In the past we have taken Iris to the Kennel at her veteranarian's office. There's a nice lady tending the dogs there, and unless it's a busy holiday weekend, she plays with the dogs individually and spends time with them. Iris loves her and is always glad to see her.
However, the oldest grandson and his girl friend insisted they would be glad to watch our dog, and wanted no money for doing so. So we took Iris to their house on Thursday night. Friday morning after Cliff got up, he said, "It's the weirdest thing: I can feel that the dog isn't here, and I'm not even a dog person."
"It's that feeling," I told him, "that makes me go looking for another dog as soon as one dies."
We had done nothing toward getting ready for our trip, so I got the suitcases and the cooler inside and started getting everything ready to go. It was probably ten o'clock or later when we left. But then, it was only a little over two hundred miles to our destination.
We had our picnic lunch in Clarinda, Iowa, before we went on to Guss. As we passed through Villisca, we saw a sign advertising the house where a family was brutally slain in 1912. Although my parents were once the telephone operators in that town, I never heard of the axe murders until recently while doing a Google search for Villisca. Seems to me like after a hundred years, they could let it go.
By the time we ate our lunch and then spent time in Guss, it was after 3 P.M., and I suggested we find a place to camp and go to Avoka on Saturday. Thanks to the GPS, we learned that there were three Iowa state parks within thirty miles of Avoka; one was near the town of Lewis, and only a twenty-minute drive from the tractor museum.
We had never set up our new tent before, but with me reading instructions and Cliff doing most of the work, it wasn't difficult.
This was going to be the maiden voyage for our travel toilet; I was confident it would work just fine.
We slept like babies on the air mattress; I got up and went to the travel toilet numerous times, and always went straight back to sleep.
We were awakened by the sound of cows mooing. Evidently one mama cow had gotten through a fence and was wandering through the campground; her baby was still in the pasture and wanted his mommy. So the bellowing and bawling was intense. Oh well, at least the storms of the night were past and we were dry. Cliff used the travel toilet for the first time, then went back to bed while the coffee was making.
I was so happy with our travel toilet.
But of course you know, don't you, that there's more to this story?
I decided to avoid an early-morning trip to the bathroom and used the potty one more time, and the bag came unfastened. My "casual" fastening of the bag onto the seat had been a little too quick and casual, and the bag was not well secured on one side. My final offering of urine was just enough to make it give way, and PLOP, down went the bag and out came the contents.
Oh, it gets worse.
The tent wasn't in a perfectly level spot, and the air mattress was downhill from the flow of urine. Cliff grabbed his discarded T-shirt and tossed it on the impending flood, yelling, "Get a towel!"
That wasn't an easy task; the car was locked, and then I had to dig around to find the bag containing the towels.
Folks, take it from me: mopping up adult urine is not how you want to start your day. Especially when you haven't even had a drink of coffee yet.
The only form of soap I had brought along was dish soap. After getting all the urine soaked up with a towel, I put plenty of Dawn in some water and started mopping the entire floor of the tent. I wiped off the bottom of the still-inflated air mattress (plastic, thank goodness) and then shoved it out the door for further cleansing.
We tossed the T-shirt and the towel in the garbage, because who wants to haul something around that's been soaked in urine?
I really wasn't satisfied that we were rid of the urine smell completely, so when we found a Walmart we bought some Mr. Clean. That night when we set the tent up once more, I used that on the floor and the bottom of the air mattress, and finally there was a good, clean smell in our home-away-from-home.
Oh, and the next night? Not only did we make sure the bag was fastened onto the seat firmly, but I took a container and squeezed it in under the bag, just in case. And put it in the tent on the downhill side of the bed.
Our little travel toilet is the right height, it's sturdy, it folds flat and gets tucked away in a bag. But we will NEVER count on those bags holding up overnight.
And now you know the rest of the story.