Home at last

For the last two months ive been living in a construction zone. You’ve shared the story of the reconstruction of my camper and my life and youve been so uplifting to me. The new is….

I’ve finished the other end. The end I had to reframe. Here it is.

Its bigger than the place I had been sleeping for the last two months, and I have my breakfast nook and table now.

The whole place seems bigger. There is all kinds of storage space for my books and dishes and food. It was such a joy to have someplace to sit and write tonight instead of going to a restaurant like Arbys. Such a joy to play music and sit comfortably and write, and read. I also found my Himalayan salt lamp, which casts a warm glow through thr whole place.

This is my home. It is insulated properly. All the dead wood is gone, replaced by new 2 x2 studs. It has new curtains and as I go along it will have new rugs, new wall hangings, and continue to change along with me. It is the first home I’ve ever owned.

I love my tiny home and I live in the best place on earth.

I am really home. I am home within myself, I am whole within myself; I need no one, because I am complete inside myself, but choose to be involved in this thing called life.

Life is a wonderful thing. If we blink, we miss it. I go to the water and spend my days gazing at the vastness of it and know I am exactly where I am meant to be. I am blessed.

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A rainstorm, a cleansing

I have written a lot about grieving and how ive carried it for years, deep down in a dark and quiet place because it was not possible to share such a thing openly. I had a husband. I had children. Nobody knew him. I was alone. I buried it and went on.

Until I came home. I have written so much about this. You have patiently gone along with me as I rebuild my camper and my life. This blog is as sacred as the confessional. I start from the bottom and work upwards.

Today it rained. It rained as it needed to rain and the water cleansed the smoke from the wildfires in California and some say Canada. Lightning strikes hitting the ground were impressive. I sat in the vehicle I was driving and waited for the deluge to stop because I couldn’t see. I listened to the pounding rain on the roof of my car and watched the rivulets of water streaming down the windows. Rivers of water. All I had cried through the years and now since I’d come back.

In the aftermath of the storm there is peace. The world is different for the change but it finds peace.

So will I.

I am not dead. I am still here. Still blessed with good health and children I love and a home and a job and the ability to do work I love through writing or Tarot reading . My life is not over. It is filled with possibility.

Doors and windows oh my soul!

The door was next on the agenda today. I have had an unprecedented two days off in a row. I slept in. I woke up. I saw that door. And that was it.

The door had ripped paneling all along the bottom. I considered taking out the whole panel and buying a new piece. Then I remembered the great success of that hole in the ceiling I fixed and I thought why not? Except this time foam insulation wasn’t going to work because I couldn’t get a piece in the hole. I reached for the blue can of Great Stuff for Windows and Doors. I probably should have used the red can for gaps and cracks but this stuff worked pretty well!

Now. You have to be prepared to use the whole can when you initially use it because it can be self sealing, if allowed to dry in the tube sprayer. So if you only use a little and put the can away, you’re not going to be able to use the rest of it. Put down newspapers because you don’t want this stuff on your carpet or linoleum.

I sprayed it in the hole in the bottom of the door where I could see daylight in the frame. The outer shell of the door was in one piece so thats why this worked well. Had there been a hole all the way through the door I would not have been able to use the spray foam.

It sets up in about 15 minutes which is pretty quick . Don’t worry about if it poofs out. When it dries you can cut off the excess flush with the window or door. Here’s what it ended up looking like. I ended up spraying a second layer to get it all filled evenly. I trimmed the excess the second time.

It filled in the hole pretty well. And the outer shell on the door held it all. You can see why shoving a piece of foam insulation would not have worked well. I topped off this layer of foam until it filled the space evenly.

Then I got out my magic peel and stick laminate! (You knew that was coming!) That stuff is like duct tape. You can fix anything with it! An hour later, this was the finished product:

It isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that no cold wind or snow will be getting into my tiny home this winter! I love the way it turned out. You can’t tell the laminate from the original paneling!

I also used the spray foam between the insulation I put on the wall:

Again, not perfect. Trimmed the excess and it worked just fine. I’m ready to cover it up with new paneling or fabric.

To celebrate the day’s work I bought red leaf mini lights on a string which made it look very festive! The more I do on this camper the happier it feels! It is home. I can’t wait to decorate it for fall.

Measure twice cut once

One improvement a day. Oh my God. What have I gotten myself into? It turns out all of the studs in the entire back end were rotten along with the fiberglass insulation and I had a job cleaning it all out. The more I tore out the worse it seemed to get in terms of the rotten studs I was finding. There was nothing to sister my new 2 x 2’s into. I gutted the end down to the aluminum walls. Now I have to frame a new bench so I can have a couch and a bed. I think it won’t be hard. I just need a tape measure. Here are the before shots:

I’ve said it before and ill say it again—THANK GOD FOR MY SHOPVAC. The wood studs disintegrated in my hands. There were wood chips everywhere. There were also acorns as if generations of squirrels had made their home in the back of my camper before I got it. There was a lot of dirt. I tore it all out and swept and Shopvac’d it all out.

Afterward, covered in fiberglass and dirt and sweat, I took a bath in Lake Superior scrubbing myself with sand (no soap). My skin is so soft and I feel so clean! It was a treat after the work I put in today.

Big storm coming in off the lake. My tiny house rocks to and fro like a covered cradle. I feel good for what I accomplished today. I got the insulation so after I frame up that bench I can insulate and cover with new paneling.

I won’t quit.

Begin again

I won’t have any money she said but that’s okay because we are all a little rough when we all start out I replied softly

There is plenty to go around she remarked from the rocking chair on the other side of the porch so dont worry just give it

time

At night I saw her rising again out of the dark waters in the calm moonlit nights sensuously wet hair clinging to her breasts and her waist

Moonlight drapes over me walking on white sand shore I

trip over driftwood in my bare feet and I am walking over years and years as I kick up sand grains and frighten sea gulls

who flap their wings nervously as they drift inches above the wave lapped shore then settle down again when I have passed

Here I begin again the stars sing and a single owl watches me without judgment from on high

the lighthouse is dark on calm nights and I sit on the breakwall wondering about love or passion or who is large enough to contain mine and mingle with it

Fly

Fly and my feet leave the sand and I turn into the red-tailed hawk

Buffalo–a healing place (part 2 in a series called “home”)

The City of Buffalo, NY came into my life seemingly randomly in 1999.   I wanted to go home, but for various reasons, it wasn’t working out for me to go home to Duluth, Minnesota…and one day, I dreamed about a buffalo, running. When I woke up, I looked online for an apartment in Buffalo, and bing, bam boom, in an hour I’d got one.  The lady actually saved it for me for a couple of days so I could go and look at it. I loved it.  It was in a big old house, with a covered front porch, (I was soon to learn the second floor porch culture is alive and well in Buffalo–in summertime everyone is on the second floor porch sitting, or growing gardens, or barbecuing) and in two months’ time, I was moved to Buffalo.   Coming into the city, I saw a bald eagle sitting in a tree–the first live one I’d ever seen–and it seemed a powerful, positive sign that this is where I was meant to be.   I was newly divorced, with all of the confusion that goes along with that; having profoundly lost a sense of self in my life growing up which was only exacerbated by my marriage, I was coming to Buffalo having lost everything.  I did not know I would find myself both as a writer and as a woman.

Buffalo, called the”Queen City of the Lakes, positioned between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, is of course the “home” of hydroelectricity, with Nikola Tesla putting his first turbines here at Niagara Falls, whose water still power the US and Canadian sides of the river.   During the day, when I took this photo, Niagara shines with a light of its own.  Niagara, the waters of Iroquoian legend, where the Maid of the Mist, Lelawala, plummeted over the falls riding in her canoe mourning the death of her husband, and was caught by the god of thunder who brought her to live with him and nursed her back to health. She fell in love with him and married, and they both lived behind the Falls.  Gazing into the photo, the Rainbow Bridge spans the gorge and it is easy to see why the Rainbow Bridge has the name.

I spend much time these days gazing at the blue green waters of Niagara; I have come home a second time, again seeking healing.  I think about the love that is lost, and then the river reminds me of the nature we live in which is constantly renewing itself and that reminds me that maybe the love we give and the love we receive, whether it be from a lover, a husband, parents, family or friends is never really gone; it too renews itself and ebbs and surges like the water, like hope that there is something benevolent who created all we see, who created us to be one with Nature, and in Nature’s endless variety, variations and adaptions, there is always beauty to be found, even in our darkest hours, our deepest sadnesses. The leaves on the trees bud, leaf out, celebrate their lives all spring and summer,and then emerge victorious by not just fading out and falling, but exploding in the fireworks of colors that make endings not a thing to be feared, but a thing that is vibrant, and beautiful, that are not gone forever, but promise to return again anew in time; an endless cycle of life and death and rebirth.  That is what love is like, to me, even now in my sadness.  The truth of what I do not see tells me that  love is  never gone, never wasted, and will sprout and grow again in time, if we are patient, if we have faith, if we believe.   And in the meanwhile, in the between time, there is Buffalo, good friends, good foods from every culture imaginable, good music, of all varieties, art, all a celebration of all cultures and walks of life in its residents.   Life goes on during loss.  Life goes on during the blind times when we do not know where we are going; life goes on, and if we do not fear it, if we do not shut it out, it beckons endlessly for us to join in it and walk in faith to the next season and the next.

For now, this is home.  This is the place to heal, to let the waters wash over my soul.