Where’s the flashlight?

This story related at 53rd WBCCI International Rally from friends, Richard and Julie:


Arriving home after the evening WBCCI program, Julie visited the Airstream’s lavatory. While taking care of necessities, she removed her jewelry and placed them on the cabinet. The jewelry included one of her very nicest, an Italian charm bracelet completely filled with very special charms. When it came time to flush, she incredibly managed to drop the bracelet into the bowl at just the worst moment.

The bracelet cleared the flush valve perfectly and fell straight into the holding tank. Richard heard the panicked, “Oh, No!”
“Are you OK?”
“Yes, but my bracelet went down the toilet!”
“That’s your problem, let me know if you need any help.”
“Turn off the water, so I can hold the trap open.”

Taking a flashlight and kneeling on the trap valve, Julie could see the bracelet directly below the bowl-opening. Thank goodness we had recently dumped. First she tried reaching it with her hand. It could go through, but her arm was not long enough. Then she went through the arsenal of kitchen utensils; spaghetti fork, tongs, etc. None of them worked. Richard suggested she just let it go. But, after her rehearsal of the value of the bracelet, she got his attention and more direct help.

Richard’s answer was to fashion a coat hanger into a long hook. On the second try, he managed to snag the bracelet and draw it back up through the flush valve. Just as Julie grabbed the precious bracelet, Richard accidentally loosened his grip on the flashlight. Of course, it didn’t fall outside the bowl. Down it went, before he could get his knee off the valve pedal.

The round flashlight rolled away from the “drop zone” below the flush valve. Richard claims he could “see the light,” but lacked any means of hooking the smooth flashlight.

On telling about it to the group, we had a lot of fun suggesting ways he might recapture the light. It didn’t help that Richard told Julie that the ingredients in flashlight batteries, when mixed with urine, formed an explosive and could blow up at any moment (it won’t). Murphy’s Law would dictate the light would never exit the tank unless it get sideways in the dump valve. Worse case scenario: it would damage the valve, and should be removed by cutting through the bottom of the Airstream.

Most agreed that the first attempt should be to fill the tank with water, dump at the next stop, and hope for the best. Two stops later, Richard reports, it just fell out of the hose. It was the freebie flashlight given to participants in the WBCCI Region 8 rally. Richard did not restore the flashlight for active service, although they considered sending it to me for my birthday.

Debbie dropped an earring the other day while standing in front of our vanity mirror. Of course, the lavatory drain was open. And I had only the day before I secured the p-trap nut with “rescue tape” to prevent accidental loosening during travels. The tape cuts easily, the p-trap opened up without incident, and I readily rescued the earring. Not too bad, considering how it could have gone.

Some of you might recall our post last year with an accidental waste story, involving a kitchen utensil? Again, good recovery.

But when something goes down the drain, our expectations are so low that any sort of recovery at all is better than we might expect. A flashlight lost to recover a cherished charm bracelet is a good deal, so long as the flashlight doesn’t jam the dump valve.

Today I realized I have lost my wedding band. We were going to town today to have the ring re-sized, had already checked out the jeweler and were ready to go. Only then, just before heading out the door, did I realize the ring is not on my finger.

The ring became uncomfortably tight on my left hand ring finger during the Southwest Caravan in early June. I had stored the ring in my dopp kit until yesterday, when I placed it with a comfortably snug fit on my right hand pinky. Yesterday late evening, I remember, it was there when we walked a few laps around this campground.

Most ironically, I stayed up until just before midnight to finish reading Dan Brown’s thriller, Digital Fortress. The story more or less centers on locating another very important ring and the protagonist’s and hero’s adventures therein. All I can imagine is I lost the ring in a pitched battle sometime after midnight, and I’ll be watching my back.

Or, I might check the blackwater holding tank for the ring, in case I dropped it at just the exact wrong moment and didn’t even hear it ‘clink’ on its way down. I should tie a string around the flashlight before looking down there, eh?

Jim and Debbie
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©2007-2010 Dreamstreamr


3 responses to “Where’s the flashlight?

  1. Richard Hunt

    Jim, I now wear my wedding band on my right hand ring finger. It got too loose on my left and I was worrying about losing it. If someone says the ring is on the wrong finger, I just tell them, “It’s OK, I married right girl.”

    • Yeah Richard, I told Debbie we were doing the Eastern Europe ring thing, right hand. Better I wouldn’t have worn it on Mr Pinky though. The fit just wasn’t good enough, obviously.

      Dad always taught us to sit down and think, hard, to retrace our steps back to when we last knew something’s whereabouts. A little while ago I recalled hearing, but not really registering, a noise from below whilst hand washing the trailer’s top front corner panel.

      I went back outside and looked all around the streetside front corner. Sure enough my ring awaited me on the gravel, just at the edge of the trailer. The ring had slipped off my soapy littlest finger as I slung the wash cloth out over the roof corner.

      The anillo is now safely in Deb’s purse for Monday’s trip to the jeweler, right after our muffler shop appointment to realign the tailpipe away from the new hitch receiver.

      Thanks for the great bracelet story!


  2. HoooooEeeeeee! That was just the laff required for my kickstart this morning. Thank you, Jim and Richard, for providing such entertainment.

    By the way, Jim, I had thought of your birthday before it came, and I thought of it several days after it had come. I hope you had a great time and didn’t hold off celebrating until you had heard from us. :)

    God bless the Dreamstreamers,

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