It’s Always Something

In the 1970s, comedienne Gilda Radner introduced us to Roseann Rosannadana, a commentator on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” segment who always ended her routine with the line, “It’s always something,” which was a favorite expression of Radner’s father. Later in life, Radner chose the catch-phrase as the title for her memoir, which dealt with her experience of ovarian cancer and her determination to enjoy life regardless of the circumstances.

Our life on the road isn’t as serious as cancer, but we are often challenged to laugh at our circumstances. As Roseanne Rosannadana would say, “It’s always something.”

This weekend was no exception. With a forecast of severe storms (including large hail, damaging winds, flash floods, and tornadoes), we considered postponing our departure for Cedar Hill State Park until Saturday morning. But when it became apparent that we had dodged the worst of the weather, we quickly packed up and headed out.

We arrived well after dark and in the pouring rain. The helpful park ranger who checked us in wanted to make sure we were aware of the severe weather alerts and that we knew to go to one of the camp’s restrooms (because they’re considered “sturdy shelters”) if we received a tornado warning. He also reminded us that the park is continuing to deal with an infestation of Argentine ants and asked if we knew how to mitigate any problem with them. It all seemed so absurd to have this conversation while rain was pouring through the open driver’s side window.

We finally made it to our campsite, but by that time the rain was coming down so heavily that we couldn’t even determine its orientation to the road. We had to make three separate approaches before we finally figured it out. Cliff, wearing an insulated hoodie but no rain gear, tried his best to direct Jon onto the pad, but with rain pelting the truck and the dogs barking, it was impossible to hear his instructions. Once the trailer was on the pad, we had to level it with blocks, which meant more exposure to the downpour, more directions shouted over the din, and more frustration. When we finally parked and got ourselves and the dogs inside Cloud 9, we were wet, tired, and hungry.

Cliff said, “I need a glass of wine.” And so we poured ourselves a glass and toasted the beginning of our weekend. It was 6:08 pm.

As the rain subsided, Cliff managed to grill a steak and serve up our Date Night dinner. Then we collapsed, exhausted, in front of the TV, surrounded by our sweet doggies.

Next day started routinely, with our typical Saturday morning activities. But as Cliff was starting brunch, Jon decided to pop his damp hoodie into the dryer. After a few minutes, the unit displayed an error code. Jon turned off the machine and suddenly an odor of burning rubber filled the cabin and smoke started emerging from the machine. We opened the windows and turned on the exhaust fans while trying to figure out how to access the back of the unit. We placed a call to Paul Mayeaux, who installed the machine and built its custom cabinet. He told us how to turn off the circuit breaker and remove the counter above the unit, but by that time the smoke had dissipated and we were convinced any immediate fire danger had passed.

The problem with getting an RV appliance repaired is that you have to take your entire house to the repair shop. So to replace the fan motor, we’ll have to take Cloud 9 back to Paul’s shop in Paradise.

As Roseanne Rosannadana would say, it’s always something.

What else could we do except continue on with our brunch and take a nap?

For our Saturday supper, Chef Cliff prepared an authentic beef stroganoff using our new 5-quart enamel Dutch oven. He sautéed beef strips in olive oil, then added onions, mushrooms and spices. For the sauce, he combined mustard, heavy cream, and just a touch of cognac, before stirring in flat egg noodles. The result was spectacular! We accompanied the dish with our favorite Old Vine Zinfandel, and ended the evening with a glass of single malt scotch (for Cliff) and tawny port (for Jon).

Sunday morning revealed an amazing sunrise and simultaneous moonset over glistening frost. By noon, though, the temperatures had warmed to the upper 40s, providing the right weather conditions for packing up and moving out.

Throughout the weekend, we had to encourage each other to look at the bright side, or to simply laugh at ourselves and our circumstances. Even when the situation seemed like a crisis in the moment, it later turned out to be no big deal upon reflection. As Roseanne Rosannadana would say, “It just goes to show you, it’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”