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Monday, July 30, 2007

Human Nature

I went up to KY on a call this afternoon. My usual cheap (Flying J) gas station is at that exit. The one nearest the interstate is the cheapest, with the one a bit further down the road (Pilot) being usually a couple of cents higher per gallon. I've been paying around $2.80+/- 10 cents/gallon lately. On the way home I started to pull into the cheaper gas station to fill up. There was a traffic jam, folks liked up like sardines at every pump, and so packed that there was a line on the road just to get in. I don't get into that kind of chaos for any amount of money. So, I did a U turn and headed for the other station. I looked and the cheap price was $2.51/gal which I guess warrants that kind of mob for those who value their time and nerves less than I do. So, I go a quarter mile up the road, still within sight of the interstate, to the other station. The price difference? It was $2.53/gal, just 2 cents difference and within sight. I drove in, right up to a pump, and filled up with no waiting. What some folks will do for $.02/gal. With that many folks there had to be some of them who are local and know that the two stations are never that far apart in price. Oh, the BP station across the street? It was $2.89/gal, and no one was there...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adjusting My Reality

I ordered a very large backpack from REI-Outlet and had it delivered to the store here for the free shipping. It came in yesterday. I had time to kill before a late call, so I actually had David from REI fit the pack to me. He filled it with fluffy weight. I was amazed when the 'pillows' he put in to fill out the pack almost pulled me over backwards when he let go and put the entire weight on the suspension of the pack I had strapped on. We weighed it when I took it off for him to make some adjustments. Mind you, I know I need to keep my pack weight down. The 23lbs I've been carrying has been child's play, I pretty much didn't feel it, at least not like I remember the backpacking trips of years ago where I would have multiple very sore spots where the pack belt and straps would rub. But, I figure if I just keep it below 35lbs I'll be fine.

This pack is not a rugged backpack. It is large, 85 liter. But it isn't a hardcore pack, and the suspension shows it. It's ok but not great. So, I knew that it wouldn't handle the very heavy weight he had put in it. When we weighed it, it was... 35lbs. That heavy brick of a pack was what 35lbs feels like. Now, I know that in a more expensive pack with better suspension I could carry 35lbs easier. But, darn. So, I'll be keeping the pack weight down even (or maybe especially) with this larger pack.

The 'big 4' weight is a benchmark in light weight packing. That is pack, shelter, sleeping bag and pad. I had figured that with the hammock, this pack, my Z-light pad and I think the lighter sub kilo 15 degree bag I was around 12lbs. Kinda on the heavy side for light-weight, but in the ballpark barely. With my much warmer North Face -20 degree bag, the Z-light, this pack and my ultra-light tent, I'm still around 12lbs. The tent is a couple of pounds lighter than my current hammock setup. So, I now have a winter setup and a spring/fall setup. From here on out it is tweaking to get lighter. I still have the ultra-light 45 liter pack, and if I go with the sub kilo bag and the ultra-light tent I have a very light setup. I am wanting to go with the hammock as much as possible, though, which is why I'm still playing with my setup.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Middle Again

It's again the middle of the month, middle of the summer, middle of my blahs. Nothing going on but work and getting on the computer most of the time I'm home, just reading about what others are getting out and doing. I haven't gone and tried to buy a new car yet, just not in the mood. I have decided to give the bees away, and will carry through with it this time. Still getting by with no air conditioning in the house, but it is getting a bit more miserable. I will give myself the option to go get a window air conditioner, it's not the money. It's this thing where I think I have to prove something. I have to not need all the fancy smancy modern technology (just don't take my computer!) that others need. I can get by in a hammock or living out of my truck or... But, I'm not doing that, either. I have the worst of both worlds, trying to hang onto this house and all it's trappings and the yard that needs tending to, but not taking the rest of the time and effort to make it really liveable.

I'm hanging on for late August. If memory serves, about the time you detect a bit of a twinge of color start creeping into the leaves and think maybe it is because of lack of rain and not impending autumn, my mind and energy and resolve will return. I was this useless last year, too, and I had a nice house that was cool. By next year I just need to plan for this, and be in a position not to need to do anything from early June till late August.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Easy Saturday

I am supposed to go car shopping today. I should be excited. I'm not. I'm not excited, and I'm not sure I'll actually go shopping. The day is young yet, we'll see. I will trade in the Stanza, if I can get it running enough to drive to the dealership. The battery is dead, not sure what else may be wrong with it. At some point I'll get dressed and spray on bug spray and wade into the weeds and run the battery charger cables out to it. I've decided to have no plan.

The problem is, the truck is getting harder to start. Not sure if it's the alternator or the starter. It's not the battery, according to Advance Auto Parts store, who would have been quite happy to sell me a new one. If I was really as gung ho as I once was, I'd pull the alternator and starter off the truck and take them in and have them tested, buy whatever was broken, and fix the darn truck myself. But, I may just take Monday off and take the truck in to have it worked on. Who knows. I'm not in the mood to make a decision.

I took a benedryl capsule last night. It mellowed me out. I slept well. And I feel good this morning. I may try that for awhile. Since I've been using the benedryl gel on my legs for the bug bites, I started feeling better. Maybe all this lethargy is really something as simple as allergies after all. Several of my friends are having depression issues lately, too. It's something to ponder, if maybe is it really a medical condition and not so much mental as we all think.

I got the yard mowed on the 4th, and it feels better driving home of an evening to see it mowed. I still have a LOT of weedwhacking to do, but all in good time. I'm still pondering how to live away from people, cheaply, and not have a lot of yard maintenance and home repair issues. Cheap housing == lot of work to fix and/or maintain and room away from people == land that usually needs some kind of maintaining. An RV in a semi-permanent park means little maintenance, but close people and small spaces. I just don't know...

I am (mostly) enjoying not having air conditioning. I have actually aclimated. I sweat now, which is a good thing really. I don't get sick in the heat like I used to. I enjoy the breeze when it happens. Yes, 90 degrees in the house when I get home isn't totally pleasant, but it's not as bad as I used to suffer getting in and out of the truck in the heat when my body craved being in air conditioning constantly. Since I work out of my truck and don't sit in the cool all day, this works for now. And, I'm enjoying the $40 electric bills instead of $100+. This is just a note to remind myself that it's not as miserable as I thought it would be, and not as miserable to me as it is to others who might visit who are not aclimated to the heat.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day Off

It is the 4th of July, and for me it is mainly just a day off from work. Well, paid-for work anyway. I have a long list of stuff that I need to get done. My summer lack of energy/depression is in full swing. Everything seems to be so much more difficult to get done. I am barely keeping up with the urgent things that keep me alive and in my house, like paying bills and going to work and such. But, I think that most of the survival things are caught up at this point. It is now down to things like mow the yard, do paperwork for work (so I can get paid!) and things like that.

I am really, really sure now that I do not like a lot of home maintenance. I don't like yard work. I don't like working on the house. I want to travel. I want to do pretty much anything but take care of this place. Maybe it is the depression talking. But, whatever it is, it is talking loud.

I started reading some more journals of guys who are full time RV'ing. I don't know that that lifestyle is exactly what I want (can't afford it for one) but the entries about how they are going from having a full house/shop/ranch to having everything they own in a 5th wheel trailer is interesting reading. Here is the one I'm talking about: http://www.rv-boondocking-the-good-life.com/

They just went through the process in the past 2 months. Read it if you are looking for inspiration to get rid of stuff and/or simplify. He's a cowboy and has a writing style that goes for humor and entertainment as well as being informative.

I guess I should put on some long pants and go outside and start mowing. I haven't mowed in over a month. One good thing about being way back here is that no one but the neighbors I don't really like much sees my yard. However, the chiggers and ticks are bad because things are so grown up.