Monday, December 17, 2012

Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This...

We left central Arkansas yesterday morning at 8:10am, excited to begin our Christmas vacation.

Tom spent months before our trip gutting, renovating and resealing our 24 foot travel trailer. The only thing that wasn't working properly was the refrigerator, which is supposed to operate on propane while we're traveling and electricity once we reach our destination and plug into an outlet. Although Tom had it replaced over a month ago, the propane regulator stopped working early in the week, so he took it in to have it repaired. The technician was unable to repair it within our time frame, so we decided in the meantime to put all the refrigerated items in a cooler and put them into the refrigerator once we reached our destination and plugged into an electrical outlet. No problem.

By the time we reached Memphis, about 2 hours from home, we were driving through a little drizzle. It was raining in Tupelo. It was pouring rain with heavy fog in Birmingham. Luckily, we only had another hour to go.

At 5:15pm we pulled into the KOA campground in Anniston, Alabama. Still raining.

Tom went into the office, paid for our spot for the night and when he got back in the car we followed the campground assistant to site #20. Tom got out of the car, grabbed his raincoat, stepped over the trailer hitch at the end of the car and opened the trailer door. Everything looked to be in place, but it was hard to tell in the dark. I stepped in and turned on one battery operated light. So far so good.

Then Tom went outside to setup all the hook-ups: water, sewer and electricity. Everything went well until he got to "electricity." Every time he'd plug into the pole, it would trip the breaker on the pole. After about a half hour in the pouring rain, Tom and the campground assistant determined that the pole was somehow defective and decided we should move to another camp spot. He unhooked the water and sewer and, while Joe and I sat in the trailer, Tom pulled us into the spot next door.

Again, Tom hooked up to the water and sewer, but each time he attempted to plug into the new pole, the breaker tripped, which was followed by creative vowel and consonant combinations. Twice he brought the power cord into the trailer to make adjustments to the plugs. He was dripping from the rain. His jeans were wet. His shoes were soaked. Water drops covered his head and glasses.

I'm not going to try to explain the problem. My knowledge of electricity is limited to using small appliances, remote controls and light switches. Apparently a new plug would most likely resolve the problem, so while Tom made the trip to Lowe's, I opened a bottle of Chardonnay and poured myself a glass. We had come prepared with these lovely plastic polymer wine glasses with the accent rim.


When Tom arrived back at the campground, I was already halfway through my glass of wine. I watched him rip into the wires at the end of the cord, cutting away at the hard rubber around them, then struggle to attach the wires to the new plug. Meanwhile, the campground attendant was also watching Tom and attempting to make general polite conversation. It was pouring outside. I had taken Joe outside several times already, but I didn't bring a raincoat, so I was wet. My shoes and my feet were wet. I was cold and grouchy. I didn't want to talk. I wanted this stupid electricity thing to be resolved, I wanted to turn on the heater and I wanted to finish my wine in peace. But, I made nice conversation instead cuz that's the kinda gal I am.

Finally, at a little after 7:00, Tom plugged in the cord to the trailer and the other end of the cord into the power pole. We have electricity! Yay, Tom!

I turned on lights, Tom turned on the radiant heater and we were finally able to see the water leakage. There was water all over the inside of the front window and on the ledge at the head of the bed. Then I saw two wet spots in the middle of the bed on the quilt. Oh no. I looked up and saw water droplets at two opposite corners around the vent over the bed. I pulled back the quilt to see how far the water had managed to seep through the bedding. It hadn't reached the sheets or the mattress, but one spot had soaked through to the down comforter, though not all the way through to the under side. I pulled the quilt down closer to the warming heater and left the spot on the comforter exposed in the hopes that the heat would dry it out before bedtime. I wiped down the window, the blinds and the ledge with paper towels, soaking up as much water as I could. Tom wiped down the edges of the vent over the bed, which appeared to have stopped dripping. Water mess resolved for now.

Well, at least that one problem was solved. We discovered water on the floor in front of the cabinet underneath the refrigerator. Tom opened the cabinet and found water had dripped down the inside, apparently caused by blowing rain coming through the refrigerator vent on the outside. Tom wiped up the puddle with more paper towels as we had a short discussion on how to prevent it next time.

It finally started to warm up inside and Tom grabbed the other wine glass and set it down on the table. I grabbed the bottle of wine and filled his glass about half full and added just a wee bit more wine to my glass as well. After all, I didn't want him to drink alone. But when Tom attempted to squeeze through the opening between the table and a nearby shelf to sit down, he hit both glasses with his arm and as the glasses fell over, wine splashed all over my shirt and pants. Are we having fun yet?

While Tom grabbed more paper towels to clean up the spilled wine, I got up, threw off my shirt and pants into the bathtub and grabbed my pajamas. We had talked earlier about going to dinner, but I wasn't going anywhere. At this point, I didn't even care if I ate.

I took a deep breath, rinsed and dried the wine glasses and set them on the table. We both sat down, I poured more wine and we discussed our dinner options. We didn't want to go out. There were eggs in the cooler, some smoked salmon, a bag of cheese, radishes, celery and sliced carrots. I didn't feel like cooking either, so I decided on the carrots. Wine and carrots. Yum.

"Do you want me to go get something?" Tom asked.

"No. I don't want any more fast food. I'd rather do without."

"We have some microwave popcorn. Do you want some?" he offered.

"Sure. The lite stuff."

Tom got the box of dry goods from the back of the car, pulled out the box of popcorn, put one envelope in the microwave, set the timer and pressed "start." The microwave started, then stopped. The interior light went out and the display went black. The circuit for the microwave and the refrigerator has yet to be repaired.

"Do you want me to go over to the convenience store at the gas station to see if they have anything?" Tom asked as he finished his wine.

"Naw. It's pouring out there. I don't want you to have to go out there again."

"I don't mind. It's a short walk, right at the entrance of the campground," he offered.

He got up from the table and put on his raincoat and shoes and headed out the door. He's such a trooper. I decided to reward him...and myself...with another glass of wine, so I pulled the second bottle of Chardonnay from the refrigerator, opened it and poured another glass for each of us. By the time I finished and sat down at the table again, Tom was back.

"This is it," he said as he held up a plastic bag.

He reached into the bag and pulled out a can of chili, no beans.

"I'm going to heat of the chili and add the bag of cheese that's in the cooler. The only kind of tortilla chips they had was these," he said holding up a bag of orange colored Doritos, the Mexican version of Cheetos I suppose.

Tom heated up the chili, added the grated cheese to the pan and we scooped it up with the Doritos until our fingers were orange. We finished the bottle of wine.


We both took a Pepcid before we went to bed.


gina knuppenburg said...

Oh, my friend, you have so much more grace and composure that I! Hoping the rest of your trip is smoother.

altadenahiker said...

I don't know which bit is funnier, but maybe the wine and carrots because I think this is the first time they've been paired in all of literature.

Terri said...

Gina, did I sound composed? That's news to me.

Karin, I was going to respond by making some stupid comment about how the wine and carrots complimented each other, but I'd be lying. It was awful.