day sixteen.

“It has been eighteen years now since I started singing this dumb song, It’s not the best song I ever wrote but I didnt have time to change it.” This is quote that I heard many years ago about the Pickle Song. The Pickle Song is a song that Arlo Guthrie wrote. This quote was heard at a concert at some gym in Atlanta – where was that?. I guess a quote like this can sum up the past 22 years of my life – not the best song I ever wrote but I never had time to change it. The Arlo reference reminds of a time I spent with his daughter Sarah Lee. She performed at a little place in Athens Georgia named Flicker and afterwords we all drank til dawn. Talks of this – that – and the other… one long night in the good ole days.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life – a new song. The old song is quickly fading away and now there will be a new song on the radio. Yesterday I put in my notice and talked to all the powers that be about ending my career. Everyone was asking if I had a new job lined up. I simply said “no”. They are giving me all my vacation time as long as I complete the couple project that I have on the table. All is well, no bridges burned and now to figure out what the hell I am going to do.

The sale the past weekend was great. I sold a majority of all my junk and I have still not counted the cash. That is okay, I did not sell it all for the money but the extra change will help. I did make around $800 on the barbecue and drinks. Not to shabby.

There are three people to interview for renting the house. One being Jack’s daughter, the other two are prospects from the real estate agent. We’ll see.

My truck is ready and She is great. She looks old but she is definitely young at heart. She is not the fastest or smoothest riding truck on the road but she is perfect. The same reason I fly Fish is the same reason this old girl will make this journey a journey to remember. She’ll force me to slow down – see the world – and appreciate.

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day fifteen.

I am giving my notice today at work. No more job – will force me to follow my dream. Everything is almost in order.

Running Late – Someone sold their alarm clock.


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day fourteen.

Yesterday was crazy… I sold a bunch of stuff and it is all is really sinking in now. I am sitting here in the shell of my home and all my stuff either has a new home or is scattered around like little trinkets of times past. What the hell am I doing or at this point – What the hell have I done. This is a major change and now it is a shock to my system. I have nothing in comparison to what I once had. It is all stuff and now it is almost all gone. I have not counted what I have made when it comes to funds but it is pretty substantial. Maybe this will change my thoughts but at this point – this all is scaring the shit out of me. I own less now than when I left home for school.

On other fronts – I sold all the barbecue and smoked some chickens for me and the neighbors yesterday. We made a little party out of it and sat around with a cooler of beer and talked and laughed about what I was doing. Some of the guys seemed to have a little envy and the girls thought I was nuts. I guess it is that nesting nature of a woman. It was good conversation that I had never had with those that live so close to me. Neighbors only in distance but we are in different worlds.

There is one incident from yesterday that I have to mention. One guy saw my “Not For Sale” pile and started going through it. He picked up Scott Jr. … Scott Jr is my go to rod for my everyday fishing. It is a Scott G2 8′ 4″ 5wt that I bought when the new g2 was introduced. I had a Scott G, of the same weight, prior, that was stolen from the back of my truck – that was my primary up til that point and I had named it Scott because well… It seems like a guy rod and his name is already on it – I know… you get it. Scott Jr holds all the memories of that original rod and it was not for sale. Scott was the first “High-End” rod that I ever owned and he was part of the family. Jr is now just as much a part of the family. The guy wanting the rod haggled and jawed and tried everything in his nature to get that rod from me. I showed him a couple other options that still not for sale but… I was trying to get him past Scott Jr. The guy walked away with a Thomas and Thomas Heirloom 8″ 5wt. This was a sweet little rod that I had special ordered on a whim because I thought Thomas and Thomas was going away.  It was a fiberglass rod that had only met the water twice and I had not had the opportunity to name her. This was definitely a female rod and she was beautiful. Olive green with paprika colored wraps. She sold for $500 which wasnt a great deal for him but he would never see it in a store. She runs retail for $650 and she was a sweet little glass rod that I would have liked to get to know much better. I have to many 5wts to take them all and I guess you can say I have a thing with 5wts – I think I own one from each of the major manufacturers and a couple of custom builds. I’ll sort through that mess on a later date.

All in all the sale was good but it has left me in a funk. Let’s see what I can move today and maybe get a little time on a pond this afternoon. Next week, I’ll sort through what is left and start figuring out the packing for my new life. I have to work a couple of days but have put in for time off. They are probably under suspect that I am about to quit.

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day thirteen.

A whole day of sales and stuff is moving but not as fast as I hoped. There is still a bunch of shit in the yard. It was Friday and today is a different animal. There are already people out in the yard digging through the junk and it is not even 8am so I see today being the day.  No total for yesterdays sales because it is sort of like that old Kenny Rogers tune, “you gotta know when to hold em” . This is a big gamble because I am trying to move out everything and move on myself. I slept last night like I had never slept before – with peace. I am making the right decision and now I ready to go.

The truck. Not much more to say than… It Rocks. Jack put in an old working Cobra C.B. radio (smart call) because I can always reach emergency that way. He worked in a piece of plywood in the back that is covered with a soft indoor/outdoor fabric. This is my bed and I am sure that I would have felt those ridges in the floorboard. He also built a couple of boxes around the fender wells. This will be a place to organize my little junk that I have to have. The last but best thing is a mess kit with wheels. Its a box that holds my stove and lantern and all my cooking and food stuff. It has legs that just fold down into place and I am set up, It is water tight so It does not have to stay in the truck while I sleep. This rocks.

I spoke to Jack about the renting “option” for the house and he is up for being care taker. He also may have a renter. His daughter and his son in-law have been looking to rent an apartment in the area. So this too may be a win-win. I really do not know this Jack guy, so I hope that I am not just trusting a total stranger because I want to get out of here. He has been good to me so far.

Let’s go sell some stuff. I did sell a whole shoulder of Q yesterday which sort of surprises me. This also means that I should sell the rest today. Today I also have fresh lemonade like a kid with their lemonade stand – no crystals or koolaid from my stand.

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day twelve.

Step right up… every things a bargain… bargains galore. The weather is rockin so hopefully everyone will be out and about over the weekend and maybe some serious “Estate sale” shoppers. Friday shoppers will be slow but serious then the Saturday masses and then the Sunday scavengers. The signs that were made say “Estate Sale /  Barbecue”. These were done in a professional manor to make it look like a legit estate sale – which it really is. Printed on corrugated Coroplast and ready to put in the ground. These are not the hand painted “Boiled P-Nut” signs on scrap wood and cardboard from my college days. These signs are going out at day break and like stalking a big brown, I have scouted all the good locations.

Pushing the time a little, the hams went on 11:00 p.m which means they come off at 10 a.m. Chopping a hot ham if rough on the hands but damn is it tasty.  Low and slow is what my Grandfather taught me. Straight hickory wood and my own dry rub. I’ll finish up the slaw after placing the signs so everything should be close to ready. Chop one of the four hams and I’ll be set. Most of the Q will sell tomorrow.

All was sorted and priced through the night and this job was easier with the double duty of smoking hams. Checking the hams on occasion was basically a break from the real work. If I was not cooking –  break time might have meant sleep time. Running on adrenaline right now, the crash will be hard but I will sleep good tonight. It will be odd sleeping on a mattress without a frame but everything must go.

I hear Jack pulling up in the Toy. I cannot wait to see what he has added.

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day eleven.

I have smuggled Cheetos for the past 16 years and today is no different. You would be amazed at how much money you save by packing your lunch every morning. Doing the figures, this practice has paid for my home and kept me out of debt. This practice will also pay for my new adventure into the unknown but today, I go to work and I eat the Cheetos. Today is tax day and for those who think this is a good thing – you’re a little crazier than I. There are people yelling “Hell Yeah!” because they are getting money back from the gov’t. I reply with a “what the hell?” How does it feel being the systems bank and you do not get to charge interest or overdraft charges? I owed $80 to the state and got $98 back from the feds. – I say “Hell Yeah! to that.

There is a long checklist today of all the stuff that has to get done before the weekend. I made yard sale/bbq signs and emailed them to the sign shop which I should be able to go pick up on the way home. Then all the groceries for the barbecue. Tight deadlines at work which have to get done and hopefully there will not be a late night of work. Missing days screwed the schedule a little and now I am paying. I have to put the hams on the smoker by midnight to give me time to chop and prepare for the Friday sale. I have also have to put in for the rest of my vacation time before giving my notice at work. A little over two weeks vacation left which should give time to finish prep. While the hams are smoking I can prepare the tables for the sale and everything that goes with garage selling. Pricing, tagging and keeping everything in groups. I see a long sleepless night.

Putting all the camping gear and fishing gear in one spot to sort through while packing. Like packing the backpack for an A.T. through hike, I have to make sure that the correct gear is collected. Pack what is essential and leave what is not. The truck is nothing but a backpack and a mule. Do not over stress the mule or she’ll get angry. I can see it all coming together in a last push to leave the life as I know it.

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day ten.

Hump day and I have to work, but now it is getting harder and harder. The urge to hit the road is strong and the life I am trying to leave is trying to keep me in. After a good fix of night fishing, it gave me a good spark and I did get a bit done yesterday. All my piles are made and most everything is ready to sell. Photos are shot of everything for Craigslist and now posting begins.

There is enough ready for a weekend garage sale starting Friday. Still no word from any of the estate companies but maybe I can do this myself. I have to make signs to put out tomorrow for a Friday, Saturday, Sunday sale. Another personal day from work to get some of this in order but it is needed. I’ll be off on Friday.

The sell – mark everything at 50% retail and see how it goes. Maybe get some bids on the  house as well – everything must go. I meet tonight with the real estate agent and I’ll see how that goes. The agent and I have discussed renting the house which might be an option and would keep me a steady income. No mortgage and the income could help keep me afloat. The drawback on this option is that it also ties me back into the grid. I have to keep up a phone for contact which is one bill that I wanted to kill. The phone is a major part of the system that I just wanted to get away from and if this option is an option, the bill will be in the cost of renting the house also the property taxes and home insurance. This could be a win-win if we find the right candidate. I am going to talk to Jack about this as well. Maybe he can check on the house every once and a while and do any fixes if need be. This keeps my ties limited in the Birmingham area. This needs to be a disappearing act for it to work for me.

Tomorrow, after work, I’ll put a couple of hams on the smoker and sell some plates and sandwiches. All this while selling the junk, but if my junk doesnt sell the bbq will keep me busy. It will also keep me preoccupied from letting the sentimental junk go. I’ll miss my smoker but it has no place on the road. Use it while I got it and make a little cash in the process. I still have a couple of gallons of sauce from my last batch but I will need to get bread, chips, make tea and slaw. Another freakin list. But it is like saying goodbye to an old friend. The smoker needs it’s last hurrah.

The toy truck is still with Jack and he says it will be ready on Friday. He’ll be bringing it over to trade back his Volvo and to dig through the junk to see if he wants anything.  Which reminds me, I need to touch base with T-bone.

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