Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Living Self Contained, Off The Grid

I'm off the grid, no internet, no phone, no utilities.  Living self-contained in my motorhome, parked in rural Ohio.
 
At least I think I am in Ohio. I get lost sometimes, and just stay lost. For the adventure.
 
Not sure when I will get internet access to post this, so if I skip a few days writing, you know I have driven off the map again. Or off the grid. Or both.
 
The winds are blowing.  It certainly doesn't feel 79 degrees, the humidity is either low or the winds are keeping me cool.
 
I am wearing long sleeves!  Yes.  A long sleeve dress.
 
The puppy dog will be 7 months old soon. My gosh, I've only had him 7 weeks.  Seems a lifetime.
 
I have been getting my Caribbean fix by visiting friends in the USA from the Caribbean. How cool is that?
 
Real cool.
 
Life is GOOD.
 
I woke up alive!
 
Though last night the puppy woke me up with his loud incessant barking.  Something was outside.  I couldn't see it. I locked all the doors. Sat in the dark with all the shades up, looking for IT.
 
I could hear IT, but not see IT. IT was snorting and breathing heavily.  Reminded me of an angry bull. Or a horny bull. I used to live on a beef farm, back in the dark ages. Circa 1976.
 
We had one bull. He had a ring in his nose too. The sounds in the night reminded me of him.
 
Farming life didn't last long for me. A week after we moved into our renovated home, it burned to the ground due to a faulty furnace and a drunk repairman.
 
Live and learn.
 
Insurance put up a huge battle.  Lawyers fought over the mess. In the end, we walked away with $666.66 to rebuild our lives with.  That was 1976. Leap year day. It was also the day I crashed my car in the fog.  That morning. My car was old and had no shoulder harness. i was wearing my seat belt long before the laws forced us to do so. The seat belt saved me from crashing through the windshield. But my face broke the steering wheel when I hit it so hard. That night, I came home to the fire in progress.
 
The fire department wouldn't come out. They were volunteer and didn't feel like volunteering. But some of the un-volunteers drove out to see the show. People driving down the road, stopped, pulled in the long winding driveway, and got out of their cars to watch our home burn down. The police showed up and threatened to arrest us. It was a traumatic day and night. The wreck, the hospital, the midnight fire. 
 
When I went back to work, a few days later, I hid behind locked doors in my office. My face healed in about a month.
 
That was the end of my brief farming life. Someone else took over the land and the herd of cattle.
 
I was sooooooooo lucky. Had I not wrecked my car, I would have been home early.  In bed. Sleeping, when the fire broke out. I might have very well perished, but the angels rescued me. My pets were not so lucky. They all died in their sleep.  When I threw the door open, a blast of super hot heat blew me backwards. I ran forward again, I could see inside the front door, the flames coming out of the hallway furnace.  The temperature was well beyond what a human could stand.
 
My pets were curled up seemingly asleep, on the living room rug. I couldn't reach them. So I screamed their names over and over. No one would move and the heat beat me backwards.
 
In a few short seconds or minutes, the propane tanks out back exploded, sending bits and pieces of my fiery home shooting skyward. One chunk of my home was later reported to have landed in a corn field 2 miles away, taking out 27 stalks of corn when it landed.
 
There were so many onlookers, we got in our car and drove away. I can't remember where we went. I do remember going back the next day.  Staring at the pile of ash and rubble.  It was still hot. The spectators were gone.
 
That was then. 
 
A day in my life, in 1976.
 
This is now.
 
Barreling down the road to my next destination, I listen keenly for any mechanical noises.  My motorhome has all sorts of rattles and sounds sometimes. I heard a loud crash. 
 
No idea.
 
It sounded like wood falling. I have wood in the basement for leveling up. But with so much stuff jammed in there with it, can't imagine how it could fall and make a loud crash. Besides, the basement has carpet to keep things quiet. The basement being the outside storage, underneath my bed. In a motorhome, that is called the basement.
 
My basement has a folding table that seats 4, 2 camper chairs, 1 director's chair and a folding lounge chair. Plus an outdoor 9 by 12 self-draining rug, several rolled up carpet runners, (the small washable kind) new paper towels, a box of sheet music, a box of pictures, a box of paperwork, 2 water hoses, an electrical extension cord, leather gloves, rubber gloves, plastic gloves, winter gloves, a pair of boots, winter clothes with moth balls, a dog tent, vice grips, an air pump, various water hose fittings, 7 boards for leveling up the motorhome, an old window shade, a broom, 2 vinyl table cloths, a small container of tablecloth clips, the long handle for cranking out the awning, and a piece of metal that goes to something. Perhaps its a long handled jack handle (but no jack). I think that's everything in my basement.
 
More or less.
 
Oh, and the ugly pillow thing.  Perhaps I'll recover it one day. It comes in handy at times, even if it is ugly.  I jam it in last and it kind of keeps everything else from rattling around.
 
There is a smaller storage area, underneath the cab,  that has laundry soap, laundry softener sheets, cleaning agents and assorted spare parts, laundry line for making the puppy run or tether, more tools.
 
Sometimes I set up the outdoor den/dining room patio area,  by cranking out the outdoor attached awning (wel...   what's left of it, after the accident in Lake Placid) then unfold the big patio rug, then unfold all the furniture and set it up.  I top the table with a real cloth tablecoth and from inside drag out my lantern and candle.  If there is a picnic table at the campsite, I put the big vinyl table cloth to cover it, then top the benches with the small carpet runners. It looks homey and it's great for dining or hanging out, weather permitting. Sometimes, I just use part of the stuff, and not all of it. Depends on if I expect company or not, or if someone is traveling with me.
 
Life is good.
 
I woke up alive.
 
 
 

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