Sunday, December 21, 2008

Can you really go home again?

It's been a good trip from Coffeyville, Kansas last week to San Diego today. A good friend from San Diego flew into Tulsa for my birthday last Friday, and we were able to spend two days together. I showed him my new house in Bartlesville, OK; we saw a wonderful art exhibit at the Price Tower--"Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things," in which artists transformed common objects such as audio tapes, floppy disks, water bottles, newspapers, old clothes, and more into work of art. One of my favorites were the rugs made from old clothes. Fascinating! The ultimate in recycling. We also wandered through the Gilcrease Museum of the Americas in Tulsa, the world's largest, most comprehensive collection of art and artifacts of the American West. There was too much to see in one day, but the Ansel Adams photography exhibit was outstanding.

After he left, I met an old friend from Kanab, Utah last year in Mineral Wells, Texas. She and I talked forever, catching up with a year's worth of stuff, including their new house in Nebraska, my new house in Oklahoma, their workamping plans for this coming season, their new German Shepherd, a real sweet dog, and much, much more.

From there I headed west to Hobbs, New Mexico and stayed overnight with a friend's dad and his wife. She has a magnificent collection of Barbie dolls, more than I've ever seen in one place. I had no idea there were so many different Barbies. I enjoyed visiting them quite a bit even though they were probably ready to toss me out after I finished the crossword puzzle before they did. Thank you, M. for setting up that visit.

From Hobbs, I headed south into Texas again, then west and north to Las Cruces, New Mexico, opting to stay at an RV park in order to do some needed laundry. The park is behind a motel owned by the same owners; the shower facilities are former motel rooms with everything removed but the sink, toilet, tub, and shower. I've never seen a bathtub in an RV park.

From Las Cruces to Tucson, Arizona and a stay with M.'s son and wife - a very charming couple. Both are in the Air Force and travel quite a bit. They made homemade pizza (delicious!) for dinner and we talked a lot. I'd love to visit them again on my way back to Oklahoma to see the Airplane Graveyard and eat at Magpie's Pizza.

After Tucson, an overnight stop in the desert near Yuma to boondock with another friend. We took a long walk and caught up with what's been happening since October, cooked hot dogs over a campfire, and drank wine. He's only been fulltiming for about a year and was very interested in my reasons for deciding to move back into a house.

Finally, into San Diego, CA this afternoon to my mother's place, a mobile home park that does not allow anyone to park overnight on the streets in the park. Since my RV would definitely not fit under her carport, I needed to take out everything I needed for my stay and find a place to park it. Luckily I've got a friend with large enough property up in the hills, so my little home is safe and secure. We visited with them for a while this afternoon as I hadn't seen them in almost two years.

The traveling was excellent. I enjoyed driving the RV without towing the pickup, which made a definite positive difference in the handling as well as the gas mileage. It was so wonderful to be able to fill the tank for $45 instead of $145 as I had to do in October.

However, I called this entry "Can you really go home again," for a good reason because I'm really wondering if that's possible, expecially when a person is 62 and their mother is 83. I agree that the past two years of fulltime RVing and working on the road aren't easy to explain to someone who thrives on consistency, on living in the same place and working at the same job for a long time. I feel so understood and comfortable with all my workamping friends, and have loved the places I've been able to work. Changing jobs every few months is a fact of life for us workampers and is what makes our lifestyle so interesting. I've done things and seen places that I've wanted to do and see since high school. And I've made some lifelong friends as well.

Unfortunately, my mother sees it as changing my mind all the time, not being able to stick to anything, not being able to hold a full-time job, and so forth. I'm so old that her criticism no longer bothers me much. However, I'd love to find a way to help her understand that my life for these past few years has probably been one of the happiest times of my life. The question is: Do I really need to? Probably not. But her criticism of my decision to rent and possibly buy the house in Oklahoma, made during a visit to two old friends, was quite uncomfortable. I'd like to chalk it up to age and to her need for security. I really don't need her approval. But, sometimes it would be nice to feel a little more attempt at understanding.

My reasons for the decision are these: a need to have a garden again, to grow fantastic vegetables and flowers; a need to get another piano and resume my lifelong love of playing; a need to have room for sewing, quilting, and other hobbies; and a need for a permanent home in a place small enough for actual community. And I believe I've found it. I'd like for her to be happy for me. Maybe that will come in time, with a visit or two. Maybe she and I will be able to talk enough on my visit here that she is able to understand my lifestyle enough to no longer consider me such a flake. At least that would be nice.

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate (or cigar) in one hand, champagne (or beer) in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming......“WOO HOO what a ride!”

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