Sunday, September 30, 2012

Almost Silent Sunday

Photo by
Government with a sense of humor. 

Photo by
Camping at Welaka Florida
on the St Johns River

Photo by
The St. Johns River is the longest river in  Florida.
At 311 miles long, it lazily winds from south to north through twelve counties, finally reaching the Atlantic.
I sailed this river ages ago. 
Photo by
Grapefruit under construction

Photo by
Fur baby snoozing.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Another Hitchhiker


I have not been able to post for two reasons.

One being I have had a high fever and not moving very fast.

Two, the computer refused to start. Like I needed one more broken thing to deal with. My repair list is so long, I am on page 3. After two days of occasionally trying to jump-start the computer and alternately scratching my sweaty head,  I wiggled the hard drive.  It started.

That computer rides in the comfort of my clothing drawer, well padded on all sides. How on earth the hard drive came loose, I have no idea.

I found a frog in my motorhome.  Did he do it?

Riding on the inside entrance door window, pretty as you please was a frog.  That window like 99% of the RV entrance doors,  does not even open.  He had to hop aboard sometime with me exiting or entering the RV because the window is not made to open.  My other windows have screens.

I was washing dishes past dark-thirty when I saw something move at my locked door.  I thought someone was outside, even though Harley didn't think so.  When I went to the door to investigate the movement, there was the frog, sitting on the window frame, waiting for me to find and fumble the camera to get a blurry picture before his gentle eviction.

Why does the wildlife keep trying to move inside with me?  Can't it just stay outdoors?

Photo by

I don't feed, molest or hunt wildlife, yet it seems to always be finding me. It walks through my campsite or tries to hitchhike or become a stowaway.  The dog doesn't bring this stuff home.  I have issued no invitations.  It's mind boggling.

Just because I let a certain little goofy puppy dog move aboard, doesn't mean I am opening an orphan home for critters.

Harley by Dear Miss Mermaid, puppy dog,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nineteen Days and Three Decades

It only took me 19 days to go 700 miles, camping in 7 different spots from 1 to 9 nights.  I guess from the looks of things, a mermaid has got to have water! From lakes  and rivers to oceans and islands too.  This was my much needed break and relocation between workamping assignments.

And a lot of things sure broke!

I averaged driving  a whopping 37 miles per day, of course I didn't drive every day either. Actually only drove 6 days, but  the way we stop every hour or so, I don't get far very long.  I like to be green and not burn gas every day. Let the world breath for a few days or weeks or months without my added exhaust.

Of course we all know I can be full of hot air too.

Oh how I wish Harley could drive. Of course we kept falling in love with nature and overstaying everywhere we went except one place that gave me the creeps, so we didn't stick around much, just long enough to nap, do some patching up.

It was nothing I could point at and put my finger on, but it was a bad feeling like something evil was lurking nearby. I glanced at the news, something I never do, and discovered a lot of frightening crimes in the general area. Yet we appeared to be a serene secure place.

Maybe  a devilish criminal was camping nearby sending out very bad vibes. Either way, we were glad to get out of there pretty quickly with very little sleep.

I have 3 days left to rest and repair, then I travel again to my new workamping spot, where my wheels will cool for a good long while, whether I like it or not.

I've decided I will like it.

Might as well be happy!

Lost?  Did I mention that between directions copied from google maps, a paper atlas book and a GPS, we managed to get lost, make wrong turns and sometimes change our mind altogether like a cat, rather than turn around and re-trace our tracks.

Cats always have supreme confidence. They can accidentally roll off the chair while napping, stand up and walk away in such a haughty manner as if they meant to depart the chair exactly that way.

So many things have broken.  I am just flabbergasted. The long boring list comes later.   I can't repair them all myself, so I best get busy selling books, subscriptions and wishes on a star to put my wheel estate back together again.

In other words, I will have to hire out some of the work and that is a frightening prospect, even worse, some of the repairs are semi-critical. Sheesh.

Maybe I need to trade in the dog for a live-in mechanic.

But I could never survive without my crazy little pooch.  We are so used to being around each other, that we miss each other when we are forced apart at the grocery stores. He has to wait in the RV while I shop. He doesn't understand this. Lately he has been complaining too. So I am retraining him to be quiet.

Stop singing Opera in the parking lot. 

Back to the break and breaking...  My little old motorhome is 18 years old and while it only has 54,000 miles on it, that's still 18 years of bouncing around. Something always giving up the ghost. Hopefully the repairs I've made and still to be made, will eventually overall lengthen my enjoyment of this beast called home.

Could you live in 150 square feet for 2-3 years?  I have thus far and it's wonderful!

I even blew out a sandal and the raccoon ran off with my pepper shaker. 

Hey, Jimmy Buffett, I got you topped (he blew out a flip flop and lost his salt shaker).

Not to mention the DNA I left all over the sidewalk that ate my knee. When a Good Samaritan was picking me up I said "What's so embarrassing .."  and he interrupted with "Oh, it's not embarrassing  it could happen to anybody."  I said well "What's so embarrassing  is I spent  a year in physical therapy learning to walk again, and it looks like I didn't learn much!"

I wasn't planning to hit Florida quite this soon, but the way things were breaking, falling off, mashing up, burning down, melting and shorting out, I figured I better get close to my workamping before I am a total wreck unable to make it at all.

Still there is 50 miles to go to workamp.

Said with fingers crossed!

I was spoiled rotten with perfect weather, right up until I hit Florida, the heat shot up again. I had planned to come in November, but since my workamping starts in October, well, I had to come sooner.

Poor doggy, he doesn't understand why I am so pooped and neither do I. But I am just wore out exhausted.

He was sound asleep and rolled right off the dining seat, landing in the floor, looking pathetic. He is not like a cat in that way at all. He laid in the floor looking gravely injured. I picked him up and loved on him.Told him he would be all right, made the kissy sound, rubbed his fur gently, hugged him, cuddled and comforted him while he looked so sad.

He needs lots of love after a boo-boo.

The other day he ran ahead of the bouncing golf ball and oops, it hit him in the ribs.  He just froze in place, hung his tail between his legs and looked terrified. I had to run over, scoop him up, let him know, it was a boo-boo and not mistreatment. That required lots of reassurance. These little dogs are delicate. He is rambunctious at times but he was just racing the ball and it bit him. Poor thing, he might have a big bruise or be sore from that. He hasn't played much golf since.

Maybe we will switch to soccer.

This was an economy trip, our sightseeing adventure was avoiding the interstates as much as possible, soaking up the views as we puttered down country roads.  Then once I hit the campground, we toured all we could on foot and paw. We ate out of the rolling kitchen.  Our souvenir shopping was stopping at a few known eclectic bargain stores to pick up various food and household supply items en route.

I keep forgetting it's not a boat sailing to exotic islands where no provisions are available but it's semi true, because I do look for far flung beauty off the beaten path.

Now I am on the St Johns River, on land, looking out at a large river where I once sailed. Three decades ago.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On The Run

Spanish Moss is so hard to photograph.
This ancient oak on Skidaway Island in Georgia is huge.

Today we are on the run, fleeing fleas. We fought the war, now we are marching onwards. 

Destination unknown. 

Somewhere down the road we'll cough up a plan. 

This morning as I was packing up, I left Harley one toy to play with outside, while I collected up the rest of his detritus. 

When all was ready, I called him over, so I could coil up his tether. He ran for the open RV door, then I heard a PLOP.  He had dutifully carried his last toy in, the golf ball, which he deposited on the entry rug with a mild thud. 

I just knew he had a brain in that tiny little goofy head. I was so very proud of him.  

But moments later, he did the ultimate no-no. He escaped!  I had unwittingly left the driver's door open while I was loading him up in the RV door. (I have 3 doors, a driver door, passenger door and entry door.) 

Good grief.

Five or ten minutes later, of race and chase, call and ignore, I finally caught one very naughty puppy. 


Monday, September 24, 2012

All Out War

Call me paranoid but I think I saw one flea on the dog.  Just one flea sent me into a whole new routine rather quickly. I dropped my plans immediately in favor of all out war on the one flea.

One little  flea and she goes to war...

So into the puppy tub he went with loads of soap to wash off all that South Carolina dirt and sand.  A thorough check for ticks revealed none, and if there were any fleas, well we cleaned or drowned them too.  I fluffed him up with a soft towel then put him outside in the sunshine to finish air drying.

He shook, shivered, quivered, tottered, wobbled, shimmied, shuttered, fluttered, flickered, jostled, joggled, rattled, ruffled, startled, staggered and trembled for a good five minutes.

He rolled in the dirt for good measure, to get some good old Georgia dirt all over him. Next he rearranged his outdoor puppy quilt seventeen different ways until it was comfy and wrinkled enough to suit him. He perched in the sunshine with his fur pointing 99 different ways.

Meanwhile I fumigated the wheel estate for fleas. After all I though I might have seen  ONE flea.  The only stuff I had to fumigate it with was puppy dog flea spray. I hosed some on my legs for good measure.

I hate resorting to chemical warfare, but when it comes to getting rid of a flea, I will do anything.

The thought of seeing two fleas could quite possibly make me faint in shock, so I had to work quickly before they mated.

Holy cow!  Did it ever stink inside.  I might have went a tad overboard on the flea spray. So I bagged up the garbage, which sent puppy scurrying for his leash and off to the dump we went on a 2 mile hike.

We paused back by the RV long enough to open all the windows again, turning  on a 12volt clip-on fan (my exhaust fans shorted out last week).

We walked another mile around the park, while hopefully all the open windows and fan in the motorhome aired out the fumes.

Upon our return, I opened up a monthly flea killer vial, depositing that on the doggy's shoulder blades, then I pushed him out the door again, just in case that one flea was still around, it could hop off outdoors rather than indoors.

For good measure I swept out the joint, then got my tiny handheld corded vintage vacuum cleaner made by the Singer plant in Anderson, South Carolina circa 1970. I found it at a Goodwill store.  It still sucks dirt, so I vacuumed the pre-swept floors, vacuumed all the furniture, corners, cabinets and anything else that dared to get in my way.

I tore the bed apart with a fury, (Harley sleeps in my bed) and washed all that in super hot water, except the comforter, will have to do that another time, but I shook it outside  as hard as I could then let it decorate the picnic table while soaking up some naturally sterilizing sunshine. Next I washed the throw rug in hot sudsy water, hot enough to burn a flea alive.

Harley dog thought I had gone mad with all this fervor over one lousy flea.

When I finished with the vacuum cleaner, I took it and the garbage can outside to empty the vacuum. Now we had to hike to the dump again. i wanted that one flea as far from me as possible. Who knows what lurks inside the vacuum cleaner, but I emptied it and cleaned the filter and innards of the vac so thoroughly, that even a no-see-um didn't stand a chance around me.

Upon my return I mopped all the floors, playing golf with  Harley dog while they dried.

I  found the dog brush, grooming Harley much to his delight. He looked oh so beautiful for about 10 seconds, then he shook, shivered, quivered, tottered, wobbled, shimmied, shuttered, fluttered, flickered, jostled, joggled, rattled, ruffled, startled, staggered and trembled until his fur looked just the way he liked it.

Stuck out in 42 directions.

Sudden exhaustion hit us both, so poof, I laid down on the newly made bed for a few minutes to rest my leg  (it's still healing from the bashing with the sidewalk last week).

Woke up maybe a half hour later, hacking up a lung, I think the chemical warfare on the flea wasn't agreeing with me. So I am trying to drink a gallon of water to flush it out of my system while working outdoors again.

Tonight I hope to pack up the camp, maybe get on the road tomorrow. Gotta put a lot of distance between me and that flea.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


"One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries."
A.A. Milne 

Savannah, Georgia is famous for her tree lined city. 

Even the parking garage is cleverly disguised by trees and a vintage light post. 

I have never used a parking garage before, but I wanted to walk around downtown and it seemed the only place to park.  I took a picture so I could find my motorhome again. I have no idea how I am going to drive out that tiny door.

The trees are so tall, I could not fit them  in my photo.
They dwarf the truck and bicyclist. 

Back at Skidaway Island, the ranger introduced me to his pet turtle that rides around  in the golf cart with him.
Harley immediately invited them both for a round of golf.  

Friday, September 21, 2012


Puppy dog and I made it from Hunting Island to Skidaway Island.

More 12 volt problems, but I think I can fix this myself. Engine battery was dead when we left Hunting Island. I was able to switch over to the house battery to start the engine. Whew!

Then I got out to investigate the problem with three solutions.
A) Fix now
B) Fix later
C) Stop en route at RV repair shop

I figured it out, wasn't critical, so I opted to find a closer park than my original destination (plans changing again on a moment's notice) then try to fix it myself there.

A highway has to start somewhere.
This is where US-21 starts on Hunting Island in South Carolina.
Ironically, it is 21 miles down highway 21 to Beaufort, South Carolina. 

I hate it when I pay someone for repairs and they break something else.  Did they do this in error?  Did they do it to lure me back again?

I just hope it was a clear oversight on their part, to yank some wires loose from their connections.  I am tearing my RV apart because I thought I had an electrical connection to repair this with. Good grief.

Speaking of oversights...Poor doggy.

He gets super excited at campgrounds. So yesterday as we drove around debating which spot to choose, he was going bonkers, singing his head off, dancing around his seat and the floor board, making a general nuisance of himself. I kept trying to calm him down, as he was unusually rambunctious.

Georgia State parks do not allow you to reserve a specific spot. You choose that after arrival.  You can move anytime to another spot. They give you a piece of paper to hang out your shingle on a clip they provide attached to the site number post. 45 of the 87 spots were empty, so we had some serious decision making going on. No two spots are alike in any way at all, so I was looking for a beautiful level spot that had a big play area for my pooch.

Every RV-er has their own personal criteria for what makes a nice camp.  I was scribbling down lot numbers on a piece of scrap paper, then as I found something better, I would make a note and X out the last one. Sometimes I had 3-4 that looked promising. Finally I settled on one with a big play area and lots of grass and sunshine.

Harley was fighting me to get out the door, breaking all the doggy rules. Usually I make him wait until I am sure I am where I want to be, but because he was being such a brat, I let him exit the RV with me, while I checked to see if we were level or not (we weren't).

He strained at the leash and took a mega-poop as far from me as possible. Usually he waits until we are walking as he prefers to poop far from his home base.

That made me feel awful!  Maybe all that singing and dancing was his I-gotta-go-poop-now  notification and I totally misunderstood him.

The entrance to Skidaway Island State Park in Georgia.
I had a certificate for 5 free nights in any Georgia state park.
I just love nature and beautiful places.
Views like this make my heart sing. 

We had made  3 stops in our travels, and at each one I had taken him on a 2 to 3  minute speed walk. He usually does his business then.  He understands that parking lot landscaping is a mini-walk and not a full walk, but he generally waters the bushes and if he makes a deposit, I have baggies attached to his leash to clean up after him.

Somehow between our last stop an hour or so ago, and arriving here, we missed signals, but I guess he just has to train me better.

Can a young dog teach an old pet parent new tricks?

The camping lot we settled on was picked specifically for the doggy. It is huge, has plenty of room for him to roam on his tether and space for us to play golf, tennis, soccer and  teddybear toss.  So in the end, we were both mega happy.

His end happier for sure!

Harley says "Helloooooooooooo!  Hey you with the hair on your head, yeah you, quit fiddling with that electric cord.  Are you going to take me out for a poop or shall I just plop it right here?"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rattlesnakes And Runaways

High Tide at Hunting Island, South Carolina by DearMissMermaid.Com
High tide at Hunting Island, South Carolina

I missed all the excitement at the beach today, but thank goodness we were 20 minutes too late.

A rattlesnake washed ashore with the tide!  He was alive and he was BIG.  Different folks gave me sizes from four to seven feet long.   He began slithering down the beach, pretty as you please, while beach goers screamed and ran with a few braves souls venturing closer.

Someone got a hold of a ranger, who zipped out in his ATV, captured the snake and relocated him to parts unknown.

While at the beach a certain little doggy, who shall remain anonymous escaped from his harness and leash.  He ran merrily down the beach as fast as his little legs could go while his pet parent lumbered after him, unable to run at all.

AHEM... That be me...

I called him politely a few times, but  he just ignored me, pretending to be deaf.

The beach had lots of people just lazing about. I didn't want to scream with my you're-a-very-bad-doggy voice to disturb the otherwise tranquil afternoon. So I left him run like wild, because I knew he was a clown.  He would eventually settle on a human or a dog or both to pester. I could then catch up and capture the little miscreant.

He was wearing his screaming red T-shirt, so everyone could see him racing like a little hurricane, ears flopping, tail out long and straight, as if he was proving to one and all how fast he was.

It was far better entertainment than the rattlesnake on the loose.  People were laughing as I made a general fool of myself trying to apprehend a very naughty doggy who would grin at me, then run away.

Far down the beach a lady was letting her dog run free and chase a tennis ball. Harley promptly inserted himself into their game. So he was a tad surprised when I suddenly scooped him off his feet from behind and told him he was a bad boy.

He just hung his tongue out at me, breathing heavy with a silly grin and that look of "Oh it was SO worth it!"

Low Tide at Hunting Island, South Carolina by DearMissMermaid.Com
Low Tide at Hunting Island, South Carolina

Tomorrow I am traveling towards my next workamping assignment, so you may not hear from me if I end up lost or out of internet range.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Low Country of South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
Byways and highways in the low country of South Carolina are rural and rustic.

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
Here's a do-it-your-selfer with a combo boat.
The hull is from a sailbaot.
The top deck  is salvaged from a  motorboat.
The middle is a houseboat.
This takes messing about in  boats to whole new level.
Um... probably, as long as the wind and waves are very calm.

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
Atlantic Ocean

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
Beach side campground.
No electricity. Just nature.
The dunes and sea oats separate the camp from the ocean.
Hunting Island
South Carolina

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
View from the path to the beach. 

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
This driftwood was wrapped around the steel beam.
The rust infused itself into the wood.

Hunting Island State Park South Carolina by Dear Miss Mermaid, copyright by
This tree stopped me up short.
It spoke to me.
It seemed like a natural metaphor for my life.
From big and strong to sawed off short...
But making an optimistic comeback. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pink Bunny Rabbits

Hunting Island State Park and Lighthouse in South Caroolina by Dear miss mermaid copyright by
With so few trees around, I am shocked I managed to hit one!

There is one in every campground...

Somebody who doesn't understand how the lot numbers work or that the  utilities mark off the size of the lot. Many of the nature oriented campgrounds have irregular sized lots due to trees, hills, landmarks etc. Theoretically the utility posts and hookups are on the driver's side of the vehicle. Therefore you park your camping gear to the right of those hookups and to the left of the neighbor's hookups. The camping lot, that magic dotted line,  is generally  the width between the two utility posts.

So for the last few days my campground area has basically looked like this with me parked in Lot 1.

Early this morning,  the folks in Lot 2 departed. 

This afternoon I laid down to ice my leg and fell asleep. When I woke up, I had new neighbors and a tent on my lot! 

I was a tad annoyed. But I decided I am just going to BE HAPPY.  Live and let live. This is not the first time I've seen folks do this, just lay out their camp all over the place.  I can only assume they are new at this and  don't understand.  I am just going to roll my eyes.

Now I have new entertainment. The folks across the street have arrived. They rented a 20 foot spot for a 30 foot fifth wheel trailer. The road is lined with a lot of trees as are the lots. The guy keeps trying to back into the lot, but he keeps hitting the trees on my side of the road.  He is now on his 9th attempt and 8th near death experience with a tree.

I think they are new at this too. His wife is trying to give him directions that consist of "Stop!  You are hitting another tree!  Go forward!  Go backwards! Stop!  You are hitting another tree! Go forward!  Go backwards! Stop!  You are hitting another tree! "

So why am I not helping them?  I just don't feel qualified. Besides, I don't want to interfere with their marriage.  So I watch the entertainment with my leg propped up.

Of course by the time they get this rig parked, their marriage might be wrecked worse than the truck and trees.

Backing up fifth wheels is like backing up an 18 wheeler. You turn one way and the rig goes a different way. However, another fifth wheel owner came walking down the street and stopped to help the guy. It took another 14 trips back and forth, up and down, dodging trees with a half inch to spare, to get that fifth wheel parked at an angle so it fits on his lot and is off the road. A few times he came within inches of my rig, as they had to drive all over my lot several times due to the tree avoidance. I gathered up the dog, so he wouldn't get flattened out.

Frankly, I could use a new paint job, so I was kind of hoping he would bash into my wheel estate.  I haven't even cleaned the dead bugs off the front yet.  That would save me a whole lot of work.  But the new guy was really helping him out, he didn't hit anything else, once the new guy started giving him directions, but it did take a few dozen maneuvers to get that rig in place.

Me bad.

Speaking of trees... I hit one while backing into my lot.  I am so mad at myself!  I put a huge dent in my cargo carrier.  I was going oh so slow at a creepy crawl. I had trees in sight in my rear view mirrors.

But there was another tree.

The one that moved.

I swear it wasn't there when I walked around my lot before backing my rig in.

As soon as I detected a problem, I stopped and got out to run check. The damage was done.  No, I do not have a backup camera. I am going to roll my eyes on that one too. I get asked that a lot. Usually I can back in pretty neatly without mashing up a thing.

But this time the tree won!  I lost!

Me very bad.

I haven't even finished fixing the electrical nightmares. Now I added insult to injury. Good grief.

Oh and why am I icing my leg?  Well usually I love this campground so much that I leave my heart here. This time though I have left my skin here.  Yep. You heard right.

While walking the puppy dog to the dumpsters to deposit my daily garbage, we were neatly on the sidewalk. The only sidewalk in the entire campground is on the road from the office to the dumpsters.  To beautify the park they have removed all the garbage containers from within the park and set up a central dumpster area outside of the park. So we get in some healthy exercise going there every day.

I like to carry out my garbage every day because then it is only a tiny grocery bag size.  Matter of fact my motorhome garbage cans are exactly grocery bag size too. If I carry it out every day, then it's a breeze to hold the garbage and the dog leash while walking there. If I dare to let the garbage pile up, I will be oh so sorry.

I see other people struggling with these huge bags of garbage, the 55 gallon size, dragging it down the road. Not me. Not my style. My motorhome is tiny!  I don't know WHERE they store that kind of garbage inside their motorhome, but I like my daily system just fine. Whether I have a little or a lot, out it goes every day.

When my friend was traveling with me, he thought at first I was a fruitcake to haul these tiny bags away at least once every day. Some days it's just a half bag, other days it's a big stuffed grocery bag sized, sometimes two. But last time he traveled with me, he dutifully bagged up the garbage daily and carried it out for me. Of course a certain puppy dog had to show him the way each time.

Harley dog has gotten to where he often poops at the dumpster area. This is rather handy all around. I walk with dog poop baggies in a tiny case attached to his leash. He poops, I scoop. I praise him lavishly when he poops at the dumpster, then I clean it up and deposit it in the trash. Whew. Good little doggy!

Thanks to the grocery stores, I always have an endless supply of garbage bags because I use the grocery bags. I saved a few of  my old square Kleenex boxes, then stuff the garbage bags inside of them (once the Kleenex is used up). One square Kleenex box can hold an amazing amount of grocery bags.

I am trying to train the silly dog that he needs to walk on the sidewalk when there is one, and not wander into the road. I slipped on a hard nut, and BANG!  I went down so fast on the concrete sidewalk that I was thoroughly confused about how I got there.

I flailed around to grab Harley's leash before he ran off. I heard a yelp out of him as I think I kicked him on my way down. There was blood everywhere. My knee is just a wreck.

People that were driving to the dumpsters stopped.  More people behind me on the sidewalk rushed up. A small traffic jam ensued as everyone gawked at the blood.  I didn't want to get up right away despite numerous offers, I kept saying "Let me rest a moment, to make sure nothing is broken."

The pain was just excruciating. I was busy with my mind-over-matter technique willing any broken bones to heal immediately. Finally I allowed the willing helping hands to pull me to my feet again.

I clung to a nearby tree saying "I just want to rest a moment."  I was offered a ride back to my camp in the back of a pickup truck, but I declined, since I wasn't too terribly far away. Besides, I didn't think I could hop into the back of the pickup truck with my injuries.

Finally some people helped me cross the street to a shortcut back to my camp.

Hunting Island State Park and Lighthouse in South Caroolina by Dear miss mermaid copyright by
I took this picture a few moments before I left my DNA all over the sidewalk.
When I walked here today, I noticed the blood had been washed away and the walkway swept. 
Ironically, I had donated half my First Aid kit to a mother and children who had forgotten theirs and needed some first aid attention for their little girl. I had even given away my bottle of hydrogen peroxide.

So I tore through my cabinet and found some Witch Hazel to clean up my wounds. Even though I had given away a tube of antibiotic cream, through a miracle, I found another tube.  I still had the shark bite bandages, so I was able to dress my knee. But the bandages won't stay on unless I stay perfectly still.

I have an Ace bandage left over from a previous injury. I was able to find that, then wrap it around the knee and bandages. But I couldn't find the clips to it. What I did find to use in place of bandage clips, warmed my heart.

For some reason, my mother had saved these two safety pins that she used when I was a baby to pin my cloth diapers. One day she gave them to me with a tear in her eye. They have been with me ever since. They have little pink bunny rabbits on them covering the part where the pin hooks in. I guess this is so the baby doesn't flail around and poke herself with the sharp part of the safety pin.

So now I have two big diaper pins holding my Ace bandage on.

With pink bunny rabbits.

Poor doggy.  He doesn't understand why we aren't walking near as much now. Prior to this accident, I had gone into training mode. I was trying to build up my stamina, for the next workamping assignment which involves a lot of  labor. So I was treating the doggy to numerous walks. He loves this!

Walking now is super painful. But I am walking him four times a day, then I come back and ice my knee again. Nothing much is getting done, the housework is failing rapidly. The pain is obnoxious and making me a tad grumpy.  In three days I have to pack up my camp and leave. I have the patio mat, umbrella, chairs, table and stuff scattered around outside to pack away. Oh dear me.

I am hoping this heals quickly!  I have to start workamping again soon. I need to be in great shape. Good grief.

But I look oh so cute with these pink bunny wabbits on my boo-boo.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Co-Pilot

Harley dog in RV, by DearMissMermaid.Com copyright Dear Miss Mermaid
My co-pilot rides in padded comfort.
I washed, brushed and groomed him but his fur just has other ideas. 

He really does have two ears. 
He just keeps one camouflaged. 

28 months ago I agreed to adopt him over the phone,  sight unseen. 
His cute little ears were neatly flapped by the side of his head when I first met him.

One morning he woke up, popped up one ear and made me burst out laughing!
I just assumed the other one would pop up one day. 

Still waiting. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank You Angels and Cheer Leaders

I need to thank all my angels for your wonderful love, ideas, support, subscriptions, gifts, book sales, donations, gambling and best of all being my lucky cheer leaders!
a heap of thanks from Dear Miss mermaid copyright

Thanks to you, I am alive and talking about it!  

It's been 3 years since I started on the long rocky road to recovery, I am still head over heals in debt on medical bills, but managing to live a super efficient lifestyle in my little old wheel estate without incurring any additional debt. One small feat.

I pay a flat amount to the banks on all  the old medical bills each month.  They don't like this and my phone rings endlessly with pleas and requests for monthly payments totaling three to five times my current erratic monthly income.  How they think that kind of math will work, is beyond me.

I keep telling them to force me into bankruptcy. Anything to stop the phone calls.  I've sold everything, emptying out my home 3 years ago, and eventually forced into selling sentimental items that were near and dear to me. My savings account has 3 cents. Well it did, they sent me a check for the 3 cents and closed out my account. Bankers just have no heart.

What's left?  Do they really want to fight over an 18 year old camper and put me under a bridge to live?  Selling my camper would pay off about 2-3% of the total medical debt. So a monthly check I send them each month and they say it's just not enough, that at this rate it will take me 388 years to pay them off. Well what about all those people that send them zero each month? At least I send them something! It makes me feel good to do this, I am sorry they don't approve.

I've spent a lifetime paying my bills promptly.  I had excellent credit. Then one day... my life interrupted. I've hung my head in shame for over 2 years, felt like a total failure that I ran up all this medical mess and didn't bounce right back to pay it off promptly. The bank acts like I am the only person in the whole wide world that ever had a hiccup in their financial life. I must be their only bad customer ever.

When my income goes up, my payments will go up, so I don't think it will really take me 388 years to pay them off. They're just being silly. But every month they hit me with late fees, an increase in interest plus ongoing interest, so they add on more than I pay each month. Matter of fact, they have managed to double my debt in under three years with their extra late charges for their perceived underpayments.

Due to the spiraling costs of current western medical trends. I stopped all medical treatments well over 2 years ago, opting for cheap alternative methods.  I quit filling all my prescriptions, save for one, I can't figure out how to live without. Holistic and alternatives  has probably kept me alive far longer anyhow.  I am still on a roller coaster ride, but each day I wake up, is a fabulous start to my future.

I don't have a car.  I shop out of second hand stores. I don't eat out (well friends have dragged me out to eat because they were tired of my cooking!) I use old refurbished outdated technology.  My worldly goods from a lifetime are severely abbreviated and summed up in a mini-motorhome.

In spite of losing the recent electrical nightmare battle, I have managed to learn many repairs and most of the ongoing maintenance on my camper.

I am working on more books, more stories, another cookbook in hopes of getting back on my feet and tail fin.  Since not having a car is a huge handicap towards possible part-time employment, I've managed to barter myself many months into workamping in exchange for rent and utilities.

My biggest luxury in my current life?  My companion dog.  Six and a half pounds of pure trouble. But even he is on a frugal budget. His toys come from the $1 bin and angels. He doesn't go to the groomers.

Hey, if I have to wash, brush, comb and cut my own hair, he can learn to do the same...

He has an angel that sends him Organic Dog Food so he is a healthy companion. But without him, I wouldn't be out and about walking. So I consider him a critical "alternative" treatment.  He makes me want to exercise. When I am sick and scared, he keeps me from feeling all alone.

Three years ago, I couldn't walk fifty feet without becoming dizzy and so exhausted I had to rest. One day I felt strong.  I went into K-Mart to buy some underwear. (You can't buy undies at the second hand store.)   I was so weak, I found a dinette set on sale, so I could sit down and pretend to be studying every square inch of the table top for the next forty minutes.

So here I am!  Almost three years back in America.  And alive to talk about it too.  Yippie!  Life is GOOD!  Sure it shook me up, spit me out, but somewhere deep inside I must be a little teflon tough, to try to keep bouncing back.

When life give you a pile of shit, you can lay around complaining about the stench or you can work it into fertilizer and grow some.

I can only sum this up by saying I owe many many many Angels numerous  big THANK YOU'S from the bottom of my heart to the top of my soul.  You have gone out of your way to lend me a helping hand.  I am eternally grateful.

Thank you. 
Thank you.
And Bless you too!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

All Better

The dog and I have been busier than a long tailed putty cat in a room full of bowling balls. I am exhausted. 

Something did not agree with my tummy. For three days it doth protest loudly.  I could have hired myself out as a crowd disperser. Believe me the flock would have run for their life with their fists clinched firmly to their noses. 

But my puppy dog has dutifully put up with me, and I with he. 

Then our electrical system took a nose dive, both exhaust fans shorted out, the battery died, fuses were imitating popcorn on the stove. I did everything I could think of but I could not suss out the problem. I felt so defeated. 

I found a repairman who could come to me but I told him since it wasn't a bodacious emergency, I could drive to him saving him the drive time and me the mobile surcharge. 

Matter of fact, this is the third time I have sought out a mobile repairman that lived remotely in the countryside. It seems these Mobile RV type guys prefer that kind of lifestyle. 

This neighborhood was not as isolated as the man I sought out a year ago, down miles of dirt roads and horse trails with no buildings in sight.  But today's repairman lived in a country suburbia with very generous lots. Over the phone, he was worried I might not find his place.  He reminded me to call him when I was close to  his town.  I told him I expected to be there in about an hour. 

He seemed astonished when an hour later,  I just drove right into his place and parked.

Now if you are driving down a country road with homes scattered around, do you think the house with a big gravel apron out front with 4 RV's, 2 travel trailers, a van, a pickup truck, a golf cart, ladders, scaffolding and a big  garage with an open door revealing three tons of tools and an air compressor in a separate building next to his house MIGHT just be the home of the Mobile RV guy?


I took my chances, pulled into the driveway, found a nice level place to park, then leashed up the dog, got out and introduced ourselves.  I was impressed that despite the numerous vehicles, everything was orderly, the yard manicured, tools organized, the other RV's were shiny and clean. Two men were busy on a fifth wheel, promising to get with me soon. I told them I was in no rush, and  I would take the dog for a walk. 

When we returned, I was slightly embarrassed to go back to bed, while they commenced work on my little old motorhome after I told them what little I knew about the whole affair. Later, I was grateful I laid down to rest, because I was pooped out and I needed the energy to drive later on. 

They worried over the wiring, eventually getting all repaired except they had no exhaust fans in stock. Furthermore my deep cycle house battery that runs the RV was dead beyond CPR resuscitation. 

The problem with the house battery is that they installed it in the engine compartment. Then they built the engine around it so that replacing it is a monumental chore of disassembling part of the engine to get to it. 

I am so used to doing business on far flung islands in the middle of nowhere, that I asked them if they had a used house battery they would consider selling. The thought of going to a major city to track down a deep cycle house battery seemed daunting too, in my recovering condition. Getting the wretched thing out and a new one installed was not going to be easy either. I even pointed out to the repairman, that it's a shame the frame there wasn't sawed off a quarter inch to make the task so much easier. He said he had just the saw to do that. Furthermore he agreed to sell first his RV battery which was supposed to be only 2 weeks old, but after fighting to get my dead battery out and his new one in. It was dead too.


Next he pulled out his golf cart battery, a nice newish deep cycle battery which worked marvelously. I was beginning to like these guys, but they ran out of time and I ran out of money.  I have some other non-critical repairs I wanted done, but that will have to be another time. And I still need to sort out the two exhaust fans. 

The day just kept getting better except for the accident we had at the campground later on. Nobody was injured. But...

More on that later. 

Colleton State Park, South carolina, copyright
We are at our favorite site at Colleton State Park in South Carolina.
The question mark is our unlisted number.
Behind us is the Cypress Swamp.
Love this spot!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dog Race

The world is so big and I am so small. 

Harley Dawg was thrilled that we managed to get our all time favorite spot at Colleton State Park on the Edisto River in South Carolina. He has oodles of room to romp and tangle with his tether. He has dutifully outfitted his yard with 2 golf balls, 1 tennis ball, a barbell squeaky, a teddy bear and a stuffed sheep.  He is one busy boy hauling his loot outside, one toy at a time. 

Even though we are only here 2 nights, I set up the patio mat, the chairs and covered the picnic table.  Looks like home already!  No need for an awning as we are in plenty of shade as you can see from the above picture. 

Harley has taken his tether to the far reaches to test how far he can go and how many trees he can wrap around on the way there. When he gets stuck, I hear a pathetic "YHelp!"  I go untangle his entire mess, then he begins all over again. 

The Park Host came by with their wisp of a dog, about 2 pounds of miniature chihuahua attitude. She was looking to play with Harley.  They said we could let the dogs run wild (all the current campers in the park have dogs, so nobody to complain) and run wild they did!  Harley did loops around the entire campground.  He wore their dog out in just a few minutes of his high speed racing. I called him a few times, to see if he would do as he was told. He hesitated but then came running to me. I rewarded him and let him play race some more. 

Later we took the garbage out, he loves this. He knows the way to the dumpster in every campground. I let him drag me around on my leash, for another loop through the park. Then he tried to drag me back to the camp hosts because he wanted to play more.  Later if I can catch my breath, Harley has been begging me to to take him hiking through the Cypress Swamp Trail.  

We have tried to repair the 12volt system to no avail. Now we are juggling schedules with a repairman. Ut oh!  I feel so defeated.  Usually I can suss out 12volt, it's 110 that gives me the willies. 

I bought 25 more fuses, I was popping them so quickly before I figured out what I can and can not touch until the 12 volt wizard sorts it out. They came in packs of 4 or 25, since I had just blown 3, a pack of 4 seemed inadequate. 

So, I am pushing my subscriptions today trying to round up funding for the repairs.  You can subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. Optionally comes with email posts. Your email is kept TOP SECRET and never used for a thing except THANK YOU!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

96 To Ninety Six

96 to Ninety Six sounds like a wild score between two rivaling teams that won't call a truce.

I drove exactly 96 miles today to Ninety Six, South Carolina. Isn't that simply amazing?  I made several stops, but all were right on the route I was traversing, no detours and I didn't even get lost.

What is the world coming to when I actually go somewhere without getting lost?  It's insane!  Of course since my birthday, I have been learning to use a GPS. So that may have something to do with it.

I left at 10am, arrived at 2:30pm at Lake Greenwood State Park  located in Ninety Six, South Carolina.  Here we park, monkey dog and I, camped out for the night.  I was so pooped that I laid down to rest. I woke up to Harley barking and someone knocking at the door.

It was the park ranger. We had parked in the wrong campsite. Oops!  Well, that's what I get for accepting help. I had found lot 7.  It was at an odd angle requiring one to back in. I hopped out of the driver's seat to inspect the trees, water hookup, electric post and picnic table, to make sure I could dodge them all. I had overshot a ways, so I was going to back up then turn into lot 7.

A man waiting behind me, hopped out of his SUV, announcing he would direct me in. I didn't know how to decline such cheery service, so I agreed to his directions. Well he  directed me into lot 9, not 7 and silly me was so tired I never even noticed. The park was no where near full. I told the park ranger I was just dead tired and made a mistake. I didn't blame the stranger. She said she would just change her records.

You  can tell I drive like an absolute maniac. 96 miles in only four and a half hours is an astonishing 21 miles per hour average.

Actually I avoided all the interstates, and made three stops. The scenery was outstanding. Just old-timy countryside interrupted by a little town now and then. Lately Harley dog has taken to singing when I park to grocery shop. I am trying to retrain him to be a quiet little doggy who does not audition for Star Search while I am shopping.  This time he let's out one long loud yodel as I walk towards the store. I whip around, hold my finger across my lips to shush him. He gets real quiet and vanishes from the window as if to say "That's not me yodeling in the window at your retreating backside! You must be hearing things."

He knows he will be rewarded with a walk at all our stops, just sometimes after, not before. He's become great at cart return. I stash the groceries, then leash him up to go with me to return the shopping cart. Sometimes we take it all the way to the store entrance rather than the drop-off spots in the parking lot. He used to be terrified of the cart. A few times I let him ride in the cart on hot steamy days when the tarmac beneath us appeared to be melting. He wasn't sure if he liked riding in the cart or not. But he is fearless now. He will willingly ride in the cart or walk beside it without barking at the wheels. For a little puppy dog of barely 7 pounds, he has been a lot of places, learning plenty of new things whether he wanted to or not.

The internet is flaky here (I am using my mobile cell type connection) and my 12volt system is having a field day with me. Fuses are popping, something is shorted out and I can't figure it out.

It's always something, but for you non-RV-ers, the 12 volt system controls a good bit of the RV electrical things, like lights, water-pump, refrigerator panel even when I am plugged into regular 110 current. Oh dear me.
Harley dog by DearMissMermaid.Com

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Busting Up Camp, Packing A Tiny Basement

It only took me 3 days to dry out the patio camping gear, then 12 hours to dismantle, clean, fold, then pack it all up in my tiny motorhome basement. It has to go in like a puzzle. Get one of the pieces wrong and the rest won't fit.  Of course I took a long lunch break and later a nap that lasted an astonishing 2 hours.

There was the big 9x12 foot patio mat, to sweep, tri-fold, then accordion fold and lightly tie together. Many parts of the weave flaked off, it's been in the sun for well over two years, but still has plenty of life left. Remove the table cloths, fold up the card table, dust and fold up the chairs. It seems a spider at the last minute ran around decorating every chair with webs. Maddening!  I was just sitting in them one day and the next he had them covered. Wrap up and stow the BBQ tools, the various parts of the weather station including the poles that hold the wind vane.

Drain,  coil and stow two 25 foot water hoses and one 40 foot hose. It used to be 50 feet, but it burst a few feet from  both ends, shortening it, when I cut and repaired it with new fittings.  It is only 2 years old, but seen a lot of sunlight and heavy pressure. It was far cheaper to repair it than replace it.   Usually I hook a Y valve to the campground water spigot, so I can run two hoses. One for the motorhome city water fitting and the other as a spare hose for washing the RV or the patio or muddy feet.  I also had to fill up the on board water tank, because I had run it dry when I made the mad dash to the funeral and forgot to take the correct quick-connect part to use city water at the other campground.

Due to my chronic problems with using my left arm, I had to convert my motorhome's city water hookup to a quick-connect that just requires a gentle push and not arm wringing twisting. Besides the female fitting attached to the motorhome was getting wore down from the vice-grips, so putting this system on, saves me (hopefully) from having to replace the entire fitting due to my vice-grip usage. But still vice-grips often require two hands too. Now I can just push the hose on and off and it fits securely without leaking.

A great deal of the time was spent with the gazebo. It's only a year old. It's a nightmare for one person alone to set up and break down. The one piece folding frame is an ingenious idea poorly executed. The metal struts are all stronger than the plastic fittings.  Much of the frame is busted up as the plastic fittings are no match for it. The tent like roof material is rotten. Some of my old patches fell off and it has a few new rips.  Coleman could make a few changes and this could be a first class product that would deliver years of dependable use. I don't mind replacing the cloth roof (if I was going to keep this much longer), but having the frame snap off a new piece of plastic every time it is folded up, is just totally unacceptable.

Inexplicably it came with a heavy duty canvas bag with wheels for storing it. The bag is of superior quality than the gazebo itself. Bag life =15 years. Gazebo inside = 1 year. What were they thinking?

Too much crap is farmed out to the overseas mills. They often "re-engineer" things to far cheaper specs, which results in the mismatched gazebo parts.

I have really enjoyed the extra shade and rain protection this gazebo gives off much of the day. In this case, I have already started to pack up, so things are in disarray. 

The faint red circles highlight some of the broken plastic fittings.
In this picture, the legs have been reduced to half their size. 

I had to either pack the gazebo up for the garbage or pack it up to take it along and possibly get a few more months use out of it at the next workamping gig. I could tie it back together with string, sew some patches on the roofing material. It does provide a lot of shade.  But even packed up in it's carrying case, it still takes up a lot of storage room.  Once it is gone, I won't be replacing it unless a partner joins me in the RV. Two people can set it up and break it down in a tenth the time it takes one person alone, unless that one person has a 12 foot arm.

After awhile I began smelling something foul. Then I realized it was me. Oh my gosh.  I was so sweaty and stinky that even the dog didn't want to be near me.  I drank three quarts of iced tea while packing up stuff.

There was tons of little stuff to sort, organize and pack away in hopes that one day I can find it all again.

When I wrote about these fan parts flying off one day, making the fan loud as it danced across the patio, a gentle reader send me a gift to go buy a new fan!  Yay!  Thank you! I did go buy a new fan next time I was out and about. But in the interim I had discovered if I used heavy spring-loaded clamps to attach the old one to a cinder block, then it would still churn up a breeze and the cinder block would prevent it from dancing.  Now that I am breaking camp, it has finally gone into the garbage.  The cinder blocks stay with the camp site, they are not going with me. 

Harley the dog  is a little perturbed at my latest antics.

Besides the portable gazebo, I also have the  old awning material from the awning that was attached to the motorhome.  It is heavy duty Sunbrella.  I have recycled it to use as a picnic table cloth and it has held up rather well. I decided to shorten it some, as it's way too big. I cut a slit, then began ripping the material in a straight line. When I started the first rip, it made such a loud noise that it scared the puppy dog. He ran off and hid with a "I didn't do it!"  look on his face.

Waste not want not, the old motorhome awning has been cut down and recycled into a picnic table cloth. The bad parts were tossed out.
That's a big wet spot that hasn't dried yet. 

Harley quickly calmed down but maybe it set him on edge. He loves his little home here, but he has dutifully watched me dismantle and pack.  The string of lights had to come down, the old rugs attached with bungee cords removed from the picnic benches and rolled up to be stowed. The clothes line had to come down, the golf balls fetched from the tall grass where a certain puppy left them.

Later as the final items were being stowed away, Harley decided to move indoors,  to make good and sure he is on board for the trip to parts unknown.

Well, I decided to keep pushing myself past dark. I was furling up the big side awning that is permanently attached to the RV. The new awning material is vinyl, it was cheaper than Sunbrella, but I would have preferred the Sunbrella, but the budget thought otherwise. Ironically, the labor to repair the old Sunbrella to make it functional again as an awning, was going to cost way more than new vinyl material and labor to install it. Go figure. Life is strange.

I lost control of the furling string (that left arm again!) the spring-loaded awning furled up in such a rapid hurry, that it slammed rather frightening loud against the side of the roof of the motorhome.

Duh.  I felt bad about that. Your're supposed to hold the string and let it slowly use the springs to wind up nice and gently.  I hope I didn't break anything, time will tell when I unfurl it again.

The motorhome door was open.

A few seconds later, a very shook up puppy dog came creeping out of the wheel estate looking frightened out of his fur, as if he had emerged from the rubble of an earthquake.

Oh my gush. Poor thing. The noise inside must have been jarringly scary.  He looked like a severely wounded warrior. I just hope he doesn't suffer from post traumatic syndrome after my gaffe.

I picked him up to cuddle and talk softly to him, telling him I was sorry and it would be OK. Then we went for a walk as twilight faded into darkness.

We're back now.

I am just exhausted but I managed to shower off a pound of dirt and sweat.  Just last week I had to use a drain cleaner on the shower, gosh I hope I haven't clogged it up again.

"I'm ignoring you for scaring me sooooooooooo badly"

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The New Cell Phone Math

Truth in advertising...

Puppy Patrol breaks away from  leash to go slay raccoon stealing his food. copyright by dear miss mermaid
Puppy Patrol breaks away from  leash to go slay raccoon stealing his food.
I must be getting old. I don't understand how it is that so much deceptive marketing is in place and readily accepted by consumers. Whatever has happened to good old fashioned honesty?

I have just learned how my cell phone company does business. What is it about cell phone companies and dirty little practices?  I wish they could do stand up business without deception, trickery and ridiculously long fine print.

The cell phone companies apparently use "new math" that is so new, the rest of us have never heard of it. 

In the past I have ranted and raved about cell and mobile internet carriers. I thought my cell company was decent, but recently I found out they are just as devious, sneaky and shifty  as most any other cell company.

Cell Phone Service Riddle Number One

Your cell phone plan includes 250 minutes per month.
The company offers you "Get 500 minutes for $5"
You buy the $5 worth of extra minutes

You have not used any minutes at all. How many total minutes do you have?

(A) 250
(B) 500
(C) 750
(D) -0-

If you said 750 like I did, then you are dead wrong. According to my cell company 250+500 does not equal 750.

250+500=500 according to their new math.

Here is how they explained it...

When you pay the extra $5 you are getting 500 minutes for the month. But since you have already received 250 minutes from the monthly allotment or whatever they call that now,  then they only owe you 250 more minutes to make it a round 500 minutes for the month.


I just think this is so ridiculously misleading.

It should say "Add 250 minutes to your account for $5"  not "Get 500 minutes for $5".

Riddle TWO

Your cell phone month begins on the 3rd each month (cell phone companies use different calendars from the rest of us).

You have 250 minutes included each month.  These are added to your phone on the 3rd each month. The plan has no rollover (of unused minutes.)

On the 29th, you are down to 5 minutes left and you need to make calls.
You pay the $5 fee and get an additional 250 minutes.  By their math  you were allotted 250 minutes on the 3rd, you used 245, leaving 5 minutes, you add on 250 more you bought, so now you have 255 minutes on the 29th.

You make 55 minutes of calls. 255-55=200 so now you have 200 minutes left.

On the 3rd, your 250 "plan included" monthly minutes are added in.

You now have total minutes of:

(A) 200
(B) 250
(C) 450
(D) -0-

The correct answer according to the cell phone company is 250. You have a "no rollover" plan. The extra 250 minutes you bought 3 days ago are NOT rolled over, because that special gave you 500 minutes for the month.  They count the extra monthly minutes you bought from the start of your cell month, not from the date you bought them.

Since your original plan doesn't roll over, neither do any "extra" purchased minutes, no matter when you purchased them.

So per their new month, all you get is 250 minutes added in for the new month and you lose the other 200 minutes you paid extra for because you have a "no rollover plan."

To confound the confusion, the customer service rep told me I should be buying the 500 minutes for $5  at the beginning of the cell month (on the 3rd or close after)  so that I have all month long to use them all.


I guess I need to add a new budget item and call it "SCAMS".

More than once I've been scammed by misleading marketing.  I feel like an idiot.

I would expect trickery and deception in far flung dictator type countries, but not in America, where corporations should surely know better.

I'd like to see more open honesty in simple transactions.

Life is complicated enough.

Oh and the raccoon (above) is a toy, not real. 
copyright by dear miss mermaid, Kenansville Florida three lakes wildlife management
Kenansville, Florida