Sunday, July 5, 2015

Trailer Tales and the First Real Weekend of Summer

This weekend was the first full one since school let out for Audrey and the girls.  We took off down to High River to pick up an old tent trailer that Audrey's Uncle had found for us, and that we were told needed a little work and a lot of cleaning, which was fine.

Unfortunately, there were some issues with the wiring, which I am fully helpless with, but Audrey's brother Garett has helpfully agreed to sort out for us. We were disappointed to leave our new purchase 4 hours to the south of us, but can do so knowing it is in good hands.  There will still be some cleaning and patching to sort out when this hab module eventually makes its way into Edmonton, but with a little luck, we will get to try it out at least once prior to the family reunion on Labor Day weekend.

I try to look for the lessons and insights taught to us by the everyday, and our tent trailer experience came with a few, as it turns out:

  • The easiest way to get plain, honest advice from people is to abandon all pretext of coolness and to not be coy in the slightest: let them know that you are as helpless as a baby duckling in a shark tank and that you are relying on them, and the vast majority of them will rise to the occasion like champions.
  • "Easy" may well be the most subjective word in the English language, especially when applied to tasks the listener knows nothing about (in my case, wiring or tent trailer repairs).
  • Highway travel has a broadening effect upon the palate of some families, enabling them to willfully try items they might otherwise turn their nose up at.
  • Related to the above: Poutine Ruffles are a thing now.
  • (Also related: And not a bad thing either, surprisingly.)
  • Unlike a motorized vehicle, one does not need proof of insurance to register a trailer.
  • Although the online Yellow Pages state the contrary, there are no registries offices open in High River on Saturday.
  • Related: Highway 2A from High River to Okotoks provides a lovely drive into a scenic town which happens to have a registries office which is open until noon on Saturdays.
  • Okotoks also has a Costco now, which surprised me a bit.
  • A lot of the people in Audrey's family are the type that you do not need to actually ask for help; you simply need to let them know there is a problem (like the wiring on your second-hand tent trailer), and if they are at all able to help, they will do so, and at the drop of the proverbial hat.
  • Our societally entrenched distaste for the very idea of summer school means that if your eldest daughter has enrolled in Math 30-1 over July, relatives may look at you askance in pitiless judgement when they discover this, even after she tells them it was her idea and not yours.
  • Related to the above: the degree of askancity is inversely proportionate to the age of the person in question.
  • Sportscraft Trailers were not just made in Canada, but assembled right here in Alberta at a factory in Lethbridge.
  • There are a lot of places where a breakfast buffet can go off the rails: cold bacon resting in a congealing pool of its own grease, overcooked sausages, or (worst of all) watery scrambled eggs.  What a joy, then, that when we took most of the extended family to brunch at the Heritage Inn this morning, everything was tickety-boo, and they even had eggs Benny and a tureen of gravy on hand for the fried potatoes. Marvelous!
  • The first two digits of the serial number of your Sportscraft trailer may be the year of its manufacture (77, in our case).
  • Our girls indirectly received some very high praise from their Opa today, when he mentioned that the plywood they had scrubbed down in the trailer the day before looked like a new sheet.
  • As much as I claim to revile the tastes of the 1970s, a growing appreciation for period kitsch has me lamenting the fact that we will most likely need to put opaque coverings over the nostalgic orange and yellow floral pattern of our trailer's upholstery.
  • Working outside on a hot day without the benefit of a cold beer at the end of it (or potentially in the middle of it) will not kill you, but it won't do you any favours either. Better not to chance it.

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