Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Camping Beside the Carport

We--Ed and I and his parents and our cat Merlin--are staying at his brother's this week while the bathroom at home is being remodeled. Merlin, Ed and I are staying in the camper parked next to the carport in the back yard. Though we do have dinner with the family in the house and hang out in there during parts of the day. We expected this to be less than a 72 hour thing--leaving home shortly after noon on Monday and returning Wednesday afternoon.

But today the contractor hit an unexpected snag. When he was removing the hot water tank its bottom fell off because it was rusted out. And he found the floor under it was also going to need replacing. In fact this was where the leak that ruined the floor in the bathroom had been coming from all along. At least three years!!

Ed's brother had replaced a major section of the floor in the bathroom and the hall outside the summer of 2007 and the toilet along with it having blamed the problem on the bad seal at its base. And that may have accounted for most of the damage between the toilet and the hallway where the washer/dryer sit. But soon after that work was done the floor starting going soft again between the tub and toilet. A leak in the seals between the wall and tub were blamed and re-calking ensued but the problem continued and worsened and the new linoleum was soon giving way under our feet.

So it was the hot water tank all along and replacing it and the flooring under it plus cleaning up the mess made by gallons and gallons of hot water on the ground at the edge of the neighbor's driveway and shopping for the new water heater is adding a couple of days to the contractor's work and thus to our stay here.

And this is here:

The table with a bench on either side is just big enough for Ed and I to set up our computers facing each other.

It amazes me whenever I see them next to each other. My netbook is over an inch smaller than my old laptop and Ed's laptop is over an inch bigger--on both the width and length--so there is over two inches difference between our his and mine now.

See the two stacks of DVD next to the window? I think I brought more DVD than books. It intended to be consolation for leaving behind all but a smidgen of my crochet and craft materials. Plus many are due at the library in the next week. One is already overdue because I was too exhausted last night to watch it. Australia. Ed said to eat the fine through Thursday as 20 to 40 cents isn't bad to avoid waiting another three or four months for a turn.

I intend to watch it tonight it tonight as soon as I'm posted. Which would have been by now if Merline hadn't cost me half an hour or more with his shenanigans. So its going to be well after midnight before I get my post up again tonight.

Meanwhile, here's the view out the window to my left. The little green VW bug is my nieces who just got her license. She's not driving the bug yet as she and her big brother the mechanic still have a lot to do before it is road worthy.

And here is the view to my right, across the aisle and over the back of the couch.

Behind me are the steps up to the bathroom and the master bedroom. That's the foot of the bed there where the plaid blanket hangs down.

The sink is in a cubby to the right and the bathroom equipped with toilet and shower is to the left. We can't use them though as they aren't hooked up for waste disposal.

This is the view straight ahead from my seat at my temporary desk. The kitchen counter stretches across the back with the stove to the right and the sink to the left. The fridge/freezer is next to the stove with the couch the other side of it.

That view now includes this bouquet my niece brought over last night.

Poor Merlin was not a happy camper yesterday. Here he is in the cave he found comprised of the overhang of the feather mattress at the foot of the big bed. That was actually a very dark cave as all of that light is from the flash. He did not voluntarily come out for hours and then the least little spook and he zipped back.

His nerves have had a heavy workout in the last few days. First by watching me pack. The last two times I packed bunches of stuff into bags, I left him for weeks and weeks. This past January it was a six week visit to my Mom's and a year before that a six month one.

I don't know if he was remembering that and making the connection but he was awfully itsy as I packed Sunday night. And then Monday afternoon when the contractor arrived and started banging away in the bathroom whose wall adjoins the room Merlin shares with Ed and I, he went a little nutzoid as Ed would put it. He ran from that end of the trailer into the front room with his belly nearly dragging the floor and his shoulders hunched. He was looking for a dark corner to hid in as far from that noise as possible.

That happened moments before we put the leash on him and took him out the front door and then to my MIL's car. When I set him down on the back seat so I could get the strap of the bag off my shoulder and climb in, he dashed over the back of the seats into the luggage well and looped around clambering over the seats again--and my back, and out the door onto the street.

We were traveling with him sans crate because I misplaced its gate. When I finally got seatbelted and settled with him on my lap atop my fleece blanket which he loves, he was trembling with every fiber. The ride, which include a detour past the post office, took about twenty-five minutes. He didn't stop trembling and meowing for at least five of it. And we were in the last five minutes of the drive before he relaxed enough to lay his chin over my wrist and I felt his breathing change towards slow and deep against my hand. I couldn't see his eyes but I strongly suspected they were closing.

Then we hit the gravel of the road my BIL lives on and his head popped up. And then he was put through the ordeal of the move from the car to the camper through a maze of legs both human and dog. Not cool at all.

The first time I tried to lure him out from under that bed he pulled away, looked me square in the eyes, scooted back out of reach and turned his back!!!

How much clearer could he be that he blamed me?

He ventured out the first time around dinner time.



Sniffing in overdrive.

I could smell the dog smell in here so he must have been quite overwhelmed by it.

He approached the screen door almost eagerly at first as having a leash on usually means going out in the yard and watching the neighborhood from one of his safe spots under a porch chair or through the step rails.

But he soon realized...

We're not in Kansas anymore.

The big black lab in the yard spotted him and set to barking which started a chorus of barking from several neighborhood dogs and squalling from the peacock in the yard across the back fence.


Back to the cave he went until well after dark. He came out and joined Ed on the bed when he crashed about 9 last night.

My nerves were shot too. I am not good with transitions. The anxiety about this event began building the moment I learned of it ten days or so ago. The packing and the need to choose what to take with me and what to leave behind made me a dithering tizzy.

And my first attempt to climb back out of the camper was a close call to a fall.

Then I learned I would have to make that climb out and back in again every time I needed the bathroom. Day or night.

Day, not so bad, but night was--well--a nightmare.

The visual impairment caused from my RP takes not only all my peripheral vision but my night vision as well.

So the climb out...

...and the trek across the gravel to the corner of the house with nothing to touch to steer by...

...followed by a safari through the dark laundry room and dark hall and back again, shredded my nerves as thoroughly as Merlin shreds every scratching post we ever got him.

And I had to do it twice between dusk and dawn. The first time in the rain! The second time after waiting through a downpour that gave the sensation of being inside a waterfall--with a screaming bladder--for twenty minutes.

But it's darkest before dawn and the noon sun chases off nightmares.

By afternoon the sun streaming through the window played havoc with my ability to see anything on my 'desk' so I lowered the blinds.

Merlin had slept against my legs and ventured out into the living area along with me. He was now willing to ogle the dogs through the window, his nerves now apparently overruled by his curiosity for he held this pose for quite some time.

Which was because...

Goliath, the Basset, was holding this pose.

And holding it. And holding it.

And holding it. And...

The first time I saw him doing this yesterday, I wondered if he had lost some of his marbles. And I don't mean the glass kind.

But it turns out that he has a feud going on with a gopher. He will sit over a gopher hole for an hour and more at a stretch.

I take the gopher is a great tease.

Eventually Merlin lost interest in Goliath and commenced to kneed the pile of blankets I had put atop our bags to protect our clean clothes and my crochet and sewing from his shedding hair and possible attempts to find a substitute litter box.

But it was for naught. For it wasn't long before he had found a way to get under. He had dug at the blankets the way Goliath dug at the gopher hole until he got under and then dug at something under there sniffing at it loud enough for me to hear three feet away. Turned out to be Ed's sweats aka PJs. Having made his nest, he settled.

I could almost hear him sigh.

Home sweet home.

I am hoping the sun will come out and dry off these lawn chairs tomorrow so we can sit out there with our books. Or I might get my crochet out. I haven't held the hook since Sunday night. Have been having some withdrawal twitching in my fingers and wrists.

But it would have to wait until we get back from going after extra clothes and several library books I can't wait until Saturday to get started on.

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