Friday, November 26, 2010

Klutter King

So, after spending my day off cleaning out closets and drawers, I have come to a conclusion; Our family is in need of an intervention. Now, far be it for me to piss on the dreams of others, or even myself for that matter. On the other hand, wouldn't it be great if there was some impartial 3rd party that could come into your house, go through all of your stuff, and pull out everything that is crap? Then they could sit you down and force you to face the facts.

"Travis, it's great to have goals, but I have some news for you...You are never going to be a professional Matador. So, I think we can both agree that it's safe to put this cape and sword on ebay."

We buy all of this junk that we don't need just because we have this image of who we want to be rather than who we are. This is sad, people. And it only worsens as the years go by and we've held onto this junk. Then God forbid someone suggest that you get rid of the stuff, because then you get all defensive about it and it amps up the importance.

"Hell no, you can not throw out my beeswax soap making kit! I'm gonna make my own soap someday, dammit!"

Why can't we just be honest with ourselves? We don't have enough time in the day to do all the laundry, so, how the hell are we going to set aside time to learn the fine art of wood carving? Yet, there they are, at the back of the drawer. Not one, but two, yes TWO wood carving kits, complete with the wood burning iron. Because apparently after you carve your little wooden figurines, you would want to burn something into them, who knows. Anyway, I tried to put them in the garage sale pile and the idea was quickly shot down. "Just think of the money we'll save when we can give wooden handmade gifts to all of our family!" I just stare. "Wouldn't it be better just to give everyone in the family these wacky unused gifts?"

All of this is more than you cared to know I'm sure, but was just the explanation you'll need. In a month when you find yourself at my house, opening up a box, and it's a perfectly brand new never-been-used rock tumbling kit, you'll know why.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tis' the "Wonderful" season.

I don't know if most of you are aware of it, but we're about a month away from christmas. Seriously...a month, well, okay 33 days. I know that many are staring, eyes wide, mouth agape in disbelief. But check the calender, it's true. Now that you've accepted that nugget of amazingness, it's time to gear up. Break out the decorations, the cookie recipies and that silly tie where Rudolph's nose lights up.

Anybody that knows me knows that I'm gayer than Adam Lambert for Christmas. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Some people choose to bitch about the excruciating task of making up a list of gifts for the seemingly endless amounts of people in their lives, ("Do you really need to give a gift to your mailman?!), bundling up to face the arctic conditions of a Midwest December only to stand in ridiculous lines to throw down their hard-earned cash on crap that the recipients will likely sell the following spring in their garage sale. Meanwhile, I say that this is, nay, but a tiny part of the most amazing season of the year, full of a graciousness and caring that is just not there during the rest of the year. Take Elvis, for example. Elvis undeniably had everything that a red-blooded American could want in life; money, houses, drugs, fame and more poontang than you can shake a stick at. With all of that, Elvis proclaimed, "...If every day could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world it would be...", now that's says something.

I love every single sweet morsel of the holiday, from the holiday episodes of Saved By The Bell, to putting an insane amount of ornaments on the tree; I even like fruitcake! But for me, the season of merriment all culminates with one major event. "Is it the warmth you feel when your entire family is gathered around you on Christmas Eve sharing gifts and laughter" you ask, I think not. "Is it seeing the twinkle in the eyes of your little children as they run downstairs to the tree on Christmas morning" you ask, don't make me slap you.

The pinnacle of the holiday season for me is experiencing "It's a Wonderful Life", the greatest movie of all time. I know that some of you might say, "But Trav, what about Rambo, or Three Men & a Little Lady?", and while they are each special in their own way, no movie can even begin to compare to IAWL. The only way that this movie ever let me down was several years ago. Soon after another tear-soaked viewing, I looked up the movie on Wikipedia. I was hoping to make a pilgrimage to the quint little town where the movie was shot, looking to catch a little bit of the magic. Shockingly, I learned that the whole town was fake, made up for the movie. I think I was just as taken aback by how naive I was about it. It was probably for the best, as I would likely have been disappointed by the real thing 50 years later anyway. I think that the reason I am so sweet on this movie, is that it drives home the point that is so-often lost in today's culture; that every single thing that every one of us does effects someone else in some way. So this year, I beg of you, Tivo this golden piece of Holiday Americana, sit the family down with steaming hot chocolate (don't forget the marshmallows!), and enjoy the greatest cinimagraphic masterpiece ever created. When I say "enjoy", I don't want you to "watch" the movie, hell, my dog can do that. I want you to "FEEL" the movie, put yourself in the shoes of  George Bailey, know that none of us are alone in feeling the disappointments when life doesn't go the way that we planned, realize that in the end all we ever have is each other. Lastly, I want you be sure to bring a box of tissues and bawl like a little bitch, I mean don't hold back at all. After all, Santa's watching.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Thing At A Time

Nov. 17th, 2010
Heather and I have been working through some of the issues that need to be addressed before we can hit the road full time and all I can really say is…wow…it’s a lot. The closest thing I can equate it to in my own experience is having our first child, in that you are voluntarily jumping head-first into something that you know will turn every aspect of your life upside down.  Here is just a sample of the issues we’ve been grappling with:
Trying to find an RV that the Jeep can tow that isn’t a sardine can
Health Insurance
Making love on the road
Who will empty the sewage tank
How to make a living on the road

That last one is a big one. After selling off nearly everything we own we expect to have a tidy nestegg (who says that?!). However, it would be just super if we could find a way to pay for living and traveling expenses without eating up our kids’ college funds. While we’ve (ok, I’ve) given thought to having Heather become an egg donor or a surrogate mother, these ideas have been shot down.  Since Heather controls the womb, this means I’ll have to keep working at a “more conventional” solution.  We have been kicking around ideas for different writing projects and maybe corporate sponsorship. If you receive these updates in the future with the tagline –“This update brought to you by Dicks Sporting Goods”, you’ll know why. For now, we continue the quest for employment where you don’t actually have to do any work, oh, and it should pay handsomely as well. We’ll keep you posted.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"The Plan"

Nov. 15th, 2010

Ok, so now I've managed to somehow talk my logical wife into my crazy idea of moving on the an RV... for a year. In discussing the idea with friends and family, everyone is very supportive, though likely, they are saying that we're nuts behind our backs. After some deliberating with Heather, we have come up with the following "Plan":

In March, we'll rent an RV over spring break to test out living on the road. We will be renting a small trailer (and I mean SMALL!) since that is all our Jeep can really tow. At the end of the week, if the four of us are all still alive and have all of our limbs, we may move forward with (who knows when) the goal of living on the road full time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Call Me Crazy...

October 30th, 2010

So, a few months ago I read this book, "The Ride of Our Lives" by Mike Leonard. It cronicles the true-life adventures of a family of 5 that traveled around the US in an RV for three months or so. The book was fantastic; sometimes harrowing, sometimes hilarious, but always interesting. When I was done reading I thought, "Hey, we should do that!" Heather and I have talked for years about how we'd love to see all of the US. We have made a few roadtrips (pre-children), to North Carolina, Florida and Northern Wisconsin. We longed to see the western US, the eastern coast, more of the beautiful southern states, and everywhere in between. The problem has been, how to go about it...where to go first, how to take off for long periods of time with work, school, and the Subway stores to contend with. And so, it hasn't happened.

After reading "The Ride of Our Lives" I did a little Googling and found blogs and websites of several families who were living full time on the road in their RV's. This concept struck me like a bolt of lightening! I casually mentioned to Heather this amazing idea and she seemed mildly receptive to it, but surprisingly didn't shoot it down. Since Heather is the voice of reason in our household, I took this as a sign that it was not such a nutty idea.