Friday, June 13, 2014

Birthday / Disaster weekend

My wife has thrown me TWO surprise parties since we have been together. One was a really elaborate party at Comerica Park where I walked into a room full of my friends on my 30th birthday. It was a total shock. When her 30th birthday came up I dropped the ball and didn't do anything cool. In fact, I can't even remember what we did that year. Guaranteed it was lame. That is why, this year, that was all going to change.

I took the family camping at Sleepy Hollow State Park near Laingsburg, MI. HOLY MOSQUITOES! When we were pulling up to our campsite my cousin, Mark, walked past with a fishing pole and asked me where the lake was. "Oh, I invited Mark and his family to camp with us." I said to Jessica as I prepared to back into our campsite. I unhooked the camper and Aeden and Delaney came over to play with the boys. "Oh, The Sherwoods decided to come at the last minute too." I told her. I started unpacking our chairs and putting the awning up and 4 of her aunts and uncles came over to see the new RV. At this point Jessica, who is an extremely intelligent woman, was still under the impression that these were just coincidences and/or things I forgot to tell her about. She finally caught on and had an amazing birthday weekend. I know this because I could hear the sound of beer cans cracking and her louder-than-normal laugh from 4 campsites away. In total we had 14 groups join us and we were a handful for the DNR to deal with but they were super nice when reminding us to keep the celebration to a respectful volume. We had a big pot luck dinner on Saturday and everyone reported to me that they had a great time. I was pretty proud that I pulled the whole thing off. Except for that ONE minor disaster...

These things are supposed to hold 30,000 lbs.
I wrote a nasty email to the company. 
I got the camper all set up and something didn't feel right. I pulled out the level and my suspicions were confirmed. The slideout on the RV was causing it to slightly tilt. Now, when you buy an RV they tell you "The jacks on the RV are for stabilizing ONLY. DO NOT LIFT THE RV WITH THEM." There are also warning labels on the jacks themselves that say pretty much the same thing. Now, I used to camp in a 14ft popup where I could get away with lifting the RV with the jacks and then sliding a piece of wood under the tire real quick. So, I went for it. I got to about 15 cranks on the left-rear jack when the plastic leveling blocks on the other side crushed under the weight and caused all of the weight to transfer to the front jacks which, in turn, buckled, sending the trailer jack off the wood blocks and sent my camper rolling partially off the RV pad. My Uncle Dennis was nearby and stepped into action. My jaw was on the floor and I couldn't believe my BRAND NEW RV was sitting face down like an AT-AT that tripped over a rebel tow cable. Then I thought about the kids. I told Jessica to check and see if they were okay. They were inside of the RV at the time. Luckily they were watching cartoons and it didn't even bother them. Uncle Dennis walked around the camper and said, "Okay, let's assess the damage before we do anything." We approached the situation with a calm attitude and discovered that the jacks, while bent and broken, were salvageable for the time being. There was a small hole in the underside of the trailer from the one jack but not a big one and one that could easily be patched. It could have been a LOT WORSE so, while it sucked, I feel grateful and I learned an important lesson about plastic leveling blocks and listening to manufacturers warnings. 

We returned home on Sunday and relaxed for a bit. Well, I did anyhow. See, when I relax, I block out all of the upcoming tasks and responsibilities that are awaiting me. I know it will suck but I will get through it. I learned this skill from an old roommate of mine who would plan these elaborate parties and before he knew where he was getting money for the party or if he had commitments from the entertainment, he would just book a venue and start promoting. Then he would let everything else fall into place. It's a strategy you see on those home makeover shows too. Always coming down the the wire. My wife, on the other hand, has a tendency to think, out loud, about all of the things she has to do this week. It really puts a damper on my relaxation time. I had a couple doctors appointments, Noah had a school performance (adorable. I am so proud), the boys had their last day of school, We had to clean out the garage and prepare for our garage sale this weekend, Hannah went to the vet and we loaded up on flea/tick/heartworm medication to take on the road with us, and we have still been showing the house to potential buyers everyday. We got through it all but I am exhausted. I will report back next week and let you know how the garage sale went. If I make $500 and get rid of all this junk I will consider that a huge win. If anyone out there wants to trade me a pair of trailer jacks for some golf clubs or a nice faux-leather couch, come on down!
They slept the whole way home after a fun weekend with friends and family!
We are eager to get on the road and we are toying with the idea of dropping the price on the house. Our original departure date of 9/15 is probably a conservative estimate. I can't imagine we will be here much later than August. So, if you are bored with reading about the preparation involved, things are about to start getting real interesting in the next couple of months. I can't wait! 

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