The Urge for Order


To outward appearances I can give the impression of being laid back, but don’t let me fool you.  That calm exterior doesn’t like disorder. It might be that what I call “order” may not jive with the common meaning of the word — but I do crave that sensation that comes when all of one’s “stuff” is where it belongs and one can find it. The key concept being that the one who organized it can find it, not that anyone else can!  I’ve had a lifelong problem with categorization — seems my brain doesn’t categorize things the same way as others — including my dear wife.  But I can still find most things in spite of what might appear a messy desk.

That being true…  certain life experiences come along to reinforce for us just who we are as individuals.  I’m finding this move to be one of those.

I find it odd that I can be completely spontaneous about some things; but not everything.  I need certain touchstones in my life; if those are in order I can be loosey-goosey about everything else.  But when those few touchstones are missing or in disarray I get very cranky and obstinate.

On Thursday we were supposed to have a Time-Warner installer here between 8 and 9 a.m..  I’ve dealt with Time-Warner before so I know that their idea of on-time has it’s own aspect of loosey-goosey!  But when they missed their appointment time I could feel my blood pressure going up. I don’t care about time.  If they had given me a three hour window instead of a one hour window I wouldn’t have minded — and I’d have been fine waiting for however long it took the technician to arrive.  But give me a schedule and I’ll expect you to keep it.  Make that a one hour window and I actually expect you to be there within one hour.

Which points out the fact that as I age I tolerate uncertainty more and more poorly.  Not all that much about RV’ing has changed over 5 years; oh there have been changes, but what’s mostly different is my willingness to deal with them.

As we started setting up housekeeping in the new place I was wondering about how we will utilize the space that we now have.  Peggy’s big thing about getting the house was she felt I needed space for my office — she felt bad seeing me scrunched into corners of the RV with hard drives and wires and such.  I appreciated her concern and while there were inconvenient aspects of RV’ing certainly I was happy enough about the many ADvantages that I put the drawbacks out of my mind.

Well, I now have the space she wanted for me but organizing an office is a work of art and I wasn’t wanting to rush to get it done. Which didn’t convince my brain not to rush. I knew that some parts of my new space won’t come together till Kathryn and Mike bring some things down from Milwaukee, but I was still wanting to putter and putter and putter until things were sort-of-right.  All because I needed my world to have some semblance of order!

I guess it’s been 12 years or so since I’ve been through this nesting thing on this scale.

  • With our first coach — Journey — everything just seemed to fall into place.  Settling in was super easy.
  • With our second coach — Serendipity — the process wasn’t as simple.  I kept looking for the-same-places in Serendipity that we had in Journey and obviously they did not exist.  Finding alternatives seemed to be harder.  Or was it because I was making it harder by not being as flexible as once I might have been?  That’s the big question!

The mobile home — which by the way we think will be named Rehoboth (an old Hebrew word that you can find in the Bible meaning “God has found room for us”) — is an animal of a different sort than either of the RV’s. Walking in the door the first time I already knew we would not use it the same way we used either of the two RV’s. Our life will be different here. We are planning on that difference and we are arranging our space to take advantage of that difference.

In the coach I had to find order in other areas — not so much in my physical space.  I compensated by scheduling and by planning.  Effectively I was putting the world in order instead of my space which kept getting bigger and smaller every time we extended and retracted the slides and everytime our campsite faced a different direction with differing amounts of light coming through the windows.

Here we are located.  No slides to retract.  My office window will always face West, the entry is always on the North, and the head of the bed will always be on the South wall.  There is more solidarity to this new house — it’s the nature of a “house” or “mobile home.”

I’m not really talking about furniture arranging.  In fact Peggy and I have always had a sort of reputation for arranging and rearranging furniture in the public rooms of our home fairly frequently.  Just for fun.  No, this is about state-of-mind.  About knowing things to be true without thought.

I’ve said it before, that the most fundamental tenents of society are so fundamental that a society does not even have words to express them.  Why should they be expressed — everyon accepts them.  I think there are aspects of a person’s ‘living’ that are just as fundamental.  We have expectations that we automatically assume are going to be fulfilled.  Sometimes I think this accounts for spouses failing to communicate about their problems — they think there should be no need to talk about such basics, that everyone knows what’s expected of them — and the fact of the matter is that everyone does not share the same expectations.

Since going full time as RV’ers I have talked a lot about finding places that feel comfortable — those feelings are really what we are talking about whether it’s living in an RV or a mobile home or a stick built home or a high-rise condo.  There are unspoken expectations that bear more weight than all the listed criteria for a new home.  How you are dealt with as a human being.  How you cope with the world around you. Whether the physical locale syncs on some subliminal level with who you are and how you see yourself.  We did not find that in Oregon — even though we loved Oregon dearly.  We did not find it in Florida — a place we didn’t love as much but lots of other people love dearly. In truth this has been the only place we’ve foun in our 5 years on the road that spoke “home” to our heart — even though I never in my life would have expected to live in Texas.

Order is finding me gradually.  Sometimes instead of things “falling into place,”  I am the one doing the falling into things; I find different ways of interacting with my environment.  I learn to think smarter, or to work smarter.  The way I wanted something to be is proven not to be the best way after all and I concede defeat — or perhaps I welcome growth — all depending on how stubborn I want to be on a given morning.

So there you have another day of transition!  Thanks for stopping and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat.  Why not stop and say hi!

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