A semi-daily chronicle of my life as a musician, a family man, and a citizen of Oregon.

Apr 20, 2008


According to a book I read recently, The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell, a key aspect of a dog's personality is her ability to experience frustration and handle the emotion appropriately.  Today was one of those days where I felt like a dog who never learned how to handle frustration.  I would definitely have bitten a family member today.

I try to keep things pretty upbeat here, as you may have noticed, but sometimes it helps to vent a little.  The major frustration involves the tent trailer.

A little background - Jen and I are leaving for Vegas Tuesday morning.  I'm speaking at a conference and Jen's never been there, so a short trip is in order.  We'll be there for two days which is about as much of Vegas as anyone with good sense can take, so it should be a good time.  Being aggressively chilling this year we also decided to try to go on a camping trip to Florence this coming weekend.  So there's a lot to get together and we're feeling a little bit of pressure.

We were working on the tent trailer this morning, and yes I did find two more wasps nests in the heating system (see previous story).  Nothing more satisfying than getting one up on wasps.  It reminds me how much bigger I am than them and how much better the tools I use are. 

Anyhow, there were a couple of problems with the tent trailer I already knew about - the left brake light cover came off during our retreat from Fort Stevens, and there's been a problem with these white plastic sheaths that are part of the rails on which the beds slide out.

New today - the hoses that connect the water tank to the sink are both split and leaking.  We have a neighbor who knows a lot about about rv's and trailers and so-forth.  So while I was out and about Jen mentioned the problem to him and he tried to help by showing us where you have to get to in order to replace the hoses.  Jen and our neighbor disconnected the current hoses and made a trip down to the hardware store to get replacements.  Here's where the story goes akimbo.  We've found it impossible to install these things.  Jen worked with the neighbor on it for a couple of hours and then she and I spent a couple more hours on it tonight.

When it comes to anything mechanical or requiring the kind of physical abilities that seemed to be grafted onto the y chromosome for other males, I've always known myself to be intensely lacking.  I carry the constant burden of this inherent inability.  I have no idea about engines other than in the vaguest terms.  I don't know how to operate a circular saw.  This weekend I used a hand-held belt sander for the first time in my life.  I may never do so again.

I love my house, but live each day knowing that every aspect of it is simply waiting to prove to me how unable I am to rise to its challenges.  There ends up being two categories of home ownership - those things I can see myself potentially figuring out how to do someday (I would put fixing the fence in this category) and those that I know I never will (ie replacing the water heater).

This is why the tent trailer situation is so frustrating.  I like the tent trailer, and I understand that it requires upkeep and care.  I simply find myself unable, not *unwilling* but _unable_ to perform the requisite tasks.  What I'll end up doing is taking it to someone who can fix it and paying them to do so, which seems to be the skill I was given instead of mechanical ability.  But I can't help but feel a little emasculated by the situation.