with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

Offers to Help and the Cleaning Process

My mother sent me an email offering to fly down to Tulsa after Thanksgiving to help us get ready. While I really appreciated the thought, the hardest work is between now and thanksgiving weekend. By Nov 28 or 29 we are on the road to Alabama. Estimating 3 days travel, though it could be more or less.

Spiders made huge nests on the bottoms of the trailer tires, along with cracks from the sunWe’ve checked out what needs to done that we can “estimate” (not taking into account the crap that pops up) and our bank account and we’re making drastic compromises. We need new tires on everything (totalling 10) but we’ve decided to go with two to three new tires on the truck (the ones most exposed to the sun and worn) and may try to go with the tires on the trailer. They’ve been covered up from the sun, and at least three of the four were replaced during the trip from NC to OK and storage. But they have been sitting on one spot for five years, a dangerous thing for tires. So we’re not sure whether or not to trust them or just replace them for the three day drive to Alabama and then to sit again for six months to a year or so. That’s a lot of money. If we decide to replace them for safety consideration (they are over $150 each on the trailer), that might take up the money for me going to Seattle until after new years.

I pulled myself up and sick or not (fever is still hovering as of yesterday) and have emptied most of the trailer except for dishes and what is in the bedroom that can’t get through with the slide out in. We’re probably going to try to open the slideout by Monday. The place is a mess. Where peeks of sun came through, the carpet and fabrics are totally bleached like bleach spilled in spots. Fungusy The fungus growing inside the trailer showersoapy stuff has grown out of the shower, which just needs a serious cleaning, but we don’t have access to water and hoses and such yet. Dust and dead bugs are everywhere. There was leaking in the back corner of the slideout from the funky angle it was left in and it dripped water down the ceiling making stains and down the top kitchen cabinets staining the wood. We might have a little water damage in the corner cabinet bottom but right now it looks solid enough. There is mass water damage and back ugh growing in the corner of the kitchen on the carpet behind the slideout that might require removing the carpet and possibly replacing the flooring under that area. We can’t see untiil the slideout comes out. We’re not sure how far it stretches under the slideout itself.

The ceiling and cabinets have stains from water damage all to be cleanedWalls, cabinets, fridge, appliances, furniture, all have to be scrubbed to within an inch of their life. I’m hoping that Lynda Kay and Lisa might come out and help me scrub and scrape, but it might just be Brent and I. We’ll see. I’m hoping to have the thing moved by Wednesday or Friday at the latest next week to a nearby campground as there is little more I can do without opening the slideout and having access to water and electricity.

Having my mother come to help after Thanksgiving would only mean riding in the truck for the haul to Alabama, not a good idea for my mother’s recently operated-on back. We have a long history with Highways 10 and 20 and hate them both for being notorious back killers once you leave Texas. In Alabama, Brent will meet with the office there and make a plan and contract (which I will oversee) and then I will haul around and check out the campgrounds nearby to see which looks better for a longer stay. The one we arrive in might be okay, but we want to find one “good enough” and close. There are a bunch of options all within less than 10 miles including one less than 2 miles from work. If that is good, Brent can walk or take the bike to work, saving tons of money in gas. But it also has to be close to the amenitites I need (laundry, store, etc.) if he takes the truck and I have to schlep things around.

Being sick this week has really hammered me. I didn’t realize I was as sick as I was. There is so much little shit to do like researching the campgrounds, ordering parts and pieces for the trailer (we need all new window gaskets (seals) as they sufferred in the sun), and preparing to build a new computer for the trailer to host all the harddrives and such we have. There is so much, I’m getting whelmed.

Brent and his dad and his uncle, Gary, took apart the generator yesterday to get out the carburator. What a mess. I laughed at them and said how amazing that it took an engineer, architect and roofing specialist to not figure out how the damn thing worked. Gary said, “Aren’t you glad you aren’t paying for us by the hour!” Argh, I couldn’t afford them. Anyway, they pulled out the carburator and found, as predicted, it was varnished and clogged by the gas left inside. I knew we should have drained it, but that is just how it goes sometimes when time is tight, as it was. So either it will be cheaper to replace the carburator or get it cleaned out (devarnished?) which requires more research into costs and calling places to find out who can do it or replace it. Yeah.

Without the generator, we’re running on battery power, which means we are limited as to what can run in the trailer. We don’t have a way of recharging the batteries without the truck attached and running or the generator. Taking them out and charging with a charger is painful and means hauling them back to the house each time. These are heavy deep cycle marine batteries and you don’t want to mess with them once they are installed.

So that is our life. We are heading to church (against my better judgement – time waster) as we are celebrating Lisa’s birthday and Terry is singing something special during the service, and then having a small get together party for her at noon. I’d rather be getting the rest of the stuff done but I’m trying to be a family member, too. Tough for me to do both right now after wasting so much time being sick.

So while we appreciated the offer, unless my mom arrives in the next couple of days, we will be racing after thanksgiving to Alabamamamamama.

I want to, in a couple of months, take some classes on eco-home design/building and canning, planting, and such to prepare for building The House. Lots to want to do but I might end up having to take a job to help pay for everything. We’ll see. I want to write for the first six months with little interruption, before taking a job. We’ll see. Right now, I put one foot in front of the other and hope I don’t fall down in the inbetween.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

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