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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Dailyish Thoughts #75

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I’m just going to go ahead and call this “Dailyish Thoughts” because man does life get crazy in a house! Over the summer when I had limited internet I really had to make an effort to get to service and post every day. Now that I have service all the time it’s a total switch, I really don’t spend any time on here.

It’s not really the internet availability though as much as it’s the fact that a house is much more to maintain than a trailer. The kids have exploded, there is now so much space to create messes in!

I’m also digging out from years of hoarding… still. The best part about being out of the mess for six months is you can come home and feel a strong urge to purge. I have not seen this stuff or touched it for six months. Why do I keep it? We have also accumulated a bit of new stuff, which needs a place to live. Out with the old, in with (less) new.

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Daily Thoughts #74

There are a million little annoyances in life. Some people are good at ignoring them and only see the big picture. Me? I see the little details, and sometimes those little details are the million steps to get some task done. And man do I get sidetracked. But at least I got some stuff taken care of that I might not have without distraction.

Retailers occasionally surprise you by actually taking care of your needs. I will trust but verify the promise that the brake caliper for the truck will be here by Tuesday or Wednesday. Prior experience puts it here next Wednesday or Thursday.

It is incredible how dirty a house gets being empty for six months. The dust fairies had a few parties here…

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New Chapter

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Now we are back. Back from the woods. Back from the mountain. Back from the small town.

We have arrived in the big city. the flatlands, the urban surroundings, the crazy.

For a while during the summer I thought of this as the pause button. I thought of it as the boring part. The summer is the excitement, the productive part of the year,  and the winter is the lull, the bleak months of bread lines and struggle. I viewed the return to here as the inconvenient return to reality and drudgery.

That’s not how life works.

There is no pause, there are no breaks and inconvenient stops. Sure, there are seasons in life. There are periods of calm, times of chaos, bleak days and happy days. But life ticks on.

This is not a season for sitting on my haunches and being miserable. Instead, I need to see this as an opportunity to grow. I have the time and the energy to invest in so much right now, it would be foolish to let my anxiety get the best of me.

It hasn’t been three days back and we already have met a few setbacks. I need a functioning truck to make money. She needs a vehicle to get to Virginia to make money. One’s got shot brakes and the other is still full of unpacked junk. We have a lot of emotional baggage about this house. There aren’t a lot of good memories here, and walking in the door to find it still cluttered with all the trinkets and accumulated crap from all the years is a drain on the mind and spirit.

Not to mention the adjustment to the time zone difference. Two hours makes a surprising difference.

In spite of that I have been able to accomplish many things so far. I have unpacked boxes, bundled up laundry, cleaned up the mile thick layer of dust on several surfaces, mowed the front yard and start tackling the back, cleaned the fridge of six months of scary, unburied the kitchen counters, diagnosed a brake issue, and hung out with friends.

Tackling this is no easy feat.

Taking credit and feeling proud of my accomplishments is not something which comes naturally for me. I tend to downplay or just outright deny my successes. This is something I am working on. There is nothing inherently wrong with looking at something I have completed and saying “I did this well.” It is not arrogance to take pride in legitimate accomplishments, only in made up ones.

This is a new chapter in our adventure. I intend to make it a good one.

 

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Daily Thoughts #73

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I missed writing on an actual computer. There is no autocorrect or auto capitalization, so there is much backspacing, but the feel of clattering away on real keys is just so relaxing.

I hate to say it, but this city makes me happy. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m not worried about driving across the country in two crusty automobiles. Or the friends we have already hung out with here. Or the fact that I feel like I can spread out a bit in a house. There are several possibilities, I suppose. But I’m feeling a bit better than I have for awhile.

Speaking of crusty rigs, the new brake caliper blew up. Thankfully it just lightly clamped the rotor and nothing catastrophic occurred. But now I get to call the super slow online parts place and beg for a refund. Good times.

 

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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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