The Never-Ending Move

Next time, like that last time 3 years ago, I’m hiring movers.

The ONLY reason I didn’t hire someone to move me from Houston to east Texas was the cost of having 3 movers haul my stuff 230 miles. If it were across town, I’d be completely moved in with energy to spare. As of now, I’ve traveled back to Houston 4 times alone – and this happened after the official move and I still have at least a full trailer or big’ish truckload to go.
I. Am. Exhausted.

Yes. I have a lotta shit. But it’s mostly art supplies, gardening supplies and plants, all my sewing stuff to make fabulous clothing, and a LOT of boxes and bins with the various gatherings of civilized ants… or maybe I’m kinda like a crow who brings home shiny bottle caps and safety pins, but the shine wears off pretty fast when ya gotta pack that crap up and haul it.

Here’s the fun part: I get to do this all over again after selling the house and buying land to move this RV onto so that, later, I can build a little cottage, then another cottage for my guests to stay, all because Artist’s Retreat. Lest I not forget.

To do all that will require at least 2 more trips to Houston, possibly 3 or 4, maybe 5, then the closing, whereupon I’ll swing by the house for a final sweep, then close up shop. Then money. Then the hunt for the perfect spot upon which to place my future. Then the magic starts all over again, like a torus folding onto itself, regenerating and multiplying life infinitum, as we are all made up of innumerable tiny black holes the size of strings in the theory, holes that swallow all that is known, then spits it all back out the other end in a perfect replica of itself. That’s one theory, anyway. I could explain but, in the interest of time, here ya go… get ready for the sun to come up over the Event Horizon. It’s all there.


The Reality of RV Living (and Goodbye, Bathroom Door)

photo of RV

If a person, as a kid … or even as an adult, had ever played sheet fort and sheet tent, or had gone into a cave and felt the wide-open intimacy of the space, or had maybe ridden in a train, boat, bus, or even an airplane and liked it, they’d probably appreciate the way an RV causes life to become a little more focused, a smaller target in which to channel all their consciousness and energy. In fact, in the beginning, there’s a certain uncertainty that “maybe all my shit CAN fit into a space 1/8th the size of my house!” though they know it never will so the disappointment sets in, the mind begins to figure out ways to hang onto a past existence, and the period of negotiation begins.

It’s short-lived. Soon the smaller home is saturated with stuff, the Place for Everything and Everything in its place philosophy out the window, and for me right now it’s too much of everything and no more place for it all. I went back to Houston to get more stuff last week (and it multiplied while I was gone; everyone reading this understands), carried in bins of the stuff I brought back, set them down inside the RV with no place for everything anymore, and am searching for tiny shotgun slots for it, then continuously repacking my previous stuff in favor of the latest. Everything seems important until ya run outa room. Make a note: don’t buy anything else. ever. ever.

So it’s rifle through more bins, take what I need, pack what will go to the new place once it manifests and is ready, and live with less.
I like that.
Quite a lot.

I’m making my new home livable while I get my house back in Houston ready to put on the market. I’m hoping for a fast sell so that I can get on with my Big Dream. Living in the RV is only temporary ~ there is far more ahead of me than caulking my roof against leaks, pulling up nastyass carpet so I can walk barefoot and not worry about someone else’s foot juice (this carpet is from 2012 so no telling what’s in it), and the thoughtful, sporadic, transient gardening in this small plot here on my sister’s land that I may end up leaving behind anyway. I’m a nester so I want life around me. It’s easy with a few potted plants on my lovely little wood deck but a full-on garden, a little vegetable crop, and lots of trees are in my near future (insanely cute dancing heart goes here)

Today, it’s putting up with the slight sauna effect of windows open on a day when the temps are in the 80s… I’ll crank up the a/c when it gets a little warmer. For now, I’m working to the tunes of The Allman Brothers band and a view of about a thousand cows. Among the many projects I’ve got going, I couldn’t stand the antilogistics of the bathroom door any longer so I replaced it with a curtain. It’s a good temporary fix until I can find a vintage (or self-built) very slender (24″) double louvered or glass door. If I build it myself, it can be plexiglass. NOT having a door there means one less major spot to hang my scarves, but I’ll live with that.

Before - the imposing bathroom door
Before taking it off the hinges. Dark and cumbersome, it crowded the hallway. I couldn’t step into the bedroom till I closed the bathroom door. Good Feng Shui but this is ridiculous.
The hallway is bright, functional, and I can zip right through without a wooden door bouncer stopping me. I just might go with a nautical theme in the bath… happy accident

The Madness Begins – Pulling Up Carpet

Update, May 17, 2019
Pulling up carpet is still on hold because I found the perfect stain for the new wood steps … yet to be delivered to Ace Hardware. They, being sweet people, took down my name and will call me to save a third trip to pick up the new stain. Problem is: I have to have the steps ready to install because the old steps will need to be demolished and, this being a high-traffic area, I need the pass-thru, right-of-way access. And so do the cats.
Yeah, that stain is AMAZING…. so I wait.

Begin day: April 24, 2019
A couple of days ago I wanted a quick nap so I reclined in one of the Sumo Wrestlers and closed my eyes. Within minutes – on an uncharacteristically humid day – I began smelling something horrible and strangely familiar… beer puke. The previous owner had apparently allowed beer puke to soak into the carpet and dry up, and this muggy day was bringing out the worst of it.

It was time.
After watching way too many videos and reading RV blogs about pulling up this nastyass carpet, I knew I was soooo not ready for that level of work but… here we go.

A good place to begin – where the carpet meets the vinyl at the bathroom threshold

I decided to begin in the worst spot (well, maybe second only to the bedroom and its funky raised edges and tight spaces): at the STAIRWELL. It’s only two steps and a landing, but all the carpet there is tucked inside the stairs’ building materials, so starting on the space via the bathroom threshold seemed to work well. I also figured it’d be great practice for the rest of the RV. Replacing the carpet with either peel-and-stick flooring or sheet vinyl can be the first thing to make this place a little more livable, while the rest of the renovations can wait till after I’ve sold my mortgaged house. Normally, I’d begin with painting or papering the walls, using this nastyass floor as a drop cloth but in this case: get this horrid fuzz crap outa here before I add to it.

So I start ripping out the edge, then cut along the line from the bath to the outside wall so I can take up this crap easily and toss it.

There are thousands of carpet staples, and it was laid on top of the vinyl, some of the carpet having been doubled over at the edge, making for more staples and old carpet dust.

This is way too much fun. And by ‘fun’, I mean torture to my fingers, lungs, and mental well-being.

It took over an hour to get the small landing space and first-step carpet up, the latter having been glued and trimmed in tight. I thought many times I have a job. I can afford to hire someone to do this. What the hell have I gotten myself into?

My bro-in-law set out some tools for me to use but graciously declined my offer for him to help. Smart guy. He’s obviously done this before.

More pictures below of Quality Control, the amount of staples I’m having to deal with, and the abject grossness of the process.

It isn’t easy and it isn’t fast, but it’s all about pure preparation. I watched a video of a Canadian guy prepping his van for new flooring. He used some blue goo, painted it on as a sealant, then glued down a thin layer of what looked like sheet foam as the base for his flooring. His video bored me to tears so I don’t know how it ended. I could only take about 3 minutes of that, which seemed like HOURS. Canadian dude! Lighten that shit up!!

For an update on the stair step redeaux, check out this slideshow….

The Whole Area
TOO. MANY. STAPLES. and double the carpet at the edge
A hole in the work
There was a hole so they patched it with WALL material. Of course.
Board covering carpet
Having to remove an edge board to get to the tucked carpet behind it.
My cat likes to check my work
Quality Control ala Scala

The Tiny Piece of Plastic That Sank a Ship

I awoke this morning, rarin’ to get back to the old house to gather more crap, measure for repairs, take photos to show my bro-in-law so he can cut wood and bring all the right tools when we head down to ready up the house, then haul my stuff back home the same day. A good 450 mile turnaround and hours of work ahead of me.

But I heard rainfall. It was about 5:45am and I checked the weather app on my phone before I even got out of bed, kind of thankful for an excuse NOT to drive that trek today. No rain in all of Texas. But I’m still hearing it rather loud and clear, the slapping of rain on surfaces. I went to the kitchen to see if I could hear it there; it was more faint though still pretty clear but when I returned to the bedroom, it was loud. I bent down toward the floor where the duct register was, then leaned in to where it was coming from…

I grabbed a flashlight, pulled on my rainboots and headed out into the darkness.

Walking to the other side of my rig, I bent down and shined the light on a big stream of water coming from the belly of this beast. Pouring. A lot. Incessantly. Rivers of water heading downstream as I sloshed around in the sandy mud.

My RV had sprung an enormous leak. HUGE.
Bigly A.F.
And everything in the carpeted cargo hold, electrical boxes, tank systems, vacuum systems, and all else underneath the rig was SOAKED. Sopping wet. Everywhere.

Tiny plastic thing that ruined everything
How would I have known to even check this? You can see the O-ring pushed out of the slit made by the water pressure.

I immediately turned off the water at the source and ran back in. I texted my bro-in-law what I had seen and asked him to come over at daylight. He, always up early as well, said “Ok” then texted back “be sure to turn off the water” (done)

At first light, he found the problem – it was one tiny piece of plastic, a small cap to a filter that had swelled due to water pressure from the water hose going into the “city” (water) hookup in the RV. The water had obviously pushed the top part of the plastic out so much that it gave way and created a small fissure in its side. And it ruined the belly of the beast, probably depreciating my RV several thousands of dollars in one fell nighttime swoop.

I quickly looked up a few forums with the same basic leak problem, which lead me to an eleven dollar fix. We found an RV parts dealer who knew what to give us, and also bought an inline water pressure regulator (a little more expensive, at around $29), set it in place, finger-tightened it as it instructed, and BAM! Fixed. All too late.

Yeah, so damned easy to solve a problem that could destroy my love for what I’m doing. Daily I consider going back but I cannot – I have got to keep moving forward, keep heading into The Big Dream of a Life that I have created of how I would love for things to be. I’ve come this far, right?

The belly of the RV is still swollen, I am hoping it isn’t filled with water but have no way of releasing it without crawling under the rig. I may call Monte, the fix-it guy – certified RV maintenance dude – who came and “fixed” my jack levels. But a flat fee of $165 wasn’t in my immediate budget, so I’m glad my bro-in-law quickly found the problem.



The Before Effect

Living in an RV isn’t for pussies ~ I discovered a huge treasure trove of glitches the moment I walked in (it’s pre-owned, of course) and now understand why previous owners get upgrade fever.

I intend to renovate as best as I can while I also look for land upon which to build but, for now, we’re going Reno-Lite so I can save for land and a house, but I need to get rid of all this WOOD and get some LIGHT AND COLOR around me!

My own gigantic body of art won’t fit but fortunately I’ve collected a wonderful array of paintings, tiny sculptures, and little “charms” from artist friends that I’ve already festoon’d this place with. Makes it kinda marvelous, having my peoples’ work around me. That’s all I really need right now because it reminds me of how much I adore them. I miss every one of them and look forward to when I am on my little patch of Earth, when they can visit and celebrate all that we’ve conquered.