Non-Adventure Update

Nothing important to say. Just a lot of little updates, so feel free to head to more interesting blogs. You won’t hurt my feelings.

I’m still reeling from my recent yellathon. I called the auto body guy who’s restoring my ancient VW Beetle, and when I found out that once again he’s stopped working on it, I yelled, “It’s been four months. You’ve had my car four months.” I don’t like yelling, but I don’t know how to get through to this guy. Tears didn’t do it. Patience didn’t do it. Telling my sad story didn’t do it. (No car, no family to speak of, no  place to live, no way to get to someplace.) I could threaten him, but with what? That I won’t pay him? Then he won’t do the work. That I could get someone else to do the work? He knows as well as I do that no one will do it as well or as cheaply, and besides, taking it to anyone else would start the clock ticking again, and I’d have another three or four months to wait.

So, every time he said anything, offered any excuse, such as that I wouldn’t want him to do a Mickey Mouse job or that he was beezybeezybeezy or that there was a lot of work left to do on my car, I yelled, “It’s been four months! You’ve had my car four months!”

Did I get through to him? I doubt it. I guess I should count myself lucky. A friend just told me about a car place who had a friend’s car for nine months, and when she went to check on it the other day, it wasn’t there. Yikes. At least this auto body guy still has my car, even if it is sitting under the desert sun and my new tires are rotting to say nothing of what’s happening to the recently replaced mechanical parts.

So, back to waiting. I had planned to take a trip by bus or train until the car is done, but if I’m not here to go check on the car occasionally and to keep reminding him, “It’s been four months! You’ve had my car four months,” it could be years before he finally gets it done. (And I sure as heck don’t want to be wandering around on either the bus or train for that long!) I’m trying not to regret the decision to have the car restored, and mostly I’m okay with it, but sometimes I do wonder. Still, in all the months of looking for a new car, I didn’t find one that spoke to me, so here I am in this no-man’s land (no woman’s land? no nomad’s land?), just waiting. Well, not just waiting. I am gearing up for adventure.

Several people have expressed worry that I’m spending a small fortune on backpacking equipment that I might never need (the way it looks at the moment — bleak — who knows if I will ever get on the road). But the truth is, even if it turns out I hate camping and/or backpacking, it doesn’t hurt to have a camping quilt, sleeping pad, tent, water filter, and solar charger packed away in the car for emergencies. (Because this is lightweight packing gear, it takes up almost no room.) And a good pack is always a great thing to have. An elderly man recently died in the desert when he took a short cut on a back road and damaged his car. If he had such equipment with him, he might have been able to survive, so no matter what happens — adventure, accident, Armageddon, Apocalypse — these items aren’t a wasteful purchase. Besides, all of these things together don’t add up to a single month’s rent and utilities.

I so seldom buy anything but necessities, it’s been fun playing with my new toys. The pack has a lot of lovely pockets and pouches, and plenty of straps and buckles to ensure a perfect fit. The solar charger works great to recharge my phone, and though it didn’t seem to add any charge the external lithium battery unit that came with the charger, there is always the possibility of recharging the external battery by plugging into a wall socket when available. (The fully charged battery will charge my phone about four times, so I will no longer have to worry about running out of battery power on my phone at inopportune moments.)

This weekend I will take the time to figure out the tent. Meantime, I’ve been watching videos on how to set it up. Takes about four minutes once you know what you’re doing. Oddly, they don’t explain how to use the guy lines. I guess they think this is an experienced person’s tent. Also, the “gear loft,” a series of mesh pockets for small necessities did not come with the tent (though for the price, it should have) and I didn’t buy one. Other than that, it really looks well thought out. Should be fun.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Planning for Sponteneity

It seems silly to spend so much time planning to be spontaneous. I mean, isn’t that oxymoronic? Spontaneity by definition implies a lack of planning. Just go ahead and do . . . whatever. As a matter of fact, that’s what I always thought I would do — start walking, and see what happens. After all, that’s what The Peace Pilgrim did. And she survived for decades living a totally spontaneous life.

There was only one time in my life I was truly spontaneous. It was the first years right after I met Jeff. His very presence in the world made the world feel friendly, and I felt comfortable taking chances. Over the years, I settled back into my worrisome self. Our lives became constrained by his health, our finances, and various matters beyond our control. He told me once it bothered him that our shared life had destroyed my spontaneity — but he never understood that he was the one responsible for whatever spontaneity I had developed.

campingWell, now that he’s gone, I am determined to be spontaneous once again to honor him and to honor myself, but I am discovering that it takes a lot of planning to prepare to be spontaneous. If I have everything I need for emergencies, if I have shelter, bedding, food, water, and a way to carry it all, I can just take things as they come without undue stress. Take chances (within reason. I will never be one of those who lives for risk.) Most of all, I’ll be able to enjoy the journey.

At least, that’s the plan.

Meantime, all I do, it seems, is research. There are an incredible number of resources on line, and I could spend the rest of my life researching the adventure of a lifetime (or a lifetime of adventures), but I am at the put up or shut up stage. Put up money, that is. As I mentioned a few days ago, I got my tent and backpack.

Yesterday I ordered a solar charger for my phone, specifically, a Powertraveller Powermonkey Extreme 5V and 12V Solar Portable Charger, Yellow (Because the yellow was $10 cheaper.) It supposed to charge larger electronics as well, so although the reviews all mention how slow it is to store the charge, I’m hoping it will do just fine for my phone. I’d hate to be somewhere with a signal and have no way to send in my blog! And besides, I have a GPS, on my phone, and can get various apps that will tell me where I am and where I should go. (Apparently, these electronic services don’t take the place of a topographical map and a compass, so I still have to learn how to do things the old fashioned way.)

I also ordered a Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System. And a PStyle. (Why should men be the only ones who can urinate standing up?)

Finally, I ordered Sierra Designs Backcountry Quilt 800 2-Season Sleeping Quilt and a Big Agnes, Insulated Double Z, NAVY, REGULAR WIDE sleeping pad. No claustrophobic mummy bag for me! The quilt is only rated for two seasons, but the warm sleeping pad and appropriate clothes will add to the comfort zone and make it usable for a third season.

I still have to deal with emergency supplies, clothes (cotton clothes are supposedly killers for hiking, and that’s all I own),  and dozens of other things, but I think I’ve got the major items covered.

I’m sure this is all as boring for you as it is for me, but what the heck. It’s all part of the adventure.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Shopping for an Adventure

I spent most of yesterday online researching various camping products, such as a solar charger for my phone. What a frustrating task! There are dozens of reviews for every product as well as descriptions galore from the manufacturers. Not surprising, every opinion is different. The products work. They don’t work. They chargers charge fast. They charge slowly. Sheesh.

It does seem silly that a phone is necessary equipment for backpacking considering how new the technology is, but the device is too valuable to leave behind, or to take and leave uncharged. GPS, maps, emergency calls, blogging, photos. Amazing what that little thing will do! (And my phone is very little. A mini.)

I had to close up my computer and get something to eat to stave off the circular thinking hunger was creating. (Remember H.A.L.T.?) I kept wondering what I was doing, buying all this stuff for a life I might not even like. I truly am a homebody, and therein lies the problem. When I settle down, I gradually give way to inertia, and then stagnation sets in. Oh, my. That is not what I want at all!

So far, there is little chance of my settling down. I checked out an apartment over the weekend, and though it was nice (but pricy), it depressed me. I could feel the walls closing in on me after just a few minutes. Was thrilled to escape when the tour was over.

So back to researching. And buying. I never have understood the joy people get from shopping. That, too, depresses me. I don’t like spending money, don’t like looking for things to buy, and I don’t like trying things on. Not only did I try on an apartment this weekend, I went tried on shoes. (Can’t go walking without adequate shoes, so those are a must.) I bought two pairs, one of which I will have to return. The shoes felt good in the store, but when I tried them on today, they seemed big enough but felt like ill-fitting casts. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

And then there is gear. Sleeping system. Tent. Backpack. Water filter. Clothes. Food. Emergency supplies. Daily necessities. The challenge of fitting one’s home into a backpack is incredible. Even the lightest of the items add up. Three pounds for a backpack. Almost three pounds for a tent. Almost three pounds for a sleep system. (What makes it worse is that some equipment like sleeping pads are not geared for shorter and wider people. To get the width, I have to get extra length, and that adds to the weight, but I did finally find a sleeping pad that was wide without being long! Yay! And I decided on a sleeping quilt instead of a sleeping bag. Double yay.)

I could go lighter on all that equipment, but then there would be no point to any of this because I would be so uncomfortable at night, I would hate every step I took during the day. It’s possible I’ll hate it anyway, because carrying thirty pounds of gear for any length of time seems nigh impossible, but I will, of course, try to get acclimated little by little and see where that takes me. If nothing else, I could use the things for car camping. As someone pointed out — if it can fit in a backpack, it certainly could fit in my car. (There was a snide remark somewhere in the comment from that person about my car being a backpack, and I hate to admit it, but there is some truth to that. A VW Beetle is not the most spacious vehicle ever made.)

I thought the hard part of all this would be to actually go on an adventure, but I have a hunch by the time I set out, I’ll be so delighted the shopping is all done that I’ll just float away on a bubble of glee.

Or not. I always seem to be shocked by the difference in how I expect to feel and how I really do feel.

I am also surprised by some of the reactions I am getting. One sister is delighted I am planning a solo hiking/camping/backpacking trip. One brother is freaked out by it. I guess I’ll just have to wait to see how we all end up feeling.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Bear Baiting

While researching hiking regulations, I learned that often, when it comes to national parks, bear canisters are a requirement. All food and cosmetic items, anything that reeks of humans, have to be packed in the canister, and the canister itself has to be placed 100 feet from the campsite. It’s not just human safety these regulations are geared toward, but the bears themselves. The creatures love human food, especially sweets, and they learn to associate humans with the treats, which poses threats to humans. And the bears become inured to human presence, which changes their habits and habitations. Even worse, if a bear attacks a human, it is “euthanized,” a pretty term for capital punishment without due process. (In fact, one bear that was recently murdered turned out not to be the one that assaulted a camper.)

bearBear canisters make good sense to me. Keep humans and bears separate. Keep bears wild. And keep both humans and bears safe. So I understand why it’s illegal to go camping in certain areas without a bear canister.

But here is where it gets insane — bear baiting is legal in many states. In the weeks preceding bear hunting season, hunters not only forego bear canisters, they are allowed to “bait” bears. They can leave piles of treats, such as donuts, fish, and rotting meat out in the woods, and if a bear takes the bait, they keep putting food out. This way, when hunting season starts, the hunter just has to go to where the bear is waiting for food, and shoot it.

How is that moral? How is that sport? And if it’s illegal for hikers to unwittingly leave food around to attract bears, how can it possibly be legal for hunters to purposely do the same thing?

During this pre-hunting season, bears are ravenously hungry, needing to put on 20 to 40 pounds in preparation for winter hibernation, so they take the bait. But what if there isn’t enough to keep the bear sated? Since the poor thing now associates humans with food, pity the poor hiker who happens to wander by.

Cripes. It seems as if the whole world has gone crazy. Well, the whole world except you and me. And I sometimes wonder about us.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Coming to a H.A.L.T.

H.A.L.T.

Hungry
Angry
Lonely
Tired

Whenever I get discouraged or afraid, all I have to do is take a quick assessment of my situation, and generally, I fall into one or more of the above states. (Loneliness, though, doesn’t really count in my case because to a certain extent I am always lonely, and being hungry, tired, or upset exacerbates the loneliness.)

fearI teeter between looking forward to a great adventure and being afraid. (Oddly, I’m equally afraid of uncertainty and the stagnation of certainty.) When I am well fed and reasonably well rested, I am open to the challenge of exploring the many places I’ve never been, national and state parks I haven’t visited, streets and trails I haven’t trodden. When I am hungry and tired, fear gets the better of me, and I wonder what the heck I’m doing. I have no experience in camping/backpacking, have no great source of income or savings to fall back on, and worst of all, I’m torn. Though I would like to stay here and continue taking dance classes, I have an equal desire to head out for parts unknown.

It truly wouldn’t be such a terrible thing to do what others suggest: settle down, continue taking dance classes, maybe start writing again, and head out occasionally for a vacation, but I have always played it safe and now it’s time to trust in the benevolence of the fates, the universe, divine providence, or whatever, and just make the leap into uncertainty. Let the future take care of itself. Hope that when it’s time to return for a while and catch up with my friends and classes that I will be able to find a place to stay.

I could so easily ruin what could be a grand adventure by giving in to my fears and worries about what will happen in a month or two, or even a week or two.

Last night I had a couple of setbacks that made me panic. I’d planned to rent a room as a fallback position, a place to come back to, but the only place I found seemed unsafe, not a place I would ever want to be. And I received part of my tent — the footprint — so I could see the size, and oh, my. It’s tiny!! How the heck am I going to live in that?

Today, reason prevailed. I’m not going to live in that miniscule tent. I’m going to get a bigger tent for car camping; this small lightweight tent is for backpacking emergencies. (And if I ever do long distance walking/hiking.) The real benefit is that I could be cozy with a backpacking quilt rather than a sleeping bag. And I don’t need to worry about a more permanent living solution for a few weeks, maybe months. (I have a tentative housesitting job for the late summer/early fall.) And after that? Well, that’s not a problem for today.

At the very least, assuming I don’t come to a H.A.L.T., the next few weeks should be interesting.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

The Game is Afoot!

I am not afoot yet, but I have begun to collect my gear. I ordered my tent and backpack today. My first ever tent, my first real backpack. It took months of research to narrow down these two items because there are so many different products on the market, and everyone I’ve talked to (or eavesdropped on — I belong to a couple of women hiker groups on FB, though I just lurk and listen as they discuss their gear) has a different preference.

Despite my dismal experience with REI, I ended up ordering the items from them for the very reason the stores are so popular — a more than generous return policy. I can use the products and if any time during the coming year I decide they aren’t for me, I can return them no matter what condition they are in. The only way I will ever figure out what I like is to try out various products, and I figure it’s only fair such unfair folk fund my try-outs.

big agnesSo, in case you’re curious, the tent is a Big Agnes, Copper Spur UL 1 in terra cotta and silver. (UL1 means it’s ultralight and for 1 person.) The backpack is a Gregory J53 in fog gray. Not my choice of color for either item, but that’s what was available.

The other main item necessary for a life on the road is a sleeping bag, but I haven’t a clue what to get. It seems the only way to get a bag wide enough for me is to get a wide/long one, but I don’t want the extra length. Maybe a quilt would be better? Who knows. I do know I don’t want down. I don’t think I could sleep thinking of all those poor ducks who lost their feathers (and sometimes their lives) just so I could wander the world. Besides, down takes forever to dry. I’m more interested in something called Climasheild. Lightweight, synthetic, warm, dries quickly. Now if I can just figure out which of the seemingly endless styles to get.

So back to lurking, listening, and researching. But at least I have progressed beyond the dreaming stage to the gearing up stage. As a friend so often says, “It’s all good.”

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Wednesday’s Child

A childhood ditty declares, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” I sometimes wonder if there is any truth in the saying — I was born under Wednesday’s curse and I do seem to be more woe oriented than most people I know.

Everything always seems so easy for others. When I mention my tales of woe, such as grief for my deceased life mate/soul mate, people often dismiss my pain and offer their own religious beliefs as consolation. But those are their beliefs. Not mine. And even if they were my beliefs, they wouldn’t affect my grief. Grief is not intellectual. It is visceral, as much of a physical trauma as it is emotional, and as such is not always ameliorated by religious beliefs.

eclipse(I make it seem as if grief is a constant in my life, but it isn’t, not really. I can go weeks without thinking of him or shedding a single tear. This just just doesn’t happen to be one of those weeks.)

I suppose it does seem unimportant, this death that occurred five years ago. And yet, to me, it is all-important. Because of his death, I am where I am today, both spiritually and geographically. Because of his death and all the other deaths that have affected me in recent years, I have to rebuild my life from the ground up. This seems an immense task to me, and yet people shrug it off as if it is an everyday occurrence.

Is life that easy for others? Can they as easily dismiss their own woes as they do mine? After a trauma, can they really go on as if nothing has happened? Do the realities of life and death affect them so lightly? Or is it that they are better at hiding their feelings than I am?

I suppose it’s possible that I lack the resilience necessary to lead an easy life, but it seems to me I am resilient enough. In the past five years, I have closed up a house after the death of its inhabitants not once but twice, getting rid of the earthly possessions of those who no longer have a use for them. I have twice been dislocated and unhoused because of death. I have made friends and lost them, and made new friends. I’ve had my heart broken and my feelings hurt, and endured abuse from my dysfunctional brother. I’ve walked thousands of miles, written hundreds of blogs, laughed and joked, smiled and listened. I’ve learned to dance — not well, perhaps, but well enough to perform on stage with my classmates. And I am still chugging along, dreaming a new future into existence.

For the most part I am happy, grateful, hopeful even. And yet . . . and yet . . .

When he died, it felt like an amputation, and whatever was amputated is still gone. I have become so used to the feeling that I don’t always notice the amputation, but every once in a while grief steals over me like an eclipse, shadowing my life with pain and sorrow. For just a moment I wonder what is wrong, and then it comes to me.

He is dead.

That’s the fact of my life I cannot get around. Where he is, if he is, whether he is subsumed into the whole or maintains individual consciousness, I still have to deal with his goneness, still have to make my own way in the world. Still have to learn to live fully.

And oh, yeah. I have to forget that whole “Wednesday’s Child” thing. I don’t need any more woes.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Upsurge of Unbelonging

Still feeling the effects of yesterday’s upsurge of unbelonging. This living at the mercy of others has made me realize how alone I am in a coupled world. I’d pretty much come to terms with my situation, but that acceptance has deserted me momentarily. Exacerbating the situation, I’ve been researching various possibilities of non-automobile trips to take if I don’t have my car back in two weeks, and all of a sudden, the thought of taking a train to Seattle and then an Alaska cruise sounded wonderful. (Anything to escape this intense heat.) And then came the reality — cruises are based on double occupancy. Couples.

WANDERLUSTIt astonishes me the breadth and depth of grief. Whenever I think I’m done with it, there comes I day when I didn’t sleep well, didn’t eat well, and the sorrow settles over me again. I thought I was okay being around couples — after all, this is a coupled world — but these days of vulnerability show me . . . well, they show me I’m still vulnerable.

I hope I don’t sound as self-pitying as I feel. There’s no real reason for feeling sorry for myself. I’m reasonably healthy, still have friends who welcome me into their homes, have dancing and blogging, and perhaps one day soon, I’ll have my car back. I bet seeing that rejuvenated VW bug will make me feel rejuvenated, and if not it will certainly make me feel free.

But free to do what? That still is the question, isn’t it?

I have lost the habit I once had of telling myself, “I am where I am supposed to be.” Perhaps it’s time to start reminding myself again of that simple truth (or hope?). Maybe I am where I am supposed to be. Maybe the unsettledness and unbelonging I feel are symptoms of letting go. I’ve had to let go of so much over the past few years. My life mate/soul mate. Our home. My brother. My parents. My parent’s house where I found refuge in my grief. I’ve even had to let go of my grief. It’s in the letting go that we make room for what is to come, so I can see that my current state is necessary but oh, why does everything have to be so hard?

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Settling Into Unsettledness

For the past ten weeks, ever since I left my father’s house to the new owners, I’ve been living off the kindness of friends. My homelessness wouldn’t have been a problem except that my car is at the auto body shop being restored. (I’ve had the thing for 43 years, and apparently I’m not yet ready to give up on the old bug.) The job that was supposed to take three weeks has now taken three months and it’s still not done. (Maybe by the end of this month I’ll have it back. Maybe.) A car would have given me more options, including, of course, taking off on an adventure. Even knowing the truth about how long the restoration was going to take would have given me options. I could have taken a freighter to New Zealand and Australia without having to worry about where to store my car in my absence since it would have been with the auto body guy.

ripplesAt first, it was fun living a borrowed life, sometimes as a guest, sometimes as a housesitter, but all of a sudden, it’s become . . . well, dangerous. Not physically dangerous. Mentally dangerous. Although I have been welcomed wherever I have stayed, and although people are glad to do what they can for me, it’s apparent I add complications to their lives. Even more, I’m beginning to feel as if I don’t belong here. Not just “here” meaning where I am staying, but here on Earth. As if I’m superfluous. Nobody is making me feel this way, you understand. It’s something in me making me feel this way. (That everyone I have stayed with is married and very settled makes my unsettledness feel even more unsettling by comparison.)

It’s strange (or perhaps not so strange) that I never felt as if I didn’t belong when Jeff was alive, though I often felt that way before we met. And now . . . well, the feeling is something I am struggling with, one of the last lingering effects of my grief. (Wanting to go home to him is still prevalent, but that is an adjunct to the whole “not belonging” thing.) Needing to feel as if I belong is one of the main reasons I wanted to take an epic walk — I hoped it would help me feel connected to the earth in a more fundamental way.

When the last of my housesitting ventures is finished, if my car is still out of commission, I’m going to . . . do something. Take a bus trip, maybe — go to the bus station and board the first bus going anywhere. Or perhaps by then I’ll have found a room to use as a hub for my adventures. Or I could start writing another book. (People keep telling me I need to write, and I suppose that’s true. Although being just another author among millions makes me feel as superfluous as everything else, at least when I’m writing I don’t think about it.)

Meantime, I’ll just settle back into my unsettledness, and keep finding the fun in this unsettling transitional period.

(I sound ungrateful, don’t I? But I’m not. I’m truly grateful for my friends and their kindnesses.)

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

At the Car Hospital

I went to visit my car at the auto body shop today, and it’s left me feeling . . . I don’t know. Shaken, maybe. I never wanted to see it in the intermediate stages of restoration — things so often get worse before they get better, and this is so much worse! — but I needed to see if the car was in fact being worked on.

And oh, the poor thing! Makes me wonder if I will regret having all the work done. I am pouring out a lot of money for what is, after all, an ancient vehicle. (I have never done an expensive foolhardy thing in my life, never wasted more than a few dollars at a time, so if this turns out to be a foolish move, then, I’ll just chalk it up to experience.) Even worse, I’m stuck in this vehicleless and homeless state for another month, and the frustration of it all is getting to me. I am an independent soul who hates begging for help, and lately, I am in that situation more often than not, especially since I am running out of people to sponge off of. In the beginning, people felt good about helping, and were pleased to have an opportunity to be kind, but three months is enough to strain everyone’s patience.

One friend said that the reason homeless people end up on the street is that they run out of people to stay with, and I am heading in that direction, at least locally. I’m not in any danger of ending up on the street — I’m not destitute and there are such things as motels, after all, but without a car, I would be trapped.

I suppose it’s good for me to be temporarily embracing such a lifestyle as this, humbling though it might be. Since I have chosen to believe I am where I am meant to be, there could be a reason I am supposed to be hanging around. Or not. It could simply be an ill-fated wind blowing through my life.

Oddly, despite the lengthy restoration process (and the even lengthier wait for the restorer to get started), I still trust this guy. I think he’s an artist who knows what he is doing. And one cannot hurry art. So will this mess end up as a workable piece of art? Only the auto body guy knows.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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