Slept for over a year

In case you’re wondering how I can possibly sleep for entire year and tell all of you about what happens during that time, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. It’s not about that (as if you didn’t know). It’s that I’ve been spending nights sleeping in my van for over a year. So how was that? Well, I’ll tell you.

Overall, it was great. The 4” gel full-size mattress from Amazon was pretty comfortable. The foam topper from Walmart gave a little extra comfort, but it wasn’t bad from the beginning. The metal frame from IKEA, minus the headboard that they didn’t recommended removing, is rather sturdy as well. It is held aloft by four 1-¼” PVC pipes. I forget the actual length of them. This was done to provide me with extra storage underneath.

The ventilation is good, too. The Fantastic Fan (roof vent) does a great job of bringing in the fresh air. I can do this is a directed fashion by only opening a window nearest to where I’m sleeping. In my case, there is a screened sliding side window towards the rear. I just lift the reflectix flap, slide the window open, and enjoy the comfort. I absolutely need it during these hot North Carolina nights.

My winter in the van, in one of the coldest winters I remember in NC (which isn’t saying much) was a bit of a different story. I learned to layer blankets as well as put blankets over the back doors as well as the side ones. I had to do anything to stop any drafts as they were the main culprits of discomfort. I have a two-column Mr. Buddy heater (Big Buddy) heater that can operate on two green 1lb. cylinders or a propane tank. I’ve chosen the former option right now to economize space. Additionally, I have to shut it off in 10-15 minutes because the van just gets too hot inside. I have to admit, it is a bit of a pain in the ass to turn it back on after an hour or so depending on how cold it is outside. My roof has good insulation, but my sides and floor don’t; just conversion van amenities in that regard. I’ll have to change that at some point when I have some money.

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Two days

It’s less than two days until my 50th birthday and I couldn’t be more unhappy and unsatisfied in how my life has turned out. I have trouble even describing what it is that I’ve accomplished all these years. It’s been spent in a constant pursuit of something I don’t think I’m ever meant to obtain. I’ve spent the majority of my birthdays alone; buying my own Carvel ice cream cake in locations where it’s available to purchase. Even when I was married, it was just too much trouble for my current wife to bother except for some sixteenths-hearted obligations. Everything was always about her, anyway; nothing was never reciprocated.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this other than a record of my thoughts. I genuinely hate my life. I’ve just been a doormat for others to be better at my expense. I’m honestly just tired of living and I’m starting to find little benefit to it if this is all it offers and this is the limit of what I can bring to it. It’s clear that not many people would even notice as I haven’t any friends. I can’t even get a job in this fucking town as all my years of experience doesn’t matter to anyone. I feel as all of it has been a colossal waste of time.

Cracks in the pavement

Hello. Here I am tentatively hanging out in a parking lot having “no overnight parking” in very large signs all over the place. I wonder what events caused this to occur? Personally, I have never seen anyone in this entire town sleeping in cars. However, I assume that my van is probably a lot more obvious than some. It’s hard to hide 200 watts of solar on the roof, a translucent smoke-colored fan bubble along with blacked-out windows and a partitioning curtain between the cockpit and the living quarters. I’d be interested to drive around here at night to see what I can see, but I’m a little reticent about doing so.

For all of the past period where I’ve been living here, I’ve been spending sleep-time while parked in my mother’s driveway. I’ve tried to find a job around here, but nobody appears to be hiring. While I was at a recruiter, one woman told me that when she was looking, nobody would hire her unless she knew somebody. It’s really quite ridiculous when there’s this supposed burgeoning economy. I don’t understand it.

In any case, I’ve been going through my transcription course after I was able to fix my MacBook. I was doing well with it while running through all of the lessons and transcribing the audio all over again. It was going well until the Mac broke again. Now, it won’t even boot into its recovery partition. Fortunately, I was able to procure a power supply for my Lenovo notebook computer running Windows 7. Unfortunately, it’s extremely underpowered even after putting the maximum memory into it. I’ve installed OpenOffice on it and purchased a new copy of ExpressScribe, but it lags whenever I play a video faster than 100 percent speed and transcribe simultaneously. There is also a lag whenever I periodically save my document. I have to enter all of my AutoCorrect entries to save typing all over again, but it doesn’t work the way that I expect. I also have to readjust to Windows’ way of navigating around the text. It’s also ill-equipped to simply surf the web. The Opera browser helps in that it’s much faster than IE, but that’s not saying much. I’m afraid of how bad it’s going to be once I install Audacity on it. It may just give up the ghost.

My hope is to get the MacBook fixed. I think it’s more than the hard drive that’s wrong. If that’s all it was, $20 and a reinstall would solve the problem. The Mac also has a poorly functioning Wi-Fi card and a non-functioning iSight camera. It also won’t recognize any of my TimeMachine backup drives.

As you’ve probably figured, my situation is far from ideal, but it’s all I have right now. Once I’m able to pass the transcription final, I can begin trying to earn a living. I think it’s a job that’s conducive for living on the road as long as I have adequate internet and quiet enough surroundings. However, I don’t think it’s going to pay much, at least to start, but it’ll be more than $0.00.

Thus far in my “adventure,” I have not had the opportunity to do any off-grid, vanlife-type living as I’ve been helping my parents; as much as my mother will let me help. I want to stay around here so that I can, but it’s hard and frustrating. I had a panic/anxiety attack today due to my mother’s morning yelling at <> and the world. I just couldn’t take it. It was making me physically ill and had to run out of the house with half a mug of coffee in my hand. She continues to be uninformed and ignorant about it. I haven’t found the right words without the vitriolic, negative baggage that have evolved around the previous two words. She just genuinely doesn’t know and can’t appear to relate. It seems that everybody I know either can’t or doesn’t want to know or understand. I’m not sure that I understand it either. It’s hard to keep going and have a positive outlook after any progress or aspirations in my life had been washed away in a seemingly virulent flood of errant voltage short-circuiting my brainwaves. One would think there were drugs involved, but there aren’t any. I wish that it was so easily explained. Am I so unrelatable? My existence has become demoralizing and I’m really losing hope; that perpetual hold-out for positivity that either never arrives or when chased, always maintains 30 feet of distance no matter how quickly one tries to catch up.

It’s such a gloomy day today, which is fitting based on my mood. I feel that I am truly alone.

Cold Night

The cold nights are back in North Carolina. My van, as I retired for the evening, started out as 39ºF(3.9ºC), but is now 54º(12.2ºC). Outside, it’s expected to get as low as 26º(-3.3ºC), but it’s 36º(2.2ºC) right now. My setup during this type of weather consists of my 40º sleeping bag, indian blanket (wool?), and summer comforter. It works pretty well as long as I wear a winter hat, and turn on the heat for a bit when the van starts to get down in the upper 30s. It takes awhile to get to this temperature from 54º, but I anticipate turning on the heat at least once tonight for between five and ten minutes each time.

Winter Regrets

As I look back on the work that I performed in the van regarding insulation, I should have did a better job. I wish that I had a thermal camera to tell me where I’m being robbed of heat, or some incense to tell me where it’s going. If I had to do it all over again, I would have bit the bullet and put in some plywood for the floor, some light insulation, and some vinyl flooring. I also should have put entirely removed the velvet sides and insulated the sides with the foil-backed foam insulation before putting up some shiplap to match the borders of the “hightop” sides. Better insulation in the windows,instead of Reflectix, would have also made a difference.

I think that the existing setup definitely helps eliminate the condensation. The only problem that I had with it is in the portion of the unfinished part of the roof; where it starts to curve downward in the front. Otherwise, it only occurs on the front windows. This is even with the fly window being slightly cracked open.

Regarding heat, I’m still using my full-size Mr. Big Buddy heater along with two Coleman gas canisters, which is entirely overkill for this space. Having a Wave 3 and a 20 lb. tank, or a hose to the Big Buddy, would be preferable, but I haven’t had the income to justify the expense; especially at Christmas.

As it is, my finances aren’t great, so I need to get some additional income. My seasonal job ended on Christmas Eve. My MacBook took a dump and needs to be repaired. Additionally, the power supply for the notebook computer can’t be found, so I have to purchase a new one. This means that I can’t gain any income through remote work.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much work around here. Hopefully, I’ll get something soon. Here’s to not freezing tonight. Thanks for reading.

Temporary station

Hello, everyone. I’ve been in eastern North Carolina for the past two weeks. I’ll be using my Mom’s driveway until at least after Christmas because I’ve managed to get a seasonal job that lasts about this long. I just finished the CBT training for it, so I should be starting soon.

My mom and husband (H) also need some help in general, as do I, so I’ll be here for the time being. Even after this timeframe, I don’t think that I’ll be straying too far as I think that they’ll need someone nearby. Health-wise, neither are doing very well. My mom has a-fib and transverse myelitis. H has dementia; probably Alzheimer’s.

I’ve managed to a find a Planet Fitness nearby, so I’ve been able to work out and shower in order to limit any strain of resources here at the house. Even though I no longer have a home (at least a stick-and-brick) as it was auctioned off yesterday, I’m trying to be deliberate about not taking advantage by showering at the PF, eating from my own food supply when I can, doing work around the house, and doing things for them so that they don’t have to walk as much.

For whatever reason, I’ve started getting depressed after working out. I would think it would be the opposite, but it isn’t. Over the past week, I’ve also been experiencing an incredible amount of anxiety, which includes heavy breathing, increased heart rate, and mental paralysis. It’s brought on by the simplest of thoughts and lasts for hours. It’s generally been triggered by the job search, interview as well as my mother’s propensity for yelling at her husband when she gets frustrated by him. I don’t want to get in the middle of that as I don’t want to violate any boundaries in relation to my presence here, but there’s got to be a better way to talk to him in order to get him to do basic tasks such as dressing, showering, etc.

Regarding the anxiety, I really don’t want to start taking kratom again because of the residual problems that I experienced while using it. Although I think it would help, I also don’t want it to interfere with my new job as I could be called to start any day. Alcohol isn’t the answer either, although a cold beer does sound good about now.

Otis

As I suspected, they have taken to Otis quite well. He is a really smart and well-behaved (for the most part) cat, so it’s no surprise.

My next steps are to work at this job, do the best that I can, save money, take some trips to the beach, and do what I can to plot my next moves during this time. As always, thanks for reading.

The hoovering

Originally written a few weeks ago
Picture is the Neuse River in New Bern, NC

I’m angry that I let myself be drawn in. I told myself to be careful; to not invest any emotion, but it happened anyway. I don’t know what I really want to write here, but I want to write anyway. I can’t believe how I fell for her crap again; thinking that anything was going to be different than any other time. I know that I was suspicious. I know that I was not convinced. However, it still feels like crap when it repeats.

Last week (or was it two weeks ago), she came over unannounced and tells me that she wants to run away; to get back together with me. She tells me that she misses me; that I’m the only one who gets her. She expresses concern that they’re trying to get her fired with cause. So, like anyone, except for her, perhaps, I am sympathetic to her. We had sex and then spend some of the day together. It was good, but I was cautious. She also tells me that she isn’t opposed to relocating.

This bit of words has been followed up by gushing texts and attention, which just seems like a cycle to me. I’m thinking, “when is this going to start drying up and revert to her previous ghosting persona?” Well, it was about ten days.

Now, she’s into not giving me direct answers, and just being a general douche. I just can’t stand her right now. This cycle solidifies that support is a one-way street for her. I told her about the notice being put on the door via text, and got no response for two days.

I can’t go through anymore time being neglected.

Out of Time, Time to Go

The two yellow-topped bins were stuffed, equal in weight to each other, and destined to the cargo carrier behind the van. The boxes, bins, cases, bags, and various items were laid out on the carpet inside the blue chalk-lined dimensions which were snapped to match the storage confines of the van. Most everything outside those lines were destined to remain. Some of these things I really wanted. Many of them I could do without. I could only take so much. I could only use so much.

The day that I woke up, on the day of disconnection, I knew what I needed to do: Get my last shower, make my last cup of coffee, wash my last set of dishes, and clean my last toilet. It seems like I’ve been prepping for this day for a year. The van building, the selling, the bankruptcy, re-homing most of the animals. Unfortunately, one died before I could do that.

I did my best to try to take everything that I needed and nothing that I didn’t. Just like the “best laid plans” maxim, it never turns out exactly as you’d hope. I still forgot stuff. I still took stuff that I may not need.

Overall, it was a “success.” The power went out after my last shower. The house was warmed such that there’d be enough residual heat after gas and electricity would no longer be supplied to the furnace. I shut off the main water valve and opened the taps to the faucets to prevent any busted pipes. I replaced most of them with PEX so the copper thieves will be disappointed.

It was still hard to fit everything into here and consider a spot for sleeping quarters as well as accommodations for Otis the cat.

I got as far as I-40 in Tennessee last night and slept in a rest stop. I had no room to make coffee in the morning because the stuff was everywhere. I didn’t even have a full spot to sleep because my bicycle was taking up most of it. I watched American Horror Story on Sling and then went to bed.

The next day was mostly filled with driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I intended to find some disbursed camping in the Pisgah National Forest, but settled for a $20/night campground at Crabtree Falls. I got here too late to really walk the trail to the falls, but I’ll do so tomorrow morning.

Emotionally, I’m okay. I’m not distraught. I felt more pain at the prospect of putting Bailey in the pound. Right now, I’m just trying to sort things out. I’m going to have less stuff in the van, so space will be much less of an issue. My next tasks will involve helping my mom with things she can’t do around the house and obtaining some type of employment.