Friday, August 28, 2015

Life Goes On

No matter that I would prefer to become a temporary recluse, life keeps on moving along. Labor Day weekend is approaching and I feel anxious for it to all be over for the season. Not that we close down by any means, but the pool closes and affords me a bit less to worry with.

So, this is the weekend before the holiday weekend. The lull before the storm, if you will. I started my day in the playground pulling weeds. If He Who mows had his way, there would be no puddle of pea gravel under the equipment to soften a fall. He seems to mow further in every time, encouraging the weeds to multiply and strengthen those roots. I, on the other hand prefer to yank the roots from the ground under the gravel and maintain that gravel. I spent several hours peacefully pulling until a camper stopped me to inquire about the rates and such.

I came inside to consult and found that I had over indulged my weeding habit. Checked him in for the weekend and grabbed a quick shower, all the while mourning my loss of outdoor time. I was engrossed in removing my DVD cabinet that was barely hanging to the wall (my bad, He Who told me my idea was not sound, but I did it anyway); when the door opened and a tiny little old lady came in with a pillow case full of clothes (?) slung over her shoulder. She was out of breath and was huffing and puffing ( I expected to hear a 'ho ho ho' erupt at any moment.

I am, by no means, a tall person, but I towered over this sweet little old lady. She looked around expectantly and said she wanted to do some laundry. I told her where the laundry was and that the machines took quarters "A dollar a load," I said. If you frequent laundry mats, you will know that this is a bargain. She pulls a lone dollar from her pocket and I make change for her. She begins to turn away and then asks if the dryer takes money, too.

That should have been a clue. She left after slinging her meager load over her shoulder again and I went back to my task. After a few minutes, she is back. "There is no laundry soap or anything in there!" she shouts at me. I told her I had some on the shelf in the store and she huffed and puffed, this time like the big bad wolf, at me and asked if I expected her to PAY for it. I was stunned and I am quite certain my mouth was hanging open in surprise. Then she shrilled that she had wasted a dollar for nothing and stormed out before I could offer her the money back.

Since when is laundry detergent supplied free of charge at a public laundry facility? I have never encountered it. At only $1 a load, it might be cheaper to wash my clothes at one of these establishments. I realize now that she was miffed that the machines were coin operated and she was expected to pay at all. Like going to mom's house to do your laundry. I am not that accommodating.

And much thanks to the person who decided to enter our park late at night and take (steal) a faucet, leaving the water to run all night. That part of the park is not under surveillance ...... yet.

Same old, same old.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rabbit Died

I was outside enjoying the mild weather as the sun started to set low in the sky. Martha, the boy cat was sitting in the dusty parking lot, staring at me as he swished his tail. I thought I saw movement behind him. Upon further investigation, I discovered a tiny rabbit running in circles.

I picked the little guy up. He barely filled the palm of my hand. So cute. What should I do? If I put him down, Martha will surely finish him off ..... As I stood there holding the baby rabbit, he started to call out. It was loud, considering his size. His little heart was racing and I knew he must be terrified.

So, I am sucker for furry creatures, as you know. I found a tall box and placed him gently on the bottom. Knowing that this little guy would be eating away my garden greens, I went out and picked a tender collard leaf. I placed it in the box and left him over night.

Now, Martha, the boy cat, has the run of the park and my house. He rarely eats what he kills, preferring the kibble I provide. He does like to annoy the dogs and does a really good job. I fully expected to find the little rabbit in pieces when I woke the next morning.

There he was curled up sleeping in the corner of the box, the collard leaf gone. Apparently, Martha knows better than to kill an animal that I have been nursing back to health. Perhaps he remembers when he was that small and I fed him with a bottle and took care of his other needs. Whatever the case the little guy made it through the night.

The morning was chilly, so I took the box outside and placed it in the sun to warm him up. I gathered some peas and another collard leaf and put them in the box. When I checked on him later, he looked more lethargic. I picked him up and he opened his little mouth like a baby bird. I used the end of a pen and fed him a few drops of water.

He stretched his little legs out and yawned ...... and died in my hand. His heart just stopped beating. I cried and really have not stopped since. My dad is dying and I can't seem to stop weeping. I am so very sad.

   

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Home Again

It was with a heavy heart that I started my journey home from Georgia on Sunday. My Dad has been fighting cancer for over 2 years now. Every time I leave his home I am afraid that my visit may have been my last one.

He is so frail now. All treatments have failed and he seems to be just hanging on. Some days are good and give rise to hope that he will rise above this hateful disease. It is heartbreaking to watch. I want to be with him as much as I can, and at the same time I want to run away and pretend this is not happening. 

There is no escape and he is constantly in my thoughts. When his number shows up on my phone my heart catches in my chest and it feels like someone is squeezing it. There is no good news anymore, just updates on the progress of his daily struggle. I am so sad.

My trip home was uneventful. I arrived home to find four little dogs and a cat that were ecstatic to see me. Oh, He Who loves me was happy as well.

He was cleaning the window on the store door when I pulled in. I entered my house to the strong ( very strong!) smell of Pinesol .......... and urine, dog pee, that is. He had mopped the entire house and yet ..... he did not move any furniture. I  moved his recliner and found the source. He tries.

I found a load of laundry in the washer and was thankful that it had only been there since morning. He forgot it was there. I pulled out the wet load and found that he had washed everything he could find. There was no sorting involved, darks with lights and towels. Good thing I came home, no telling how long that load would have been in the washer. Two days home and things are almost back to normal.

As normal as it can be as I wait for that dreadful call.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

You Might Be A Redneck ........

As the campground turns ..... I have been busy making the flower girl dresses for the upcoming wedding of my daughter, while simultaneously creating a concrete counter top in my new kitchen. In the down times from that I have been mowing endlessly. Weeding, too, but that is my hobby.

The grasshopper zero turn mower was recently in the shop, which is why I had to help mow so much. Deprived of his riding toy, He Who mows was moping around when he wasn't pushing my old mower. I had requested a secondary fence in the back yard to contain the puppy. He was dispatched to the outer field known as the mower graveyard to retrieve the roll of chain link fencing.

Sounds like a simple, unremarkable task. It should have been. He Who usually makes a simple task harder, decided to drag the roll behind the car, rather than load it onto the trailer. In doing so, he discovered that the weight of the roll pulled behind the car actually helped to level the gravel road.

He has discovered his favorite pastime. Driving through the park and the sites over and over again. Today has not been so bad, as it is drizzling rain. Yesterday and the day before had me choking on dust all day. I just don't have the heart to take his roll of chain link away. It makes him so happy.

Just so you know, that fence is still not up. The piece is cut, leaving him enough to play with.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Never Eding Weekend, Part 2

I got my money from those I checked in, but I still think He Who shorted himself on his collections. The women in this clan are bossier than me ..... and that is quite an accomplishment.

As closing time approached, I snuck away to the restrooms to restock with paper product and give them a quick sweep. I scrub them in the mornings. I opened the door to the ladies' room and gagged. The trash can conveniently located next to the sink to receive the paper towels after handwashing was overflowing. With GARBAGE. Not trash, but all manner of garbage. Thinking this to be the source of the odor, I grabbed trashcan liners and went to work. The paper towels were still full, as handwashing seems to be something this clan was not apt to do. The sink had food residue in it, though. I got the trashcan cleaned up, but there remained an odor I just could not place.

I opened the stall to the toilet and discovered another problem. that trash can was also full and there was no toilet paper. As I bent to empty the small trash can located right next to the toilet for convenience, I found another source of odor. I know that young ladies of today are more open about bodily functions than in my day, but discretion is not a bad thing. The whole world does not need to be privy to your particular moments in life. There were used tampons behind the toilet, stuck to the floor. Yes, I had to clean it up. Who else was going to do it. See what I mean about earning every cent of that money?

After that, I restocked the men's room, having an unpleasant encounter with the Rip Van Winkle in a drunken stupor as I put the toilet paper on the dispenser. Another gag and I locked up, scoured my hands and brushed my teeth. Took my sweet canines out for a little Frisbee in the back yard, then we went to bed.

I awoke quite early on Saturday. I gathered my tools, the mop, the bleach, the bucket, the bleach, and more bleach. I headed to the rest rooms. No coffee as yet, did not want it to come back up. First I lifted the seat and lids to the toilets and doused them in bleach. I have nice cushy rubber mats on which to stand in the showers. They are easily removed and can be washed on the sidewalk with detergent and a hose. Instead I doused them in bleach, as well. I grabbed the hose and pulled it into the shower stall and sprayed everything down with bleach and water. The sink was also bleached and then the floor. Hours later, I could still smell bleach in my nose!

Hours later a little girl came to tell me my soda machine did not work. Upon inspection of the machine as I tried to insert the key to unlock it, I saw that someone had tried to break into the machine. They didn't make it, but I could not get the key to work and as I tried to turn harder, it zapped me. I have no idea what they used to try to wrench the lock handle out, but from the looks of the gouges and turns, they were serious.

All day long they plagued my very existence. They bought everything one item at a time. The door was not still all day. I finally escaped around 5 and made a quick run to WalMart. Tragedy of tragedies ..... we were out of Pringles! I don't know what the deal is around here, but these folk sure do love them some Pringles. When I pulled in the parking lot and close to the office door to unload, a group was waiting for the Pringles! They bought some before I could even get them in the door!

I am not a fan of the cardboard chips myself. It would be something to eat only after everything else was gone and I was starving.

It is Sunday, the most wonderful day of the week. I snuck out to my gardens after I cleaned the restrooms again. I powdered my beans with Sevin dust and cut some okra off the stalks, pulled a good handful of weeds and just enjoyed the solitude. I planted corn, but most of it is withered and pitiful. I like to plant several rows of corn in my raised beds for several reasons. I like to eat it, of coarse, but I like to hide in between the rows, so that campers don't see me. The stalks provide a good tall stake for the beans to climb, too.

As my  coffee buddies and I drank the brew and gossiped, we watched the undesirables prepare to leave. As we all know, He Who does not like confrontations. Today was an exception. He went over and told them they were not welcome back to our park. The elderly patriarch wanted to know why. My husband told him to just look around at all the trash on the grounds and went on to tell him the bathrooms were disgusting and that they had not been honest about the number of people they had with them. The man, who happened to be one of three white people with some black folks, some who appeared to be of Mexican descent, and some who looked Cajun, looked at my husband and said, "It's because they are black!"

No, it is not because they are black, or brown or yellow or red. It is because they are disrespectful, lazy, nasty and disregard others. It is because through some great feat of strength two of the pool chairs had the backs completely broken off. It is because they left a trail of trash and garbage in  their wake. It is because they lied blatantly about how many people were camping in that spot. It is because two of the women tried to intimidate me with arguments that would have netted them a sit for half price.

They left, pulling the travel trailer with a truck and not enough space for all the people to ride, so some rode in the trailer. Safety, along with decency and cleanliness did not seem to be something they worried about.

The Never Ending Weekend

Have you ever just had a day that had you counting the very minutes left, so anxious for it to be over?

It all started on Thursday when I was mowing one last patch behind the main building. You will recall that I had been mowing the dog park and was interrupted numerous times. The driveway was not in my line of vision and I had instructed He Who never listens to LOCK the door. We are not open until 11 am and I have a big freaking sign to prove it. Check-in is not until AFTER noon.

He checked in an elderly gentleman to a tent site with electricity and charged him accordingly. Now, He Who is not in charge of assigning sites and such, he is not one to make sure the necessary information makes it on to the registration form. He tends to skip things, like the date and the number of people. Fortunately he did manage to put the site number on the form, making it quite easy for me to locate the source of the tribe of children that seemed to be pouring out of the travel trailer and tent like ants running out of an anthill that had been kicked by an angry child.

I called He Who was acting like an angry child because his Grasshopper mower was not ready ...... seems someone put the wrong hydraulic fluid in it and the pump was damaged. I politely informed him of the apparent error in his calculations for a three day stay for so many guests. I also asked if he knew the difference between a tent and a travel trailer, because he undercharged them, as they were sucking down 30 amps of power in said trailer. You do not want to know what our power bill is in this heat. He did not appreciate me pointing all this out to him, but he reluctantly trudged over and told the campers of his mistake.

Our site prices cover two adults and up to two children under the age of 14. The elderly man let his wife take over and she informed He Who that they only had 4 adults and 5 children. She reluctantly coughed up the additional $3 per person and He Who thought he was done. I had already identified 8 different children and things were starting to look scary. Some were fishing, some were swimming, while others were investigating the restrooms and the playground.

As evening approached more came to join them, they stopped in the office to pay and tell me they were expecting another couple and their two children to join them, with their two children on the site adjacent to the patriarch of the clan. Confused yet? Hang on, it gets worse. One couple wanted to stay 3 nights and the other couple was staying two nights ........ and could they just wait until the second couple arrived the next day, as they planned to split the cost. I made her fill out the registration and told her I would hold it until couple #2 arrived.

I am still trying to get a head count, but every time I approach the compound, they scatter. Some go in a tent and some into the travel trailer and some remain outside looking at the ground at their feet. Couple #2 finally arrived and that is when it got interesting. By her calculations, each family would give me $25 and that would cover it all. She was the brains of the operation and she thought if she said it enough I would think it was true. I calmly explained to her that the $25 per night covered 2 adults and 2 children and she would exclaim "and that is what we have!!", before I could finish saying that they were sharing the site with 2 adults and 2 children and that they would only be paying and additional $12 a night, making the total per night be $37. The husband stood there with his drooping goatee and sleepy eyes saying "I just don't understand, I think you are trying to rip us off."

Finally, in utter frustration, I told them we could remedy the problem and I would just assign them their own site and they could pay full price. Suddenly the wife understood completely and even figured up each couple's part. Rip Van Winkle was still in the dark and still accusing me of over charging them, but wifey took him by the hand and led him out after paying. She was instructed to send her friend/cousin/whatever up to take care of her part. Rip them off, indeed!

Several hours passed with no payment from couple #1. I offered to let He Who has a gentle way with those who owe us money to go collect. He declined and stood watch while I went in search of my $57.50. I located the culprit and she shouted to the collection of those out in the open that she knew this was going to happen. I don't know who she was trying to impress, but it was not me. She wanted to know why she had to pay more than her cousin/friend. I had to explain that she stayed 3 nights, as opposed to the 2 nights that couple #2 were buying. Over and over again. She did not wear me down. I got my money.

And, I have earned every penny. Part 2 tomorrow, I am going to lay me weary head upon my pillow!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Count by Three

After my happy birthday, things returned to normal. The intense heat has been awful. I seem to have a sick headache every afternoon. The morning chores that are generally pleasant enough have left me drenched in sweat after only a short time outside. No matter how hot, the mowing must go on!!

My grandmother used to always say that things happened in "threes". If a celebrity died, sure enough two more would follow. I am not sure if her theory had anything to do with it. Maybe we just noticed the coincidence. But, it always seems to be true ......

The heat spell broke last night and it was lovely and cool this morning when I went to take the dogs out. The gangly puppy, Smoke, who does not realize how big he is, is usually waiting at the door to pounce on the unsuspecting animals eager to relieve themselves. I stepped out with my dogs and we all looked around. No puppy came running from the dog house or from the far corners of the yard. 

I was clad in my nightgown, in my own backyard, surrounded by a privacy fence, tentatively calling out to the absent puppy. You will recall that He Who builds fences did not install a gate to the back yard. Instead we only have access to the outside via a doorway that leads into one of the many Fred Sanford shed structures (you feel me Hillbilly Mom?). Okay, so, I am the one who loosely constructed a temporary gate of sorts with materials I found on hand. It was a frame of some sort and I screwed a piece of lattice to it. The "temporary" gate has been in use for going on 3 years. It has no hinges. You have to pick it up and move it to one side and then secure it in place with a long piece of conduit.

This limits your privacy. I know this because a young man approached me, coming through the Fred Sanford collection of useless items to ask me where the coffee was. Store does not open on weekdays until 11 am, and it is barely 7 and I am still in my bedtime attire, and my attitude has not yet been altered to face the public. I was barely civil, but I told him to try a convenience store.

The missing puppy was outside the front door , barking and ecstatic to see me. He was leaping about and nearly bowled me over, then went on to step in the dog food dish and spill the contents onto the floor, along with the water. I finally fed all the livestock and changed water dishes and grabbed a cup of coffee. I am much nicer after coffee.

I was all set to head out the front to grab the mower and take care of the dog park ....... there was a man peering into the store with his hands around his eyes. I nixed the mowing idea and sipped my coffee while I watched the news. Finally the peeping Tom left and I was able to get started on the dog park. I like to start the mower and mow my way to the dog park. I hit some spots that the zero turn can't get close to and finally made it to my destination. 

There I was, earbuds in place to listen to a mystery novel and just mow. I like to outline my mowing area and then start a diagonal line in the opposite direction from the last mowing. I was walking along pushing my mower, in a happy place when I stepped in fresh dog poop! No longer happy, just determined to get the job done, I pressed on, all the while cataloging the people I had checked in the night before and wondering who the culprit was. 

Sometimes I get inspired to do something truly artistic when I am mowing. I like a nice chevron look and will do that, but today I was annoyed. The grass was super thick, thanks to all the rain we have had and it was slow going. At 9 o'clock I was about 2/3's of the way done when I saw a big 5th wheel coming in. Reluctantly I turn the mower off and head up to the office. We don't open until 11am. No need to, really. Pool opens at 11 and check-in is not until noon ....... what with check-out being noon. It is a reservation. I have a standard speech I recite when taking a reservation. It includes the information about the time of check-in. I would have been less annoyed if they were just some travelers off the highway, never having heard my speech.

To add insult to injury, the site I assigned them had a truck parked in it. The owner of the truck in the site next to it was not there. I have had an on-going problem with this guy for the last 5 months. He seems to think he is entitled to park anywhere he chooses. He is sarcastic and rude, always late with his rent. He Who considers me to be too harsh when dealing with the scum of society, expressed his desire to let him "handle it".

I trudged back to my mowing, more determined than ever to complete my task. Two campers and their dogs were in the park. I half-heartedly offered to come back later. One man told me they were about to leave anyway, that they were just having a smoke and letting the dogs run. He went on to tell me that the dogs only peed, that he was prepared with a bag, but didn't even need it. Me thinks thou dost protest too much. He was the poop leaver, I am sure.

Mowed two strips and ran out of gas. I trudged back to the Fred Sanford main building to procure the fuel. I am no longer cheerful or determined. I finally complete my task and return to the spot behind the main building and shave that grass down to my liking. I come back inside to find that another reservation has checked in. It is now just after 10. I suggest to He Who had the lights on to lock the door and I head to the shower. 

Excited now, because in the mail is my new computer!!!! I throw my clothes on and give my wet hair a quick comb-through. I still have 30 minutes of me time and I plan to introduce myself to this computer ........ when here comes check-in number three, all before I even open up for the day! Hmmmm, maybe she was onto something with the number 3.