Life with Our “Cabin on Wheels”

I pulled into our spot at Circle B, the little RV park where we stay in Greer. The Airstream was waiting for me, beckoning. There was a huge pile of lumber and materials delivered by Home Depot in Show Low for our new deck, a storage shed, and a ‘catio’ for the kitties. The place looked like a lumber yard.

Gene and a neighbor were assembling the storage shed. There were no written instructions, just pictures of all the parts, the tools needed, and steps to take. The thing weighs 300 pounds and has more pieces than you can count. The wind was blowing, but it was manageable.

Gene and Rich assembled three sides and the four corners of the shed, and were starting on the roof. Last would come the two front doors.

The front roof panel was just high enough that the guys both needed to be up on ladders; it looked like an old-fashioned barn-raising! Except this barn was in no hurry to be raised. When one end of the front roof panel snapped into place, the other popped off. Try as they might, they could not get the panel securely in place.

Gene put in a call to Rubbermaid, and waited patiently for at least 30 minutes. When he finally got someone, they were useless. He tried the hotline, and was told he needed to send a video of the roof end popping off. Really? How are you supposed to get a video unless you have at least three people? Rich had gone home to his trailer for dinner. We called it quits.

The next morning, we had breakfast with people from church who have moved to Greer. It was fun hearing about their full-time involvement in our little summer community. When we got back to Circle B, we found the storage shed on the ground. The wind had picked it up and thrown it down! Three neighbors had seen the disaster and come over to stack and weigh down the lighter pieces.

Gene got back on the phone and got some coaching on the roof. He watched a YouTube video. He went online and read comments from others who had put this particular storage shed together, He decided to give it another go. He took the advice of the Rubbermaid guy, and took the whole thing apart and then, turning a piece of the roof on its pointy head, attempted to attach it to the top of one the walls, which are seven feet high. No way.

 Rich was leaving for Phoenix, but I offered to help, and Gene knew the drill this time, so it went together pretty easily. We had the three sides done, and while I was holding them, Gene turned to get a tool and bam! The wine blew the whole thing down! Time to call it another day.

Gene finally found someone at Rubbermaid who knew his stuff, and a couple down the way offered to come by the next morning and help us try again. It was supposed to be calm. The four of us got the shed nearly finished. We bolstered it on all sides and went to dinner at Molly Butler’s.

We got home and all was well. Except Gene noticed that it was cold inside the trailer, and the temperature was due to drop to 37º that night. He discovered that the second propane tank, which the dealership had assured us was full (the gauge had been removed), was empty! We got into our warmest pj’s, put on wool socks, and with two extra blankets on top, slipped under the covers. We lay there wondering if we had bad karma, when Gene had a stoke of genius: he would go next door and borrow a tank from our deceased neighbor, Bob (For those of you who follow my blog, Bob’s the guy in the story from last May whose wife whispered to me, “Now, don’t be pickin’ on your man.”) Bob died late last year of lung cancer, and his family has left the trailer in its spot, just paying the rent.

It was pitch black outside and getting colder by the minute. We put on our slippers, bundled up, and went next door. I held the flashlight, while Gene took the cover off the propane tanks and carefully lifted one out of the holder and laid it down. He replaced the cover and home we went, where he removed our empty one and replaced it with Bob’s full one. It worked like a charm, and we slept like babies.

The next morning, Gene took all three tanks to Springerville, filled them, and returned Bob’s tank to its proper place. We said a prayer of thanks to Bob, of course.

Gene finished the storage shed today, and life is good again.

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