I thought. Under contract. At least it was a pleasant fantasy while it lasted.

I’d stumbled upon the listing while perusing the online site Zillow.com, something I’d been doing quite regularly in the past year and a half, just bangin’ around the site checking out properties for sale, daydreaming about my rural dream home I hope to buy someday, my escape from the urban life and home my soul is so weary of, these last few years.

I have my current home half paid off. But a few years ago I came to a realization…………… I really don’t like living in town – actually, this was no great epiphany, as I’d known this all my life, but more of a…… ending of the denial I’d been in on the subject for……. hell, decades. I’ve always dreamed of a home in the sticks, but human nature being what it is, I was on my second house, one which fit in no way into my dreams, but was more of…….. well, a convenience of sorts. Sort of like staying in a dead and worn out relationship that I knew was over, when I know I shouldn’t be there, and probably never should have been there in the first place.

I’ve never been a big fan of people in large quantities. Oh, I can talk to and enjoy my kinda folks quite admirably, for hours on end. But I’m not, and have never been, a fan of large amounts of people in a confined space. Too much of a good thing, and whatnot. I’m no misanthrope, at least not completely. But I do have my limits to tolerating stupid people in large groups. Suffice to say, living in an urban area ups the “idiots per square mile bar graph” a little too far into the red zone for my comfort, if ya catch my drift. I’m also a very self sufficient person, so, though I do understand the concept that “it takes a village”, I’m pretty sure a metropolis is too much of a good thing.

To further complicate matters, city folks are quite………… jumpy. Fire a few rounds off at a rabbit in your urban garden sometime, and you’ll see what I mean. They immediately start running about, screaming, dialing 911, even crawling under cars and hiding. Sheesh. They are an odd lot, these urban creatures. The fact that most of them think that food comes from Wal-Mart, and that it amazes them that sticking a seed in the ground results in ………(gasp!) edible vegetables! Shows clearly, in my (slightly bigoted) mind, how slow witted the vast majority of these urban creatures are. They band together into gangs, and pass ridiculous laws aimed at the poor urban hillbillies like myself. They won’t allow a person to have chickens, quoting health, odors, noise, and so on, yet they see nothing wrong with their pets yapping all night long in their backyard, or allowing same to take a big dump on your property, while they pretend to not notice fido depositing his lawn biscuit. Yeah, just look at your watch for 30 seconds straight while rover’s pinching one off, and you fooled everyone, buddy. 😉

Anyhow, I seem to have drifted a bit.

So I’m perusing the web, looking for that dream homestead, the one I’ve been longing for the past few years. I’m not picky, really, Ideally it needs to be a tiny house…….. and Ido mean tiny, with a decent chunk of land. Not too terribly long a commute from work, as gas prices have been known to suddenly increase in large amounts, causing much stress regarding transportation. With any neighbors at a “reasonable” distance. Room for a large garden, and chickens, pigs, and other smaller “farm” animals welcome. A two car garage would be nice. A barn? That would be grand. No laws against discharging firearms, either, as I am an American, and wish to exercise my rights as such. You know, like the right to turn a critter eating my food in my garden into more food for … me. Really, I just want to live somewhere where I feel free. Free to live as I wish, within reason. Most people resent being told how to live, and there’s too many rules in town for me to be happy. Oh yeah, and one other thing, it’s gotta be cheap, so I can afford it. Heh. Rotsa ruck bro.

So, a few days ago I’m bopping around Zillow, and I come across a 5 day old listing. Two bedroom, two story farmhouse, on one acre of land. 17 miles from work. With a nice two car garage, and barn. And, a small cabin as well, with a fireplace. For $48,500. “Damn! This is the one, bay-bee!” I thought to myself. An acre’s not huge……….. but compared to my .08 acre here in town………

In my mind, I could see myself living there already. Couple o’ chickens, a pig or two in the barn, my magnificent garden full of produce swaying gently in the breeze, a breeze that doesn’t smell like automobile exhaust. The little cabin turned into a “guy zone” with all the trappings, deer head on the wall, hell, maybe even a nice English setter lying at my feet between me and the crackling fire in the fireplace. A couple of tin cans would be lying on their side in the backyard, 25 yards from the kitchen window, riddled with holes suspiciously close to .22 caliber. My mind reeled with the possibilities this property would offer.

A day or two later, I emailed the realtor with some questions and contact info.

She called me on my cell the next morning, and said that the property was under contract already to be sold, and asked if perhaps maybe she might have something else I’d like? What was I looking for?

I stammered out a few basics of just that, but nowhere near all the details, as the wind had left my sails. I suppose I should have simply said “A property exactly like this one”…. But I knew in my mind that that just was a bit………… unlikely. I disconnected, and drove home to the house that serves to both keep rain off my head, and keep me warm, and little else.

Oddly enough, I felt not sadness, but, more of a simple….. discomfort. I had housework and errands to do on this day off from work, but I no longer felt like doing them. I felt the urge to grab a few guns, go to the range, and just shoot a bit. Not to dissolve anger, or sadness, or anything like that, but more of an “intuition” to do it to relax my mind, sort of a zen thing shooting can be, for me. To simply “do”.

Eh, fuggit. I’m not gonna regret a few hours shooting when I’m on my deathbed, so I pitched two pistols, a rifle and some ammo, targets, and other accoutrements into the pickup and headed out.

The weather was quite ugly, with a steady rain, and fog all but obscuring the 100 yard targets. I was only planning on the 50 yard line today anyhow, so I unloaded my stuff. Thankfully this local range has a pavilion style roof over the shooting benches, so the rain was of little import. Somehow the weather seemed to match my dour mood.

No doubt due to the foul weather, no one else was there, save a 60ish year old man wandering about, picking up fired brass from prior shooters that was lying randomly about the ground.

I waved to him, and greeted him with as gregarious a greeting as I could muster under my current circumstances, inquiring as to his luck, and if he reloaded the brass, this being the most likely.

He replied that, no, he didn’t even own a gun, and that he only picked up the empty cartridges up for a friend who reloads them whenever he happened to be driving by.

We chatted a bit, and during the conversation he mentioned that he had just bought a cottage nearby, and that he was a real estate investor, owning many properties throughout the area. I mentioned my current conundrum, and we discussed it to some length. We ended up bullshitting easily an hour and a half away, before he took his leave and I got on to my shooting. I fired perhaps 40 rounds from my own guns, and also tried out another guy’s pistol, and he also tried a few of my guns and chatted good naturedly about ballistics, gun types, etc, etc. I glanced at my watch, and realized that I had to head home, as my ten year old daughter would be getting off the bus soon. 3 hours had slid quickly and comfortably by. And I felt……………. just fine.

I loaded everything into the truck and headed home, home to the house I don’t want to live in. The one with a hoosier cabinet in the dining room, and moss covered fieldstone walls in the back yard, those stones imported by me, one at a time, from various wooded areas I had hunted. The one with a sixteen by sixteen garden, long dead and dormant under the December snow. And I was surprised to realize that I felt just fine. Despite the temporary loss, I hadn’t given up on my dream, after all, not even unconsciously.

I still had hope. And this pleased me greatly. Having in the past given up on dreams with much less resistance.

I’ll get there, one day. This I can feel in my bones.


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a quote found on the web.

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply and speak kindly.”

Words to live by.

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A Dream…….

I found this in my email today, something I wrote after waking from a dream, and saved in an email – forgetting about it until I stumbled upon it tonight.

Sunday, 8-2-09
I had a dream tonight. Usually I think to myself……….”I should write this down”……… Yet, I never have before tonight.

So, tonight, I am.

Life. Such an amazing, esoteric path it is for us all, and SOOOOOOOOOOo individual to each of us – what me make of the journey, what, we make of the path, the very individual experiences we all experience. In the end, I believe that it’s a group of wonderful events, mind blowing revelations, thoughts, earth shaking emotional sensations. Connected together by days, months, maybe YEARS of boredom, suffering………..even pain. For some there may be an unfair amount of suffering and pain. Some may have an unfair amount of joys, as well. But there is no one to blame, other than the pilot of each person’s ship, in the end.

No, you. fool, not “god”. The pilot at the controls – and the only person in charge of this life in the end. The pilot at the controls,. The captain of the ship. The “guy driving the bus” in a sense……….. is you, I, everyone else, each on their inividual life path.

Sure , you say. But what about my nasty boss? My nasty spouse / parents / kids / whatever other scapegoats you or I can come up with to pass the blame on when the train becomes derailed, rather than taking it ourselves.

Bullshit. Utter bullshit. I am responsible for all the twists and turns in my life. No one else. is. Good or bad. For example, I could have a dream of going to the Burning Man event in the dessert………….. Or perhaps it is getting into the 200 mph club at the bonneville salt flats. Whatever it is, our dreams are our turf, our responsibility, our loss or gain. Not someone else’s. We can do it, or not. Period. Try, or not. Chase the dream, or not.

Oftentimes such dreams and pursuits end up unusually. Perhaps we may have not been meant to win a race or sporting event, but to meet someone important in our life at said event. But without chasing a dream, said meeting will not happen. Get my thoughts, here? And that chance meeting or person – may be a lifetime friend, or someone who changes our life in a huge way, though only breezing through it, or by us, in a figurative way of speaking. Like a wisp of smoke. That hits us like a thunderclap.

Win or lose……. there is no excuse for “not trying”. for “coasting”. No blame to be laid with anyone but ourselves.

Life is a strange road, a strange trip at times. In the end, only we can judge our own performance, and be satisfied, or not at the end of it all.

We carry the small victories, the amazing events, the inspiring thoughts, along the path of boredom, sometimes defeat. We carry all the big thoughts, things along with us………. while the boring and uneventual times occur.

In the end, we really don’t remember much of the boring times………. each hour spent at an uneventful job, or in an uneventful relationship, or, just “killing time”.

It’s the BIG stuff we remember, that counts to us. And the “Great” little things, too.

I need to make some more important memories in my life. I don’t wish for my story to be a short story, not by years, but short in memories.

Before I get off this bus.


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It’s later than you think.


Found this little piece while browsing the web tonight.
So often we humans procrastinate in a million different ways, for a million different reasons. Or excuses. “When I retire”, “When the kids are grown up”, “when the house is paid off”……… the list goes on and on. Just thought it was thought provoking enough to share here.


It’s later than you think.

You work and work for years and years, you’re always on the go
You never take a minute off, too busy makin’ dough
Someday you say, you’ll have your fun, when you’re a millionaire
Imagine all the fun you’ll have in your old rockin’ chair

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

You’re gonna take that ocean trip, no matter come what may
You’ve got your reservations made, but you just can’t get away
Next year for sure, you’ll see the world, you’ll really get around
But how far can you travel when you’re six feet underground?

Your heart of hearts, your dream of dreams, your ravishing brunette
She’s left you and she’s now become somebody else’s pet
Lay down that gun, don’t try my friend to reach the great beyond
You’ll have more fun by reaching for a redhead or a blond

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

You never go to night clubs and you just don’t care to dance
You don’t have time for silly things like moonlight and romance
You only think of dollar bills tied neatly in a stack
But when you kiss a dollar bill, it doesn’t kiss you back

Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think

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Grief and grieving.



October 18, 2010

Grieving is such a difficult emotion, or response to stress, or whatever the definition is, of grief, to wrap one’s mind around.

We all experience it, if we are blessed enough to live long enough, to outlive a loved one.  And we all seem to take it so remarkably differently.  Some people are crushed by it.  Some change their life paths in huge ways and strike off on completely different routes.  Some experience it and resolve it quickly (in a manner of speaking) and some are so horribly wounded by it that their lives may be pretty much over, under the strain and load of it.  Some turn to drugs, alcohol, or even faster forms of suicide to escape it. 

There is no doubt that it is a very powerful feeling or emotion, rivaling all the others, yet sadly, one of the least understood by the majority of us.  Most of us really don’t know quite what to do, and how to support a friend or loved one experiencing it.  Oh, we try, to the best of our ability.  But it seems that the only thing that does help to end grieving, if ever, is time’s passage.  And even then, it may not be gone, just………. dulled to a livable degree.

My sister died 15 years ago tonight.  She was 22, with a 3 year old daughter, at the time.  She was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver.  Oh hell, why mince words.  She was killed by a drunk driver.

Horror is the only way to describe the experience.  The midnight phone call from the police, asking if so and so lived there, and then them saying they’d be right over, with no explanation why.  The police officer showing up, along with an older heavyset man in a black suit who is obviously not in law enforcemnt……… with an odd gait like something you’d see a mad doctor/scientist portrayed as in a cheap black and white horror film…… a person you know is a coroner before he even opens his mouth or speaks or shows you an ID or badge.  A feeling of doom………….  as though the angel of death, or the grinning, maleovent reaper, was lumbering up to your door.  With a very important message for You.  You already know what the message is, and your blood turns to ice, your hands, clammy, before any of the scene you already see in your mind, before it happens, plays out.

I have some bad news, and you may want to sit down for this…….” he says, as he fidgets nervously with his fingers, while looking down at the floor, rather than your eyes.

Of course he can’t look into your eyes.  Though he looks like an odd and cold character, he has a heart and soul and at some level he knows your pain and cannot bring himself to hold your gaze, he’s been through this many times before, and he surely quickly learned that it’s quite painful to ruin someone’s night, day, month, year, even life with this news, and to hang onto his own happiness, he simply can’t look into your eyes when he tells you this news.  It’s a survival instinct of a sort, a barrier that he unconciously puts up around his soul, that keeps him from going back to his cold morgue, placing the cold barrel of a revolver in his mouth, and spreading his brain tissue and some random bone fragments across the shiny, cold, stainless steel wall behind where he stands.

Heh.  Cleanup on aisle 3, bring a mop.

And as he begins the litany of “There’s been a very, very bad accident……….”, all the time looking at his shoes, his bald spot with a bad combover and greasy hair pointed at you, his fidgeting fingers forming a tent between his hands, palms together, his upper arms tight to his body………… the numbness spreads over your whole body, and you feel as though you are viewing a bad black and white horror movie of someone else’s really, really fucking bad day.  The mother of all bad days.

You hear his monotone voice describing the accident……… “She was thrown from the passenger side window, and this caused a traumatic amputation………………” all the while, those fingers fidgeting, still staring at his shoes, rocking on his heels now…………

And the numbness envelopes you.  Much like shock numbs pain in an injury, the shock numbs you from the full force of the emotions.  This may or may not enable you to carry on with going to the morgue to ID the body, choosing a casket, a burial site, flowers, and other such things, allow you to function to some degree to accomplish these tasks.   I recall that several days after my sister died, I noticed a severe cramping in my abdomen……. I briefly wondered if I perhaps had caught a stomach virus, before realizing that I hadn’t taken a crap in a couple days.  I hadn’t had the time with all the activity, planning, hustle and bustle than had been going on.  Nothing like high octane stress, so high that you forget to take a crap.

Of course, you get a shot an being in the ol’ coroner’s  shoes when you need to call loved ones and their friends, and take a big dump on their day………. and hear each of them scream into the phone, wail like a banshee, and so on.  You soldier on, on some eerie autopilot, and in this zombie state, this cheap movie mode you get through the act of laying this once living, beautiful and precious loved one to rest.  But the worst is not over, no suh’.  Because you haven’t grieved yet.  That comes after the shock wears off, after the excitement dies down, and the rest of the world moves onward with life, while you now have time to ponder that this loved one, will never talk to you again, hug you, hold your hand, or maybe even call you an asshole when you deserve it.  At least not in this place, or in this lifetime.  And you begin to wish they were back, or that you could turn back time, or you tear off on the tangent of the “what if’s”………. What if I had not watched the kid, or not loaned them money, or whatever other “what if” your spinning mind can latch onto.  And you don’t have to try really hard to think up “what if’s”, your mind is very, very capable of providing ways to blame yourself, if ya give it just a wee bit of leeway.  And I bet many of us do just that.

It’s the same, yet so oddly individual for us all.  I’m sure some folks enjoy (for the lack of a better word) fairly quicker recoveries, some horribly long ones, and some never recover.  Hell, it changes us.  Ages us.  Matures us.  Causes some to go ride a bull or climb a mountain or do things they always thought about doing someday………  because they now realize that someday may never come, shit, tomorrow may not come.  “There’s no time ta kill, from tha’ cradle ta tha’ grave” as the country song says, they now realize. 

Hell yeah, if you can’t already tell, the whole effen’ shebang really changed me, man.  There ain’t no denyin’ that little tidbit.  But in the last year or two, I’d noticed that I’d perhaps, finished the process of grieving finally.  I can’t put an exact date on it, not even a year.  But I’m over it, past it.  At some point between when my darling daughter was born in October of 2002, and today, I finished it up, wrapped it up, and moved on, and never really noticed it happening.  I stopped “what if”ing, stopped wishing, and gained some acceptance in what is, is, and that only the unknown and unsure future and present could be changed.  Even though there is no guarantee I’ll see the future.

About a week after my sister died I went to a race, and some friends loaned me their car to drive, as, needless to say, I had not had time in the last week to prepare my own car.  And I noticed a very peculiar phenomenon.   In my mind, before the light went green, the thoughts “she’s dead, she’s gone, you’ll never see her again” and so on repeated like an endless loop.  I could not shake them out of my head.  The light went yellow, and I instinctively brought the revs of the engine up, up to around 4000 rpm, the clutch down to the floor, the shifter in first gear, and my concentration began to cancel out the dark, brooding thoughts.  The light went green.  And instantly I was in the zen like state of the right here, right now.  Like a switch had been thrown, the thoughts were gone, replaced by the mechanics of just driving a car at it’s limit……… turn in, upshift, downshift, brake hard early, turn into the slalom, and so on, right up until I crossed the finish line, with the winning time.  The car came to a stop, with the smell of race fuel, burning rubber, and motor oils so right there in my senses.  I blinked, heard my time announced over the PA system, the fastest time in class, and instantly the dark thoughts began right where they left off.  “She’s dead, she’s……..”

Aw shit.

I raced pretty heavily, immersed myself in the cars and working on them, needless to say, for some time.  It was my release, my tonic.  My medication.  I don’t think that’s what truly snapped me out of my funk, though, and not specifically my daughter’s birth, either.

At some point, my around 2 year old tot and I were playing in a park, and she picked up an acorn, handed it to me, and inquired, “What is this, daddy?”…….. I looked at it, and replied “an acorn”, turning it slowly in my fingers, looking at it.  She asked what it was for, what it did, why, and so on, and as I answered the questions, and looked at this tiny, insiqnificant thing, I realized that I would have just stepped on this little marvel and kept going, without a thought, had this little girl not pointed it out.  And that I had not pondered an acorn since I was a child, decades before.  I had not paid attention as my life flew by, allways rushing, planning, doing,……….. but never seeing the wonder of the world, of nature, the beauty around me.  This little 2 year old child hadn’t yet learned the advanced adult skill of being blind to all the beauty and joy that surrounded us, surrounds us all, day in and day out.  As time went on, I took her out in nature as often as I could, and she taught me to learn again the joys of the world, the acorns, insects, the plants, the reflections on water, the glorious sunrises and sunsets, wildlife, and all sorts of things that were new to her, were new to me as well.

I’m not sure who taught who more.  I do know that my sister is still dead, though I no longer am.  I live more fully today, than I ever have in my life, I am sure my grieving is over, and I fully enjoy my life, my time, and my loved ones once again.  Exactly when and how this came about, I cannot say.  Though I’m pretty sure that that tiny tinkling voice asking about the acorn, as i looked down at the insignificant (or so I thought) thing in my fingers, had one hell of a lot to do with it.

Wish I’d have kept the damn thing, but hell, it had done the job that it needed to do.

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The ol’ VW bus goes down the road.

July 29, 2010, 01:18:54 AM
Many of you who’ve been on the forum for quite sometime may remember posts by me years ago that included a certain 1972 Volkswagen “hippie bus” that was often a player mentioned in my trials, hijinks, and escapades.  This one had ton’s O’ personality, having had all sorts of stickers applied during it’s lifetime, and far-out murals painted on the interior ceiling.  If this van could talk, It likely would’nt be able to remember all the “trips” it took, anyhow. toothy10
Stickers from Hendrix, the dead, and even Phish were all over the interior panels.  What a wild trip this thing had before it came to Sophia and I five years ago….I sold it yesterday.I’ve always been a bit of a vintage volkswagen person, I’ve owned several.  I’m very mechanically inclined, and there’s never a shortage of work to be done on a vintage air-cooled volkswagen.  So vw’s and me always “clicked”.  Well, that and the fact that I never, ever, drive a “normal” car if I can help it.  The more a vehicle is a cultural icon, the more I like it.

No, not a grateful dead fan, not a “hippie”, nor am I a pothead.  None of the above.  The reason a VW bus was always on my “big list O’ vehicles to own before I die” was simply it’s ……… cultural significance.  The dream of the open road, the dream many have of “crossing the country in a vw bus” and so on.  I just always wanted one.

I do have to admit, they are completely their own kind of vehicle….. unique in their handling, their “feel” when driving.  (in a VW bus, you sit ahead of the front wheels, with that big bay window, you can look down at the road just inches ahead of your feet)
They aren’t fast, they don’t handle great, by any stretch of the imagination at all.  The lack of speed or power, and the amazing view of the road ahead of you, the scenery around you, literally force you to take your time, and while you are taking your time, admire the scenery and things going on around you as you travel.  It’s almost a zen kinda experience, a wonder you experience.  You’ve been forced to slow down, and you realize, slowing down is not bad at all.  It can be awesome for the spirit.

So, anyhow, this rusty old camper holds many fond memories for me.  Camping on a lakefront site, with a kayak beached at the campsite, with a view that would make a great postcard from the rear hatch when you wake up.  

Camping at another site where the other campers all stepped out of their big-bucks rvs to literally stare at the smoking, primer gray heap backing in to a neighboring site, with their jaws literally hanging down.
Kinda a “Oh shit, Martha, hippies!  Lock everything up! Look on their faces.

Sophia sleeping in the little forward hammock/ cot, still so tiny she needed a binky to go to sleep, and turning a flashlight off and on, then giggling at the glow in the dark stars some long ago deadhead, hippie, or whatever had painted / stuck to the ceiling over her cot.
And me snapping a picture of her first ever S’More the next day.

One time while “boondocking” or “dry camping” way out in the woods along a very primitive logging road, (free!  no fees and no neighbors!) we all heard a pack of coyotes let out a mournful howl, 5 or 6 of em’, in unison.  At about 30 to 50 yards away.  A friend of mine who was out with us camping literally turned about as white as I have ever seen a person turn. icon_pale Sophia, on the other hand, thought that it was “the coolest thing ever!”  toothy10

And boy, could you pack that thing good for a camping trip.  All you needed for a week, including a tandem Kayak and two bikes, cooler, food, fishing equipment, .22 rifle, and so on.  Even a portable DVD player for rainy times.

Several trips to the local drive-in over the last few years, where we could pack our own drinks and food, back the bus into the parking spot backwards, throw open the back hatch, fold down the bed, and watch the movie laying on our stomachs, heads propped up on pillows, like laying in the living room watching tv or something.

So many little great memories.

I bought a low mileage Mazda Miata in the spring of 2009.  (another car on my gotta own at least one someday list….) And I love that car as well.  But funny thing – you never need to work on it.  And since that car came onboard, we never drove the bus anymore.  It just sat in the yard, always needing work, as they always do when they are 38 years old.  When faced with rebuilding the carb on the bus, or, hopping in the Miata, dropping the top, and just driving, I’ve since always chosen the Miata.

This spring I decided it was time to shit or get off the pot.  Either fix the bus, or sell it.  One or the other.  As a camper, it is off the road all winter, and the insurance reflects that – only about $160 a year to insure.  But the old cars, they go to pot quick when they sit around.  Brake lines, rust, varnish in the carburetor (remember them things?)……… Let em’ sit outside just a few years and the only thing they have in their future is a scrap yard.

This old girl was like a part of my family.  She deserved to be out on the road, camping, doing, going.  Not just rusting away unused, uncared for.

So when talking with a co-worker recently of my hard decision, he mentioned that his brother had “always wanted a bus………” things started moving along.  A price was set, the guy came to look at it, and was obviously very enamored with the old machine.  Wanted to do the odds and ends work, and go camping with it.  And he’s very mechanically inclined, to boot.

It was almost like I was an adoption service screening a prospective parent.  They seem like a perfect match.

Which brings me to yesterday.  After transferring the title, and putting the temp tag on the back, we jumpstarted the old thing and warmed it up, with it’s Oh so distinctive flat air cooled four cylinder tempo putting away as it warmed up, then pulled it back onto the pavement in the alleyway behind my house to check tire pressures and what not.  I snapped some pictures before it drove off, and Sophia gave the spare tire on the front (also distinctive of the bay window style buses) a big hug.  And they drove it off, to it’s new home just a few miles away.  As it drove away, with it’s so familiar and distinctive barrage of sounds and smells (really hot motor oil, gasoline…….) I realized that it felt good to let it go.  We, Sophia, I, and this old van had gone down different paths, and for once, this wasn’t a sad thing, but just an event, a fork in the road for us all.  I’d learned to take the good memories, and move on along my new path, without any sadness pulling me back.  I truly feel no sadness at all.

All is well, and as it should be.  Life changes as time flows on.  We can kick, fight, scream, be in denial of it all, or, we can accept change and move on down our new path with our focus on what is ahead, and what we want that to be, without letting “letting go” be such a difficult thing.  It’s not good or bad.  It just “Is”.

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re-entering the fray commonly known as dating………………..

 January 23, 2009, 08:31:23 AM
I joined an online dating site not too long after putting the ex out the door.  I had high hopes initially, hell, lot of people on the site, locally, too.  I placed a thoughtful and straightforward ad, posted a bunch of pics, and sat back.The emails began to roll in.  Hell, this was too easy, lol.  I began to read them, correspond with some.The initial burst of energy i felt began to dissapate rather quickly as i corresponded and read the email.  Every single one reeked of dysfunction.  Kay, perhaps i was being too hard on folks, I thought, no way could such a high percentage of people be toxic.  Surely I’m being jaded, or too hard on them, setting my sights too high……..
Over the next year and a half, it became quite an education on the condition, psychologically, of the average single adult walking around out there.  And not a pretty one.  I’d come to the conclusion that a healthy person is not the average.  The average person is unhealthy.  Healthy is the rarity.Shit.

This is likely to be a long spell, I realized.  After about a year and a half, I’d come to the point of I-just-don’t-give-two-shits-anymore.  I had long since learned that sex does not equate to love, and that it was never really a necessity.  My life was, is, very good.  My daughter in my primary custody, legally…… bills paid mostly on time.  Time to spend with her, lots of little adventures.  Peace and tranquility abounded, no more drama at all.  I had learned to separate the wheat from the chaff rather quickly now, amazing how a few sentences with someone, and i would just know whether they “got it” or not.  I had two people i met in person on the site, nearly all others ended up getting the delete button.  No time to kill on losers, I’ve only got so much time on this earth to kill, and that clock just keeps ticking.  So, I kept busy at the task of living….. not existing, living.  

I worked less, enjoyed more.  I found myself, found the outdoors and nature again.  I rediscovered many passions I had had in my youth, like going a a hard and fast tear on a mountain bike – riding so hard that when i came home and dismounted it felt like walking on taut springs rather than legs.  Took great pleasure in small things i did with my daughter, soaked up as much of the positives of being a parent as i could possibly do.  The first day of kindergarden, and being outside to have her run into my arms at the end of the day.  Camping, so far out in the boonies, that we heard a pack of coyotes howl in unison, not more than 50-100 yards away.  Kayaking, fishing.  The first ER reunion in Ohio, where soph and i hung out and assisted Chris in the kitchen, went swimming with robin, and cycling with Greg .  Fossil hunting in an area less than a mile from my home.  Playing with slot cars, working on projects in the basement workshop.  Bike riding together, exploring the world like we were both 5 years old.  Road trips in the 72 vw bus camper, some through wilderness logging roads, some to the drive in movies.  Some to tiny, out of the way silver 1950’s style roadside diners where the waitress still calls you “hun”, even if she’s 20 years younger than you, and where you can sit and sip coffee at the counter- while Sophia makes conversation with the staff, and then proceeds to order for me…  As in, “he’d like coffee, and creamed chipped beef……. I’d like a hot dog and..”  The whole while, waitress has a hysterical smirk on her face.  We’ve gone to a local museum, to see dinosaurs bones and artworks, and been to an opening for a local author’s first book, a children’s book, a copy of which was free to every child, personally signed by the author, as well as read by the author to the kids.  We went to a local spot that I knew from my childhood, where a creek goes down a 50 foot long sheet of rock, probably a 30 foot drop along it’s length….. a natural waterslide….. and spent a particularly hot august day squealing as we slid down it, as well as just lolling about in the icy cool stream, talking. We sat and watched insects – praying mantises and others that flocked to the tiny garden pond we built in the backyard.  We tamed 5 tiny wal-mart koi to the point that we could feed them by hand, and named them flash, moonbeam, nemo, spot and bingo.   We rode a little antique red wagon down some hills.  Tended to a garden in the back yard.  Learned from a gardening friend that the reason our strawberry patch in the back yard was not producing sweet enough berries anymore, was because we needed to add rabbit manure.  Imagine trying to explain to a 5 year old that her pet bunnies shit would make our strawberries actually taste better, not like shit, LOL.  Shot over 2000 digital photos, of things worth photographing, documenting little bits of life.  While driving to the supermarket, we found a lost soccer ball in the street, stopped, and took it directly to a local park, where we giggled like idiots while both playing soccer for the first time, just the two of us.

 For the cost of nothing, i acquired some old unwanted roof racks from an old phone company van, cut and welded them as necessary to make them fit, and mounted them on the vw bus, enabling me to carry the kayak, bikes, and mount an also free canopy to the side for camping – a crank out deal that allows me to set up in 30 seconds, wherever i park for the night.  We went picking blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, still in the freezer and used for the occasional smoothies we make in the blender.  We camped, free, on a friends property where our campsite was at the peak of a mountain, the highest spot for miles……. where the sky’s horizon seems a full 180 degrees and the night stars, the milky way, are visible to the naked eye.  We sat around many campfires, toasted marshmallows, cooked hot dogs, and talked of little things while snuggling on a folding chair.

Such an amazing year and a half.  I feel as though I’ve crammed a lifetime of simple pleasures into that period.  I’m thankfull I’ve been such a hard sell, thankful that i refused to lower my standards to simply have someone at my side, for just the sake of having someone there.  Aside from the obvious dysfunction that would have ate at me, it would also have kept me from living these things, had i allowed another mentally unwell person into my life.
As I review it now in my head, damn, it’s been a good life, this short period of time.  I’m glad i took the time to heal, the time to fix myself.  The time to simply be a dad……… and hopefully instill in my daughter these same values.  I no longer regret the years wasted before – i focus now on cherishing every minute i have here, and enjoy life and my loved ones immensely.  I also note that nearly all of the past 1 1/2 years escapades, cost extremely little or nothing at all.  So the old saying that the best things in life are free, makes sense.

I was 39 years of age before I even learned how to truly live.

I’m just so damn happy that i made the choice to not lower my standards.  The past year and half has been the best of my life.  I’m looking forward to the rest of it being that way.  Living, not just existing.
Al out

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