Monday 30 June 2014

Packing Wanda Went Well

I had to put Wanda in for service after our outing last weekend. As I was packing up, I realized that the driver’s side rear turn signal on Wanda stayed on, at full intensity, at all times. It took them a few days to fit her in so when I arranged to pick Wanda up on Friday afternoon, it seemed like as good an excuse as any to go away for the weekend. 

This time I didn’t want to go far, I just wanted to stay local so I could work . . . on Wanda. I decided to clear everything out of my storage and find a home for it in Wanda. I only left the two pieces of furniture (heading to Vancouver) and then pictures that will stay in the back of the truck.

I envisioned it taking most of Saturday to figure out what should go where and what I should keep and what should go. I had planned for this and bought some storage tubs for her pass through storage area. 

Well, the whole process only took a couple of hours, if that. Even after that I had a bit more space to fit the stuff coming from my room. So I had the rest of the weekend to enjoy the campsite, right?

Well, this was not a nice provincial or federal campsite, this was a private one, and an older one at that. Sure it had Wi-Fi, but it was so slow that it was practically non-existent. Sure it had campsites but they were back in ones and even then they were small. My water went out once and power went out for someone else . . . this was only one evening. To top it all off it was more expensive than the government sites . . . so I bailed.

I had done what I had planned to do so I didn’t need to be there. I thought about staying at a parking lot or forlorn industrial street in town, but decided against it. I didn’t need a dry-run-through as I knew what it was like and it would be reality soon enough. 

Instead I put Wanda in storage and went home, or rather I went window shopping for a few things I would like for Wanda. One is a power solution, ie, somehow to make my own 120 VAC power. I could get solar panels, a charge controller and an Inverter for Wanda but the cost of that and installation would be somewhere between 1 – 2K. 

Not something I am prepared to pay for now, so for now it looks like a battery box (with inverter built in), a small charge controller and a 20 Watt solar panel. This should be enough for what I need ie: charging my laptop and my phone, it should work. The built in solution will have to wait. 

I also have my eye on a small, portable BBQ for 30 bucks. Hmm barbeque. 

Monday 23 June 2014

I’m Tired of Paying Everyone Else’s Bills

I got paid this weekend so I paid my rent, early as always. Landlady was nice and let me pay just half of July’s rent. If things go well I may get that back, as my damage deposit was about that much (I think). If I don’t I don’t, as I never count on money coming in (other than my paycheque). Landlady joked that I can’t leave because I always pay my rent early and nobody does that. I laughed and we went our separate ways. 

She may consider me the ideal tenant because I keep to myself, keep quiet and pay my rent early. I do all this because I still feel like I am a guest, an intruder in her home. As nice and kind as she is, I don’t feel like it is my place, my home.

It was nice to go to Lake Louise and I tried to bike from the campsite up to Lake Louise but I didn’t make it up that hill. I did go for a nice bike ride on trails near the campsite; that was enjoyable. Yet it would have been nicer to share this experience with someone, I am not ready for that. I need to get through this phase of my life first, I know that.

I did feel at home in Wanda and the campsite was nice even though all I had for hookups was the electricity. I know that I will be able to survive in Wanda, but a few things could make things easier, like an inverter and solar charging system. 

One thing at a time, while it would be nice, it is not necessary. I can charge my laptop either at work or plugged into an inverter in Treabilla. Likewise I can charge my phone either at work or in Treabilla. I have already arranged to up my data package on the phone and get an internet stick so I will not be cut off or living near McDonalds/Starbucks or anywhere else with free Wi-Fi. 

I am looking forward to the twelfth (the day I move out) for a few reasons. For one I will truly be on my own and mobile. Also this little place will be mine, sure someone may complain about where I am parked, but I can always move. Someone may say that living in a trailer is not that safe, well how safe are you living in your house? Really? If stuff is going to happen, it will happen.

Another reason that I am looking forward to living in Wanda fulltime is that I am tired of throwing money away on rent. I get nothing of value from it; it does not help me get further ahead. In winter, for a few of the colder months I may rent a room or a place to park and live in Wanda, but I will deal with that then. For now, I will save and get ahead. By my estimates this will put me one credit card ahead, just by doing this.   

I say that I am tired of paying everyone else’s bills because I have always made sure to pay my bills but shove things for me to the backburner, never, if ever to be dealt with.  

My clothes are all from discount stores, and never that stylish, as being in style costs cash, cash which is needed for bills or some other urgent thing which must be paid.  Treabilla was the first vehicle in my life (bought her at 43) that I have ever splurged on. Every other vehicle has been the cheapest and the minimal I need to function. 

I have atrocious teeth, even though I have had dental coverage a few times in my working life.  Why is this you ask? Because dental coverage does not cover everything and the longer you put it off the more expensive your portion is. I look forward to finally being able to getting something done so I can stop hiding my teeth.  

I want to get out from under this dead weight of credit card debt so I can look at doing something for me and not feel guilty. I know that I still have a truck and trailer to pay off, but there is an asset with that, and a fixed date, with credit cards, they are the debt that keeps on taking, and growing. 

I was, however, able to get myself out of the overdraft and pay a bit off of one credit card. All thanks to my plan to live in Wanda. 

Monday 16 June 2014

Possessions Are Fleeting

As I get ready to go back to work after tossing out and/or disposing of most of my possessions this weekend a few things hit me. While it is true that a good chunk of my possessions I still technically own, since I have put them up for auction, I don’t consider them mine anymore, they are in limbo.

What hits me is that possessions are fleeting, things break, you lose stuff, clothes go out of style. As I sit in my room, I know that a good portion of what is here will go with me, but there will still be more which goes bye-bye. 

I am on the cusp of literally bringing everything I own with me wherever I go . . . I am okay with that. It doesn’t mean that I can just go “wander the earth” it just means that I will not pay for storage, nor rent for the foreseeable future. I am looking forward to that. 

The ironic thing is that the reason that I am going through this temporary, drastic lifestyle change is to pay of credit cards which were run up buying stuff and experiences that I no longer have. I have a few select items but the vast majority of what was charged to those cards are gone. 

The trek towards running up the cards started during the last few months of film school. I ran out of money and needed to live on my credit cards. Then I decided to film a test pilot for a TV show that I wanted (and still do) to get going. After film school, I had moving and living expenses. Add to that a few impulse items and you have full credit cards  before you know it.

I spent a year working hard to pay down my Brick Card just to pay off the bedroom set that I will now auction off for a fraction of what it is worth. I know on one hand I should keep it but it will cost me more to store it until some unknown time where I may have a house to put it in. 

Stuff is replaceable; things should be used and have a purpose in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I like stuff and I don’t see myself living as a Buddhist monk or a Jedi, forsaking all possessions. For now, at this point in my life, the less I own the better. 

If it does not fit within my truck or trailer, I won’t own it, not until I am settled somewhere. Exactly where that is or when that will be, I do not know. That is part of the fun of this adventure, first get my credit cards paid off, then save up to move while paying a bit down on Wanda. 

Saturday 14 June 2014

Paring Down Was Easier Than I Thought

I went to my storage unit today with the goal of putting things into three piles: 

1) Stuff to sell (IE: decent stuff but not what I want to keep)
2) Stuff to toss away (I can buy this again)
3) Stuff to keep. (Stuff I want to keep with me)

I thought it would take all day to figure this out. I imagined myself straining over each decision of what to keep. It seems that time has changed my perspective as the choices were easy to make. In the span of about an hour and a half I was able to sort through everything. 

The stuff I wanted to sell I put in my second storage unit. The stuff I wanted to toss away I loaded in my truck. The small amount of stuff that I wanted to keep I left in my first storage unit. As I surveyed this last section, I could imagine this fitting in Wanda and Treabilla. My goal had been achieved. 

I was able to make a deal with the people at the storage unit place. They are planning on having an auction (you know, to sell the stuff in storage units that people abandon). I was able to get them to let me put the stuff in my second storage unit in that auction. 

I paid up my storage units until the end of July. There are a few pieces of small furniture which are going home with mom (she doesn’t know it yet). They are pieces of furniture which have been in the family for generations that I can’t part with but can’t store in Wanda. That is why mom will be taking them home; if I sold or gave them away I would be disavowed from the family. 

I took the stuff I wanted to toss away to the dump. I hate that place as I always feel guilty. I am a third generation packrat so tossing anything away feels wrong. Sure I recycled my computer and what have you but actually tossing things in the bin felt wrong. It felt like I was killing the planet, and being wasteful. 

While both may be true, I simply need to get rid of this stuff, as it is dead weight in my life at this point everything I tossed away was stuff that I can buy again. The same can be said for the stuff I put in the second storage unit, to be auctioned off. It is all stuff that I can buy again, yet don’t need right at this moment. 

Thursday 12 June 2014

Hard Choices

Okay, I still feel a bit guilty for moving out on Landlady. Part of me feels like I am leaving her in the lurch. I know that while she is nice and all, that she is neither my friend nor a relative.

I mean, we are friendly but say I didn’t have Wanda and lost my job. She may give me two weeks grace to pay the rent and then make me leave.  

I understand that the room must pay its way and that I am there because I pay rent, and need a place to stay.  Still, I have agreed to pay rent for July and move out early so as to allow someone else to move in.

I have decided to move out by noon on Saturday, July 12, one month from today as a matter of fact. It is a good day to move out as it’s not late on a Friday night, sneaking out nor is it in the middle of the week.

This month marks six months of storage and is time to pay another six months of storage. That got me thinking. Since my plans have changed, and I am not getting a house, do I need all of this stuff? The answer is no.

This means that I will be going through the stuff that I still have in storage and examine if I really, really need it. I will only keep what I can store in Wanda and/or Treabilla and get rid of the rest.

I will keep my storage units until the end of July and will either find a place to store the stuff I will keep in my truck and trailer or I will get rid of it.

This may seem extreme but if I am moving to Toronto, I need to move light. Besides a good deal of stuff that I have I kept because I thought they would be handy. 

I mean I have a box of software which contains Windows 95 Beta and I think possibly the disks for DOS and even Windows 3.11!!! Seriously, why do I have this stuff!!!!

The top of the list of stuff that I will keep has to do with Tanea and writing. My Script Builder and Tanea production info I will keep, most of the pictures I will also keep and a few select filmmaking books. The rest of it can go, as I can buy it again if I need to.

Wednesday 11 June 2014


Birthdays are milestones on the road of life. Just FYI, today is mine . . . I am 44 today.  

In our earlier years we look forward to the important birthdays, the key milestones of life. 

At Thirteen we are no longer a child but a teenager, on our way to adulthood.
At Sixteen we can drive.
At Eighteen we are an adult, sortof. 
At Nineteen we are an adult in more places and in greater ways
At Twenty-One we are an adult all over the world.

Birthdays are also when we, or at least I, reflect on your journey through life thus far. During the quieter moments of each and every birthday, we dust off our “to do list” of life. 

We check off the goals that have accomplished and examine the ones we have not. We ask ourselves, was that really important? Did I really want to do this? Or that? Do I still want, nay, need to do it? 

Such is the case with me.  As I sit here on my Forty-Forth birthday, as much as I may wish to, a few unachieved goals stick with me. 

One is that I have never been married, I have come close a few times, but never have I walked down the aisle. Whilst marriage at my age is still a possibility (and a certainty if I have my way), the other glaring goal is much less of a foregone conclusion.  

I wanted children, I always say myself as a father. I wanted the wife, kids, house yes even the dog. All the trappings of “settled, suburban life.” I know that I can still technically have kids, so that dream is not dead. 

The likelihood of meeting the right woman and starting a family with her within a reasonable timeframe, however, decreases with each day.  I don’t want just any woman to be the mother of my children, I want the right one. 

I will just have to focus on being a good uncle, I suppose. Above all, I need to get myself into a place and a financial position where dating and a family are possible.  

Enough of this, time to pick myself up and soldier on. Oh and happy birthday to me.

Tuesday 10 June 2014

I Did It

I finally was able to talk to Landlady tonight and she asked me to give her a bit more time. 

We agreed that since this was not proper notice, I would pay for July I would move out on July 15. 

If she found someone earlier than the end of the month,  that she would refund me the last half of July's rent.

The irony is that if I had told her/made a decision when I was considering it the end of May, I would not be paying one more month of rent.

I do not regret it, I am who I am,  and honour must be satisfied.

Not My Fault

I was going to tell Landlady last night. I was all worked up, I knew that she didn’t work Mondays and would most likely be home. When I got home she was putting he shoes on . . . she was leaving to play softball.  

I didn’t have the heart to tell her as she was leaving, so I decided to wait until she got home. I was asleep before she got home. 

I will make a point to tell her that I am moving out tonight. I am telling you so as to further motivate me and force myself to go through with this. 

Monday 9 June 2014

I’m a Chicken

I hate confrontation, I always have. I won’t go into the inner workings of my twisted mind. Nor will I go on some grand tour of my childhood the point of which would be to blame my parents. 

I make my choices and it is how we react to what has happened to us which shape us into who and what we are. As for me, I hate confronting people and/or letting people down.

I tried to work myself up to talk to the Landlady to let her know that I am moving out. I know that I must let her know, today. She needs enough time to find someone else to rent this room. She deserves to know. I know intellectually that she will be fine and that she has told me that she doesn’t need any notice. 

I still feel that I am letting her down by moving out. I also know that by telling her I am moving out, I am actually moving out and into my trailer. This will then make this choice real. This feels like when I handed in my notice for my townhouse. I know that I need to do this, I will make myself tell her tonight.

On Friday, I got a pleasant visit from an old friend. I have known her since elementary school and while she has been in my life she has not dominated it. She has simply been there, a quiet, constant presence. It was good to catch up with her and find out that she has been more supportive of me than I knew. She has been my quiet champion, and I send out my thanks to her . . . she who needs not be named. 

As we talked and visited there was a calming connection. While we have not seen each other in years and have rarely spoke on Facebook, it felt as if we had just seen each other last week, and the week prior. It was good to feel such a casual and comforting presence. I felt no need or desire to puff myself up or lie to impress my long-time friend. I had the impression that any such attempt she would see right through. I look forward to seeing her again, soon.

Saturday morning I went to my Storage place and got a second storage unit. In it I moved my bedroom suite and all of the things that I don’t want. I know since my life is now shrinking down to living in Wanda and possibly moving to Toronto, I have decided only to keep what will fit in the back of Treabilla as I pull Wanda down the road. 

I know that the trip to Toronto will take longer than others might do it, as I will be loaded down. That is why I will make sure to keep only what is absolutely essential; only that which means something to me. If I can buy it again, out it goes. Here, this is what it looks like, let me know if you want anything . . . or all of it I will give you a great deal on it. I plan to keep this unit for only a month, as I sell it's contents.

I know that moving into the trailer is the right decision for me. I visited Wanda on Saturday afternoon. Okay, I had to move Wanda from one part of the storage place to another. As well I had to do a few minor repairs, and put some stickers on her. As promised here are the shots of the stickers that I put on Wanda.

As I was in and about Wanda it felt as if this was home. I didn’t have to tiptoe around. I didn’t feel like a constant guest in someone else’s home. I didn’t have to be constantly mindful of the noise or if I will wake someone up. This place, this 20 foot by 8 foot place was mine. I look forward to owning my home, even if I don’t own the land underneath it.

Sunday I started the process of sorting through the stuff in my room as to what to keep and what not to. I have already made a few decisions of what will just go in the trash once I leave this room. Others will come with me and still others will go to the storage unit. 

I know that this is an odd way to live but for me, for now, living in my trailer as an Urban Nomad, seems right. It will help me get closer towards being able to move to a place where I can do what I love for a living, rather than doing what I like to pay the bills.

Monday 2 June 2014

Banff Was Good . . . Decision Was Made

I had a nice, relaxing, yet productive time in Banff, this weekend. I was able to finish putting things away and get Wanda organized.  Now, when I want to get away, all I need is to take a cooler of the foods I need to refrigerate and go. 

There will always be small things here and there to take and tweak, but that is part of the fun.  For example, while I did install a modest key ring holder, I still need to figure out where and how to attach a hat hook. 

Here are a few choice pics from the weekend. 

I even took a walk around the town of Banff to soak up the atmosphere and to search for two stickers. I ended up getting two but not one that I wanted. I have decided to turn the back of Wanda into a (borderline tacky) scrapbook of where she has been. 

On one side I intend to put stickers of provinces/states where she has been through (in proper geographical order) and on the other stickers of places/towns that I liked.  I see this as similar to what people did to their suitcases in years gone by.

While I could find a nifty “Canada” sticker and a nifty one of Banff (pictures next time) I could not find one of “Alberta.” My original plan was to buy the sticker of a province/state in that province/state. Since I was not able to easily find the Alberta one, I have decided to buy the bunch from a flag shop in town and only put them on Wanda when she has “earned” it. 

The other thing I did while in the town of Banff was to buy a group yearly pass to the park. This means that I can take up to six people with me into any Federal Park or historical site for as long as I want all year long. Unfortunately this does not include camping fees, but since they charge ten bucks a day per person, the pass is worth it. 

As far as my decision goes, it was made easier knowing that the trailer really is meant to be self-contained. You are not supposed to empty the blackwater tank until it is almost full. This gives the bacteria time to . . . shall we say . . . work their magic on the contents of said blackwater tank. 

While I have decided to go ahead and Boondock it for the summer at least, the question is just when to start. I have paid rent up till the end of the month (June) so I might as well take advantage of that money already spent. 

I know that Landlady has said that I don’t need to give her proper notice and more than likely will refund me my money, but that just doesn’t sit well with me. She has been fair and decent to me, so why treat her worse than any other landlord? I will tell her my decision and move out either the weekend of the 14th or the 21st. 

This is a big decision and might be a huge mistake, but for now, it is something I feel I need to do. If this goes well I will reduce what I have in storage and get rid of my bedroom set and computer desk. There is no need to keep such bulky/duplicate items. 

I have a feeling that once my credit cards are paid off and I have a small amount in the bank I will be moving east to pursue my passion in TV/Film.  I need to get down to a point where the only things I need to pay for are my current expenses. That way I don’t need a large amount of money to do what I love (or rather would love to do).