It’s 7:22 PM and There’s Nothing I Need To Do About It

Best Beloved had left a handful of baby things out by the fence with a ‘Free’ sign. I set the dead empty computer cases out there, too.

Except, not the one which had both a hard drive to bring Computer A back to life and the video card to bring Server B back to life. That one I gutted. Then I put it back out there.

They’re all gone, taken by someone who collects old dead tin boxes, most likely.

They called about the brakes on the van. “There’s nothing wrong with your front brakes.”

“I know. They’re new. We needed the back brakes checked.”

“Oh. They didn’t tell me that. I can’t check your back brakes because your tires are delaminating, and I can’t legally put them back on if I take them off.”

“So, you can’t check the brakes unless I buy tires first?”

“Right.”

And then I wouldn’t have money for brakes. Huh. First things first.

“If you replace the tires, how much is it to check the brakes?”

“No charge just to check them.”

“Ok. Go.” I like to say that to see who starts humming This Too Shall Pass.

They called back an hour later. “Your brakes are fine. Some dust in there; we blew it out so they wouldn’t shudder like that, but the brakes have plenty left.”

So, the money we’d set aside for brakes, not knowing how we were going to pay for tires, too, paid for tires, because we didn’t need the brakes after all.

Then we had pancakes for dinner, which made it whatever is the next step better than a perfect day.

Guest Post by Caitlyn James: Who Are These Canfields?

Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
Caitlyn 'Smokie' James
I’ve busted in here to ask you something. It’s Caitlyn … the Canfields will be staying at our place in August.

Joel & Sue agreed to give me some space to do a fun little post pre-launch of their nomad’s adventure. I’ll hit send before they can do a full proof-read. You’ll see why.

Seriously, folks, who are these Canfields? Have any of you met them in person? Would you let them stay in your house?

I don’t have time to be cautious and subtle so I apologize in advance for being a bit crass….

First, I get they’ll be living in the house so opening up the medicine cabinet is reasonable. We’ll take most of the anti-psychotic drugs with us; the Warfarin can be moved into the shed – we rarely use it for people, but we have friends with a tendency to forget to go home and at the right dose, the Warfarin just makes them feel a little woozy and they decide it’s time to go. Nothing serious. Of course, we use it on the pests, too, but it smells so nasty when they die in the walls. Anyway, my question is, are Joel and Sue the kind of people who will use up your Tylenol if you leave half a bottle sitting there?

Second, Fiona seems like a cute kid, but is she really 6? Apparently, she reads chapter books, flies at the sight of dogs, and has her own website. Makes me wonder if this is one of those sting operations the cops do when they pose as teenagers online to lure pedophiles. In this case, someone may have mentioned all the 6 foot deep holes we’ve been digging in the yard. The cops may have set up this kind-of-quirky family to infiltrate our home and networks. Fiona may very well be a donut eating 35-year-old with his own kid in kindergarten.

You see where I’m going with this. The Canfields might not be normal.

There’s this other thing. We LOVE our dog. Not in that nutty way that people can be with dog nail polish and bows in the hair; it’s just that we don’t see why people make their dogs eat on the floor. RK (Racoon Killer) has his dog dish on the table when we eat our dinner. I’m afraid Joel might try to change this. I dunno, I’m thinking he might be worried when RK takes an innocent little lick off Fiona’s plate. Problem is, RK has never taken direction all that well. Without a whole long story, let’s just point out that I only have 3 fingers on one hand. That’s 3 fingers total, out of 2 hands total. My question to you? Do you think I should tell them in advance about this?

As long as they don’t deviate from the regular routines nothing will go wrong.

In fact, I’m writing up some stuff for them (you can read about that at http://ImaginingBetter.com on July 7th) so they will know what the routines are and a few helpful hints. Don’t look Bruce, the neighbour, in the eye, that kind of thing. It’s a nice neighbourhood, but Bruce is a little touchy. Most of the rest of them just leave us alone. Walk on the other side of the street, skip us when collecting for charities – really respectful. Not too many nosey parkers.

Other than feeding the dog, we aren’t expecting much. Lock the doors when you leave, water the crop on schedule. Harvest time should coincide nicely with the Visa bill arrival, if the watering is done right. That’s it.

If there’s anything you believe is important for us to know before we turn our house and our dog and the crop over to Joel, Sue, and Fiona (if that’s even who they really are) can you leave some comments here… or send me an email, easy2remember@caitlynjames.com, you know, so they don’t intercept the communication?

Yikes, gotta go. Send.

Where We’re Going, Metaphorically Speaking

I’m feeling fairly squished and tentative today, but I’m going to soldier on and share the goals Sue and I talked about Tuesday night when we couldn’t sleep.

We realized that what was important to us was not what we had or did, but what this gave Fiona, so our goals are based on that.

Subject to change upon discovery, and all the other usual disclaimers apply:

We want to be living without a house or car before Fiona turns 7 in March of 2011, and before she turns 10, she will have slept and eaten in a private home on all six of the accessible continents.

I’m leaving out Antarctica, partly because it’s dangerous and spectacularly difficult to get there, but primarily because there is no culture for her to absorb, no new human understanding for a small child there.

We thought the criteria of eating and sleeping in a private home would be a simple thing to measure, and the right thing to measure. Did she experience a slice of real life with everyday people? That’s all we’re hoping for right now.

Why We’re Not Crazy

Amidst all the excitement and enthusiasm, some very real consternation has surfaced among some who know us. Since its source is their genuine concern for us, and since others may well be thinking the same things, I thought it was time to clarify things so y’all know you don’t have to worry about us.

First and foremost, I will never knowingly endanger my family’s well-being or happiness. My primary job is to care for my wife and daughter, in part, by caring for myself.

And the first of the first is our spiritual well-being. Whether or not you share a specific religious bent, you certainly realise that there is more to life than what we eat and what we wear. I know that there are things more important than me, that the Greater Good outweighs my personal benefit, and, by extension, my family’s. We plan to continue, and, if possible, increase our volunteer work, and have plans in place to reinforce ourselves to offset the potential instability traveling can introduce.

Which brings up the second point: stability. Don’t we need a home, a car, a fixed place, to provide our daughter the life a 6-year-old needs?

No, we don’t. What she needs is not things, but people. The love of her family, undivided attention, counsel and guidance, correction and discipline, play and adventure—those, she needs. She does not need to live in the same house for five years, or know that the store is only five minutes by car. Those are luxuries which the bulk of the world lives without every single day. I want her to know that.

As far as luxuries, here’s a sneaky little tidbit: I firmly believe our standard of living is about to experience a serious upgrade. Now, we’re pretty frugal. We live a simple life. But not a life of deprivation. We love good food. We love sitting in front of a great movie on TV. We love good music (and my room full of musical instruments and recording equipment.) We like sturdy fun clothing, and maybe more than anything else, we like sleeping in a nice soft bed.

I’m not giving that stuff up. We’re not planning on using our backpacks for pillows as we collapse exhausted under the hedgerows. That’s no kind of life, and not what we’re seeking.

But we’re not materialistic. We have far more stuff than we could possibly need or will ever use. If we got rid of 90% of it, we’d barely miss it. Even if we decide to call this whole adventure off, that’s still gonna happen because we’re just plain tired of being responsible for all this stuff.

How can we possibly make a living if we’re traveling? Well, my short answer to that is, I sure haven’t been wildly successful making a living by not traveling. My last two jobs disappeared overnight when the companies shut down. Our own companies have started growing, finally, and that’s the very reason travel has become essential. There is plenty of work for us, but for now, we need to go to the work, since it’s not coming to us.

Aren’t we biting off more than we can chew? Not yet. Sure, there’s a banquet on the table. Right now, we’ve simply put a nice salad on our plate. The only thing we’ve committed to at this point is that we’ll be in Vancouver for most of the month of August. After that, we could come home and announce that the experiment is over and we’re done. It’s not likely, but for now, we’re not committing to anything without knowing what we’re getting ourselves into. This is an experiment, and each step is a gentle testing of the ground to ensure that we don’t lose our footing.

Sure; I’ve shared some wild goals here, talking about living without most of our possessions, a home and car, all that. It’s still the plan.

But plans change. We can’t foretell the future any better than anyone else. But we’d rather choose a future and try to make it happen than to simply sit here and let life be something which happens to us.

We’re seeking a simpler life, not a more complicated one. We’re trying to need less stuff and have more time.

We’ve settled on some tentative goals; I’ll share those later. But even those are subject to review and adjustment every step of the way.

Like I said: we know we can swim, but we’re still gonna make sure there’s water in the pool before we jump in.

Go Has No Deadline

Joel, Sue, Fiona
The plan was to announce our decision next Monday, June 28th, at noon. Well, that was what I wrote, anyway.

The plan was to decide before then, not wait until then.

And, it’s decided. No point waiting. When you know, you know.

Vancouver,
we are ‘go’
for launch.

If we come, they had better build it

The Reasons Haven’t Changed

It’s going like gangbusters. We have sponsors. We have prospects for work above and beyond what we’d normally be doing in August. We have what we’d normally be doing in August, still happening. Support. Cheers from the crowd. Enthusiasm and excitement.

And I found myself thinking, boy, now we have to go.

No we don’t. Not if we’re doing it because of someone else, we don’t. That’s what this is all about, doing what we expect from ourselves instead of what others expect.

So hear this: if we change our minds, we can give the sponsorship funds back. If we make one trip and decide we’re not nomads after all, we can stay home.

Sorry; no, I’m not talking to you.

I’m talking to me.