3am Heartburn, extensional angst

And so it begins.

It’s 3am, and guess what time it is? Time to wake up with heartburn and be so disoriented that I cry. It’s this feeling of being jarred back into the world, from what I can only imagine, is deep sleep.

I get this distinct feeling that I no longer existed, that I was dead and there was nothing. And then the tears come, because I will be dead someday. I will be nothing, and there’s nothing I can do to change it. It’s this very specific feeling of soul drowning dread, a feeling that I have only felt, and feel when experiencing extensional angst. Nothing I have ever experienced has such dread associated with it, and it’s a reliable feeling.

This is the anxiety I deal with from time to time that makes me apprehensive and often hate the concept of sleep. I can’t begin to imagine the experience of dealing with this shit when I lived alone in the wee hours of the morning. I remember that I’d simply pace the house, sobbing until I gained my bearings, then fucked off on my computer until I became tired enough (and distracted enough) to sleep again.

Being with someone that I lived with was a great comfort. I could usually nurse myself back to sleep after some time by curling up next to them and feeling less alone. I couldn’t imagine living with a partner who slept in a separate room. That would have felt fecking alienating in several regards.

I had a rather crappy, embarrassing week at work last week. This last weekend was nice, but still very busy on the farm. My neurons have been firing overtime figuring out wedding specifics. Then, I got hit with the intense family drama that wasn’t needed in the slightest. I get that yeah, it’s important and needed to be talked about, blah blah. I’m glad it was discussed.

Emotionally though, I’m pissed. Not because it’s the same old bullshiz, but because it’s 3am and here I am again after so long of not waking up at 3 with intense angst. I can’t blame it all on the situation though, I did end up dozing off on the couch without a blanket on, and the lights on. I usually always feel like shiz waking up like that.

It’s whatever at the end of it all. I’ll keep plugging away being a productive member of society and being the best father I can be. Just know that if I ever disappear, you’ll likely find me dead in a middle of a forest due to walking off a cliff at 3am, disoriented. It’d be the perfect ironic death, trying to get away to relax, but alienated away from society and intense anxiety about the very thing that ends up causing it.

I have much to be grateful for and the only concerns I have is how I choose to interpret things. There’s much truth in that anxiety cannot be “cured” and that treatment shouldn’t focus around this. Rather it’s about becoming comfortable with the sensations, becoming a passive observer of the self to normalize it in an effort to desensitize the neural pathways which cause the panic response.

And well, it’s useful for me to think of it this way. Anxiety is a known thing to me and even while writing this, chalking up my experience 37 minutes ago to it makes it more recognizable. Maybe it could even be categorized as a “night terror”. Name it so you can talk to it, yes?

Why does mental illness affect those with higher intelligence? It’s like god said, “Lolz, I’mma make you SMART, but ya gonna be crippled in other ways so you can’t have too much of a good thing. Gourd luck!”. Or maybe, just maybe, my intelligence was shaped by the need for survival to adapt and overcome childhood trauma.

Who the feck knows. I do know one thing though, and that’s how amazing I feel when first waking up in the morning after a good night’s sleep. I feel the soft blankets on my skin, I glow, I stretch, and I wish to continue dozing off, happily, without a care in the world. I try focusing on this when I don’t want to sleep out of fear. It really can’t be that bad in all actuality then, right?

I’m going to go watch some impossibly perfect fiction that is Disney now that has a warm and soft ending. Goodnight.

Emotional Dachshund Theory

All I wanted this evening was some alone time to recharge between 8pm and 10pm. I wanted to gaze off and appreciate the one second LED blinking cycle of the Arduino board I tinkered with today, how there’s a halo around it when looking directly at the light, and the currents and logic repeat for all eternity, for as long as it has power.

The microcontroller has one job. Blink a light. It’s a job that it’ll happily do, aches to do, will die for to do, will check 8,000,000 times a second, 8,000,000 times each single, excruciating second asking, “Has it been a second yet?” just to begin again, repeating the same cycle. Forever.

I find comfort in this, that there’s order to the universe. Some underlying logic and a reason. I don’t understand everything, but it’s within the realm of possibility that I could.

But, this didn’t happen. Two hours of terse phone calls and text, family drama. I’m left annoyed, have a headache, and I’m emotionally exhausted.

I tell myself that such is life. I choose to try and respect other people’s worldview, even if they differ from my own. Humans are such a violent and emotional species, it’s rare that we can agree to disagree and move past. I believe that families and divorced parents get the worst of it, as we can’t just break it off and come to think of the other as practically deceased with enough time.

As as I get older, it becomes very clear to me just how temporary life is and it becomes ever so clear to me that there just isn’t time, nor energy for bullshit. I don’t care who who doesn’t invite me to what event, for whatever reason. I don’t care what wrongs someone has done in the past if I’m forced to continue keeping in contact with them, at least functionally.

No, I’m not perfect. I’ve had my own share of emotional outbursts (such as at work last week), previous partners, ex wife. I can and will continue doing this, and so will they as it’s part of the human condition. But what I can say with some certainty, I wish to deescalate or otherwise avoid as much drama as possible with those that I abhor (but I’m forced to maintain contact with), and how I handled the situation this evening leaves me with a sense that I did a good job that is in-line with my values.

There are two immutable truths that were said this evening, both by someone that is, or has to be known to be actively hostile and wishes me harm:

  • I’ve come from a very fecked up childhood and young adult life
  • That I’ve grown (and became a better person) over time

Thank you, I appreciate this.

It will be a challenge over the next few days to deal with the emotional baggage and process. I also have a very busy work week, so maybe I can practice some escapism by diving into work a little harder. The hardest lesson that I’ve learned in life so far is that nothing is perfect, and the good, no matter how good it is, it’ll usually always have some bad mixed in with it.

And if you are me, sometimes a whole fuckton of bad. As the cliche says, “You can’t control what happens to you, only how you respond to it.”

Here’s trying.

RV Solar & Genset Off-grid Setup Ep. 1 (Planning)

SOLAR POWER! The sun’s energy has intrigued me since I was a child. In 6th grade, I wanted to build a solar powered battery bank to power my Gameboy on long road trips. A few years later and they were out on the market!

I was going to go to college for alternative energy. Wind turbines were all the rage in Indiana, 2010. I never ended up going, but absorbed the gist of it over time.

Right! So. RV Power needs. I have 120VAC, 30A input. My greatest power needs are the 13,500 BTU Air Conditioner. 2800-3000W starting, 1500-2000W running. Heat is provided by a propane furnace, the fridge can run on propane as well (although, can also run on electric, it’s dual fuel). 600W starting, 180W running.

RV Power Needs (Luxury loads, mostly 120VAC):

  • 2000W A/C unit (full load, on HOT day)
  • 180W Refrigerator (on electric, can be Propane)
  • 87W Laptop (full load)
  • 1500W Electric heater (Fireplace or Portable)
  • 1440W Electric Water Heater (can be run on Propane)
  • 1100W Microwave
  • 650W Coffee Maker
  • 1200W Toaster Oven/Griddle (Combo unit)

RV Power Needs (General loads, mostly on 12VDC):

  • 60W Water Pump
  • 1200W Furnace Fan 1/3HP (propane, but 12V circulation fan)
  • 10W LED Lighting
  • Slide/Jack motors
  • Radio
  • Range fan/light
  • Water heater (propane mode)

I’m not going to spend too much time detailing my loads. “The first step is to calculate how many amps you use daily.  To do this, you must go through meticulously and calculate amp usage by hours used.”

But, I’m lazy. Here’s a good site with common draw items, all calculated out for you: http://trailertraveler.net/calculate-rv-amp-usage/

The Solar System

A relatively modest 800W panel setup on a 60A controller will be tasked with charging a 12V, 400AH battery. Considering I only wish to discharge (DoD) the bank to 25-50% (the lower the better for cycle count longevity), I’ll be outputting 1.2kWh-2.4Wh to discharge, while providing 2.526kWh charge (600W~ solar output, 4.21 average hours of peak sunlight).

Ideally, I’d want to expand my battery bank in the future to 800Ah to run a 25% DoD for 200Ah of storage to store, use the full 2.526kWh charge.

The difference between a 50% DoD and 25% DoD is cost beneficial. My batteries would last more than two times longer at a lower discharge.

For now though, it gives me flexibility considering my panels will be static on the roof (non-tiltable), provides charge capacity while cloudy, and will help absorb parasitic, running loads anyway (1.326kWh on a perfectly sunny day) while still charging the battery.

The Generator System

A 3500W inverter generator with remote start will be absorbing high load items and providing bulk battery charge duties. When the battery bank reaches my configured DoD, the generator will kick on until the batteries are at a 90% charge, all the while powering high load items. It’s the same theory of operation as a Pruis, pretty cool, eh?

The Control System

The hardest part, as it involves a custom controller to build automation into the system. The controller will need to:

  • Monitor battery bank state DoD
  • User configurable to either turn off the 120VAC inverter, or start the generator
  • (Maybe) Monitor amperage usage and kick on the generator for high current draws (such as the A/C, electric water heater, etc) – but the 25% DoD will kick it on, or turn off high load items anyway
  • Be smart enough to keep in sync with end user switch toggling (such as, if the inverter off, generator on state is toggled, turn on the genny if needed, or vice versa)
  • Control the generator’s wireless remote control to start/stop unit
  • Control the inverter’s power switch (while keeping in mind that the inverter remote panel setting can conflict with the on inverter switches) – thankfully the priority and override logic is documented in the manual, meaning they thought about it

I’d be running a BMS to monitor DoD and it has an RS 232 protocol which will interface with an Arduino or Pi. If I use a Pi, I have a 7″ touchscreen to play with, but I’d need to design a UI and write more code.

Long story short, I’d be developing an App in Python, or simple logic in Arduino.

But first! Do all the things manually! May be a better idea than burning down the RV due to a software bug 😀

One year ago today

Driving home from the farm on the same country roads, one year ago today. The bus is now a truck and trailer. We have reservations for our cross country elopement and reception. Lola is with us, we talked all the way home.

Much can change if your heart is open to it, even if you carry the same scars.

#RVlyfe… 2019

I find myself gazing softy out of my RV’s dinette window. There’s snow on the ground, it’s cold. Anything outside is harder and takes twice as long. My body hurts, it’ll hurt when I turn in for the night. Sleep comes quickly.

March 15th, 2018. I bring my RV home from Ohio.

I miss that stupid bus.

Feb 2nd, 2019. Time with my Fiancé and daughter on the farm.

Summer comes and goes, but Winter. Winter always seems to drag on.

I spent a solid day and a half preparing the RV for travel. A few months ago, I ended up accidentally flooding the RV, much water went into the furnace ducts. Two hours was spent on the cold, snowy ground under the rig, unfreezing a vent duct for the furnace.

One of the stabilizing jacks were frozen into the ground. Time with a blowtorch and some inventive simple machine fulcrum usage set it free.

Apart from putting the dinette table back in, I turned my attention to the 30lb Propane tanks. They needed filed. I took them off the rig and headed to the truck stop. The attendant reported that they had an issue with a valve due to, “extreme low temperatures”, the very reason why I needed the propane in the first place. Good jorb.

A trip to Lowe’s and some threaded rod later, I installed my new 15lb propane tanks. Now when a tank runs out, I run to any gas station in the country and swap the fecker out for $15-20. More expensive then refills, surely. Less anxiety due to wide availability of propane, yes. Not having to drag the rig to the few refill locations available, absolutely.

There’s something that I love about doing work in the real world once I get into it. I’ll put my headphones on, take some Tylenol to make my knee stop hurting, and get my 15,000 steps in. By that night, my body radiates a gentle pain, but the feeling is of accomplishment.

We’ll have a generator here soon which will open the possibilities to boon docking. Load up water, gasoline, head out without a temporary reliance on anyone or anything. State and national forests open to us, breathtaking scenery.

I love the challenge, I live for it.

Working from home

Most people will never understand the hidden stressors of working from home. Like when you are in a Webex and suddenly need to go for an emergency number 2.



“ARE YOU SURE??!” 😳😳