Wednesday, June 29, 2011
My New Casita--Not the Travel Trailer Kind
Surprising things have happened in the past few days here in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
Saturday morning, I found myself overwhelmed by lack of space in my 22-foot Toyota Dolphin. Since I moved here to TorC, I've switched up what I'm selling on eBay. I used to sell mostly small textiles, such as ladies' vintage designer silk scarves, but I wasn't finding that kind of inventory here. So I started selling Western wear, which takes up a lot more room than scarves. Twenty scarves might fit in an envelope, but 20 cowboy shirts takes a banker's box. And there wasn't room for any more boxes or baskets or bags in the Guppy and still be able to do normal living activities like making a meal or getting out the computer or drawing a picture.
I wandered off to have coffee and ran into a friend whose partner owns an apartment building that had a unit available. A few hours later, I rented my little two-room casita, which seems incredibly spacious and luxurious after four months of living in my mini-moho. The attraction here is not just a larger living space. Each little home faces into the courtyard, which is a relaxing place with trees and vegetable beds. The owner's unit has a storefront which will eventually be an art gallery. I have parking for the Guppy and a view of Turtleback Mountain from my kitchen window, where I can sit and watch the colors of the sky change while having my morning coffee.
There are only about a half-dozen residents, and I guess we are all as unconventional as the town we live in. (One of the landlord's interview questions: "Are you psychic?" "Well, yeah, I'm a little intuitive..." "Great, you'll fit right in!")
One of my interview questions to him was whether I may do mosaic artwork on my patio, and the answer was, "Of course. You had to ask?" "Well, no, not really, it was more of a courtesy." This is going to be a very interesting and satisfying place to live.
I moved in yesterday morning. I'd bought a TV before I started traveling in the Guppy, but had never used it. I asked one of my new neighbors how to get reception, and, in the process, another surprise came along. She works at a hot springs spa and lodge a block away, and they need a front desk clerk two days a week. So now I have a job, too. It will pay enough to cover my rent and groceries, and I can continue to do eBay to meet the rest of my expenses. I can also get additional hours to come in and paint trim or other easy projects--AND my new employer would love to have me do some mosaic projects! It's a beautiful place, and they're always doing more to continue beautifying it.
You'd think that would be plenty of surprises, but, oh, no, there are more! I celebrated my 56th birthday on Monday, and I'd invited everyone I knew from AA to join me for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Amazing to me, since I'd only been in town for two-and-a-half weeks, the big table I'd reserved wasn't big enough and we had to get another one. A dozen folks came to help me celebrate my birthday. Wow! I also had coffee in the morning with a few people who couldn't come to dinner. It was one of the best birthdays I've ever had.
Another great surprise--I was walking past another hot springs lodge the other day. I asked the owner, who was out in front doing some remodeling, whether it would be okay if I stopped by sometime and sketched the beautiful potted cacti they have in front of their building. He said, yes, of course, and introduced me to everyone that works there and showed me the entire facility. This is not just a place to go take a soak--the owner and his partner are internationally known teachers of various therapies such as craniosacral therapy and existential somatics. Don't ask me what all that means. I just know they have a beautiful facility and they get to go spend the summer swimming with dolphins somewhere in Central America. When they come back in a couple of months, they're going to be doing a lot of mosaic around their clinic. They've collected great rocks over the years, and they've purchased a top-of-the-line tile cutter that cuts rocks into tiles. I asked if I could help them with this project, since I'm a mosaic artist, and they happily accepted my offer. We will probably do some kind of barter--my helping them with their mosaic projects in exchange for aquatic therapy and use of their rock slicer. This place is kitty-corner from my new apartment.
So, in a matter of days, I have gone from living near a couple of drunks in an RV park owned by a perennially angry redneck, to having a quirky living situation that is well-suited to my needs, an easy part-time job, and a couple of creative projects for which I'll be compensated. Oh, did I mention that I get unlimited free spas as part of my job?
Now I'm feeling like there was a purpose to my going a little crazy from loneliness and disappointment on the road after all. As it turned out, traveling full-time is not my cup of tea, at least not alone or at this point in my life. But it got me where I needed to be--in a community where I feel very much at home. Sonja is very happy, too.
I wondered if I would need to change the name of my blog once I settled down in TorC, but I think not. Even though I won't be traveling full-time anymore, I will definitely be using the Guppy as my eBay reconnaissance vehicle, heading out to make buying trips throughout the Southwest. With the bulk of my possessions (eBay inventory, vintage fabrics, sewing machine, sheet music, art supplies, books, etc.) moved into my new place, I can travel much more lightly with my motorhome and bring back all kinds of great stuff to sell or to make into art. And I can travel just for the fun of it, no longer having the purpose of finding where I belong.