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Hiding

During this time of Covid-19 – aka novel Corona Virus – people seem to be experiencing difficulty with the isolation part of the equation to minimise the spread of the disease. We can only “flatten the curve” (As I have read all over the place – it seems to be the latest buzz phrase) to slow and, eventually, stop the spread and get control of this, now, pandemic.

Hiding seems to be a strange concept to most people – not to me, and, thankfully, not to my husband. We are hermits by nature. We have been socially distancing ourselves for most of our lives. It comes easy for us. We are quite content to stay at home, pottering in the garden, or playing on the internet, or playing games, or watching shows, working, doing college work, walking the dogs in isolated areas (as best we can), and avoiding people in general. We don’t NEED other people. I am trying to see things from other people’s perspective, and I understand that people are scared, but the reaction that the mob mentality is showing is leaving me cold and unsympathetic.

Like the companies that are begging for bailouts from the government – bullshit. Companies on the level of the airline industry, and other global billion-dollar companies, should be prepared for these kinds of global crises…. they shouldn’t just roll over and say “GIMME MONEY” so that they don’t have to face the consequences of their risk-taking behaviours. Business is a risk – especially business on that level – and these things should have been planned for.

And the people buying tons of toilet paper? Why? How does this help? One, you can’t eat it, people. Two, why do you need so much? You are creating the panic. If everyone took only what they needed (food, water, meds, TOILET FRIKKIN PAPER) everyone could have and there would be no FRIKKIN SHORTAGE! Just stop. Think. You are creating the conditions, so create conditions that WORK, not a panicked overreaction to something that doesn’t (or, DIDN’T) exist.

Just feeling very… disappointed with the world right now.

As my eyes open and I learn new things, I see more than I did before. And it’s not always good.

Be safe, humans.

Be kind.

Body, eat thyself

I have been intermittent fasting for a few years now, off and on. I would fall off the wagon, gain weight, and get back on for a while. I tried, with reasonable success, to be strict, but I have to admit I would slack off a bit – I blame my husband! – and when my weight plateaued, despite my more rigorous and disciplined efforts, I went in search of other ways to kick my body back into fat loss.

I tried the ketogenic lifestyle while my husband was deployed and did very well on it. However, it was expensive, and when my husband returned he tried it but had great difficulty, and I slowly slid out of the processes and routines that I had worked out. I gained weight. Again.

Once again, my husband was away for a few months and I got into some great eating cycles and routines, but when he returned I fell out of them yet again. I lost a lot of weight while he was away, and I gained it all back – plus extra – when he returned. Not his fault, simply the way I approach life when he is there, as opposed to when I am on my own.

I went searching again for new answers; answers that didn’t require terrible caloric deficit, or strange omissions of various foods or macro nutrients.

A few weeks ago, I discovered OMAD – One Meal A Day – and I dived into research. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am someone who likes to make my own decisions and form my own opinions. In the case of OMAD, I really had to do this as there are articles and studies saying it’s the BEST THING EVER, and others that say it’s a TERRIBLE idea.

I’ve since discovered Dr. Jason Fung who explains everything scientifically AND in layman’s terms. His video talks and interviews are easy to understand and clear – he states the pros and cons of every level of intermittent fasting and fasting in general. He explains all the hormonal levels and what gets burned and what doesn’t and how it all works. It’s incredibly helpful. He is a bit of a maverick in the scientific/nutritional world, but his results speak for themselves. He’s a nephrologist, and he declares he was a heavy sceptic when it came to fasting and insulin levels before he really got into the research.

Dr. Fung fasts during the week when he is working, and not even every day – 2 to 3 days a week – and does OMAD, which is what I have begun. It saves him time, money, and is so simple. Like him, I don’t generally eat breakfast anyway, even when I wasn’t doing IF. Now, I just have to build the initial willpower to skip lunch as well and eat within a 4-hour window, around the same time every night.

To begin, I will be fasting 20 hours a day, and eating within a 4-hour window. It doesn’t mean I EAT for 4 hours! It just means I can only eat WITHIN that window. As I become adjusted to this (and most IF takes approximately 5 days to 2 weeks to really kick in – it all depends on your metabolic rate, your previous diet, your current weight) I will narrow the window and eventually, I will only eat within a 1-hour window. This doesn’t mean I cut my caloric intake needs for the day – I still eat 1500 calories, if I can – and I will avoid high sugar foods, and high carbohydrate foods as well.

They do also talk about doing fasting for 5 days to 21 days, but I don’t think I can do that. But who knows, I might become one of those people who do this!

All the things

It has been a _very_ long time since I last updated and I apologise profusely to the 3 people who read my blog. Thanks, by the way, for hanging on through my silence.

Quite honestly, the REASON I take so long to post is because so much happens between posts that I don’t know where to START! So, I wait and write a few things down and think, Oh, yes, I need to tell them about that!

And then, something else happens, and something else, and another thing…

Before long there are 20 things on my list of things I want to tell you about and I do not know where to start. Do I go with a timeline? Do I go with the biggest/most important news first? Do I tell you the little things and ease you into the big things?

*sigh*

I am going to attempt to give you an update that includes all the things I can remember I wanted to tell you. They will most likely not be in order, but as they come to me.

Let’s start with what happened while my husband was in Oregon, fighting the terrible wildfires. I sorted the yard out: pulled the weeds, raked up the rocks and glass and bottle tops and junk that the previous tenant left behind. (He liked to throw beer bottles around, for fun) I planted grass and nurtured it and watered it and talked to it and did my best to keep the weeds at bay while it grew.

Green

I had grass! It was beautiful and soft and green and I was super proud. Then the crazy wind storms came, and the monsoon rains (yes, monsoon rains in the desert) and the weeds and I fought a battle royale on a daily basis. We spent a lot of time inside.

Snoozing Odin, out of the wind and rain

After that, it got hot. Stupidly hot. I’m from Africa, we know hot… but this heat here in the New Mexico desert is diabolical. It was also humid for a few months, and the mosquitoes reigned supreme, despite my best efforts. I was COVERED in bites every single day even after dousing myself in mosquito repellent from the moment I woke. I’m allergic to mosquito bites so I now have many more nasty scars to add to my collection.

Mosquitoes… we hatess themsss

I did, however, get a SUPER tan! I also lost a lot of weight and not just because I shaved my 30-inch hair off – down to the scalp – but also because I was outside every day working in the yard and sweating profusely. I used the dog clippers on my head – it was that hot and I was that desperate.

Speaking of the dogs – I discovered a few new places to walk and we attempted to get into a routine of walking early in the mornings at least every second day. One place we found was NMSU, the agricultural section – lots of farms, cows, sheep and goats. The dogs love it. It’s also very shady and there are NO THORNS!

The other place was the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. It’s wild and strange but beautiful, nonetheless. We only walked the one path we found – about a 25 to 30-minute walk and just under a mile – as the other path was always under water after all the rain. We recently started walking the other path and it’s FAR longer (nearly 2 miles) and takes us almost an hour to walk. The dogs LOVE it too! We met our first rattlesnake last year and we politely and respectfully turned around and went back the way we came after I realised it wasn’t moving from its spot in the middle of the path. Just to be safe, we got the dogs vaccinated against rattlesnake venom. We also clipped the dogs earlier in the year before husband left for Oregon, just as it started getting hot. They all got puppy cuts – well, the girls did. Odin we just brushed well and I clipped down a little bit.

I applied all over town at every conceivable place I could think of. I got rejected for either NOT being a student or being overqualified until I tweaked my resume a bit and excluded all my I.T. work. I then worked, briefly, for a budget hotel chain. The pay was crap, the work was EXHAUSTING and seemingly pointless (to me) as you just repeated the same thing every day, but it was a job and I stuck with it as long as I could. I continued my search though, while I worked there. I got a job, eventually, at a father-and-son-owned health food store as a cashier. Through them, and the experience I gained with them, I also got a call back from Walmart and I began working there as well. I enjoyed the work at the small store, even if it was a bit boring sometimes – it was a nice quiet pace and I learned a great deal. Walmart was crazy – busy, loud, frenetic, but excellent money. Mind-numbing and exhausting at the same time.

I worked at both for a few months and then, on a whim – I really wanted to be back home with my dogs and my husband as I was working late night shifts and long hours and I missed them – I applied to a few positions back in the Medical Transcription field. I got two or three responses and wrote their entrance tests and aced all three (according to the recruiters who responded with a firm offer) but the first one offered freelance inconsistent work (I’ve been there, done that, and I didn’t want to be left in that predicament again) even if it was well-paid. The second, and the one I actually responded to with a view to beginning a career with them, offered shift work (afternoons/evenings) but also had many convoluted and specific tech requirements. On paper, my computer and I were a perfectly reasonable match, but the three weeks it took to try and get it working was ridiculous and I had to tell them thanks, but no thanks. I spent those weeks at home, unable to work, as they needed me “available” during office hours in case the tech people wanted to ask me to do something to tweak a setting, etc. I responded to the other offer I got from the third company and that’s who I am working for now! I went through their intense and rigorous training program and did well, and now I am waiting on the next step – being assigned my own doctor! While I wait, I am doing more training and BEING PAID FOR IT. It’s intense and detailed work and while I do enjoy the meticulous attention to detail needed, and the chance to work in the medical field again (I’ve always loved it!) it is mentally exhausting sometimes. Also, I’m a perfectionist, so I beat myself up over the slightest error even when my trainer tells me I’m doing great work. But I’m getting there and enjoying it, and just counting the days until payday.

My husband has finally transferred from Oregon to here, so we are now truly “settled” in one place for a while. Now, we just need to get all our “stuff” down here – from Oregon storage and also my stuff from back home that I’ve been trying to get here since I left in 2011!

Azzie had a strange issue a few months ago where she seemed to lose peripheral vision in her left eye and was bumping into things, standing on things, and falling off the pavement on the left (that’s the side she walks on) and leaning against walls. We had her checked out by two vets, and also took her to an eye specialist in El Paso, but they could find nothing physically wrong… they all suggested an MRI and other imaging, but told us that it would _start_ at around $5000. We were given a few other options, non surgical and not as expensive, but we were told they were just “shots in the dark” as none of the vets had any clue what was causing it and it was all pointing to a neurological issue. We were pretty stressed about it, and worried about our sweet girl, who was miserable, restless, and not her happy self at all. I spoke to my mum and she reminded me about our dogs back home who had had “mini strokes” at various points in their lives and that Azzie’s symptoms sounded very much like those. So, we told the vet we were going to give her time to recover on her own and see how it went. We gave it two weeks to see if there was ANY improvement. Thankfully, there was. I took them for a walk about 5 days after our visit to the specialist, and Azzie was much more responsive and not leaning on the lead like before. She also didn’t fall off the pavement nearly as much if I checked her, gently, with the lead as she started bumbling off to the left. Fast forward to today, and she’s almost 100% better. She is listening, paying attention when I speak to her (before she was totally ignoring me and would just lean as far over to the left as she could before my arm gave out – she’s a VERY strong dog) and hasn’t fallen off the pavement or walked into anything for a while now. Unfortunately, this means she is most likely prone to these strokes – mini or otherwise, they are still worrying – and we’ll have to keep a careful eye on her. I lost my Mishka to a final, massive stroke, but she was 17 years old when it happened. Azzie is only turning 7 next month. Speaking of birthdays! Gina turned 10 years old at the end of February! That’s a MASSIVE feat for our Bernese! We are so happy! And she’s doing well, with minimal joint issues. I started her on the Vet’s Best Aches and Pains and it (After a few days of an upset stomach, of course – she’s always been very sensitive to new stuff) really helped a great deal, especially in the mornings when she would normally be very stiff and creaking. Odin’s nominated birthday followed a day or so later, and he is probably 6 or 7 years old. I’m thinking 7, as he has quite a bit of grey around the muzzle now, compared to when I look back at the photos of him when he arrived in Germany, frail and timid.

Our neighbour, Hank, has a visitor for the summer, and she is lovely. A wild biker woman but kind and friendly, and she’s an animal lover, so she’s okay in our books. She has a gorgeous little terrier mix called Buddy, and he and Odin are quickly becoming friends. Gina, being Gina, is her usual silly, grumbly self, and Azzie is Azzie – confused and wanting to be friends one moment, and then ignoring him the next.

Husband and I have been working very hard on our yard and garden as well. Everything is neat and tidy and we’ve planted an olive tree – named Olly, of course – and we’ve made space for two fruit trees. We’re thinking a peach and a cherry tree. We’ve also potted some BEAUTIFUL flowering plants – a Carolina Jessamine (lovely yellow trumpet flowers), a Pink Jasmine (tiny white and pink flowers), and the Japanese Honeysuckle is starting to come back beautifully after the winter. We also planted flowers in big pots and seeded our herb garden with Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Sweet Basil, Echinacea, Arugula, Chives, and lots of Mint. We have a lovely English Rosemary plant which we transplanted from pot to garden and we also potted some shallots and garlic, just to see what happened. We’re so excited! We also put grass seed down all over the yard, including re-seeding the empty patches in the already existing grass (which is coming in nicely now) and then a layer of manure on top of it all. Things are looking green out there and we’re hoping the grass finally takes in all the places where it wasn’t before as well. There’s nothing quite like working with your hands in the earth, with living, growing things and watching the butterflies, bees, birds, and bugs come buzzing back into view. We’re trying to keep the birds well fed so that they don’t eat all the grass seeds before they can germinate!

I’m sure there’s more to add, but that’s all I can think of right now.

Hope you enjoyed the update and thanks for reading!

The Hermit

While the Hermit Tarot card does ring true when it comes to me, in this instance I mean the behaviour/archetype I slip into when my husband is away.

And yes, he is away once again. This time for quite a bit longer than the other times.

We’ll be fine, we’re just a little out of practice for these longer runs as it’s been almost 3 years since his last major deployment or mission.

But I know that in a few days I will slip into my Hermit skin and silence will settle. It’s a comfortable silence, and I am not someone who needs people, so it’s a welcome silence as well.

I really don’t mind being alone – I’m never lonely, as I have my beautiful dogs with me – and I even like my own company.

It’s time for me to work to make some money, do some odd jobs and potter around our little cottage and the yard – try and get the grass to grow – and even do some chores for my mother-in-law at the main house while she’s away as well. I also want to get into an exercise regime to get back into shape like I was in Germany. I know I’m not walking nearly as much with the dogs as I was, even in Georgia, so I know that’s why I’ve gained weight (it’s not a lot, but it’s way more than I am happy with) but there are other ways for me to get fit and the dogs don’t have to go with me every time I go out! I can run on my own – even if it’s early morning or late evening when it’s bearable outside.

We’re heading into New Mexico’s infamous summer, where roads melt and cars bake and everything dies in the scorching sun. Luckily, our little cottage is generally pretty cool, and we have a little air conditioner that seems to be handling the heat well so far. Early mornings are quite lovely here in the desert, and the dogs have the choice to be inside or outside and when it starts really getting hot around 11, they tend to prefer to be inside. They go back out in the evening when the temperature drops to a reasonable level for us all, and the air conditioner takes a break while the fans blow the cool air in from outside. Azzie likes to be outside, even when it’s very hot, so I have to watch her a bit. She is not used to this weather and doesn’t realise she’s cooking until I bring her inside and she feels how cool it is and she falls asleep in the kitchen on the cool tile or on her bed in the main room with the air conditioner.

She’s an odd duck, that one, but she’s mommy’s girl and she’s already shown me that she’s there for me – the moment my husband left I had a wave of heartache and sadness and I couldn’t fight the tears. It was just a moment and just a sob, and then I was done, but Azzie came barreling across the yard and shoved her head into my arms and wriggled and huffed until I stopped. Gina was too busy waiting at the gate and Odin was too busy barking at cats in the other yard.

PS: I updated The Vees Big Adventure page as well.

Silent Sunday

Happy Eostre/Ostara!

It has been a beautiful morning here in New Mexico – cool and crisp and soft sunlight coming through the trees – a perfect Ostara morning. It’s going to be a hot one – this is a desert, after all – but our little home is cool and serene and the dogs know it’s a sanctuary from the heat and the wind and they can come and go as they please.

 

Last night was a Blue Moon, and it stirred all sorts of things up.

 

May this Spring blooming bring your life abundance and joy for the season ahead.

 

 

Each season holds its own special gifts and Spring is not only a time for renewal, but also for major changes!

Don’t be afraid! Do the things you’ve been putting off! Now is the time!

 

Suck in that powerful fresh energy that the earth is giving off, ground your feet and reach for the sky!

GET OUTSIDE!

How Things Change

And guess where we are now?

Yup, back in New Mexico.

More big decisions being made and we’re trying to think big picture, rather than short-term living.

We loved Oregon – LOVED it – and while the rain got a bit much for the husband, I actually enjoyed it. Dogs loved the cooler weather; no snakes or nasty spiders; no humidity unless it was actually going to rain; a mist that was actually misty and cool, and just a little bit of SNOW; lots of places to walk; a huge dog park – didn’t make any new friends, per say, but they had fun – and having daddy home a lot more.

We loved Oregon but it was also getting a little expensive to stay at the RV place we liked so much – truly a gorgeous place with all the amenities and things we needed that were included in the monthly price. However, because of the season change to spring/summer, they no longer offered an affordable monthly rate so we switched over to a weekly one.

I had a job: A full-time, hands-on, hard-work kind of gig. I worked at a food repacking plant as a QA. It was busy work that kept me occupied for the 9 hours I was there every day – on my feet, exhausted, but also focused because you HAD to be to keep up. I was quite liked by my immediate supervisor and bosses, and I even made a few acquaintances. Of course, there were people who didn’t like me so much because I picked up the work very quickly and I was put into actual production work very quickly, and this pissed off some people, apparently. But that was fine – I wasn’t there to make friends, I was there to make money to support us. I was still looking at online work so we could head off on our adventures again.

The factory work was hard, tiring, and because of all the income taxes and union dues (which I wasn’t allowed to be part of until I hit 1600 hours of work… yeah… a YEAR until I was a member, but I had to pay the weekly dues which were about a third of my pay!) it became clear that while it was a relatively good amount of weekly pay, it felt a bit like I was working bloody hard for not too much gain every week. So I continued my search for online work.

While this was happening, my husband was doing his NG duty every month and finishing the qualification exams before heading to his training.

When he got a date for his training, and I got some online work (hopefully, long term) I quit the factory and we packed up (grabbing a few things from our storage) and headed off in Irma, with Ghost behind us, and we headed back down through Oregon, California, Arizona and then finally, back to New Mexico.

We’ve been here a few days now and the dogs are LOVING the yard again. The water is upsetting Gina’s tummy a tiny bit, but nothing major. The thorns are, as before, quite bad but we are solving that by buying some good Ruffwear boots for Odin and the girls. We’re going to see how much getting them rattlesnake vaccinations will cost, just in case.

We’re talking about staying, but it’s a decision we’ve got a few months to decide as April is the husband’s training month. After that, we head to Arizona for an experience in Overlanding that my husband is volunteering at; and after that, we’re heading back to Oregon in June, and we’ll make our final decisions after that. There are lots of variables and each one affects us in different ways, and in doing so, affects our final destination.

For now, the dogs are happy, we are settled in for a bit – so I can get some work done – and we can sort Irma out and the Jeep too. Azzie is doing very well now, thanks to her Posh Dog Knee Brace and she has actually been going on walks and playing without the brace for the last 2 weeks or so. We’re trying to rebuild the muscle on her left leg as it did diminish a bit – but not nearly as much as it would have atrophied if she’d had the surgery and been completely unable to walk. I can only sing the praises of the PDKB and I will continue to spread the word as much as I can.

 

The Vees Big Adventure continues, just not in the direction we thought.

On an aside: Amazon decided we could no longer keep our affiliate status as we’d not sold enough in 120 days to be “viable” so our link is no longer active.

 

We said Happy 9th Birthday to our Gina at the end of February, and Happy “5th or 6th” Birthday to Little Dude, Odin. Azzie turns 6 in mid-April and we will celebrate then too with Calichi Poochie Cones 🙂

 

Just wasn’t for us, I guess.

 

On the Road – Part One

Georgia

I’m finally settled in one place long enough to get an update in, with chores and errands and repairs done.

I’ll catch you up on the day we left Georgia, and the travel and driving and the places we’ve seen since then. I decided to break it up into sections as one post on the whole thing was not only making me feel very overwhelmed, I think it would have been too much writing in one go.

An unseasonably warm and humid October in Georgia had us parking Irma (as named after the Hurricane of epic proportions that we went to fetch her during, and the subsequent heartache and financial craziness she had us going through after that) outside our home on post during the day, and taking her back to the temporary storage at night. The first couple of days we ripped out, tore down, extracted, unscrewed, unbolted, removed and replaced a whole BUNCH of things from Irma’s interior and exterior.

We took stock of what remained, what we could upgrade, what we could live without and what we definitely needed to get.

 

The extra swivel chair by the door got removed; to be replaced with Odin and Gina’s favourite round, soft bed – Azzie sleeps just about anywhere, and we felt Odin would probably sleep on our bed most of the time anyway, but he does love that bed. (It has seen a lot of use since we started travelling, so we know it was a good decision to keep it)

The old microwave (“It totally works!” said the RV dealership… sure it does… but the door doesn’t open… so what’s the point, you conniving arsehats?) was removed, along with the various venting and stabilising bits. We would look for a replacement microwave at some point but could live without it at that point.

 

 

 

The built-in coffee maker was removed. RV dealer swore it worked, but by that stage, we believed nothing they had promised, and we didn’t need it anyway as the husband is a coffee purist and doesn’t drink “filter” coffee.

 

We also removed the hideous, frilly curtains and sidings, and the dangerous (for clumsy people such as myself) hooks and metal tie-backs. I created simple, black-out curtains from our old curtains from Germany, made ribbon tie-ups and velcro fastenings for easy cleaning and removal. It looked quite nice and pretty much matched the rest of the interior (pale blues, beige, and pinks – sounds worse than it is) and matched our aesthetic, so we were happy with them. Plus, they didn’t cost much to make; just some velcro, some hemming tape, and some ribbon. I only had time to replace the bedroom curtains at that stage – the long side windows came next, in New Mexico.

 

 

We went through all our clothes, our gear, the dogs’ gear, our kitchen, and bathroom stuff, and downsized dramatically. The rest got taken away by the military movers and put into storage for 3 months until we could get a storage place at our “end point’ of Oregon; donated what wasn’t going into storage. We tried to sell some larger items (the dining room table, mountain bike, etc) but I was a bit late putting up the adverts, unfortunately, so those items got packed up with the storage stuff.

 

We only got Irma back from the RV repair place in Augusta, in mid-October; because everything that the RV dealership said was working, wasn’t; plus there were so many OTHER issues that we had to get it all fixed to make her livable and up for long distance travel with us.

While Irma was being restored and repaired (which cost a hell of a lot of money) we got a small stash of “South African goodies” from the South African Store in Atlanta; we had a few final hikes in the forests as best we could with Azzie recovering from her ACL tear and getting used to her brace; we spent a lovely weekend early morning at a beautiful pond with our friend and her dogs. We had coffee with friends and a small farewell dinner with only a select chosen few of people that TJ knew from work. The few friends that I had made had left Georgia already, so it was just a gathering for him, really.

We basically spent the last few weeks of being in Georgia, trying to enjoy Georgia. It was warm, humid, and there were still loads of bugs and mozzies – very odd for that time of year – but we made the best of it.

The items we ordered from Amazon, to make our travels in the RV easier, started arriving so we had the fun of unpacking those and waiting for Irma to arrive to pack those away. We also tried out a few meals in the Instant Pot and we LOVED it! So quick and easy and the meat was tender and falling apart, no matter the type or whether it had been frozen or not.

Our housing final inspection day arrived and we were all sorted – house was spotless and Irma was packed in a flat parking lot just down the road so we could start the fridge up (we got so many warnings about operating the fridge on a flat surface that we took it very seriously) and get it cold enough to put our few items from the fridge and freezer in it. The fridge was one of the things fixed by the Augusta RV place, so we at least knew THAT worked.

The generator ran well, kept the AC nice and cool.

The dogs and I walked from the house to the RV; a final walk on the post and in Georgia.

It was bittersweet – I will miss the forests and trails and lakes and ponds, but I won’t miss the bugs and mozzies and humidity.

I let the dogs sniff and piddle wherever they wanted on the way to Irma and we climbed in and waited for husband to get done with the inspector at the house.

Around 13:30 he came back with the Jeep and we had a small, simple lunch and then we hitched up the Jeep for the first time (it was a learning experience, but we’d watched many videos so we had a good idea what to do) checked each other’s work and then got On The Road for real.

Odin was terrified of the movement and the generator noise, but he found his “safe place” in the passenger side footwell with me. He slept there for that first trip and has done so for all trips after that one.

 

The girls got up onto the folded down beds – we put both of them down for extra space and Gina liked the couch and Azzie liked the dinette bed. So we were all comfy and happy.

We waved a sad goodbye to Fort Gordon.

As Augusta, and Georgia, slowly slipped by, we remembered our time there; but we also looked ahead with nervous anticipation to the next chapter in our journey!

The Vees Big Adventure began on October 20th, 2017!

 

A Personal Light Bulb Moment

I finally admitted to myself something that I’ve known for pretty much my whole life but never had the courage to say out loud – especially not to myself.

I’m a perfectionist with an enfeebling fear of failure.

I fear failure so much that quite often I don’t even begin a project because I’m too terrified it will go wrong or I’ll make a mistake of some kind.

I reached a clear understanding of my “condition” with my recent fevered work search.

I’ve applied for many, many jobs – all within my wheelhouse, or at least expertise-adjacent – and while I have received about 90% of the “thank you, but we’re not hiring” or “thank you, but you’re not what we’re looking for” and (my favourite) “thank you, but we want US citizens only” responses, the other 10% have responded with “You sound perfect for this! Please complete our short entrance test/exam and we’ll see where you stand and where we can use you!”

I’ve completed two so far. Two.

I’m the queen of excuses; the duchess of rationalization; the empress of reasons to dilly-dally.

I’ve started another test; “set up” (by downloading the files and filling in the forms) for 3 others, but whenever I find the time my brain starts to look for excuses: I have no space on this tiny desk to work properly (the movers took our nice big table away, so husband and I are sharing this tiny rickety desk and we barely fit, even sitting on opposite sides of it); the glare on my screen is too much for me to accurately see what I’m typing; I’m tired; I’m restless and the dogs need me to… do something; the laundry needs folding; the kitchen needs cleaning; I can’t use my pedal correctly and it makes my legs or my back ache sitting at such a strange angle.

And the excuses just roll on in.

The thing that REALLY pisses me off is that once I START on something and get rolling and into it I’m just fine! I can churn out a great deal of excellent work when I focus!

I enjoy my work! I studied hard; I worked hard; I learned a great deal; I actually ENJOY the subjects I’ve trained for, and the other work is interesting as well because I CHOSE them specifically because it was something I knew about or was interesting in! It’s just getting over that “Well, what if I make a mistake? What if they don’t like my work? What if I do it wrong?” initial emotional mental blast, that’s what’s driving me nuts.

I even put off doing another entrance test today so I could write this blog post.

Ridiculous!

I can honestly partially blame this self-doubt on my head injury – because of the nature of head injuries, there was a long (YEARS) period where I couldn’t trust my eyes/ears/understanding. I would hear words that were not there, or not hear words that were. I would forget the meaning of the most basic, daily words. I would forget what I was saying AS I WAS SAYING IT. I would start something and completely forget what it was for. I couldn’t read because I would lose the story after about 3 lines.

I called the bank once to check on some strange activity on my account (which was not strange at all, but stuff _I_ had purchased) and about 1 minute after the lady started speaking to me, I forgot why I called. I could NOT remember.

As soon as I hung up… it came back to me.

But it’s been 14 years (end of this month) since my accident and I have made incredible progress in my recovery – built new neural pathways and discovered new ways of looking at things and doing things that I didn’t think I’d ever master again. I CANNOT hold the excuse up anymore. I am stronger than that; I am MORE than just a “survivor” of TBI.

 

The time has come to move on; to get over it, under it, or through it – whichever works.

Tomorrow is a new day and I must embrace it.

Counter the excuses, the ill-formed reasoning.

I must stop being afraid of making a mistake; stop being afraid of failure.

 

I can still strive for perfection, but not at the cost of efficiency or progress.

 

 

 

Difficult decisions, difficult times

The Vees Big Adventure is up in the air, free-falling, and we are devastated.

Due to circumstances beyond our control and unscrupulous RV dealers, the costs to repair the RV properly (despite us being told by the salesman AND the technician that it had a FULL check out and some “brand new” bits and pieces) are piling up at an alarming rate. The repairs could cost almost as much as the RV. The RV dealership basically told us to take a hike and read the documentation. Husband is reeling. We’re both reeling. Our savings is pretty much gone at this stage and we’re faced with some very difficult decisions.

I’m still struggling to find work, despite my certifications and practical experience. I’ve applied to more than 50 jobs and written at least 12 different entrance tests and been told: “we’ll get back to you.” The movers come to pack up our household goods tomorrow morning and remove it all the next day. We have to vacate the house within the week after that. Dogs still have to go to the vet for their annual checkups and vaccinations (always an expensive visit for all three). We still have to buy some things we really NEED for the RV in order for us to live in it and WORK in it, and these are NOT cheap.

We have nowhere to stay, no income, and no means of transporting the dogs and us across the country. The Jeep was going to be towed behind the RV because it still needs some work and we were going to do that in New Mexico, before heading to Oregon – we don’t know if it would make the trip being driven.

Husband has crunched numbers and no matter how he slices it we come out of it incredibly badly. Our hearts are broken.

This was going to be our big adventure – everything seemed so bright, so inviting, so promising. Husband could finally work on himself, instead of being at the whim of the military; I was going to finally be the breadwinner for a while and take some weight off his shoulders – I was looking FORWARD to it!

Everything just feels so soiled and broken thanks to these dishonest asshats at the dealership. Our dreams are crushed. There’s no more excitement, only a vague desperation to everything we now decide.

I take people at face value, and I’m the one who dealt with them right up until the day we drove the 4.5 hours to go fetch our Brave. We were SO excited. I give people the benefit of the doubt, always, and that’s my downfall, apparently. I treat people honestly, and I’m clearly under the misguided assumption that people would do the same for me. I am so wrong. I will never again trust anyone who has any kind of sway in my life when it comes to these kinds of things. My heart is crushed. I am so disappointed it makes my throat ache. I feel so responsible for the whole mess, which makes me feel quite sick.

I’m also angry. Seething, fuming, red-eyed, silent raging angry. (Unfortunately, when I get really angry I also tend to cry, which makes people take me less seriously and think I’m weak and pathetic. It’s infuriating.)

We have to get the RV repaired either way – whether we decide to try living in it and traveling up to Oregon and even if we want to sell it. So we’re screwed either way.

I’ve never been in such a hole of despair before. I’ve had moments close to it, but nothing like this where there’s just NO decision that leads to some sort of head-above-water for us both.

 

UNIVERSE, I NEED TO GET SOME WORK!

I don’t have to earn much for us to get by, but I have to get SOMETHING!

*Shakes fist*

 

*deep breath*

 

So, that’s our unfortunate tale – not even on the road yet and our adventure has hit major bumps and our lust for adventure is severely tarnished.

 

 

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