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.

Oh Lord… What Have I Done?

 

First full day is today, but yesterday was technically the first day.  I cheated!  I had every intention of writing a blog post on our very first day with our mobile house but instead I was curled up in fetal position, crying “Oh Lord, what have I done?”

So, we’ll just call today the first day instead, since it is much prettier.  I suppose in the interest of full disclosure and honesty, however, I should report on our yesterday.

Well, Dawny and I left a dear friend’s house on Sunday morning.  Our visit was a lovely transition from nine days of hotel living after the house closed, nine days of burgers and fries, nine days of nervous anticipation.  We eagerly set out, full of adrenaline and coffee and drove straight through, arriving in Elkhart, Indiana at midnight.

I was so bleary eyed by then that I chose to check into a hotel that I thought was a Day’s Inn.  Turned out it just had the word Day in it.  It should have been called Nightmare’s Inn.. on Elm Street… where The Exorcist welcomes The Shining Freddy Krueger!  I won’t belabor the nasty details but we fled after 30 minutes and ended up in the parking lot of Phoenix USA, our mobile house’s manufacturer, dog-and-cat napping fitfully until the sun rose, at which time we wandered around town killing a few more hours until our appointment for the walkthrough and purchase.

By this time, I looked like Bozo the Clown’s graying, gender-confused sibling–a result of a haircut stuck at that perpetually awkward stage of growth, humidity, and nasty sweat.  I must say, the people at Phoenix USA were amazingly patient and kind as they efficiently completed the transaction.  They artfully managed to get back on topic whenever I strayed off into babbling tangents like a delirious dog tracking a bouncing bunny.

Now the hard part.  As if 3 hours of sleep in 30 and a looming monster case of dehydration weren’t enough.  It was time to unload.  Transfer.  Toss the result of months of downsizing from a 1600 square foot house into the 200 square feet (including the engine, which is hardly fair, but so be it) that comprised our beautiful new RV.  (Oh, did I forget to tell you?  It is beautiful!)

Working furiously so that I could complete the task before collapsing, I managed to get all the tote bags, plastic bags, boxes, and multitudes of assorted plastic containers loaded in.  All over the floor, the bed, the dinette.  Some still outside.  There was barely room to crawl into bed, stomach nauseous, head throbbing, crying out loud, “Oh Lord, what have I done?”

Sick, alone, far from family and friends, when my pounding skull would allow, I peeked at all my… stuff… knowing that I just had to make myself unpack.  As I rested and gradually rehydrated, I slowly started in, mostly just tossing things into approximately logical places, and cursing at myself:  “What was I thinking packing all of these breakables??  Insane!  Oh Lord, what have I done?”

But I kept moving, a step a box a drawer, a bag a shelf a prayer at a time.  Eventually had enough put away that I rewarded myself and Dawny with a Subway sandwich–in an earnest attempt to wean ourselves from those intestine-clogging burgers–took a shower, and collapsed into bed.

Which brings us to today.  A pretty day.  A healthy day.  A day framed in rational, rested perspective.  And a day of humble gratitude.

By day’s end, I have everything in its place and not only does it all fit, there is room to spare.  Those breakables that I resented yesterday are today sitting in places where they warm my heart with their sentiments and memories.  It feels like home.  It is home.

I practiced driving a lot today and got the stamp of approval from Phoenix’s owner, who was brave enough to ride shotgun and give me tips and confidence.  I’ll probably head out in a day or two, ready to continue the journey in earnest.

Meanwhile, now that the dream has met reality, I am thankful that it has come out of the experience stronger, polished, and with an important footnote attached that reminds me that dreams are best when they come alive… really alive… the good, bad, beautiful, and ugly parts all tossed together… like a gigantic veggie salad… with NO burgers and NO fries!

P.S. Dawny has been bugging me to let her get a word in edgewise soon.  Next post will be hers.

Dreams

During a really hard time in my life, while living in this wonderful house with its beautiful yard, I had a repetitive dream that deeply disturbed me.  Upon waking, I felt wounded, my heart and the pit of my stomach in pain.

In this dream, my beautiful yard was gouged, mangled, destroyed in various ways:  big, loud, dirty construction equipment digging deep, random holes; fences destroyed here and there to the extent that property lines were obscured; squishy, stinky mud pools lurked where vegetation had been scraped away, trees uprooted…

Last night I had a dream.  About my yard.  In this dream, I was awakened early in the morning after a night during which I thought I had heard subtle noises in my back yard.  I walked out my back door to find everything transformed.

A babbling brook wound its way down my side yard, to join another threading its way through the back.  Fresh flowers and shapely shrubs were either in their newly planted homes or being readied for them.  I could see drainage systems being put in place underground so that in times of heavy rain, my home would not be flooded by brooks become raging rivers.  Although the work was not yet complete, there were no signs of the magnanimous workers or their equipment.

My home, my yard in that first dream years ago represented my heart, which at the time was undergoing a slow, brutal breaking.

This morning, I feel not only gratitude that my heart ultimately healed from those years, but a new excitement about the time ahead of me in my new home.  My home on wheels.  My home that will be able to bring me to many babbling brooks, forests full of stately trees, and adventures and challenges that will keep my heart full.  I am blessed.

(The photo for this post is of a neighbor’s beautiful fish pond.  Thank you Mary!)