Everett and I are “workamping” in New Hampshire this summer. I’m happily behind the front office counter answering phones, making reservations and fielding guest questions like “Can we use the pool?” from 3 teens in bikinis – at 8:30pm with outside temp registering 52 degrees Fahrenheit. Everett is working outside mowing lawns (in the rain), cleaning restrooms (from the results of much use during the rain – can you say MUD?) and hauling firewood. At 7pm each night the antique fire truck hooks up the hay wagon (with the hay bales wrapped in plastic bags against the rain), sounds the siren to call the kids, and makes a circuit of the campground at about 2 mph as campers come to the edges of their sites to wave at the kids. Everett’s responsible for driving the golf cart behind the hay wagon to keep bicycles and dogs and anyone else from tailgating. So far this has not been an issue, but should the sun ever come out it might.
As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve been enjoying “electric fireplace stories” with our neighbors. Fred and Winnie from site 52 remembered the first time they camped in their new travel trailer. They was some proud of it and excited to have “moved up” from a tent to a hard-sided trailer with electricity. It was after dark when they arrived, but they got it all set up on site, plugged into the 30amp outlet and went inside to enjoy the luxury of “shore power”. But when they started turning things on, they realized that the only ones working were being run off battery power. Winnie went crazy with worry that there was a short circuit somewhere that would cause a fire. Fred was angry that the camper salesman had sold them a defective trailer. They spent the whole first night arguing and cussing and generally being miserable. The next morning they went outdoors to investigate the issue in the light of day – and realized they’d never flipped the switch on the campground outlet to “on”! Enough said.
May 25 / Not sure what it’s doing in your neck of the woods, but Everett and I have been camping in the rain for close to a month now and it’s getting to be a tad tiring. To combat cabin fever, we’ve taken to having guests in to enjoy our electric fireplace of an evening – not quite traditional, but warmer and dryer than sitting around the waterlogged fire pits outdoors. What IS traditional is that conversation sooner or later turns to the trials and tribulations of camping.
I started it off by telling about Everett’s pre-trip meltdown over his air compressor. He’d been needing one to top off the airbag suspension under our 5th wheel, to keep up the tire pressures on both the 5th and the truck, and for other small jobs around a campsite. So I gave him one for Christmas. You should be aware of course that he knows all about machinery so he won’t read directions – this being the standard state of affairs for a male New Englander. So before our first camping trip, Everett fired up the compressor. Within 5 minutes the swearing and shouting started … “$*(@*# gauges don’t work! %(*@(*$ air tank pressure is up, but the air won’t come out! Gonna talk with those $*(@#*%s at the hardware store – we need a new nozzle!” And so on. Having armed myself earlier by reading the instruction manual, I calmly walked up to the compressor, made one turn of the “outlet” knob from “off” (the setting they shipped it with) to “on”. Needless to say, the swearing did not diminish for some time.
June 7th / Another rainy Friday night at our workamping job in NH. The boy scouts due to check in tonight have cancelled. Weren’t they supposed to be PREPARED – even for rain?!?! It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s very, very dark outside . . . so once again, we’re gathered around the electric fireplace.
Conversation has weirdly turned to footwear in general, and Crocs in particular. There’s a consensus that Crocs have altered the foundation of masculine New Englanders. Used to be that no self-respecting fellow would be seen in anything less than Timberland or Wolverine boots for work, or possibly L.L. Bean gumsoles for hunting. And by golly, if he wore ’em in the barn, he’d wear ’em in the living room too. When Crocs first came out, our men were scornful. Plastic shoes? With little heel straps? For MEN? Irene from Dover mentioned she’d gotten a coupon in her email and decided to get a pair of the “classic” Crocs in plain black as a surprise for her Darryl. She had to shame him into trying them on the first time and allowed as how he didn’t need to put the strap behind his heel, just wear it over the front. Darryl complained that they felt odd and looked worse. But the next morning was chilly and he put them on to wear like house slippers in an effort to keep his always cold toes a little warmer. The NEXT morning he put them on without being prodded and almost forgot to change into his work boots. The morning after THAT he admitted they seemed to have molded to his feet, were warm without being “sweaty”, and maybe he’d keep ’em. Within a week he’s making noises about not wanting to take them off seeing how comfortable they are. Of course now he wants a 2nd pair – in forest camouflage tones – to keep in the camper! Don’t seem right somehow. Did you know they even make a pair with fleecy linings for winter? I’m sure Everett will be after me for a pair soon.