Saturday, June 29, 2013

It Was So Hot Today One Liners

It was so hot today I watched a chicken lay a fried egg.

It was so hot today the squirrel ran off with my potholder to move his nuts.

It was so hot today that when my dog went to chase the neighbor's cat for fun, they were both barely moving.

It was so hot today I was able to wash and dry my clothes in the same load.

It was so hot today that the book I am writing will be 50 Shades Of Red.

It was so hot the homeless man on the street corner had a new sign: "Will Work For Shade".

It was so hot today I saw a cornfield full of popcorn.

It was so hot today that my cookie dough baked itself on the way home from the store.

It was so hot today that when I heard bacon sizzling, I realized it was me.

It was so hot today that even the nudists went inside.

It was so hot today the cows are running a special on evaporated milk.

It was so hot today, I was branded by my seatbelt buckle.

It was so hot today, the devil closed hell due to unfair competition.

It was so hot today, the grass was whistling for my dog.

It was so hot today, my radiator boiled over and I haven't even driven all week.

It was so hot today that my bread was toasted when I got home from the store.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Prettier Park

100F outside
80F inside with air conditioning for now.
The wind speed doesn't work anymore, but that's life.
After years on a sailboat studying air curents, I can pretty much accurately guess the wind. But I miss having the meter to back up my guesses.

I woke up before 6am after convincing myself I was plenty happy and should embrace the day. Then I set about doing the chores I did not want to do. Sometimes it's best to knock those out early, before I am knocked out completely. The spirit was willing but the body was protesting.

Pain makes me lazy.

It was time to clean the air conditioning filters again. I don't think the engineers could have made this any harder if they tried. Luckily I've replaced mine with washable filters so that keeps the cost way down.

Balancing on the step stool with a screwdriver over my head, I managed to hold the overhead ceiling unit while unscrewing the  screws. Some nice wing bolts sure would have been handier. This time I didn't hit myself in the head when the unit came loose. Thank goodness for small favors.

With liberal amounts of dish soap, I hosed the filters clean. Maybe I was little too enthusiastic with the dish soap! It sure took a mountain of rinsing. I put the unit across from the box fan to rapid dry while a small load of laundry worked to get the stink out of my summer clothes. On a day like today, they will dry super quickly too.

Lately, I sweat so profusely that I barely get through the day in one set of clothes. In the Caribbean, on my sailboat, this problem was solved by simply not wearing clothes on a hot day.  I was at anchor, no neighbors to really care, or they were enjoying an all over tan too.

I decided to seriously vacuum the bed and pillows then work my way forward with the noisy dirt sucker. Might as well make life easier on the AC filters. I was a bit amazed at how much crap came out of my bed and pillows. The dog bounces all over my bed playing with his toys or running to see out the windows, hence my need to vacuum it. I also discovered vacuuming is a great way to fluff up the mattress topper again and make the pillows seem like new.
I was using an old handheld vac from Goodwill for $2 but it didn't have a HEPA filter or a whole lot of power. It picked up the big dirt but left the little bits behind. When I discovered this Shark 800 watt corded tiny handheld, I drooled and dreamed.  One day months later,  it went on discounted sale so I snatched it up. A heap of patience... can bring about great savings.

First it takes up very little room and actually has a nice little home in one of my cabinets. Second it is seriously powerful.  It can make you feel great (or disgusted.) The first time I used it on my upholstery, it was absolutely amazing the amount of dirt it sucked right up clogging the HEPA filter. I am sure my gas mileage improved from the lighter load.  It houses a beater bar with rotating brush that does magic on upholstery and bedding.

The HEPA filter can be real fussy to clean (do it outdoors or you'll be sorry) but I am thrilled with it. When you vacuum with this sucker, you can see the dirt and know this machine is seriously working. I clean my HEPA filter after every use so it's ready to go the next time.

Last night the weather gurus said we were going to have a horrific storm with hail, rain, thunder, lightning and damaging gusty winds.  I spent an hour in the dark preparing the patio for such fate.

Not a drop, not a wisp of air. The night was clear and calm.

This morning I cranked the RV awning back out again. Without it, the RV heats up even faster, so it was imperative I put it back up.

Harley dog and I went for a walk in the woods looking for the patio umbrella canvas that blew away the other day when the squall hit. Amazingly we found it. We also picked up a bucket of litter including a cute little boat in the woods and 6 cents.
I am terribly proud at how beautiful Harley and I have made the park with constant litter patrol the past two weeks. Seems like we've been here a lot longer, but my calendar says 2 weeks. When I arrived it looked like a dump.  Now all the litter is gone, the cigarette butts are gone, every little speck of manmade filth is picked up. Even the grass looks happier. That tiny white box in the background is my RV.  As I took this picture, the lake is right behind me. On either side of this particular picnic table are garbage cans. Maybe people will start using them more. The park was empty this early in the morning.

This afternoon, chased inside by the 100F heat wave, we were sitting at the desk by the window when something spit all over the outside glass.

Funny, it's not raining, but it sure was a lot of liquid that spit and ran down the window.

My gosh must be one BIG bird out there. I walked outside with some trepidation expecting to see a microraptor (4 winged dinosaur) perched on the roof.  Instead I found my fresh water hose that services the wheel estate was split open and was gushing.

Good thing I woke up with a smile!

This old hose split in spite of the 40psi water regulator.  I noticed the gauge for the water pressure only read about 45psi before being stepped down to 40psi. I guess all these years in the sun and the water hose had had enough.
Usually a Lead-Free High Flow Water Regulator like this will save one many a water hose. I also have a separate Water Pressure Gauge.  I do try to take care of things, but it all breaks down at some point. Lately it seems everything is trying my patience and stamina! This time the water hose was sacrificed.

Motorhomes needs special lead free drinking water hoses. After looking over my split 25 foot hose, I've decided it's so old and beat up, that it may not be worth the cost of the doodads to repair it. It chose to split in the middle, so that is going to leave me a really short hose or two very short hoses.

Well, by the time I finished writing this it's 89F degrees inside. But all is wonderful, I have plenty of iced tea and a shoebox full of ice. Life is good.

I can't decide if I've made any progress or not. I am beat down wore out exhausted. But there is so much daylight left. I just wish I could wrangle my body into doing more but it's screaming for a nap. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Sudden Storm and Minor Damages

Everything looked fine in the morning. No mention on the weather about a horrible storm headed this way.

The umbrella was previously attacked in Georgia by a sudden squall that literally appeared out of nowhere. I left the bent ribs because I was afraid if straightened them, they would break. That fuzzball is Harley doing back flips on the rug.

A few hours later a storm just came out of nowhere!

After the hail, rains and winds, I was left with bare poles. I woke up from the fever induced nap, ran out to rescue it, but while I was cranking it down, the fabric vanished. Some of the ribs bent even more. I hope I find the rest of the umbrella one day soon. Maybe it went back to Georgia?

All these boaters went out before the storm yesterday. Look how beautiful the morning was unfolding to be. They apparently heard the same weather report as I.

The hail on my motorhome roof was so loud, that when the phone started ringing, I couldn't hear a thing on the other end. I have no idea who called.

Whatever stung me yesterday made me super sick. I don't know what to do about it, so I am drinking liquids to flush it out of my system. This means many trips to the broom closet (where my toilet resides.)

All I can say is I am thankful I woke up alive, but I am sore about the sting and sorry about the storm.  Oh well. Today was just another adventure!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Another Storm Despite Fair Weather Prediction

Bad storm here today.  More damages. Incredible hail, wind, blowing rains. 

Stung by something nasty before the storm. It zapped me completely. 

A wild roller coaster of a day!

Got up at dark thirty, smiling, happy, made some stout coffee, washed my long hair. At first dawn woke up the puppy for a photo shoot through the park. Cantankerous camera. Grrrrr...

Weather said pretty and clear. Ha!

Set up the patio with the box fan, hauled out my third cup of coffee and laptop. Filled up the doggy water bowl, set up his breakfast.

My hair was half dry by now, so I decided to tackle the ends with a pair of new scissors. No I am not a hair dresser by any means at all. That is why I have such long hair. When all was said and done, I guess I trimmed about 3 inches off the length but it's still fairly long.

I was proud that it looked nice.

I sat down to type outside when I was suddenly attacked by a critter unseen. I jumped up hollering, my right shoulder felt like I had been shot with a thousand super hot tiny pins and needles.

Flailing around I found some OFF and sprayed all over my shoulder as best I could, under my shirt, and even on top of it. Finally ran inside pulled off shirt and sprayed some more. It felt like something was still zinging me, crawling around but I couldn't find it.

Not sure why I thought OFF would help. I sat back down to type. The pain was excruciating. I felt light headed and suddenly very exhausted.

Instead of coffee, I drank a bunch of water to try to flush the poisons out. By now I was so weak, I couldn't sit up anymore. I brought the laptop back inside, laid down feeling dreadful and fell asleep.

A friend woke me up by phone to tell me to put apple cider vinegar on my shoulder. I soaked a paper towel, slapped it down on the injured spot. It stung like I was being attacked again.

Laid back down smelling like a salad. Frighteningly exhausted.

Woke up to hail on the roof and a mini hurricane. Ran outside to do battle with the umbrella and awning. Storm destroyed the umbrella but not the awning.

This evening I took Harley for a walk, but we had to stop and rest 8 times. We came back with a bucket full of litter, so at least something was accomplished. I was beginning to think we might need to ask for a ride.  The last 100 yards took an awfully long time.

Whatever stung me has really put my lights back out. My tummy is unhappy and I feel like dog poop. Everything aches.

I think it's back to bed for me.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Short Lifetime

I've been at the new workamping for 10 days now. My goodness, it feels like I've been here 6 months. 

Harley dog and I have done litter patrols several times a day. I haven't been able to ride my bike because all this walking is wearing me out quickly. My stamina is just not anywhere near where I wish it was. We seem to about have this park shipshape with 99% of the random litter picked up.  Of course folks still toss it out but it seems like they aren't throwing near as much around. 

My bicycle below awaits my attention while reposing under a cover. This new tablecloth was tossed out months ago by some campers who threw away nearly everything they brought with them. I was camped at Rodman Dam in Florida. We had a horrific storm one night. The next morning the tent neighbors threw all their camping gear in the garbage then sped away taking only their chairs with them. I was already at the dumpster going through their stuff. The table cloth is thick vinyl with a felt underside. It's perfect for keeping my shiny red bike out of the elements between rides. 

It's amazing how much garbage we find within 50 feet of one of the park's numerous garbage cans. We also hand out reminders for the folks that keep forgetting to pay their parking fee on the honor system. I also offer them mail-in applications for annual passes. It seems a lot of folks have taken advantage of the pass system lately. So that is all well and good. 

Since our mail box is at least a quarter mile away uphill, we are now tackling the roadside trash. That may take all summer. My bucket fills up just cleaning a 10 foot strip. There are no garbage cans around, so I have to hike back home with it. What's mind boggling is that on one side of the street is nicely kept homes. On the other side of the road, heaps of litter. 

Two little dogs with no collars, no tags, follow Harley and I around. It's a bit annoying, they seem to have no owners.  Cars come by, slamming on brakes to avoid the loose doggies and one driver even yelled at me.  My dog is on a leash but there is no way I can take on another loose canine. My motorhome is tiny, and Harley is a handful. 

I am surprised someone would turn their tiny dogs loose what with all the trucks and traffic coming and going to the boat ramp. This is a popular park for boat launching as well as swimming and picnicking. 

We have a free life jacket loan system in place now. The bright orange jackets hand on hooks by the swim area. Amazingly a lot of swimmers do use the life jackets. Many are kind enough to return them to their hooks. 

So far two deaths on the lake this year, both last week. Thankfully none were at this park. But still it's sad that two have passed on while messing about the lake. 

Be safe.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Artfully Repurposed

It happened again.

I woke up a happy camper!

Every bone in my body aches, but I am figuring if I meditate hard enough, that will vanish plus I am smiling and laughing determined to make it go away.

It's a great day!  Life ain't perfect, but it's pretty darn close. Yippee!

I am always looking to repurpose junk or to make something provide multiple uses to justify the space it consumes in my life. I bought this sturdy directors chair for a bargain. Sadly, two years later it dry rotted.  I had sewed up a new back, but when the seat gave out, well the frame isn't made for a removable seat to be made.  The tools to make one by hand were going to be pricey and I'm not sure the end result would have been worth having.

The frame is so sturdy and folds up compactly, that I kept it to see what I could do with it. I discovered I can put one or two of my leveling boards on top of it to make a nice side table. Also boards and a pillow will hold a hefty person, I still have the back piece I sewed up. So it makes a good sturdy chair if someone is afraid of my other chairs.

For you non-Rv-ers, leveling  boards are what a simple RV uses to level up the RV on a slope. Sometimes I have to park over a thick board or several stacked under one or two tires to make the RV level. Many times I don't even need the boards, but I have to travel with them anyhow. It's good I can use them for multiple purposes.

Recently I discovered my box fan fits on the chair frame perfectly without even needing a board. How cool is that.

Below is a recliner chair my friend gave me. It is now covered in my comforter. The one I washed outside, then it was too heavy for me to pick it up off the patio.

Finally it partially dried enough for me to put it on the recliner chair. Oh my, once it's dry I could just take a comfy nap under the fan. When I lay in this chair, Harley dog likes to curl up on my tummy and snooze too. We must make a funny sight!

Harley dog is not immune to dumpster diving. His little blue camp chair is from a dumpster last year. It's small and partially broken. It can't hold a 100 pound person, but it can hold one ridiculous 3 kilo dog (6.6 pounds) and his quilt.

It puts him up near level with the humans, he can see over his domain, plus the added benefit of not being stepped on or tripped over. He hides treats and toys in his quilt.

I called his name and he looked at the camera. But the camera is so cantankerously slow these days, that by the time it snapped, he had turned back to watch the park.
Saturday was $5 coupon day at Dollar General. They have raised the stakes to spend $30 get $5 off. Instead of realizing 25% freebie, it's now 20%. I drove 4.5 miles down this beautiful country road to their store. Harley dog and I arrived there early Saturday morning in the rolling dog house. By going early, we didn't have to run the generator for cooling.

I picked through their sale items, their reduced rack and the dent and scratch.  Lots of stuff there we couldn't have cause it was sugary or junky, but we did manage to snag some great edible stuff that was drastically reduced. At the checkout, they took another $5 off my purchases. We made out like bandits.

My pantry consists of bargains and it sure comes in handy when times are tight. I even bought some jalapeno crackers in a crushed box severely reduced, but since the crackers were loosely packed and not stacked in a row, they were fine. Only problem is Harley likes them too. He loves spicy stuff, especially jalapeno cheese.

My friend was visiting and opened up some spicy cheese he bought. It was so hot he couldn't eat it. I said I bet the dog will love it and he said no way.

Well, Harley fooled him!

Harley even got a bargain toy. It was in the reduced rack because it was opened and dirty like somebody had stepped on it with dirty shoes. It was a cute little rubber blue pig that oinked. I bought it since it was discounted to 30%.  Later I scrubbed it up clean for the dog.

He was thrilled and dragged his clean pig outside to toss about the yard and make it oink. Now it is as dirty as when I bought it. With all the spare change we have been picking up while snatching errant litter, he had enough for the toy with leftover change. I'm teaching him to be frugal with his found money.

When all was said and done, Dollar General gave me a $5 coupon to come back again next week.

Oh my. They probably like the way I haul most of the crap off for them.

Florida foods and supplies are much more pricier than South Carolina. Last winter I managed to stay in Florida, after arriving with a pantry full of bargains and supplies I accumulated from coupon days, dent and scratch and so on in a cheaper economy. Where there is a will, there is a way.

If you have a ton of patience, you can make a wee bit of money go a very long ways.

I was enjoying the same sunshine in Florida that others had spent ten to twenty times more than me to enjoy. Life is funny.

America and much of the world offers tons of opportunities, but many are very obscure. There are poverty stricken folks who live off a great deal more than me, but have so much less to enjoy. It's all about choices and thinking outside the box.

Below is my bargain umbrella. I wrote about the awful sudden storm that damaged it while I was soaking wet trying to fold it up awhile back.  It's a little mangled now, but still functioning fine. I am afraid if I try to straighten out the bent ribs, they might break off entirely, so I just use it all wacky like.

I guess that blends in with the rest of me. Dent, scratched, warped, broken and used but artfully repurposed.

Matter of fact in dissecting this picture and picnic table...
Umbrella bought was reduced 75%
Chair was given to me used (zero cost)
Pillow was given to me used (zero cost)
Table Cloth is my old ripped RV awning recut and repurposed (zero cost)
The rugs on the benches were bought deeply discounted over 3 years ago for inside winter use in the motorhome. When the rubber backing wore off from repeated washings, I upcycled them as bench covers, adding a bungee cord to hold them in place (cost minimal)
The brown 9x12 foot patio mat was from dumpster diving (zero cost)
The spool of white Christmas lights (waiting to be strung up as night lights for the patio) were bought at an after Christmas sale (minimal cost)
The empty Kleenex box is stuffed with a zillion grocery baggies which I use as garbage bags (free)

Harley's stainless steel water bowl on the table was bought heavily discounted for a mere 40 cents. It's on the table so he doesn't knock it over with his tether. He stands on two legs on the picnic bench to drink out of it. I keep trying to get a picture, it's so cute the way he does this.  I cant seem to teach him any tricks at all, but he makes up his own. Very strange little canine. 

There is one thing I actually paid full price for, and that is the umbrella clamp that attaches to the picnic table. I searched high and lo for such a gadget for years. I tried to make my own several times, but I have no welding skills. 

Since I love outdoor living as a way of expanding my mini motorhome, the umbrella clamp provides me a lot more shade and well worth the cost of saving up to acquire it. 

And to think I started out with just a picnic table that typically comes with the vast majority of camping sites. 

A little ingenuity, tons of patience, dumpster diving and a lot of angels. 

The flip side would be to go shopping and buy all that stuff brand new. The cost would have been over 20 times more than what I finally spent. Amazing.

I'm living the dream!  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Found It

Well, I've been at the new workamping site for a week now. I get up early, open up every shade on every window and look out at my little domain.  It's beautiful.

Below is one of the gorgeous views I am treated to while walking the dog and litter pickering. To the right is the lakeshore, the land in the middle is lake islands. Oh so pretty. 

Lately I relocate to the patio to wake up with coffee. Harley keeps on sleeping until I make dog walking noises such as grabbing his leash with the motorhome key jangling on it. I replaced the house key he broke a few weeks ago. Silly dog.

We never do the same route twice. This keeps him confused. Sometimes he tries to tug me his way, all 6 pounds of him and he pulls like I am a wagon he must move with all his might.

Other times I stop to watch him pull and tug, to see what holds his attention then I say "Come along" and he reluctantly goes my way.

So far only one electrical breaker has tripped once in a week.  Maybe my ancient air conditioner wanted to move. If it hadn't of been for it acting up, or the electrical power to my RV misbehaving, I would have never asked the volunteer coordinator about moving.

Funny how something great came out of something worrisome.

At my new spot, the sun rises over the front  of the RV and sets in the back. My front door faces the south with the patio.

I've figured out how to keep the RV cool in the heat of the day. You have to start in the morning!

I dug out my windshield reflector screen. That is one of those silver type cardboard shades people use on their car. I also have curtains that hang around the front windshield and cover the two side windows.

The sun comes in the windshield intently, but the reflective shade and the curtains, really helped the RV cool in a hurry in the morning. When the afternoon heat hits, then it keeps chugging along. Not super cool, but cool enough for me to seek refuge.

I am still on the fence about replacing it. But for now all is well and good.

I even found my mailbox finally. Yippie!

It is up the hill, outside of the park, three houses up the road at the sharp curve, it shares a post with another mailbox in front of someone's house.    I love the way somebody added "at lake" perhaps for UPS and FedEX to keep driving.

When it was set up, the other houses weren't built yet, so my box used to be at the end of the postman's trail. But as more houses built closer to the park, I guess nothing got done about possibly relocating the box.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Smart Ducks

I wish I could arm people with buckets and litter pickers rather than guns and uniforms. 

36-Inch Nifty Nabber Pick-Up Tool with Aluminum Handle
36-Inch Nifty Nabber Pick-Up Tool with Aluminum Handle

Harley and I are still cleaning up the new park everyday. The garbage is so overwhelming, I wonder if we will ever get it caught up enough to take a break. But there is a certain secret pride and satisfaction that we are making headway. Sometimes we can walk a full 30 feet without encountering litter. We are also trying to get all the cigarette butts. They are tedious.

Sometimes we have to skip them entirely because there is so much bigger garbage to deal with, but everyday we do manage to nab a few hundred cigarette butts. I am all for personal freedoms, I just wish smokers would put their butts back in their pack or pocket or purse or here's a unique concept, put it in a garbage can.  But the cigarette butts are only the tip of the iceberg.

Besides the smoking debris, we find anything and everything else scattered in a park that has over three dozen garbage cans strategically placed. It's mind boggling. Many people dump out their car garbage right in the parking lot just a few feet from a garbage can.

One family set up a huge picnic at a table.  After awhile they got in their car and left. Their picnic garbage was still all over the table and ground.  The trash can was a good 8 feet away.  They didn't bother to put a single item in it. I was astounded.

The swim beach is busy every afternoon but no matter how clean I get it, the next morning it is sprouting trash again. Not as badly as before, but I guess we have some really difficult empty headed people.  Also as people kick up more sand, I find more buried treasure.

I am amazed at the number of toys left behind at the beach. I often just put them in one big pile away from the water that is willing to wash them away. One was a tiny float, that I meant to go back and get for Harley after we were through litter pickering, but I forgot. Maintenance threw all the toys out, which puzzles me. They must have tripped over garbage to get to the toys to toss them out.

Life is complicated. I am oh so clueless.

My pictures came out lousy but this morning but a gaggle of ducks rafted in the swim area of the lake. How cute. That blurry thing in the background is the floating swim perimeter to keep boaters out.

Smart ducks.

Last night Harley dog went bonkers with his imitation chihuahua hysterical barking. I went to look out the window (which was rapidly being coated with flying doggy juice.)  Sure enough there was a gray fox furtively darting around the campsite looking for crumbs.  By the time I fumbled around with the camera, he had moved so far away on the other side of the lot looking for pickings, that I couldn't shoot him. With the camera.

Earlier in the day on the patio, when Harley was annoying me while I was trying to finish something important, I played the treat game with him. Instead of giving him treats, I fetched a bowl of his dry organic dog food.  I would pitch one across the patio for him to chase down and eat. Of course he kept coming back to pester me, but I was able to keep typing while tossing  a lone "treat" for him to chase. I was pretty sure he ate them all, but he did have an old ham bone laying around. This morning it's gone. Maybe the fox stole it.

A zillion big angry ants took over the patio for some strange reason. I used the water hose and a wand to give it a good cleaning more or less. I washed away lots of drowning ants anyhow. I was tired of them crawling all over me.

A week or so ago, a man that used to visit in the old park (before I moved) brought me a partially eaten ham one day. He said he ate too much of it, making his foot and arm swell. Oddly enough I talked him into trying some organic apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon at a time in a glass of iced tea to reduce the swelling. (The Braggs organic is far more tastier than the regular.)

Two days later he showed up to tell me he had bought a bottle of the stuff to sprinkle in his tea.  His arm and leg were back to normal. I offered him his ham back, but he didn't want it.

He was so impressed with how quickly the swelling went down in his appendages that he said I was a miracle worker. Little does he know I am a fruitcake full of nutty ideas that do work.

What a treat to have meat for a change.  I so rarely buy any meat.  When money is tight, meat is the first thing to get crossed off the shopping list in favor of fresh produce.

Days later when the ham was finished I cooked the hock with dried beans in the crockpot, then cooled the bones for Harley dog. Yes, the little spoiled canine had a smidgen of  ham too. Might as well share the wealth. He is my good little buddy but I have to be careful with him.

There is an old Bahamian saying;
"Big eye choke the puppy."

So I have these teensy food bowls that hold a quarter cup. They are actually leftover applesauce containers. I limit his wet food to loosely half that but I do leave his dry food half full pretty often so he can snack like a cat. Also, I am forgetful. So keeping a little dry food around all the time makes sure the little fellow doesn't go hungry if my brain is having a hiccup.

Today we were chased inside by the heat and my exhaustion. Harley was snuggled up next to me while I typed. After awhile he wandered off, then laid down on the floor. This is rare for him. At some point I got up to visit the broom closet (I keep a toilet in there too.)

That's when I saw the problem. Harley's problem.

There was dog puke scattered liberally on my bed comforter. Yucky poo!

"Harley!  Are you sick?"  I said a little too loudly. Oops.

Poor little fellow, he looked terrified. That was not my intention.  I picked him up to baby him and rub his tummy. He wouldn't look at me. I took him outside where I gently attached his dog run, then set him down as carefully as fine china.

Back inside I folded up the comforter which is of course is way too big for my tiny compact washer. I took it outside, cleaned a section of the patio which by now was covered in falling pine needles, then laid out the comforter to clean it with the water hose and soap.

Seemed like a good idea at the time. No laundry facilities within miles of here.

When I was done, I was going to pick up the comforter to drape it over something to dry, like the picnic table. But alas, it was oh so heavy, I couldn't even budge it. Because the concrete is so rough, I didn't dare drag it, as that would wreck it for sure.

So there on the patio, is my soaking wet comforter. I hope it dries one day soon or at least lightens up so I can try to lift it.

Good grief, I must be a weakling. I am way pooped out.  Some days are like this. I start off with great intentions, getting lots done in the morning, then POOF. I feel faint and have to rest.

I'd rather be looking for the next adventure. I want better drivel.

Life is good, but I am tired.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Rambling Roller Coaster Ride

The ailing failing cooling fooling air conditioner saga continues.  Being sick at the same time made it maddening to boot but I am coming around feeling so much better.

An angel swooped down out of the blue, loaning me money to replace my air conditioner and upgrade to one with a heat strip too for winter use. WOW!


That sure made the AC suddenly straighten out and fly right. Maybe I am getting a steady better power supply at my new camp site.  I am walking on eggshells. I studied AC prices, called around about labor and installation. I was a tad shocked at the prices. Ugh. Even made a tentative appointment which I have postponed because now the AC is pretending to be fine.

Lately I do the cave thing, which I hate, but it seems to help on a very hot day. Close up all the shades and curtains, turn the AC on high in the morning. By the hot afternoon, it's able to more or less keep up without tripping breakers at the new location.

Meanwhile, since I can't stand having the windows blocked off, I am outside with the dog sitting in the shade by the big box fan. But when the heat is too much, I can go inside the dark depressing cave, it's cooler for sure.  But I find the darkness so overwhelming I open up some shades, so I don't go crazy.

I really want this old air conditioner to pull through for another year or two. I know it's only 19 years old and for an RV air conditioner that is ancient.

But I hate to go into debt, I try to put things on a wish list and carefully monitor my efficient budget which is supplemented by all sorts of craziness like dumpster diving, workamping, angel writing (a bit different from ghost writing!)

Finding a used air conditioner that is in better shape than mine, is not likely to happen but other things I do find in the dump or eventually find a used part I need.  Much of my RV has been repaired with used stuff, old stuff, outdated technology and tons of patience.  Some repairs I've even done with my own hands. I so wish I could do more. This past year was an avalanche of strange repairs. Stuff that had to be done, but it wasn't something pretty.

I still pay monthly on a  mountain of old medical mess that according to the latest collection agency will take me 272 years to pay off at the rate I am going and they fear I won't live that long.

You think?

They have proposed a new monthly payment plan that is over 4 times my monthly income.

What kind of new math is that?

I was heavily drugged in the hospital when I signed away my credit cards to get medical care. I just assumed I would get well, go back to working and pay them all off in a few short years of working hard and living frugally.  I had supported myself for umpteen years, I had perfect credit and had lived happily debt free for over two-thirds of my adult working life. It was a goal I was proud of.

It hadn't occurred to me that disaster and mayhem could strike me down and wreck my little old apple cart.

As the monthly payments escalated exponentially, I realized how huge the debt was, so I stopped all medical treatments after transferring to America and finding brick walls thrown in my face instead of the care I had hoped to continue.

It seemed the medical community in their fervor to pump me full of exotic drugs, chemicals, doom and gloom, were setting me up to be a scare tactic to others. I felt like getting away from their clutches, put me back in control of my ruined finances.

They had picked my pockets and now doctors and clinics were refusing to see me when the credit cards stopped working.

I figured I would pay for this lack of medical care with my life. Literally.

I am not even sure we were on the same page about my future health.

Now I do an alternative route that is much easier to cope with all around.

Something strange happened.

I didn't go down the tubes as the specialists predicted. I have no idea why I am still alive, but I wake up with a smile, happy as can be. What adventure awaits this day?  I am excited to go find out!

My entire life I worked and paid my debts promptly. Then POOF it all went to hell and my excellent credit went down the toilet.  I used to let this stress me out endlessly, then I set up a payment plan I could afford, but the powers to be hate it. I write the check once a month, send it off and then I just don't worry about it anymore. What's done is done. I have high hopes that one day I will magically pay it all off. Meanwhile the collectors bounce me around harassing me.

Frankly I am glad to be away from the grasp of the medical community.  Unless the pain gets bad. Pain could send me screaming for help, but I've found many alternative ways to deal with the pain.

Unconventional treatments do cost money, but I am able to pick and choose and review it all myself. I don't have a person in a cubicle forcing their choices on me based on their profit line or kickbacks from drugs or the dictates of an overly complicated medical plan.

Somewhere I have a very happy picture of me, when I turned 50, my hair was down below my hips, I was standing on a beach in the Caribbean near my home. Debt free. Working freelance gigs I had squirreled away savings for a rainy day. I was driving a little old jeep, living in a small apartment with my beloved cats.  My bills were paid promptly without a second thought. Life was good!  I remember thinking my birthday was oh so wonderful, that at age 50 I was barefoot on the beach, blissfully content.

Months later when terrible things happened, much of which I purposely keep tucked far away in a dark little corner, I woke up in intensive care one day, in that hell hole for a hospital on a tiny little island.  Once I overcame the shock, I figured it was just a hiccup and soon I would be back to my happy life on a little island.

Was I ever wrong.

But it just kept getting stranger. 23 years of living overseas and  traversing oceans,  I made a decision to come to America to say hello and good bye to loved ones.  Because of the brutality I had recently suffered, it seemed like moving to America would be a welcomed change.

Oh my gosh, I am like a child from another planet, I am so lost here, but finding my way, with the help of many angels who I owe my life to.

Thank you.

While trying to get well, my business collapsed, I ran up credit cards, ran down the savings. I came to America sick, bewildered and confused. I thought I had a home to go to, and I did for a brief while.

Suddenly I needed a place to live, so I bought this little old motorhome thinking it would be a cozy fully furnished spot for me to finish my days. I was so weak at the time, I could barely walk 30 feet. I kept it pristine, too sick to go anywhere and fearing it was going to be resold soon anyhow, so why settle in?

I was just here for a visit on this planet.

I tried to find freelance work and part time gigs but my medical mess kept interfering with such highfalutin plans. My brain acted funny while it learned to re-function. My health was and still is a wild roller coaster ride. But somehow my noggin started coming back hither and yonder. My stamina seemed to soar some days and fail miserably the next.

I began to feel the old fearless spirit rumble around inside of me.

A little hitchhiker entered my life, my playful dog who drags me out on walks, reminds me to live a little, live a lot. Some days I can't do a 100 feet and other days we go for a mile or more.

My memory is slowly coming back, I still do stupid things, but not as often or maybe I just don't let it bother me anymore.

I owe so many angels so much thanks.  How can I ever be thankful enough?

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Tale of a Tail

Below is a phone conversation between my friend and I. His comments are in italics. 

Are you keeping the new workamping assignment?

Yes. Harley loves it here.

Will you stay all winter too?

Good heavens no. Harley can't take the brutal winters.

So how late are you staying?

Probably mid September or so.

Then you're going to Florida?

No. Harley wants to go the mountains first.

Mountains?  You're skipping the beach at Hunting Island?

Good Lord no. Harley loves playing in the sand, I've already made reservations for the beach, after we go to the mountains.

Then you go to Melbourne Florida?

No, we will stop in Orlando to see Harley's friends first.

Are you going to the same park in Melbourne for the winter?

Yes, Harley likes to ride in the bicycle basket to the dog park there.

Will you be workamping?

No, Harley needs a little break from being a Bark Ranger.

Your travels seem to be planned around Harley.

What on earth ever gave you that idea???

Parade of Picnic Pushers

My new workamping spot included an 8 foot 8 ton picnic table which was located down the hill from my camper.

I began pushing it a few inches at a time.  I figured I would have it up to my patio in about two weeks. Some maintenance guys came by and moved it about a foot then left. They said they would write a report for another maintenance guy to come tow it up the hill with a chain and heavy equipment.

Maybe he'll come next week or next month.  In the interim, I shall shove it a little hither and yonder.

A few hours later a female ranger stopped by and we moved it together about another two feet before we pooped out. Later in the day, I heaved it a few inches. That was Friday.

Saturday morning, I poked and prodded it on it's way. Someone else stopped by and helped me move it a few feet. Then a young sturdy ranger appeared at some point determined to help me get it up over the steep hump to the patio.  He was one strong dude!

Amazing. Only took a day and a half, not the two weeks I estimated. Today I shoved and pushed it around the patio until I got it in my preferred spot.

"Completes projects ahead of time..."

For the past few days Harley dog and I have done lots of litter pickering walks. He is leashed up to the bucket and in my other hand is my long handle litter picker.

Over my shoulder is a small bag with the Hartwell Lake maps and literature.

When we took a tour  of our new preserve Thursday afternoon we were horrified at the mountain of litter scattered liberally throughout the park in spite of the numerous trash cans. The maintenance folks are overworked trying to keep the cans emptied and orderly. They try to pick up the scattered mess, but it's just everywhere and they are on time constraints to clean up numerous parks all around the lake, every day so it is equally frustrating for them.

While my volunteer duties are lengthy, oddly enough picking up garbage isn't on the list. But this random anonymous litter is disgusting.

"Let's go somewhere beautiful and trash it!"

So bit by bit Harley and I are meandering around the park, filling up our battered bucket time and time again.  I smile while I do this, even though no one can see me smile because my chin is almost always aimed downwards.

Mother earth is so gorgeous. She doesn't deserve this abuse. But we are slowly trying to make things right again. It's a win-win situation. Exercise for me and the dog plus a cleaner park.  Each time our walk is a little more beautiful with a little less garbage. What a treat!

Once in awhile we find coins. Harley is very excited about this because all the coins go into his tiny coin and poop bag purse for his future.

His future being next week's food with possibly a new toy one of these days.

He is also enjoying being able to mark the entire park to let everyone know the Bark Ranger has arrived and is on patrol.

We found a brand new wallet, empty save for a 17 year old's driver license. He just got it too. Unable to locate his phone number through searching the internet, I mentioned it to the ranger who stopped by.  She took it to the main office to mail it back to the kid. Boy won't he be surprised when that turns up in his mailbox!

Earth's Biggest Selection!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Good Tidings and Cooler Heads

Good tidings!

How do angels just fall out of the sky when I least expect them?   It's a miracle.

I called the volunteer coordinator to ask about moving to another park or campground or somewhere (anywhere!) with shade until I sussed out this air conditioning problem. I was hoping they might let me borrow a shady camp site until something was worked out about my ailing failing air conditioner.  I planned to eventually return to my volunteer park host spot.  I hated to make this request, it made me seem like a failure.

I have been park hosting at a busy boat ramp and not so busy picnic park on the lake, there is no campground, just the park host spot. It gets super hot some days (not all) when the wind dies and the heat literally rises up to greet me. Just an unfortunate lay of the land and asphalt.

The ranger was aware I was previously having electrical problems which it turns out might have been the power company.  Might...

However, I did go over my entire electrical system recently. Plus two others in the know checked over it to. The little coop power company was laying new lines near me. Also a recent storm knocked down a lot of trees on top of lines, so there was ongoing repair work. Were they causing fluctuations in power?

I was explaining to the volunteer coordinator the strange phenomenon that some days (not all) the sweltering heat from the black asphalt where the truck, boat and trailer parking is, would waft right up the hill then sit stagnant in my campsite, sending my temperatures 10-15-20 F degrees hotter than the rest of the park. Mornings and late afternoons I was treated to shade thanks to the tall forest, but those few hours of full sun and the extra heat wafting up from the asphalt, on a windless day was getting to be a little too rough on me especially since the air conditioning was kicking breakers every 10-15 minutes. I was becoming delirious.

My camera just doesn't do justice to the  depth perception on this picture. The parking lot is black asphalt but the sun is brightly bouncing off of it, it slopes downwards from my park host spot which is higher on a hill behind me as I take this picture. This has been my volunteer workamping for 6 out of 12 months the past 3 years. 

Oh how I wish I was young and healthy again when such things like the fluctuating weather never bothered me at all.

The ranger mentioned that another US Army Corps recreation park on Lake Hartwell had a vacancy. She thought it would be a bit cooler.  She suggested I make a temporary move, then let her know which park the bark ranger preferred. If Harley dog loved it, then I could be reassigned to the new park. She said the USACE would be delighted to have me move there.

The park was 25 miles away in another state. How ironic, I was born, raised, bloomed and harvested in South Carolina where the park was located.

It was late in the afternoon when she told me all this by phone. I was covered in stinky sweat but the thought of taking a nice drive in my little old wheel estate to another park while the engine's dash air blew icy cold comfort on me sounded positively delicious.  I filled up a pint sippy cup of iced tea then hit the road.

Last autumn on a freakishly hot day, my engine AC quit cooling me. When I went to get more freon, I found out I had to convert my old beast to a newfangled freon.  Last winter on a cold frigid day,  I managed to have my engine air conditioner upgraded and repaired in Florida. My friend who came to pick me up for a day of sightseeing in their car, thought it was funny that in the dead of winter I was repairing my dash air conditioner. I said "But one day it will suddenly be hot and I will be ever so grateful I repaired this last winter.  Besides, once you start falling behind in maintenance, it snowballs and suddenly it seems like there is just too much to fix and too little wallet."

Thursday afternoon, Harley and I wandered down country roads for 9 miles, then traversed 14 miles up the interstate to South Carolina.  We made the correct exit but managed to miss all our turns, so I had to do a few strange maneuvers in my little old wheel estate until I finally found the park.  Funny how the last 2 miles turned into 5.

The new old park has a sandy beach with a beautiful swim area, a picnic shelter for private parties and a triple boat ramp with the obligatory large parking lot. I found the Park Host spot (no campground because this is a day use  public park.)

Just for grins, I backed my rig in, plugged up the electricity, turned on the AC, then took the little Bark Ranger on patrol. Harley was thrilled with the new park as we toured it on foot and paw. We looked over the spacious park host spot. By now I was dead tired, and seriously debated whether to spend the night or not.

But I figured if I was to pack up my patio camp at the former spot, I would need to start at the crack of dawn. Back on the road for 15 miles we had a leisurely trip with darkening skies. Then 10 miles from home the heavens opened up with a huge downpour. We were reduced to driving at a snail's pace.

Arriving back at the old park host spot, the rains stopped but everything outside was soaking wet.  Grrr... I ate a bowl of oatmeal and went to bed.

At 5am Friday, I wearily climbed out of my lair making coffee with eyes half mast. It was a huge wet mess to gather up my outdoor living gear.  Everything was wet or muddy and quadruple its normal weight. In short order my work gloves were covered in Georgia red mud and muck.

Sometime before noon, I managed to finally depart with my worldly goods, with a promise to return another day for the firewood left behind.

An hour later, I was setting up camp at our new home. Friends called to say they were coming to visit, so I explained directions to my new location.  Ironically it shaved 20 miles off their trip, so they were delighted.

Well, lawdy mercy, that built a fire under me to race around setting up my new patio with my outdoor living gear, including prominently placing the electric-wind-in-a-box where we could enjoy the maximum electric breeze.
outside patio cooling by
The fan is sitting on a board that is laid across the arm rests of an old chair that has no seat nor back. Both dry rotted but the sturdy folding chair frame makes a nice side table for keeping the fan at a preferred height. 

My friends drove up. We relaxed at my new temporary home under the shade of the awning with a large pitcher of iced tea.

Later we wandered down to the swim area, where they swam while Harley and I went on litter patrol. The beach was covered in random debris, it wasn't long before my bucket was full.

Amazingly, even in full sun, this new site never got overly hot. I did string up a white sheet as an extra sunshade to supplement the awning, so my friends weren't sitting in direct sun. The air conditioner inside purred without interruption although it did not get overly cool, it was comfy enough that had we needed refuge it would have provided some relief.

chic sunshade for RV by
An old bedsheet is re-purposed into a chic sun curtain. When the sun was bright, the sheet was draped down with a corner attached to the blue chair.  The cooling effect was amazing. When natural shade appeared, I clipped the curtain out of the way. 

I am still on the fence about the condition of my AC, whether to replace it or not. Mostly the wallet doth protest. But I do like my new park hosting location.  I might just stay.

The rangers came by to check on me and offered me this spot year round permanently, but alas, I am not quite ready to hang up the keys just yet. But they also gave me the option of continuing my assignment here, then returning next year for my usual 6 months. That might just be the ticket.  For 3 years I have workamped for them for about 6 months each year. We are both happy that I am signing on for a 4th season in 2014 whether here or there, time will tell.

While I am strangely homesick for my old location since I was on my 3rd season there, I do like the new park too. The ranger said another couple had recently expressed interest in moving to this park. I said "Um well, tell them too bad, they are too late!"

workamping by

I guess I am going to settle in here. The bark ranger approves.  Hard to tell, but in this picture he is lazing about in his favorite little blue chair surveying his new domain. . 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Hot, Humid and The AC Is Dying

Right when I thought I had things simplified, they went and got complicated. My old equipment is just breaking down left and right.  Yeah, my body, my dog and my wheel estate.

Harley injured himself, and I have a major boo boo that has left me very weak.

Aw shucks, the computer ate my post. Oh well. I shall restart...

The heat has just fried my head and it's not working right.  It's funny that I spent over two decades in the tropics with no heat or air conditioning.

Now my air conditioner has decided not to work on hot days. It's maddening. It only works on cool days.

America has heated up the ambient temperature  with a zillion cars, concrete jungles and huge ribbons of black asphalt. So funny to think that 30 years ago, when computers were entering our lives, the pros said this will save us all tons of gasoline and mountains of paper.  We'll be able to tele-commute and mail-order, you won't need nor want to drive a personal car each and every day. Global warming will be a thing of the past.

Ha ha ha!  Were we ever wrong!

How many people (besides me) do you know that can refrain from driving their car every day?  It seems traffic snarls are everywhere.

Used to be you could spend a few dollars in a store and get a teeny tiny one inch square receipt. Now that same purchase spits out well over a foot of paper with excessive details about your purchase, your cashier, invitations for surveys, advertisements and coupons for products unrelated, plus disclaimers and lack of liability notices and so on.

How is it we grew up in a neighborhood where no one had air conditioning and now that same area is so ridiculously hot that all the homes have added central air.

On certain days, the parking lot below my campsite puts off so much heat it wafts up here to the hill I am on and stays. So my thermometer shoots up over 100F degrees and my AC decided to go bye-bye.

My air conditioning was laboring hard to keep at 82F, but has since become cantankerous, tripping breakers every 9-12 minutes between 1pm and 4pm. My new pics came out blurry or else they have sweat dripping on the camera but temps went up to 106F outside and 92F inside then the AC started going through final death throes.

So far I've snagged a fan for $20 while I figure out what to do next.

I drank a whole gallon of iced tea in 3 hours and still feel faint. I stink too!  Apparently I have smelly sweat. Luckily the dog doesn't care. But he is drinking numerous bowls of water. I put ice in his bowl and it just sizzles and melts in a matter of minutes.

Well, I have to close now and go work on Plan B, or C or D.

Life is wonderful but it sure is hot and humid.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Storm

Note** The author prefers living outdoors with occasional retreats into a little old motorhome. 

The storm snuck up on me with a sudden vengeance.

It was pouring down rain. My towels and wash cloths were on the outside clothes line. Instead of drying, they were getting a heavy fresh rain rinse. That was not my original intention, but mother nature apparently had other ideas.

The downpour briefly subsided to a drizzle. I was inside with the puppy dog, staying dry. Suddenly the winds went from 5 mph to 50 mph. My picnic table umbrella looked like it was ready to take flight. The RV awning which is attached to the side of the motorhome was also fully cranked out. It was whipping up and down testing the old cobbled frame. It's rebuilt from junk parts, patiently waiting indefinitely for a replacement.

I dashed outside to fold up the 9 foot umbrella, but the winds shot up to about 70 mph. One of the ribs bent and prevented me from closing the umbrella. I was a tad mad, I just bought that umbrella on sale deeply discounted to replace the one a different storm killed in Melbourne Florida.


I turned my attention to the RV awning which was now acting like a great big sail, threatening to flip my little old wheel estate upside down.

I managed to drop the awning at a severe angle, that actually lessened the impact of the winds, then I tied a line from it to the 8 foot 8 ton picnic table, to try to prevent it from blowing away completely. The big roller mechanism is warped, so it's a bit fussy to close and downright impossible in heavy winds.

My hair was whipping around, tree branches were falling and flying, I was dodging debris and trying to mitigate the outside camp patio damages.

About this time, I saw clothes pins flying as my rain sodden towels which should have been plenty heavy, managed to take flight like magic carpets, vanishing into the dark thick woods behind my campsite. My jaw flew open to be quickly doused with rain water.

Was I caught in a bad dream or a bad comedy?

The storm picked up intensity with heavy rains so forceful, I could barely see at all. The winds were blowing, I was soaking wet and actually pretty cold. I fought with the umbrella some more, managing to finally more or less, crank it down.  I ran inside the RV, standing on the entry rug soaking it wet. The motorhome swayed and rocked like a little sailboat lost on a wild ocean wave.

The dog stared at me in horror.  But I bet in his tiny brain he was really thinking "Does this mean our walk is postponed?"

Is this it?  Are we going to fly away on a tornado next?  We could hear a loud noise, we both ran to the back window in time to see a big tall tree come crashing down in the woods. Thankfully it missed us altogether. Whew!

At this point, a good long cry would have done nothing to ease the situation except to make me feel better. But the winds slowed down, so back in the rain I went to fuss with the awning again, to roll it up and out of harm's way.

Back inside I changed into dry clothes. I dug out my snake stomping cowboy boots. Within the hour, the rains stopped, the winds died and I was thrashing about in the forest looking for snakes, wash cloths and towels.

I found most of them (the wash cloths and towels) taking them inside to be washed again in my compact clothes washer (absolutely love that thing!)

*Ahem*  this was after I spent an hour removing wet leaves and pine needles from the soaking mess.

Once they were clean again, I used plastic clothes hangers and clothes pins to hang them up, one per hanger. Then I hung them about an inch apart on an overhead rod inside my shower.

As if to mock me, the rains stopped, the winds dropped, the sun came out.  Gentle winds wafted by. But I was too tired to relocate the laundry outside.

It was time to clear the driveway which by now looked like an exploded tree had landed in it.

This morning I am sore, every inch of my body aches. Please no more storms this week. I can't take the excitement.

Eventually I will go outside, crank up the shade awning and assess the damaged umbrella. Maybe.

It's a beautiful morning and I woke up alive.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Things I Have Learned While Rving

People often email me asking for my tips and tricks for successful RVing.  So here is part one...

Be sure to take a wide turn around corners.

When you choose "shortest route" on the GPS, don't assume all the roads will be passable.

It's not recommended you use a swimming pool to wash your RV.

A frozen lake might not be a good spot for an impromptu RV rally. The exhaust from propane furnaces and/or generators can speed up the melting.

Do not park your RV  in truck only spots at a truck stop. Use the car or RV parking lanes. Some of those truckers show up late in the night pretty tired.

Flipping your RV over, makes it easier to remove your stowed boats from the roof. 

If your GPS warns you to get updated maps, it seriously might be a good idea.

Electronic Wars and the Mathematically Challenged

I am having some issues with electricity, internet, computer, camera, phone and this blog platform.

Other than that, life is good!

Maybe I should give up on technology and find a cave to scratch out some pictures and stories on the walls.

We've had storms galore and a few frights that probably shortened my life, but hey, I woke up alive, and that is good enough for me.

Lake Hartwell where we volunteer workamp, is above full pond with emerald green waters. What a beautiful world. Flowers are in bloom, birds are twittering.

Harley is thrilled with his new vest harness.

Harley got into a fight with his old harness.  For some fool reason harnesses for small dogs are made in one size fits everything with bulky adjustment methods that render them lumpy and uncomfortable for a petite dog.

Small wonder he simply got fed up with it one day and tried to modify it with disastrous results. His cute little red and white vest harness is fraying apart at the seams, not that he is fat, but repeated wearings and washings have rendered it a step above rags.

I was forced into shopping in China, oops I mean Walmart, my least favorite place (overpriced) but the closest thing (only 14 miles away) to a pet store around here that might have a replacement.  I would have thought that Walmart would have loads of inventory, but I was wrong. They had 4 vest harnesses and lots of empty hooks on the pet product displays. One cute harness vest in yellow with black trim was way too big, the next was screaming pink, the remaining two were close to his size, both blue, one dark and one light blue. Harley settled on the light blue one.

It's still kind of big and loose, but so far he hasn't been able to escape it. I guess it will keep him aired out and cool for the summer months. It has  attachments for his leash and nothing goofy on it,  so we are both happy campers.

I caved in and bought him a small inexpensive box of golf balls.  The lake finally ate his last golf ball. We are up on a hill overlooking the water, boat ramp and parking lot. Sometimes Harley accidentally throws his golf ball down the hill and the lake swallows it. Hopefully this box of a dozen will see him through the next year.

We tried to use the speedy checkout lane in Walmart for the shoppers with 20 and under items. If you don't think that the majority of the shoppers are illiterate and can't count, then just try standing in the speedy checkout line. Of the 9 people in front of us, 8 clearly had well over 20 items in their buggy and apparently were unable to read the large printed signs or count up their items.

This might explain why Walmart seemed woefully understaffed when it came to cashiers. Maybe it's just hard to find folks with basic reading and 'rithmatic skills.

But that's OK, I stood there for nearly a half hour, waiting my turn. I smiled like a grinning fool, ever so grateful that I am able to count and read. I felt sorry for the others, what a dismal life they must lead.

The cashier looked exhausted when my turn finally came but she mustered up a smile and a greeting. I leaned over and whispered "I never knew so many people couldn't read or count, until I stood in this line."

She began laughing so hard that I started giggling too, her loud roaring chuckles were contagious.  The store seemed to fall silent while folks turned to stare at us.  Finally she pulled herself together long enough to say "Oh, you made my day!"

I am still confused. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Dumpster Diva

Above is a shot of the park where I have spent three spring and summers workamping.  This section is closed to cars this year. Harley is thrilled, because we go play ball both in the closed street and further down where the land slopes down to the lake. That patch of blue in the background is part of the lake, which is joyfully at full pond since my arrival.

Harley will run back and forth, playing ball until he is out of breath, his heart racing, his tiny body heaving, and yet he can't seem to stop himself. He gets this goofy happy look on his face.

My life seems to always be one repair after another. I seem to always be trying to repair old stuff, salvaging parts, recycling, upcycling, repurposing, reconfiguring,  and  dumpster diving.

Some days I amaze myself, things actually get done. Recently I had to track down an electrical problem. Yucky poo. I forced myself to learn new things in the name of keeping the cost efficient.

We (doggy and I) are continually picking up litter in the park and around the lakeshore. I have a long handle picker and a small grody bucket. Sometimes I find something nifty amongst all the crap. When I see coins, I pick them up. A tip!  Wow!

Tomorrow I am taking the wheel estate out for a ride if all goes well. I want to top up the gas tank for hurricane season and pick up a little bit of food for the fridge. I haven't driven the motorhome in nearly a month, so it's time to exercise the engine.

Today I did massive cleaning and organizing both inside and out.  I am amazed at how neat and orderly things look. Even my cabinets and little closet look nice. Wow.

Life is good!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Harley Dog In Trouble

If one third of the fatal car accidents are caused by drunk drivers does that mean the other two thirds, can't drive any better than a drunk?

Harley dog broke his house key. Can you believe it?  A six pound dog could bend a metal key so badly, it broke off in the lock.

A certain pet parent, had to spend hours trying to get the broken key unstuck from the lock.


I was locking up the wheel estate so we could go for a walk. Harley has his own house key attached to his leash.  Just as I tried to turn the key to lock the deadbolt, someone drove up. Harley leaped out suddenly trying to go meet them at their car and...

He bent the key!

Good grief. It broke right off. Snap!  Half a key on his leash, half stuck in the lock. Both of us on the outside. Locked out.

Finally one VERY exhausted pet parent managed to open the lock an hour later. Then after extracting the other broken half from the lock, I tossed the ruined key bits into the garbage.

"That's coming out of your toy allowance too! No more toys!" I told him.