Nov 7, 2014
Getting normal again....
Well what can you say after an absence of this length...I'm trying to be back ;)
This blog is a catch up for the few people that have been checking in on the status of life here on the east coast. I'm not really sure how it's all going to roll out, I don't write and edit (too much...I certainly don't plan these things).
Every time I've fired up the blog in the last (almost) year I've been stopped dead by my own post. I can hardly believe it's been a year...you want to talk about an emotional blur...my year. Filled with love, support, encouragement, recognition, reckoning, change, growth, emptiness, isolation, exasperation, fortitude, familiarity, family and even though it's a repeat....love. It now rolls from me. Like my dad's passing opened up an understanding within myself of just what it was going to take to change MY world. A recognition that it won't ever be perfect but the things you love become perfection in the absence of judgement.
I figure I'll set up a few youtube vids for you to read while I blather on. Take your pic of which set you want...they each hold their own interest for me.
Set 1 - If it takes you this long to read a blog...you got problems...but if you have time...it's all goodness
"It asks nothing more other than you live your life with immediacy"
Alright...not sure if any pictures are coming here. We'll see if the connection holds out.
I guess I'll sort of take the update chronologically...easier for me to process it all I think.
Once I got into cowtown and started recovering from the shock of losing dad daily life started asking questions again...what are you going to do? where are you going to do it? what's the plan...
I didn't know. All I knew was I had to be there...maybe not even so much for my mom, maybe more for me as I seemed to gain strength from her hugs, her loves...her mom-ness. But...real life says life isn't free, it doesn't stop and...it requires tending.
So I took a job graciously offered by a very good friend. Chemicals chemicals chemicals!! What a crazy experience. I won't name names, it doesn't matter. I was working somewhere however that while being totally essential for commercial profit farming...is pretty much against what I believe we should be doing for our food. I asked "Could you take this product home and use it on your garden?" Answer...it's been tried... 5 yrs later the garden is still dead. Discussions of mix ups costing millions, farmers spraying one chemical only to find out their field is no brown and dead.
I'm fascinated with stuff though so it was engaging and I would have tried to stick it through if it hadn't been a shift work type of job. I didn't really go home to be locked into a 4pm shift. So I bid them adue..
Then much to my delight I got to visit with the Hecks while they were in town doing their holiday love thing. It was during that visit that my super amazing friend asked if I would be interested in returning to the college for a project. I laughed...would they even take me back? I was different...my time travelling and unravelling left me with a new perspective. I wasn't "changed" I was in fact more resolute in my outlooks that I had been building before I took my leave of that place. It was a strange opportunity...but one that in so many ways just seemed to make sense.
So I took it...and dove into an 8 week project creating a training manual for future Student Advisors. It was a bizarre project...I was stunned in many ways at home much I had retained. There were moments when writing where it just seemed so natural..the moments where I remember how much I enjoyed the process of the job. The nice thing about the college is that I never experienced a dislike of my job, Unfortunately for me there was a common string that connects most of my frustrating times within the college and leaving was quite simple. Quite simply..you can spend your energy in a lot of different places...but whatever you do evaluate the why/how outcome and decide if it is worth it. I just reached a point where staying was more detrimental than beneficial...and a change had to be made.
But I was back...riding that (excuse the language) shitty god damn Calgary Transit...yes it's a long ride from the deep south, time-wise it is what it is. But from the driver who closed the door on my foot, to the guy who stopped at the red light only a few feet away from the stop I missed him at and refused to open the door when it was -30 out, to the ticket officer who roughed up the native girl downtown calling her racist names and causing a scene much worse than her original one, to the hole I wore in the knee of my jeans because apparently my $3 for the trip doesn't get me a seat in comfort, it gets me a seat built for 5'7 and smaller, $3...enough said you f'ing rip off artists....I disliked their service, their progressiveness and their business model...none of that change in my time away. But enough about them....
So I was doing the slave train heading to a j.o.b. in a city i had left for all the right reason feeling choked, smothered and backward (how could I ever live the way i wanted to if I had to return to that lifestyle...i didn't know how to process what may be...) but at the same time all that choking for the confines of the city...the stuff you have to do in the city...within those confines was a great swirl of support. Returning to my old friends at the college was indeed a blessing for me. Warm lunches, happy smiles, lots of hugs...it was so very needed to anchor me again. I was able to laugh with the Pres over drinks and tell her my stories, have my infamous Chat and Chow crew for lunch, touch base with familiar and some surprisingly foggy names(sorry I forgot your name Marivic but you know I remembered your face).
But the entire time.....I was somewhere else. My mind was already made up that I was going to be back in NB fishing once I was strong enough. Yes there were hundreds of sparkly women to occupy my interest, there was electronics and convenience, safety and security in employment...there was all that and more...but...there is a great big lie as well. I sat there swallowing up the city propaganda listening to shit talk about "sustainability" "eco friendly" "your future", I was flashed more bank advertising, more "service" advertising, more....shit...than I could have ever imagined I was consuming previously. A part of me was in total awe at the amount of unbelievable vulturistic media/business that people swallow. And this isn't a critique on people...do your thing, argue your point, live your life. My experiences won't change you. In fact unless we are super good friends, I am in a position of authority over you or I am a bonafide expert that you recognize...you aren't changing unless you decide to.
But out here in NB...there are only 500000 people. There are more people in the community I was busing in and out of than there are in the entire city of Saint John. That means less of that bullshit because there is just no profit in a soft population density. I can't say about what happens on TV anymore...I am approaching 15 years of not having any sort of tv connection. Seeing it now makes my brain hurt as it flips through it's algorithm of advertising trying to unlock your wallet/heart/common sense. But I'm in a county of only 23000 people...and it feels like freedom in many ways.
I spent an incredible amount of money since no one socializes at their own house anymore. Breakfasts, beers and this thing...and i don't know how to really encapsulate it but everyone is...broke. Not broke as in eating beans...but broke as a time vs outcome scenario. People were either making great money and had zero time or they were making shit money and spending their time trying to figure out how to make more. But every time we talked about that stuff...it seemed to be over a bar/dinner tab that was in the 3 digits...which was irony at it's finest.
When I had my house, that's where we hung out. All of us. Now, some of my old friends see each other, some don't but no one is really hanging out at a central spot anymore. It's a complete opposite of what I see in some european settings where houses are small because people socialize quite frequently outside of them. Here we have these gigantic houses (that actually suck..no matter how much you like your granite counter tops and hardwood floor), communities that no one "communities in" and after seeing trends throughout Canada and the US...its just not nice..not progressive and certainly not sustainable in the true sense of the word.
But...let's keep moving forward. Loving on my kittykat Mondo while at my bro's house was one of the nicest things. When I left there last time I had a goodbye session with him that left me just floored (august visit)...this time it was our hello. It's so awesome that he remembers me and treats me in a way that is very different than anyone else. Belly sits, face kisses, purrs and play...man do i miss that guy. I am also so happy that my brother found his little sausage kitty in the dumpster when he did and that the two of them are fast friends!
And in the midst of the love, the lunches, making my mom dinners, taking horrible advantage of the disgusting way we treat and waste water in the city (many many baths)....the clock was ticking. My contract with the college was only so long...fishing season was approaching again...should I stay or should I go? And my decision really...was already made. I was destined to burn wood, live in the woods and shake the city from me. I know it's right when I step outside in the morning, rubber boots, robe, toque...axe...smile :)
So with a heart on the mend...I took it for another twist, gave my mom a hug on March 27th, slapped my bro 5 and jumped on a plane....
One thing about this province that has been just amazing has been my access to two (now three) little punks that I just love to pieces. My man Shark Attack and his golden haired wife have been nothing but the best to me...out here, they are family. A beautiful unit of 5 much like my own. Amu Brian (farsi for Uncle)...each time I visit they get to be more and more fun. With no chitlens of my own...this fills a bit of the area that I have available for that if indeed the opportunity ever arises.
Landing back in Moncton and driving to Sussex I was greeted with a dismal prospect...3 days till fishing season and a car buried under 2tonnes of snow thanks to a vicious snow storm...and other factors ;) So with pic axe, shovel and two little monkeys i set to work clearing it off. After a good 5-6 hrs of chopping, picking and shovelling, a little tweak from the persian poppa...the old Protege fired to life and once again I was saying goodbyes to comfort and love to head back to the homestead to see how it survived a raging winter.
Some people saw it...some didn't but just as an update...no I am not still living in my van. I love it to pieces but as i was nearing the fall 2013 fishing season I knew I had to make a change. It was either rent a place...or do something. So I did something and bought a 31.5' 1986 Vanguard class a motorhome. It is palatial living in comparison...separate toilet area, shower, queen bed, full fridge...it's a perfect size for one...that's me.
So I returned to find the beast in fairly good shape. 2 roof leaks, one known, one a surprise in the air conditioner but other that that it held up well. So I went to fire up the furnace...oh shit...furnace was dead. Yes folks, with almost no heat at all (electric situation here is not the best due to shoddy circuit work) I survived the spring season. I worked the boat solo with the cpt for most of spring and you can officially call me the First Mate. I'm very much looking forward to a few days from now when we dive into the Fall2014 season and get back to work.
After an awesome spring season I spent the summer doing modifications to the motorhome, picking blueberries, enjoying the ocean, reading, lounging and of courses...nothings is free...working. Being a shareman now means i am responsible for the work necessary to get prepped for the next fishing season. So it is a seasonal job but there are expectations and things that need to be done throughout the year. Hopefully next year with the crew we have now we can get through that stuff much quicker and get a nice long shot of time off in the summer. I have some Van events I want to attend down south...it's been too long!
A massive decision for me was whether or not I was going to head home for another visit. Everything about it said yes...it would feel so good...how could I not! But logistics said.. it just wasnt' going to work. Everything I'm doing down here I'm doing on my own. That means the research, the learning and the application. I just could not justify spending the money while there and not getting ahead of what was here...which is where I wanted to be. So with a heavy heart I told my mom and like always...I came away from talking to her feeling about 10000 times better. I'm hoping that we can arrange a vacation this march, somewhere hot, somewhere relaxing.
And so here I am. My motorhome has a new floor, new insulation in much of it, wood stove being installed (more on that later maybe) and it is just plain comfortable. By this time last year I was already blowing threw propane like a beast...I am still barely using any heat at this point, haven't used more than 10% of my 420lb tank for cooking heat and water since the beginning of summer. I am for the first time feeling excellent traction on moving ahead - money vs expenses.
Some questions people may be asking ....
1. Are you lonely?
Yep there are certainly times where I feel wicked lonely. I mean it's me, in the woods, amongst men I didn't grow up with, trying to hold myself to a set of ideals I've developed throughout my years, while learning skill sets both for work and life that i didn't need while I was shuffling around in the city...so it's a heck of an undertaking and sometimes i catch myself just flailing, wishing someone like the Muscle or the Killer were here to help out when I get stuck on the technical stuff, or that everyone could be here sitting around laughing, making food and having a great time...yeah I miss my friends, my familiar stuff, it makes me lonely sometimes but I've also learned so much about me....I can appreciate why people go on journey's by themselves.
2. Where do you go to the bathroom?
;) I removed the standard rv toilet. I won't go into my process but needless to say my waste is minimum compared to endless gallons of flushes, expensive toilets and massive waste treatment plants. One I purchase a property I will move 100% to a compost toilet. It costs about 10k to plumb in a sceptic tank here... let me just say...f that.
3. How long can you live like this?
I'm finding more and more enjoyment and resolution as i continue down this path. It's not the most convenient, most people can't quite wrap their minds around it after I tell them where I cam from and in today's definition it's not the most comfortable. But it' a platform I can decide what works and what doesn't from without being inside that classic stick/brick home. next experiments will be solar hot water and the development of a heater to replace the standard rv furnace.
Now there are some major bad points...this is not a unit that was meant to be lived in full time through the winter. condensation is a huge enemy of mine. It could very well be that by the end of this season the walls just rot right out of it...it's just one of those thing. It has shit insulation on the roof and corner sections even though the floor is quite well insulated. It had some water damage..it's from 1986.
But none of that out weighs the cost or the freedom of not having to be in a classic rental scenario.
4. What's next?
Land. It really is a huge sticking point here. My ability to experiment with lifestyle adjustments comes when I can have some privacy and space to build things. A workshop/shed right now wold be fantastic. I believe when it does come time to build something here (because I'm not buying someones house...I'm not modifying a shit structure...I'm building one to suit my needs and my ideas.
I love them all....
Sorry if it's not electrifying material. Yes I have lots to say about politics, love, life, the state of affairs...I may begin to share again on a regular basis...I just needed to get back to normal in my own brain.
Sending lots of love to my mom, sister and brother ;)