Sunday, January 27, 2013

Brave Guardians

We were awoken a little past midnight last night by the howls and yips of a pack of coyotes.  Our dogs were all on alert, bodies stiff and straight, eyes wide, ears upright.  From the clatter and yelps outside, it sounded like the coyotes were on the street right behind us, no more than twenty feet away.  We sat rooted to our spots as the pack rushed past us, and the cacophony faded into the distance.

That's when our dogs started barking.

Brave little puppies.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dogs on TV

When we lived in Pueblo, we had the TV on a stand against the wall, and we watched from the sofa.  Kome would watch TV with us, and when a dog appeared on whatever show we were watching, she would jump up and bark at them.  Sometimes she would walk in back of the TV stand, trying to find the wayward animals.

We have a similar TV stand, but since it's crammed between two cabinets, there's no way to get behind it.  The TV itself is on a shelf in front of the passenger-side window; it blocks most of the view on that side.

Kome divides her time between either lying on the driver's seat or the engine cover and sitting on the dashboard, staring out the window.  Today, she was on the driver's seat when a commercial came on with a woman walking a couple of large dogs.  Kome jumped up and barked at the dogs on TV, then ran to the dashboard to find them.  She didn't see them outside, so she ran back to the TV.  The dogs were still there (I had paused the playback), so she jumped over to the windshield again, barking all the time.  Back and forth she went, until we stopped laughing long enough to calm her down.

Apparently, she thinks the TV is a window of some kind.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Another Day of Excitement and Adventure

Those readers who live vicariously through my exploits are advised not to read this.

We woke up this morning to a bathtub full of dirty water.  We've been leaving the water running overnight to keep the water pipe and supply hose from freezing.  Just a trickle.  Unfortunately, it was a really small trickle.  Enough to keep the inlet hose from freezing, but not enough to stop the drain hose from succumbing to the cold.  I'm guessing that it froze two days ago, and we just didn't notice it.

Two nights of drizzling water filled the gray-water tank to overflowing.  I went outside to check the drain hose, and sure enough, it was frozen from end to end.  On a lark, I checked the waste-water hose, and it, too, was frozen completely.  I didn't really think this was possible, since the hose is three inches across.

I pulled the hose from the septic tank, and found the culprit: the tank has a P-trap, and the water in the trap was frozen solid.  That stopped the hose from draining, in turn allowing the hose contents to freeze.  It's been overcast for the past several days, keeping the temperatures low, so nothing had a chance to thaw out.

Kazumi boiled a pot of water, which I poured into the septic tank, removing the block of ice completely.  Another boiling pot loosened the sludge in the sewer hose, but not enough to make much of a difference.  This side of the RV was in shadow, and hadn't warmed up yet, so I decided to leave it all until mid-afternoon, when things had thawed a little.  There is a small slope between my lot and the one next door.  I disconnected the sewer hose and placed it on this slope (open ends up, of course) so the sun would hit that first when it came around the rig.

In the meantime, I knew I needed another sewer hose, to help the gray-water tank drain faster.  Off to Wal-Mart we went.  We picked up a twenty-foot sewer hose, and a quick-coupler for the tanks.  The hose is three inches across.  The connector is three inches across.  You would think they would just slide together.  No such luck: I fought with that thing for a half-hour.  The tube is a copper coil covered in plastic.  I finally learned to stretch each section of plastic over the long end of the connector, then twist it the rest of the way up the shank so I could lock it in place. 

Satisfied with my work, I stuffed the hose into the septic tank opening.  I hooked the other end to the black-water tank, and went back to stuff the hose into the septic tank again.  I turned to open the value, and the hose popped out again.  This is a twenty-foot-long hose.  You'd think it would stretch eight-and-a-half feet.

I placed  a big rock on the hose (this is New Mexico: lots of big rocks) to hold it in place, and opened the valve.  The black-waste tank drained nicely into the septic tank.  I knew, though, that to drain the gray-water tank, which is further away, that I was going to need an elbow adapter for the septic-tank end of the hose, just to hold the hose in place.  These are required by law in New Mexico, so, seeing as I didn't want to be arrested by the Septic Police, we drove to Wal-Mart to buy one.  (Wal-Mart, by the way, is pretty much the only store here.)

We returned with the elbow adapter, which I proceeded to attach to the end of the sewer hose.  The [I]used[/I] sewer hose.  I already knew the secret, so this only took twenty minutes.

At this point, however, the narrow drain hose had thawed out, and gray water was leaking all over the place.  I figured if this had thawed out, then the bigger hose probably did, too.  Things were shifting around inside when I picked it up, so it seemed time to empty it.  One end in the septic tank, the other high in the air, I shook the hose a bit.  A few chunks of ice dropped out, but nothing else moved.  So I shook it harder, then harder still.  Nothing.  I raised the hose as high as I could, to pull out all of the bends and twists, and gave the hose a final shake.

Everything came out.  [I]Everything[/I].  All at once.  Yellow slush was everywhere: the ground, the septic tank pad, the hoses, my shoes, even the rock wall, three feet away.  It all came out much too fast to drain into the septic tank.  The gray water hose was still running, so I managed to wash most of the goop down the drain.  That still left the ground, rocks, hoses, trees and me, all of which I flushed (pun intended) off as best as possible.

I tossed the old hose aside, planning to deal with it when I worked up the courage to touch it again.  As for myself, I stank to high heaven.  It was time to take a shower and burn my clothes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Frigid Air

It was bloody cold when I woke up this morning.  The temperature outside was about 24 degrees, and inside was 47.  I could see my breath!

This rig has no insulation, which is why we were trying to avoid cold weather.  It's not entirely possible, since we are here until the 15th, at least.  Maybe even into February.

According to the weather history for this area, the coldest time of year is the three days before and after the solstice.  Makes sense: since this area is heated by the sun, the coldest time of the year would coincide with the shortest days.  What that means, of course, is there's a warming trend coming.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

We're watching the Tournament of Roses Parade.  The theme this year is Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"  They must have been thinking of us when they decided on that.  It's definitely appropriate for life in an RV.