Friday, August 19, 2011

Lions and Tigers and BEAR!

So I mentioned in passing last time that there may have been a bear encounter on our RV trip from Arizona to Oregon. I say 'may' because someone has theorized that since we didn't actually see the bear, it may have been raccoons. Raccoons the size of bears, but raccoons, nonetheless.

I didn't do any driving of the RV. I could make up some great reasons for that, but basically Monkey Man doesn't trust me. I'm not saying I haven't given him reason. It wouldn't usually be a big deal, but navigating a narrow strip of pavement through dozens of blind curves the first day left Monkey Man exhausted. He crawled into the upper bed with one child, the other child falling asleep in the back.

And I stayed awake to gorge myself on a novel I'd recently downloaded until long after sunset when I crawled into the back bed as well. I can't tell you what time I woke up because I never thought to look at a clock, but I can tell you it was LOUD.


Someone Something was in a serious tussle with one of the camp trashcans. I heard Monkey Man stir, and asked him - all stage whispery - is that what I think it is? Because apparently if you don't say bear, it can't be a bear. I was trying to figure out how to shine some sort of light outside without just illuminating ourselves so I could see the thing when Monkey Man asked a question that would change my life forever.

"Did you close the door?"

We'd left the windows open, but of course I'd remembered to close the door before I went to bed. Hadn't I? I was still brave in that moment. I got up and went to check. I felt my way over to the screen door, opened the slider just enough to let a finger through, and felt cold, night air suddenly filled with all my shattered illusions. Let me remind you that throughout this few moments we are still being serenaded by...


I stood there, mostly because I forgot how to move, trying to decide what to do. I didn't know how the latch holding the door open worked. I would need light. I would also need to be someone else. The dogs were...what were the dogs doing? Sleeping? They were certainly silent in their kennel at my feet. If I let them out of their kennel and opened the door, would the bear be distracted enough by eating them first, that I'd have time to figure out how to close the door?

"Passing, go back to sleep." That was Monkey Man, trying desperately to talk me out of my state of frozen terror. But really, sleep? How could he even think I could go back to sleep when I'm about to sacrifice my dogs to save my children? "Passing, you need to move so I can close the door." Oh, he just wants me to move so he can sacrifice himself!

It still took me a few moments to convince my legs to work.

Monkey Man turned on a light, threw his upper body out the door, and slammed the door closed. For a few long moments the only sound was the two of us trying not to breathe. I asked Monkey Man if he'd seen it. He laughed and said he hadn't looked and then, "Maybe it was just raccoons!". Somehow we both managed to go back to sleep, our babies and our dogs all safe.

This is what we found the next morning*. What you can't see in this photo is that the trash can was dragged from across the road. Metal against asphalt...very loud.

*please note that photo may have been altered for dramatic effect

Thursday, August 18, 2011

T Plus 2 Weeks (Plus 3 Days)

Just a quick overview of the RV trip from Tucson to Portland:

Departure time delayed by 6 hours. Feeling nothing but relief when the door is finally closed on the house we've lived in for the last 5.5 years. Falling in love with actually being able to sleep while my honey drives. Not falling in love with wiggle jiggle of my flesh in the bouncy back of the RV. Mosquitoes at Sequoia National Monument...monumental. Also monumental...a bear. Not so monumental...I forgot to close the door to the RV before I went to bed. In awe of Mt. Shasta. Love, love, love me some WiFi access at a campground. Teaching my boys to eat wild berries near Crater Lake. My husband's terror at realizing I'm letting the boys eat wild berries. Meeting a friendly Texan who helps us navigate Crater Lake. Forgetting Mt. Shasta because Crater Lake just upped the ante on awesome. Arriving in Portland an hour before our leasing agent can meet us. Meeting 3 of our neighbors in that 1st hour (which is 3 more than I knew in the 1st 3 years I lived in our house in Tucson).

I guess I left out the parts about spoiled little boys with electronic games and gifts from friends and iPads who were bored, bored, bored. But you probably already knew that part.

And now I suppose I should fill you in on all the horrible (but horribly funny!) things that have happened since we got here,'s actually been completely lovely. It's gone so smoothly in fact that I've voiced - very quietly, just in case Fate is listening - my fear that something epic is about to befall us (apparently Fate can't read). A few friends, each of them worlds wiser than me, have told me it's just a sign that all of this is meant to be. A view that I am attempting to embrace completely.