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Vesuvius Erupts

I do not suffer fools easily;  least of which myself.  A cathartic blog post follows.

 

 

 

I have a monumentally bad temper. Back in the days when I wore a suit,  controlling that horrible temper was an undercurrent that flowed just barely beneath the surface.   I had one of those pressure cooker jobs that put me in direct contact with a few hundred ne’er do wells on a daily basis.  Dealing with road outlaws that operated on the far edge of civility most times will test a man trying to do the right thing.    Daily start up  on a my-life-as-I-knew-it back then was a handful of Xantac and a .45 autoloader on the right hip or near at hand in my briefcase.  It is more than a small wonder that I did not empty a magazine into those or that which triggered my anger.

The oasis of the Old Girl at night

Living in a recreational vehicle is considerably more tenuous than a sticks and bricks abode.  Especially if you are boondocking.  Your supply of water comes from a reservoir that is not just a mindless turn of the tap.   Heat comes from a propane tank that has a woefully small capacity.  Electricity does not automagically flow through the umbilical.

A good day out here in the boondocks of the Barnett Shale is a balancing act.  Do I have enough propane?  Does the water tank need to be filled?  Can Miss K make coffee without blowing a breaker?   Yesterday was more of a pressure cooker than normal.  The winds howled to beat all throughout the day.  Gusts approaching 60mph  re-arranged everything outside the door of the Old Girl in short order.  The gusts hitting the long side of the bus would rock it over to one side many times each hour.  At some point during the wind event, one of the outside lights was blown over, breaking the one bulb that remained.  This outside light takes four bulbs and time had taken its’ toll to the point only one remained functional.   Miss K was going to the Post office and I asked her to pick up some of the T1 bulbs.  She came back with 3;  which is all the local Ace Hardware store had.  Replacing the bulbs was an easy thing, having piddling things to do like that thwarts the boredom that is inherent with this job.

After 12 or 13 hours of oil field gate guarding,  I am frazzled.  After a  Monday, which is generally a hectic day, and compounded by the Norther that blew in about 4am;  this particular Monday was more of a  frazzler than most.  I wanted nothing more than to get a shower, a meal and watch DWTS.   Yeah, you heard it right.   I like Dancing with the Stars.   Not a manly man’s show but what can I say?  Miss K  does not care for it a whit but indulges me none the less.  As  dark approached,  I could feel the layers of stress receding.  A hot shower had removed the layers of dust that had blown in from the foreign land called  Oklahoma, Miss K had thoughtfully stopped by Sonic on the way back from the Post Office so I had a burger and tots.  DWTS was kicking ass – as much as it can anyway.  About all a man needs, I would say.

Then disaster struck.  Well, maybe not a disaster of Japanese tsunami proportions but I do tend to embellish.   The 15amp breaker tripped on the Old Girl.  All the 110v accoutrements went dead — including the TV and DISH receiver.  I bent down to reset it and queried Miss K ‘ Have you got your little heater set on low?’  You see, if you set it on high it trips the breaker.  Miss K  knows that and seldom if ever cranks it up.  Whenever the breaker trips, I always ask her that.   I didn’t tell you that in addition to the bad temper, I also tend to be accusatory.  I waited patiently as the DISH receiver went through the long process of re-acquiring the satellite signals.  ‘I am missing my show!’  I screamed inwardly, refusing to let it bubble to the surface.

3 minutes later, it tripped again. ‘WTF!’  I said.  Tuco the Dog retreated to the farthest reach of the couch at this point.  My brain was doing a mental rundown of everything attached to that 15amp breaker and I could not figure it out.  ‘Bring your heater back here and plug it into the GFCI under the sink’  I said, not even saying please.  4 minutes later, Tom Bergeron was cut off mid sentence as it flipped again.  ‘I am missing my show!’ I exploded as I jumped up out of the dinette. I went outside and switched the TV and DISH receiver over to the inverter and glanced at the readout on the EMS.  19amps?  It should be 8-10amps at the most for what was running inside the Old Girl.

I went back inside, feeling sorry for myself,  and told Miss K we were pulling 19 amps for some unknown reason.   And the breaker flipped again…. The TV stayed on via the inverter but the problem itself was still there.  Miss K tried to help out… ‘My coffee pot is off. Could it be the new bulbs you put in the light?’  ‘Absolutely not!’  I shot back.  ‘Those lights are connected directly to the generator by a separate power cord.’  ‘That is the only thing that has changed’  she said in a small voice.   ‘Maybe we should start unplugging things to see what is drawing all the power?’ she volunteered.  The last thing I want to hear when I am approaching a full blown rage fest is unsolicited advice from woefully unqualified lay people.  After all, I am the Master of the Fish Bus and verge on the omniscient.

The breaker clicked off for the umpteenth time; watching DWTS was in the tank,my calm night was hosed,   Tuco the Dog was quivering at the end of the couch and Miss K’s lips were pursed in a thin line.   Pounding the dinette table, I got up  and went outside again but not before I delivered a swift kick to the little cube heater that flipped the breaker every time I plugged it in.  What could i t be?  What could it be? The only thing I knew to do was start unplugging things to see what was sucking up all the power.  I was thinking at this point maybe one of the electrical devices had gone awry and was ready to burst into flames.  Not a good RV scenario, not good at all.  The Old Girl has one outside plug and I plug a power strip into it.  The power strip is a convenient place to plug in the battery maintainers, the  electric smoker and just about any electrical tool you need to use outside.

My ex-heater

I reached over and jerked it out of the wall  —-  and the outside floodlight that had the new bulbs in it was extinguished.   I looked at the EMS readout and it said 7amps.      I remembered then that I had run out of receptacles on the extension cord that ran directly to the generator.  The work light ran just fine off the power strip with only one bulb burning.  ‘You can plug your heater back in.  It was the light’  was all I said when I went back inside.  Unapologetic.  As pissed that she was right as anything else.  Still incensed and not yet ashamed of my unruly behavior.  ‘Looks like you broke the little heater when you kicked it’  was all she said.   Taking it up, there was something rattling loose inside and it would flicker on briefly and go off.   I responded in character, opening the door and flinging it to the ground to shatter in 15 pieces.

Dogs love you unequivocally.  I am glad dogs are just that way.  A good partner learns to take the good with the bad.   I know I have a good partner.   At 405am this morning, it was 29 degrees with a light frost.   The first thing  I saw when I went out the door was my ex-heater laying crumpled by the mud porch.   A wave of remorse washed over me.   Life is too short to be an asshole.   I know;  I used to be one with a capital “A”.   Those bad old days oughta be gone for ever and more.   I just gotta work harder at it.

I am gonna let that heater lay there for a bit to remind me of how hard a sumbitch I am to live with at times.

 

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7 comments to Vesuvius Erupts

  • Joel

    Funny, in a hapless sort of way. Hope things improve, Andy. Meanwhile, they do have medication for this.

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    • admin

      Thanks Joel. Things look much better today

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  • Besides recognizing my own self in this tale, what makes me laugh the hardest is Waltzing With The Circus Poodles. I could easily rationalize busting up a heater over the Ranger game, though.

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    • admin

      Don’t be runnin’ me down about DWTS there Scott! could dig dirt on you with nothing more than the toe of my boot ya know.

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  • I can understand your rage. Anything that keeps you from seeing Kirstie Alley fall on her butt is a good reason to blow your top.

    Have to say I’ve been enjoying your posts for a long time now, you are an excellent writer with a great view of not just the RV life, but life in general. I can certainly appreciate ditching the suit and tie world.

    Keep up the good work and don’t let too much dust settle in your britches!

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  • coal

    You must be my brother, were cut from the same cloth, understand fully, your post could have been written about myself.

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  • Miss K

    Well, I bought you a damn DVR so no more
    flipping Excuses! “NO Sniveling!!!”

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