Machines, Music and Making Do
Even though I have not been traveling in a physical sense, I have definitely been on a journey. Most likely you have too, or at least a quest, trying to find a way out of, into or around this new world we live in. Because of my extreme chickenshitedness (yes, of course that's a real word!) and my inner (only) child's willingness to spend a lot of time alone, I choose to avoid as many people as I can for as long as I can. If that seems unrealistic to you and maybe a bit 'tetched in the head', I can't disagree. But for now that is my strategy.
MACHINES: My main machine, Wanda, gave me shelter and comfort all winter long and got me home to Nathrop safe and sound on April 26. Other machines have been less dependable. My old hot water heater was the first one to demand attention. Luckily my neighbor Chris needed to go Lowes, 86 miles away in Silverthorne. I ordered a new water heater online and he picked it up and installed it (from the outside of my trailer, because he is people) a few days later. A couple of pipe leaks and curling floorboards in the bathroom later, it is now secure, hot, and shower-worthy. Score!
My little Subaru started right up after sitting all winter. But three weeks ago I decided to go into town for a grocery pick-up (thank you, Simple Eatery!) and saw not one, but three, engine lights. Wanda to the rescue. Fingers crossed that I am in the 50% of Subaru owners who solved the same problem with a new gas cap, according to Google. Today my new cap will arrive; shipping speed isn't what it used to be. Maybe score two?
When you don't see a lot of people, you don't need to change clothes much, but eventually things pile up. The laundry room in Chateau Chaparral is closed indefinitely and although The Missing Sock in Buena Vista is nice, there are people there. So I turned to Amazon and found a cute little electric washer that had decent reviews. It arrived via the slow boat from China. I fill it up with my hand-held shower thingy and can wash 6-10 items at a time on the agitator side. It does a surprisingly good job of getting things clean. Unfortunately, the spin tub doesn't work but the troubleshooting manual was so helpful. Possible cause: “Splice screw is too loose” Fix: “Tighten splice screw”.
So I emailed the seller asking: What the and where the frick is the splice screw? Not really, I was nice. After several emails including pictures and video, they decided they could not send me a part to fix it and offered me a refund, plus I got to keep the washer by playing the old lady card. I just have to wring everything out by hand which is neither fun nor effective. Luckily in our dry climate the heaviest items go from dripping wet to dry in about four hours. Score two and a half?
MUSIC: When I am not hiking, I am spending most of my time on creative things. I get my watercolors wet at least twice a week and have been drawing. Writing is always enjoyable. But my main focus has been on expanding my knowledge of music and playing better ukulele. I discovered jollyrogerukulele.com which is run by a teacher in Denver. He has free live lessons on YouTube every weekday and his focus is on playing the uke as a solo instrument instead of just strumming chords and singing. It is coming along slowly and I have learned a lot even though he is a big talker. Tonight he is adding a weekly “Summer Institute” where he will teach music theory, composing songs, transposing to different keys, playing fingerstyle, etc. I am excited, because this kind of playing will be perfect on my new lilac Lava ukulele which I have not seen yet because it was a delayed Christmas gift that arrived in February and is awaiting me at Joe and Jen's house. As you might assume, they are people, and therefore off limits at this time.
Every day I play and sing (not well, just enthusiastically) a modified version* of the “The End of the Line” by The Traveling Wilburys. It's an upbeat, happy song and its refrain “It's All Right!” makes me think maybe it really IS all right. I often watch the video on YouTube for the same reason. If you don't know this group, it is comprised of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and a couple more extremely talented musicians whose faces I can see but whose names I can't recall right now. I hate when that happens! Check it out if you need something happy to listen to.
Just before the coronavirus hit, I finished writing my second song. The first one is a parody called “Lurlene” that I cannot release because Dolly Parton will sue me when it goes viral. The latest song is called “This Wandering Life of Mine” and one of these days I will record it on my iPad. Actually, I have recorded it a gazillion times but always find a way to screw it up, because it is very stressful to be recorded, even if it's only by oneself. I will try again after my online order from Nakedwine.com arrives.
MAKING DO: I have not been inside a grocery store since mid-March, relying on two deliveries in Arizona, one pick-up in Buena Vista, and online shopping through Vita-Cost, Rancho Gordo beans, and Amazon. I finally scored some flour and a 1-lb. package of yeast (damn, that's a lot of yeast) to make bread and will try baking it in my solar oven. I have planned to go to Whole Foods or City Market more than once, but when the time comes I think, “You have plenty of food. Make do with what you have”. Then, I do. I made my own hot sauce from dried peppers from Italy (too frickin' hot for my wimpy palate); a vegan cheese spread from cashews and homemade rejuvelac; “polenta” made from millet; a one-pot pasta dish using coconut milk which sounds weird but is delicious and creamy, and not “coconutty”. It's been fun. Next Friday our local CSA share starts and I will reluctantly schlep into BV for a weekly pick-up until October. If it is only half as productive (and yummy) as last year's, I will not starve.
My sewing machine is in Denver, so I made three masks using iron-on hemming tape and finishing by hand. I needed more dishcloths so I crocheted them. I wanted a pretty valance for one of my windows, so I cut the side seam of a skirt I never wear and hung it up. I plan to brave a nursery this week to buy dirt so I can plant my tomato (a gift from my neighbor) along with some herbs and flowers. Mask and sanitizer will be at the ready in case of, you know, people.
Machines, again: Wanda's cupboards and carpets are now clean and I am re-loading her with clothes, toiletries and TP so that she will be ready to roll whenever I am. Because as much fun (ha!) as this journey is, I am ready for a real one. How about you?
*Eugene modified the lyrics for van dwellers, and he, Radar and I played it several times before the virus screwed up our debut. He has written tons of songs and is in the process of organizing them into an album. When he becomes famous I can get you his autograph, because I know things.......