May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you and the pure light within you, guide your way on "~Incredible String Band

Friday, March 23, 2007

LIFE Is Like a Little Boat Upon The Sea....

Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the whole thing with Greg fell through, he was not able to get the bus he thought he would. We now are faced with having to buy a new engine for the bus. In addition to that we will have to replace the whole fuel system and flush the tanks to ensure all the sugar has been removed from the system. If we were to put in a comparable engine to what we had we would be looking at a little over 10,000 dollars...obviously way more than we could ever come up with in two months.

So..we are forced to purchase a good used engine, which I believe we have found for 2,700 plus 700 for shipping. It has 91,000 miles on it, which, according to our mechanic is just "breaking it in" for this particular engine. The engine does come complete with oil pan, fuel system and starter. They also do not want the core of our engine in return, which apparently, many places often do. This means that we will have our engine to salvage additional parts from. All this should cost around 6000 , which will come from money we were saving to pay our midwife, moving to N.C and a loan from a family member.

I am a firm believer that all things happen for a reason, there is always a lesson to be learned and some kind of wisdom to be gleaned, especially so with disasters like this. Aside from buying a locking gas cap, I have been wondering what lesson is here for us. For one thing it has made me realize that we need to have some kind of safety net in the future, because next time there will be no loan from anyone. Either a large savings account or a some type of credit card that we use only for emergency situations . Obviously, the large savings account is the more preferable, but the credit card is the more likely scenario at this time. This will take time though as neither Moss nor I have ever had a credit card.We do not have bad credit, we just have no credit..almost as bad.

I have been on the road both by myself and with Moss for 16 years now, and have become quite used to braking down and being towed , penniless, to some remote place in the middle of nowhere. It has never been a problem and I have always found that a positive attitude, lots of creative thinking and good bit of waiting have solved most issues. In many ways, this is what I really love about vagabond travel ! There is a level of complete trust and acceptance that must take place. One must be ever ready to flow with whatever happens and live always in the moment. It is a very zen thing. Often we find that there was a good reason something happened, either we needed to be somewhere to affect another persons life in some way, or we benefited in some way we otherwise would not have.

In the past this philosophy has always been enough, though I must confess, I now worry how it will all work with a child. In some ways I feel we may simply be called on to use these skills and techniques in the same way just more so. However, I do think that there must also be a middle ground, a safety net. Yes, we can continue to follow our bliss, travel and live in whatever other way we choose, but with a child there now needs to be an extra level of assurance.

On a lighter note...I went in for an ultrasound a few weeks a go and the tech asked me if I wanted to know the sex. I had not intended to find out, but in a moment of weakness I caved and now we know the sex of our baby. Honestly I have never been the sort of person who could handle surprises. I am ashamed to admit I was the child pinching little holes in the wrapping paper at Christmas time .

So then, we are having a little......girl !!

Her first name will be Sage. We are still out on a middle name, but are strongly considering Anias. Sage Anias Ratafia. It's very odd but it feels like I know her already and cannot imagine life without her. It's not as though I know her personality and can see what she looks like, but there is just a very familiar presence and energy I sense around me at all times now. In the early months we felt like she was not around as much. It was as though her spirit was spending more time detached from her body. Somewhere in the middle of the second tri mester we started to get the feeling that she was spending much more in her body and that's when it seems I could sense her energy and presence more.

I went to another appointment with Amber, our midwife, and she was as lovely and supportive as before. She has a great spiritual strength and her thoughts on our current predicament were very encouraging. I am not going to lie, this whole thing with the bus has been incredibly stressful on me and I worry how Sage must be feeling. I wish so much that I could be spending all my prenatal time in one place, in the forest or on the beach, instead of in the outskirts of LA dealing with all this. She echoed our thoughts that everything happens for a reason and that we need to just trust. She also said that Sage is head down and growing well.

Only two months and counting until we meet her in person......

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When it Rains, It POURS......

I have some bad news to report..VERY bad news. In fact the worst news possible, baring death or illness.

It seems some a**hole thought it would be funny to pour an unknown substance (not sure exactly what yet, something gritty. Looks like maybe sugar.) into our fuel tank. We of course, did not realize it at the time and were driving merrily down the 101 freeway the other day when the engine started making this horrific banging noise followed by lots of smoke. We pulled off the freeway and came to stop on a residential street in front of a school. Moss jumped out and threw up the hood. After the smoke cleared we saw what appeared to be a hole in the engine block with a rod poking through.

We inspected the oil (at this point pouring through the hole in the engine) and noticed right away it did not look right, it was sticky, gritty and unusually frothy. Immediately we were suspicious and recalled how several weeks ago we returned to the bus to find the gas cap unscrewed and hanging down. This was the same area where previously we had been vandalized ( ironically an upscale neighborhood outside L.A ) with glue in our locks , stolen license plates, nasty obscene notes and repeated egging.

We called our friend and diesel engine mentor Greg who confirmed that indeed sugar in the tank would cause the symptoms we described, but wouldn't show up until after a few hundred miles of driving. That corresponded to exactly around the time we found the gas cap open.

The engine, which was a BRAND NEW, four year old complete factory rebuild is.... DESTROYED ! The timing could not be worse..just a horrible way to start our new life as a family..sigh

When it first happened we were in such a state of shock we did not know what to do. Then we had moment or two of deep despair where we considered throwing in the towel, gutting the bus and selling it for parts. Thankfully that stage did not last long . We soon came to our senses and realized that we must fix it, no matter what it takes, The Enchanted Gypsy must live ! We put way to much work into it and it is our home.

We then set about figuring how, in the next two months we were going to come up with the nearly ten thousand dollars for the cost of the midwife and to replace the engine . Things began looking up a bit after we spoke with our friend Greg however, whom we bought the bus from originally and who still sells bus's.

He said he has a bus with the same engine , (though almost 200,000 miles on it compared to our new one with well under 100,000 on it ) that he would sell us for 800, plus drive it out here for the cost of gas AND help us put it in. He says he has taken out and put in big diesel engines like this nearly twenty times. He will work with Moss and show him exactly how to do everything and thinks it will take about a week or so to finish.

The upside is that Moss will then really know the mechanical aspects to the bus, including how to take out and put in an engine..a very good thing to know when your home is on wheels. The downside is now we have to pay thousands of dollars, plus time and work to put in an engine that is not nearly as good as what we had. If we could only upgrade the engine, or at least put in a new one it wouldn't be so annoying. ARGHHH......

The other lucky thing is that the petitioning season has just started up again and promises to be a good one. For now we have borrowed a car and spent our last two hundred dollars getting towed to a good friends house in the valley. We will be going back and forth between there and Santa Barbara for the next few months working. Greg thinks he can be here within two weeks to help with the engine and it looks like we will be able to work on it at our friend Jackie and Franks house.

Meanwhile.. I have entered my third trimester this week and am feeling quite large and bloated. I am trying not to stress despite all the...well, stress in my life right now. We have two months to make all this money and fix the bus before our baby is due.

I am however optimistic that things will work out, it has too, there just simply are no other options.....