are now young enough to be my children. In fact, the one they keep tossing in the air is my child.  And that would be, well,  icky. Not too mention illegal. And I am married (although apparently that is not legal either since I’m married to a butch-wannabee named Jenny.) And, in case you forgot, my name is Susan which means we are both women. That whole lesbian thing. And don’t ask me which one of us the guy, you moron. The whole point: NO GUY!)
However, today I learned something about the mysteries of football. One problem with live football is that they run, they fall down, the stick guys move, and everybody huddles, slaps asses, and then they stand around until they do it again. Like I said, little action, lots of standing around. But in televised football they can fill the “standing around” time with instant replays. Endless instant replays. Endless instant replays of instant replays. So you can’t even figure out where the game ends and the replays begin. Makes it all so much clearer to me.

On Commitment and Some Ideas on How to Get There

Okay, I think there's a post that says I just signed up for BlogHer. They do a monthly challenge called NaBloPoMo, which involves blogging daily. Since my goal is to get into this habit, and since I'm horrible at follow through, I decided I just had to commit.

So, accountability. I hope you will nag me if I forget (or decide) not to blog. I find that in most things, a deadline and someone to yell at me if I miss it are essential. Maybe it was my twenty-plus years in journalism, but I do best when I know I have to produce.

Another reason for doing NaBloPoMo is that it happens in November, the NaNoWriMo month, and I'm just not up to NaNoWriMo right now. I've done it before, produced my first published book that way, and know that I can't handle it this month. It's just too much. Besides, I've got a book to get done and ready for December publication. But I figure a blog post a day is doable.

Of course, committing to doing a blog post every day means coming up with content everyday. To that end, I'm giving each day of the week some possible themes that hopefully will help me come up stuff to say. Or, I could just rant about politics, but some of you get enough of that from me on Facebook.

I won't share all the themes with you. You want to be surprised don't you? But I will tell you that the theme chosen for today is Memories. This means I'm going to be lazy and repost an oldie but goodie from another blog I had. Watch for it. It's the infamous Football and Theology post which had some folks snorting beverages.

BlogHer: Glad to be here but confused

I've just joined BlogHer because I want to do NaBloPoMo, but I'm so confused. 
  • How does this blog link to my existing blog?
  • If I post in my existing blog, will it show up here?
  • The login screen says I don't have a token, but it logs me in anyway?
If anyone out there has a clue (and I suspect most of you do), please fill me in.
Thanks, and glad to be here

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Things That Made Me Smile This Week

Over there at the right side is button for the Sunday Sweets and Smiles challenge. In this challenge, you are supposed to do a collage of things that made you smile durring the past week. So here goes.

First off, there is this little girl. She really knows how to rock those tap shoes and her wild abandon is contagious. Something I need to emulate.

Then there's this Halloween costume that appeals to the book lover in me. Announcing the Diction-Fairy:

Photo: I think I found my Halloween costume! The Diction-fairy! Thanks to Children's Reading Foundation for sharing this one!

And this:

Other things that made me smile:

  • Finding out that one of my daughters has applied to the Teach for America program. It will be a significant cut in pay for her for a couple of years, but she will be an awesome Math and Science teacher. Not to mention giving her more time to spend with my gorgeous grandchildren.
  • The awesome people who helped us get our house ready for the open house.
  • Sandra Bullock in Gravity. The movie is one of those roller coaster rides that careens from one horrible situation to another, but hey, it's Sandra Bullock.
  • Pinterest. Boy did I have fun pinning things this week.

Other pleasures of the week:

  • Finished Clive Cussler's Spartan Gold
    • I'm not sure about this series, the Fargo Series, although I'm willing to give it another chance and read the next in the series. No, it does not involve any wood chippers.
  • Read James Patternson's Third Degree
    • Third in the Women's Murder Club series. I'm loving this series. Great fun, although this book had a disaster in it. However, if someone had to die, I'm glad it was her and not the others.
  • Started Rita Mae Brown's A Nose for Justice.
    • Have my tastes changed? Or is it just that after reading Cussler and Patterson, Brown's books are just too tame? I'm going to keep going and maybe I'll fall in love with this new series. However, so far it is not up to the Mrs. Murphy series, nor is it Six of One or Ruby Fruit Jungle.
  •  Found eighteen one dollar bills in my freshly washed jeans, the jeans I just took to the laundry, and my coat pockets. A windfall.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's Getting Serious Around Here....

I know, I know. I slacked off on blogging. But I was busy getting ready. Ready for what? Well, everything, of course.

So here's the news:

  • Jenny put in her retirement date. It will be official on February 28th. If I have my way, we'll head out on March 1st. Anybody want to help me plan a party? We'll need to use your house since ours is now tiny.
  • The big house is up for sale. Chase Bank has confused the hell out of us by telling us the house has been foreclosed on (it hasn't); sold at Sheriff's Auction (nope, wrong there too); and then telling us to do a short sale. Okay. We can do that.
  • Bob the Realtor (I'm sure he has a real name, but I don't know what it is) is having an open house on Sunday. If you want to buy a 2400 sq. ft. house on a half acre with a creek, lots of trees, wildlife (even when I'm not here), and beavers, come check it out.
  • Of course, because of some minor accidents backing the RV into the driveway (where a lot of those trees seem to live), the RV has to go into the shop for a couple weeks so we had to move back into the house that we may or may not own, may or may not sell, and therefore we may or may not find ourselves homeless. If that happens, we'll call you.
  • Why you ask? Well, the trailer was supposed to go to the shop two weeks ago. Actually three weeks ago. But three weeks ago there was a lot of rain and we couldn't get it out because the place we have to turn it around to head in the right direction was a muddy swamp. The same one we got stuck in back in June. Then two weeks ago, after the first round of the rainy season, we discovered that, although the dealership TOLD us the problem with the slide was fixed, it actually wasn't. One slide is stuck in the out position. We've been waiting two weeks for the dealer to come and get the slide in. (We tried. My job is to push the button. Jenny's is to lift the slide and push. Didn't work. Nor did it work when our friend, Mark, came to help. And Mark can fix almost anything.) They were supposed to come today but didn't although they had a good excuse. They have promised to be here tomorrow. After that, it will take two weeks or so to get the repairs and upgrades we want done, and then we will move back in. Since by then the rainy season should be in full swing, we plan to be completely out of the house and living in an RV park. No more trees in the driveway or swamps for us.
  • I'm not having surgery on my ankle. Although the doctor hasn't given me the final word yet, I've made up my mind. Yes, it still hurts some, but it's getting better. PT says the tendons are curling and I think that's cute so I'm just going to leave it that way. I'll probably end up in a brace, because I feel a bit unstable, but that's fine. And I'm DRIVING again!
  • I need to take some photos. The house is pretty much all packed up, the RV is loaded (mostly), we've been living in it since August and love it, and the only camera I have is my cell phone. Does the big crack on the face of my phone matter?
  • The dog loves to be wherever we are, the cats love the RV although it has never actually moved with them in it, and the vet says we should just put them in their carriers and put the carriers in the RV. That way we don't have to listen to them howl. Works for me.
  • Winter has attacked my body with all its evil. I have fibro in case you forgot and that makes me a human barometer. From October to June, I hurt like hell. Then I have about two weeks of comfort, then it starts over again. Part of the reason we're going RVing. I need to be gone from here during the rainy season (and this is's all rainy season).
  • Oh, and I had the flu. For two weeks. I'm still coughing. You should have bought stock in Robitussin a couple weeks ago.
  • Meg (aka Circus Kid) is home from circus school in Italy and decided to stay in PDX to work and do some advanced circus training. Yes, Portland is a hotbed of circus arts. Who woulda thunk it? She's teaching at Night Flight and, I think, Circus Project, and performing almost every weekend. She's also helping us get ready to go.
  • What else? We spent the month of August in Bend, and it was HEAVEN. We're really going to like this ongoing camping business.
  • The trailer has a name. Now Jenny doesn't agree but she's come up with nothing better and I write the blog, so the fifth wheel is officially Calamity Jane. (No offense to our friends named Jane).  CJ has had more than her fair share of tree incidents, odd events, and all, so it fits. Plus she's a bitch to backup. To be honest, though, I've only backed her up about two inches and driven forward about four feet. I intend to keep it that way.
  • My second book should be out by Christmas. At least that's the plan, and I've told my fans so I guess I have to get it done. If you haven't read the first one (it's a series) it's called Blind Leading the Blind and it's a mystery. Click on the link to the right (when I figure it out) to buy your very own copy, or go to Powells and have them print you a copy while you wait. You can also go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble if you prefer an e-book. It's funny and sexy, well-written, and gets good reviews. How can you go wrong with a couple of neurotic lesbians, one a blind psychologist and one a defrocked detective, who end up raising a 15-year-old girl. Now, if you've raised daughters, you know that right there is a set-up.
  • This is my busiest indexing season but Jenny has convinced me to retire as well. Since I start getting social security in January, I'm all for it. Between her SS and pension, and my SS, we should be just fine. The nice thing about this is that I can say no to indexing jobs that are creepy, weird, or stupid. I love it. And if the clients beg, I raise my rate. If they bite, I MIGHT take the job. Otherwise, I just chill.

So, hopefully, on March 1st we'll be heading for California. We'll spend a few weeks in Palm Springs so I can get warm and drink gin and tonics with my cousin, after a leisurely drive, then we'll either take Rte 66 to Chicago or go across the South, ultimately ending up in North Carolina to see family and then New York State to see friends. I'm ready. We'll head back through Yellowstone where our middle daughter and her family will join us. We should be home in time for the two weeks of September summer.  Can't wait.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

RVing Post Surgery - Thoughts Needed

Looks like our entry into full-time RV life may be delayed again. Depending on the results of yesterday's MRI, I may need to have surgery on my ankle.  Since the doctor was all set to do surgery without the MRI, I think he's pretty sure I've torn some tendons. Which will mean several weeks in Dead Bug Pose (leg elevated, flat on my back more or less). Followed by many more weeks in a cast and on crutches.

We've gone round and round about recovery in the house vs. recovery in the RV.

I want to recover in the RV where everything is close, but that has some problems. Mainly the steps into the thing (made for men, as usual) and the steps up to the bathroom. Both seem to be insurmountable when you can't put any weight at all on one leg for several weeks. If anyone knows of ways to circumvent these problems, let me know. Don't tell me to do the steps on my bottom. That puts me squarely on my butt, on the floor. Let's see you get up from the floor with one leg while taking serious drugs. Hell, let's see you do it without the drugs.

The house makes sense because when we built it we put a wheelchair ramp up to the back door and it's all on one level. But it's big. And we've lost the remote to the TV.  I figure if I have to be in bed in the house, it's gonna be a fancy hospital bed and Netflix will be my new best friend. After Percocet, of course.

I figure I will need:

A hospital bed in the family room (centrally located to the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, deck, and TV.)

One of those hospital tables so I can put my computer on it and work. Yes, I did take on a job that will be due in August. Hopefully, I will no longer be on drugs and able to complete it about the time the chapters arrive.

A wheelchair for a few weeks.

A new remote for the TV.

A knee scooter. Those of you who've seen me on crutches know that a knee scooter can only make things worse, but there you have it.

A garden hose hooked up to the sink so I can get my own damn drink of water.

Lots of friends to help.

If anyone knows how to live in a fifth wheel on one leg, please let me know how you do it. Do the make stairs for those things for short people?

Friday, May 17, 2013

It Gets Better....NOT!

Before all my gay and lesbian readers freak out, let me assure them that DOES get better. I love being lesbian, it gets easier all the time, being an old dyke is pretty damn fun, and the world it is a'changing. So don't have a cow.

No, I'm talking about life with my foot. Which, although healing, is not healing quickly. In fact, the ankle is the slimmest it's been since high school. Which may be due to atrophy. Just sayin'.

Brief recap:

End of January: Looking at guitars and ukuleles instead of where I was going, I trip up CLEARLY MARKED step and break my fourth metatarsal. That's some stupid bone in my foot. They put me in a velcro and plastic boot that goes from knee to toe.

A few weeks later: Some doctor at urgency care decides my foot, which still hurts like a mother,  is not broken after all and takes me out of boot. Fine with me. Also takes x-rays and I am assured that nothing is broken. (I keep reminding myself that 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.)

Two weeks after that: I'm sent to see a podiatrist although I have no idea why since according to some random radiologist (a bottom 50%er, I'm sure) my foot is not broken. Said podiatrist looks at the same dang x-ray (Kaiser has all that stuff on a computer) and shows me where my foot IS broken.  He puts me in a little boot thingie. More industrial strength velcro, more plastic.

A few weeks later (are you keeping track? I'm lost...but I fell in the end of January and it is now the end of May): The bone is well! Yay! I'm thinking a few weeks of physical therapy and I'm out the door, ready to enjoy summer with a new improved foot. Instead, after the most excruciating x-rays possible, that not only hurt my foot but torque my back into spasm, I'm in a cast. Soft tissue damage apparently takes a long time to heal, and I did soft tissue damage when I fell. I also have a cane.

Two weeks after that:  I need a new cast because the old one is biting into my toe with every step. I also realize I have no follow-up appointment so I make one.

Today (another two weeks, if you're trying to keep track): Follow-up appointment. I'm thinking maybe I can be out of the cast. Instead, he gives me two choices. I can have an MRI (of which I am terrified....don't ask, but it involves having to be removed from an MRI in emergency mode) and possibly surgery, plus EVEN MORE months in a cast. Or I can just spend more months in a cast (number to be determined). However, I have to keep as much weight as possible off my foot because there may be torn tendons/ligaments/whatever in my heel. So, in addition to the cane, the cast (I went with the ever popular red cast with purple barber pole effect again), and instructions to stay off my foot as much as possible, I now have CRUTCHES.  And he says I need to come see him once a month. Not one time, next month. No, once a month for maybe forever. And I need to get a new cast every two weeks or so.

Getting a new cast involves a saw. It tickles. But I also have a damaged nerve in that foot and leg from a surgery that went awry and nicked a nerve. So it also hurts like hell. Prompting me to want to kick the man who is squatting in front of me, with my foot between his legs. And I have to resist this temptation every two weeks. I may eventually just let him have it.

Oh, some other options batted around: Being completely off my foot for several weeks. As in no weight bearing. Did I mention surgery? A knee scooter? And now my friend Renee, who solves problems for people with all sorts of issues, thinks maybe I need a wheelchair for around the house because how the hell can I get a drink of water and bring it to my office if I'm on friggin' crutches?

By the way, did I mention we're in the process of scaling down from 2400 sq. ft. to 600 sq. ft. and I'm on CRUTCHES?

BTW, I am also paranoid and have accused Jenny, two of my children, and most of my friends of arranging to keep me from driving by having Kaiser put me in cast. Which, as far as I can tell in my current mood of evil, is the most likely cause of all this.

Thank god/dess for friends. That's all I can say. I have no more use for fiberglass. EVER.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I Have Just Been Informed....

Jenny says my last post is incorrect and that I don't understand physics. Well, duh. I got a courtesy C in Physics in college because the instructor was from Pakistan and I was the only person in class who could understand his accent. He spoke, I translated, he owed me. End Physics.

Anyway, I may or may not have messed up in describing something but I don't feel like doing any sort of physical science at this point in my day. If she still insists its wrong tomorrow, I'll see what I can do.


The Saga of the Tow Truck Guy

Yesterday we finally decided to once again brave backing the fiver into the narrow tree-lined driveway.   Obstacles to this include a creek, a field that trapped us in mud a few weeks ago, those trees, and not really getting how it works. However, Jenny is fearless and after several attempts, it sailed right into the driveway. Well, there was the part where the rear fender of the truck kissed that alder and it de-barked, but that was minor. We put the stabilizers down and allowed the cats to wander around inside. It's part of our RV desensitization program for cats. Three of them. This may not work.

We plugged into the house, aka shore power, and wandered off to have dinner. The next day, when we were ready to venture off to do something really important like pick up some money someone owed us, we still had to unmate the two vehicles.

Now, we remember that we have to put the front stabilizers down first. Check.

Then we have to pull the pin. Check.

Then we have to raise the front stabilizers. No check.

Apparently, the house power (15 or 20 amps) and the RV (stepped down from 50 to 30 amps) are not exactly compatible. Apparently, compatible means "the same" in this case. Jenny crawled around in the RV, then in the house, all the while stopping to push the buttons that electrically raise and lower the stabilizers every few minutes, all to no avail.  She eventually found that the "incompatibility" had tripped a breaker in the house. Go figure. And, overnight, for some reason, this drained the batteries. No battery power, no electronic leveling. I, of course, did nothing much because a) I had a job to do for a client and b) MY FREAKING LEG IS IN A CAST.

She calls the dealership and they say "did you buy the extended warranty?" and we can't remember. I sit there wondering why we need to use the extended warranty on a rig that is brand new and under original warranty. Jenny does the more practical thing (ain't it always that way?) and checks to see if we have the extended warranty. We do.

Our insurance policy also has emergency road service. While the extended warranty will bring an RV tech to the house, it might not do it anytime soon. So we opt for the emergency road service. She calls, explains the problem (which, in case you forgot, is that the stabilizers won't go up so we can get the RV off the hitch), and a guy is dispatched. We assume this is a guy knowledgable in the ways of fifth wheels.

The guy comes, tells Jenny to get in the cab, and then tells her to drive forward. Or maybe it was backward. Just a little, which she does, The RV comes off the hitch easy peasy.  But the guy didn't drop the tailgate. At the same time, or so we're told since neither of us actually saw it happen, the stabilizers decided to come up. Not electronically. On their own. Is our RV haunted?

By now, Jenny has called me and I come out to supervise. Remember, I'm in a cast. I can't do much of anything useful, but I'm really good at limping and saying "Ouch." I also bring my cell phone. And here's what I find:

Notice the complete lack of clearance between the front of the RV and tailgate. It's not supposed to be that way. My guess is the stabilizers, which were down by the time I got there, didn't raise up due to some weird electrical oddity, but because the pin on the hitch was now resting in the bed of the truck, canting the whole thing at a weird angle. Which leads to this picture.

I'm calling this photo coitus interruptus. See the two prong-like things on top of the left part? Now see the little round thing on the bottom of the part to the right? They are supposed to be together. As in the little round thing is supposed to go into the prong-like things. Not gonna happen this way. Clearly these inanimate objects do not understand the way it's supposed to work. 

Obviously, it's dark so we can't see the damage to the tailgate. Neither can we.

So, I'm sitting there supervising, and I start talking to the tow truck guy who I think is knowledgable about such things and he tells me he knows NOTHING about fifth wheels. Well, duh. 

Even I know that you have to drop the tailgate before telling the driver to do anything. Which begs the question, why did the insurance company send someone who knows nothing about fifth wheels when Jenny clearly told them the RV was stuck on the hitch and the stabilizers weren't working. The tow truck guy says they just told him we were stuck. Like in the mud. That is so last month. We make mistakes but we seldom make the same mistake twice. For example, many years ago, we realized that you can't drive a tent trailer through one of those post office boxes that sticks out so you can reach to put mail in without getting out of the car. Can you say BONDO? And we've never done that again. No, siree. Our next error was letting me and my friend Mar drive the trailer somewhere and my attempt to back up. But that's another story, an old story, and one I'm not proud of.  Let's just say the folks at Apache Trailer are relieved that we are no longer coming in with our annual crisis. Although I'm sure they had some good laughs along the way.

So now we have a hitch in our gitalong or at least a big dent and tear in our tailgate. We'll be calling the insurance company to make good on this one. 'Cause we're pretty sure the electronic leveling system works just fine, thank you very much. At least as long as the batteries are full. (We will get it checked out though, when we take it in to find out why the backup camera and lights no longer work.)

But it doesn't make sense to me that the stabilizers would suddenly retract at that very moment. Tow truck guy, you've got some 'splainin' to do.

Blogger Problems...Please help if you can

I'm new to Blogger, having used Wordpress for years. And I'm having some issues with it's so-called intuitive interface. If you know how to fix any of these problems, please let me share your braininess by posting a comment.

1) I've got that dang Captcha thing on my comments and I don't want it. I'd rather use moderate and release than make my readers go blind trying to figure out what words in odd formations they need to enter.

2) My pages don't work. I wrote them, I promise. But you can't see them. Neither can I, unless I go into edit mode. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks in advance.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Things are Moving Right a hectic pace

For various reasons, that I will not bore you with, we have decided to move by May 31. We're not moving far, just to an RV park near PDX until December when I can start getting social security and Jenny can retire.

Yes, May 31. As in a month from now. My business partner and her other business partner, not to be confused with any of our life partners, offered to handle the move, the packing, the estate sale, and everything else. Remember, I'm in a cast. I'm using a cane. I'm not supposed to walk on it although it is, in theory, a walking cast. They would prefer I get a knee scooter, but I'm not spending $300 for a little single purpose scooter. Besides, every time I take a step, it pinches my pinky toe. I'll probably get a new cast next week.

The first step was to deal with my library. Here are the after shots:

 The books on the shelves on the low case are my complete Madeleine L'Engle collection. I was fortunate to be able to study with her, and these books are going to my grandkids in Seattle.
all the stuff on the other shelves is related to my graduate programs....unimportant things like my thesis....

On the left are some shelves we didn't get to yet. And there are several more shelves in parts of the house that have yet to be done. Our estate sale folks took 20 boxes of books to Powell's to sell, I took about that many last year, and there are probably another 20 or so to go. Fortunately, radical feminist commie pinko fairy theology sells well. Your standard run-of-the-mill Christian stuff does not. Glad my taste runs to weird.

More later.....

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Be Afraid, Be VERY Afraid.....At least my business partner thinks you should

I admit, it's been a rocky learning curve. To date, we have one MVA involving another vehicle, and four hit trees. To be fair,  our sticks and bricks driveway is narrow and tree-lined and definitely not designed for backing a 36" fifth wheel into. However, the last time, all we did was scrape some bark off an alder and put a tiny dent in the back fender of the truck.

Not quite the same damage done by the tow truck guy. Oh, yeah, the tow truck guy. But I digress.

We brought the as-yet unnamed RV home on Monday and discovered the back-camera and lights were not working (I think they disconnected something at the dealership when they were putting a new non-leaking roof on the thing.) Since backing up into the driveway was not in the cards at that point, we parked it crosswise to the driveway, left it hooked up to the truck, and went about our usual routine.

Part of my usual routine is this:

Yes, that is a cast. And it is on my right leg, my driving leg. Also my walking and balance leg. 

Why didn't they put a real cast on my leg to begin with some eleven weeks ago? Who knows. But they did put one on last week. Oh, the fourth metatarsal is all well. But the soft tissue damage is not. So I had a choice between a cortisone shot and a cast, or being off my feet entirely. How long? Who knows. Apparently people have had casts for soft tissue damage for six months or more. I, however, will not. I WILL NOT.

So, the truck and fiver are in the driveway, crosswise, and still mated. Around 2 am, I decide to go to bed. Since the cast is annoying as hell, and my foot is permanently at right angles to the rest of me, I'm finding sleep difficult. As a prophylactic, I pop a sleeping pill. I climb in bed, start to nod off, when Jenny wakes up and says, "The trailer."

Seems that she has to be court at 8 am the next morning, in the next county over. This is an hour's drive and she can't be late. So at 2 am we are outside, trying to unhook the fiver. My job is to hold the flashlight, which is actually my cell phone, and shiver for effect. Also to weave and bob and try to stay upright. Remember the sleeping pill? Her job is to climb the ladder to pull the pin and then climb into the truck to disconnect the trailer. (Yes, we are both short.) Sounds easy. But the pin won't budge. Finally, we give up and she decides to call someone to give her a ride to court.

The next day, she calls the guys at the RV dealership and they tell her she needs to put the truck in reverse, slowly let off the brake, and the pin will line up to come out. Why didn't they tell us that before? Like when they showed us how to put the RV on the hitch?

So, another crisis averted, minimal meltdown, and at last the truck is free. The trailer, of course, is still not IN the driveway unless you count crosswise across the entrance as in. We don't and I'm pretty sure the neighbors don't either.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

About This Truck

Okay, so we bought this truck. It's a 2005 Dodge Ram HD 2500 long bed super cab monster. I've never driven anything this big. Hell, I've never SEEN anything this big. My last truck was a 1962 Studebaker with tuck and roll upholstery. This is no Studebaker. Did I mention it's diesel?

After a month of driving the thing, this is the uneasy truce we've developed. I can now get in fairly easily. (I'm short and fat, it's big and tall. If we were a heterosexual couple, it might be a good match.) To get in, I have to put a foot on the running board thingy, grab the handle, and jump. But first I have to decide if I lead with my broken foot (still in a cast) or if I use that foot to jump with. (It's a flexible cast...more like a bootie with plastic and velcro and hot needles of fire jabbing into my foot.)

Depending on which foot I lead with, I may or may not make it all the way into the cab.  With certain feet, I sort of land backwards or sideways. Oh, and first I have to lift Good Dog Gwyneth into the truck because she's even shorter than I am and she has a torn ACL.

No, we are not mean dog parents. Yes, we could get it fixed. For six thousand dollars. And she's part Springer Spaniel which means that she jumps on her hind legs like a maniac whenever she sees us. Yes, it's her hind ACL. And if we fixed it, she'd immediately tear it again because she's a SPRINGER. As far as I can make out, the only REAL skill Springers have is springing. Oh, and eating the mice the cats haul in.

Back to the truck. I am now in it. If I am behind the wheel, I also have to remember that starting a diesel truck is a two-part operation. Not that I always do remember, but I try. First you turn the key part way, and then wait for a little coil thingy on the dashboard to go out. If I could see the coil thingy, this would be pretty easy, but this is a BIG truck and I am impeded by the steering wheel which blocks my view of the dashboard.

Driving is pretty much like driving anything else, except you take up the whole lane. And so far I am terrified to take it into the city. The lanes are narrower there, and there are other cars, and I might have to PARALLEL PARK this sucker. So far, I've either avoided or cancelled anything that has had the remotest possibility that I might have to parallel park the behemoth. You know those white lines you're supposed to park between? Impossible. This thing fills the white lines and then some.

Now, we're back in the driveway. I've avoided the tree (the one Jenny didn't avoid), and I'm ready to get out. It's long way down. Especially with a broken foot. Up until a couple of days ago, I just slid slowly down the seat, unsure that the ground was actually there for me. Now I have more faith and slide part way down then give a little self-assured drop.

So far, this new lifestyle is shaping up to be a real adventure.....

It's Becoming Real

So I've loved that old teddy bear with the stuffing coming out for all these past 20+ years and FINALLY she announced that she wants to be out of the house in three months. Maybe not out of town, and maybe not retired, but living full time in the fifth wheel even if we are stuck in Oregon for a few more months.

Now begins the flurry of sorting, packing, disposing, and getting ready to go! I spent Sunday trying to condense my yarn and fiber stores down into one large Rubbermaid container. Good luck with that.  But I do have about six times as many boxes in the sell/give away/relocate pile as in the keep pile so there's hope.

This week, I may tackle the books. I've already sold hundreds of books at Powells, but there are still way too many in the house. Problem is now that I've weeded out the easy sells, I have to actually think about this.

Wait, no. I don't. I have old eyes. I can't read anything that isn't exploded to at least 14 pts which means I read on an e-reader. But wait. What about the book I'm researching that requires all these tomes not available on e-reader? See, these are the choices I face. Blindness or knowledge.

Anybody looking for a huge floor loom? You can't keep it forever, but I'd rather have someone using it and enjoying it for the next few years that dismantle it and store it. Let me know.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Meanwhile, back at camp....

When we left this saga, we had finally gotten the truck wheels back on the ground, the hitch off the truck, and the water connected and leaking. Please note that I had little to do with any of this except for the warning about the rear stabilizers that went unheeded and connecting the power (which worked just fine, thank you very much!)

We tried and tried with the water hose, but nothing, not even MEN, could get it disconnected. I pawed through the boxes from our tent trailer and finally found a Phillips head screwdriver and some pliers. I suggested that the pliers might help, but it was dark and wet so we just used water frugally.

Note: You don't want to lug a full tank of water. Each gallon of the stuff weighs 8.3 lbs, taking up part of your weight allowance which is much better used for musical instruments, yarn, fiber, books, clothes, food, yarn, fiber, music books, games, puzzles, books, fiber. You get the picture.

So we only had 1/8 tank or about 8 gallons. Not much for washing, toilet, and showers. Showers were the first to go, there was a bathroom right across from us, and who needs to eat anyway?  Early the next morning (and by early I mean around noon) we headed up to Warrenton (about 30 miles away) to go to Fred Meyers. I mention that only because we also needed food, something we had brought none of. Although we discussed the problem with the water, we did nothing about it until we got back to the campground. There we were able to purchase a new hose (Felipe and Jenny had determined the hose was the problem), a washer, and a cable for the cable TV. Priorities.

Using the pliers I so conveniently found, they were able to get the old hose off, the new hose on, the leak stopped, and water flowing freely into the fresh water tank. Those extra towels sure came in handy. Another obstacle bypassed. So we went to bed.

The next morning, eager to hit the road before the campground deadline of noon, we unhooked, unplugged, slid in the slides....oh, snap, one of the slides was stuck in the OUT position.  Since it had been quite windy, I assumed a branch or some such was stuck on top of the slide, but no way was I going to climb that little ladder on the back of the rig. Jenny was going to, but first we had to drop the carrier that will hold our bikes and the spare tire. This involves cotter pins, those annoying giant bobby pins that won't move. Finally, at last a use for the screwdriver.

But when we got the cotter pins out, the whole thing was too close to the bumper to drop down flat enough to let us put the ladder down. It can be moved. But not by us. Forget the ladder.

Now, this is where it helps to be in a campground when you first start out. A man in an adjoining slot came to help us. Just about the time I discovered that the rear stabilizers (which, you will remember, I suggested raising before trying to get the trailer off the truck hitch) should indeed have been raised.  They had come apart.

They weren't broken, they just weren't together in such away that part A could slide into part B. But there was about 11,000 pounds of trailer on top of them. Did I mention we have yet to buy a jack?

Enter the man. I'm not sure how he did it, but he managed to get part A into part B. Maybe because he's a man and he's used to that. Being lesbians, we seem to be missing a part. Not that I'm complaining. Just saying.  The stabilizers were then raised and Jenny started trying to re-establish equilibrium by leveling the whole thing. This is all done electronically but involves the ability to read small print on the interior of the basement, something I can no longer do. My job was to stay inside and push the slide button, while Jenny and now two men, fiddled with things on the outside. All I had to do was remember which of three unmarked slide buttons controlled which slide.

After about an hour of this, and by now a crowd of onlookers had formed, the men and the onlookers decided that they would push the slide in while I pushed the button. Success at last. Now all we had to do was put the trailer on the hitch and get out of Dodge. Did the trailer want to cooperate? Of course not. Our next hour was spent hitching up the trailer.

With a fifth wheel this is supposed to be an easy task, five minutes at most. Line things up, sort of. Back up until it clicks into place, plug in the electric brakes and lights, and drive off. It's not an exact science like putting something on a ball hitch. You can be off and the hitch will guide it in. In theory. Thank god/dess for all the men and women who now were really into rescuing us. (I did give them express permission to talk about us after we left.)

Again, we had division of labor. Jenny was driving. The men were supervising, reaching the things we couldn't reach, arguing with the hitch and each other, and telling me when to raise or lower the front stabilizers. This involves that small print on the interior of the basement, the small print I can't read, so I just pushed buttons until things seemed to be moving. Since the buttons have odd names on them, not intuitive at all, I moved that sucker all over the place until the men realized that a) I had no idea what I was doing because b) I couldn't see the small print and took over. The women were watching us and making commiserating noises and telling the men what to do. Did I mention it was raining?

Finally, with Jenny in the driver's seat, the men in all the places that required some clue about what to do, the women supervising the men, and me supervising the dog, the thing went in.

We immediately drove to Camp 18 to eat lunch and our next stop was Curtis Trailer where we dropped off the trailer to get the slide looked at, the leaks we'd found fixed, the spare tire/cargo thing adjusted, and whatever else. I can't remember.

But here's what we need:

A ladder so we can easily reach all the parts of the hitch.
A jack that will hold the trailer up
To read the damn instructions. (Well, I sort of read them, but they really don't make a lot of sense until you know what you're reading about, which you can't know until you do everything wrong.)

So, we did everything wrong, but we got home safely, and can't wait to go again.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Grandkids

We went to the beach to see our grandchildren, all six of them, in one place for the first time ever. I'm not going to bore you with how perfect they all are, but I am going to show you pictures.

Sisters Shannon and Amelia with Uncle Felipe (father of EmmaSofia and Pilar).

 Todd (father of Shannon, Tyler, Amelia, and Jack) and Jack with Jenny in the background.

Pilar, almost smiling at me.

Jack and my sister, Sally.

Tyler, a crab "claw" and Jenny.
My niece Kelsey with Jack.
EmmaSofia (EmSo) with Sally and Jack

So there you have it. Now back to the trailer story.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And So It Begins....

Two weeks ago, Jenny and I were still going round and round on the whole motor home vs. fifth wheel thing, a debate we've had for close to two years. Suddenly, we now own a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 TurboDiesel (a truck that guys think is pretty cool) AND a 2013 Denali 330RLS. It looks like this:

 Pretty cool, huh? And, yes, that is a dent in the rear panel. See that tree, the one just to the right of the driver? Jenny had a disagreement with that tree the first time she tried to put the truck in the driveway. (We used to drive a Prius that would fit in the bed of this hurking big truck.)

Our first trip was last week, to Cannon Beach. One of our all-time favorite beaches. If you go there, stay at the Cannon Beach RV Resort. Not too expensive, all the amenities, big spaces, and virtually empty during the week in the winter. Did start to fill up on Saturday, but we were on our way home, and as you will discover, we were glad it was full.

Back to those trees. Inconveniently located for anything bigger than a Prius. In fact, we couldn't turn left, the direction we needed to go, so we had to turn right. Which established dilemma one.  From the right hand path, we could only go so far until we run into a) another creek with a weaker culvert, and b) a sharp right hand turn. By sharp I mean imagine a bobby pin.

So, at some point we had to  turn this mother around. Jenny was intent on backing it up slowly, carefully, staying on the gravel road as much as possible. She should not have listened to me. New rule: If you are driving and I'm not, ignore me.

Because I told her to just turn around in the large grassy swath. In Oregon. In March. Following a rain. Which is how this came to be:

Those little sticks were my feeble attempt to create something to give us traction. Mind you, this is right in front of our house. See how far we got? We called various people like Brooks Motors who we adore (no tow truck) then AAA (account had lapsed) and finally Baker and Baker Towing. $150 dollars later, we had been towed about 10 feet, just far enough to get back on the road. However, in the process, we caught one side of the trailer on yet another tree. We live in the country, on a creek, near lots of trees. We aren't very good with trees. Well, I am, but I avoid driving as much as possible and have yet to pull the trailer. I did, however, slide the truck into the driveway without harm on my very first try.

Finally, we were off. But we had to go to Camping World because we needed a couple things that didn't come with the trailer.  Like an inline water filter and something else related to the water system. I forget what. I'm old. Live with it.

We got those, a non-spill water dish for Good Dog Gwyneth, a bed and leash for same, a step stool because we are both short and neither one of us can reach all the various parts of the hitch that have to be reached in the back of the truck bed, some chemicals to put in the black water tank, and a Good Sam membership. If you are keeping track, we have now spent too much money. Plus, I needed yet another Diet Coke.

Good Dog Gwyneth in her natural element:

We got to Cannon Beach while it was still light. But we couldn't get the truck off the hitch. Looked so easy when they had us do it at the dealership. Was super easy when we did it earlier that same day. Now it was impossible.  A neighbor in the campground tried to help. We ended up lifting the back end of the truck off the ground. Finally, we called our sons-in-law to come help.  Four men, plus Jenny, plus about an hour of time, managed to get it separated. My only job was to say, "Don't you think you should raise the rear stabilizers first?" over and over.  I am, by my own account, chopped liver on the grocery store shelves of life.  So naturally no one listened. They should have.

Finally, we were unhitched, and our new home (once we go full time after Jenny retires later in the year) was set up.  This is what it looks like inside:

Pretty, huh?

Total tally first day out:

Dollars spent: Too many
Tow trucks utilized: One
Dings to truck: One
Dings to trailer: Two
Hours spent unhitching: Two or more
Exhaustion level: VERY HIGH

Oh, and our new friend Ray (neighbor in campground) hooked up the water which was then crossthreaded and missing a washer so the basement of the rig started to flood. See, I knew there was a reason I brought too many towels this trip.