Community jam session

Last night, Sunshine grilled some venison burgers and almost everybody here showed up at our place for dinner. Rude Ass brought his guitar, and next thing you know, Mr B had picked up Sunshine’s flute and he and Rude Ass started playing some songs.

After Mr B headed home, Sunshine picked up the flute and he and Rude Ass played a while.

This is why we decided to make this change.

This is what it’s about for us: simple pleasures, friends, connections, community. Last night, all was as it should be in my world.

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When did things get so quiet?

I am astounded by how quiet my new home is. The 2′ thick insulation in our exterior walls certainly contributes to the quiet in this house, but it doesn’t account for it all.

Side note: I already miss the sound of rain on the roof. It was a very noticeable sound in the magic bus, yet the ceiling is so well insulated here that it has to be a really heavy downpour to catch my attention now.

I’m also still not hearing much of anything on my right side. The quiet in this home is much more than that, though.

The window unit air conditioner Rude Ass installed for us is really really quiet. The fart fan in the bathroom is effective without making much noise at all. The fridge doesn’t hum like the one in the RV; the only sound we get from it most of the time is ice cubes clattering down into the bin. The clothes washer makes more noise when it swings to me as I press buttons than it does while its actually washing clothes. The tankless hot water heater makes some noise, but only when something is needing hot water and even then it’s fairly quiet. I hadn’t given this much thought until I started my new dishwasher for the first time ever

and could barely hear the damn thing running.

Side note: it’s weird to have a full size dishwasher after several years of that mini dishwasher in the magic bus. I actually have room in the dishwasher for full-sized plates plus food storage containers plus coffee mugs plus dishes plus flatware… you get the picture.

I’m enjoying the quiet. The RV was noisy, and Sunshine is noisy, and Mollie is often very noisy. This week, with Sunshine out of town has been almost preternaturally quiet and it all seems surreal.

All of this quiet and all of this space have gotten me to thinking. All those cramped years in the RV really helped me learn what is truly important to me and what I can live without. I’ve come to see a clothes washer and a full sized dishwasher and a 5-burner stove as luxury items. Who needs Swarovski-encrusted cabinet pulls when simply having a full-sized dishwasher feels luxurious? Who needs a “Sex & The City” style shoe closet when simply having all one’s clothing & shoes in one central location is the most amazing feeling ever after 6 years of digging through at least 4 separate compartments to get dressed?

My mom saw some pictures of the interior of our house and asked why we didn’t make it bigger. As soon as the words had escaped her mouth, she realized how silly that sounded to someone who had just spent 6 years of her life in slightly less that 250 square feet of RV. We had a good laugh over it, and she just listened to me ramble on about how much SPACE I had now(and how Sunshine is probably going to try and fill every cubic centimeter of it with gack).

I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just know I feel very serene and grateful in this moment, and wanted to share it with you, my dear readers who manage to find ways to comment on my navel-gazing drool-inducing drivel. Thank you for being part of my journey!

Final note: Rude Ass change my name in the contact information in his phone today, and made me text him this morning so he could hear his phone announcing “message from Change Order”. I feel honored to have earned a permanent nickname by adding a cabinet over the refrigerator (to prevent dust from collecting up there).

Now, I just have to figure out what to store in it. We’ve already decided we’re ok with filling the island cabinets with toilet paper and shoes, maybe I should move my canning pots out of the pink house laundry room?

Allergies

In Texas, allergy season never ends. There’s spring pollen season. When that ends, grass pollen season begins. When that ends, ragweed season starts. When ragweed season ends, cedar pollen season begins. It’s brutal.

So I finally tried something I’ve been selling as an allergy aid for the last few summers.

Bee pollen. I had hesitated to try it because I was afraid it would taste like dust. Because pollen is dust, right?

It doesn’t taste like dust. It tastes like honey and dried flowers. Who knew?

Ok Mollie, I totally get it now

Miss Mollie has a habit of low-key growling at us when we get too close to her doggie bed while we’re watching teevee at night. We let her, as long as it’s just a low-key growl and she doesnt snarl or bare her teeth; we call it “grumbling”, because we see it as her way of vocalizing her displeasure that we disturbed her after she spent all that time making sure all her things were there and getting comfy.

I just got home from the weekly grocery run, and I haven’t even finished unpacking groceries yet but I need a nap. Stay with me, I promise this non-sequitur has a place here.

I moved Mollie’s bed to the end of the couch and went to stretch out and my head wound up resting on her dog bed

and now I totally get why she doesn’t want to share it. I’ll probably “grumble” at her if she tries to climb up here with me.

Running out of room

I finally realized that I need two distinct and separate wardrobes. One is cheap stuff that I LIKE but won’t cry over when it gets ruined; that stuff is for work. Then there’s the bulk of my wardrobe, which is stuff I love and would cry over if it got destroyed.

In an RV, that kind of wardrobe is just not feasible. There’s no fucking place to keep it without cramming it into every possible nook and cranny and dealing with a clothing avalanche every time I want to wear clothes.

Recently, I got fed up with it all and went to my favorite fashion & style forum. I asked if anybody had any suggestions for how to stay sane for the next few months until we get moved into the house, because I was ready to donate half my closet just to stop the clothes avalanches. The suggestions I got were so obvious they made me say “doh” like Homer Simpson.

I guess I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. After our first summer in this RV, I did a seasonal changeover, bringing out all the warm clothes and putting away the summer clothes. That was some bullshit, and I vowed never to do it again. When the good ladies on that fashion forum suggested I stow the bulkier garments, it was like “why didn’t I think of that?” I bagged up two big-ass black garbage bags worth of sweaters and shit, and I had Sunshine help me haul them down the hill and hide them in the closet. I had to think of it as putting things in a holding zone, because seasonal changeovers are some bullshit.

The rest of the RV is in the same shape. I can’t open a cabinet door without risking getting trapped under a landslide of objects. The house is nearing a point where I can start moving shut in there, but it’s not there yet. There’s still too much dust and shit flying around, and that will continue to be the case until the kitchen cabinets are installed and wrapped with reclaimed wood on the exposed sides.

I’ve had to take most of my yarn stash and bag it up for temporary off-site storage. All of our winter weight blankets and comforters and shit have been bagged up for off-site storage. Some of my shoes are in a pile in the closet of the new house. I’ve moved most of my laundry detergent to the house because I mostly use my own washing machine these days. I’ve moved some of my hoard of body lotion & body wash down there

All that, and I’m still running out of fucking room in the magic bus.

I’ve enjoyed the last several years of self discovery that living in an RV has given me. I’ve learned what’s important, and what’s just “stuff”. I’ve been able to strip away some of the extraneous in my life (like TVs for every room), and add things that enhance my contentment (like my yarn crafts). The challenges of living this small have been interesting, but it is directly conflicting with the intentional, simple life we want to live. Canning, hunting, gardening, crafting, Sunshine’s art; these activities require a lot of gack, and we are running out of room.

Final note: gack–all that stuff on a live event production that is not otherwise classified. Microphones, speakers, props, wardrobe; these are all examples of classified items. Gaffers tape, sharpie markers, a stash of granola bars, dry socks; that’s gack.

Another day clean

Today, I’ve been clean for 13 years. If you had asked me 13 years ago if I’d still be clean this long, I’d have probably answered “I fucking hope so” because I felt like absolute shit.

When I say to you that detox hurt, I mean that shit fucking hurt bad. I had a headache, muscle aches, my joints hurt, my throat was constricted & my gag reflex kicked in at the thought of food, I had the shakes, even my fucking hair hurt. And it lasted for a week. I don’t know how I made it through it, other than desperation & fear.

I never want to detox again.

While a lot of people look at me and tell me how awesome it is that I’ve been clean for 13 whole years (and I don’t disagree), I also know that it ultimately just feels like another day clean. For an addict like me, any day clean is a miracle.

I’m not trying to discount my clean time, or downplay the significance. Clean time speaks for itself. However, I also cannot ever forget that, in the end, all I have is today. That applies to anything and everything in life: yesterday is gone and it’s never coming back, tomorrow isn’t here yet and never will be (because there’s ALWAYS tomorrow), and right here right now is all any of us really have. I need to stay focused on this moment, this place, this person I’m spending this moment with, this thing I’m doing (whatever thing that may be at any given moment)…

…because when I get caught up in hating myself for yesterday, or worrying about tomorrow, I fall down all sorts of scary rabbit holes in my head. When I am not focused on what’s going on RIGHT NOW, I’m robbing myself of the joy of living. That’s why I say that today, on the cusp of beginning my 14th year clean, it just feels like another day clean.

Today, I am just grateful that I woke up without a desire to use or a craving for a fix. We’re going to ignore my need for my morning coffee, because that’s just part of being human. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Today, I’m grateful that I have a life that’s worth living. I’m grateful for the program (the 12 steps), I’m grateful for the fellowship (the people in the 12 step meetings), I’m grateful for my family (who still love me and kind of sort of still claim me 😉), I’m grateful for my husband, I’m grateful for my sponsor, I’m grateful for my earthling (non addict) friends, and I’m grateful for each of you. I could go on and on listing what I’m grateful for, because there’s so much of it available to me.

So, to each of you, I say thank you for being part of my recovery. Thank you for being part of my journey into simple, intentional living. Thank you for being there to laugh at me with me, to cry with me, to listen when I scream into the void. Thank you for reading my drivel; for all the kind words and support you give me; and for sharing your experience, strength, and hope with me through your blogs (whether they’re related to recovery, homesteading, tea, writing, life in the big city, life as an expat, and all of the other things you wonderful people write about). Each of you helps me feel connected to the world at large, and to human beings; without connections I am doomed to a life of misery.

Tonight, I shall make a meeting, because I need it just as desperately today as I did 13 years ago. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right?

From tree to finished product

Two different friends gave us some cedar trees that had fallen on their properties. We decided they’d be perfect for an entertainment center, with this bookshelf being our inspiration.

I’ve actually photographically documented most of the process of getting from tree to finished product.

Sunshine took one of the trees and used his chainsaw to cut it in half. Then he took a cross section off of them so you could see the beautiful colors and patterns in the grain of the wood. He and Rude Ass then bolted them to the exterior wall of the house, using decorative plates on the interior because pretty.

Then it came time to make the shelves. We took them to the guy with the portable sawmill and did a trade of 2 trees in exchange for milling some shelves out of one for us.

They started by sawing off the unusable ends (there were chainsaw cuts in the bottom and the top was too narrow and knotty for lumber).

Then it was time to move the log to portable sawmill.

Then it was time to get out of the operator’s way so he feels everyone is safe as he makes cuts (and say hello to the owner’s sweet doggie, Red).

The next step was to stand around bug-eyed like an excited 6 year old who thinks heavy equipment is super-cool.

I got closer to watch as more cuts are made.

After a few cuts, they had to adjust the log on the sawmill.

Once it was all sawed up into beautiful lumber, it was time to load up the trailer and head home.

Once the lumber is at the build site, its time to tell Rude Ass which board is which shelf on the entertainment center. Promptly have Rude Ass make you change your mind because you can’t argue with his logic; and take more pictures of Rude Ass’s ass because his ass hasn’t been featured on this blog in a long time. Also? Irritate the everloving shit out of Rude Ass because you don’t have the actual teevee that will be housed in the unit, and the dimensions on the internet make no fucking sense so now Rude Ass has no clue how to space the shelves.

While he works, I get to stand around and annoy the piss out of Rude Ass because he is a skilled finish carpenter & a perfectionist while I’m a freak of nature that loves asymmetry and imperfection. Also? I threw a change order at him and added a 5th shelf because storage is important, and we certainly have room for it.

Ultimately, we get a finished product that I love.

Ok, so it hasn’t been finish sanded and sealed yet, but I’m so fucking excited about this monstrosity of a media center that kind of goes with Sunshine’s monument to his ego fireplace that I’m posting a picture of it anyway. Final picture courtesy of Rude Ass, all others taken by me.

It blends Sunshine’s love of primitive and rustic with my love of minimalism, and it has the stature and presence to house the 62″ teevee we’ve picked out. There are stories behind the posts and shelves that make up this unit, and there are connections to the human beings involved with every step of this process. That, to me, is the heart of what this journey is about: simplicity, connection, community.