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Archive for July, 2022

In the RV world, (and perhaps other worlds as well) we talk about waste holding tanks in terms of Grey tanks which holds water from the sinks, shower and washing machines. We also have the dreaded black tanks which hold the waste from the toilet. There is a sewer hose, often called the, ‘Stinky Slinky’ you hook up from an outlet on the rv to the dump station in the campground. There is a valve you need to open so the stuff in the holding tanks can flow down the sewer hose and into the dump station.

And now you know everything you need to know to follow the following story.

Before we even purchased the RV I read a ton of articles about black water screw ups. All written under the guise of helping the newbie avoid the same fate. I laughed, I cried, I shivered in fear and disgust. In the end I came away with a wealth of knowledge and a vow not to make those same mistakes. I am proud to say that after four years I have not made any of those mistakes. Instead I created my own.

Knowing you are only supposed to dump your black tanks when they are full we didn’t even bother to hook up the stinky slinky at our first two sites. Talk about a good reason to procrastinate!

After several successful sewer encounters I found myself getting a little cocky because the only ‘issues’ we were having was positioning the rv correctly. We have two black tanks and positioning the rv so we could connect both tanks to the dump station proved to be tricky. I’m always able to reach one with the slinky but the other is almost always just out of reach. But we always figured it out.

Eventually, as promised by many blogs, the fateful day came. Once again I could easily reach one black tank but not the other. I just needed another half an inch if even that. I really didn’t want to get out another 10 feet of sewer line for half an inch. They are called slinky’s because the accordion out. Certainly I could make up a half an inch!

I always start from the dump station and work towards the rv. First the fitting to the sewer, then a ‘Y’ connector and then the slinky’s to the Y connector then the other end of the slinky’s to their respective tanks. First side wasn’t a problem. The second tank I stretched the sewer hose really tight and was able to snap it into place. Success! We had not dumped at the previous site so I knew we needed to dump the tanks and while I was bent down at the outlet anyway I went ahead and pulled the valve to let the poop fly. Feeling quite pleased I looked down along the sewer line to the dump station and much to my horror the other end of the slinky was no longer attached to the Y connector! Luckily there was no four foot poop geyser as one blogger promised, nor was there a quickly forming lake Pooperior. There was however, a small poop pond beginning to form. I slammed the valve closed and made a heroic 10 foot leap grabbing the free end of the stinky slinky and held it high in the air stopping the flow of poop. I’m here to tell you it didn’t smell great. And I realized that the ‘pond’ was going to grow a little as I still had to re-attach the end of the hose. I took a breath, (not a deep one) assumed the Super Man pose and slammed the end of the hose to the Y connection spilling only a little more poop. Now what do I do? I looked around, we were the last RV in the row, nobody was around, nobody saw. The proper thing to do was inform the campground who would asses the situation, I have heard that they can charge you if they have to clean it up, or call a company to clean it up. I decided it wasn’t that bad, I didn’t see any lumps, sometimes having Crohn’s disease has its benefits, (some of you will understand). I disposed the rubber gloves and put on new ones. I hooked up our extra garden hose and started to flood the area. It only took a few moments for the gravel to go from brown to clear. Again I looked around, there were no cries of dissent, no fits of laugher, not a face peeking out of another RV. I started to relax even the smell was fading quickly. The whole incident was coming to a close without anyone the wiser. I stood there water hose in hand, I was satisfied I got through this unscathed when I heard my wife’s voice coming through the open window, “Did we have a toxic spill?”

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A big topic on RV message boards is security. We have been in campgrounds all across the USA and have never encountered a problem. But if you read the message boards and FB groups for RV’s it would seem theft is rampant. A little deeper research shows that most cases of theft in the RV world happens when an RV is in storage at a storage facility. But I get the security conscious people, especially when one has been a victim of theft.

I could not help but notice the security measures of one fifth wheel camper that was in a site next to ours. They had a hitch lock on their RV just in case a thief would break in unhook the water, sewer, power and bring in the slides, pull in with a truck and steal the entire unit. A heck of a lot of work when there are plenty of easier targets than a fifth wheel.

But this guy was pretty serious he also used a dog chain to lock his surge protector to the power post. But the two E-bikes were simply leaning against the rv, the expensive Blackstone griddle with extra propane tanks were sitting outside on his picnic table. And lets not forget the high end satellite dish sitting on the tripod in front of his rv all unsecured.

The whole scene reminded me a friend in elementary school. He locked his bike to the bike rack but was so paranoid he wound the lock through the wheels, the frame, the chain, around a peddle and back around the wheels. When all was said and done he had done a great job in locking the bike to itself but neglected to actually lock the bike to the rack.

All of which brings us to a topic that is near and dear to all our hearts. Gun control! Okay this post has little to do with guns and more about the mentality of people. You see whenever the question pops up, “What does everyone do about theft at your campsite?” There is always some fool(s) who respond, “I carry a .38 which will stop anyone from stealing my stuff”.

Really? Do you really think carrying a gun is going to keep people from stealing your surge protector? Do you not think the would be thief is not going to drive around for awhile and figure out if you are at your campsite? Do you really think the theft is going to occur while you are at your site? Your precious gun is going to prove itself to be useless as such a theft occurs. Even if you are there. Are you really going to shoot somebody because they are trying to steal your $50.00 propane tank?

Guns are not the problem folks. Lack of common sense is the problem.

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A long time ago
Me, my Father-in-law, Denyce, Clary and Quinn

Every now and again a situation occurs which you never forget. 9/11 2001 is a perfect example. Ask any American what they were doing, where they were on that day and they can tell you. Me? I was at home searching the internet for work. I had the T.V. on in the background, I saw the news banner along the bottom and I honestly thought it was a disaster movie. Something seemed off, after a few minutes I turned up the volume, it wasn’t a movie. Moments later the phone rang, it was my wife.

I will never forget February 15, 1971, Not because on that historic day Alan Shepard walked on the moon but it was the first day we got out of school on time, if not a wee bit early. I hated school! I was 6yrs old and our grade 2 teacher would keep the entire class in detention if anyone broke her ‘rules’ somebody was bound to speak, chew gum, or look out a window. But on that day our teacher Ms Wilson wanted to watch Shepard leave the spacecraft and walk on the moon. My classmates and I celebrated our on time release by playing a round of CHAMP (a game played with a ball) in the school yard.

I don’t remember the exact day, but I was walking through Wegman’s grocery store. I was leaving the vegetable area when my phone rang. It was my sister, “Where are you? What are you doing?”
“I am in a grocery store, why?”
“Well, you will probably not forget this moment. Mom has cancer.”
My sister was right, I’ll never forget that call.

Ever since my Mother passed away it has been hard to write. My mother was my cheering section in everything I did. Always the first to comment or call after an entry on this blog.

Mom used to tell me I should have a pen and paper next to my bed so I could write down my dreams. I don’t bother because the only ones I remember are the ones which repeat. Taking the subway to places which don’t exist. Suddenly having an exam for a class I didn’t know I signed up for. Growing up we had kitchen chairs that spun. Every night I’d have the same dream I’d be sitting on the chair slowly spinning and moving forwards on a track, I’d see all kinds of things I can’t describe now but it was horrifying.

I never believed in ghosts, the after life, psychics, UFO’s or the like. As I get older I’m not so sure.

A week after my Mother passed I had a dream. I’ll call it a dream as it happened while I was sleeping. I was at a party, sitting alone in a kitchen on one of those black chairs that would slowly spin. This time it wasn’t spinning, (already a bonus). I don’t know who was there, I could not make out faces or hear conversations. Just shadows moving about and lots of murmuring in the background. So yeah, pretty much like every other party I’ve ever been too.

A figure sat down in the chair next to me. I couldn’t really make out a face but I knew it was my Mother. We sat quietly, almost looking into one another not a verbal word exchanged. After who knows how long, (but not too long) her face cleared up and she spoke, “Well, I think its time for me to go.” I replied, “I’m really going to miss you Mom.”

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a dream. I remember every moment. It took a week before I could tell my wife. It has been two years and still hard to talk about. Three weeks after my Mother died, my father in law passed. Two weeks after that our cat Gumpdrop also passed.

November 4th 2021 our good boy Quinn passed away just a few days after we returned from our last trip. He enjoyed traveling, the entire trip I just hoped he would make it home. And he did. He slept in his bed he walked in his woods he was happy. And then he was gone. The loss was crushing.

A few days before we left on this trip on May 1st 2022, we said goodbye to our old cat Trouble. He had thyroid issues and cancer. He was a pain in the butt till the end and we loved him so. When he stopped being social and then stopped eating it was time. Two days later we said goodbye to Clary our Good Girl. She was diagnosed with bone cancer. We managed her pain as best we could. But when she had enough, she had enough. She stopped enjoying her walks, eventually her food and we couldn’t blame her and the loss was devastating.

Just a few days ago a good friend of ours, Valerie lost her battle with cancer.

To say its been a rough few years would be an understatement. We are still devastated, the tears still come, the losses still crushing.

Perhaps its time to turn the page?

Happy Memories

Clary about to lose her bone to Quinn

Valerie was integral to planning our wedding. On the actual day she grabbed a video camera and became our videographer. We have the absolute best wedding video ever! Many a time Val thought she turned off the camera but alas she had not. She would let the camera hang off her shoulder, pointing at the ground while it was still recording. We know what shoes everyone was wearing and we have plenty of butt shots, sound was on so we heard all the gossip, fortunately nothing too gossipy or negative. We get a huge laugh when she is getting something from the freezer suddenly stops and says, ‘Is this on? Has it been on the whole time?” And then proceeds to turn the camera upright so she is staring right into the lens.

When my family came in for the weekend for our wedding they were staying at a hotel in town. We made arrangements to meet downtown. We also made arrangements to meet Val in the same area. We did not tell them to look for one another. Imagine our surprise when we found my Mother and Father sitting on a bench with Val! They had never met, didn’t know they were supposed to meet. They had no idea there was a connection or that they were all waiting for us.

On first time visiting my father-in-law, (John) in California we were looking for a parking space to do some shopping. John was driving and there was this woman just meandering through the parking lot obviously lost in her own world. John in an exasperated sigh, “Oh you stupid cow, get out of the way” Denyce and I are started laughing hysterically as we realized that in some situations the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We still get a good laugh at the memory.

Quinn and Gumdrop
Clary and Trouble
Trouble
Gumdrop

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