Great Medicine Week…

running water.jpg

What a week it has been! The guy that was supposed to come out to check out the property to make sure everything was ok, cleaned up, whatever, never showed up. It’s a little frustrating that he didn’t come, but things are rolling forward as normal so I can’t complain even a little bit. I don’t have to figure out how to move my family and where. Whew! Thank goodness!

We now have running water, again!! It was a long 6 months without it, buying bottled water in gallons (usually around 15 gallons every 4 -5 days), learning new ways to do things without running water, but we have it now and I can not begin to describe the level of joy this brings me. My gardens are at least as happy as I am, if not more so, though I’m finding it hard to believe that anyone or thing could be more excited about it than me.

I have been a water maven since the water was restored…watering the gardens, doing ALL of the dishes (I don’t want to talk about it), washing my car, with a list of other things I want to get done now that I have running water, again. Have I mentioned the level of joy it brings me?? Well, I think it stands to mention once more. I AM SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY ABOUT HAVING RUNNING WATER AGAIN THAT I THINK I MAY JUST EXPLODE!!

I entered a contest on Freelancer recently. It was a contest to come up with a creative name for a company that offers financial education through games, articles, etc. based in Australia. The prize is $60 Australian dollars. Well, it turns out I won. Woot!

It took me all of about 3 minutes to verify and submit my entry…it was just so obvious a choice for me. One of the things you had to do was make sure that the .com and .com.au were available for the name you submit. Both were available so I entered. I didn’t really think it would win, so I entered then left it alone. The contest holder had messaged me within 24 hours of my submission to let me know he was going to keep my idea on the short list. Cool, but I had looked at some of the top submissions and he had said similar things there. Whatever. He noticed, liked it, said so, awesome.

Then, yesterday, after realizing that my phone had decided to stop syncing my emails to my phone, I did a perusal of my email accounts to see if there was anything important that I had missed. Mostly spam, as expected, but then I noticed one from Freelancer saying something about a winning entry. I, of course, clicked immediately, trying to keep myself from getting excited because I had no idea if it was an email saying I had won or just one showing me who did. When I saw the email was telling me I had won, I couldn’t believe it. I went directly to Freelancer and signed the ‘hand over’ paperwork. Now, I wait for the winnings to be deposited into my account. Sure, it comes to about $45 US dollars, but $45 is $45, which I think is great money for about 3 minutes of work. Can you see my smile from there? It’s a big one.

So, what was my entry? The Coffee Can.

With what this company is offering on their website, financial smarts, the name just popped into my head. If you don’t know how the two things are connected, let me know in the comments and I’ll explain it. It’s pretty old style.

So, yeah, it has been a really great week. I wish I could say I found something to bring a steady stream of cash in, aka a job, but I haven’t. I’m entering more and more contests on Freelancer, but I can’t see just the contests being a full-time income. It’s more like something that would be bonus income if I were adding it to an actual income.

I’m giving more and more thought to writing that book, finally. Ok, I’ve been doing more than just thinking. I’ve sort of started a couple of ideas. My biggest road block, I think, is the fact that I have never done this before, have always been extremely shy about my writing, even when I was writing poems all the time when I was younger. Sure, people actually saw some of those before I shredded them all (yes, I do regret that now), but I didn’t have my whole self invested in them, either. They were just things that I wrote for reasons that escape me at this point, though I did receive very positive feedback from those that got to read them. I’ve thought about going back to poems, again, but…well, I don’t think I am that connected to my emotions anymore and they were definitely a driving force back then. Maybe. We shall see. I don’t know how to formally write poems, you know, the right meter and all that. I just write what’s going on in my heart. If I decide to walk down that road, again, I’ll be throwing the poems up on here for feedback.

Well, that’s it for me, right now. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Trying to Remember to Breathe…

Well, today is the day we find out if we are going to have to move. Why you ask? It’s a bit of a long story, but I’ll try to give you the cliff notes version as I continue to remind myself to breathe in and out…no holding my breath.

So, we have been living in this spot for almost 4 years now (it will be 4 years in October). It’s a nice little spot, next to a hangar on a private residential airstrip. Most of the hangar spots have houses, the one we are in does not. We are in an end spot, closest to the road.

Though this is not technically an RV space, our landlord had put in an RV sewage dump for the last person he had parked out here, so there are all the hook-ups here – water, electricity, and sewage, though we have not had running water since the end of December, sometime in January. We have installed a new pump once (well, like three times with the same new pump) but we still do not have water. Either the pump came bad from the factory or the control panel is bad. Not sure which at this point but the landlord assures us he now knows how to check to see if the control panel is the problem, so we wait. As frustrating and inconvenient as that is, we are muddling through it to the best of our ability, which means we have been buying bottled water in mass quantities for over 6 months now. Yes, I’m frustrated by this but the alternative is to try to find somewhere to move the gypsy camp to, which isn’t all that easy, especially since we really don’t have a way to move any of our dwellings, at the moment – as in no truck to haul the travel trailer, no 5th wheel set up, and not sure the RV we limped in here is going to start and/or move, again.

Anyway, our landlord is a bit of a pack rat (aka hoarder). He can no longer fly, so the one plane he has that looks like it would be flyable sits in the hangar, surrounded by a bunch of junk (some it is really cool, vintage junk). Around two sides of the hanger are about 30 or so cars, an old Hudson pickup, miscellaneous fodder. The cars have been there long enough to almost blend into the trees due to the amount of moss and growth on them. Most of them are complete, but there are many that are just part of the whole car – half a Dodge Omni here, a Volvo missing its door over there, windshields broken from branches falling over the years, the floaters (pontoons?) for a water plane, what looks like an old gas pump that’s been gutted, and the list goes on.  Anyway, you get the picture.

Since the day we moved in here, the landlord has said multiple times that he was going to clear all the junk out. Great! Let us know when you want to do that and we will do what we can to help. Obviously, this hasn’t happened. The hangar is also in a bit of disrepair – roofing edging boards rotten, falling down, lots of spots missing boards. I don’t think the landlord really cares much about this spot but it would be too overwhelming for him to have to go through and get rid of everything in order to potentially sell it. It’s a bit of a mess that I no longer really see because we have lived here long enough for it to become background noise. Well, someone from the airstrip turned him in, again, and now there is a guy coming out to take a look around. Our landlord had talked on the phone with the guy that’s coming out sometime last week or so, and this guy informed our landlord that he’s not allowed to have people living in RVs within county limits. Crap.

Am I in a panic?? Oh, I don’t think that is an adequate description of what I’m going through. Terror may be closer to the mark, though I am doing my best to not buy into it, trying to keep a positive state of mind and believe that everything will turn out just fine. Worse case scenario, hopefully, would be that we have 6 months to get our poop in a group and move. Of course, the best case scenario is obvious.

Despite trying to not buy into the terror that is coursing through me, that has my heart racing even when I’m trying not to think about it, I have gone into save our tooshes mode. What does that look like? Honestly, not pretty at all.

I started by trying to find spots for us to move the camp to. Not really any luck there. We would have two dwellings plus we have the three dogs. Not an easy set up to find a place to move to, which is why we tend to find a spot and try not to move for as long as possible. 3-4 years seems to be the limit, though, and we are unfortunately at the marker, though I am hoping that holds no bearing on the situation (Do you hear me Universe???).

Next, I moved on to attempting to find a drivable RV so we could at least be able to get our travel trailer out of here and still have enough living space for my son, my husband, our three dogs, two cats, and myself. I’ve found a couple that I think would work out well, might have to do a little bit of work to which isn’t a huge deal, but there isn’t funding for that. As for the RV we have here and the 5th wheel, I would gladly put them both on Craigslist and get whatever I could for them, or give them away for free to just have them dealt with and gone, but that means having something to move my son and his cat into first. Do you see the loop here? Can you see where my panic is coming from?

I’m heading into downtown Puyallup today to apply to be a delivery driver for Wesco Autobody Supply. Part of me feels like looking for a job when we may have to move and I have no idea where in the heck we are going to end up landing, which may turn out to be nowhere near where I end up working, is sort of pointless. If nothing else, it will bring in some funding. If I have to walk away later, then that is how that will go, but I must have something going asap in order to deal with what may come. If we don’t have to move, then I have an income coming in, which is always a great thing.

Lance is working up at his brother’s neighbor’s place today. The commercial roof job keeps getting pushed back for reasons unknown to me. Lance’s brother has been keeping him working, though, which is greatly appreciated.

Lance has started building a prototype for his yurt idea. It’s nice to see him actually doing something with his idea instead of just talking about it, drawing diagrams, doing the math, and jumping to steps he isn’t ready to take on, yet, like trying to find an investor. He still needs to write a business plan, something neither of us knows how to do, but I have started trying to teach myself about it. I have gotten Lance to agree that there is no way he can just pursue his yurt idea without working at the same time, too, which is good. He can see his idea so clearly it’s hard for him to not be able to just focus only on that, though he knows that isn’t optimal for keeping us afloat. Plus, he is going to need funding to do the things like a prototype and potentially help with writing a business plan, but he is finally moving forward a bit on it.

Lance has also decided that he wants to put an ad on Craigslist advertising himself as a yurt consultant. After having built one from scratch for us when we lived up in Tulalip and helping put together the one his brother built, he feels that he has a firm grasp on the making of yurts. I think so, too, as does his brother, who has pretty much said as much without actually saying so. That could turn into another income stream for him, maybe. I have no idea what kind of demand there is for that in the area, but I guess we shall find out.

Well, I have some errands to run so I’m going to go do that. Have a great day, Everyone, and keep your fingers crossed for us.

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How to Fund the Life I Want to Fund Me?

It’s Monday morning and I have work in 3 and a half hours. We have finished the in-room training and are now completely on the phones. Yeah, it’s a bit anxiety causing since this all still feels really new and I don’t feel I am completely prepared for this next level, but I’ve done OK so far so it shouldn’t be horrible, though this does not stop the angst of it.

The feedback I received from my trainer has been great, super positive, and that definitely helps some, but… Well, I have to admit that I really am not liking what I am doing. It’s not that it’s super taxing, other than the anxiety that I know will dissipate over time as I gain hands on experience, and it’s super easy work.  As I’ve said before, it’s definitely not my dream job. It’s an income, period, and not a great one. Not one that anyone could actually afford to pay rent with and still feed themselves AND pay any life-sustaining bills with, unless, of course, they lived in their car….or an RV. UGH

Anyway, I’m trying hard not to talk myself out of this job, if only to keep an income coming in. It won’t last like that, I know. I’m already finding about a gazillion different reasons on why I should be looking for a different job. Yeah, I think I need to at least look into something else. I have no plans of quitting without there being a replacement income first. But who really has time to look for other work when it feels like the current employment takes up all of the time? I’ll need to figure that out. I don’t think I should be dreading work on Monday at the start of the weekend, which seems to be how this is going.

So, what is it, exactly, that I’m not really liking about this job? I think a lot of it is just being completely out of my comfort zone. Yeah, I know. Not a good reason to give up on a job. With time it would become more comfortable and I’m sure I’d be really great at it (at least my trainer thinks so), and there is that whole room for advancement thing. I guess part of me keeps looking at the pay thing, what it looks like now and what it would look like with advancement, and there is absolutely no way I will ever make anywhere near what I used to make. Yes, there is consistency, which sort of makes up for the severe pay difference, and the ability to have health insurance benefits, which I’ve heard are not super expensive, something completely new to me.

I think this comes down to this is completely soulless work, nothing that feeds my soul in any way. There is also the fact that my dogs are spending about 10 hours a day alone, which is not great for them. My husband and I are also not spending hardly any time together, which I am finding irritates me a whole lot. I’m not saying we need to be joined at the hip or anything like that, though that seems to be how things have worked out for us over the past 11-1/2 years. It has been great for us to have the time apart, to do things on our own individually, to have the chance to miss each other, but only getting about an hour and a half together each night before going to sleep just doesn’t feel balanced at all. It is also costing my husband to miss out on some much-needed sleep in order for us to even have that much time together. If he went to bed when he should, we would have no time together – he’d be asleep when I got home from work.

I wish I felt more upbeat about this job. I know I was grateful that they could recycle me into a different training class when we had both cars go down, and that hasn’t changed. I’m grateful for the job, I just feel I can do better, find something that works better for my family and me, something that might even feed my soul at the same time. Is that being ungrateful? I don’t know.

I guess it’s time to start using my morning time, the time I use to try to rejuvenate to face the next round of calls, my time in the morning with the dogs, to start figuring this out, before I reach the point where I work myself into a fit and just walk away, which I have to admit doesn’t feel that far away. Who am I kidding? I already feel that way. I have had to talk myself into going to work pretty much every day for at least a week, now.

Is it normal to feel this way about a ‘normal’ job? Do most people just trudge through their work days completely unsatisfied, uninspired, robotically? If so, how on Earth do you do that and not end up feeling…well, suicidal? I guess there have been some serious personal benefits to the way I have been working throughout my adult life that I may have been taking for granted. Maybe not for granted. I just never have figured out how to have those personal benefits as a consistent part of my life and still be able to financially move forward. I know there is a way, more than one way, to make that happen. I wish I could figure that out and fast. Actually, I don’t understand why I have not been able to figure that out already. Lord knows I have had plenty of time to do so. I guess I need guidance, but I don’t know where I get this type of guidance from.

I’ve considered turning this blog into something more than it is. You know, buy the domain name, get it to rate better on search engines (which buying the domain name alone could do that), monetize it with affiliate links, learn how to guest blog and potentially get paid for it, etc. I’ve looked at a whole lot of information on how that is supposed to work out, what you ‘need’ to do, but I don’t know if this blog is good enough to carry itself that way and, at the moment, am not sure how I would fund it.

I’ve also looked into dog training school, as I’ve mentioned before, but I run into the whole how to afford it part, again. Writing a book? Again, is my writing good enough for that? This would also have its own monetary issues along with time factors, and the whole throwing it to the Universe with a hope and a prayer that the book would be successful enough to turn writing into a career that supports my family. Photography – same needs and risks – money, time, uncertainty. These are the things I would like to do the most, along with traveling while taking photos and writing about it, with my dogs (and husband!), of course. Perhaps I’m being completely unrealistic, being juvenile with my dreams and desires. Or, maybe, just maybe, I just need to figure out how to fund the life I want so that it, in turn, can fund me.

Thoughts?

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Finding My Judgment Untrustworthy…

Here I am, thinking about things – life, work, breathing – and feeling like I just really don’t have anything figured out at all. Though I am grateful for the job, I am beginning to think that, perhaps, this was not the right move for me. Life, well, is life, as usual, and I just get the feeling that I don’t really have that down at all, either. The same things keep happening to knock me off my feet whenever I feel like I’m just about ready to take a few test steps. Breathing? Ha! In with the good air, out with the bad is the mantra, but I find myself holding my breath more than recycling it.  – sigh –

I can’t say there is anything in particular at work that is causing me to feel this has been an error in judgment. It’s definitely not my dream job, the pay is…well, at least I’m making money, and sure, there is the opportunity for advancement, at some point, but…I’m finding it harder and harder to make myself leave for work in the mornings and spend a good portion of my breaks and lunch encouraging myself to stay. I really don’t think its supposed to be this way, but what would I know. I’ve never really worked this type of job, an 8 hour, scheduled shift, with supervisors and stuff. Though I keep telling myself it’s an adjustment that is going to take time, I’m increasingly more miserable. I guess I’m feeling like its time to sit down and really assess my life, as it sits right now, and make some decisions.

Yes, I have complained about the inconsistencies in my lie, the unreliability of income, the “wth” moments that knock my feet out from under me and the seeming lack of resources to deal with these when they come, but I’m not sure I’ve made the right decision(s) to change things. Sure, my job is consistent, reliable, and all that, but…I’m really miserable. I want nothing more than to be able to stay home with my dogs and…

It’s that whole ‘what do I do’ part that is really messing with me. I’ve been telling myself, ‘You say you want to be a writer, so BE A WRITER! Stop f-ing around. Fear? HA! How can you have fear about writing, submitting your writing to a publisher, once you have something put together, when you have faced so much that spun you, made you feel like there was no way to come out of whatever situation alright, that you haven’t figured out? Stop procrastinating!!!’ Yet, here I sit, four hours before work starts, still trying to figure out how I stop feeling so miserable in my life as it is right now. What is wrong with me?!

Fear. Yep, fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failing, I’m pretty sure there is some fear of succeeding in there, too, fear of… Fear of being all in only to find out that I have bet on the losing horse thinking it was the hidden gem. I really hate that I over think things so much. I just want to be as fearless I perceive so many other to be. Yeah, I tend to make myself the sole slacker in the whole world, despite knowing this is not true. There are plenty others out there. Right, right…not the slacker, just stuck in a rut, stuck in my head in not a good way, defeater of my own self. Ugh.

That’s the crux of it right there – ‘defeater of my own self.’ I’m amazing at throwing up my own roadblocks, whether I do them intentionally or not, with thought or not. Which leads me to wonder if that is why I am feeling so miserable with work, life, etc., at the moment. Am I sabotaging things? Or am I truly recognizing I should be doing something else? I truly do not know the answer. I’ve made so many mistakes when I was certain I was doing the right thing, and have regretted so many things when I have not listened to The Committee screams that what I was doing to ‘achieve the highest benefit despite lack of desire’ was not going to be ‘the right thing’ in the end.

I truly do not know the answer. I’ve made so many mistakes when I was certain I was doing the right thing, and have regretted so many things when I have not listened to The Committee’s screams that what I was doing to ‘achieve the highest benefit despite lack of desire’ was not going to be ‘the right thing’ in the end. How does one trust their own judgment when its been completely wrong so many times?

I’ve actually started writing a couple of stories. I’m not far into either of them, but they are started. My biggest obstacle to moving forward, I think, is letting myself write a crappy first draft. I have such perfectionist ideas in place that its really hard to just let them go, understanding that perfectionism is an unrealistic idea, and that, once I get the whole story out, on metaphorical paper, I can edit as I see fit. Or perhaps, it would be better to have someone else edit for me. I can see myself getting stuck in that mode, striving for absolutely perfect, never seeing if it’s even close to it. At least I’ve started something, though. The first step to it. Now, to write to completion of that SFD (shitty first draft).

So, yeah, I’m a bit confused about what to do, at the moment, which means I’ll probably end up doing one of two things – talk myself out of the job without having a backup income or continue on with this hoping it will be more than I believe it has the ability to be. I think I need some outside help with this one, though I’m not sure where to get that. If I was still in counseling, I would probably talk it out there, but I’m not, nor do I see that happening anytime soon.

I picked up a ’99 Subaru Outback, yesterday. It runs like a champ, though it has some issues with the passenger side suspension. I’m pretty sure I need to replace the front caliper on that side and, in the rear, I think the arm is a little bent. I’ll figure it out. It also burns oil, I have discovered. Not sure what to do about that one, but, again, I’ll figure it out. At least I can take the freeway to work, which will shorten my commute time. Onward and upward, right?

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Death Strikes Again…

Well, it’s been great to be back at work, especially after thinking I didn’t have the job anymore. I had the meltdown I knew would come this past Friday. I had felt it coming on Thursday and was just trying to make it until the weekend. Unfortunately, Friday morning, the tears came in the middle of training class and I just couldn’t make them stop. How embarrassing. It’s over though and my supervisor was very understanding once we had talked.

Last night, as Lance and I were falling asleep, Lance got a call from a good friend of ours. A very dear friend of ours died over the weekend of medication complications. I am heartbroken. This woman was such a beautiful soul and the high priestess at our handfasting. I am an emotional traffic jam at the moment, though I think I’ll be able to maintain through the work day, but…shock, complete and utter shock.

It’s so weird to have friends die. It definitely puts you in touch with your own mortality. At least, it has reconnected me with my own. To think I spent a whole lot of my life feeling like mortality was just an unverified rumor, taking so many chances with my life, my health…it really hits home just how careless I have been. How does one process the loss of someone who shone so brightly? Who touched the heart of every last person they met? I think this is one that will take a bit to process.

I haven’t cried over the death of my friend, yet, though my heart hurts. I think this is maybe due to the amount of deaths and traumas I’ve experienced over the last 8 years and the habit I’ve gotten into of just shoving that stuff aside in order to keep moving forward or to allow those with the greater need to grieve to have the space to do so. My friend keeps running through my mind on and off today though, and this is a good thing, I know. Also the memories of others that were connected to her and their interactions that I was privileged to witness. I’m grateful for the memories and for the time that I was honored with the presence of her soul in my life.

Dear Readers, never take for granted that those you love will always be there. You never know when they won’t be. This is why I do my best to make sure that, every time I leave someone after spending time with them, I tell them I love them. I don’t ever want that to be something I look back at with regret.

 

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Moving Forward…

Well, the Camry is back on the road. YAY! We FINALLY got the stupid drum off of the rear passenger side. Though it didn’t look as if the brake had gotten stuck at all, the brakes in the back were pretty non-existent, so they have, now, been replaced. That was a chore but, gratefully, it’s done with.

We have driven the Camry up to Woodinville (about 56 miles north) and back twice without issue. I, of course, think I FEEL something, HEAR something, but I have to put that down. It’s moving forward, getting slightly better gas mileage and has not made that horrible noise, again. I’m going with being grateful for where we are at instead of looking for problems.

I also have finally transferred the van into my name. I will be driving it for work. OH! Work! I’ll get to that in a minute. Anyway, the van still has its issue but I believe I have finally determined what is wrong with it: water has gotten into the transmission. I had checked the tranny fluid back when I was working on it last, a few months ago and the fluid level was too high. I decided to suck some out of it today to make room for some Lucas Transmission Fix. The fluid came out a bit milky. Crap. Online I went to research why that would be. What did I find out? Water has gotten into the transmission, most likely due to the transmission cooler in the radiator having failed, allowing antifreeze to get into the tranny. Damn.

This is not good at all. The clutch adhesive in an automatic transmission is made to be used in an oil environment and is WATER SOLUBLE. SO, what this means is, since water has gotten in the transmission, it is slowly breaking down said adhesive which means the transmission is eventually going to fail. Double crap.

I had taken some of the transmission fluid out of the van a few months back since I had seen the level was too high. I don’t remember the transmission fluid being milky then so this could mean it is a super recent thing and I may get a bit more life out of the tranny before actually having to replace it. My fingers are crossed on that. I’ll only be driving it around 150 miles a week, so let’s hope.

So, work. Two days after my supervisor let me know that there wasn’t a way to recycle me into a different training class, she called me. She went to battle for me with her operational managers, letting them know that she felt I was one that would excel with the company and that, though my absences from training have not been medical related, she feels that recycling me into a different training would benefit the company. I still have my job and the relief that gives me is so incredible. I start back at work tomorrow, though the hours will be different since I am in a different class. I was working 7 am – 3:30 pm and now will be working 11:30 am to 8 pm. Not super fond of the hours but not complaining about them either. I don’t have to start looking for a new job and that is priceless.

Lance worked at his brother’s the last two days to start paying back the money he lent us to get at least one car back on the road. It turns out that his brother’s neighbor has some work Lance can do. Lance’s brother had already recommended Lance to his neighbor, so Lance went over and talked with talk with the neighbor. Lance starts work with him on Monday, and it pays very well. YAY! It’s a temporary gig, but it couldn’t have come at a better time.

This week is still going to be a somewhat long one. Money will be tight, but I’m thinking we will just barely make it, just in time for Lance to get paid for the week. Juggle, juggle. But we made it through this. We aren’t necessarily out of deep waters, yet, but we seem to be heading in the right direction, again. I’m grateful for all we didn’t lose – the Camry, my job, our minds – and we managed to wade through it without getting irritated with each other, for the most part.

We seemed to be on the same side, again, and I think it surprised us both just how much we haven’t really been on each other’s side very much, for a while now. It’s not that we wished bad on one another or anything like that, or just plain didn’t care. We both stopped feeling supported somewhere along the line so stopped supporting one another, I think. Or something like that. Anyway, we have fared well all the way around this time. Whew…

 

* I wrote this last night and then got distracted by getting dinner ready and all that. Wish us luck today!!

 

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The Camry is Home, What is My Purpose?

The Camry is home. My brother-in-law came down yesterday to help us out. We got the Camry out of impound and I drove it home, making it here without incident. Strange car.

I tried to replicate the driving I did on the night that both cars broke down. I had been on the freeway and, since the wheel bearing hadn’t actually locked up, I headed home yesterday in the Camry on the freeway. Lance’s brother followed in case anything went wrong. I really thought it would but nothing. Odd.

Once we were back home, Lance and I went to work jacking up the car and removing each tire to do a look-see and feel. I was pretty sure it was one of the back wheel bearings, most likely the passenger side one, but I’m not so sure now. None of the bearings are seeming like there is an issue or need to replace.

On the way back home with the Camry, Lance and I stopped at O’Reilly’s to grab brakes for the car. I had wanted to do the brakes before it had broken down. Coming to a stop just seemed to take longer than it should. My thought, yesterday, was that we would be removing each tire to inspect and attempt to diagnose which wheel bearing was bad, I might as well have the brakes handy so I could just change them while I already had the wheel off. No sense in having to jack the car up and remove the same tire twice, right?

So, the front brakes are just fine. In fact, they look great. This is good. I can take the front brakes back to O’Reilly’s. The back brakes…well, I’m thinking they are probably going to have to be replaced. I’m not sure, yet, though, since I am unable to get the drum off the rear passenger brake. I’ve sprayed penetrating lubricant, hit with a hammer next to and between each lug bolt and around the edges of the drum…nothing. Upon closer inspection of the drum and lug bolts, I don’t think the drum that is on there is the right one. The lug bolts seem to be pressed against the edge of the holes in the drum in such a way that there is no way to get movement. I think the drum may have been knocked on by whoever last worked on that brake. Bummer. If it’s that hard to get on, it’s not the right drum.

I’m going to have to do some more inspecting and attempting with this drum to be sure, but I think I may end up having to cut the lug bolts and drill them out in order to get the brake apart. This really sucks because it means I am going to have to replace that whole hub. Upside: I can probably pick one up at Pick n Pull for about $20, though I am really hoping I don’t have to go that route. At least I have that as an option.

I’ve started preparing to work on the Freestar, again. We are in desperate times so I am trying to utilize all of the available options that I know of. I charged the battery for it since that was dead. Once I get the Camry dealt with, I will have Lance follow me up to O’Reilly’s so they can test the charging system. I think the alternator may have a short in it, which is draining the battery when the van is just sitting and may be a contributing factor to the acceleration hesitation problem. If it needs the alternator, then I’ll need to come up with a game plan for that. I would also like to drop the gas tank on the van to inspect the fuel pump connections. If the negative isn’t properly grounded, it could be what is causing the hesitation. After those two things are dealt with, if the problem still exists, I will be throwing a for sale sign on it. I have enough to contend with at the moment and a cantankerous van is not going to be kept in the mix. Sell it and apply the money to something else to attempt to get us moving forward, again.

I had called into work yesterday to let them know it was going to take a few days to get a vehicle up and going. I let my trainer know that I understood that this meant I was no longer a part of the training. He said to let him talk with my supervisor and see if there was a way to have them recycle me into a different training class. My trainer told me that they didn’t want to lose me, I have been an asset to have in class. This made me feel so good and gave me such hope. Last evening, my supervisor called to let me know that they were not going to be able to recycle me into another training class.

If troubles happen in 3’s, then I think I have reached the 3 in this lot: Lance’s car breaks down – needs timing belt/chain, my car breaks down – may need bearing/definitely needs something with the rear brakes rebuilt, and the believed loss of my job, being given hope it may not be lost, finding out I definitely no longer have a job, along with the loss of Lance’s job. That sounds more like four, so we should be covered for a bit. I guess we shall see. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean we are back to backing two sets of terrible threes. Please don’t let it mean that.

I’m feeling really defeated, right now. I am fighting with the feeling that it makes no sense to work on any of the vehicles, I should just sell them, f*** it all, but I can’t just lay down and give up. I have to admit that there is a part of me that wants to, that’s just so tired of fighting, struggling, juggling, and figuring out only to end up right back where I started, again. It is said that when you are in the flow of your purpose, the Universe will conspire to work for you. I quite apparently have not gotten into that flow, ever, because it feels as if the Universe is constantly conspiring to knock me on my butt whenever I feel like I am starting to get it together.

I do not know what my purpose is. I apparently have no clue what my purpose is supposed to be. Cleaning? Struggling? Dogs? Writing? Photography? Homeless? Though the depression is severe and it really is feeling like my being here on Earth is a HUGE mistake on someone’s part, though I have no idea what to do from here, I’m going to have to figure something out. Why? Right now, I have no idea. No idea at all.

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Two in One Day? Why?!

I am so devastated I can barely breathe. I have struggled, fought, planned, made happen SOMEHOW so many things over the last 8+ years and now…well, now, I’m at a loss as to how I move forward. I am out of resources, ideas, and, at the moment, strength. Overwhelmed does not begin to cover it.

So, in my last post, I said I was in survival mode and would be gone for a bit so I could make things happen. I did that, quite successfully, I might add. Lance found a job, steady work, something that is scheduled to last a year. WOOT WOOT! He’s not earning as much as he would like to but it’s still good money. The commute ends up looking like 2-ish hours each direction, but, hey! It’s money, right? Something is always better than nothing.

I also found a job working in a wireless company call center. Training is 12 weeks. The pay took a few minutes, and a few self-talk sessions, to accept since it is severely less than I am used to making. It’s consistent work, though, and that means a lot. There is also room for advancement, benefits available, paid time off earned, wireless discounts, so, overall, not such a bad deal.

The work is something completely new to me and I have found myself a bit anxious about the learning process, how much we are learning in such a short time, the whole newness of it. Change always seems to screw me up at least a little bit, but I’ve been determined to make this work. I even have started to find hope in it, looking toward the future with this company and what that might bring. There is still another 10 weeks of training left, but I’ve started thinking this may have been a great change in my life. Maybe we would finally be able to get up on our feet. Fingers super crossed.

Then, last night happened.

My son had spent the weekend at a long time friend of his. My son’s friend is a Marine and stationed in Hawaii, so they don’t really get to hang out much at all, which is sort of a bummer because they have been friends since 1st grade and are pretty much like brothers.

Anyway, we needed to pick up my son. I was going to be the one to do this, so was trying to set up a time with my son that would leave me with a little bit of last-minute down time before starting the work week. My husband decided to go pick up my son for me so I could just stay home and relax…I love that man. He headed over, grabbed my son, and Google Mapped his return drive. Google said the normally quickest way was completely backed up and routed him a different way that was much longer in miles and would end up being only 3 minutes shorter. The normal route usually only takes about an hour, and Maps was saying it was going to take 2 hours and 15 minutes. My husband decided to take Google’s advice and started heading south. His car is really great on gas (Not Prius great but still impressive).

About an hour before my son and husband would have been home, I get a call from my husband. I figured he was calling to update his ETA since I was waiting to put the enchiladas I made in the oven so they would be ready about the time they got home. I answered the phone happily only to hear a defeated response from my husband. Uh oh.

“The car just died and I have no idea why.” Crap. I knew he had plenty of gas, so didn’t even ask the gas-related questions. He said he still had lights and all the other power items, but the car just wouldn’t start, again. None of the dash lights had come on either right before or when it died, so no help there. I told him I would just start heading that way. If he got it going before I got there, great! I’d just turn around and head back home. If not, we would just have to figure it out. I threw on some slightly warmer clothes since it was starting to cool off, hopped in the car, and headed toward the freeway.

As I was heading toward the freeway, my car felt like it was driving a little weird. Not engine wise, but handling wise. I wrote it off as I was just tired (which I was) and I tend to get a bit over-sensitive to the movements of the car when I get tired. Onward I drove.

Once on the freeway, it seemed like the weirdness in handling was a bit more pronounced. Was I getting a flat tire? Did I need to get an alignment? Did I lose a weight on one of the tires? I would need to check all that out, later, is what I told myself. My husband called. He was stressing out pretty bad and needing to brainstorm with me. As we are talking, I hear a humming start in the rear of the car. Oh god no.

I know that sound. I’ve heard it before. And then, it got a little bit louder. Uh oh. I told my husband I thought I had a wheel bearing going out. Just as I told him, I felt one of the back tires catch a little bit, then release. I told my husband I needed to pull over. I wanted to make to the next exit, but the tire caught, again, then released. It didn’t feel like I would make it to the next exit. That wheel bearing was going to lock up. I pulled over, hung up with my husband, and just started crying. How could this be happening? Both cars on the same day??? Please, no. I called my best friend.

Through my tears, I told her I was stuck on the side of the road with a wheel bearing going out. She knows a bunch about cars, also, so asked some diagnostic questions. I explained what had happened and she agreed: wheel bearing. She would come rescue me.

Before she left home, my best friend called me back. She said that she was looking for the tow chain and tow strap she has so we could tow my husband’s car home. Mine was not an option to tow since the wheel bearing was catching. That would need a flatbed to move it safely. My thought is getting one car home is better than making it home without any cars. At least we might be able to save ourselves if we can get his car going again.

So, we towed my husband’s car home. It sits just off the driveway, waiting for us to try to fix it. I, of course, hopped online this morning to see what info I could find that might help us pinpoint the issue. One of the downsides is that we just paid bills, did a small grocery shopping for the week, and gassed up our vehicles for work. I think, between the two of us, we have about $25. Please, please, please let it be something super cheap!!

From the research I did this morning, it sounds like there are two things that are most likely to be the culprit for the vehicle failure: the crankshaft position sensor (CPS) and/or the engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS). Neither item sounds difficult to replace and the CPS is about $15. I haven’t looked up the ECTS price, yet. I’m hoping it isn’t expensive, either. One of us is going to either have to walk the 2.2 miles to the parts store or see if the bicycle we have here is rideable. It was having a few issues of its own the last time it was ridden and I’m not sure anyone has done anything to it.

I’m hoping its the CPS. I’m praying its the CPS. $15, about 15 minutes of work, and we could be on the road, again, though with only one vehicle. One is better than none. I think we will pull off the EGR valve, as well, and see if it has carbon build up on it, which could also be the problem, or at least part of it, though it isn’t strongly pointed to in the research I’ve done. Strongly mentioned a few times, randomly, but it can’t hurt to give that a shot, as well.

During training at work, you are not allowed to miss any days within the first two weeks, and any missed day of training after the first two weeks could lose your position on the team. I must have this car fixed today so I can get to work tomorrow or I am not going to have a job. To say I am in a panic is to understate my current emotional state.

I’m trying really hard not to just get stuck in the panic, but it’s pretty powerful, right now. If we don’t get the car fixed today, we both might be unemployed, and that is definitely reason to panic. I’m missing the Prius, extremely, right now. At least I know that car would still be going. But that is just wasted energy thinking about something that isn’t.

I can’t help but wonder if the universe isn’t saying something to me, though I am as clueless as always as to what that might be. Both cars down in one day, less than an hour apart. That leaves me wondering what it is I can do from home to make money, fast. Super fast. Or even at all. I don’t know. I’m just going to try to swim through the panic, attempt to get my husband’s car back on the road, and hopefully, keep us moving forward from here. Keep your fingers crossed for us. I’m not feeling super confident of the outcome on this one.

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Survival Mode…

I can’t believe how neglectful I have been to my blog in 2017. I want to write, usually when I’m falling asleep at night, but I just can’t seem to get there (here). I hate that it is turning out this way.

I think I am going to step away for a minute, though I will be back. Life has gotten a bit too overwhelming for me which, I have realized, makes it super hard for me to think about what to write about and I don’t want to just vomit all of the details here – how boring would that get? In a nutshell, I am in survival mode and not doing something that is going to help with that just can’t seem to pique my interest. Sure, writing may pay off one day, but today is not that day, nor does tomorrow look like it either, and, unfortunately, that is when I need it to pay off. Anyway…

Wish me luck as I hustle my best around to any and all that will pay for it. Pray that things don’t get worse. Send the most positive energies my way, and I will see you all again very soon, I hope.

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