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Archive for the ‘Lifes Observations’ Category

Recently we were re watching Tombstone. When somebody was itching for a gun fight Doc Holliday would say, in a very casual laid back way, “I’ll be your huckleberry”. Ominous music would play there would be a close up shot of his opponents gun hand, then a close up of doc’s eyes, and the would be ruffian would walk away. For days, possibly weeks, when anyone looks at me, including the dogs I’d say, ‘I’ll be your huckleberry’. Okay I won’t actually say it, but I’ll certainly think it even without understanding what it means. I know it’s a plant and Tom Sawyer’s friend Huckleberry Finn. But in Doc Holliday’s context I had no idea, more importantly I don’t care. But I’m thinking about it, and then thought about you. Yes you! What if you care? Don’t I owe you an explanation? No, I don’t owe you one, but because I’m a kind generous person I thought, out of the goodness of my heart I’d look it up and share my findings.

Turns out when Doctor Holliday is saying, “I’ll be your huckleberry’ what he means is, ‘I’m the man for the job’. Or, “you looking for trouble? I’ll be that trouble”.

So now you know. You are welcome.

So what else am I thinking about these days?

Driving down a two lane country highway (one direction each way) we came upon a sign which made me wonder what catastrophic event happened that this particular town decided it was necessary to use this particular wording, ‘Do not pass when opposing traffic is present’. Sure makes sense, some may say even logical. Is the usual, ‘pass with care’ to gentle? I guess so.

Public restrooms. I am 56 yrs old and have Crohns Disease I have been in my share of restrooms, yet I’ve never been able to rest in any of them. In fact they fill me with tension, apprehension and dread. We should come up with a better name.

We have noticed that in RV parks very little deters people from having a campfire. First time I noticed this I was sitting in our kitchen looking out the window just watching the pouring rain when I realized the people at the site next to us, (also in a large fifth wheel) were sitting outside in their lawn chairs in the rain. Not under their awnings, just sitting around a smoldering, smoking campfire letting the rain pour down on them. One or two were wrapped in a towel. I thought to myself, ‘freaks’. But I’ve seen it quite a few times now in different campgrounds. Why would you invest so much money, time and effort to be comfortable while camping and then sit in the rain? Could have saved a ton of money and bought a tarp and a rope and make a shelter between two trees.

Speaking of campfires. The woods are safe from me, I can have the best weather for fire the driest wood, plenty of paper and kindling and yes, lighter fluid. We even made our own fire starters. I use the tepee approach leaving plenty of gaps for air to get through and I can usually get the fire started and it lasts until the igniter fluid burns off. Takes a lot to keep it going. It is frustrating when I see people with blazing fires in a rainstorm.

Shouldn’t the word, ‘ambiguous’ have more than one meaning?

There is a car that has a safety feature that alerts when the driver’s eyes leave the road. The problem as I see it, my eyes are going to leave the road as I try to figure out why the car is making noises at me. It doesn’t sound like its a cycle that ends well.

Aspen Dental, they say they take walk ins, they don’t. If you miss your appointment by 15 minutes…forget about it and embrace the pain.

Now if you want to read more posts…I’ll be your huckleberry.

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Picture Time

A few pictures of our 2021 adventure.

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After my last post, ‘Then and now…and a fart machine’ I received some requests to tell the story of how Tony Eng fooled me with dog poop.

Writing this sort of story is difficult because more often than not ‘magic’ happens in the moment of surprise. Without that surprise the magic is anti-climatic and now, dear reader you already know the surprise.

It ends with dog poop.

Thirty years ago I walked into Tony Eng’s Trick and Joke shop on Vancouver Island. There were a few people milling about and after a few moments Tony tells me he will demonstrate one more effect and then we will go to lunch.

Tony brought out a ceramic bowl and a ball and started performing. The ball would vanish from under the bowl only to reappear moments later. Sometimes it would change color, sometimes size. Everything he was doing was standard magicians flair. He performed in mesmerizing style which was always a pleasure to watch, his performances were flawless, brilliant and most importantly entertaining.

“Brian” he says, “I’m going to lift the bowl on the count of three, when I do you reach in as fast as you can and grab the ball.” He would count, I would tense up, “One…two…(I’m ready to pounce) and hey nice weather we are having.” The tension breaks and he says “seriously this time, at the count of three…One…to those of you watching….hahaha”. By the time he made it to three I was a tightly wound spring ready to be let loose. This is how a Master crafts his routine. Nothing was going to stop me from grabbing the ball once the bowl was clear. “One…two….three!” The bowl is lifted and I sprang into action. I saw my hands forming to make an upside down cup so I could trap the ball onto the table. I also saw it was not a ball! My brain and hands were already working in unison, fully committed, I heard the laugher and gritted my teeth as my hands taking on a mind of their own, wrapped around the pile of dog poop, now fully exposed.

One….Two….Three…. and my right of passage into the British Columbia magic circle was complete. BTW, I never said if the dog poop was real or fake. You decide.

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Perfect Magic has always been a store for magicians. We did not carry gum that tasted like garlic, cigarettes which exploded or the ever popular fake dog poop. Although I have seen dog poop used with great success in magic effects. The late great Tony Eng really fooled the crap out of me (pun intended)with a dog poop effect, but this is a story for another day.

So it was quite shocking when my father decided that carrying a remote control fart machine in the shop would be a good idea.

Turned out to be the best idea ever.

I snuck into the shop a little early, hid the fart machine near the cash register and took control of the remote. It was agonizing having to wait for the first customer and then the perfect moment. I hid in the office, eyes focused, thumb on the remote. I heard Gordon Lightfoot’s voice in my head, a line from The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald. “Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn minutes to hours?”

Finally the planets lined up. The customer decided on his purchase, mom punched the sale in the register then she bent over to get a bag. And in that moment I pushed the button. For some reason the fart sounded even more realistic than in my test run. My mother stood for half a beat and then started laughing. Laughing so hard she couldn’t even get my name out, although not for lack of trying. We laughed until mom, myself and the customer had tears rolling down our faces.

It was a very good day!

And we sold our first of many fart machines.

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We have been enjoying roaming the country in our 42’ fifth wheel for two seasons and heading into our third. Our Maiden Voyage in The Mothership was August of 2019, which was a month after we retired. We took three months and traveled from Pennsylvania to Southern California. In 2020 we planed to be on the road for 6 months but, you know, Covid. So we had a late start and did another 3 months. This year we plan on 5 months and we started Tuesday June 2 2021.

A few happy lesson’s I’ve learned or are reminded of while motoring across the country in THE MOTHERSHIP.

1. Life is full of twists and turns. Sometimes you don’t know its happening until you are floundering around up to your neck in the brown stuff. Figure it out, deal with it and move along.

2. Mistakes happen. Some are painful, some are costly, some are both. At the end of the day they are accidents. Learn the lesson dump the guilt and keep on moving.

3. Life is both the journey and the destination. Don’t get so caught up in one you forget the other.

4. Laugh. It is okay to be upset, frustrated, angry even scared. But when you look at it in the rear view mirror. Laugh.

5. There are times when hitting the brakes gets you into more trouble, know when to tap.

6. Some roads are less traveled for a good reason and you do not have to take them.

7. The United States is really absolutely stunning.

8. Most of us want the same things out of life, we just find our own roads. Be tolerant of those traveling a different road.

9. Don’t be a know it all, it gets old fast.

11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or offer to help others. There is a debate in the RV world about offering to help others without first being asked. For some reason straight out offering to help somebody is taken to be offensive. I don’t see how being polite and decent to fellow living creature can be taken as offensive.

12. Find the balance between butting into someone else’s business and being helpful.

13. Don’t overthink everything, it is not always complicated.

14. When things go south ask yourself, “but did it kill you?” If the answer is no you are okay, breathe. If it did well then you are checking out the dead center of town.

15. Just Breathe, laugh and hold your partners hand….take your time….well all the other crap I told you above.

16. Yup…..breathe or you will pass out get in a fiery crash and die (again with the death) so yeah…..breathe.

17. Okay done for now, I think I see someone who needs help!

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When I worked at a communications company we were often asked by management what we, the front line workers found wrong with the company. My response was always the same, lack of communication.

It appears communication is problematic everywhere and there is no finer example than Facebook. The following are some of the precious nuggets I have found perusing this particular corner of social media. what?

In trying to sound intelligent, this guy forgot he was using the written word and not in a verbal conversation. He could have just put ‘smart people’ in quotes or Italics rather than spell out, ‘quote unquote smart people’. I love the irony.

“…you know man I never really believed in them much either. Whenever things in my life start paralleling these theories me having an analytical mind causes me to do some homework. It’s funny how all you quote unquote smart people just write everything off and won’t even look at the evidence because there’s plenty of evidence.”

I’m not sure if the poster below was trying to be funny, tripped over his own words, regardless I found it funny,

“Good morning. Roads are covered with low visibility.”

Another case of irony? He is trying to argue why school is not important for everyone, yet his communication skills prove the opposite.

“It’s because schools teach need to go to more school and let’s face it some are not ment to go to school extra and will never use them 100k in det I’m happy I knew I’d be working on cars and did not go to school”

This next post was actually about student loans.

“One in 4 americans,think about that then think about all the people you actauly know,how many actauly have school lian debt,there’s Norway its actauly one out of 4 americans”

This was a post discussing rv waste systems.

“We go to full hook up rv parks every 3 time out and fill it full and dump a few tims”

The following nugget was taken from a discussion about all those pesky car warranty calls.

“they were making some quality arrests in talking 15 16 at a time and well they found over 20 children in sex trafficking rings, twice and now nothing haven t heard of enything.”

The following two posts were taken from a discussion discussing bar’s being re-opened once life started normalizing after Covid lock downs.

If I had to bet I am sure the individuals who posted the comments were drunk.

“they should close all the bars in st college, you want to learn, or just be drunk, most just be drunk, no offense to the bar, it’s a honest business but these students are getting out of control these days, take their devils wine, and the devi,l go else whet4 but saying that good luck to you!”

“But I’m putting a monkey backpack on u Bc u hot n everyone’s gonna want u but u cumming home to me”

There is a cone shaped tool which fits on your drill, it is used to split firewood. There was an ad for one on Facebook and I found this gem in the responses.

“I had one for years jacked truck up took tire off bolted on it bust any could stick to it took man hold it for sure”

I’m the first to admit I am not good with punctuation. But I think a period now and again never hurts.

“Illegal where I live can not park it in the road my neighbor across the street tried it with his hunk of junk RV then they started living in it in the street we had a few words and he refused to move it so I took the next step and then he was forced to move it he was pissed but law clearly said he could not do it”

Again, a little punctuation would be nice. I am also a little confused, he doesn’t want to buy an Open Range Rv because of all the negative comments about them, (we love ours) yet he is in the market for one?

“Does everyone hate they’re open range i seen a lot about soft floors leaky plumbing and roofs makes me not want to buy one i am looking for one with a bathroom in the front anyone selling one”

Say What?

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While on the road with our fifth wheel we noticed water on the shelves and vegetable bins of our fridge. Along the back wall there is this trough like thing with some rubber tubing attached. The other end of the tubing goes through the back of the fridge to only God knows where. A closer inspection revealed that the tubing was not really attached to the aforementioned trough like thing. Finally an easy fix, just reconnect the two. I needed a little more room to maneuver, easy enough, just have to remove the shelves. Guess what? Nothing is easy! Shelves in the fridge are screwed down. Fortunately we own a screwdriver.

Much to my horror the tube was too short to properly connect to the thingy! Yanking on the tube was a scary prospect because I didn’t know where the other end hooked up. I certainly wasn’t going to pull the fridge out, if the shelves are screwed in imagine how the fridge must be attached to the wall. I was not about to find out. Nor did I want to mop out the fridge every day or worse have it start to leak outside the fridge. Water and rv’s don’t go well together. Ever so gently I started pulling on the tube. I was able to gain another inch before I met any resistance. I secured the hose to the thingy and put the shelf back in. Monitored it closely for the next few days and the problem seemed to be resolved. Go Me!

But the water came back. We didn’t need to build an Ark but it was definitely back. The hose was still affixed to the thingy but the thingy was full of water to the point of overflowing. Obviously the tube was blocked, I tried squeezing the tube but that did nothing. Faced with the end of my knowledge of all things fridge I did the only thing left. Google.

Google, in all its web hive wisdom told me the tube was blocked. Google told me to go outside the rv and remove the panel behind the fridge and check the end of the tube. Sounded like a plan. There, amongst a bunch of wires and something that looks suspiciously like a motor was a tube that looked exactly like the one in the fridge, it traveled up the wall and vanished. I surmised that what I was looking at was the other end of the tube. There was a black plug wedged into the opening of the tube. Using my knife I carefully worked the plug out of the tube. What I did not do was step out of the way and in seconds the tube was peeing fridge water all over me. Still holding the black plug I went back and checked inside the thingy and now it was empty of water. The question now, ‘why is there a plug in the end of the tube?’ It was obviously there for a reason but the tube could not do its job with a plug in one of its ends. I asked Google. I found two articles on the plug at the end of the tube in an rv fridge. Both said to keep the plug in place. The first reason made sense, it kept ants out. The second reason said it regulated the temperature. I do not have any faith in the second reason but I was not about to take any chances. Nobody is going to blame me for climate change because I failed to replace the dreaded tube plug. With great regret I put the plug back in the tube but didn’t jam it in, just a nice loose fit, perhaps the water is supposed to ooze around the plug?

A few days later the thingy in the fridge was overflowing. I ran around the rv, took off the panel looked at the motor, wires and took the plug out of the end of the tube (standing away from it this time because sometimes I learn) and fridge water came peeing out of the tube. I figured that this wasn’t right, but wasn’t the end of the world and every few days I’ll just pull the little plug.

While it wasn’t a difficult task it did get annoying after a few weeks. So I went back to google and all the Googlemyster could suggest was that the drain tube was plugged. Arrrgh! Of course it is plugged there is a plug in the end of it that I’m not supposed to remove because it may alter the temperature. My lovely wife suggested I ask about it on an RV web site we belong too.

Must have been 1am when I started to pose my question on the web site. When all of the sudden it hit me. Maybe there was supposed to be a hole in the plug itself! Could it be that simple? I jumped up tripped over the dogs, which woke my wife, I explained that I had to go investigate the plug. By the glow of my flashlight I opened the panel that housed the motor and wires and removed the plug and brought it inside the rv and began my investigation. The plug looked solid but there was also a slight recess inside it. I took a tooth pick, and this folks, is the most amazing part of the story, the part that we have all been waiting for, the part that inspired me to write this long winded story about a drain tube in a fridge. (Drum Roll) Not only did we have toothpicks, I actually knew where they were!

And you know what? With that toothpick I found a little piece of fridge debris inside the plug that was blocking the tiniest of holes. A hole just large enough to let water seep though. We have not had water in the thingy since.

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My wife says to me, “You should get a picture of the bush outside the bedroom window”

I looked out the window and yes, it would be an awesome shot the way the branches are encased in ice. I also knew the picture would never be great because there is a screen in the way. I know what you are thinking, move the screen. The problem is we don’t have screens that slide up and down, removing the screen would literally mean me removing the screen entirely and I am way to lazy for that so I snapped the picture. Of course it came out like crap.

“I tried, the screen makes it looks like crap”

“Remove the screen” she says, “It’s easy!”

I knew it wasn’t worth the shot. But you know what they say ‘Happy wife, Happy life’. The fact it is 16 degrees out didn’t bother me, we sleep with the windows open year round however, the screen is metal and freezing! But with an inward sigh I unhooked the little latches and pushed the screen out. In order to maneuver the screen into the room I had to tilt it outside the window and pull it inside. I quickly realized the fly in the ointment, the poop in the sugar, the snarl in the yarn was the screen could not be maneuvered properly due to the beautifully ice encrusted bush. Breaking the branches would have nullified the whole point of this now increasingly frustrating project. After a few moments I decided it just wasn’t happening and started the process of putting the screen back in its place. The screen was not co-operating. My frustration was mounting.

“I did it with the bathroom window, it was easy enough” came my wife’s voice from behind me. While this tidbit of information was fantastically useless I did find it funny and we both started laughing. It was somewhere around this point where I dropped the screen outside the window. My wife immediately says, “Well we can get it in the spring and now you can take the picture! Whoohoo”. Yeah…..whoohoo.

In that moment I had a memory of another incident that happened at this very window 11 years ago almost to the day. Perhaps some of you long time readers will remember, for the rest of you or if you want to refresh your memory click here, https://bmat10.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/rude-awakening/?preview=true

“Nope, I’m going to get it right now”!

“Well be sure to take the photo first”

“Yes dear”.

Okay the hassle, even running around the house and slogging through two feet of snow to retrieve the screen was well worth the effort.

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Picture Day

Denyce and I were out and about taking some winter wonderland Pictures.

v

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If you have spent anytime traveling in an RV one thing you learn pretty quick is to establish routines for each procedure in order to avoid those costly and embarrassing errors.

For example, when we are hitching up the fifth wheel to the truck we have a set routine so we don’t forget any steps. To make a long story short this is our routine for when we have hitched up the truck and the fiver, (what rv people call a fifth wheel) and are about to head on out to our new and exciting destination.

My lovely wife Denyce, gets into the truck and inputs our new destination into our three different GPS devices at which time I double check we have left nothing behind, the break away brake and power line is secured between the fiver and the truck, the chocks are all pulled up, our water and sewer caps are secured, All five slides are all the way in, windows are closed and hatches are shut and locked.

On this particular day the last hatch was still unlocked. Imagine my horror when only a third of the key came out of the lock… Well poopy head! All our locks use the same key. The entire fiver is locked and the key to open it is broken. In other words, we had no way to get back into the Mother Ship! I had a minute of pure panic before I remembered we have a second key on my wife’s key ring.

I hop into the truck and the following conversation ensues.

Me, “Do you have your rv key?”

Denyce, “Yes, why?”

Me: slowly holding up my broken key, “the rest in stuck in the lock”

Denyce: “Is the rv completely locked up now?”

Me: nodding. “So where is your key?”

Denyce, “ummm…..in my other purse….in the Mother Ship?”

Me: looking at my wife with slight horror on my face…..sighing

Me, “We have a two hour drive ahead of us, hopefully we will figure it out.”

Denyce, who thinks faster than I do decides to call the next campground and see if they have any ideas. Maybe they know a locksmith or some other type of magician who can help us.

The KOA dude was very nice and suggested an rv service center which was only twenty minutes out of our way. Denyce calls the service center, they ask her to read off the serial number on the key. Miracle of miracles this is the part of the key we actually had and they had four of those keys left in stock! He grumpily said he would be sure and hold one for us.

Collective sigh of relief.

Five dollars and a few hours later and we were at our campsite and able to get into our home on wheels. We learned three lessons this day.

1) Always have a spare key in the truck.

2) There are only a handful of locks which come standard with any rv. Anybody can go into an rv service center, buy a few different keys and have the ability get into every rv in a campground.

3) The $210.00 keyless entry system is suddenly a very good deal.

Well crap! now we have to remember the passcode.

After writing this with my lovely wife I remembered another key story which you can read here

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