Thursday, October 27, 2016

He Might Be A Redneck

Today marks two weeks without Oscar. In an effort to cheer myself up, I left the property and went to lunch with my friend, Martha. We had a good time gossiping and talking about our husbands and all the things they do wrong. It was a very long lunch. Can we help it that they give us so much to work with?

I stopped and shopped a bit. Found nothing I could not live without, except the peanut butter for HeWho eats it every day. We have peanut butter aplenty of the creamy variety, but just last night he expressed a desire for some crunchy. I am such a good and loving wife, I even bought ice cream for him.

I fielded reservations all day as I drove and ate and shopped. Now that I am home I settled down with a glass of tea to read a blog or two and found myself to be inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Hillbilly Mom, aka Val, the Victorian.

We shall be calling her Val here. Val and I seem to have married the same man. So many times she will describe something her Hick is doing and I realize that HeWho is married to me does the exact same thing. Birds of a feather, two peas in a pod.

Today Val was highly irritated about her gravel driveway. She knows he has done something to it, but he will not own up. I frequently have the same feeling and can empathize accordingly.

You will all recall that I sometimes refer to HeWho hoards as Fred Sanford. If you don't know who that is, you just might be too young to be reading this! This year, a tractor became available and HeWho hoards promised to get rid of several items in order to be allowed to purchase this tractor. It is not that I tell him what he can and cannot have, it is his choice to endure nagging or not.

We need a tractor, yes, we do. But, we already have a tractor of sorts. This was purchased brand new and was nothing but trouble from the get go. Off brand, it was always a pain to get parts for and had to go back to the dealer to be worked on. So, HeWho fancies himself to be mechanically inclined started to tinker on this and that. Before you know it, the tractor is in many parts. Many men who swore to know about engines of all kinds have tried and thus far all have failed to reconstruct this tractor. I have since named the pile of greasy parts Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty was supposed to be among the items I wanted gone. It is all still here and the new used tractor was indeed purchased and is being used for lots of things. One is grading the gravel roads and filling in the potholes. The roads and the sites are gravel and must be maintained if you want people to actually stay here.

Before he got the new used tractor, though, he would have to rent or borrow a piece of equipment for this task. Well, that was until he had a better idea .......... A long time ago (right after we bought the campground) he purchased a truckload of chain link fencing and the poles that go with it. It was one of those purchases you make thinking you will need it someday. I buy sewing and crafting supplies like this and I most always end up using them.

We used it for the dog park several years ago. It had to be pulled out of the big field behind our bill board and moved to the location of the dog park. This was done with my Jeep and the trailer. But, when the remainder of the fence not used was to be picked up, he simply tied a strap to it and drug it to the barn (to further enhance the beauty of this area) behind my Jeep. It was then he discovered a new way to grade the roads!

After Humpty Dumpty and before New Used Tractor, HeWho spent many happy afternoons driving round and round the campground dragging his fence. He might be a Redneck .....he just might!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oscar Is Home

Oscar is home where he belongs. I must confess that I sniffed the paw print. HeWho loves me laughed at me. He promptly informed me that there could not possibly be a hint of Oscar's scent on that paw print.

He is wrong. After I inspected the casting, I presented it to Oscar's former pack. They all sniffed carefully and tails began to wag excitedly. Wall-E yipped and yapped, while Cujo began licking. Tell me there is no scent left! Toni Louise wagged her tail, as well, although she was a little subdued. Perhaps thinking her old rival was back and ready to take back his kingdom?

It was bittersweet, holding his sweet paw print in my hand. I know I did the right thing, ending his pain. But, it still makes my heart hurt.

This is Oscar in his prime. You can see the mischief in his eyes.

 Oscar and his lovely wife, Emmy. Emmy was more photogenic that he was. He looks a little arrogant here ....... because he was!

Time for a nap. My little awards, Oscar and Emmy. I miss them both every day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sweet Sixteen

Dear Layla,
Happy Birthday to you, my sweet granddaughter. You are sixteen years old today. Seems like not so long ago I met you for the very first time. So many people so happy to see you, I hardly got to hold you myself!

You were such a happy little baby and a shy little girl. Then you became a big girl and went off to school. You excelled at everything you did and every teacher loved having you as her student.

I am in awe of the young lady you have become. You have accomplished so much and I am so proud of you.

I hope this day is all that you hope for. Don't ever forget just how loved you are! Happy Birthday, Layla!!

Love, Gramma 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fairies Come Out To Dance At Night

When I built this last garden, I didn't plant any flowers, just trees and bushes. I just wanted to create some shade to border the parking spaces for day swimmers. As much as I love flowers, they are a lot of work. I seem to have as many gardens as I can handle right now, so I resigned myself to just mulch.

I needed a "fence" of sorts to stop cars from bumping the trees in an effort to get the most shade. I was thinking of some rustic posts, with maybe rope or chain to define the area. HeWho procures material looked at me blankly ( a technique he employs when he doesn't want to do something).

Fortunately, I have the ability to repurpose items on hand. Stumps we have in abundance. We usually split them into firewood, but we have plenty and I needed a barrier. The next step was to actually move them to the designated area. Another blank look from HeWho mows and I employed the use of the hand truck ..... after nagging him to fill the tires with air. I can move anything on wheels. I have moved them by rolling them before, but that was in my younger days and I didn't have as far to go way back then.

I re-used some landscape timbers and then it struck me that the stumps looked like potential fairy houses. The granddaughters were scheduled to come and I just knew they would love to help me create a fairy village ...... that didn't work out so well, but it didn't stop me. I used found items. Horseshoes make great doors. I painted them for frames and used popsicle sticks for the doors. I didn't buy them and I know they are inexpensive, but I collected them. HeWho loves popsicles provided the raw material for doors and windows.

HeWho loves ice cream is a big fan of Dove bars. Those sticks have a different shape. I cut them in half to make shingles. I found some 2" tiles and used those to create sidewalks. It is hard to see, but this front door is adorned with witches brooms and tiny pumpkins.

Thrift stores are great sources of raw materials. There is a tiny bird house above the door on this stump. I am scrounging around for something to make a sidewalk with and this house needs windows.

Always a work in progress. I will add more photos as I make more progress with the village. I found an interesting branch that I used to make a tree. I found a toy motorcycle and borrowed the wheels to make tire swings. No pictures yet.

Christmas d├ęcor will be going up soon. This will be fun with tons of miniature lights and tiny trees.
I am already gathering vines for wreaths. My biggest challenge will be securing all these tiny things. The wind here is mighty.

So, here you go, Val, as requested, the fairy shanty town!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Witches and Pies

I am not feeling particularly festive of late, but the fairy witch seems to have arrived near their garden. Looks like she may have hit a tree in her descent and flown head long into a hollow stump. That had to smart! You will notice some of the fairy dwellings in the background.

But .... this post is about apple pie. I was in a cleaning frenzy mood yesterday as I waited for the return of HeWho had taken his beloved mower in for repairs. Can't leave the park on a Friday. Even before noon, as those pesky campers don't always wait until check-in time. When the park is booked, I cannot allow them to choose their own site, it always creates disaster. Of course, leaving HeWho should never be in charge can sometimes be as bad.

But, groceries must be procured, unless we depend on my creativity in the kitchen. Like the Italian/Mexican dish I prepared from a variety of leftovers before we left on our trip north. So, while I waited, impatiently, I decided to clean out the fridge. I usually start from the top and work my way down, but I decided to do the opposite and see what surprises might await me. An entire drawer full of apples! I emptied them and washed the bin and replaced it, then washed the other. This is as far as I got, knowing I had to do something with the apples before we would be overtaken by fruit flies. I cored and peeled them all and ended up with enough apples to fill the crock pot. I dumped a little cinnamon and  cloves on them and set the crock pot to low. I was thinking apple butter, maybe.

HeWho arrived home, minus his best friend, the lawn mower, and I grabbed my keys and took off for the fastest shopping trip ever. It was already 2 o'clock and I was leaving him to check in campers. I was back in just one hour with a car full of pantry items and lots of meat. As I approached my campground I saw a camper in the parking lot. Careful to not exceed my speed limit (I am the only one willing to set a good example), I parked as quickly as I could and raced inside to take over.

What a look of relief on his face! I handed off the keys and told him to unload the car. I normally prefer to do this myself, as I have strategically placed the items in rows of priorities. I unload the freezer stuff first and work my way to the other items. Just how I like to do things .....

I checked the check-in preformed by He-Who seems to be unable to read my carefully thought out chart. I find that he has followed my instructions to the T! Of course the camper comes back to announce that they cannot fit in the site assigned (translation: they don't like the site and would prefer another). I have frozen food to deal with, so I tell him to move up one site and decide to deal with the fall-out later, since the site he is taking will not be filled until the next day.

HeWho eats is lingering around the kitchen as I empty bags. He is looking for some good junk food, but I did not purchase any. He spies some frozen pie crusts that I bought with savory pies in mind (and they were on sale). He wants to know what is in the crock pot. He seems to think it is potatoes and a lot of them. I tell you this man has no sense of smell! I look at him in amazement, the aroma of cloves and cinnamon is filling the air! When I tell him it is apples he wants to know if a pie is in his future. The apples had hardly cooked down, so I turned the crock pot off.

In between checking in campers and fielding phone calls of would be campers looking for spots, I managed to get all the groceries put away and peel the potatoes for the leftover roast beef stew. I had already prepared the carrots and celery. I started peeling the apple quarters from the crock pot ......... I must have stopped and washed my hands at least a dozen times to take care of campers.

I finally had a huge bowl of sliced apples. I dumped a little flour and maybe 1/2 cup or so of sugar in a mixing bowl, a splash of cinnamon followed, but I figured there was enough cloves already on them. I looked around frantically and spied the cardamom and decided to dump a little into the mix and then I tossed the apple slices with the sugar mixture and dumped them into the waiting crust. By now it had thawed, but I had neglected to take the two crusts resting in their foil pans apart. The top crust was hard to get out and I literally scraped it onto the top of the pie. Ugly, ugly pie, but I shoved it into the waiting oven that had long since alerted me that the temperature had been reached.

I stirred the stew that was filling the air with a delicious aroma and realized how hungry I was. Then I raced back to the office to take another call and check someone in. Here comes the tricky part. The pie is supposed to cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then go down to 350 for another 40 minutes. I was praying that I would be able to hear the timer from the office and not burn the ugly pie.

I was successful and we ate in the office around 7:00. I ate my stew, but all I could think about was the pie and the jerk standing in front of me preventing me from eating my pie! He had called earlier to make a reservation for the same day. When I told him I had no full hook ups left he was irate and told me that he camps here all the time. Like I would bump somebody for him?

He came for a 50 amp site, just water and electric. I recognized him immediately. I see a lot of people every season and usually have to have them refresh my memory. If I ask you to refresh my memory, take it as a compliment, because the trouble makers are seared into my memory! This is an older gentleman  man with what I suppose to be his obnoxious grandson it tow. He comes in declaring to have a reservation for a 50 amp full hook up. I tell him I have no full hook ups available.

He shouts that I told him I did when he called. There are some people in this world of the mind set that if they shout loud enough and make a scene, they will get what they want. They haven't met me yet. I do not intimidate easily ..... especially when I am smelling pie!

Finally I was able to cut into my pie. The crust was browned to perfection, a little gnarly looking. But I took my first bite of perfection and let me tell you, this was the best pie in the history of pies!!! And I doubt I could ever duplicate it, since I measured NOTHING. This pie was so good that by bedtime we had eaten half of it, then HeWho loves pie carved off another piece. The rest is MINE!!

Someone left the cake out in the rain.... I don't think that I can take it.... cause it took so long to bake it..... and I'll never have that recipe again .......

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Still Missing Oscar

A new resident to the Kampground! No, not mine. It will be awhile before I can entertain thoughts of new puppies in my home.

This is a mixed breed ........... Dachshund mixed with a Pit Bull. She is adorable now, but you have to wonder what she will look like as a full grown dog. You will note that one ear is shorter than the other. Her litter mates bit it off!! Makes her all the more endearing.

A gentle rain is falling and matches my mood. So many reminders of my sadness lurk everywhere and lay in wait to get me when I least expect it. I have washed all of Oscar's towels and blankets. Soon there will be no scent of my old boy. Going through Fall decorations, I discovered Oscar's Halloween costume. I picked it up and sniffed it. I was disappointed that it smelled like all the other stuff stored in that bin.

He hated his costume. It was a hot dog bun, with swirls of ketchup and mustard on the opening of the bun. Oscar was the hot dog. He tried to get the costume off, but failed, so he walked around with a resigned look on his face that Halloween. We had a dog costume contest that year. I convinced HeWho has no more control over me than Oscar did, to wear  deep red sweats with "Heinz" boldly scripted across the shirt front. I may have led him to believe I would be wearing  mustard yellow sweats with "French's" on my shirt. Alas, yellow is not my color ........

This morning before making the bed, I showered after tossing my nightgown on the bed. My nightgown is black with tiny white doxies and dog bones adorning the fabric. I entered the closet without bothering to turn the light on in my bedroom. I grabbed a shirt and as my head popped through I looked at me bed. In the dim light from the closet, I could have sworn my nightgown was my Oscar. Like he was just waiting for me to lift him into my arms for our morning ritual. Just my nightgown, though.

Instead of 4 dog treats, I only need 3 and it hurts my heart when I can't give one to Oscar. I had to crumble Oscar's treat for him in his half toothless state. I still find crumbling a fourth treat in my hand before I remember.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Long Weekend

Since My little dog died I have not had 10 minutes to myself. I woke this morning fully expecting to find him in his usual spot next to me. Instead my hand found the long fur of Toni Louise. She has taken his place as the leader of the pack and grieving time is over as far as she is concerned. Toni has a very matter of fact personality. She is determined and single minded. She will make a fine leader of our pack.

I was so sad to discover that I had not been in a nightmare and that this weekend really had happened. Wall-E, our sensitive comfort dog tip-toed to me to offer love and support. He is watching me intently now as I sip coffee and type. One little sniff and he will be by my side. Cujo is content to snuggle by my side here in my chair. He is asleep, though and not really attune to my feelings like Wall-E.

I suppose I should just take comfort in the fact that I have three dogs and a cat to lavish with attention, but I miss Oscar.

If you think things could not be worse than having to paste a happy look on my face and deal with campers all day Friday ...... you would be so wrong! I woke Friday morning resigned to having to put on a happy face and make nice while I registered the weekend crowd of campers. My eyes were puffy and swollen, but I had no plans to try to remedy the situation. I figured make-up would just make it worse should I have a tearful moment. For the most part, people are wonderful and I cannot count how any people shed a tear with me this past weekend.

HeWho loves me and does sweet things for me, made a trip to the grocery and came back with food. Prepared food! He was hungry and so decided that I must be hungry as well. I went in to wash my hands. I had been replanting some things and my hands needed a good scrubbing. No water flowed from the faucet. How much we take for granted the simple luxuries of life!

HeWho plumbs reacted quickly and checked all the things one checks to determine the cause of the loss of water. The aroma of fried chicken filled the air as we tried to determine what was needed to remedy the situation. Keep in mind the fact that there is only one source of water here and if we don't have water, the campers don't have water.

The phone started ringing and I was deluged with alerts about the water situation. Turns out that the motor in the pump was no longer working. So, you say, why don't you just replace it? Because it resides deep in the ground. It is not even 2 years old and under warranty. This provides little comfort when you are the one fielding complaints, though.

It was around 2 pm when this happened and we were without water for about 24 hours. The company responsible for the warranty came out and tried everything they could to restore water until the new pump could be installed. They tried to re-route the water from the pool to provide water to flush. Didn't work, but we tried.

All the while I am in the office, registering guests. Reservations had me at capacity and I was not looking forward to dealing with the water issue. The park host from the state park stopped in for some ice and told me to send my incoming reservations down to fill their holding tanks with water before parking in their spots. Sounded like a good solution. Little did I know they would charge TEN DOLLARS for that water! Of course I reimbursed everyone for this. I tried to contact as many of my reservations as I could to let them know about our water situation.

We only lost one reservation because of the water. It was most unpleasant. The man was so irate, I think he would have hit me if he thought he could get away with it. He put on quite a show, stomping and yelling at me. Demanded to know why I did not call him (he arrived shortly after we discovered the problem and would have already been on his way) He kept shouting that he had driven for 2 hours to get here and wanted me to find another campground with space for him. I suggested filling his holding tank at the state park (only 1 mile away), but he growled that he was not going to do that. On and on he raged about having to just go back home. All the while his wife stood meekly by his side. I really felt sorry for her. I knew her ride home would not be a pleasant one.

I suppose he thought I had sabotaged the well just to ruin his weekend. I even pointed out to him that I did not have water myself. I probably could have left that out, because he told me in no uncertain terms that he could care less about my situation. I hope he did not take his rage out on his wife, wasn't her fault either.

Other than this man, everyone else was very understanding and stayed. I did discount their stays, but that is my job. I washed my hands in a fountain outside and used mouthwash to brush my teeth and went to bed, leaving the men still trying to pump pool water and take down my fence and everything else needed to be able to get the drill truck next to the well. It was well after midnight before we slept with the promise of a 6 am arrival of the new pump.

Water was restored the next afternoon and life went on. I stayed busy fielding calls from people with no reservations looking for over night stays. I stuck them in every nook and cranny I could and when I finally locked the door, having no available space; I collapsed in front of the TV like a zombie.

My dinner was delivered to my desk. Thanks to Butch and DJ for cooking up some delicious chili. I feel well taken care of.

But, today will be a slow day with too much time to think. Everywhere I look I see my little dog. I miss his whine at the office door to let me know he is demanding my presence. It is just too quiet in here. I think I will go mow something.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oscar, Almost 17 ....... 12-12-1999 until 10-13-2016

Oscar went over the rainbow last night at a little after 8 o'clock. This is his last picture. Don't look at me, I am an ugly crier.

I contacted my vet yesterday. She has been the best vet I have ever had and she is closing her practice. Don't know where I will go next. She only see patients on Fridays. I had resigned myself to waiting until Friday. I was okay with having him with me until then and keeping him as pain free as possible.

But, she was booked all day Friday and told me to bring him at 8 o'clock last night. I agreed, then had a total panic attack. I thought I had one more night with him. I was outside sitting in the grass while he stumbled around in the sunshine for a bit. I began talking myself out of the whole thing. He was walking in the grass, I told myself. He had not had a spasm in his neck all afternoon, he was getting better and we did not have to do this awful thing. He even wagged his tail when I held him like a baby and crooned his name. Why would I kill my own dog, a dog I loved so much. I often wondered if it was a sin to love an animal as much as I loved this willful, stubborn, handsome little dog.

I called my bestie, Martha. She would understand, because she loves her dogs with the same intensity. She talked me down from my hysteria. She even told me I didn't have to do it if I didn't want to. Thanks, Martha, I love you!!

I was hoping he would fall asleep and just slip away. That I would wake to find him gone, or come into the house to check on him and he would be gone. I have had three dogs leave the world while I held onto them as the vet did her thing. It wasn't awful and I was glad I was with them when they left the world. But this is Oscar. I have never loved a dog for so long as I have loved him. He loved me right back. I was his one and only person. He could be downright mean to others. I confess that I loved being his favorite.

It was 5 o'clock and I noted that I only had three more hours. I texted HeWho drives to let him know and picked Oscar up to cradle him in my arms and sway from side to side like you do with a cranky baby. I had interrupted his nap and he was not content in my arms, so I laid him down and found things to do. I washed the dishes and did laundry, all the while checking on him, kneeling on the floor and dropping tears on his head.

The other dogs stayed clear of us. They knew. I think we ate something. Then, all too soon, it was time to go. I wrapped him in a warm towel and picked him up. He snuggled his head into my neck and lay there, perfectly content. He had not done this in a long time and once again, I was doubting my decision. It takes awhile to get to our vet. She is out in the farmlands and not easy to find or get to. He rode all the way without a whimper of pain. When we parked, though, he started to slip down from my neck and yelp repeatedly. I had just repositioned him when the picture was taken.

He stayed in my arms as she shaved his leg and applied the tourniquet to find a vein and he remained in my arms as he left this world. I rode home again holding my precious dog. He is on his way to the crematorium as I write this. My bed felt empty last night. Even the cat is subdued. None of my furry babies slept in Oscar's spot last night. I found myself slipping my hand over to check on him in the night and that spot was empty and cold.

I know he is in heaven now. He will find my Daddy and they will have a nice nap together. I just hope he can refrain from peeing on the angel wings! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

So Sad

Didn't get much sleep last night. I kept waking up to check Oscar, my old dog, to see if he was still breathing. I am sad, the time has come to say goodbye to my old friend.

He is in pain. Seems to be his shoulders and neck and he is yelping, as he guards himself. He can sense when something is coming towards him and he cries out in anticipation of being bumped. All day long he cried out and was only content when I held him in my arms, on his back, like a baby. He does not want me to sit down to hold him unless I go outside and sit in the rocker on the porch. I find myself swaying to and fro, just like I used to do with my babies.

He is my baby. I have to wait until Friday to take him in to my vet and the next two days will be bittersweet. He is sleeping peacefully right now, and to be honest, I won't be devastated if he slips away while he sleeps. While he is awake, I am holding him and talking to him.

While I am weepy, the comfort dog, Wall-E is staying close by and if I do sit down, he jumps in my chair to sit next to me. Cujo gets in on the game and sits with us. Toni Louise is in her own world, she is the dog of HeWho loves her most, after all. Martha, the boy cat, is sitting vigil next to the sleeping old guy. They all know what is happening and are very subdued.

All of us, except Toni Louise. I think she is just biding her time as she waits to take over the alpha role. My Oscar has been a dictator for nearly 17 years and it is now coming to an end. I miss the younger obnoxious dog!

In his hey day, Oscar was a tyrant. He bullied everyone. He even tried to bully me. He bit me once and left me with a hole in my nose and a black eye. In his defense, I startled him and he responded without realizing he was attacking his master. He was contrite after he discovered it was me. It did not make me love him any less. He has owned a place in my heart since the first time I cuddled him in my arms.

I resisted the little guy when My daughter, Jill, brought him to meet me. He was supposed to be a birthday present for my son-in-law, Nick. Jill developed an intense hatred dislike for Oscar, despite the fact that she chose him and named him. I kept the name. He is an award, not a wiener! His wife dog was Emmy, being a most precious award of sweetness. As full of love as Emmy was, Oscar was full of himself.

You know how seeing someone or something day after day and you just see them as you always have. Until we went on our trip, Oscar looked, well, like Oscar to me. My daughters were shocked when they saw him and both told me how awful he looked. They even went so far as to try to have an intervention with me about hanging onto my old dog. I brushed them off. He was not in pain then. He enjoyed daily activities with me, little times alone with me in the front yard, riding the golf cart or just being carried around in my arms.

But, he is hurting mow and I cannot bear it. I am so sad and will be for some time.

Friday, October 7, 2016

My Dog Had Fleas!!

It is 9:07, time to lock up and sit in a stupor in front of the TV. I have earned it today. I arose early and picked a pitiful few green beans from my garden, as well as some tiny squash. Feeling industrious, I pre-cooked dinner. Fresh green beans and tiny potatoes. The pork chops thawing and the makings of cornbread all set. I did a couple loads of laundry. One load consisted of all the coats and jackets He Who drives pulled from various vehicles.

The weather is absolutely perfect. A hint of winter to come is in the air and rumor has it that we will drop into the 40's tonight. I fear my bananas will not have time to ripen before I have to dig the tree up and let it go dormant. HeWho drives was on a taxi call to the airport and it gave me the opportunity to move all the furniture and scrub the floors in our sitting room and kitchen.

On the recent trip north I discovered a flea on my Cujo. It occurs to me that anyone reading this for the first time may not be aware that Cujo is my little doxie and not a pet name for something obscene. I mean, it is a pet name since Cujo is my pet, but ..... Anyhoo, since I have had my little dog, he has never had a flea. He was crying and carrying on like he had something horribly wrong with him. He was chewing on his underside, so I flipped him over and found the tiny varmint trying to crawl away on the underside of his short leg. I caught the offender and smashed him between my thumb nails. How dare a flea jump on my dog!

Cujo was very pleased with me. He snuggled close and kept trying to kiss my thumbs. It was close to time for the Frontline to be applied, so we promptly dosed all the dogs the next day. Being away from home, we had to go purchase it.

I had not given the incident any more thought. Until last night. Toni Louise, who has black fur has been itching lately and will scratch all night long. She has been known to have allergies and we have a supplement and some topical spray from our vet. We dosed her with her flea stuff and have been giving her the supplement and spraying the itch stuff on her. Never occurred to us that she would have fleas.

Her belly is so red and irritated and every night we have to hold her down to apply the spray. Last night I found a FLEA! So, today I planned on a massive bathing of animals, but this is not a chore for the faint of heart. Since HeWho drives abandoned us to taxi a man to the airport, I did not want to tackle this task while on my own. It is, after all Friday in a campground. And we are in the throws of Octoberfest.

So, after we ate our dinner and got interrupted only once to check in a latecomer. I decided to tackle the dog wash/flea dip before closing the store. I forbade HeWho drives to abandon me and left him in charge of checking in the last two reservations. All he had to do was take a wet dog wrapped in a towel after handing me the next victim.

I managed to wash and dip all four dogs, with time left to catch Martha, the boy cat and attempt to give him a bath. Martha is now bigger than any of the dogs and out weighs them. It has been quite some time since I have bathed my feline friend. We fought. He won. I did manage to douse him with the flea dip. He is really, really mad at me. Mad as a wet hen, as they say; or maybe a wet cat.

After all that, I took my industrious mood a step further and only did I scrub down the bathtub, but I drug out that handy tool and cleared the drain of hair and gunk. This is clearly going the extra mile, since this falls under the title of a job for the husband! I deserve special treatment.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dream Weaver

I have been dreaming again. In the wee hours of the morning, I will wake and try to recapture the dream. It eludes me and I feel lonely and profoundly sad. And that makes me wonder what I dreamed.

It rained last night. No storm, just a gentle rain and I love the smell of rain. I had my window open and just lay there looking out at the beginnings of dawn and smelling the rain. The sun came out and a breeze is blowing and I have every reason to be happy, but I just can't shake the sadness.

I love this time of year. I find myself nesting and getting ready to spend some serious time indoors. In the meantime I ventured out to take stock of all the things I had told myself would be accomplished that did not get done this year. It amounts to a lot! Instead of eliminating anything on my list I sit here and whine.

Enough. So, you may think I have told you everything there is to tell about a very short 4 day trip north. You would be wrong. While I was cuddling a baby and enjoying a nice lunch out, I was totally in the dark about a disaster occurring back at the kampground.

Good and trusted friend, Andrea, agreed to take care of things here while we were away. Bet she won't do that again! She was in contact with HeWho had agreed to handle the dispatch calls while the owner of the tow company was away. I mean, with our cell phones, we could be anywhere and accomplish dispatch for him and I was handling the reservations for the park. Easy, right?

After lunch, Adrienne and I picked up grandson, Gavin and headed back to daughter Jill's house. HeWho dispatches was on the phone when I walked in on the tail-end of a conversation ....... and HeWho is normally very nice was being very aggressive. I thought he was talking to a driver, perhaps one who was refusing to take a call. But he was talking to a customer at our kampground!

A few weeks ago, a couple stopped in for an overnight stay and upon leaving asked if they would need to make a reservation for the trip back through. I asked about the date and since it would be a week night, I told them they really did not need a reservation ...... and I did not take one. I talk to so many people in any given season, I have to say that I do not remember them at all. I remember the conversation, but not the couple or the camper. She and I share the same first name and that is how I recalled the request about staying over on a trip back through.

Apparently, they arrived and did not bother to fill out a registration, or to inquire about which site to pull into. Andrea was headed up to the office and got to the site they had pulled into in time to call the fire department. They pulled into a site with shade and electrical lines crossing over. They were in a rather tall fifth wheel and something on top grabbed the line and broke it. In case you are thinking you may have read something similar to this in a previous post ..... you did. Only that customer gunned the engine and actually broke the pole holding the line. A new pole was installed that carried the line even higher than before, but I make it a practice to never park tall campers on that spot anyway. It meets all the requirements for height. There are trees and limbs lower than the line.

They were sitting there with a live wire atop the camper that must have sparked something and the rear wall of the camper was smoking. Hence the call to the fire department, followed by a call to HeWho does all things electric to locate the correct breaker to switch off. We have 7 meters and 7 bills here and I don't bother electric boxes (or put fuel in my vehicle). I am special like that.

Fortunately, the power to that line was off when the fire fighters took the hoses of water INTO the camper and doused the entire thing. I was of the opinion that one does not use water for an electrical fire, but I am not a fire fighter, am I?
It was pointed out to me that they would have had to take axes to the back wall to locate the source of the fire and did not want to cause that much damage ........... like the water did not cause damage.

The woman who shares my name was near hysterical with the event (I was told). I would have been, as well. She wanted to talk to the owner and Andrea was on the phone with HeWho owns and gave the phone to him. The woman told him they had snagged the wire and their trailer caught fire and she wanted our liability insurance information. Then she made the mistake of telling him that this was HIS fault, the WE told them to park on that site. This must be when I walked in to hear him tell her to contact her insurance company, that she had caused damage to our property.

Their camper is a total loss. I don't have any figures yet. When her insurance agent called me DEMANDING my policy information, I remained calm and told him that he would just have to wait another day until we got back. We don't carry our liability policy with us. I apologized for the delay, but I was not cutting my trip short for something that could wait.

I realize that they did not plan to have any of this happen. Neither did I. I do not plant booby traps to inconvenience travelers. Okay, maybe speed bumps, but there is signage warning you to be aware that they exist. Just another annoyance to add to my day!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Baby Fix

After finally arriving to my daughter's house, I abandoned the engine trouble and left He-Who drives to tinker with the engine woes. My baby daughter picked me up and we proceeded to her best friend, Leah's. There was a brand new baby to hold!

A teaser ...... look at the tiny little fingers!!

Is there anything sweeter than a sleeping baby? Mia is 3 weeks old and so tiny and delicate. The soft skin and the sweet baby smell ...... heaven!

My baby holding her friend's baby. Adrienne's baby is now 12 and as much as I wish holding a baby would ignite baby thoughts in her head, she is done and I will have to wait for Gavin to grow up, finish school, fall in love and get married and give me a tiny one to hold ....... thank goodness there are other grandchildren older than him!

I will have to be content with holding Mia every time I head north. I have my baby fix for now. For now .......

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Trip North

I have shared the wild trip home, the 9 hour trip that took 24 hours.

The night before the big trip north, HeWho drives, was sharing with his cronies the new route we were to take. One that would slice a good hour off the trip. I am not sure how he discovered this new way, but if we could make it in 8 hours, instead of 9. I was game.

We bought the 39' Bounder last year. You will recall that we had a wedding to attend and 4 dogs to accommodate. We got a really good deal on the RV and although it was an older model with no slides, I liked the layout okay and it was clean and in good shape on the inside. The outside is, well, it is ugly. It is a creamy color with gray stripes and ORANGE and yellow thrown in. Ugly. But it gave us no problems at all on the drive up and back.

Since then it has been sitting on various sites in our park. HeWho likes to move it around and it sometimes ends up in our private drive if the site it is sitting on can earn some money. I loaded it for the trip, put sheets on the bed and although we would not be using the shower, I loaded in towels. Those towels were a life saver when Oscar peed the bed!

The night before we left, HeWho drives said he was going to put some tools on board, in case he might need them. This is when I had an inkling of what was to come. "Why would you need tools" I said? He replied with "you never know" as he walked outside.

I was still getting all those last minute items together, along with a list of what not to forget. Things like toothbrushes and daily meds. By the time we left at 9 AM the next day, I had forgotten about the tools statement. I was up and ready to roll by 7 AM and had to nag him along. He left in the car to get his biscuit and sausage after me telling 4 times that I did not want a thing, I just wanted to hit the road. I had my coffee, hot in one of his Bubba mugs and all my necessities on board. He brought me pancakes anyway. The man loves me, what can I say?

I wanted to leave early, while the park slept. Because I knew people would come up and need something. I was right, of course, I usually am. We finally pulled out and I texted the oldest daughter that we were on the way and should be there around 5 PM. Nine hours. I also told her about the new route her dad had discovered and that we might be there by 4 PM. She texted back that we would see about that ......

Things were going fine. I started off in the navigator's seat. Oscar, the blind dog lay on his blanket and Cujo was in my lap. Wall-E was whining to also be in my lap. Toni Louise discovered the large dash and began prancing to and fro. Would have been okay, but for the fact that when she got in front of the driver she paused to enjoy the view.

This when I grabbed a bag of dog treats and moved to the sofa. The blind dog, in unfamiliar, in unfamiliar territory kept falling down the stair well. He always ended up on the bottom step, right side up. He didn't even whimper, just waited patiently to be picked up. I imagined him thinking "hey, I'm down here, could you come get me?"

We made far too many stops. Cigarette stops, everyone an opportunity to nag about the health pitfalls of smoking, not to mention the cost and the smell and the fact that it was adding minutes to our trip. Little did I know that would turn out to be the least of my worries. I have to confess that I use that nasty habit to my benefit at times. Times when I buy fabric or plants. Things I really don't need, but just want. If he questions my spending, I point out that I don't smoke. I would still be happier if he would quit.

Sitting in my own world of dogs and audio books, I wasn't paying much attention to anything. From time to time, HeWho drives would tap on some gauge on the panel and mutter about the battery not charging. When we would stop I would ask what he was worried about and he told me he thought the alternator was not doing it's job. But, hey, we have tools on board, no problem. Right?

I just stayed in my seat, answering the store phone, taking reservations, telling people where to park and where to find assistance (Andrea is a saint!) But I looked up one to see that we were on Hwy 36. He had said we would take 63 to top of Iowa, then get on I-35 in Minnesota. 36 is the old route we always take. Cuts out Kansas City and about 2 hours of heavy traffic. Four lanes all the way, as 63 is. Apparently he forgot about his new way and automatically turned onto the old route. I texted my child and told her we were not making good progress. She knew that, she can tell time, too.

I was all set to see this new route, going somewhere we had never been before, but, since we were on the tried and true way, I didn't bother to offer any navigational assistance. I just stayed annoyed at the number of times we stopped. Seemed like everytime I had the dogs strategically positioned and was fairly comfortable on a short sofa with four dogs, we stopped.

It was dusk as we went through St. Paul. The only time he questioned me was when we had the opportunity to get on I-494. I told him it would be just as easy to stay on I-35E and go through the city, it was Sunday, after all. So, why he over-shot the exit to our child's house (also the exit to our old house when we lived there) is a mystery. Dark is falling fast and I ask why we are passing the Exit to County Rd. J. We should have gotten off at County Rd. E. This is when it happens. We lose all power. Lights, everything. We are on the side of the road on a very busy interstate WITH NO LIGHTS, in the dark.

THE TRIP FROM HELL! I call my daughter to dispatch my son-in-law. Speaking of dispatch .... HeWho no longer tows, but will take lock-out and fuel calls agreed to handle the dispatch calls for the towing company he works for. I cannot begin to tell you what a pain this was. He had been doing it all week and had the most annoying ring tone and flashing lights on his cell phone. These calls came at all hours. I would hear and see the phone, but he would sleep on until I woke him.

Then, he would not simply leave the room and take the call and then call for a driver so that his mate, the light sleeper could continue to slumber ..... No, he would leap up and grab the phone, then sit on the side of the bed and talk. This would not only awaken me, but the dogs. The dogs would assume it was morning and ready themselves to outside. This was not making me happy. It was worth no amount of money, not even the mere pittance the man paid him. You know who you are!!

My son-in-law arrived, with jumper cables. Yes, HeWho tows, mows, and has every tool in duplicate and triplicate did not bring jumper cables!!! I held my tongue, as I was terrified that someone would not see us and veer over and hit us. I watched in fascination as HeWho is familiar with traffic control used his cell phone flashlight to redirect traffic as Nick turned his van around to face us. This was, of course after he asked his father-in-law where he was going ....... maybe Duluth?

But back to the tool man. No, he did not put tools on board, not even a flash light. The first jump got us about 4 miles and off the interstate. We were 8 miles from our destination. The second jump got us only 1 mile. With the lights fading out. On the third jump I put my 2 cents worth in and suggested that he turn off the radio and any other device that was pulling power. I may not be mechanically inclined, but I do know the basics! Keep in mind that we were in the dark. Black dark, I think the moon and starts were hiding that night. So, as I stood there fiddling with the radio, trying to find the off button, I accidentally discovered the monitor to the back-up camera!!

The only good thing to come of it. We had to continue our pathetic pilgrimage with no head lamps to light the way. Nick was in the lead with emergency flashers on. I was praying that we would not cause an accident. We made there ..... at 9:30. Twelve and a half hours for a nine hour trip.
Unlike Gilligan and his crew, we did get somewhere and were not stranded forever.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Road Trip - Part 2

Where was I? Oh, yes, I told you about the trip home. My story yesterday was the third time we stopped on the way home. We started out with great confidence that we would be home by late afternoon/early evening. After all we had a new battery and alternator on board.

After hugging my daughter and son-in-law, I assumed my spot on the sofa with my furry kids. All seemed to be going well. HeWho drives had even asked for directions from me. I sat back and became engrossed in my book and some spider solitaire.

As we approached Iowa, the engine light came on and HeWho drives took us off the interstate to the rest area. This was also the Iowa welcome center and a casino. Round and round the casino he went hunting for a spot big enough to hold our motor home until his wife questioned him about what he was doing. Finally figured out that we needed to be in the parking lot for the welcome center. Just in case he was entertaining thoughts of gambling, I reminded him of our current luck.

I handed the leads to three dogs to him, as I was sure I could control the blind old dog. The steps are broken and the last step down is a doozy. I watch in horror as he loses one of the leads and the escape artist Toni Louise takes off. HeWho loves this dog as much as I love the blind one starts running after her, Wall-E and Cujo in tow. Cujo is not happy as he looks back at me. I cram some flip flops atop the fuzzy pink socks I am sporting and bump down the steps on my butt, blind dog tucked safely in my arms and take off at a different angle to help capture the crafty dog. HeWho is still wearing a knee brace has a funny run-hop rhythm and I am not much better in my flip flops. He finally approaches her from the rear as she is looking at me and planning her next move and he stomps down on her lead. I head back with my old guy cradled in my arms like a baby. I am telling him what just happened. He is blind, he couldn't see!

This is when I notice all the trucks and cars with people in them and realize they are watching us. Not my finest moment, but I don't know these people! I can only hope that if someone captured the adventure on video, they won't share in a public forum. After this adrenaline rush, we add water to wherever it goes and HeWho gets us back on the road to the sound of a squeaky belt. He locates a WalMart and goes in to purchase tools. I could swear he said he was loading tools for this trip in case we needed them.

I decide to roam the store while he dithers with the loose belt. I picked up some licorice and chips, and trail mix. Road trip food. I come back to find that he needs my help with the new crow bar and I dutifully place my foot and weight on it and we get back on the road.

This concludes the trip home. I spent the day before we came home happily sewing on my daughters dining room table. I hemmed Layla's homecoming dress and took in some leggings for her. Hemmed my son-in-laws jeans and hemmed some curtains for my daughter. And talked. I enjoyed just being with her and then with Layla when she came in from school. We went to her dance class and watched as her group learned a new routine. She is amazing, my granddaughter.

Here she is holding my Cujo. He seems quite content in her lap and that is a rare thing for him. He is only happy with me. He is a smarty little guy and could sense just how sweet and gentle she is!  I miss her.

I miss this guy, too! My grandson, Gavin is growing up too fast. He is so handsome, like his Papa. Already taller than me, at 12, I can just imagine that he will shoot up fast in the next few years. I remember feeding teen boys ...... the pantry empties daily.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story .......