Decomp, don’t you just love the aroma? NOT

Maybe a better title for this post is “How to ruin your daughter’s engagement news”.

Friday morning we arrived at the Ritchie Brothers Auction site in Chehalis, Washington to get Joe’s trucks. Everything was fine as we got on the road and stopped in Portland, Oregon for the night. 75 miles plus Joe needed Oregon permits.

Leaving Portland the air was cool on Saturday morning. Just before noon it began to warm up. The 5 by 65 air conditioning was not working so well.

What is 5 by 65, you ask? Two wing windows wide open, two door windows wide open, and one bunk vent open while traveling 65 miles an hour.

Joe stopped at a rest area in Oregon over the hill from Pendleton – my last post was from down the hill at Pendleton. He put in two cans of R134 air conditioning fluid stuff in the A/C compressor floppy doo. We had cool air! Roll all the windows up, close the wings and vent, crank up the A/C and away we went.

After about 5 hours driving we stopped for fuel and something to eat. Getting back in the truck I noticed it was smelling like mildew. These trucks, older models, have a tendency to smell moldy. Especially the trucks from the southern part of the US from California to Florida.

Air conditioning is used almost continuously in the south. The air ducts don’t get much chance to dry out. The condensation pools in the lower parts of the vents and goes stagnant and moldy.

By the time we got to Boise, Idaho for the night we had gone back to having the windows down and the wing windows open. The truck was smelling like something died.

Leaving Boise this morning, again with the windows open, Joe and I determined the smell was coming from beneath my seat. In an International the air conditioning unit is housed under that seat.

Upon arrival at the hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah I began the task of unmounting the seat from the housing.


I had been working at getting the last bolt unscrewed when my phone went off. By the time I answered it I had the bolt out and Joe arrived after having got us checked in.

Our daughter, Heidi Jo, was calling me to let me know her boyfriend proposed to her.


Heidi Jo is excitedly telling me about their normal weekend trips into the mountainous areas of Arizona where they go four wheeling. The group stops near a lake and Will asks Heidi Jo to join him. She begins to walk over barefooted and Will tells her to bring her shoes.

The story gets interrupted here by Joe asking me if I had the bolts out. I tip the seat back fully exposing the air conditioning unit guts and find no dead animal hidden inside.

Joe then asks “Who are you talking to?” I respond with “Heidi Jo” and she says “What, mommy?”

I’ve got sweat dripping from my face, decomp infiltrating my nose, a husband asking me to look further under the seat using a flashlight, and a daughter excitedly telling me her news.

It has degenerated into a circus run amok.

The hissing noise on my cell phone goes dead quiet and I think I’ve lost my link to Heidi Jo. I think Heidi Jo said her engagement ring was in her shoe. Will needed it, the shoe, to properly propose on bended knee.

I’m trying to do as Joe is instructing me in looking deeper for the dead thing and I blurt out “I think I’ve lost Heidi Jo. That dead animal is not down here.”

At this Heidi Jo passes on the news to Will that we have a decomposing dead animal. Do I feel rotten or what?! Her wonderful news has been usurped by a dead mouse or some other creature.

Juggling the seat, Joe’s instructions, the continued phone conversation with our daughter, and wiping sweat out of my eyes we manage to get the seat put back together.

Are you as lost as I am in this whole thing?

There is evidence on the floor around my seat that something had, in fact, expired in the truck. The stink is still quite evident. My phone conversation has come to an end and I need to locate a drug store for a giant can of Lysol spray and some kind of odor absorbing powder.

I get my trucks at Magna, Utah tomorrow and take them to Henderson, Colorado. Joe will be all by himself in that decomp truck tomorrow and Tuesday. I’ll rejoin him in that stinky truck as he drives to Houston, Texas for his delivery.

Heidi Jo, I’m thrilled to bits about your engagement news. Will, you have been a master at pulling off the surprise proposal. Working with your friends and family the past couple weeks to keep the secret and make it happen. Joe was delighted by your call asking him if you could marry his daughter. You have sure delighted the both of us.

And the engagement ring is beautiful.


Congratulations Heidi Jo and Will. Dad and I are truly happy for you.


About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

12 responses to “Decomp, don’t you just love the aroma? NOT

  • mjc1520

    Awwww, congratulations to your daughter on her engagement! I know that she is on top of the world right now! She doesn’t know whether to cry or laugh!! Have they set the day?
    Oh boy, do I remember the musty/moldy smell coming out of some of those trucks. When my a/c went out one time, it took a week for the smell to subside enough to ride with the windows down! Don’t envy you with that! ; ) I do remember travelling through Washington and the many pictures I took. Boy, do I miss that part of the country.
    Again, congratulations to your daughter on her engagement!


    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Marilyn, for putting a big toothy grin on my face.

      Will you be sharing any photos of your travels through Washington? You will have seen other parts of the state that I would not get to. Your job is more traditional, going to warehouse docks and shipping ports. You would be more inclined to being in more of the interior of the state than I have been.

      When I get a truck that has problems I often think about a driver, such as yourself, that has to deal with the problems constantly. The schedule you are subjected to while under load doesn’t leave much time for repairs being made. At least not until that problem becomes a safety issue.

      Thank you, once again, for the congratulations for our daughter. I appreciate you.


  • Jann Gray

    Oh my. ..I have tears in my eyes. .. I’m not sure if they are sympathetic “stinky smell” tears, tears of joy for the great news or years from laughing so hard as I pictured you trying to juggle all those moments at once! That is one crazy “day in the life” of a drive away truck driver! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    Love you!

    • Message In A Fold

      Thank you, Jann, for your sweet words. I appreciate you, my friend, and your curious tears 😉

      I see from some of your Facebook posts the wandering traveler is back home and in her studio. I’m looking forward to seeing your awesome creations and hearing your voice once more through a tutorial video. I miss that voice and those hands very much.

      Love you my friend – Leslie

  • Maureen Mathis

    What fantastic news! I think it’s quite possible that you are even happier at the news than Heidi Jo is. A mother’s pains and joys felt about what’s going on in their kids’ lives are more deeply felt, I think, because we have absolutely no control over them. What a fantastic time in her life! Congratulations!

    • Message In A Fold

      You are totally correct in your comment. Letting go the control is so scary. Letting our children make their mistakes and choices is miserable.

      I’m very happy for my daughter. She has had a long and hard road to walk. She has arrived and I am thankful she has found her happiness.

      Love you my friend.

  • pati

    Hey!! Congratulation’s Heidi Jo and Will. lol lol lol sis, are you going to get through all this excitement thats happening all at once?? Lol lol lol

    • Message In A Fold

      Jeezers, there is always something. Thanks Sis for your congrats 🙂

      You’ll be having your head in boxes soon. Packing up to move into your new home. Congratulations to you and Les!

      Love you Sis

      • pati

        Yes, it seems that something us always happening in life that keeps things up in the air!! If its not one thing its two. lol. Yes we are moving, boxes and tubs everywhere lol. But we are excited about moving into OUR own home. Thx sis for the congratulaions on our home. I hope Heidi-joe is coming along ok and not losing her mind. lol lol

      • Message In A Fold

        Just saw your comment, sorry about that.

        Moving day has arrived! Yippee Skippy! Find the aspirin, quickly. You’ll need some for your aching back.

        Hope you enjoy your new house.

        Love you Sis

  • gardenpinks

    Congratulations to Heidi Jo and Will – such excitement going on in your family just now Leslie and no I don’t suppose Heidi Jo really wanted to know about your smelly vehicle and the fact there may be a dead crittur in there 🙂 Something tells me that your offspring have probably got used to you and Joe by now 😀

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      Sorry for the delay in answering you! Things got a bit crazy and in the midst of it all Joe and I came down with the flu AGAIN and had to work while our heads were stuffed up, noses cleaning the clocks of three Kleenex boxes, ears plugged up all we could say to each other was “What?”, and coughing like we were trying to hack up our lungs.

      Thank you for your congrats to our daughter and future son-in-law. I appreciate you. And yes, our family is well used to the craziness of our jobs and lives 😀

      Love you my friend – Leslie

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