The Night before Thanksgiving

“Everett, where’s my phone?”

“Dunno.  Want me to call it?”

Tyler Dog gave us that “they’re acting weird again” look as Everett and I sat motionless at the kitchen table with our heads cocked, waiting to hear a ringtone.

We’d gotten a call from friends saying they were on their way over to visit.  Much to the dog’s amusement we instituted a rush of “cleaning up”.  A 400 sq. foot RV doesn’t provide much visiting room at the best of times, and late on a rainy afternoon before Thanksgiving is NOT the best of times.  We gathered dog toys off the floor and stashed them under the end tables.  We pulled the “dog hair prevention blanket” off the couch and stashed it in its traveling cupboard.  We put away all the dry dishes from the rack and put the sink cover over all the dirty ones in the sink.  We stuffed countertop clutter into cabinets, piled the day-to-day stuff from the kitchen table/computer desk into a basket and hucked it in a closet.  We ran a quick check around the livingroom/diningroom/kitchen/entryway (it’s an RV, remember?) and tossed all the assorted trash that had accumulated into the garbage bin in its own little closet under the sink counter.  I picked up my purse to stow it in the bedroom closet . . . and realized my cell phone was NOT in its little pocket.  I had just taken our friends’ call on that phone, it MUST be nearby.  So, yes, I did want Everett to call it.  And yes, we did hear the ringtone . . . quietly and as if from far away.  And yes, after several minutes of triangulation and secondary calls to keep it ringing, we did find the phone.  Deep in the garbage bin, under the morning’s coffee grounds, thankful to have been rescued.

Among so many other blessings, we are thankful to have friends who want to visit us, for family who invited us for Thanksgiving dinner at THEIR house, and for an RV big enough to live in, but small enough to not lose anything I’ve misplaced for long.

How we'd like friends to think we live

How we’d like friends to think we live

How it usually IS - I can't even fix red eye on the dog!

How it usually IS – I can’t even fix red eye on the dog!

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11-12-13 One Kibble

Yesterday was Veterans’ Day – a Big Picture Day.  My maternal grandfather and my father were both Marines.  Everett was Air Force.  All three served during wars.  We visited the Florida National Cemetery for Veterans yesterday and paid our respects.  Big Picture.  Private feelings.

Today is 11-12-13.  Now that’s a small detail kind of day that I can write about.  As you may have noticed, our plans to visit Gettysburg on our way south for the winter were altered by the advancing cold front, and our desire to be well below the snow line before having to deal with actual snow.  We still took our time getting to our winter base, stopping to smell the camel, etc.  Dear Auntie says we’re the only folks she knows who take a month to make the 3-day drive from New England to Florida – though she admits we do see a great deal more of interest our way.  We’ve come back to the wonderful little RV park we stayed in last spring and have spent a week renewing acquaintances with year-round residents and placing bets on which of the other snowbirds will be the next to arrive.  Major excitement as I’m sure you’ll agree.

The oddity of today’s date got me thinking about small stuff.  Like Tyler Dog’s One Kibble Mystery.  It’s been going on for quite some time and has become one of those things one notices as being of some mystic importance.  The dog is an American Cocker Spaniel, medium sized, of placid temperament, and regular habits.  His day-to-day schedule runs to: wake up, scratch vigorously, go out to pee, eat breakfast, nap, take a walk, nap, look out the windows to be sure all is right with the world, nap, eat dinner, take another walk, nap, go out for a last pee, go to bed.  Meals consist of 1/3 cup of kibble for breakfast and 1/3 cup of kibble with a spoonful of leftover “people food” for dinner.  Tyler is an eager eater and most meals do not last more than a few seconds from bowl touchdown to completion.  But invariably – and I mean EVERY time – he leaves a single kibble uneaten.  Not that he simply doesn’t eat it.  Nope, every time – every single meal – he manages to leave one lone kibble floating in his water bowl where it swells up and bobs in the current.

What?

What?

In the years we’ve lived with him, we’ve never actually seen how the task is accomplished.  But after every meal, day in and day out, we have to clear his water bowl of one soggy kibble.  Is he making an offering to some doggie God?  Sacrificing a mouthful to atone for best forgotten sins?  Is it a test to be sure that the meal is safe before proceeding?  How does a creature with a brain the size of a lemon manage this ritual every day with just ONE kibble – never more than one, but always one?  What mysteries do YOUR pets promote?

The Art of Public Peeing

Public Bathroom StandardOne of the reasons given by many motorhome owners for being motorhome owners is the ability to pee in private even on the road.  Taking your own bathroom with you is, indeed, one of the reasons we wanted to RV.  Your own bathroom, your own bedroom, your own kitchen – just a different backyard whenever you like.  Great!  But popping back for a pee while doing 70 on a 4-lane highway surrounded by 18-wheeled tractor trailers just doesn’t appeal to me.  Especially when every state I’ve been in so far has been kind enough to provide many rest areas with perfectly stationary facilities.  This is one reason we tow a 5th wheel instead of driving a motorhome.

There are (or certainly should be) certain rules for peeing in public.  I recently posted “Men’s Room Mayhem – Number Two” (a re-blog from “Flying Here in the Middle of Somewhere”) and promised a follow up regarding us ladies.  Here ’tis:

The number one rule for number one on the road is DON’T WAIT TOO LONG!  Regardless of how many miles or hours your dear driver wishes to complete before day’s end, you must take a pee break while you still have the time to get out of the truck, walk to the restroom, and get those knickers down before the urge becomes the purge.  You can compromise with your dear driver by minimizing the amount of coffee, juice, water, etc. you consume on travel days.

Secondly, always CHECK THAT THERE’S A GOOD SUPPLY OF T.P. before taking a seat!  There are few things as awful as being stuck in a stall waiting for another lady to enter so you can beg her to pass some paper under the door.  Some of you may say, “well this one’s easy as I must line said seat WITH T.P. before going further,” but I’m afraid the rest of us must remember to check.  Just to be safe, I try to always carry one of those tissue purse packs you can find in any grocery store (note to Santa: they make great stocking stuffers!).

Kleenex Purse PacksThird – and this is an important one that greatly affects the rest of us – TAKE A SEAT!  I’ve seen the results of you one-leg-leaners and hoverers, so afraid of potential germs that you will not commit your skin to the plastic rim.  If you cannot overcome your fears or  take the time to become a seat liner (see paragraph above), at least have the decency to clean up your own splashes, drops, and puddles before you leave.

Next is NOISE.  Thou shalt minimize noise.  I realize many of you have never been to a public bathroom without a posse of your girlfriends, but that only works for restaurants and bars.  In travel rest stops we are each alone with our bladders and our thoughts.  This is not a place for conversation (which is part of why the T.P.-supply-begging situation noted in Rule 2 is so awful!).  Getting in, done, and out quickly and quietly is expected.

Lastly is LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAVE!  Be sure the flush completed its job, that your seat liners have been fully cleared, and the little corners of T.P. that ripped off before you could get a good, long, strip, have been flushed or put in the trash.  Have you zipped up?  Checked for a T.P. “tail”?  Gathered your purse, sunglasses, keys, and anything else you brought in with you?  Don’t forget to wash your hands.  Okay, now you may leave.

Men’s Room Mayhem – Number Two

Dear Readers – I’ve been planning a public ladies’ room etiquette post for some time, and I’ll get to it . . . soon. Really. But in the meantime, I found THIS and just had to share with you. I know, I know, two posts in one day is too much, right? So read it tomorrow, ok?

Flying Here in the Middle of Somewhere...

As previously discussed with your parents, this is the second part of the Men’s Room Mayhem that was broached earlier this week.  You would have thought that one blog about the subject would have been enough – well, you would have been wrong.bath2

To recap, for some reason I did a mathematical formula that calculated time spent in the bathroom on a daily basis.  Through extremely scientific sampling methods combined with having a severe stomach ache one day, I calculated that the average person spends 30 minutes a day knitting socks (please refer to aforementioned formulas for a glossary of terms).

So you may be asking yourself, what happens if you go OVER your allotted time per day?  I may have done that a time or two.  I was in an office building once that had light sensors to turn the lights out when no one was in there. …

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Interstate Two-Step Part 4

What possesses a man to wake up one day and say “I think I’ll buy a camel”?  Matilda’s owner was just a regular joe farmer who drove to Ohio 20 years ago and brought back a camel.  Did he look out over his fields and think, “I’ve got cows and horses and ponies and sheep – I need something new”?  Why a camel and not a goat?  There seems to be something in the American character that makes us dream big dreams – and follow them through.  This farmer wanted something different and enjoyed sharing his dream with random passers-by like us.

Another Pennsylvania native, Laurence Gieringer, also had a dream.  When he was 10-years old, he and his brother Paul hiked up a mountain and looked back down on the town of Reading.  They were impressed with how small the buildings and vehicles and people looked, and it changed their lives.  Paul was called to God and became a Catholic priest.  Laurence started building miniatures and over three decades put together an exhibit called Roadside America.  It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.  Not just a miniature railroad, but a glimpse at our country’s past, with touching bits of mechanized humor (such as the hunter trying to aim at a rabbit who keeps disappearing down a hole).  Mr. Gieringer raised the money and put up an entire building to house his miniature world, plonked on the side of Route 78 to attract as many visitors to Shartlesville as possible.  Unfortunately for them, the highway was upgraded, widened, and bypassed the attraction.  Instead of simply driving in off the road, you now have to go to the next exit and backtrack.  Still, there were several other couples besides us there to see the “Night Pageant” (which I can’t adequately describe, but involved sitting in the dark listening to Kate Smith sing God Bless America as the vast diorama’s many buildings and trains turned on their evening lights and the stars shone down from the ceiling, and an ancient slide show of patriotic drawings was projected on the far wall).  Mr. Gieringer has long since passed away, but his dream lives on, however dog-eared at the corners.

To get just a tad sentimental and creaky here, let me say that these two Pennsylvania men epitomize for me the true American spirit.  It isn’t just New England (biased as I am toward that region).  This whole country is full of dreamers and builders and folks who just DO so much to satisfy their right to the pursuit of happiness.  We will always be a country of bright prospects so long as anyone wakes up and says, “Today I think I’ll…”

Roadside America 2013

Roadside America 2013

1890's Town

1890’s Town

1950's Suburbia

1950’s Suburbia

God Bless America

God Bless America

Interstate Two-Step Part 3

“Everett,” I said.

“Uh huh?”

“I just saw a camel in that field.”

“Uh huh.”

First let me explain that Everett has been de-sensitized to my “sightings” as I’ve been known to mistake a wild turkey for a dinosaur, and many of the bears, moose and gargantuan hawks I’ve “seen” have definitely been products of my imagination.  Brought on by the boredom of perpetually being the passenger in Everett’s domination of the driver’s seat, no doubt.  THIS however, was different.

“Everett, you’ve got to turn around!  I’m SURE I saw a camel!”

We were on a back road – a winding, narrow back road through rolling farm country – taking us from our camp site in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania  to the Cabella’s retail store in Hamburg, Pennsylvania.  Being proud holders of the Cabela’s Club Credit Card we had earned enough points through fuel and grocery purchases that we had several hundred dollars’ worth to spend at this, their largest store in the country.  A mecca of outdoor sports and camping equipment and good country-style clothing, Cabella’s has everything Everett and I could ever need or want.  Plus a museum quality exhibit of taxidermy (stuffed animals from prairie dogs to polar bears), a walk-through fresh water aquarium, a shooting gallery, and a restaurant.  We might stay for days.  With all that to look forward to, Everett nonetheless turned the truck around in somebody’s driveway and headed back to my camel field.  He’s a saint.

He was not surprised when we arrived at the whitewashed paddock to see a couple of ponies and four or five horses – but no camel.  I spotted a man tinkering underneath an old pick-up and hollered, “Excuse me . . . do you have a camel in that field?”

“Matter of fact, I do,” the man said as he rolled out from under the truck and wiped his hands on his jeans.  “Want to see her?”  He walked up to the paddock and shouted, “Hey, Matilda!  You’ve got visitors.”

The man, who never offered his name, said that Matilda likes dog kibble as a treat.  We happened to have some in the truck (what dog owner doesn’t?) and offered her a palm full.  Everett didn’t get a picture of Matilda’s giant flexible lips engulfing my entire hand while gently sucking kibble from it, ’cause he was laughing too hard.

Matilda Coming to Greet Visitors

Matilda Coming to Greet Visitors

Hello!

Hello!

Giant Lips Flying

Giant Lips Flying

Thanx for the kibble.

Thanx for the kibble.