Housekeeping

Final For Now Stage

It’s not perfect. Yet. Not by any means. But it took me three weeks to get to this stage.

Because of my current parking situation, it’s not easy to clean the pod. Not easy at all. Because I want to be low-key and not bring attention to my living situation, I pretty much have been putting up with not being able to have a weekly clean. For years. The last time I cleaned the pod thoroughly … I’m embarrassed to say. Especially since I am a cleanaholic when I’m mobile – or – when I have a house to live in.

One of my neighbors went away for the month of July and gave me their house for the month. It gave me a great opportunity to strip the inside of the pod and clean – as much as was possible, given that the sliding door does not open.

Anyway. How exciting!

This past winter the rain really did a number on the pod. I had no idea that my window seals are (still) in need of replacement until the water started pouring in. There were puddles. Actual puddles. Curtains got moldy. Wildlife was rampant. Everything was damp, even though I had at least had the foresight to store everything in plastic bags given the winter forecast in Northern California.

I washed every. single. thing. Clothes, bedding, floor (as far as I could reach), walls (also, as far as I could reach), ceiling … It ended up being days of doing many loads of laundry. I made new curtains and threw out the old ones. I mended my bedspread that had a big hole worn through the middle.

I really wanted to take the entire bed and platform out of the pod, as well as the wall panels, and wipe them down, but I just couldn’t do it through the back door. It would have meant ripping it all apart and rebuilding and I knew I just didn’t have the time, and it wasn’t the place, for that to happen. Instead, I got a new allergen mattress cover and I’m hoping that will feel clean enough.

I had been using cardboard boxes – the kind that you can buy at the office supply store, the index file size with the lids – to store “stuff” under the bed. My clothes were stashed in a hammock that ran from the back of the driver’s seat to the hinge on the back door. I replaced all of that with 32-qt plastic storage boxes that fit under the bed. It’s kind of weird to not have the hammock filled with clothes hanging along the wall, providing a layer of padding between me and the world outside.

And then there was stuff. Over the past couple of years I had collected too much stuff. And I couldn’t say no to friends who were giving things to me because they thought I would need them. I took bags and bags of stuff out of the pod. Washed it all and gave it to Goodwill. Also threw a lot of stuff away – just for being old, or out of date. I took some of my food up to Food Not Bombs and donated it.

The whole process made me ask myself a few questions. Why am I such a clothes horse? (Because I pretty much pick out one outfit and wear it every day until it’s ready to fall off of me.) Why do I feel that I can’t make art in the pod? (I love making big, human sized art.) Do I really need a 30-day food backup in case of emergencies? (That answer was a great big fat NO! I’ve decided to just keep a jar of peanut butter, some rice crackers and some tea and chocolate in the pod.) When friends see fit to gift me with their hand me downs, why can’t I say, “Thank you. But no. Not for me.”?

I can’t believe how much lighter I feel.

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Every little bit of the pod needs to be touched in some way – fuel line, generator, rusty spots, window seals, sliding door, turn signals, etc. etc. etc. – and while I am waiting on funds to come through to work on her to make her road trippable again I’m hanging out – or rather, looking for income. Who knew that being a 60-year old woman artist and QA Engineer would be a bust?

Living in stasis in a VW bus is, not easy, to say the least. It can get stagnant. It can get frustrating. And that’s the way it’s been for the past few years. If I wasn’t creating and being surrounded by the best energy in town, it actually could be downright depressing, or even terrifying.

But it’s not.

I’m still having fun.

And I can have fun because I know it’s just a phase. One that almost everyone who lives out of a VW can attest to. Things happen, or don’t, as they will. Living in a VW is the best experience for leaning the concept of flow.

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Have you got a living in a VW or van experience? Share it in the comments! Or better yet, join the site and post it in the VanLife Group in the artist-at-large community!

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Below are the cleaning stages. I’m a little worried that water got behind the black panels along the walls (because they are warped) but once I’m satisfied in living with my new setup – for instance, can I get my clothes out from underneath my bed without making too much noise, or with little effort? – I’ll be rearranging and reorganizing until I feel at home again.

4 Replies to “Housekeeping”

  1. Congrats! I think that a drive for minimalism has taken hold of the collective unconscious (or something). I’ve been wondering where you were – now I know!
    Looks cozy – love the candle lamps!

    1. Thanks!

      Yes, I think the nesting, or unesting, thing is a big thing in the collective consciousness right now. It takes a lot of energy and will power to get rid of stuff. Right now I’m struggling with the idea of selling my DVD and CD collection.

      I can’t really light the candle lamps as they are, hanging there above the pillows. I usually use them at a campsite, or I sit them on top of my cooler on a plate. They get amazingly hot! But they do give a nice bohemian look to the pod :)

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