Moving, too much “stuff” and business contacts, along with August 21 fixations

19 Jul

I’ve been silent for a while, I have been VERY busy with life…that little four letter thing that swallows us up whole on some occasions.  But, in the interim, I have been putting some serious and major changes into place.

I have officially become homeless by current standards.

And no, despite my sister envisioning GM & I sleeping in a cardboard box under a bridge or overpass somewhere, we’re not that kind of homeless.  We are simply not currently renting a house or apartment.  We are renting a storage unit…for now.  It’s also very full, and I’m questioning that very fullness.  GM is seriously questioning that fullness even more, since everything that is in it, he has toted at least a hundred yards, and at least once.

Us, 2 cats, and 2 dogs are currently residing in a travel trailer, and that is requiring some serious adjustments on everyone’s part.  Especially me, since I’m the incorrigible packrat, always saving something for future use.  As someone who cooks and writes about cooking, this is really interesting.  Ever try to keep props, cooking equipment, pans, etc. in the storage provided by a travel trailer?  Oh, and ingredients…very interesting when there is no refrigerator.

Yeah, we have a refrigerator.  A beautiful Frigidaire, about 16 cubic feet, which is adequate for a couple with 4 pets.  IF it worked.  Ours doesn’t.  It just lights up, blows room temperature air, and looks good.  Reminds me of some people I know.

The move itself has not gone well.  Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, and its additionally complicated by the fact that I lived behind my former employer, requiring us to come and go through the business.  Since I have been unable to work since my shoulder injury last November, that got a bit complicated.  Unfortunately, my former boss seems to think I’m malingering and exaggerating, an opinion that has not been shared by my doctor.  She has no intentions of bringing me back when I’m released to work again, no matter when that is, and there was no sense in staying in that house.  After living there over six years, I had accumulated a lot of “stuff.”  I have given away, thrown away, and packed away almost all of that “stuff” at this point–we intend to pack the remainder and do the cleaning in one last visit.  Hopefully, we can accomplish that without any further issues!

The van has been a money pit lately–first a heater hose, which is still just sporting a temporary repair.  Next, some little do-dad on the linkage chain(?) has worn out, and that too is sporting a temporary repair.  In the process of backing up the van and getting it into place for our fantastic mechanic (ever need a repair in Metairie, La, check out Jerry’s Auto Repair on Airline Drive-Jimmy is a great guy!)  GM backed into the mailbox.  Do you know what a spectacular explosion a rear window glass makes upon impact?  So…the next day, we had an appointment with Glass Masters, also in Metairie on Airline Drive.  A great price, and a great installation job in just about an hour.  Earlier that day, we had to take the van to Sam’s Club to have the new tires we had purchased there checked out–one of them was making an odd thumping noise.  They said one of them was out of balance, but the thumping noise seems to have increased.  I wish I had great compliments for their customer service in the tire department, but I don’t.  I doubt I will purchase tires from them again.  Good prices don’t compensate for crappy customer service, and the tire market is fairly competitive.  I’d rather spend an extra $5 per tire and have good service (maybe even with a smile?) from whoever I purchase them from.  I was interested in a national company to honor the road hazard warranty, no matter where we were…but there are a long list of alternatives still out there, and on the next tire purchase…one of the others will get the nod.  During the years I lived in Arizona, I always had excellent service from Discount Tires in Flagstaff, but there didn’t seem to be one in the Greater New Orleans area.

So, in the meantime, I’m trying to decide the fate of trinkets, doo-dads, gizmos, gadgets, too many clothes, too many shoes, and too many books.  I’m looking at my accumulation of “stuff” and calculating not only space factors, but those of weight.

That brings me to emergency preparedness.  In a sense, the whole equation changes when you can hitch your house up behind a truck and move the entire thing with very little preparation.  However, that very little preparation clause requires continual rethinking of how I live.

Food supplies-going through our emergency supplies, we discovered grain beetles had taken their toll, and it was a big one.  It was also time to use the canned goods and replace them.  I’m thinking we need to go to dehydrated foods designed for long term storage to prevent the loss and damage we had with the grain beetle infestation.  What if we’d needed those goods?  They were largely useless!  In addition, we need supplies that are both compact and lightweight, something that traditionally packaged grocery products score very poorly on in general.  At the same time, I don’t want big buckets of whole grain that I can’t use easily, or nasty tasting stuff that you’d only want to eat during a survival situation.  I can’t help but wonder, how does “cheese powder” taste when reconstituted as a spread?  Does “peanut butter powder” actually taste like peanut butter?  What about “dehydrated butter powder”?  I know that non fat dry milk works fine in MOST recipes, even if I’m not crazy about how it tastes as a beverage.  It also works fine as hot chocolate.  And these just-add-water dessert products such as puddings and no-cook custards, what do they really taste like?  I know the dehydrated fruits and vegetables are just fine, but what about the more processed foods?  I’ve sampled Mountain House beef stew, and that was good, except that was excessively salty for my tastes.  What about other brands and other products?

So many things to get done over the coming months, and now this new fixation with some weird connotations–I woke up one night mumbling about August 21, at 4:05 pm there was a big black tornado (think killer tornado, the kind with 1/4 mile wide path of total destruction) and New Orleans.  Does it mean anything?  Not really.  But…do I intend to be anywhere near by on that date?  No.  It’s a Saturday, and I was actually thinking it would be a fine time to go camping in Florida, actually.  Specific dates aren’t usually a precognitive thing, so why am I fixated on August 21?  I have no idea.  The weird thing is that it is a specific date AND time.  If anything happens that day, I’m going to really be weirded out, I suspect.  The tornado, with its massive size and total blackness, might be more of a symbolic thing than anything else, but even on a symbolic level, it has nothing good to say about being in its vicinity, as it still means destruction and damage and danger.

So, we now have a power outage where we are at, and it’s best to call it a night and try to go to sleep despite the stuffy heat before the battery wears down on the laptop.

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