Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Please, No Yelling

harley rancher dog coat by dearmissmermaid.com

I woke up at 3am to 37F (3C) temperatures at Faver-Dykes State Park near St Augustine, Florida.  Thank goodness for the mattress warmer  or I would have chattering teeth. The 1500 watt ceramic heater is running as are two 200 watt heaters plus the propane furnace kicks in more warmth as the temperatures plummet. 

My 1994 mini-motorhome struggles to stay warm whenever temperatures go below 45F (7C).  I have shades or curtains pulled tight on all the windows plus I've covered the vinyl tiled floors with various sized bargain throw rugs. Well, 2 windows need shade repair. After 18 years, some of the window shades are just falling apart. 

I am bundled up in long underwear, a flannel sleep shirt  and thick fuzzy house shoes. Just for grins, I am drooling over flannel sheets on Amazon. It's fun to dream!

My dog Harley is wearing a sweater, tucked in bed on the mattress warmer underneath two big pillows that serve as his comforters. I grabbed a pillow to tuck around me, when a sleepy doggy head appeared, giving me dirty looks. I gave him back his pillow comforter. 

I feel so lucky because I remembered to top up my small built-in propane tank last week.  I can't remove my tank, but since I don't own a car, it's a mute point.  I have no idea how long I can run the propane furnace on one (built-in) tank. Mysteries!  I suspect not more than a week as the furnace is a hungry beast.

Good news!  I met a wonderful RV repairman, who fixed my furnace, generator and refrigerator recently. The dash AC still needs work plus a list of other things he is coming back to do at some point after he chases down parts.  It seems everything that heats or cools,  sucks or blows just stopped working in my little old wheel estate. 

Luckily he replaced one of my two broken exhaust fans.  They shorted out on my trip south when the 12 volt system died. I ended up meeting a repairman in South Carolina who fixed some of those problems, plus I bought a used battery when he determined my battery was DOA with no chance of revival.  He seemed a tad surprised when I inquired if he had a used deep cycle battery with life left in it, he was willing to sell. I ended up with his golf cart battery  much to the disappointment of his son who was using it to drive around the yard.  

Living on an efficient budget includes buying used, second-hand, rebuilt, re-manufactured, discontinued models, retail orphans, end of stock, non-seasonal, post-seasonal, old technology and so on. Paying less to get the same end result. 

This is the perils of living in an aging motorhome; things break, fall off, fall apart or simply stop working for no apparent reason other than age and gremlins.  If it's any consolation,  the repair costs are far cheaper than making monthly payments on something pricey, so *whew* I am lucky I could scrape up funding to get most things repaired and going again. I tried to fix it all myself, but it was a hit and miss, some things I could repair while others are just over my head. The list had grown exponentially. Argh!  Now it is slowly shrinking down again.  

Incredibly, despite the frigid temps, I have to use the stove exhaust fan now and then to freshen up the air. I seem to breathe up all the oxygen inside. I meant to put water in an uncovered crockpot overnight to serve as a humidifier,  I forgot, so I am doing that now. I left the other crockpot outside cooking garbanzo beans overnight. I meant to bring it inside so the heat would be here not there. I hope the raccoons didn't get into it.  

Between blowing my nose and coughing, I might have snatched up a bug from the campers. Since it was Thanksgiving, we had a full campground all week with lots of happy people building fires that often stayed lit day and night. It seems every child and adult that camped here brought a bicycle with them. Harley had to walk on a short leash because he has a tendency to tangle traffic on his flexi-leash. He is finally getting used to bicycles.  He seemed to think in the past they deserved a round of rowdy chihuahua rapid-fire barking. 

We worked long cold days at my volunteer duties, trying to stay on top of the campground maintenance madness.  We had over 150 campers with just little old me to clean up after them. Most days it was four or five trips to the overflowing dumpster.  The campers this week were fairly kind to the restrooms I clean. I surely needed that kind of bonus too.  I was having a very hard time completing my long list of chores. Plus due to the crowds, I was having to clean the restrooms several times a day. One morning, I entered the ladies room to try to restore order from the morning rush.  People sometimes have trouble with the paper towels, they pull one out and all they get is a tiny wad. Rather than throw this in the garbage, they often toss it on the floor then reach for a full towel. The floor was littered with tiny bits of torn off towels. A brief rain the night before meant people tracked sand and dirt all over the bathroom floor which has a grout problem. There are valleys where there should be grout, so the dirt and sand gets stuck in all the grooves making it look hideous. 

As I unlocked the cleaning closet, this lady came up to me fussing and complaining that the bathroom and campground was less than perfect. She was pointing at the dirt and little wads of paper towels everywhere.  I guess she had no idea I had just spent two hours shoveling up garbage since sun rise. Several campers had left their trash outside on the ground instead of in a receptacle. A  raccoon or something had spread it far and wide.  I was trying to gather it all up and it was time consuming.  Anyhow I stood there smiling like an idiot while she yelled at me with her list of complaints. I tried to explain I was working hard to tackle it all but she kept interrupting me. 

The restroom was crowded and fell silent as she continued berating me and other women began staring at us. She was blocking me from reaching into the supply closet to continue my duties. I am sure I turned beet red. When she announced she was going to file a complaint with the park manager, I finally  pointed to my nametag which reads VOLUNTEER above my name.  

I told her I was just a volunteer here trying to help out here and doing the best I could to catch up on the cleaning. (There is sometimes that unhappy camper that appears when you least expect it.) I saw her eyes gaze at my tag. Suddenly she went silent and left the restroom in a huff. 

If I could just get well and enjoy some solid stamina, I would be thrilled and grateful. I tire out easily which means I have to jump start again with a rest and a strong cup of coffee.  Maybe this is just too much work and too many hours for me in my condition, but I keep smiling and plunking away. I agreed to three months here and I intend to do my best but maybe my best just isn't good enough. How depressing. 

Speaking of coffee, I forget sometimes to warn guests about my strong coffee. Recently the troutman visited in his RV. I treated him to coffee which sent him sputtering in convulsions. Then I remembered to warn him it might be a wee bit strong. I offered him hot water to soften the blow, but he refused. It was funny to watch the grimace on his face. I really wish he would have let me tone it down to reasonable.

I wasn't much of a coffee drinker until I worked aboard a beautiful large yacht in Venezuela. The owners insisted on stout coffee that could dissolve a spoon if left too long in the cup. Then they laced it with a generous serving of cream. The crew adopted the same habits. That yacht had custom china including miniature old fashioned milk pitchers that not only had a line drawing of the yacht, but the name inscribed as well. Each place setting at breakfast for the owners included the tiny milk pitcher on a tiny saucer by their coffee cup. Refilling their coffee meant bringing them a fresh little pitcher of cream. By the time breakfast was over I might have a dozen tiny milk pitchers to wash. 

When Harley dog and I go out, I put his coat on over his sweater, but still he shakes and shivers. If someone stops us with questions, he often begs me to pick him up so he can cuddle in the warmth of my arms until we start walking again. When we come back inside, he refuses to let me take his coat off.  I may have to layer him in more garments, he just doesn't have enough meat on his bones to stay warm on his own. 

As I type this, it's still dark outside. Harley is wearing his camo sweater, all curled up next to me on a soft pillow with his fluffy blanket thrown over his body and head. I am still cold and it's 4am. I think we might go back to bed, just to warm up again. I  hope nobody yells at us today. 


  1. Some people just can't help but to prove their ignorance daily. That is how I look at people like the woman yelling at someone trying to clean up the mess left by her fellow campers.

    We went to Walmart one morning and as we were getting our cart a man was returning a wheelchair to the cart area. My husband had just wheeled a cart over to me when the man immediately started to inform my husband that the wheelchair needed to be removed from service. Evidently one if the wheels were "about to fall off and someone is going to get hurt." He was just about to the point of being really nasty when I turned to him and told him "you probably need to tell a Walmart employee about this as we are just here shoppers." He instantly become very apologetic and hurried out of the store. He didn't seem to concerned with the wheelchair after that...

    Keep on smiling and find the humor in the craziness of people.

  2. Hang in there, we had cold temps in the FL panhandle a few nights ago and now last night the low was 61. With luck it will come your way. You just have to take some folks with a grain of salt. Heaven only knows what happened to the common sense they were born with:)

  3. I would have punched her in the nose! Haha! No, not really but I would have been thinking about it.

    Someone taught me a really good way of handling people like that and that is you say something to the effect of "You must be really embarrassed that you just yelled at a volunteer". You just say what you want to say but add at the beginning of your sentence "You must be really embarrassed...............". Try it out, it works really well.

  4. You handled yourself much better than I would have done. Good for you. Hopefully she will think before she talks next time, but I doubt it.

  5. I love all the comments! The bathrooms are in need of tile grout and painting, so even when I have them sparkly clean, they still look a little worn for wear. Most campers are super nice. I am lucky to have a home, so I feel blessed.

  6. I know the feeling! Our camp restrooms are 50 years old and there isn't much I can do with them! The troop leaders always complain. I tell them "at least the price is right. Where else are you going to get cabins that hold 40 girls for $50 per night? That usually shuts them up! You can tell your capers "there's alway Disney. It is 48 a night for tent camping."


Life is goof!