Three Days for The 30th Day

Popping in to let readers know that The 30th Day will be free on Amazon’s ebooks all three days this Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday.  My blog post of February 26, 2016 gives some details about the book and how it came to be (pull up February 2016 in the Archives box in the column to the right to find the post most easily).

If you miss the free window, the cost is just $2.99.  You don’t have to own a Kindle to read an ebook.  Apps are readily available that allow you to read them on a variety of electronic devices.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon’s ebooks site:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C7KMHOC

If you read the book and like it, a short review would be greatly appreciated.  You can do a review by visiting your Amazon account page and pulling up recent purchases.

Meanwhile, to all the soldiers and veterans out there:  Thank you for your service, especially on this coming day which honors your fallen brethren.  It looks like the weather in the DC area will be great for Rolling Thunder, an annual event held on the Sunday before Memorial Day that draws attention to and advocates for POWs and MIA service members.  It has grown from a couple of thousand riders in 1988 to half a million in recent years.  Riders gather in the Pentagon parking lot and at noon they start up their bikes at the same time (my, what a roar!).  They proceed slowly across the Memorial Bridge to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  It is a powerful thing to witness.  I can only imagine what it must be like to actually participate.  Who knows.  Maybe some day I’ll be towing a motorcycle behind my little house and will be able to join the ride.

Everyone, enjoy this weekend and stay safe!

(Photo at start of post:  Flags brought by one of our campers this weekend.  He will carry them on the back of his Harley on Sunday as he rides in his twelfth Rolling Thunder.)

Another Day, Another Night

Is that old expression, “Another day, another dollar,” used much anymore?  It seems to me that inflation exploded it decades ago or at least has made it wistfully ridiculous.  Here is an expression that stands the test of time and is appropriate for workampers:  “Another day, another night.”

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept, workampers exchange their labor for a free camping site and, usually, hookups to electric, water, and sewer.  The beauty of a barter type of arrangement like this is that the value for what each of the parties gives corresponds directly to what they receive.  It is wonderfully simple.  Other benefits are sometimes offered, as well, such as free use of laundry machines and other campground amenities.  For me, the primary benefit (actually, more of a thrill than a benefit) has been access to campground golf-cart style work vehicles.  I adore riding around in those things.

So far, I’ve seen labor hours required range from 14 to 25 per week.  The 25 hours/week (at Texas state parks) seems really high to me.  That’s well over half of a full-time job in exchange for site rental and utilities.  Twenty hours/week seems to be a typical requirement.  That’s not too bad when you are a couple and can split the hours.  One place I work simply requires you (alone or as part of a couple, it doesn’t matter) to work two days on, then you get four days off.  That’s my favorite arrangement so far, as it gives me ample time to do personal errands and chores and allows me to take some overnight camping trips so that I don’t start growing roots!

Workamper duties vary widely.  In my five stints up to this point (at three different places), I have cleaned bathrooms, cabins, fire pits and grills; handled reservations and check-in/check-out services; and worked in a retirement community for RV’ers.  Physical labor and outdoor work is nice for keeping you in shape.  Indoor and office work is a wonderful treat and can keep you alive when the weather is challenging (cleaning fire pits and grills in 95 degree, humid weather is killer).  In any case, workamping is a great way to really get to know your campground and its staff and to meet other campers.

I found all three of my workamping jobs while visiting the campgrounds first, in person.  That is a nice way to do it.  You can sample the things that are most important to you before committing to working there for months at a time.  For me, those things include a good place for dog walks, safe and pretty surroundings, decent TV signals, and good Verizon reception.  Criteria that others might rank more important could include items such as on-site laundry machines, structured activities, campground-supplied Wi-Fi, and proximity to a city.  Oh, and distance to the nearest Walmart…  That’s not on my official list, but it sure helps.

You can also find workamping jobs online.  Workers on Wheels has a great website (www.work-for-rvers-and-campers.com) that lists jobs in exchange for camping sites, as well as paying jobs from employers who appreciate a flexible, mobile workforce (such as Amazon, Christmas tree lots, and some farms during harvest season).  The website contains a wealth of valuable information, including help-wanted ads, work-wanted ads, home business ideas, help building a resume, and on and on and on.  Check them out!

Any readers who would like to share their workamping tips or experiences, feel free to use the comments section.  Just please be patient, as each comment comes through me before it is posted.  Thanks, and if I don’t post again before the end of the month, have a happy and safe Memorial Day.

(Photo at top of post:  The mountain laurels are back in bloom here in Virginia, making our daily dog walks some of the most pleasant in all of our travels.)

Following From Out Front

Mom and I have managed to reach a pretty good understanding.  Not bad after 12 years (which may not be long to your eyes but to a dog, well, it can be a lifetime).

See, we have long struggled over the whole alpha thing.  By my nature, I am an alpha girl.  If I were a superhero, I would be ALPHA*Betty*Sling-some-Spaghetti*Toss-in-a-Cookie-or-Two*ROUFFF!!!  Ha!  And she thought she was the one with poetical inclinations.  My superpower would be a sonic-boom-bark that would immediately slay all foes.  They would fall at our feet with bleeding ears, tongues lolling out of their mouths, and cookies spilling from their pockets.

When we lived back in our house that stayed in one place, things were pretty darned good.  I had a gigantic, fenced-in yard and could bark all I wanted at anyone who walked down our street.  I was really talented and managed to scare every one of them away.

Once we moved into this tiny house that rolls all over the place, Mom abruptly changed the rules.  She didn’t even apologize for how unfair that was.  No longer was I allowed to bark at people and, the cruelest part, I wasn’t even allowed to bark at dogs who walked right by our house.  When walking on the leash, I was expected to stay by her side and not even crack a tiny toothy growl whenever we passed another dog.  Ugh!  It was torture–for us both.  My natural inclinations were being strangled, and Mom’s struggle to constantly be boss-over-me stressed her out big time.

But now we’ve come to our understanding.  It probably helps that her show “The Dog Whisperer” comes on our TV every Saturday morning and she faithfully watches.  She has a major puppy-crush on the show’s star, Cesar Millan (don’t tell her I told you that).  She has taken a lot of tips from him and says the best one is the importance of consistency.  I must say, she is doing pretty good with that lately, although Cesar might give her just a mediocre grade when it comes to the strength of her alpha-ness.  Me, I give her an A-plus and may even share a cookie.

It’s all a balance thing, you see.  Mom would likely argue otherwise, but she is about as ferocious as a jelly bean.  So it is my job to protect us, and I think she has finally come around to recognize that and allow me more freedom to follow that instinct.  After all, I have great instincts, a tremendous sniffer, and excellent ears.  She lets me bark at strangers who come up to our door and at doggies who walk by our house, but once she checks out the situation and decides “they are allowed,” I have to stop barking.  Ok, that’s a compromise I can swallow.

On our long walks, Mom lets my leash out as far as it will go and I can pretend I am off-leash.  I make it a point to always stay ahead of her.  But when she gives the leash a good tug and clicks her tongue, it is my signal to come back to her side.  Usually it is because a car is coming or a dog is approaching.  So I go back to be her protector.  Once the nuisance is safely past, I take my rightful place back out front.

When we walk by other doggies, I am super-alert that the other guy doesn’t pull a fast one, and as long as they behave over on their side of the road, I can usually keep my cool, too.  There is still an occasional (lucky) idiot, though, who is off-leash and comes running up to us.  I do not let them get too close before I go into Sling-some-Spaghetti mode and Mom has to hold me back while yelling for their people to come get their stupid dog.  Fortunately nobody has gotten hurt yet, but that’s not for lack of trying!  Darned leash.

Anyways, I am happy that Mom is allowing me to lead in the ways I lead best.  And that she is leading in the ways she leads best.  She sets the course and manages the larger navigation points.  I, like any great superhero, forge ahead, stretching to limits beyond.  We are a good team and our rolling household has peace.  At the end of the day, that is what counts.  Well, that and cookies.