The Groans of Settling

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Staring at a mountain of mess is not something you want to do when you come home. It’s even worse when it hasn’t been home for half a year. Those million annoyances I mentioned the other day make settling back into life much much more difficult than it ought to be.

In my head I had left the house much cleaner. I worked really hard the couple weeks before we left to get it ready. But when we walked in it was just scary. The way this house looked when we walked in is just another indicator that stress makes hard work far less efficient. Apparently I had just spun my wheels in February and March. Sure, I fixed the broken truck (this is beginning to sound like a broken record), but I let other things slide.

The best part of returning here is that after six months so much of this stuff has lost it’s usefulness to me. I haven’t seen it or touched it or used it in half a year. Why do I really need it? How much of our junk do we just keep because “one day” we might find use for it again? I have realized that is a very pauperish thing to do. Poor people keep things and re-use things almost compulsively. This is not wrong, when the situation calls for it. But when you have the resources to replace broken things or pass along unused things without having to “worry” about replacing them later, you should. I have not used so much of this stuff, why hang on to it when I can give it to someone who can, and if I need it later simply replace it?

Emotions are fickle also. I said I liked it out there and wasn’t so sure of here. But now that I am here I am not so sure. There are advantages to having the grocery store two miles away. There are also disadvantages to having fast food and shopping so close. There are temptations galore!

The biggest question right now is this: Is this vacation or is this life? when you spend equal time in different places it almost feels like you take on two different lives. We have different friends, different activities, different styles. It almost feels like we are entirely different people out there.

Settling in to a “new” place takes time. I’m still not sure this is home or not. But for now it will have to do.

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Welcome to The Jungle

So I got a little lax in my travel log. After surviving Texas there was little energy for writing more. Louisiana was a bit more gracious (after the roach motel) and provided us with more po boy than we could fit in our ever growing bellies.

I will say this about Louisiana, even though 90% of my known and unknown relatives live there: they are worse drivers than Texans. I swear every one of them wanted to run into me. That would have actually worked out though, since both vehicles have been acting a bit rough. The last time we got hit we were given quite a bit of money by the insurance company to promise we wouldn’t sue, completely out of nowhere.

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Traffic brought on by roadwork or by deadly accident? I’m going with deadly accident.

Mississippi and Alabama were a blur, there really isn’t much to them way down near the Gulf.

But Florida… Oh Florida. Y u so big?

The panhandle of Florida is nothing but pines in lines and a whole bunch of nothing. It doesn’t help that we live almost as far as you can go to the other side of the state. We made it 96 miles in before passing out at a rest area for the night. I have a hard time believing it, but I slept like a rock, despite the fact that the van was like a greenhouse.

I awoke to the sound of Haitians. Haitian is a very distinct dialect of French that I only recognize because there was a Haitian church meeting next door to us for awhile. I thought “wow, you don’t hear that out west.” Then I noticed they had Colorado plates. It’s funny where you will run into people.

Once I was awoken from my deep slumber it was a mad dash across the state to get home.

When I pulled in the driveway I swear I heard “Welcome to The Jungle” starting up and a whole band of gorillas scattering out of the yard. Six months has certainly taken its toll on the yard.

The inside wasn’t much better. We left in a hurry and I forgot how bad it was. The stagnant air doesn’t help and there is a layer of dust on everything. I am not throwing my hands in the air about it though. It’s a lot of work but it’s not insurmountable.

I won’t lie. We haven’t completely emptied the cars yet. We had a few favorite places to visit first. Our Chinese buffet, Publix, and Target.all the places Alamogordo and Cloudcroft don’t offer.

Now with well fed bodies and a few local itches scratched we can face tomorrow. As of now that means a two mile run followed by trying to make the yard look less terrifying and making the truck not so scary to drive.

We’ll see if our actions will match up with our desire…

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Texas, So Much Texas

Hugeston…I mean: Houston

“The sun never sets on the vast Texas Republic” or so the saying goes, right?

Texas is huge. Yuuuuuge. So huge it should be divided into three states: West, Central, and East Texas. As it is now you get to mile marker 800 on I-10 and think “isn’t this a bit ridiculous?” only to drive 80 more miles before finding the end of the state!

I can honestly say that I have never driven through this state and thought “Gee, I’d really like to live here.” it’s not that it has no beauty, or that the people are all bad. Well, OK, much of it is bland and the drivers are insane, but it’s not that. I just couldn’t live in a place that takes ten months to get out of. The geography is just too immense.

We made it through. It only took all day, but we survived. One full state down, four to go.

Now to see if we survive this roach motel.

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Slow Going

The only problem with two vehicles and two drivers is you can’t switch off. When one is tired the other is held to their sleep schedule.

Which for us means not getting to a big town with a hotel. Thankfully we have gotten accustomed to sleeping at Pilots over the years. In a trailer…

Without a trailer I tossed and turned all night. In the Texas warmth. With one window cracked to keep the cats in. With three kids.

Oh the smell.

Well, it’s 0720 here in West Texas. Hopefully in about 15 hours we will be somewhere near Hammond, LA. I have a boudin po boy to buy!

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(Almost) On The Road Again

I stand corrected. I said on a Facebook post that we were on the road again, but we have to drop the trailer in Alamogordo, eat, then get on the road.

But I still claim it.

Stay tuned for updates!

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Leaving On A…

True to what I said, we have two days left and I am finally beginning to pack.

It’s nice to have only 200 Sq ft to pack up. It means that everything will fit into just a few boxes. Of course we are not hauling a trailer back with us this time, so everything that would have traveled in it now has to fit into a minivan and the back of an SUV. Tetris anyone?

I can’t promise much in the next few days from me. I do intend on doing travel posts every night once we are on the road, so look forward to those.

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Home

A garden perhaps?

What makes a home a home?

For some it’s the noise of children, laughter, a crowd of family and the bustle of life. For others it’s smells: food cooking, trees and flowers, clean linens on a line.

For me?

I don’t know.

I’m on the precipice of moving back to the place that I called home for nearly ten years. But it doesn’t feel like I am headed home.

There is much I love about that place. There are people that I love, places that I love, and since driving Uber and delivery my intimacy with the city has grown. I know it in and out and I find every corner special in its own way. And the opportunities! Such a massive place with so many people and so many corners, there is food, nightlife, art, music, shopping, and jobs galore!

Yet, it still lacks something.

The place I grew up has long ago lost its “home” feeling, despite the family and friends that I have there. As soon as I left, the whole area changed. I get lost there now. I can’t stand the weather. The traffic is unbearable. There is a rush and a bustle which I have long since lost my stomach for.

Here? This is probably the only place I have ever been where no one says they want to leave. I have met more people and gotten to know them in the past six months than I ever have anywhere I have lived. The community here makes this place feel like home. For the first time in my life I feel like I am in a place where I can know and be known.

Of course I am conflicted. We have no physical home here like we do in Florida. Despite feeling home here I have yet to feel settled. But going back there for a season isn’t exactly settled. Back and forth is flux. And my mind is not good with flux.

But moving is change. And my mind is not big on change either.

And family? We have gotten accustomed to 700 miles away from them. This would be nearly 2,000. That’s hardly a short trip, and a family of seven can’t just hop on a plane easily, not with the cost of tickets these days.

So is this home? Could this be home? Am I just so unsettled I’m desperate to call something “home”?

I hope to find out the answers to those questions in the next few months.

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