The Unexpected…

I have a love-hate relationship with the mobile life. There are the freedoms that come from not being rooted to any one spot but there is also all the hassle of moving around – making reservations, which park can we get into, how to cover the one week out of system – there’s a lot. Then, you pile on that Marilyn has some serious issues that need to be dealt with, that hinder forward movement, at times, and you’ve entered moderately overwhelming.

I’ve been getting back into the groove of mobile life. Its gotten me back out into nature and the benefits of that are countless. I have been getting our future reservations set up for after we are done staying at Lance’s brother’s place. I had us booked through July 9th, with a week out of system from June 18-24 that I still needed to cover.

I had been thinking that maybe we could start covering our week out of system, every time it came up, with KOA reservations. Yes, that would mean we would have to pay for that week each time but, with the KOA Value Kard Rewards ($30 annually), we would earn discounts that would help alleviate some of that cost. Lance and I had discussed it and had plans to move forward with it. Then, Lance’s brother, Travis, changed all that last night.

I’ve talked about the relationship, or lack of one, that Travis and I have had fairly consistently over the past 12+ years. I have wanted to like Travis but, for whatever reason(s), we just never really seemed to mesh well. I’m not laying blame over it, though I know I have in the past. I’ve been trying to re-examine things over the past year. It’s not always been easy to remain open-minded and there have definitely been times when I have come to the decision to be done with Travis, despite his being Lance’s brother.

So, last night, Lance and I were eating dinner in Marilyn when Travis came over and ‘knocked’ on our door. The dogs haven’t exactly acclimated to Travis, yet, so they were a little on alert when he opened the door. Enzo was right there so I allowed him to greet Travis. Enzo is the least anxious of the dogs so all went well there.

Travis stepped into the RV and closed the door. I have to admit my first thought was that this was the “I know you two were going to be here for the 10 days we were supposed to be in California, but…” talk but it couldn’t have been further from that. It went more along the lines of “It looks like there are some things you need to take care of on the RV to make it more reliable and safe for you so I was thinking you two could just stay here for as long as you need to make that happen, like through the Summer.” O.O

I nearly cried. Such unexpected generosity. Such empathy. Compassion. To say I never saw it coming is an understatement. In all reality, Travis is the last person in the world I would have thought would have offered such a wonderful gift to us. I guess that’s what I get for thinking. Not only did Travis give us the unbelievable gift but he opened his home to us – laundry, showers, he’s even getting the downstairs main area set up so we can watch TV in there if we want. We all went out and played with the dogs (our dogs) so they can start getting used to Travis and acclimating to here.

Travis’ dog, Scout, and our dogs still have to get to know each other but its on the list of things to do asap. Another benefit of being here is that there are people coming and going fairly regularly here since Travis has his business set up here. This will help the dogs get used to people and becoming friends with Scout I think will help them not be so anxious around other dogs. They’ve never really gotten to make friends.

So, we are stable, again, for a while. No moving around. I’m so incredibly grateful there are no words to adequately express how I am feeling. Relief and grace from a completely unexpected source…beautiful.

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The Return to Mobile Life…

May 13, 2018

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, especially the two I have been blessed with!! I hope your days are blessed with endless love and joy!!

off ramp


So, Off-Rampville lasted 4 1/2 days, which is when my beautiful soul friend, Jen, and her hubby, Jim, drove all the way up from the Ocean Shores area to tow us off the off ramp with their truck. No, they don’t own a tow truck. They pulled us off, Marilyn and the travel trailer at the same time, with their pickup. We went from the off ramp to a parking lot in front of an apartment complex. Though I wasn’t too excited about being in that parking lot, options were extremely limited (this parking lot or ???) and pretty much anywhere was better than the off ramp.

Soon after Jen and Jim towed us to the apartment complex parking lot, the latest mechanic in our list showed up. He had it figured out so incredibly quickly that I ended up having some resentment toward the two previous mechanics. It was getting late, light was dwindling, so the mechanic hopped on the phone and ordered the part we needed for us to pick up in the morning. He would be back the next day to get us going.

apt parking lot

Apartment complex parking lot

After everyone had left and we were getting settled in to call it a day, a couple of police officers showed up. Apparently, a tenant had called in and asked the officers to make sure we weren’t some mobile meth lab or something. We showed the officers the inside of the trailer and the RV and they deemed both to not be part of some mobile drug lab. This was the only hassling we received, which didn’t even seem like hassling.

Next morning, we were up and going. We had a part to pick up in Federal Way that we could switch out ourselves: the ignition control module. The mechanic would set the distributor when he got there later on. Thankfully, the mechanic wasn’t supposed to come until afternoon, because the part ordered turned out to not be the right one for our vehicle. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t know that until after we had gone back to the RV. Crap.

I immediately hopped on the phone to find the right ignition control module for Marilyn, if I could. I found it on the first call. Since it was not a special order part, Lance and I hopped back in the car with the dogs to go pick it up. About the time we were picking it up, the mechanic called and said he was almost to us. Crud. Lance let him know what had happened and gave him a time frame for us to be back to the RV. The mechanic wasn’t bothered and didn’t end up charging us for his wait time.

Back to Marilyn, put in control module, and the mechanic went to work. Within an hour he had Marilyn running, almost purring. I was elated! Lance was ready to head out of there right that second. I was not. Sure, I didn’t want to be in that darn parking lot, but we had just gone through 5 days, this was day 6, of being stuck, thinking we had the solution only to find out that no, we did not. I was needing the good news of Marilyn being functional, again, and the time to just enjoy knowing that we were no longer stuck. I told Lance that I wanted to wait until the morning to head out. I just needed the time for things to be ok before we took the chance they would stay that way. Lance wasn’t super pleased but conceded. The next morning we headed out, again.

One thing we learned during our Off-Rampville adventure is that these engines are notorious for running hot. Marilyn definitely does. When we replaced the starter, someone had made a heat shield for it, though we weren’t aware at the time that that was what it was. Lance didn’t put it back on but, for some reason, I felt the need to keep it in case it was definitely needed. Once Marilyn has warmed up, shutting her off means waiting at least an hour for things to cool down before we can start her, again, and usually only with a jump. We will be putting the heat shield back on, once the idea off having to do anything with the engine stops feeling like such an overwhelming burden.

Lance bee-lined for his brother Travis’ place, parking in a church parking lot up the street. I didn’t like where we were parked – it just didn’t feel like a spot that we were not going to be bothered – but Lance and the dogs loaded in the car with me and we went to his brother’s house. Travis had mentioned something about a place we may be able to ‘land’ for a little bit, which is why I thought we were going there. It turned out Lance was going to work.

Travis has a dog. Cute dog, sweet, a little skittish but friendly enough. Our dogs are pretty un-socialized. It’s not an intentional thing, just the way things have turned out. When our dogs are on leash, they are great, extremely well-behaved (well, Enzo pushes the boundaries a bit), and don’t really react much to anything.  Off leash, or when they are just with me, they tend to display their teeth and posture a lot, bark a lot if someone they don’t know or a dog is in sight. This is my fault. I have not trained them as I have my other dogs before them. Lance has trained them and, though he has done an amazing job, the dogs don’t hold me as the one in charge since I have not taken that role or participated, for the most part, in their training. Not like me at all. Life…well, I have no excuse, really. I have spent a lot of time not being emotionally well, I guess.

So, we get to Travis’ and his dog, Scout, is out. My dogs are getting anxious and a bit barky about it. Lance gets Enzo out of the car since he is the once that is the easiest to introduce to new people and dogs. I am thinking he has the intention of introducing each of our dogs to Scout but that isn’t what happens. He introduces Enzo and Scout, they do their posturing a bit, the standard ‘who are you’ sniffing, and things progress without problem. Lance goes to work.

I’m stuck in the car with Achilles and Luna, who are losing their minds, barking whenever they can see Scout and Enzo, which is often since those two are running around. They will not stop no matter what I do or say. After about 5 minutes of this and after I realize Lance is working, I’m done and not happy.  I call Lance as I start the car, telling him he has Enzo and I’m headed back to the RV as Achilles and Luna are barking like crazy.

I get back to the RV and there are people at the church. I head in to let them know that we are working out the final details of where we are going to park and will be out of their parking lot asap. They are not pleased we are there.

“Well, how long have you been here?”

“”Oh, only about half an hour.”

“How long will it take to finalize where you are going?”

“We will definitely be out of your parking lot today. I’m thinking maybe a couple of hours is all.”

“OK. Well, you can’t stay here.”

“Oh, I know. We have no intention of staying, we just didn’t have enough room to turn around at my husband’s brother’s place, which is right down the road.”

“So how long do you think you’ll be here?”

“Only a couple of hours, tops.”

“Ok. Well, you can’t stay here. Just so you know that.”

“Oh! Definitely. We have no intention of staying. As I said, we are just finalizing the last details and we will be out of here as quickly as possible.”

This man turns and walks into the church, comes back out in a couple of minutes and starts taking pictures of the RV and travel trailer, then goes back in. A couple of minutes later, another man comes out and talks with me, pretty much the exact same conversation. I call Lance and tell him we need to move, now.

This is where I need to say that I am always surprised when people from a church react this way. Churches were once known as sanctuaries, safe havens, where one to go to find shelter from the cold. My experience has been this is no longer the case, not even a little bit.

I go pick up Lance and we try to Marilyn going. She hasn’t had enough time to cool off, yet so won’t start. Lance sticks his head into the church to let them know we are just waiting for the RV to cool down so it will start, then turns around and walks away before they have a chance to say anything.

I’m so worn out from Off-Rampville and annoyed by the lack of compassion displayed by these church goers that I am almost hoping they follow him out. I’m game for an argument at that point. I know, not very mature, but it was where I was at. We had been struggling to get everything sorted out and figured out for about a week (6 days at that point). I was done with being nice to anyone that couldn’t hold an ounce of compassion or an iota of understanding, or at least attempt to.

Lance, the dogs and I head to go get something to drink and get all 3 dogs out of the car, discussing things and formulating a game plan along the way. I had already looked into campground rates per day, week, month. All were a bit more than we felt comfortable investing for such small stays and the monthly amounts were…well, unreasonable to me. I see things differently than most, I guess. So, what to do?

We started looking to camping memberships. We had used Lance’s parents’ membership when we first started RV life 9 years ago and that had worked out pretty well. Sure, there’s the whole two weeks in the system, one week out thing to deal with but at least we would only have to figure out the one week thing every two weeks. We could do that. It’s a hell of a lot better than the every day thing. We hop online to see what info we can find. In the end, we settled on purchasing a Thousand Trails membership with a two a two-year commitment and very reasonable monthly payments. I hopped online and made our first reservations.

Thankfully, I got us in at the Monroe location, Thunderbird, starting that day. We would only have 4 days, since that was available, but it would give us a chance to get a bit more into mobile mode and we would have 4 solid days of not having to move Marilyn. Score!


Getting set up at Thunderbird

We are now up in Bow, WA at the Grandy Creek location. It is absolutely beautiful! I managed to set up 7 days here. We pull out of here on the 17th, then have to be out of system for 7 days. We are talking about learning of other camping memberships that may offset the 7 day out of system requirement. I’ll probably get on that today. Or tomorrow. We have been so busy, with my dogs spending way too much time in the car, that today may just be a relaxing, spending time with the dogs, doing whatever we actually feel like doing day.

cuddle puddle puppies

Puppies in the car

headed out to concrete

On our way out to Grandy Creek

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Tired Warrior…

May 3, 2018

Very early in the morning yesterday, we hooked up the travel trailer to Marilyn (our new-to-us RV) and drove out of the place we have called home for about 4 1/2 years. It was a bit bitter sweet – there are many ways I am happy to be out of there and moving on, but there is a part of me that will miss the level of stability we had there. Our Brucie Bruce was nowhere to be seen, adding to the bitterness of having to move. I drove down today to look for him. Whistled a bunch, called for him, was there about one of the times he is usually, no Brucie Bruce.

We made it about 38 miles north to Renton before the RV just stopped running. Uh oh. Little did I know then just how uh oh that would be. As I am writing this, we are on day 2 of being stuck on the side of an off ramp, dead in the water. I am grateful that we have not been hassled, but that doesn’t seem to take anything away from how devastated I am to still be here, not running, many dollars poorer, and still no idea why its not starting.

off ramp.jpg

Off-Rampville: I-405 Exit 4a Maple Valley/SR 169

Right now, we have a mechanic working on replacing the distributor. Its the next logical step, I believe, and have been told by more than just the mechanic we have here. So far, we have replaced the battery, voltage regulator, starter, plug wires, coil, distributor cap, rotor, and…maybe that’s it. Oh! And the ignition ballast. It feels like we have done so much more but I guess that is because we had to put the plug wires together ourselves in order to have ones that were the right length. That took every bit of four hours, the last hour and a half in the dark with headlights on our heads. Ugh.

This RV is proving to be a difficult beast to need to fix. Number one, its the van front style, which is my least favorite type to work on. Number two, finding parts for it is challenging because there is no way to look up this RV. It was a limited edition that Country Camper, Inc put out right before they stopped making RV’s. Its a 1979 Dodge chassis, 360, 4 barrel, 1-ton, which, at the parts stores, opens up too many options that have some that will work fine but not others, depending on model. Putting in the VIN number to try to find out more information is no help either. Our lovely Marilyn comes up as a 2008 Hummer. Searching by license plate yields zero results. (I know! That one doesn’t make sense to me either, especially since we have registered the RV into our name.) Marilyn is proving to be…high maintenance.

For the part of yesterday I kept almost calling this RV Marv, accidentally, as in the Marv RV we went through hell with 5 years ago. I didn’t want to put that energy on this RV so told Lance we needed to name this one and quick. As I drove the car behind Lance in the RV, I tried to think of a name. She looks nice, fairly good condition, reliable (this was before off ramp-ville).

Her previous owner had named her. I am going to apologize ahead of time because I am going to slaughter the spelling of the name. I truly have no idea how to spell it. Marilyn’s name used to be (sorry) Sheniqua. Again, I am truly sorry. I tried Googling it. My spelling must be so wrong that Google’s search results show me things like businesses. Hell, spell check on here gives me Shenanigan.

Anyway, she said the RV earned the name because she would gently sway down the road. Her kids would love to climb up on the overhead bunk and they would fall right to sleep. Obviously, great memories for them.

We want to name her because, well, its a new beginning, claiming a bit, I guess, but, honestly, both Lance and I just didn’t feel that the name she had didn’t fit right. Sure, its us, I know that. Everyone sees through their own eyes and feels with their own heart and dreams with their own soul and every single one is different.

So, I’m driving behind Lance when it comes to me: Marilyn. I roll it around in my mind for a bit – does it seem to fit? what does the name make me picture in my mind? Oddly enough, the answer to the second question was Marilyn Monroe. Huh. I called Lance and told him what I had come up with to see if he agreed. He did, almost immediately. I was feeling pretty good about this beginning of a new adventure that had me slightly nervous, a bit anxious, and oddly relieved. I was driving and smiling.

And that’s about the time things went to crap. Damnit. I think getting kicked when you’re feeling peaceful, joyful even, is about a million times worse than when it happens on an average day. I’m really struggling with that today. I have found myself thinking that maybe Marv fit her better as a name. Yeah. I’m not dealing very well. Ok. I am, most of the time, but even warriors get tired.

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Move Day: April 30, 2018…


Well, today is the day. Lance will get up and take the dogs on a walk to the field for the last time.  We will finish loading ourselves up. Hopefully, the travel trailer and the 5th wheel will go away. At the end of the day, we will pull out of here for the last time and not look back. Today, the last word on the last page in the last chapter of this book will be thought, uttered, written. Tomorrow, the first word on the first page in the first chapter of a whole new book will begin. It is bitter-sweet.

We have learned a lot about being settled in one spot for as long as we have been here (4+ years): we not only nest into a spot over time, we root. Not light, filigree-like roots but large, driving straight for the middle of the earth tap roots. That said, there is no way we will have everything done here when we pull out. I hate that we will be leaving a mess, no matter how well-organized a mess it is, but I have to let go of that. We are at the finish line, have spent more time than  I care to think of getting things packed and cleaning up as we go, and it doesn’t seem like there is an end in sight. Where the hell did all of this crap come from?!? Perhaps we have a bit of a hoarding problem, which is disturbing, to say the least.

There has been pile upon pile of free stuff put out to the curb. Thankfully, it all keeps disappearing so there’s that. The 5th wheel has been on Craigslist for over a week, for free, but still sits in its spot. There’s been moderate interest but no takers. I put the travel trailer on yesterday, not for free but close to it. A couple of emails of interest but no one with follow through, yet. Lawnmower $25, grill $50, both still sitting, despite there being interest – those saying they want it (“very interested”) and asking when they can come get it. Of course my answer is now but that is as far as that has gone so far.

My biggest concerns, at the moment? That the trailer and 5th wheel will still be here when we are ready to leave, that the lawn mower will still be here, the grill. I’m not really worried about anything else – the RV will run, get us around, our stuffs are in it, the dogs will adjust, the cat will torture us until he has adjusted, the stress of continuing to be here will be done with. It’s not a perfect picture or anything like that but it is…well, what is next.

A whole lot of me, most of me, wants to hop on the freeway and keep going, see where we end up, what adventures we have, what things we see, but this tends to be typical of move day in the RV for me. I can’t help thinking and feeling that, if I have to live on wheels then I might as well go see what I can see. Right? -sigh- Instead, we will head up North and find a place to park that will perhaps work for us for the next couple of months. I’m thinking campground, maybe.

With all of the hassle of this move, I have found myself missing the days of Winnie, our 1968 Winnebago. Sure, Winnie had her own set of problems but we were somewhat less troubled by them, in many ways. We reached a point of ease rather quickly with Winnie and moving around. We didn’t entrench ourselves in any one spot because each spot was entered into with the knowledge that it was a very temporary spot. Move day? Put stuff in Winnie, batten down the hatches inside (make sure nothing is going to go flying around the RV while driving down the road), make sure we had the cat (Bellenus), head out. Easy peasy. We would have been out of here in less than a day.

The war going on inside my head is between wanting to be done with this and a sense of responsibility and integrity. I want to clean this place up to the point that the only way you could tell we had been here is by the spots of dead grass where an RV or trailer had been parked but there just isn’t time. Plus, I do not have the funding for dump runs, and there is the need to make some of those. Again, where the hell does all of this come from. I keep finding myself staring at things, all the things, completely overwhelmed and unable to decide how to proceed. I’ve come to the point where I am just grabbing the things that I really want and have a plan to move the rest of everything to the curb, placing a Craigslist ad **CURB ALERT!! FREE!!!** to get rid of it all.

Well, its ten minutes to 7, so I had better get back into ‘make it happen’ move mode. Wish us luck and wait to see what adventures unfold for us. May they all be great ones 😉

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Challenge: Funding to Move…

Today was supposed to be our move day. I managed to get us another week though I’m not sure if that is just merely putting off the ugliness that could be or an actual grace period. I’m hoping for the grace period, though there is so much in front of us that requires cash to take care of that it is feeling more like just putting off the ugliness.

We picked up a RV off of Craigslist. We did a trade: one day of work with both of us for the RV. It’s a 1979 Dodge Country Camper, 25 feet long. I’m not sure if it has the 360 or the 440, but I’m pretty certain it is the 1 ton chassis instead of the 1-1/2 ton. It seems to run very well, starts right up, but it has a caliper sticking, meaning it is not road worthy, at the moment.

It also has been leaking through the roof, but we are handling that. Tore off the old ceiling as much as possible, removed old ceiling insulation, replaced some framing, and caulked the inside of any roof penetrations along with any other little pin holes or whatever in the metal roof. Today, we will put in new insulation and close up the ceiling. Next, remove all of the old caulking from the roof and re-caulk. Hoping to get to that today, as well. A new snow coat on the roof would be great, and is needed, but that is just going to have to wait for now since we do not have the funding to pick up snow coat.

I called Les Schwab yesterday to find out how much a brake job would be on the RV. Les Schwab does not do just the brakes on RVs. They do an overhaul: rotors, calipers, drums, and pads. Well, crap. That’s a base price of $1500. The guy at Les Schwab said to call around to see if there is someone who is willing to either just do the caliper and brakes. I should be able to find someone, probably for cheaper, according to the guy at Les Schwab. Fingers crossed, though, at the moment, it doesn’t matter how much is would cost with someone else. It most definitely will be more than the $20 I have to my name.

Lance has some work prospects but they all seem to be scheduled for a week or two from now. It’s great that the work is sitting there but we need something great, a few something greats, to come in asap. Now, if I could only clone my husband so he could go work and I would have his clone here to help me with the rest of everything. I need to find a tire for our travel trailer, post the 5th wheel and Marv on Craigslist, put a bunch of things on the curb to get rid of, flush out the holding tanks, take things to donation station, pack up garden, cleaning, and tool sheds…the list goes on. We, obviously, have rooted down here but I guess that is to be expected after 4+ years.

We have no idea where we are moving to, as in we have no landing spot. I know we are planning on heading up north toward where Lance tends to do all of his work, but, as far as where we are parking our ‘camp,’ we have no idea. I guess we will have to just be mobile for a minute while we are figuring out that part. I know it seems as if we should have had this all figured out already, but we don’t, and there are a lot of reasons why that is, though it doesn’t change the feeling.

Moving ‘camp’ is a process, and when your income is…not necessarily verifiable or fixed, it makes it hard to find someone to want to rent to you. Also, we both tend to work and live in such a way that doesn’t create a paper trail. It’s not an intentional goal, just the way the things have turned out. Unfortunately, this makes things challenging, as well. We just don’t live within the system that society has established, which has about a gajillion benefits and almost as many deficits.

I have to admit that I am having the ‘run’ bug, again. A whole lot of me just wants to hop in the RV and just keep driving. Anywhere but here. I do understand this is not really a feasible plan for us, at this time, if for no other reason than the funding part. My kids are grown, both out on their own, now – I have nothing holding me here in Washington. Yes, some great friends, soul friends, but most of our interactions are through the phone in one form or another. I think we will be ok. The idea of being so far away from my kids is heartbreaking, anxiety causing, especially with my son just starting his ‘on his own’ adventure, but I have to learn to let them just be adults, figure out some of their own messes. Ugh. I know it’s a good thing but how does one let go of their children? How does one stop feeling like they must be no more than a few hours drive away just in case a rescue mission is needed? How am I supposed to stop running below their soaring souls just in case they fall? The answer? One breath at a time, which isn’t necessarily easy.

I’ve also withdrawn from school. I’m ashamed in some ways to say so. I just couldn’t manage this move and school at the same time. Call me weak if you need to but that is yours, not mine. I have the ability to go back once we get settled, but we shall see how that goes. Something had to give and it was the only thing I could see. I didn’t want to, was severely depressed for about 3-ish days, then had to let it go. I have a lot in front of me that needs my attention.

Well, it’s already 8:30, so I had better get going with the RV ceiling. Hopefully, I’ll find someone to come fix the caliper on it for not tons of money and I’ll find the money to pay for it, to register the RV, to put gas in it, to move on down the road.

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If I Only had a Brain…

I’m sitting here completely overwhelmed. I should be doing my school work – I am in the last three weeks of the quarter and there is no shortage of what needs to be done – but I can’t think straight. So, I’m here to vomit it all out so I can get back to the priorities sitting directly in front of me that I chose to put there.

  1. I’m slightly panicked about my biology grade. It’s still a B, and I know I always get super stressed out at the end of a quarter, but… it’s a low B. One wrong move and its all over for me and school. I’m doing all the work, cramming extra hard with the final looming so close, loving the labs (dissected a heart last week, a kidney this week – so incredibly cool).
  2. A friend that we had taken in seems to be tanking on life. Its going to sound mean but I’m going to say it anyway: the girl has about zero coping skills and I find myself less willing to help her find her feet. It seems she just keeps running at the things that hurt her the most and then is depressed and ‘damaged,’ wondering why everyone/everything “hates” her. It’s frustrating to be on the front lines of that. She was supposedly going in for an assessment this morning to get into treatment to deal with her loss, grief, and trauma. She stayed at a friend of her’s last night and they were supposed to bring her to the assessment then here. I’ve heard nothing.
  3. Lance is working at his brother’s – a completely great thing other than the distance. We had talked about him staying up there during the week since it is so far but nothing had been sorted out. I had agreed that it was probably a great idea – less gas used, no morning and night commute, hypothetically less outgoing money for him to work. Lance informed me the night before last that he was going to start staying up there, starting the next day. I have no idea why but I immediately felt like he was leaving me, as in not coming back. We talked about it together but I never really got over the feeling and now that he is gone, it is more intense. Despite it being a useless feeling at this time, I can’t make it go away so I feel like I am grieving. I hate this.
  4. A friend of mine is going in to have a tumor in her brain removed tomorrow. All of me wants to hop in my van that doesn’t do freeways, drive like a crazed maniac to her home and glue myself to her until after she is better. I know she is not alone and my presence will change absolutely nothing, but I still feel like I am failing her. I get it. That’s my issue. What it comes down to is the fact that I do not have mystical powers that would enable me to just visualize her tumor gone and have it disappear, no recovery time, no need for surgery. This is a friend I would love to be able to place a anti-mayhem and anti-bullshit protective barrier around to eliminate any negatives that may have nefarious plans of either doing a drive by or taking root in her life. I am so scared for her and feel like a horrible friend.
  5. The impending move. Yeah, we still are dealing with that. Its sounding like this spring/summer is going to bring a mandatory move. How am I supposed to handle a move like the one we are going to have to do and my school work? Was I an absolute moron for enrolling in college, again? Am I going to have to drop out or put it on hold until…? We land again??? I know there are a bunch of people who are thinking I am just not adulting this situation but I am doing the best I know how to do and not making any progress. Suggestions?

I am struggling through this pile of things that seem to bring intelligent thought to a halt. I’m in this by myself, it feels. Sure, my husband is beside me, physically, but I feel like I’m still the one that has to figure it all out. If I didn’t have school going, my son living with me, my dogs, a credit score I’ve been diligently working on improving, I would probably just let myself blow in whatever direction the wind takes me, again. Then, again, I know where that ends.

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Just a Check-In…

School is kicking my butt a little bit. Ok. That’s not true. I feel like school is kicking my butt but I believe that it has more to do with life stuff than actually school. It’s not that anything out of the ordinary is going on, at the moment, it’s just that I have come to realize just how much more…involved our life has become since the last time I was going to school. Things were a bit more relaxed, though it really didn’t seem so at the time. Perspective.

I’m carrying an A in my medical terminology class and a solid B in biology. Did I mention that last time? Anyway, I am feeling a lot less stressed about the B than I had been. It could be worse, a lot worse, and then I would definitely have something to worry about but not a B. I do plan on bringing that grade up, if I am capable, though.

Anyway, life is life as it tends to be and I am sitting inside the yurt where we do Holotropic Breathwork. Lance and I are here really early so he could help his brother with some stuff before the breathwork this evening. I am really looking forward to breathing, as I always am, though a bit more this time. The centering and awareness it seems to provide me is something I feel has been missing some for the past week or so. Time to have a talk with myself and see what it has to say.

It looks like Lance will be coming up here to work for a while, again. This is a good thing in so many ways though I hate that he won’t be home. I guess that just gives me more time to focus on my schoolwork, time that I would normally guard preciously as ‘our’ time. We shall see how I’m feeling after he has not been home a few nights in row. I may feel differently, though I’ll have to just get over it. This is where we are and what needs to happen so…well, there you have it. No crying, ladies and gentlemen.

I have my van running, again. I still can’t seem to give up completely on it. At least I have the van as opposed to not having a vehicle to, at the very least, get to the bus with so I can get to and from school. Thank God for the $5 bus pass that lasts the whole quarter.

So, yeah, life is moving along at a steady pace. Moving is going to have to happen this Spring or Summer, depending on when things are put to the forefront in that department. I’m hoping summer. It just sounds easier, less complicated, I guess. I don’t want to have to move at all, but, again, I’m just going to have to get over it.

Well, I’m going to get some studying done for my biology quiz tomorrow. Hope the rest of the world is doing great and finding their bliss.

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I need an ear, or two…

I am not even sure how to get started here. I have been away for way too long and debated on whether or not I should even come. But, you see, I’m feeling really overwhelmed, stuck, and, oddly, optimistic, at least in some areas, and this is where I come when I need to just get it down in front of me instead of leaving it doing endless laps around my head.

I started classes on January 2nd and I have to say I am so incredibly excited about it. By now, everyone is aware of my penchant for learning, so me being back in college shouldn’t be a surprise. With my life situation, going back to school seems like a no brainer if I want to change my world. I can’t rely on my body, anymore, so I’m betting on my brain. Hopefully it is holding up better than my body.

The classes I have this quarter are Biology 175 and Medical Terminology 105. Both classes are great but I have to admit that I am loving biology more than the terminology by a huge margin. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that my biology class has a lab, which makes it hands on. Medical Terminology is online for me this quarter and, with all of its combining forms, prefixes, suffixes it gets a bit…I guess confusing. I’m trucking along through it, though.

As much as I am loving school, my stress level is extremely high, at the moment. I am trying to juggle school, a very moderate work load, and being the hub of my family, which means I’m the go to here. When I went to college last time, I wasn’t working. I was able to get into a great time management flow before I added a moderate work load to it. Lance was the one in charge of bringing in money back then.

Work has been less than satisfying in more than one direction. I find myself wanting even less to do with cleaning than I had before starting college. I’m not making anywhere close to enough money and adding more to the schedule, whether through the company I’m working with or on my own, just eats into the time I have for studying. This is having a negative affect on my school work, but I feel like I’m stuck in another horrible catch 22: can’t quit working because the bills aren’t going anywhere and Lance doesn’t have consistent work at the moment, but I need more time for my school work.

I’m carrying a B in biology and I’m not ok with that. Plus, I need my grades to be A’s, very high B’s in order to have a shot at getting into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography  (DMS) program. It’s an exceedingly competitive program to get into. I’ve set up a second choice, Radiological Sciences, which is also pretty competitive to get into, but a little less so than DMS. Either way, if I don’t figure out how to get more time for studying along with being able to bring in an income at the same time, I’m not going to make it into either of those programs. Yes, I’m panicking a bit. I don’t do well with lower grades to begin with, and the fact that I have bet my future on going back to college, I’m even more stressed by my biology grade. (I’m carrying a solid A in Medical Terminology) Midterms are next week – sheer panic.

Lance seems to be in somewhat of a sabotage mode, though it seems to directed at me. If he doesn’t work, I may have to not continue with college in order to save us financially, and he doesn’t seem too motivated to find something consistent. I think he is a bit depressed, at the moment. I think my going back to school may be part of it, despite the fact that we had discussed it before hand, that he had suggested it. I believe he is unhappy with the amount of time I will be back in college. His idea was for me to take a program that would take a maximum of 9 months, something along the computer sciences line, and provide me with the ability to make a good to great income without having to rely on my body. Though that is a pretty solid plan, can anyone see me spending days on end in a cubicle, in front of a computer? I can’t, even if I find computer systems intriguing.

One of the other things I think is depressing my husband is I think he wishes he were back in school. He, too, has been in manual labor jobs and has a body that is not too pleased with the work anymore. It’s what he knows and he is really good at it, so he continues with it. When he is working, he makes great money. It’s the lack of consistency that is the problem with that. Maybe he feels stuck, too.

The woman I have been working with has gotten so wishy-washy with everything that I am finding it more and more difficult to not just walk away from the work. Yes, part of the desire to leave is because of school, as I’ve said, but the other part is her back and forth on what it is she says she is going to do or is doing. Plus, she gets a bit forceful when asking me if I have time for an extra clean, a move out clean, when they come up. I can tell her I don’t have the time to add anything else, and she tries to manipulate me into doing it anyway.

She likes to point out the money I would be missing, which is a big one for me, and it is almost like there is punishment of some type for not conforming. I have been using the work van since my van is down (a throttle cable broke, no money to fix at this time). It’s a 94 Plymouth Voyager on its last legs. I am grateful for the use of the vehicle. It has saved me a few times, plus it gets me to school. The agreement we had when my van went down and I started driving the work van full-time was that I would drive it until the wheels fall off or until I get my van going, again.

Well, I told her no on two, back to back move out cleans. I just didn’t have time for that and to get my schoolwork done. Now, she says she had planned on selling the van, trying to get at least $500 out of it so it’s not a total loss. She offered to sell it to me for $400. Number one, the head gasket is going out in the work van, the transmission is beginning to slip, and there are a number of other, less significant things starting to go wrong with that van. Number two, I can not add another ‘payment’ to my budget ($100/wk) along with insurance payments. (No, I don’t have insurance. If you would care to comment on that, please feel free to pay for me to have insurance and we can talk about that, otherwise, whatever) Besides, since I have been the only one driving the van, I have an intimate knowledge of how it is doing and I am seriously doubting that it will still be on the road in a few weeks, max, probably before I would have paid for it. No thank you.

Honestly, I’m at the point with her that I want to do the clean I have today, go to my biology lab tomorrow, and then return the van to her and quit, which I may very well do. I’m going to go in and talk with Adam, my Workforce navigator, tomorrow after lab about work. He has a bunch of employment recruiters/employment agencies he works with that understand the college schedule and there are a number of jobs that would be weekend only work. I can do that. It will eat into the time Lance and I get to spend together, which I don’t like, but at least I would still be bringing in something. Most of these jobs are minimum wage, a few are a little bit more, so not even good money but something. If I can get that set up with him tomorrow, I will be having Lance meet me at my current place of employment so I can return the van and be done with all of that. I have a bus pass that lasts all quarter so getting around wouldn’t be too big of a deal, though my princess self will be completely discontent with not having my own vehicle to get around in. Oh well. At least I’ll still be moving forward instead of losing ground.

I can’t quit school. To quit and just continue to hustle my butt to keep barely making ends meet means…having this life that I am sooo incredibly done with be the choice that I make. I don’t want to choose this. To continue with this, to accept this is all my life will ever consist of, that I’ll always be struggling, never have sure footing, always be juggling and shuffling, no security…. I can’t. I just can’t. It’s killing me, inside. I’ve already lost so much, too much, of me in it. Just no. School is going to be the thing that saves me from this life. It has to.

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A New Path…

Apparently, I am in a once a month writing mode. It could be worse. Again, wish I could say that I have been writing my little heart out, creating that book, writing articles, whatever, but, again, I haven’t been doing that at all. What is my main aversion to writing these days? I have no idea other than feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day stuff. The laptop goes into the cupboard since it is so damn cold here lately and promptly gets forgotten about. Ok. Not forgotten about, just not something that comes to mind all that often. The times I have pulled out my laptop have not been for writing or anything related to it. sigh I guess it is what it is. I am writing right now and I guess that is better than nothing.

I gave two-week notice to the woman I have been working for. She immediately counter offered a pay raise and asked me if I want to handle the interviews for new applicants for the position and train them, paid for both of those. I can do that. So far, there was one woman who was supposed to meet me at a clean for a working interview but she never showed. We shall see how this goes.

So, my back has been getting worse. It seems to take less and less for it to start making it difficult to move without intense pain. I have stated about a million times by now that I need to find work that is not labor intensive. The downside, major downside, to this is that everything I know how to do is labor intensive in one fashion or another. Finding work outside of the industries I have experience and skills in looks a whole lot like a huge pay cut. That doesn’t feel productive. I know it would grow back up with time but…well, I’m not sure how many more blows to my pride I can take before I start to lose a sense of me. No worries. I have a solution.


I went to Tacoma Community College last week to see what programs they offer that take one year or less. This ended me up at the WorkForce building across from the Admissions building. WorkForce specializes in worker retraining, WorkForce, the Opportunity Grant, and Bfet programs. Basically, they help you train, retrain, and/or go to/back to school to find a career, get into a new one, and they fund it or help you find funding to do so. I attended their workshop, talked with the ‘navigator’ they assigned me to, then took all the info I had gathered and let it stew for a couple of days.

Originally, I wanted to take Tacoma Community College’s Medical Diagnostic Sonographer/Ultrasound Tech program, a two-year degree program. Honestly, I still do want to get that degree but I think I have put together a great game plan for getting there. A stepping stone program that will give me some of what I will need for the Sonographer course, give me skills I can utilize to bring an income in while going to school and will cost me nothing but time. Sure, it’s going to take more time to get to that end goal, but I think it will go more smoothly and be worth the added time. So, what is this stepping stone program? Medical Scribe.

The course is about 3 quarters long, but, with the classes I’ve already taken while getting my Criminal Justice degree, it’s looking like the Medical Scribe course may only take me 2 quarters, which would be awesome. Starting national average median salary for Medical Scribe? Almost $27000. Yes, less than what I had gotten used to but still not bad and completely enough to stay alive on, especially if my husband is working too. I have an appointment tomorrow with the person that runs the class to finish getting everything set up.

After the WorkForce workshop last week, I went to the job search sites that I had already signed up with and changed my search to Medical Scribe jobs, just to see what might be available in the area and common salary amounts. So far, everything that has come in has left me feeling pretty good about taking this path.

One of the things I like about both the Medical Scribe program and the Medical Diagnostic Sonographer course is that they are not labor intensive but also not a desk job. I would still be moving around, not stuck in a cubicle. That really is key for me I think. The very idea of being in a sedentary job depresses me.

So, yeah, that’s the plan. Keep your fingers crossed for me that all turns out well and the college and I are capable of getting everything put together, along with the funding package, by the end of the day tomorrow, the funding deadline for Winter quarter.

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Update, Done…

Wow. Look at that. A whole month since I have written anything on here. I have no idea where the time has gone, but it has. I would like to say I have been writing in other mediums, but I haven’t. I haven’t been writing at all.

I guess its time for an update on all that is my gypsy camp. We are still in the same spot, though it is becoming harder and harder to be here since it is made known often that we need to move. Have we found somewhere else to move to? No. Three big dogs is a huge deterrent, apparently. Also, the amount of money we would need to just secure a spot is more, way more, than we can manage at this time.

I found a job. I don’t remember if I mentioned that last month. Anyway, its house cleaning, $15 an hour (ouch), local. The company has a work van for me to drive to my jobs, which is good. Granted, it’s an old style caravan with not much life left in it. It’s something.

This job is not going to last. The hours I am working will never even begin to generate enough income to barely stay alive, not to mention assist in making the move. One week I will work 19 hours, the next 10, followed by a week with 12 hours. One week was only 8 hours. This is not working. I have started applying to other places to work, though it is hurting more and more every day to continue this type of work. The fact is it is what I know how to do and am very good at it. To try to change industries would mean making even less than I already am. I can’t do that.

I took this job with the understanding that the hours would not be much, AT FIRST. The woman who owns this business has said that she would be adding more clients, making it one of her main focuses. This hasn’t happened. In fact, she has focused so much on the rest of her business that she has added no new clients and, due to death and/or moving, the cleaning client base has even gotten a bit smaller. On top of this, she is now wanting me to take over confirming with the clients the cleans she puts on my schedule. More responsibilities without an increase in pay. This is not working out at all.

Lance has managed to stay mostly busy over the past year with work, bringing in money to help us continue making progress in move preparations, staying alive, keeping up/catching up on bills. Over the last month or so, his working has gotten quite a bit sporadic with the clients blowing off getting materials for the job. We are both feeling rather defeated at the moment.

The Freestar is running, not well, but running enough to get me to work and back, which at least there is that. The Camry is running like a champ for Lance. The Saturn…well, I’m about to push it out to the curb for $300 and see what I get for it. I’ve replaced fuses, CPS (crankshaft position sensor), starter, coil pack, and it still won’t start. I’m at a loss as to where to go from here on it. I am going to make sure the battery is fully charged then put the SyncUp device we bought from T-mobile to see if it the car throws a code while trying to start it. I’ve been driving around with this device in the van hoping it would help decipher what is going on with it but nothing so far despite how horribly it is running.

The T-mobile SyncUp device allows you to keep track of your miles, set speeding alerts, works as a mobile hotspot in the vehicle, and is supposed to report any diagnostic trouble codes the vehicle’s engine might be going through.  Now, the diagnostic trouble codes part of this is not the codes that are readable with your standard OBD-2 reader and that you can go to most part stores and have read for free. These are to codes that you pay the mechanic $80 – $125 or more to hook up his special diagnostic tools.

My thought with getting this device was that I am at the point where I want to take the van to a mechanic for this exact reason. We drive a lot of older cars with tons of miles on them and this could be a handy device to have for the different problems we run into with our vehicles. There was also a promotion going on for the device at the time. It just sounded like a way to keep moving forward with our vehicles without having to pay the price for a mechanic to hook up his diagnostic tools.

We were in T-mobile because Lance’s phone had stopped working. After the person at T-mobile inspected Lance’s phone, he said the best thing to do would be to do a warranty exchange, which would only cost us $5. Perfect. The replacement phone would be in in a couple of days. Unfortunately, between leaving that store then and the day the replacement phone came in, somehow Lance’s display module broke on the phone. According to T-mobile, the only time that could happen on Lance’s phone was if the battery was out. Two different T-mobile reps removed the battery to inspect the phone for the exchange. The first one said it was eligible for warranty exchange. The second one is the one that said the display module was broken. Now, Lance is using his old LG G4 with all of the issues it was having before which caused us to replace it a year ago. Frustrating.

I’m at a point where I am feeling like it doesn’t matter how much I struggle, fight, whatever to try to keep us going, to try to get this move to happening instead of sitting dead in the water due to lack of funding despite running as hard as I can at it. It all seems pointless. I’m wondering why I even try.

I have spent so much of the last couple of years trying to clear up my credit and being successful at doing so, for the most part. My credit score has gone up and down a 100 point range multiple times based on what income was coming in when. It’s frustrating to watch, exhilarating when the score goes up, shaming when it goes down and changes absolutely nothing in my world.

I have no idea what is going on with my fundraisers. I haven’t received any notifications of new donations so my guess is nothing at all is happening. Whatever. I’m done asking people for help. Despite being told that when you need help you should just ask and people are always willing to help. I have come to realize that is a bold-faced lie, at least when it comes to my world. The people who are willing to help are few and far between, even when it comes to something as simple and non-demanding as finding resources to help myself. When it comes right down to it, we are in this alone.

I feel like saying screw it. Stop paying bills, making credit card payments, all of it. Why bother? Being responsible isn’t fixing our situation and, in some ways, makes it worse. File bankruptcy, disappear, see what happens. Become homeless, walk away from the travel trailer, RV, 5th wheel, live in a tent with my dogs and husband and son. Try to sustain life by eating berries, bark, grass, leaves, whatever. Dig holes to poop in, never shower again, probably die within the next 10 years. It appears I am headed that way anyway so why not just expedite it and run into now? I have no more ideas, no more solutions. There is nothing left and I am done.


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