Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Sounds of Aging

The Wife is not a quiet person. This is an indisputable fact. While my (rare) phone conversations consist of basic, unembellished facts delivered in terse, adverb and adjective-free sentences accompanied by long silences, The Wife can happily talk for an hour, several times a day. She also snores when sleeping (and sometimes when she's awake too!), yelps when startled, (and it takes very little to startle her!) gasps at the slightest contact of shoulder to door-frame or knuckle to closing drawer, and howls at anything more than a minor bump, (And she’s not the most graceful and coordinated of people to there’s a lot of that! But that’s not her fault, it’s a family trait. Her dad has fallen off the breakwater while fishing so many times he’s not allowed to take his cell-phone out there anymore!) and in between accompanies this with an amazing variety of groans and sighs.

I, on the other hand, am a quiet sort of guy, in fact ask both my wife’s, ex and current, and they’ll have plenty to say about the frustration of having to drag every word out of me. And it goes beyond words. I walk quietly, I make a point of not doing the old-man-groan when I get up out of my chair, the only moaning I do when I roll my aching back out of bed in the morning is inside my head, and when I damage myself, cuts (from miss-handled tools), shredded legs (from clearing brush.), or the burned and cracking finger I’m currently sporting (from getting it in the way while soldering a new battery lug with a torch), I suck it up and keep it to myself.

But you wouldn’t have known that last Sunday morning!

Ever since a surprise call 3 weeks ago we’ve been working almost exclusively on prepping a neglected 15 year old travel trailer that hasn’t moved in 5 years for a trip down to the coast so the 87 year old father-in-law can move into it and maybe do some fishing like he used to do every winter.

The 'beauty' shot we had to e-mail to the campground because while the FIL was making arrangements with them, before we knew anything about this plan, he told them it was a 1979 model (Not sure how you get that out of 2003 but he managed) and they kind of freaked out.

For the FIL it has been three weeks of excited anticipation, for us it’s been 3 weeks of crawling under the trailer to check the slideout tracks and gear along with brakes and suspension, climbing on top of the trailer to fix wiring and slap some more caulk on the iffy spots (something I admittedly didn't keep up with as well as I should have),

Some of what was carefully cropped from the 'beauty' shot

scaling rust and repainting an undercarriage abused by too many seasons of being parked within a block of the Gulf Coast,

The bottom of the jack-post just before cutting off that mangled last inch of it.

fixing the end of the jack-post from when the trailer popped off a too-small ball and hit the road (one of the hazards of relying on someone else to move the trailer because we don’t have anything large enough to safely tow it),

The propane tank tray was a little rough too, and the tanks weren't much better. . .

inspecting and changing tires too sunburned to safely roll anymore, hauling storage bins down off the high shelves in the barn and loading the FIL’s stuff back into the trailer – after evicting the mice and snake that had moved in – checking and repairing all the trailer’s systems, replacing the totally corroded battery, dragging new propane tanks home because the old ones are rusted to the point of being scary, Oh! and three days of tree-trimming and brush clearing in order to open up the driveway enough to get the damn thing through and around the turns! (Oh yay! Found the last remaining patch of poison ivy on the property!!)

Throw in the fact that Sunday morning was 40 degrees and 1) we rarely use the heat, 2) the leg The Wife has broken twice is sensitive to temperature changes, especially when they are of a downward nature; toss in a healthy dose of us old people doing all this young people’s crap activity, and it was one noisy morning! And, yes, I was contributing my fair share to the auditory discord!!

Now admittedly our corner-of-the-barn, single-room + bathroom living space is smallish at 380 square feet (if you include the bathroom) so it doesn’t take a lot of noise to fill it up, but between the two of us howling and groaning and whimpering and yelping and sighing and whining and groaning (I know I said that already but there was a lot of groaning); and this was just us getting out of bed!!

If it wasn’t so pathetic it would have been funny.

Too bad our old-people hearing loss hasn’t kept up with our old-people pains. At least then we wouldn’t have to listen to the pitiful cacophony!

Oh, and we still had the final cleaning to wrap up, the sucking in of the slideout while hoping the punky floor doesn’t drop out of it, the disconnecting and stowage of the shore-services paraphernalia, a final check of tire pressures, the disassembly of the fancy steps (at his state of creakiness no way the FIL can navigate standard trailer steps and not die) and stowing them, all 300 pounds worth of them, inside the trailer, to get finished up with because on Monday the guy with a truck beefy enough to haul the 7000 pound, 27 foot trailer is showing up.

Worst of the rust scaled off and painted over, fresh propane tanks and new cover hiding all the work put into cleaning up and repainting the tray. New cable and battery for the emergency breakaway system

We’ll be following it down to the coast in The Wife’s car. We’re telling ourselves this is so we can get the trailer set up once it reaches the campground, but I have on my list to bring a heavy-duty broom along just in case, because I’m not entirely convinced the rickety thing will make it down there without shedding a few parts along the way. . . (Which only seems fair because we shed a few parts of our own getting the damn thing on the road!)

Slideout successfully retracted and disassembled steps loaded in and braced for the trip

Update: The trailer; all of it; made it to the coast just fine. Now all we have to do is get the blind-in-one-eye, can’t-see-well-out-of-the-other, one-heart-attack, two-significant-and-countless-minor-strokes, never-stops-talking-except-when-dragging-on-the-ever-present-cigarette, FIL down here and safely loaded into the trailer.

All buttoned up and ready to go with new tires, and fresh paint.

What with the two corners of the roof you don't dare try to stand on anymore, the slideout floor that is no longer connected to one of the walls, and the fact that I put my finger through the front wall while trying to clean water stains off the miniblinds, it's like putting fresh lipstick on an aging whore! 

Now excuse me while I go crawl into a nice dark hole somewhere to heal – quietly!!

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