Not What I Planned

I had planned to do an update-y post about how we’re going to spend the next handful of months getting ready for our big Wunder-Lusters Adventure next year …

…but … I have a galaxy-busting migraine …

… so in lieu of, please enjoy this short movie I came across the other day on Omeleto – a YouTube channel that curates shorts form all over the world.

Along with DUST – which is strictly SF&F, it’s one of my ‘go-to’ channels for short movies that never make it to a mainstream release.

Water, Water, Everywhere And …

… not a drop to drink. At least not potable water, and we live on an island, in the middle of a lake!

When we moved here in 2012 the water, straight from a well, tasted divine. Certainly nothing like the city-water we were used to drinking in Vancouver.

In fact, when we drove out here to check out the place before we signed the lease, our prospective landlord at the time, offered us a glass of water, and it was probably one of the main things to convince us to move here.

Not so any more.

We’ve experienced a slow decline in water quality, but the stressors on the water-table this past year have been the final nail in the coffin – metaphorically speaking.

Population pressure: Since the farmers sold off their acreage this little island has been sub-divided, and sub-divided until there are far too many houses for the land to sustain. The older houses have septic sewage systems and the newer ones have pump-out ones.

The small creeks upstream of the lake are surrounded by commercial greenhouses. More and more are being built every day as people are finally starting to realise that food security for decades to come will have to be sourced as locally as possible – a legacy of the collateral damage from the last two years. And no matter how stringent their safety protocols are for their waste water something always gets past the system

This last summer heated up the lake and raised bacteria levels until swimming was a health hazard.

Our well water has been treated with chlorine to combat unsafe levels of bacteria four times, so far. It’s reasonable to expect we’ll be receiving ‘boil-water’ advisories next summer. (if we’re still here)

We don’t drink water straight from the tap anymore.

One of the things we were saving up for to buy next year as part of our preparations to head off for parts north-west of here, (and become the ‘Wunder-Lusters’ we’ve been hoping to be for the last two years) was a Berkey water filtration system.

With a little rearranging of priorities, we had the rather large, for us, sum of money to buy it now instead of next year.

Having a glass of water is a pleasure we cannot take for granted again.

 

‘… Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink …’

From ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

 

3 Bits And A Piece

I had my first vaccine last week with no nasty side effects, only a sore arm for a few days and feeling a bit seedy but that was it. Mrs Widds had hers two weeks before that so we’re good to go on that front until our second shots in a couple of months.

We’re still taking all the same precautions when we go out into the world, of course. Only the willfully ignorant-by-choice believe that this pandemic is in any way shape or form, over.

-oOo-

We’ve hit a bit of a plateau with our packing stuff into storage plan. Although we’re nibbling away at it, we’ve acknowledged that we may not be able to do a permanent move this year.

It’s a fine balance between leaving everything until the last minute and having far too many ‘oh shit!’ moments, and getting everything into storage and living out of boxes and sitting on the floor. (OK, that last bit was an exaggeration, but you get the picture)

Although we can live a minimalist lifestyle for a few months, the prospect of another year without certain items, that are already in storage, isn’t attractive. So, as usual, we’ll see.

-oOo-

Editing is coming along swimmingly. I feel a bit like Data in the movie Star Trek: Generations, when I sit down to work on another chapter, of which there currently are, thirty-nine.

Speaking of Data …

Thin Ground

Blog posts are a bit thin on the ground here at Widder Island at the moment.

But I have a great reason for it …

…apart from all our conniptions and Wunder-Luster-ish plans … (currently standing at Plan Q – alphabetically speaking)

… and having a run of glorious sunny days where neither of us want to do a damn thing but wallow in it. It’s the kind of Spring sun that sits around 22-25 °C but the earth hasn’t warmed up (or dried out) yet to make it uncomfortably hot …

New leaves on the Winter Tree, and look at that glorious blue sky!

New leaves on the Winter Tree, and look at that glorious blue sky!

… and me badly spraining my ankle (it’s only now, three weeks later, stopped hurting every time I put any weight on it) the day we brought our trailer back from storage. (someone parking on the grass verge, and with never-ending months of rain turning everything underneath the grass to mud, left a bloody great trench for me to step into as I was guiding Mrs Widds as she backed the trailer into it’s spot) …

… I have been writing … lots.

105,000-ish words to be exact-ish, of a new novel. I started it in January and have been going gang-busters ever since.

Last night I finished the grand almost-at-the-end climactic scene, (I was sweating blood, I can tell you! All that choreography to get right, along with everything else, but very proud of it I am!) and only have a chapter or two of ‘aftermath-y’ tidying up left to do.

This is just the first draft, though. Once those last chapters are writ, it’s editing time … which I must confess, I enjoy, just about as much as I do writing first drafts. I’m a bit odd like that.

My goal was to write 2000 words on all my writing days, and by now I can whip them up in a couple of hours … the plan is to keep on writing thusly for the foreseeable future, now that I have a handle on it and it’s well and truly a habit by now, because of course there’s going to be a sequel.

-oOo-

In other Wunder-Lusters-y news …

We replaced out flat tonneau cover on the tray of our truck with a soft-top canopy. Sooooo much more room to load up with boxes and assorted householdery to take to the storage unit.

Yep, that’s me reflected in the front window, or at least my shoulder. Not sure what was happening with my head, probably a ‘reflection’ of how my brain feels sometimes with all that writing

Yep, that’s me reflected in the front window, or at least my shoulder. Not sure what was happening with my head, probably a ‘reflection’ of how my brain feels sometimes with all that writing

It’s not just for transporting boxes. This is another step in our plan to go adventuring. The additional storage will hold our generator, spare cans of gasoline, propane bottle, emergency survival gear, etc, some of which with the flat tonneau cover, we would’ve had to store in the trailer itself as we traveled – not a good look.

Shiny new bones

Shiny new bones

It didn’t take us that long to assemble …

And this is how she looks all buttoned up ... another step closer to the Dream

And this is how she looks all buttoned up … another step closer to the Dream

Big shout-out to Softopper in Boulder, Colorado, USA … for not only crafting a thing of beauty, but getting it to us when they promised!!!

-oOo-

NEWSFLASH!

Monday night … our Premier just announced that all non-essential travel outside of our health region will soon be restricted. (banned, in other words) They’re working on the guidelines as we speak, but it’ll be quite a few months before the regions open up again.

Not that we hadn’t discussed this possibility, and were preparing for it, in our understated yet stylish way, 🙂 and we’ll be able to get away for a bit to the campground we stayed in last year, just up the road, but realistically, any long-term, and long-distance, travelling is off the table for this year. Never say ‘never’, of course, because Herself, (or the Universe, or what/whomsoever) has the final say in such things.

But, that, as they say, is that.

Deconstruction

The Covid-19 infection rate in our Province is rising alarmingly. Essential travel only is recommended – to be reviewed at the end of the month (April) by the Provincial health authorities.

If we wish to stay with our current departure date (31st May) we will have to give notice to our landlady at the end of this month.

We’re only a third of the way through the month, but given that there’s usually a 2-3 week lag between infection rates and the numbers being released, the 31st of May isn’t looking good.

We can reschedule our campground booking without losing our deposit, if we give them enough advance warning.

So, all-in-all, blergh, humbug, and other assorted grumbling noises.

On the up side, we’ll have more time to get on with our packing and sorting, storing and deconstructing of various elements of our house. Case in point – shelving units …

This used to be a very organised workspace

This used to be a very organised workspace

Second case of points – our storage unit is slowly filling …

A box here, a garbage bag there ... it all adds up

A box here, a garbage bag there … it all adds up

Funny thing is though, having all this time to do the sorting, packing, etc, is wonderful, but the process feels like it’s going on forever. I’ve never experienced moving like this.

In my younger days in OZ (Australia) I could be packed up and out of a house in a week, which in some of those early digs was about all the notice I got. Ah yes, those rousing days of shared housing and inner-city living.

Even when I could afford to live by myself, and/or with partners, house-moving took a month at the longest. Hell, even when Mrs Widds and I moved her to Widder Island, we were out of our old place in Vancouver in a month. (nearly bloody killed us, but we did it)

This more sedate pace feels right though. We have time enough to look at each and every object and go, ‘storage’, ‘in the trailer’, or ‘thrift store/garbage’. Those are our only three options for every thing here.

It does clarify one’s decision-making processes.

-oOo-

Here’s something I uncovered the other day. A rough template I created in another Era, (somewhere around the end-ish of 2019) look familiar?

Same women, same wheels, same three coasts ... hell yeah!

Same women, same wheels, same three coasts … hell yeah!

Maybe not yet, and maybe not as soon as we’d planned, nevertheless …

The Terrifying Art Of Becoming

Freek Week downgraded itself to mere Freek Hours, thence to Freek Minutes. These minutes are, however, just as overwhelming as the hours and weeks. The only good thing about them is that it takes less time to overcome them but their ability to come seemingly out of nowhere, is disconcerting, to say the least.

Today’s Freek Minute comes to us directly from the Storage Locker …

Empty ... un-full-filled

Empty … un-full-filled

I know what I have become living here on our island in the middle of a lake. I have become a cancer survivor, a self-published author, (Prelude – which I am inordinately proud of) … I have become too overweight, too sedentary … I have become older, by eight years, and wiser, I hope … a survivor of 2020 … I am closer to my physical death than my birth, and I am far too fond of my habits.

… but what will I become if I stay here? The answer to that lies in a deep level of self honesty … which says I will become invisible, even to myself, with the passing of days … I will eventually disappear into the illusion of safety and security, the comfort of familiarity and routines, and a spirit-death of a thousand fear-filled thoughts.

What will I become, though, when I leave?

-oOo-

We have a leave date, the 31st May, and we have started to fill our storage unit with ‘stuff’.

Other ‘stuff’ is bound for the thrift store. Boxes, half-filled with ‘stuff’ are littered throughout the house, and we wonder, every day, how we managed to not only accumulate so much ‘stuff’, but how we’ve lived with it for this long.

The answer to that last bit is, of course, we’ve been gathering ‘stuff’ for this very outcome.

Think about it for a minute. Think about where and how you’re living right now. I know that for most of you, your life is set. There are routines you follow. The future, although as yet unwritten, is fairly well defined.

I know my life was.

This adventure of ours feels very much like we’re throwing all that out the window.

Imagine leaving all your familiarities behind, taking with you only what you can carry. What goes with you? What stays?

Mrs Widds’ grandmother came west, through the Canadian prairies, in a covered wagon. Everything she knew, everything she owned, was within that wagon. The rest, was, perhaps a few lines drawn on an old map that led to the hope of a new life.

In my more sleep-deprived moments, because some nights sleep is hard to come by when lists loom so large, I feel as though that’s what we’re doing too.

-oOo-

So, what will I become?

We shall see.

Freek Week!!!

Things are moving along a little faster than we expected.

Just before the pandemic closed down the world last year, Mrs Widds started working at a temp job that, luckily for us was in an essential industry.

Through a series of circumstances, that ‘temporary’ job extended and extended and extended, until we arrive here at the first couple of months of a new year.

At the beginning of February I did a wee Wunder-Lusters update, wherein we were planning to initiate the new and revised plan by the middle of this year-ish.

As the song goes, ‘t’aint necessarily so,’ folks.

Mrs Widds discovered today (Monday) that the company she’d worked for all through the pandemic pandemonium of 2020, was taking applications to fill the temp job she’d been working for the last year, with a permanent employee. Interviews for which got underway today, and Mrs Widds will be cleaning out her desk by the end of the week.

We were thinking that the job would wind down by May/June-ish anyway so we were ramping up our preparations with that timeframe in mind.

I understand the company’s position about the costs involved in hiring a temp versus paying an employee, but for fucks sake they could’a held off for another month or two.

So, money’s tight again, and the curve of our adventure has edged closer to vertical by about six weeks.

Are we freaking out right now?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

Not at all. Why would you think that?

In honour of our, hm, let’s call it , ‘enhanced’ timetable we have declared the rest of this week to be, FREEK WEEK … where all manner of squeaking, shrieking, weeping, freaking-out, procrastinating, denying, and assorted other coping mechanisms and stress release vocalisations are encouraged.

After that our motto is going to be, ‘It is what it is’, and we’ll get on with it.

I encourage you to take advantage of this burgeoning international movement and embrace your inner and outer FREEK WEEK, and then get on with it too.

A New Dawn, A New Day – The Wunderlusters: Plan B

When last we met our intrepid lesbians in the waning days of yesteryear, they planned to head out, in their trusty little travel trailer, into the wild blue yonder that is Canada.

Their motto,’ Two women, Eight Wheels, Coast to Coast to Coast’, would’ve taken them to such diverse places as Tyuktoyaktuk, which shakes hands with the rather chilly Arctic Ocean, Peggy’s Cove, nestled up against the mighty Atlantic Ocean, and catch a few waves off the shores of Ucluelet, brought in by the hemisphere-spanning Ocean that is the Pacific, just to name a few.

… … yeah … … about that … …

2020 – The Year That Changed The World!

We may yet get to visit all those places, but our priorities have changed … and who among us hasn’t had to rearrange a few things here and there over the last year?

Here’s the new plan.

We still do all of the above, but first, we get ourselves settled on a piece of land that’s not on a flood plain (here on Widder-island we’re barely above seal level as it is), or a major earthquake zone, or one of the battlefronts of the effects, social, environmental, economic, and political, that the climate crisis has wrought, and will continue to wrought (anyone know the present and future tense of ‘wrought’?) for decades to come. Decades that Mrs Widds and I, in our 70’s and 60’s respectively, hope to live long enough to survive.

What, I hear you ask, are a couple of middle-aged biddies going to realistically do to change their circumstances? Why don’t they just stay where they are? It’s comfortable, if a little small, all the services they need are nearby, and let’s face it they’re not getting any younger, and who knows if all the above mentioned crises will pan out as ‘worst-case scenario’s’ predict.

Yes, in the present moment, our lives are ‘secure’, but all we have to do is lift the veil and peer out from it’s comforting obscurity and see the world as it really is, and what it really will become in our lifetimes. (assuming, of course, we both make it happily and healthily into our 90’s and beyond)

That’s the thing with a slow moving crises, it’s really difficult to see any movement until the damn thing is breaking down your door.

There is hope in the world. Scientists are on the case, huge numbers of individuals, smaller numbers of corporations, governments, etc, are making changes to how they live their lives, conduct their business, make policy. I believe these efforts will be sufficient for the continuation of our species, but as to the quality of life for the greater percentage of eight billion-ish humans? That I think is where the dark might days lurk.

I have no wish to live out the remainder of my life in dark times if I can, in the immediate future, take steps to change that fate.

We have time, we don’t need to rush.

… back to the plan …

First, we’ve rented a storage space, sufficient to hold all our worldly goods. Then, after judicious sorting and taking of sorted stuffs to thrift stores, over the next couple of months, we’ll pack up everything into boxes and deposit them, (after carefully considering the order in which we will need to unpack) into storage.

In the meantime, we will set up all sorts of searches for land in our chosen area, that of the Kootenays, a mountainous region of the British Columbian Rockies, along the Columbia River, going both north and south.

In the meantime of that meantime, our trailer will be out of storage and I will be finishing off the last of the renovations so it will be livable for us both in the long term if necessary.

In the meantime of meantimes, our province has scheduled the covid-19 vaccinations for our age-groups in May-June-ish (all things being relatively equal-ish, and travel restrictions lifted) at which point all our meantimes should be aligned and we’ll be off.

We’re not foolish enough to believe that we won’t encounter any hiccups along the way, after all, this was our plan, with a few new tweaks, at this time last year, but without taking action all we’ll be doing is sitting here stewing in our own regrets … and I’ll be damned if I let that be my epitaph.

A Perfect Ten, Finale – 2010: Beginnings and Endings

Well, here we are, at the beginning.

It was quite a decade, and it’s been an interesting exercise revisiting it via, firstly, my Great Blog Post Emendation, and thence on to these ‘one-per-year’ posts.

In looking back, I’ve found my line-of-sight swinging towards, not only the present, but the future also. A future that is occluded by Covid-19 – as it is for all of us – but also has some threads weaving in and out of the mists that I can tug on and feel their energy pulling me forth.

Going on our trip-ette for ten days was the perfect way to end these last ten years, to give myself time to, as I said at the end of my last post, stare at the scenery and drink tea … which I did … both, in copious quantities.

I had fine ideas of doing some deep spiritual work, of writing down a few outlines (vague outlines, ‘cos I’m a dyed-in-the-wool ‘pantser’*) of the stories that are percolating underneath the attic stairs in the back of my mind, of brainstorming the, Covid-19-revised, future of ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and many other things too numerous to mention. To give myself credit I had allowed the first five days to do the ‘scenery and tea’ bit, but after that I’d planned to get to work.

Yeah … about that plan … it was obvious by the first weekend that none of the above list of things was going to happen. I didn’t even get my camera out until we were almost at the end of our time there.

The first three days were still smoke-raddled by the capricious winds blowing up from the fires in the U.S. The next couple of days were filled with glorious blue skies and brisk winds … which got steadily stronger, and stronger and blew in thunderous storm clouds and rain … and more rain, and still more rain … that had reduced itself to occasional showers by the time we left.

Since getting home, late on Sunday afternoon, we’ve had nothing but sunshine … ain’t life twisty like that?

However, herewith, as promised, some photos and first ever videos of the (also first ever) official, Wunder-Lusters Adventure …

This is the view from where I sat under the trailer awning, all bundled up, sipping my tea, and listening to the rain.

 

And this made me smile …

A Puff of Dragon's Breath Cloud - busy with things to do and people to see

A Puff of Dragon’s Breath Cloud – busy with things to do and people to see

A little white cloud that had far greater ambitions than I …

(A bit wibbly-wobbly because of a stiff tripod. I ‘hand-held’ the rest, but I’m going to have to work through my equipment list poste-haste)

We did go for walks along the beach in-between the rain-showers and rain-deluges.

Very fine silt sand drifted between an endless vista of the most, pick-up-and-put-in-your-pocket-river-tumbled stones, I’ve seen for a good many years.

 

I have a selection of very special ones with me as I write this. I also picked up a piece of driftwood that caught my Attention. I don’t know, yet, what the stones and the wood will do, but they’ll make their opinions on the topic known when they’re ready, of that I’m sure.

The transition between sunshine and stormclouds happened in a matter of moments. Not long after I filmed this, another deluge descended upon us …

 

It was cold that night. I even tucked myself into bed with an extra hot water bottle. (a few things, among many, to make sure you have when camping, whatever you’re camping in – duct tape, wire, and an extra hot water bottle)

The next morning, I spied my most favourite weather event in the entire world

SNOW!!!

SNOW!!!

Of course Cheam Mountain is over 2000 meters high, and our campground sat at 23 meters, but still … SNOW!!!

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

And this is what she looks like, from another angle, when she’s really got her groove on, courtesy of Wikipedia and the photographer, Jack Borno …

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

Cheam_Peak by Jack Borno

It turns out I did think deep thoughts about ‘The Wunder-Lusters’, and Spirituality, and writing, and the Universe and Everything, but just not how I envisioned it before I started … life’s twisty like that.

-oOo-

We stayed at the Cheam Fishing VIllage and Campground (where the Stó:lō, the People of the River, have fished for 10,000 years) in Agassiz. They’re closed for the year now, but if you’re ever in the neighbourhood check them out.

* ‘pantser’ – a writer who writes her stories by the ‘seat-of-her-pants’, making it up as she goes along, as it were … as opposed to a ‘plotter’, who outlines the story ‘plot’ to varying degrees of detail before she starts in on the meat of it.

And the Typhoid Mary Award for What-The-Fuckery in 2020 goes to …

… Naomi Davis… and Clea Shearer…, a couple of plucky gals who aren’t going to let a little thing like a GLOBAL PANDEMIC stop them from doing something BREATHTAKINGLY FUCKING STUPID, (yes, I’m SWEARING and SHOUTING) like getting into their big rigs and heading out on the open road in search of … well, in search of more communities to infect.

Clea, accompanied by hubs, his mum, and their two kids are going from California to Nashville.

Naomi accompanied by hubs and five children, all shining bright with that true frontier spirit, are already on their way from New York to somewhere west.

Here’s the article that inspired me to make this award, and after reading, I’m sure you’ll all agree they are truly worthy recipients of this particular award. (there are, of course, many other types of ‘what-the-fuckery’ awards and recipients to be had during this time)

The article has live links and screen shots of their social media posts in case you think I’ve finally been taken over by the Twilight Zone.

Apart from the incredibly valid concerns mentioned in the article, there are a few more than haven’t been considered.

Emptying out the grey and black-water tanks. (that’s waste water, from the sink and shower – grey, and toilet – black) The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to exist in feces, (poop) so I don’t care how big your tanks are, with that many people pooping and showering and washing dishes, you’re going to need to empty them with alarming regularity.

Believe me, no matter how clean the facilities are, no matter how careful you are, you are guaranteed at least one splash. Even if you aren’t carrying the virus in your innards, you have no idea who was emptying their tanks, and had their singular ‘splash’ before you, or what they were carrying in their innards.

The corona virus has been demonstrably proven to remain airborne for up to 3 hours. (because the virus itself if really, really, really tiny) It has been demonstrably proven to remain on surfaces for hours to days, depending on the surface.

(Dr John Campbell has all the proofs to back up the ‘demonstrably-s’ I’ve mentioned, scattered throughout the last few weeks of his videos, usually from various global CDC’s and medical journals, scientific papers, etc)

Plus, the nomad community, although gaining more and more acceptability is still seen by many to be the lifestyle of those ‘unfortunates’ who can’t or won’t get a mortgage and live in a ‘real’ house, and can’t or won’t get a ‘real’ job … so when this finally blows up in these idiots faces, and it will, the fallout won’t be just on them.

But they’re not considering the true impact of the consequences of their actions on others, are they?

Funnily enough, when you think about it, that’s how this whole mess started in the first place.

-oOo-

It’s not that there aren’t other people out there doing reprehensible things like this, it’s just that out of an abundance of common sense, Mrs Widds and I have cancelled our ‘Wunder-Lusters’ plans for this year, and these reprehensibly arrogant fuckwits really got up my nose.

‘Common sense’ because until an antibody test becomes readily available, neither of us will know (unless we actually get sick) if we’ve even be exposed to the virus. (we’re both in the ‘vulnerable’ category. Mrs Widds is a disgustingly healthy 70, and I’m 61 with a compromised immune system) On top of that a viable vaccine won’t be readily available, probably until the end of the year.

About ‘Typhoid Mary’