Gifts from Mollie

So yesterday morning, while Sunshine was off waiting in the lobby of the auto-body repair shop for his truck to be returned to him (a whole month after they got it, assholes), I decided Mollie might need to go for a little walkie.

So I changed clothes three times before finally feeling like I was OK with what I was wearing

side note: I’m sick of being cold and just throwing on random layers of merino wool just to stay warm. Where’s the fun and style in that?

and I put on my shoes and we went outside. Within ten feet of my front door, I realized I had stepped in some fresh runny animal shit and it was all over the bottom, side, and top of my shoe. Which pissed me off so bad that I went in the laundry room, used a throwaway rag to wipe it all off, and came inside to pout.

As I walked in the door, I noticed something that had escaped my attention on the way out the door.

gift from mollie.jpg

Mollie had brought me a little gift.

She had dug up the hide from a squirrel that Sunshine shot and cleaned sometime last week. The cats had fought over the hide for a day, then Mollie somehow wound up with it. Mollie proceeded to bury it, dig it up, move it, bury it, and repeat the process for an entire afternoon. I hadn’t seen the squirrel hide since then, until I found it in my floor this morning.

I couldn’t be mad at Mollie. She was just doing what doggies do. She brought her toy in the house.

I waited until she wasn’t looking and I sneaked it into the burn barrel. I don’t want to wake up one morning with that damn squirrel hide stuffed under my pillow in the bed.

 

I made another hat

Mrs W gave me some yarn back in the fall. I finally got around to using some of it for projects for myself.

I took the Lion Suede yarn

lion-suede

side note: so soft and squishy

and I crocheted a hat.

side note: the texture is so rich!

I love the color combination, and the stitches used make it a good hat for spring or autumn weather. It was nice to make something for myself after all the rush to get Christmas gifts finished.

 

Alternative Art

Mr B brought some pumpkins out here a couple of months ago, right after he arrived out here full-time. The pumpkins sat in the yard next to the solarium, just sitting there, little bits of orange in the grass. I don’t know what their purpose was supposed to be, so I just left them alone.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, when Sunshine and Mr B were standing in the yard next to the solarium discussing a bobcat sighting. I wandered up because I was searching for Mollie. After I saw that she was accounted for and safe, I noticed the pumpkins.

I have decreed that they are B’art (which is my abbreviation for Mr B art) and I have photographed them for you to enjoy. As I was digging for somebody’s phone so that I could immortalize the B’art, I asked “so what’s the deal with the pumpkins, anyway?” Mr B told me that he brought them here from an investment property he owned, and that after removing them from the vehicle and placing them on the ground, he promptly forgot to deal with them ever again and there they sat where he placed them when he removed them from the car.

side note: it simultaneously makes zero sense and perfect sense. That’s life out here some days.

Without further ado, I give you B’art.

flat-rotten-pumpkinflat-rotty-mini-pumpkinmolded-rotting-pumpkinmoldy-rotten-pumpkin

final notes: almost immediately after I snapped these shots, Mr B’s large goofy dog took off chasing a cat and smashed the round one all to hell, which made me laugh so hard I almost choked.

Also, excuse my macabre sensibilities, I do tend to find the beauty (or at least the interesting) in the grotesque

Weekly Progress Report: Planning a House

We’ve been slowly poking away at the site where we intend to build our small house. Sunshine has set several wheels in motion with septic/sewage planning, electrical service, and etcetera. We’ve been mapping out our floor plan, our electrical, and our plumbing. It’s major progress, even though it looks and feels very minor.

rough-sketch-of-plan

We have a rough sketch of what the floor plan will look like. I’m confident enough that this is the final floor plan that I’m sharing it, which means that there is now a distinct possibility that someone will soon spot a wrinkle significant enough that the floor plan will have to be revisited. That’s just how shit seems to work out here in the buttfuck middle of nowhere.

Sunshine has taken copies of this sketch and started mapping out where all of the water lines and electrical stuff has to go. Those sketches are a hot mess at the moment. Like, I have difficulty understanding them and I helped decide what goes where.

The thing I have come to understand on a very deep and intimate level is this: I am going to have to keep my fingers all up in this pie if I want a house that actually functions for me. I’m not referring to things like finishes, either. I’m referring to things like the actual function within a house, about which Sunshine appears to be completely fucking clueless.

side note: this is not a criticism of Sunshine. It’s just a statement of fact. He has apparently had someone taking care of the minutiae of personal and business life for so long that he really just doesn’t know what is required to make a house function other than his money and physical effort to make house appear on spot of ground. And even if he did have some sort of general clue, he still wouldn’t have any idea how to makeĀ  house function for Cindy, right? Because we can none of us ever truly know the inner workings of another human being’s mind.

That dear sweet man thought that one overhead light fixture in the living room area, one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom, etcetera… was enough lighting for a house. Um, wait….whaaaaat? Now, if we were planning on using giant florescent light fixtures or halogen lights, he might be onto something. We’re not. We’re using LED lights, because efficiency. Now, LED lighting might be some really bright-ass lights; they are not very good for lighting much outside of what is directly beneath them. LED lights are great for things like making pictures on giant screens, they’re great for task lighting… So one LED fixture over the kitchen? Not nearly enough. I need lights in multiple spots in there so I don’t chop off a finger because it’s too fucking dark at the end of the counter away from the light. That far top right corner of the drawing is going to be a fucktonne of built in storage, and all of that will need to be well lit, meaning multiple light fixtures or some sort of ceiling fan or track lighting solution over that corner of the house.

He’s not doing much better than that with the plumbing. He stated that he needed hot water runs to the kitchen sink and the bathroom sink. Yeah, that’s perfect if you want to take cold showers year round, run the dishwasher with nothing but cold water, and never use any hot water in the clothes washer I’ve requested be put in the bathroom. (It’s truly very rare that I use anything other than cold water on our laundry, but sometimes there’s something so greasy/dirty that it is required, so hot water has to be run to the washing machine. Get with the program, Sunshine.)

He was initially very very very resistant to my ideas about a shower enclosure. I truly want a large, fairly open shower area, kind of a wet room sort of thing. However, space is too limited to get what I really want, so we’ve reached a compromise of sorts. I’m getting curb-less and I’m getting my way about either having no freaking door or frame-less. See, I have allergies and COPD, so I have to think ahead to keeping things mold and mildew and crud free so that I don’t get sick as shit. Which is why the kitchen sink will not be on an outside wall with a window over it so that the sink can splash water and greasy gunk all up in the windowsill and wall beneath the window and create mold and mildew and gunk that makes me sick as shit. “Just keep it clean, Cindy” you might be tempted to say; my response to that would be “if you want a window over my kitchen sink then you come clean it with a fucking toothbrush and qtips and whatever else it takes to keep that shit mold and mildew free, and keep in mind that bleach burns the shit out of my already damaged lungs so you can’t use very much of it”. Because I have better shit to do with my time than spend it constantly cleaning my house. I like a clean house, I just don’t want to spend every spare waking moment keeping it clean, so I’m planning a house that won’t require such effort. Which is where Sunshine’s cluelessness becomes obvious. He has no idea how much effort goes into merely keeping our house dust-free when he literally makes dirt every time he walks in the door.

side note: I don’t understand this fascination everybody has with putting the kitchen sink under a window that overlooks the back yard. I don’t want to watch grass grow while I’m washing dishes. I want to watch Netflix, and have an unobstructed view of Sunshine so I can throw a drippy wet dishrag at him when he’s being an ass. The kitchen sink will be in a peninsula.

I will say that I’m grateful he listens. He might not understand some of my requests, yet he listens to them and does his best to accommodate them. If it’s something I need, like more than one HVAC vent (we’re going with geothermal) to heat/cool the entire house (my lungs perform better when the air is rather cool), then he will make it happen (and yes, he thought he was going to get away with one vent somewhere in the center of the house when I definitely need one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom at minimum). He even does his best to accommodate my wants since I don’t want extravagant extraneous shit like Swarovski crystal encrusted cabinet knobs and such.

I’m just going to have to stay very involved in the entire process, or else I’ll wind up with a cold water shower and no outlet in the bathroom for a hair dryer to be plugged into when I need to dry my hair. I’m trying to build a forever house here, and I don’t want to have to go in and change things later because I didn’t plan properly in advance (because that’s pretty wasteful).

Two

I attacked those cast iron pieces yesterday. Or maybe they attacked me. I don’t know. It was ugly, and it was frustrating, and it was hard work.

I did manage to get two pieces (three if you count the lid to the pot) done and seasoned.

I took the small skillet from that rusty crusty mess to something that might be usable after a bit more seasoning. I scrubbed so hard it was getting close to bare, unseasoned metalĀ  and really think it might need more scrubbing. I may have to consult my sister-in-law and get her expert opinion. It’s still splotchy, and I don’t know if that’s because some areas are more coated with seasoning or because I need to scrub more.

side note: anybody have any constructive criticism or pointers, please chime in. I welcome and appreciate the help.

I also got the medium pot cleaned up. It wasn’t in very bad shape, perhaps because the lid was on it when I found it, and maybe that protected the interior.

At the end of the effort, my hands were cramping, they were a little bit raw from all the steel wool making microabrasions, and my clothes were filthy. Good thing I saw the filthy coming and stole one of Sunshine’s work shirts and wore my old, paint stained sweatpants.

The other skillets are so crusted in fuck knows what that I just put that off for another day, and some research. The black, crusty unidentified substance all over the inside has me stymied. I scrubbed one tiny skillet for a very long time and barely made a dent in the crud crusted on it. I’m wondering if throwing it in a fire or sandblasting it isn’t the solution, but that’s a worry for another day. I have a fairly decent set of cast iron for now, and the rest will just be lagniappe (french, meaning “a little something extra”).

Now, I just need to start developing an interest in kitchen. Because I don’t kitchen well.

Mission Impossible?

So Sunshine and I were given a bunch of cast iron cookware by the neighbor as she cleaned out that house she inherited. It was part of the wonderful generosity she exhibited, and part of the stuff she wouldn’t take cash money for since I helped her with the estate sale.

I brought a few pieces of the cast iron into the magic bus and got them ready for use. I left the rest in the pink house because I thought Mr B would get some use out of them (that man is one hell of a cook, y’all).

In all the confusion of the kitchen renovation over there, all that cast iron got put outside and left there overnight in the rain. It also got some paint overspray on it. I collected it all up and brought it into the magic bus to prevent further damage.

Yesterday’s Jenga collapse and subsequent cleaning/organizing marathon brought the cast iron cookware to the top of my to-do list. This stack of skillets and pots desperately needs to be rehabilitated and put away in a proper cabinet so that I can start using them.

I need steel wool. And oil to season them with.

I also need a light colored shirt that I want to distress, because I’m pretty sure that this process is going to ruin whatever I’m wearing while I’m working through it. It’s going to be messy.

final note: I’ll be back in the near future to report on my progress, and any cool new trashed garments that can be added to my dystopian collection

 

Cleaning House

One would think that it doesn’t take me long to clean our house. It’s just an RV, consisting of less than 250 square feet–nothing to it, right?

Wrong. Since we have so much fucking shit packed into this RV, cleaning house becomes a game of… Well, I don’t know what kind of game it becomes. Some sort of weird cross between musical chairs and Tetris, maybe? With a dash of Jenga thrown in for good measure some days. A dash of Pick-Up Sticks for flavor. All played on a Twister mat, because this magic bus cannot be cleaned without some serious contortions and gymnastics.

Let’s be honest. For all our talk of living simply and minimizing and downsizing and intentional ecofriendly ideal, Sunshine and I have a lot of shit. Now, we don’t have garage bays that can’t be used for cars and attics filled with stuff and guest rooms crammed full of stuff and a storage locker in one of those ubiquitous “u-stor-it” type places that seem to be on every corner and in the middle of every field. But we have a lot of shit. Some of it is really questionable, like Sunshine’s three banker’s boxes of receipts that he won’t let anybody get rid of (or at least digitize although really who wants to digitize all that shit when we know he isn’t willing to pay for the time it would take). Some of my craft supply stash is a bit quesitonable, like some of those acrylic yarns I keep hanging on to and random fabric swatches that I know could become something cool if only I could sew.

We also live out in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, which means that we are constantly tracking dirt and grass and leaves and animal shit into the house. A lot of that shit finds cracks and crevices to accumulate in. Sunshine makes dirt when he works as a mason, and often he makes dirt when he is doing non-mason stuff.

We have no space to store all of this shit, so it just gets creatively piled out of the way in the driver’s seat and the “doghouse” and in storage sheds bought to contain the overflow and in the basement storage compartments and anywhere else I can find space to cram some shit.

It’s exhausting, and it makes me procrastinate cleaning house. Procrastination just makes the problem worse, which just makes me procrastinate more. Vicious cycles.

Luckily for me, Sunshine is going out of town soon. Which will give me time to deal with some of this shit.

 

Well, looks like I’ll have to deal with some of it now. We have created a situation where the Jenga game collapsed.

final note: I have created pinterest boards with design ideas and organizing hacks. There is some bleedover between the two because the organization one was added when I realized that my design idea space was being overrun with storage ideas. Any tips or links you have that could be useful to me are always welcome.