Wednesday 23 December 2015

One Day to Go

I only have to get through today and tonight and I will be on my way for my much needed winter break. I am looking forward to the simple things, like:

Not having to melt the leftover coffee in my coffee cup so I can toss the frozen coffee out, before my morning coffee.
Not seeing my breath in my house.
Not taking “Mitten Breaks” in my typing (as in pause to wear mittens to warm up my hands).
Real heat around the clock in my house (as in 20C)
Not wearing three sets of long johns all the time at home.
Sleeping in sheets and not in a -40C rated sleeping bag.

I am managing in the cold, but I need a break, I will persevere and I will get through this. I will achieve my goals and get ahead in life . . . I just despise the cold.

Tuesday 22 December 2015

The Longest Days

I find myself limping into the final stretch before I head out of town on my Christmas Break. The prospect of the nice scenery along with being warm is a very tempting prospect. 

This is particularly true when I am cold and huddling in my trailer as I have been these past few nights. This is yet another reason why this trip is a necessary break for me. 

I also find that my motivation to do just about anything has been draining away. I most certainly will enjoy relaxing for a few days and the delight of not having to move anywhere for ten days. 

Once again, I need this break, I fully intend to come back rested and refreshed.

Monday 21 December 2015

Warm Winter Ways

This weekend got a might chilly, but nothing I can’t handle. After all, I have seen worse before, and I will surely see it again. 

I bought a new electric heater this weekend and I found out something interesting. I discovered that at a lower setting I can use it while my generator is running. Even more interesting is that it is more efficient than my propane furnace. 

This electric heater was able to get my place up to 10C even though it was -15 or so outside. Not bad, I was able to turn my furnace off completely and save the propane. 

I had to buy a new one because I threw out my old one. I had it stored in the back of my truck all summer long. Why was this a problem? 

It had absorbed the exhaust from my generator. So, when I turned it on it smelled like exhaust. I will not make that mistake again and now I have to find some place to store it inside Wanda. 

It was good to find a way to get warm even in the cold weather. It is figuring out these little tricks that make life interesting these days. 

I am looking forward to my time at the campground in Banff and my Christmas break. Okay, that and the glorious power plug into come . . . ah unrestricted access to electricity.

Friday 18 December 2015

The Good and Bad of the Cold Weather

Just for fun, I thought that I would make a list of some of the positives and negatives of this cold weather and how it relates to living in an RV. Here goes.

POSITIVE: I don’t need to run my fridge at all. 
NEGATIVE: My house is a freezer when I sleep and a fridge when I am awake.

POSITIVE:  I get to relax each evening surrounded in candlelight as I listen to soothing music.
NEGATIVE: If I don’t do everything I can to conserve every electron of electricity I won’t have power in the morning for the furnace . . . or laptop.

POSITIVE:  I get to change into my “pajamas” as soon as I get home.
NEGATIVE:  I have to change my clothes in a deep freeze.

POSITIVE:  I don’t have to drive in the snow during rush hour.
NEGATIVE: I have to try to find parking in parking lots for something longer than a bus during the mad Christmas Shopping Season.

POSITIVE:  I don’t heat my house when I am not there, thereby saving: propane, electricity and cash.
NEGATIVE:  I have to wait as my house warms up to the temperature of a refrigerator. 

POSITIVE:  My chilly house at night would encourage that special lady to snuggle with me.
NEGATIVE:  No woman in her right mind would date a guy living in an RV only to freeze her tuchus off all winter.

There you go, just a bit of fun before the weekend.

Thursday 17 December 2015

Run To The Hills! . . . (Again)

It got down to somewhere near -20C last night, but I was okay, as I know how to handle the cold. I don’t like it, but I can handle it.  I have said it before how much I hate the cold, and I do. I will endure though; I will get through this, and eventually leave the cold behind for good.

I did make some progress on the Urban Nomad Book, slower progress, but it is still moving forward nonetheless. As well, my new generator started up and ran fine last night, so that’s good. 

This month has been a bit more expensive than I had planned, yet then again, not. I had planned that my trip to the coast would take up my spare cash from this upcoming paycheque, and these unforeseen expenses will do just that. I will still get out of the month with my cards paid off, and that is something.

I am learning that there are times when a small extravagance is okay, especially after achieving a large goal, as I have just done.  I also know that I need a break, so my (seemingly) annual Christmas break in the mountains of Banff will do me good. 

It has been a hard year and I need to unwind and relax as I get ready for this next phase in my life. I also need to pause and reflect on what has happened and prepare myself for what lies ahead. I have been miserable as of late and my attitude needs adjusting. This trip is something that I need to do, for me.

I plan to get out of the trailer more this time around, and actually see the town of Banff or explore some hiking trails around the area. I will be able to keep myself warm though, and that is a nice thing, oh to have that glorious 30 Amp service and my electric heater.  

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Loan Clarification

I didn’t blog yesterday as it was a busy morning; sorry about that. I did have a talk with my local banker last evening about a few things. Not only did we talk about RRSP options, as it is that time of year, but also about the Trea and Wanda loans. 

To put it simply, I can’t or shouldn’t rather, merge the two loans into one. The reason is that the rate I would get would be worse than what I have now. This is due to the fact that at time of refinancing, the truck and trailer would not be “new” and therefore classified as “used” and as such, the rate is higher. (Even though I am not buying them again).

I did learn that Wanda’s loan does not have a large balloon payment at the end but simply it is structured like a mortgage. That means that I could take the next twenty years paying the Wanda loan off. 

While this is a relief, I am not about to spend the next twenty years paying Wanda off. I will continue with my plans to save up my contingency fund and crank up the payments on Wanda to $400.00 bi-weekly in April.  

This will mean that Trea and Wanda will both be paid off in 3 years’ time. I will not touch Trea’s loan, and just keep paying on it as I have been. It is possible to convert it to Bi-weekly payments as well, and that is something to consider, as this would even out my financial demands and savings between the two paycheques.

I will also continue to save in both an RRSP and non-RRSP style with a mix of different saving/investment vehicles.  This is something new to me, as savings and having extra money is not something that I am used to; so this is fun for me.

I could continue my massive saving ways now and build up a nest-egg quicker, but I want to balance paying off my debts altogether with saving for my future. Three years is a good enough time frame to be debt free. 

In the summer I can start to look for a patch of ground to park Wanda on. Who knows, something might come up, something that I can afford. For now, I will relax knowing that the pressure to refinance is off and that things are really and truly looking up.

Monday 14 December 2015

Christmas Plans Gone Awry

This is where I admit another one of my mistakes. I had been so focused on paying my credit cards off that I didn’t think of anything beyond achieving that glorious goal. 

As far as I was concerned, Christmas was a thousand years away and I was going down to the coast for it. There were a few wrinkles in my plan that my lack of forethought brought into being. 

For one, my family out on the cost is scattering, everyone going their own way. So, even if I did go down I would be pretty much on my own for most of the ten day visit (save my mother).

For another, I can’t drive down because the Provincial Government of BC has made it illegal to drive through the mountains in winter without winter tires. I have never owned a set of winter tires in my life. 

I have even driven in a small car with bald tires in a snowstorm and have been okay.  I am not about to spend $1200.00 to get winter tires just for one road trip. 

Risking it and driving down anyways is silly because being the only guy towing a trailer down the highway through the mountains would make me stick out a tad.

So then I thought about flying down.  Well, let’s just say I could probably get a good deal to Mexico for the price of round trip ticket to Vancouver. So I will be staying in Calgary for my Christmas Break. I may go to the mountains or some other Campground, who knows.

I decided to buy a few new clothes and dress a bit better; nothing extravagant but a few sweaters and socks and some new shoes. While T-Shirts are comfortable I kinda wanna up my game with regards to clothes.  

Call it an early New Year’s Resolution, but I kinda figure that I should dress better and not look like the hermit in the RV.

Friday 11 December 2015

Settling in to Winter Okay

I am finally getting over my winter tantrum. I have just accepted that winter is here and thankful that the REAL winter hasn’t arrived. 

I don’t need a reminder of how bad that winter can be out here on the Canadian Prairies, thank you very much. Last year’s bout with -20C to -30C was good enough for me. I can handle this -10C stuff till spring just fine, thanks.

I am, however, settling into my routine that I have when into my winter hibernation mode. I can muddle through just great and the various tricks that I need to do and the quirks that I need to adopt don’t bother me that much. 

You just adapt with the season and do what you need to do to survive and get by. I know what to do to not freeze yet not spend too much. I am not comfortable, but I am okay. 

Spring and summer are much nicer for me as it is much nicer to be lounging around in shorts with my windows open and that light breeze drifting through. 

I do okay in winter, though. Relaxing in my little home on wheels as I listen to light jazz by candlelight is nice too. Of course it would be nicer if I couldn’t see my breath while doing it.

I just look at my goals that I have accomplished and those yet to be accomplished and I muddle through. I am on the path to a better place in life, and ultimate freedom that will come with all of my debts paid off. 

Thursday 10 December 2015

One Last Urgent Bill

I have been doing some budgeting and trying to determine my future plans. What to save, and when to refinance my truck and trailer loan. 

I signed up for a credit monitoring service, mainly to see how my credit score is doing. I always decided that this would determine when I would go in and refinance. 

Well, I am now well entrenched in the Excellent credit score range, and it seems that I am in a position to refinance.  I am taking a moment to pause and wonder if now really is the right time to refinance.

Sure, I have my credit cards paid off and am maintaining a $1K balance in my account at all times. As far as fiscal reserves go, that’s it, after that it’s back to the bank overdraft and credit cards; then I‘m back where I was two years ago. 

I have decided that I need to maintain the status quo until one final bill is paid, the one to me, as in that contingency fund. I will wait before refinancing my loans (and cranking up those payments) until I have achieved that goal of having $6K in my savings account, as my medium term savings/contingency fund. 

This way, if a small emergency happens, I can take care of it with that and not use my credit cards. I will still use the credit cards as a convenience but I will pay them off every time I get paid, as I do now. 

I have been in Survival Mode and then in Conserving Mode for so long that I have forgotten to plan ahead for the possible curve balls that life throws at you. This is a necessary bill that needs to be paid, if I don’t I will risk undoing everything that I have worked for these past two years.

I will still refinance and I will still buy that new laptop, and yes I will splurge and buy a fancy top of the line one, because I want it and have earned it. 

I will do those things after I have paid myself, and in so doing, give myself that piece of mind that I need. Then I will work on building my savings up while paying off my truck and trailer in a timely manner.

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Nostalgic Writing Going Well

My work on my book about this journey is going well. I have tried to make it more than just transposing or boiling down the contents of this blog. That would be cheating and not worth anyone buying. 

What I am trying to make this book, is an overview of what I did and why yet mix that with lessons that I have learned and yes, what I would have done differently if I had to do it again.  

I have been getting steadily inspired during the day and clearly my creative energies are focussed on this book, finally. The chapters are much smaller than those in my novels that I have written but it seems to fit the emerging style of this book, small bits of information doled out in each chapter.

I made sure to include my mistakes and inaccurate assumption, not simply for the smug humour of the reader but so others can learn from my mistakes. I am not sure how long this book will take to write or how long it will be, I will just write it and let it be, what it will be. 

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Payday is Fun Again!

I know that some, most of you, are going to hate me for this, but here goes anyways. For the longest time, as in over the span of a few presidents I have hated payday as it always meant that the money flew through my account in the span of a few hours as I paid everyone else.

I had decided that no matter what I would achieve my second goal of keeping one thousand dollars in my account at all times, well I did that. Not only that but I was able to pay both credit cards down to nothing and put a couple of hundred into my savings account. 

It was fun! The really cool thing is that I get to do this again and again and again! I get to sit down and figure out what I am going to do with my money, what I choose to do with my money. My money is not already spent for me, my paycheque has not been predetermined where it is going to go.

I am on the side of things where my finances are getting better and better. I am nowhere near being well off, but I am steadily improving and doing much better than I was two years ago. This is the fun side of this journey, trying to type while I can see my breath inside my house is not the fun part, but it is that which got me to this day.

I have begun working again on my book about this journey. So far, it is going well and I am averaging a small chapter a day, so far. We shall see how it goes, but it is good to be writing it.

Monday 7 December 2015

Jenny Died, but She Shall be Resurrected.

So, there I was, typing away on my laptop, Jenny was running when she started to make a scraping noise that didn’t sound healthy. I ran out there to see what the matter was and certainly knew this was not right so I shut her down. 

I inspected her to see if I could see anything bad, I checked her oil and then decided to start her up again, to see if the matter had corrected itself. That was when it happened, the pull cord came out in my hand. Jenny had melted and broken her pull cord. 

I sat there and decided what do to; here is what was going through my mind. Technically this is a relatively simple repair. You pull off one cover replace the nylon cord and put it back together. 

The trouble is that there is a large clockwork spring in there which must be wound up and held in place as you close the cover and hope that it all stays together (under tension) as you seat and screw down the cover. 

Anyone has done this repair they will relate how much of a pain in the butt that this is. These engineers don’t design the unit as a sealed unit so you could put it together on the bench and then attach it to the motor, no, that would be easy (and cost a bit more).

I have done this repair on a chainsaw that I once owned and did not look forward to doing this to Jenny with a larger spring and larger pull cord unit. I thought about paying a repair shop to do this for me. That would take days and even then the cost would be almost as much as buying a new generator. 

So I made the choice to buy a new generator. I decided to think through which size of generator I needed.  I figured out that I only need 2000 Watts to do what I need to do when Jenny is running. If I bought a 4000 Watt generator then I could run everything, from my air conditioner to my microwave. 

I don’t need the extra expense of a generator of that size so I bought a 2400 Watt generator for $350.00. Saturday and Sunday she ran fine. The next question was what to do with Jenny? I had originally thought to buy a small baby generator and fix Jenny but quickly realized that a baby one would not work and I didn’t have the extra space to cart it around anyways.

So, I talked to a neighbour and somewhat permanent resident in my Western Home and offered him Jenny as she was. It was either this or toss her out, literally. I don’t have the space to lug a broken generator around and even if I sold her, broken I wouldn’t get much for her. As it was he told me that if he got her running he would give me something for her; a nice gesture. 

Why the rush to replace Jenny? In this cold weather, I need a working generator. That generator charges my batteries; those batteries run my furnace, my fridge and yes my laptop. With a generator I can function and not freeze. Without one, things get cold and dark fast. As it is I need to run Jenny once a day on the weekend and once every two days during the week. 

The trouble is that when you name things you tend to get attached to them and feel bad when you discard them. Let me say it plainly, Jenny was a generator, a thing and in that it can be easily replaced, this was a financial and non-swearing decision. 

If Jenny was a person or even some sort of self-aware generator then the cost or bother to fix her would not be an issue or consideration. I got a year of weekly use out of her and I know that I need to figure out a new way position the generator while it is running so as to not contain the heat. 

It is my guess that running Jenny in the back of the truck with her tailpipe pointing at the inside of the box was not the best decision. Perhaps a detachable snorkel type tailpipe may be in the works. For now I will just point the new one towards the open part of the box.   

Thursday 3 December 2015

Aim High, Hit High

I didn’t blog yesterday because I was busy an, to be honest, I couldn’t really think of what to say. 

In an interesting bit of news I had to defrost my door-lock with a candle again. I did have propane and electricity, so no dangling my butt out of my emergency exit this morning. 

This morning I decided to sit down and make new goals for myself to spur myself forward to ever greater things. 

I have long ago heard the saying, “Aim for the stars, cause even if you miss, you’ll get the moon.” So, I have now decided on new goals. 

1. I will put and keep $1000.00 in my main account at all times. (Done this Monday.)
2. I will consolidate my truck and trailer loan, and configure it to pay it off in 3 – 4 years.
3. I will buy myself that new laptop that I want (and have earned).
4. I will save $10,000.00 in my contingency fund (with incremental goals of $2000.00.
5.     I will pay off my Truck and Trailer Loan!

After I achieve these goals, I will set new ones, I will keep on moving forward, going onward and upwards. There are other things that I want and other side goals that I am always trying to figure out how to achieve. 

I still want a relationship, some little piece of land to settle down on, at least temporarily. I will work on these as I go, but as far as my finances go, I will keep moving towards these ones. 

If you don’t set goals, you will achieve nothing, because that is what you set out to do.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

December Is Here, Yet So Am I

December has finally arrived and yet I have only had one day of -20C weather. For me this is a good thing, and I am still working to convince myself that +10C in my house is warm . . . still working on that.

There really is nothing to wake you up better than changing from warm clothes to street clothes when the temperature is around or slightly below +10C. Let me tell you, you change quick . . . grumble, but change quick. 

This is the price I pay for living in an RV on the streets of Calgary in winter. I will live though, I will get through this and the warm temperatures will return. 

I took a picture of that candle that I mentioned just to show you how much light one candle does give off. I can work by this candle and be fine doing it. 

I am looking forward to my trip down to the coast this month yet I have yet to book a campsite yet, I suppose that I should do that, lest I want to park in my brother’s driveway or tow Wanda all around the Vancouver area . . . not desirable. 

It is not lost on me that this year is warmer than last year. This time last year -10C was considered a warm day, and typically it was near or below -20C. All I remember is the cold, the really, really cold weather. 

I survived though, and that brings me to the purpose of this day’s blog entry:

With each hardship I face, I gain a small measure of determination, just for facing it.

With each hardship I see through, I gain a small measure of resiliency, for enduring it. 

With each challenge that I face, I have gained a small measure of courage, just for facing it. 

With each challenge that I have overcome, I have gained a small measure of confidence in myself and my abilities. 

With each problem that I have to solve, I gain a small measure of ingenuity and yet another tool in my problem solving toolbox.

So you see, the: harder, more challenging and problem filled that my life is, the better person that I become. So in that, I am blessed to be living in an RV on the streets of a cold prairie town in winter.

Monday 30 November 2015

Simple is Better

I had a good weekend; I did a lot of writing on a side project. I do that a lot, I will get distracted by this idea that pops into my head and will tear off in that direction to write this or craft that. 

It can seem counterproductive but I find that by allowing myself to pursue these ideas when they come, that new ideas feel freer to come through. It is along the lines of don’t judge your ideas as you have them. You won’t think of anything if you evaluate and judge what you think of as you are thinking.

I threw out my large fat candle that I had been using to burn in the middle of my table at night. I just got tired of it not burning the edges and thereby hiding the flame. That and then having to break the sides down and put those bits in the candle to melt; it was too much work. This is a problem for me as I use that candle to light the tealights.

I light my center candle with my lighter then when that candle is going I use it to light my tealights before distributing them around the room. I get light that way, atmosphere, save energy and cash that way. 

I bought a box of tall narrow white candles, in the shape of those “Emergency Candles” we have all seen. I also bought a simple candleholder for it too. I gotta tell you that candle is bright and I can easily work just by the light it gives off. 

It just goes to show that the simpler things are better. You don’t need fancy, you can get by with less. I suppose that is the reoccurring theme for my lifestyle . . . getting by on less and doing things the simpler way. (Not easy necessarily, but simpler.) 

Friday 27 November 2015

Black Friday, Shmack Friday

It is Black Friday, a “holiday” that the retail industry just made up with the sole reason to get us to buy lots of stuff that we don’t need, so they can make more money. I suppose that makes this the official holiday of Capitalism. 

I will admit that I did look at an email flyer and mused about getting a cheap laptop. Then I smacked myself back to reality and deleted that flyer. I don’t need a new laptop, I would like one, but I don’t need one. 

I will build up my savings first, I have promised myself that. I know that I have been living without any sort of contingency fund for too long now, and I need to correct it. 

My current laptop is okay, it is not great, but it is okay, I can make it work. That is the key and one thing we all need to remember. A deal on something that you don’t need, is no deal at all. 

I will still enjoy life and when I do finally get a laptop, it will be the one that I want; a top of the line one, and not some cheap piece of crap. When I finally do, I will not feel guilty about it, because I will have earned it.

I will muddle through with what I have and keep living my life as I am now, freezing house and all, because it is working. I am getting ahead and I am making my life better, for me. 

I don’t need to help some retailer “start the Christmas season in the black (as in with profit).” If you feel like taking advantage of the deals out there, feel free, don’t let me stop you. After all, it is your life and your choice, I just choose to keep my cash.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Still Positive!

It has been a few weeks since I had that epiphany and my attitude changed. I am happy to report that while I still get frustrated at things and the world, that my mood and attitude has not changed. 

I am still positively forging forward and have not slipped back to my angry and frustrated, and yes “Victim mentality” ways. To me this means that I truly feel that this new way of thinking is here to stay. 

Sure things will still happen and I will still get angry, frustrated, sad and yes depressed now and again. At my core, however, I still feel like a different person, and that is important. 

I still look to the future and see better and brighter things for me. I am not deliriously happy or look at the world through “Rose Coloured Glasses” I just don’t look at the world through, “Filth Coloured Glasses.”

As I close in on two years on this journey to improving my financial life I see that in the process I have also improved myself, not just my financial standings. This is good as I still have more work to do on my finances, and yes we can always work on improving ourselves. 

Wednesday 25 November 2015

It Was Cold, But I Lived

It got cold last night, but nowhere near as cold as I have seen it. It is true that this is the first time this season that I have woken up to find it -10C inside my house. It took a while for the furnace to get Wanda up to a balmy 10C . . . ooh, having a heatwave. 

On the plus side, I didn’t have to defrost my deadbolt, and there was electricity and propane to run the furnace, so there is that. The weather looks to be warming up this week, as in not too far below zero, like -5, if that. 

Sure I hate the cold and I bitch and moan about it, but I can handle it, I can do it. I just keep looking towards my goals and keep moving towards them. That is what keeps me going, looking up to all of the things that I want to, and will, accomplish. Then I just: put on another sweater, put on another pair of sweatpants and yes do my Michelin man impersonation. At least I am warm, and will be fine. 

It is all in how you look at things; what you see coming your way beyond the moment. Sure, you are going through some tough times now, but ask yourself what is on the other side of this? Is that worth going through this to get? If so keep going, if not, change your direction and your goals. 

I have caught myself looking online and musing about buying this or that but I just remind myself that I am in my new overdraft and can’t afford anything. Even my next payday will be tight, but I will do it, I will get out of my self-imposed overdraft. 

This is but one of my goals that I have set for myself and one of the ones that I will achieve, and yes those are worth getting cold for. So yeah, bring it on Winter, I’m not going anywhere.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

I Started The Other Book

Okay, I got started on that other book that I had been musing that I would write, once this goal has been achieved. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I would start it as I didn’t know what more I had to say, since I had been blogging all along. 

It seems that I do have more to say, and it is more than just the highlights of the blog. I will take this one chapter at a time and see what happens and how it goes. I got the prologue and the first chapter done, or at least the first pass of it.

I do intend to publish it somehow, somewhere, as I think that it is a worthwhile book. So if there are any publishers or literary agents out there who would be interested, send them my way. 

I will admit that I do feel a bit ill at ease and things are a bit anti-climactic now that my credit cards are paid off. I have been living with all of my paycheque controlled and dictated for me for so long that it feels odd to have discretionary funds again. 

I know that there is the risk of the spending spree impulse to kick in. You know the urge to rush out and buy all sorts of stuff just because I can and haven’t been able to do that before. I have been through that before and the pain of what I have gone through means that I will be able to resist that. 

I still have a few goals, such as a new laptop, that I will pay for with cash. That will be nice and one thing that I will treat myself with, as I have earned it. The new phone, I just don’t see the point as all of the nifty things I can do on my iPad and so I don’t need a nifty new iPhone. My old Samsung is doing fine and will do what it is meant to do, text and make phone calls.

It will get cold for the next few nights, as in -14 to -20C. I have been there before and I can do that again. I am not looking forward doing it, but I can get through it. The last time I did it was for the banks and to pay them off, now it is to pay me off and get some cash in the bank. 

For once I am starting out on the positive side of cash flow, and yes it is a great feeling. It is amazing how much I can accomplish in such a short time with this much discretionary cash at my disposal. I have done a few preliminary budgets and projections on what I can accomplish even between now and January.

I know that I need to increase those payments on Wanda’s loan, as these low payments will bite me in the butt with that large balloon payment at the end of Wanda’s loan. Also I have a chance to be completely debt free in two to three years . . . think about that.

I still would like a bit of land to set down some roots and make this experience a bit easier on me. I will see what comes my way, but for now I will keep on keeping on and continue to make my financial situation better and better.

Monday 23 November 2015


Which Debt?
The wicked Debt?
The wicked Debt is dead!!!!

It happened, yesterday I paid off the last of my credit card debt and yes, furthermore burned the dreaded and dastardly Card #3 . . . Card #3 is no more!

I remember staring my budgeting spreadsheet in confusion. I put my budget together for this paycheque, as I always do, before I deposit my paycheque, so I know exactly what is going to happen to it. 

The trouble is that something happened that hasn’t happened in years, (I am pretty sure this dates back to at least George W Bush days). It was quite an unsettling experience . . . I had money left over after my bills were paid. I double checked my budget then checked it again. I actually looked for more bills to pay, something that I must have forgotten about. 

Then it hit me, this was what I had been working towards, this is why I had frozen my butt off last winter and downgraded my lifestyle, all for this moment, all so I could finally start to pay my one last bill . . . the one to myself.

Sure I have my truck loan and my trailer loan, but they have a fixed end date and do not keep on taking indefinitely. Those will need to be dealt with and preferably consolidated. For now though, I will pause and celebrate the fact that I have indeed done what I set out to do, take back control of my finances. My paycheque is mine once more.

I estimate that by the next paycheque, I will have achieved my next goal of keeping $1000.00 in my main account at all times. Then with the paycheque after that, I will pay for my trip down to the coast to see family for Christmas. 

In January I will refinance my loans and upgrade my main credit card to one with a low rate and one that I can actually use if I want/need to carry a balance.  Yes, I will start my savings phase, saving for me, actually build up first my contingency fund and then work on my long term savings.

As I mentioned before, I did burn Card #3, and I did take a video of it. Well, it didn’t go so well, but I did get it done. Here is a shot of Card #3 all set and ready to burn. 

The trouble was that this contraption just wouldn’t burn easily. So as I sat there and talked as I lit and waited for it to burn, it just wasn’t working. I then turned the video off and finally got it going . . . then I realized that I wasn’t recording this, so I grabbed my iPad and started recording. 

I will upload the video as soon as I can, but as it stands there are some problems getting it off of my iPad. Ah well, such is life. 

For me though, this starts a phase in my life which is all about saving money for me and setting myself up to pay the last of my debts off in 2 – 3 years. Yet, as I am doing that I will be socking money away for me, things are looking up, in fact . . . the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades!

Friday 20 November 2015

It’s About Time to Break Out The Old Bag

So, in case you missed it, it’s been cold around these  parts the last few nights. Okay, it has not as cold as it has been in the past or as cold as it should be before I start to say it’s cold, but my body is still adjusting to “winter mode.” 

Let’s face it, when I am in full-blown winter mode -10C is still T-shirt weather. Last night I wore most of my warm clothes to bed (and of course my sleeping toque), under my 4 quilts. It is kinda like sleeping in a wearable sleeping bag, so I was not only snug last night, but also warm when I got out of bed . . . eventually.

This morning I actually slept in because I just didn’t want to get out of my moderately warm bed and out into the cold. Again, I am adjusting and will get better at this whole living in winter thing.

I realize that the weather will turn colder early next week, so it will mean that I will most likely break out my old bag. No, not some: woman/wife/girlfriend to snuggle up to and keep warm. Though, personally, this would be my preferred way to stay warm on these cold winter nights (applications now being accepted).

What I will do is break out my -40 sleeping bag, so I don’t need to do my full blown “Michelin Man” impersonation while I sleep. 

As always, I will adapt what I am doing in order to not only survive in my current situation and surroundings, but thrive. 

After all, today is going to be a “Number Two” day . . . and that is a good thing, because . . . 

Yes, Boys and girls I have only two days to go through before I am Credit Card Debt Free! The next time that I blog, I will have paid off all of my credit cards, all of them will be down to zero. Despite the cold weather, things will only get better from here.

Thursday 19 November 2015

The Two Orange Light Problem

When I saw them I sighed, when I noticed that it was darker than usual in Wanda that morning and I groaned. I knew that it was going to be a rough start to the morning.  It was cold this morning, quite cold as a matter of fact. In fact, it was somewhere between 0 and 5C when I got up. 

As is usual I had gotten up and went to turn my furnace on in order to heat the place up. Well, my furnace was not going to turn on this morning due to the two orange lights. What are those two orange lights? 

Well, kids, as I have said before my fridge works on either 120 VAC or Propane. There is one orange light which lights to indicate that I have turned the fridge on, anther light lights up to tell me that there is a problem with the fridge. 

Now, the problem can be either that I am out of propane (just switched tanks the night before last, so that’s not it) or that there is not enough voltage in the batteries to run the logic controls for the fridge. The lack of the blue light from my radio this morning confirmed it, Wanda’s batteries were flatlined. 

My best option was to run Jenny and charge them up, but I hate doing that in the morning. It just feels rude to run her at that hour. Sure, I am in the middle of an all but deserted industrial side street, but it still feels inconsiderate, I am who I am.  So, I just bundled up and toughed it out this morning . . . I was fine (grumbling and grumpy) but fine.  (Have I mentioned how much I loathe the cold?)

I had to type in spits and spirts as I could only handle taking my mittens off for so long before having to put them on to heat them up again. I am serious considering trying to find a pair of really well insulated yet very thin gloves, thin enough that I can type when it is cold inside my house. I bet that is not a problem you had to solve.

When I left for work it was 0C and I had frost . . . on mirrors . . . inside my house. I didn’t bother to change out of my warm clothes until I got to work. I just took my “normal clothes” with me in a bag and changed at work. I was not going to strip down to nothing to change when it is literally freezing, and put on cold clothes  . . . not if I could help it (and I could).

I am doing okay though, I will run Jenny tonight and be warm and fine. I am warm now that I am at work early, as I always am. Not only that but it is Three, yes THREE days until I am credit card debt free. This deserves a bit of a poem, yes I think that you know the one, here goes . . . 

Three is the number of the counting,
And the number of the counting shall be three.
Four shalt thou not count .
(Because that was yesterday.)
Neither count thou two. 
(Because that is tomorrow.)
Accepting that though then proceed to one 
(In two day’s time.)  
Five is right out.
(Because that was two days ago.) 
(Seriously, get with the program.)

For those of you who didn’t pick up on that, that was ripped off and modified from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Yes, from the scene with the “Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch.”

Now with that bit of fun out of the way, on with the day!

Wednesday 18 November 2015

My Integrity Cost me More Than Double

Okay, so there I was staring at the sewer connection drain at my favourite truck stop wondering what to do. This is the place that I buy my propane from and dump my gray and black water tanks now that the other place (the free place) has locked its sewer connection. I am here at least every two weeks so the people know me here. 

I pulled up to the spot to dump my tanks and this is where the conundrum came upon me. There is an electromagnet which keeps the lid for that sewer connection closed. There is a keypad nearby where you punch in the code to disengage that electromagnet lock for a minute. Naturally you buy this code from the store. The minute counter is long enough for you to stuff your sewer pipe into that hole and thereby propping the door open. 

Well, there I was staring at a block of wood that had been left there to prop open that sewer door. Sure the keypad was beeping to close the door, but it was already open. What this meant was that I could have just stuffed my sewer pipe in there and dump the quarter tank, if that, of “water” that I had to dump. 

The way that the dump station was situated, the gas station office wouldn’t see me. Nobody would know and it wasn’t that much that I was dumping so why not right? After all I have been dumping for free all summer, so what’s the difference, right?

Honour, Honour is the difference. 

This place wants you to pay to dump and the other place does not. They do it as a service during the driving season to attract customers. So I trudged into the office to tell them that the thing was propped open and asked why it was. 

The reaction I got from the attendant when I questioned him was almost as if he was accusing me of being a deceptive thief.  He was talking to me as if I was about to dump for free and gloat about it. It was almost, without saying it, that he was questioning my honour. Let’s review here shall we, I came in and told you that the hatch was propped open, why would I then dump for free and be a thief? Jerk. 

So I grumbled and pulled out my wallet to pay. Now the “Regular” price to dump is ten dollars, now that they have the water turned off it is seven dollars to dump. I have a “member card” of some sort that lets me dump for three dollars. 

The time before last it was fifty cents. This time . . . full price, seven dollars, my discount card apparently “doesn’t work all the time.” I gritted my teeth, paid full price but took solace that this was the last time I would do so till spring. 

It left me with a bad taste in my mouth and insulted. I did, however, satisfy my own expectations of how I should conduct myself. I could have dumped for free when I should have paid, but I didn’t. Integrity is what we do when others are not looking. 

So I parked in my usual spot and ran Jenny last night before settling in for a relaxing evening, all bundled up. Then it rained, I shrugged. Then ice ran came for a few minutes (it’s kinda like hail but it is rain that has frozen as it comes down) this changed to snow. 

I will admit it, as I went out to disengage the power cord connecting Wanda to Jenny I had my prerequisite hissy fit / stomping feet denial that the real cold weather had arrived . . . It lasted a minute though, then came the sigh of acceptance before I trudged up, still grumbling under my breath, to turn Jenny off and pack everything up for the night. 

This morning I had to switch to four wheel drive (high) mode to drive two blocks, as the roads were icy. The reward though was that the black truck that usually parks on the same stretch of street that I do was gone. Usually this black service truck is parked further back on the same stretch of road that I park. 

This means that I have to parallel park Wanda while backing up around a slight curve. I have gotten pretty good at it with all of the practice. I park as far up as I can so that one car can parallel park in between us. This morning I could drive forward into the spot in one shot because nobody was there. Oh happy day, things are looking up. 

And yes, not that you need reminding (and yes I am mildly gloating)  . . . 


Tuesday 17 November 2015

Switching to Winter Mode . . . For Real This Time

I dumped my black and gray water tanks on Friday afternoon, telling myself that was it, that I wouldn’t use them again. The trouble is that it is hard to not use something that is right there and something that you use every day. 

Seriously, imagine if you had to refrain from using any of your sink drains (even tub/shower) and toilet, for the next four months at least. It is something to get used to . . . again. 

The warmer weather this weekend called to me and so I continued to use my tanks as normal. Well, the colder weather yesterday, along with a look at the long term weather, smartened me up. I could see that it was going to be cold, or rather stay below zero, for some time to come. 

What this means for me is that today is probably the last chance that I will get to dump my tanks for some time to come, perhaps months. So, I will pay to dump my tanks again after work. 

I can feel it in my bones that the real cold weather is finally coming. While I don’t know how cold it will get, all that I need for it to be trouble for me is for it to be below zero for long. 

Why is this a problem for me and my tanks? Well, technically in the tanks themselves it is not that much of a problem of freezing. There is a large amount of water and it is not that full, so freezing solid and cracking the tanks is not an issue. 

What is the issue for me is at, shall we say, the “business” end of the system, where I dump my tanks. Behind and on the driver’s side of Wanda is where a pipe from each tank extends down a few inches. They extend down from Wanda’s underbelly and join up to one single pipe connection leading out. There is one sliding “Guillotine Valve” on each pipe which means you can control which tank you dump. 

What this means is that water (and I will use that term loosely) is on the other side of each valve, all the time. This pipe section is always exposed to the elements, so it is here that the “water” will freeze, and yes immobilize those valves. 

I can’t say for certain that the water won’t freeze and crack those pipes or if the freezing water will nicely form and move up the pipe into the tank. For one, this is not a risk that I want to take. For another, I don’t really feel like hauling around partially full gray and black water tanks for the next few months as I wait for the above zero temperatures to return long enough to defrost those pipes. 

This is why it is important to dump your black, gray and fresh water tanks and yes winterize before the sub-zero weather hits. It is more vital that the fresh water tank be dumped and yes the freshwater lines be drained and filled with proper antifreeze. Those pipes will burst if water freezes in them and that will be a mess, especially when they defrost. 

So, for me it means washing dishes in my small tub, pooping in a bucket and finding a tree to pee on in the middle of the night for the next few months . . . *Le sigh.

Ah well, I will get through this, after all I did it last winter. 


Monday 16 November 2015

Evenings At My Place

One of the challenges of living in an RV in winter (or fall or whatever you want to call this season) is that I run my furnace more and more. This coupled with me running my laptop means that I run Jenny every second evening. 

So, you can imagine that power consumption is a large concern for me, especially at this time of year. I still run my fridge only twelve hours a day and I run my laptop (now always plugged in via the inverter when running) only when I am actually doing something. No more leaving it up or just playing and staring at a blank screen. 

Another thing that I am doing is using my electric lights as little as possible. Even though they are LED’s now, they still use electricity. This leads me to a conundrum: do I just sit around in the darkness and grumble or use my lights and run Jenny more? Grumble and accept defeat? No, not me, I find creative solutions!  So, this is what evenings at my place looks like these days.

That is three of my tealight lanterns on hooks above (one off screen), six tealights in glass candleholders which magnify their light around the edges and yes one big candle in the middle. 

Under each tealight holder is one sixth of a cheap mousepad that I bought and cut into squares. That way they won’t move or be disturbed as easily. I also had to replace the 3 small rubber feet under the silver tray which goes under the large candle with 4 massive felt feet. That thing is not tipping over anytime soon (unless I’m a klutz).

The silver box is my Bose Soundlink Mini 2 which gives great sound and has an astounding battery life (10 hours). Not to mention my cup of herbal tea waiting for me. So I spend my evenings surfing or playing on my iPad as I listen to great music and sip on herbal tea, all by candlelight. If I feel like it I can run my laptop.

This is my way of dealing with a frustrating situation with style. Tealights are cheap, really cheap when you factor in that you get a hundred for like four bucks. They last for hours too, as long as you light them and let them burn. 

This does pose a problem of storage and what to do with all of these things when they are not out. As you all know storage is vital for me. Sure my bed turns into the place where I toss things I don’t need right now and the couch becomes that place when I am sleeping.  These candles are gentle and need proper storage. Enter this. 

These are cheap plastic boxes that were just the right size to fit in that space. The one problem I had with them was the fact that their lids were not attached and did not snap into place. So I just have to live with it and let the lids slide all over the place? Not me, nope. Here is what I came up with.

I used an old solution in a new way, those are keyrings as hinges. You can buy spare keyrings at key displays in most places, I get these at Walmart. What I did was make two holes in each side through the lid and the container then just attach the box and lid to the keyring like two large keys. 

I don’t have a drill and that electric screwdriver hasn’t been charged in months so what to do? I used three screws, one was a drywall screw and the other two were matching fatter screws. What I did was screw the drywall screw through the lid and box. I used the drywall screw because it is very pointy and great at making a hole. After that I screwed the fatter screw into the hole to widen it and left it there as I repeated the process on the other hole. Why? To make sure that the holes lined up when I was done. 

After that you just take the screws out and attach the keyrings and you have an attached lid that you won’t lose, yet won’t get in the way.

These are just two examples of how you can find creative solutions to problems that irk you. You don’t have to just sit there and suffer, you can find solutions to those little niggling problems and do so with style . . . herbal tea too. 

(P.S. Yay me, six days to go till credit card debt freeeeeeedddoooooommmm!)

Friday 13 November 2015

Where There Once Was Four, There is Now Five

For about a year now I have had four wallets that I use, yesterday I have added another. Okay it is empty now as it is not payday yet, but it will have something in it soon. 

The wallets I use, I do so to have cash on hand and so not to dip into my bank account. These are cheap dollar store wallets with labels on them. You could also use envelopes, I suppose but taking a wallet to the store and putting the change back in it is less strange than an envelope. Not only that, but wallets are sturdier.

I use my wallets because, much as possible, I want to avoid buying things with my bank card.  When you pay by a debit or credit card, it is far too easy to not be shocked at what you are spending. It feels like it is not real, some video game or other non-real form of money.

As I have said before, buy buying with cash you feel the pain of that spend. As well, buy using my wallets I can budget my money on each area that I spend on a regular basis. This way there is a disconnect between my regular operations and my bank account. This lets me budget effectively. 

Each payday I look at what I have left in each wallet and compare that with how much I want to keep in each wallet. I either top it up all the way to my budgeted amount or I put in just what I think I will need to get by. This way any savings that I have been able to achieve during the last pay period will carry forward and benefit me in this pay period.

The other thing I do is budget in amounts divisible by twenty, as it is easier to get a bunch of twenties from the bank rather than a few different denominations. So if I look in my wallet and there are bills less than twenty, I disregard them. If there are lesser bills totaling twenty dollars, they count. The change I never count or consider as those are my “oh crap, I really need to scrounge” area.

The first wallet I use is my “Grocery Wallet.” This one is self-explanatory as I use it to buy my groceries. Mostly I buy stuff on the weekends when I am in my western home. This lets me just pop in and get a loaf of bread or some milk or what have you. Knowing that there is a fixed amount in that wallet helps focus me not to buy what I don’t need. 

The second wallet I use is my “Utilities Wallet.” This one is perhaps the start and core of my wallets idea. I never ever, ever wanted to get to a place where I was out of cash and propane in the middle of winter. This one is what I use to buy propane with, pay for dumping fees with and also buy extra gas for Jenny, if needed. This way, no matter how little is in the bank, I can always get a tank of propane.

The third wallet I use is my “Contingency Wallet.” This one I will admit that I haven’t really used much at all. This one is just a bit of cash put aside in case something happens and I need a bit of extra cash for one of my other wallets. Either that or I need to buy something that I didn’t budget for. I don’t keep a lot of cash in here, but a bit. Up until now it has mostly been my receptacle for my Canadian Tire Money.  I gotta tell you, if I am down to my Canadian Tire Money, I am seriously scrounging.

The forth wallet I use is my “Main Wallet” this is the wallet that contains my ID, credit and banking cards and other membership cards that I use on a regular basis. I don’t carry this one as I don’t want to lose it, and by not carrying it I can’t do those impulse spends. At least I have the time it takes to walk to Wanda to get it and back to the store to talk myself out of it.

The wallet I added yesterday is my “Entertainment Wallet” This one is as a bit of a reward for paying my credit cards off. With the pressure to get these things done now off, I am not able to relax and go and do things. I don’t know what or how much, but I will put a bit aside into this wallet for me to go for dinner, go to a movie (haven’t done that in two years) or who knows what. The idea is for me to go and do something, and have a bit of cash to do it. 

By using my wallets and my pay period budgeter spreadsheet, I am able to manage my cash flow. By managing my cash flow I am able to get a handle on my finances. Once you have a handle on your finances you can direct them in any direction you want to go. You will no longer be a slave to the whims and impulses of what happens to you, but you will be able to weather the storm and your finances will still steadily get better.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Reflection and Remembrance is a Good Thing

I was given the day off, as so many of us were for Remembrance Day, so I relaxed in my Western Home. I did steal some Wi-Fi and take in the Remembrance Day Ceremonies online, however. 

I didn’t go down anywhere for the same reason I don’t go anywhere near downtown or other congested areas. I always fear of not finding a place to park or parking in a narrow or otherwise dangerous place to leave Wanda (vehicle impact damage or theft). 

I used the time to pause and reflect on: my past, my life and where I am going. Usually this is a recipe for disaster and depression, I know. This time it was different. 

I was able to reflect on things and come to peace with my past and who I am now. I won’t go into the hows or whys, as such reflections and introspections are by their nature an intensely personal thing. 

Since this is a record of my journey towards Credit Card Debt Freedom and beyond, however, I will include that this has taken place. 

I always promised to be honest about what has happened to me and what I am going through. Don’t worry, I won’t preach . . . well no more than usual I suppose. 

In any case, even if I told you everything about my reflections, you wouldn’t get it. What makes sense to me in such matters will most likely not make any sense to you (and visa-versa). 

That is okay and just the way of things, as we each must walk our own path in life. So it stands to reason that we must each find our own way to make peace with our past and indeed with ourselves. 

I feel that a great weight has been lifted from me and indeed a large ball, tumor rather, of hate has been cut out of me and discarded. I have had reflections before, but this time feels different. I genuinely feel at peace with and confident about myself. 

So confident it seems that I don’t mind putting this out there in such a public forum to invite scorn and ridicule. Once again, it is my life and I will live it as I see fit. I will accept the consequences of my choices and the outcomes of my actions. 

I don’t need, nor care, to impress anyone. I don’t wish to offend anyone either. I will just be me, the best me that I can be, and always seek ways to better myself. Come what may, I will be okay . . . more than okay. 

I no longer feel angry with the world for putting me in this position of living in Wanda or regret what has not happened in my life (as in wife, kids and a home ownership). I no longer feel like a “victim” of whatever or the happenings in my past. 

I know and accept that it is as a result of the challenges and hardships that I have faced in my life and in particular in these last two years that I have become a stronger and more capable person. 

This is a good mindset and a good place to be as I am on the eve (ten days as a matter of fact) of being Credit Card Debt Free. Then it is time to focus on paying off Trea and Wanda debts as I build up my savings. 

As always I will look for opportunities and take advantage of them, but I shall do so without fear, confident in myself and my abilities. Yet this shall be tempered with wisdom to know when to charge in and when not to. Even if I do tilt when I should yield, I will deal with that eventuality too. 

My life is not over and whatever happens or doesn’t will happen or won’t. I will live in the now as I dream for the future, plan for the mid-term yet focus on today. 

Tuesday 10 November 2015

I Had to Use my Emergency Exit This Morning.

Don’t worry, Wanda is fine, and I didn’t have to exit in a hurry or for a real emergency. What happened? Well, I woke up this morning to a chilly house, again nothing out of the ordinary for me these days. 

The first thing I do when I wake up is turn the furnace on and then start the stove to perk my coffee. I set the coffee up the night before. Well, the stove didn’t light. I let out a sigh as I knew that this meant that my propane tank had run out. 

Again, this is not a problem and nothing that I haven’t faced before, so out I go to switch over the propane tanks. There is a little valve that I flip over so I am drawing propane from one tank or the other.

Well, the deadbolt lock wouldn’t budge, it was frozen in place. What happened is kinda like getting your tongue stuck to a pole in winter. In this case it was the dead bolt to the door frame.

Again, I have faced this before and I either just wait for the day to warm up to melt that frozen bond or heat up Wanda. Well, with my propane out, there was no heat coming out of that furnace anytime soon. 

So I had to find some way to flip over that propane tank so I could fire up the furnace . . . that meant going outside, which I couldn’t do with a frozen door lock. I had to find another option.

You know what they say, when one door is frozen shut, open a window. In my case it was my one window that is designed for me to get out of in case of emergency. 

So there I was shortly after four in the morning dangling myself out of my window in a very undignified manner. I got it done though, I got out and didn’t fall on my butt, thank you very much. 

I flipped over the propane tank and then came the task of getting back into the trailer. The window was too tall for me to haul myself up and into unaided (at least before my coffee). So I used the plastic cover for the propane tanks as a stool and in I went. 

With coffee perking and furnace humming, I decided not to wait to warm up the lock. I used a tealight candle to bring heat to that lock. The combination of the furnace heat and the candle did the trick. Oh, here is what my candle setup looked like.

Thankfully that lock did defrost and I was able to get the door open. I will now not use that deadbolt for some time to come. I still have the entry lock so Wanda will be secure. Well, as secure as any RV Trailer can be, let’s face it, Wanda is a lot of things, but Fort Knocks she ain’t.

I was able to resolve the situation in a relatively short period of time because I kept calm and thought through what I needed to do. When faced with challenges and other such situations always keep in mind: What do you have and what do you need?

Monday 9 November 2015

Snow . . . Meh

I had a WTF moment this morning when I woke up to find snow all around outside. It was a wet, heavy snow but it wasn’t a concern. This snow was the kind that didn’t stay or gather on city streets, just on everything else. 

Another interesting thing was that yesterday and today Facebook was showing me my posts from one year ago. It was one year ago this week that the really cold weather hit me for the first time. This week, one year ago was when I had my first bout of -20C to -30C. 

This year, so far so good, I thing it may have briefly dipped down to -10C but that’s it. So far I am still using my gray and black water tanks and that is a good thing. I also know that soon enough I will have to dump my tanks for the last time. 

The cold weather will come, of this I am certain. After all, warmer winter or not, January will always be January, and damn cold. For now though, I will continue to try to look on the brighter side of things and carry on.

My quest to eliminate my credit cards is nearing completion and with each passing day my financial health is getting steadily better (13 days to go).

Friday 6 November 2015

Excited on the Eve of Payday

It is one of those oddities that payday is on Saturday. So I will park in my Western Home tonight yet pack up and run around tomorrow morning and then return to my Western Home in the evening. 

I will budget tonight exactly what is going where and how much to pay on what. I am happy to finally be back to having two of my three cards paid off . . . again. 

After tomorrow, the only thing that I will have left is the dreaded and dastardly Card #3. Even that card’s days are numbered . . . sixteen as a matter of fact (as of today).

So while I freeze and bundle up, I keep an eye to the future and work in the present all towards my goals. I am living proof that there is a way out of chronic and debilitating debt. Living in debt is not normal.

Thursday 5 November 2015

Back Into My Non-Fatzoid Pants!

As I have said before, we all have that range of pant or dress sizes that say different things to you. More specifically we think different things about ourselves as we are wearing each of those different sizes. 

Now, everybody’s range is different as each of our bodies is shaped differently. For me, this is my range and what it says to me:

Size 30: Great accomplishment, if rare . . . but you look a bit Anorexic
Size 32: Woo Hoo! Not too big, not too small . . . I’m not a Fatzoid!
Size 34: Watch it bub, do you really need that sandwich?
Size 36: Now you’ve done it, you Fatzoid!
Size 38: Give it up, buy a Moo-moo. 

So for me to be back down to a size 32 is a nice feeling. Again I could be in better shape, I know that, but I am okay with this size. 

How have I done this? Well for one I don’t eat a great deal and I have been walking regularly. I go for a walk each morning before work. 

I walk around the block, and in and industrial park, that takes me twenty minutes. As well I will go for walks around the parking lot of my Western Home on the weekends. 

As for me though, all of my focus is on Saturday and payday, more specifically the second payday before credit card debt freedom day. (Today is day 17 in my personal advent calendar).  

Card #1 will be paid off and Card #2 will be kept to that zero balance that it has been for the last few months. I buy a few albums on iTunes now and again, so sue me. 

I make sure to pay Card #2 off each payday, that is the deal that I have set for myself. I plan to do the same thing with Card #1 after Saturday. 

I always imagine some miscellaneous banker fuming and throwing a fit for the lack of interest that they are making off of me now . . . it makes me smile.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Getting Better

I am happy to report that my mood is getting better. I am still working on adjusting to being in winter mode. 

I am working on it, and it is still a work in progress, but I am making progress on my mood. I know that I just need to roll with whatever comes. 

I am not fearful of the future, but look forward to it. I choose to look at the positive aspects of what is going on. 

Last year at this time I was still worried and anxious about the cold weather to come and how I would deal with it. 

This year I know how to deal with it . . . not particularly enthused about its impending arrival, but I know how to deal with it.

Another bright spot is the fact that the weather is still relatively mild. Even the longer term forecasts do not see any really cold weather coming (such as south of -15C).

As I have said before it is not the events that happen in our lives that shape our outlook, but our reaction to it. Things happen, we determine and decide if they are good or bad events. 

So yes, winter is coming and the colder weather is on its way. I am confident that before the spring arrives that I will see more than a few days below -20C. 

I will deal with the cold days and move on, for I do not fear them but stare them down  . . . Winter shall blink, I shall not. Partially because my eyelids will be frozen, but mostly because I am just too stubborn to give up.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Grumbling, But Okay

The weather out here in Calgary is ranging from plus 4C during the day to -7C overnight. It looks like it will be this way for some time to come. 

As for me? I am still okay, and haven’t adjusted my pattern much. I have started to keep the furnace at 15C when I am home, down from my usual 20C. I just bundle up a bit more in the morning and evenings. 

I haven’t started to wear my warmer clothes to bed, nor have I pulled out my -40 sleeping bag. All in all, it is a bit chilly, but nothing worthy of note. 

All in all, I am grumbling, but okay. So far it doesn’t look like it will dip to or below -10C anytime soon. For now, I am still using my black and grey water tanks, and that is something positive. 

It is my mindset that needs adjusting, and I am working on that. I still grumble and put up a fuss every time I have to scrape the windows or when I see my breath inside Wanda. 

I know what is coming and I know how to deal with it (famous last words). I just need to calm down, accept the fact that the season is changing (keep calm and carry on and all that). 

I need to be thankful that a massive drop in the temperature (as yet) is not in the forecast. I still have a lot of things going for me and yes, things are steadily getting better for me, despite the cold.

Every day that I stick it out in Wanda, is another day where I get a leg up financially. That is worth grumbling, yet pressing on regardless. 

Monday 2 November 2015

Western Hospitality

It was an unusually hospitable weekend for me. I had a few people talk to me about my trailer and asked questions about it and where I got it. I naturally answered all of their questions and let them take a look inside Wanda.

I also had a visit from the guy I met a few weeks ago who had moved out from Quebec. He had sold his trailer and was banking the cash. 

He said that he would buy a nicer, newer trailer (something from this century) after he gets back from a cross country work trip. He is driving a moving truck to Toronto and back. It was good to talk to him and see that he is doing well.

I did get my new phone batteries and wall charger in the mail. I was able to charge the batteries up while running Wanda. This is what it looks like. 

When it is charging the light is red, when it is done the light is blue. This should work out well. I now have three batteries for my phone. Well, two and a half. I have two new ones and the original one with the phone. 

The two new ones I labeled “Battery 1” and “Battery 2” the original battery has been downgraded to “Battery 3” and will be used in case of last resort. 

I now plan to use the wall charger and only the wall charger to charge the batteries. I will run the battery down in the phone until it is almost dead, and sometimes let it die completely and then just pop in the new and fully charged battery. 

I should have done this years ago and this is the one advantage that a phone with a removable battery has over one with a built in battery (such as an iPhone).  Though Apple’s products do seem to charge quickly and have a long battery life, so they have that going for them.

I have a bit of a confession. My plan to sit down weekly and do my bookkeeping hasn’t quite worked out as planned, let me show you. 

I will now wait a few days . . . who am I kidding, this weekend and bring things up to date. I will try to guilt myself into doing this on say Wednesday night. That way all of last month’s account activities should be downloadable. Then I can close October off all at once. 

I will admit that bookkeeping is a challenge for me, or rather forcing myself to sit down and do it. Ah well, it will get done and it will not take me nine months to get it done this time.

I was not the only one who was not doing their job this weekend. My laptop, specifically my laptop’s batteries broke a new record for patheticness. It lasted from fully charged to “You must shutdown now!” for only one half hour.

It is now officially a “run only when plugged in” laptop. It still runs, so I will keep it going. I must keep on track and buying a new laptop right now is not in the plan. This one works, it is okay for now. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life, however, I am getting ahead.