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My Saturday night was an exercise in contrasts.

It started out great. I’d had a really nice day, filled with family time. Hanging out with my niece, working on a jigsaw puzzle from my childhood. Video games with my nephew, including introducing him to World of Warcraft. Running errands with my brother. The farmer’s market, where I bought fresh kombucha and spicy radishes.

We even watched some bike racing at the Velodrome. (I mostly felt sorry for the bicyclists — it was a hot day to be dressed like they were, even without the biking really fast in circles in the sun part. bike race . )

After dinner, the whole family watched Guardians of the Galaxy. And at 10:30, my niece, sister-in-law, and I headed to Barnes & Noble for the big Harry Potter release. My niece, M, was probably one of the youngest kids there, but stayed resolutely awake. I got to sit and color with her at the Ravenclaw table while her mom waited in line.

Such a nice day.

But when I went to bed, Serenity… well, smelled. Bad. Like something had gone wrong with the black tank, where the sewage accumulates. I tossed and turned, worrying and sleepless, making plans. I’d get up, take her to a dump station. Or no, maybe a full hook-up campground would be better. I hadn’t dumped the tanks before, so I wouldn’t want to be figuring it out and maybe messing it up if I had to hurry. Still, how could it have gotten so bad, so fast? Maybe a week in the heat of summer was too much to let accumulate? But (if you’ll excuse the TMI), there wasn’t a lot in the tanks to cause a problem — I’d mostly been using the bathrooms at rest stops and campgrounds and my brother’s house. However, clearly it was enough to get bad because it was bad.

But it shouldn’t be. But it was. So was something wrong? Toss, turn, toss, turn, worry, hold my breath, try to sleep, toss, turn, worry, repeat endlessly. At 4AM, B wanted to go out. Sometime after that, maybe 5ish?, Z wanted the same. I think I finally fell asleep for a while after the sun came up, which meant I missed my chance to go to a coin show with my brother, much to my annoyance when I finally got up around 9.

And, of course, when I did get up, I discovered that the black tank was fine. One of the dogs — or maybe both of them? — had had diarrhea under the bed while I was out. Ugh. So not nice to wake up to. And made even worse by worrying about them, of course. B has been scratching himself into a scabby hairless mess and Z has been refusing to eat her kibble. I honestly think that both of them are going to love this lifestyle eventually, but at the moment, they’re both really stressed out by the change and uncertainty.

My big plan for tomorrow — one week after the house closing, the first of August, the day I had determined was going to involve lots and lots and lots of writing words — is to find a Banfield and take B to the vet. I would take Z, too, but based on my past experience with Z having digestive troubles, they’d want to keep her for observation and right now, I feel like that would be a truly terrible idea. If she’s stressed, the cure is not going to be to make her more stressed. (The first time I took her to the vet for digestive stuff — years ago, now — the vet wanted to keep her until she was eating and going normally again. After two days, they finally said, “We don’t think she’s going to eat while she’s away from you.”) So as long as she’s still enthusiastic about walking (she is!) and giving me happy smiles, I’m going to give her a few days to mellow out. The long car days weren’t good for her but the campground days are.

So yes, campground days! I stuck to my campground plan, in part to empty the tanks and in part because the house electricity in my brother’s driveway was just about enough to run the AC consistently, but not if I did anything else that took power. And it only worked if I was parked in his driveway, close enough to the house for a single cord to reach Serenity, but on a fairly steep slope. The extension cords weren’t capable of handling the load if Serenity was in the street. (I’m learning more about electricity than I ever needed to know before, including that long extension cords are not good.)

Anyway, I’m now parked in a KOA campground about twenty minutes from his house. It’s expensive, but very nice. Lots of families here — there’s mini golf and a swimming pool and a nice playground, plenty of grass and trees. The spot I’m in is huge for Serenity, with a picnic table and fire pit and big tree. We’ve gone for a couple walks, chatted with some of our neighbors, and I ate my dinner — an antipasto plate, basically, with olives, dates, prosciutto, cheese, crackers — outside at the picnic table. The best part, I think, is that Serenity is backed up to a stream. Zelda saw the stream and immediately waded right in. B saw the stream and immediately sat down and refused to move any further. So typical!