10. trying to stuff two tons of fertilizer into a quarter-ton pickup

10. Trying to stuff two tons of fertilizer into a quarter-ton pick up

When I got back to Florida, I stepped into a whirlwind. Not a dust devil or the dilemma of dealing with too many miles. This was a whirlwind of change – figuring out “what to leave in, what to leave out” – how to downsize from a three bedroom, two bath house with an oversized double garage and outbuilding, into a 280 SF of RV. Obviously, this was going to require getting rid of stuff – lots of stuff. I’d lived in an RV for 10 of the last 15 years, but for those 10 years in an RV I also had extra storage. For several years, I had used part of a friend’s storage shed, then I leased an RV lot in SE NM that included a large storage shed and a second building referred to as a casita (little house) where I kept all my books, a couch, desk, chair… You get the idea. Then three years ago, I sold the RV lot and RV and bought the house. Which I began to fill up. I never acquired as much “stuff” as most folks (friends referred to my home as “Spartan”) but I clearly added to my stash.

I enjoy living small and having to deal with less. But moving from way too much to only what I need and/or truly cherish is no small chore. The furniture and clothes were not hard to part with. But after the first large purge, I was facing piles and piles of perfectly good stuff that I could/would/may use. Good stuff, much of it small stuff, stuff I have no room for. Trivial examples – I had three bottles of dish washing soap. Under the kitchen sink in the RV there is room for one. Period. There were many bottles of spices – good ones that I might use one day. But I don’t cook much, if ever. And then there was all that Tupperware, the baking pans. But my nemesis is paper – books, photos, my writing, personal business… Things I have yet to work through. Gratefully, a friend offered me space in an empty room in an empty house, and I randomly stuffed stuff there, in order to get out of the house in time for closing. Delaying for now the pain and frustration of dealing with these last layers of minutiae. I promise myself to complete the purge by Christmas. This Christmas.

And now I’m happily ensconced in my 280 SF travel trailer, parked near the water. Misty loves chasing her ball across pine cones and hiding in the palmetto. We’ve watched osprey feeding near the RV, a raccoon washing breakfast from a log over the bayou, and a great blue heron hunched on a gnarled piece of drift wood. We studied bear scat and an as-yet-unidentified squashed snake.

I’ll stay in the area for most of the school year. In the mornings, I write or otherwise deal with life. I keep my granddaughter in the afternoons and thoroughly enjoy my job as taxi, homework monitor, and maker of snacks. Now that my house is again on wheels, I’ll hook up and make short trips during the school year and then spend the summers out West.

The Bible explains that we “see through a glass darkly.” But lately I’ve noticed that my glass has gotten a bit darker. Ah, another sign of aging. I’ll have the first cataract removed next week and the second a month later. It’s only been in recent history that we’ve had the privilege of science improving aging eyes, and it is a privilege available in limited locations in the world. Without cataract surgery, I would finally become an old woman who can’t see to drive – I’d lose one of my most favored senses and loved activities. I look forward to the doctor changing out the “glass darkly” in my eyes. I’ll remain an old woman, but one who drives a big pickup and loves to ride her motorcycle.

Misty in the backyard of the house

Misty in the backyard of the house

fog across the Bay, live oaks and palmettos

fog across the Bay, live oaks and palmettos

another incredible sunset across the Bay

another incredible sunset across the Bay

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4 Responses to 10. trying to stuff two tons of fertilizer into a quarter-ton pickup

  1. Betty Jackson Young says:

    Laura delighted to resume contact. Congratulations on your book. I knew it sould be published. With diminishing eyesight, plan to read it on my Kindle. You have ceertainly explored the country in a very unorthodox way. I envy your travels. I am well into my ’80’s and enscounced in a continuing care community supported by the University of Florida in Gainesville. I look forward to your next posting, Betty


  2. Molly Baker says:

    Laura, nice catching up with you via your blog 🙂 You’ll be amazed at the difference cataract surgery will make in your vision. For me, it was mostly seeing white and colors restored to brillance!
    Are you scheduled to be on radio or TV? An interview, maybe? We’re hoping we’ve not missed it already.
    You now have my email, so I hope to hear from you.
    PS I’ve really enjoyed reading your book again.

  3. Jan Pudlow says:

    Hi, Laura:

    I am going through my own purging. . . the accumulation of too much stuff of living in the same cottage for 33 years. Moving next door to our new place on the land and trying to bring with me only those things that are extremely useful or beautiful. Everything else goes to the garage sale and/or charity. This is hard stuff for a recovering shopaholic. Thanks for the inspiration. Glad you are doing well.

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