Friday, February 12, 2010

Look What Fell Off My Family Tree - Camping Edition

It's time for guest post number 2. This week we are featuring Susan Fobes from Susan Fobes Family Formula. Susan is a mom and a teacher and an all around busy lady.

She has taken a break from shoveling the metric ton of snow that she recieved over at her place to bring us this story. To me, the story sounds like she was either being punked or put to the test by her inlaws. Let's see what you think.

So without further ado, I give you the heroine of our story, Susan Fobes -


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Ah, yes, the world is full of people who “march to the beat of their own drum,” but I seem to have more than a few of these individuals in my own family. Normal was a term I had used to describe my husband’s family, at least until I spent a weekend with my mother and father-in-law inside an incredibly small motor home.

You see both were newly retired and had purchased this motor home so that they could travel the eastern US and show their other new purchase- two purebred Newfoundland dogs. But neither had camped in an RV before, or camped ever, and no one, not even my husband, decided to share this little bit of information with me. So on an unseasonably cold and rainy fall day, we joined them at a dog show in the mountains of Cumberland, Maryland.

Now if you’re not familiar with this breed, and I wasn’t, Newfoundland dogs are very large ranging from 120 to 150 pounds. I now know why they call them “gentle giants” because there is no looking up at you from under a table-these dogs are so tall they literally look you square in the eye.

The rain became a monsoon, but the dogs were still hot and panting, making everything inside our new weekend home damp-even the walls. Eating outside was out of the question, so dinner that night consisted of cold sandwiches and chips. We had no table (my father in-law removed it to make room for the dogs) and the RV consisted of just this living/eating/sleeping area and a bathroom. One of these “giants” planted her body right in front of me, and with her snout about three inches from my face, I attempted to eat and she started to drool. Small pools of saliva began filling her jowls then gobs of it began to fall all over my lap-my husband started laughing, I started gagging, and my in-laws declared how this was one of the breeds’ traits that they found endearing. There I sat, doggy drool still on my lap, my mother-in-law wiping one of the dog’s mouths then continuing to eat, and I am wondering what planet these folks hail from.

My father-in-law took pity on me and pours me a large goblet of wine, and my in-laws become normal once again. Hey, a little drool with a meal is no problem, that is until I bite into a nest-sized ball of fur! All my senses were screaming, “You have dog hair in your mouth-spit it out, spit it out!” But I had only been a member of this family for a couple years, my napkin was all covered in drool (it was not going near my mouth again), and I couldn’t think of a delicate way to spit on the floor. So I continued to chew slowly, my tongue revolting at the taste, and when I thought no one was looking, I tried to quickly pull the hair out, but when my furry dinner companion lunged towards my hand, all eyes were back on me. I hastily explained that I had a hair (yea, more like bush) in my sandwich, and even though my husband looked horrified, my in-laws just laughed it off saying that Newfie hair always gets in the food. Uh, people are ok with eating their dog’s fur-more wine please!

Dinner finally ends, and my father-in-law starts instructing me about conserving our water supply-for some reason my husband decides to skip the class lecture, but when I point this out, I am told to pay attention. Ok, I am now dealing with the nutty professor, so I pretend to listen, nod my head in agreement, and just when I think I can get ready for bed, he turns and issues this phrase, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, and if it’s brown, flush it down,” and I was told to just throw the used toilet paper in the trashcan… I started laughing, you know because he couldn’t be serious, but oh how wrong I was. So let me get this straight, I shouldn’t mind drool, eating dog hair, getting lectures from the angry professor, and doing my business amidst everyone else’s business as long as it’s the correct color. I slowly lifted the toilet lid and prayed, “Please God, don’t let there be any colored water in here.” Well, there was, I went, and I threw the paper in the trash.

I was hoping the evening would end early as I watched the professor guzzle down even more wine and he and my husband tried to adjust the TV. He looked over at me and commented that a young bride such as myself should be wearing something slinky to bed. Um, it’s cold and I am with my in-laws. And even though I protested (what the heck were we going to get on the TV way out here?), out he went into the monsoon, climbing on top of that little RV to adjust the antennae. Oh, did I mention that it had been thundering just a minute before?

With no TV (I could have told you that) all that wine started taking affect and my mother-in-law began to yawn, so I joined her making mine twice as big, adding just the right amount of arm movement for effect. It worked and my husband and I began our ascent over mountainous dogs and into the alcove right above the driver’s seat, slithering in on our bellies because the ceiling was too low to sit up. All I kept thinking was how in the world I would ever escape if there were a fire-I literally couldn’t move, so I just stared at the water vapor collecting on the ceiling.

That’s when I heard “the noise”-it was a cross between a sleeping tiger and a buzzing chain saw, but it was coming from my father-in-law! My mother-in-law never woke up (after years of this she must be deaf), and although my husband and I watched the sun rise on our second day of captivity, I was convinced that a nice hot shower would start the day off right-my professor/father-in-law had other ideas. He now instructed me on how to wash (ok, way beyond normal, but what the heck)-I was given a washcloth and told to get myself wet, turn the water off to suds up, then wet the washcloth to rinse off. Did I have any questions? Just one, but I didn’t think, “Where’s the nearest Holiday Inn?” would go over well, so I did what the professor said.

Of course the rain kept up but thankfully we decided to head to a nearby Chinese Restaurant for dinner-I really didn’t have it in me to fight off the dogs anymore, besides, I think I pulled a muscle in my arm the last time I tried. But I was so tired that I was actually slaphappy, repeating phrases like “Chicken and broccoli” over and over and laughing hysterically, and I watched as my in-laws exchanging puzzled looks. I think they thought I had been hitting the bottle but I swear it was the result of sleep deprivation! On our way back to camp we passed a drug store and I almost shouted for my in-laws to stop-ear plugs would save me tonight, and my husband eagerly bought a pair for himself.

I learned a few things after surviving the cramped quarters of that little RV, 1) My husband took a real shower after we left to go to the show ring, 2) I don’t use the word normal to describe anyone or anything anymore, 3) RVing is not for me, and 4) though I had my doubts, I still love my in-laws, quirks and all.



Thanks for guest posting Susan! Now, readers, your job is to do two things -

1) Leave comments for Susan.

2) Go to her blog, read her posts and follow her in a devoted, almost cult-like fashion.

29 Your comments, banter and witty repartee:

singedwingangel said...

Ok you so showed way more restraint then I would have shown. I am an animal lover but there is a line that I would not cross. Dog hair in the food a HUGE line,, dog drooling on your lap another huge line...bleeeccchhh

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

Angel - Met too. I would have been in a hotel a half a day into the journey. Susan must be a woman of infinite patience.

Herself said...

You're a trooper!

Allyson said...

And this is exactly why I avoid RVs at all costs. And if I temporarily lost my mind and decided they were God's answer to the Super 8, I quickly re-gained it after seeing "Meet the Fockers." People are SOOO weird about their dogs...and what they allow their dogs to do in their faces, around their food, on their legs. I think you earned all the stars in your crown for still loving them after that trip. Me? I'd be keeping a flask on me at all times.

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

The part about the dogs is wonderful...and I totally get it, because I have a big one and there is hair EVERYWHERE.

Areeba said...

Oh my Gosh Susan, this is crazy!!! You are one patient woman. I would have completely lost it with the dog hair in my food. That is simply disgusting. Sorry to offend anyone with dogs but I would not be eating any dog or any human hair!!..You are one trooper!!!!

Amy said...

I am literally rocking back and forth in the fetal postion and shaking after having read this. It has all the elements for an "Amy breakdown."

big smelly, drooly dogs...check!

claustrophobia...check!

in-laws....check!

pooping in close quarters...check!

So glad you survived that Susan! Even the wine wouldn't have gotten me through that fiasco!

Big Boops said...

Oh my God! I'm in love with you! This is hilarious mainly because I can see it all happening just the way you describe it. I have the white variety of the beast dog you describe (Great Pryenees) and everything you wrote is so true. I used to fight the fur in the food with total dedication. But after 5 years, if there is a little fluff in my mac'n'cheese I just look the other way. Don't think I'm gross, just tired and over-worked. You have a new follower for sure!

steenky bee said...

Love, love your #2. (Well, that sounded gross...or something I would tell my two year old after she's successfully pottied in her training potty.)

MiMi said...

Ugh, dog hair in the food. I knew it was gonna be bad when I read motorhome and 2 Nefoundlands.

Nicole said...

Great post! I have a mastiff and he is disgusting! I love reading your stuff:)

Sara said...

Sweet mother of pearl, that sounds atrocious.

I love dogs and I think Newfoundlands are beautiful, but if I served dinner and my guest pulled a giant ball of fur out of his or her mouth, I would be mortified. That is disgusting.

And RVing is an acquired taste. I haven't acquired it.

Jen Chandler said...

Oh wow! I'm glad you survived! I love dogs more than most people, but there is no way I'd eat a fur ball. And drool makes me gag. Blech!

Have a great weekend,
Jen

Susan Fobes said...

I hope you all got a chuckle over this one! If my in-laws weren't such nice people I would have ran for the car...

Molly said...

eww, can't believe your MIL wiped the drool off the dog's mouth like a baby. Chicken and Broccoli cracked me up too!

miss jo said...

Too funny. A human hairball tale, complete with long confinement with in-laws and monsoons. You shoulda taken a box of wine to your sleepover in the camper cubby to combat the noise of gramps snoring !

Mom of the Perpetually Grounded said...

I guess I don't Really want a Newfoundland after all,"Chicken and broccoli" LOL! I love it! That's why I'm already in your cult. Great story!

Insanitykim said...

Oh man he even lifted Meet the Fockers for his toilet rules? You are a brave woman. Seriously, kudos to you for making it through that experience!

3LittleMonkeys said...

Wow...you are brave! I could never. What is it with in-laws dogs? Every time I went to my in-laws, their dog would hump my leg (lipstick and all!) and they would just stand there and laugh!

Arizona Mamma said...

I'm dying. I think I would have hacked the fur ball out immediately. Couldn't have even tried to let that one slide.

Accounting said...

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Amo said...

That sounds absolutely miserable!!! My husband snores now and I punch him all the time so he will roll over. My dad and his wife were living in a RV for a while and they had the same rules with the toilet. Yuck!! I hate peeing on someone else's pee. What if it splashes up on you? Ewww! I'm glad you survived. I, on the other hand, would not have and probably wouldn't have been nice enough to go in the first place!

SPEAKING FROM THE CRIB said...

this reminded me of a similar trip i took with my college best friend and her parents to florida in their rv. the snoring, the close cramped quarters, no tv, the snoring, the close cramped quarters, no tv, no tv, no tv, no tv

let's just say it - it was hell

Flory said...

Susan, you are truly a trooper!!

septembermom said...

Susan, I love how you tell a story! You keep me laughing. I did feel your pain though. After reading this, I looked my husband square in the eye and told him "no RV retirement for us!"

KK said...

So funny. no one is normal!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Euwwwwwww! ROFL. Susan, you rock my world. Diary of a Mad Bathroom, you have an awesome blog too!!! I heart both of you. XOXOXOXOX

hypermom said...

Susan, you are so very patient! You do love your in-laws, and very much at that! :)

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