Saturday 15 November 2014

The Flower-Pot Heater Experiment

I always like to try different things. Being that I need to keep warm and want to do so in as efficient and economical a manner, experimentation is key. 

I bought another set of thermal undies and another pair of sweatpants. So now I feel like I am wearing the twelve days of Christmas: two pairs of socks, three pairs of thermal undies, one pair of undies, Two pairs of sweatpants, one sweatshirt, one sweater, and a faux-fur hat on my head! 

I am warm though, and that is key. 

So a friend of mine told me about a nifty little heater you can build from a pair of candles and a couple of clay flowerpots. I decided, why not, it’s worth checking out.  I bought the materials from the hardware store and brought them home. 

I set up the ingredients in a flash, essentially bolting the two pots together with washers on either side of the clay pot hole entrances, and a nut in between the two pots. 

The four little clay dishes were supposed to be the feet for the clay pots, but the candles were too big, thus the coffee mugs. 

This contraption is supposed to trap the heat from the candles and warm the pots which capture and radiate that heat. What I found was that it just gets warm so if you need a coffee warmer or just want to warm your tootsies, this is fine. For what I need, this does not give off enough heat. 

I will try again with a number of tealights underneath it with the little clay dishes as feet and see if that makes a difference.

The effort is more important than the results. Don’t get me wrong I am still working towards a portable heater which can help augment Wanda’s furnace. To try, to be willing to try and not beat yourself up if things don’t work is the most important trait needed to improve: yourself, your situation and your life.  

If you want to do something, just follow my simple plan: 

1. Set a goal
2. Make a plan to achieve that goal
3. Give it your best shot (work the plan)
4. Observe the results (be honest and objective)
5. If it worked, great, see if it can be improved and go back to step 2.
6. If it didn’t work out how you planned, just figure out what went wrong and go back to step 2
7. Repeat as necessary until you determine this is as good as it is going to get or this plan won’t work.  

See how simple that is? Nowhere is there a “scream, yell and berate yourself” step.

I have used this plan and trust me it takes practice not to beat yourself up when things go wrong. I have had successes on this journey and made mistakes. Unfortunately for me, my mistakes are out there for everyone to: read, laugh at, and hopefully learn from. 

That is after all the purpose of this blog, to help others learn from my mistakes so you don’t do what I did wrong. Then again, what didn’t work for me, may work for you as you might have made a few key changes to make it work. I will also admit that by blogging about it, it forces me to keep going and not back out until I have achieved my goal of debt freedom. 

 This winter stint in Wanda is to prove to me that I can live in her in winter and in so doing eliminate my fear of winter. One of the reasons I didn’t move into Wanda years ago was the fear of what I would do when winter came. If I smash that fear by doing it, I won’t ever fear winter again. 

By the end of this winter I will have living in an RV in winter down to a science. Don’t get me wrong, it will never be delightful as you can kiss indoor plumbing goodbye when things get down below -5 C. Again, keep your mind on your goal and not the current struggle you are going through. Don’t ignore the struggle, fight it, face it and do what you need to do, but keep your mind focussed on that end goal.  

Keeping positive is another struggle that I am going through.  More than a few times in recent days I have caught myself berating myself for my past mistakes and my decision to stay in Wanda. I now have decided to stop myself and at that moment force myself to say something positive instead. It may seem silly but it is interrupting my negative pattern and installing a new positive pattern. 

There are a lot of things to get angry and agitated about, but getting angry and focussing on those negative things will not help me. I need to keep positive as this winter living has been my greatest challenge yet, yet it is a challenge that I shall meet and beat.  

I know that I need to plug in each night not just so I can use my electric heater, but so I can charge Wanda’s batteries. I decided to park in my Western home and not plug in as it is closer to the library I go in the weekends. When that furnace is running that draws some power. It was almost morning when Wanda’s batteries ran dry and the furnace quit. 

I now have learned that I need a backup heater solution for just such an occurrence, such as an small propane heater. I have plenty of ventilation in Wanda as my stove is an open burner propane stove. I will check into this today but plug in tonight. 

Each time something like this happens I ask myself two questions:  1) What happened? 2) How can I avoid this in the future? In asking myself those two questions right as soon as whatever it is that has happened, happened, it focuses myself on solving the problem rather than the problem itself. 

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