Category Archives: The Ugly Duckling Vintage Camper – 1955 Aljoa

BILLY BOB’S RURAL COMPOUND

I sat in my car surveying Billy Bob’s rural compound.  A crash involving a battered Barbie car, a hula-hoop and a rusted barrel lay in the weeds. rusted equipmentIn front of me were half a dozen crumbling carcasses of gigantic earth moving equipment.  To my right was a graveyard of broken household items; a shattered mirror, a decomposing sofa, a fry pan missing its handle, and more. So much more.

My older brother, Mike, sat in the back seat as our younger brother, Rick, climbed the rickety stairs and knocked on the door.

Mike and I stared in silent horror as a massive, furry white head emerged from beneath the steps.  The body of a gargantuan moth-eaten dog followed the head.

“Psst.” I whisper shouted. “Hey, Rick!”

He turned around and I pointed to the creature waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.  Mike and I rolled up our windows. Rick walked down and patted the beast on the head.  “Good dog,” he said and sauntered up the steps to the back, where he continued his knocking. Old Camper 2

While we waited, the door of a vintage camper swung open. I cringed, certain Billy Bob would vault out, roaring chain saw in hand. Instead, a rooster and two hens jumped down from the grimy vehicle and crossed over to the grass to peck at insects, of which I am certain there were many.

After several more knocks on the door to the house, it opened.  A beautiful eighteen-year-old girl, with a killer body encased in spandex, stepped onto the porch.

Mike and I started to get out of the car.

A grimace on the girl’s face caused me to re-evalute my move and her age. Now she was a well worn thirty-five year old woman. “Get back in there!”

We did as we were told.

“It’s down the road. We have to drive,” Girl/Woman said.  She walked over to a camouflage ATV, pushed off a six-pack worth of empty beer cans and hopped on.

We followed her past the chicken coup RV and into some deep weeds.

How do I get myself in these situations?  You could read last week’s post, Unicorns, Mountain Lions and Brush Hogs, or you could just assume that, as the Mayor of Crazie Town, I’m doing my duty and trying to purchase a mower.

Remaining on the ATV, Girl/Woman pointed to a group of trees. Rick and Mike exited the vehicle and whacked their way to the brush hog for sale.

“Any way you could get it out so we could look at it?” Mike asked.

“Nope.”  She punched a thumb toward the house. “He don’t want to get up.”

We stretched a rope between my car and the equipment.

“You better not do nothing to hurt it.” She threw a worried look over her shoulder.

We dragged the piece of machinery into a clear patch and Rick began his expert negotiating tactics.  “It’s not quite what we’re looking for, but we’ll give you $400.”

“No way,” Girl/Woman snarled. “And you’d better put it back where you found it before you leave.”

Mike and Rick gave it a second look and decided it was worth the asking price.  I counted out $500 and handed it over.

Her fingers flashed through the bills and she nodded. Girl/Woman jumped off the ATV, a smile lighting up her face, turning her back into the beautiful eighteen-year-old girl.   “How ya gonna get it in your trailer?  I can bench press three-hundred pounds, so I could help.”

Mike’s plan was for them to tilt the brush cutter on its side, I’d “slide the trailer” under it and they’d flip it on.  Girl/Woman was correct in her bench press statement and with her help, this endeavor went fine.

Unfortunately, Girl/Woman had laid the $500 on the ground to help lift and when she returned to the pile, $20 was missing.  We kicked around in the tall grass searching when Mike joked, “Maybe one of the dogs ate it.”

“Max,” Girl/Woman hollered.  The raggedy behemoth turned his head her way, a luscious $20 bill hanging from his mouth.

We took off before a replacement twenty could be demanded.  As we drove back to our family farm, Mike and I concocted our stories of Girl/Woman’s life.  A stripper who’d made it good, and likely to tell Billy Bob that she’d only been able to get $400 for the equipment.  Rick was appalled by our assumption and insisted she was probably a schoolteacher.

In any event, I made it out of there with my life and ready to work on my next Crazie Town situation: How to remove a frog from the fresh water tank of my camper, whom I discovered last week, peering up at me from inside the intake valve.Frog

UNICORNS, MOUNTAIN LIONS AND BRUSH HOGS

A couple of years ago, when my aunt died, she left me a fairly worthless piece of farmland about sixty miles from my home.  I know the land is worthless because my Grandpa said so in his will.  A third of the original farmstead [the rich flat land] went to my father, the other two thirds [the rocky, cedar-tree-infested land] went jointly to my two aunts.  That’s the part that I inherited with my brothers and sister.  Basically, I own one/nth of one/half of some acreage.

We hired a local farmer (Little Steve, son to Big Steve – a friend of my dad’s and the only farmer we knew) to plant the fields he could.  The rest is rocky, hilly and covered in trees.

In the plus column, at the highest point, you can see for miles.  I’ve spotted dozens of deer and turkeys and coyotes. In the early spring we even had one little lonely duck on our sad tiny pond and after I parked my vintage camper out there and spent the night, I heard a mountain lion.

In a fit of Crazie, and against the advice of every attorney I talked to (more than six, less than twelve) we all decided to keep the land.  Why? you might ask along with my husband who asks constantly. Maybe because it is two-thirds of the farm I grew up on and although as a kid I never once wanted to do a single farmer thing on it, now I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.

Unicorn Besides, I had a vision. Simply remove all the invasive cedar trees and we’d be left with unicorns dancing in the starlight or possibly just rolling hills covered in prairie grass and wildflowers.

We worked and slaved (for one weekend) and then paid someone to bulldoze acres of the prolific cedars.  After two days we ran out of money he finished. But I was determined to keep going.  I had a vision after all.

I started out with a hand saw and then graduated to a reciprocating saw, which required the purchase of a generator, extension cords, gas cans.

Teresa with sawI borrowed my nephew’s chain saw (don’t tell Husband) and cut down every cedar I could reach.

Overwhelmed with nightmares of cedar trees, I learned from Little Steve to hone in on the female of the species, easily distinguished by the thousands of blue berries covering her branches.

In the process of tidying up the land, I uncovered spectacular deciduous trees; walnuts, red buds and pears.  Next to the hundred year-old-dump — a dry creek filled with rusted tin cans, stoves and old tires — I discovered a hundred-year-old oak tree with a seven-foot circumference.

From Little Steve, I also learned that baby cedar trees pop up wherever there is open grass so the cleared area would need to be mowed. Rather than pay someone, I thought it would be more fun (?) to buy my own tractor and a brush hog — that’s a mower to you city folk.

From a friend of a friend of my brother, Rick, I looked at a 1949 Ford 8N tractor.  The owner was kind enough to deliver it.  Sure there were a few issues, like I had to disconnect the cable after every use or the battery would run down and the steering was so loose I could turn the wheel a foot in either direction with no reaction.  But it was a tractor and it was destined to be mine.

In Crazie Town, the women/girls stayed in the house and cooked while the men/boys ran the equipment, so in all my years on the farm, I never once drove a tractor.  I gleaned a little bit of farm knowledge so I could probably tell the difference between a plow and a harrow, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, tell you what a harrow is used for.

But, now, I had the possibility of my own tractor and I was in farmer heaven.  I puttered around learning how the gears worked.  I drove the tractor fifty yards one direction, changed gears and drove fifty yards in the other direction.  Number one lesson learned: don’t drive over rough terrain in third gear with the throttle full out.  Until I could get my foot on the clutch long enough to downshift, I bounced around on the seat like a piece of popcorn in a hot pan.

After that harrowing (hey, maybe that’s what a harrow is for?) experience, I coasted up to the owner who was trying very hard not to laugh. I paid him and with a shaky hand I waved goodbye and he drove away.  I turned off the tractor and…it never started again.  I left it where it landed and drove the sixty miles home, composing a story in which I could tell Husband about the tractor without actually mentioning that I’d probably just purchased a very expensive lawn ornament.

The new plan was to meet my brother, Rick, the next day to see what we could do to get  the !@#$#@! thing running. But the next day it rained and then it rained…and rained…and rained.  It was over six weeks later before Rick and I could get out to the farm and see what repairs we could make.  This is the condition of the fuel filter when we arrived.Fuel Filter

It appears to have been eaten by some rats cute little field mice.

With the help of Rick and his wife, Shelly, we took a trip to the Tractor Supply store, where (as every woman has experienced) the salesclerk would only talk with my brother.  He informed Rick that my vehicle was so small that bona fide tractor parts don’t fit.  He sent us to the lawnmower department which I found quite insulting, but less expensive.

Once we installed the fuel filter — right side up — the tractor roared to life.  Hurray!

However, it is just a moving lawn ornament until I can buy the brush hog to do the mowing.

Stay tuned as I find myself in Billy Bob’s Death Compound.

Pwall-Ticka-Abe

I decided to take a break from clearing cedar trees around The Ugly Duckling and spend a day at home, sewing curtains for her naked windows.

I’d purchased the fabric on-line two years ago at the very apex of my mid-life crisis, but had never paused long enough to turn it into something. Also, there’d been the problem of not owning a sewing machine.

IMG_1146But, smart me, the only thing I chose from my aunt’s estate was her ancient Sears Kenmore Model 1755.

IMG_1145

 

And, even though I haven’t sewn anything more than a button in twenty-five years, it would be like riding a bike. The first step would be figuring out how to make curtains.

I sat in front of the computer and pulled up a blog on how to sew lined curtains, (which was surprisingly helpful.) I carefully measured the fabric – twice, folded down and ironed the hem and then sat down at the prehistoric machine. I plugged in the Sears Kenmore Model 1755 and no sparks erupted so I pushed on the pedal. The needle jumped up and down at breakneck speed while visions of professional-grade draperies danced in my head.

I positioned one of the two spools of thread I’ve used over the past twenty plus years to sew on buttons, wrapped it around the bobbin and pressed the pedal. No bobbin winding.  I pressed again and again until a little puff of smoke appeared and the pungent smell of burned rubber filled the room. I removed the bobbin gear and took it to my garage workstation.

IMG_1142I oiled and cranked and oiled and cursed, but it would not budge. After an hour I threw the part on the floor gently released the problem to the Universe.

By now, it was getting to be afternoon and if I was going to finish the curtains by the end of the day, things were going to have to go perfectly. So, the Universe told me to stop screwing around and go get a new sewing machine. I hopped in the car, rushed to Sears and bought their cheapest machine.IMG_1143I raced home, opened it up, put the spool of thread on the machine and ran the thread over to the bobbin winder. Nothing. No spinning, no whirring. Nothing. I ripped open paused and read the stupid directions, unthreaded what I’d done and tried it the right way.  Success! Bobbin spinning like a top.

Then it stopped. I stared at the bobbin for a full minute trying to wrap my head around what the freaking problem was now.

Evidently, in only a short twenty-plus years of button sewing, a person can use up one hundred yards of thread.  IMG_1144

 

Cursing a blue streak (just the way my friends Bob and Kerry taught me), I stomped back to the car. I pulled my smart phone from my purse and asked Siri to tell me the closest fabric store.

“I found one place close to you,” she said.  “Would you like to go there?”

“YES!” I shouted.

“I’m sorry, I can’t understand that. Please try again.”

“YES! YES! TAKE ME THERE!”

“Where would you like to go?” she asked.

Screeching out of my driveway, I headed to a hobby store a few miles away. I turned into an empty parking lot.  Closed.

I jumped the curb on my way back to the street.  Then feeling it was my last resort, drove to Hell on Earth, Super Target.  Not wanting to waste a minute wandering around the massive warehouse, I hiked over to customer service (the opposite side of the building where I parked) and demanded to know where the thread would be.

“Ummm, do we sell thread?” Becca, the customer service representative asked me.

“That,” I said through clenched teeth, “is what I’m asking you.”

“Oh.”  She picked up her walkie talkie and asked the black box if they sold thread.

“Pssht. Fssht,” it replied.

Becca looked up at me and said, “All the way to the back wall, Aisle D33.”

I arrived at Aisle D33 to find it filled to overflowing with all the colors of the rainbow – for towels.

Trekking back to the customer service desk, I scowled smiled politely and said “Hi. I’m the woman looking for the thread. You said Aisle D33, but that has bathroom towels on it.”

“Really?” She caught the gaze of another employee and asked, “Where do we keep the thread?”

“Next to the irons, I think?”

Becca looked at me and smiled.

“But,” I spluttered, hands waving in the air. “Where are the irons?”

She repeated my question to the little black box.

“Pwall.  Ticka Abe,” it replied.

Becca translated. “Aisle E38.”

Aisle 39 - Irons

Aisle 39 – Irons

I found the irons on Aisle 39, but no thread.

I found the sewing items on Aisle 38

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?

 

But, still no thread.

As of today, the Ugly Duckling’s curtain fabric sits in a pile, to be completed along with the replacement glass for the broken wasp-den window and, the three cabinet doors that are missing and, the exterior paint job and…

The good news is, according to Wikipedia (which is always correct) I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing for a Midlife Crisis.

  • acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, clothing, sports cars, jewelry, gadgets, tattoos, piercings, etc. – Hmmm, no mention of large ugly vintage campers. Wikipedia made a mistake.

 

I Own a Crack Den for Wasps

No Flip Flops

No Flip Flops

I finally gave up one of my Crazie Town mid-life crisis dreams.  The one where I tour the United States with The Ugly Duckling; the 1955 camper I bought two years ago from the flip-flop-wearing not-a-killer, Ed.

No sitting with her on a beach or on a mountaintop.  No Tin Can Tourist Rally or Sisters on the Fly event for us.  But, she has made it possible to fulfill another mid-life crisis dream.

Before the Vintage Camper vision, I’d dreamed of having a little cabin on our 113 acre family farm.  I’d gotten pretty close, meeting with a shed-building company and designing a 10×10 rustic hut.  A week from installation, they called the county for a building permit and were rejected.  It seems that even though across the road there is a plastic skeleton sitting on a broken toilet and next door they have 12 English mastiffs chained up, I’m not allowed to have a structure without running water.

With a lot of tears a little creative thinking, I realized I already owned the perfect little cabin — on wheels.

Ugly Duckling to the Rescue

Ugly Duckling to the Rescue

I drove  hill and dale looking for the perfect place to park her.

IMG_1125

And finally settled on a knoll overlooking the pond. Before you go, “ahhh” I should tell you that this has got to be the world’s ugliest pond. What ever Bubba my dad hired 30 years ago to screw it up  fix it, managed to make it worse.  It’s not deep enough to sustain anything but a few frogs and an acre of pond scum.  But, it’s water and I’m dreaming of the day the crops produce enough money when I can screw it up fix it.

Maybe it is the OCD in me, but I’ve enjoyed carving out my own, personally-designed campground.

I cleared out piles of cedar branches.

Wrestling with Nature

Wrestling with Nature

I bought a picnic table and, against my straight brothers’ wishes, painted it shocking pink — to the delight of my gay brothers.

LGBT Friendly Campsite

LGBT Friendly Campsite

 

Built a fire ring

PERFECT!  Maybe? Nope.

PERFECT! Maybe? Nope.

and, like the giant sofa the movers place in your house that you decide needs to be six inches to the left, I moved the fire ring and rebuilt it again.

Let There be FIRE

Let There be FIRE

I also discovered that the Ugly Duckling is like a crack den for wasps. Not the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant kind, but the one with wings and a painful sting.  And, shortly after that, I was crushed to discover that in an 8×8 space, you should never use a broom to chase them away.

Wasp-1/Mayor-0

Wasp-1/Mayor-0

 

Math is Hard [insert whining voice]

This One is Too Small

This One is Too Small

After several horrible months in our teeny-tiny apartment, we have finally purchased a home.

Because I’m not confident of my ability to make any logical decisions right now — for example; I took the inheritance I received from my father and purchased a black hole of problems in a vintage camper — I hired a design company to help me with the remodel.

Even though, I’m pretty confident I could have made this

IMG_0236

Into this:
IMG_0292
And this:
IMG_0264
Into this:
IMG_0293
I could never go any further with the plan.

Not only does the design team supervise the demo and construction, they also help with the decorating.

To assist them with their plan, I had the contents of one of our storage units, (the one that held all our furniture) delivered to the new house. I instructed the moving crew to line my items up in such a way that the design team could view all of my precious possessions  — like the coffee table made from an old wooden hardware cabinet or the eight foot tall antique secretary given to me by my mother-in-law — and then they could decide what was worth keeping and what should be relegated to the basement.

Turns out, none of my junk worldly goods are going to fit into the new hip, modern, design. Really? Not even the rusted head of a broken sledge hammer I kept in our living room? So much for the tiny thread of hope I held that I had good taste.

The one thing the design team loved and said they planned to put over the mantle in the hearth room, is this painting – which they called. Portrait of a Man.

Portrait of a Man

Portrait of a Man

I love Portrait of a Man, because it was painted by our son (my step-son) and  because it is a picture of our other son (my birth son). However, I don’t display this picture in a place of prominence because, our two daughters (my step-daughters) might be offended by a large exhibition of “my” son.

So, for years, Portrait of a Man has lived in my basement  because of all the agitation it could cause in our blended family.

Being a step-parent is a delicate operation and I work hard to balance our out-of-balance family.  Photos around the house are counted and re-counted. A picture of Husband with his son should be balanced out with a picture of Husband with my son.  A picture of me with step-daughter’s kids should be balanced out with a picture of me with my son’s child.  Christmas is a mathematical nightmare.  Do I use the number of presents as an equalizer? Or is it the amount spent on the present?

If I apply my blended family calculations to Portrait of a Man, and with the following givens:

(a) = painted by step-son

(b) = picture of my birth son

(c) = does not include step-daughters

(d) = no good will come from this

Then, (a + b) might equal zero. But, I’m pretty certain (a + b) – (c) =  (d)

Explaining these calculations to my friend, Kerry, she posed a question I’d never asked myself. “Do you really think your grown kids give a damn?”

Is that (f) in the equation?  Dang. Math is hard.

Th-th-there’s Nothing Out Here That Can Hurt Us, Right?

When we last left our heroine, the mayor of Crazie Town, she was enjoying the bucolic surroundings at a remote farm in eastern Kansas. [Click here  to get caught up.]

Nothing but peace and quiet for miles

Nothing but peace and quiet for miles

I sat dozing in the sun, enjoying the peace and quiet when I was startled awake by the roar of a heavy-duty pickup truck pulling up beside me. My brother, Rick, jumped out and, without a word, fired up a weed-wacker.

HolsteinHeiferChewallTractorA few minutes later, I heard the “putt-putt” of Dad’s ancient tractor and watched  my nephew, Jordan, appear on the horizon behind the wheel.  The rusted red monster limped it’s way toward us with one nearly-flat tire.  Jordan made short work of carving out a grass free zone for us with the attached dilapidated mower, that banged an out-of-balance tune with every turn of the blade.

While they worked, Mary and I opened the box containing the privacy tent I purchased to cover the deluxe port-a-potty I’d purchased. I laid the items out on the ground and dug around in the “it can’t be empty” box looking for directions. Fortunately, Mary had put together her fair share of tents, so I handed her the foreign objects and she assembled them into a….well, not a tent exactly.

“Uh-oh,” Mary said. “There aren’t enough poles and two stakes are missing.”

“No problem,” I said, looking at the short, sagging, expensive privacy tent. “We’ll just pee in that stand of trees over there.”

Jordan and Rick disappeared as quickly as they’d arrived.

Eventually, I got around to opening the box with the grill I’d purchased and ripped open the package of hardwood charcoal I’d purchased for a premium price at the organic grocery store.

Somehow, I managed to cook up a delicious dinner of sautéed salmon with shallots and butter. I decided this camping thing wasn’t so bad after all.

Mary produced a bottle of champagne she’d purchased to celebrate my first camping trip.  Neither one of us had ever opened a bottle of champagne but we’d seen it done on TV enough to know there would be a loud POP! followed by the flow of bubbly alcohol. She pointed the bottle toward the setting sun and wiggled the cork.  We cringed, waiting for the explosion.

“Thump.”

The cork fell to the ground between our feet.

Image 6

“Uh-oh,” Mary said “Isn’t it supposed to have bubbles in it?”

“No problem,”I said and added ice to our glasses. We then christened the camper. Well, not exactly christened. I didn’t want to hit The Ugly Duckling with the bottle of champagne for fear she would collapse.

We relaxed into our camp chairs and watched as nature provided a perfect opera. A triplet of deer pranced by. They paused to gaze curiously at us, and then leapt gracefully off stage, toward the creek. A turkey wandered into camp and, surprised to see us, gobble cursed us as he hurried away, stage left. A meadowlark arrived on the table in front of us and sang the closing aria.

There we were, sitting there, minding our own business, wiping melted marshmallows from our chins, when I heard a loud “HUFF” coming from the tall grass behind us. It  sent the hairs on the back of my neck to stiff attention.

“Uh-oh,” Mary said. “That sounded big.”

“N-n-n-no problem,” I said, quaking in my boots. “Th-th-there’s nothing out here that can hurt us.”

To bolster our courage, we broke out a quart of melted chocolate ice cream and gulped it down.

“HUFF.”

“Uh-oh,” Mary said, jumping into the fire ring next to the coals. “It’s still there.”

“No prob–”

“HUFF!”

shutterstock_125462789

“Problem! Problem!” I shrieked. “Run for the camper!

The next day I looked up the sound on the internet.

It was a MOUNTAIN LION!

Click on the huff and then on “Cougar – Montana” to hear the sound. HUFF!

Then again, it could have been – according to the Parks and Wildlife Game Warden – The long call of a roe deer.  HUFF?

Peeping Toms, Ticks and Trouble

Image

Like any good Mid-Life Crisis purchase, the 1955 Aljoa camper I bought has been nothing but problems since the day I brought it home.
[Click here and here and here and here to get caught up.]

Image 1Recently, I was required to pay $300 for steel plates to be welded on the undercarriage that will support the special-ordered stabilizing jacks I needed because I’m a princess and can’t sleep in a crooked bed.

Then, on the way home from the the stabilizing jack installation, I failed to remove the grates off the stove and as I careened around turned a corner, they flew off and shattered into a zillion pieces.  Sigh. Do you know how hard it is to find someone who welds odd pieces of an un-nameable type of metal together?

Ignoring the fact that three windows were without screens and I had no spare tire, I decided Memorial Day weekend would be her maiden voyage. I was as excited as a five-year-old with a new toy.  Husband has not been all that thrilled with my mid-life crisis-itis so I planned the trip with my friend, Mary.

Homicidal Maniac

Peeping Tom

I was to arrive at her house by 9:30 so we could fill the water tank and tackle the last project preventing me from camping – installing blinds to keep all the Peeping Toms away. Yes, I’d be parking in the center of 130 acres of remote family farmland, but you never know who might be out there.

I got a bit of a late start because I needed to bring my entire home with me, including the two-year-old cowboy hat that’s never been worn. Everything but the kitchen sink

Then I had to hook up the camper by myself, which is no small feat, let me tell you.

Finally, I arrived on Mary’s doorstep at 10:30 am. I dragged eight roller blinds out of the car and onto the driveway.

“Uh-oh,” she said. “The cordless screwdriver isn’t working.”

“No problem.” I said, too excited to care who’d see me in my wrinkled birthday suit. I tossed the blinds in the back of the car and off we went.

“Uh oh,” Mary said, halfway to our destination.  “We forgot to fill the water tank.”

“No problem.” I laughed and pulled into the Home Depot where my niece, Kim, works.

Gettin' 'er done.She convinced them to let us use their garden hose to fill my little eight gallon tank. A small crowd gathered. We stood around talking and laughing while we waited for the tank to fill.

“Ha, ha,” Kim said. “It sure takes a long time to fill such a little tank.”

“It sure does!” I laughed.

Wait. It doesn’t take that long.

I ran to the other side of the camper where the tank was located. Water cascaded from under the cargo door.

“Uh-oh,” Mary said, handing the hose to Kim.

“No problem.” I hurried back to the side of the camper with the fill cap and snapped it shut. “Let’s just go.”

Mary and I climbed in the car and headed off to the farm. Thirty minutes later, I pulled off the road and onto the grass choked path that leads to a hill overlooking the entire property and miles beyond.

No peeping Toms here.Weirdly, the magic camping fairies had not prepared our camping site, so made an emergency call to brother Rick and nephew Jordan pleading with them to come out and mow a patch of grass for us.

While we waited for them to arrive, I opened the door to the camper. Water ran across the floor and out, onto my shoes.

“Uh-oh,” Mary said.

“No problem?” My confidence wavered.

We examined the source of the water and discovered that there wasn’t a leak. Evidently, back at Home Depot, we’d been overfilling the tank by several gallons and the water shot out a pinhole-sized air vent in the tank – sending water, not just out the cargo door, but all over the floor of the camper.

Grass WhistleFortunately I’m a germaphobe, so had everything packed inside plastic tubs. We dragged the contents of the camper out to the grass, but not before we set up our tick trap. Mary is a bug-aphobe and insisted we lay a white sheet down so we could see the ticks as they marched over to attack us. This would have been easier if the grass weren’t three feet tall, but we managed. We sat around in the sun making grass whistles, flicking creepy black ticks off the white sheet and waiting for the interior to dry.

I closed my eyes, tilted my face toward the bright sunshine and, sighed with contentment, knowing all my problems were behind me.

“Uh-oh,” I could hear Mary say. “This is Crazie Town and problems are never behind you.”

Tune in next week, for the rest of the story.