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The No-Progress Report: STILL IN THE RV, and not yet in the dome.

There’s a lot left to do still before we can live in it: build out the sleeping area, put in kitchen facilities, insulate it (dome without insulation or ventilation = greenhouse), put in a wood stove. Part of what’s holding us up are funds and our commitment to building on a cash-only basis without going into debt EVER AGAIN. Another part is that July is HOT and building can be pretty miserable.

But mostly it’s that we’ve needed a break from building to do some living. We’re pacing ourselves.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to come to terms with is what folks up here call Mountain Time. That’s the idea that things simply go slower and take way longer than the urban/suburban norm. Kind of a tough concept to adapt to, given that our lives have revolved around Silicon Valley time, still only a half hour drive or a laptop away.

It can be maddening not to be making progress. On the other hand, embracing the down time has allowed us simply to have some slow fun.

The rope swing over the pond is still a family fave.


Not to mention the go-cart, which the Director of Recreational Activities bought used last year, prioritizing it over building materials. Eh-hem.


Then there’s our beloved creek.

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Plus a new zip line, hacked from an old roller skate wheel and scrap cable Mauricio snagged from work. (This is an early prototype with a pulley that had too much friction.)


And – something we’ve largely avoided until recently, because it cut into our weekend building time – having friends over to share some of that slow fun with us.

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And finally, a visit with my family in Chicago, which has not happened in four years (for shame).

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Last but not least, not building in every free moment has meant giving time to other creative pursuits, like writing music and rocking out on my decidedly not-off-grid electric guitar with some really awesome women in our band, Sound of Lashes.

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For a get-it-done person like me, it’s not easy to let go of making progress and marking time by marking off things on the to-do list. Not sure that’ll ever completely change.

But, as you can see, we haven’t been suffering too much from lollygagging, either.


9 thoughts on “Pacing Ourselves: Taking Time to Play

  1. Interestingly, our livesthings parallel in som areas. Since my husband “retired” from his job, changing his “career” trajectory, in order to find a more meaningful way of life for our family, we’ve downsized severely into what was supposed to be a temporary living situation (a short-term rental studio apt. which has become our residence now since last Sept) Going from a two story , 3 bedroom house (I never quite felt it was HOME as we had a cookie cutter house in a subdivision w/its’ own gym facility, pool & hotubS. Nothing wrong with ppl who enjoy an artificially contained members-only “neighbhorhood”) a supposed perk of his old job. We now both work a couple low-paying working class jobs on The
    Monterey Peninsula, not the easiest place to live on minimum wage salary
    Our goal in this is to create a life we love, not just JOBS to pay bills. Although we’re tight on funds now, we’re wking like this, living like this in order to save(hence, the two jobs, one to live & pay bills, the other to save) in order to have the freedom not to have jobs, careers in the traditional sense, but to do what we love. As the old adage goes, “I do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
    Your post today


  2. I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately as we never really have had any free time these past 8 months. We work hard,eat,&sleep. Cut into our sleep order to find the time to hit the 24hr launndrymat. While we do have indoor plum,g.
    I’m not whining, we chose this type of life for the short-term( we’re giving it a year, then moving closer to family on The East Coast. Off-grid as much as possible.). Your post today really underscored WHY we’re doing thistles! To see the ppl we love on a regular basis, to lollygag,& to not have merely JOBS, but to do what we LOVE. We have no illusions, owning a patch of land, making things by hand, building our own tiny home,& for me, having small livestock,& farming will be hard work too, but rewarding because I love this kind of life. I love growing my own food. I love knowing my (future) goats will provide us with milk. For my husband, he can pick and choose what creative projects he wants to work on. It’s not about money or status, neither do we desire( well, we’ll need money, but not in the amounts most ppl strive for.
    Thanks for reminding me today why we’re doing this.


  3. I apologize for the multiple posts here,&the choppiness; I’m writing from a mobile. Predictive text takes over a lot,&I when I go to fix it, I end up deleting whole sentences accidentally.
    I’m so thrilled you’re in a band! Something I used to do and would love to do again. How cool are you!?!
    Do you play shows? I’d love to see you perform! I could carve out time to go see you. You’re not too far away if you have gigs in Silicon Valley or San Fran or anywhere in The Bay Area. As I wrote, we’re down on The Monterey Peninsula!


    1. Hi Amy, I think it’s great to work hard and work like crazy toward a goal like yours, as long as it’s not the modus operandi for your whole life. Like you, both Mauricio and I are still working our butts off at our paying gigs–he as an electrician and I as a freelance writer. What you don’t see in the posts is that he leaves at 5:30 a.m. to go to work and I get up with him to my paid writing work, so that I have a chunk done before the kids get up. The reason we’re still working hard at it is that we hope to sock away money, retire early and travel the world with the kids in three years. So hang in there, you’re on the right trajectory. Just remember that it’s okay to have periods of rest and fun in between the hard pushes.

      Really appreciate your thoughtful replies and commiseration.

      As for band, we just had our first legit gig in Oakland and it was a blast. I highly recommend it. We have Facebook page at Sound of Lashes if you want to find out our upcoming shows. We don’t have any new ones on the calendar yet.


      1. You had breifly gone over the issue of Mauricio’s electrician job not being able to transfer him closer. Hence, him having to get up *before* the crack of dawn to commute. Your getting up with him is sweet,&seems to enable you to finish up the majority or all of your work so you can focus on your
        children during the rest of the day. You two are so inspirational. Traveling with your children will give them a hands-on education reaping so very many benefits a “traditional” school
        would never provide for them. Before our son was 12 yrs old, he’d lived, &I traveled, in Europe & Asia. I’m so glad for that particular perk of my spouse’s previous job. It allowed my son to meet,& truly spend time w/my traditional Okinawan Granmother before she passed away. I’m forever grateful he was able to meet her. He was able to play w/
        his Okinawan cousins,& truly immerse himself in culture(s)

        surface level.

        meet our Okinawan relatives
        was younger, we lived overseas (& Europe &
        Yes, my husband &I have fallen out of d


      2. Oops, again I apologize. My laptop’s down. My mobile won’t allow for too long of a post. It truly wants me to write things I don’t ind!


      3. About living abroad VS.tourism allows an immersian in cultures beyond the surface level one gets to see on a brief vacation. Having been raised in Okinawa & The States onewould of thea greatest gift my parents could give me! I’m glad I was able to give a little of that to my son. Your children will thrive on it,&I it’ll impact the rest of their lives. Simply playing w/
        children of other cultures broadens their worldview. The mundane daily

        routines takes on a special glow. Also, there isn’t anything comparable to teaching history where it happens, but I’m sure you’ve been alteady consi


  4. ( no more posting for me until I get my laptop back from being fixed!)
    As I wrote initially, I’m so glad for this particular post. We had been neglecting some pursuits we love,& have not spent as much time w/ each other as a couple. Your post inspires me to remember not only our goal, but the reason we’re working so hard. In order to be closer & to pursue creative outlets! How I’ve missed singing, or simply watching live music!
    I’m going off to like your page now!


  5. Amy, I really appreciate your commiseration and thoughtful replies. It really is hard to remember that today is the goal, not some far-off date when everything will be just the way you want it. The hard part is finding the balance between enjoying this time and simply getting down to work and doing what needs to be done. I’m glad it’s inspiring you to lean a little the other way. We’ll have to keep reminding each other.

    Loved hearing about your international experience as a kid. I didn’t get on a plane until I was an adult, and the whole world opened my eyes. I do want the kids to have that a little earlier than I did.


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