Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tire Wars

Flat tire.

I've seen this more than once at the recreation area where I volunteer as a Park Host.

Boating on Lake Hartwell is very popular so the boat ramps in this park and others stay pretty busy on a regular basis. Today some folks launched a pontoon houseboat. Hours later, they were hauling it back out of the water.

My workamping spot is on a hill with a view of the park entrance and most of the park area including the boat ramps and parking lots.

Harley dog and I were outside in the early evening. We heard yelling, but it's impossible to actually hear what someone is saying, just the fact they are yelling about something.  I looked over the park from our view on the hill,  noticing the same houseboat was hauling back out of the water and that's where the yelling was coming from.

Next I heard the loud thump thump thump of a flat tire on the trailer as they came rapidly up the steep boat ramp to the parking lot. They stopped to secure the boat and presumably change or fix the flat tire. There is a Fix-A-Flat in a can that will fix tires that have a hole but not a rip.  I've used it often throughout the Caribbean in various owned and rented vehicles, and occasionally in America. Many times I've donated my can to someone in need.  It is a true lifesaver.

But these folks finished securing the boat, ignored the flat tire, then drove rapidly (more than double or triple our posted speed limit of 15mph) out of the park while the tire on the boat trailer made this huge racket of WOMP WOMP WOMP.  As they rounded the corner to exit the park, the rim was almost on the pavement with the destroyed tire ripping off hunks of rubber. They gunned their engine to go up the hill.

I tried to yell "FLAT TIRE!" as they departed at great speed with all their pickup truck windows firmly closed. I was so far away at the time, maybe 800 feet or more, they probably never heard me. I've noticed that sounds do carry in the park, but you can't tell what people are saying.

Does driving as fast a one can on a flat tire magically fix it?

I've seen this similar scenario several times before. People leave the park towing a boat on a trailer with a flat tire.

Is it possible to be towing and never notice the loud noise or weird handling?

I could understand if your life was in danger, you would do anything to escape to safety, including destroying your tire and rim.  But I think of tires and rims as being expensive and not something disposable like the evening newspaper.

One man I know of, thinks of his spare tire and rim as a trophy. Read below for that strange tale.

The parking lot for vehicles and boat trailers is shown below, down a steep hill from my rustic park office.


One day while walking Harley dog through the park, I ran across a young man with a truck and trailer (no boat) with a flat tire. Another pickup truck was parked beside it with the stereo playing.

We had a short chat which turned into a longer chat.

His mother had driven the boat and trailer to the park alone. She launched the boat, docked it at the temporary dock, parked the truck and trailer, noticed the trailer tire was losing air but she took off in the boat alone.

She was rendezvousing with his step-father somewhere else on the lake. Given that this lake has a 980 mile shoreline, this is not as unusual as it sounds.

At some point, she called her son by cell phone to ask him to go fix the deflating tire on the boat trailer.

He showed up in his truck,  with his spare tire and rim, which didn't fit the trailer at all. He was thinking out loud that he might be able to somehow file the holes in the rim to make it fit the trailer. I said something like, that will never work, he'd be here for days trying to file new holes by hand. It was a late Sunday evening, still daylight, but probably not enough time to remove the rim and go find an open tire store.

I politely suggested that most trailers came with a spare tire or at least a spare rim.  I also commented on how luxurious the trailer rims were. These weren't your ordinary rims, but expensive ones suitable for a very fancy car. I had offered him my Fix-A-Flat can stored in my motorhome but once we looked over the tire, it had a tear in it. What was needed was a new tire.

He agreed that yes, the trailer had a matching spare tire on a rim, but that his father had it at his home. I offered up my cell phone, here, call your father.

He explained the following in all seriousness but it came out quite comically.  I did my best to keep a straight face.

His mother and father had gone through a really strange divorce. The father had taken off with the boat and trailer, even though the mother was awarded both in the final property settlement. When forced to surrender the boat back to the ex-wife, he tried stripping out the boat and just giving her the hull minus the trailer, engine and other boat accouterments.

Back and forth they went to and from court, while the courts rewrote the order that the boat included the engine, the trailer and a long list of parts he had removed from the boat.

He said they had gone back and forth to court so many times over this boat and other matters,  that the judge said he never wanted to see or hear another word from either of them or about this boat and trailer ever again.

So when all was said and done, the courts specified the trailer, the fancy rims, the tires and so on, but forgot to specifically mention the spare tire and rim for the trailer. Finally the mother more or less got her boat and trailer back.

The father it seems, according to the son, saw the spare tire and rim as his own personal trophy.

He even had it mounted on a wall in his home. He would never in a million years willingly surrender it without another court order and that was out of the question.

So that's how she ended up with the boat and trailer, he ended up with the spare tire rim and the hapless son was left to deal with the flat.

Life is goof!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coming Soon

Mind over matter.

I wake up with enthusiasm to live a full day.  But pain just shoots me down again. It takes 100% of my concentration to try to make the pain go away.

Nothing much else gets done then. But I keep plowing away in between waves of pain.

I will be back here soon posting my usual mayhem. I did manage to make it to doggy school, we're about done with that. It took a herculean effort just to get there and back. If it weren't for the loaner car, we would have never made it there at all.

More soon. I am trying to get a handle on this pain, then I will be good to go.

Oh boy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trying To Mend

Another fabulous day in paradise.

I am on the mend I hope, trying to build up steam and stamina to get Harley to class number 5 at puppy school.

So much to learn, such  little brain. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On A Happy Note

I am trying to put on my happy face. I saw an awful doctor. Just dreadful. I suspect he graduated at the very bottom of his class. I guess they can't all be good.
I am oh so sorry I was his unlucky victim.
Now I have to work on Plan B when I recover from the shock of Plan A.

But on a happy note...

I am still cooking up experiments now and then. This is an oval 1.5 quart crockpot with my latest Corn Casserole recipe. This time my ingredient were:
1 box Jiffy Cornbread Mix
2 Eggs
1 can Cream Style Corn
2 tablespoons chopped garlic

Spray the crockpot with nonstick spray for easy dish washing later.

I baked it on high in the crockpot for 4 hours. It was awesomely delicious. I don't think another hour or two would have hurt it either, just changed the texture. This time it didn't explode like last time. Probably because I halved the recipe and omitted the butter.  No need for those extra calories and I didn't miss it one bit in this batch.

That oval shaped small crockpot is so perfect for many dishes. A small roast fits in their nicely too. Because I live in a small motorhome, everything has to serve multiple purpose.  I also use crock by itself (it's removable) for cooking in the microwave as well as a mixing bowl.

Beautiful flowers adorn my park host camp area for one lone camper and her bark ranger.

What's so exciting about a muddy pair of Crocs? Well, this picture will forever remind me of the super fun day Harley and I had at the Nettles Dog Park in Clemson, South Carolina.

The ground was swampy.  The entrance required traversing some serious mud. Normally Harley dog is real prissy, not getting his feet wet or his tiny body dirty. But the sight of the other dogs happily romping in the mud and muck had him enthusiastically joining in the fun and games. There was no way for us to avoid the mud in order to enter the gate.

Life is goof!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Medical Mess

I might not be able to write here until I feel better. I am going to have minor surgery sooner or later. The pain is excruciating, so I am back to beddy bye with my wackadoodle canine.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Brilliant Dog?

The instructor is mistaken.

Harley is literally the teacher's pet. But she treats all her students well. Just that our class keeps shrinking. I felt so sorry for our instructor who burst into tears telling up what happened to "Dolly" one of our canine students who went AWOL.  Her owners listened to inane friends make remarks about their dog possibly having mixed pit bull and being a potential disaster for them.


They listened to their friends rather than the pet experts, then inexplicably returned her to the rescue agency because one evening when they tried to remove her toy from her mouth she playfully growled at them.  Ironically, they skipped that week's class where "drop it" and "leave it" were taught.


Our doggy professor was heart broken, bursting into tears. I was shocked. The couple that owned Dolly seemed so delightful. It's inexplicable they would just give up so quickly. Now we're all just disgusted. Dolly was a cool doggy, and now she is being bounced around all over again, homeless and unloved.

I am so touched that the dog trainer really does put her heart and soul into her canine charges.

Harley exasperates me but charms her. Go figure.

The first week I had Harley dog, I thought that I too, had made a colossal mistake. But poor little Harley had already had a very rough time before landing in my motorhome. He was my mistake and I would live with it. When I found out these little fellows can live 15 years or more, I thought this was going to be one long lengthy error in judgement. I just hoped that some how it would manage to work out OK.

Then it occurred to me. We were both damaged goods. Maybe we could make this work out after all.

Maybe Harley didn't think I was such a hot choice either. He seems even to this day to have preferred a large family and a big back yard without tethers or leashes. Not a decrepit mermaid in a little old motorhome with no back yard to call our own but the whole wide world beneath our tires.

Ironically, a week into owning Harley, discovering all his foibles and fears, a delightful eccentric couple met Harley and literally begged me for him. They even offered great sums. I got Harley for free over the phone sight unseen. An hour later a pathetic sack of bones posing as a poor excuse for a puppy was handed over. He came with nothing. He had no shots, he wasn't trained, he wasn't neutered, he wasn't healthy at all.

Within a week I had fallen hopelessly in love with my bundle of trouble. I kept him. We needed each other. In a strange twist of fate, I needed a pet sitter for six hours for three days in a row. This couple enthusiastically volunteered. It gave me complete peace of mind that he was in such good hands those three days. I missed him something awful too even though I picked him up every afternoon.

It took Harley and I a very long time to save up for his current schooling. The fees aren't that outrageous, but mostly my efficient budget covers the necessities we need. There isn't much left over for frills. But nature is free so we are thrilled with that.

In the interim I have (lazily?) tried everything I could to train this dog who simply has a mind of his own. I bought a clicker and read all about clicker training. I tried the same words and hand signals over and over. Harley yawned.

All my previous large dogs responded very well to my training. Effortlessly. Each one was a joy to have around, so well behaved and a thrill to take places without worry.

Then along came Harley who can barely hold onto 6 pounds of weight. He has been losing weight. I don't know why, he has no illness, he eats like a horse. But he just burns it up I guess. Maybe he needs more treats.

Is it me?  Is it Harley?  Is it live or is it Memorex?

I think Harley has a selective learning disorder. He learns what he wants to know and the rest of it he can just as soon ignore with an attitude that he has better things to do.

He knows the names of all his toys. He finally reluctantly learned "sit".  He hates the word "Stay"  but he has little choice in the matter. Usually I say "Stay" whenever I lock him inside the motorhome alone.  But he has finally got the hang of "Stay" and what it means. I say it when I get out to pump gas, I surely don't need a wild ragamuffin running a muck between car wheels in a busy gasoline station. He did that as a puppy once giving me a horrendous fright.

"Down", "Off", "Come", "Drop it"  are all random words to him. He might or might not respond.  Cattitude. That's what I call it. He reminds me of a cat that can thoroughly ignore the wants and desires of humans while sucking up at the same time.

Harley loses rapid interest in the canine class instructor when his belly becomes full of her wonderful treats. I bring out the backup plan, a baggie of small cubes of cheese, his favorite food.

But he simply tires of training, then stubbornly refuses to work for food. Yet the dog trainer says he is brilliant and thinks about commands, then decides whether he will perform or not. She went so much as to say he was very intelligent!

Ha!  I want some rose colored glasses too!

See my frustration? Cattitude!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Photo Bang

Snakes gone wild?

When my friends moved to Brazil, they gave me all their bungee cords. I use them for dozens of things when I pack up the circus to sail the highways. I dump them all out while I search for the perfect one for the job.

The loaner car I have isn't safe for Harley. So I hooked his milk crate into the seat belt, then stuffed his old doggy bed in it for padding. This keeps him from sliding  off the seat by accident. He is on top of the bed, rather than in it, when he lays down, he is totally ensconced in his homemade pet seat.

Firewood in the RV shower or a  lousy excuse for a fireplace. This came about by accident. I was traveling with a friend early last spring when it was nippy at night. We were packing to move to a different campground and through mis-communication, the firewood didn't have a temporary home yet we could easily use it at the next campground.  My quick solution was fill up the shower with firewood. Campgrounds charge a lot for the stuff, which is why I brought it along to the next place. The basket on top is Harley dog's bicycle basket. He loves to ride around in it on the bicycle. The towel above is hung up to dry, luckily I showered before we packed up.

I have all the bungee cords corralled back in their zippered baggie after finding the perfect one for the job. I recycle everything. This is a zippered bag that bed sheets came inside of. My friend bought stacks of sheets and was throwing out the baggies when I nabbed them. Yippie!

The long long driveway. That is my little old motorhome at the end of the driveway. This is where I am currently workamping. It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

 Shhhh.  Doggy is sleeping while I drive the loaner car.

Classy cooking. Tee hee hee.
My Jacksonville friends gave me a big 5 gallon bucket which I use for lots of purposes including a table for outdoor crockpot cooking. In the shower picture above, the bucket was stuffed with firewood.

We were touring a campground on the lake. Harley was picking out his campsite. Each one we drove by, he would say "Stop!  That's the one I want!"

Wheels keep on turning.
I was at a red light snapping this picture through the windshield. There are more wheels than I could fit in the picture. The cargo is multiple RV tow dollies for cars. I'm impressed that the trucker has attached each one individually to his truck. That must have taken all day to secure. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

61F Degrees in August in the South?

This is August in the South. Notorious for hot humid sultry days. Not waking up to 61F degrees. I went to bed with a horrible tooth ache. Woke up c-c-c-cold thinking ut-oh, something bad wrong here. Last time I was cold but it was hot, my blood pressure had plummeted. But the thermometer read 61F degrees. So WHEW, all is well, just weird weather.

Good grief, I better test out the bed warmer. Harley had tunneled underneath an errant feather pillow, using it as his own personal comforter.

I am thrilled!  I love wide open windows, fresh air and the outdoors. As soon as I relocated outside to live on the patio for the day, it poured down rain.

Just the other day out of sheer luck I stumbled into a pair of jeans drastically reduced that fit my short legs without hemming. I was in the back of a store I sometimes visit because they have racks in the very back with prices marked way down. Usually I cruise through and find nothing that fits that I like, but once in a great while I strike gold.

I bought the bluejeans for winter.

Today I am already wearing them. They haven't even had their break in wash yet.

The fun part is, I have a loaner car. My dear sweet wonderful friend loaned me a car for a few weeks. But it's been way too hot to take the silly dog with me anywhere if he has to wait in the car. So going out hasn't been a ton of fun.

Driving the RV with my doggy with me all the time, has been a real treat.

Later in the day, it quit raining, it was still cool, so Harley and I went to explore other parks and go dog walking in new places. I don't really have any funds to go places, but the parks generally let me in free since I am an avid volunteer.

I wish I could teach Harley to water the bushes before we go somewhere. We were driving across the lake bridges when he started singing at the top of his little lungs. Well that typically means he is READY to find a bush.

He rides around in his padded milk crate. He was slipping all over the seat, so I put his dog bed in the seat, but it was sliding around too.  Somehow it was escaping the seat belt.  The next trip I buckled in the milk crate with his old doggy bed stuffed down in it for some padding.

He liked the security of not sliding off the seat, but now he wanted to look out the window. So next I put a pillow under the crate. Then I shoved it over closer to the window. Now he can sit up and look out, or curl up and snooze.

As a puppy he was scared to look out the window with the world rushing by, but now he loves it. I even put the window down some so when we were cruising a campground he could sniff and look as we went by.

We went to Springfield Campground on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina. 75 of their 79 sites are water front. I was so surprised the place wasn't crowded.  It was beautiful. Terraced flat sites with incredible views. It made me homesick for a campground. I live all alone in my park, which is very nice, but no other campers or puppy dogs around so it can get a tad lonesome, but I am used to solitude.

I spent a decade all alone on my sailboat at numerous anchorages. Life just continues to be one big adventure. I'm so lucky to be alive enjoying it too.

Oh come on Harley, it's not THAT cold!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Corn Casserole Explosion

Corn Casserole Explosion (recipe follows).

I thought I had found the perfect RV crockpot. My old one was 1.5 quarts. One day it just crazed like old china. I kept using it for about another year then it broke into a million and two pieces.

Next I found this nifty 1.5 quart crockpot on Amazon that is oval with warm, low and high settings. It also came with a rubber lined lid and a big rubber band. For those that roll down the highway with a crockpot cooking like me, this is super handy. 

Also convenient if you go to pot lucks or travel with food, or if you're just a plain old klutz.

I can set it in the sink on a piece of rubber shelf liner, then pop the rubber band on to hold the lid. Hopefully I won't get hit by flying chili should I slam on the brakes. 

Setting up camp with a hot meal ready in the pot, is oh so wonderful.

Corn Casserole Explosion

2 boxes of Jiffy Cornbread Mix
4 eggs
2 cans of cream style corn
4 tablespoons of melted butter 
Mix all ingredients together. Spray a too small crockpot with nonstick spray.Bake until it explodes. Serve with dinner. 

For vegetarians, the corn casserole coupled with a bean dish makes a complete protein.

Next time I will do half the recipe or use a bigger crockpot. I do have a 3 quart crockpot for company and bigger dishes. Or exploding corn casserole. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Shoe Left But No Ears

I'm OK.

Just that August is a tough rough month. So many passed on in this month and I miss them all in so many ways.

Four years ago today, I escaped the hell hole of the hospital I was in on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Sadly, many I left behind, didn't make it out.

Hard to believe it!  Seems like yesterday. And I made it THIS FAR!  Alive!

I am so fantastically happy to wake up again today. Angels have looked after me, especially earth angels who have helped me and the Bark Ranger out in so many wonderful ways.

Thank you, thank you thank you.

I feel so blessed. Nobody thought I would live 4 months, much less 4 years, so WOW.

Every day is just a wonderful gift!  I've learned how to get by on a little and have a lot. I have life, a silly puppy and a little old motorhome providing a roof over my head. Yay!

Having this little bundle of fur has brought me a lot of joy and a ton of work. Heaven help us. He is pestering me now to give him some attention and play toss the teddy bear or squeak the piggy.

I gave Harley dog a bath then hung him out to dry. He sure smells nicer. Still looks goofy though.

At puppy school he flirted outrageously, did most of what the teacher wanted until he became full of treats. Then he lost interest, preferring to rough and tumble with the other puppies.

They had a little spat, but dogs forget it in 10 seconds, so all is well. The teacher was using squeaky toys and there was a slight disagreement over who had which toy.

We made it out on two walks today. One of them we cleaned up the garbage on about a half mile of road leading up to the park. Our bucket was overflowing so we had to turn around and come home to empty it. What a shame, we had that road looking so nice and then they trashed it again.

I am still volunteer workamping at the park. The public never ceases to amaze me. A few years back, the lake had many tragic drownings. So a free loaner life jacket program was introduced. It's basically handled on the honor system.

Most folks borrow the jackets for themselves or their kids, then return them to the rack. But sometimes not. So I come along, picking them up, putting them back so others can find and use them as desired.

I have NO idea what happened. The rack was empty this morning, where it had been full last evening. Somebody or several had removed all the loaner life jackets from the racks and scattered them far and wide around the entire park. They were all dry, so doubtful they were used for midnight swimming. The park closes at 10pm, but that doesn't stop folks from showing up.

It leaves me scratching my head, but I restored order. We have a rack full of free loaner life jackets again. It only took me an hour to round them all up again, most were no where near the water.

Maybe I slept through a tornado that scattered them?

One morning I expected to find a naked body. I was out in the park with my litter picker, cleaning up the mess folks throw around, mostly beer cans. As I progressed, I found a lone shoe, then socks, undies, a shirt, a pair of pants, scattered throughout the park.  Each item was about 100 feet from the next.  It was as if someone was running through the park while shedding clothing items. What will they think up next?

I never did find a naked body, thank goodness. Maybe they swam away. Usually I pile up clothing, towels and toys by the life jacket loaner rack. If the stuff isn't gone in 24 hours, then I toss it out.

Well, I've been saving up all the toys. I can drop those off at a donation center at some point. I never find a pair of shoes. It's always one lone shoe. Do people just walk around with one shoe off and never notice?

Harley could use a spare ear... Nobody seems to lose an ear though.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What's In Your Broom Closet?

Before and now pictures of my broom closet.

The one on the left was taken in late 2009 when I bought my 1994 motorhome.

Behind the window valance is a rollup shade. The soap dish is falling apart, but I found a new brass one at a thrift shop for cheap.

The toilet seat (beneath the lid) never looked clean no matter what I did to sterilize and clean it. The sun had randomly yellowed it.  My dear sweet friend accidentally broke the toilet seat hinges while we were on a trip together. I was thrilled to have an excuse to replace it. Now I had a nice white seat and lid that came clean and looked appealing with sturdier hinges.

One day for $1.00 I found the fluffy toilet lid cover at Dollar Tree. I also paid $1 for my blue broom. They didn't have the color I wanted, but I guess for $1 one can't be too picky about such matters.  Now it looks kind of cool next to the patriotic star emblazoned scarf.  Actually the scarf was another $1 find. I've had fun wearing it to tie up my long hair, riding my red bicycle with it blowing out behind my back.

Eventually the original 1994 window shade broke. It wouldn't spring up anymore.  It was stuck in the down and dark position, making the broom closet very gloomy by day.  Instead of replacing it, I removed the shade and valance.  The valance has been repurposed as a shelf on the wall underneath my dining booth.

Waste not want not.

The stained glass window is a unique film that is very realistic. You can buy it in assorted patterns at this link  then cut to size. It can be easily removed because only static cling holds it in place. Every time I open the door to the broom closet, that beautiful sun filled window makes me smile. I have both privacy and beauty.

At night, when the bathroom light comes on, the window shows up colorfully on the outside but still affords privacy inside.

The little black box that sits on the brass soap dish is actually a cute little 200 watt ceramic heater.

I added this to the bath because mostly I can't afford to use the forced air propane furnace that has a nice vent in the bathroom to warm it up. Electricity is included at most all camp sites, but propane costs extra. The furnace can suck up a lot of propane in a hurry. My tank is built-in so I would be driving every few days to go top up the propane for heat, so I use electricity for heat. But when it's below 40F degrees, I have to supplement the electric heat with the propane anyhow.

I use a small cylindrical 1500 watt ceramic heater to warm up the rest of the motorhome. I can only use one because the 30 amp electrical situation in my motorhome won't allow two.

This left the broom closet very cold and chilly until I found this magical heater. At only 200 watts, it won't trip any breakers. The bath is so small that it works well to keep it quite toasty when needed.

I've never been able to rip out the old carpet in the broom closet though the rest of the motorhome is minus carpet now. I have cleaned it up as best I can (it's 19 years old) and added more rugs on top of it. These I am able to wash, dry and replace, so at least they are clean. I figure this helps keep the bathroom warm too.  No cold air coming through the floor in there.  It's on my long list of things to do, to one day take out the carpet and replace with new something. I fear the toilet has to come out first.  That just doesn't sound like much fun so I constantly find reasons to put it off.

Overhead, unseen is the standard fart fan provided in most all motorhomes. Mine died last year and had to be replaced. It also removes steam or moisture from the shower, so it really isn't an option but rather a necessity.

My compact washing machine (not shown) hooks into the sink faucet. The sink faucet was ill designed and apparently installed by the factory in the wrong place.  Somebody didn't measure very well! It's too far away from the tiny sink. It made it hard to wash hands without making a big wet mess all over the counter.

The old faucet would never clean up pretty. I found an RV bar faucet with a U shaped faucet (right picture). It's still too far from the sink, but I put two swivels on the end of the faucet, that enables it to aim the water towards the center of the sink. A huge improvement! There is a quick-connect fitting for the washing machine added to the faucet so I can hook or unhook the little clothes washer in 3 seconds.

The washing machine sounds like a lavish luxury, but it has saved me a huge bundle of quarters and gas money. My workamping doesn't provide access to any laundry services. Many of the campgrounds I go to do not have this either, so being able to wash my clothes is a huge money saving bonus. It also means I can own fewer clothes so that my 14 inch wide closet and 3 small drawers are adequate for my summer and winter wardrobe.

Living efficiently can snowball into big savings.

Once the carpet was ripped out of the rest of the motorhome, I put down vinyl tile and bought a broom. The only place to store the broom was in the bathroom, so I renamed it the broom closet as a joke.

When non-RV friends visit and ask where the bathroom is, I gleefully tell them it's in the broom closet.

Living compactly in a little old motorhome has been surprisingly fun. A friend once told me it took about 2 years to settle into a home and feel cozy.

Well, time flies when you're clueless. I've been in my little old wheel estate for three and a half years. Amazing!

And I still love it.

Life is goof!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Church Steeple and Toto

Now I know we've had lots of flooding lately.

From my dog walking and litter pickering along public streets, we find the darnest things humans toss out in the strangest of places.

But seriously?

A church steeple?

Well, this wouldn't fit in my litter bucket. But I snapped a picture just to show you anyhow.

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. 

When we ride my bicycle, people call us Toto and Dorothy. It's funny how the Wizard of Oz is such a well loved movie. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Broom Closet Calendar

An acquaintance of mine woke up goofy. Didn't know what day it was. He too lives in a little old motorhome, like me. Next thing I heard he was in the hospital with a brain aneurysm. Now they can't find it and tell him they will go look for it next week. I feel so sorry for him suddenly living in a scary hospital.

My gosh, I am perpetually confused about the date and time of year. Occasionally I wake up with a head ache that makes me want to scream, but I muffle it with a pillow.  I convince myself there is nothing wrong. I am imagining things.  I smile, I pet the dog, I chant.  Anything to make the headache vanish by sheer will. Please don't ever let me end up in another hospital. It would kill my spirit and they'd just have a lifeless body to put up with.

Ever since I got out of that hell hole of a hospital where I spent a month mostly in ICU in 2009, I've been confused about seasons, dates, times, calendars and even the day of the week. I was hit over the head pretty darn hard though that was just one of many reasons that landed me in a hospital.

Recently I put a calendar in my broom closet. I've always kept a clock in there. It's a cute little night light with a battery clock. I figure I sit in the broom closet more often than anywhere else in the RV. Now I can study up on the current date and stash that in my tiny brain throughout the day.

My broom closet is multifunctional.

Now I can not only study the clock, but ponder the calendar too. It helps, I've discovered, if you put the calendar up for the correct year and figure out the month that should be displayed.

From there it's a matter of trying to sort out the correct day.The odds are one in thirtyish I will get it right.

Last year or so, I forget when (where is my calendar again?) an angel gave me a weather station that tells the date and time too.  Last winter I was so confused because it said 31 in February, then I realized we were having a cold snap in Florida and that number must be the temperature.

My driver's license in the Virgin Islands had the wrong birthday. I was oh so confused and the hospital apparently used that to fill out my paperwork when I was admitted unconscious. So my medical  records are constantly hard to locate what with two different birthdays listed.

At the time I got the driver's license, which read November 4 instead of April 11,  the clerical lady laughed herself silly over the error, then informed me in all seriousness, they would correct my birthday NEXT time they issued my license (4 years later.)

I guess she saw the incredulous look on my face, but she cheerfully explained "This way you get to be younger for 4 years!"

A few months later, same island,  I went to get my little old rusty heap of a jeep inspected and tagged.  The officer works outside under a school bus shelter. When I arrived, he was sitting on a bench holding a clipboard full of sun yellowed papers and license tag stickers, along with a dozen first graders in tiny matching school uniforms. School was out for the day. The kids were waiting on the bus.

He pointed out a rusty spot on my jeep saying it needed to be covered up.  My car had a few dozen rusty spots popping out like zits at the time. I reached inside my jeep, felt around under the driver's seat, then emerged with some old Duck tape on a roll. I tore off a piece, slapping it over the lone rusty spot he had pointed at.

Two can play this game I thought. They don't care enough to correct my birthday on my driver's license but my little old rusty heap of a jeep can't have any rusty zits to get a tag. Such is the nature of quixotic island life.

The first graders were giggling and snickering while the bewildered officer scratched his head staring at my instant repair. One little boy asked me for a piece of Duck tape. I said "How long?"  He held up his tiny hand saying "That much!" His shoe was untied. He wadded  up the loose shoe strings, securely taping them to the top of his shoe. He seemed rather impressed with this feat.

The officer between his own guffaws said "Son, no no no, that's not how you do that!" The little kid smiled devilishly and said "I'm covering up a rusty spot!"

So with children shrieking with laughter, the officer asked me if I wanted to go dance on the beach and listen to the band at Quito's that night.

Am I in the twilight zone?

I eagerly agreed. Anything to get my jeep approved for a tag. I'd been to Quito's before and dancing on the beach at night was a favorite pastime for me in those days. Why own a TV or stereo (I had neither) when you can go out dancing barefoot on the beach?

Believe me, I am oh so glad these days, that I spent those days, doing such fun things when I was off work.

Ignoring the rest of my rusty zits, the officer went to apply the yearly dated sticker on my tag. He was so busy flirting with me that he just put it on there upside down, all the while smoothing it over good and hard so it could not be removed except by shredding it. (The stickers are designed to rip erratically so folks don't thief them.)

When I politely pointed this out to him, he roared with laughter. This is pretty typical of islanders and their approach to problems.

Laugh about it.

No problem mon.

Laugh some more.

So I drove around the island with an upside down date on my tag and the wrong birthday on my driver's license.

Life is goof!

One day fed up with the chronic rains that kept me inside too much, I decorated the broom closet for entertainment. Angels have given me various mermaids, it's fun to see them hanging around. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Zoom Along

A dear sweet wonderful angel loaned me a car for a few weeks. It has 5 speeds and a clutch. But I've known how to drive a clutch since my daddy taught me around age 7 or 8 in his little VW bug.

At that time VW's were not popular at all, but my father loved his bug. He would take me to an empty school parking lot. Then let me bunny hop in the VW while I learned to use a clutch.

Back in those days, the school had no fence, no gates, no guards. It just sat there empty on the weekends. It never occurred to anyone to break in or vandalize it. The school was in a neighborhood full of middle class homes. Sometimes kids would be playing ball in the fields around the school or flying a kite. The parking lot was usually empty, so it seemed like a great place to teach driving with a clutch. I never drove on streets until I had a driver's license except once in an emergency. I drove a pregnant woman to the hospital without a license.

I was sure I was going to jail for years for committing this transgression, but luckily I wasn't caught.

Monday night I drove Harley to school in the loaner car.

The next day we drove 14 miles to a dog park. It was the saddest thing we ever saw.

The massive flooding had destroyed the dog park. We didn't have a camera with us to take pictures.

It's been raining every day but once since I arrived at this new workamping in mid June.

So today, it's raining and I figured it's a good day to go shop because it's not too hot for the doggy. That means he can ride in the loaner car with me.

I only need to buy a few necessities, but it's fun to look at the massive amount of consumer selections available in America. The 23 years I lived on boats at sea and or in the Caribbean, shopping was a pain in the elbow. You couldn't find the things you needed much of the time. The prices were generally ridiculously high on what you could find, so shopping wasn't fun at all. It was a laborious chore.

Also, I was sometimes shopping for food for 12 people to eat gourmet delights without repeats for 7 or more days. That was hard work too and required several shopping buggies. I would fill one up, park it near a cashier then go fill up the next one and so on. Sometimes I had to go to several stores. Often when I wasn't looking, other shoppers took things out of my parked buggies.  It was maddening, to get back to the boat and realize I had 9 chicken breasts instead of the 12 I had put in the cart.

Today I got busy and  promptly FORGOT about the car and spent all morning cleaning and organizing the motorhome to get ready to drive it. I like to do that before I drive it around all day.

Then I remembered the car. That was why I was going out on a rainy day. Because of the car and the fact that it's not hot. Harley can ride with me in the car.

Sheesh. Maybe I will go shop for a new brain, one with better memory.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

The Mothership Came For Me

The mothership arrived to take me home to my planet far far away. But the UFO hunters captured her before she could spirit me away.

Her antigravity landing gear is not set up correctly for mother earth. She hovers far above the ground.

The government built a powerful magnet to try to force her to stay in one place. Unable to get inside, they built a frame and a railing surrounding her so they could take turns poking around trying to get inside.

The magnet is so powerful that if you stand too close to it, the metal zipper on the fly of your pants will rip right off and cling to the magnet. See the vertical lines on the magnet? That is zippers from those that dared to get too close.

Well Toto, I guess this means we aren't going home just yet. 

Monday, August 05, 2013

Canine School Session 2 With the Class Clown

I took Harley dog to canine school today.

He arrived with wild enthusiasm, kissing his teacher, dancing around the room, teasing the other puppies to play with him while flirting outrageously with the pet parents and shoppers.

They moved the classroom and built semi walls for it. Is that because a certain somebody kept escaping last week?

Today Harley paraded back and forth, waiting for the fun and games to start. He was like a comedian trying to warm up the audience.

He is clueless he is here to learn. Even though we tried practicing his homework all week, I was sure he would flunk his demonstration.

However, when it was time to test his new behavior, he suddenly snapped to attention and acted like it was nothing to learn a few things and show them off.  Then he went back to clowning around again.

Heaven help me.

It was still muggy outside after class, so we speed walked around the store up and down the aisles to give us both some exercise.

He tried to get everybody's attention "Look at me! I'm the star of the show!"

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Making That Moonshine

ALL: We make the best moonshine in the state of Georgia
Maybe in the whole wide world
LELAND: If you don't feel nothin' yummy burnin' in your tummy
Maybe you should come find Earl

EARL: If I cain't fix ya, Leland can
He's the clear, corn liquor delivery man
ALL: Down the hollers in Gumlog

We make the best moonshine in the state of Georgia
Anyone'd say that's true
Fifteen dollar outta get you quite a lotta
Gumlog's finest brew

LELAND: My shoulder's gone flat totin' sugar and oak
Down to the still, like them other folk
ALL: Down the hollers in Gumlog

LELAND: First ya cut the meal, then you cook it up right
Half a bushel or so
Let it sit out most the night
Then it's good to go

Add lots of sugar, plenty of malt
Let it cook, let it cool, let it run out
ALL: Down the hollers in Gumlog

LELAND: I keep my 'shine in my dresser drawers
I keep my 'shine behind my closet doors
EARL: Well, Where ya gonna keep your clothes?
LELAND: Under the bed springs I suppose

EARL: Well, What you gonna tell your spouse
When the 'shine takes over the house?
LELAND: I'll spin a good yarn. (spoken) Gosh Darn!
(sung)There's plenty room out in the barn
(spoken) Now, Let's see what y'all learned

EARL: First ya cut the meal, then you cook it up right
Half a bushel or so
LELAND (spoken): That's right!
EARL: Let it sit out most the night
Then it's good to go

Oh, We didn't have no money
But we had a big ol' time
Down the hollers in gumlog

There was lots a smoke curlin' up from the hills
If you look close you can see it still

Down the hollers in Gumlog

Song by Heather McClucky
You can listen to the song and follow the lyrics at this link:

Stumpys Playhouse keeps his moonshine still in the front yard in Gumlog Georgia.

Imagine if this massive oak could tell tales.

I did 3 volunteer workamping stints in the Land of Spirits also known as Gumlog, Georgia. It is a fascinating place out in the boonies.

Back in the late 70's, I was dating a guy who didn't have a car of his own, but his father owned a Cadillac. One day he promised to take us for a nice ride in the country and an early dinner out. We were excited to go.

The day was beautiful. We savored the smooth ride in his fancy car as we drove the back roads of South Carolina, crossing over into Georgia. We ended up at a big house in the countryside with huge columns towering over the porch (not Stumpys.)  We thought we were going to see somebody but instead we were told to wait in the car while his father went to see if they were home.

He came back with a paper bag wrapped around a quart of moonshine in a canning jar. Back in those days, much of the south had Blue laws that prevented any alcohol sales on Sundays. His father was an avid drinker. Like most alcoholics whatever he bought on Saturday for Sunday's consumption always magically vaporized before sunrise.

After taking a long sturdy drink, he offered us the clear liquid. We sniffed it over, but declined tasting it. I was just a young teenager at the time. My parents had no idea I was in another state, much less parked in a moonshiner's front yard sniffing the stuff over.

My parents have both passed on.  I never got around to mentioning this juicy tidbit to them.

There is a restaurant in Gumlog. The Gumlog Barbecue and Fish Lodge.  Established in 1972 by an old moonshiner.

Some friends took me there last spring.  It was delicious. Visiting there was surreal, like I had been there already.  But in my 3 years of workamping in the area, my efficient budget had not allowed me to dine out, so I was puzzled why it seemed familiar in an odd sort of way.

Months later, it hit me. That afternoon riding in the yellow Cadillac, after buying the moonshine, we went out to eat at the Gumlog Barbecue and Fish Lodge.

They are only open 3 days a week.

I guess that old moonshiner has other things to attend to Monday through Thursday. 

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Portman Marina

Portman Marina on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.

This is just one of their numerous docks. Most are covered for shady storage of your boat, but here on the sailboat dock, there is no cover. It was the first time I had visited here since the mid 90's when I went out on a friend's houseboat while visiting America. I spent 1987-2009 living on yachts at sea or in the Caribbean.

Somewhere in the mid 90's I visited America after surgery on Tortola.  I didn't want to recuperate on my sailboat during hurricane season and the mountain of stitches made it hard for me to climb up on my boat from a dinghy.

In a strange turn of events,  I ended up renting a little old mountain cabin at Caesars Head, South Carolina. I was only a few hundred feet from the famed Caesars Head State Park where you can see Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina from the views.

I was living, working, playing on boats 24/7 yet when I came to visit America to escape boat life for a few weeks, everyone wanted to drag me out on their boat. It was funny yet maddening. The more invitations I turned down, the madder folks seemed to get.

My friend Bill M. was in his late 70's at the time, so I went out on his houseboat rather than explain I wanted a break from boats and boating. I am glad I did because shortly after I went back home to the Caribbean, he suddenly passed away.

He was a remarkable man, had lived his entire life single, never marrying. He had an identical twin brother who did marry. Usually identical twins think alike, but not in this case.

My friend had a beautiful piano I admired. He began lessons at age 65 because he was bored with retirement. He also took up the violin. He played both extremely well.

He was laughing about his piano teacher. On his first lesson he arrived early. Her current student was 5 years old. He had to wait while their lesson finished. Next it was his turn. Before his lesson was over, another student arrived, a 6 year old.

The teacher was a tad startled because she had misunderstood him on the phone that he was 65 and desiring piano lessons. She had heard the student was "6 or 5".  So she was not expecting a newly retired 65 year old executive to show up for lessons. But within a few short years, she had him playing quite beautifully.

I never thought nearly two decades later I would be spending my summers around the lake in a motorhome, not on it in a boat.

In the early to mid 80's I used to race and sail boats all over this lake.

I loved my boating days, both in America and elsewhere but for some strange reason, I am not really interested in boating anymore. I went offshore numerous times, not seeing land for weeks. I was hired crew on yachts for over a decade of traversing the Atlantic, Caribbean and Pacific. I also came home to my own boat, as it was my only home for many years.

I've been through hurricanes, storms, fires, accidents and rescues on boats. Maybe I am just plum tired.