Thursday, June 30, 2011

Westward, Ho! Day 4

June 29

Perhaps I have not been tolerant enough with Devon about his commodophobia. Some years back, he plugged the toilet with too much toilet paper, and I had to unplug it for him. That would have been where the story ended, except for the Great Upstairs Flood of 2007.

While a woman we shall call “Nina” was visiting our parents, an anonymous child (to avoid embarrassing her, we will call her “Moira”), used the upstairs bathroom and plugged it up. Moira kept silent as the water level rose, rose some more, and began spilling over the edge. The entire bathroom flooded to a depth of several inches, and then, to Devon’s extreme horror, it ran into the carpet, soaked through the pad, and began to pour downstairs into the living room, where he stood watching. Careful forensic analysis revealed the culprit. Moira now chews her peas much more carefully.

Thanks to “Psycho”, a whole generation of baby boomers is unable to close their eyes in the shower. Thanks to “Moira”, a whole generation of Devons is unable to flush the toilet. In fact, for the first several months, he was afraid that even fluids would somehow clog the works. Patiently I worked with him, standing by his side as he flushed, just in case something went wrong. Eventually he was able to flush alone, and we began to work on putting the tissue in the bowl rather than the trash can. Perhaps I need to put some of the same patience and energy into myself.

The commodes at McDonald’s are seriously over-enthusiastic. The seemingly harmless one I selected waited until I was in the act of sitting before flushing loudly and angrily. It was with difficulty (and much sympathy for Devon), that I restrained myself from bolting out the stall door, sans drawers. I never appreciate my own sedate, humble porcelain chair so much as when necessity forces me to use a long line of Evil Public Facilities.

Devon, if you’re reading this, don’t be angry that I told. Everyone is afraid of something. (Daddy is afraid of snakes. He would probably scream very loudly if anyone ever left a toy snake on his pillow.) And besides, your father has persuaded me that it’s time to tell a story or two about me. Not right this moment, but soon. He doesn’t think it’s fair that I only tell stories about other people. While you wait, I’ll tell you another story about other people.

I TOOK A SHOWER TODAY!!!!! Yes, I really am that excited. Even the best spit bath just can’t compare to a shower. We stopped at the same truck stop where we had gotten stuck getting repaired a few years back, and since it was their mechanic’s fault that a 2-hr minor repair turned into an overnighter, they put us up in their on-site motel and fed us in their restaurant.

Anyway, after my SHOWER WOOHOO I had a hard time turning off the water. I started to crank the knob pretty hard, but Jack stopped me. Many years ago, one of his little brothers had taken a trip with him on a truck, and had the same problem. As Little Brother gave the knob a fierce twist it came off in his hand, shooting a fire hose stream straight across the shower. All the other showers went down, and you can imagine how many angry, soapy truck drivers there were. “What do I do?” the wide-eyed Little Brother asked. “Simple,” Jack replied calmly. “Just go out there and let them know what the problem is………… soon as I get back to the truck.”

What else are brothers for?

We stopped at the rest area in Coldwater, ID and walked down to see the historic spot where covered wagons left such deep ruts that portions of the Oregon Trail are still visible.

Dad, I am sad to say that one of your garden hoses will not arrive alive. It sacrificed its life and about six feet of length to aid a stranded truck driver in need of a siphon. When its mission is finished, it will ride around the countryside in state, should its services ever again be needed.

Speaking of truck drivers, if anyone has heard about that terrible Amtrak crash near Fallon, NV that killed numerous people, today we actually drove over the very railroad crossing where it occurred. Two burned-out rail cars still sat nearby, and fences had been set up, presumably to provide enough privacy to continue searching for some trace of the victims who are still missing. The whole thing is so sad, and so unnecessary.

Back to our rescue mission. It turned out the driver also needed a fuel filter, as his had become clogged with grass and dirt. In case you’re wondering, no, grass and dirt are not naturally found in a semi’s fuel tanks. A deeply troubled family member was the most likely culprit. It didn’t affect the performance of the engine until the fuel levels dropped low enough that the fuel sucking gadget (I know, such technical terms) started snagging the detritus along with the fuel.

The best husband in the world (mine!) drove the poor man around till they found a place that was open, and that had a fuel filter he could modify to run the truck long enough to get somewhere, anywhere besides a rest area in the middle of nowhere. Our long night’s sleep ended up getting clipped off considerably, till it was no better than all the other short nights on the trip. We weren’t complaining, though. It was clearly a Divine Appointment—being in the right place at the right time is never an accident.

One more day…
Noni Beth 

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