The Charlie Bravo Story


If I say or do something and Charlie isnt there to see or hear it, am I still wrong?

We all know that a “CHARK!!!” is Charlie Bark, the one she uses when she’s not getting her way; i.e. if the motorcycle has sat still too long. But as she gets older, she keeps adding new ways to communicate the fact that I’m not performing up to her exacting standards, and latest is a “chowl”, a Charlue yowl.

I can expect to hear this when she decides it’s time to go to bed, or if I acquiesce to her demands and do go to bed, there are too many squatters already occupying the prime real estate. Then she’ll sit and chowl at me until I clear her a spot, or better yet, take her outside to sleep in the Minivan Gogh.

While many would question the sanity of a 57 year old someone leaving a perfectly good house to sleep in a van in the driveway, those people haven’t experienced a night in the Goghmobile. We have a pretty trick little set up, with the cargo area floored out and a very nice cot installed. During travels out west, it has all the comforts we need, a portable shower, heater, power access, etc, but from the exterior it looks like just any old minivan. The beauty of this is that we can camp just about anywhere without drawing attention, just another soccer mom who ran out of gas on the way to hoard toilet paper in advance of the coming Corvocalypse.

At home, I like it because it gives us a small taste of life on the road, and Charlie likes it because it gives her some dad-time without having to fend off the other inmates.

But then there’s Ajax.

Ajax has somehow cultivated an unreasonable terror of riding in a vehicle of any type; this is a crying shame, as he has the perfect temperament and size to be a great long-distance travel dog. He loves to jump up into the van and just chill a bit, but freaks clean out on even the shortest trips. So last night, I thought it might be a good idea to let him sleep with Charlie and I, you know, to let him get a bit more acclimated to the van. The sky was illuminated by the glow of an incredible full moon, and it just seemed to make sense.

Bad idea. A: because Charlie did NOT appreciate another critter encroaching on her domain, and B: Ajax was so freaked out that he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else but on my chest, which is not acceptable to a side sleeper such as myself.

Then comes daylight, and mom lets the other varmints out to exercise their plumbing; of course, they discover that we’re in the van and immediately demand entry. So what was once a peaceful psuedo-getaway is now filled with dewy feet trampling my tender vegetation, and I might as well trudge back inside to face the interrogation of Oba, who incidentally turned 85 yesterday.; “why you stay outside? Here, eat more!”

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions…

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