A Cold, The Birds, and a Pushy Universe

My mom has a great garden in the backyard!

My mom has a beautiful garden in her backyard!

I’m freezing, my hair feels like ice and I think I’ve developed a head cold.  Slept with the window slightly open last night because my dumb butt forgot to close it (don’t tell my Dad though, he might freak out!  Heh).  But you know what?  That stuff doesn’t bother me.  Why?  Because I woke up to the sound of chirping birds and sunshine.  Chirping. Birds. And Sunshine, ya’ll!  =)

Something about waking up this morning felt good (despite the head cold).  It felt so good that instead of closing the window, I got up and opened it wider, letting the cool, crisp morning air inside.  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, opened my ears, opened my heart and started to feel good again.

It’s a tricky thing, learning to be kind to yourself.  And more often than not, I fail, spectacularly.  I’ve spent way too many years not valuing my own opinion, my own thoughts, much less my own feelings.  I’m not going to do that anymore.  Yea, so I’m a slow learner.  But hey, at least I’m learning.  Know what else I’m gonna do?  I’m gonna be impeccable with my words (yea, I started reading the Four Agreements – my inner skeptic has been quelled).  I need positivity in every aspect of my life.  I’ve been negative for so long, even more so when my relationship crashed and burned.  No wonder some of my friends stopped contacting me.  Heh.  Who wants to be around that kind of constant negativity?  I won’t subject them, or me for that matter, to any more of that.  They deserve better.  And you know what?  So do I.

You know what else I deserve??? An RV!!!  Wooo!

Yep!  That’s right.  I’ve finally made my decision!  I’ll be living the nomadic life in my brand new ‘used’ RV in what I’m hoping will only be 3 or 4 months from now, job willing.  That’s not to say I won’t ever get a tiny home of some sort.  I certainly will at some point when I’m ready to settle down a little more and just unhitch my home occasionally when I feel the need to travel.  Can you imagine how cool that would be?  Instead of plunking down a ton of money renting some hotel room that hundreds, if not thousands, of other people have slept in you can just unhook your tiny home, hitch it up to a vehicle and go.  Instead of staying at some place claiming to have all the conveniences of home, you can just bring your actual freakin’ home!  That image just tickles me.  Heh.

Sometimes you just want to sit with big rocks... and a turtle.

Sometimes you just want to sit with big rocks… and a turtle.

But, for now my nomadic life begins with an RV.  Question is, which one do I get???  The possibilities!  So exciting.  =)  I’m so ready for this move!

You know, I don’t regret anything that’s happened between me and my Wife (or is it my Wife and I?  Someday I’ll get that right).  For years the not-always-patient Universe had been telling me that something needed to change. I just wasn’t listening very well, or, you know, at all.  So She decided to get all shove-y and unceremoniously kicked me off the edge of the most ginormous cliff She could find to get my attention.  Well, I’m listening now.  Hell, I can’t do anything but listen now.

Guess I needed to fall to discover I can fly (or drive in this case).

Thank you, Universe.  Today, I’m happy.

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That Moment When Laundry Becomes Worthy of Excitement…

My new “Life Plan” has run the gamut in reactions from genuine excitement, to jealousy, to indifference, to “can I come?”, to “I don’t understand why, but you have my full support,” all the way down to peels of laughter followed by a sobering, “Oh, you’re serious?”

I had a rather amusing conversation with an acquaintance the other day about the “Plan.”  The entire time she was trying so hard to feign indifference but the slight twitch of the upper right corner of her top lip betrayed her dismay at even the thought of 1) living in an RV, Tiny Home, or anything smaller than the grandeur of her 4 bedroom / 3 bath house and 2) traveling to places that are not either of the U.S. coasts (San Francisco and New York specifically as they are apparently the only respectable locations in this country)!  She did have some good practical questions about food, water, hygiene, safety and the like.  But the subject that stood out the most was regarding clean clothing.  I almost died laughing when I mentioned the use of laundromats and she very visibly fought the urge to scrunch up her face in disgust.  This woman obviously grew up in a MUCH different world than I did… Fascinating.

But she did get me to thinking… I’m not always going to be in an area with laundry facilities and to be honest, as much as I can sit, mesmerized by a wall of spinning clothing at the laundromat for tens of minutes on end, I’d much prefer my own washer/dryer.  But how do I go about doing laundry on the road, while using less water, little to no electricity and have it fit in a small space?  My mind immediately flooded with images of “Squatter Jorna” scrubbing and whacking clothing against the rocks of some local river bank.  Uh, NO.  Just… no.  I can’t even imagine…  Well, obviously I can…  And not to say I wouldn’t try it at least once, just for kicks.  But I digress…

And so, as people are want to do when curiosity strikes now a days… I googled the shit out of this topic.  Low and behold, there’s a whole world of eco-friendly washing and drying options, sans rocks and river bank! This particular little contraption got me all excited about laundry!

Wonderwash

Hand-Cranking-Clothes-Washing-Goodness!

And really, it seems like a lot less work than it sounds.  From what I’ve read, it takes about 10 minutes to complete one 5 lb. load (faster once you get the hang of it– like 5 minutes, according to one reviewer).  As a Singleton, I’m not going to have a crap ton of laundry to do, and given that I don’t exactly have a ton of clothing anyway, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. And I save myself $5-10 every time I need to wash clothing since I don’t need to go to a laundromat!  Sweet!

Then I thought, what about drying my clothing?  I’d really rather not put up clotheslines in and around my home if possible. Then I discovered this awesome contraption:

Spin Dryer

2-3 Minutes of Spinny-Drying Fun!

Granted, it’s not an entirely off-the-grid machine as the “WonderWash” thingamabob, but with the solar panels I’m installing in my future mobile home, I think I can live with the fact that it needs just a little bit of current to work.  And in about 2-3 minutes it gets the clothing a really significant portion of the way dry so hanging time is very minimal.  Excellent!

Now I’m all excited about laundry.  Thank you “Scrunchy-Face Acquaintance” for setting me on the path to Laundromat Freedom.

All I need now, is a place to put my future eco-friendly washer/dryer… Like my new used RV/Tiny Home… That I don’t have just yet…

Am I any closer to a decision?  Not quite.  *sigh*  But I think I may be leaning more towards one than the other!  More on that later!  =)

Wreaking Havoc & Breakin’ Rules!

Let the temporary stay with the ‘Rents commence!!

Already I have wreaked havoc on their calm and orderly lives. Yay! Change and variety is good for them, I say. Keeps the blood moving and the mind churning. Heh.

Even though I only lived in this particular house for less than a year before I moved out, there’s still something very comforting about this place. I can’t really describe it. Maybe it’s just because this is where my parents live, and have lived for a little over half my life. It’s warm and familiar. And it’s just completely them. I guess that’s a great comfort all on it’s own.

But this time around, when I don’t really follow their rules (which has already happened and I’ve only been here less than a day!), they don’t get so bent out of shape. They say it’s up to me; I can basically make up my own mind.

Woah. It’s like I’m being recognized as an adult! The times. They are a’changing.

I do miss my roommates though. And their goofy dogs…

My puppy roommate, Valentine!

My ‘puppy’ roommate, Valentine!

It’ll definitely be an adjustment living here as opposed to the City. Although, I did stay with my parents for about a month when all this mess with my wife happened. But I barely remember that time, to be honest. I was in such a dark, horrible place back then and all the days blurred together. I am very happy to say that I am in a much better place now.  It’s not a perfect place, but it’s infinitely better then where my mind was dwelling before. The days aren’t so cold and I’m starting to see a really awesome and really bright future ahead of me. Particularly one involving the roaming of our vast country in my house-on-wheels while simultaneously documenting what mischief I can get myself into… all legal of course. ;)

But for now, the saving for my future RV and/or Tiny Home begins in earnest!!! I’ll try not to stress the parentals out too much while I’m at it. Scout’s Honor! (Does it even count if you’ve never been a scout of any sort?)

And I’d say so far so good for spending half a day here. Fixed up/rearranged my “new” room. Had a yummy home-cooked meal. Scared the crap out of Mama when I snuck up behind her in the dark living room where she was watching some overly dramatic singing competition… I’d say it’s been a pretty good day. :)

Let’s hope this trend continues for, oh, say, 4 months…

That Missing Something

And it’s a big missing something… A drivers license.

Wait. Whuh?

So here’s the thing, I don’t have a drivers license. Yes, I am aware that it is a huge right of passage in almost every young persons life to earn the right to get behind the wheel of a moving mechanical behemoth, but I happened to miss out on this particular ritual. And really, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area (particularly San Francisco/Oakland) where public transportation is plentiful, I never really felt the need. Not to mention I was a ‘closet hippie’ in high school (because kids, and some adults for that matter, can be so unnecessarily cruel) so I didn’t want to contribute to the pollution of Mama Earth.

That’s no longer the case. Well, I mean, I still don’t want to dirty up Mama Earth, but I can’t really drive an RV, or a truck to tow my tiny home without a license, can I?  Ok, technically I can, but I’m trying to be a good upstanding citizen here!  So I’ll just offset that eco-indiscretion by making my future mobile home as eco-friendly as possible! But that’s a post for another day.

Yesterday I had the entire morning off.  So I trekked over to the local DMV office just after dark o’clock in hopes of being one of the very first in line! The office opens at 8am.  I got there at 7:30am… I was NOT the first in line.  Yeesh.

Notice the line of people waiting outside? Fun times.

Notice the line of people waiting outside? Fun times.

Here’s how the morning went… I waited in line outside.  I waited in line inside.  I was given a form to fill out.  I jockeyed for position on the smallish “long” table with the other form-filler-outers and wrestled for one of the few pens on the table. I finished filling out the form.  I got back in line.  I got a number.  I waited again.  But this time I got to sit in uncomfortable chairs the color of dried blood with graffiti tagged all along the backs.  I watched the loverly TV screen that occasionally displayed sample test questions, secretly patting myself on the back for answering them all correctly.  I bobbed my head along to the music coming from the hidden boom box of the older gentleman seated next to me.  My number was called.  I made the long walk all the way to the opposite side of the office to window 27.  The kind lady looked through my form and made sure I was all set to take the test.  All there was left to do before I subjected myself to my usual cold sweats of test taking, was pay the fee.  It cost $32 to take the test.  What???  Yikes.  I looked through my wallet.  I didn’t bring enough cash.  So I pulled out my debit card.  She swiped the card. I entered my pin.  I thought, “Finally.  I can get this RV party started.”… DECLINED.

Whuh?

We tried again.  Same deal.  I was pouting hardcore now.  We tried one more time.  Still declined.

Blargh!  My pin didn’t work!!

So, I was forced to make an appointment for the following morning at 9:50 am.  Oh, well.  At least my adventure was off to an interesting start.  Where would we be if life was just plain easy like that?

Today on the other hand, was a much smoother ride.  The line was a breeze.  The wait was short.  I paid, cash.  Had my “thug-like” picture taken.  Took the test.  Had a minor freak out during the test because I realized that I never actually read the permit manual thingie.  Finished the test and gave it to the lady for correction.  Waited somewhat anxiously.  And…

I passed!  Wooo!!  With only 1 wrong answer.  Heh.  I am now one step closer to my mobile life.

Learner’s permit in hand, I walked outside with a spring in my step.  And what do I spy parked right across the street from the DMV?

Four Winds RV

It’s a sign I tell you!!! =)

And my excitement grows…

Makin’ the Big Move…

Nope.  Not that move.  A different move.  A move back in time, if you will.

Let me explain… In my quest to finance my future home-on-wheels in a timely manner that will appease my travel bug (i.e. as fast as f*ck), I am …brace yourselves… moving back in with my Parents.

Mom & Me

Me and Mama! Beautiful, isn’t she? =)

I know, I know.  Not exactly the ideal situation when you’re 38 and used to living without “adult supervision.”  I do realize just how lucky I am for being one of those that can actually give up their apartment (or rented room in my case) and have supportive parents willing to take them back in and help with this wild traveler’s dream.  I’m certainly not taking that or them for granted.  So, I will be paying them rent.  Just at a MUCH lower rate than my current rent (which I still think is a great deal for San Francisco since it included all utilities in a cool neighborhood).  But you know what?  The Parental Home will give me all utilities as well, PLUS home cooked meals AND most importantly, save me about $800-900/month.

$800 to $900 a month!?!?!  Damn skippy I’m moving back in with my parents!  Besides, Mama says it’ll be nice to have the company.  Dad’s apparently not much of a conversationalist.  Heh.

Mom is super excited about the possibility of me buying or building my own Tiny Home.  She’s as much a fan of the Fencl Tumbleweed Tiny House as I am!  The RV is equally appealing to her because evidently she shared her “wanderlust” gene with me.

So, can I realistically survive cohabitation with the Parentals again?  I think I can.  I hope I can.  I’ve thought a lot about this.  We all agree that it is a temporary move.  A.  Temporary.  Move.  And I need to keep telling myself that it is a TEMPORARY move.  For all our sakes. ;)

So at the first of the month, I will pack my film/video equipment and what little clothing I have and move back in with the ‘Rents, into their converted garage, in San Leandro.  San. Leandro.  Which is SO not San Francisco.  What the heck is there to do in San Leandro?  Hell if I know.  But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?  Should be easier to save money because there’s really not much to do in that particular city.  Although, I am looking forward to riding my bike again.  Pretty flat land over there on the other side of the “ocean” so there will be much riding to be done!  I currently live in Potrero Hill.  The very TOP of Potrero Hill where riding your bike isn’t a particularly attractive option.  It only took me a month to develop a rather impressive ass of steel!

So, what am I going to use as a reminder that all will be well and that there is an end goal in sight?  This oh so loverly picture of the interior of my potential future RV!  So pretty!  Oooo and Aaahhh with me people!

2012 Sprinter Citation 24SA

Sprinter Citation 24SA
Tis the Dream!

Of course, if I do go the RV route, then I’ll definitely be getting one that is at least a year or two older than this one.  But it will be awesome and beautiful and amazing nonetheless!

I’m really going to miss living in SF.  I’m going to miss my roommates and their goofy dogs.  I’m going to miss all the different  and delicious restaurants outside my door.  But I’m damn excited about what’s coming.

This time next week, I will have taken my first steps towards mobile freedom.

The Decision

I’m movin’ on up to the East side! To a deluxe apartment in the sky!!

Ok, well, not really. I am moving, or at least I’m preparing to make a move.  And not necessarily to the East side.  More like to the open road and wonderous campgrounds of our national parks, and the streets of various cities, etc.  As for the “deluxe apartment,” think more along the lines of a 24ft Class C RV (like these bee-yoo-tee-ful Thor Four Winds motorhomes) or even a Tiny House (the Fencl plan from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company has become my “dream home”)!

Fencl

Fencl house amblin’ down the country road… like a Tumbleweed! ;P

So, why the move to a more simple, minimalist and hopefully more eco-friendly lifestyle?  Long story short… late last year, my 18 year relationship imploded rather spectacularly.  And my last six months or so was spent digging myself out of a dark hole, trying to get my feet back under me.  I’ve been renting an 8 x 9 room in San Francisco and quickly discovered that, aside from not having my own kitchen and bathroom, everything I need is right in this one little space. I’ve got a bed, a simple desk, a chair, clothing that I regularly wear, and my laptop. Knowing that I don’t need, want, and am not tied down to the almost two decades worth of accumulated crap that I left behind in the 1800 square foot loft I shared with my wife is more liberating that I thought it would ever be.  I’ve even pared myself down to just one pen (albeit a “fancy” pen that will last me a lifetime according to the warranty, but just one pen nonetheless).  But because it’s a small space, it doesn’t take much for me to make a mess.  To remedy that, I have a place for every single thing I own.  Weird side effect: I love putting my things away now!

Another amazing side effect is that my life feels so much more serene this way, which is a severe departure from the cluttered life that I lived previously.  And it makes me happy to have created such a peaceful space to heal my rather bruised soul.

Although I love my room, it still really isn’t “mine” so to speak.  I’m still living in someone else’s house, with someone else’s family and someone else’s year old, incredibly sweet, bigger-than-me-but-still-growing, mastiff puppy.

And now that I’ve finally reached a place where I have a better sense of self and worth, I’m craving a place of my own to live as a Singleton for the first time in my life.  Honestly, it’s something I’ve never done because my wife and I had been together since our late teens.  It’s exciting and scary and I’m so looking forward to it!  Well, I am now anyway.  I had identified as a “We” for so long I forgot what it was like to be a “Me.”  Apparently, “Me” just so happens to be an Explorer that’s dying for a new adventure.  And I’m slowly but surely learning not to deny my true self anymore.

Me!

That’s me!

The question is, do I go gallivanting about in an RV or a Tiny Home?  Tough decision.  All I know, is that I’m determined to live a bigger life!  I’m just going to do it in a smaller space.

My name is Jorna.  I’m an independent filmmaker and soon to be intrepid explorer.

Welcome to the next phase of my life.