Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What I did on my summer vacay

It has been a nonstop drama at my sister's RV park.

Tequila-infused party girls
We recently had a tequila housewarming party and used our new BBQ grill which mounts to the bumper of our RV.   Sharon & I assembled the grill, mounted it to the bumper and hooked it up to propane!  We were very proud of ourselves.  Sharon marinated chicken in mango sauce and BBQ'd the meat to perfection and I chilled the martini glasses.

The 10 year old RV we have been rehabbing for my sister's son is finally done!   It is gorgeous with clean masculine appointments.  Importantly, 90% of the fabric was removed since sis's son has allergies.   The double recliner sofa was a challenge for the delivery crew but they maneuvered it without a mishap.   It is covered with a hybrid "fabric" that looks like distressed leather but feels soft and warm like fabric.    Here are a few pics
Manly Recliner Sofa Delivery day

Sofa with manly leather rug
Sis and I shopped to furnish it and found an incredible (inexpensive) leather ragrug for the living room at a liquidation store.
The door in the floor is a sunken dirty clothes hamper

Butternut blond vinyl plank-look throughout
Removed fussy daynight shades and valance and replaced with manly faux wood blinds
Re-covered girly headboard in vinyl fabric, replaced fussy daynight shades/valances with faux wood blinds.



 Here's another project I did mainly because I love to paint stuff and the cabinets were a gross grayish color.  The Manager's park model needed some attention and we had leftover vinyl so the living area floors were covered and I painted the kitchen cabinets to match and added hardware.

Update on Sis's titanium knee; she is very happy with the knee and now favors it over the other knee.  Her range of motion was measured as "normal" and she can outrun tenants trying to flee without paying rent.   Her only discomfort is the tightness of scar tissue at the op site which will diminish in time but will never totally go away.  The bills came in--the total was a little over $130,000.  She is aware that the doc billed her top dollar because her insurance paid 100% after the deductible.  Guess that's why doc wanted to do both knees.

Here are some short vignettes of the park characters I met this summer.  We had our first eviction around July 4th.  The second occurred mid-August with a monthly tenant who was 2 months overdue on rent and seemed to drink and fight with each other constantly--a real pain in the butt!   

So sis hired the eviction service and we put them on a "watch"--waiting for them to leave without paying-- which is a criminal offense.  One morning I saw the dirtbag husband washing the RV-- a big rule violation since water is expensive in California.  I knew what was coming next; he was cleaning up the rig to move it to another park!  So, the three ladies mobilized-the Office Manager, the Owner and Gopher (me).  I perched on a nearby hilltop so I could watch and coordinate a police intercept with my sister who was waiting outside the park with the police.  The Office Manager assembled the paperwork to present at the exit.   Soon, the tenants hastily pulled out as I snapped photos.   The manager ran down to try to collect the bill and they refused to pay.   The manager then called Sharon to tell her to alert the police officer because they were on the way.   Police followed them north on 101 and so did I.   This was one well-coordinated ambush!
It's also known as CA Penal Code "Defrauding an Innkeeper"

Sweet Justice

I caught this picture as I rode by the police stop.  We cheered!   Then, Sis and her manager got on their phones to call the RV parks in the northerly path of these people to warn them that trouble was headed in their direction.   The RV park 10 miles north stated that this group had just arrived and were filling out an application at that very moment.  They were SO grateful for the warning and said they would send them on their way.  Soon after that, Sis filed a criminal complaint for "Defrauding an Innkeeper"  and another suit in Small Claims Court to get a judgment against them (they own a truck).  The dirtbag husband is currently in jail for his 2nd burglary in the area. Moral:  "Don't screw with my badass sister!"

On the gentler side, the following new tenant came up to pay his next month's rent and was asked how he like living at the park! 
Well, he loved it so much that he should be a poster boy advertisement EXCEPT he thought it was a long way to walk to go fishing.  Puzzled, my sister commented that the river was right across the road!  But, he protested that there were "No Trespassing" signs and he was walking around the park so as not to trespass--about a 1 mile detour.  Trying to stifle her giggle, my sis explained that the signs were for the Trespassing public and tenants could just ignore the signs and walk right down to the river.  He is now one Very Happy FishCamper!  We wish all the tenants were as respectful of Sis's property and happy!

And then there's "J".  We call her that for this blog but she has many worse names.  This old woman has burned out her brain cells on booze.  She builds cathouses around her trailer for feral cats and has 50+ half-dead container plants engulfing her ancient 15' trailer.   She is a hoarder and she rents TWO sheds and still her site is always overflowing with unrecognizable debris.   The smell of her RV escapes through the gaping hole in her entry door.  Apparently, she started hoarding other things recently...

While putting away paint from my paint jobs, I noticed five 5 gallon containers lined up behind the sheds near the sanitary dump station.  I asked Sis what they heck they were since she keeps her grounds tidy.  She didn't know and we nervously raised a lid.

Brown.  Liquid.  Putrid.  OMG--it's POOP!!!

Sis immediately got on the phone to other nearby tenants and started asking questions.  She learned that Nasty Woman had been observed carrying a white bucket toward the dump station.  When questioned if the buckets were hers, J readily admitted they were hers but, at that point, she did not know that WE knew what they contained.  She was appropriately horrified when confronted with the fact that knew it was HER crap in all those buckets.  Incredibly, she then volunteered to give us TWO MORE buckets of her personal feces!!  You can't make this stuff up!

Sis and I put on our hazmat gear and did what was necessary to clean up the mess. 


Here is some of the documentation we provided to the eviction service about the SEVEN 5-gallon buckets of human waste that was deposited on the property!

After detoxing the truck and our gear, we decided to intoxicate our brains in an attempt to remove all  memories with massive quantities of tequila.

One of my favorite tenants is a summer worker--a cute, young, virile guy with a desirable touch of OCD.  His site is always kept in a pristine manner, he has houseplants and he washes his work clothes and hangs them neatly to dry in the sunshine behind his RV.  All his stuff is white including the custom pup tent mounted on the roof, which protects the roof from sun/rain and helps to muffle the sound of rain (which is thunderous inside a small RV).

Sis says about 2 of 10 tenant applicants survives the application process.  Incredibly, people will submit applications with a first name only.   An astonishing number of people have NO identification, no references and no verifiable income.

She recently had an overnighter who arrived in an ancient, crumbling motorhome.  Later that day, her manager recognized a previously evicted (drunk & disorderly) tenant on the property.   She traced the guy to the "overnighters" who said that they had picked him up on the road and he said he would pay to park overnight so they could make an application to live there "permanently".   They believed that he had some "in" having lived there before when in reality, he was the worst reference they could have picked!

The young couple showed up at the office--she pregnant--and eagerly started the application process.  She read over the rules and happily signed the rules and chattered while hubby filled out the app.  They seemed "normal".  Unfortunately, neither one had a driver's license or ID; they claimed to be "in the process" of getting ID.    No registration on the motorhome which was beyond old.   No money until next Weds.

They pleaded "Can't ya help us out?"  My sister is frequently mistaken for a social service agency.  They left and we saw them parked the next day in a business parking lot up the road.  Guess they found somebody to help 'em out..

This couple was fairly typical of the troubled people who arrive on my sister's doorstep needing a place to live in their RV's.   The stories people tell are often fantastical, sometimes hysterically funny and sometimes heartbreaking.

The people who pass the application and 30-day trial period are usually decent folks who have been caught in adverse medical/economic piccadillos.  A significant number are struggling with alcohol problems with varying degrees of success.   Sis also takes a limited number of people who have "keepers"--publicly-appointed receivers who manage the person's living structure and pay the rent from a trust fund.  These folks need more "managing" for a variety of reasons and sis only has so much energy and time to spend helping these tenants manage life.  A significant group is the seasonal workers; young, testosterone-overloaded men who flood into the area in summer to work on timber, mill, electric projects and repairs to all infrastructure.  While their presence is temporary, they are a group that "plays hard" and has little regard for rules and often disturbs others.

Another fun project was getting a rooftop camera mounted so Sis would not have to jump up to look out the window every time she heard disturbances outside (often!).   We jury-rigged a "mobile mount" on the RV roof so it could be easily relocated and repositioned when she moves the rig to another site for the winter flood season.

Here is sis having her morning coffee on a rainy morning, running park business in her jammies. Through the raindrops, she can see nearby vehicles and foot traffic approach on the road and property periphery (view is better when sun is out). 

Last weekend, we went to a comedy show by Drew Carey.  He was in town at Humboldt State University and "just happened" to schedule his visit to coincide with the harvesting schedule of the local marijuana grows.  He said he was getting his MediCann card on Monday.   His wacky adult comedy was a much needed antidote to way too much reality in the RV park.

Yesterday, we went to the All-Species Parade.  This is a weekend-long festival and marks the end of the summer season for the locals.  It is a street party with one day's highlight the street samba dancers and the next day it's a parade to raise awareness to "eat vegetarian" and not to eat animal meat.

This is a street performer from Estonia.

Here is a typical Saturday farmer's market in Arcata.  this is a guy in mexican garb with Sasquatch perched atop his pickup truck.

Arcata is a college town and is notable in that they do not allow smoking anywhere--inside or outside--and they will not permit any fast food restaurant to do business.  So, the people attend the weekly farmer's market for fresh veges and fruit.

So, to sum up my summer vacay, I saw another side of living that I knew existed, but experienced in a very different way this summer by living, working and playing amongst people with many more challenges than I.  I also had a terrific summer playing with my sister and enjoying the superb weather of California's north coast.

I expect to begin my trip back to Florida in mid-October.

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