First World Problems of the scratch and dent variety

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We have recently been beset by a plague of First World Problems.

First World Problems are defined as issues that arise from living in an industrialized nation that pale in comparison to the real troubles of the inhabitants of less industrialized cultures. (Example: If you are living in a mud hut on a war torn continent, you probably aren’t feeling the pain of someone upset because their new smartphone isn’t loading YouTube properly).

Tiny

It started in the spring when our beloved camper (Big Tiny) sprung a leak around a skylight that caused the ceiling liner to bubble in the bathroom. Due to the 99-month long Midwestern winter, it was quite advanced by the time I discovered it.

I spent at least a week alternately stomping out to check on the repair progress and poking my fingers at the expanding ripple. I ranted, I raved, and at one point I threatened to never ever camp again.

I was despondent. It became clear early on that the ripple itself was less an issue than my constant poking at it was.

I am nothing if not histrionic.

Finally, GirlWonder, with uncharacteristic exasperation at my daily complaints said, “You need to be grateful mom! At least you have a camper!”
And you know what? She’s right. Two summers ago I was sleeping in a tent getting wet on a routine basis.

During this same period of time, our swimming pool developed strange brown stains. I scrubbed. I sulked. I was so mad about those stains on my pretty blue pool.

Finally, we had laptop memory issues, air conditioning issues with one car and brake line issues on another. Once, on the same day I dealt with our pool and GirlWonder’s cell phone which had decided to go rogue.

Juggling these issues, I had a moment of clarity between calls to the pool store and phone gurus. If your days consist of worrying about the condition of your swimming pool, iPhone, and camper, you are probably better off than you think.

Drive

Recently, in a textbook case of First World Problems, we found ourselves out on our boat with no way to inflate our water toy. Thus began a comedy of errors that can be explained only by imagining how far on the driver’s ed food chain one has to fall before I, with zero hours of trailer towing experience, am your only hope for driving back to camp with truck and (empty) boat trailer in tow.

It should be noted that my entire solo tow experience to date involves pulling the boat and trailer out of the water and making one wide left turn. That’s it.

In this instance I had to not only back out of the parking lot (harrowing) but drive through a state park (more than one turn!).

The plan was for BoyWonder to leap out of the truck and haul the tube over to the air pump while I slowly circled the camp. Nothing says “I am not even remotely cool” quite like admitting you have to keep moving because you don’t know how to park.

On pass three my pride overcame my senses and I slowly pulled to the side of the drive. When the tube was adequately inflated, BoyWonder hopped into the back. My total combined vehicle length of roughly 42 feet slowly inched forward as I put the truck into drive and slowly eased my foot off the brake.

I probably traveled a whole foot, foot and a half without incident before BoyWonder’s screams of “STOP!” caused me to slam on the brakes. In the space of roughly 30 seconds I had managed to pull forward and neatly clip a wooden post with the side of the boat trailer.

The post was wood and set in mud. It leaned back into place easily. The scratch and small but clearly discernible dent I put in the fender of the trailer? Not so much.

I returned to the lake to explain to Mr. Wonderful about First World Problems and how now, thanks to me, he has one.

To his credit, he took it like a trooper. He was very sweet about the whole thing.

On the other hand, his real First World Problem is probably the fact that he can’t opt for a more Third World solution and trade his wife for a goat.

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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