RVHer Fulltiming With a Dog and a Dude

Tag Archives: Stuff That Pisses Me Off


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.

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.

I Don’t Think That We Will EVER Actually “Hit The Road.”

We are sitting at a Freightliner shop…Hold up, check that, we are DYING IN THE HEAT at a Freightliner shop in Montgomery, Alabama…waiting for some mechanics to do whatever it is they need to do to get the Phaeton working properly so that we may actually leave the south to get to Canada. “What? ‘Alabama,’ you say? ‘Canada? Phaeton?’ Who the? What the?”

Note: I was going to erase the following rant but this is the stuff that goes through my head when I fight with the Dude. Or get my feelings hurt, and they get hurt easily. Too easily, and I know that. I am traveling in  a relatively small home with a dude and three animals and we ALL get on each others’ nerves occasionally. You can keep your sense of humor for a long time but sometimes you lose it, and then you lose it! Anyway, it would be disingenuous of me to pretend that this travelin’ life is a beautiful picnic all of the time. It has its bumps just like life in a static place. Remember, I was mad when I wrote this so don’t judge the Dude.

<rant> OK, I’m going to go off on a tangent here. This next stuff has absolutely nothing to do with travels. I’d like to know whose blog this is. No, really, whose is it? Why, I do believe it’s MINE, which means I can write about what I want to but I have a partner who only wants me to write about the topics he cares about and can’t find anything nice to say about the topics he doesn’t like. He read my last posting, the ONE-OFF on Texas, and this is what I got: “Nice blog about Texas. I thought this was supposed to be about your travels.” What the fuck? I’m not even going to tell him when I update anymore because he can’t even be assed to care unless he chooses the subject. You know, if he doesn’t care, why the fuck should a random stranger care? I get it, he hates Texas but this is something I wrote. If I make something to eat that he doesn’t like he at least has the decency to appreciate the effort. The last few entries have garnered nothing but derision from him. “Well, you’re not writing it for me.” You’re right, Dude, I’m not, but being a dick about my creative output because it’s not what you want to read is a shit-heel move. <sarcasm>Makes me just super motivated to write more.</sarcasm>

Seriously, what is a personal blog? Isn’t about you and what you’re doing and what’s on your mind? Doesn’t it make sense that traveling around the country might make you appreciate stuff that you miss? OH, oh, and if I ever say that I miss [whatever] I get attitude and phrases like, “Well, you can just go back there,” or “Why the fuck did we buy an RV?” Like he takes it as a personal affront that I would miss the few friends I had in Philly or would want to see my friends in Texas. Just because we are traveling doesn’t negate or erase the past. Just because I miss [whatever] doesn’t mean that I don’t want to see and experience the future. Missing one thing does not mean I want to move back to wherever. I miss my friend, Liga, but I don’t want to move back to Philly. I miss going to A&M football games but that doesn’t mean I want to move back to College Station. Appreciating where you came from and what was there does not mean I don’t want to see other stuff. I mean, I like Philly cheesesteaks but I’d like to try other regional foods, which you can only experience by traveling. I might find something/someplace else that I will miss BUT IT DOESN’T MEAN I WANT TO STAY THERE.

And wouldn’t traveling around bring up all kinds of emotions? This is a journey and you learn things about yourself and have emotions you’ve never had before.  And that Texas post was titled as a ONE-OFF. And THIS post was supposed to be about what has been happening since the NuRVers gathering but I’ll be damned if I tell him that this is about traveling. Fuck that.

And, and, is it wrong to want and expect the person closest to you to LIKE your output, even if it isn’t his cup of tea? Hey, Dude, I don’t know fuck all about electrical stuff and RV mechanics but I tell you all the time how much I appreciate all you do and how much I appreciate the effort it takes you to do it. I don’t say, “Nice, but I couldn’t care less.” “Nice, but so? Means nothing to me.” “Nice, but I hate mechanical shit.” “Nice. And?” See, sounds shitty, doesn’t it?

He couldn’t be bothered to say, “Well, Texas isn’t my favorite anymore but that paragraph about the fair was fun,” or “You know, I don’t like Texas but that makes me miss some of the good stuff.” Hey, Dude, did your dad treat you like that and make you feel bad about your creations, because this sounds familiar to the shit he did to you.

Anyway, it’s stuff like that that makes me less inclined to write. I made something that I put my heart into and worked hard at and the person closest to me couldn’t care less. But that’s not supposed to hurt, I guess.</rant>

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program called, I Don’t Think We Will EVER Actually “Hit the Road.”

So after practically dying in the heat at the Freightliner place we got back to our latest RV park, which is in Montgomery, Alabama, which, uhm, is not so great. We are in not the nicest area and it’s pretty sketchy here. This a huge change after Daphne and Fairhope. (It’ll make sense in a minute.)

After the gathering in Gonzales (TEXAS), we traveled to Dallas (oops, there’s Texas again…sorry, Dude) to see some friends and family. (Correction, MY friends and family.) The lovely and talented, DeAnn, braved having dinner with my mom, brother, his girlfriend, and my nephew, and she drove to Rockwall to do it. DeAnn is over there > in the blogroll. She’s the photographer (Big Tex stuff–whoops, there’s that Texas again. Funny how living there for quite a while makes some memories that get talked about occasionally. My apologies, Dude.) and all-around groovy chick I mention sometimes. I have known her since 1995. We met at Saturn of Mesquite (RIP). I sold cars for a while (!) and she keeps the place from falling apart, and knows where the bodies are buried, if you get my meaning.

Anyway, after we left the-State-That-Shall-Not-Be-Mentioned we drove to Daphne, Alabama to look at a Phaeton. The Dude had been in contact with a car dealer about trading the Winnebago for the Phaeton, pretty much a “mine for yours” sort of deal. It took us only a day to get to Daphne (traveling the god-awful roads of Louisiana yet again) and we got to the dealership after it was closed and we took a look at the Phaeton.

After that we drove a few more miles to Fairhope, which is just a beautiful little town, to the Coastal Haven RV Park. We had planned to only be there for a couple of days, just long enough to (possibly) trade the Chieftain and move into the Phaeton but (dun dun DUN) that’s not exactly how it worked out.

The actual deal was made in a day but moving from one coach to another is HARD. You’d think it would be easy. You just park next to the new coach, walk your stuff from one to the other, and done. But no. Huh uh. You are talking about moving from two sets of closets to one closet. From one chest of drawers to no chest. From one set of cabinets to an entirely new set of cabinets. From one fridge to another that is set up completely different. Not an easy thing.

AND, the Phaeton didn’t have a TV worth a damn nor a satellite dish and the speakers didn’t work right, and the tires were shot, and the AC crapped out, and the ice maker didn’t work, and, and, and. (Now, when we finally left LazyDays way back in, what, November (?), the Dude had to make pretty much all the same repairs and add-ons to the Chieftain that he was having to make yet again to the Phaeton so I have been instructed to smack him if he decides he wants to make a change to another coach in the next year. I might smack him anyway just because.)

So we were in Fairhope for about three weeks and although we didn’t do any sight-seeing we did manage to befriend a cutie calico who I named Hope and get her fixed and possibly adopted. I took her to Eastern Shore Pet Hospital, which is active in TNR and they gave us a discounted price on Hope’s spaying. We ended up not taking the discount and giving them a donation on account of the fact that they kept Hope to find her a home. She was soo friendly and soo pretty that they kept her even though they said they didn’t have room. I didn’t get a pic of her. Boo.

The Dude also found a blackberry patch on the edge of the RV park and picked so many berries that we had pie and cobbler a lot. Apparently blackberries just grow all over Alabama because the park we’re at now has them everywhere. Excellent! (The Dude had to do all of the picking because you know, spiders.)

So, after all the work on the Phaeton at Coastal Haven, the Dude gets brand-spanking new tires put on and we drive to Montgomery only to wake up with a flat because the mentally feeble at the tire store put the wrong size stems or something on the tires. And those same idjits didn’t attach the hubcaps properly so one blew off on the highway. Deeeelightful!

The Dude was able to air up the flat so that we could drive over to Freightliner and the tire store, and here we are now, sitting at the sketchiest RV park we’ve been to, waiting for some more parts so that we might, might, just might actually “hit the road” by next Wednesday so that we can get to Canada so that the Dude can teach a couple of classes. We will be seeing Calgary (missing out on the Stampede, though) and Vancouver!!! Yay, I loved the couple of days I had there for the Olympics so it’ll be great to see more of it.

And since we’re not seeing anything other than the RV park I might have to write about something in the past, write about something I know, and that might include something about, oh, I don’t know, TEXAS!

But hey, it’s my blog, right?