Welcome to My Full-Time RV Living LifeStyle Blog!

I suppose I should mention that this is an RV blog. The picture of me standing beside a motorhome in the banner probably tipped you off to that fact already, but you know how it is with blogs, any body can put anything in the header.

Anyways, I was born, raised, and live in Maine, I have 12 cats, and some people would call me homeless. Nope, I have a home, I just don't have what people call a standard house. My house has wheels and her name is Rosebud. My backyard stretches on for thousands and thousands of miles all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

Once upon a time I had a "regular home" but a flood came and took it away. Me and my cats spent the next 3 years living under a 8x6 tarp and survived through 3 blizzards and Maine's coldest winter on record when the temps hit -48F. After that me and the cats moved in a Volvo. As hard as it is to live in a tent with 12 cats, it's even harder to live in a Volvo with 12 cats, and a motorhome named No Hurry was the answer. No Hurry: my home, my office, my RV.

I plan to use this blog to share my thoughts, ideas, adventures, and advice on being self-employed, living and working a full-time RV LifeStyle with an army of cats, while boondocking in the wonderful (and sometimes sub-zero) state of Maine.

I hope to write a post a day featuring random thoughts as they pop into my head, and hopefully 2 or 3 posts per week will focus on something helpful to those seeking to live in an RV full time. If you've any thoughts, ideas, or suggestions on what sort of posts you'd like to see me write, please comment and let me know.

I hope you all have as much fun reading this blog as I know I'll have writing it.

~Wendy

Monday, June 11, 2012

EelKat's Thoughts on Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain


As with last semester, at the end of the Summer Semester 2012 @ SMCC, I am now putting my college essays online. This is one of several book/article reviews written for the Lit&Environment class:




Wendy C Allen
LITR 245 Literature & Environment
Prof. Robert Verttese
June 10, 2012

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

Did you like the writing style?

Yes, Twain has a very good technique. His writing is fluid and flows as smooth as the water he writes about. Though it was the shortest piece, it had the better style of the readings this week. I enjoyed this one the most.

Did the ideas appeal to you?

Writing about water always appeals to me. I connect with water. I grew up surrounded by water, a swamp behind me, the ocean in front of me, and a brook flowing through the yard. I’ve seen nature at her best and worst through water: calm, peaceful, and sparkling in the sun, to wrathful fury, torrential rains, raging waves, and flash flooding. Right in the mouth of the Gulf as we are, we get hit by the worst storms to roll into Maine. There is a reason Old Orchard Beach is a seasonal town, a locked up, boarded up, and abandoned ghost town most of the year: Our summers are short, our springs and falls ravaged by thunder and lightning and hurricanes, and our winters rarely seeing temperature about -20F. Only a handful of people risk living in the town year round and I’m one of them. People always ask, why? Why don’t you move? A flood took your house for God’s sake, why do you stay here? Isn’t there someplace better you can live? No, there isn’t. Why? Because in spite of the dangers, and the sheer violence of the waves, I absolutly love life on the water’s edge. If I had a boat, I’d be living in the ocean instead of at the edge of it. The sound of rushing water verberates through my soul, I could not live without the sound of water by my side. I think, Mark Twain felt the same way. The Mississippi River didn’t just flow through his home town, it flowed through his soul. He could not exist without his beloved river, thus when he writes, the river flows right through his pen to the page. I love to read about oceans and rivers and their effects of the lives of those who embrace them, and thus of the five reading assignments of this week, this is the one that touches my soul the most, the one I found to be the most appealing of all.

What SPECIFICALLY did you like/dislike?

Well, I kind of answered this in my last response, but: the water. I just love writing that speaks about lives touched by the flow of water. This is nothing but one big ode to water, talking of it in every line. I love it.

A quote or two you liked and why you liked them:

“The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book”

I love this passage, it is so true. It is exactly how I see water. I think Twain and I are a lot alike in the way we look at water. Water has a great and many tales it could tell, if only it could speak, it could tell of of its travels, those it has passed, those who’ve died in its grasp, those it has helped, those it has hindered. Water is like a book, a silent book, which never speaks, never tells its tales, and yet to the trained eye it need not speak, for the trained eye knows the meaning of every ripple, every splash.

How does this reading connect to another idea, reading, film, etc. and explain the connection.

May 9, 2006 started like any other day. It was warmer and wetter than usual, seeing that a hurricane was currently trapped in the Gulf of Maine and spending the week flooding rivers, washing out sand dunes, and uprooting trees. May 9th was the first day of no rain in more than a week. My first chance to go out in the garden and examine the damage. I had no idea that when I stepped outside of the house that day, I would never step inside it ever again. The house was in one corner of the farm, and the garden was in the opposite corner, over a steep hill and across a dangerously swollen brook. The farm being boarded by beach on one side and swamp on the other, with a brook crossing though it, meant even without the hurricane we live in a very wet area. The swamp could no longer be seen, as the flood waters had risen over the top of the grass, making it look like a small lake had surrounded us. I had been examining the damage in the garden less than 3 minutes when my 14 year old brother came running down the hill and across the bridge, his eyes wild with terror as he said: “There’s something wrong with Daddy and the house is full of water!” The rest of the day was a blur of police, EMTs, and ambulances. Daddy was in a coma and the house which had stood there only minutes ago, was a pile of rubble, crushed by a flash flood which had came and went in only seconds.

What we did not know was Daddy had taken out a “reversed mortgage” on the house, which stipulated, he could live there until he died or was unable to take care of it. Daddy had only been in a coma a few days when the bank came to us and told us the farm was theirs, by being in the hospital over a certain amount of days my dad had forfeited the loan, and me, my mom, my 3 teenaged brothers, 2 dogs, 3 birds, and 9 cats suddenly found ourselves not only houseless, but now landless as well.

It would be another 2 months before Daddy would be pulled off life support, because his medical insurance said they refused to pay another day of the $13,000 a day machine my dad was hooked up to. We were not given a choice, we were simply told one day by the doctors: “We took him off life support last night, because his insurance was cut.” By some miracle he continued breathing on his own, and would be in the hospital another 6 months. Nearly a year after the flood, he was sent home and found out what had happened. Now disabled, barely able to talk or walk, my dad, a lifelong poultry farmer, suddenly found himself crippled and living in his car.

Meanwhile, my mom had gotten a divorce, remarried and left taking my 3 little brothers with her. Me? I have Autism. I was 30 years old. I had never been to school, never driven a car, never really had contact with humans outside of my family, and had barely spoken a word most of those years. I had been removed from school at age 8, told I was too retarded to be worth teaching anything to, told I would never amount to anything, never drive a car, never have a job, and college was out of the question. No one attempted to teach me any of those things and my childhood, teen and young adult years, had been spent gardening, and rescuing animals.

Fortunately we still owned part of the land, as my dad had divided it up before taking out a mortgage. Here stood the last remaining barn and enough land for me to pitch a tent, only I had no money and no idea how to get any. The concept of a job had never been taught to me. I built a tent out of a 8x6 tarp, and that is where I would live for the next 6 years, including through 3 blizzards and 5 more hurricanes. I was alone for the first time in my life. My dad was in the hospital and who knows where my mom had run off to. By October 2006 I had my first job, at age 31. By December I had my car, a $900 1992 Volvo 240GL, which I have since found out was so cheap because it has a bad habit of falling apart, usually while driving down the road. Though I had the car, I was not yet able to drive it, but it was a place to live in on days it was too cold or wet to stay under the tarp.

I discovered that if I had a college degree, I could get a better job, so college became my next goal, though to jump from Grade 3 to college 27 years later, with no schooling since I was 8 years old, meant I had a huge challenge to hurdle here. Math was then and still is, my biggest challenge, but I finally received my GED in December 2010 and my driver’s licence August 2011. September 2011 I started my first semester of college at YCCC. I transferred to SMCC in the Spring 2012. I had now completed nearly everything the psychologists had said someone with my kind of Autism would never do: I had a job, I had and was driving a car, and I was in college. The last step was to be able to live on my own, in a place of my own, without the help of shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries. I had to move out from under the tarp and find a place to live. This has troubled me for the past 6 years. See, while I can work, my Autism limits what I am able to do, and also limits who is willing to hire me. The result is I make $7.75 a hour for only 14 hours a week, which barely pays the $40 a week gas I needed to get to college, not to mention the constant repairs needed to keep my car running. Thankfully I can eat at the college for only $5 a meal, otherwise I’d still be eating only 1 or 2 skimpy meals a week at soup kitchens. But I can barely afford to eat and to drive to college, how can I afford an apartment when prices are more per week than my income is per month? After searching high and low for a solution, a solution presented itself one day when visiting a relative and watching Robin Williams (than) latest movie: “RV”. My tarp-tent is pitched on the border of The Powderhorn Campground. I spend each summer surrounded by thousands of RVs in all shapes and sizes, but I never once thought of them as anything but vacation vehicles. I had never been inside one, and I had no idea that nearly 20 million Americans live in them full time. I could not afford a house. I could not afford an apartment. I could however, if I saved enough money, eventually afford an old motorhome. It took me three years to do it, but I finally saved up $4,000 and set out to find myself a motorhome.

February 21, 2012 was a very big day for me. A milestone. It was the day I bought a 22 foot 1975 Dodge Sportsman F40 Class C Motorhome. Her previous owner, a race car driver, had used her as a rally car, and painted her to match his race car, a Sublime Green 1970 Dodge Charger. He called her “No Hurry” because she moved so slow and never seemed in a hurry to get any place. She is bright fluorescent, metallic lime green, with flat black racing stripes, and covered sides and back with race car sponsor stickers. Inside she has NASCAR decor and a 2 inch thick shag carpet. And now I am at school, as a person who is no longer homeless. My house may be small, just 22 ft long by 9 ft wide, and it may be on wheels, but it’s a house, none the less. Once again I have a bed and a toilet, a full kitchen, a dinning room, there’s even a bathtub (a rare thing to find in an RV). A place to wash, a place to eat, a place to sleep, and for the first time since I started college, I could do my homework at home, no more coming to college early and staying late, trying to get all my homework done all in one day! And more importantly it’s warm and dry. Everything is small of course and being 40 years old it has it’s problems, but still, it’s a house and for the first time in 6 years, I could finally say, I am no longer homeless.

This story, reminded me of these events in my life. The brook which overflowed, throughout my childhood, teen, and young adult years, had long been my place to play. In 1991 Hurricane Bob (the worst hurricane to ever hit Old Orchard) thrashed through, turning our brook into a river and desperately damaging our house and the barns. The repairs were never done, and when Katrina came through a few years later, flooding the brook again, the building damaged by Bob, were swept away by Katrina. Strange, I grew up always in the brook, yet after the flooding of Bob, I never played in it again, and kept my distance from the deepest parts of it. Like Twain, I had a new look at the brook, I saw it through new eyes, eyes of knowing - knowing the beauty, yet also knowing the dangers. My love for water is still as deep as ever, but my respect for it has grown as well.

What does he regret about being a boat captain and how does he look at the river differently?

Now that he knows how to read the river, it has lost its sense of magic, beauty, and mystery. He saw it before, as a child, unknowing, oblivious, able to look and see it only for it’s beauty. But learning its language, learning to read the signs, now every time he looks at it, he sees only the signs, and no more the mystery. I know the feeling, a longing for the day when you knew it only as a beautiful thing, before you knew that water was far more than just a thing of beauty.


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Good morning Starshine! Liked this post? Looking to connect with me online? I love social networks and am on most of them. You can find me on: BloggerEtsyFaceBookGoogle+KeenMySpaceNaNoWriMoProBoardsScript FrenzySpoonflowerSquidooTwitterULC Ministers NetworkWordpress, and Zazzle Feel free to give me a shout any  time. Many blessings to you, may all your silver clouds be lined with rhinestones and sparkle of golden sunshine. Have yourself a great and wonderful glorious day!

~Rev. Wendy C. Allen aka Empress EelKat of Laughing Gnome Hollow



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This post was written by Wendy C Allen aka EelKat, is copyrighted by The Twighlight Manor Press and was posted on Houseless Living @ http://houselessliving.blogspot.com and reposted at EK's Star Log @ http://eelkat.wordpress.com and parts of it may also be seen on http://www.squidoo.com/EelKat and http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com  If you are reading this from a different location than those listed above, please contact me Wendy C. Allen aka EelKat @ http://laughinggnomehollow.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=viewprofile and let me know where it is you found this post. Plagiarism is illegal and I DO actively pursue offenders. Unless copying a Blog Meme, you do not have permission to copy anything appearing on this blog, including words, art, or photos. This will be your only warning. Thank you and have a glorious day! ~ EelKat



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