The Groundhog

IMG00006The groundhog that lives under the shed out back has been particularly nosy of late. I was able to get within about 6 feet of him Sunday while headed out for coffee.

Meanwhile, the tossing of the stuff continues. Looks like I MAY be able to get out of town (FINALLY!) tomorrow afternoon. My gear is freighted. A rough guess puts the weight between 70-90 pounds, and that was after going back and tossing half the stuff I NEEDED.

Proof is in the sauce, they say. Meanwhile, the journey to get this project underway is almost complete. Few who read this know how much of a pain writers go through to get the EXACT right phrase down on paper.

For the uninitiated, it looks a bit something like this.

wacko

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Wrapping Things Up, And Assorted Details

Needless to say, I didn’t get that job.

This, along with another last minute snafu regarding my final paycheck (“I thought you said you were working next week…”) and a night of two-fisted monkey death punch power-drinking led me to the fact that if I wanted people to follow along on this journey, I had to write about it more.

A LOT more. Once a week updates just won’t cut it.

As an example, there was the discussion about gear. Since a quick trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods viewed through the lens of a hangover so brutal my red eyes looked like traffic lights might be of interest, We’ll wander through that today.

Original plan called for hammock/tarp AND a tent. Now that my budget has been reduced to 15% of what I originally planned, there was no money for both. It was one or the other.

Decisions looming with a deadline brutally close, imagine hungover hero standing there, looking at prices, judging weight versus space concerns. I ended up going with the hammock/tarp combo for one simple reason.

Even in a tent, sleeping on the ground sucks bongwater.

Jesus, do I really NEED a first aid kit? Hiking alone and first aid is a zero sum game. If you’re going to get an infection, not much in that kit is going to help you. If you get hurt bad enough to REALLY need the stuff in a kit, you are well and truly fucked. I settled for a small kit with just a few items.

New sleeping bag, good to 30 degrees. Sewing kit, times two. Spare fishhooks. Extra paracord. A minimalist camp stove with a couple of tins of fuel. A small hand shovel. $180 bucks later, I trudged toward the bus stop carrying the load.

Luckily, friend/bartender Chelsea from Amigos saw me carrying the load and offered me a ride intown in her new jeep. Sweet blessings from above can only account for a pretty young hot chick in a jeep pulling over to pick up a heavily laden drunkard.

I have to be out of the apartment Monday, and even at full speed I’m stuck here until Wednesday. A couple of days of urban camping shaking out the gear isn’t a bad idea, or a trip to the lake for a couple of days.

That only leaves one critical decision.

Destination.

Green Light/RED LIGHT

Doing everything you can to wrap up things apparently does NOT include sending out a resume.

This week, I got a posting on a job from the Maine Job Service. Seeing as the international gesture for “TOUCHDOWN!” is identical for the gesture for “FUCKIT!” I send out my recently polished bragsheet.

Inside of 10 minutes, I had gotten a reply via e-mail. They wanted me to come in for an interview. It’s an amazing position with a company that has had explosive growth here in Portland in the last year.

Now, everything is all catawampus and higglety-pigglety. We’ll see how it goes Monday

Sorting The Crap

One of the steps necessary to making a new life is dealing with all the crap from the last one. There are a thousand little nagging details I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks, with no end in sight.

Helping roommate find a new roommate. Breaking the lease. Deciding on a final day of work. Going through my gear and seeing what I need to pick up, and what can be grabbed on the way. Paying off a whopping power bill, and leaving the account open. Trying to decide what to do with all the junk I “needed” and have been carting around for the last couple of years. What to do with my books. Finding a waterproof case for my netbook that fits in my frame pack.

Sweet gibbering Jebus…what am I going to do with the gorilla suit?

Documents. Records. Hastily scribbled and now mostly indecipherable notes. Will my drivers license renewal arrive in time, or will that be the last act of this vicious state to delay me leaving until they manage to get THEIR shit together..

Today was a good example. I went through the pile of laundry, hauling everything to the coin-op just up the street. After thorough washing an bleaching, I took count.

At least two DOZEN t-shirts…that after tossing the ones with holes in them.

Clearly, that amount has to at least quartered. I was planning on a 60-70lb frame pack. If I just took my clothes, that weight would be over half the total. There is still tent, tarp, hammock, kitchen gear, food…the list is endless.

That is just the point. The list CAN’T by definition be endless. There just isn’t enough room in the pack, and hauling more than 70lb (even in a frame pack) is just stupid and irresponsible.

Thinking about it like a fire. What would I paw through the soot-stained rubble of a fire to keep? What is so valuable that it couldn’t be replaced at half the weight? I upgraded my phone this week, half the weight and twice the battery life (with the ability to check my email from the road…) so that is a good start.

The horror. My books…