Lots of Conversations
28 Jul 2019
At least that’s what going on in my head on this Sunday morning in Palm Springs. It’s already 99 outside at 9AM so that means the day is on its way to a roasty, toasty 110 plus. And if its 110 here, it’ll be 112 in Phoenix–the last stop in this 5000 mile Western loop.
As this is the final morning in a foreign land (California should be its own country) it’s an appropriate time to sit down and collect some thoughts from the many conversations that are happening “upstairs.”
Perhaps most pressing today is the message from our renter in Mexico saying that he couldn’t get the AC to work. Since it’s 2 years old, I’m sure it’s a small item that’s easily fixed but it’s a reminder of the reality that is waiting in the stack of mail at my parents’ house. There will be bills, advertisements, junk, 2 license plates, and another unpleasant letter from the IRS (which will just end up costing me, and the government, much more money than it’s worth to even send a notice).
I would like to say that I see the glass as half full today but that would be a lie. It is most definitely half empty with lots of room up top for foam. It’s sort of like when you get a fancy glass of champagne in a tall flute from a nice, if bumbling, waiter who didn’t know how to pour it. He hands you the bubbly libation and when you first look at it, it seems full, happy, and satisfying. Then, right after he leaves with the bottle, the bubbles burst and you’re left with a third of a glass of wine and a slight headache.
So clearly there’s a lot on the plate and since I’m a multi-tasker–they’re all happening at once. This three-week sojourn has certainly had its ups and downs and I’m surprised at how much this feels like the end of a trip. Remember that the purpose of having a “small life” was to be mobile, so that, in theory at least, the balance of work/life/money/bills/partnership/love/sex/family/faith could be lived daily regardless of where our boat is anchored or our trailer is parked.
Some pieces have worked out well, others not so well. The minutiae of life, surprisingly, has not been a problem. I think we’ve lived small for a long time now so cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, and “trailer stuff” has been relatively easy. I don’t feel trapped or uncomfortable in this tiny house at all. And it’s certainly less worry than on a boat.
Of course–whether or not that’s a good thing is still to be determined.
On the other hand, Sheryl and I have taken different approaches to this journey. While I have striven to achieve a balance of work and play, she has treated this as more of a vacation–focusing on sleeping in and “playing.” In her view, this respite has been earned and she’s taking advantage of it. I’m not sure which is the right mindset but I do know that those two approaches are not compatible. While she has been able to “Check Out” I am most-decidedly “Checked In” and it has caused a new and unique tension in our little corner of paradise.
So as I bustle about the camper today planning a busy week (I’ve just been told I’ll be at 4AM tomorrow to watch Alton and get him off to school) I’m absorbing the realities of this return to our home base and I’m not entirely excited. I am happy to see loved ones, but there is a sense of foreboding that grows as I write each paragraph of this blog.
Reality means evaluating choices, making plans and executing. And despite our best efforts to parse out those major life choices over the last month, we are in the barrel about to go over the falls.
I wonder if this is how life really works. Does it flow like a river? Are some stretches leisurely and peaceful, others rapid and dangerous? Perhaps that’s not everyone’s reality but it is certainly mine (at least for the last couple of years) and I’m getting tired of paddling upstream.