Sunday, October 22, 2017

GLADYS IS THE MISS MANNERS OF CAMPING

Years and years ago my family went camping in the mountains of New Mexico.  I was probably four years old but I still remember it like it was yesterday.  All of us piled in the salmon colored Ford station wagon, our beloved daschund huddled in the back seat with the rest of us kids drinking NeHi grape soda and eating Cheetos.   Hey don’t judge until you’ve tried it.  Muck the magic wiener dog loved it.


There we were in the wilds of the Gila Mountains.  Bare cliffs to the north of us and desert to the south of us.  My brother would tell me to get down in the floor boards because there were Indians on the cliffs and they loved to kidnap little girls with frizzy hair and buck teeth.  I looked up to my big brother and believed everything he told me.  Well, almost everything. 

It was in those early days that I learned the Golden Rules of Camping.  Yes, there are RULES.  There are rules for everything and everyone.  You don’t get a pass just because you think you are special.  Trust me you’re not. 

Let’s go over some of those rules and see if you are guilty of these or if you are a happy camper.

       The standard you bring it in, you take it out.  Everything from the wrapper on your snickers to poop.  Unless of course, facilities are provided.  Nobody wants to be out trekking the wilds only to come upon a big pile of your feces.  Novices to hiking will stand around with their guide books pontificating about which animal left their scat under the elm tree.  “It could be the Puma Concolor” Biff will pose while Skip will argue that it is the Ursus Americana.  Nope it will just be the old Americana Dumbass.


2.       If camping in a camp ground be respectful of your neighbor.  Now see I believe this goes back to that golden rule of life.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  What I mean is don’t take up more space than was allotted you.  Don’t be noisy and rambunctious after ten pm and don’t be that morning clatterer clanging pots and pans before six in the morning.  Be respectful. 


3.       Just because you are camping does not give you or your children permission to act like fools.  Kids will be kids but teach your kids to respect themselves as well as others.  Don’t trample through someone else’s camp site.  Don’t set up camp in the middle of walk ways and or driving lanes.  Yes, we are all thrilled this is little Psummer’s with a silent P first camping trip and that little Gailey, pronounced Hailey, just loves to play in the stream but keep an eye on them for goodness sake.  No one wants to police your kids.  That is your job.



4.       If you have a large group camping together, please for the love of all things holy, do not take over the whole camp ground.  There are other people there trying to enjoy it too and may not want to be in the middle of your Corn Hole game or listen to your Uncle Bill’s rounding rendition of Jail House Rock.

5.       Pets.  Can we talk about your pets?  I love dogs, cats, ferrets and birds of all flavors but if you can’t control your animal then don’t bring it with you or at the very least keep it on a leash.  I know you love Fluffy and could not stand to be a minute away from the hairy little fuzz ball but remember Pete Puma loves Fluffy too.  Fluffy tastes just like chicken.  Also remember all animals do not instantly get along.  Dog fights are unpleasant, a kitty being terrorized by Fido is awful and your ferret burrowing into your neighbor’s camper is rude so keep your pet under control at all times.

OK, I’m gonna stop preaching here and leave you with a few thoughts.  Some people LIVE in their RV’s.  It is their home.  They go from place to place enjoying this wonderful country of ours.  Most of them are good at what they do.  They enjoy meeting new people and new faces.  So, when you're camping and someone says Good Morning or Good Afternoon, don’t be an ass.  Smile and return the greeting.  It will make you a better camper.



Monday, October 2, 2017

The Incident of the Shabby RV at Night

So, this happened...

Last week my Kahuna had travel out of town which meant he had to leave extra early.   We drag ourselves out of a nice comfortable slumber as the alarm screeched at us.  This was around 3:30 in the morning.  As is my pattern I rose and made him coffee and packed his lunch and breakfast.  We said our goodbye at the door.  I noticed an older shabby motorhome had parked across from us in the middle of the night. Odd but not alarming.

 Let me explain a little.  We are living in a motor home in a very nice R.V. Park at a Native American Casino.  Lots of nice rigs in a very quiet park.   


I went back to bed but traveling with a little dog you never get to sleep in.  I got up around six to let Bozz out to pee.  Which is when I noticed that there was a young man in a Kia parked across from me at the shabby RV. 
 Ok Odd but still not alarming. I mean people wait for people all the time, right?  I got ready to go to the store at about ten a.m. and the Kia was still parked in front of RV with the guy still sitting there. You know that feeling in your gut when something just doesn’t seem safe?  Yeah, I had that.  I needed to go grocery shopping and got in my car but still felt apprehensive about both the RV and the man waiting in front.  As I was leaving the park the ranger pulled in. I stopped and told him what spot I was in and what I had witnessed. He told me thanks and I went on my way.

 I got back to my RV around noon and low and behold the little Kia pulls in shortly after I did. This crack head looking guy got out of Kia ran into RV and then came back out and took off in a hurry. About an hour later I took Bozz for a walk and came back to sit outside and again another car pulled up to RV, guy gets out ran into RV and then out and sped off. This happened all afternoon. It was like watching a revolving door.  Car would pull up, person get out ran into the RV, door would fly open, off they would speed. 

 I walked to the office and told the girl at the desk what I had seen. I told her something just seemed sketchy. She asked what spot and I told her. She jumped up and told me that there is no one in that spot. Ummm Yeah there is.  She called the ranger who informed her he has stopped by there twice on suspicious vehicle calls, but had observed nothing. OK... I go back to RV.

Within minutes of me sitting down in my chair and opening my book a car sped up to RV. A girl jumped out and started pulling the hook-ups. It was like Mario Andretti’s pit crew.  She had water, sewer, power and cable pulled and in the RV in seconds flat.  They fired up the rig and drove off down the road, WITH SLIDE-OUTS STILL OUT.  Yes, that is what I said.  The slide outs were still fully extended.  They pulled up the road a little and I watched as four scruffy looking young men ran through the bushes and hopped into the shabby RV.  They goosed the diesel engine and in a cloud of bluish-black smoke they sped rocking and swaying out of the park, WITH SLIDES STILL FULLY EXTENDED. 

The girl from the office sped toward the listing RV she took the first corner on two wheels of her golf cart followed by the Tribal Police and the Park Ranger.  They convened in front of the vacated spot.  I stood and yelled to them “You just missed them.  They just rounded the corner in a cloud of smoke, but I don’t think they will get far”.  Ranger Tom called back “Why not?”  I laughed “THEIR SLIDES ARE STILL OUT”.   Ranger Tom and TPD Officer Brent sped off in pursuit of the shabby RV with its slides extended.  The girl from the office checked to make sure nothing had been damaged in the expedited exit of said RV. 


Later I spoke with the front desk and they told me that they had indeed caught the shabby RV down the road trying to suck in their slides and that they had been apprehended and dealt with.  And yes, to answer the big question in the spirit of Jesse Pinkman and Walter White it was indeed a meth RV.



Thursday, April 6, 2017

DRIVING NAKED OR WHY I DON’T TAKE AMBIAN





I have suffered from intermittent insomnia for years.  Oh, don’t get me wrong I can fall asleep easily, I don’t obsess or have racing thoughts, nope falling asleep is not my issue.  I am not saying I don’t have issues believe me I have issues about my issues but falling asleep is not one.  I do however have a terrible time staying asleep.  Most people go into REM sleep and then they pass on over into Beta sleep which is that deep restful sleep.  Not me.  I go into REM sleep, jerk and I am awake.  Sometimes I can fall back to sleep but most of the time I spend the rest of the night tossing and turning willing myself to fall back asleep. 

Years ago, my doctor sent me to a sleep clinic.  They attached electrodes to my head and wrapped chords around my body and then told me to go to sleep.  I mean what could be more restful than being trust up like a Christmas goose and told to sleep.


Nope, no pressure there.  I tried to sleep.  I turned this way and squiggled that way until I finally dozed off just enough to have that falling off a curb feeling.  I jerked awake and that was all there was to sleep for the next eight hours.  When the test was over and the doctors all converged watching the video, examining the EEG and the EKG and the ABC’s of my night they all came to the conclusion all I needed was a good sedative.  Low and behold there was a brand new one on the market.  Everyone was talking about it.  Drug reps were handing them out like Tic Tacs at a garlic festival. 



I happily filled my prescription in anticipation of a good night’s sleep.  I celebrated by going to bed early.  I fell asleep quickly and remembered nothing until I awoke in my backyard.  It was the middle of the night and I was standing in the middle of my backyard, in the middle of winter, naked.  I had pajamas on when I fell asleep but here I was wide awake in my backyard without a stitch.  I made my way back in the house found my pajamas wadded in a pile on the floor of my kitchen, the refrigerator wide open and the water running.  I thought, hum that’s odd.  Someone broke in my house raided my refrigerator and left the water on.  I checked the locks after I dressed secured the house once again headed off to bed.  I tossed and turned wondering what in the hell had happened that I would tear off my clothes venture into my yard wearing nothing but my birthday suit.   The next morning, I felt like I had been on a ten-day Tequila bender.  I pulled myself together and drove the sixty miles to my office. 

I continued to take the sedative hoping and praying that it would put me to sleep like that woman on the Sominex commercial, sleep, sleep Sleep.  Each night I would wake in some form of undress in either a closet, the kitchen or one time standing in the shower.  I spoke to my physician about the sleep walking and she told me it was one of the side effects of Ambien, that some people had complained of sleep eating, but that I shouldn’t worry and the side effects would eventually go away.

 

Then it happened.  The reason I will never take a sleeping pill again.  It was a night much like any other.  I got the munchkin in bed, completed my nightly routine then snuggled down in my bed for hopefully a night of sleep.  I fell asleep easily enough.   I slept.  I slept soundly.   I slept soundly until I awoke in front of my office door.  Standing in front of my office door that was sixty miles from my house in the dark of night.  I was standing in front of my office door sixty miles from my house NAKED.  Not a stitch.  I was letting it all hang out.  I was airing out the laundry.  I looked around and luckily not a soul was around.  I ran to my car and popped the trunk and like Eve I began searching for something to cover my nakedness.  I found a rain poncho and some work-out pants and quickly put them on. 

About that time a police car drove up.  The officer rolled down his window and smiled and asked if everything was all right.  WAS EVERYTHING ALL RIGHT?   No, it wasn’t all right.  I had driven sixty miles in the middle of the night ASLEEP!!  Not only was I asleep but I was NAKED and asleep. 


I still don’t sleep.  I still suffer from intermittent insomnia.  I do not take any kind of sedative.  

I told the doctor what happened and she paused then replied "Well I wouldn't take that anymore if I were you."  Thanks Doctor Obvious. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

SHE ISN'T MY DOG

She isn’t my dog.  Really she isn’t.  She smells like death and can barely walk.  Good thing she isn’t my dog. 

I first met her about eleven years ago.  Her coat was a shiny black and her eyes were bright.  She ran to greet me and guide me to a dinner date.  It was the first night I had dinner with Kahuna’s family at their house.  She was just a big black bouncy Labrador mix happy to greet me.  I exited my car and she immediately got up close and personal.   When I say up close and personal I mean snout in the crotch personal.  A kind of how do you do let me record your smell in my mind so that I will always know it’s you.  She was an outside dog then.  She ruled ten acres of rough Southern California desert terrain with an iron paw.  Her name was Nikki and she was the alpha dog and she isn’t my dog.
That first night I knew I liked her.  She was bright, attentive and definitely had a mind of her own.  I hoped she liked me back.  She must have because on subsequent visits to Casa de Bruno she brought me presents like squirrels, lizards, tarantulas and once a pig’s head.  Yes, a pig’s head.   We think someone must have buried a pig in the ground for a Luau and she dug it up.  What a surprise they had when they dug uptheir succulent pig and found it  uncovered and headless.   Good thing she isn’t my dog.


So began our relationship.  Pretty soon I became part of the family and she became a bigger part of my life.  She protected me when I was home alone.  This was usually done by me bringing her into the house at night because of the coyotes.  I would make her a bed of old blankets on the floor and tell her to stay.   She would wait until I was fast asleep and sneak over to the sofa where I would find her  in the morning stretched out, all four feet in the air snoring.  We played this game of no no/yes yes.  I would tell her no and she would ignore me and do whatever she pleased.  I saved scraps of meat and bones for her and she in returned gave me companionship, security and unconditional love.  Good thing she isn’t my dog.



Years have passed and we moved away from Casa de Bruno into the suburbs where she can no longer run free range.  She has become a house dog.  She has spent the last six years languishing in the cool indoors watching television and waiting for her walks where once again she is allowed to run like the wild animal she dreams she is.  She lies as close to me as she can get as she does others.  She needs human contact now.  She wants to know she is safe, secure and has a companion.  Now she struggles to go on her walks, some days she only runs in her dreams.  Good thing she isn’t my dog.
Her muzzle is grey and there is a large cancerous growth below one eye.  Her body is lumpy and she smells bad.  She is banished to a corner of the kitchen where if she has an accident it is easily cleaned.  She watches every move we make and wags her tail happily when paid the slightest of attention.  Good thing he isn’t my dog.





I know her days are numbered.  Soon she will cross the rainbow bridge where she will once again chase squirrels, antagonize bunnies and dig up pig heads.  She will be free from the constraints of her corner in the kitchen and of the pain.  My heart is breaking as I watch her hobble to her spot  and she turns those big dark eyes no longer shining up at me as if to say I’m okay right here as long as I’m close to you.  Good thing she isn’t my dog because I can’t imagine my heart breaking any more than it is.