Our House Came Home :)

Dawny and I were without our house for ten days.  Yesterday it came home.  What a splendid feeling it was to drive it out of the shop, speed down the highway at 65 mph–faster than our normal speed, but I wanted to test things out–and return to our friends’ ranch, where they had generously accommodated us in a private apartment over the barn.

On the way back to the ranch, I settled comfortably into my well-worn driver’s seat, breathed a huge sigh of relief, and sent out a prayer of gratitude.  For a stroke of bad luck, we were blessed with several strokes of extraordinarily good luck.  The squeaking noise we had occasionally heard on the way to Texas was due to a nasty rear axle/nut/bearing/brake situation.  It was a major repair job.

Fortunately:

  1. We are lucky that the problem did not deteriorate to the extent that it caused us to have an accident on the road.
  2. There was a Ford dealer/repair facility nearby that serviced RV’s, which is not an easy thing to find.  (Our RV is built on a Ford E-350 chassis.)
  3. Although our Ford bumper-to-bumper warranty recently expired, this problem was covered under the drive-train warranty, which was still good.
  4. Our bill upon leaving the repair shop was a mere $7.00 to cover the cost of the annual Texas vehicle inspection.
  5. Our friends made us feel welcome and gave us a safe, comfortable place to stay, even though our week-long visit stretched to two weeks.

Keep in mind that Dawny and I travel in our 25-foot motorhome and do not tow a car behind (often referred to as a ‘toad.’)  When the rig goes into a shop for routine maintenance, we wait around for it.  This was the second time in three and a half years that it went in for a lengthy repair and we were unable to stay with it.  The first time (August/September 2014), we happened to be visiting my son’s dad and were able to stay with him for the duration.

When researching the full-time RV lifestyle nearly four years ago, I read lots of opinions about whether or not to pull a toad.  In order to keep costs down, I decided to start out not towing and, if it looked like a necessity, I could change my mind later.  Not only would it save a lot of money not having to insure and maintain a second vehicle, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible in our new life.  KISS–keep it simple sweetie!

I have no regrets about going toad-less, but I do wonder what things would have been like had we not been with friends during these two major repair jobs, which together totaled about 20 days.  I suppose I would have rented a car and stayed in a pet-friendly hotel.  That would have been expensive, but still a lot less than the cost of owning an additional vehicle all this time.

I really missed our little house, and I am so happy it is home.  We are home.  And soon we will be back on the road, house and all.

Psychic Clutter

Last night I had a dream about my house.  Its various rooms came straight out of all the different houses I have lived in over the years, going back to our house in New York, which is the first one I remember very well.

The house was terribly cluttered, items spilling from closets with doors that could not even close.  I recognized the biggest closet as one that used to be in my parents’ bedroom.  This closet has shown up in many of my dreams.  It was a mysterious, slightly scary place, where Mom hid our Christmas presents until they magically appeared under the tree.

Most of the clutter in this house belonged to my two husbands.  Isn’t it funny that they both lived in the same house with me!  The house had finally been sold after being on the market for a long time.  I had known it had been sold and had been busy cleaning up my own stuff, but my husbands had procrastinated.

It was moving day.  The new people were due to take over the house in the afternoon.  And it was still full of my husbands’ clutter.  So, while they were both away, I went through everything, room by room, closet by closet, box by box, and cleaned it up.  By “cleaned it up,” I mean I unceremoniously tossed most things into the trash.

I woke up before completing the job and quickly gave myself a retrospective break, deciding that the next thing I would have done, had I still been dreaming, was hire a deep-cleaning crew to finish the job and make everything sparkly clean.  So I did that real quick in my head.  How good of me.

This dream struck a deep chord.  I spent the first week of October at a campground where I was surrounded by silence.  No clutter in the airwaves–no TV, internet, computer, or phone.  Heck, for the first few days, I was the only one in my rather remote section of the campground.  It was quite a challenge and I will admit that I did not like it at all at first.  I missed the clutter!

By mid-week, however, I was going strong, writing the first story I have been able to get excited about in over a year.  It was basically complete by week’s end.  Now settled into my next campground and workamping job, I have been fine-tuning the story with edits, formatting, and design, preparing to release it soon as my third ebook on Amazon.

There was an even greater significance to my dream, though.  Surrounded by the peace and quiet of that week, I was able to get in touch with the role that certain life-shaping events have played in my own life story.  And I recognized after the dream that the piece I wrote, although not technically autobiographical, turned out to be a really good exercise in psychic decluttering.

Thankfully, I have managed to remain fairly unplugged, even though I can get 50 channels via my TV antenna now and the internet comes in strong.  I have greatly cut back on the amount of news I watch and spend far less time on the computer (unless I am working on the story or something else productive).  It feels wonderful!

I will post here once the story is published.  It will be the second book in the Campground Chronicles series (the first being Billy:  A Campground Chronicles Short Story).  It was initially inspired by my son’s recent suggestion that I write something about my childhood.  That is not something I can easily do, so I took a sideways approach instead.  I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, and I hope a good measure of that pleasure will be shared through the page.

Silence

Cue slow exhale.

It is amazing.  I am encountering moments when I don’t even want to turn on the TV.  Oh my, you must be thinking…  What kind of a camper are you, always inside with the TV on?  Well, yes, I suppose it’s true confessions time.  Heck, over two years on the road and I only sat around my first campfire a few weeks ago when some friends had me over to enjoy theirs.  I don’t typically sit outside.  I sit inside, usually at my computer, with the TV on for background noise almost constantly.

Until recently.

It is as if the decluttering and downsizing phase begun back when I sold my house and was preparing an abrupt shift into full-time RV life is catching up to me on the road.  This tenacious little phase had to travel over 26,000 miles to reach me.  I am grateful it made the effort.

It caught me.  Bringing along quiet.  And peace.  Simplicity.  And beauty.

Nothing but the fan blowing, the dog snoring, an occasional stinkbug awkwardly buzzing as it attempts to escape through the ceiling vent fan (they are not very smart).  Outside, a chorus of crickets performs their hit single, Background Music by Your Favorite Bug.  An occasional murmur or bubble of laughter escapes a fellow camper and zings into the night, only to dissipate under the watchful eye of the waning moon.

And diminishing TV.  For a few weeks now, I have grown less and less interested in what is on the boob tube.  The need for its constant company is melting, its voice fading, as I manage to slowly detach.

I hope it sticks.  I hope that, after nearly six decades on this beautiful earth, I am finally maturing to the point that the clutter of noise is not a necessity.  That I can be content enough with my own company and thoughts so that I don’t have to invite TV strangers in to fill space.

I still watch things that I actually want to see, like The Dog Whisperer (hubba-hubba Cesar!), a few comedy shows, and a good movie once in a while.  And, alas, I am remain stuck on TV news.  Poor, pathetic me.  I am addicted to wanting to know what is going on in the world or at least what is going on according to the talking heads on the TV screen.  Although, when I get an ugly earful, especially this particular season of this particular year, I want to plug my ears with my fingers and sing with those crickets… wheeep-wheeep wheeep-wheeep…  Better yet, turn it off.  And let the crickets in.

Quiet, peace, simplicity, and beauty.  Silence.

Honestly, I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing.  Let’s agree not to judge one way or another.  Just accept.  It was what it was and it is what it is.  Ooooo, how Zen!  Wheeep.