Posts Tagged ‘problemsolving’

It’s not always bad news…

Reason #37- Dreams

Most dreams are forgotten by the time you wake up, let alone after.  But that doesn’t mean they aren’t instrumental in a happy, healthy life.  WebMD defines dreams as “basically stories and images that our mind creates while we sleep.”

According to Medical News Today, there are 55 different themes or categories of dreams common to many people.  Some of these are being chased or pursued, sexual experiences, falling, flying, arriving too late, a living person being dead, being nude or inappropriately dressed, being frozen with fright, racing or losing control of a vehicle, and of being killed.  Dreams might mean something, or they might be nonsense with no meaning whatsoever.  Of the dreams that have meaning, they might be related to interpersonal conflicts, sexual motivations, social concerns, a fear of embarrassment or to help solve problems in our lives.

When I was a kid, I had a recurring dream that persisted for a few months.  I was around 8 years old and riding in the back seat of my parent’s car, a big metal monster of a vehicle that we had in the ‘60s.  I was looking out the side window while we drove past the Lockheed Airport, a small private airport that eventually grew to become Hollywood-Burbank International Airport.  The runway back then began and/or ended right at the boulevard and, as we passed, I could see a small private plane dropping straight down toward the runway.  My dad punched the gas and we sped away from the crash, but I heard the impact in the distance.  That’s when I would wake up.

Did that dream tell me to be cautious?  Was it a premonition of someone I know or myself being in a plane crash?  Was my dad a hero?  It could have meant something, but I never did connect it to any event.  I have always felt uneasy flying in a small plane, but whether that was a result of my dream or just my discomfort with altitude is something I’ll probably never figure out.

I think it might be a good thing that most dreams are not remembered.  Over the years, how would we differentiate between memories and past dreams?  Just think of déjà vu on steroids.

Most experts agree that dreams during REM [rapid eye movement] sleep have health benefits and many studies have shown that lack of dreaming, like when subjects are awakened whenever REM sleep begins, leads to higher anxiety, stress and depression. 

My dreams have themes and patterns of their own.  I’ve noticed that often I am taken through a maze of buildings, rooms and landscapes only to find that I need to retrace my steps back.  When I was young, they sort of walked me through all the bases in sexual encounters, well before I needed to know them.  I used to have dreams in which I was frozen in place after seeing a rattlesnake or other danger.  Many of my dreams are epic, taking hours and involving complicated storylines or scenery.  Over time I tend to better remember dreams with reccurring themes like these.

Vivid dreams are those in which you are aware that you are dreaming while events unfold, often as a voyeur, a participant or both.  Sometimes I become aware of my dream as I am waking up, but I typically don’t fully experience vivid dreams.  Sounds like it’s my loss.

There are those who attach spiritual or psychological meaning to all dreams, but to me they are just the brain exercising its synapses and occasionally figuring out how to react to a problem at hand.  Either way, one is almost always happier when they experience dreams than those who don’t.


My closing thought on this topic is captured nicely in a quote by Leonardo da Vinci, who pondered, “Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?

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It’s not always bad news…

Reason #36-Ingenuity

Ingenuity is defined by Dictionary.com as “the quality of being cleverly inventive or resourceful.”  My own take is that proof of ingenuity can be seen in a solution to a problem or inconvenience that is not obvious to very many people.  Think MacGyver, but scaled back.

As many an RVer will convey, problem solving without ready-to-use, off-the-shelf solutions is an integral part of the lifestyle.  Those that can’t do it need to have lots of time and cash. 

Here is an example:  When we decided to upgrade our portable generator, the new unit wouldn’t fit in the old storage spot.  There was no room in the back of the pickup, since I had two large toolboxes installed in its bed, nor would it fit in any basement compartment in the fifth wheel.  It was going to take a unique solution, one not readily apparent at first look.

I realized that there would be room on the rear bumper if I could find a way to attach a cabinet or shelf back there.  Also, I had had the fifth wheel’s original flimsy rear bumper replaced with a sturdy steel square pipe welded to the frame after experiencing problems with it, so weight on the bumper shouldn’t have been an issue.  We had previously had a dual bicycle rack clamped to the bumper when we had heavy electric bikes, and, when we sold the bikes, I kept the racks.  When clamped tightly on the bumper, several people could stand on it without it sagging, so I guessed a wooden shelf would be stable.

I bought and cut 2-inch by 8-inch lumber and several lag bolts, washers and nuts, and, after applying several coats of waterproofing, attached the boards on the bike racks.  I countersunk the tops of the bolts so they would not impede anything I placed on it.  Once satisfied of weight-bearing success, I removed the back of a painted steel office cabinet and screwed it down on the shelf so as to not block the license plate. 

I had purchased a generator that would fit side-to-side through the locking cabinet doors, and secured it onto the cabinet floor and some boards I placed inside it just for that purpose. The doors close and lock, and though it wouldn’t totally prevent someone from stealing it, it makes it difficult enough.  With the rear of the cabinet completely removed, there is plenty of air circulation for the generator as well.  The starting cord is easily available on the side and behind the cabinet, and the gas tank can be reached with a funnel just behind the top of the cabinet.

For good measure, I secured my 50-amp cord spooler down on the shelf, and now I have my pet fence sections strapped back there as well for easy access (instead of in my basement compartment).

I feel pretty good about my solution, which is just one example of a setup that took ingenuity and a bit of carpentry skill.  Like I said, difficulties and clever answers are just a part of life on the road.

Nadyne was equally ingenious on the inside of the rig.  One problem we were having was with setup and tear-down between stays — in other words, before and after travel days.  As all frequent travelers know, anything on a counter top in the rig tends to shift, vibrate and move while on the highway.  It is very time consuming to secure all of these items for travel, strapping some down, placing some on the sofa or bed, and just all-around stuffing wherever they would fit snugly.  It is even more time-consuming to set everything back up for use.

Museum gel works fine on smaller items like wine bottles and knick-knacks, but not so much on small appliances like our ice maker, coffee maker, air fryer, or other kitchen necessities such as silverware and plate caddies.  She searched high and low for a solution with the common marketplaces apparently no help.

She remembered how sticky some rubber mats were and wondered if they would hold larger items.  She bought a roll of rubber matting and cut some pieces just big enough for the aforementioned appliances and caddies to sit on.  We left them in place on the counters on our next travel day, stopping occasionally to check for movement (or damage), and were pleasantly surprised how well things had stayed put on the mats.  She found some rubberized cooking sheets that were less expensive but had the same gripping power.  We stocked up, then started snipping and using them for other pieces of equipment around the rig, such as our laptops, adding machine, printer, alarm clock and even some electronics for the TV in the bedroom.  Since doing that, we never lost a single item off of any cabinet, desk or counter due to the road vibration and sway, even on the Pennsylvania Turnpike that was rough enough to break our rig’s springs.

I would imagine if you ask any full-time RVer, they can regale you with wonderful stories of their own ingenuity.  Aw, shucks…


I’ll finish this discussion with a thought from American author Shelby Steele, who said, “We are a nation with a powerful investment in the idea of our own fundamental innocence. Our can-do optimism and ingenuity are based on the faith that we are a decent, open and generous people. This is our identity.

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