Meet Bailey. I call her The World’s Cutest Dog. Isn’t she adorable? I think she looks like a miniature Scooby Doo. Bailey wants to be friends, but as you can tell from her expression she’s not sure I can be trusted. Maybe I should invest in some Scooby Snacks…
Okay, I realize that my experience in mostly solo camping is hardly on par with the ordeals encountered by the family of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the other brave pioneers who dared the unknown wilds of our country, but it’s the closest I will ever get since I don’t ever see myself boondocking. (This post is best read with Helen Reddy’s I Am Woman playing softly in the background.😉)
We towed our camper to the “wilderness” of South Carolina (aka an RV park) in mid-January 2022 where it would become my home for the next few weeks as we eagerly awaited the birth of the newest members of our family – girl/boy twins. (FYI: The twins are here! I blogged a bit about them HERE.) Shortly after we learned about the existence of the twins, I told Kenn that this was what I wanted to do. I knew that twins were likely to be born early and I wanted to be close by so that when my daughter-in-law went into labor I would be on-hand to take care of my grandson rather than being several hours away.
Technically, the first “excitement” was Winter Storm Izzy but that happened when Kenn was with me. (I posted about it HERE.) My first solo problem to resolve was when I woke up freezing at 4:30am the morning after Kenn left. Obviously, the propane tank was empty so it was just a matter of switching over to the other tank. Easy peasy, right? In this case, yes and no. I pulled on my boots and threw a coat on over my pjs and wandered out into the pre-dawn cold where I pulled the cover off the tanks and made the switch but then couldn’t turn the valve to the On position. I even tried turning the valve to the Off position just to see if it was already open and… nothing. The darn thing wouldn’t turn either way. I noticed that the line connected to the tank seemed to be loose so I tightened it before deciding to go inside, thaw out, and redress the problem once the sun came up. Once I could see what I was doing, I realized that not only was the connection to the tank loose, it wasn’t threaded properly at all so I removed it and reattached it at which point the connection showed green instead of red. I wish I could say that I realized that everything was good to go at this point, but I didn’t. I was tired, cold, and frustrated. (Seriously? This was my first day on my own and this is how it started?🤦♀️) It took Kenn reminding me that the green connection should mean that gas was flowing to the camper before I tested the heat – which was working fine.🤦♀️🤦♀️ I reduced the temperature on the thermostat in order to reduce my propane consumption and let the electric space heater do most of the heavy lifting as far as heating the Micro Lite went.
When Kenn came back for the weekend, we took both propane tanks to the nearest Ace Hardware for refilling/topping off. (Side note: we later learned it would have been cheaper to go to Tractor Supply.) We also used this as a test to make sure that I was able to disconnect/lift/move/reconnect the tanks both when empty and when full; I could.👍 Ruby is such a big truck that getting the tanks in and out of the bed was a bit of a struggle but I could make it work. Oh, we also checked to make sure that I was able to turn the valves on both tanks, which I could. I don’t know who tightened that valve so tight the last time the tanks were filled but geez, dude. I couldn’t turn it at all and it was a struggle for Kenn.
The next problem, a clogged camper toilet, occurred when Kenn was packing up to leave so we resolved that one together. The next solo problem, no water, occurred the morning after Kenn left. (Hmmmm. Does anyone else see the pattern developing here?🤔) I discovered the lack of water when I made my pre-dawn visit to the necessary. Fortunately, after Winter Storm Izzy, we began keeping a few gallons of water on hand for just such an emergency. Honestly, I was surprised. Yes, the temperatures the night before were in the 20s (Farenheit) but so were many others and I had left water dripping just as I had on all of those other nights. Once the outside temperature rose above freezing, I went outside and disconnected the water hose so I could move it into the sun; that’s when I discovered the problem: the water had frozen at the connection where the flow enters the camper. I used some of our stored water to melt the ice plug at the connector and then flushed the hose to make sure there was no ice in it. (There wasn’t.) Before reconnecting the hose to the camper, I MacGyvered a protective cover for the connection out of a zippered plastic baggie and a dish towel. It wasn’t pretty but did it help? Yes. Maybe.🤷♀️ There were several more nights in the 20s and we only had issues one more time,
It may not seem like much, but I’m proud of the not-quite-a-month I spent sort of on my own. (Kenn was with me on weekends and when the twins arrived.) You see, I’m one of those people who’ve never lived on their own. I didn’t want to move home after college, but I did since I wasn’t sure I could afford to live on my own. I wound up staying there until Kenn and I married. I’ve proven (at least to myself) that I can live on my own and deal with whatever comes my way.
Until next time, take care and happy trails!
Kenn and I stayed at our son and daughter-in-law’s house to take care of our oldest grandson while his parents were in the hospital with their new twins. I stumbled across this random scene on top of a mirror. I could ask them “What the fluff?” but I think it’s more fun to make up my own stories. Are the gnomes invading and the army man is protecting his home? Is the army man the aggressor? Maybe the army man has an unseen nemesis in his sights. Perhaps Medusa is lingering in the shadows after turning the gnome to stone and the army man is protecting his friend. I could go on and on. (Seriously. Just ask Kenn.😂)
February tends to be a rough month for me. In 2010 Kenn and I moved my parents from my childhood home (their home of almost 50 years) to the house right across the street from us. They remained there until my daddy died on February 16, 2016. Daddy had been Mama’s primary caretaker until about 3 months before his death. However, Kenn and I were both still working full-time and in-home care for Mama was prohibitively expensive so she moved to North Carolina to live with my oldest sister and her husband. Daddy’s death was hard enough but Mama’s move immediately afterward felt almost like losing her. We made regular trips to NC to visit but it was obvious that Mama’s health was also failing; she died on February 24, 2017. (My sisters and I would not have been surprised if she had died on the anniversary of Daddy’s death.)
Everyone’s grief journey is different. My experience is that grief lessens over time but it doesn’t completely fade. I also don’t look at the calendar and go “Oh, wow. It’s February. I need to be sad.” Invariably what happens is that I find myself feeling blue and wondering what in the heck is going on and eventually realizing “Oh. It’s February. No wonder my heart is aching.” Kenn is a great support and is always willing to provide hugs as needed. I also turn to Mass Effect, my favorite video game, and spend time saving the galaxy with my virtual friends. (What can I say? Some people have comfort foods or books or movies. I have a comfort video game.)
The picture above is one of my favorites of Mama and Daddy. It was taken at our local Cracker Barrel (their favorite restaurant) in February 2015.
This year, I have something new to ease the February blues. Earlier this month, our oldest son and daughter-in-law welcomed twins. Meeting (and cuddling) these new little ones has definitely brightened my life. I will always miss my parents and the anniversaries of their deaths will always be hard, but having two new lives to celebrate (year round, not just in February) will certainly make things easier going forward.
Until next time, happy trails and… take the time to hug your loved ones and tell them how you feel.
As a multi-cat household, Amazon and Hello Fresh deliveries are a Big Deal. There is much claiming of and defending of boxes from all comers. In this instance, Nyx claimed the Hello Fresh box which immediately became her “throne” from which to judge us.