Sunday, June 26, 2011

Survival of the Patio

Deer by DearMissMermaid.Com

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,

places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal
and give strength to body and soul.

I just hate it when I miss a picture moment. I've missed plenty lately, but I did finally catch a picture of a local deer (above). 

However, I wish I had photographed my clean patio. I spent hours cleaning this huge expanse of pavement that came with with my camping spot.

It's made of nonskid concrete. I believe it was finished with a rough straw broom, because it has a zillion ridges and tiny bumps in it. Super non skid. If you fall down on it, you will definitely be donating some skin. 

Sweeping the patio with my little household broom for the motorhome's vinyl flooring, is a joke, to say the least. For some ponderous reason the patio is chronically covered in leaves, branches, and dirt.  

I was told it would be blown away by the maintenance company with their leaf blower, but they haven't showed up in months. I spent hours trying to sweep this confounded patio. Everything seemingly sticks to it. I managed to more or less shovel off some leaves between the wimpy broom and the dustpan. Still there was forrest debris clinging to the rough concrete, sticking to every nook and cranny. 

Next I hooked up the spray attachment to the water hose, then tried hosing the dirt off the patio. This took a good long while, but it was a very hot day, so I enjoyed playing with the water in between cleaning. The patio actually looked fairly good by now. The leaves were gone, the dirt stuck in the irregular concrete ridges, was washed away. 

For some silly reason, I decided it was time to rearrange the patio. My 9x12 foot patio mat looks dwarfed on this jumbo concrete patio.  Actually a patio mat for the RV is for camping on dirt or weeds or gravel.  I prefer camping without a paved patio, I  like grass or dirt or sand. But this place came with a huge paved pad. Even my motorhome looks small, parked on it. 

Last fall, I ended up in a campground that resembled a huge gravel parking lot. The sharp gravel was so rough on the feet, I put out the patio mat.  Harley the dog, was ever so grateful.  It would have been lovely if the campground had used smoother or smaller gravel. I won't be staying with them again, but at the time we were dead tired so we paid to stay. We had already paid before we saw the awful lot they put us in. Part of the campground was nicely done, but this new section was dreadful. 

But I digress...

My current place came with an 8 foot, 8 ton picnic table. It took me some serious pushing, shoving, nudging, ramming, jostling, pulling, jerking, yanking,  to move it about 8 inches.  I was exhausted. 

A few hours later, I finally had the picnic table moved to where I thought I wanted it. But I forgot to use it to anchor down the patio mat. Me bad.  Very bad. 

A friend came by to visit for a few days.  I was so proud of my very clean patio. It was arranged nicely with the outdoor camping mat, card table with a bright pretty table cloth, assorted chairs, the picnic table with rugs tied to the benches so you don't have to sit on splintered wood. There was even a table cloth tied down to the picnic table. I was thinking how nice it all looked, that I had not had those ferocious winds in a while. I figured they were long gone. 

How wrong I was. 

My friend and I were sitting down to iced tea under the shade of the awning, ten minutes after his arrival, when he said "Did you hear there might be 40-50 knot gusts of wind today?"  I looked around at the clear skies, saying something like "Um, well, no."  

I thought maybe he was pulling my leg.  

About 3 minutes later, out of nowhere, this squall hits us with at least 50 knot winds.  The awning frame came loose, causing the awning to blow up like a balloon about to take flight. We scrambled to fight with the awning frame to get it closed.  Then the rains hit us hard, the tornado like winds just picked up the patio mat and furniture, flinging everything off the patio and into the woods,  before our astonished eyes. 

We scrambled around to grab things that were blowing around, then we gave up, ducking inside the motorhome with some of the salvaged items. We were both dripping gallons of water.

"Where is Harley?" 

We did a frantic search for my little puppy dog. 

He was hunkered down outside, under the motorhome, still on his tether, cowering beside the driver's tire. I snatched him into my arms, then ran back inside. I pulled out towels, to mop up the floors, mop up the puppy, then fought to get out of my rain soaked clothes.   Harley dog was dancing on my bed, on top of a towel I had laid out for him. He does a pretty good job of drying himself off. I wish I had a video of him doing it. He lays on his back, wiggling all his legs, then he flops over, pushing the right side of his face down the length of the towel, then he flips over, pushing the left side of his face down the towel, then he turns over to his belly, dragging himself  along on his little elbows, like a baby crawling.  It's a hoot to watch him dry himself off. 

The fabulous pictures I missed was I meant to take one of my spotlessly clean patio. An hour later, after the squall had hit, another picture would have told the story. 

When the rains let up, we went outside, to retrieve the furniture out of the woods, lay the patio mat back down, anchoring it with the sodden picnic table down one side. We hung up all the dripping rugs on the clothes lines, then spread out the canvas chairs for drying. 

The patio was now covered, and I mean COVERED in broken tree branches, leaves, dirt and mud. It was a wreck. *sigh*  It looked like a tree had exploded with all the bits landing on every square inch of patio. 

My hours of cleaning down the tubes in a few brief minutes. As we surveyed the mess, I turned to my friend, "Aren't you glad you stopped by?"

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