Adventures in the Mind

Glenn is home! We’ve been busy ripping up the floor, repainting the ceiling, repairing the plumbing, and (unfortunately) not fixing the leaks. Just making our home roadworthy.

AND my precious Jeep, which needed a $450 repair that I was procrastinating, is getting the repair for $150. (Massive over-charging on the part of awful RadAir. I knew it!) I’ll feel a lot better about driving across the United States once that’s done.

I’d like to say that’s the reason I haven’t been around the blogosphere, but it’s more that I have blogger’s block. I can’t think of anything to blog about. Suggestions?

And I’m 493 posts behind in Google Reader.

In the meantime, I’m bored. As a writer, do you ever get sick of being in your head? I mean, we’re always writing these stories and living in these worlds and making friends with these characters. And we can NEVER “really” live in the world we’ve created. We can never “really” hang out with our characters.

Some days, I get sick of living in my head. I don’t know if it’s the writing or these stories that will not end or the fact that I’m working on book 5 of a series.

I’d really like to get three stories finished this week and next (one is a polish, re-arrange and 4K away; one is a polish, re-arrange and 2K away; one is about 16K away), so that when we get to South Dakota, I can vacation for a week, clear my head.

When I get like this, it’s because I’m really going through movie withdrawal. But I’m saving up because I can’t wait to see Whip It! this weekend.

And gosh, can I just say? I miss playing the piano desperately.

How do you balance living in your head with clearing your head? How often do you need to clear your head? How do you clear your head?

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: Full-Time Writing,My Adventures | Tags: , ,

Time to Get Dirty

Did I mention that this fall will be my Jeep’s fourteenth birthday? I love the thing, but it’s been making sounds lately. I often worry I should just sit in my camper and not drive it, for fear of running out of Jeep to drive.

But what is the point of this adventure if I’m too afraid to drive anywhere? How silly is that?

It only has 158,000 miles. And it’s a Jeep. It’s supposed to last for over 250,000 miles. Thank God. The engine is in great shape. You’ve seen how pretty she is, right? Lemme show you another picture. She’s one of a kind:


It’s making this clicking chug when I drive, in tempo with the speed of the car. Chuck a-chuck a-chuck a-chuck chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck-chuck. It totally freaks me out. And then it was groaning and squealing when I touched the steering wheel. I guessed I needed steering fluid (I was right!), I added some, and then felt like a baby genius mechanic. (The feeling didn’t last.)

I’m so afraid that my car is going to break down and keep me from my adventures, that I worry about it constantly. In my journal, I wrote of my first night on the road. (Forgive the pretentious writing: it’s my journal.)

I feared the rusty metal on my fourteen-year-old Jeep would crack under the weight of my possessions. It jerked down the street, lugging a two-thousand-pound camper, which I was sure would bust every bolt holding the Jeep together. My ears were peeled for a pop, my muscles braced for a sudden halt and a splat on the road while wheels rolled off in four directions, disappearing into the scoffing rows of corn.

The problem with mechanics, is that you never know which ones are going to be honest and which ones are not. The current clacking did not start until we took it to RadAir. When I took it to another RadAir and asked that they look at what the first RadAir had done to cause the rattling, the guy said they fixed the rattling “in the back.”

“What was it?” I asked.

He looked at the mechanic. “You fixed the rattling in the back, right?”

The mechanic froze, mouth open.

“The rattling,” the manager prompted. “You fixed it in the back, right?”

The mechanic obediently began nodding his head in slow motion, his eyes wide and surprised.

“That’s funny,” I said. “The rattling sounded like it was coming from the front. What did you fix?”

“Let me get you the estimate on the other stuff.”

And off he disappeared into his office. So I’m not feeling real good about mechanics at the moment. How do you trust one? How do you know they’re not going to make your car worse? And, come on, $425 to fix two bolts? I don’t understand.

So I’m ordering a Chilton’s tomorrow (I just gave one away in my big purge! I’m so annoyed at myself!) and I’m going to get to know my car so well that if it breaks, I’ll be able to fix it. I’m going to read Chilton’s from cover to cover. I’m going to crawl under the car and learn everything about it, memorize every screw and every piece of rust, so that if a mechanic tries to break something in order to get more business, I WILL KNOW. BIG SISTER IS WATCHING YOU.

I learned to change the oil in my lawn mower last year. I can crawl under a Jeep. I can use a wrench. I don’t mind getting dirty.

Tomorrow is a mini-road trip to my bank and to see an old friend. It’s going to be sunny, no clouds, so I’m taking the top off the Jeep. Yay! I can’t wait. Glenn’s plan is to replace the Jeep next year with the truck that will pull the fifth wheel. I am NOT looking forward to that.

The Jeep is one piece of stuff I want to keep forever and ever.

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags: , ,

Settling In

I want to show you my new camper, but I have to clean before I take pictures. A twenty-some foot camper requires always picking up after yourself. Two things out of place, and it looks like a disaster area.

I can’t get the water to work. See, I need a hose with two female ends, but my hose is a normal hose, with one female end and one male end. I tried cutting off the male end and doing one of those hose repair kit things to put on a female end, and it’ll work for five minutes and then the end just pops right off. Water spurts everywhere, and my cat gets wet. She doesn’t like that.

I think I need to find a picture online so I know I’m doing it right.

I was evidently muttering “female to female” in the store, and my best friend was very patient and accepting. About ten minutes later, as I’m puttering in the garden hose aisle, she goes, “Oh! So that’s what you meant by female to female!” I then imagined her setting herself up to be supportive of my coming out.

(Yes, we writers live mostly in our imaginations. I didn’t ask what she was thinking because my imagination was more interesting.)

My cats, while crawling in all the cubby holes, have disabled my 12 volt electricity. So my lights, my exhaust fan, and my furnace (all connected to the 12 volt line) are not currently working. I just have to take the time to follow the wires and figure out what’s going on. Good thing I brought electrical tape.

And I’ve lost a cat. I am trying not to be worried. He is not in a cubby hole. And the ONLY way he could have gotten out is if someone came and opened the door, because he sure as heck didn’t open it and then slam the door and latch it after he left. All the windows were closed because of rain.

He is really friendly though, so he will ingratiate himself to people, and I will find those people and get my cat back. He would not be scared outside, so that’s cool.

Still. I want my cat. Now. He’s my big lug.

On to the good news: the stove is working! I procrastinated turning on the propane for a week because I was nervous. (I don’t know why.) But it works! And I’m currently making quinoa and lentils in veggie broth. Yum, yum.

Other good news? My two and a half weeks of moving, sorting, and hauling stuff up and down stairs made me go down two pant sizes. Very cool! Hence, my first meal made in the camper will be quinoa and lentils, and not chocolate pudding made with almond milk.

I’m inordinately pleased by this. I keep standing up and looking at the flame and grinning and saying: my stove works! I feel like I’m a kid playing house. This is the first “house” I’ve owned. And it’s allllllll mine. Tee-hee.

The bathroom is nearly a football field away. I would like to think I’m getting more exercise, but I’m just getting a stronger bladder.

And finally, this campground feels deserted and dead quiet. My backyard is a cute little creek, which my niece waded in. My front yard is a cornfield. When I went out walking to look for Caesar, I was surprised to find at least two or three hundred more campers here. Astonishing. I would’ve bet I was the only one.

Oooh! My lunch is done! It cooked! Like for real and everything!

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Written by Natasha Fondren in: My Adventures | Tags: , ,

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