October 31, 2012

The Power Is Back!

“Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.” 
-Dave Berry

Thanks to this hurricane nonsense the power has been out since Monday afternoon. The family has been staring at each other, talking nonsense for endless hours, and getting gradually more grumpy. Obviously the daylight hours were easier and more like a regular day, but the nights were torture. Now, having not showered since Sunday, I am looking forward to running water and maybe even a bad sitcom. 

October 29, 2012

Welcoming Sandy

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.
-W.C. Fields

The Potting Shed
I woke up this morning and started looking at school closings. I'm pretty sure I was told that when the public schools in town were closed so was the childcare center, so when I saw the big red CLOSINGS note at the bottom of WMUR's newscast and watched as dozens of schools ticks by, I knew I wasn't going anywhere today. Unfortunately I was wrong and the center was open. Oh well, I'll feel guilty tomorrow but right now I'm busy filling gallon jugs with water in case the power goes off.

With so many trees around here Mum's waiting for one to fall on her potting shed, but so far the wind isn't too bad. Staying home means that Mum, Sara, and myself are stuck in a very small house with hardly any walls and a limited TV channel selection. To pass the time we're watching A Very Good Year and drinking more than a healthy amount of coffee.

The Christmas Box
I spent the weekend packing up my belongings and once again am faced with the alarmingly small pile of boxes and duffle bags which make up my life. It can't measure more than 4X3 square and it's mostly clothes. As I was pulling stuff out of the closet Sara and I found what appears to be a box of Christmas presents that were never mailed to Montana. It's not from last year which leaves 2010 and begs the questions: What is the she;f life of loose tea?

I hope everyone, having stocked up on bourbon and library books, is prepared for the impending storm. Keep safe.

October 28, 2012

A New Chapter

If you knew that your life was merely a phase or short, short segment of your entire existence, how would you live? Knowing nothing 'real' was at risk, what would you do? You'd live a gigantic, bold, fun, dazzling life. You know you would. That's what the ghosts want us to do - all the exciting things they no longer can. 

- Chuck Palahniuk 

My life so far has been a random hodge podge of very distinct yet inter connected chapters. The food service chapter, the cafe manager chapter, the Oregon chapter, the girlfriend chapter, the farmer chapter, the carpenter chapter... The list goes on. Some of the chapters I leave behind me while others I whittle down so I can take them along to the next adventure.

Most of this blog has been dedicated to two major chapters in my life: car dwelling and college (round #3). Vehicle dwelling was the initial reason I began The Tuckerbag blog, to reach out for advice from those with experience and to pass along some of my trial and error conclusions to those who would come next. It was kind of like adding to the collective body of knowledge for a new culture. That culture is growing and, more importantly, shifting. People come in, they leave, they change vehicles and locations. This culture is more than one of mobile dwelling: it is one of freedom and discovery.

The Jetta that I called home for fourteen months is sitting at the top of my parent's driveway in New Hampshire. I'm sure she'll be road worthy again, I'm just not sure it will be me driving her. Vehicle dwelling was one of my favorite chapters, but for the time being it has ended and I have started, for better or worse, on a new adventure. I know that I'm going to get a van or RV the first chance I get, but right now I am more concerned with exploring this new chapter.

I live in a small city, I teach pre-K, I will (as of Thursday) live in a little apartment with a girl named B who likes renascence fairs and crocheting. I have gone from a car being my life and home to having no vehicle at all and that has lead to a new set of challenges.

A tuckerbag is a sack carried by hobos and swagger-men  It holds food, supplies, and most of their possessions giving new meaning to the term minimalist living. It is both the product and means of a mobile lifestyle. For me the tuckerbag has come to represent a life well lived, one that covets the accumulation of experiences rather than possessions and rejects the conventional norms of a sedentary society. In other words: The Tuckerbag has become more than a car.

The blog and all the information I have collected will still be here, but as I transition into this new chapter of my life so will the blog. I hope you stick around for the continuing adventures 

October 25, 2012


Did you know that my daily commute time is about three hours? My father drives me 25 minutes to the bus stop in the morning, then a 45 minute to 1 hour bus ride, then a twenty minute walk. In the afternoon I do it in reverse. What I'm getting at is that the countdown is on until next Thursday when I can walk fifteen minutes to work. I won't know what to do with so many extra hours in my day!

Even if I disregard the commute, today was rough. The kids were nuts and refused to nap and parents (mainly mothers) don't like it when their children are out of control at pick up and won't listen to them. They like it even less when the child listens to the teacher and not the mother. It's like I've stomped on something holy and off-limits, home is not suppose to overlap with school and mothers should never be upstaged. Between the parents and their kids I found myself willing the weekend closer, which is not like me.

I get a lot of compliments about my class, parents, like one today, who say "Ben was playing with Dad's globe yesterday and we had no idea that he knew all the continents!". Well lady, not only does he now know the continents, he also knows at least three countries on each continent and what language they speak there! I recognize that no mother wants to share their child and that I will, should I ever have children, feel the same way someday, but parents need to accept that they are co-parenting with teachers and that we spend equal amounts of time with kids. If they don't speak to their children about what they are learning in school, at least keep in touch with the teacher. We're not just baby sitting, we spend each day trying to prepare them for what's coming. I honestly never realized how uninterested parents could be until working with pre-K kids.

October 20, 2012


As of November 1st I am going to become (GASP!) a renter. I know! It's such a waste of money and completely against everything I've learned. Why pay money to live in someone else' home? I'm not going to walk away with anything at the end and it's just going to cost more in the winter... I have justified this decision by reminding myself that time is money and right now I am wasting time by commuting an extra two hours a day by bus. I am moving closer to work, and that alone might be enough, but I am also getting a library card. I know, my sister thinks I'm a dork, but I love libraries and now I can read all the time! Very exciting, and I can also get resources for my classroom. Yup, dorky.

This month my class has (deep breath!) learned why leaves change color in the fall, read two chapter books, studied Vincent Van Gogh and tried to recreate his paintings, created a cardboard box village, learned how to write letters E-I, made a rocket, grown celery on the window sill, raised $150 for Heifer International through their Read to Feed program, gone on four nature walks, sprouted a potato, experimented with gravity and carbon dioxide, and aced the first grade math standards. Whew! I'm exhausted and I'm sure my kids are too, but we're having fun and I'm gearing up for next month with a visit to a ballet studio and a new world map.

My sister is still here in New Hampshire reminding my why we didn't spend a lot of time together during our high school years. She turns 27 years old in November and is still into the heavy drinking and party phase while I was never that good at partying (though drinking was never a problem). It nice that we have a boat load of other things to talk about.

October 13, 2012


“The capacity for friendship is God's way of apologizing for our families.”
― Jay McInerney, The Last of the Savages  

Well, it’s been a pretty eventful week!  I realized only today that I’d neglected to post last weekend and got a few emails wondering where I disappeared to. I’m still here, just staying busy.

I have never particularly wanted children of my own, probably for the same reason I don’t want a pet. I don’t plan ahead very well and acquiring either a child or a pet would mean planning on at least one thing for the next fifteen to eighteen years. I’d have to take something else into consideration when making decisions. Come to think of it, that’s also a factor in my love life (or lack thereof). I realized last week that, despite my not wanting kids, when I inherited my classroom I also inadvertently inherited the lives of nine small children. Their problems, their discipline, their mood swings, their quarrels, and, for better or worse, their futures. I’m the starting gate for the rest of their education and I worry every day about the way I handle them, what kind of world I’ll send them into and with what tools. Because of this sense of extreme responsibility I take my job as teacher very seriously and my students are advancing faster than I can write lesson plans. Since October 10th they have been doing math, science experiments, penmanship, and phonics each day and I keep waiting for that wall when they say “enough is enough! We can’t cram anything more into our heads!” but it hasn’t come yet.

That's Sara on the right
My little sister Sara came home on Wednesday night after being in Montana for the past two years, which is pretty cool, and one of the first things I did was bring her to my class. The kids were thrilled to have a new person to play with especially my “sister princess” as they kept calling her.

With Sara back in town the whole family is under one roof for the first time in about seven years, maybe more. I pulled the futon mattress out of the Jetta (which sits forlornly idle at the top of the driveway) and Sara is in her teenage bed while we share the same small room strewn with clothes and heavy blankets. She’s going to be around for about a month and come November 1st she’ll be helping me move into my new apartment! I found a place ten minutes walk from work for $450/month (with nothing included, oh well). The girl I’ll be living with seems very nice, if a little quirky. When I viewed the place she was making her costume for the renaissance fair and in the evenings she likes to crochet. He place (My place!) smelled so strongly of sandalwood that when I got off the bus an hour later Dad thought I’d been smoking pot. This apartment will cut almost two hours a day off my commute time. Yeah!

Alright, Sara wants to go apple picking and I have lesson plans to write. Keep on Truckin’

Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford & Sons on Grooveshark