Have I mentioned that Landlady hates trailers?

And yet we’re up to our kiesters in them. I hauled off Serenity a year ago February, and it almost promptly got replaced with another, even more obnoxious one. We call it “The White Whale.” It’s the biggest, fanciest fifth-wheel trailer in the whole wide festering world, and it’s parked beside the driveway on the very highest point of the ridge. You can see it for miles, which brings frequent distress to this old ghost’s paranoid and secretive soul. I’ll bet you can see it from orbit.

Then of course there’s the original fifth-wheel, T and Landlady’s home for years, Claire’s home until weekend before last. It looks like it’s embedded in the earth, all skirted and surrounded with wooden walkways and mysterious pipes and hoses and wires coming out of the ground. Thing looks like a mangrove tree designed by Salvadore Dali.

I just got back from shit-shoveling and learned that the White Whale is going away this week. If you’re wondering why I learned this while shit-shoveling, just keep wondering. It’s one of those very weird yet internally somehow perfectly logical things that happen around here. Naturally, it makes more work for me. It’s got to be ready when S the Road Guy comes to take it away. Won’t take a lot of work, but I’ve got to do it today.

Which puts off the thing I intended to do today, which was get the other fifth-wheel ready to roll. It’s going away too, if M and Landlady can find a buyer. I might not get a lot of warning about that one, and there’s a lot more work involved. All that wooden stuff has to go. No idea what I’m going to do with it.

The weekend didn’t go south, it didn’t turn weird, until late Sunday. Yes, I know I haven’t posted all weekend but that was only because I was busy and the computer connection is now in the scriptorium which on weekends is somebody else’s apartment. I helped Landlady rough in the electrical in the Meadow House, M went to the other ridge and finished the foundation frames for his retaining wall. Lots of other things, small things mostly. This weekend was busy: Next weekend is going to be insane. We had a lot of those last summer, but this one had found some sort of rhythm till recently.

Anyway, they drove away late Sunday morning. I did what I always do: I got a little toasted on whatever was lying around (M’s first-batch mead, in this case) and sat down to read a book and de-stress. I’m a hermit, after all, and it doesn’t take a lot to load me right up on company. The clouds rolled in, and around quarter after four the sky just opened up and had a tantrum. Hardest rain we’ve had all year. Really close lightning strikes. We’ve had storms all around since the beginning of Monsoon, but this one was here.

Intense but brief, as they tend to be. When it passed I went down to the meadow house, because I’m very distrustful of that new roof. Good news: as far as I can tell the roof is perfectly tight. Bad news: Some of the windows Claire and I installed leak like sieves. We’ll have to go around with a garden hose and find out where the water’s coming in.

While I was doing that, Little Bear was…being Little Bear. I’ve been giving him a lot more rope since Claire and her dogs left, trying to find how far I can trust him. The wash was running after the storm, of course, and I should have kept a better eye on him. When I finally caught sight of him he was on the far side of the wash, having waded through the water. Trouble is, the water was rising fast and his passage through it scared him. It still wasn’t dangerously high or fast, but he refused to come back across. Refused absolutely.

No way I’d risk the Jeep with the water rising the way it was. I might get across and not be able to return; I might get halfway across. I took off my boots, rolled up my pants, walked Little Bear to a spot where he could get almost across and only have to wade through some slow, sheeting water onto a little raised island. Between the island and me, not ten feet across, the water was fast and getting faster but not dangerously so. Just a little stream, really, but he’s a desert dog. He considers standing water a rare, wonderful and at the moment terrifying thing. He refused to go another inch into that water. I’d have praised him for being smart, if he wasn’t the stupid ass who got himself – and now me – into this in the first place.

If you did it, you’d get a little wet. Anybody who’s ever walked on a beach has seen far rougher water than this, it really wasn’t much of a flow. But I’m an amputee, and I don’t keep prosthetic legs as long as I do by wading around with them. Sigh – I’m also a dog-owner, and so into the water I went. Damage acceptable. I grabbed LB’s collar and fought him into the water. He fought to go back until we were almost across, then broke for the Home side and I let him go.

Once back up the ridge he wanted inside bad, but I put him on his tie-out cable, brushed him, and told him to dry the hell off first. Then I took my leg apart, cleaned and dried it, put it back together.

Just about then the phone rang. Just D spreading gossip. Seems one of those close lightning strikes had struck J&H’s house. I saw it this morning – lightning hit the stovepipe, went through the roof and the stove doing no apparent damage whatsoever, then caused two of the marble tiles on the stove’s pedestal to explode like grenades. Frags damaged the stove, and dozens of them buried themselves in the ceiling; most of the blast went straight up. Deafened J and H both; their ears are still ringing. Two of their dogs crapped themselves on the spot. Everybody there could have been killed but nobody was hurt, thank Zeus.

Ah, the quiet life.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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4 Responses to Have I mentioned that Landlady hates trailers?

  1. mizdeb says:

    Wow! That’s alot of action for a hermit! Hope u can recharge this week if next weekend is going to be the same. Ya gotta love those dogs! Lots of trouble and lots of love.

  2. Heh…dogs are pretty imaginative about getting their masters wet when they realllllly realllly don’t want to aren’t they Joel?

  3. Anonymous says:

    So glad to hear no one was hurt by the lightning strike. In May we watched a storm march across the valley and right over our metal-roofed hilltop house. Lightning bolts all around us but no direct hits – this time.

    Last week we had lightning rods installed. Spendy, but now I don’t worry about the place burning down or us being killed during a storm.


  4. Ramen Fiend says:

    I’m moving to the mountains of Montana here soon, and I read this and realized that I need lightning rods (and a dog that isn’t afraid of running water). So how does one go about making lightning rods?

To the stake with the heretic!