Sort of a “Vested Interest”


Walmart VestSorry… Another bad play on words!  Hello and thanks for visiting today!  The picture on the left is from the vest worn at work.  I’ve mentioned that the new job is in a sporting goods department.  What better fit can there be for a camping / fishing nut?

The job is a blast.  Though normally in “Sporting Goods”, I’m often covering various departments while associates take turns giving each other rest breaks.  The variety is fun.  I might be suddenly grinding a house key, mixing paint, cutting fabric, issuing an “anterless deer tag for Cedar County”, or getting a bicycle down from an overhead rack.  The other day one duty was digging in all the containers of worms to check freshness.  The variety of tasks makes the job all the more fun.

The customers (we’re in rural Iowa) are friendly and chit-chat about various topics including fishing, hunting, and camping.  One of most enjoyable aspects is helping someone locate what is needed and hearing a “thank you.”

Without a doubt, talking about fishing is the favorite activity at work.  I ran into my old buddy Kenny who I trout fished with in the early 1990s.  We’re planning to go out and catch some more fish again one of these days!

Like most big companies not every position in every city is a good fit.  But in this small town environment where co-workers are also neighbors, the environment is very pleasant.  The pay is decent, there are regular rest breaks, and the management is very accommodating.  It’s a great place to work… and I couldn’t ask for a better fit… The past work and van living experiences (painting, fishing, working on cars, working with electricity, using tools, etc.) all help greatly with fielding questions and solving problems.

Plantain chips

Vanse watching me make plantain chips…

One of the co-workers is the lady who gave me the new cat – Vanse.  “Van-Van” is doing terrific, eating just about everything I put in front of him.  Once feral, this little rescue kitty has become very tame and best buddies with Jesse James.

Van-Van has helped me a lot lately, too… Just having the kitten and Jesse James around has provided a psychological boost and a desire to make some personal improvements.

After moving into this trailer a year ago, there had been a bedroom that went virtually unused for most of that time.  Artifacts from Mom and Dad (and all the relatives) were piled high and deep… making it difficult to even walk through the area.  Sifting through all the photographs and treasures took forever to address – it’s not easy being inundated with that many memories.  I finally cleaned it all up and ran two van loads of crapola (mainly boxes, old papers, useless junk, etc.) to the landfill.  What was left fit in a closet. (Less is more, right?)  Reclaimed is a huge master bedroom, walk-in full sized shower, and such… There is also a large area that can be used to assemble jigsaw puzzles (the results of which line the walls), a most relaxing hobby!

Van Van BasilThis was tonight’s relaxation.  The three of us trimmed and weeded the herb plants.  Van-Van was behind the basil bush that has provided leaves for pesto sauce.  Jesse watched over Vanse and if he wandered too far, “Big Brother” found him.

Getting them in the house was not easy.  How do you lure two stubborn cats back into range for capture?  One gets the cats’ interest by dragging a fishing stringer along the driveway with its metal spike jangling on the cement… and then you make a grab. Jesse falls for it every time but Vanse already figured out the scheme to lure him out.  He’s a smart little fella!

The two little buddies (actually three of us) have been enjoying life together even without any camping or fishing adventures in recent days… but that will likely change.  I’ve got the fishing bug again and will probably do some camping soon.  Van-Van might even come along this time.  He’s going to love the food.  There will be pictures!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Take care and happy travels, always!

Brad, Jesse, and Vanse
Jones County, Iowa


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

8 Responses to Sort of a “Vested Interest”

  1. Rod Duell says:

    Dude, happy to see the new cat, he’s a handsome fellow. Having at least two of my own at all times, I know what it means for we who live alone. Good luck at Wally World!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Rod. They keep a person on his toes. Jesse is in the recliner right now interfering with typing. One or both always has Daddy under surveillance. They’re wonderful pals. Glad to hear you have two buddies as well.

  2. Veronica says:

    You sound so happy and content….I am very happy for you because you have been through a lot. It is very inspirational to see how you have handled everything and how you have chosen to grow and move forward.

    I also have two feral cats and wouldn’t know what to do without them….you have done a great job with them.

    Take care and I hope there are many more happy camping and fishing times for you.

  3. Jo says:

    Sounds like your happy with this new job. that kitten has the most adorable face. Nice that all of you are happy together.

  4. Thanks for all inspiration, especially on camping food, Brad!
    You are in my blog today.