Filed under: Campgrounds & RV Parks, Comfort at Camp, Humor, Preparation & Readiness, RV Campgrounds, RV Maintenance, RV Repair, Uncategorized
Enough is Enough, Bye Bye, Mr. Stinky!
Well, we were officially fulltimers—at least for the next 10 months. We were also “Snowbirders,” since, after living in Florida for the past 15 years, we were hitting the road full-time, but would spend the first 3 months exploring parts of Florida that we hadn’t had a chance to see. Step #1 was to check into the RV park where we would be spending the first two months—two of the coldest months in Florida’s Tampa Bay memory; January and February of 2010. And things were not going well.
Having just returned from checking in, my wife reported that there was a distinct lack of friendliness at the reception counter. She said it was about as cold as the weather outside, which was dipping down near freezing that night. We resolved ourselves to letting our faucets drip all night and try to make the best of things.
Our optimism didn’t last long. First off, we drove through the park to our assigned site—and found it occupied. Okay, we thought, we can handle this. Thank God for cell phones. We called the office and informed them of the situation. “Are you sure?” They asked. Pretty sure, we responded, we’re sitting on the road outside the site and there was a fairly sizable Class C sitting right there. “That can’t be,” we were informed and were passed along to the manager, who confirmed that what we were looking at, “Just couldn’t be.” Hmm…
Five minutes later 3 golf carts descended on our location; the manager and several maintenance guys. They confirmed that there was an RV in our site, although it wasn’t supposed to be.
Some time later, after much arm waving and discussion outside of our hearing range, one of the maintenance guys noticed an empty site not 20 feet away from where we were all standing. “We’re going to move you over there,” the manager announced. But there’s no pad, we pointed out. “It’s the only open site left,” the manager explained. That having been settled, the maintenance guys helped us back into what proved to be a narrow—and short site.
After the park staff had all left, promising to somehow “fix” the lack-of-a-concrete-pad-problem, Maureen noticed the stink. It was a distinct stink, a smelly smell instantly identifiable by any RVer; eau-de-black-water-tank.
A few minutes later, I had isolated the problem. Following my nose, I homed in on the stink; it got stronger and more eye-watering the closer I got to the large, seemingly unoccupied 5th wheeler on the awningside of our trailer. Remembering that we were in the last site available, I offered my wife the following suggestion, “Maybe it’ll get better.” “Call them again,” she replied.
A few minutes later, 2 golf carts filled with maintenance guys pulled up. They were quite nice, really, quickly agreeing that, yes, the stink did make your eyes water and not to worry, they’d fix everything. That optimistic promise was broken a few minutes later when one of them—the one who volunteered to scoot under the 5th wheeler and take a looksee—came scooting out even faster; wiping his face with his handkerchief and trying not to gag too much. “It’s the black water tank,” he gasped, ” it’s split open and there’s fluid dripping on the ground and”—this was the topper—“there’s a ‘beard’ of crap hanging down almost to the ground.” EWWWW!
One of the men then expressed his puzzlement over the whole situation, since, he informed us, no one was supposed to be living in the trailer in question. Hmm…
Five minutes later, the men had left to get some tools and I was back on the phone with the manager, who informed me that, although my complaint was a valid one, “she could only do one thing at a time.” I was getting angry—VERY ANGRY!
Okay—this is when things started to slow way-way-down. During all this time and much later, no owner or occupant showed up to take responsibility for the smelly problem next door. One of the men told us that he overheard the “office people” saying that some old lady owned the 5th wheeler and paid her rent by check every month, but had never actually been seen living in or even visiting the site.
At around nightfall, there was the sound of a truck outside, which arrived and left quickly. We decided that the stealthy occupant of the 5th wheeler had arrived. Whoever it was stayed closed up in the trailer until early the next morning, when the same pickup truck picked him up and quickly left again.
It was impossible to sit outside. When we informed management about his, they suggested that we sit inside with the windows closed. “For what we’re paying, we’re expected to sit INSIDE with our windows SHUT?” Asked my wife, reasonably. “Well?” she turned to me and demanded, “Are you going to just sit there?”
Two days later, we were still under siege by the stink, no other site had become available and the manager couldn’t return our money so that we could go elsewhere, since she was trying her best to resolve the situation and knew that things would get better shortly…
Well, the improvements began early the next morning, when the golf carts once again descended on our site and men started digging up—our site. They knocked on our door and told us that they would be moving our stuff away from the trailer so that they could put in a form. FORM? WHAT FORM? For our new concrete pad, they announced proudly. PAD? WHAT PAD? Well, the one you’re missing, they responded. They spent the rest of the morning digging and building outside of our door and left a plank so that we could get across the construction site and the wet concrete that would be arriving the next morning. This was becoming surreal.
The next morning a cement truck arrived and began pouring fresh concrete into the form for our new pad, which we wouldn’t be able to use for a couple of days because of the cold and the moisture and even if it flash-dried in two hours, we still couldn’t use it because of the STINK outside of our door! YAARGHH!
That evening Mr. Stinky, as we came to call him, arrived home with several friends in the pickup truck that we had observed taking him to and from work, or maybe to somewhere less smelly. My wife, who was watching them from our trailer window, announced that they looked suspicious and were casting angry looks in our direction.
Prepared for these situations, I placed my black “County Sheriff” cap on my head and went outdoors. Pretending to be taking in the evening air—just who did I think I was kidding?—I walked around my site, checking things out so-to-speak. After making sure that the neighbors got a good eyeful of me and my sheriff’s cap—donated to me by my Deputy Sherriff son as a going-away gift for our cross-country adventure—I escaped the air pollution and went back inside. The angry mob all left a few minutes later; except for Mr. Stinky, of course, who went inside; to use the toilet, probably.
The next morning I called management and complained that the stink had not gotten any better—AND NEVER WOULD—as long as Mr. Stinky was using his TOILET!
For the next 2 days; being a weekend, Mr. Stinky left his trailer several times a day, hiking up to the bathroom facility—something he should have been doing all along. I guess management told him to stop using his toilet, since it was just emptying out on the ground under his trailer anyway. He gave us the evil eye whenever he passed by, but I didn’t care; I had my trusty sheriff’s cap if things got out of hand.
Five days after we moved in next to Mr. Stinky, I started to ask around the park if any of my neighbors knew about the major EPA site down the street, with toxic waste and fumes leaking out. It didn’t take long before I got a call from management. The real owner of the 5th wheeler had FINALLY been contacted and had agreed to get the black water tank fixed as soon as possible—AND—a site had become available up the street from our site! YAY!
We never packed as quickly as we had did that afternoon. We set a record; I mean we just threw stuff into the SUV and trailer that was usually carefully packed away.
In the midst of all of this, Mr. Stinky decided to have a talk with me. Although I didn’t get a chance to get my cap on—he had seen it anyway—I stood my ground as he walked over. He was not contrite; offered no apologies, and was only sorry that I didn’t approach him “man-to-man” in order to resolve the problem. A problem that was still, at that moment, unresolved and making me gag!
Keeping my anger in check, I explained to him that he and I had no problem; that my problem was with the park’s management; as was his. Given the blank look that he gave me, I went on to explain that although I had no idea what he was paying for his site every month (we had learned that it was probably his mother that was paying the bills), but I was paying ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS for the joy of living next to his rotten, smelly, disgusting trailer! I left him standing there and finished hitching up and heading down the road; having survived another joyful adventure on the RV trail. YIPPEE-YI-OHH-KI-YAY!
I only saw Mr. Stinky a few times more during the next 6 weeks. He was usually walking or bumming a ride from one of the long-term residents. Our new site was clean and fresh smelling and came with another brand-new concrete pad. It seems that the management had decided to do a few quick upgrades and renovations around the park to keep the campers happy and not mumbling about the neighborhood EPA site.
We feel content once more, but we’re also waiting for the next shoe to drop (or black water tank to split open next door). Please remember us in your prayers.
Till Next Time,