Tuesday, July 28, 2009

the number one cause of stress is reality

**Pictured above: if you find yourself using duct tape to repair the bag of Fritos exploded by the altitude of your campsite, you might be a redneck.**
I'm back after another nerve-shattering vacation. These seem to be the theme this summer. I expected Florida to be difficult, but I didn't expect the camping trip to be such a nightmare. It's usually our escape from everything, all peace and granola. NOT THIS TIME!! I'd call it a comedy of errors except none of it was funny.
Let me preface this by describing our RV. It's about a millon years old (I think it's a '76) and is pretty much a heap on wheels. We were insane to take this thing hundreds of miles away from home to a remote Sierra campground. We did manage to sucessfully take it up there two years ago (skipped it last summer due to gas prices being so high) but it leaked oil the entire way up and back. Way to pollute the environment, campers! We thought the leak was fixed, turned out it was NOT..but that was the least of the problems.
The first problem occurred before we even left the driveway. We planned to leave at 1:30am on Sunday the 19th and drive through the night/morning while it was cool. The RV has no air conditioning, of course, and doesn't do well in heat, so it was a good strategy. Except that the battery that runs everything inside (lights, water, stove, etc...) decided to stop working just as we were about to leave. Panic ensued, but luckily it turned out that it needed water and was quickly resolved. Whew.
So off we rolled at 2am and met up with our buddy Andy (who will from here on out be know as Saint Andy due to the patience he exhibited on this trip). He followed us in his truck.
Six hours into the drive, we stopped for gas in Madera, California. The AM/PM we stopped at is always our last fillup before heading up the mountain to the campground. It was about 8 in the morning and the RV had just made an ominous sound a few minutes before we stopped.
Know what? I'm boring mySELF writing this, so let's abbreviate.
1. We discovered the water pump was broken, rendering the RV undrivable.
2. The temperature was rapidly rising and we had 4 dogs in the RV.
3. We were rescued by a mechanic who lived near the AM/PM - this man allowed us to plug in the RV and use his power at his home as he fixed the water pump! We were amazed by the amount of kindness he and his family extended to us that day.
4. After the pump was fixed we had to head up the mountain in triple-digit heat. Three hours of bone-rattling uphill switchbacks were spent with me frantically holding frozen water bottles on the dogs' necks to keep them from dying of heatstroke.
5. After a normal night at the campsite, we awoke to find our youngest corgi unable to walk. She'd been fine when we'd gone to bed...but woke up broken. Saint Andy let us use his truck to drive over two hours back down the mountain to find a vet in the nearest town (Coarsegold). The vet determined that she must have injured a disc in her back because she wouldn't bear weight on her rear legs. Oddly, she displayed fairly normal reflexes in her hind legs, she just had a lot of weakness. We were given muscle relaxants and an antiinflammatory and instructed to head home if she didn't eat and drink normally by that night. Well, not only did she eat and drink normally later that day - but by that evening she was running, jumping, scaling small boulders. It's a mystery.
6. Our male corgi, who'd managed to injure his shoulder the day BEFORE this wonderful trip, re-injured it and began limping. Perhaps he was hoping for a trip to the vet. We suspect that Lucy, the one who hurt her back, bragged about being fed a few bites of my cheeseburger on the way back to the campsite out of sympathy.
7. The battery decided to stop holding a charge, causing us to have to run the generator every so often to charge it. This is a lame thing to do in a quiet forest camping area and we were embarassed.
8. Our other female corgi started limping toward the end of the trip. She's still running around on three legs.
9. On the way home (we left at 12am Saturday the 25th) we kept losing the headlights whenever we stopped for gas and restarted the RV.
We did make it home, though. And we did manage to squeeze some fun in. I did some fishing (caught five rainbow trout), we went on some nice hikes, swam in the creek, enjoyed the beautiful surroundings.
We definitely will be selling this RV and looking to buy something smaller and more reliable. I don't think we'll be bringing the dogs camping up there again. It's just too far from town. If they'd gotten into severe medical trouble, the two and a half hour trip down the mountain would have been way too long. And while they did enjoy themselves, they were also pretty stressed on the long ride there and back and seemed really thrilled to be home. It's too hard to relax when you're trying to keep track of four dogs in such a remote area.
We've been back for a while now, it's just taken me forever to finally write a blog entry. There's been so much work to catch up on, I've been going nonstop since we got back.
And now I'd better get back to it. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

bite me

Something decided to crawl into bed with us last night and have a feast. On just ME. Jim somehow remained unscathed. I woke up at about 4 in the morning, really itchy, and found bites on my calves, belly....and inner thighs! WTF?? I actually got out a flashlight and looked under the sheets to see if there was a bug crawling around. *shudder* I never found anything, but I did remember that it's time to put the dogs' Advantix on, so I suspect it was a flea. If there's a flea around, for some reason, it'll find me. It's weird.
I had to call the police two nights ago because our next-door neighbor's dog was barking NONSTOP. This has been an ongoing problem for about a year, really. It sucks - they won't let the dog in the house, he just lives in the back yard. No one pays any attention to him and he barks day and night. And he's a large dog with a VERY large bark. It's more like a baying/howling sound and it's awful. We've gone over there probably three different times to ask them to please let him in at night, at least. I think the third visit (last winter after listening to the poor dog cry in the rain all night) resulted in them letting him in the garage at night and things were quiet for a while. I guess they got tired of that, though, and lately he's been out barking again.
We don't have air conditioning, so in the summer our windows are always open. This means that the dog basically howls into our bedroom window all night long. All kinds of awesome. Sunday night was particularly bad though. By about 2am I couldn't stand it anymore. His timing was such that whenever I started drifting off to sleep he'd let out an abrupt howl-bark, scaring the sh*t out of me. I was pissed. So I finally called the non-emergency police number and asked if they handle noise complaints. They sent a deputy out. She of course told me there's nothing she could really do as far as citing them, but she would go knock on the door and tell them they need to quiet the dog down. It's really Animal Control's jurisdiction, and I knew that, but I figured having the police wake them up (because by some miracle they are able to sleep through the racket every night) at 2am might get the point across. I guess it did because we haven't heard a peep out of him at night since then.
I don't understand why they even have the dog. No one pays any attention to him, it's like he's a lawn ornament. I feel really sorry for him and wish they'd give him to someone who wants him. He's a sweet dog, he's just lonely and miserable. Unfortunately, his misery is driving us insane and I will be calling Animal Control if the nighttime silence comes to an end.
In other events....eh, nothing else is really happening. I'm carving, carving, carving all day long. I had to put the shop on vacation mode just so that I can catch up. A good position to be in, for sure, but very exhausting.
I leave you with a picture of me and my younger sister. I'm the brunette. Hahahah.

About Me

Hippieville, CA, United States
This is the story of life after losing the "real" job and the house, trying to find the middle ground between making a living and actually living.