Fixin’ a Hole Where the Rain Gets In — December 14, 2015

Fixin’ a Hole Where the Rain Gets In

During the rain the past weekend here, I was dry and comfortable in my bed, but I kept hearing a drip that sounded like it was inside.  I got up and checked around my bed, but it was completely dry.  The windows weren’t leaking, so I went back to sleep.

The rain getting in really starts months earlier – before the Hilton was even mine.  My dad had leant it to my sister so she could move some things.  She tried to park it in a car garage in Walnut Creek, and… well it didn’t fit.  So the roof got a gaping hole in it.  That was two days before I got it.  Not having the money (and still paying rent), I patched it the best I could.  I used water proof duct tape and sprayed over that with a spray rubberized leak fixer.  I was hoping it held until I could do something else.

Then I was in Nevada in November, when my dad died, and it snowed.  There was about 6 inches of melting snow on top of my van, but still no problems as far as I could tell.  The first time it rained, I heard a drip, and I checked around.  Water was definitely leaking in the rear door somehow.  I figured it was time to get the roof fixed.  So I went to an auto repair shop.  They peeled off my makeshift patch – now soggy duct tape, and showed me a soggy broken fiberglass hole.  They put some patch on it for $800, and I felt safe once again.

However, the first night it rained this past week, once again, I heard drips, and sure enough, water was coming in the back window or door or… somewhere!  So I bought some door sealing tape and some stuff called Mortite – which is like a putty caulking.  I put the tape around the door, and when I examined the back window, I thought it could be coming in there.  The next night, it rained again, as I knew it would.  I heard drips that were a little more muffled.  I checked the place I knew was dripping the night before, and it was dry.  My sealing seemed to have stopped that.  But searching a little more thoroughly, I found that the inside of the cabinets that are part of the hightop roof were wet.

The patch seems to be tight though, so I don’t think it’s that.  It has to be the seams where the roof and the van are connected.  That’s the only way that water could be getting into those cabinets!  I think maybe when she tried to drive the van into the garage, it may have hit hard enough to shift those seams, or loosen that connection.

There is supposed to be about a week of no rain, so I’m going to let it dry good – leaving the cabinets open, and then I’m going to use the Mortite all along that seam at the top.  It’s supposed to rain the following week, so I’ll be able to tell whether that solves the problem.  I don’t want to save money on rent, only to have to spend it on Van repairs.  But I am committed to this lifestyle so, I’m just hoping here.  If anyone has any other suggestions or similar experience, advice is appreciated.

It Must Have Rained Last Night — December 11, 2015

It Must Have Rained Last Night

There was an amazing storm last night!  Thunder with lightening and rain filled the sky.  I noticed that most of the rain here happens during the night; it’s rare that it rains throughout the day.  When I was living in my apartment, the closest I came to storms like that, was waking up and seeing the ground all wet and thinking, “Huh!  It must have rained last night.  Maybe I should bring my umbrella.”  Oh yes, I do remember in wetter days, wading through puddles and icy sheets of rain, but those times were so rare that I remember specific incidents, not a general weather pattern.

The storm last night was so intense that I started to get scared!  It’s one of the blessings I get, living in the Hilton – I’m a lot closer to nature and weather than I’ve ever been.  Being scared sometimes, being filled with awe and dread about the natural world, is not a bad thing!  Child of the modern culture that I am, I immediately began to google about the safety of being in a lightening storm in your car, and what the seconds between the lightening and the thunder actually means in terms of distance from the lightening strike.  No, the rubber wheels don’t really protect you from lightening!  And being on your cell phone adds a little more risk.

What could I do but put my phone down at that point, and experience the storm?  I should have been sleeping, but wasn’t upset about being awake because I was so in awe of the experience I was having.  Rain was pelting the roof with vengeance, and thunder roaring, lightening flashing filling my van with light, and I was lying there, so warm and cozy in my nice blankets, participating in my own way.  I never expected that being entranced by a storm would be one of the benefits of moving into my van.  I expected to have to endure storms, not participate in them. Though I needed the sleep, I was filled with awe and gratitude, and a little fear, and the experience was incredible!  When it passed, I drifted off to sleep again.


Cold Starry Night — December 1, 2015

Cold Starry Night

I’ve now been living in The Hilton for four months.  A couple weeks ago, I purchased a camping pass at Thousand Trails.  Since I get three days a week off, this turns out to be a perfect solution for my question about what to do with the weekends.  Until my parents died, I used to go visit them.

After four months of living in the van, I can truly say that it has been beneficial for me.  This past weekend, I bought a coleman stove and took myself camping in my van.  It was cold – freezing, as water that I’d left out over night was ice in the morning.  However I was warm and content as I slept.

The final night, I built a campfire and stared into it for hours as the sky darkened.  I’ve been grieving for weeks over the death of my parents, and that extended into grieving for the deaths of my two cats over the summer.  And after some time, the fire died and became cold.  I stood up and it was completely dark around me.  There was no moon, and no light.  There was utter silence, and frigid air surrounding me.  But I looked up and there were thousands of points of light permeating the sky.  Cold and brilliant stars.  At that moment, I knew the world was beautiful.  And though I felt small, I didn’t feel diminished, but bright, like one of the stars, shining my own truth and existence, and my life had meaning.

Living in four walls surrounded by my purchased things, the world was small, and it turned in on itself and weighed on my heart and on my very being.  But standing there, with only the basic necessities tucked in my van, I understood that materialism and consumerism blocks us from authenticity.  Our world becomes our things, and we think they mean something.  We are blocked off from the cold, the heat, the stars, the vastness of the world, and from it’s beauty.  We are blocked from fully experiencing the human condition in nature.  And so many of us are lonely.

During the day, there were so many birds in the trees and on the ground around the trees foraging for the seeds.  Beautiful birds, like blue jays, and plain small brown ones. They were all just going about their lives around me.  I just sat still and observed.  It’s no wonder that the ancients needed religion to explain their worlds.  The sense of awe is overwhelming, and they could put their place into their world into perspective.  But we are guarded from that in our modern world.  There is something about thinking the world is all about us that actually detracts, not only from the beauty of the world, but from the beauty of ourselves.