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Dancing

Dancing is really the only form of exercise that I enjoy. That’s why Zumba was so perfect for me. I knew I was tired, but I didn’t care. I was happy. I knew I’d be sore later, and that only made it better.

In fact, Zumba was better than club dancing on many levels: First of all, you’re wearing appropriate shoes. Secondly, there aren’t a lot of creepy dudes coming up to you and being weirdos.

When I hear a song that moves me, I can’t help it: I get down with my bad self. The other day, at my sister’s, I started to hit it and Daphne forbade me even to start. Hopefully, some of that had to do with the fact that their neighbor David was over and sitting right beside her as she played Minecraft (although now that I’ve seen his and TJ’s movie trailer, I don’t think that boy would judge me at all).

I don’t know that I have any skills, but I certainly feel it.

When I was taking D to camp last summer, we found a dance station on the road and I loved it. Their play list was pretty limited, and in the two hours we had the channel, I heard the same songs 3 or 4 times.

Now that we live down here, we get the channel. And I want to like the music so much, because it’s fun and conducive to the rhythmic gyrations I so adore.

But here’s the deal: The LYRICS! Good gravy, it’s the worst. Here’s a sampling of the songs we’re hearing right now:

“I only came here for 2 Reasons,
I-IIII can’t lie (Whatcha came for)
I only came for the ladies and the drinks (Uh-huh),
Ladies and the drinks,Ladies and the drinks (That Right)
For the la-la, Ca-Came for the ladies and the drinks (Uh-huh)
Ladies and the drinks,Ladies and the drinks
(Alright) (Baby Whatcha Came For)
(Aahh) Baby get ya glass up (Get Ya Glass Up)
I only came for the ladies and the drinks
Baby get ya ass up (Get Ya Ass Up)
That’s what I came for (Yeahhh)”

Brilliant, right?

At least that’s better than “Tonight I’m Lovin’ You,” which I learned recently is the edited version. Yeah. Some guy meets a lady in the club (I mean, yeah, he’s Enrique Iglesias, but still…) and his opening line is, “Please excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude but tonight I’m effing you.”

Ohhhh, no. You’re getting a knee to the groin and a bunch of keys in the stomach, and if you don’t run off, there’s more where that came from. AND some pepper spray- no, wait. That’s my inhaler. But after I take a hit off of THAT, you’re going to be sorry.

I won’t type the lyrics to “Did It On ‘Em” by Nicki Minaj. Feel free to look it up. Even if you’re not easily offended by “colorful” language, you should be offended that this is the subject matter of songs. A comedian recently said that if someone was bragging about how much money they had and how awesome they were, we’d hate them for being jerks, but if you lay it down over a beat box and some 80s sample, we eat it up.

Well, I don’t. This is arrogant and insipid, it objectifies women (both men and women do this), and I don’t understand why they can’t write meaningful lyrics.

I was going to say “anymore,” but it’s not a “these days” thing. I heard a song last night that I guessed to be much older than it was because of the rich lyric picture painted by the writer. I just looked, and the song came out this millennium.

The chorus goes:

“But you got that special kind of sadness
you got that tragic set of charms
that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
makes me wanna wrap you in my arms”

Thing is, the song is really folksy. It’s pretty, but why can’t people who write secular dance music make it about more than getting down and dirty in the bathroom at a disco or flaunting your superiority (or feces)?

Anyone have any good hip-hop or dance suggestions that aren’t complete brain cell killers?

Meanwhile, enjoy this.

On August 30, I turned forty. Shortly thereafter, something happened: I got old. I don’t know how this happened, but it did.

If family genes are any indicator, I’m not even at the mid-life point yet. That will come in the next 3 years or so.

I can’t argue with reality, though. What’s up? Well, let’s see… where to start?

1) I have some aches and pains. Today, I filled out a four-page questionnaire that I needed to complete to see a chiropractor tomorrow. My left leg has been in pain for three weeks, and I don’t mean it kinda hurts. I mean, I am moving like an 80-year-old who has lost her walker. I frequently gasp in agony when I zig where I should have zagged. I had a pain in my back for about a week five weeks ago, but it went away after seven days or so. This has hung around for THREE FULL WEEKS. I have to ease into my car, and I still wince. If I sit for “too long,” it takes me a good couple of minutes to stand all the way up. It’s ridiculous.

2) I don’t understand the music that’s popular today. I mean, I get that we had some questionable lyrics in our day and in every other day, but catchy ditties about killing people in fancy trainers or tying an attempted ex to a bed and setting the house on fire? That goes so far beyond raunchy sex stuff! And that music is bad enough. It’s one thing to hear a veiled dirty song about a candy store, but it’s so much worse when a “lady” talks about what she’d do if she were male-ly endowed. Does no one younger than 30 experience cognitive dissonance with the lyrics “And no, you don’t wanna mess with us. Got Jesus on my necklace; I’ve got that glitter on my eyes, stockings ripped all up the side, looking sick and sexy-fied, so let’s go.” Then there’s the laziness of “Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me up up up up up up. Don’t wake me. Don’t wake me. Don’t wake me uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup.” Repeat. Ad infinitum. (Yes, I remember “I Got My Mind Set On You.” It blew, as well.)

3) I’ve always been a fan of having my picture made. I mean, come on. Have you seen my hair? But lately, every picture of me I see, I think, “What the heck happened?! Why do I look so tired/puffy/negative adjective of choice?” I have always been fine with people posting photos of me without permission, but any more, I cringe. Yeesh. Who is that person?

4) Along similar lines… About this time last year (maybe a little earlier), I decided to get serious about dropping the few pounds I’d gained over the former yearish. I significantly limited my diet and I worked out at least five times a week. As little as five years ago, I would have dropped 7-10 pounds in the first two weeks and have been able to get rid of 20ish in three months, no problem. I lost nothing. Not a darn thing, People at the gym told me I looked fitter, but my clothes didn’t fit any differently and I was grumpy and overtired and never had any free time because I was at the gym every second I had when Daphne was away. Then last summer I read this and just decided that I was not going to waste my time shunting Daphne away so I could work out separately. I get exercise with her, either riding bikes or walking places or making her stretch and stuff with me. Unlike I have been at times in the past, I am no longer willing to revolve my day around making sure my appearance is at a level that someone else told me I should achieve. And that might be sour grapes, sure. But I can’t both worry about it and not be able to do anything about it without devoting my life’s energy to it. So letting go of my 25-year-old’s ideal is the only way I’m going to make this thing.

5) I cry at everything. I mean, I’ve kind of always been a sap about some movies, music, and television shows. In my life, I’ve likely shed more tears over fictional characters than real people. But I am ready to bawl at the drop of the hat (awwww, poor hat) and I feel like an old fool. My sister and I used to watch my mom’s face during touching parts of shows because we knew she was gonna lose it. Now my kid does this to me. So I sucker punch her every time.

6) I think there’s too much graphic sex in movies billed as “romantic comedies.”

What’s funny about this is that I’d never seen a “James Bond” movie until this most recent one, and when I mentioned to James how fairly classy the sex scenes were, he indicated that they were always tame about that throughout the franchise. Based on my experiences with “light-hearted romps,” I was expecting some serious sweaty grinding and it was just not there. I’ve seen worse in cologne ads.

7) I want people to start calling me Miss Molly Maple and I want to wear a taffeta hat.

That’s it for now. I was going to write more, but I can’t remember any of it. Now you kids get off of my lawn or I’m going to turn on the sprinklers.

**UPDATE: 8) I make noise when I breathe. Just sitting here, right now, I’m not… but usually, if I’m lying down, especially, there will be whistles, wheezes, and even *gasp* snoring. It’s like I’m this water buffalo running uphill, and it’s disgusting!

This will be the last post I make from our Dallas-area RV park! Hopefully tomorrow night, we’ll be sleeping in the same beds, but a few hundred miles further south. We’re heading to Austin at the crack of dawn Monday, and we are uber-excited! I’ve loved our park here, but there is one thing I will not miss: The dang wooden borders they have on either side of the trailer spaces.

For whatever reason, we can’t use the entire space of the lot. There is a lawn-mower’s width of grass between each space. This renders my driveway about wide enough for 1.75 vehicles, which is inconvenient when, say 2.0 vehicles try to park alongside one another. Also, the border is so close to the termination of our stairs that nearly every guest we ever have over eventually trips over the posts.

Last week, I wrenched my ankle getting into the car, fell into the driver’s seat, hit the horn (thus delivering the false impression to my partner that I was honking for him to hurry up inside and decorating my right side with a heathy bruise), and I drive over or back over them all the time, likely causing unknown damage to my car.

Today, I was hauling stuff in when the end of one of them (they’re supposed to be end-to-end, but since I’ve driven over and displaced them, they’re just kind of laying there) caught my left pinky toe. I’m going to put a picture of it at the bottom of this post, and I’m warning you now that it’s kind of gross. So don’t scroll all the way down unless you enjoy the sight of blood. Our new park has paved streets and parking areas (as opposed to the gravel we have here; hopefully less car-vacuuming), as well as a paved sidewalk/walkway. I’m going to love that! I’m also going to try to find a contractor to build us a deck. Yep, that’s how I roll.

Can’t wait to be “home” at the new home! 🙂

Picture below…

 

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Someone posted this on Facebook, meaning to disparage me. I think it’s *awesome”! 😀 Happy Friday, everybody!

 

My super fun weekend continued today with a couple of job-related tasks I needed to get done. The first was fingerprinting for my eventual (hopeful) insurance license; the other was the test itself.

Obviously, I have had a lot going on, and in studying for my exam, I have found myself struggling mightily. In my academic life, I have never failed any test. I test extremely well. This isn’t because I’m so smart, but just because I don’t panic and I can kind of intuit answers, even if I’m not entirely sure what they’re supposed to be. However, this insurance stuff had me panicked. It would not stick to my brain.

The thing is, I have an incredible capacity for memorization. If I’ve ever bothered to learn the words to a song, I still know them. All.

Hand me a script, I’ll read through it twice, and by the third rehearsal, I’ll have my part pretty much sewn up. It just makes sense to me: the ebbs and flow of conversation, the seemingly unrelated injection here and there… My brain likes that kind of thing, and it eats it up.

I was a theater major. I read and wrote a lot. My brain loves literature and humor and cleverness and basically, insurance is the antithesis of that. It has numbers and dry facts and lots of regulations. And my near-middle-aged liberal arts brain was outright rejecting my efforts to cram information into it.

“No, thanks,” my brain would say, and I’d be on to trying to figure out how I could set my camera up to do a stop-motion video.

Plus, we’ve been so busy. My days blur into weeks, and Fridays when I teach are suddenly “tomorrow” and I haven’t bought supplies yet, and then it’s Tuesday and Zumba, and then it’s Thanksgiving. Planning to move, showing the trailer so often, trying to stay calm yet running almost constantly… That, too, has been a drain.

I have basically lived in denial about this day. I was a bit relieved, after the drama yesterday, to know that all I had to worry about was the test. No Ikea run whilst down there. No list-making. No spending money. Just the test. Likely the first test I would ever flunk. Just another diseased feather in my hat of crap. (You’re welcome.)

This morning, I dropped Daphne off at my parents’ and went over to find Sylvan Learning Center. I was going to Sylvan to be finger-printed. Weird combo to me, but the lady on the phone Thursday had made it very clear to me that Building 9 was Sylvan, not whatever the name of the fingerprinting agency was. Apparently, lots of people get lost looking for it. It’s in one of the dozens of strip malls in the parking area of the gigantic Stonebriar Centre. I did hear a lady who came in after me say, “We were looking for the name…”

Oh, that lady who told me exactly what to look for on Thursday? I had called the company because, unlike the testing facility, I had not received any confirmation on the fingerprinting. I went online to confirm my appointment and got an e-mail stating that they had no record of my registration. What?? So I called them. The lady on the phone said, “Actually, you’re scheduled for two slots. 12:20 and 12:30.” I remembered that. I’d thought I’d signed up for the 12:20 slot, but didn’t get a confirmation, so went back in to do it again and the 12:20 wasn’t available anymore. So I’d taken the 12:30 slot.

“I’ll take the 12:20,” I told her. “Okay. Well, you’re all paid up, so we’ll see you Saturday.” She then explained in detail where they were located.

Today, I got there about half an hour early, but figured that I would maybe squeeze in and give myself more time to get to the testing facility. I went inside, and watched the nice lady at the desk look all over her computer screen, trying to conjure my name out of nothing. I also noticed a grandpa-type inside the center, tutoring two young kids. They looked like they were having a good enough time for having to study on a Saturday.

My name wasn’t in the computer. She asked me to have a seat while she tried to call the main center. Then she had her manager e-mail and call. No one was available. We waited for an hour. No one got back to them. They couldn’t do my fingerprints. There are numbers associated with the whole insurance thing, and those would have been in the paperwork I had gotten in the confirmation e-mail had that been an actual thing. Which it wasn’t.

I left discouraged. Briefly. Then sucked it up and headed down the road.

The testing facility was in a really nice office building. I got there early and looked around. It was post-apocalyptic. There should have been someone at the front desk. There should have been someone in the sundry store. There was no one anywhere. Not in the shiny elevator bay. Not in the mail room. Not in the nice-smelling restrooms. It was creepy.

After I killed some time, I went ahead into the testing center. I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I took my real estate test in Nevada (That’s right; I had a real estate license at one point. Life’s crazy.), there were a bunch of us there, we all sat for the test together, and we had to fill it out on paper. With bubbles. And Number Two pencils.

This wasn’t the case today, though. Although my appointment wasn’t until 2, I was able to get checked in at 1:25. I placed everything I had with me except for my driver’s license in a provided locker. I asked the lady at the desk if I’d need my pencils. She said, “Everything you need for the examination will be given to you inside.”

She went to check something while I read over the instructions. There were things about how I couldn’t take unauthorized material into the room, and how, if I took a copious amount of breaks or consulted notes or made a phone call, I would be carted off to indentured servitude.

Then I was invited to go ahead and start testing. I had to sit with the proctor outside of the room full of computer terminals first. She took my info, took my picture (not a flattering one, either… between rain, wind, and a super low mega-pixel webcam), had me turn out my pockets and push up my sleeves, wanded my front, turned me around, had me sweep my back pockets, wanded my back, and gave me two sharpened pencils and a yellow booklet of scratch paper.

She invited me to follow her into the room, and asked me to stand at the door while she prepared my computer. As she did, I looked down at the scratch paper and noticed that I was to turn it back in when I left the test. It reminded me of the story Daphne and I just read called “Matched.” In their society, every piece of paper is accounted for.

When I glanced back up, she was silently motioning to me that I could join her. She patted me on the shoulder and walked away.

So it started. 150 (and a few bonuses, for research purposes) questions. About insurance. At about 90 questions, I started getting sleepy. After I’d been there an hour, there was a break. I skipped it, because I was more than 2/3 of the way through and I just wanted to get finished.

That ridiculous webcam picture grinned apishly at me from the upper right corner of the screen through the entire test. By the time I was in the 120s, I was having difficulty staying awake. It as literally boring me to sleep. I had marked about six questions I wanted to review when I was finished with the exam, so I went back through and checked those… Then I decided that it might be a good idea to go ahead and check all of the questions.

I ended up changing several answers, and I don’t know if those were good moves or bad moves, except on two questions where I realized that in one, they had used “all” in the answer I had chosen (which typically indicates that it is NOT the correct option) and then the other one, where I had somehow skipped the word “exclusion” in a different answer, and that made it the correct choice. Otherwise, I might have been changing right answers into wrong ones. Reviewing the questions squeezed every last drop of thought process I had left. My brain felt like it had been pushed through a strainer. Probably half of the questions, I just thought, “Is this material something to which I have ever been exposed??”

At the end of the testing process, there were a series of optional survey-type questions I took. Then all of a sudden, it said, “Your test results will appear on the next screen…” then some blah blah about how that didn’t guarantee anything. I hadn’t realized I’d be given the results in such an immediate fashion. That fight-or-flight blood-drain from the legs that happens the second you realize that, yes, that cop IS pulling you over happened. I nervously clicked and scanned the page for the magic number (because there were a lot of them).

I had to make a 70% to pass the test. I had made… 70%. Exactly. Which would be a C in school, and totally unacceptable for me. Unless it was in business math. I gave myself leniency in that one. And PE.

Relief washed over me, and I started to cry. I tried to suck it up, not wanting to disturb anyone else, or have them think that I had failed the test. I gathered up my pencils and paper and headed out to the proctor’s desk. As I put it down, she looked up at me and I had to tell her, “I’m sooo happy. I’ve had the worst day, but I just passed my test.” She broke into a big grin, then cocked her head, and asked, “Can I give you a hug?”

She got up from her desk, rounded it to where I was, and hugged me. “You deal with so much bad; it’s great to have something good happen. Good for you.”

So now I just have to try not to lose that notarized paper before I apply for my license. What are the odds?

Here’s the story of a lovely lady…

A gal walks in to a leasing office…

Nah, we need a straight start. After months of planning and paperwork and recreational vehicle marketing, today was the day I was to sign my lease and move into my apartment.

The leasing agent needed a couple of minutes, so I sat in the lobby, trying to dig my check book from the recesses of my Josh-Tesh-called-me-insecure-ly large purse.

As she was finishing up, she called out, “Have you had your electricity switched over yet?”

I said, “Um… no. Do I need to?”

“In the next couple of days.”

“But that’s included in the rent, right?”

“No. You’re responsible for that.”

“When I came in, the first lady I talked to told me that it was included.”

She could see that I was getting upset.

“Oh, Laura. I’m sorry. Come on in…”

I said, “I can’t afford the rent here plus utilities.”

She said something about trying to get my deposit back, but my head was already a million miles away. It was swimming through the muddy goo of trying to figure out whether I should backpedal or plow ahead. I’d already sold the trailer. I had a car full of stuff for the new apartment. A friend had half of an apartment full of furniture that she’d planned to give me. She’d kept it in her house for weeks and weeks, waiting for me to get moved in.

Some people had come in to talk about renting, and she said she’d be right with them. She was trying to close the door, I assume because she didn’t want them to see me crying and have it reflect poorly on their establishment. Maybe she thought that I cared. I didn’t.

“I have to go outside.”

I sat down on a curb to think, but my head wouldn’t work. I called my best friend and got voice mail. Funny how that works. Duh. I should ask God.

“What do I do?” I asked him. “You have to fix this for me.”

That was my first instinct: we’ve come this far; I go through with it, and trust that God will straighten it all out. He can provide, if this is where we are supposed to live.

But as I repeated, “What do I do? What do I do?” I got a couple of things, and they were consistent with each other:

1) When you thought rent included utilities, the price of this place was still about $100 more than you felt entirely comfortable spending. You could swing it, you knew, by cutting out all superfluous spending and maybe picking up more shops. But the $100 was a source of mild stress; think about how much more $200 is going to be. Plus, think of the money you still need to spend on beds, book shelves, night stands, etc.

2) Remember what you told someone today? About what a Type A you are, but how you have packed nothing yet? Even knowing you have to be out by Monday night? You haven’t packed. You don’t have to move back in. You’re already home.

Eventually, I went back inside without knowing exactly what I was going to do. The girl was still with the new people, and I heard her tell them that they had to pay electric and water. I wish she had been the one who’d me with me initially. That woman is on vacation until Tuesday. That woman is going to talk to me again, and here’s why.

When the people finally left, I went back into the girl’s office. She said, “I talked to my manager, and she said that we can try to get your deposit back, but she’s not sure that we can.”

Right then, I realized that I didn’t want to live with these people. Oh, they’ll get my deposit back. I placed that deposit with them in good faith that the verbal representations made to me were true. Also, half of the deposit was a pet deposit, and my cats have never entered the premises.

So I just stood up and walked out. She apologized down the entry way behind me, and I just looked at her and said, “I sold my trailer. I was supposed to move in today.”

That doesn’t even make sense. But it’s what I said.

When I got home, I texted my trailer buyer and returned his deposit on eBay. I apologized. He was very disappointed. I apologized again.

I went to PetSmart and returned the litter box and the cat perch. I went to Wal-Mart and returned the microwave and shower curtains. I kept the toilet paper. That’s always a wise purchase.

And as I did these things, I calmed down. People called. They texted. They reached out. I felt a calm about not having to stretch my budget to the limit. I was glad that my weekend opened up so much. I have an important day tomorrow and am glad that I will just have the important on which to concentrate, and not purchasing furnishings. I have a mystery shop on Sunday, and am going to see a friend I rarely see anymore. It will be a good day.

Walking out with my fun and healthy groceries (I spent more than I usually do, but I wanted to get some good stuff that Daphne would happily eat, considering it a treat), I felt peace. All was well.

Daphne is disappointed, but she was disappointed when I told her we were going to move. She eventually did what we all do, which is adapt and then adopt. She loves the trailer, though.

I love the trailer. Apparently not all of my friends feel comfortable there, and that is where my major disappointment lies. I was looking forward to having friends visit me and feel as much at home at we did. As we do, even in our special little box. That is the one thing that saddens me still.

We have been in the trailer for nearly a year. I applied for a job as a dorm advisor in August, ready to commit to that for a year. But right now, it feels like a year’s commitment might be too long. That God might have something planned that I don’t expect, and I should be free for that. Maybe that’s just the coping mechanism kicking in.

Whatever it is, we’re officially still trailer trash. Thanks for riding with us…

My employer asked me that question today. Practically anyone who’s ever happened to look at my hands asks me the same thing. When I got my finger tattoo, the artist asked me if I worked around acid, warning me that it would really mess up my tattoo were that the case.

The story is undramatic and weird in a sense, but it’s sort of been a running theme in my life. So I’ll tell you about it and then you won’t have to ask.

The things on my pinkies and pointer fingers are all calluses. I chew on my fingers. I suppose it’s a nervous habit, although I do it more then I’m deep in thought than nervous, per se. I have done this since I was five or so. Almost as long as I can remember.

I remember that my parents had to intervene to make me stop sucking my thumb, and then once, when I was kindergarten-ish age, we were watching something on television that scared me and I asked if I could have permission to suck my thumb just that once to calm myself down.

Somehow, I guess, that means to self-comfort turned into chewing on my outside fingers. This wasn’t a conscious choice, but I’m guessing that I picked those fingers because they’re the most easily accessible. It’s an odd thing, isn’t it? Does anyone else do it?

Every adult I can remember having any involvement in my life has tried to “make” me stop chewing my fingers. My Mema was one of the most ardent, calling me out about it before a table full of guests, probably trying to shame me out of it. That didn’t work.

Nor did the Thum that my parents applied liberally to my fingers when I was about late elementary/junior high aged. I would just chew through the burn and it would go away. (And hope I got all of that taken care of before I forgot that it was on and rubbed my eye with a pepper-stained finger.)

My first husband would remind me when he saw me to “Stop chewing your finger.”

This might have to do with my issues with authority as well as my need for efficiency, but it frustrates me to this day how much time was wasted by all of the probably thousands of “stop chewing your finger”s I have heard over the years. Novels could have been written. Encouragement given. Cancer cured. But it was so important for everyone to tell me to stop chewing my finger. I wonder why it was so important.

Is it because it’s strange? Or gross? Or destructive?

Why do people care if I do it?

I mean, I care. I don’t like the looks of the calluses on my fingers. I chew my fingers mindlessly and will often not even notice, until I realize that my finger is damp… and I don’t remember doing it. There has been one time in my life that I successfully stopped long enough for the calluses to heal. It was within the past year, and I was so happy about it… until a really stressful thing happened, and I started again. So perhaps it IS a nervous habit. Or maybe I just have to have so much emotional and mental energy free to concentrate on the “not.”

I also bite my nails. I can stop that for longer, but my nails get to a certain length and break off, and I hate catching my hair and scratching myself on scraggly nails, so I usually tire of the maintenance involved and give up on it.

Combined with the fact that I drink (most satisfactorily out of a straw) constantly, there is a pretty good case that I have an oral fixation.

So. If you happen to notice, you can have confidence that: 1) it’s not an acid burn, 2) it’s not a fungus, 3) it’s not contagious, and, unfortunately, 4) it’s probably not going anywhere.

What about you? Do you have anything you do that you don’t totally understand and would stop if it were enough of a priority for you to devote some serious attention to it? No? It must be just me…

Jim is worried.

This was the hottest summer on record, during which Daphne and I learned something that is highly useful to know: Our trailer is not very well insulated. We spent all summer hemorrhaging cool air and money. The a/c ran constantly, but we were always on the verge of gym-level sweating. Michael lent us a fan, which we used to its breaking point. Now that the heat has abated (for the most part), we are grateful to come home to what feels positively chilly at this point.

But Gus knows something we all know in the back of our minds, but about which I haven’t thought about much, what with the near-melting: Winter’s coming.

Gus’s solution, which he offered back in April when we were moving, is, “You should be living here.” Gus has a house. A big house. With two cats and lots of stuff left over from three lives. Aside from the fact that the house isn’t entirely child-friendly, and aside from my knowledge that living with a pre-teen is probably more exhausting than Gus realizes or for which he likely has no tolerance, there is one gigantic truth that prevails: I do not need to live among the humans.

I do not do well with roommates. I never have.

When I was a child, if Britt woke me up after I’d finally drifted off for the night, I would freak out. My parents got so angry with me for my yelling and crying.

Back in the days of church camp, I made fast enemies insisting that everybody quiet down when I was ready to call it a night. How they could giggle into the night was beyond me… and not just because I was bitter that they’d somehow all managed to buddy up while I excelled mostly at repelling other girls.

The one semester of college during which I lived in a dorm, my roommate was a girl who’d been my best friend since we were four years old. I loved her. What I didn’t love was that her pre-med major means she spent late nights out in bogs trapping native microorganisms for research, then would come home smelling of stagnant water, throw her clothes on the floor (no time to clean up! Pre-med = study study study), then turn on her study/go-to-sleep sountrack: A Linda Ronstadt CD I heard every single night of my fall 1990 life, except when I went home to visit.

I was about to describe our living conditions, but if you are familiar with The Odd Couple, you can just imagine that.

Right now, I’m going to own up to something: I am not an easy person with whom to live. I have quirks and hang-ups and preferences and do not do well with compromising. I realize that I live with another person, but she’s a child. She’s petulant but ultimately compliant, and we tend to come to some sort of middlish ground because we know we don’t have a choice.

While I appreciate Gus’s worry that Daphne and I will become popsicles, and agree with his assertion that I would save several thousand dollars a year sharing housing with him (he says I need only pitch in on the electricity bill), cohabitating with an unrelated male leads to a whole other set of complications.

For one, to date, Gus genuinely believes that I am flatus-free. I’d hate to destroy his picture-perfect vision of the wonder that is moi.

Additionally, late-night snacks would require a level of dressing to which I am unaccustomed.

Even though Daphne, Gus, and I would know the truth, having a dude for a roommate might look bad to some people and, while I’m not fussed by the scrutiny, I don’t want Daphne to have to answer for my decisions.

So we’re staying put. We love the trailer. We enjoy our park. And we super like having the freedom to keep the hours we want, be as loud as we want, and act like goofy gooberheads whenever we feel like it. In short, we are living the dream, baby. Living the dream!

Five months ago, my daughter, Daphne, and I moved into an RV park. Permanently. I love it when people ask me what my long-term plan is, as though this is just some tragic stopover in a misplanned life. This is it, baby. And we’re loving it.

We have lived here long enough that the novelty has worn off, long enough that we know it’s not the newness but the lifestyle that we enjoy. We’ve lived here long enough to make friends who have since moved on. We’ve lived here long enough to know how properly to flush the toilet so that the stuff doesn’t back up and have to be coaxed on with the “poop stick.” We’ve lived here long enough to get to know one of the managers, who just died of a heart attack. We’ve lived here long enough to survive the worst month of weather events (hail, tornadoes, severe windstorms) in recent history, and our travel trailer is still standing.