One thousand is a very round number

screenshot of 1000 reviews

So this happened.

I feel like I should say something profound about it, but… yeah, I’ve got nothing. It’s incredibly gratifying, though. If I still drank, I would definitely buy myself a bottle of champagne to celebrate. Instead, I think tomorrow I will go to Starbucks and buy myself an ever-so-appropriate gingerbread latte. 🙂

Best of November 2017

I woke up this morning to a kid trying to steal the power cord and surge protector from the van.

I startled him.

Probably not as much as he startled me, though.

Fortunately, neither of us over-reacted. Probably also fortunately, neither of us was (apparently) armed. He rode away on his black bicycle, sans surge protector, and I waited until he was out of sight before I unlocked the van and ran outside to plug myself back in again.

Tuesday night, about half a mile away from where I’m parked, a woman taking out her trash in the middle of the night was shot. She was not so badly hurt that she couldn’t make it inside and call the ambulance herself, but still, I can’t imagine she’s ever going to want to take out the trash again. I’d probably never want to step outside the house again.

They caught the kid who did it, and I use the term “kid” mostly appropriately. Eighteen years old. I looked at the picture online and wondered — did he want to go to jail? Did jail seem easier than finding a job and making a life for himself? Because it’s not like he wouldn’t have known that a path that involved shooting random people in the middle of the night was likely to wind up in an institution. What was he thinking? But maybe he wasn’t thinking at all.

I, meanwhile, was thinking way too much. Super jumpy on our morning walk. A car slowed down while it was getting near me and my adrenaline surged. It was slowing for a speed bump. Duh.

But it’s not fun to feel unsafe. The last time I was here, I was talking to C about my early morning walk and feeling like I’d gotten into an area that was maybe not the safest and instead of reassuring me, she warned me to be careful. I laughed it off. It’s not like the criminals are out at 6:30 in the morning, right? She looked pained. Enough so that I googled afterward and discovered that in fact, someone had been randomly shot while waiting for an early morning bus about a mile away just a few weeks earlier. Ugh. I managed to dismiss that anxiety, though, because how often can that happen?

But it’s like lightning strikes — getting struck by lightning is extremely unlikely for most people, but if you’re standing outside in a thunderstorm in Florida, your chances go sky-high. Statistically speaking, I’m thinking my current driveway is rather higher risk than I appreciate. And that’s a bummer.

Anyway, this is not the Best of November post that I meant to write, so let me think about November: it started in PA and ends in Florida. It included one state park, one really nice Thousand Trails campground, one Walmart overnight, and four driveways.

As has been a pattern over the past months, though, my highlights have nothing to do with the places and everything to do with the people. The things that come to mind: lunch with my dad and stepmom, laughing about the scene happening on the television behind my head. I didn’t see it, but the memory of C’s wide-eyed shock still makes me smile. (Sorry, C! But it was funny, really.) Watching Stranger Things, in the midst of the final episode, and having M pause the show so that H could get a snack. In the final episode! Sitting on the back porch of C’s house with C and A, talking television shows and parenting. Thanksgiving dinner and taking a picture of my niece, C.

It wasn’t an exciting month. But it was a good month, the kind that reminds me that I have a lot to be grateful for. Not the least of which, this morning, is that I still have electricity.

Another NaNoWriMo Ends

Today is the last day of NaNoWriMo. All around the country, people are finishing up 50,000 words of writing and then celebrating with their NaNoWriMo friends. I think maybe one of my friends will make it: she’s still got a few thousand words to go, but she’s taken the day off work to write and she’s motivated. I came nowhere close, of course.

Instead I read. This month’s book list, in reverse order as best I remember:

Nora Roberts’ books used to be an auto-buy for me, each a reliable three hours of light entertainment. They were rarely memorable — I could re-read one a year later and still enjoy it, because so little of it had stuck with me, but I did enjoy the reading. Somewhere in the last few years the books started feeling bland so I largely stopped, but this one was on sale on Amazon, so I gave it a try. And I enjoyed it — it was light entertainment, pure popcorn, but the ranch in Montana was an interesting place to hang out for a few hours.

Total impulse buy. I enjoyed one of his previous books (Blue Like Jazz) and this showed up in some book ad in my email. I started reading the Look Inside and was interested enough to keep going. I think it’s really written for a male audience and I’m not sure I got much out of it — Brene Brown on vulnerability covered this ground in a far more interesting and entertaining way, I think — but I didn’t regret the time spent.

I’ve bought books by Penny Reid when they were on sale or free via BookBub ads. She writes entertaining, humorous romance. I’ve absolutely hated a couple of them. She wrote one with a married couple where I was seriously rooting for the heroine to dump the hero — I think it’s the only romance I can remember where the only happy ending I could envision was the one where the hero died. Badly. Miserably. In flames. Alas, it did not end that way.

But I still read it all the way through, which made it better than a vast number of the cheap or free books that I quit reading, label DNF, and hope never to look at again. This one was pretty solid: I’d give it a B, and while I did not enjoy all aspects of it, it was good enough that I considered reading others.

Loved this book! Bought it via a Bookbub ad (I think) and gobbled it down in about six hours of steady reading. It was the kind of book where every interruption was annoying and I was so interested that every spare minute I pulled up my phone to read again. It’s about disasters, how we function in them, what happens to our brains, why some people are better at coping with disaster then others. The stories were fascinating, but so was the science.

Random factoid: On 9/11, women were almost twice as likely to get injured while evacuating. “Was it a question of strength? Confidence? Fear? No, says lead investigator Robyn Gershon. ‘It was the shoes.'”

High heels and disasters do not mix well.

J.D. Robb = Nora Roberts, and I have the same reaction. Not willing to buy at full price. I’ll wait through the library’s interminable hold list (up to six months, easily) and borrow, or find them at a thrift store or garage sale when they’re older. But this one was on sale for $3.99, which is just about the right price for me. I read it, I enjoyed it, the total implausibility bothered me a little, but mostly it’s about characters who are fun to spend time with.

Fairly sure this must have been free at some point for it to have been on my Kindle. I include it because I did read it. I won’t be reading the sequels, though.

I have adored some books by Sarina Bowen. Truly loved them, so much so that I gave them five star reviews on Amazon. Her sex scenes are too graphic for my taste but her characterizations are terrific. She’s the kind of author who can write a drug addict hero, fresh out of jail, and make you actually root for him, which is an amazing accomplishment.

This book, however, is one that I knew I wouldn’t like, and I was right. I was really glad that the library had it and I got to read it, though. I’m sure at some point, when I desperately wanted something to read, I would have bought it and then I would have been really annoyed. As it was, I read it, wincing and grimacing and wishing it was different.

I did finish it, though, and the author remains on my “will seriously consider buying books by” list, which is where most of my favorite authors live. I only have a very few who make it onto the “auto-buy” list.

And Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my very few auto-buys. I don’t even read the blurbs on her books, I just buy them, because I know that I will want to reread them. The Penric series of novellas aren’t ones that I love, but they’re interesting and I will keep reading them as long as she keeps writing them, I suspect.

I made a major, major mistake with this book. I had it and the other books in the same series on hold at the library and when this one (#6 in the series) came in, I decided that I could read the series out of order. Bad idea! Don’t do that!

But do read the series if you get a chance, because it is really worth reading. Fun, smart, fantasy-mysteries, sort of a combination of Harry Potter and a police-procedural in a multi-cultural modern London. Terrific books. Read them, but read the series in order.

I like Pratchett, but this book took a long time to grow on me. By the end, though, it was a warm, fuzzy, Christmas pleasure. Library book, but I can imagine re-reading.

Another of the Peter Grant/Rivers of London fantasy-mystery series.

I am not sure whether to include this book because I honestly don’t remember whether I finished it. I got it from the library, and it’s really early Pratchett, published originally in 1983, and… well, it shows. Times change, writers get better, and unless you’re madly in love with Discworld, start with the later books and skip this one.

Another of the Peter Grant/Rivers of London series. The fact that the series is showing up three times in this list should tell you how much I like it!

I came very close to spending $12 on this book because I wanted to read it so badly, but I found it at the library, much to my delight. It would have been worth the $12, though, because it is really good. It reads like a classic, some combination of Anne of Green Gables and Ngaio Marsh. Not Marsh because it’s a mystery, but Marsh because it has that WWII English feel, the bombs dropping on London and the stiff upper lip, devastation but at the same time, survival.

I don’t want to spoil it, but I cried serious tears while reading it and yet finished with that happy book feeling, where you’ve gotten to spend the afternoon in a place where you still want to live for a while. I recommend it highly. And if there’s a sequel, I probably won’t hesitate to buy it, even if it does cost $12 or more.

Library book. YA, so I am not the target market. But I’m going to say that this is the single best book I’ve read all year. It’s the one that will most live in my memory, the one that thoroughly gripped me while reading and still has a hold on me weeks later. I wish I could add star graphics to this image, but I’ll just try a little emphasis to make sure it’s obvious how much I liked it!

My niece loves this book so I told her I would read it. I did not love this book. I don’t like worlds where girls are symbols before they are people. And my niece isn’t old enough for me to want to talk to her about rape culture but I found the boys’ reactions when the girl shows up to be so profoundly disturbing that it appalls me that we live in a world where that goes unnoticed. Or at least doesn’t prohibit it from becoming successful. Not sure I should really say I’ve read the book, either, because I started skimming pretty fast by the end.

This cover is a really different style for a Jayne Anne Krentz book but the content between the covers is just the same: a quick, straightforward, fun romance with elements of setting, food, and character that I enjoy. They’re sort of a female version of a Robert Parker novel — plain dialog, an uncomplicated and not overly dark mystery, a story that relies on friendship and family at its core.

My SIL was rolling her eyes over some of the writing — there’s a scene (I think in this one, possibly in one of the others) where the hero describes the color of the walls as saffron, which really does make him quite the sophisticated color connoisseur for a guy depicted as “all-male” in other places — but I’m not usually so inclined to quibble. I don’t generally buy full-price books by Krentz (or either of her two other pen names, Jayne Anne Castle and Amanda Quick) but I happily read them when they come my way, whether by library, garage sale, or hand-me-down.

Library book. I liked the cover and I’m willing to read kids’ books when they seem successful. I sort of view it as research, because maybe someday I’ll want to write one. I enjoyed this one, but I didn’t love it, probably wouldn’t bother to recommend it, even if I knew anyone of the right age to be the target audience.

I read the first book in this series a long time ago (and then re-read it in October). When I saw that the series had a lot more books, all of them available at the library, I thought I’d give it a try. But after two books, I’ve concluded that it’s not for me. Too violent, too bloody, too many vampires. Which, you know, is probably obvious from the fact that the heroine is a vampire killer. And if you like that kind of thing, it probably is a solid series: it’s quite readable. Just not to my particular taste.

Seanan McGuire is an award-winning fantasy author who I’ve heard a lot about. I tried the first book in her first series, the October Daye series, years ago and didn’t enjoy it — it was too dark for me. When I saw that the library had her InCryptid series, I decided to give them a try. I read five of the books in October, finishing with this one at the beginning of November. Interesting reads. Still a little dark for me, and they made me think a lot about how authors reveal ourselves in our work. But they’ve got good flow, interesting twists and entertaining world-building, so they’re certainly worth the read. I didn’t like them enough to try the other series again, and her science fiction (under the name Mira Grant) looks definitely darker than I want to read, but I liked them enough to read all six books in the series.


I thought this would be a quick post. Ha. I should have known better. Eons ago, back in fifth grade I think it was, my English teacher wrote on my report card that I didn’t read enough. My mother was appalled and called the school to ask what she was talking about. The teacher told her that I had only read two books all semester. My mother pointed out that I read all the time — between classes, walking in the hallways, during lunch — that my head was always in a book. But as far as the teacher was concerned, the only books that counted were the ones I wrote book reports on. As far as I was concerned, there was no way I was wasting my time writing book reports when I could be reading instead. It’s why I’m always sympathetic to people who don’t write book reviews and why I hate asking for them. But it was kind of fun to look back over what I read — enabled by the discovery of a history button in my library app — and be reminded of what my month was in books.

Gratitude

Kyla wrote a lovely post on gratitude at Thanksgiving and it made me want to do the same. But I haven’t eaten breakfast or walked the dogs and it’s almost 9 already, so mine’s going to be shorter and less detailed!

My dogs
B is still technically dying, of course, but we all are, really. Ten months after his congestive heart failure diagnosis, he’s still ticking along, snuggly and loving and adorable. Admittedly, the last time we were at the vet, I did tell the tech to just muzzle him, because I was pretty sure he wasn’t pretending about wanting to bite us. She called it “a party hat” — I called it self-defense. But mostly he is snuggly and loving and adorable.

And Z is terrific. Almost 13 years old and playing with toys like a puppy again. She’s very much losing her hearing, so I’m making special efforts to make sure she’s looking at me when I’m telling her how much I adore her, but she’s otherwise happy and healthy and a joyful companion.

Listening to the music of rain on the van
The reason I still haven’t walked the dogs or had breakfast yet. But the rain sounds so lovely and a peaceful morning is delightful.

Clean water Living in a van makes me very aware of my water sources. I finished off all of our “safe” water making coffee this morning. There’s some in the tank and it’s probably reasonably safe, because I filled it from a clean source just yesterday, but the tank hasn’t been disinfected since I got the van, so I don’t drink out of it. But I can literally walk about twenty steps, maybe thirty, to a source of clean water, and that makes me incredibly lucky. I am very grateful, and very aware of a great many fellow Americans who can’t currently say the same, and even more people around the world who can never say the same.

Family and friends I’m so grateful for the times I’ve had this year with friends and family. Grateful and greedy, I suppose, because I’m looking forward to many more of them! I’m spending Christmas with R, and I’m already busy making plans for things I want to share with him — movies and television shows, music and food. And also thinking about next year’s travels and how I’m going to get to Massachusetts again, and Michigan for the first time.

And my Alexa just spoke to me and suggested that I was missing out on blueberry muffins inside, so I am also so grateful for blueberry muffins, Alexa, and getting to have breakfast with my dad and stepmom. And I am now going to go enjoy all that!

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you find much to be grateful for on this day and every day!

The Fear of Missing Out

The Fear of Missing Out: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Instagram showed up in my inbox this morning. (Follow the link! Read the article. Then come back, because this will make more sense if you do.)

It felt really beautifully timed. Like the universe was telling me something. Except not really, because I like traveling and I love my life, but it was a good reminder that every life involves trade-offs. We’re all making choices, every day, about what we want to be doing and how we want to do it. No matter what, we’re going to miss something.

A while ago, I mostly stopped posting to Instagram because I discovered that it was making me feel… disconnected, maybe? Fake? I didn’t like looking at a meal or a view and thinking about it within a framework of what other people would appreciate about it. A fantastic dinner that was maybe not aesthetically pleasing in a photo didn’t stop being a fantastic dinner, but when I imagined posting the picture, it was with justifications and explanations. And when I looked at a view and rejected it because I’d never be able to get a good picture of it… I didn’t want to disdain my life because it wasn’t pretty enough to share, if that makes any sense. Instagram can’t capture the intangibles — the taste of good food, the smell of autumn in the air, the feelings of community and friendship.

But maybe I’ll learn to love it again, because what I liked about it when I first started using it was that it worked for me as a reminder to appreciate the moment I was in, to celebrate the meal that I cooked instead of just shoveling it in, to pause and admire the view instead of glancing out the window and moving on.

Today is going to be a highly practical day: picking up a prescription (I hope), doing some grocery shopping, dumping the tanks, washing dishes… but it started with peacocks.

a peacock

A gold star sunrise

sunrise from Merritt Island

Sunrise from Merritt Island

After months of trying, I can rattle off the names of all fifty states now. (4 As, Ws, and Is; 8 Ms and Ns; and I never forget the Ss or the single P any more). At one point, while driving, I was imagining a color-coded map, with the few states I haven’t visited in red, the ones that I’ve only driven through in orange, the ones that I’ve lived in purple, the ones where I’ve spent more than a month in blue. The vast majority of the map would be yellow and green, signifying time spent of more than a night, less than a month.

I think that map, though, needs something like stars, too, for how beautiful a state is, how much I love it. Florida — despite all of its craziness, the news stories that start “only in Florida,” the ways in which it is really weird — would get a gold star, because say what you will about Florida, sunrise here is spectacular.

It feels good to be home.

The discomfort of change

People in Florida keep asking me how much longer I’m going to keep traveling. It’s a legitimate question, I think. I’ve certainly been wondering about the answer myself. But I don’t know. Being back in Florida definitely feels like coming home, more than any other state, which is not so much what I would have expected. I lived in California for longer than I lived in Florida, and I spent my entire childhood visiting Pennsylvania. New York is the state where I’ve lived the longest. But Florida feels comfortable, Florida feels easy.

Sort of.

I also almost cried yesterday when the grocery store didn’t have the dog food I wanted. It was my grocery store, a home store for me. Not the one that I went to most often when I lived here, but one that I went to often enough that it should have felt familiar. But it didn’t. I had to hunt for the dog food and then it wasn’t there. Change happens. And a grocery store changing brands, re-organizing aisles, that is not the sort of change that should make one want to cry.

I think, though, that navigating unfamiliar grocery stores has turned into one of the most exhausting elements of a life of continual travel for me. I can remember in my first month on the road loving the adventure of a new store. Sometimes I still do. Often I still do!

But then there are the days when all I want is to get in and get out. I don’t want an adventure, I just want to get a need met as quickly as possible so I can get back to whatever I am doing that is more interesting to me. Yesterday it was to get on the road so that I could come down to Merritt Island and write with my friend, Lynda. I didn’t want to waste hours hunting for the right sort of dog food.

As it happens, I didn’t. I bought some strange canned food, ridiculously expensive and radiating organic healthiness, so that I could get moving, and today B and I are paying the price. Dogs don’t react well to abrupt changes in food, usually. Poor B. On top of the ear infections and the wheezing, he didn’t need an upset tummy. He’ll be okay, though. I also bought ingredients to make the homemade food that he likes, so if I can’t find the right food today, he’ll get to have chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner and he’ll be delighted.

Meanwhile, my travel plans for the next six weeks or so involve nothing new: familiar driveways, a couple of familiar state parks, lots of time spent with people I love. At the end of it, after the holidays, I think I’ll have a better sense of whether I’m tired of traveling and really need to figure out where I can settle down for a while or whether I’m eager to get back on the road. Maybe, like right now, both will still appeal.

I’m probably not going to spend a lot of time blogging, either, because even though I know that these memories — of time spent well, of friends and people and good conversations, of interesting meals and holidays — will be as important to me in the future as any campground review ever, well, I’d rather be spending my writing energy on Grace and my life energy on living.

That said, here’s a story I want to remember: hanging out with C and her son, A, in her back porch, talking about media mothers and C’s resemblance to Joyce on Stranger Things.

I texted R.

Me: What media mom would remind you of me? (Am conversing with C and her son)

The next day

R: No idea. Sorry!
Me: (Sad emoji)
Me: I shall choose to believe that is because I am unique and original.
R: Precisely!
R: You could also construe that as representative of the fact that good parents are only interesting in fiction if they die.
R: (Shrug emoji)
Me: … (Dustin’s mom from Stranger Things) is personally my take.
Me: and since you haven’t watched Stranger Things that doesn’t mean much
R: I have
R: all of it
Me: Oh! Well, then, really, Dustin’s mom?
R: Dustin’s mom is pretty close
Me: (Blushing smile emoji)

For anyone who hasn’t watched Stranger Things, S2, Dustin’s mom is gullible, easily manipulated by her son, but clearly dotes on him. He makes her laugh and she thinks he’s awesome. I looked for the internet’s take on her and the only articles I found described her as a “lovable helicopter mom” and “lacked much definition beyond her status as a loving mom.” Eh, not the perfect descriptions, but as media moms go, I’m very pleased that R sees the resemblance.

And I really shouldn’t have let myself fall into the internet rabbit hole that is articles on Stranger Things, because I could be writing right now. Or doing laundry or hunting for dog food or even hanging out with L, who’s working away at her kitchen table while I’m sitting on her porch!

Lazy days

Long drives make me lazy. Or maybe just tired. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I drove from Williamsburg to Florida. Ahead of time, I imagined that once I got here, I would immediately begin NaNoWriMo levels of writing productivity, in between visiting and catching up with all my local family and friends, plus taking care of some van jobs, like fixing the bathroom door, replacing the air-conditioner cover, scrubbing off the dead bugs, and so on.

In reality, I’ve been reading and listening to music and eating too much sugar and enjoying being mellow in a very comfortable driveway.

sunset

Last night’s sunset

In fact, I’ve been so lazy that in my Streaks app, I broke all my streaks except two: writing 1000 words every morning and writing 2 blog posts/week. And yeah, this blog post is just so I don’t break that streak. I would actually much rather be napping.

Williamsburg Thousand Trails RV park

Out of one window, I am watching my neighbor do something mysterious with their sewer hose — ah, they were just packing up, actually. And out of the other window, I can see the dumpsters. So not much choice for a view in this campground. But that said, I think this is the nicest Thousand Trails campground I’ve stayed in.

It’s typical of the Thousand Trails places — which, in general, does mean not really for me. There’s an indoor swimming pool, a jacuzzi, a basketball court, a great mini-golf course (I think the nicest campground mini-golf course I’ve seen), a game room with arcade games and pool tables, a camp store, an “adult lounge”, even a pond. And it’s big enough that it was very easy to take Zelda on a one-mile walk this morning.

And full hook-ups! I don’t usually look for full hook-ups or take advantage of them, but my black tank has been reading as 2/3 full for a couple of months now. That probably means something has gotten stuck, dried to the sides of the tank. I don’t consider it a big deal, but I’m glad for the opportunity to run lots of water and soap through the tank to try to clean it out. What I really need is a second hose so that I can use the black tank flush outlet without risking contaminating my drinking water hose, preferably one like the zero-G hose that squashes down flat so that it takes up less room. It’s been on my list of “things to get someday real soon” for about a year, but I seem to always wind up buying the cooking things off that list instead of the outside things. But there are so many things on that list — a grill that folds flat, a compact table, the Sumo Springs that everyone raves about… but realistically, the next time I buy something for the van, it’ll probably be a smaller induction frying pan. Ha.

Back to the campground: it’s so nice that this morning when walking the dog, I thought, “Hmm, maybe when I take M camping next year, I’ll bring her here.” And then I remembered my horrendous drive yesterday and thought, “Nope, not gonna happen.”

I have now driven Serenity in 44 states. Yep, 44 of them. (The missing: Delaware, Rhode Island, Michigan, North Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii.) And if there is a single place that I would really like to never drive through again, it’s Washington, DC.

It’s not that other places don’t have bad traffic: I used to commute through the Caldecott Tunnel before they opened the 4th bore, where multiple lanes of traffic merge and the lanes changed directions on a regular basis. Driving that route was always interesting. And Boston — well, yeah, Boston is just crazy. But Washington has some reasonably significant proportion of really bad drivers, people who don’t care that their recklessness messes everyone else up, and it makes driving there so unpleasant.

Here’s the difference between San Francisco Bay and DC drivers: once upon a time, I was on 24 approaching the Caldecott and cars were stopping, for no obvious reason. So I stopped, too, of course. I’m not sure how many lanes there are, maybe eight at the spot where I was? And all eight lanes of traffic stopped because there was a dog on the road. A couple people got out of their cars and corralled the dog and traffic resumed again and probably several hundred people who didn’t know what had happened sighed in relief that the delay had only lasted a few minutes. If that had happened in DC, some people would have slowed, others wouldn’t, there would have been an accident and the traffic congestion would have lasted an hour, minimum. And the dog would have died.

Anyway, I will stop whining about traffic now, but I’m taking a day off to do useful things like try to get the black tank cleaned out, write a blog post, work on Grace, answer my email, back up some files… hmm, I guess that’s all I really wanted to do. But tomorrow I start driving again. I’ll spend the night on the road and make it to Florida on Wednesday. I had such a nice week in PA that it was really hard to leave, but I’m looking forward to some time in Florida, too.

I’m already anticipating seeing all my writing friends who are doing NaNoWriMo, and spending lots and lots and lots of time writing with them. It is so past time to finish Grace, but this version has gone off in some interesting directions and honestly, I now have no idea where it’s going. sigh But it will get somewhere, I’m sure.

There’s a scene that I wrote last week that I suspect means more to me than it will to anyone else, but I reread it this morning and it literally made me tear up and then laugh. I obviously would consider that profoundly successful if it did the same for any other reader, but even if I’m the only person who gets it that way, I’m pretty sure I can count it as successful. And since I could be working on it now, time to get to it!

But to everyone working on NaNo — write, write, write! You can do it!

yellow raspberries

Raspberries bear fruit until the first frost so this morning’s breakfast included fresh raspberries, honey from P’s bees, and granola made by my SIL. I felt very, very lucky while I ate it.

Maintenance

me on top of the van

On top of Serenity, all covered with goo…

The day I brought Serenity home from the dealer, it rained. I drove her over to a friend’s house and was showing her off — my brand-new home! — and she was all wet. Inside, not outside. Not a pleasant discovery.

I promptly took her back to the dealer, of course, and asked that they please keep her under a roof until they could fix the leak. Whether rightfully or not, I attribute some of her later problems — the two times the awning died, the demented fan — to that first leak. Water’s not supposed to enter the roof.

The dealer said that they couldn’t replicate the leak, which seemed implausible, given how very much water had come in on that first day, but they decided it was the sealant around the fan and resealed it. A couple times since then, I have suspected water might be coming in, but the amount was small enough that I wasn’t sure. A wet spot on the cushion is always potentially attributable to B chewing on his feet or a careless splash from the sink.

But in West Virginia, there was really no doubt: water was coming in through the air-conditioner. The van’s no longer under warranty, so I wasn’t going to take it back to the dealer. Instead, I ordered some goo, my brother got out the ladder, and I climbed up and coated the area with sealant.

I have no idea whether my repair will actually be successful. The area that is most probable for a leak is hard to see and to get to, because there’s not a lot of room and the awning gets in the way. I didn’t want to put any weight on the awning or set the ladder up in the street which might have offered a better view, so I just squeezed a bunch of goo in there and hoped for the best. But I felt super accomplished when I was done. Woo-hoo, I climbed on the roof and did my own home repair!

Note to self: next time, braid your hair! It was blowing all over the place, which was not exactly convenient.

I also put air in the tires. Not for the first time, of course, but it was the first time it went smoothly. I’ve done it often enough now that I feel pretty competent. I actually remember what the icons mean on the air compressor which is so helpful!

This weekend, I’m hoping I can convince my brother to help me change the oil in the generator. Supposedly it’s an easy job. I’m not sure I will find it so. But if I do, I will feel very accomplished. Changing my own oil = major-league adulting, I think.