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First Noticings

Updated: Mar 8, 2023

We rolled back into town a day earlier than planned. Mentally, we had been preparing for our final night on the road to be at a Brewery outside Minneapolis, so we could depart early the next day and have a full day to unpack, but as we were pulling into the Harvest Host our tenants called and said the house was ready. So we got back on the highway and pulled up in front of our house late in the afternoon. Our tenants left us a delicious dinner, a full fridge of treats, and flowers – which was a warm welcome (Did I mention we had fabulous tenants?!)

As we’ve been settling back in these past few days, we’re beholding everything with new eyes, or a new lens, or an altered framework. It is both familiar an strange to be home.

Our oldest joked with us as we unpacked and moved back in, “Does this place have full hook-ups?! (Water, sewer, electricity.) It does? Can we just run the A.C. then!?” It’s strange to have access to unlimited freshwater; even more unsettling is that we don’t have to think about water, neither where it comes from, nor where it goes. In the rig, we were always engaged in the “water dance,” the constant vigilance that makes us ask, “How much water do we have in our tank?” And, “How full is our greywater tank?” And, “When/where can we dump our black and grey water?”

In the rig, depending on our hook-ups and situation, we used a gallon or less to wash dishes and we sponged bathed before we turned on the shower, if we took a shower at all. It’s strange to have two bathrooms we can use, each with shower and a toilet, and a handle to flush that toilet. “I keep looking for the foot pedal flush!” comments our youngest.

Speaking of water, compared to the kitchen sink in our rig, our kitchen sink at home is massive; it’s like a small bathtub that someone plopped into our counter. Our kitchen at home is definitely not a one person kitchen! What’s also true is that this colossal sink, and this big kitchen, with a full sized stove, means that I can prepare and make homemade yogurt with ease.

Still, our house feels supersized. It’s less than 1300 square feet, but it feels mansion-like after we’ve been living in a 150 square foot home for close to a year. There’s almost too much room, compared to the small life we were living in the rig.

Our home is right under a flight path, and the planes are vastly louder than I remember them being. It’s more noise than anything we experienced on the road, including sleeping in a few Walmart Parking lots (a kids’ favorite). The planes have startled me awake every morning so far.

At home, we now have access to unlimited wifi; it’s just there and on, all the time. For much of our trip, we had very limited cell coverage, and no wifi, or sketchy coverage, at best. When we did have good wifi on the road, it felt like a treat, and we’d send out quick missives to family and friends, catching up while we could, and posting entries and pictures to our blog.

It’s taken a few days, but I’ve cleaned out all of our garden beds, and thanks to friends and neighbors (and thanks to the Buy Nothing Group that Juliana is a part of), we’ve got tomatoes, peppers, kale, strawberries, lettuce and more, which Jesse and I have planted. The blueberry plants are full of berries that will be ripe in just a few weeks. I notice how happy gardening makes me, and how much we love our neighbors and our neighborhood.

Blueberry bush in our front yard

We’re home. It feels like home and at the same time, it doesn’t quite feel like home. We’re still adjusting. And as I look back over this past year, I notice how many different places called “home.” Home was in the Badlands of South Dakota; home was among the redwoods in a county park near Crescent City, California; home was in the desert of Arizona; home was Baja, Mexico; home was a Walmart Parking lot; home was Fishing Bridge R.V. Park in Yellowstone.

And somehow, through grace or luck, or just plain randomness, our timing was such that we avoided the unprecedented rain fall and flooding that has now closed Yellowstone.

Over these past ten months, we avoided major rig failure. We all stayed relatively healthy. We’ve come full circle now, out ten month season of exploration over, and a new season beginning. In the words of T.S. Eliot, we’ve arrived where we started, and we are knowing this place for the very first time.

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