Category Archives: RV

A Pox on California Roads . . . and Hula Hoops

Oh no, I hear you say. What’s wrong with these people?

As disasters go, it wasn’t our most terrifying ordeal, but still:

“That doesn’t look right.”

“What?”

“The runner. Look. It’s cracked.”

After a lunch time stop at a rest area, Jimmy made one of his routine equipment checks. Our rear slide/bed-in-a-drawer rolls into the body of our trailer when we’re bouncing along much like a drawer hung on wheels with two metal runners screwed to the ceiling.

The weight of the bed had ripped the runner off the ceiling. It was bent and cracked but the screw was still firmly in the ceiling, achieving nothing, a bit like us standing there staring at it with our hands on our hips.

If the runner broke the bed would drop onto the dinette and sofa rendering all three unusable. Our already bijou living space would be reduced to a galley kitchen big enough for one and a quarter people, a closet bathroom and one bed, with all our vital paperwork, including passports, and half our pantry supplies trapped under the immovable slide.

To make matters worse the vital screw was in at an angle and the rigid runner was bent just enough so the screw head was not visible.

In other words, instead of the runner, we were screwed.

With limited headroom and the screw playing peek-a-boo under the runner Jimmy stood on the dinette seat and bent over backwards while my arms threaded through his to pull on the runner.  We looked like a vertical game of Twister. I had visions of his foot going through the flimsy fiberboard under the cushion and breaking his ankle on the toaster in the drawer underneath.

The idea was to put a washer on the screw and screw the runner back to the ceiling, thus taking the strain off the crack. Easy. Except . . .

“I can’t see it!”

Eventually I am kneeling on the kitchen counter with my head forced over by the ceiling and my neck at snapping point. I can pull the runner across, see the damn screw, engage the screwdriver in the screw head, it’s in! and hand over to  Jimmy to grunt and twist the screwdriver with all his might.

But the screw wouldn’t turn.

He took a big breath and “erghhhhhhh!” The screw still wouldn’t turn.

Another big breath and “ERGHHHHHHHH!!!!” The screwdriver popped out of the still stationary screw head stripping the vital cross head a little. My advice to push up on the screwdriver was rewarded with one of his oh so withering looks.

After half a dozen attempts to turn the screw, Jimmy was gasping, drenched in sweat and shaking with the effort and bloody awkwardness of it all.

“What were you grunting for?” he accused me between gasps of breath.

“You try kneeling on the counter with your back arched and your neck breaking and face smashed on the ceiling while pulling with all your might and see if you don’t grunt!” I snarled back at him.

This graceless exchange seemed not to give offense to either party, simply vented a little frustration.

I had also knelt painfully on a varicose vein which I had suddenly developed the week before while playing with my new hula hoop.

After a few successful twizzles ‘round my waist I thought I was twelve years old again and tried to hoop around my knees. It immediately dropped below my knees, twirled on a perfectly sound piece of leg, upset a vein, which then popped up angrily to complain at my stupidity.

The purple lumpy mass looked ready to explode and scared me half to death. I spent the next two days with my leg raised and a cold gel pack on it to sooth the vein back down. Idiot.

Reduced to a bruise on my leg the vein didn’t appreciate my kneeling on it so I half knelt, half lifted myself on the other leg, arched my back, squashed my face on the ceiling, pulled the runner to line it up with the screw and grunted. Who wouldn’t?

We tried again. And again. Several more times. The screw wouldn’t budge.

“We’re in the middle of nowhere.”

“Yeah.”

“These rough California roads have caused the problem.”

“I know.”

“You know we can’t push the slide back in now.”

“Yes.”

“The runner will break.”

“I know.”

”And we can’t travel with the slide out.”

“I know.”

“And there isn’t much water in the tank and the batteries are knackered.”

“I KNOW.”

What now?

. . . . to be continued . . . no, not for weeks and weeks like Airport Gestapo, just one more episode. I’m only thinking of you. I don’t want you to get eye strain.

Bed slide on travel trailer
See that thing sticking out the back? No! Not him! That’s Jimmy sweeping acorns off the roof. I mean see the bed slide previous to the cracked runner incident. He pushed it in with ease that time. Happy days!”

Truth or Fiction?

Palm Springs“Do you want to see something really cool?” Raven Longbow, Indian Guide, had crept up on us making us jump just like an Indian should while we’d been admiring the view of Palm Springs from the Andreas Canyon lookout point at Indian Canyons.

“Many years ago, a young Indian had his heart broken, so he came out to these hills . . . ,” he said, indicating, “Oh! I’m not even pointing in the right direction. Don’t believe what you hear about Indians’ sense of direction and never getting lost.” He turned 180 degrees, as did we, pointed at a far mountain and continued, “. . . and laid down to sleep to wait for his love to come back to him. Do you see his nose? And there is his chin. You can see the curve of his mouth.”

Indian profile in mountain
Can you see the broken-hearted Indian? I pretended I could.

“I’m not with you,” I had to admit. I really wanted to ‘see.’

“There are his hands folded on his chest.”

“Ah! Yes! I can see his knuckles,” I said excitedly with more imagination than clear vision of the peaks in the distance. As I nodded knowingly he smiled, satisfied.

“Of course you have to take all Indian stories with a pinch of salt and a pound of sugar.”

As I admired his spikey, fearsome Mohawk-type hair, with the sides of his head shaved and long pigtail down to his waist I asked, “What tribe are you?”

“Apache. I grew up in Arizona where that means ‘filthy enemy’ in Mexican.” His friendly granddad’s face did not match this description.

“Raven Longbow (as displayed on his badge) is a great name,” I said.

“No. My brothers got the cool names – Grey Wolf and Great Hawk. Raven was okay in Arizona but when we moved to California it was a girl’s name. You try growing up with a girl’s name. Apache names are always macho, never ‘short fat bald man.’ I coped with it until I got put in girl’s PE because of my name. Still, I’m glad my mother wasn’t drunk when she named me. She would have called me Chickenshit.”

Without further explanation Raven continued, “Do you want to see something else?” He was in his stride now. We weren’t sure how much, if anything, to believe but he was entertaining. “Look at that rock.” A plinth of jagged rock jutted out above us. “Does it remind you of anything?” It did. I wasn’t sure what but yes seemed the right answer to perpetuate his commentary. “It’s the Lion King rock. A Hollywood producer visited our canyon and decided to use our rock for that famous scene.”

“Oh, yes. It is, isn’t it?”

Is it? I took the obligatory photograph which came in handy for comparison purposes. Depending on who you ask, that rock is in Chile, Norway, New Zealand, The Serengeti, Appalachia, some woman’s back yard in Austin, Texas or right there just a few miles from Palm Springs.

The Lion King rock in Indian Canyon, Palm Springs
Can you see the Lion King perched up here?

Before I could cast doubt on his last story he carried on, “Do you see those holes in the rock?” Smooth, perfectly round depressions in the boulders, rock mortars the size of a cereal bowl and others as large as a mixing bowl were used for grinding food and medicine we were told.Ancient Indian mortar in rock

“The recipes for medicines are handed down through the female line in our tribe but I used to hang out with my grandmother and she taught me everything she knew so I am the medicine man for our family. We hardly ever go to the doctor.” Now you’re talking, I thought.

“What ingredients do you use?”

Raven gave me the Apache version of an inscrutable look and that ended our conversation.

Either I’d crossed a line or he’d run out of stories.

Photo Challenge: Room

 

Bandolier National Monument, NM
Rent a room here Madam? Sir?

 

Bandolier National Monument, NM
A whole cliff-side of rooms to chose from!

 

Bandolier National Monument, NM
Would you like some help carrying your suitcases up there?

 

Bandolier National Monument, NM
A room with a view.

 

Bandolier National Monument, NM
This view!

 

You’ve just taken a quick trip to Bandolier National Monument that provided rooms for the Ancestral Pueblo people centuries ago.

To see more photo challenges click here:

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How to Render Your Husband Speechless, Again

Originally posted in WWN101 in 2012 this salacious tale seems worth repeating at this stage of our . . . . . our what? Confusion? Clarity? Travels? Decision to settle? Whatever.

After returning from the doctor’s office himself said to me, “The nurse told the doctor, ‘They’ve been right down to Key West and back. I wish I could do that,’ so I said to her you should change places with my wife.”

He sees this as proof enough that we should continue to travel, not settle down.

Of course she’d like to take a road trip to Key West. She’s working full time in wet Washington State.

I’ll bet he didn’t qualify the dream with the drawbacks. Would you give up your home, family and friends and emigrate to another country to satisfy your travel lust?  Would you give up free health care?  Could you survive in a tin box with your other half for years without coming to blows or calling a divorce lawyer?  Would you mind looking like a ragamuffin because your best clothes (probably moldy now) are in storage?

I appreciate the fact that I’ve seen 47 of the 50 states, something most Americans will never do. Of course I feel privileged to have seen most of the top National Parks.

And I hope himself has read this far before he’s blown a gasket and called me an ungrateful cow.

Just to confirm how right he is and how wrong I am – always worth a victory lap in his book – we had a memorable moment with Courtney in the course of our travels. As we approached a gaily decked out espresso hut the NASCAR bunting made me smile at the thought of our day at the Daytona 500.

Jimmy’s big day at the Daytona 500

Better still, after hearing, “I’ll be with you guys in a second,” a dark-haired leggy lovely appeared, dressed – I use that term loosely – in skimpy – that’s being generous – stop-light-yellow shorts and a NASCAR-emblazoned yellow top that had more fabric in the sleeves than the whole of the rest of the outfit.

As my mouth dropped open, she smiled brightly. “What can I get you guys?” I dared not look at Jimmy’s expression. Rather than place our order, what came out of my mouth was, “I like your outfit.”

“Oh, thanks. We were losing business to the bikini baristas so we thought we needed to make a change, but to something tasteful.” I really daren’t look at Jimmy then.  Her navel piercing and cleavage were particularly eye catching. I managed some sort of coffee order for myself, Jimmy stuttered out his tea order and whaddayaknow! the tea bags were on the bottom shelf.  Did I mention that her shorts were very brief?

“I like you guys’ accents. Where are you from?” I gave the concise Baltimore/England answer. “Awesome! Are you guys traveling?” I explained we’d been all around the country. “Awesome! Do you have family here?” I informed her that my brother lived up the road. “Awesome!” And a brother in Tennessee. “Cool!”  And children and grandchildren in England. And a brother-in-law in Wales.  “That is so cool!” And a daughter in Sydney. “That is an awesome excuse to travel.”

Score several points to Jimmy. Although I have to tell you he wasn’t counting points right at that moment.

“What’s with the NASCAR theme?” I asked.

“There’s a racetrack down the road. We thought it would bring in some business.”  Jimmy remained mute despite the motor racing reference, usually a favorite topic.

“Have you ever been to a NASCAR race?” I enquired, as the only one of her two customers capable of conversation.

“No. I’m from a little town called Elma. I’ve never traveled.”

“We went to the Daytona 500 in February.”

“AWESOME!” Well, I just had to agree with her. Had he been capable of the power of speech Jimmy would have agreed with anybody about anything right then.

You can stop looking for a picture of Courtney now. Sorry guys, there isn’t one.

More excitingly, Courtney had a cousin, equally skimpily dressed. We encountered her after our trailer wheel caught fire:

“Yer wus a fur!”

“What?” Jimmy bellowed.

“Yer wus a fur!”

“OUR WHEEL’S ON FIRE!!” I shrieked.

Read more of this post . . . 

 

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Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhood

Thank you to Lil Miss Poutine for nominating me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Pop over and see her site of photography, food, cycling, movies, music, technology, TV, travel and  . . . . . bowling? A varied and fascinating blog!

To be eligible for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, you must please (sounds nicer):

(a) provide a link to and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award;

(b) answer ten questions;

(c) nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read;

(d) provide links to these nominated blogs and let the recipients know they have been nominated; and

(e) include the award logo within your blog post.

TEN QUESTIONS AND MY ANSWERS:

1. Favorite color?

Blue – especially aquamarine, ultramarine and space cadet. I don’t really like space cadet but I’ll bet you didn’t know it was a color!

2. Favorite animal?

Alligator. I feel a special bond with them after spending time in Florida.

3. Favorite non-alcoholic drink?

Oh come on. We all know I need to say wine. Champagne when available, but any color is acceptable.

4. Facebook or Twitter?

Neither really. Oh my.

5.  Favorite pattern?

Here’s an interesting one. The Golden Ratio Spiral as found throughout nature.

6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents?

I know what I’m meant to say, so I’m skipping this one.

7. Favorite number?

The year of my birth.

Oh, did you want to know that is?

8. Favorite day of the week?

It doesn’t matter. Every day is the weekend.

9. Favorite flower?

Daffodils – the precursors of spring! Not too many of them in the desert right now. Except at Safeway.

10. Favorite passion?

You don’t really think I’m going to put that out there do you?

Use the above questions OR list 10 interesting (printable!) facts about yourself.

Here are 10 blog sites I’d like to nominate. Sistas!

Multifarious Meanderings

Hilarious tales of a Brit living in France with her French husband, three children and a smelly dog – named Smelly Dog. I think a cat and a goldfish figure in there somewhere but I’m not sure the goldfish is still alive.

Travel Tales of Life

A Canadian with a zest for travel and photography. Many of Sue’s destinations are seen from the open air aspect of a bicycle. I invited myself along to their next cycling trip to Italy, opted out of pedalling and offered to meet them at a wine bar at the end of the day. They graciously accepted.

Pooky Poetry

Pooky is a recently (mere weeks ago) qualified PhD who apparently needs no sleep as she writes a poem (humorous and heart-wrenching – not poetry as you know it) a day, has two pre-schoolers, trained for and just ran the London Marathon and is writing a book with a deadline of September.

My Life Lived Full

Another Canadian, Joanne believes in living outside her comfort zone, including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Yes! You read that right! Her current A to Z writing challenge is an amazing example of the diversity of her life.

Paint Your Landscape

LuAnn and Terry have been full-time RVers for nearly three years now. Despite the challenges that being on the road throw at them LuAnn is always ready with a comment or some encouragement to others while they continue to “paint” their landscape with their narrative and lovely photographs.

Judy Lindo Photography

Judy is a wonderful photographer and is not averse to photo editing her photographs with fantastic results. She is a breast cancer campaigner. Read about it here: Boobie Pirates

Oh the Places They Go

Pam and John are “two retired educators touring the country in their motorhome.” I’d been following them for a while but really took to Pam when she stated “nobody in their right mind would be a fan of a Pittsburgh team.” It’s good to have opinions where sports is involved! They’ve been tootling around the southeast and posting photos and narratives since they saw Pittsburgh lose to the Orioles.

Lowes Travels

Mona Lisa and her husband Steve are travelling the States in their motorhome, Betsy, are having way too much fun and document it all with beautiful photographs. Though Mona Lisa is from the Philippines,  she seems to have a cousin in every U.S. state.

At Home On The Road

Another Canadian? Ruth and Mike sold up five years ago and bought a 5th wheel to begin a “carefree” lifestyle never having RVed before. They must be as mad as we are! Their long list of tags and great photographs indicate that they must have got the hang of it by now.

My Year Of Sweat

Nancy recently completed a year – 365 days – of exercising every day and documenting her journey. Through rain, snow and life’s commitments she met the challenge she set herself. I took up a small challenge with her recently and hurt my back. I can be a dummy sometimes, but she is an exercise warrior princess. From Canada.

If you are a no award blog or already have this award just think to yourself isn’t she sweet? Shame she can’t read. And let it go. I’m okay with that if you are.

Finish this joke:

A Filipina, two Brits, four Canadians and four Americans walked into a bar  . . . . . . . . .

 

Liebster Blog Award

liebster-blog-award

Thank you Janet at Seize the Day RV Adventure – for honoring me with this award! “Seize the Day” is a great principle to adopt. Visit Janet and Kevin on their blog of travel, RVing, birding, Jeeping (I made up that word!), eating and more.

The Liebster Blog Award is described as; “ An award to spread blog love and draw attention to blogs with fewer followers”. Many thanks, Janet!

The criteria for accepting this award – numbers are flexible:

  • Acknowledge the person who nominated you
  • Answer a number of questions
  • List some bloggers with fewer than 200 (or so) followers who you really feel deserve a little blogging love! (If I’ve got your numbers wrong, sorree! I have a few more than that as well.)
  • Let all the bloggers know you have nominated them. You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you!
  • Post questions for the blogger you have nominated to answerHere are some very tricky things I’ve been asked to tell about myself:

1. Favorite author?

I could not possibly name just one. I have a list and here are a few: Peter Mayle, Bill Bryson, Sebastian Faulks, John Steinbeck, Diane Ackerman, Joanne Harris, Clare Francis, Lauren Belfer, Sue Grafton. Look them up! Enjoy!

2. Why did you start blogging?

I had already written dozens of stories. I just wanted to put them “out there.” I hope when you read them you don’t think I’m “out there.”

3. What’s your favorite TV Show?

Doc Martin, about an unusual country doctor practicing in my favorite English county – Cornwall.

4. What is your favorite season of the year?

A prefect English summer -whenever that might happen.

5.  If you have some spare time, what do you do?

Read or write! That’s predictable isn’t it?

6. What is your favorite type of music?

Not much of a music doyen, but I don’t like jazz and rap.

7. What do you do to keep fit?

Yoga, swimming and walking from one room to another and back again because I forget why I’m there.

8. Tea or Coffee?

If I really have to choose – tea. But I’ll have a cup of coffee when you’re not looking.

9.What is your favorite kind of animal? Dog? Cat? Fish? Deer? etc

Cat. But maybe dog if it’s a Labrador.

10. Favorite place you have traveled?

UNFAIR! Absolutely cannot answer this. Somewhere (or everywhere) in America or Europe.

Here are some blogs I would like to nominate for the Liebster Award. Read! Enjoy!

http://discoveringwithdaisy.com/

http://vanessaspostcards.wordpress.com/

http://beartracksblog.wordpress.com/

http://thecrazycrone.org/

http://twotrailsoneroad.wordpress.com/

http://theripestpics.com/

http://mosblissfulbouquets.com/

http://theprestemons.wordpress.com/

http://motormommy.wordpress.com/

http://midlifeonwheels.wordpress.com/

Should you decide to accept this award – and there is no pressure to accept – here are some questions for you to answer:

  1. What was (is) the favorite year of your life?
  2. Who is your favorite person in history?
  3. Can you do better than me and name just one favorite author?
  4. With money as an object what is top of your bucket list?
  5. If money were no object what would be top of your bucket list?
  6. What one word best describes you?
  7. What is your favorite post on your blog? Please share the link.
  8. What five (endless supply of) foods would you have on a desert island?
  9. What is your favorite color?
  10. If you had to choose between traveling the world with endless funds but with no home OR having an extravagantly fabulous home anywhere – what would you do? Why?

If you can’t be bothered with all those questions, and I wouldn’t blame you, please just answer the last one. I really would like to hear what you have to say!!! Anyone reading this is welcome to jump in with an opinion. 😀

 

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House or Divorce?

We both need a good mental slap to make a decision as Option 1, Do Nothing on our New List of options for settling down seems to be our default setting.

We made a zig zag passage across the United States from Washington State to Florida and along the south and up the west of the country to Washington. We missed many states on our first launch into The United States so picked up the northern and eastern states and navigated around again to Washington. We saw a little or a lot of 47 states and drove a total of 20,000 miles on our helter skelter journey.

Our nearly complete journey depicted on our dirty trailer!
Our nearly complete journey depicted on our dirty trailer! Are you seeing double?

We’ve been cooped up in close quarters for close to 10 years now and have never once resorted to physical violence towards each other. That’s something of an accomplishment in itself but testing our relationship was not the purpose of our travels.

This whole shebang needs to move on to a Stage 2 – test the weather, the economy and the friendliness of the natives in one place! for a year – of the Grand Plan.

Stage 1 is so over for us. Stage 3 is to live in a house.

The fact remains – and it is a fact, himself will attest to that – if our trailer were a little bit bigger, our seating a little less like sitting on a plank, our bathroom a little less like a phone booth (albeit with a toilet instead of a puddle of piddle on the floor) he’d be happy to carry on traveling.

I’m wondering if he’ll ever settle. I’m wondering which brother will take me in if he doesn’t.

An old people’s magazine I read recently listed ways to stave off Alzheimer’s. “Listen to this. It says here that you can exercise your brain by shopping in a new market. When you shop in the same store all the time and know where everything is the brain doesn’t have to work. It’s too easy.”

I snorted with derision at the idea but figured my brain and body should be well set up for a good few years with all the rummaging around wrong aisles and extra miles walked in unfamiliar grocery stores.

It was a privilege to see so many natural wonders in this country. An added benefit was making my sluggish brain work finding our way from one to the next.

It was a worry that we’d run out of stimulating reading material without a library nearby. Being too cheap to buy paperbacks that we could read in two days and then have to throw out we discovered most campsites have book and magazine swaps so a constant flow of literature from F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck to the trashy magazines that I would normally only read while standing at the supermarket checkout is weighing down the trailer.

When in a library I tease Jimmy with, “Did you notice they’ve got used paperbacks for sale at 50 cents?”

“I’m not going to look. We’ve got enough books. We haven’t got any place else to put them until we get rid of some.” Invariably he would exit the library with two paperbacks in his hand. “Look! A Harlan Coben and a Michael Connelly. I haven’t read these!”

I often get accused of not listening to him. He doesn’t even listen to himself any more.

So we have plenty to read.

I’ll miss traveling if we stop and settle. I will especially miss it if we sell the trailer and burn our traveling bridges.

We both experienced these conflicting feelings after a year-and-a-half of traveling in Europe. The caravan (quaint English word for trailer) was too small. Moved to Washington State where a two bedroomed apartment seemed huge. Got cabin fever and itchy feet. Missed the caravan and traveling. Bought a trailer.

Jimmy is depressed at the thought of being tied to just one place.

As I search for suitable affordable houses, he is googling big trucks and bigger RVs. . . . . . still!

Motorhome on BayLUG layout
Do you think he’d be satisfied with this one? (Photo credit: Bill Ward’s Brickpile)
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New List!

It has occurred to me that Jimmy and I may not be thinking along the same plane or are even on the same planet. We rarely do are should our Quest be any different?

“The List” of requirements for the perfect place to live, which we had agreed on, has been thrown out as being ridiculously unattainable so now we’re drifting aimlessly, mentally and geographically. We each speak longingly of our nirvanas but these potential home bases may be more pie in the sky than pie on our plate and his is probably apple and mine is pear.

When I say Let’s live in California he says I don’t think we can afford it. When he says Let’s live in Florida I say I don’t know if you can stand it. And that’s the end of the discussion. If you can call that a discussion.

As we’re not the best at communicating, at least in any constructive way, it seems appropriate at this point to put into writing our options. Perhaps the unspeakable possibilities will spur us into taking action about settling down. These are our realistic and unrealistic prospects:

  1. Do nothing. We are fed, clothed, warm, mostly dry and have beds, in fact have everything we need all in the one small room.

    Teardrop trailer (Columbia River, Washington S...
    OK. So our space is a bit bigger than this! (Columbia River, Washington State) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  2. Move into an apartment once again with a view to buying a house at some point.
  3. Move into a single wide and keep the travel trailer for a means to escape bad weather.
  4. Spend a little time with family in Washington State and Florida then tow back to California to look seriously at different areas, cost of living and apartments.
  5. Research cost of living in California thoroughly online before wasting a few months realizing we can’t afford to live in Malibu.
  6. Pack up our meager collection of furniture and belongings stored in the U.S. into a U-Haul and travel in tandem back to Florida where we know we can find a nice apartment and the cost of living is affordable but we don’t know if our 50°N latitude bodies are ready for 25°N latitude heat and bugs.
  7. Keep traveling in our shoebox and looking for an unconditionally perfect place to live.
  8. Return to the UK.
  9. Live in France.
  10. Check out Hawaii.
  11. Sink our house fund into a new big shiny RV and new car. DO NOT TELL HIMSELF I EVEN SAID THAT.
  12. Give up all our worldly goods and join a religious commune.

There. That should focus our minds. There are some pretty scary prospects there.

Commune d'Esch-sur-Alzette
On second thought, this doesn’t look too bad! Commune d’Esch-sur-Alzette (Photo credit: nunor)

Even more worrying is that it is only No. 12 that we would both find completely alarming.

I’ll get back to you when we’ve had a proper grown up discussion about it.

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Nightmares Before Bedtime, Again

Our life has been a little hectic lately and is about to become hecticker (my spelling, my grammar, my blog). Watch this space.

For quickness, as a cheat or out of laziness – take your pick – I have reblogged a post from November 2012. It’s one of my favorites. You may think that reminiscing about pain would mean I’m a bit touched. You may be right.

We’ve two queen sized beds on our RV. That might seem a little extravagant when you don’t know our nightly drill. “Keep still!” “I can’t!”  “Wellgetintheotherbed!!”  One bed is just kind of there at one end of the trailer and the other one is in a big drawer – a slide-out – at the other end. Once parked, you pull it out and prop it up and sleep suspended in mid-air.

It’s quite cozy with the curtains drawn, reminiscent of a sleeping compartment on a train. The nightmares come before bedtime with gasps and groans, broken fingernails and much bad language as the sheets are wrestled onto the mattresses which cling tightly to the walls on three sides.

To get the idea, try it yourself. Make the exercise authentic by first pushing your bare mattress into the corner of your bedroom flush against the wall on two sides. Ideally, it should be flush against the wall on three sides but your bedroom is probably not that small. Next, flick a fitted sheet out across the mattress and quickly rap your knuckles smartly against a doorframe or other suitable unyielding surface. This will introduce an appropriate level of pain early in the process.

Fling yourself belly down, appendages splayed, in an imitation of Spiderman on top of the rumpled sheet and attempt to tuck all four corners neatly and tightly under the mattress whilst you are weighing it down.

Once you’ve made a poor job of that, rip a fingernail off and repeat the above process with the top sheet. If you can’t bear to rip the fingernail right off then at least bend it backwards until it hurts.

At any point, if you feel the need for a break to catch your breath, you may stop and stuff the pillows into the pillowcases.

Now imagine there is a bunk bed 18 inches above the bed you’ve been fighting with so when you finish with the pillowcases crack the back of your head on the conveniently placed previously used doorframe to disorient yourself before continuing any further.

Next, shake a blanket out over the mess you’ve made so far and smack a knuckle on the other hand (not the one that is already throbbing) on a sharpish object, like the edge of a door, drawing just enough blood to leave a tell tale victory trail on your blanket when you tuck it under the bottom edge of the mattress. You may not be as fortunate as us to have ivory colored blankets to give a good contrast to the blood which will display your pluck.

If you are tempted to cheat and just shake the layers of bedding out, each smoothly on top of the other without tucking and battering of head and hands, you will wake up mummified at some point between 2 am and 5 am when bed making is even less appealing than when you first attempted it.

Seems difficult to imagine that the process could be any less appealing when you are already gasping, sweating, hurting, bleeding and swearing but it is actually true.

The mess we sleep in!
The mess we sleep in!

 

 

 

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Surviving in a Small Box

A (very small) room with a view.
A (very small) room with a view.

Our tolerance levels are tested when we’re cooped up in our shoebox RV. Bad vibes bounce right back to the perpetrator and can ricochet between us with increasing ferocity. Some days I bite back caustic remarks in a bid for peace in the box. Some days I don’t. Some days I try to couch accusations as innocuous statements so as not to be seen to be blaming him.

“The water should be nice and hot. I turned the water heater off when I got up for a wee at 3:00.”

“Was it on all night?” himself asked, his voice raising in alarm as our water heater can be temperamental and hot water spews down the outside of the trailer in its own campaign to escape the box.

“Not all night. Just half the night.” I valiantly left it at that. He knew he had turned it on and left it on. If he thought I’d done it, he’d have let me know. If he thought I’d accused him of doing it, he’d have let me know that too.

The merits of sarcasm, nagging, letting rip and knowing when to shut up often “debated.”

"Don't jump! I didn't mean it!"
“Don’t jump! I didn’t mean it!” Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Unexpected weather in Asheville, North Carolina
Unexpected weather keeping us cooped up in Asheville, North Carolina
"I've had enough! I'm off and I'm not coming back!" Canyonlands National Park, Utah
“I’ve had enough! I’m off and I’m not coming back!” Canyonlands National Park, Utah
A shadow of our former selves in Canyonlands National Park, Utah
A shadow of our former selves in Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Some alone time with just his dog for company. Monument Valley, Utah
Some alone time with just his dog for company. Monument Valley, Utah
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