So, recently my long-suffering island-boy-to-Texas-transplant husband convinced me that the perfect retreat for our family would be in a secondhand (or would that be thirdhand?) trailer on a bug- and snake-infested piece of property five miles from Nowheresville, Texas. Yeah, for real.
We had been looking for hill country acreage for quite some time. The conversation about this one went something like this:
Eric: I l-ahhhh-ke this one. It has a POND on it.
Me: Stop me if I’ve said this before: some cowboy is going to kick your ass and good one of these days for making fun of our accents. And, ponds have snakes.
Eric: That pond is n-ahhhhhh-ce. I l-ahhhhhh-ke that pond.
Me: I like that it is only an hour and a half from your office.
Eric: And, it has a real n-ahhhhh-ce pond.
Me: I think you’ve mentioned that. But I can’t camp out there. Too many bugs and snakes. And Africa-hot. Plus there’s those bugs and snakes.
Eric: We’ll get us a travel-trailer. That’d be n-ahhhhhh-ce. You’d l-ahhhhh-ke it.
Me: Forget the cowboy: I’m going to kick your ass. And I made a promise to myself years ago: no RV’s, no travel trailers. Sheets, running water, A/C, indoor potties, and no trailers.
Eric: You’re not being very n-ahhhhh-ce
(Sounds of scuffle and pummeling)
Well, of course, we acquired the property, which we promptly dubbed Shangri-la.
Then we went to look at a few trailers. We bought the trailer-of-a-redneck’s dreams from a real n-ahhhhh-ce couple even further away from Nowheresville, Texas. The Missus, who was roughly my age (yes, that old), met us at the door in Daisy Duke shorts and a tight, scoop-neck blouse. Over her 15-or-so inches of exposed cleavage and sun-damaged skin, she wore an incongruous accessory: a giant neck brace. Which gave her no trouble as she demonstrated all the features of the trailer, climbing in, out, over, and under it with strength and flexibility. Hmmmm.
At the close of our transaction, she and I handled the money. I counted out the 20’s for us to pay them, she counted to verify.
“What you say you and me run on up to Dallas and head to LaBare?” she said, brandishing the stack of bills.
This was the tribe into which we entered with our purchase. O M G, exactly what I had been afraid of.
It came time for Bubba-mon and me to stash the trailer on Shangri-La. We had some *issues* (gasp).
- First, five minutes before we got there, we came to a low bridge under which our trailer could not pass. As we turned around to take the long way, Cowboy, our 120-pound freakishly large lab, whimpered once, shot Bubba-mon an apologetic look in the rear view mirror, and unloaded the entire contents of his digestive system out his back end and down the spare tire well of our 2000 Suburban. This is how we discovered that four hours really is his limit in the car. Oops, had it been that long?
- Secondly, a mere thirty minutes later, this is how we discovered that, no matter how logical it seems, toilet bowl cleaner is not the appropriate thing to use when you get dog diarrhea on your vehicle carpet. No, we don’t always carry toilet bowl cleaner with us. We had stocked up on supplies for our new trailer, which by now we had named the Quacker (because Mallard is emblazoned across its front window covering). Luckily those supplies included alternative cleaners to deal with the vaporized carpet.
- Third, as my Bubba-mon pulled downhill on our narrow, winding drive onto Shangri-La, he swung wide to avoid planting the Quacker into a tree. This is how we discovered the large tree stump under the skinny bush that he had assumed the Suburban would easily skim over. SCRUNCH, FULL STOP.
- Fourth, when Bubba-mon was unable to free the Suburban from its high center position on the stump (teeter tottering forward and backward, lifting, lightening the load, etc.), I suggested we use our jack to achieve clearance and then gently pull off and over the jack. This is how we discovered that there was no jack in the Suburban after all. I’m not going to blame the teenage driver of this Suburban, but, well, there is the issue of custodial possession and responsibility. If you’re reading this, Liz Honey, I love you, and I’m just kidding — now you know Clark’s special hell.
Long story short, Bubba-mon ultimately decided that the stump and Suburban were conjoined at a non-critical area, and he got aggressive with the gas pedal. It worked. Employing his superior trailer-backing skills, we hid the Quacker in the woods and headed home to Houston.
The following weekend, we loaded up the truck and we moved to Beverly…Shangri-La that is, big ponds, bugs and snakes (cue banjo music). Only images can do this justice:
Besides ensuring the viability of our hot water heater, potty system, and A/C, Bubba-mon had another very important job to do that first weekend: install signal booster so that Mrs. Bubba-mon could continue to receive messages from the mother ship (Facebook) through her implanted microchip system (iPhone). Bubba-mon ultimately mounted the antenna at the top of a tree which he chopped down with his bare machete, said tree in turn installed on top of the Quacker.
And, then, of course, we ran into a few *issues*.
Upon entering the trailer, a horrible smell assaulted my princess-and-the-pea-like nose. [I know, this is not a perfect analogy, but run with me on it]
Me: There’s something dead in here, Eric.
Bubba-mon: Turn on the A/C. You’ve got an overly-sensitive nose. It’s probably just musty.
Five minutes pass. Meanwhile, I make a tactical error: I flush our brand new thirdhand potty. A noxious odor fills the trailer. The LP gas detector goes off immediately, screeching out its warning to everyone within a five-mile radius.
Me: (running from trailer with towel over my face) OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD RUN ERIC RUN IT’S GOING TO BLOW
Bubba-mon: (running) (IN THE WRONG DIRECTION) What the hell’s going on?
Me: I don’t know. I flushed the potty, it got really stinky, and the alarm went off. I’m afraid we have a propane leak. We have to evacuate.
Bubba-mon: Hmmmmm, but the propane isn’t even turned on. (Sticks head foolishly into trailer) Oh SHIT. What’s that smell? (Turns to me) OH, shit. That’s methane gas. (Reaches over and turns off LP gas detector)
Me: What do we do?
Bubba-mon: I can fix this, no problem (this is a phrase you will hear oft-repeated in the adventures of Bubba-mon, I assure you)
- So, first, this is how we discovered that, despite the instructions on the tank treatment bottles that one dosage takes care of a whole “load,” you can’t leave anythingin that tank in the 100 degree Texas sun for three weeks. We could have driven a Prius to Houston and back on the amount of methane we discharged into that 26-foot trailer. “Whew, do not go in there” from “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” took on a whole new meaning for me.
- Secondly, everything we placed on the dinette table rolled to the west. This is how we discovered that we had parked the Quacker on a slight incline. And we didn’t have a jack, as you may recall. We spent the first night with me clawing desperately at the edge of the mattress, afraid of falling off the bed (Insert comment from Bubba-mon here: “Bull shit, Pamela.” OK, I’ll admit, I had the sensation of falling, but it might have taken on a level of significance in my mind just the tinsiest bit out of proportion to the actual situation.)
- Third, the darn A.C. was actually too frickin’ cold. So we turned it down. And it tripped the generator. We did it again. It tripped again. Bubba-mon made FIVE trips to the generator that first night with a flashlight in hand, calling “mongoose, mongoose” until he finally beat the fargin’ thing to pieces with a hammer shut it off, and we sweated it out. And this is how we discovered that our trailer has two temperatures: tropical hot or arctic cold.
- Fourth, after a honeymoon phase that lasted until darkness fell and the strangely disturbing night calls of the [7,521,999] frogs began, Cowboy and Layla crawled under the Quacker and cried half the night, until they finally moved to the (thundering) white noise of the generator, where they dug sleeping pits and curled up against its motherly presence like two puppies. And this is how we discovered that city dogs – like city girls – grow soft and become great big pansies.
- Fifth, and lastly, machetes, chainsaws, bonfires, and CLARK (the almost 15-year old ADHD wonder child of Road to Joy stardom)do not mix. And we discovered this when the flames from the fire he was charged with tending began to lick at the Quacker’s underbelly. Well, maybe that’s a(nother) slight exaggeration. But, trust me on this one: I lost several years of my life during the event.
Despite all of this, or maybe because of it – I dunno – I will grudgingly admit that Bubba-mon was right: this place is n-ahhhhh-ce and I l-ahhhhh-ke it. I am head over heels for the Quacker, Shangri-la, Nowheresville, and, most especially, for my B-M (I had to use those initials for Bubba-mon at least once in here, because I have a childlike sense of humor).
Stay tuned for more adventures of Bubba-mon, the Quacker, and Shangri-la in Nowheresville, Texas. Until then, y’all, wishing you many laughs and adventures of your own,
p.s. I promised I would not use the photo *in this blog* taken in the Quacker of my triathlete Bubba-Mon in his Ironman underwear, said photo taken without first obtaining his permission and a valid, signed release. Please note that I kept my promise. However, I have put it up on my Facebook page instead under Photos.
p.p.s. Of course I am just kidding. Y’all know I would never talk about or show pictures of ANYONE in speedos or their underwear, especially my husband.
p.p.p.s. Yes, he really does have a pair. They are so cuuuttteeee. Whether or not there’s a picture, mum’s the word.