This week, I was taken on a surprise camping trip (which is why I have been incommunicado for most of the week). If you are not familiar with the concept of a surprise camping trip, that is because it is not actually a thing. It is not a thing because camping requires lots of planning, and making a camping trip a surprise makes planning impossible.
Of course I am exaggerating. My wife and I had been talking with her parents for a few months about camping before the summer was over, but we have had a great deal of trouble working out our schedules. When we stayed with them last month (while I was attending IFBC), we had all vaguely agreed that it must happen soon, or not at all. Just last weekend, when we realized that we all had some time off, it was suggested that camping might happen. Still, on Sunday at 3pm, when my wife informed me that her parents were driving down right now, and we would be camping as of tomorrow, it felt quite a bit like a surprise camping trip at the time.
My first thought was "how does this fit into my month of nothing new?" Followed quickly by "they are driving all the way down here, is it rude to demand that they follow my arbitrary rules for my blog?" Well, as it turned out, I hardly had to bring up the blog and my Nothing New month, because both they and us owned sufficient camping gear, and we really only had to buy food (which doesn't count) for the trip to be a success.
There were a few hiccups, of course. The first was simply that I had not thought about whether gasoline counted as buying something new. I am still not certain, but I must disclose that I purchased a full tank of gas. Next, we were camping just north of Newport, and Courtney really wanted to go clamming, as the season is just about over and we could not conceivably go again until next spring. All well and good, but I would need some serious waterproof boots.
Well, the local Salvation Army was our salvation on this trip, because they had exactly one pair of knee high waterproof boots that fit me like a hand-me-down glove. As we were checking out, the cashier said "boy, you really lucked out with those, they don't last long here." Since Newport is a coastal town on a bay, known for it's abundance of razor, butter, soft shell, gaper, and cockel clams (and even the odd geoduck), scallops, bay shrimp, and crab, I was not exactly surprised to learn that good second hand galoshes were a hot commodity.
After a few days of camping, clamming, and taking in Newport (which I will surely write about soon, as it is home to the nicest people on earth), the in-laws and we (in-laws and us? anyone?) returned to Springfield with several clams and a surprise agenda. If you are not familiar with the concept of a surprise agenda, that is because you don't have the same in-laws as I (as me? I am having pronoun trouble today).
Apparently, my father in law had heard through the grapevine about our efforts to fix up and sell the Honda, but had not heard about my moderately ambitious plan to not purchase anything new this month. The result is that I found myself overwhelmed with a plan to fix up the paint job and some body damage which involved buying lots of little new things. It was a sound plan financially, of course, the idea was to spend a very small amount of money to get the car into the next condition bracket, but it was antithetical to my plans for September.
My wife Courtney came to the rescue. While I was embarrassed to say that their reasonable, helpful plan didn't fit in with what I was blogging about this month, Courtney explained to her parent that I was trying to fix up the car in the "greenest" way possible, and we ended up adhering to the rules that I set out in my first post. Nothing has been purchased, still, to fix the car. My father in-law borrowed a trickle charger to re-charge the battery, which turned out to be in perfect condition. We also found a mechanic that would charge only $10 to put the battery on a charger for a day or so, so if we couldn't borrow a charger we could have done that. The car (after a good wash) is now running great and ready to sell, body damage, faded paint and all.
The last week, in other words, presented me with some completely unique and bizarre problems, but so far I have not broken the rules as they were originally laid out. Of course, the month is only 1/3 over, and anything can still happen.