When we're out traveling in the Airstream for a bit and not at home, our Toyota Camry Hybrid sits parked in our driveway. And by "driveway" I mean "clearing in the forest, surrounded by giant trees and wild plants and vines." It's a beautiful setting, and the forest creatures are plentiful (coyotes, deer, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons...etc.). While we're away, our Toyota Camry Hybrid (and its cozy air ducts) apparently seem like a nice high-tech condo for small forest creatures.
We arrived home from a couple of weeks on the road on Monday evening, worked all day on Tuesday, then headed over to my studio for a shoot early Tuesday evening. I was driving, and I heard an unfamiliar sound.
Me: Did you just make a weird sqeaking sound?
Kevin: No, I did not just make a weird squeaking sound.
A few minutes later, same sqeaking sound, now sounding like it was coming from the center console air vents. Then again in another minute or so. Quiet, squeak-like. Kevin got a phone call and never heard anything the whole way over to my studio, but I heard it about a dozen times. (Here's us: Every time I heard the squeak while Kevin was on the phone, I pointed at the air vent, and then he shook his head no. Bah!)
Crap. We must have mice in the air ducts. Again. This happened while we were on our four month trip at the end of last year and it was highly annoying (I think they had babies in there!) There's apparently no way to stop them from getting in if they want to, and they just make a mess and can do a lot of damage if they start chewing wires and stuff. In this case, it was just the mess. We had our filter replaced and the ducts cleaned out, and they put some kind of deoderizer thing in there that they say usually helps deter them from coming back.
I (of course) was picturing crazy little fast-moving mice falling down onto my feet and running up my legs, scaring the crap out of me as I drove, but it didn't happen. Just the quiet squeaking from the air vent.
We got to the studio early and I realized I'd forgotten a few things at home (I know, totally pro, huh?) and so Kevin, being the awesome husband and assistant that he is, offered to go back for them while I set up the equipment. My clients start showing up, we chat and catch up a little, joke about mice in the car air ducts, etc., while organizing wardrobe and lighting.
Kevin comes back and holds his phone out to show me this photo:
That's the driver's side floor of the Camry. Would you just LOOK at how CUTE that tiny TINY chipmunk is!! (Totally relieved it's not mice, again....though I'm sure chipmunks could chew just as many wires and make just as much mess. It's a conceptual thing.)
Kevin says that on the way back to the studio he started hearing the squeak, only this time it was more like a squeal--louder and louder squeals and shuffling in the air vents.
While he was just a couple blocks away from the studio, he felt a soft "plop" onto his shin, then a little bit of scurrying down his leg and over his shoe, and as he looked down he saw this little chipmunk jump on the floor next to his shoe. (Oh holy hell I'm glad that happened to him and not me!)
He snapped a photo and then tried to get it to jump out of the car, but instead it went back from where it came...back up into the air ducts. Awesome. But when we got back in the car to drive to dinner and then home, no sign of little guy. No sounds, no scurrying (I sat indian style on the passenger seat, just in case.) Apparently we relocated the poor thing from the forest over to the hood of Northeast Portland. Sorry little dude.
Yesterday we drove from Makah Bay over through Port Angeles to Kingston to catch the Kingston-Edmonds Ferry to hook up with our Weaselmouth pals for the weekend. The road from Makah Bay to Port Angeles was crazy...winding and bumpy, and then super slow at times (one sign said 10MPH next mile---!!!) and once we came over a sudden rise in the road where I think we might possibly have gotten air. I said to Kevin, "Wonder what just happened back there in the trailer?" because usually after a road like this we show up and and it looks like rockstar party aftermath---pillows and cushions everywhere, bourbon bottles rolling on the floor---and Kevin replied "Probably everything you love is broken." Always the worry, isn't it?
We stopped for lunch in Port Angeles (OMG, Little Devil's Lunchbox! Pulled pork and chorizo tacos! So good!!) and when we checked the back of the trailer, our cupboard above the microwave had come open. Again. This is the second time now (the first time I lost my entire set of Franciscan Starburst dinnerware). This is a thing that happens apparently, and we need to get a better latch on that cupboard because I'm not going to be bungee cording a cabinet that should say the heck closed with normal things in it as you go down the road.
There was oil (yes, OIL) all over the floor, that had been sprinkled liberally with truffle salt (Salt Farm #10) and then broken glass. Perfect. We did our best to get everything up, found the open/empty bottle of walnut oil in the bathroom (where it had nicely soaked the rug in there) and decided we'd deal with the rest of it once we got to our next spot. (It did smell pretty good, which was a plus.)
I got to do the ferry jockying this time. Look how close!
Passing another ferry:
We saw a dozen or so porpoises on our ride over! So cool! The ferry employee guy we were standing next to said they only see them every couple weeks or so and he was pretty excited. The tiny black dot there? That's one of 'em!
Disembarking in Edmonds:
Our new spot for the weekend at Lake Pleasant:
Oh and here's one of the signs I was telling you about on the Indian Reservation in Makah/Neah Bay as we were leaving. Meth equals Death. That it does:
The good thing about the Airstream oil spill is that now our floor is REALLY clean and nice 'n shiny from being waxed with walnut oil. The bummer is that even with detergent and hot water, the two rugs are still all oily.
Tonight we're heading to the craft distiller's festival in Seattle (Proof). Forty or so craft distillers, local restaurants, etc.
"Sample craft spirits from more than 40 Washington distilleries, including gin, whiskey, bourbon, vodka and more. Snack on delicious bites from top local restaurants, let expert mixologists help you discover your new favorite drink, and get in on the ground floor of one of the fastest-growing beverage industries in America."
Sounds good to me!
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...as we were unhitching last night, a part of our new hitch broke. Kevin's at the auto parts store down the street now to try to figure out a temporary fix. I did remember to take photos during this mishap (I've got to get better at photographing the mayhem before I clean it up!) and we'll post about this thing when we've got it worked out with a nice ending and all. What a day, huh?!?!