Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mom Would Be So Proud

It's been raining a lot here lately. I alluded to this in my previous post.

Got Geogal a rain gauge last Saturday. She has coworkers who live out in the country (way out, in some cases). They always like to compare what their rain gauges show after the latest cloudburst.

She came home for lunch today and said the gauge had "ten one-hundredth of an inch" in it.

I replied: "You of an inch?"

"Yes," was the answer. "But you have to understand that phrasing I just used is how farmers around here talk."

I explained that in elementary school I was always being marked down on my math homework for not reducing my fractions far enough. Mom even tried to beat it into my head: "Remember to reduce, reduce, reduce!"

Too bad Mom lives several hundred miles away. She'd be happy I remembered the childhood lesson.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lessons learned

Still getting used to the camper. Took her down yesterday afternoon, the temperature got warm enough to dry out the canvas. Even got a little sun.

(When did northwest Kansas turn into Seattle? I don't mind a little rain once in a while but yeeesh!)

I'm getting more confident with setting the thing up and taking her down. I even figured out the stabilizer jacks (I can't say the manual was real helpful in this sense.)

What did I learn? Make sure you have rain gear stowed in the camper. Don't drink too much water too close to bedtime. Tell Geogal why I'm getting up. Geogal keeps her iPod Touch under her pillow. It's OK for little girls to have fun in the camper before bedtime. Rain can have a hypnotic effect. The camper doesn't leak. Make sure all of us have plenty of reading material before heading out on a real camping trip. Press the "reset" button on the electric receptacle before giving up on using the Krups coffeemaker. Just because I'm camping doesn't mean I have to make my coffee strong. Camping can be fun. Yellowstone will be a blast!

Last but certainly not least: Make sure the lid on the water dispenser is closed up tight before going beddy-bye. Yes, it was only a dream but you never know.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Trial run

Did a “driveway campground” campout last night.

Even though we’ve had the pop-up for over a month now we still hadn’t used it, per se. Not for lack of desire, rather it’s just been problems with scheduling and commitments. Last weekend was little Geoana’s (belated) birthday party, a very labor-intensive endeavor. The weekend before that, a church function. The weekend previous--well, you get the idea.

During this past week I decided to get the rig up on Saturday even if it’s only in the driveway. Sleeping one night in the thing might just give us the chance to see how things feel, what we need to buy and/or keep in the camper, and help prepare us for the maiden voyage.

We even let little Geoana have one of her friends over, although I realized a little too late that this might resemble more of a giggling-girl-slumber-party vibe than an actual campout (unless girl-dominant camping trips involve inane conversations and boy-bashing exchanges). I finally had to tell them, in loud and no uncertain terms, that if they didn’t quiet down they could leave the camper and head down to the basement. It worked.

Geogal joined me in this out of the house but-not-off-the-property overnighter. I full well expected her to enjoy the luxury of having the master bedroom all to herself but the girls persuaded her to slumber in our “tent with wheels.”

Once darkness fell and the girls got quiet it was time to allow Morpheus to do his thing. Not surprisingly it took me a while. Often does when I’m in a new or unfamiliar environment and other humans in close proximity (Geogal excepted) doesn’t help.

Start drifting off to sleep. Then I hear “tunk.....tunk.......tunk......tunk...tunk..tunk, tunk, tunk, TUNK.”


I expected this. Been keeping my eye on the forecast since Friday. And Geogal (enjoying the driveway campground’s wi-fi) used her iPod Touch to access the weather info.

I remember reading what someone once wrote, somewhere, about how camping allows you to be lulled to sleep by the soundtrack of Mother Nature. Including rain. Rather than stress about the cloudburst I tried to use the rhythm as something relaxing. It worked.

Woke up some time later. Still dark. Still raining (although in a canvas-covered shelter even the smallest raindrops can sound menacing.

I’ve gotta pee.

Think about it for a while, then decide to do what’s best. I get up, reach over for Geogal’s purse (keys are on top and she locked the front door of the house). Try to exit without making much noise. Turns out when it’s raining you have plenty of external sounds to drown out your actions.

Go into the house, do my business, check clock in kitchen (3:30). Well, hey. At least it’s not 11:15 at night.

Return to camper. Geogal is up, waiting for me to return. Wanting to make sure everything’s all right (it is). I then proceed to knock over a small cup of water that little Geoana’s friend left near our water dispenser which just happens to be right next to my bunk. Oh, well. It’s a spill but not too much of one.

Then I try to fall asleep again. So does Geogal. She gets there before I do.

Then I knock over the water container. Spills all over the inside of the rig. Only now the camper seems to be much bigger than before. About the size of a small house. I mumble words that I won’t repeat here.

And then I woke up.

Much like a certain season of “Dallas,” it was all a dream. At least the massive amount of spilled water was. Just to be sure I glance over at the water dispenser. Safe and sound. Also has the lid screwed tightly on top. Geogal’s snoozing away. So are the little ones. I close my eyes and think of pleasant things.

Wake up. It’s lighter now. Yet I don’t know what time it is because my clock radio with the large numerals (I’m nearsighted) is nestled away on my nightstand in the master bedroom. I don’t have my cell phone in the camper. And Geogal’s iPod Touch? I wouldn’t even know where to begin looking for it. No matter.

I do some more dozing. More dreams, but none involve liquids. Open my eyes again. Daylight. No rain. Quiet. Peaceful.

Nice! So this is one of the reasons people camp.

I take a few minutes to just enjoy the atmosphere. Then I sit up, get my coffeemaker ready (brought it in from the kitchen before hitting the hay). A few more minutes, I’m enjoying fresh-brewed java in the cool of the morning.

Very nice.

I savored the time before the realities of Sunday morning forced me out of the camper and into the house for shaving, showering, dressing, and making sure everyone else is up in time to get to Sunday school and church service.

Yep, I think we’re ready to take the camper somewhere.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Gardening and Camping

I'm so glad winter is gone. Mornings are still brisk but it beats having to scrape ice (or snow, or both) off my windshield.

Spent a good chunk of yesterday outside although most of it was due to little Geoana's sports-related activities. A soccer doubleheader followed by a softball competition. By the end of the day all three of us were sunburned. How quickly we forget that even though the air temperature is only in the low 60's we are still victim to Old Sol's UV rays.

Anyway, didn't start my "fun" stuff until later in the afternoon. I hitched up the camper and drove her off the grass (had to mow). Undid the bolts holding the propane tank then used a very precise and scientific method to check for the amount of fuel. Just a fancy and sarcastic way to say I picked up the tank. Hmmmm. Not as heavy as a full one but too much weight to be empty. I'll just take it to my local Hank Hill and have him top it off.

Bolted the tank back into place then drove the rig out to one of the city parks. I used a deserted and very large parking area to practice backing. Let's just say I hope to improve with experience (and a whole lot more practice).

Still waiting for that maiden voyage. Our Saturday schedules for May are more full than we first realized. Yet before the month is out we intend to take the rig on a quick Saturday-overnight trip, probably to a nearby destination in Nebraska.

What's on tap for today? More outside activity (yeah!), today's being in the garden. By sundown I hope to have more weeding done and have some onions and Yukon Gold seed potatoes planted. Time to take advantage of these warmer temps. Plus the Vitamin D I'll get from the sun-time couldn't hurt, either.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

"IAMMMMW" Loses Another One

"It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World," one of my favorite movies (credit Geogal for introducing me to it) has lost another lead actor.

I saw Dorothy Provine's obit on the wires yesterday. While she's not a household name in this day and age, she evidently was well-known back in the 50's and 60's. To her credit she retired from acting and had enough sense to stay out of the spotlight. For a one-time Tinseltown figure to be married to the same man for 43 years says something.

If you don't recall her character (warning--spoiler ahead), she's the one who first noticed the "Big W." (Cue the choral voices.)

The flick was made almost 50 years ago and I can only recall three lead actors who are still with us: Jonathan Winters, Mickey Rooney, and Sid Caesar. And of the notables who made cameo appearances Jerry Lewis is the only one (from my quick recollection) who hasn't gone to that great film set in the sky.

If you haven't seen "IAMMMMW" I strongly recommend it. Ethel Merman's over the top portrayal of the mother-in-law from hell, the control tower scene, the "fistfight" between Milton Berle and Terry-Thomas (neither one would do well in a bar brawl), Phil Silvers doing what he did best, and any scene involving Sylvester make this long movie worth your time.

I'm only scratching the surface with all the aforementioned vignettes. Hmmm, I might just pop it in the DVD player sometime real soon.