April 1, 2011


Roxanne the bed-wetter & other crazy tales

My dad was the first one to play an April Fools joke this morning and it was so unexpected from him, that it made him, my mom and me practically roll around on the floor laughing for, like, five minutes. I mean, it was funny but not that funny. Basically, he pretended there was a huge spider behind my mom and when she flipped out, he reminded her what the date was. Then he was on a roll, so he said that I should write a special April 1 blog entry and string people along, and I said that I did not have to do that, because my truth was far stranger than fiction. But I only said that, because I was home again, having only been able to stay away for about six days, which in and of itself was kind of funny. It was still early in the day, though, so things had not taken a total turn for the crazy yet.

Time out. Those of you who are not following the Flit Flitter fan page are probably totally lost right now. “You’re home again?” you might be asking, because last you heard, I was finishing up my Atlanta visits and then I was going to begin my big push West to Vancouver. That was all supposed to start today, by the way. Ha. As if I didn’t have a small, tiny doubt in the back of my mind that it was going to get thwarted somehow.

Here’s what happened, starting with a little background information: for much of the four months that I was home for the holidays, my dad and I were working and working and working on trying to figure out why Roxanne was wetting the bed. Water was leaking in and it was getting my sheets all wet and it was disgusting. Totally unacceptable. It had been a problem ever since I discovered it in Lynchburg, Va., way back in October, and after sealing and caulking every single seam, and disemboweling the air conditioner, and spraying the roof with a hose, and shining flashlights across surfaces at night, just hoping to find a pinprick of entry, it seemed that we finally narrowed the issue down to the front of the camper, where it says FlitFlitter.com backwards, ambulance style. The frame around the web address was badly constructed and allowing water to flow in behind it, so my dad and the neighbor took it off, rebuilt it, sealed it, tested it and deemed it done.

When I headed to Atlanta exactly a week ago then, I was feeling pretty confident about my ride. Then it rained for five days straight and on Wednesday morning, I went out to Roxanne to get a change of clothes and saw a few drips of water beside the stove. I climbed into my bed and felt under the mattress. Soaked. When I called my dad to break the news, he suggested I come back to Athens to do a little more troubleshooting. Noooooooo. I did not want to do that. That was the last thing I wanted to do. No. I would just deal with it or something.

Except it’s my bed. And it can’t be wet. I told my friend, Amy, about it and she vowed to put her husband on the job. He’s crafty, she told me, and he loves figuring things out. Yesterday morning then, the two of us went out there and put the hose to her again, starting with the frame that my dad had rebuilt. It passed the test, which gave me a swell of pride and relief, and so we moved on to the three lights on top of the cab and that was it. Those stupid lights. I even had three replacement kits at home in Athens and my dad was going to put them on before I left but we ran out of time and it seemed like it was going to be more aesthetic than useful, so we did not bother.

I got back to my parents’ house late afternoon, just in time to edit and release the Thursday podcast. Then this morning, it was just going to be a quick switcharoo and I’d be on the road by noon. So we said. I went to move Roxanne into the driveway and she would not start. I turned the problem over to my dad and left to take Rennie on a walk, taking with my phone with me, because I was also expecting a call from the gal I was planning to meet up with in Birmingham tonight. I never take my phone with me on my morning walk, though, and that’s an important detail, because about 45 minutes into our jaunt, this little French bulldog came out of nowhere and scared the crap out of me. Rennie just wanted to play with the little guy, because not only does he have a fondness for little dogs, he is also in love with my friend’s French bulldog, so I think he thought for a minute that this was actually his buddy, Bear.

I looked around to see if there was an owner somewhere close by but all I saw was the mailman, so I asked him if he knew whose dog it was, because mailmen know everything about what happens on their routes.

“No,” he said, “but he’s living dangerously.”

Which was true. By this point, he had crossed a few lawns, almost gotten hit by two cars and was working his way to the other side of town. But he saw Rennie again and came running all the way back over to us, so I grabbed his collar and started dialing the number from his ID tag into my phone— not an easy task to do while holding him, holding Rennie, both of them bouncing all over the place, and also holding my phone. A third arm would have come in handy, really.

“Hello?” a guy’s voice said.

“Hi,” I said. “Do you have a little French bulldog named Tebo?”

“No,” he said. “But my son does and he actually just dropped him off with a friend in…”

“Athens, Ga?”


Except the dad was in Franklin, Tenn., and he did not have the son’s number, for some reason, so he had to call the mom and then she would call me back. I was right around the corner from my parents, so I started heading that way, putting Rennie’s leash on Tebo and holding Rennie by his harness, still trying to get him to stop playing with Tebo with me in the middle. Impossible. We were sort of awkwardly making our way down the sidewalk when the phone rang again. It was the mom this time and she explained that the son was at a track meet in Florida and had dropped his dog off with a friend here and that she had no idea where the friend lived but that she would Facebook him and then call me back.

Meanwhile, as we were talking, Tebo was slowly wrapping his little feet and ankles around the leash, because he was such a wiggle worm, he could not just stand still for three minutes, so I was trying to have a conversation, not drop the phone, still hang onto Rennie and untangle Tebo, before he lost his balance and toppled over. And all this time, I thought for sure that I was going to get to my parents’ street and see that Roxanne had been moved to the driveway after all but there she was, still parked on the street.

I put the dogs on the porch together.

Then my dad pulled up in his car and got out with Roxanne’s battery. He hadn’t had any more luck than I had getting her started, so he had taken the battery to be tested but then they told him it was charged and healthy, which made no sense, because it had seemed for sure like it was a battery issue.

Then my phone was ringing. The mom was calling back with an address for me. It was just down the street, so I borrowed my dad’s car and took little Tebo away from Rennie, who did not like that one single bit, and returned him to where he had escaped.

“My roommate didn’t know we were watching a dog, so he left the front door open,” the dog-sitting friend explained to me when I pulled up at his house and took Tebo out of the back.

At home again, my dad had put the battery back in and finally got Roxanne cranked and then started revving the engine. It didn’t sound right, though. We scratched our heads for a moment and then climbed in to take her to James, the trusty mechanic, who has been seeing a lot of Roxanne over the last year. The funny noise that we heard when we were revving the engine was the wing nut on the air filter. It had come loose. But the issue of her not starting this morning was not so obvious. James tested the battery, too, because he said that his machine was really something else.

But the readout did not show any loss of power. Then he and my dad started poking at all the wires coming out of it and that seemed to be the problem.

And so, at about 1 o’ clock in the afternoon, my dad was finally able to start replacing those three lights that I had come home to fix and it was clear that I was not going anywhere today, the moral of the story being: don’t plan your departure date for April Fools Day.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. SirenaSteve
    Apr 2 2011

    No rain in Mexico 🙂

  2. Apr 4 2011

    Super Peter to the RESCUE!
    Nice investigative work for the Frenchie- most people would not have gone to the trouble.


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