Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Temporary Shelter

Recently, a friend of mine has left America for two months to visit her Air Force husband in Korea and she asked if I would like to look over her house. I thought about it for a while,  wanting to stay true to the van lifestyle. Part of the negative side is I will have some duties to fulfill such as watering the plants, cleaning the house, mowing the yard, and helping the house generally look good so the real estate people can sell it. 

I finally decided that it would be a perfect recharging station for my batteries, a place to do my laundry for free, store food for longer (thus saving money), provide a home base nearby to my work, provide a safe/legit place to do work on my van, and be a quieter/darker parking place to sleep (I can't spoil myself with air conditioning and down comforters, I'm sleeping in the driveway!).

It's nearing the end of the first house-sitting week, and I've got to say it's going pretty well. I've saved some considerable cash on groceries, laundry, and travel fuel - which makes it all well worth it.

One of the downsides is that she has turned off her home Internet. No big deal though, I can easily head to the YMCA or local libraries to get a signal :) 

After only a week of being able to use the benefits of this house, I find myself becoming slightly complacent. I don't see this as a hugely negative thing though, I'm learning quite a bit about myself (and the human brain) from this experience. I'm tracking all of my changes, and am very aware of what is happening.

I hope this might make everyone think about reducing the amount of unnecessaries in your life. Modern conveniences have spoiled us rotten; the result of this is complacency, heavier reliance on material goods, and losing focus of the truly important things in life.

Van to temporary home changes:

 1. Spending more time in shower than necessary.
 2. Ability to shave while showering (not a good idea in a public shower)
 3. Running water provides place to always brush teeth. I leave a lot of my bathroom stuff here to make bathroom time easier.
 1. Sleeping in longer due to feeling of being relaxed which results from having a singular place to meet nearly all of my human and societal needs.
 2. I slept inside the first night, which went miserably. There is something synthetic about air conditioning and the wasted energy around me that drove me nuts. I've been sleeping in the van in the parking lot since this night.
Regular Duties:
 1. Mowing the yard. I haven't done this since I used to live in a house, but it's necessary to help my friend sell her house. Time is spent on home maintenance every week. This takes gasoline for energy. $$$!
 2. Watering the plants. I enjoy watering plants, but keeping a yard all pretty-ish for the sake of keeping up the neighborhood is a daunting task. I spend quite a bit of time watering all the plants every other day that normally wouldn't naturally survive in this environment.
 3. DustLaundry:ing/vacuuming/etc. Wow, it's ridiculous how many nooks and crannies never see any of our attention in a home. There are also so many freaking unnecessary doodads and knick-knacks that require constant attention.
 1. Instead of buying dry ice and storing food in my cooler, I have been using the fridge inside. This stores food a lot longer, and I notice I have completely replaced the cooler inside my van.
 2. I now have access to a freezer, and I have started buying frozen goods to microwave for quick and dirty food access. This is great for work, but it causes my shortcut-tuned brain to accept quick meals instead of planning ahead for fresh ones.
 3. I'm using a dishwasher!! It's so convenient to use when I'm working a steady job, but it's definitely going to be a hard habit to break.
 1. No terrible negative changes here. I'm merely saving money by doing my laundry here. I'm not rolling through my clothes at a different rate that I would if I was completely living in the van, so I won't have to break this habit.
Space Usage:
 1. Instead of always storing my stuff into neat compartments, I have piles of stuff inside the house, spread out in different rooms.

I'm sure there are some more changes I have made since this chapter opened. I will add them as I think of them.

Conclusion: Knowing that I have all of this security causes me to slack off and weakens my mind. Having to think about each move I make helps me better the problem-solving, analytical, planning, and innovative parts of my mushy brain. When it's just me and the van, I have more time to devote to creativity and hobbies.. basically time to do the stuff I want to do, not take most of my time taking care of the life maintenance to maintain a drone-like lifestyle that will merely just keep me working, working, working at an efficient rate and keep on hoping I'll derive all my happiness from the dedication I show at my job. Don't get me wrong, I love my job and the people I work with, but there is much more out there I yearn to explore, learn about, and do. I will continue to be myself, do my best, and plan for the future. A future rich in happiness and simplicity.

"Complacency is a state of mind that exists only in retrospective: it has to be shattered before being ascertained."
Vladimir Nabokov

1 comment:

  1. http://www.growthbusters.org/2012/03/limits-to-growth-bacteria-in-a-bottle/

    Limits to Growth – Bacteria in a Bottle

    Retired physics professor Al Bartlett (to whom the GrowthBusters movie was dedicated), is world famous both for his Laws Related to Sustainability and his lecture about exponential growth.

    The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

    If you have one bacteria, and they grow by doubling, and 1 bacteria divides to become 2, then 2 divided to become 4, then 4 becomes 8, 16 and so on. Now that's steady growth. Just ordinary growth!

    If they double in number every minute, say you have just 1 bacterium in a empty bottle starting at 11 in the morning. If you observe the bottle's full at 12 noon, then you have a case of steady growth in a finite environment.

    At what time was the bottle half full? You'll get answers like 11:30 am. No, this is steady growth. It doubles in number every minute. It'll be half full at 1 minute before 12.

    Second question, if you were an average bacterium in that bottle, at what time would you first realize that you were running out of space? At 12 noon the bottle's full. 1 minute before it's half full. 2 minutes before it's a quarter full. Then an eighth and a sixteenth.

    Let me ask you, at 5 minutes before twelve, and the bottle's only 3% full and there's 97% open space just yearning for development... how many of you would realize their was a problem?