The 'Why?'

To find out what this journey is about, start with the beginning, the 'Intro' post.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Downgrading Vehicles

But..  why would anyone DO that?  you may ask.

I am not sure what other people's motives are on this subject, I just know my reasons for having done this very thing.  Intentionally.

Years before I had gotten into the trading up cycle.  When you finance a new or new-to-you car and keep it a little while, then trade it in and roll whatever the difference was (because you hadn't paid down enough to gain equity, because you didn't keep it long enough) into the new vehicle.  I honestly just really only cared about 'How much is the payment?'.  If it was what I thought I could handle, I did it.  Instant gratification and I'm zipping around in new wheels.  Wooohoo!!!

On and on and on it went. I didn't keep wheels for very long.  I didn't look at the overall cost of doing it this way.  I didn't care, I was in a 'I want it now!' thinking mentality.  I was stupid.

Eventually, I woke up.  When that light bulb went off I was saddled with a vehicle that was maybe worth $18k but owed over $24k to the bank for it.  Umm... yeah.  (Hey, I already admitted I was stupid lol).  I paid dearly to get that to where I had enough equity in it to get rid of it and it's high payment and high insurance.

After the hardship of getting out of that cycle, including an entire Christmas bonus over $7k put entirely on that vehicle, I swore I wouldn't get in to that trap again.  Yeah, good intentions and all...

What is the purpose of a vehicle, anyways?   It is a means to get from Point A to Point B in a safe manner.  The extras are climate control, a gajillion safety (needed? that's a different story for some other time) features, and keeping the nasty weather elements off of you.  I can't even stomach the thought of how much I have spent in my 43 years on just a way to get from Point A to Point B. 

Most people have vehicles they drive that are financed.  A huge chunk of their income goes to having a means to get from Point A to Point B.  But it can't be an economical basic vehicle, noooo... they gotta look good. ;)  Impress the coworkers and such.  So they pay, and pay, and pay...   on a depreciating asset.   I'm not judging, I was sooo like this!  But I just can't be like that anymore.

There's a saying that goes something like 'We go to work at jobs we hate to buy stuff to impress people that we don't even like'.  How true.  Let's say a group decides to meet at IHop for breakfast one morning.  Who CARES how you arrived at your destination.  Ferrari, Hummer, Mini Cooper, Caprice, Pinto, bicycle, or your damn feet.  Everyone got there and walked in the same damn door.  Yet a ton of money is spent over a lifetime trying to impress the dude that walked in in front of you or behind you at IHop. 

Is it advertising that has us so insecure in ourselves that we feel the need to spend large sums of our money in order to look good while driving down the road?  Let's take the above example:  A Ferrari and a Pinto are driving down the road..  they are both going 40mph because that is the speed limit.  Which one has more self confidence?  How much self worth does the guy driving the Pinto possess?  The guy driving the Ferrari?  Which one has more balls?  These are the weird things that go on in my brain.  Yeah, I like to question everything.

As for me, after all the stupid..  where am I at today?  Vehicle-wise, my daily driver is an 8 year old Pontiac Vibe that I found for $1500.  I put some mechanical work into it to get her in shape and repaired some non-essential things for driving that I do like to have like new radio, cruise control repaired, and windows tinted.  But, I did research the heck out of these little cars for a few years before I stumbled on this deal.  Last fill up I calculated 28.88 mpg with town and highway miles.  Gotta love when Pontiac teamed up with Toyota for these little gems, I got Pontiac's cool styling and also got a Toyota Corolla 4 cylinder motor.  Even though it has 138k miles on her, with proper maintenance it should last a long while.  Plus, I can haul the shit out of things in the back!!  The back seats lay flat enough I can car camp in it, even.  We put it next to my daughter's VW Bug and it's the same size.  Zippy, little, great on gas, and amazing hauling capacity.  Plus, it's older, insurance was cheaper.  Plus, it's Pontiac, so the local GM dealership will work on it when needed (unlike my previous Honda Accord, rural Oklahoma doesn't have anyone that would touch it, not cool if broke down where I live grr...).  Plus, the depreciation hit is gone.  Plus, it isn't in pristine condition, I do not have a conniption fit if I get a scratch or ding.  Hmm.. should I add in more plus's?  haha

 


I just think she's just so darn cute!!   Insurance was fairly cheap, like $132 for 6 months.  I only keep liability on her, perks of having a cheap car, the world doesn't end if it's totaled. 

Then I also have the van.  Bought for $2550 and 19 years old, the depreciation hit has already happened.  Spent $700 on parts and labor for tune up and other things to keep her running smoothly.  Insurance was cheap, like $140 for 6 months.  The gas mileage I haven't really tried out yet, but from researching it appears I will get around 16mpg average highway/town miles.  Crappy mileage, yeah, but for it's purpose, for my travels, will also serve as my living quarters negating the need for hotels, saving me money.  Plus, no bed bugs. :) 

Neither one of these are new.  Who cares?  Honestly, if a friend ditched me because of what I'm driving, I am glad to be rid of them.  Both vehicles are mine, they are paid for, insurance is cheap, and right now (knock on wood) are driving perfectly.  I just can't see having something worth a whole lot of money sitting in the driveway depreciating.

I would like to believe, as a person, I am more than just what I drive.  Shouldn't we all be?  Keep your Ferrari!  ;)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Shopping

Let me just say it here and now...  I truly HATE SHOPPING!  For anything.  The ritual is lost on me.  I'd rather get a root canal than be forced into an all day shopping trip to a mall.

I'm not really sure what it is about the act of shopping that I dislike so much.  What comes to mind is:  salespeople pouncing on your as soon as you walk into the door, the other shoppers' etiquettes, the sensory overload of product advertising, crowded isles, and standing in lines.  Any one of them or all of the above will hit me with the strong desire to get out of there, like now! 

There was this one time... at band camp...   haha, just kiddin'!   Okay, for real, though, this one time me, my late hubby and my daughter were going to look at furniture.  They both had missions, to divert the sales people so I would be left alone.  I either liked the piece of furniture or I didn't, I didn't want to engage in bullshit chatter or sales tactics.  We went to quite a few places and our technique was always the same, they chatted with the sales people, I walked from piece to piece and it was either I liked it or did not.  Usually it was 'did not' and walked on.  I didn't care what brand it was, or that there was a sale going on for that particular item, so I didn't want to hear it. 

I remember walking into the furniture place where I found my bedroom set, the saleslady wasn't as pushy and she sort of followed close behind me.  She heard me pointing and saying 'no', 'no', no' while I kept walking around.  I finally stopped at one and said 'yes'.  Done.  THAT is the one I want.  There, done.  I don't care what the price is, I wouldn't have went looking if I didn't have the money for the one I want, and I wanted that one.  I am done.  No, I do not want to look at other ones, I am finished.  How much, do you deliver, and please just let me get out of here, thank you.

Cars are the same way.  Usually do research ahead of time anyways, in the comfort of my home without outside influence.  So either I already like the vehicle, or I steer clear of them.  Even houses I am sad to say, I hate shopping for them.  I either get a feel for them or I don't.  I don't want to waste time, mine or the real estate agents, on something I'm not interested in.

Shopping for clothes is at the top of my list of my all time most hated shopping excursions.  Some people shop out of boredom.  I am NEVER that bored!!  haha   Give me a book any day over a clothing store, please!    I just can't see why others love shopping so much they would subject themselves to going to a mall, going from store to store to pile up items in their arms to march into a dressing room, undress, dress, undress, fold 'em back up and march back out..  only to go get another pile and repeat the process all over again.  From store to store.  Dressing room to dressing room.  Just to hope you look good to other people who probably don't give a crap what you are wearing anyways.   Honestly.. can you remember a year ago today what you were doing, and who you were with, and what they wore?  No?   See?  Really, who gives a flip what shoes they were wearing?  It's all bull caca and I loathe it.  Except for thrift stores..  throw it in the buggy if you like it, come out with a large bag of clothes for like $20, re-donate it if you get home and it doesn't fit.  heck yeah! :)

Grocery shopping is a close second of all time most hated shopping excursions.  I go so far as to write up my list (I shop sales a lot and stick mainly to the outskirts of the store, most processed stuff is in the middle, least at my stores), and write it in order of the isles.  *que the theme song for Mission Impossible*   It's like a quest, to get in, not be seen by someone you know, grab stuff on your list, and get out of there in the quickest, most efficient way possible.  Route is mapped, items listed with quantities in order, I gear up in the car, I'm dodging people in the isles like I'm playing a chess game, and I place items in the basket and on the counter at checkout to make the unloading process as fast as possible. 

I remember one time when my daughter was about 16 she went with me on a grocery shopping day.  I pulled up into the parking lot and was just sitting there, willing myself to go in and just get it over with.  Yes, I really hate shopping that much! lol   After a while, probably 10 minutes of putting it off, my daughter finally just said "Mom, the skinny people are starving over here!"   haha.  Laughed ourselves silly about that and finally went in.  A few years later when she was about 20 years old and just scraping by, I used to pay her to go shopping for me.  Yes, I really did.  I wrote out everything I needed, handed over my debit card, and paid her about $40 to go get it and bring it back.  She even helped me unpack the bags, it was awesome!!    Sure wish I could still afford to do that...  but, alas..   at near 26 years old I think I may have rubbed off on her and now she hates shopping as much as I do.  Drats.  Oh well, it was good while it lasted. ;)

Christmas is no longer a joyful season, least not to me.  Next year I think I will do what bears do and hibernate through winter and just skip it entirely.  Call me Scrooge.  *shrugs*   How did it get so messed up?  Seems like there isn't my Joy anymore at that time of the year.  They shove Christmas stuff down our throats earlier and earlier.  I saw some stuff out before Halloween this past year.  What will it be like in a few years, Christmas stuff out at Easter?   Or just leave it out all year? 

Which brings me to another thing I question.. which ties in with shopping and Christmas..   what does anyone really NEED anymore?  Do you really think grandpa needs that nose hair trimmer set?  I guess it can keep company with his other two sets, huh?   It just seems to me, when you can't figure out what to get so-and-so for Christmas..  MAYBE...  just maybe.. it's CAUSE THEY DON'T NEED ANYTHING.   ;)

I do have a weakness and that is online shopping.  It's almost like Christmas when you find a box near your door.  :)  Most times I can find things cheaper than local even with the shipping so it just works for me.  And some times when the difference of the item plus shipping isn't too much it's worth it to me to have it delivered rather than go into torturous Walfart for things.  Books used to be my indulgence, now I try to just hit the library.  Can sometimes find free books for my Kindle, so that helps, as well.

Shopping can be an addiction for some, I know.  Or therapy for others.  Or pass time.  Or a way to connect with people.  Just leave me out of it, please?  :)

Anyways, it's snowing outside today and I will very happily stay inside the warm indoors without feeling the least bit remorse over missed shopping excursions.  Hey, snow gives me good excuse to avoid it, right?  :)  Maybe it's just the introvert in me that doesn't like the shopping thing, haha.



Peace <3

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz

Oh what a relief it is!  

It's head cold time, yee.  But those effervescent tablets are keeping me sane.  Had four doses of 'em yesterday and feel 10 times better today.

So, here's to you, oh fuzzy tablets.  I bow to your greatness!!   *bows*

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stuff Goes In

I got Savannah back home Friday evening.  Here she is looking all spiffy with her tinted self. ;)



You really have to be right up to the glass holding your hands around your eyes to see anything.  But then, I also put reflectix over the windows.  Both for heat retention (and reflecting summer rays in the summer) and so you can't see in or light shine out of the windows.  I had enough reflectix left over for all of the back windows, except one.  The door right behind the front passenger door.  I do have some black foam board in my closet I might cut out and stick there.  The reflectix was fitted with tiny pieces of Velcro so they will stay in place.

The desk I found at the used furniture store for $60 went in, and it was bigger than I imagined.  But worked well.  I put it behind the drivers seat.  It will serve as my desk and kitchen area.  Cooking stuffs went into the drawer.  Those lovely drawers covered with cowhide...  haha.  It will stay for now.  The desk is all wood, not cheap particle board so that's good.  And the top looks like butcher block.

Next to the desk there was room for a small set of plastic bins with just a tab bit of room left over.  I already had these bins, no cost there, yay!  In the space between the plastic bin and the bed I put my single burner stove.  Perfect spot, won't move around, and it's out of the way when it's not in use. 

I also glued a round placemat over the potty cover, and topped that with a simple cushion.  It will pull double duty (haha..  doodie!) as the potty and as a moveable seat.  Goes under the desk just great when not needed freeing up space.  I might put a cover around the bottom to disguise the potty, lol  Here is a pic:


Behind the desk is some space, the van walls curve.  Below the big window behind the desk is a ledge at the bottom of the window. Since the desk sits up next to the ledge it's a perfect place to store some stuff and it can't go anywhere.  I have paper towels and some dry storage containers back there.  Also, behind the plastic bins I put the 12v fan, keeping it handy but out of the way until needed.

Opposite this stuff, behind the passenger chair, I put one set of the 3 drawer plastic bins.  I tried to put two sets of the bins, one stacked on the other, but the way the van walls curve had them sticking too far out away from the walls and crowded the space.  So I opted to just go with one set of bins.  Food items will go in these.  On top I'll bungee down the battery jumper pack, keeping it handy and centrally located for when I need it.  Those plastic bins I got nearly free, I cashed in a few rebate checks, I think I was out $4 for the two sets.

Under the bed is nearly empty, so there's still plenty of storage space left.  Right now it's extra propane and butane bottles, some small tripod popup chairs, extra paper goods, small battery operated fans, shovel and grill brush.  All I can think of that needs to go under it is our clothes and water.

Across the back they already had the holders for a curtain rod, so I put one up.  I might add some shoe organizers later for more storage, if needed.  Or use the rod to dry towels or such.  Right now I have a behind the chair organizer that has a fold down holder for a small dvd player.  My little 7" portable dvd player will fit just perfect and can watch a movie while relaxing on the bed.  Here is a pic looking back from the drivers area.  (please ignore the floor...it was getting late and cold and I didn't feel like vacuuming.  Am planning on finding a pretty runner to spruce it up a bit, but for now, ugly floor will just have to work)



Haven't tried out the bed yet for sleeping.  However, just lounging on it felt great.  The mattress was two 3" vented toppers I hand cut down to fit the width of the van, I got the toppers for about $120.  The blankie at the foot of the bed was a gift from little sis, 100% wool, will throw it over comforter when chilly and should keep me nice and warm.  :)  I had the pillows already.  The comforter and sheets I found at the thrift store for about $10. 



I used command strips to mount some things.  The smoke and Co2 detectors and some puck LED lights.  All of the walls are covered in cloth, but there is some wood here and there, I attached it to the wood.  I've used the command strips in the past, they hold fairly good and come off easy.  Just hope they hold through the bumps. 

The privacy curtain behind the drivers area might have to be tweaked.  As of now, they sit kind of back and high so I didn't have any way for light to leak over the top. Only, to get it up high enough it had to go back some, so when they are closed they take up some of my interior space.  Will see how it works for now.  Here is a pic to get an idea:



And no, I won't be using that TV.  The way it is rigged it will only run with the engine running.  That AND it only plays VCR tapes..  of which I own none.  So it was a no brainer.  Just there for show, nothing else.  Well..  to let Pammy bang her head on.  Yes, of that I did yesterday, four times total. 

In addition to sore bumps on head from not paying attention, Pammy also has sore back.  Am not used to hunching over.  The van is taller than a regular one, yes.  And I can stand in it, but not have my head up, my head has to lean to a side, I am 5'6".  All of the window coverings and moving stuff around, though, must have done a number on some muscles that aren't used to that.  Almost couldn't walk last night, it was hilarious.  The back is just gonna have to deal with it, lol!


 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chevy Co-Pilot

Meet the future co-pilot, Chevy.

 

Chevy is a 12 y/o rat terrier.  She is a rescue dog, I have had her for 11 years now. 

It was New Year's Eve in 2003 and we were hanging out at the house when the topic came up, again, about getting a doggy.  That day, though, when it was brought it, me and my daughter, Karen (or Kiddo, as we've always called her) looked at John and asked if we can go to the animal shelter.. like, right then!  Yes, was his immediate response.  So off we went.

I must admit, it is pretty heart breaking every time I go in there, all of those eyes begging you to take them out of there.  But I just felt the doggy would choose me.  There were many barks, of course, and paws on the cages as a way of asking us to take them home.  I kept looking.  Was almost down the line at the end of the cages when the worker said this doggy was brought in, the owner was moving and couldn't take her with him.  The doggy wouldn't come to the worker, he literally had to reach in and get her out of the corner to pick her up.  I could see she was shaking like a leaf.  But when he turned her around and said 'Her name is Chevy' and I saw her eyes, those terrified eyes that looked back at me, my heart melted.  She found me.

Chevy was literally terrified, of everything.  When I took her to the vet I found out why, her previous owner had abused her.  Her tail was broken and still has a knot in it's place.  She had been hit in the head and the layers in one of her eyes had shifted and looks cloudy, I don't know if she can see out of that eye.  And when she runs she sometimes runs on 3 legs, one of the back ones she sometimes holds up from a previous injury.  I'd like to hunt the previous owner down and beat the shit out of him!  The vet told us she was about a year old when we rescued her.

She came home with us, scared to death, hiding in her safe place for a long time.  It took a few weeks for her to figure out me and Kiddo weren't going to harm her and she would come around us some.  John, though, had a deep voice and it took probably 6 months for her to be comfortable around him.  Took years for her to finally not crouch and cower down when we approached her.  Rat terriers are nervous in nature to begin with, she was that magnified a hundred times over.  Still is a nervous pooch to this day.  

I still don't understand how someone could be so mean to this wonderful little doggy.  Best doggy ever!!!   She was house trained when we got her.  She never chewed anything, not even the toys we bought and encouraged her to play with.  Quiet and well mannered.  Isn't the type of dog that must have full attention at all times, she likes her attention and then she's done to go do her own things.  She snores.  She loves being wrapped in blankies.  And very much looks forward to her morning treats as if she's the luckiest doggy on the planet.

Well, I am not embarrassed to admit we have made some big decisions in our life that were based on this little doggy.  Like, even veto'ing a house to purchase on the very fact that it wouldn't work for Chevy and doggy doors.  Or making a doggy door in a new home a priority over, say, unpacking some of our belongings.  Or making sure a fence is erected before replacing a hot water heater (it was hot August in south Texas, cool showers were a blessing...  but doggies come first!!).

This doggy has moved with us quite a bit.  She's moved across town.  She moved to another state, and back.  Seven times since she's been with me she's moved.  She is quite the trooper.

Right now she has settled in living in the old man's house.  There is a doggy door, of course.  Her and the old man get along awesomely (is that a word?? haha) and she now seeks him out over me sometimes.  grrr...    She sure likes giving Hotrod hell (the old man's awesome doggy), thinking she's all big and all of that.  Hotrod has had to put her in her place a time or two, but she still likes to irritate him with her yappin'. 

Here is a pic on a camping trip in my current RV (that's up for sale) a few months back.  The doggies had taken over the couch.  Chevy on left, Hotrod on right:

 
 
Silly doggies!!
 
So, when I head out, Ms. Chevy will be going with me.  Hotrod will get to go when the old man goes with me.  :)    Haha.. Hotrod LOVES the van.  When working in it and the doors are open, he hops in and just doesn't want to get out of it.  
 
Should be fun times ahead.  :D



#Camping  #Doggies

Monday, February 16, 2015

Floor Plan

Have been playing around with the layout of the things needing to go inside the van.

The bed is already set up and will be there permanently.  The other things, though, are up in the air.  What I have needing to go inside is the desk, two chest type plastic bins that can be stacked, and a smaller plastic bin. 

I have decided to use the portable toilet as the seat for the desk.  Will be gluing on a cushion on top of the plastic lid that comes off to disguise it, of sorts, and provide for more cushy seating.  Because, padding the rump is all important, ya know.  The size of the potty will just slide right under the desk opening, it can be out of the way when not needed, providing more space and out of sight lest the potty's very existence offends anyone.  Haha!!

So here is the tentative layout so far.  I may need help with ideas for the other side, any comments welcome!

The desk right by the bed will be helpful for many reason.  Can serve as a night stand.  Can seat the little DVD player there to watch movies in the evening.  In the wide short drawer I can put most of my things I might want to keep near me at night, like keys, cell phone, flashlight, gun, alarm, etc.  Would make a good place to set a fan in the warmer months.
 
I am one of those weird individuals that doesn't do well with a cluttered feel.  A place for everything and everything in it's place, type of motto.  Mind clutter, and all of that.  So just throwing things in there haphazardly won't work for my OCD head.
 
So what is the best ideas you have for the passenger side between the bed and captain chair?  Can always use more storage, of course.  A closet.  More stacking plastic bins.  I could devise a permanent bathroom type area.  I could make the kitchen on that side allowing for open doors while cooking.  Could devise a battery setup there, as well, provided I knew how to get power to charge it back up.  There is no real rush, of course, just like tossing around ideas. :)
 
*Edited to update:  I wound up putting the desk right behind the drivers chair.  There was a hump next to the bed from the motor of the back AC fan contraption that made the desk sit too far out from the walls.  The small white plastic bins sits between the desk and the bed very nice.  The portable potty slides right under the desk and is just the right height making it a very handy seat.  Opposite this I put one set of the 3 drawer plastic bins.  It leaves decent walking space and doesn't make it feel too closed in.  See some pics in this post
 
 
 
#VanConversion

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Powering Up

On to the subject of power.     *zap!*

Will be trying to keep things that need power down to a minimal.  So far these things are what are going into Savannah that will be needing some juice from time to time:

Cell phone
iPad
Portable jumper pack
Portable power bank
7" DVD player
10" fan
Two 5" fans

Okay, so let's eliminate the ones that are ran by battery only.  That will be the two 5" fans.  The other items, however will need some sort of power to keep them going.

There are two 12v plug in's in the van.  One in the dash that stays hot all the time, and one through the box wired in next to the TV that's mounted overhead of the captains chairs, it's only hot when the engine is on. 

During the day I will be able to charge my phone, iPad, portable power bank, and DVD player through the 12v plug in the dash.  They all have an adapter for 12v plugins.  I will also, with an inverter adapter, be able to charge up the portable jumper pack to top off it's battery.

The portable jumper pack and the portable power bank are what I will use in the evening should I need power other than what has be already been charged throughout the day while driving.

First off, the portable jumper pack.   This is the one I have:


This handy thing is a car battery jumper.  It also has an air compressor that has a gauge on it, so I can easily check the tire pressure of my tires and inflate if needed.  There is also a USB port for use, along with one 12v plug.  I am currently testing the 12v plug with my 10" fan to see how long the fan runs off a single charge (for the warmer months when I want a fan at night).  The sealed battery inside makes me feel safe having it in the cabin with me.  There is a knob you have to turn to make the jumper cables work, so I feel better knowing those things are not hot all of the time, just hot when needed.  It's fairly light weight, as well.  An LED light if you need it, though it doesn't look like it will light up the world, haha.  
*Update*  The 12v fan plug in experiment is completed.  The fan ran for seven hours and the battery pack still showed half charge.  So I can safely assume I can have a running fan all night come warmer months.  It took about 3 hours to fully charge the battery pack back up to full charge.  I am also looking in to a USB plugged in fan, as a back up.

Only drawback is the charging aspect.  There is a flip out plug-in for recharging, which means I will have to attach an extension cord to it, then plug it in to the inverter adapter that is going through the 12v system while I am driving.  But hey, I'm going to be driving anyway, may as well charge up the ole battery, eh?  It also automatically shuts off when the battery is topped off, preventing over charging.

The second portable battery bank in my power defense line up is this small little unit:

It's actually that covered little white thing.  Yeah, really, that little thing... it is a jump starter as well.  It charged up my iPad yesterday.  Seems like my iPad takes forever to charge, even plugged in to the wall.  The iPad was 2/3rds dead when I started charging it, it took a few hours to fully charge it up, and what the jumper pack's power was left with was down to 60% charge left.  The reviews showed someone jumpstarting multiple vehicles off one charge.  It comes with a 12v plug in to recharge from my cigarette lighter while driving, so that's cool.  Comes in a cool carrying case, as well.   Okay, just plain ole black case, but at least it all stays together. 

So between my running vehicle and it's ability to supply 12v charge while driving, batteries, and these two devices, I hope my simple needs will be met.



#VanConversion  #Camping  #CampingGear

Van has a Name

After many days of wondering what I shall call the big tan beast think I finally settled on a name.

And here it is...   *drumroll*

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                         Savannah.   I like it.  :)      
 
 *Edit to add*      Much to my dismay, the name didn't stick.  It has revealed itself to like better....      VAN HALEN.     Yep...   lol
 
#VanConversion

Cooling Off

My plans for this trip includes not being dependent on outside hookups.  So, I will not have electricity or water other than what my van provides.  The reason is to avoid the RV parks fees for over night camping which will eat up the cash flow pretty fast.

While talking about this the other day with two of my sisters I mentioned I wouldn't have air conditioning at night.  I did get strange looks tossed my way on that, so I thought I would talk about my plans for keeping cool in the warmer months up ahead.

I'll be driving most days during the heat of the day, so I'm not worried about that part.  I hope to get my AC fixed in the dash of the van before it starts getting really warm, but if it's going to cost way too much to repair I might try to live without it.  AC would be great, and all, but there is good and bad both ways.  Good, umm..  that is obvious.  Plus, cuts down on wind drag with your windows rolled up.  Bad that it will reduce your mpg, but it's a small price to pay for comfort.  If, however, it's going to cost way too much to fix and I won't have AC, my body will acclimate slowly over the day and I won't notice the heat as bad as, say, getting out of a well air conditioned car and stepping out into 100 degree weather.  Moving air, lots of water, dressing lightly will help in that regard while driving on the road.

But as for sleeping, it will be with zero air conditioning.  I've figured out the heat part of it for colder nights, now to attempt to figure out how to keep cool at night in the warmer months.

Here will be some strategies I will try out.  Dress for it, lighter clothing that breathes.  Stay hydrated.  Pull my hair up.  Circulating air to move the heat away from my body.  Wet a cloth or bandana and wrap around neck.  Keep in shade, park in shade when stopped.  Hats.  Cook outdoors or eat things not needing to be cooked.  Cool showers.  Heck, it wasn't until the 1950's that air conditioning was offered as an option on mass produced vehicles.  We are spoiled people!!

As for night, though, I will have to use some different tactics.  First off will be ventilation.  The conversion van I have has the small slider windows at the bottom of the big back glass on the sides.  Two face opposite sides right across from each other and my bed is right between them, should get a good breeze that way.  I will also only try to go to sleep after it has cooled off from the heat of the day.  (reminds self to buy some ear plugs)

In addition, I found this little handy dandy little item the other day (I should have only went in to that truck stop for water and not looked around lol), it runs off 12v and batteries.  It needs 8 "D" cell batteries, which is pretty expensive, so I will try to only utilize this item off it's 12v running capabilities.

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Seems to move quite a bit of air.  I also have two small 5" battery operated fans if needed.  They are quiet, too.  Batteries can run expensive if you need to replace them often, so that is iffy.  Here is a pic of them:


I should have a decent breeze available if needed. 

So I will wait until it's cooled off in the evening, take a cool shower, dress lightly, have a decent breeze going by either the windows or fans, and a light sheet for covers should set me up fairly decent with the cooling off while I sleep.

I may look in to getting one of those solar powered battery chargers and rechargeable batteries if this system works pretty good, that way I'm not spending a ton on batteries.  Might look in to that after this Texas trip, there is no rush on that. 




#VanConversion  #Camping  #CampingGear

The Wannabe Bitchin' Kitchen

Although I haven't gotten all of this into the van yet, here is how I hope to outfit the kitchen.

I did find a really well made desk the other day, bought it for $60.  It's still inside my little car until I get the van back home.  No sense moving it more than necessary.  It has 3 drawers on one side and one short wide drawer where like pens would go.  Very well made, has some brand name burned into the sides of each drawer, attesting to it's awesomeness.  What's cool is they made the top of it with wood strips.  Laid out like you would lay a wood floor.  And it's real wood, not cheap particle board.  The top is almost butcher block and actually I can cut on it.  The only iffy part about the desk is.. well..   they covered the front of the drawers with cowhide.  Tacked it on.  Not glued, thank goodness.  But real cowhide, hair and all.  Hmm..   yeah...   those tacks might come off and some cowhide might go missing to be replaced with whatever motif finally reveals itself for the inside of the van.

So, I have a sturdy desk that I will be able to use as a kitchen area.  The drawers will hold the cooking stuff, to be put away and only brought out as needed, so as to free up the desk area for other uses.

Cooking wise, I bought this Coleman butane single burner stove as a means to cook food. 

It uses single bottles of butane, which sits inside there on the right.  Easy peasy to use, built in ignition switch, I have extra butane bottles for when needed, and can find more at most Walmarts.  I like how when putting it up into it's carrying case it automatically releases the lever that engages the butane, so when it's stored, the butane isn't engaged, less chance of it leaking out.

For pots and pans I had to think small.  When you only have about 56 square feet of living space, you can't carry a whole kitchen with you, so you have to think creative.  Since most of the trip I'll be going solo, I can feed myself pretty easy with a pot and a one burner stove.  I wound up getting a nesting set that has small fry pan, a pot, and two different sized pans, that all nest within itself to save space.  This is what I'll be cooking with:

I have a few cooking utensils such as a spatula, spoon, slotted spoon, ladle, couple knifes, peeler, can opener, cutting board..   pretty basic stuff, not too much.  I have only a set of four each of forks, spoons, and butter knifes bought from a dollar store.  A few plastic plates and bowls, but mostly will be using paper plates for easy cleanup. 

Cleanup, since I have no sink, will be a couple plastic bins that I will keep stored away, only brought out when needed.  I have some spray bottles that will be filled with a soap and bit of alcohol solution for washing (just squirt on dishes), and bottle with water for rinsing.  I could do the whole heat up water on the stove route, fill up the basins, submerge said dishes into very hot soapy water to kill germs..  blah blah blah...   that is what the bit of alcohol in the dish soap solution will accomplish.  Heck, they used to wash dishes in a cold stream in the river way back when, I think I will live without scalding hot dish water.  Just wipe out dish of everything with paper towel, squirt with soap solution, wash it, then squirt with water solution to rinse it.  Done.  Toss water outside or into a gray water holder until I can dump it.

Food storage shouldn't be too bad since I have a lot of plastic bins that are going to go in.  I know I won't be able to stock up a lot of things due to space.  But that is okay, as the more stuff you put in the van, the heavier it gets, which reduces your miles per gallon anyways.  Just means I'll have to shop more often.  Since my main places I aim to sleep at will be Walmart parking lots, won't be much trouble to run in for food before hitting the road.

I won't have a fridge, just a small cooler, so I want to try to keep the perishables down.  And yes, I am one of those weird individuals who doesn't have to have a cold drink at all times.  I mostly just drink water, and it doesn't have to be ice cold, actually don't like water that cold.  The cooler will be mainly for perishables like lunch meat and the like.

Speaking of food, still working on a workable menu for road tripping.  So far this is what I've been planning on:

Breakfasts:
Granola
Cereal (I'm weird, I eat it dry)
Fruit
Oatmeal (if I feel like cleaning up after)
Bagels
Egg n sausage burrito (I have some dehydrated I want to try, again, only if I want to clean up after)

Lunch:
Sandwiches
Tuna mix on crackers
Beef jerky
Trail mix
Veggies
Soup (if I wanna clean after)

Dinners:  (this is the hard one for me)
Soups or anything from a can
Dehydrated foods
Pasta dishes
Sandwiches
Burritos
Stir Fried veggies
Rice dishes

I'm still working on the menu, just going to go with this for now and play it by ear.

Well there you have it, my Wannabe Bitchin' Kitchen.  Bitchin' because by day it will look like an ordinary desk.  By night the cape comes out and it transforms into Kitchen Batman!  haha

While not in kitchen mode, though, the desk will serve double duty as what it was made for, a desk.  I'll be able to use it for my laptop or writing or whatever.  Will have to wait to see about the seating for it.  Never know, I may use the potty with it's glued round cushion on its top cover as it's seat, haha!  Just push it under the desk when not needed.  Hey.. that might just work...

(goes to measure...     Hassock portable potty just under 15" diameter..  opening of desk 21"..  ummm  yeah!)  I can use it as a desk chair, and free up space on the other side of the van.  Now to refigure a shower set up, hmm..




#VanConversion  #Camping

Bathroom Fun

Such a taboo subject, but I do get some questions, so here goes.

"How are you going to go to the bathroom, or shower?"   This is how.

First off, I already have this handy dandy portable toilet.  It makes an awesome sitting stool in the van already while we were making the bed platform, so I'm thinking of gluing a round cushion on top of it to make it useable and to disguise the fact that it is, in fact, my portable toilet.  I have it lined with a heavy duty trash bag, first, then lined with about 10 small kitchen bags.  There is no water to have to fill up or a sewer mess to dump.  It's simple really, use it, sprinkle some kitty litter to mask any smell and make all solid, and toss in the garbage when you dump your regular garbage.  Same as throwing a baby diaper in the trash.  Some people just can't wrap their head around that.




I do aim to avail myself of business facilities while on the road, but for emergencies or middle of the night, this will work just perfect.  Then again...   I may just use this exclusive, at least I know only my butt has touched it.  Will wait to see how gross it is out there and then decide.

The shower..    I have not set up the system just yet, but I have an idea in mind.  I do, however, already own one of these, I have yet to try it.


Fill it up, toss it on the dash while I am driving to let the sun heat the water, that evening I can have a hot shower. 

What I aim to do for this setup is to have a divider half wall constructed next to the potty area.  Not only will this enable us to attach the plastic bins to the wall for more stability, it will also partially enclose the 'bathroom' area.  The potty will sit in a short square basin that will be my shower base.  The divider wall will have a hoola hoop attached near the top with which my shower curtain will hang from.  It makes sense in my head right now, it is hard to explain it on here though.  I will take pics of the progress of that when we get started on that.  But for now, my intention is to heat the solar shower bag on the dash, remove potty from basin, attach solar shower bag near ceiling, sit folding step stool in basin for me to sit on, bring curtains around, and shower.  Dump basin outside after done with shower.  Put potty back in place. 

Other alternatives are baby wipes.  A bowl with heated water and wash rags.  Squirt bottles.  Camp soap that doesn't require rinsing.  Washing the body isn't that hard to figure out. The hard part is figuring out my hair.

So lets talk hair.    Hair is just below shoulder in length.  It's not thick at all, fairly thin.  But dang it can use the water to get it washed, rinsed, conditioned, and rinsed.  It's taken me a long while to figure out my hair does not like heating tools taken to it.  I rarely blow dry my hair, maybe 10 times a year, if that.  I rarely take a styling tool to it anymore.  Guess what, I hardly have any split ends anymore, either.  I've also decided a few years ago that too much washing was not good for my hair.  I stripped the natural oils off with daily washing, and my scalp over compensated from the stripping by producing even more oil.  Which made my hair feel greasy if I skipped a day.  Counter-intuitive, huh?

So, it took a while, but I gradually lengthened the time between shampooing, trying to get my sebum oil production back to where it is supposed to be.  I quit using so many products, just use a bit of light spray only now.  I quit coloring it, too, and it is it's natural color.   I can go maybe a week now between shampooing before my hair feels greasy.  It always smells good.  That is just normal day to day, not doing sweaty, grimy gross things.  So every 5-7 days I'll have to figure out how to wash the hair.  I may use the whole solar bag, sitting with my head over the basin, with extra water jugs near by just in case to rinse it all.  I am trying out a 2-in-1 type shampoo plus conditioner now to see if I can cut water usage down, may try that out before heading on my other trips.   Am not worried about Texas, I know can use the shower at mom and dad's and little sis's if I'm real nice.

Here's one of my favorite scenes about germs and showering from the late great, George Carlin:







#VanConversion  #Camping  #CampingGear

Heating the Van

I'll be trying to travel with the weather, so as to not have extremes in temperatures.  For the cold temperatures that I will encounter on the trip, I will use a few different methods for warmth. 

First off, insulation.  Well, the conversion van I bought already has walls that are covered.  They also stick inside away from the outer metal shell a few inches, so either it is insulated already behind the interior wall, or there is an air gap away from the metal outer shell that will act as insulation.  I have read other people with this same type of van get inside the walls and discover they are in fact insulated.  That's what I am gonna go with, lol.  For the many windows, though, will be cutting to fit Reflectix to cover the windows.  It's like aluminum sandwiched around bubble wrap.  It will provide an air gap from the inner bubble wrap for winter, and will reflect the sun out of the van in the summer. 


Blankets, lots of them!!   I just received a gift from little sis on Friday, an awesome Pendleton wool blanket that is sure to help in that department.   I had found some sheets and a comforter for a few bucks each at our local thrift store that works well on the bed, and this new wool blanket will go over that when it gets chilly.  There will also be a few throw blankets to add on top if needed.  A beanie for the head if really cold.  Layers if really cold.  Should be snug as a bug in a rug.

But for right before bed and upon arising to take the chill out of the air, I have a propane Mr. Heater Buddy heater.  It lights easy and puts out heat fairly quick. 


Have four extra green propane 1lb bottles, will buy as needed.   I hope to not use it that often as those propane bottles can get expensive quick.  But lets face it, I'm not heating a huge area.  I will have blackout curtains behind the driver and passenger seats, so I'm only heating from the back doors up to the captains chairs.  Doing the math...  it was 115" (or 9.58ft) from the back door to the front captain chairs, and it is 66" (or 5.5ft) wide in the van...  9.58 x 5.5 = 52.69 sqft.   So, just under 53 square feet of space to heat.  That's like the size of some peoples closets.  Won't take long to warm up at all.  :)

Will also have to realize bodies put out their own heat.  And also have to account for any cooking inside will give off heat from that, too.   Just boiling water in the morning for my coffee should warm up the interior enough without having to light the heater.

And don't forget doggies!!  They are their own little heaters!  I haven't let Chevy sleep with me very often, but when I did, she made a great little foot warmer.



#VanConversion  #Camping  #CampingGear

My 40th Birthday

The good, the bad, and the downright ugly.  Fairly long.

Can't believe I lived through my 40th birthday.  I could have died a few times.  Once from an almost golf cart turn over.  Another from near alcohol poisoning.  And last from the horrible bruising I got from trying to fly.  (okay, a little dramatic, but the bruises were horrid!!)

Let me start with the day I was born.  Mom had already had two daughters and really wanted to give dad a son.  When the doctor swore this time I was to be the boy, mom had me induced on my dad's birthday as a present to him.  She went through extra pains to get me here, and, surprise...  another girl.  Poor dad.  Luckily, daddy didn't hold it against me, haha.  So I was daddy's present for his birthday and we've shared it ever since, haha.  They did try one more time for a boy, and thought they better stop with little sis, after four girls, it's just time to stop. 

I had to plan a year in advance to be able to be off on my birthday.  See, I was a contract weekend worker at a hospital there in Corpus Christi, TX.  Which meant I had to guarantee I would be there every weekend for two 17 hour shifts back to back to cover the weekends, with only 2 guaranteed weekends off a year.  The previous year, on my 39th birthday, I tried to get the weekend off but someone already requested it, so I had to work on my birthday that year.  I immediately put in, in a year in advance, to be off for my big 40th birthday in 2011, as it was going to fall on a weekend day.  I was NOT going to be working when I hit the big 4-0 by golly!!

Little sis decided she was going to throw a party for me and dad for our birthdays at her house.  When she offers to do that, your only answer should be 'YES!'.  For these reasons....  #1. She lives on North Padre Island, Texas, like two blocks from the beach.  #2. Her big beautiful house sits on a canal and she has a boat right there.  #3.  She has a pool with attached hot tub and a kick ass party patio set up.  #4. She throws awesome parties!  Here is one such party, notice our gangster squirt guns?



John was home that week so he got to be there for the party.  At the time, he was working three weeks in Oklahoma, and off for a week and would come home to south Texas.  It was like he got a week vacation every month.  Lots of driving for him, but it worked.  The party was going to be on a Saturday so he was getting to be there, but was going to have to get up early Sunday morning and start driving back to Oklahoma.

So, as it was, it was my big 4-0.  The party was in the later afternoon.  What do you do when you hit the big 4-0 and you are off and not going back to work for another 7 days?  You start drinking early, that's what!   Yep.  I sure did.  I got to little sis's pretty buzzed already.  Hey, I wasn't sad for hitting 40, I was just ready to party!  haha    There's cake, and funky glasses and fun stuff all around, she really did it up good.  :)  We decide to take a leisurely boat ride down the canals, lots of beautiful houses on the canals.  The weather was awesome!!  Here is a pic of me and John on the boat cruise:



We get back to the house, more drinking.  Swimming.  Eating.  Drinking.  Laughing.  Rinse and repeat.  It was getting on in the evening and it was about that time when Pammy ran out of gas.  See... I do this disappearing thing, I'm kind of known for it.  When I've ran out of gas and I know I'm done for, I will disappear and go to bed.  You may think I went to the bathroom, I just never come back out and can be found asleep in the bed.  I mean to do it that way, just want to avoid anyone making a fuss or someone feeling like the party is over, it's not, I'm just done.  So just let me go and everyone just keep on doing what they are doing and everyone is happy.  As it was that night, after me drinking all day, and the sun and the swimming, I was done for.  So it was probably about 8-ish that night and I found the bed little sis said we could have for the night and I crawled in and passed out.

At one point I remember John coming to bed, barely.  I was still pretty out.   But, about midnight, there was a knock on the door, little sis poked her head in and whispered "Pam!  Dad wants to sing to you on the beach on your birthday."  I said, 'Okay!' and got up, I was down!   See, my dad used to sing to us sometimes in the car while growing up, and we swear he sings better than Merle Haggard, but it's a rare treat to get to hear him, so upon hearing he wanted to sing to me for my birthday on the beach, you just DON'T say no.

So we loaded up more wine in the golf cart and off we went!   I had given my dad a huge bottle of SKY vodka for his present and apparently him and my brother in law had gotten in to it and were feeling pretty good.  The beach was pretty deserted, the wind was perfect, the temperature was perfect, the waves were mesmerizing.  We sat on the beach for some time in the middle of the night, me, my dad, little sis, and her hubby, with my dad singing Merle Haggard songs, it was awesome!!  Then he said something that was the very best present I could have gotten.  He said "I wish y'all were all 10 years old again.  I wouldn't change one second of it!".  He LOVED raising us girls, and wished he could go back and do it all again.

After a while it was time to head back.  Well..  okay..  me and little sis were out of wine and dad and bro-in-law were low on their concoction.  This is where almost dying comes in.  We were a block away from little sis's house when it happened.  The wine glass turned over and so she reached down to pick it up.  You can't spill the wine, yo!  Yet, as she was the driver, and reaching down to pick up her glass, she cut the wheel with her which sent the golf cart careening sharply right.  Dad and bro-in-law were on the back and I have no idea how they hung on for this next part, but in an attempt to correct the golf cart little sis cut the wheel sharply left.  You can see where this is going.   Imagine dad and bro-in-law hanging on for dear life while their feet are flying to the rocking of the golf cart that is trying to right itself.  People from 6 blocks over could probably hear our screams of laughter (or were they just screams??  hmm...).

Okay, golf cart righted, no one dead, we get back to the house.  And we are loud.  Hey, that's what you do when you've been drinking and just get back in in the middle of the night, right?  Dad decided he's had enough birthday celebrating and decides to go to bed.   I am just getting my second wind and decide to go hang out in the hot tub with little sis.  Yes, more wine had we. 

We were out there for quite a while, making mom mad a lot at our noise, coming to the balcony from her room to yell at us to quieten down, hehe.  It's at this point I decided to try out my wings and fly.  In my inebriated brain, I thought it would be cool to attempt to be Supergirl and leap over the hot tub rim into the pool in a smooth dive.  You can see where this is going, I bet.  The rim was pretty thick and the hot tub area was raised above the pool, so my attempt to be graceful got a lot of laughs from little sis.  She decided to try to help me accomplish this dazzling feat by helping hoist me over the rim.  Only, the front of my thighs connected with the rim something horrible before getting into the pool, which garnered even more laughs from both of us.  So much for gracefulness.

We must have been pretty loud as mom came to scold us again.  It was pretty late, probably 3am, and I knew John was wanting us to leave about 5am to head home so he could pack and make his long drive back to Oklahoma, so we decided to call it a night.

I can't really remember getting up and getting into the car.  I don't know if I remembered to get all of my things.  I do remember a freezing cold bathing suit I had to put back on and sitting in the front seat and driving the 20 minutes from little sis's house to our house, my face on the dash.  Every time John turned a corner my lips just kind of drug across the dash to whatever side my body was making me lean, he kept having to put me upright.  I'm not sure I ever drank that much in a 24 hour period, it was bad.  After John packed and headed out, I decided to curl up into a ball and die.

Hours later I looked down at my legs and saw the most horrid bruising on the front of my thighs.  It was bad.   Like, real bad.  And it was no wonder, thinned blood from all the alcohol. 

I may try to find the pic of me and dad with our birthday cake and goofy glasses, it was a hoot!  I'll edit and add it later if I find it.

It took me a few days of feeling like dog shit to get over the celebrating.  Mom told me it took dad a bit longer.  Okay, no more vodka present for dad, got it!  :)    But boy!  It was one HELL of a party!!



#Stories

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dairy Queen Tacos

Why do they only sell tacos at Dairy Queen's in Texas?   

It's a crying shame.  :(    I literally drove to Shamrock, Texas the other day, over an hour from where I live, just to get some tacos.  Only to get there and discover they didn't have the taco sauce.  Are you freakin' kidding me?!   That is like ordering a hot dog and they just give you a bun.  It should be illegal!!!  No taco sauce?   But..  that's what makes their tacos so damn good!

I am literally sitting here trying not to hit the buy button on Amazon to order 200 packets of the stuff to have on hand.  But then I just know I'd sit there and eat them by themselves.  What's in them that makes them so darn good?!   Crack?

Is there any wonder I picked the Texas state to go to first??    haha

*takes hand off the 'buy' button on Amazon and resigns herself to her bland taco existence here in Oklahoma with a dejected look upon her face...  sigh  ....stupid Taco Bell  :(  *

 
 
 
#Stories

Snake Hunt and If Looks Could Kill

It was probably early 2003 and they were holding the annual Snake Hunt at the sand dunes we frequented in northern Oklahoma.  As we had never been to one of these events, we decided to go, not knowing what to expect.  My little sis and her friend were going to join us there along with some people she knew.

We had heard before how crowded and packed the event usually was, and that parking was going to be hard to find, so we tried to go as prepared as we could.

At the time we had the little 21' Class C that I named Betsy.  We also, of course, had the dune buggy on a trailer attached to Betsy in the vane hope to get to ride on the dunes (ha!  wishful thinking on our part, but, meh, we didn't know).  Since Betsy didn't have a generator, John brought one of the ones from his work so we would have power in the event we couldn't find a camping spot with hookups.  (I now know how very na├»ve it was to even consider the remote possibility... some people got there weeks in advance to be assured a hookup camping spot)

We had plenty of propane, the generator, plenty of food and we were all set.  Upon arriving though..  omg.   It was an Oklahoma version of Mardi Gras, with lots of sand and big tires and vehicles all decked out for the event thrown in the mix.

We were lucky enough to find an empty spot on the side of the sandy road at the very end of the long 2 or 3 mile drive to anywhere near the camping spots and dune access.  And we were happy to have it.  It left plenty of room for the people joining us later. 

Little sis and her friend showed up with their gear, they were going to be tenting it, I was told.  Okay.. but..     There was sand..  lots of sand.  And with sand, comes.. yeah, stickers.  LOTS of stickers.  But hey, I wasn't going to argue.  At least not with little sis's friend Louise.  When she set her mind to something you wasn't going to change it.   So I didn't.  And they set about making up their camp there in the sand and stickers.  :(    Louise did have a brilliant plan, at least, in that they were going to set their air mattress up off the ground on one of those popup mattress holders.  Like how a popup chair works, but just for air mattresses.  I thought it was a great idea, at least no sleeping on the ground.  I did catch a few looks thrown my way from little sis, as she was struggling to get the tent and such put up.  Did she know I was sorta peeking from the window inside my warm little RV?

So little sis's other friends showed up and we hung out that evening (since there wasn't really any chance of riding the dunes with the huge crowd there).  It wasn't so bad, we sat our chairs by the road and the people going up and down the road was like a huge parade.  Vehicles were done up.  Awesome rigs and buggy's drove by for inspection and bragging rights.  And when I say it was Mardi Gras'ish, I mean complete with beads for boobie flashing and all.  Yep.

It turned colder in the evening which meant it was going to be a pretty cold night.  I wasn't worried.  The small little propane heater that was mounted in the wall worked so well I usually had to turn it down or off at night.  Our bed was warm and comfy, all the comforts of home.  Life was good.

Until the next morning.  It was pretty chilly out, so I just decided to hang out in my little camper.  John decided to start the generator so I'd have power to make some coffee in the electric coffee maker and to power up the TV if I wanted it.  There I was snug as a bug in a rug, sitting at the dinette sipping hot coffee, movie playing, reading something, window curtains open and enjoying the going on's that were transpiring around us.  And then I saw it..    a head.  The head of my sister specifically.  It poked out of the tent and stared straight at my camper, I could see her saying something.  I think the noise of the generator woke her up, oops.   That, or it signaled that I was awake to vent her wrath upon, I am not sure.

I saw little sis struggle with the zipper to the tent, saw her mouth moving again because I knew she was cursing, zip the damn thing back up after she extracted herself from it, then come tromping over to my camper.  I am kinda afraid at this point.  I'm sitting there trying to be as calm as I can when she rips the door open.  Not a word is said as she slams the door, turns around, grabs some covers and proceeds to curl up in a ball at the back of the couch and facing me gives me the biggest GO TO HELL look I have ever had in my entire life.  

I couldn't help it, I started laughing.   I couldn't stop for the life of me.   I swear I think she would have probably killed me if she wasn't so mind numbing cold and trying to get life back into her limbs.  I am embarrassed to admit, I laughed for quite a while.  I'm sorry for laughing sis!!!

I later found out, after she was de-iced, that in the middle of the night the damn air mattress decided to spring a leak.  Couldn't be all of those stickers out there, noooo.   And leaked so much that the stupid 'brilliant' popup air mattress holder could be felt.  But not just in a good way, in a way where those joints meet at a peak of the popup contraption and dug into your body.  She told me she tried all night to try to get her body bent around them in a way to not have one poke in her that she wound up sleeping like a pretzel.  And the cold, omg the cold!  To add insult to injury, after a freezing, unrestful, miserable night..  someone had the NERVE to start the motherfuckin loud ass generator bright and early that morning.   So when she poked her head out of the tent, it was 'Fuck you!' she was yelling at me.  But she was laughing telling me this after she had warmed up.   I'm sorry Becky..  even though I am laughing writing this.  Love you!!

I tried to make it up to everyone around the camp for the generator noise by cooking everyone breakfast.  My camper was tiny, but I managed to cook quite a bit.  There was a lineup to come in, make a plate and get back out, cause I didn't have much space to sit everyone.  They seemed happy to have a hot breakfast.

Oh man..  good time, good times.  But, we never seemed to make it to the Snake Hunt again. 

 
 
 
 
#Camping  #Stories  #RV

Weirdo camper we lived in

"Stupid is as stupid does." ........ the sage words of Forrest Gump.

Yep.  I've done stupid.  I admit it.  Meh.  *shrugs*

So there I was..  done stupid.  I was broke, less than broke, like hiding from creditors broke..  newly divorced..  and had an 10 y/o girl to raise.

I had gotten myself in to a pickle.  I needed a cheap place to live.  I had one solution..  enter, the ugly as a butthole camper.

This camper was definitely a homemade version of a travel trailer made from what was once a camper on the back of a flat bed truck.  A few years before someone had given my dad this old camper that went on the flatbed of the truck, the guy wanted the use of the flatbed again and just gave the camper to my dad.  It would look like the camper part of this: 

 
 
But only...  minus the truck..  and add about 30 years in age.  But hey, it was free.  My ex and I decided to buy it from dad (he just gave it to us) and we decided to put it on a trailer so we could hitch it on a regular tow hitch off the bumper of our truck.  It sure got some looks, that's for sure.  But really it wasn't too bad, the underside where the over cab was where we kept propane bottles and a tool box, and it was shade for doggies from the sun.  It was about 16' long, but I think that is including the over cab, haha.

On the inside it had the bigger bed that was the over cab section.  A small wet/toilet that was pretty tight, but did what it was made for.  A tiny closet.  A small full kitchen.  And small dinette at the back which made into a small bed.  Hey, for free, you can't beat that!

So anyway, I was down pretty bad and needed some place cheap to live.  And as it was my dad who gave us the camper, I got the camper in the divorce.  It was my cheapest and best option.

Me and my daughter lived in that tiny ugly thing for 6 weeks while waiting for an apartment for low income housing to come open.  But really, it wasn't bad at all!   I parked it at an RV park, they charged at the time (year 2000) about $250 a month for parking, water, sewer and cable.  It was across the street from a grocery store and dollar store.  My job was about a mile away.  All in all, it really wasn't that bad.  It was like camping all the time.  My daughter enjoyed it quite a bit, actually.  We made a game of it.

My ex did try to raise a stink about it when he found out, but after I consulted someone, I found there wasn't anything he could do about it.  There was a roof over her head, she had her own bed, there was a toilet and shower, a stove/oven, a sink, and a refrigerator.  All of her needs were met.

I was finally able to start paying some on those creditors because I was able to live so cheaply.  Why didn't I get it way back then?!   Ugh!  *hits self on head*

Any friend that came to see me just thought the RV was the neatest little thing since sliced bread.  Even old and ugly, they thought it was cool.   I wound up leaving it with a friend of mine after we moved into an apartment, they liked it so much they kept it.   I still don't know what happened to that little rig.  But it did service us very well when we needed her.  Farewell, old friend.


#Camping  #Stories

RAWR! and spiders

Does anyone else remember the dreams you had the night before?  

I admit, I don't remember most and I dream a lot.   But on a few occasions, I remember them in vivid detail.   I will tell a few.

So it was mid 2012 and the night wasn't really any different than any other.  Other than, I scared the beejesus out of John.  Let me tell you the dream (and please... excuse my crazy) and then you will know how I scared him so bad.

So there we were, me and John had just bought a house in the middle of a secluded state park.  It was in like a forest area, trees all around, and the house was amid all of these wonderful trees and lots of greenery.  I remember you could only get to the house by a path.  It overlooked a small lake that was public to people.  My middle and youngest sis had showed up to see my house and I was showing them around and showing them the public lake.  Then I told them that I had my own private lake that was hidden and I went to show them.   (follow with me here...)

So we went on a short overgrown path that led to my tiny hidden lake was there.  It was surrounded by trees which kept it secluded and it seemed to be on a higher level than the other public lake.  In the middle of the lake was a huge rock.  We decided to swim to it and jump off it.  Of course, we already had bathing suits on.  I decided to start yelling 'RAWR!' when I jumped off the rock, and encouraged them to do that, as well.   Only, in my dream, they weren't yelling loud enough.  So I decided to show them.  "Take a really deep breath, then 'RAWR!!!!!".  They tried, but it still wasn't loud enough to suit me.  So I showed them again, this time, I really gave it all I got.  "You got to really yell it out like this (deep breath)..  'RAWWRRRR!!!!'".

Only...      I actually did that for real.  As loud as I could, as loud as I was trying to show my sisters how to do it in my dream.  From sound asleep to the loudest 'RAWR' you can imagine, in the dead of night.   Needless to say, that is how I came to scare the beejesus out of John, he was instantly awake and looking for something to kill.   I started laughing that point, laughing so hard cause I knew exactly what I had done.  Which is probably why I can remember the dream so vividly.  It took a while to convince John someone wasn't trying to attack us.

It was maybe a few months later another incident happened.  Only this time, it wasn't a huge bellowing sound.  It was actually a movement.

Anyone that knows me knows I have this unnatural fear of spiders.  Like, severe!!   And I admit to actually calling my daughter to come across town to kill a spider for me.  There I am terrified and hiding on the corner of the couch, my kid walks in, all knight in shining armor, walks across the room, takes off her shoe, 'whack!' and looks at me like I am an idiot.  True story.   Yeah.  So, anyway,  I am afraid of spiders.  I'm dealing with it.

On this particular night, spiders were after me.  But I knew somehow I was asleep and dreaming.  I knew it because I was laying on the bed.  Yet they were trying to get me.  They started crawling up the bed and towards me.  The biggest and the boldest, of course, came across the mattress and got to my leg, where I immediately kicked with all of my might.  Only..  you guessed it..  I kicked in real life.  So hard that all the covers covering both me and John were thrown off the bed.  Which scared John, yet again.  He sat bolt upright in bed in his ninja stance ready to kill anything that came our way, and all I could do was laugh.  I was laughing so hard I couldn't tell him it was okay, it was just me dreaming again.   Not my finer moment.  I have a real life story about them being after me in real life I may tell later on. 

Here's a funny one about a night of dreaming, and one I do not remember at all (hehe).  I will tell this one last dreaming story.  This one was years ago when I was married to my first husband.  He told me about this the morning after it happened.  Apparently I was dreaming something that didn't sit too well with me.  He must have been being a jerk or something I dunno, because I was told I sat upright in the bed, turned, slapped the shit out of him, laid back down and went back to sleep.   I have no recollection of this, at all.   I swears!




#Stories