Bugout/Camping Experiment Part II

Bugout Experiment Part II - p1Bugout Experiment Part II - p2Bugout Experiment Part II - p3Bugout Experiment Part II - p4

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Nine Months Later…

It’s been nine months since my last post.  I didn’t realize that it had been so long.  I guess life is really zooming on by.

We’ve only made a few trips to the homestead this year.  It’s tough to make the 3 hour or so one way drive with the baby.  He is ok for about 2 hours, but then he gets bored.  Once we get there, he doesn’t have much fun either.  With the ticks, the rocks, and the hilly terrain, he doesn’t get walking time – and he is really into walking right now.

Finding the time to go is also tough.  There is always plenty to do around the house.  I feel guilty making a trip to the homestead to work on things there when there is so much to do here.

I have also started working 6 day weeks.  That subtracts even more time from the homestead.

The dogs are good.  The little guy is good.  Jen is good.  I’m ok.

We plan to share more in the next couple of weeks.  But we always have big plans.

Richard

2014: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

slaton black and white on bed 10660153_10203447765213843_6462675026137501480_nWe’ve been really busy this past year!

Let me catch you up to speed in case you have forgotten. Or if you never knew.

About a year ago we were living an idyllic life on the homestead. The temperature sucked, and so did the snow, but life was great. Our less than cozy cabin provided us with all of the luxuries of home. We had our dogs and our cats – and goats, and chickens, and ducks. It was a chore to feed them every day. The toughest part was providing them with water. Ice was easy enough to come by, but water was a different story.

We had decided to have a baby, so we were also working on that. And we had been working on that for the better part of a year. That was pretty frustrating. We didn’t have as much money as we could have used, but we were getting by.

Then we received good and bad news at the same time. We found out that Jen was pregnant at just about the same time that she was fired for not complying with her employer’s demand for her to submit to a flu shot.

I started looking for work. I found it in the little town of Clinton, AR. I don’t have any ill will toward those with whom I worked, but there were some shenanigans going on there. Not to mention the hours and the pay weren’t all that great. But I knew that going into it, so I couldn’t and didn’t complain. I had to get out of that one.

I applied for some positions, and ultimately accepted one in Springfield, MO. Springfield is close enough to family to be practical, and the position fits my skill set quite nicely. So we made the move from Arkansas to Missouri.

The move itself was interesting. We had an apartment lined up. On the day of our move, as we were headed to Springfield, we found out that the leasing agent who we had been working with had let our apartment go to someone else. Jennifer made many calls during that trip (it was a 3 hour trip, after all) to line up some places for us to look at.

Only one place that sounded reasonable had an apartment available for us to move into that day (thanks Joceyln!). We liked it, and it was just a couple of minutes from where I would be working. This was a good thing since I had to start work the next morning at 7 am.

We made it through the spring, and the summer. Baby boy was born without a hitch in September, a little later than expected.  He was born about as naturally as we could manage without having all sorts of questions to answer.  We don’t regret that at all.  We do regret that it wasn’t even more natural.  Maybe things will be different if Slaton has a little brother or sister.

Now we’re into winter. Same temps as last year. Not as much snow. No real hills or ice to speak of. We have electricity, which makes things much warmer, even if less cozy.  We have smartphones, cable, internet, central heat and air, microwave, and water that doesn’t start in the form of ice.  No wood cutting is required to ensure survival. I’m working, and Jennifer’s working. In fact, Jennifer has two jobs in addition to being Slaton’s Super Mommy.

To sum it up, we are laden with the all of the trappings of modern convenience once again.

We also have our 3 dogs, which is pretty inconvenient seeing as how we live on the third floor. We lost our oldest cat after the move. That was pretty sad. We also have 3 more at my mom’s house in Arkansas. That’s pretty sad as well. But the apartment is crowded enough as it is, so the cats won’t be coming anytime soon.

In addition to those things that often define a modern lifestyle, Jennifer has found a nice little motherhood support network. I found a volunteer gig in addition to my full time job. We found a Vegetarian/Vegan group.  We don’t have many friends here yet, but come on; we have a 4 month old!

While we don’t have many friends, I have met many of Springfield’s least wanted, and many of Springfield’s finest. There is a lovely bunch of wannabe gangsters that live here.  417 yall!  But the police employees aren’t half bad.  Maybe better than anywhere we’ve lived so far.  The guys who write the laws are a different story.

091013_2122_DefectiveBu1.jpgWe also discovered a few things about Springfield that would have been nice to know before moving here.  First up, Boomer is illegal here.  They actually put people in jail for violating an ordinance against pit bull dogs and those dogs that look like pit bulls.  Some of our friends have donated money to help us get him legal.  We are almost to a point where we can do it.  I’m not sure how our apartment manager is going to like the big “Warning:  Pit Bull Dog” sign on our door.  Nobody here has a problem with Boomer.  I hope nobody has a problem with the sign.  If you are a fan of pits and not a fan of breed specific legislation, there is an ad on this page where you can donate money to help legalize Boomer. Once he is legal, he and I are going to do some protesting.  Be sure to check back for updates.

Secondly, it is legal to openly carry a firearm or other legal weapon within the city of Springfield.  Who knew?  The fact that Arkansas had just passed a law decriminalizing the carrying of weapons made me a little hesitant to leave, as Arkansas is one of the few states to recognize a person’s right to carry a firearm without a permit or license.  I didn’t know that Missouri had a similar law, only it varies from city to city.  Luckily, Springfield is a city in which it is legal to openly carry a weapon on one’s person.  Why is that lucky?  Let’s just say that I’m not a very popular guy with a certain subset of the populace here in Springfield.

We made a trip back to the homestead a week or so ago. It was the first one in a long time. I’m planning to make those trips much more frequently in the near future. I have a plan to get some things taken care of down there. And we plan to start on a real house in the coming years.

slaton and sock monkey christmas croppedWe can’t wait to move back to the homestead.  We’ve learned some lessons.  We’ve done a little growing.  We know what we will do differently the next time around.  We hope you stay around to see how this turns out.

2014 was really a busy year for us. It brought us all sorts of ups and downs. But here we are!

 

Voter IDs: Vote Early and Vote Often

Just in time for Election Day, but much too late for early voting! Remember, today is your last day for early voting.

This post was inspired by a meaningful (at least it was meaningful to me) Facebook discussion I had with a real life friend. It all started when I posted the meme on the right. My friend had a very intelligent response to my comment about the meme, and raised an important issue: People have the right to vote, and they should not have that right infringed due to the difficulty of obtaining an ID for voting purposes.

I agree that state IDs should be provided without cost, and they should not be difficult to obtain for legitimate purposes. If the state requires an ID, or any paperwork for that matter, it should be provided without a fee. This includes birth certificates. Life is tough without a birth certificate. I’m not sure why a person wouldn’t have one, but in the event that they don’t, they should be provided one without cost.

My friend offered the idea of creating mobile ID stations. I like that idea. I could offer a short term solution. If a person is detained by the police, they are not going to let that person go until they have positively identified said person. They do it in just minutes. So, there are already hundreds of thousands of mobile mini-ID stations traveling around out there – just add an ID printer and you are good to go. Park a police car in the parking lot of a liquor store or church (and all sorts of other places) and hang a sign up that identifies it as a mobile ID station. Show up and get an ID. They could also do the same thing in very rural areas or for people who are effectively home bound by allowing people to make appointments for the mobile units to come to their homes.

This would help many people and not just for voting. IDs are required for many things. The government requires me to have one to open a bank account. They require me to have one to buy alcohol and I have even been forced to show my ID to police employees to watch movies. I’ve lived in many different places, even though they have all been in the US. I never have a primary care doctor, so every time I go to a doctor or dentist, I have to provide ID and some form of proof of insurance.

I’m not a constitutional scholar. I’m not really happy that I am forced to abide by a document created by people generations ago and with which I am not a voluntary participant – but I must lest I be locked in a cage. There are many inconsistencies in it. Yes, it grants the people the right to vote. But who are the people? If you can’t prove you are one of the people, how can you be allowed to vote? The constitution also grants the right to freedom of speech and to gather peaceably, but in many cases, one must have the permission of the state (permits) to do either. The constitution prohibits the state from endorsing a religion, but every time I go to court, people are swearing an oath to a god. The 4th amendment to the constitution prohibits the state from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures, but in reality the state can detain me at any time and search me without a truly just cause. They can seize me or my property at their discretion or lack thereof. I am granted the right to keep and bear arms without infringement, but only if I have an ID and the required permits, which usually include fingerprinting and other background checks, and I can only keep and bear those arms where the state allows. My right to unrestricted travel among the states is recognized, but my ability to get there is not. The list goes on.

I’m not sure why it is ok for me to have to show an ID to drive a car, but not show an ID when I am picking the people who ultimately decide that I have to show an ID to drive a car, or own a gun, or have a bank account, or own a business. I agree, make it easier to get the ID. But I think that voting is such a serious business that it should require ID. I have to have an ID to own a gun, but people don’t have to have an ID to pick the people that control the force of the combined police forces of the entire country as well as all branches of the military. That just seems a little like hypocrisy. If every vote counts, then each voter is responsible for the use of force by all of those entities. If my ability to use force requires me to have an ID, then surely the ability to use the force of the military should require an ID.

I must issue this caveat: I will not be voting. I choose not to participate in the system. I don’t feel it is right for me to force my views upon others through the threat of force. I’m more of a voluntary participation sort of person. The older I get, the more voluntary participation is important to me.

That’s what two cups of coffee gets you, a long winded rant that will change nothing. But all is not in vain – I turned it into a blog post. We all know that will change the world 🙂

Now, vote early, and vote often!

Springfield Strange

We’ve been in Springfield for 5 months. It really is a strange place. It’s been an adventure.

First of all, my job has me interacting with some people with whom I would never voluntarily choose to interact. These people aren’t murderers or rapists (well, not that I know of). They are just criminally minded enough to keep them from getting an invitation to any dinner parties that I might decide to host. You see, there are normal people in Springfield, and there are those who are Springfield Normal.

Springfield Norml is a pro-marijuana group. Springfield Normal, as I call them, is a group of people who smoke and sell marijuana. Or at least that is what I imagine this particular group of people as doing. Hygiene is not as important to them as is wearing all their favorite brands. Stealing is an acceptable way of getting those brands. I have never seen so many men over the age of 30 dressing as though they were 18. I think that there is also a larger than normal population of exotic dancers living here. At this point, I should state for the record that I have no problem with people using, selling, buying, and/or growing marijuana as long as they don’t aggress upon me in the process.

Secondly, we lost a long term non-human member of our family. She had been with us since 1998 or so. She is already missed.

But perhaps the strangest thing is that we are now parents of a human baby. He’s just over a month old. Already he is developing a personality. We used to think that we wouldn’t be any good at this, but I think we’ve got a handle on it. It already seems like he has been with us all along. It’s simply amazing.

I have a million other things on my mind and could keep writing, but it has been a long day – a long day that started last night. The baby fussed all night. That caused his mother to fuss. That caused me to not sleep. That caused a long day at work.

I still have to walk and feed the dogs, so this may be another long night.

Erased by a Birth Certificate

Whether or not there is really a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, the CDC has some explaining to do about manipulating the results of this study. This is one reason why people don’t trust the CDC when it comes to vaccines.

Another Full Moon

I can only remember one dream from last night. The dreams weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, since the moon is so close to full.

There’s no telling how this particular dream came to insert itself into my subconscious. I’m pretty sure I know where the main character came from. The main character, besides me, of course, was based loosely on somebody I worked with just before moving to Springfield. I understand where the little dog, the goat, and maybe even the jewelry came from. The origin of the woman with the chicken shoes totally baffles me.

I can’t remember the plot of the dream. The first part of it that I can remember is said main character going to jewelry school. He was learning to sell jewelry. They were sending a secret shopper around to test him on his jewelry selling ability, which was odd, because he didn’t work anywhere. We went to his friend’s house. The friend was really in the jewelry business. The friend wasn’t home. We punched in a code next to the garage door on the friends 8×10 storage shed. The door opened, but it only covered another door. We didn’t know the code to that door. So we didn’t go in.

That led us to talk about jewelry security. We eventually discussed dogs. Then a big lady with little legs and improbably small feet walked in with an impossibly small dog on a leash. The woman was talking about her chicken shoes. I guess that was in reference to her chicken legs and very small feet.

There was a goat and a school bus in that dream somewhere, and it all took place on a plateau like the one on which the ludus on “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” is located.

I think I have figured out the origins of most of the imagery of the dream.  The building with the second door requiring a second code is like a computer at work.  The dog imagery is obvious, as well as the woman walking dogs, and her foot problems.  I can go into that one if anyone cares, but nobody will.

Tonight’s dreams will be the most outrageous. I look forward to them, and I am terrified of them at the same time. I will miss the sleep as well.