Yesterday we had a fabulous display of winter wonderment which started off with some nice rain which evolved into snow and was then further enhanced by 50 mph winds gusting about like air on crack. Ah yes, beautiful glorious IOWA. So this morning we got up in our hotel room… Oh wait I guess I should back up a bit here and explain why we are in a hotel room instead of our RV. Recently our carbon monoxide detector started going off in the middle of the night alerting is to the fact that we need to open up some windows or go back to sleep and die. Well as I have noted before we are currently in IOWA and it is NOVEMBER so it is FREAKING COLD outside especially at 3AM. So you can imagine what fun it is to wake up to: BEEP BEEP *flashing orange light* BEEP BEEP *flashing orange light* uuhhhmmm… wha? is it time for toast? OH SHIT. Then having to jump up and open the windows and go open and close the door in succession to fan air in and out as icicles form on my nipples and my fingers turn blue.
See all of the RV parks in this state closed 2 days before we arrived here for winter, because all God fearing sensible people who live in RVs have headed south like nature intended. SO we can’t go anywhere to plug in for electric so we must run our generator to keep a charge to the batteries that run the blowers for the furnace. The brilliant design team at COACHMAN who built our RV thought it would be a good idea to place the exhaust for the generator directly below the fresh air intake for the furnace. I can just see how that design meeting must have went:
designer: hey boss here’s the new design I came up with for the Mirada.
head engineer: Steve, these cup holders have bolts sticking in the middle of them everything will just fall right out of them and spill on the floor.
designer: Yeah Bob isn’t that a hoot. But check out the front end suspension. I’ve got it set up so whenever they break going downhill at 45 mph the whole thing will start to shake like a giant vibrator of death on wheels.
head engineer: That’s all well and good but we need something else that really says “You cheap bastard you should bought something a little above bottom of the line, loser”
designer: Hey I know. Let’s put the exhaust for the generator right below the fresh air intake for the furnace that should show them.
head engineer: BRILLIANT!
both: mwah ha ha ha ha!!!
*Lightning and thunder flash and crack as view pans back to reveal conference room is located atop a dirty tower in a spooky castle*
Cut back to my blog…
So we took the RV in to have them take a look at the CO problem and after conducting a battery of tests they determined that the problem may in fact be that the afore mentioned exhaust/intake placement. They re-routed the exhaust pipe closer to the front of the RV away from the furnace and the sleeping quarters. We figured our problem was solved and we could return to our normal routine of sleeping through the night with heat and electricity. Well they say that there is a sucker born every minute and it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. SO a couple nights ago after having this fixed we went to bed and lo and behold just as I’m falling asleep… BEEP BEEP *flashing orange light* BEEP BEEP *flashing orange light* uuhhhmmm… wha? I don’t want any popcorn… OH SHIT… AGAIN More windows, frozen nipples, blue fingers, you know the drill.
I go up front and I can smell exhaust coming up from under the drivers seat. I look down and… *slaps forehead with open palm, then looks for something harder and heavier to slap forehead with* I can see right through to the ground in one spot and I realize that they have actually relocated the exhaust pipe to someplace worse than where it was. I shut everything off, open up the windows and drive to the nearest hotel… can’t fit an RV in that lot.. To the 2nd nearest hotel and get a room. And so we have been in a hotel ever since. But I digress.
I really wanted to tell you about our fun morning. We braved the icy aftermath and arrived at our WALMART to do our daily event. It was 19 degrees this morning with a wind chill factor making it 1 degree. We have been told that though the client really doesn’t like it when we don’t set up the tent, that it is acceptable not to if it is 45 or less out. OK let’s see 19 degrees, wind chill of 1 degree, 30 mph winds, snow covered ground… Yes I believe we will be setting up inside today. So I go to open up our trailer to try and extract a sign and possibly a fake plant and the locks are covered with a bubble of ice. I chip away at it a bit with a key, then go inside to purchase some de-icer. After about 15 minutes of standing out in the 1 degree weather squirting de-icer into the lock then jabbing at it with the key over and over I decide to go inside and thaw my face out and see if they sell propane torches. I go in and find the cheapest model propane torch which is about $12.95 and having the upmost respect for bureaucratic procedure and, more importantly, feeling sure this will make for a pretty hilarious conversation, I ask Anilia to call our manager and request authorization to purchase the torch to melt the ice out of the locks. So she puts the call in to RSB (previous readers may remember this character) to explain our situation and get the OK to proceed in a logical direction.
Now keep in mind our headquarters are in Tampa Bay and it is like 80 degrees there right now. It is quite possible they have never witnessed ice in any environment other than floating in the pina colada they are sipping after spending their morning at the gym staring at the tight shorts on the asian guy in the corner. RSB informs us to proceed at our own risk and if we damage the locks we will have to replace them at our own cost. Being the masochist she is, Anilia drives the ice pick further into her head by following with: Well, what do you suggest we do? Clearly baffled by the prospect of making an intelligent (or otherwise) decision he confers with an unknown associate in the background. And comes back with an ingenious approach straight out of the arctic survival handbook. Hold a match to the key and then stick it in the lock. Anilia politely and confusedly ends the conversation and relays our new orders. We look at each other and both know what this means. We have to buy a video camera now. We should have done it long ago but now there is no excuse. This situation calls for motion picture rights. Now it just so happens that we are standing in a WALMART after all, so within 2 minutes we are the proud owners of a new video camera. We realize that it has to charge before we can do anything so we put it away for now and I just use the video capabilities of my digital camera. Now in the interest of our client I am not posting the video of us attempting to heat up the key with a match outside in the wind, finally giving up and the getting the blow torch and heaving the locks open in no time. Sorry that video will remain in storage until after we have finished this job. You will have to physically see it on my computer if we are hanging out and not otherwise for now. (Edit from future self – Sadly this film was lost later, when my laptop was stolen, and may never be seen.)
So after all this silliness we finally melt our way into the locks do a happy dance and go to open the door. Our high spirits are quickly deflated as we realize that the whole door is also frozen shut. We contemplate how long it might take to work our way around the perimeter of the door with a match. Luckily after banging and tugging on it a bit we manage to get it open and can now face our day with signs and goodies. Later that day we get a call from RSB. He has called to perform our employee evaluations. I get a perfect score, superior in every category. Anilia gets an almost perfect score. The only less than perfect area: WORK HABITS. TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THE EMPLOYEE DISPLAY A POSITIVE, COOPERATIVE ATTITUDE TOWARDS WORK ASSIGNMENTS AND REQUIREMENTS? COMMENTS: Can be a bit sarcastic at times, but overall great attitude. Hmmm… obviously RSB does not read my blog, or realize that I help write a lot of what goes into the reports that reflect Anilia’s less than perfect attitude.