After a full day of moving, I really wanted a hot shower and to climb into a clean bed, but my husband decided winterizing the RV at the same time we pulled it into storage would save a trip.
I took a deep breath. Okay, I can do this.
Bill leaned closer to the valves. “Now which way do the switches go?”
I repeated what the book said, then added. “To pump the antifreeze through the lines all the water taps must be opened. When the antifreeze begins to come out of the tap, there is enough in the lines to prevent freezing.”
“Okay, I’ll get the hose hooked up to the valves. You go open the faucets.”
Tucking the instruction manual under my arm, I bent into the wind and raced around the trailer to the back door. Inside, I opened the kitchen faucet – and groaned. Water poured out, a lot of water, which of course ran down the drain and into the holding tank. The bathroom faucet was the same, as was the toilet. We had forgotten to drain the lines before dumping the tanks.
I retraced my steps back to my husband. “Honey, guess what we forgot to do? When I opened the taps, a lot of water went down into all of three of the holding tanks. At least a gallon, if not more.”
“That is too much water to leave in. It'll have to be drained.” Bill slumped against the trailer. “I’ve already taken off the hitch and put it in the storage compartment.”
Yup. He did, and it would take at least twenty minutes to get it out and hook the trailer back to the truck. Then it would be at least another ten minutes to pull the trailer over to the storage facility’s dump station. And then roughly another half hour to flush the tank, move the trailer back to the parking spot, unhitch and put everything away. Not to mention getting the antifreeze into the water lines.
"Let's come back tomorrow."
"No. I want to get it done. We've got enough to do with painting and unpacking. I don't want to stop and come back over here. And, it's getting too cold to put it off for very long."
"Okay." I looked at the instruction manual. Obviously it takes five minutes if you first follow the suggested winterizing check list.
“Well,” The Love of My Life said, “It’s clear water. We can just run it all into a bucket and walk it over to the dump station. It’d be much easier and faster than re-hitching the trailer.”
“We don’t have a bucket. You took all of them into the house.”
My One and Only sighed and then winked. “I told you we should keep one bucket in the trailer.”
It was an old joke between us, his way of admitting I had been right and he was wrong. I didn't laugh. I kept my mouth tightly closed. What was that scripture? Love is patient, love is kind...I was trying.
The chain link fence rattled and swirls of dust raced through the lot and around the RVs. A cloud of leaves, papers and several ducks blew past, just above the tree tops. I hunkered deeper into my coat, wishing I had spent the extra money and gotten the one that reached to my ankles with an attached hood.
I looked at Bill. "So what are we going to do?"
“I don’t know let me think a moment.”
Another cold gust of wind blew across the open lot, and amazingly an old bucket rolled out from behind the RV parked beside us. It was neither cracked or broken.
Bill placed the bucket under the discharge valve and opened the first gray tank. Clear water trickled out, filling only half the bucket. The second tank was also clear and held less than the first. With the bucket only three quarters full of clear water it was easy for the two of us to carry over to the dump station. After pouring it into the dump tank, we carried it back to the trailer and placed it under the drain valve. Bill opened the Black Tank. Thick, odorous black sludge oozed into the bucket.
Bill stated the obvious. “We forgot to flush the tank after dumping it.”
I said nothing. My mother told me if I couldn’t say anything nice, not to say anything. And what was that scripture verse again? Love is what?
Next came the Really Big Mistake. “Well, there can’t be that much left. We’ll just drain it into the bucket.”
"I am not sure about this."
I watched the sludge pass the halfway mark, then the three-quarters mark. Bill caped the valve when it came to within one inch of the rim. We both stared at the bucket.
“It’s too heavy to carry. We’ll have to haul it over to the dump station in the truck.”
My stomach rolled. The truck bed was fully carpeted and the storage lot was unpaved and filled with potholes and bumps.
I swallowed. “Are you sure?”
“It'll be fine. You sit in the back seat and watch. If it starts to slosh too much, holler.”
Oh, I’d holler alright. .
Carefully we loaded the bucket in the back of the truck, leaving the tailgate down and the hatch open. Bill inched the truck across the lot to the dump station. My Darling did a fantastic job. Only once did the goop sway close to the edge.
After dumping and rinsing the bucket, we went back to the trailer and stood for a few moments eyeing the Black Water valve. How much was really left in there?
Bill slowly shook his head. “I don’t really want to try that again, do you?”
I did not need to reply - verbally.
“Okay. We’ll hitch up the trailer.”
The sun was now low on the horizon, casting deep shadows over the storage lot. The temperature had dropped another twenty degrees and I was certain I had frostbite on my hands and feet.
It seemed like another century passed before we finally pulled the trailer to the dump station. At that point frostbitten toes and fingers were forgotten with the emergence of a new problem. The coupling on the dump station hose didn’t fit our flush valve. The hose would have to be pulled through the trailer to the bathroom. I pictured the dirty hose dragging across my beige carpet and clean tile to the back of the trailer.
I wanted to cry, but was certain the tears would freeze to my face and I'd have worse problems. I said nothing, and help Bill drag the hose to the front door and fed him the slack as he moved down the hallway to the back. It wasn’t as bad as I envisioned. The hose was only slightly dusty and Bill was very careful not to get water anywhere but in the toilet. Within forty minutes the trailer was back in its storage spot, the hitch and other towing equipment were put away and we were once again reading the instruction manual on how to pump in the antifreeze.
Simple, except the antifreeze jug had too narrow a neck for the water hose to slip through, and there was no other way to get the antifreeze into the water lines except to pump it through - using a hose.
“Sweetheart, would you go see if there is anything clean in the trailer we can pour the antifreeze in?”
“We took all the pots and pans, as well as the buckets into the house.”
“Well, please go look and see if there isn’t something we can use.”
I went back into the trailer and dug around for anything that was more than a couple inches deep. I found a foil casserole pan. It was just deep enough to submerge the end of the hose in the antifreeze.
By the time we pulled out of the storage area, the sun was behind dark clouds and the street lights were coming on. I really wanted that hot shower and clean bed.
Bill made a suggestion. “It's too late to cook. Let’s get a burrito at that little place I saw just up the street.”
I gritted my teeth. For the last two months Bill failed to recognize any other fast food choice. I was certain if I ate one more burrito, not only would I look like one, I’d be one.
The small deli had hard chairs and grease, lots of grease. I left half of my chicken burrito on the tray. The other half sat in one, large heavy lump in the pit of my stomach. I didn't think it would ever digest. It'd just sit there, forever.
As we pulled out of the parking lot, Bill commented. “We are out of ice. Guess we’d better stop on the way home.”
I didn't say a word. I just looked at him.
“On second thought, let’s just go home.”
I know love is: patient, is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians: 13: 4-8)
Love is all of these things. Forgive me, Lord. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is- TIRED!
We drove west. The clouds parted along the horizon, revealing a bright red glow, the last breath of sunlight bathing the world in ethereal light. Bill took my hand, raised it to his lips.
"Sweetheart, I love you with all of my heart."
"I love you too, Honey."