Some Days Are Hard

We’ve been packing and sorting like a couple of dervishes … deconstructed our tin shed, in an afternoon! … the one it took us an entire bloody summer to build. There were extenuating circumstances, but still.

Going - In spite of being in total darkness and under a layer of industrial rubber, the bamboo, still managed to get this far - my kinda bamboo!

Going – In spite of being in total darkness and under a layer of industrial rubber, the bamboo, still managed to get this far – my kinda bamboo!

Going-er - The amount of spider's nests we had to clean off the walls, even this early in the season, was ... well, quite terrifying really

Going-er – The amount of spider’s nests we had to clean off the walls, even this early in the season, was … well, quite terrifying really

Gone - As though it was never there, except for the disgruntled spiders and flat bamboo stems, of course

Gone – As though it was never there, except for the disgruntled spiders and flat bamboo stems, of course

Nuts and bolts - I think we even managed to find all the ones we dropped on the gravel as we worked

Nuts and bolts – I think we even managed to find all the ones we dropped on the gravel as we worked

We’ve reduced our kitchen possessions to only the things that will go in the RV with us, rather than our usual abundant pots-n-pans-n-dishes-n-spoons, etc. It’s a learning curve.

All the packing debris on the floors was getting a little ridiculous so I, in a fit of insanity, vacuumed it all up.

Then, because we had two consecutive days without rain, and the front lawn … segue – Mrs Widds and I have come to an agreement. Wherever we end up, there will be no lawn. Patches and paths of grass or some other soft-to-the-toes herb will be welcome, but lawns, and their idle, yet labour-intensive, ways, will be banished from the Queendom! … un-segue-ing … needed to be cut before it grew beyond the capabilities of our trusty little lawnmower, that started right up with nary a cough or splutter after it’s long season stored away with spiders and stray tendrils of bamboo for company.

Yesterday was, in fact, a maintenance day, and necessary because we still have to live here for another twenty-something days.

Today however … today, saw me tucked up in bed with numerous hot water bottles strewn about my person, moaning and groaning with some sort of tummy upset. Tucked up in bed that is, in-between bouts of sitting on the toilet, moaning and groaning just as loudly.

Two consecutive days, equally hard, for very different reasons.

I’m now going back to bed to moan and groan some more, and will spring forth renewed on the morrow. The packing of boxes and sorting of treasures, wait for no woman or an upset tummy.

Countdown

The great unveiling of 2022!

The jammies coming off

The jammies coming off

Nekkid!

Nekkid!

We finally got around to changing the locks on our trailer. Did you know that there are only just a few ‘master keys’ that unlock every door of ALL new RVs ?

Ostensibly, it’s so that dealerships don’t have to carry the weight of several keys for every RV on their lot. It does, however, make it dead easy for n’er’do’wellers to to gain easy access for their nefarious purposes.

Love a woman who knows how to use an adjustable wrench ... The sub-floor hatches ...

Love a woman who knows how to use an adjustable wrench … The sub-floor hatches …

And the front door - the only door actually!

And the front door – the only door actually!

We’ve been making decisions about how to store provisions, given that the availability of some foodstuffs will be uncertain for the foreseen and unforseen future.

Vacuum-sealing the good stuff

Vacuum-sealing the good stuff

Annnnnd packing …

Making space for the big items in the storage locker

Making space for the big items in the storage locker

Everything we do, at the moment, has an aura of surrealness to it. No familiar routines remain in place. The more we deconstruct our little cottage, the more vacant spaces show up, surprising us both with the absence of familiar shapes, light, and shadow.

The Berkey water filter used to be next to where it is now, on a wooden stand that filled that odd corner perfectly.

The Berkey water filter used to be next to where it is now, on a wooden stand that filled that odd corner perfectly.

We have lists everywhere, and everywhere is chaos … although, within that chaos the plan remains the same. (which is just as well, otherwise we’d be in big trouble)

Five Days To Go …

… until we give our 1 month’s notice to the owner of our little cottage here on Widder Lake …

I’m … fine …

We’re … fine …

Breathing … is … is … it’s happening …

A Bit Of An Epiph

One of our favourite pieces of music at the moment is on Brett Lenahan’s YouTube Channel, called ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Grey Havens Ambience & Music‘. Truth be told it’s been a favourite for a while now, ever since I discovered his channel some time around the middle of last year.

The Grey Havens is a sea-port on the furthest edge of Middle Earth. From there the Elves, when it is their time to leave the mortal realms and go home, take ship across the sea to the Undying lands.

It was from there that, after all their adventures, both Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, (and eventually Sam Gamgee as well – for he was a Ring-Bearer – albeit for a short while, and the magic had claimed him too) left Hobbiton behind them forever. (but not in our hearts, for there they still dwell, enjoying second breakfasts, good company, and a warm hearth)

This morning, for no concrete reason, I was feeling, ‘whelmed’. (somewhere between feeling less-than-OK and completely overwhelmed) Nothing in particular was stressing me. Which, when I think about it, is a ridiculous statement given the world around us.

Mrs Widds and I relocated the last of our supply of dry pulses and grains from their glass jars into 1-cup-sized amounts in reusable plastic bags to go into the trailer. It was a comfortable companionable activity on a rainy afternoon. We chatted about this and that, and when it was done we treated ourselves to a celebratory pot of chai tea while we read and puttered around the house with the above mentioned piece of music streaming from my computer.

There’s a lovely image, a still from the third movie in the trilogy, that goes with it and I had it displayed on my wonderful wizz-bang monitor.

I paused in my pootling and sat with the image and what it represented (in the context of the movie – going home) and I felt a wave of tears rise and overflow.

I epiphed.

What we were doing earlier in the day, and indeed all that we’re doing now, preparing for our big adventure, feels like we’re going home.

I’ve never had a ‘home’, to go to, as such. The kind that families in the movies return to at odd times of the year, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. So the whole ‘going home’, thing never resonated with me.

I think the nature of my epiph caught me by surprise more than anything else.

I had a bit more of a cry and we had hugs, then went back to our ‘corners’.

Now, when I start to get stress about the enormity of what we’re doing, and what’s required to even get out our front door here on Widder Island, I let that ‘going home’, feeling drift through my mind, my heart, my Spirit, and my stress dissipates. Not completely, of course, that would require that I lie to myself, and I’m not very good at that.

-oOo-

P.S. Does anyone else get a cracker of a headache after they have a deep epiph-inspired cry, or is it just me?

Boxing and Unboxing

Our first load to the storage unit for this year …

It may not look like much but you'd be surprised many boxes and bags we squished in there

It may not look like much but you’d be surprised many boxes and bags we squished in there

… and then we moved more empty boxes into the house to fill up …

It may not look like much but you'd be surprised many flattened boxes we squished in there

It may not look like much but you’d be surprised many flattened boxes we squished in there

… and then …

… for a while now I’ve been subscribing to newsletters, YouTube channels, blogs, etc, created by people in the RV-ing community. The amount of things we’ve learned about RV-ing in general, maintenance and fixing things ourselves, how our travel trailer is put together and what we have to do to keep it together, has truly been an education worthy of a high-falutin’ degree of some sort.

One of those newsletters, RV Travel, has a weekly giveaway. I enter, just because I can, and let’s face it, if you don’t play you don’t win, and last week I won …

A box within a box!

A box within a box!

… an air fryer!

At this point I had no idea what an air fryer was …

Ok then, it's a plastic ... um ... thingy

Ok then, it’s a plastic … um … thingy

After opening up everything and removing all sorts of interesting bits …

Still none-the-wiser

Still none-the-wiser

Time to read the instructions … chop up a couple of potatoes, toss ’em in a bit of oil and herbs, into the pot-thingy they go … turn it on and see what happens …

Voilà! Widder-fries!

Voilà! Widder-fries!

They didn’t taste half bad either.

We’re not sure yet if we’ll take it with us or put it into storage, but we’re going to experiment with a few recipes over the next few weeks and see how it works out.

The Dreadable Lurgy

Mrs Widds went out into the world last Tuesday. Wearing a mask at all times, and practicing physical distancing at all times. She had a lovely time, purchased some needed groceries, hit the thrift stores, and scored some excellent loot. All-in-all, a successful expedition.

Two days later – I felt a bit seedy, and Mrs Widds, after putting in an adrenaline-fueled day, succumbed to the lure of a comfy hot-water-bottle-warmed bed.

Two days later – I feel like death warmed up, and … (have you ever thought about that expression, ‘death-warmed-up’? You have to wonder what a warm death feels like. Squishy? A bit smelly, depending on the ambient temperature? … I think I’m going to rephrase …)

Two days later – I don’t feel very well at all. Mrs Widds isn’t much better, and we both of have the energy levels of snails on valium. Which presents us with an interesting challenge. We’re running out of ‘slow days’ in which to lollygag around in our jammies, feel poorly, and not work on our lists of ‘things to do before we move’.

Notice I said ‘lists’. As in ‘multiples of’.

Nevertheless, lurgy-ified or not, we manage to take care of at least one thing on each list each day. As the saying goes, ‘do not fear going slowly, fear standing still’. … which, of course excludes laying down and moaning and groaning.

Do we have the Lurgy? The timing is about right, but then it’s right for so many other lurgys out there. We’re not going anywhere near any other humans to get tested, so in the absence of any hard evidence we’re going to go with a solid ‘maybe’.

By the time we do need to go out into the world again, we will have been isolated for the required amount of days (plus a few extra) anyway.

We’re taking care of each other, and reminding each other that we built ‘slow days’, into our timetable for this very reason. Well, not this exact reason. This reason sucks. We were thinking more along the lines of ‘let’s take the day off and have a sushi picnic by the river’, or some such civilised reasoning.

I do however, see a sushi picnic in our near future. We would’ve earned it.

P.S. Rather fond of my hot water bottles, I am. You might’ve noticed that. 🙂

Halcyon Blue Skies And Solar Panel Musings

I don’t know how its been in your neck of the woods but the weather around here has been bloody awful of late. It’s either warmish, (a relative term given that we’re still in the midst of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere) and pouring with rain, (everything turns to mud) or freezing (quite literally) cold, with the wind blowing a hoolie, and clear-ish skies.

Today’s sky was full of gorgeous blueness from horizon to horizon with nary a puff of cloud to be seen, so out into the back yard we trotted to set up one end of our solar system to make sure all the shiny new bits and pieces connected to each other where they ought to be connected.

We’ll do a trial run of the whole system, with the inverter and batteries, etc, on the next (warmer) sunny day that might choose to grace these Western Shores.

To be thusly energy self-sufficient (and self-contained, along with our little back-up generator) is a large step forward on our Wunder-Lusters journey. We can’t (none of us can) afford to rely on any existing infrastructure to be available where and when we need it.

… 7.30pm. (5 hours later) …

… I’m now writing by lights connected to our system of loooong extension cords connected to our generator, because it’s freezing cold, the night sky’s as clear as a bell, gale-force winds are whistling through the eaves, which knocked out the electricity two hours ago – and counting …

… don’t’cha just love serendipity! …

… no internet wi-fi or cellphone hotspots either. The wind must’ve taken out the cellphone tower …

I don’t mind being disconnected from the world, but I’d like it to be on my terms, thank you very much.

8.30pm:

Perhaps I ought to think about sacrificing a virgin, with appropriate lustrations, to the ethers …

… couldn’t find enough virgins, or lustrations …

9.30pm:

Eureka! Lo, and Behold, Light hath returned!

Now, where was I?

(** goes forth to take care of all the things that have been put on hold for the last four hours**)

… Right, I’m back … but it’s still too damn cold. (one tiny space heater does not a whole house heat) It’s hot water-bottles for me, and a nightcap, (tea, of course, what did you think I meant, hmm?) in bed.

My cuppa and I, wish you all goodnight.

We’re Going On An Adventure – A Wunder-Lusters 2022 Update

 

… the story so far … from the before-times … (for the wonderful new people here, and those who would like a bit of a refresher)

We’ve always been aware that time here on our island in the middle of a lake was a temporary situation. (notwithstanding that we’ve been here nigh on ten years – which we’re going to blame on cancer, Covid, and just a dash of run-of-the-mill goal-post changing)

Our original plan, which had its genesis way back in 2018-ish, was to set off in our little travel-trailer, swan around the countryside from coast to coast to coast and see what we might see. (Canada having three coasts of course, the western one, where we live, the eastern one where the Vikings landed, and the northern one, up above the Arctic Circle, that I am determined to visit, one day) We were in no great rush to set off, and if we eventually found a place to settle down somewhere along the way, all the better.

The pandemic put paid to that.

For the first year we resigned ourselves to a holding pattern. There were too many potentially dangerous unknowns specifically about the virus, to say nothing of province-wide shut-downs across the country, and far too many people acting like terrified rabbits, for us to go against our common sense in the matter.

In the first half of 2021 I wrote a book. (the sales of which are pootling along nicely) It was, sad to say, the highlight of the year.

The climate crisis, which had been lurking around the corner and growing ever closer, proved that it was done waiting by throwing every sort of weather extreme in our general direction. (and in yours too, I have no doubt)

Add into the mix two more variants of the virus, and we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and stayed put.

However, every one of those very crises reminded us, each in its own unique way, that we are in a very precarious and unsustainable geographical location here on the coast.

We gave ourselves permission to be as stressed out about the whole damn state of everything for as long as we needed to, and then we would get back to work.

Our plan, now that we successfully made it to 2022 …

Pack up and leave as soon as the passes to the Interior are clear and navigable – thanks to one of the afore-mentioned weather events just before Christmas, every road and rail route out of the Lower Mainland (where we currently live) had been destroyed – and before the Summer (read Spring or whenever) wildfire season kicks in to high gear.

Theoretically … that gives us a window of a few months … theoretically, to relocate, find ourselves a new home, get all our living-in-a-house stuff out of storage, and set ourselves set up for Winter.

Then and only then will we contemplate the possibilities of travelling, probably in the ‘shoulder seasons’ between Winter and Summer.

Perhaps you’re asking yourself, seeing as we’re not going ‘travelling’ first, why we don’t just find a place before we leave and move from one house to another house?

Ideally, this will be the last ‘move into a new home’ we will ever do, (remember, I’m 63 and Mrs Widds is 72) and it will have to meet our requirements for setting up our life to be as self-sustaining, for the next several, at least, very chaotic, decades, as we can possibly make it. There’s no way we can make that sort of complex and important decision on a piece of land/property, sight unseen.

This way we’re open to all sorts of windows of possibilities.

The truly wonderful (insert a tiny bit of irony right there) thing about all this is, in the ‘before times’ we would’ve known what to expect along the way, with minor perturbations, but all-in-all, we would’ve been able to count on a certain amount of familiarity.

There’s no counting on that any more now, is there?

Well, if going on an adventure were easy, everyone would do it!

2022 Here We Come!

I’m back in the swing of it all, with my shiny new, curved, 32″ monitor.

These things have to be seen in action to be believed. The actual curve of the monitor took some getting used to, just because it’s visually unfamiliar, but once I did .. wow!

What a difference it makes to the far left and right of any images/print/video I’m looking at. I don’t have anywhere near the same feeling of eyestrain that I did with my flat screen … and this thing is 12cm (5″ bigger!)… sheer decadent indulgence, for the price of an average indulgence … I’m a happy camper!

This picture really doesn't do it justice, but you get the, ahem, picture. :)

This picture really doesn’t do it justice, but you get the, ahem, picture. 🙂

I still haven’t been able to find an adaptor for my old monitor at a price I’m prepared to pay, to even be able to find out whether the problem was with the adaptor or the monitor. So, for now Old Faithful is back in her box, and off to the storage unit she will go.

I had wanted to do a couple of posts videos and pictures about the wave after wave, after wave, of snowstorms followed by rain/ice storms we’ve had recently, but it seems that the modern world refuses to even to speak to my old computer which runs on Windows 7 … c’est la vie.

So I decided I’d just post a few of my favourite photos from the bunch of ’em … and unless something impressive happens, I’ll keep the rain/snow/mud slushiness currently surrounding us to meself.

I hope 2022 has been kind to you thus far, but I also hope you’ve got your seatbelt fastened … just in case.

Mrs Widds Vs the mountain

Mrs Widds Vs the mountain

-15C, not counting the wind-chill, and I'm  widds-cicle

-15C, not counting the wind-chill, and I’m widds-cicle  

Ice-crystals on the INSIDE of the window

Ice-crystals on the INSIDE of the window

45 cm of snow, and our poor long-suffering pontoon is iced in

45 cm of snow, and our poor long-suffering pontoon is iced in

The other end of the lake - through the truck window

The other end of the lake – through the truck window

Ice floes on the Fraser River

Ice floes on the Fraser River

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Things have been a bit quiet around here lately.

On the 30th of December, last year, (isn’t it wonderful that 2021 is now ‘last year’?)  my computer monitor stopped working.

It’s either the monitor, or the adapter. Parts have yet to arrive to tell which is which – stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

I’ve been barely online using my old faithful hard drive, which thankfully I kept as a back-up, and using it to check my WordPress dashboard once a day.

So yeah, it’s not you, it’s me.

Also, at the end of they year I had a bit of a meltdown.

I was dealing with the multiple environmental disasters fairly well, I thought. But it seemed like I never had enough time to catch my breath at the end of one before the next one struck.

We live in an old house, and stuff keeps on breaking down. Stuff broke down, in the middle of an arctic outflow, with daytime temperatures in the double digits below freezing. (we now have our very own electrician on speed-dial)

Some health stuff happened too. The concussion … aren’t they fun? .. I didn’t have time to catch my breath there either.

… and then … and then … you get the picture.

I kept saying I wanted a break, for the world to stop for a while. You know that feeling, where you just want to get off for a while?

I cried a lot. A lot … and then my monitor stopped working. It wasn’t the break I wanted but it was the break I got.

Yeah, not you, me.

I sleep late, and go through my day slowly, sometimes staring out the window at the snow, watching the raccoon yearlings and their mum bound through it like its their own personal playground, which, of course, it is.

I can feel my energy returning as the days slowly, almost imperceptibly at this time of year, get longer.

2022 is going to be momentous. I’ll be ready.