Meltdown in the Desert

Even at the time, I recognized that my reaction was way out of proportion to the incident. But such is the nature of the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The previous day I had left Missy in her crate as I joined our small group of RV’ing Women (RVW) Solos for a tour of Ajo, Arizona, and lunch at a good old-fashioned Church rummage sale (Bought a book for 5 cents!). We were boondocking at the Ajo (pronounced “Ah’-ho”) golf course/country club for an annual Fiddlers’ Contest.

To my surprise, Missy greeted me at the door when I returned.  Apparently I had neglected to secure the 2nd door of the crate. To my delight, she had done no damage. So when I left again later that day, this time to play Mexican Train with the group in the leader’s large and comfortable RV (a Class A), I left Missy lose.

Although the evening was full of fun, I happened to be seated next to The One in Every Crowd. I found her loud and obnoxious and disliked that she considered herself an expert on every, I mean EVERY, RV-related subject. Perhaps she does know what she’s talking about, I tried to convince myself; it just might behoove me to pay attention. That ploy didn’t work. The best I could manage was to refrain from strangling her.

As always, Missy was delighted to welcome me back home.

My dreams that night were awful, full of anxiety and frustration. I awoke unrested. And then saw what Missy had done during my second absence: Torn the screen door.

I fell apart. I sat outside in the sun and cried and cried. It was in this state that one of the RV Women found me.

“I can’t take it anymore,” I sobbed, pointing to the slight damage. “I can’t afford to fix this. It’s been one thing after another.” (This was before my epiphany that yes indeed, traveling in an RV IS one thing after the other. Deal with it.) I went on to list my litany of woes, some of which were actually legitimate.

“I can’t stop crying,” I told her.

“Maybe you need to cry some more,” she replied.

“I know it’s ridiculous to get this upset over a torn screen, but it’s just the last straw,” I said.

“We’ve all been there,” she assured me.

After turning down her kind invitation to join her and some of the other women for breakfast, I continued to cry. I should note here that it’s unusual for me to cry unassisted. I typically need to watch a movie in the tear-jerker genre to get me going. The best ever is “A Catered Affair” with Bette Davis. Had I not been in a movie theater (this was in the days before VCRs) and been obstructed by the armrests, I would have thrown myself prone across the seats and sobbed my heart out. Thank goodness for Bette Davis. That woman’s movies got me though more down times than I care to remember. Once when she was in the Bay Area and rumored to be staying at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, I sat at the bar for several evenings running in the hopes of seeing her to tell her how much her movies meant to me. (“Saved my life,” might be a bit dramatic, but not far off the mark.) I gave up after a while, in part because of the expense of the drinks at that swank place.


Voila! Bottom of screen door fixed.

Back in Ajo, I was finally finished crying when the woman I had spoken with returned with several others in tow to examine the damaged screen. “Easy to fix,” they assured me, referring to the door, not my state of mind. As if by magic, a small roll of screen, scissors and a gasket roller appeared and my very own cheerleading squad helped me cut out the damaged section, affix the replacement, and hand me a series of threaded needles to sew the new section of screen in place.

Although the replacement looks homemade, which of course it is, and some might even go so far as to describe it as “tacky,” I plan to keep the makeshift, ragged “L” formed by the repair job. As far as I’m concerned, the “L” stands for “last,” as in that was the last time I left Missy uncrated. More importantly, the “L” stands for “love.” Every time I look at the repair job it reminds me of the supportive community that exists everywhere along the journey.

10 thoughts on “Meltdown in the Desert

  1. Karel, I’ve really enjoyed reading about your travels but feel so sorry for your misadventures. Since you joined RVW – maybe you can become an associate member with RVM, if there is such a thing. Since men love to “fix” things, have them take care of all your RV issues while you sit by and have a glass of wine and tell them what I great job they are doing and how you could never get-along without their manly help.

    Here’s to many more pleasant experiences.

    Jack d.

  2. Your writing is that good~~can bring both tears and laughter in the same correspondence~~
    ~~along with those wonderful “ahhhh” moments. Your world seems to have expanded nicely
    over these past months. You are a dear to find time to keep writing of your RV adventures.
    You seem surrounded by terrific new friends, who are full of compassion, caring and good
    common sense. Write on:)


    • Thank you for appreciating what I’m experiencing. Truly I’m glad to be having so many new adventures and meeting so many new people. It’s certainly a “different” life, but that’s a GOOD thing.

      Sent from my iPhone. Pls forgive typos.


  3. very nice to have a community of helpful friends.
    a friend and I were saying what we cry about. weddings and bar mitzvah of course. commercials–like the telephone,” call you mother”, etc.
    a week ago, a movie about a monkey going into space. the phone rang just as he was landing. i answered sobbing. my daughter Julie said “can you hear me? why aren’t you talking?”
    sounds like you are having fun and seeing great places. keep looking on the sunny side.


  4. Being a little bit creative, I think you can always buy a screen piece at a Home Depot or similar and then cut out an “attractive” shape – like a heart, a daisy, a DOG, an AXE – whatever, and then cut out a slightly smaller shape in your screen door and then sew THAT onto it; it’ll almost look like it belongs there!

  5. I love to read your blog. Everything that happens to you, I remember when it happened to us. Of course, we’re not full timers, but we are on the road more than we are at home! Thank the stars for good ole Bette. Hang in there dear friend, and think about heading north to Prescott, soon. :0)

  6. Karel, great write up of your experiences. I like the ” L” meaning in the screen and the comments about trying to meet Bette Davis. When you make it back this way…there is a campground right by our home. Come for a visit.
    Enjoy the journey.

I love hearing from you. It makes me feel as if I'm traveling with friends.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s