The Thanksgiving holiday is over. We survived the Mom inspection. It wasn’t fatal…
The holiday was good too. There is nothing like family to make a holiday truly special, and a new grandbaby is always something to celebrate too. The entire travel trailer issue has been fascinating as we have coped with stresses that can stretch even a more traditionally sized home.
The turkey…roasted whole on a bed of root vegetables and apples. It turned out picture perfect, even if we didn’t believe the meat thermometer! It really DOES work to put it in a foil roasting pan, regally resting on the large chunks of vegetables and rubbed down with herbs, put it into the gas grill with indirect heat, and close the cover. It was like having a crude oven, complete with occasionally opening the lid to reduce the temperature. It was brown, juicy, and tender.
Our stuffing wasn’t in the turkey, but rather in another foil pan and heated in the oven indoors, competing for oven time with the green bean casserole and the sweet potato casserole. When the turkey emerged, we put everything in the gas grill–far more spacious than the small RV stove’s oven!
We were dining outdoors, and had situated our canopy between a board fence and the travel trailer itself for wind protection. The weather was semi-cooperative, with occasional gusts and brief showers. Portable camping tables were set up, and the largest was dressed up with an inexpensive tablecloth for the occasion. Set for six, a matched pair of gravy boats at either end, and a smaller table acting as the buffet alongside the grill, with all of our wonderful spread of food arranged on it.
The food was delicious, the weather smiled upon our heads during the meal itself, the company was wonderful, and we laughed and talked as we ate, not caring one bit that none of the chairs matched or the floor beneath our feet was grass. In a way, the whole outdoor thing made it more memorable, and the lack of fancy touches made it more homey. We found the more Christmas like tablecloth and the idea that it would return to service in a month as the Christmas dinner table covering equally amusing, although I have to admit…we may need wall panels and a heater to make that canopy more comfortable in December! (Or we’ll just set up one of our big 10×17′ camping tents.) Last year saw Christmas with record low temperatures and sheer bitterly cold winds that insisted on tormenting us all.
With the other holiday events, the radiator was replaced in the van as a “diagnostic” event regarding its insistent overheating problems. It has been confirmed…it needs a head gasket replacement. Unfortunately, it also means that we cannot put it off any longer as we are not wanting to put more Barr’s Stop Leak in a new radiator. Research has also indicated that contrary to popular myth, in this particular case, head gaskets wear out at about 150K miles in this engine, and we managed to eke 175K out of it before the Big Event. We will order the new head gasket, head bolts, etc. today, and hopefully, poor GM can get it replaced within the week, with a little help from friends & family. I will be relieved when we once again have reliable and safe transportation! This magical and complicated resurrection will occur within a temporary garage covered in tarps to protect drafted mechanic and naked engine alike during the Big Job. While we would rather have it done in a mechanic’s shop, unfortunately we can’t afford the $1000-1400 price tag for having it done.
So now we move from the whole November theme into the December theme, and life moves on…even if the minivan isn’t functional, we’re broke, we haven’t found a new home for the travel trailer, and Sissy is still barking!
Optimism is a great thing. I keep believing we’ll get it all together…at the same time!