Crow’s Feet
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Crow’s Feet

Dream Big: The Universe Will Kick You to the Ground!

Never utter these words out loud: “Let’s get a travel trailer”

Photo by Ashley Jurius on Unsplash

The galaxy and all mystical forces recently conspired to kick me in the metaphorical gonads. I guess I brought it on myself when I said to my spouse, naively:

“Let’s buy a little travel trailer. Maybe we could even spend a couple of winter months in Arizona next year.”

He replied, “Sounds like a great idea!”

And so we began researching used tear-drops and itsy-bitsy trailers. I even made reservations in August to meet family at Mammoth Cave.

The gods were eavesdropping because last week I drove west, sans trailer, for a pre-planned digital nomad trip and disaster rained down on my household like a plague of locusts.

Both of our tenants — relax, we own the dark purple Monopoly properties — broke their leases in the same week. I usually manage them, so my husband was stuck dealing with getting them to move out and making sure they didn’t sell our furniture.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

No, they don’t know each other.

They had well over $200 in late utility payments with the property owners association, which we are liable for.

Tenant #1, Nurse Julie, was a month behind on rent, which I let slide because she and her daughter had Covid and she’s a nurse. Thank god tenant #2, McLovin, paid up and skedaddled, leaving the place as clean as a dude in his 20s can.

Thanks, McLovin.

We went from having a stream of income each month to owing hundreds of dollars and having no tenants.

We’ve decided to put both properties on the market, but the next few months will be lean.

Then we discovered our taxes were bigger than usual. I earned more than expected last year because remember the days when Medium paid decently if you had followers? I do. Turns out we owed about 50% more on federal taxes than we’d calculated.

Yes, I know I should pay quarterly.

No renters, big tax bill.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Then the gods and goddesses decided deliver the third punch. My tabloid writing job is sketchy about paying on time but they got their act together in December. Now, I’m waiting on my January paycheck, tapping my feet. My fellow writers are back to sending desperate emails to each other, wondering if anyone’s been paid.

Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time — won’t get fooled again.

So I have no pay and need to quit, obviously.

Medium doesn’t pay anymore, I just quit a job with steady income, I have a huge tax bill, and both tenants (they both have full-time jobs, by the way) are turning out to be deadbeats.

But that’s okay, we can live cheap. Our mortgage and two vehicles are paid. We don’t have to drive anywhere and I can forage for mushrooms come Spring.

Photo by Sweetyoga Justine on Unsplash

And now I have a medical condition that may require surgery. So my health insurance, which isn’t the greatest, might cover it or maybe not. But the rapacious bastards are about as trustworthy as a coyote in a henhouse.

I might need another trip — this time to Mexico for medical tourism.

Maybe I won’t come back. I’ll lounge in Cancun, sucking down Margaritas and pretending to be a washed-up movie star recovering from plastic surgery.

We can’t afford a travel trailer, even a used pop-up with flat tires. We can still afford to live in a house with central heat and support the world’s two most spoiled chihuahuas, though.

Thanks be to the gods, who are looking out for me or possibly tracking me with radar.

I should reframe my message to the universe.

“We should stay inside and play board games. When we party, it should be potlucks at the church. We should raise chickens, not tiny dogs.”

I can’t bemoan my fate, for this tale is life in America these days.

Jean Campbell is a freelance humor and crime writer looking for a job. Her skills include juggling, penmanship, and above average parallel parking skills. If you need a worker whose only fault is sarcasm, and you are in central Arkansas, reach out!



“The longer I live, the more beautiful life becomes.” (Frank Lloyd Wright) Non-fiction pieces, personal essays and occasional poems that explore how we feel about how we age and offer tips for getting the most out of life.

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