Today was the LONGEST work day I’ve had in YEARS.

Physical labor. Not much sitting down at all. Moving moving moving.

My feet are tired, my little corn on my left toe is screaming (ok, whining) and I’m just POOPED but I loved pretty much every minute.

We got up at 6:30am to get a jump on the bathrooms. It’s just not right to wait to clean a bathroom “between visitors” you know what I mean? So our goal was to clean those puppies BEFORE anyone woke up.

It was 34 degrees when the sun broke over the mountain and slightly illuminated our bedroom.

Randy hurried over to flick on the heater and then get coffee roaring. Ahhhh….I love our little house because the smell of the coffee just pours into the bedroom (which just happens to be 10 feet away).

Small House. Little Living. Trailer Life. I am still enjoying it despite the few things I am also missing (can’t lie).

We got our morning chores done and reported to The Kiosk to find out how many campsites would need to be cleaned (a job I really enjoy). It’s been averaging 20-30 sites every day with people coming and going. We are responsible for about 125 campsites and 6 bathrooms (9 toilets, 12 sinks and 3 urinals [gross!!]). This was the first shocker when we took this new job in June Lake. Our Lake George campground had 16 sites, two bathrooms (6 toilets).

WHAT AM I MISSING?

As a day rolls by I realize old habits or comforts that I am missing. Today I had plenty of time to remember them as I did my zen-raking on each campsite.

Manicures and pedicures. The weather here is dry and being at 9,000 elevation (Lake George) put a strain on my cuticles something FIERCE. I have been soaking my feet and caring for my fingers and toes but there is NOTHING like a Spa Mani/Pedi from Tammy at The Nails Spa in Simi Valley, California. If you live there don’t be a fool…book an appointment. You’re welcome.

Internet. We did NOT plan this very well. Ever heard of throttling? Yeah, they really do that if you exceed a certain amount of data.

News. I can’t believe I miss news. Like LOCAL stuff and then super broad stuff. I am overwhelmed when I finally GET Internet and then have to choose from 200 places. I just want actual FACTS not blown up inflated opinions. So, I guess I’ll never get that.

Music and Current Movies. WHAT IS HAPPENING?? I need more Apple money I guess. They want to charge so much to get a movie and we are on a tight budget which has resulted in watching Tombstone 20 times. Thankfully I found a thrift store and within it discovered three amazing movies! 50-cents each. WHaaaaa??? We get home and pop them in only to discover they are the “Disc 2” filled with…NOTHING I AM INTERESTED IN. Back to square one. If you have a movie/DVD and don’t want it anymore feel free to send it to SARITA SHOEMAKER General Delivery June Lake, CA 93529. I will pay it forward and donate it to a good place.

Washer and Dryer. I think we washed clothing every day when we had the set. Now we do laundry when we have ONE pair of underwear left or we get a whiff of the dog beds. I think we did pretty good on the amount of clothing (and we have uniform shirts which helps) needed. I will need to purchase another pair or two of my favorite Kuhl outdoor slacks for the winter and some long underwear too. On the flip side: I should begin a page of all of the Laundry Mats we have used since we began, their prices and cleanliness. I do like getting ALL of my laundry done within 60 minutes!

MY FREAKING CLOUD! What is the use of having the Cloud (MAC) if you don’t have WIFI to UPDATE THE FREAKING THING. Right now I have two devices NOT talking to each other properly. I did not realize how valuable The iCloud was until we hit the road. Dang it.

Bathtub. My entire life (sans being locked up in Scientology) I took a bath every single day of my life before bed. My mom wouldn’t let us go to bed without one. I spent a ton of time sitting with my mom while she bathed talking about “stuff”. The bathtub is something I long for and realized that I would only get if we stayed at a hotel. WELL WE PLAN TO STAY AT A HOTEL SOON AND OMG I AM TAKING A BATH ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL DAY AND NIGHT!!!!!! Ha ha ha ha!! I can’t wait. Meanwhile I figured out how to wash my hair, shave the necessary lady-parts and cleanse my face with my favorite face cleanser without using ALL of the hot water. Randy says things will sure be different when it is below freezing EVERY day. Oh yes, that’s a fact JACK!

THINGS I’VE LEARNED TO LOVE AGAIN EVEN MORE

I also had plenty of time to reflect on what has grown in width and depth (maybe that is because I spend more time appreciating things than I have before).

Weather. So far we have had every type of weather except snow (which is coming!). I watch the skies more and can smell the weather changing. When I open my eyes in the morning (and my bed is 1 foot from a window that we always keep open) I take a deep breath in through my nose keeping my eyes closed to imagine what the weather will be.

Deep and sincere friends. I grew up in an age where we passed notes (wish I had some of those), made SLAM Books, had parties, went to foot ball games and talked into the night about the cutest boys ever. Then I went off the rails and became part of a cult where trust was only with one person. Friends did not exist! No, I am not kidding. I learned how untrustworthy people were when I joined that dumb cult. The result has been no friends. Except I think I have a few sprouts starting up again and write to them telling them my deepest thoughts. It is still an uncomfortable part of my life but I am stepping out slowly hoping that the people I call my friends really ARE my friends and would be there for me (I would be there for them).

Doodling. I love doodling so much that the ink in my art pens is almost out. I included a few doodle cards above. I’m not sure who I will be writing to with them! I’m making my own line of stationary. I write letters by hand, address them in handwriting and put a stamp on them. I fill them with personal thoughts and ideas! They are special for each person and on top of that I like to make the envelope fancy (because who doesn’t love getting a fancy letter compared to a bill these days??).

Campfire. We get a bonus pretty much every day of people leaving but not taking their firewood. Today we scored a bunch of hardwood which makes the BEST campfires ever. I love when Randy is excited and that is one thing he gets excited about: hard wood. He makes a giant production of getting a fire going and the result is I get to be a Princess and enjoy his work. I’m writing my blog sitting by the fire right now.

Pet time. We have three “fur kids” that make it exciting to rush home to spend time with. I had them in my life before we started this adventure but nothing like this. I spend more time taking Piper (the cat) on walks now than I ever did. I just love seeing them enjoy themselves.

Reading. Without internet I’ve picked up more books to read. I’d like to send a BIG HUG AND SHOUT OUT to Lucy Leyda for Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I finished it and felt very deeply inspired. Thank you so much. Right now I’m reading Louis Lamour books. A camper gave us 10 of them! This is the author I read when I became a mom. I had my son with me and read as many LL books as I could. Good memories of quiet time with my little baby who was a mystery to me.

Manual Labor. I have done so many jobs in my life that required manual labor. I love the exhausted feeling I have after working all day. Seriously. If you have a desk job I would highly recommend you get a second job or volunteer doing physical labor. Your back will hurt, you’ll break nails, you will be starving within 2 hours and you’ll figure out a “zen” system. I love feeling exhausted at the end of the day! I love being the opposite of a White-Collar worker stuck in a cubicle or at a desk.

Strangers. The people we meet are normally on their best behavior. It’s part of our nature to have good manners for the most part. When someone arrives to camp there is a feeling of accomplishment and relief! They have been thinking about this moment for weeks, months if not an entire YEAR. They made it! They’re checking in to have time away and mostly unplug from whatever their lives were before. Meeting people in these circumstances makes it easy to strike up conversation and become quick friends to help them along. Of course there are the folks that just cannot or will not be satisfied but that is eclipsed 10-times by the happy people.

Habits in conserving. Ahhhh….never EVER thought I’d be capable of this level of change. Having a Full Hook Up site has been dreamy for the three necessities: water, power and waste “management”. That doesn’t change the fact that our tanks are only 46 gallons fresh water, 64 grey water and 42 gallons black water. Once the grey and black are filled up 75% we start to smell them which is just damn gross. I never leave the faucet running. Try it! It’s a tough habit to change. I wipe off my dishes before cleaning, showing isn’t easy (or that fun) because my hair is long but I’ve got a system of rinse, suds, rinse, suds, rinse which works great and I plan my cooking in advance (space issues also contribute to this need). I don’t know when the last time I took a bath was but that’s all I could THINK about when we checked into a hotel room. The volume of water, the unlimited hot water, the tub…boy do I appreciate all of that even more.

Dining out and Dining In. When we go out to eat it is actually special! We’re too far away from a convenient (lazy) solution of someone else doing the cooking and cleaning. I now look closely at every item on a menu to choose something I could not make myself at home. When we are eating at home I am limited on what I’ve got to work with. The other day I threw together an incredibly DELICIOUS meal with kale, corn on the cob, quinoa (love red quinoa by the way) and beans. I still do not plan ahead very well and we have “Shoemaker Tapas” which is chopped veggies, hummus, chips, quacamole, salsa, cheese, crackers… basically finger food easy combos. Working more hours now means we are both pretty tired.

JOURNALING

This has become more of a diary and journal for myself!

Time is zooming past. Someone posted that Costco has Christmas decor already on display.

I am all about slowing down and noticing the subtle changes in my life without any sort of solid plan.

This idea and concept is so far from my past life I am surprising even myself.

Does my blog provide you any sort of entertainment?

PHOTOS BY ME

From the top

1) Z. Alexander Brown vino (currently in my Top 5 list) and my latest doodle creations. Who will receive these? I’m not sure yet.

2) A secret path we were given to June Lake where we can bring the dogs without violating any rules or regulations.

3) Laundry Day! Piper came along on this trip. We spend an average of $21 every 10 days on laundry. Not including soaps.

4) Big storms show up on MyRadar. This one was semi-scary because the skies turned into tornado weather which I had plenty of experience with in Ohio.

5) Randy’s fire ring is triple the size so that means the quality of our campfires is triple as well. I like sipping a cocktail by these babies.

6) Silverlake Resort has a dining room. When we arrived it was packed (lunch time). Very limited seating, large portions and veggie options! Yay! It seems most places here also have wine and beer on their menu for those folks on a vacation (not having to get back to work after lunch).

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