Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Water, The Aftermath

I would post pictures, but for a couple of problems. Blogger refuses my attempts ..... and I didn't take any.

You will recall that when last we met I was longing for a hot shower. It was my one and only Christmas wish. I did get one on Christmas Eve. But, getting to that shower is the real story.

I gave you an account of the pipe bursting and water shooting into the kitchen, didn't I? Well that happened several more times. The configuration of the pipes that supply water to our living quarters, as well as the entire park are all inside, not 20 feet from my kitchen. There is no door separating this area. We need the heat from the building to keep the pipes warm.

The pipe delivering the water from the holding tank to the mouse trap assembly that disperses the water to the park, to the building, and everywhere is at waist height and it was right above this that the weak point was, so that when the pipe ruptured it shot straight into the kitchen. I wasn't too happy about all the water on the floor the first time, but took it in stride. A good rinse for the floor and not the end of the world ....... until it happened again and then again.

Finally the "plumber" gave up and we went to bed. The next day he was off to purchase more "parts" and I sat in my own sweat and waited. A neighbor learned of my dilemma and brought a 6 gallon jug of water. I used it to flush the toilet and heated it up to wash the dishes and prepare supper. I was resigned that a shower would not be forthcoming and washed my face (in cold water) and brushed my teeth. I was all settled in front of the TV in my pj's when I was told to go get my shower!!!

I was so happy. The pipes shuddered and spit water at me until things leveled out and I luxuriated in soap and water. I went straight to bed my skin still warm and snuggled down with my dogs. Before the plumber got his shower the pipe connection failed yet again.

The saga continued on Christmas Day and was finally resolved the day after. Since then we have been plagued with all the problems that come after the pump has been shut down. The sediment has collected in the pipes and I have had to take the diffuser off the kitchen sink. The shower is still spitting and sputtering and now the toilet refuses to  fill the tank. My "plumber " is putting new parts in the toilet as we "speak".

I awoke with one goal in mind today and that was to clean up the laundry/pump room. The aftermath of the floods is still there. Everything still wet. Plastic bins holding various plumbing and electrical parts were still holding water. Everything got wet. 

So, I spent the entire morning sifting through all the stuff that fell to the floor in the flood and all the containers with water in them. Not to mention the packaging of every part involved in the repair that was either on the floor (wet) or on any available surface. All clean, almost organized again. Makes me feel so much better .....

Mentally, that is. I worked up a good sweat and as the sweat rolled down and trickled across my initial outbreak, it burned like acid. The nasty looking scabs are drying. One would think that was good, that the healing process had begun. One would think that the pain would be abating with this drying. One would be wrong.

I am happy to have running water again, I am happy to have scabs instead of blisters, I am happy to have one area clean again ...... and I am happy that this year is coming to an end. Next year will be better!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Hot Shower ......

My great powers of observation are still intact. While heating a cup of yesterday's coffee, I stopped the process with 7 seconds left. This made the handle of the mug be on the wrong side! One minute and thirty seconds will leave the mug handle in the correct position. Important information.

So, why was I re-heating yesterday's brew? Because I have no water. What? How can that be? The weather is mild and no pipes are frozen. My own fault, I suppose. It is that pesky power of observation I have.

I noticed that the pump was coming on and off every minute or so. This is usually an indication that we have water leaking (gushing) somewhere in the park. Sometimes you just need to flip the big switch to the pump and leave it off for a bit, then flip it back on ...... like resetting the modem for the internet. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I did the flip switch and went on to do a load of laundry. I stacked the dishes from the previous evening and readied them for a bath, as is my habit for an early morning hot water treatment to my aching hand joints. I was offered a dishwasher, but was loathe to part with cabinet space and I don't mind the dish washing for the two of us ....

Before I washed the dishes I was distracted by the need to finish an item in my sewing room. I transferred the clean load of laundry to the dryer and put another load in the washer and decided to sit down and have a third cup of coffee and peruse my lap top. That is when He Who Tows came home and I reported the pump issue. He checked all the sites in the park and found no leaks.

This when he decided to dicker with it. He did something with the compressor in the water shed outside where the holding tank for the well is housed. He would come in and flip the switch off and on, totally confusing the washing machine. I did suggest that he wait until the machine was done and decided to leave the dishes and retreat to my chair in front of the TV with my cooling cup of coffee, made form my stash of coffee beans my son gave me. Coffee to be savored, not gulped!

The dishes still sat unattended. The washer was finally allowed to complete the cycle and He Who Plumbs made a trip to the hardware store to obtain plumbing supplies. No water. Says he will have it fixed quickly upon his return. I really wanted a hot shower, but decided it could wait until he returned. I escaped to my sewing room, half a Vicodin on board.

I plundered and played and managed to accomplish very little, as I was longing for a shower. He Who fancies himself to be a plumber returned and decided to re-route something or other to main intake of the water supply to the entire park. This contraption already resembles the Mouse Trap game. PVC and other materials bearing metal clamps and such. These metal clamped parts have been known to fail in the past ....

I kept checking on his progress as the day progressed. I still had high hopes for that shower and the dishes still sat, as well as the fact that I needed water to prepare a meal. It was starting to turn dark. I went to the freezer and filled a glass with ice and that's when I saw water shooting into the kitchen from the Mouse Trap game.

Toni Louise and Wall-E were caught in the gush. I yelled at Wall-E to "RUN" as he slinked to his belly and crawled along the wet floor like he was in a race through an obstacle course. Toni Louise stood directly in the path of the water and tried to drink it. I peeked around to see He Who was the cause, flipping the breaker. It was amusing, if you could get past the fact that my kitchen floor was flooded and I STILL HAD NO WATER TO SHOWER!!!!

I threw together a pot of chili, adding to the stack of dirty dishes and we ate a frill free dinner of sorts. It was after 6:00 and I, still un-showered, was not in the best of moods. He Who plumbs announced a trip to Home Depot for more plumbing supplies and I settled in for the evening with canines in my lap. This is the time of day when all maladies seem to be at their peak. I dutifully swallowed my last dose of anti-viral meds and took the other half of my Vicodin along with some extra-strength Tylenol.

I was miserable and could not stop longing for hot water therapy. The plumber came in with his PVC stash around 8:30 and announced that he had a two call and would be back "soon" to remedy the water situation. I went to bed at 9:30. I confess that I did the Molly Shannon thing and put my fingers in my armpits and sniffed them ...... I really wanted a shower.

I must have dozed off nestled in my bed with four dogs and a fat cat on my feet. I tip-toed out to check on the water works and saw my hero hard at work, the smell of pipe glue filled the air and I watched for a bit as he sanded a piece of PVC. I tip-toed back through the still wet kitchen floor, noting that it was after mid-night.

I don't know what time my plumber came to bed. He was trying to be extra quiet. Despite the fact that I had no shower, I still had his side of the bed warmer on so that his sheets would be toasty warm for him. I figured he showered before falling bed.

I was wrong. The big gap of connecting pipes alerted me to the fact that water does not flow. The dishes still sit and I could fry eggs with the grease in my hair. The toilet does not flush. Thank goodness I have leftover coffee in the carafe or things could get really ugly here in the land of no running water.

Maybe Santa will bring running water?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I Could Be A Spokes-Person For The Shingls Vaccine

I have been sending photos of my Shingles rash to my kids as it progresses. I like to share my pain. Unfortunately (or, maybe fortunately) Blogger is not cooperating with downloading today. I started with the day I was diagnosed. It was red and angry.

Started out looking like a bug bites. I wondered about fleas at first. Those little "bites" grew to very angry sores about the size of a pencil eraser with all the tissue around the patch very red. It was hot to the touch and the lightest touch would shoot pain through my body.

The sores progressed into bigger misshapen pustules. Looked like islands on a red sea. Still very painful. Flannel pants and sweat pants became (and still are) my wardrobe.

I just swallowed my last dose of anti-viral meds. Yesterday I updated the newest photo and sent it to the kids. Because I like to share and I like sympathy. The son responded immediately with soothing words of sympathy and love. His twin sister is much more practical and artistic. She thinks my belly looks like a view of a planet from space with craters in it. The pustules have dried up and the dead skin is started to peel. Baby girl was just concerned about the location of the rash. You know, like my face!

I sent the photos to convince them all to get the vaccination. Today the rash is looking sad. The inflammation around the sores is gone, but the sores are really ugly, dark red to black and I am quite certain they will leave scars. Those scars will remind me to get my own vaccination.

I think the makers of the vaccine should hire me as their spokes-person.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Ghost of Lawrence Welk

While trolling Craigslist, I dropped the remote and what to my wondering eyes should appear ...... Lawrence Welk. The show, not the man. He must be long dead. He was old when I was a child.

My mother loved this show and forced it upon us with great regularity. This was back in the day when each household had only one TV and few viewing choices. You either endured the show or left the room. Mother would clap along and tell us all how very talented all the singers and dancers were and bubbles would appear behind the band. She loved it.

I stared in fascination as a grown man was dancing with a little girl of about 5. She was decked out in an emerald green triple ruffled dress and ankle socks with lace. I could almost swear that my Mother had cut the child's hair. Short, straight little bowl cut with extremely short bangs. I know the style well, since I wore it on my own head until I was old enough to object.

The little girl heel-toed all around the man as held her hand, then he swooped her up. Looked like he was going to plant her on his shoulders and at the last minute decided to perch her on one shoulder. Unfortunately she landed askew and her much ruffled stiff little dress was above her waist in the back, easy to see as the man twirled around in time to the music. Finally, he lifted her down. The dress, however stayed up. Lawrence Welk would never have let that happen! 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How Do You Spell 40?

When I was bored enough to watch lots of mindless TV, I decided to cut back on my pain meds. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain and thought I could just push through the pain and be able to get some things done.

Wasn't the best idea I ever had. Although the initial outbreak is drying up and the secondary outbreak has stopped in its track, the pain has not. Sleepless nights have followed. One of my problems is that the Vicodin does not make me sleepy. It makes me happy. Happy, while bestowing upon me a false sense of well being. The false sense of well being causes me to want to accomplish things and when I do, I end up in more pain.

A vicious cycle. I read that the pain can last MONTHS, even YEARS. I choose months and I choose only one.

It has been the longest week! We celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary this week. Since I couldn't go anywhere, we had take out. I was experiencing a haze of pain and He Who traveled 46 miles to get two steak dinners was tired. It was just another day. Not really a celebration. Maybe next year? Maybe in ten years.

Even though we had no big celebration, I feel accomplished. Forty years is a long time. And just to show you how Vicodin works in  my head, all I can think about right now is the spelling of the word forty and why it is spelled without a "u". Because "four" is spelled with a "u", so why isn't the spelling "fourty"?

My mind thinks too many thoughts already, I don't need the boost from my pain meds. Causes me to wake in the middle of the night and ponder weird stuff.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bored, Really Bored

I must be getting better. I am bored. Still very sore and tired of having to sleep "on guard". I do feel almost human today.

Watching too much TV. Watched a show about moving houses today. The episode I happened upon was a house that was to be on the water. It was three stories high and took 2 years to build. They had to moved it across land to get it into the water, then navigate to the slip. Took them under a bridge and through some narrow waterways. At certain turns they would illustrate what could happen should the house become unstable and fall over. I want to blame it on the Vicodin, but I found the parts showing massive destruction to be my favorite ones.

It did occur to me that He Who watches the oddest things on TV would love this show, so I recorded the next 4 episodes for him. I am nothing, if not thoughtful. We watched it together and I think he might have found it a little bizarre that I was enjoying the destructive scenes so much. He would look over at me while I was having fits of laughter as the house being moved was depicted in an illustration showing total devastation.

I am really bored. Really, really bored.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Listen To Medical Advice

Once again ... I urge everyone to get vaccinated against Shingles. You have all seen that ad on TV, haven't you? The lady has the rash on her face and in her scalp and laments that even her hair hurts. She knows what she is talking about!

Through the wonders of Vicodin and sheer exhaustion I finally slept last night. Even my old guy with bladder issues co-operated and stayed in bed a full 10 hours. I did wake from time to time to see if I really was sleeping. You know what I mean, you venture cautiously into consciousness, all the while clinging to sleep and drift back off.

The pain was back this morning, but I stumbled into the kitchen and grabbed that bottle of vicodin, secure in the knowledge that the pain would be fading as I sipped coffee. The pain is hard to describe. Almost like a sore muscle. A deep ache under the afflicted area. Not to be compared to fire of the blisters and the sporadic stabbing pains.

After my coffee and cuddles with my furry kids I felt almost human. Felt so much better that I decided to tackle the rest of my unpacking and change the sheets on my bed. I accomplished both tasks and went on to mop and do laundry. As the vicodin was losing power, so was I. My marathon cleaning was, perhaps, not such a great idea.

I was in a cold sweat, nauseous and feeling generally crappy with a dull headache. I dutifully swallowed my next round of pills, including another vicodin, all the while resisting the urge to take two of them. The bottle did say 1 to 2 as needed for pain. And I was in pain, wasn't I? I only took one and went to my squeaky clean bedroom for a little nap.

All this to say, when the doctor (or nurse practitioner, as the case may be) tells you to take it easy for the next few weeks, it might be a good idea to take that advice to heart. I spent the rest of the afternoon highly agitated and achy. I managed to put a meal together and clean up the kitchen before taking a cool shower.

The cool water seems to calm those blistered nerve endings. In preparation for my ablutions, I discovered a new line of fresh blisters. I think I will take it easy tomorrow, as I was told to.

Monday, December 15, 2014

He Who Was Right

Despite the pain this causes me and how I loathe admitting it ......... He Who is not a doctor had the correct diagnosis.

I have shingles. I was a little frantic this morning as I waited for the clinic to open and when I was told I would not be seen until FRIDAY I bawled like a baby.

The kind woman in charge of scheduling took pity on me and got me into the sister clinic to see my nurse practitioner. Just one look and she wrote out the RX for the anti-viral drug and pain meds.

And she quarantined me! Suggests that I go nowhere for 21 days to avoid infecting the unsuspecting world with chicken pox. Can't go see my dad for sure. I will have to rest in seclusion. She even suggested that it could be stress related. She wants me to be vaccinated against another out break.

No one will have to twist my arm to take that vaccination! I would suggest that everyone who has ever had chicken pox do so. I would not wish this on anyone!

Affordable Health Care Deductible ...... NOT NOW!

You will recall me mentioning a little heel and my sciatic nerve ........

Over the last six months I have been doing some heavy duty driving. Long hours behind the wheel has made me all too familiar with aches and pains. Particularly my sciatic nerve and the burning pain that sets in and refuses to be pacified with a change of position. I have toyed with thoughts of hanging my left leg out the window as I drive and would if I thought it would help. It starts out as a burning from my hip to my ankle, then a slow steady ache. Stopping  frequently and walking has helped and adding a cushion to the drivers seat helps occasionally.

Sweet Jailynn slept with Gramma Monday night. She was happy to be snug against me. Cujo was not. He wormed his way between us right away to claim his place. He was a good boy and allowed her to pet him and coo at him. As soon as she fell asleep, I gently moved Jailynn over to claim more space for myself and Cujo moved to the foot of the bed at her feet.

Oscar woke me at 5:30 for a walk outside and I leashed the two dogs and took them out to do their business and returned to the warm bed full of little girl. We cuddled and I kissed the top her head while drawing in that little girl smell to remember during the next few weeks. We both went back to sleep and I turned with my back to her. In her sleep she turned over, too. Unfortunately she used my lower back to leverage her turn. Her little heel found that spot and I felt the burn immediately.

I lay there willing it to go away. I was scheduled to drive at least 8 hours and I was dreading it. I started out with the first leg of my trip. I stopped at my dad's house and had lunch with them before resuming my way home.

It bothered me at first, but I found that the extra cushion would not work in the RV as it did in my car. After my lunch break, I was feeling better. Could have been the Tylenol I swallowed with lunch, but I was doing pretty good. It was overcast and the sun was not an issue and things were going pretty good. The wind picked up, though and I was driving directly into it.

In a car, it would not have been a problem to drive into the wind. The RV was a different story, though. Bad enough that I was fighting the head wind, but every time a semi passed it was a struggle to stay on the road. At first it would push me to the right and then as the truck came along side, it wanted to suck me into it.

I sailed through Atlanta. Then the wind was really pushing me back. I stopped for gas (you don't want to know, you really don't want to know what it took to fill that tank!) and my leg was numb and tingling and my back was hurting, Swallowed more Tylenol and sucked down some caffeine. I really wanted to make it to Chattanooga before stopping. I continued north and the pain continued roaming up and down my back and leg. The wind continued to gust and then it started to rain. It was only 4:40, but I stopped at the first RV park I found.

Didn't make it to Tennessee, but hoped a good night's sleep would set me up for the next day. I got up and was on the road at 7:00 est ....... 6:00 central time. I stopped and procured coffee and another insane amount of fuel. Let it be known that every time I stopped to get fuel, I would find it at least 10 cents cheaper at the very next exit.

Over cast again, but the wind had subsided and I was determined to sleep in my own bed that night. I was aching all over as I started out. I was tense the day before and my arm muscles were sore, as well as my neck. And my old friend, Sciatica, was front and center. More Tylenol didn't help much.

I was losing the light of day as I crossed the Missouri line, but was confidant that I would make it home. I was miserable at this point. My left leg was aching and my right knee decided to join in protest to sitting behind the wheel. I was listening mindlessly to Siri guide me along the interstate. As soon as I exited towards St. Louis, instead of staying on 64, I knew I had screwed up. Adding another 30 minutes to my already long day.

I pulled into my parking lot at 5:30 CST. Eleven and a half hours after waking up that morning. I was so tired. My knee was screaming and my back was torturing me. I grabbed the mere essentials and a dog and headed inside, leaving the other dog and unloading to He Who awaited my return.

A long hot shower followed and I gratefully sank into my chair and snuggled with my canine babies. The knee was so happy not to be bent, the pain left immediately. The back is another story.

Still hurts. I can't get comfortable in bed and sleep is not coming easily. In addition to the pain, I am numb. A contradiction in terms, right? My pain is in my lower back, but my hip and part of my abdomen is numb. Like your face feels when the dentist shoots your mouth full of Novacaine. And it itches. I scratch, but can't feel the scratch, so it does not quench the itch.

So I googled my symptoms. I have a rash on my side ...... but not where it itches. The internet tells me I need an MRI to rule out a herniated disc. He Who is not a doctor assures me I have shingles. Really, I am not happy with either.

I have been taking it easy. I have high hopes that by tomorrow I will be in tip-top shape. I was relatively pain free when I went to bed last night. I was totally relaxed, happy that I wasn't struggling to find a comfortable position. I lay there on my back flipping channels on the TV when He Who had taken the canine creatures out for last call lifted Cujo into the bed. In his joy to see me again (it had been a good 10 minutes since we parted), he pounced onto my lower abdomen and I jerked my legs up in reflex ......... I have been up and down all night. The burning sensation brought me out of a sound sleep at 4:52 this morning.

Looks like I will be calling the clinic for an appointment tomorrow. If only I could wait until January 1st. I do not want to fulfill my deductible NOW.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bargain Hunter

So, after a whirlwind visit with Jada and Jeff, I waved good bye as they headed back to the airport in Atlanta. You will recall that I was told I would not be allowed to drive the RV back unless I practiced on the way. I didn't, but there I was, with my two dogs and the RV. Left on my own to get home alone. Just me and my canine companions.

I spend a couple of days with my dad, then left to head east to stay with my great granddaughter. They had just moved into a cute little house that is indeed a "fixer-upper". I was in my element. After we dropped Jailynn at school, Her mom, Amber and I set out on a marathon thrift store adventure.

If only we had more time and limitless money! I did score some capris for a mere quarter!! I had not packed hot weather clothes and this buy came in handy.

I ventured into a furniture store in search of a rug. Goodwill had been a huge disappointment and as we strolled into the furniture store, Amber clearly thought I had lost my mind. She knew I was shopping on the cheap and could not figure my tactic out.

The salesman approached us, all giddy with the thought of commissions to come. I clearly burst his bubble when I asked to see the scratch and dent and discontinued items. We were left to our own devices in the huge basement. The prices dropped the further into the bowels of the building we ventured. I spied two rugs rolled up in the farthest corner. One green, one red. looked like they were probably discontinued displays.

I went to fetch the salesman. Totally disinterested in anything I would be purchasing he passed me off to another unsuspecting salesman. We went to the rugs and he dramatically unfurled the red one. Wool, he announced proudly. I asked how much and he asked how much I wanted to spend. I was honest. Told him that Gramma did not have deep pockets and wanted to stay as low as possible.

He hemmed and hawed and wanted over $100. I asked about the synthetic green one and was quoted $50. As We looked longingly at the red one, he decided to go "check to see what he could do". We waited patiently and he came back and told me he would part with both rugs for $50 each. I said, "We will take the red one." I was fully aware that he wanted me to purchase both rugs, but, what could he do?

It was gratifying to teach a 24 year old how to bargain! I doubt I could have gotten another deal out of that salesman. I would have offered him $25 for the inferior rug, but I knew when to quit.

Oh, and I managed to drive the RV with nary a problem. Well, not with driving. My problem was in the form of a little red dog with short legs. He was insistent that he be allowed to ride in my lap and look out the window. I was equally determined that he ride in the back with the black dog with short legs. Baby gate to the rescue.

That baby gate had to be reinforced with a wooden shelf on the long trip home .........

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Back Again

This is the face of the foot that found Gramma's sciatic nerve in the night ........

It was brought to my attention that I had not posted since the day after Thanksgiving. This is true. Although I managed to find internet service a couple of times on my trip, I simply checked e-mail and then slept. My days were hectic and my down time was for sleeping.

I did take pictures, but for whatever reason my computer and phone are not communicating today.
I did a little painting, a few window treatments and lots of junk shopping. I spent time with my dad and with my granddaughter. Saw cousins and realized that there are not enough hours in a day.

This was our first trip in the "new" RV. We towed my car and met up with my son and granddaughter, Jada, in Atlanta. There are very few RV parks near the airport in Atlanta........

The trip started out right on schedule ...... until nearly 15 miles down the interstate when, He Who is attached to his phone, realized he had forgotten it. I had asked him f he had all his electronics and chargers ....we back tracked and he retrieved it.

We looked at each other and asked if we had forgotten anything else. I was a little woozy, having whacked my head on the over-cab bed for the third time. "Do we have water for the dogs?" We didn't. So, I jumped out to get the food and water bowls and a gallon of water.

You know those big side mirrors on the RV. Sure you do. They stick out really far and are big and sturdy. They will push back if you run into them. I caught the side of my already sore head and my left shoulder. This was not a good beginning.

I set up the feeding station for my dogs, totally forgetting that I had not left water out for Martha, the boy cat. I had filled his self feeder and admonished him not to gorge himself, then throw it up before we left. But, Martha shares the water dish with his canine buddies. I did leave the toilet seat up. And I sent a "Help!" text to Andrea and DJ. Martha did not suffer.

As we rolled along the interstate, He Who thinks he is the boss of me, told me that I would have to drive some of the trip or he would not leave me to dive home alone. I wasn't keen on towing the car as I drove, but told him I would. Every time I asked to relieve him he denied me the driver's seat, though. I was left to drive the RV home, having only piloted it around my park. But that is another story for another day.

We arrived in  my dad's yard and set up, I walked the dogs and Then we all trouped in to a huge home-cooked turkey dinner with Mama and Daddy.

I am happy to report that my dad is doing great! He has no more chemo in his system and has regained some of his strength and a lot of his sense of humor. It would be a wonderful Christmas if he suddenly went into remission. That is all I want in my stocking.

More tomorrow .....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


We did not escape the snow storm here at the campground. It snowed quite a bit and the snow covered the satellite dish, preventing any reception. All my efforts at preparing for our trip were in full swing. I was waiting out the snow and wrestling with a headache, when He Who is the master of towing all things came home to attach the tow bar and hook up my jeep to the RV.

Now, I did suggest that he do it the previous day when the weather was mild, but He Who is the master of towing, is also the master of procrastination. He decided to go gas up the RV before attaching anything. While about this business, he got a call and instead of bring the RV back, he drove to the shop to get the tow truck. This meant I couldn't put the last of our stuff in while it was still light out ........

I was annoyed. My headache was still aching. So, while I was enjoying a chat with my Jada on the phone, I was interrupted. I had to go drive the car up to the tow bar on the slushy driveway in the dark. I confess that I was a little miffed. I played the martyr and started carrying baskets of stuff to the RV. The passenger door was unlocked, so I crawled through and took all the clothes in and secured everything. On my way back out (in the dark), I walked right into the over the cab bed and nearly knocked myself out.

Deciding to call it quits for the night, I came back inside to find a text from my son reminding me of the flight information ........ I looked closely at the dates. Um, I had all the information a day off. We don't need to leave tomorrow, we need to leave Friday.

He Who is the master of towing was on a mission to find the proper clamps to secure the chains or something ( I confess that I wasn't listening). I took advantage of this. I called him and told him we didn't need to leave until Friday, giving the procrastinator a reprieve. Totally downplaying the fact that I had the day wrong!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give Thanks

Since we will be traveling on Thanksgiving day, I  cooked turkey yesterday. Okay, half a turkey. Literally. Bought a 10 lb. frozen turkey and had the meat department saw it in half. I thought it would be a little silly to cook a whole bird for two people. It made an interesting carcass, with a cut down the spine

So, even though the skies were dreary and the wind was gusting mightily, I was determined to be thankful and eat turkey and all the fixins'. No pies, I made a flan. No sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes either. Dressing, people, it's all about that dressing. Italian green beans, too. I am certain we will encounter leftovers at every house we go to.

I am making lists and checking them twice ..... hoping to not forget something on this trip. I made two batches of Chex mix to have on board. Road trip junk food is the best! We will be picking up my son and granddaughter Friday morning. I need to have food handy. I am certain they will be ravenous after an early morning trip to the airport and foodless flight. I just hope two batches of Chex mix will be enough ....

So, I was about the business of loading in all my clothes and such, when I looked out into the park. Something was amiss ....... After two loads in, it finally came to me. My tenants owing me $360 are gone. So is my money. The man called last week to say he knew he owed the money and would be in to pay. He told me his mother had died and that's why they weren't here in the park, in their trailer, but that he wanted to "settle up" with me.

Given my current situation , I felt real empathy for him losing his mother. I told him I was so sorry for his loss and to just come in when he could. I did think it was a little strange when he seemed a bit confused at my condolences, but I imagine I seem a little "off " myself these days.

But, the trailer is gone and I have no address to forward a bill to. Just as well, since I would have to certify it and then go to the court house and file a complaint. All that stuff costs money, and even if you win a judgment, it doesn't mean you will get your money. Not to mention the time involved with all of it. I feel a little sick when I add up all the instances that folks have managed to skip out without paying. Then I remember ........ it will all come full circle. Always does.

So, I will only dwell on the positive and remember all the nice things people do for me. No shortage there, as I have wonderful friends that always surround me when I am down.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cheapskate, Me?

I have seen it all now. Channel surfing, I came upon a show called "Extreme Cheapskates" on TLC. My kids poke fun at me for my cheap ways. They all need to watch an episode of this show.

By the standards of the people portrayed on this show, I am a big spender. I am watching a strange man wash his clothes and his dishes in his hot tub. Oh, almost forgot, he washes himself in there, too. A woman just had her husband pull her tooth!! She says the pain only lasts awhile, but the savings lasts forever. The dentist only wanted $185, for heaven sakes. Now I think I have a tooth ache. The hot tub man has a clothesline in his car ......

Another man keeps his toilet paper under lock and key and doles out 10 squares for his wife's daily use.

Yeah, I am not a cheapskate after all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


The snow has melted and the grounds look sad. I am still hovering around the fire in my small sitting room.

Funny story about the fire. I was cleaning up the small twigs and pieces of firewood that lay around the firewood holder on the floor. I decided to just scoop them up in the little shovel and toss them in the wood stove. I am really grateful that I used the shovel, well, I don't know that I should be grateful. I was listening to TV and had my mind on grabbing one more cup of coffee and wasn't paying close attention to the task at hand (or shovel, as the case may be). I tossed the shovel full into the fire and poured coffee and got into my chair with Cujo at my side.

I do remember hearing Wall-E jump down out of the bed last night and vaguely remember movement in the bed when he jumped back up. He likes to eat at night when the other dogs sleep. He is non-confrontational, a gentle soul, our little white dog. He strives to please everyone and I suppose that's why he decided to hide his business in the twigs on the floor. He usually never does his business inside. He must have had an undeniable urge.

Yes, I burned dog poop. I do not recommend this as kindling. I have candles lit and my scentsy pot going and am glad this dog is small and his business was small and hope that it will burn quickly. Oh, and I can't believe that my life is so boring that I wrote about this!

Today I will be out and about. I need groceries. My big decision is whether to wait until I listen to the noon news and go, or go now. Rumor has it that there is a new breed of apple that will not turn brown after cutting. Teasers have been on the TV all morning. I am always curious about such things. Don't know why, since I don't buy apples anymore. I have more fruit than I can eat right here on my property.

I think the aroma of the fire outweighs the new genetically modified apple. I am out of here!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making Beds

Cold weather is here. I am here in my tiny space with the wood stove and the TV. Haven't been able to access the internet for any amount of time for the past few days. I will read a post, then make a witty observation in the comment section ..... and lose the connection. See a good sale on-line and decide to peruse it, maybe load a cart (to edit later before actually purchasing anything) and suddenly lose it all.

Who knows how long it will allow me today. Will I finish this thought? Will I finish this post? Will it be saved? Will I actually publish this post? So many questions I ask myself.

If you know me and have read this blog for any amount of time, you will know that I am approaching my 40th wedding anniversary. A milestone. You will also know that for those last 40 years, I have never been a part of buying process of any vehicles. If it rolls on wheels, I am left out of the entire process. Not even a wheel barrow have I chosen.

Nothing has changed. In my absence, He Who Buys Vehicles, did buy another ..... for me. While it was my suggestion that we have at our disposal a means of traveling with our canine contingent in tow, I had been thinking of a small, lightweight travel trailer that could easily be pulled with my Jeep. Not a pop-up, mind you. I am definitely NOT a pop-up king of gal. But I have seen some really well designed small travel trailers that would suffice. And .... would work well when we have visitors. Though tiny, it would be better than standing in line in my living quarters at the only bathroom.

Did he purchase a tiny trailer? No, he bought a Class C motorhome. An older model. I asked about the condition of this unit and was regaled with information about tire treads and engine quality. I wanted to know what the inside looked like. He texted a photo of the exterior. Once again, I was gifted with a vehicle, never having seen the interior.

Though dated, the interior is in excellent condition. Clean and well cared for. I like the layout. Even without any slides, it feels roomy enough. My only real objection would be the tiny double bed I am expected to sleep upon with him. We have a king and sleeping on a queen is hard. Could be the four dogs and cat that sleep with us .......

I have used my insomniac hours to plan and scheme how to enlarge the bed. I have an idea. It will require removing an 8" cabinet on one side of the bed. The mattress will be right against the wall and be difficult to put sheets on, but well worth the additional space. I wish to be nesting my new digs, but the weather is keeping me close to my fire.

I did take a solo trip around my park with my new vehicle and feel okay piloting it. I drove our 40' Class A only once. He Who Likes Speed was in the passenger seat and was annoying me with his advice, so I pulled over and gave the wheel back to him. I do better when on my own and the "new" one is only 27' long.

We will headed south on Thanksgiving Day with my Jeep in tow. We will pick up My son, Jeff and my sweet granddaughter, Jada in Atlanta the day after Thanksgiving and head to my dad's. They will only be there until Sunday afternoon, so we have lots of stuff to cram into a small window of time.

I have to re-build my bed area and get the other two sleeping areas dressed for my visitors. As I sit here writing, I keep glancing out my window to see the snow swirling in what looks like a very strong wind ...... Not looking good for loading in the necessities.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I'll Be Watching You!

Finally! I have been deprived of the internet for two days!! Withdrawal was painful, let me tell you! I had to rely on the TV and audio books for all my entertainment.

I have emptied my spam (186!) and replied to all pertinent e-mails and even perused a couple of previews to Black Friday. I have decided what I am going to request for my 40th anniversary. I can't tell you here. He Who tows and mows also reads this from time to time. When I say I am making a request, I really mean that I am planting the seed to make him think it was his idea. That should give him pause for thought.

So, as the season is officially over, we have started the winter-time chores. One of them is to close down the satellite bath house. I made a sign to proclaim the closing of such. We all know how much I like signs and painting. Only problem is .... I can't seem to locate my sign. I think I will just paint up another one, though. That will assure me that the original will turn up and let's face it, the more signs the better.

All my seasonal campers know that we shut down the bath house for the winter. They all know there is no water rushing through the pipes. And, even though no sign was in evidence, the doors were locked. That would certainly be a clue, wouldn't you think? That and the fact that the weather has presented us with some below freezing nights.

But, no, it was not enough. The lady's room and the men's room were both broken into and all 4 toilets contained solid waste. Note how I managed
to word this without using the word I said when I found out about the invasion.

So nice to discover such things. Makes me sit here and wonder who is responsible for this vandalism. Was it someone who hates me and they were being vindictive? If so, how did they manage to violate all four toilets? Was it a gang event? Or was it the same one, returning four separate times?

Inquiring minds (well, mine) want to know. All I can say is that our army of security cameras continues to grow. No, silly, not inside the facilities! Outside the doors. Be fore-warned, phantom pooper, I will be watching!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Coke ..... It's The Real Thing!

While visiting my dad, he felt good enough to go out to eat. His clothes just hang on him now and it breaks my heart, but he remains in good spirits.

I ventured out to look for some smaller clothes for my dad. There it was, a JoAnn's beckoning to me, so I went in, you know, just to look. A sale was in progress and I felt it was my duty to look at the flannel, and touch the flannel and then, buy the flannel. It was on sale, what was I supposed to do?

Now that I am home, I have yet to explore the wonderful possibilities of all that fabric. As much as I long to be engrossed in a project, I just don't feel good. I brought a cold home with me. A sore throat, a hacking cough, and sinus pressure. I hate colds.

Hot liquids seem to help temporarily. I feel like I am floating in a sea of soup, tea and coffee. I want to be better. I want to sit at my machine and sew for hours.

Instead I have been hanging out in front of the TV, sniffing and coughing while sipping at a hot beverage and downing Tylenol and aspirin. Lurking on the internet and gathering useless trivia in my head ...... I see the revelation about drinking Coke and what it will dissolve and what it will do to your digestive tract.

Got me thinking. This cold has me feeling like my throat is clogged with stuff I am unable to swallow, you know like a backed up drain. So, I grabbed one out of the cooler and downed it. The first swallow hurt, but it got easier as I drained the can. In my opinion, Coke tastes better from a can than from a plastic bottle. Actually the taste is much better in glass, but given the fact that glass is costlier and I have a pool where glass is prohibited, I only had aluminum and plastic to choose from.

May I just tell you that my throat feels better after 12 ounces of undiluted Coke straight from the can. Worked just like Liquid Plumber. My throat is clear and I can swallow easier. Who says trivia is useless? I wasn't whiling the day away, I was looking for a cure!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Little Dolls Love Little Dolls

Lots of hugs and kisses from this one. I spent some time with Jailynn on my trip. Is that just the sweetest face you have ever seen? She is the image of her dad ...... right down to the gum in her mouth!

She is quite adept at the selfie. Gramma looks a little ragged, doesn't she? Lots of driving leaves me withered.

As it would happen, I had to drive back when she was taken to the hospital. She vomited her little body into dehydration and was in so much pain, she was given morphine! Blood tests and MRI's failed to reveal the problem and  just found out she is still queasy and hurting.

That doll. She is missing an arm and her foot was chewed off by her puppy. Can no longer toss her in the washer, either. I tried to convince Jailynn that her doll needed to come home with Gramma to the doll hospital. I failed and I doubt she will let a new doll take her place. I loved all my dolls, but I especially loved the maimed and needy ones. I understand completely.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Torn Between Here and There

The sun is shining and from all reports it will be a beautiful day. Reservations are pouring and it should be a great weekend. I have plans to spend a nice evening among my friends Saturday night and all appears to be well in my world.

Appearances can be deceiving. I feel caught between two worlds. I should call my Dad every day and hate to admit that I don't. It is not that I forget. I don't think one hour goes by that I don't think about him. It is that the calls leave me drained. Hearing him sound so weak and resigned to his fate breaks my heart. I need to go and I want to go, but I also want to stay here and pretend it isn't happening.

I find myself sitting for long periods of time watching mindless TV, or cleaning out closets and cupboards in a frenzy. My car is loaded with things to take with me. I look forward to the trip and dread it all at the same time. I have decided to drive, as I doubt the flu shot will protect me from Ebola on a plane.

I hate to leave my cozy little home and my four legged children. I don't want to go a lone and I do want to go alone. My mind is neither here nor there ......

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dinner Show

The rain seems to be never ending. I am miserable, the dogs are miserable. Cabin fever is setting in. My back has a catch in it. Right beneath my left shoulder blade. All my joints are staging a protest, and the flu shot arm still aches.

All I managed to accomplish yesterday was to cook a meal and clean the kitchen. Comfort food. Country style steak and gravy, mashed potatoes (I would have preferred rice, but buying 15 lbs. of potatoes dictates that I use them) and peas. The peas were my downfall.

We have no set time to eat here. Check-ins and tow calls interfere and when I find both of us inside at the same time I serve it up. I prepare both plates at the stove and put them on the table. The only constant about our meals would be the presence of our canine children under the table. Oscar is always positioned at my feet. Toni Louise makes herself known and begs relentlessly. Wall-E and Cujo are in the background patiently waiting until the first morsel should be offered.

Last night, I was hungry. I have no table manners to speak of when it is just the two of us. I tend to eat fast and talk all at the same time. Bad habits, both. But I am always in a hurry to complete a thought before I should be interrupted. He Who tows could get a call. While I have him trapped at the table next to me I can talk at a normal volume and be heard. Last night was no different. I was eating and talking ......

I inhaled a pea. I stopped talking and started coughing. I turned to my right, away from my dinner companion and carefully sucked in enough breath to cough. Over and over again, I felt like I was going to cough up my toes. There was Toni Louise, watching me with great intensity as I coughed. When the pea flew out of my mouth, she caught it in mid-air!

After the pea left my body, I was still coughing and made my way to the bathroom as I found that my bladder had failed to hold it's contents. Toni Louise followed along, hoping for another pea, I suppose.

All the while, He Who Eats continued with his dinner. Seems like the dogs were the only ones concerned about my well-being. He did say that he was watching and that he would have performed CPR if the need had come up. I was duly comforted by that.

My throat is sore and I felt something in my back grab me while I was in the throes of expelling the offensive pea.

This is what we call a dinner show in these parts.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Flu Shot

I stood at the door looking out on my soggy parking lot as I listened to the coffee maker do it's special thing. A fifth wheel sat idle in the exit drive and the driver came round the back and began replacing the huge rocks he ran over with considerable effort, looking back from time to time. Guess he was wondering if anyone had witnessed his error in turning. Let me explain right now that the driveway is plenty wide and the parking area behind is huge. An 18 wheeler can make the turn without disrupting my garden.

I realized that I simply did not care. I cleaned the muddy mess in my bathrooms yesterday and simply did not care. I witnessed a Dodge Ram pick-up truck violating my 10 mph speed limit and said nary a word. The children in the park are the would be bomb making terrorists and I did not feel particularly protective towards them. I figured they should have a fleeing instinct since they are practicing to live outside the law.

Nothing seems important. Nothing tastes good. No activity appeals to me. It must be the flu shot.

While the debate of flying versus driving is still on-going, I went in for my semi-annual check-up. Only because my re-fills were out and I wanted to make sure I had a three month supply before I go back to Georgia. I love my nurse practitioner in my primary care clinic. Hate the doctor, but that is another tale to tell. She was concerned about some of my "symptoms" and sternly admonished me about not having my mammogram done this year. We talked about my dad's cancer and that I was planning a trip back to Georgia. She insisted that I have a flu shot, especially if I planned to fly.

I don't like flu shots. No, I am not afraid of needles. I just don't like the idea of injecting a virus into my body. I explained all this and she totally disagreed with me and convinced me to get the shot. Last time I had a flu shot was 40 years ago. It made me so sick. I was working in the ER in the hospital and the shot was a requirement. But, I remember just how crappy I felt and that 7 months later I gave birth to twins.

If that happens again, I will be very upset.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Mischief Makers

Have you heard of the endurance course known as the Tough Mudder? It is an obstacle course that is in mud and apparently, folks will pay to challenge themselves to "compete" in this event.

It came to our little town last year and the Chamber of Commerce was agog with all the revenue they expected to bring to our county. They sent representatives out and about to encourage local businesses to welcome the crowds. I was told that the hotels and motels were all booked and there would be more tent campers than I could handle.

Events were planned to celebrate this surge of economy and street vendors prepared to take advantage of all the crowds. I took reservations and was prepared to rent some portable toilets to accomodate the crowd. So glad I waited, because I had cancellation after cancellation when it was discovered that homes nearer to the event were offering their lawns as tent sites at a highly reduced rate.

This year when taking reservations, I let it be known that I would be charging a cancellation fee. It is this weekend and it has rained since Wednesday. Cold and wet is not my idea of fun, but, what do I know? I have been checking in Tough Mudders all day long. When not checking them in, I have been answering phone calls from those who will be arriving late. No, I will not stay in the office until midnight to check someone in.

My front door is plastered with site maps for the 5 late arrivals and I am ready for bed. He Who was out delivering firewood reported that a gaggle of prepubescent boys were gathering our gas cans and looking for stuff in his barn (aka Fred Sanford Emporium). When he questioned them, they informed him that they were looking for stuff to build a bomb.

Now I am afraid to go to bed. I want to kick them out, but He Who was once a boy and did things his mother was lucky enough to never know about, assured me that he told them to stay out of the barn. Somehow, I don't find any comfort in this and I have sent him out to report the actions of the boys to their parents. Had these kids even mentioned this at school, they would be expelled.

I have been told to go to bed, the parents are aware now. I still don't feel safe. What kind of people are these Tough Mudders if the kids want to build a bomb?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cat and Mouse Games

After I found the first snake and dispensed with him, removing his head from his body, I went on with my outdoor chores.

I grabbed up my pail of paint and headed to the fence that had been taken out by a camper and recently replaced. This fence is on the corner of the main road going to the full hook up sites, put there to prevent drivers from going into the deep ditch next to it. I painted it redwood stain, like everything else in the park, but am wondering if I should paint it neon yellow, glow in the dark ....
This is not the first time it has been hit, but it does prevent one from ending up with their wheels in the ditch and needing to be pulled out. I have adorned it with reflective lights ...... maybe I need more.

But, there I was, slathering paint on the new and old boards. I was required to step carefully on the back side to paint it. I was hyper-vigilant since the snake made his appearance. I saw what I thought to be a bird feather in the tall grass. Normally I would have pulled that weedy grass up, but figured it was preventing erosion and should just be treated to a good shave by the weed eater. I peered closer and thought I saw a face in the feather. I nearly lost my footing and decided to just slap the paint on the fence and get done.

But, curiosity won out and I took the shovel that had been used as a murder weapon on Mr. Snake and using it as a walking stick to maintain my balance, I got a lot closer.

A tiny mouse. whose eyes had yet to open was my "feather". I gently scooped him onto the shovel. Rolling onto his tiny back he squeaked and stretched his tiny arms out, no doubt looking for his mother. He was about the size of my thumb.
This time, He Who Mows, responded to my text and came to look at my find.

He told me to "kill it" before it grew up to raid a camper. It was easy to kill the snake, he threatened me. The tiny mouse, well, that was different. He was helpless, his eyes not yet open. He was cute, too. His head too big for his tiny body and limbs and he was making those squeaky noises again. I could feed him, and train him to be a good mouse. I could name him Stuart. After all, I did that for Martha, the boy cat.

Okay, that would be a problem, I admit. Not only Martha, but Oscar and Cujo. They were bred to eliminate rodents. So, I did not touch the mouse, or cuddle the mouse, or bath the mouse.

Instead, I gave the mouse to Martha, the boy cat. Martha, the squirrel hunter and rabbit hunter. Martha who killed a crow and left it on the lawn to find. This cat is fearless. Apparently, my gift was of little interest to Martha. That is the tiny mouse on the edge of the stump. Martha looked, then sniffed, then lay down with his back to the mouse I gifted him.

Could this cat possibly be less interested in the mouse? The mouse fell from the stump and died in the night, never touched by my picky cat.

I did say "first snake" didn't I? The second one still lives. A garter snake in my garden. A good snake. Perhaps I should have offered the mouse to him!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mowing Therapy

I am finding that I have an unlimited capacity for tears. Every day I cry. Some days I think I have cried all my tears, but I am wrong. It comes as no surprise that my Daddy is wasting away. I have known for some time that any more therapy was useless. Mama simply refused to accept it. Far be it from me to take her hope away. I did not try to convince her otherwise.

When I left to come home my sweet Daddy could not walk outside with me, but sat smiling at the breakfast table and told me to call him when I stopped for the night. He was too weak to get up. He told me that he knew he was dying when I arrived and seemed to have made his peace with that knowledge. We had a good visit.

He had a doctor's appointment last week to learn the results of his latest PET scan and MRI. I wish I had stayed. There is nothing left to do for him but to make him as comfortable as possible. I knew that, but now that Mama has accepted it, I can't seem to stop crying. Maybe her hope was also my hope.

I try to distract myself with TV, but can't seem to pay attention. I mow and mow, but find it to be a perfect opportunity to cry really loud. My face is not pretty and I don't care.

I discovered a snake under the trashcan in my dog park. It looked like a fat gray shoelace laying there when I moved the trashcan. I stopped, mower still running and entertained thoughts of picking it up so it would not get caught in my mower blade. For all the reasons above, I am not moving or thinking fast of late. I watched, in fascination as the shoelace moved and then coiled itself. I pulled my cell from my pocket and texted He Who mows and takes care of all things reptilian.

I simply texted "snake". He was across the open field on the big mower and I know he got the text because I saw him swerve as he was reading. I fully expected him to change course and drive the mower to me to see my find. I did not want to kill a "good" snake. This was just a baby snake and I am not good at identifying snakes. I used the shovel on my golf cart to scoop the shoelace snake up and move him out of my way.

The shoelace snake had the audacity to strike at me (well, the space between me and him, there was a lot, too). So I pronounced him a bad snake and used the shovel to disconnect his striking head from his shoelace body. Then I texted He Who did not respond to my first text, "dead snake" and continued to mow.

Think I will go mow some more now.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ode To Billie Joe

 Okay, all Hertz rental cars are equipped with "Never Lost". Took me a bit to get it programmed, but I did. Unfortunately I chose the "shortest route". That means the shortest in miles, not time.

I took highway 78 from Memphis to Birmingham. It was four lanes and 70 mph. A straight shot and not bad at all. There were red lights and the speed limit dropped at every little community. But not so bad.

After my night's stay I was ready to go. Got in the car and Never Lost asked if I wanted to "resume" and I chose that option. I traveled through Mississippi. I crossed the Tallahatchee River. I did not see where Billie Joe McCallister jumped ..... or maybe I did. After I traveled through Birmingham, I think I hit every little two lane road there was in Alabama and Georgia. I had to keep listening to my friend Never Lost, because I had no idea where I was!

Lady, Get A Cab!

It was all worth it. I got to spend the day with my little granddaughter, Jailynn and her mom, Amber. Just looking at her sweet face makes me smile.

Her mom, Amber is as sweet as she is lovely. My grandson chose well when he picked her to be his wife. If you are wondering what my grandson looks like ....... just look at his daughter. She has his eyes. She would tell you "I am eat up with him!" She did tell her Papa Drew that when he told her she looked like him.

This day was definitely a high-light of my trip. The ride home was a nightmare. You have read about day one and the smelly hotel room. I did not get much sleep and woke at 5:30. Really tired, I thought I would be able to sleep longer, since I was instructed to wait until I heard from He Who solves my problems before heading to the airport to return my car.

In addition to being smelly, the air unit needed some maintenance. Every time it came on, the fan would rattle and it sounded like someone was tapping on my window. This was disturbing, since while I was parking I saw a man climb out of the window in the same wing my room was in. I did open the window for awhile hoping to eliminate the smell, but I was careful to lock it tightly before retiring for the night. I decided at some point in the night that should the fire alarm go off, I would ignore the evacuation route and exit through the window. It was a tall window that slid from side to side and would easily accommodate my girth. These are things I ponder in the night when I can't sleep.

So, after hearing every door open and close (seems sound proofing was not a priority either), I was up and showered by 7:30. I marched to the lobby several times for free coffee. Figured I got a little exercise in, since I would be sitting and driving for 6 hours or more to make it home.

You will recall that I was without many options to get to my car. He Who knows people was busy making arrangements and I was told to sit tight in my stinky room until summoned to the airport. At 9:07 I got the call that my car would be at the airport in roughly two and a half hours. I did some mental calculations. I was not quite 6 hours into my trip when my car died and left me rocking in the wake of big trucks on the side of the interstate.

The same tow company was to be dispatched to bring my car. This made me a little uneasy since the same tow company was responsible for my current dilemma. The same tow company owned by the man so rude to me on the phone and who called me "lady" (and not in a good way). He Who knows me well instructed me to play nice ...... like I had a choice.

I checked out of my room, hoping that I didn't smell like it and arrived at Hertz without any problems due to my on-going friendship with Never Lost (I wanted to take her with me). Then I cooled my heels on a hard, backless bench for over two hours. I had been told that the driver had my cell number. I waited patiently until 11:30, then 11:45 and then 12:00. All the while recalculating my ETA for home .... remember I have night blindness.

By 12:30, my stomach churning with anxiety, I wanted to cry. All the information I was getting second-hand from He Who was making calls on my behalf. I was told:
The driver had been calling me and I did not answer my phone.
My car had been towed to my hotel and the tow truck was at the Hertz lot to pick me up to take me to my car and to walk out into the parking lot to find the truck ......
The same people who picked me up were there to get me.

I assured him that I was answering my phone and when he asked me if it was working, I reminded him that I was talking to him at that very moment. I asked how they knew which hotel I had stayed at. He didn't know, he was simply relaying info to me. I gathered my belongings and dragging my stuffed to capacity luggage on wheels behind me walked all over the rental car lot looking for a tow truck.

Called my hero back. He had called the transmission shop and was told my car had not been picked. I almost started crying. It was 12:30 and if the dispatch time was estimated at two and a half hours, then I wouldn't be headed home until 3:00, meaning I wouldn't get home until 9:00 and would be driving in the dark.

Another call to the tow company owned by the not nice man was made and he was told that the driver had been looking for me at Enterprise and Hertz and could not find me. I was at Hertz, no one had seen anyone looking. Took another phone call to get the driver's cell number, which they seemed to be reluctant to divulge. Really, like I am a would be phone stalker in the future.

I found him. Not in a tow truck, but the same personal vehicle that had delivered me to the airport (for my comfort). Not the same driver, but the son of the not nice owner. It was 1:30. The child driver admitted that he had not been able to call me because his phone had spotty coverage. We proceeded to wind around to the interstate while he talked to his little brother on his phone.

He was making me nervous with that phone and his lack of attention to the road. He finally ended the call saying he had a passenger and was driving. My foot was planted on my imaginary brake all the while. He stayed in the fast lane, but we were moving at snails pace and the traffic was passing on my left. His phone rang periodically and he would slow down to about 45, still in the fast lane.

He told me that my car was actually 40 minutes north in Missouri. This lightened my mood a bit, until he took the Blytheville exit and said we had to make a stop at "the shop". My heart sank. He encouraged me to go into the office with him and I got the stink eye from the not nice owner and his witchy wife. They barely acknowledged my presence while they talked about a call the kid driver had to go on and what they were going to do with me. They decided to send the 18 year old daughter to deliver me to my car ........

The girl admitted that she wasn't sure where we were going, but she had her smart phone with Google map in her lap. Her witchy mother was shouting instructions to her while a toothless man in a greasy shirt that revealed the underside of his large belly was interjecting his own nuggets of directional wisdom.

She drove while looking at that phone and we occasionally swerved into other lanes of traffic. We were apparently taking the "back way" because the interstate made her nervous. She made me nervous as we limped along taking curves at 10 mph and still not staying in our lane. I had to use quite a bit of self control not to make her pull over and let me drive. She turned the wrong way at the intersection and decided to call Witch Mom for instructions. I could hear her shouting through the phone, berating the girl for know following her instructions.

This is when I asked Siri for help. The girl told Witch Mom that I had Siri and hung up. Witch Mom called back and told her to ignore me and my phone that I was going to "get her lost". We finally made it to Highway 84, a four lane divided highway. Siri told us to turn left and she did ..... on the wrong side of the divided highway into on-coming traffic. I grabbed the wheel and turned her back to the cross in the median. The child kept apologizing and admitted that she has not had her license for long.

I admit that I was worried about her making it back all by herself. I was dropped at the transmission shop where an old guy in over-alls and a long-sleeved white shirt sat atop a fender sipping from a thermal cup. He told me the "owner" was in the bathroom and would be right out. He asked which car I was there to pick up and I told him. He grinned and said, "I don't think it's ready." I knew he was messing with me, but I lowered my Dollar Tree sunglasses (mine had been languishing in my car all week) and let him see my eyes and said "I will cut you."

I didn't want to disavow my image that all the gossip had created. This all could have been avoided if the two truck had simply taken my car to a shop in Memphis from the get-go and not fed me all this bull about it being the best thing to leave it in their shop and leaving me to believe they were willing to pick me up. I feel quite certain that not nice owner of the tow shop is also not honest and charged AAA for a tow when they delivered me to Hertz in the Hybrid car that saved on fuel. They were reluctant to try that ploy on my return trip, so just left me stranded.

They were forced to go get me and I knew the not nice man would try to make it unpleasant. I was nice, even when I was terrified by the child driver. I tipped her and she seemed surprised and pleased. Her not nice father can go to not heaven, as my buddy, the valedictorian would say!   

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Home Again

Home, sweet home. I am so happy to be home!

So many tales to tell. Don't know where to start! I got home last night just after 7:30. The day was long and frustrating. Just 18 miles from home I was pulled over for speeding. 84 mph. I had the cruise set and thought I had it set for 74. I wondered why I was zipping by everyone else and I knew the flashing lights were for me the minute I saw them.

I surrendered my license and my out of date insurance card and texted He Who awaited my return to inform him of the delay. The state trooper was nice and only cited me for the insurance and told me to slow down. The insurance card is the fault of He Who is supposed to take care of such matters for his wife. I had been speeding all day in my rush to get home before dark. I can't see all that well in the dark and for some reason the on-coming traffic objects to the use of my high beams.

I couldn't very well tell the officer to hurry it up, as the light was fading and I have night blindness, could I? So, the last bit of light was fading as I took off and set the cruise at 60 and fell in behind a truck so I could follow his tail lights to my exit. This is when He Who knows I will not answer a text while driving decided to text me ....... twice. Why he didn't just call me remains a mystery. I was annoyed that he didn't call when I didn't text back and was tempted to pull over and text that I was headed to jail. I didn't, but I was afraid he would leave to rescue me, since I had added the mile marker to my text. This would mean that he would not be home when I arrived and I had forgotten my house key.

This was a nightmare trip and I told my dad it was a testament to how much I cared about him! By the time I headed out Sunday morning I had made friends with "Never Lost". I punched in the address to the hotel near the airport awaiting my arrival. This time I did not choose the "shortest route", but the "interstate and freeway route". I fully intended to jump on state highway 78 when I got to Birmingham, knowing that my friend, Never Lost, would recalculate a route when I ignored her directions. Unfortunately, I was mindlessly doing everything she said when I realized she had taken me off I-20 west and was taking me to Nashville. I was going to get off and turn around, but I noticed that the traffic was at a standstill in the opposite direction. So, I went to Nashville, then to Memphis. Not really a big deal considering what the second day of my travels held.

That will be a story for another day. I hear a mower calling my name! It is good to be outside and busy after so many days of inactivity. My dad's low energy keeps him indoors most of the time. He did get out one day while I was there. I was happy to be his driver. He is so very weak. We had to employ the use of a wheelchair. He has a walker, but he was just too weak to walk too far. I did help Mama mow and weed while he napped. I gave them a nice break in the middle of the week and went to see my sweet great-granddaughter, Jailynn.

So many stories ....... so little time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cell Phone Etiquette or Maybe They Are Jealous?

On my big adventure I encountered strange doings. Things I had yet to witness.

When cell phones were new, it was not uncommon to see people with the device stuck to their ear. It was, after all a status symbol. I remember one man, in particular, who frequented our business in Minnesota. He was a wiry short man and already suffered from "little man syndrome". Always having to toot his own horn of self-importance. He would come in talking and never stop the entire time he was in our store. He would tell the person on the other end to "hold on" to tell me what he wanted. If I had a question, he would hold his hand in front of my face to shush me. He only did that once. I told him to let me know when he was ready to do business and walked away. I sometimes wondered if he was even talking to anyone.

Rude, just plain rude. I stopped to get a cold drink at a convenience store. I was delayed until I could figure out how to remove the key from the ignition. You would think the rental people would point these things out. I was exhausted after my tow and am not ashamed to admit that I burst into tears. I used to have a Camry and knew there was a trick, but couldn't remember. I accidentally hit the panic button and everyone knew I was there .... but that's another story for another day.

I went into the restroom, travelers always do, you know. There were several stalls and lots of people in there. One woman was talking on her cell phone. She was loud. She slipped into the stall next to me and said, "Wait a minute, I going to put you on speaker." Yes, she did. Her friend was also loud and I was entertained with the conversation. There were talking about some people they didn't like at their church. They really don't like this other woman. I should know. This other woman wears too much make-up and tries to look younger than she is ...... and ....... they were on their way to meet her for dinner.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stranded In Memphis

Here I am, a week later. This hotel cannot compare to the last one. It has a strange smell. Not just my room ...... the entire hotel. It was cheap and close to the airport where Hertz awaits the return of the Camry.

Okay, I promised to enchant you with my ongoing tale of misery and misfortune. The tow truck arrived and I was happy to see it was a team. A man and a woman. She out-talked me (and that takes effort). They had a plan in place and told me their boss-man told them the best thing I could do was to leave my car in their impound lot until someone could take a look-see on Monday. In the mean time he provided a nice comfy car to take me to Memphis to obtain a rental.

Some of you may have already wondered to yourself about the wisdom of leaving my car some 70 miles away from the rental agency. I should have wondered myself, but what do I know about cars that stop and suddenly die leaving me stranded in the hot sun. I did ask them how I would get my car and she assured me they would take care of it, even return it for me. I felt so well assured.

I bought their lunch and tipped them $20 for all their care and trouble. I even provided them with apples and tomatoes and peppers from my garden. I was giving out apples like Santa gives out Christmas candy. I had so much stuff in my car. I had a huge sack of apples and dishpan of tomatoes and peppers. Two cakes for my Daddy, two suitcases and a box fan to help keep me cool. Mama gets cold at night and sets the thermostat at 78. And an ice chest with frozen apple and blueberry pies.

Imagine me trying to pile all that on an airport cart and down the elevator to get to the car rental. Yeah, it is funny. The nice young man helping me listened to all my woes and asked me why they didn't tow my car to Memphis, because I was the only authorized driver and the only one who would be able to return my car. See, I had not thought this situation through. I should have insisted they tow my car to Memphis, since AAA would pay for a tow up to 100 miles.

Because I am now in Memphis and I am stranded. When I turn this car in, I have no means of transportation. I dreamed of dragging all that crap down the interstate on foot. Now, I did not just realize that I would be without wheels unless I drove the rental to the transmission shop and then somehow managed to drive both cars back to Hertz.

The nice man who arranged my nice ride to Memphis, knowing full well I would be stranded, was not nice at all when I called him. He was rude. When I asked him how I was supposed to get back to Blytheville to get my car he informed me that it was my problem, that my car was no longer in his possession and "Lady, take a cab."

He called me "lady". I am not done with him. I am willing to bet he charged AAA to take me to Memphis. He will be sorry he called me "lady".

So, we have exhausted all methods of transportation. I have enough money on me for a cab tomorrow if it comes to that. He Who solves all my problems offered the transmission shop $100 to drive my car to pick me up, but got no takers. If all else fails tomorrow I will be heading north in a limo at $65 per hour, which is cheaper than a cab. Probably will smell nicer, too.

Now ..... I lay me down to sleep. Tomorrow I will be home sweet home!