RVHer Fulltiming With a Dog and a Dude

Monthly Archives: June 2010

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Note: All names have been changed.

I have listened to a lot of stories about the Dude’s siblings. He has four but he mostly talks about Cassie. He told me how she was a good sister to him. How she helped him when he needed it. How she backed him up when he needed it. He told me how she was so smart and talkative and lively and how her personality could fill a room and how she was impossible to ignore, even if occasionally he wanted to.

On the way to Calgary we stopped in Oklahoma. I met Cassie, and her husband, Tom. I met their son, the handsome Todd, and his lovely wife, Lisa, and their beautiful girls, Lizzy and Madison. I met Cassie and Tom’s daughter, the beautiful Missy, and her awesome kids, Alissa and Hunter. [This family is, and I’m not kidding, like a TV family. The kids are well behaved and gorgeous and listen to their parents and have beautiful manners and talk to adults as if they were adults themselves. (OK, maybe the two-year-old didn’t carry on adult convo, but she had good manners.) (Hunter: I’m not including you in the “kids.” You, Killer, are head and shoulders above the other persons-of-your-age I have met. May you long rock on.)]

I watched and listened to Missy interacting with her kids and seeing how much she really seemed to LIKE them, and how they liked her. (What is, “T-Dog?” I think that is what y’all said.) They talked like friends, but they obviously respected her as mom. I watched the 17-year-old Hunter love on his grandma and order dinner for her. (A gentleman, that one. Good job, Missy.) I watched Lisa and Todd play with and comfort their girls. I watched Tom pay attention to his grandkids and pet on them. I watched these people talk to the Dude like it was just yesterday that they had seen him, not years ago. I listened and watched and saw a beautiful, amazing, unique family.

I also listened and watched as Cassie told a story, and then listened and watched as she told the story again, and then again. I listened to this family tell the Dude how much Cassie has changed in three years, and how much she had declined in the last six months. I listened as the family asked, “Where is Grandma,” and looked around, everyone quiet, tense, aware.

While the Dude talked to the family, I looked at the family pictures and there was Cassie, the vibrant, bright-eyed woman I’d heard about. I saw her engaged with the camera. I saw a fierce intelligence and independence, and maybe a bit of stubbornness. I saw her eyes reflected in the grandkids. I watched the Dude’s composure falter. I watched Alissa ask Missy a question. I watched Missy tell Alissa that there were no guarantees in this world. Alissa is gorgeous, and smart, and wise beyond her years but she is also only 10.

I don’t know when we will be back this way but I hope to meet this family again. I don’t think Cassie will remember us, though. Cassie is 63, younger than my beloved momma, and three years ago was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. It is genetic. It is fucking cruel.

There are no guarantees.

Wait, What? We’re Actually Leaving the South? No, It Can’t Be.

We picked up our Chieftain in Tampa back in October. So that was what? Eight months ago? And for eight months we have really done nothing but sit somewhere in the South and make repairs to the Chieftain, and here now, the Phaeton. Oh sure, we spent the winter in the Keys (at one RV park), which, don’t get me wrong, does. not. suck, and then made some stops on the way to the the NuRVers gathering, but save for those things we haven’t left the South and gone on a real trip.

We went from Tampa to the Keys to Tampa to Atlanta to Memphis to Houston to Austin to Gonzales to Dallas to Daphne to Montgomery to Dallas, and the only reason we even left Florida was we had to go to the storage unit in Dallas, and then the only reason we didn’t get on the road was we decided to buy the Phaeton so it was back across I-10 to go to Alabama. NOW, praise the Lord and pass the biscuits we are finally, finally on our first real excursion somewhere.

So here we are, sitting at Hidden Lake RV in Ardmore, OK, with one last friends/relatives stop to make. In a couple of hours we will be in Yukon, OK, visiting with one of the Dude’s sisters and her family and then it is off to Calgary.

I am trying to be a positive thinker but some of this preparation has started to seem more like putting stuff off. It’s time to cowgirl up and get this rodeo started.

Yee haw!

Renovations. Inspired or Masochistic? Discuss.

So, while we are stuck in Montgomery, Alabama, where it rains every effin’ day, three times a day, we have decided to do away with the stock valances and day/night shades and replace them with pull-down shades, sheers, and curtains. It seemed like an easy thing to do. Unscrew this, screw in this, hang up that, but what has been happening is this: Unscrew this, screw in this, hang up that.

Trying to maneuver curtain rods and blinds up the steps and past each other and not step on a cat or dog and not whack the shit out of something thereby causing yet another repair for the Dude would be comical in a Larry, Moe, and Curly kind of way IF the Dude had even the tiniest bit of humor left but seven months of nonstop RV repairs and still working a full-time job and adjusting to this new lifestyle have kind of sucked the whimsy right out of him. I mostly just try to do exactly what he says, anticipate what he wants next (aka read his damn mind), and stay the hell outta the way.

Now add to the previously mentioned fact that it rains every day, and the Dude has repairs that have to take place outside and we are running out of time to get to Canada, you can see how the renovations that should’ve been a piece of cake are fraught with DRAMA.

“Grab it! GRAB IT,” screamed the Dude, who just seconds before had been talking to himself and the curtain bracket. How was I to know that his exclamations were directed at me and not the disobedient bracket that had failed earlier to grasp the rod?

“God damned pieces of shit! Retailers must believe that Americans want the cheapest shit available. Does anyone ever try their products?! What, the Chinese had these screws on sale this week? These don’t even fit this bracket!” Thus began a 10-minute rant lecture well-thought-out talk about American consumers, the state of our consumerism, the retail industry, and China.

“Hand me my keys,” said the Dude. I look around for keys. “Did you hear me!” asked the Dude when I don’t answer quickly enough. “Do you see the blinds that go in the kitchen,” asks the Dude. “Yes,” I swiftly and decisively answer. “Stop, stop! You said it too quickly. I thought we had a bad connection,” said the Dude, sans irony. (Y’all, excuse me for a few moments, won’t you? I have to go and find my eyeballs. I think they rolled under the couch.)

And so I sit here, writing this, waiting for the Dude to get back from Lowe’s, wondering what today will bring. Will it be easy and the last curtain set goes up easily, or will it be another diatribe on the lack of quality in our products these days, or perhaps I’ll get snapped at. Yet again.

I’ll let you know how it goes.