Lovely Day After the Deluge

photo of clear blue skies
Crystal clear

It rained all day but is now stunningly beautiful… so I pulled on mah mud boots and got the mail.

That’s an exciting event when I’ve barely ventured outside today.

And today I named this tree ‘Hello, Ease’ (ya gotta say it fast to make it work)

The Never-Ending Move

Next time, like that last time 3 years ago, I’m hiring movers.

The ONLY reason I didn’t hire someone to move me from Houston to east Texas was the cost of having 3 movers haul my stuff 230 miles. If it were across town, I’d be completely moved in with energy to spare. As of now, I’ve traveled back to Houston 4 times alone – and this happened after the official move and I still have at least a full trailer or big’ish truckload to go.
I. Am. Exhausted.

Yes. I have a lotta shit. But it’s mostly art supplies, gardening supplies and plants, all my sewing stuff to make fabulous clothing, and a LOT of boxes and bins with the various gatherings of civilized ants… or maybe I’m kinda like a crow who brings home shiny bottle caps and safety pins, but the shine wears off pretty fast when ya gotta pack that crap up and haul it.

Here’s the fun part: I get to do this all over again after selling the house and buying land to move this RV onto so that, later, I can build a little cottage, then another cottage for my guests to stay, all because Artist’s Retreat. Lest I not forget.

To do all that will require at least 2 more trips to Houston, possibly 3 or 4, maybe 5, then the closing, whereupon I’ll swing by the house for a final sweep, then close up shop. Then money. Then the hunt for the perfect spot upon which to place my future. Then the magic starts all over again, like a torus folding onto itself, regenerating and multiplying life infinitum, as we are all made up of innumerable tiny black holes the size of strings in the theory, holes that swallow all that is known, then spits it all back out the other end in a perfect replica of itself. That’s one theory, anyway. I could explain but, in the interest of time, here ya go… get ready for the sun to come up over the Event Horizon. It’s all there.


Spiders in the Wild

My bro-in-law has been landscaping the perimeter of his workshop, the workshop being a feat of amazement in itself, deserving of a lovely setting. So he went to pick up the ‘cap’ pieces to the row of landscape stones that run down the side of the building. While he was gone, I removed the temporary square concrete chunks that were in the way, later using them to create steps down to my little casa, and found my second   Black Widow since moving here a few weeks ago.

The first was small, hidden in yet another landscape block, and a blithe swipe of my garden glove disintegrated it – which I really didn’t mean to happen, but all the better since it was an adolescent Black Widow. But this 2nd one was HUGE. Hard, spindly legs, a very fat, shiny body with the telltale red markings, and she was taking care of a ball of baby spiders that would soon be more than this two acres could handle so DIATOMACEOUS EARTH TO THE RESCUE! I don’t like chemicals, except for killin’ wasps, whose only lot in life is to die when they’re around me, so this was a time for tried and true organic methods.

D.E. always works because it’s ‘mechanical’: the fossilized, pulverized shells of the diatoms cut into the hard surfaces and soft fleshy parts of insects and other tiny critters so they ooze to death. I’m not at all sad to write that out but I am sad that it isn’t selective and can hurt beneficial insects. In this case, though, I DUMPED the powder into the hole where she ended up hiding behind a leaf. Okay, I DO feel a bit bad about attacking when she was trying to protect herself but HUGE. BLACK. WIDOW. Nuf sed.

Oh, while I was at it I dumped a lot of D.E. into the other hole containing an army of ants doing their best to grab all the little ant eggs they could to save them. I made sure they, too, did not survive. I’m cool with snakes, lizards, frogs and toads of all kinds, and various other slithery beings… but not spiders, ants, or wasps. They can all die horrible deaths at my hands. Bless their little hearts.
And of course I ran to get my camera before th’killin’…

The Reality of RV Living (and Goodbye, Bathroom Door)

photo of RV

If a person, as a kid … or even as an adult, had ever played sheet fort and sheet tent, or had gone into a cave and felt the wide-open intimacy of the space, or had maybe ridden in a train, boat, bus, or even an airplane and liked it, they’d probably appreciate the way an RV causes life to become a little more focused, a smaller target in which to channel all their consciousness and energy. In fact, in the beginning, there’s a certain uncertainty that “maybe all my shit CAN fit into a space 1/8th the size of my house!” though they know it never will so the disappointment sets in, the mind begins to figure out ways to hang onto a past existence, and the period of negotiation begins.

It’s short-lived. Soon the smaller home is saturated with stuff, the Place for Everything and Everything in its place philosophy out the window, and for me right now it’s too much of everything and no more place for it all. I went back to Houston to get more stuff last week (and it multiplied while I was gone; everyone reading this understands), carried in bins of the stuff I brought back, set them down inside the RV with no place for everything anymore, and am searching for tiny shotgun slots for it, then continuously repacking my previous stuff in favor of the latest. Everything seems important until ya run outa room. Make a note: don’t buy anything else. ever. ever.

So it’s rifle through more bins, take what I need, pack what will go to the new place once it manifests and is ready, and live with less.
I like that.
Quite a lot.

I’m making my new home livable while I get my house back in Houston ready to put on the market. I’m hoping for a fast sell so that I can get on with my Big Dream. Living in the RV is only temporary ~ there is far more ahead of me than caulking my roof against leaks, pulling up nastyass carpet so I can walk barefoot and not worry about someone else’s foot juice (this carpet is from 2012 so no telling what’s in it), and the thoughtful, sporadic, transient gardening in this small plot here on my sister’s land that I may end up leaving behind anyway. I’m a nester so I want life around me. It’s easy with a few potted plants on my lovely little wood deck but a full-on garden, a little vegetable crop, and lots of trees are in my near future (insanely cute dancing heart goes here)

Today, it’s putting up with the slight sauna effect of windows open on a day when the temps are in the 80s… I’ll crank up the a/c when it gets a little warmer. For now, I’m working to the tunes of The Allman Brothers band and a view of about a thousand cows. Among the many projects I’ve got going, I couldn’t stand the antilogistics of the bathroom door any longer so I replaced it with a curtain. It’s a good temporary fix until I can find a vintage (or self-built) very slender (24″) double louvered or glass door. If I build it myself, it can be plexiglass. NOT having a door there means one less major spot to hang my scarves, but I’ll live with that.

Before - the imposing bathroom door
Before taking it off the hinges. Dark and cumbersome, it crowded the hallway. I couldn’t step into the bedroom till I closed the bathroom door. Good Feng Shui but this is ridiculous.
The hallway is bright, functional, and I can zip right through without a wooden door bouncer stopping me. I just might go with a nautical theme in the bath… happy accident

The Madness Begins – Pulling Up Carpet

Update, May 17, 2019
Pulling up carpet is still on hold because I found the perfect stain for the new wood steps … yet to be delivered to Ace Hardware. They, being sweet people, took down my name and will call me to save a third trip to pick up the new stain. Problem is: I have to have the steps ready to install because the old steps will need to be demolished and, this being a high-traffic area, I need the pass-thru, right-of-way access. And so do the cats.
Yeah, that stain is AMAZING…. so I wait.

Begin day: April 24, 2019
A couple of days ago I wanted a quick nap so I reclined in one of the Sumo Wrestlers and closed my eyes. Within minutes – on an uncharacteristically humid day – I began smelling something horrible and strangely familiar… beer puke. The previous owner had apparently allowed beer puke to soak into the carpet and dry up, and this muggy day was bringing out the worst of it.

It was time.
After watching way too many videos and reading RV blogs about pulling up this nastyass carpet, I knew I was soooo not ready for that level of work but… here we go.

A good place to begin – where the carpet meets the vinyl at the bathroom threshold

I decided to begin in the worst spot (well, maybe second only to the bedroom and its funky raised edges and tight spaces): at the STAIRWELL. It’s only two steps and a landing, but all the carpet there is tucked inside the stairs’ building materials, so starting on the space via the bathroom threshold seemed to work well. I also figured it’d be great practice for the rest of the RV. Replacing the carpet with either peel-and-stick flooring or sheet vinyl can be the first thing to make this place a little more livable, while the rest of the renovations can wait till after I’ve sold my mortgaged house. Normally, I’d begin with painting or papering the walls, using this nastyass floor as a drop cloth but in this case: get this horrid fuzz crap outa here before I add to it.

So I start ripping out the edge, then cut along the line from the bath to the outside wall so I can take up this crap easily and toss it.

There are thousands of carpet staples, and it was laid on top of the vinyl, some of the carpet having been doubled over at the edge, making for more staples and old carpet dust.

This is way too much fun. And by ‘fun’, I mean torture to my fingers, lungs, and mental well-being.

It took over an hour to get the small landing space and first-step carpet up, the latter having been glued and trimmed in tight. I thought many times I have a job. I can afford to hire someone to do this. What the hell have I gotten myself into?

My bro-in-law set out some tools for me to use but graciously declined my offer for him to help. Smart guy. He’s obviously done this before.

More pictures below of Quality Control, the amount of staples I’m having to deal with, and the abject grossness of the process.

It isn’t easy and it isn’t fast, but it’s all about pure preparation. I watched a video of a Canadian guy prepping his van for new flooring. He used some blue goo, painted it on as a sealant, then glued down a thin layer of what looked like sheet foam as the base for his flooring. His video bored me to tears so I don’t know how it ended. I could only take about 3 minutes of that, which seemed like HOURS. Canadian dude! Lighten that shit up!!

For an update on the stair step redeaux, check out this slideshow….

The Whole Area
TOO. MANY. STAPLES. and double the carpet at the edge
A hole in the work
There was a hole so they patched it with WALL material. Of course.
Board covering carpet
Having to remove an edge board to get to the tucked carpet behind it.
My cat likes to check my work
Quality Control ala Scala

The New Path

Over time, my thoughts on what this blog would be about rose and fell, undulated and morphed and beckoned and forbade. I wanted to chronicle the RV’s renovation but the onslaught of problems and challenges, along with my all-too-often trips back to Houston and the home I need to sell, changed things. Things change. The scenery changed. Life changed. I changed.  I didn’t really mean to change but it was inevitable.

So, for awhile, this will be me bitching about how life has changed and will probably reveal my resistance to the changes in me. I go too easily from being blissful and happy to frustrated and angry, disappointed and unsure, questioning myself and my decisions, my intentions and impetus. I have no idea what I’m doing nor what I’m doing here. Then I remember the initial spark that brought me to this place in time. I have to remember or I’ll implode with self doubt.

The incessant winds had kept me from finishing the fence around my little plot of homestead on my sister’s land. Today could be a good day to work on that. My bro-in-law had to make a run today to help someone do something; I am here with my day gig work, clearing more space for more of my flotsam, clearing for when I return again from a trip to Houston this week to get more of my wahoo and figure out where in hell to put it all. Storage. Even that is brimming and overrun with my stuff.

I wonder too constantly why I sold my little gem of a home I’d been in for nearly 14 years, why I thought I wanted to “experiment” just to see if I COULD sell it, to see if I could get a bigger house that was still affordable. I guess that experiment was wildly successful. Be careful what you experiment with, you might succeed. Sometimes there’s that collateral depression and the insidious regret…but not this time. I’m moving forward and am so happy with the way things are unfolding. I had my massively big house, now I’m ready to downsize and live a more simple, quiet life. Ha! As if….

Here and now, it helps to walk outside and watch the sunset. Or the moonrise. Or anything that brings me back to why I am doing this and how beautiful Life is when I stop to really see.

Sunset on the prairie