If I Had a Hammer

SAM_0373            Daisy arrived over the weekend, mysteriously shrouded in the cloak of night, her rounded form perched on a trailer that was attached to a rig. I missed her homecoming and that makes me sad. However, my patient, noble, faithful (he reads this and I have GOT to get out of the crapper) – did I say devastatingly handsome – understanding, brilliant, etc. ad nauseam spousal unit remained home to intercept her. I owe him. He’s gonna wish that “til death do us part” had a codicil. Perhaps “til she buys a 1959 camper do us part,” or “til she loses her freaking mind and I can commit her do us part.”

It was nearly midnight by the time the shippers had unloaded and carefully placed her in an obscure location that wouldn’t bring attention to the overlords of our city within a city. We aren’t breaking the rules – yet – but we are bending them. The shippers left, continuing their journey to Atlanta, and spousal unit stumbled into bed.

It was by morning’s light he awakened to see the trench warfare in our yard. Our recently aerated and seeded by professionals yard. Hipsters were repelling from the sides of the grooves left by the shipper’s rig. We wonder if their Atlanta delivery was a hundred ton meteorite. With some fake snow and the reflective glare of Bob Costa’s teeth, we could host an Olympic luge competition.

He sent me a photo of Daisy. She looked forlorn. Dismal. Like a puppy in a shelter, fur matted, hope gone. Guilt overwhelmed me. What had I done? I was a Big, Fluffy Dog Rescue reject, failing the interview for two grown Great Pyrenees because I had loved my golden retriever so much. “If you love goldens so much, then you don’t need Pyrs,” the interviewer had said. Apparently Pyrenees are too smart, too independent, too high maintenance for folks like me. So, I got another golden. A big, goofy, smelly, loyal, not-too-bright golden who eats moles and blankets to pass the time. But, this? Daisy? Was she a Great Pyrenees who was going to be Just Too Much?

When I returned home, spousal unit greeted me by dangling keys on a heart keychain in front of my face. “I didn’t want to go in until you could go with me.” I wondered if it were love, loyalty, or fear of the unknown that compelled his actions. There could be critters in that there camper.

We entered. She didn’t stink. We expected stink. Boy child was with us, home for Thanksgiving break. He climbed aboard as well. The golden retriever whined at the door. We flashed our cell phone lights around the interior. Not too bad. Oh. Look. There’s the original flooring. Now THAT is cool. A little water damage, but that’s old. Hmmm…did the closet used to be a head? My arse wouldn’t fit in there, but people WERE smaller in the 50s. Check out how that table works. Is that a cigarette lighter? Oh, this is cool. SO freaking cool.

The next morning, we were ripping out the ceiling so we could get to the dent on the roof, caused by a tree branch and gravity. Father and son worked like the team they have always been, barely needing to speak as one pounded from the outside and one braced from the inside. As they worked to get the metal back to its original form, it was as if Daisy were cracking her neck. A pop here, a crack there and she would be able to stand a little more erectly. I noticed that I was standing a little straighter as well.

I may not make a good home for a bonded pair of Great Pyrenees, but I believe spousal unit and I will have done o.k. by golden retrievers, cats, two kids and a camper named Daisy.

Driving Miss Daisy

Daisy's Path

As with most things in life, purchasing my soon-to-be-refurbished mini camper was the easy part. Getting my canned ham from Michigan to Nashville, however, is providing a larger challenge.

Initially I was going to pick her up myself. Road trip! I got the 2004 Honda Pilot serviced (Pollyanna, for those of you who wonder) and checked her towing capabilities. Even in her dotage, Pollyanna could pull Daisy. After watching the news, I realized if I rear-ended a car in front of me, or front-ended a gaggle of geese, murder of crows, or herd of deer, I would explode on impact with my nuclear airbag, but by dang, I could pull a camper. (Note to self: check on this recall thing.)

I began plotting my trip, choreographing the elements better than Paula Abdul did for Michael Jackson in the 80s. First, a swing dance. Mi familia would swing by West Virginia for the annual pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner with kith and kin. College Boy would join us from his perch in Cincinnati and afterward, I would return to the Buckeye State with him in Pollyanna whilst Spousal Unit and Girl Child would return to Nashville in Sven, (College Boy’s beloved Volvo). Easy enough.

Then, a little hip-hop number. I would hop up to Michigan to retrieve Daisy whilst College Boy did his College Thing. I would return to Cincinnati where my son and I would reconnect and bring Daisy home to Nashville in time for Thanksgiving. I would write about my adventures, the adorable people I would meet along the way and the joy I would receive from bringing Daisy home. This is the same world in which I have resided where I have met and married John Kennedy, Jr., been a guest author on Oprah, cheered with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and been invited to Nashville’s Swan Ball. It’s a nice place to visit, but there’s no way in hell I can live there.

During this time, this choreographing of steps to get my camper home, I also took the advice of a friend and signed up on uShip for bids on shipping Daisy from Point A to Point B. The first bid was more than nine hundred bucks. Reality sucks. I went back to dancing in the fantasy world of a road trip. I would wave and honk at truckers and they would wave and honk at me. Families in station wagons, with luggage piled on top and springer spaniels panting in the “way back,” would point and smile at the nice lady with the camper. My imaginary trip looked like Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell sat on one another’s laps and took turns painting. Buying a 1959 camper time traveled me into believing that I would wear a size six A-line dress, my husband would smoke a pipe and my children were named Dick and Jane.

Step-two-three, two-two-three, I waltzed through the plans of my trip. This was going to be fun. When the online bids from uShip kept coming, I laughed at them. I got this, boys. I am woman; hear me roar. The bidders had questions. Was Daisy licensed and insured? What size ball did she use? Did her lights work?

Her what? Daisy has balls? Sheesh. I thought I was tough.

I asked the former owner about the license. He would send me the title; therefore, I could get the license. That was easy. Needed to call my insurance agency and take care of that. No, the sixteen-year-old doesn’t have her license yet and yes, the nineteen-year-old is still in college. Yes, we could eliminate the national debt with what we pay in insurance. I still haven’t had the nerve to ask the former owner about Daisy’s balls. I wonder if she needs to be named David instead.

My beautifully choreographed trip starts feeling like the end of a dance marathon. I’m dragging. I realize it could be very possible I would be dragging a camper for a ten-hour drive, leaving bits and pieces of Daisy along the way. My imaginary trip changes. Passersby in Toyota mini vans would point and shake their heads in dismay. Their dogs would growl and show their fangs. I would pull up in our driveway, sparks flying from Daisy’s frame that drags on the asphalt. She would list to one side, her back end missing from the semi tractor-trailer that rear-ended her because she had no taillights. Her balls, wherever and whatever they are would be gone. My insurance agent would be standing to the side, arms crossed, shaking her Clairol-dyed blonde head, noting all of the reasons she was going to cancel our policy.

Sun-Pro Logistics is delivering Daisy this weekend.

So, I had an idea…

Daisy.01

On Saturday. It was a novel idea. Literally. I would find a cute, vintage trailer, fix it up and turn it into my writing studio. After all, a lovely stone Tudor house in the heart of a fantastic Nashville neighborhood apparently isn’t enough. I mean, I have to share that space with a spousal unit, two teenagers, two cats, a dog and horse stuff (if not the horse). As if a cute, vintage trailer would keep out the menagerie. As if it would really change anything. As if it would make me actually write.

I posted my desire to the universe — or on Facebook, which is the same thing — and the crowd roared. “What a great idea!” they squealed. “Do it!” they encouraged. Boy Child, the college kid was pumped. Something else old and creaky to restore. I reminded him the 1949 Packard  was still waiting to be restored. But still. A camper.

I tooled around on the interwebs. Saw the passion for the Tiny House movement, of which Mini Campers are a part. Wondered why the trend of converting shipping containers into funky homes couldn’t be used for homeless. Shopped around, playfully enjoying the idea of having a cute little Airstream or Shasta of my own, knowing the likelihood of it becoming reality was slim.

On Saturday, I had an idea. On Sunday, waiting for spousal unit to finish his masterpiece spaghetti sauce that has become a weekly tradition and flipping through the virtual world that is internet shopping, I saw her.  Her 1959-era come-hither booty turned toward me at an angle. The shiny world of Airstreams dimmed as her faded blue stripe, like a raised eyebrow, beckoned. I broke away from her magnetic pull long enough to see that I had found myself on eBay. She was being auctioned. SHE HAD TWENTY MINUTES LEFT AND THE HIGHEST BID WAS A LITTLE OVER TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!

I called the college kid. He’s the eBay whiz — just ask our PayPal account — and I needed his expertise. Spaghetti chilled on the dinner table as we clumsily accessed the account. We bid and were the highest bidder, but hadn’t met the reserve. His computer crashed with one minute to spare. I was screaming. Suddenly I wanted this camper more than anything. I wanted it more than world peace. I wanted it more than losing seventy pounds. I wanted this friggin’ camper.

With 29 seconds left, his computer up and running again, I approved one more bid. We were the highest bidder. We stayed the highest bidder. Ten seconds. No change. Five. Holy crap, what were we doing. Three…two…one…WE OWN A CAMPER!!!

We what? My spousal unit looked at me, spaghetti sauce oozing from the corner of his mouth. Girl child glanced up from her phone, shook her head and answered the text, probably telling her friend that her mom had finally lost her mind could she move out of this house of lunatics and in with her friend. It’s o.k. honey, you can stay here because I’m gonna live in my CAMPER.

My camper that is ten hours away. In Michigan. It is going to cost more to retrieve it than it did to buy it. I don’t care. True love doesn’t see distance. True love knows no budget. Just ask my children. You want a pony honey? Oh you mean a German warmblood eventer that has to have special shoes and special feed and a special saddle? And son, you just HAVE to have this 1949 Packard? And then the money to rebuild the carburetor and rewiring and oh…the brakes? Yes, those are important. Oh sweet husband of mine, yes, I do believe you need another stringed instrument to play in your band. With all of these stringed instruments, you could BE the band. I’m so glad you people have your loves. And now I have mine.

Her name is Daisy. She’s still chillin’ in Michigan. Literally. Polar vortex go brrrrr. I will find a way to get her and I will find a way to make her beautiful again. Perhaps I will also find a way to get myself. Just maybe I will find a way to make myself beautiful again. Daisy and I will be repurposed together. It will be a journey. I invite you to come along for the ride.