Today’s Lesson: Taking Things for Granted…

Last night I volunteered to take one of the kids turns at doing the dishes to make up for being late getting back to the van for supper. It shouldn’t have been too difficult really… We had decided to use paper plates for eating off of so doing “dishes” really mainly consisted of doing the difficult & extensive sausages residue in the stainless steel frying pan and cleaning out the sticky rice pot, (along with a bit of cutlery and a couple of cups). Now, Luke being the enormously social creature that he is had wandered next door to our camping neighbors to introduce himself and chat before eating. Surprisingly, he had lured our typically very shy Alex there as well after supper. A family with four kids (ages ranging from ten to fifteen) were all sitting around with our two lovlies swapping stories of educational and societal differences and just generally having a grand time.

After I finished eating (last of course) I took the frying pan into our ensuite washroom to get that nasty thing soaking in the wonderfully hot water from the tap. Our camper only has cold water (no heater) and in fact it doesn’t even have a grey water tank. The drainage tube from the small sink goes straight down through the undercarriage and simply drains right onto the ground. Luckily the camper rental company had thoughtfully seen fit to include a plastic drainage tub beautifully suited for purposes of draining the sink water NOT onto the ground. So… there I was with the frying pan sitting in the ensuite bathroom sink, plug in and slowly filling up with nice hot water to loosen off that gunk on fried into the molecules of steel of the pan. I then went to quickly run and get the other dishes from the table in the van to bring to wash, (along with some bizzare substance called “dish soap” Claudette insisted??). On my way to the van (all of barely seven meters) I heard Alex’s voice next store at the neighbors campsite. Thus I was struck with the remembrance that Alex was supposed to put the leftovers away and hadn’t yet. She had left the table after eating with a slightly urgent look in her eyes, heading to the washroom. When I reminded her that she needed to get the leftovers done, her sweet thirteen year old, daughterish eyes (only other Fathers could possibly fathom the depth of this rock moving experience) begged for but a moments repreive in the bathroom and then she verbally promised to do them right after she washed her hands. Naturally, being the phenomenally reasonable man that I am, acquiescence was quickly granted.

Now, as I walked back to the camper I recalled that I couldn’t possibly wash the remaining dishes since Alex had not yet removed and put away the said leftover portions. It also became clearer to me how she suddenly overcame her usual desperate shyness to join Luke chatting with the neighbors. In barely a flash of a second after hearing her voice I turned in the direction of the neighbors and noncholantly strode up to the group to ask if my children were bothering anyone. Of course everyone replied to the negative, and that in fact all present were delighted with the regalings of life in Canada’s sub-arctic. They wre a wonderful family and after brief introductions of us adults I joined in the conversation as well leaning on top of their still cooling off BBQ. After a short time (barely ten or fifteen minutes I’m sure!) of comparing societal makeup and some good hardy chuckles at various stories back and forth Luke wandered back to our camp for some reason or another. Very quickly he called back to me saying that “Mom wants you back here right away” in a slightly alarmed voice. Now, it was clear to me that in the verty short time that Luke was gone, he couldn’t possibly have encountered anything to actually be alarmed about. I therefore easily concluded that the agitated tone of his voice must be solely translated from the VERY agitated tone of Claudette’s voice whom he was trying to channel with some urgency. Among the crowd I made light of this of course, and vocally lamented to the other couple that I was shocked my wife couldn’t wait until the darling children were in bed sleeping. Ha, ha, ha… Chuckles all around and then I high tailed my ass back to find my darling wife.

She was not inside of, around, near (or even under!) the campervan. “Ah-hah!” I thought to myself. She must be in the bathroom changing and needs me to fetch some different cloths for her after removing her bathing suit. A perfectly logical and suitable explanation for her transklated agitated tone I voice. No, I really did think so at the time, Honest! Anyways, I turned to the bathroom entrance only to see Claudette with a bizzare look on her face (not angry, which of course under the circumstances is quite remarkable). My wife was standing in about 5 cm of water on the floor, with a pitifully small drain (on a high part of the floor I might add, very shoddy workmanship constructing these bathrooms indeed) looking at me expectantly yet patiently, (not unlike how a mother looks at her son who has skinned his knee several times, and with scabs growing on scabs has just attempted another remarkable feat and failed, thus ripping sections of the old scabs and portions of fresh skin all at the same time). I bleakly suggested that perhaps I should get a mop and clean the flooded bathroom before resuming doing the dishes.

Luckily she had shut off the tap water which I had left running into that nasty little frying pan only a little while ago, while I went to get the remainder of the dishes. I gingerly approached the sink and stared in wonderment (as one stares at their squash or tennis raquet looking for a huge hole after missing an easy shot) looking at that sink withOUT any sort of overflow outlet of any kind apprearing anywhere at all in the clean white bowel of the plugged sink. Now I didn’t blame anyone else of course, but I did desperately wonder in abject bewilderment when our technologically advanced society reverted to making very UNsophisticated sinks bereft of even the tiniest overflow drainage hole for the occaisional idiot who would leave a room with the tap running… (And niot just running of course, but I had it cranked fully eight complete turns around to get the most forceful, hottest water that I could possibly squeeze out of that tap).

And so… I will no longer (at least for the remaining 42 weeks or our trip in foreign lands) take for granted that all sinks have idiot holes (my new technical description) for the occaisional person who might have the absolute bestest intentions, but wander momentarily away from the quickly filling sink and then further become distraced by witty and wonderful conversation from other adults.

The only other footnote (and neat bit of good news) I can offer is that Claudette somehow felt the need to fill my void next door and be social and join in a conversation with others without previous introductions or invitation. I almost feel that my ever so slight blunder then became worthwhile if it can have such a positive effect on my shy little wife as that! Also, I probably don’t need to mention the floor was really dammed clean! after I got finished with it!

2 Responses to “Today’s Lesson: Taking Things for Granted…”

  1. keizerklan says:

    See what happens when you upset the ‘dish washing” cycle … meaning volunteering to take one of the kids turns at doing the dishes. The evil suds Gods thrust upon you and created havoc and chaos in the sink without an idiot hole.

    I think there are several lessons here. However, the positive side … you met some nice people at the next door campsite.

    Ann 🙂

  2. Rick says:

    Several lessons here?!?!? Lessons are for people that read instruction manuals!

    Yes, we did meet some great people and they even invited us to a larger fire/social gathering with several of their friends and other family members at another campground. It was just like old times back at home; sitting around a fire, chatting and drinking with several other families. Almost made me weep with homesickness… ALMOST! Then I rembered “S U R F I N G”.