Inspired. Sort of.

A couple days ago, I read this post from Chrissy, about stuff (more specifically, about quantity of stuff). It initially inspired me, because we are moving house; and even though we’re moving into something far larger than the magic bus, I’m still having to pare down the quantity of stuff. So far, I’ve gotten Sunshine to get rid of a few ratty garments, and that’s it. I’ve gotten rid of several garments, several pairs of shoes, and assorted “smalls” (books and random knick-knacks). It isn’t going to be enough. I’m going to have to get brutal.

At the same time, I have to keep in mind what Mr B pointed out to me this week. He reminded me that my usual solution to this problem is to purge my stuff so Sunshine doesn’t have to purge any of his. Mr B is right. I shouldn’t have to shrink myself to occupy less space just because Sunshine gets dickish about having to get rid of any of his stuff, especially when we’re moving into a larger home than we’ve had for the last 8 years.

It’s bad enough that, initially, the storage space I had planned for in the living room will be occupied by Sunshine’s work bench. I probably fucked up when I agreed to that one, because it doesn’t give him any incentive to hurry up and build the addition so he can have a workspace/studio. It leaves me with nowhere to hide my craft stash, and I seriously refuse to fucking purge any of it to accommodate the (hopefully) very temporary arrangement I agreed to in a moment of utter senselessness.

Side note: I feel it’s important to say that at least Sunshine mostly doesn’t have stockpiles of useless shit that serves no purpose. A lot of his shit is for hunting, art-ing, reading, making his own ammunition, and so on and so forth. So he’s not an out-of-control hoarder or anything, he’s just more stubborn in his refusal to get rid of shit because “it’s useful, it’s practical, blah blah blah” than I am. And that has to change, I have to be as persistent/stubborn/immovable as he is, or I have to be the unstoppable force that meets his immovable object; because a whole lot of my shit is practical & useful too.

I have no idea where I’m going with this, I just know it’s something I need to put out there so I can hold myself accountable. So, as I start cleaning so that we are able to move the mattress down there and sleep where it’s cooler at night, I will be doing some serious purging and organizing. With any luck, I’ll actually be able to accomplish that.

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Humidity

I grew up near Atlanta, Georgia. I thought I knew what humidity was. Then, around the turn of the millennium, I found myself in the northwestern Louisiana area. That gave me a new appreciation for humidity; I thought I knew what humidity really was. Then I traveled to New Orleans the summer after Katrina. Now, I really am starting to get a sense of what humidity can be, because that was some seriously sticky air.

Humidity is one of those things that can affect my breathing; barometric pressure and dewpoint can affect it, too. COPD is a motherbitch like that some days.

It’s been humid and/or rainy here for over a week now, and it isn’t going to stop before the end of the coming weekend. It’s really starring to piss me off. I’m supposed to be exercising to lose weight, and that’s hard to do when it’s cold and rainy outside and one lives in an RV that has no space for any sort of exercising. I’m struggling to breathe BEFORE any exertion. I’m exhausted from the effort, and from the anger at something I can’t fucking change.

I wish I could say that my humidity woes ended there. However, this morning, as I’m tripping through my RV because I’m too fucking lazy to re-tie my slipper lace that keeps trying to kill me, I’m on an epic bleep-fest behind all this never-ending humidity.

The purple wall tile for my shower? Not setting. My clothes that are hanging inside to air dry? Not fucking drying, and it’s been days. I have dirty clothes I need to wash and I have nowhere to hang them to dry because the laundry from several days ago is still hanging to dry.

I call bullshit. I’m over this shit.

NOW that I’ve bitched about it, it’s time to put on my big-girl panties. It’s time to get out of the problem and into the solution. I’m off to deal with the leaky window in the bedroom of the RV. After that, I’m headed down the hill with the laptop and a workout video so that I can take advantage of all that space in my under-constriction house.

I should be ashamed of myself

Our printer was out of ink, so I got rid of it.

Seriously, it’s cheaper to just buy a new printer than to buy replacement ink cartridges.

I put the old printer in an eWaste pile we’ve got going. Mr B knows someone who recycles eWaste.

I will say that, rather than buy a new inkjet printer, we went halves on a laser printer with the family B. No more than Sunshine and I print, there’s no point in having more than one damned printer for the four of us. I think that this is the only reason I’m not ashamed of myself.

Well, that and the space that was created by getting rid of the printer. Because when you live in an RV or tiny house, even the small space a printer occupies is a lot of space.

Get your shit together, Cindy

I’m sitting here looking at all this yarn that needs to be crocheted into coffee cup sleeves for the food truck coffee bar next door to my work. The owner took some on consignment from me a couple of weeks ago and was almost out last weekend when I left work. 

Then there’s the yarn meant for the Christmas if tsunami I need to start crocheting.

Underneath almost hat fucking yarn is a half a case of starkrimson pears that need to be turned into jam or some such. 

Underneath the pears is a tub full of bottled, sparkling,  flavored water that needs to be added to the refrigerator. Or something. 

Beneath the galvanized tub of water is the sugar I need to make jam out of the pears. There’s also a stack of books to be read.

Next door to that bin of sugar and pile of books is my fall decoration display.  What the fuck I’m doing with a fall display IN A FUCKING RV is beyond my comprehension. 

With all this stuff on my to-do list, what am I sitting here contemplating? 

A fucking closet purge.

Somebody send professional help, because I probably need an intervention. 

Never ending tetris games

For the last 7 years (and counting), my life has been a never ending game of tetris. In order to do anything in this RV, I have to rearrange most of the room I plan to do that thing in. It’s exhausting.

I’ve noticed that my tetris games get so much messier when Sunshine isn’t here. I’m not sure why that it, but it’s definitely a pattern; and I’ve only really noticed it this last couple of days. I’ll get into a small project (like laundry, or putting away groceries) and most of the inside of the RV looks like a tornado went through it. Hell, sometimes even the OUTSIDE of the RV looks like that, what with all the empty boxes and bags of trash and/or donations that go flying out the door to be dealt with all at once when I walk outside for something else and wind up tripping over it all.

Maybe it gets messier when Sunshine isn’t here because I don’t have to listen to him gripe about how my activity is keeping him from being able to watch TV peacefully. Or maybe it’s because he gets so impatient with the inconvenience of having to maneuver around the mess of an upended kitchen while I’m canning. Whatever, I just know I feel freer to actually get things properly cleaned and organized when he isn’t here.

I’m sick of having to dismantle my kitchen and living room every time I want to can something, or cook more than a simple one pot meal. This new house can’t get finished soon enough for me. I’m so over the nonstop games of tetris. I’m tired of the never ending musical chairs game I have to play in this RV.

As excited as I am to have a small house with more storage, I’m also terrified of it. See, Sunshine has a lot of stuff. More stuff than we can fit into the RV. Every time I clean out space in here, he immediately fills it with more stuff. Sunshine is that guy who personifies the axiom about “the amount of stuff one has will automatically expand to completely fill all the space allotted to it and start taking over everybody else’s stuff’s space “. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it happen over and over again since we moved in here on July 1, 2010.

I don’t know how to stop his insanity so that it doesn’t take over our little house, but I’m definitely going to have to find a way. The never ending games of tetris are exhausting.

Electrical plans

The electrical engineer we hired has been great to work with. He came into our project as a friend who already knew that I had been nicknamed “change-order”, so he has double and triple checked that he’s understanding my needs and desires. In exchange,  I’ve been trying to be accommodating when one of my desires is adding a new & difficult twist. 

Prime example: I kind of wanted to put an outlet (that my floor lamps will be plugged into) on a switch on the wall so I could easily turn it off with a switch. When I asked about it, I could see that it was absolutely possible but it complicated things, so I let it go.

Side note: remember, I’m choosing my battles. That wasn’t one of the ones I’m choosing.

When we started painting on the walls to mark cable runs and outlets and switches, I started realizing how complex my kitchen’s electrical was going to be. As the electrical engineer started marking for Sunshine to drill the holes for wiring in the ceiling, I really started understanding how complex; however, the kitchen IS the battle I’m choosing; so I’m not backing down. 

There will be many, many lights and many many outlets. 

The switches for all the living room lights & the ceiling fan will also be on the wall in the kitchen.

It’s definitely a mess of wiring.

Side note: all of those x marks you see all over the foam blocks? Mark the locations of the concrete and steel post & beam systems buried inside the foam insulation blocks.

The living room is a little bit better, but not much. The entertainment center will need multiple outlets at multiple levels.

Yes, that is an electrical outlet in a position over 6′ up the wall. Because the teevee has to have power; and I was a stagehand who liked a clean stage with minimal visible cables and wires, so there has to be an outlet in a position to hide the cord. That’s also why the coaxial cable for our Internet service will be on an outlet instead of having excess cable piled in the floor to trap dustbunnies and hair tumbleweeds.

The walls under the bookcases will need outlets.

Yes, that’s marked LED at an outlet location. One of the outlets will have LED night lights in it, which will be near Mollie’s special place under the bookcases. My furbaby might want to go dig out a toy in the middle of the night without waking us up to turn on a light for her.

Then there’s the quad box next to the ridiculous couch’s future location. It will have one of the USB-port-equipped outlets in it.

Then there’s the lighting in the living room.

Two track fixtures will light up the bookcases and entertainment center. There will be a ceiling fan centered above the living & kitchen areas. There will also be a special spotlight aimed at the mantel area of the fireplace. That one is for lighting up Sunshine’s taxidermied finest hunting achievement that I promised the documentary film crew I would never ever post to social media or any other corner of the Internet. Sorry folks, you’ll never see that one #onhere.

The other USB outlet will go in the bedroom, on Sunshine’s side of the bed. This outlet will also power the window unit air conditioner that we will be using until we can get our geothermal system done.

We haven’t even begun to start pulling wires and such in the bathroom, which is not going to be simple. Recessed lighting over the shower, lighting for the vanity, lighting for the other side of the bathroom (which will house my clothes washer), and a fart-fan. Oh, there’s also electrical outlets, because hair dryer and iron.

For a small house, it’s got a lot going on with the electrical system. Sunshine’s probably not really happy about the expense of it all, but I think he understands that we don’t want to have to do it all again anytime in the future. We’re both of the mindset that it’s best to “measure twice, cut once”. Let’s do it now, while we’re young enough to work to pay for it; it’s only going to be more expensive to upgrade it later.

Even though there’s a lot going on with the electrical system,  most of it will be very eco-friendly and very savings-conscious. All of my lights will be LED, every single one. I will be sure to pick energy star certified appliances.  Our heating & cooling will be geothermal. I’m hoping for a front-load washer. 

We’re trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible; hence the hopes of finding as much as possible at ReStore type places, used appliance shops, thrift shops, and etcetera. It’s important to us that we don’t create waste. Where we have to buy new, I’m trying to be very deliberate in my decisions so that I’m not buying shit just to buy shit. I spent too many years in a mindless existence (active addiction) to be as careless or mindless as I was back then. I’m trying to think ahead now in order to further simplify our lives in the future.

Marathon Jam Session

Not the musical kind of jam session. I’m not that cool.

Jam-making session would probably be more accurate. I brought home a few fresh cantaloupes to go with the back door ones that I cut up and flash-froze. I made this vanilla cantaloupe jam using some of the imported Mexican Vanilla extract that we sell at work. I won’t be providing step-by-step pictures because I suck at taking pictures. I do not live a Pinterest-perfect life. Besides, the website where Tia found me this recipe has plenty of lovely pictures and instructions.

I’m making this jam (and some strawberry jam) to go in my Christmas gift baskets to our families. His family really gets into that sort of thing, and my family just kind of goes along with my homemade gifts these last few years. These jams are NOT for the community at large here (although there will be enough that they can certainly have some); these jams are for Christmas gifts. We will be gifting our friends some stuff too, and I paid for this fruit and these jars with my own paycheck.

side note: If it was grown here (like the blackberries), I’m more than ok with sharing. All of the vegetables we’ve grown, all of the freegan fruit I’ve brought home… All of that is fair game. But I didn’t go and order up all this fruit from my boss for people to just eat it indiscriminately. I’ll be packing up and storing a lot of the jams made this week to safeguard them for Christmas gifting.

I bought a lot of fruit for this jam. Perhaps more than I needed. There are several days worth of jam sessions happening this week. I’m making good progress, though.

vanilla cantaloupe jam

With Sunshine out of town for work, it’s the perfect time to have a marathon jam session. I don’t have him bitching about how hot it is in our house because of the stove going on high trying to boil these giant pots of jam mix and jars full of jam. However, it also means that I have no help lifting this heavy ass pot full of jars of jam and boiling water. Good thing I don’t work again until Friday morning.

Sunday night, when I got in from work with all that fruit I had the boss get for me, I immediately began cutting it up so I could get it in the fridge over in Biff’s RV.

side note: Biff is awesome about letting me encroach on his living space. I’ve got fruit in his fridge and jars of jam in his cabinet. Everybody pretty much knows which jars they better not touch (the 12 ounce cut crystal looking ones) and which ones they can take and eat (the plain old pint jars) without fear of dying a slow and painful death.

After I got the strawberries cut up, I started in on the cantaloupes. About 1/3 of the way through the second one, Mr B popped over to say hi. Apparently, Mr B is as horrified by watching me with a giant kitchen knife as I am horrified by watching him navigate the roads while also doing endless shit on his phone. He took my chef’s knife from me and proceeded to halve, slice, and chop the cantaloupes while I scooped seeds out and gathered up the chunks he was making, getting them into the storage containers they spent the night in.

side note: I think I’ve mentioned that Mr B is one hell of a cook. He cooks far more than I ever have, and therefore he’s much better at cutting shit than I am. I’ll gladly take the help, because I cut my hands/fingers at least 5 times over that long 4 day weekend at work while the boss was out of town.

Sunday night, as I finally crawled into bed at almost 1AM, my house smelled like a Bath&Bodyworks shop in the spring, with cantaloupe and strawberry scent permeating everything. I can think of much worse smells to have permeating my home LOL. The vanilla cantaloupe jam smelled rather like cake as I boiled the fruit/sugar/pectin mixture, and it was pretty close to divine. Mr B popped in and helped for a few minutes and pre-cleaned the empty jam mix pot by scraping every last bit of goo out of it with a spoon. He looked like an overgrown kid while doing it, which isn’t a bad thing at all.

Making jam is sweaty work, and when one has a kitchen the size of most people’s stovetop it requires that most of the house be rearranged to facilitate jam-making. I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer to do marathon jam sessions rather than have to rearrange the entire house multiple times. It’s just less work that way.

 

final note: I have fallen into a rabbit hole on the internet. Did you know that corncob jelly is a thing? There’s also cotton candy jelly, Mountain Dew Jelly, sriracha jelly, Root Beer jelly, honeysuckle jelly, and a whole host of other interesting flavors of jams and jellies. I am thinking that Kool Aid jelly is a must try. Yes, that’s really a thing and I really want to make some purple koolaid jelly.