Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pee bottle

Last night I decided it might be about time to start getting used to some of the unconventional aspects of living in a truck. Specifically I decided to get used to peeing in a bottle. Get used to? I wish I took this approach years ago! I have a wide mouth Nalgene bottle with a tint to it that disguises the content. The only thing to get used to is how awesome and convenient this is.

1) I was watching a show (The First 48hrs. on A&E), and I didn't have to leave the room to pee.
2) When I get up to pee in the morning , sometimes I'd like to get right back to bed but I lose some sleepy momentum on the way to the john.

The piss bottle minimizes how much waking up you have to do. I'm also happy to note how well the screw-on lid seals. No fear of spills. I recommend a Nalgene style piss bottle for everyone (who's a male). Make sure it's a wide mouth version, and see about getting something with a tint that will obscure the true contents of the bottle. Mine is 32oz and it's good for two hefty drinking pees. I got much of the details of this idea from somewhere at www.cheaprvliving.com - a genius resource.

Getting soft/ leaving Friday/ pep talk

By now, I've been staying at my parents place for almost 5 months. That seems nearly impossible to me. After 3 months, I kept thinking of it as just 3. In that time I've all but lost my awesome outdoorsy hoboness that I developed on my bicycle tour in June. I've been sleeping inside, taking long hot showers, and recently I've been watching TV again. When I first got back I just wanted to sit around a fire all the time and continue to get familiar with my basic essential needs. On Friday I'm headed to Key West to follow through with this great plan. Hopefully I can spend that time getting back to the basics and falling in love with a cheap simple life. I hope I can coast back and forth between a coffee shop and the beach and some other choice spots, and appreciate how awesome and easy life can be. Realistically, I know from past experience that getting started will be difficult for me mentally. I like when people call it the blues. To me, that fits. What I'm really looking forward to is being able to peel back that layer and get to the sweet core of simple freedom and adventure. How long will it take? If I find that mental sweet spot that I'm looking for, will I be able to continue finding awesome ways to stay snuggled in satisfaction? I've been getting some tough bouts of anxiety recently. They're mixed in with happy spells too. It's like my life is a balloon - 'cause balloons are happy and awesome, but they're also filled tight and fragile. You might pop it pretty easy if you don't take care. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but it's damn close to exactly how I feel. Tenuously happy.

I wrote myself a pep talk about going to Key West. A strong man born a free spirit shouldn't need to psych himself into smart adventures - but I'm a balloon these days, not a soccer ball. This is mildly ludicrous, but I'm going to share it anyway.

11/22/07, Mid-Thanksgiving
It's an adventure, and no matter how ridiculous it can get, you should still be happy to have the opportunity. Whatever you are feeling, and whatever chemicals are screwing around in your brain, you really need to try to keep everything in perspective. Sure you'll be lonely and weirded out at first. That's ok - you know how that goes. Don't turn back and cause yourself regret before you even fully dive into the new situation. You are one of the luckiest people on earth. If that isn't good enough, then you are selfish. You could be so much worse off right now and still people would beg to trade places for a day. You could be:
a starving child
a prisoner
fearing death
born depressed
addicted to crack
struggling to raise a family

Just find a pleasant way to take some deep breaths and relax. This might be weird, but you can't really call it a struggle. If you decide to pack up and go north, you really don't have a whole lot to get excited about. It can wait. It's colder. You'll have to get a new job. You'll miss out on a part of your adventure and you'll regret it. You aren't missing anything up north. Everything will be precisely the same when you return. Figure out what you'll do when you get back, maybe - but don't just think about how you'll be happier up there. You won't for very long - all that can wait. Stay in Key West at least a month, or you don't have a feeling for it at all and you're just freaking out because you can't deal with shit.

If you're not feeling all that happy, that's just fake. It's human stuff coming to bog you down, and it all comes down to chemicals and you being a wuss. You'll be back up north where you know all sorts of people soon. Just chill out and try to find out everything that's going on down here. There is shit to do that is fun and takes time. I know there's a community pool with showers. You can try to seek out free food. You can try to find a group or an event. Get a book to read. You can explore a new street and memorize a map of the island. Why not check out every single street? You might find kickass parking.

Is someone getting on your nerves about how you're staying in a Truck? Be careful not to let it bother you too much. Just move the truck the best you can, and don't let it get you down. You are 100% morally justified in this living arrangement. People should be allowed to live in a way that helps them, and hurts nobody. Pursuit of happiness. Just keep going and finding different spots if it's a problem. From the past here, I don't see how it can be a big problem, but I know the future Chris pretty well, and assume that it might weigh on your mind. Chill out. Write about it. Rendezvous at the beach!

11/22/07 9:34pm
Alright, so you made your pep talk earlier today. You know how it's going to feel, and you're a little anxious right now. In fact, you're feeling a lot of anxiety. You said yourself that you feel backed into a corner. You feel like you keep starting stuff, and you never follow through. Now you've got all this stuff going on and everything seems crazy and up in the air. Well you can only expect to get through stuff one step at a time. You've had this anxiety going on for awhile. It's on and off. Sometimes Key West sounds like an easy, smart, unbeatable plan. Sometimes a different logic takes hold and it's all you can do to breathe properly. Well, you're going to have to mellow out and breathe. Life goes pretty slowly sometimes. Whether you see it clearly or not, you have to trust your(past)self that this is a golden opportunity to chill the fuck out. Put in the time.

Back to the reason you decided to write this to yourself. You were just taking a bath, and you wanted to tell yourself some more stuff for the future. Set little goals. When you're down there, just try to find some kind of daily rhythm and try to accomplish some little goals. This might be a good time to read something about meditation. Getting some books is a really good way to spend some time and relax anyway. Find out where a good hot tub is. Or maybe a few hot tubs so you can rotate. Find out about that shower at the MLK pool. Go to the beach more than you did in Boca. Try to do something to meet people somehow. Please, try not to take things too seriously - even if everything seems to suck. Ride your bike. Maybe try to find a destination a little out of the way to make a nice regular bike ride. Couscous with something mixed into it is usually a good idea. Read a newspaper. Remember to learn about blowing glass when you get back - maybe figure out what you need and set aside money for that. Dude - if you start each morning with a jog on the beach, you'll probably be much better off. Listen to music. Be happy that you exist.
So there you have it. That's some highly personal stuff with me talking to my future self. I wasn't going to post it up, but I think it gives some perspective on what's happening in my brain and my life. Current mood? I'm happy! I'm going to sit around and roll through life for awhile. But I don't think for a minute that I won't be needing to look at that pep talk. I wrote a pep talk before my bicycle tour, and it ended up helping me up in Quebec when I was stopped at a little general store. I read a book, and things were a little easier again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Painting, Key West

The inside room is all built. It's about 7.5' x 10'. The living area is separated from a few more feet of not-insulated 'porch' area. That's where you put your dirty shoes, store some shit, and watch rainstorms from if you're parked in a good spot. I'm really glad to be done with the logistics of cutting wood and insulation. Now I'm on to paint, which is much more fun. I Listen to some loud music, and let it rip with the roller and some singing along. That's alright! I ended up going with bright yellow because of the light reflection factor, and the fact that Danielle and I couldn't find a bright enough pink easily enough. I'm happy with the yellow. This is, I think, coat number four in the pictures. The shitty OSB board that I used for the walls is pretty rough, and soaks up paint like a blank-blank-blank soaks up the sun. (A lot, eh!) Well, there you have it. Not much of a logistical update to this saga, but proof that I'm still chugging along.

I got some pretty nice navy blue carpet at work, and a fold-out bed that's kinda like a chair made out of couch cushions that folds out into a sleepover mattress. If you know what I mean, great, if not, I guess you'll have to wait for more pictures. I also got an awesome sink at work. I don't remember if I mentioned all this.

In real and actual news, I'm planning to take this beast down to Key West and work as a pedicab driver (bicycle taxi). I've kinda had that idea in the back of my mind, but I finally researched it and talked to a guy today who said if I'm there in early December, I basically have a job. I'm excited and apprehensive, but I'm going to give it a shot. I think Nat's going to go with me too. That's a dude who's my friend. We went on a fairly hearty-length bicycle trip together in June, so I know we can occupy the same small space. This will probably beat the living shit out of slogging through the landfill all winter.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

pain in the ass walls, etc

I'd like to have some pictures for you, but right now I've just got words. Look how long since my last post. It has taken a long time to get some shit done. My current task is just to put up some insulation and some wood over it. I'm basically building a box within the box. I think I've mentioned that I'm not a carpenter. You should see this shit. I guess it'll probably be functional enough, but it's pretty rough and ugly. Since I don't know what the hell I'm doing, I just took some measurements to get rough ideas, and spent an asslot of money at Home Depot. If I could go back and start from scratch, I could do a much better job and probably make it much cheaper and prettier. As it is, I'm learning a lot from my mistakes, but I'm sticking with them for now.

I've lost a lot of space inside the box, building the ceiling pretty low to clear the roll-up door. My bunk area has gotten pretty short - don't know if that'll still work out. If not, I can store stuff up there or something. I still have to put the finishing touches on it, and take some pictures to show off, but the 'room' is basically done. I put the back wall behind the entrance door, which leaves a couple unfinished feet between the back wall and the roll-up door. That's the porch. I'm going to keep propane tanks and batteries on the porch. And probably my bike. The door to get in from the porch is probably just going to be a piece of wood that I move aside - a cheap trap door. With that setup, the truck will still look pretty stealth even when you look in the back door, or the RV entrance door.

I'm pretty much a sick obsessive human being. I don't mean it in a bad way, but I do mean it strongly and sincerely. I love myself as much as anyone could, but there is something wrong with how one single theme at a time completely takes over my life. Living in this truck is all I think about. Sometimes I think it will work, sometimes I think it will not. One thing that steels my reserve is all this reading I've been doing about others who have had success in their own stealth-vehicle-homes. I really want to make this work, and have a better simpler life. I'm very impressed with the website cheaprvliving.com - all of the buttons on the left lead to different stories, which all fascinate me. People are happy living in vans and cars and all sorts of setups - and this website tells their stories. It's also a great resource for finding good answers to how to equip your vehicle, and how to get around the logistics of the potty, electricity, entertainment, and what-have-you.

I'm going to paint the crap out of the ugly-ass interior of this room I built, and hopefully that will make it more awesome. I've re-decided on bright yellow. I'm going back and forth between pink and yellow, and yellow reflects more light. I don't want it to be dark and gloomy. It kinda is right now.

I got my bed from work last week. It's just what I was looking for - one of those fold-up cushion chairs that can be laid out to form a thick cushion 'mattress.' I also got a small but awesome basin sink and some really awesome waterproof winter boots that are made in Canada. They're well insulated, and they fit perfectly. The novelty of the junk removal business is starting to wear off - but it's easy, and I keep getting all this free shit that I need.