The Adventure Continues…
& Other Things I Didn’t Anticipate
“Some things are so unexpected that no one is prepared for them.” -Leo Rosten
Poopcicles are a real thing.
On November 13th, I pulled out of a campground south of Oklahoma City hauling frozen poop and dishwater. Sounds lovely, doesn’t. Well, it wasn’t.
Three nights previous the overnight temperatures dropped down to twenty-one degrees and barely cresting over the freezing mark for the day-time high. Sunday night was similar, and Monday we woke up to an inch of snow covering the green grass. The arctic jet stream chose those days to visit the Mexican border. I’m a Michigander. I’m acclimated to frigid temps for three months of the year. However my camper is not insulated, nor air tight, like a standard northern home. In addition, the three water storage tanks are exposed underneath.
Stefanie, the camp host, stopped by my site periodically to check in on me to make sure I was doing okay since this is my first winter traveling with a camper. We giggled and joked about poopcicles in every form possible. We also chatted about the seriousness of quote unquote frozen sewage in our black water tanks. As I expected, when I went to dump my two-thirds full tank, nothing moved. I thought, Great. I have to haul a constipated camper down the highway. Damn.
Naked eyes are the new norm.
Since the age I was able to convince my mother I was old enough to wear mascara – I have. I wore it to school, work, the grocery store, the doctor’s office and even on my days off. No one – and I mean NO ONE – ever saw my naked eyes (unless I was deathly ill or was enduring an eye-thing).
That is, until Jeremiah died. Then I didn’t care. I wasn’t functioning. Nothing mattered. And if I tried, it’s difficult to put mascara on when the tears are cascading. So for the first time in my life I started running around town with naked eyes. In a way it was liberating; yet, I was grateful no one mentioned how blah or sickly I looked.
That period of adjustment helped me ease into the concept of not having to do the coon-eye clean-up routine each morning and apply another luscious coat of waterproof black stuff on the eyelashes while on this adventure. That is until I visited my cousin and we went to dinner with his family. Yup. You guest it. Vanity struck hard and I gussied up the eyelashes with mascara and eyeliner.
I am adjusting to my nomadic lifestyle and find it less and less necessary to enhance my beautiful eyes. Funny. It took me all this time to be okay with walking around the cities, grocery stores, campgrounds and other public places with naked eyes. Never saw that coming. The fact that these people will never see me again could be a factor.
Tough oatmeal for breakfast.
There is a difference between quick rolled oats and one-minute cooking oats. This revelation may sound silly to you, but I learned an interesting lesson with quick rolled oats. Where I come from there are typically two kinds of oatmeal on the cereal shelves in the grocery store: old fashion that takes approximately twenty minutes to cook and the one-minute version.
On this adventure, I am purposely paying closer attention to what I am ingesting. My goal is to end my love affair with sugar and white flour. Just like where I used to live (I still am not used to saying that), organic grocery stores are far and few in between. So when I was introduced to two organic store chains in Norman, Oklahoma, I went a little crazy with my grocery shopping. I picked up organic this and that and quick rolled oats thinking they were the same as one-minute cooking oats. Trust me, they are not the same. I took one bite and was grossed out by the chewy, kinda sorta too-firm flakes. Texture typically doesn’t bother me, but it did that morning. It was then that I read the cooking instructions. Whoops, the oats need six to ten minutes on the stove-top.
What comes in must go out.
I’ve been cognoscente of what I toss in the trash for as far back as I can remember. I have no desire to add more to the landfills than I have to. There were recycling bins on my way to the post office and I added my contribution. Moving into a space that’s six and a half feet wide and seventeen feet long, it’s vital I’m pay attention to what I bring in the door. I’ve stopped purchasing many of the normal grocery list items because how it’s packaged. With limited space, I have to stop and ask myself, “How am I going to store it? Will it fit in the refrigerator? How many meals will it take for this to be consumed (I like spinach, but don’t want to eat it at every meal for a week). How will long will I have to haul the wrapper until I have access to a recycle bin?” As I write this, I have two paper grocery sacks full of recycling waiting for me to find a bin I can properly dispose of these items.
Hauling the unnecessary things.
I condensed my living space from a ranch-style home with a full-basement on twenty acres with an outdoor shed and medium sized pole barn to a travel camper and a truck. There are things I didn’t need to bring, and other things that I am having to buy a second item that is similar to what I’m currently storing.
I don’t know why I didn’t think I’d need to bring more of my tools (not that I have a mechanics set of tools). Or, you’ll laugh at this one because you know I enjoy cooking – I have no lids to any of the pans. I have a small and medium size saucepans and a skillet. Thank goodness I thought to bring aluminum foil to form a makeshift lid.
I have yet to wear the brown leather heels I brought with me, but if I need them I have ‘em.
Have coins ready.
Pausing and thinking back at this, it was funny. At the time, I was livid with myself and probably shouldn’t be sharing this with you. But, on the other hand, I’ve already dismantled any respect you had for me in the constipated camper story above.
I’m cruisin’ along watchin’ the highway and the scenery. I was the only vehicle on that stretch of highway except for one semi truck. I was able to read that the turnpike was ahead before his trailer covered the rest of the information. Great, I thought. Hope there’s nothing important on it I needed to know.
The semi takes the exit off the highway, and I continue on my merry way. I can see the toll booths for the turnpike, but they look different than I’ve seen before. Of course there’s the lane for those with a pass and the three others are for coins. There’s no machine spitting out a ticket for me to give the person on the other end. Nope. A big bin for me to toss coins in. Crap! Do I even have any coins? As you are guessing by now. Not enough. I had eleven cents in pennies, one dime and one nickel. Remember in previous posts me sharing that I suck at the game of camper backup? Well, I got a crash course on backing up a distance knowing damn well someone was watching me (hell, I’m probably featured on a YouTube video somewhere) on the other end of the camera lense. It took me two tries, but I was able to turn around and head back from where I already drove.
I remembered there was a Dollar General store two or three miles back. I drove into their lot and walked the store for fifteen minutes looking to buy anything so I could break the twenty dollar bill in my pocket. I didn’t need anything, I’d loaded up on groceries at the organic store the day prior to leaving, and I’ve eliminated most processed foods from my diet. When the cashier told me my total was $4.89, I laughed. Sales tax. I didn’t account for their sales tax. She was a sweetheart and broke down the change for me so I could go through the toll booth. My assumption: this is a very common occurrence at this store.
When I climbed back in the truck, I looked for an alternative route and selected the tab to exclude tolls. I ended up taking a beautiful ride through the Arkansas/Texas countryside dotted with a handful of small towns. And to think, I almost missed seeing this.
Along the way…
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