Some events disrupt the order of my world, however tenuous that order might be. Even though you would have been hard pressed to discern much organization in the pile of stuff in Sylvia's studio, it was still cataloged in my mind. Maybe that explains my upset at having to move it all out again.

It didn't help matters that Sylvia was helping. My usual slow pace at packing and moving wouldn't give Sylvia enough time to get the studio ready for Michaele and her cats, so Sylvia started carting boxes of fermented food, grain, kitchen utensils, sauerkraut, and all my other belongings to the house. My protests that they could all go back in my truck were futile, as my sister was determined to make the transition as convenient as possible.

She had even given up her bedroom to me, saying she could tolerate the traffic noise in the front bedroom better than me, and besides there would be two of her cats in there with her, the ones that had been in the back porch. Her daughter Michaele was arriving that night to leave her six cats with her mother to care for during her ten-day trip to Italy. The cats had to be segregated into compatible groups, and that required two going into the back porch and four going into the studio, which required me to move out of the studio.

If you aren't a cat person, you won't understand. That includes me.

Maybe my personality is OCD or even somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, but Sylvia taking all my stuff and depositing it on the kitchen table in the house just seemed wrong to me. It didn't belong there. It offended my sense of order, first because it junked up her house, and second because it was so sudden. She had transported it all to the house in less than five minutes. It had taken me days to pack my truck with all that stuff.

That must be what made me decide to put it all back in the truck, despite Sylvia's protests. It started with the fermented food, with the reason that it would be cooler out there at night. Then it progressed to the grains and flour, since that wouldn't be necessary until my fermented food or bread ran low and required more cooking. Finally, all that was left in the house was my duffel bag of clothing, my small bag of personal items, and my computer.

While packing the truck, the thought came that it would have been better to have camped in the desert for a few weeks before coming to California. That would have put my arrival after Michaele's trip to Italy and the studio would have been cat-free again. It even flashed into my mind that with everything packed in the truck, it would be simple to just get in, fire it up, and head for Arizona right then, just like a gypsy.

Of course, that would have hurt Sylvia's feelings. In fact, she couldn't understand my reaction to her efforts to help, saying “I don't get it!” My response was that no, I wasn't fooling with her head, but just felt more comfortable with all my stuff in one place, and that the inconvenience of having to go out there to retrieve food wasn't that onerous to me.

Do you sometimes get the feeling that a supernatural being is looking over your shoulder? Well, this one must have read my mind about bolting to Arizona, because that would explain the “no glow” situation that developed with my truck. Since Michaele was going to park her car in the driveway, it would box my truck in for the duration of her trip unless the truck was moved to the street.

That was when the “no glow” turned into “won't go”. Normally the truck's glow plugs heat up to prepare the cylinders for fuel, because when the engine is cold there isn't enough heat generated by compression alone to burn the fuel and start the engine. When you switch the key to the run position the relay clicks and the glow plugs light comes on. This time that didn't happen. Nothing. Nada.

That effectively kills any notion of pulling up camp and heading for the desert, at least until the truck's glow system functions again and Michaele returns from Italy to remove her car. By then it will be Christmas and my daughter will be here. So much for impulsive reaction. So much for “free as a bird”.

This situation sobered me, and Sylvia too. “What if that had happened to you in the desert?” Indeed, that would have been interesting. My fermented food would keep me going for a while, assuming my water jugs were full, but it would eventually mean a long walk to the nearest town. That would surely ground my gypsy caravan. What better place to be grounded than at my sister's home, having to “endure” her taking me on painting trips, her feeding me stuffed peppers, shrimp with Parmesan cheese, and roasted chicken? It could be a lot worse, and not much better.