October Wrap-Up

October was a month of upheaval! It started with a hurricane and from there, things just spiraled in and out of control.

adsc_0049Before I get into details, of course, let’s wrap up the October goals:

  • Get back to regular recipes this month – check out Easy Basil Pesto, Chicken Pesto Dutch Baby, and Spicy Tortilla Soup.
  • Kyle owes me a trip to IKEA to buy a mattress for the bus camper build. We made a day of it! I’ll explain below why we absolutely had to go to IKEA for this item.
  • After we buy the mattress, I need to sew cushion covers for it, as well as curtains. I am just getting started on this project as I find sewing pretty daunting.
  • Kyle is also finishing up the wiring in the bus, so soon we should be able to get the rest of the cabinets and flooring installed. I think the wiring is done now, the floors are in, and we have a few cabinetry pieces that still need to be put in place.
  • We’re volunteering at the Latin American Festival! We had a great time, the weather was perfect.
  • I found a free online photography course originally offered at Stanford and Google, I would like to spend one night/week watching a lesson and completing assignments. This is probably the biggest goal failure I’ve ever had – I literally had this tab open in my web browser for the entire month and constantly intended to get started but never did. Normally if I fail at a goal it’s because I completely forgot about it or things got reprioritized. Not this time.

And now for November goals:

  • I 100% have to get that sewing stuff finished up, the sooner the better, because…
  • …We’re planning on camping just about every weekend in November…
  • …Including a big road trip in the bus. Sort of a shake-down cruise. Details TBD.
  • Who hasn’t always wanted a cabin in the woods? My in-laws just bought one and it needs some cleaning up, so we’re headed there one weekend.
  • Vote! I’m going to be out of town on election day so I’m voting absentee. I really hope they send a “I voted” sticker with my absentee ballot.
  • Roast a turkey! Eat mashed potatoes! See family!

There are some months where it’s a real challenge to collect photos for my wrap up, and some months where I have an insane number to choose from. I got a new phone this month – Sony Xperia Z3 compact – and it is basically a point-and-shoot camera with phone and app capabilities. Just what I always wanted! I’ve been testing that out everywhere and I’m very pleased with the results. What I’m getting at is that there’s a ton of photos this month. You’ve been warned.

Latin American Festival! My job was ID checker for the beer tent, which was incredibly cool because there was a huge variety of IDs – ranging from Spain to Mexico to Guatemala – you name it, I saw it!

aimag1819Next up is hurricane weekend! The governor ordered evacs on Tuesday, which sent everyone into a panic (the storm didn’t hit until Saturday). Gas shortages EVERYWHERE, and this is the bread aisle at my local grocery store:

aimag1821The front half of the storm brought a lot of rain, but the back half was dry, so we went outside in the hurricane winds! Admittedly not the best idea, but the area we’re in was pretty protected from the brunt of the storm, and also we didn’t really see any flooding. I tried to take photos of the trees in the high winds, but they honestly don’t look like much. Instead, please enjoy a dramatic photo of our blackout grilled cheese, with homemade bread!

aimg_0934At first we were kind of ‘meh’ about the blackout, but on Day 2 of no power I started to get a little concerned about the perishable foods. Kyle used this as an opportunity to wire up the bus fridge. Apparently post-hurricane weather is all sunshine, so he also hooked up the solar panel for some off-grid living!

aimg_1013aWe were taking a walk around the neighborhood after the hurricane and found lots of free firewood, perfect for our upcoming camping trips. We immediately loaded up the Fitty Fit Fit with everything she could carry (which is A LOT).

adsc_0275After sky-high beer prices in Charleston, we were surprised at how affordable beer was in Charlotte, NC. Kyle was such a trooper at IKEA that we treated ourselves to a whole pitcher of IPA – and the cost was about the same as two 12-oz beers here in Charleston.

aimag1815We had to make a special trip to IKEA because it’s pretty much the only place that sells a foam mattress we can use in the bus. Since the cushions will serve as both bed and seat, it was important to find foam that wasn’t too thick, but was firm enough to support our butts and backs. We immediately chopped it up and test fit – now I’m working on the cushion covers.

aimg_9752As long as we’re on the topic of bus work, check out our new headliner and lights! We bought these recessed LED lights in warm white – they are great because they have a wide angle (120°) which means they light up the whole area and don’t create a spotlight effect. They also have a very low power draw, which keeps our batteries happy. I love how bright they are, I was concerned about inadequate lighting because there’s a significant happiness factor there.

aimg_9059After all this work we decided we needed some playtime, so we took a day off and hit up some tourist destinations. This was the first day I had my new phone camera, so I took lots of photos. We started at the aquarium, where they are having a LEGO exhibit.

adsc_0067They have a special tank dedicated to fish from Finding Nemo. I never realized the Dory-fish is so tiny! (Also can we talk about the fact that all the coral is made from LEGO as well? I love it!)

adsc_0084We also did a harbor tour, because boat rides. One of the common complaints about my new phone is that it’s “slippery.” I didn’t think it was that slippery, but – no lie – I reached out over the side of the boat to take a photo and the phone slipped out of my hands. Thankfully Kyle had already put a tether on it because I would have lost it, Day 1, right there. I gave him the most sheepish look after dropping it, and he returned with his best “ARE YOU SERIOUS” expression.

adsc_0161We had SUCH a Southern guide on the tour boat, we kept just shaking our heads and laughing at some of the things she was saying about the “War Between the States” and related events. Then when we were getting off the boat we realized she was sitting RIGHT behind us! I don’t think we were rude, just amused, but I probably would not have acted quite the same if I’d known she was right there. A lesson in kindness, I suppose.

adsc_0236Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Kyle got a new job! He’s working under a Professional Engineer now, doing engineery things. His new work is located about a mile from our house, but it’s in the wrong direction so it takes him about 15 minutes to get there (rush hour traffic). He’s quickly working on fixing his bike situation because it’s literally faster to bike there. All in all, a good month!

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