DRESSING THE DOG
Chapter 11 (Part Two)
Mummy had located the perfect little AIRSTREAM trailer on an EBAY auction! It was a 20-foot, (75th Anniversary Edition) Safari. The owner was a doctor who lived in Arizona and had only used it a few times. Although it was 10 years old, it had been kept in a climate-controlled garage and was in PRISITINE CONDITION. It was just what we needed. Daddy was stunned that Mummy had thought up the whole “camping” idea because he LOVED to camp. Since this was not really a tent and it had running water and air-conditioning, Mummy referred to it as “glamping” and said it was the only way to travel with our entire family. We had 5 yorkies and there was NO WAY that any hotel would accept all of us in a hotel room. With our own trailer, we could see the country and not have to worry about “pet friendly” hotels ever again! Airlines would be a thing of the past… we would DRIVE everywhere now. After a few clicks of the computer keyboard, the AIRSTREAM was ours. We would need to hire a driver to haul it across country, but the owner knew someone who was willing to bring it to us… and a few weeks later, it was sitting in our driveway!
The trailer was our gift to one another for Christmas that year, and now we wanted to take a little trip, and just try it out! Our friends Ms. Debbie and Mr. Frank travel around the country in a huge coach and they agreed to meet us for a long weekend in Jacksonville, Florida. They had two yorkies named Travis and Lucy, and we would hang out with them while our parents gabbed about trailer stuff. Mummy had suffered a terrible “kitchen accident” over Thanksgiving while preparing the Thanksgiving feast. She had been scurrying about the kitchen when poor little Elvis, who could barely see anymore, had wandered under her feet. Her options had been to either step on the middle of his back or fling herself off to the side. She chose the latter, and in so doing, tore up BOTH of her knees! She was now in dual leg braces and barely getting around, but she was anxious to try out the new AIRSTREAM. With all systems on GO, we headed for our very first campground. It was only a few hours from home so it was really just a trial run, but it would give us an idea as to what we still needed to get and how we could better organize the interior. It was very small inside and you had to be really careful with your packing, something that Mummy was DEFINITELY not skilled at doing. The bed was a double bed, so THAT would make for tight sleeping quarters because Mummy and Daddy were used to a KING. The kitchen table folded down to make another bed, and that was where the five of us would sleep at night.
Mummy was enjoying the trip, despite her two bum knees… but Daddy was miserable. Nothing Mummy did seemed to make a difference, he just DID NOT LIKE the little AIRSTREAM! How could he love to camp in a cold tent, and not like the comfort of this adorable little trailer??? It had everything one could possibly need! Daddy said that it had everything except SPACE. He said it was fine for weekend getaways, but if we planned to travel across country… this was NOT the trailer! They had used it ONE TIME, and while Daddy loved the idea of traveling together as a family, he wanted a BIGGER trailer. He immediately started researching all of the AIRSTREAM dealerships in the area and before long, we found ourselves on another trip to Florida… doing the same thing that Mummy and I had done months earlier with Bri… looking inside every single model that AIRSTREAM made. We all agreed that it shouldn’t be anything too long, because towing and parking might be an issue… so after days of searching, a new model was chosen. The winner was the 27-foot Serenity International… a full 7-feet longer than the model we were now in, which is a HUGE difference when you are talking about trailers! The bed was a QUEEN-sized bed which meant that we would all be able to sleep in the same big bed. They would eventually remove a lower cabinet door and turn it into a little hidden cubby. This would become our favorite hang-out spot! It was the perfect size for five little yorkies too. Mummy had Daddy hang a teeny, tiny crystal chandelier over the dining room table to give the place some pizzazz! That chandelier would later cause MORE PROBLEMS on our road trips, but Mummy would never regret it… it would always be her very favorite thing about the new AIRSTREAM!
The beginning of February had arrived and the new trailer was fully stocked. Sheets were on the bed, fluffy blankies were scattered everywhere, the cabinets had been organized and we needed to go somewhere. We drove down to Brunswick, Georgia which wasn’t too far away… just for the weekend. This would give us time to figure out what we still needed. If we were going to go across country in this thing… we needed to be READY. The weekend that we left, a cold-front had moved up the coast and it felt like we were at the NORTH POLE! Of course we had heat in the trailer, but Mummy felt that we really needed tiny space heaters too… so Daddy set out for the local Home Depot to see what he could find. Unfortunately, everyone within a 100-mile radius was looking for the same thing and they were all sold out. He looked and looked for most of the afternoon, finally finding two at a little gas station store. We were in the heating business now!!! For the rest of the trip, Mummy and Daddy made trips back and forth to various stores, picking up little doo-dads that we needed to complete our “trailering experience.” By the time we returned home, we were ready for whatever the road had in store for us. Daddy would end up installing an alarm/monitoring system that would notify him on his phone if there was a break-in. A very loud siren would also be triggered on the AIRSTREAM, alerting everyone in the entire county… which was often accidentally activated by Daddy at the most inconvenient times!
In March, Daddy had to run down to Florida and check on a job, so Mummy suggested that we take the new AIRSTREAM and join him. Daddy could park the trailer at a campsite in St. Augustine and leave us there. He could then travel down to the job location for a few days and while he was away, Ms. Sandra and Bri could come for a visit. How fun would that be??? We made our plans, arrived at the campsite and Daddy got everything all set up… and then he left. This was the first time that Mummy had been left alone to handle the details of running the trailer, but Daddy had explained how to switch the propane tanks back and forth when one ran out, how to work the air-conditioner (hmmm, this wasn’t like the one at home) and how to light the pilot on the stove-top. (YIKES, it looks like you could blow something up doing that!) She nodded her head and said, YEAH, YEAH… but really, she didn’t have a clue… she just figured it would somehow work itself out. Just so you know, most things don’t EVER just “work themselves out.” Ms. Sandra and Bri arrived with their suitcase but with the limited amount of space in the AIRSTREAM, there was NO ROOM for them to store their luggage… so it had to stay in their van and every day, they had to go outside to get their clothes for the day. Oh well, such is life. Every time Bri comes to see me, we always have a “craft day” where we plan to make SOMETHING. It might be something food related or some crafty clothing project. This trip, we decided to make EASTER SWEATSHIRTS for our Moms. We had sequins, beads, glue, felt, rick-rack and every sewing notion known to mankind spread across the tiny kitchen table. I’m not sure they ever actually WORE the shirts that we made, but we had a really fun time making them… and that’s what really matters. The memories that we made as friends!!! The shirts, I’ll be honest… they looked pretty cheesy.
In St. Augustine, they have a place where you can go and drink this “special water” that is said to keep you YOUNG… like forever. It’s called the “Fountain of Youth” and we were going there! Not that Mummy or Ms. Sandra needed it, NO, not at all… but Bri and I were getting a few gray hairs and thought it couldn’t hurt to test it out… so after craft day was over, we headed off to find this miraculous fountain. The attraction was filled with lots of tourists and thankfully it was also doggie friendly, so we rushed through the gates and headed straight for the famous cave where the well was located. Turns out, you can’t actually drink from the well… but they do provide little cups to dip into the trickling water. Slurp. Slurp. Slurp. I could feel myself changing!!! I was still concerned about my overall health after getting the bad report from that psychic in Cassadaga a few months ago. So far, I had been fine, but she had failed to tell me WHEN I would become ill, so I was trying to be extra careful about things. Like, I always let my siblings take a few bites of dinner before I did… just to make sure the food was safe to eat. And I stopped picking up bits of food that I saw lying around on the floor… a prime place for lurking bacteria! Bri and I looked at one another, waiting to see a change. Nothing. Mummy bought two bottles of the water from the gift shop, thinking that maybe we needed more than one swig. Note: She let all of us yorkies drink the water and personally, I think we look better… but that’s just me.
By the third day a really “dank, earthy” smell was coming from the bathroom of the AIRSTREAM. Actually, it had started on day TWO but neither one of the Mummies had wanted to mention it… thinking it would just go away. When it became so unbearable that even the DOGS wanted to get out of the trailer, someone spoke up. Ms. Sandra asked Mummy if there was something that she was supposed to be doing to “take care” of the waste material? HUH?!?!?! “I don’t think so!” was her reply. “I think it’s just supposed to flush down into the sewage system of the campground! I don’t think I’m supposed to DO anything with it… I mean, me, personally!” Ms. Sandra said that Mummy had obviously missed part of Daddy’s instructions because there was a DEFINITE problem in the trailer and we would ALL need to get a hotel room soon if it wasn’t remedied quickly. Mummy agreed and contacted Daddy on his cell phone. She described, in her dramatic way, EXACTLY how the trailer smelled. Daddy said that we must have stopped up the plumbing system and there was nothing he could do from where he was, 4 hours away. Mummy said NO, we had NOT abused the plumbing!!! It had to be something else. He had her walk outside to the back of the trailer and describe to him how the dials and gizmos were positioned along the back wall. Where were the hoses? How was each knob turned? EUREKA! DADDY had forgotten to turn the sewage line to the OPEN position and for THREE DAYS everything had been sitting in the holding tank of the AIRSTREAM… not going anywhere. OMG. Mummy would always say that he did it on purpose and Daddy would SWEAR that it was an accidental oversight, but it was not. It was an obvious case of sabotage.
Despite the sewage incident, the weekend had been lots of fun but Ms. Sandra had to get back home. Mummy would spend the rest of the week alone with just the five of us yorkies until Daddy finished with his job. Elvis had been really struggling the last few months but seemed happiest when he was close to everyone, so the camping trip had given us some quality time. A few weeks later, Daddy took Elvis and Katie back to Memphis with him while he checked on some business. Late one night while they all relaxed on the sofa watching TV, Elvis walked quietly across the rainbow bridge. He had always loved Katie the best, so it was only natural that she was the one snuggled up next to him in the end. Elvis the King was gone. Our family was down to four girls now. Mummy had tiny replicas made of the five of us, and Elvis’s little copy would be placed on her nightstand in the AIRSTREAM. In this tiny way, Elvis would travel with us on every trip that we took.
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