Monday, November 9, 2015

Caution: Man at Work


Ownership of an RV is sure to do one of two things: either make me a far better handy-man, or force us to go broke due to continuously paying for maintenance and repairs.  Ever the frugal fellow, and eager to get my hands dirty with our new home, we've spent a few afternoons at the trailer to get it ready for the winter (sub-freezing temps are already upon us).  Our last trip to our tin can (ok, fiberglass can) home taught me an important lesson in RV maintenance.  Danger is everywhere, usually when you least expect it.

We are in a bit of a hurry since the lot closes at 6 and more often than not the owner is waiting at the gate for us to leave so he can lock up for the night.  We are determined not to keep him waiting again.  I just finish greasing up the hitch so we can drag the trailer to the nearby CAT scale for state registration purposes.  Everything is all set for hooking up to the trailer.  And right after I wipe this grease off my hands with a paper towel I'll do just that.  I spot the dumpster for the towel about 20 yards over and start making my way with a little bit of giddy-up in my step.  I'm wiping my hands as I go, looking down to make sure I get the pink goo completely removed before getting into the truck.  BAM!  I'm on my back looking up at a slowly swirling sky.  At first I'm unclear what happened.  Instantly my face feels like it's been walloped with a frying pan.  Why am I laying here in the dirt?  Then the next logical thought comes to mind - did anyone see that?  I may be in terrible pain but I'd hate to be in pain and embarrassed!  I quickly glance around and see that my fall went unnoticed.  Now on my feet I meet the cause of my disaster.  A 5th wheel trailer, with the cab over portion coming down to just slightly above chin level, looms before me.    The 14,000lb wall didn't give a bit when my little face came plowing into it.  Clearly my body kept moving forward with the same hustle and pace of my walk, because the disturbed dirt in the outline of a human form, a chalk line if you will, extended completely forward under the trailer.  I came down flat on my back, lucky to not slam backwards headfirst into the ground.

I head over to my always sympathetic and loving wife, whom is unaware of what happened, for some assurance that I'm not disfigured.  The details of the conversation are a bit shaky, as I just experienced what is hopefully the most intense face-first, blunt object trauma of my life.

 "I'm hurt," I say matter-of-factly.  The words stumble out of my now swollen lips.

She is confused and asks for clarification.

"I hit my face on the trailer," I state while trying to enunciate without moving my mouth too much, the taste of blood now evident.

She busts up laughing uncontrollably.  With a hand over her mouth to try and disguise her enjoyment of the situation she asks, "Do you need to go to the hospital?"

"No, I don't think so.  I just really hurt.  How does it look?  I think I chipped a tooth."

Continued laughter.  "You have a small scrape on your forehead and you are bleeding out of your mouth.  Is your nose broken or does it always look like that?"

Hmm, that’s encouraging on so many levels.  The forehead wound makes sense, as the pain feels like I hit that first and proceeded to roll my face into the trailer wall.  The last stop was my chin before I was dropped to the ground.

"I think my nose is ok.  It's not bleeding, it just hurts some."

Once my watering eyes subside I proceed to help AJ into his car seat so we can get this thing weighed and back to its spot in the storage lot.  He pauses and gives me a close look, unaware of what transpired moments before.

"What happened, Dada?"

"I got a little hurt."

"You hurt your face?  Ouchie!"

He gave me a sweet kiss at that point, healing all pain for the moment.  Proof that his empathy far exceeds that of his mother, even at age 3.

Let's hope I learned a lesson from this painful circumstance.  One would think as a military aviator I would do a better job of keeping my head on a swivel, but I've been moonlighting as an Air Force Officer in a desk chair for years now and my military training is less and less evident with time.  I share this story of misfortune as Mama will now be able to read and laugh about her (fortunately) hard-headed husband year after year.  And perhaps I'll laugh too one day.  Though I don't need a blog post to remind me of  what happened.  The slight chip in my front tooth is reminder enough.

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