Saturday 31 January 2015

Editing Ahead of Schedule, Paydown, Not So Much

Okay, first of all it looks like I will finish this pass of reading through/editing the book today instead of tomorrow. I will then probably use tomorrow to do some reading up and studying on how to design websites. I already know how, but I should refresh my memory, as it has been a while. 

I got my statement for my third card yesterday and that is where things proved interesting. While I will be well below the $6000.00 threshold I need to pay it off by July 22, I will not be near the $4500.00 I will need to pay it off by June 22nd. Ah well, such is life, but at least that last payment will be smaller than the others, thus leaving more money in my account. 

The snow and cold weather today does not bother me, I have been through this before and I can handle it. The warm weather is expected to return by later this week, I can hold out, I can survive. 

Friday 30 January 2015

Same Blog, New Address

If you will cast your eye to the address bar of your browser, you will notice that the blog is now at . What does that mean and why did I do this?

As I was uploading yesterday’s blog entry I noticed a setting where I could put in my own domain name yet still have the blog hosted by  . This seemed like a nifty idea and would fit well with my concept of one website being the hub for a few different websites, the blog being one of them.

So I went to register my domain name, but found that most of the ones around “Urban Nomad” were taken, so I ended up with (with the “s” at the end).

Since I am alone it seems silly to have that “s” there but this was the best choice, other than going with some silly hyphenated domain name.

It is still possible that I well get a woman who will join me on this journey and thereby validating the “s.” For now though, I am saying that the “s” stands for me and my girls . . . Treabilla and Wanda (My truck and trailer).

I plan to dress up this blog a bit and make it look and feel a bit more like a website in the days and weeks to come. Part of that will be the link to the soon to be main website. This will be needed as I move towards the summer and I start to write the book about this experience. As I have said before I will not start to write that book until after my credit cards are paid off.

My (Tanea) book editing is going well and I am quickly making my way through it. It will be one more pass after this one before it goes off to be “graded” and hopefully on its way to being published. So many projects to manage, so I will need to manage my time as I work on all of them.

Thursday 29 January 2015

To RV Show or not RV Show

Today is the unofficial start of the RV Show here in Calgary. I have a free pass to it which I can either use today or use it to get in for half price on any other day, like Saturday. 

It is tempting to go but I also know that it would be silly to do so. I would be tempted to buy something, as in a trinket or toy for Wanda or, even more foolishly, upgrade Wanda herself. 

In a time when I must keep my spending under check to go is a bad idea. It would be like sending a shopaholic to the mall and tell them not to buy anything. This is needlessly tempting fate. 

The other downside would be the looking at larger and nicer units and begin to be a bit envious. What I have works, my system is proving right, and I can do this. I can and must stay the course. In doing so I will achieve the success I seek and need 

Next year I can go and see what is there, because next year I will be in a much better place financially.  I will still be saving but I will not have to be so fanatical about every dollar I spend. 

The editing of the novel is going well and I am steadily edging towards getting this pass of editing done. On the website front I am mulling over what templates to use for the new websites. 

I am also checking out Adobe Illustrator (I already have it) to see how I could use that to make simple graphics and icons. I know that people like icons and graphics and that my sites in the past have lacked them. 

I have a few ideas on what I want to see on the websites, it shall be fun to try to develop my graphic arts skills, as they are now, they are sadly lacking. Still, nice, nifty graphics are needed for a fresh and inviting website. This is another challenge for me to rise to. As with all of my endeavours . . . there is only me.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Final Estimate For Wanda’s Repairs

Okay, so I finally heard back from the people at the Dealership yesterday and had a bit of a running conversation over email over this. I thank and commend them on their attentiveness and answering my questions both promptly and accurately. 

With that information I was able to put together a finally tally on what it will cost to repair Wanda. The back wall should cost $700.00, the bathtub itself should cost another $700.00, the labour to put that tub in should cost another $420.00 when you factor in GST, that comes up to just under $2000.00.

I called up the guy who hit me and told him all of that and that I was okay as long as he paid me on or before June 1. He was thankful, relieved and promised to do so. I learned that he had just started a new job and so coming up with that kind of cash right away would be next to impossible. He had been understandably panicked. 

Also the incident happened as he was backing up and another truck zoomed by him and startled him, he jerked the wheel and thereby ended up hitting Wanda. This could have happened to anyone. Let’s face it, it’s not like he plowed into Wanda, writing her off, or making her unlivable.

I know that I am taking a risk by giving him this time to pay me back. I also know that without his note I would be out this cash myself. Also, without his word and/or confession in court, I don’t have any proof that would stand up in court if I chose to fight this and cause a stink. 

In the end, as naive as it sounds, I choose to treat people as I would like to be treated. Even if it is for no other reason than so I can more easily live with myself, that’s reason enough for me. At the end of the day, I just want Wanda fixed, and for now she still works fine. 

It is nice to know that I am in a position that even if he doesn’t pay me, I can still fix Wanda. I have resources to cover this damage and that makes this whole incident much less stressful. I can only imagine what it would be like to have this damage and no way to pay for this myself. I would be stressing each day until I was paid, so I could pay to fix Wanda. 

The editing and revising is going well and I am now just on the cusp of Chapter Nine. I am looking forward to my morning reading time and have considered reading in the evening, but I know this would be a mistake as I would just read and not edit (the whole purpose). I still see me finishing this pass of the book by Sunday night. Then I will do it all again. 

I have preliminarily picked out the themes I want to use for each of my planned websites. I will mull them over and continue to look website themes over in the coming days. 

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Editing Going Well

This stage of writing is fun, this part I read my own novel and just tweak it. At this stage I am the eager reader reading and wanting to know what happens next. Okay I am not an amnesiac or suffering from memory loss so I do know what happens next. 

The fun and eagerness I have is to return to and stay in that world that I have crated, to spend time with these characters, my friends and to walk the streets of Teroncia. These are the things which draw me back eagerly each morning and make it easier to get up and out of my warm bed and into my cold trailer.  

I am now just about to start chapter six on this read and at an average of three chapters a morning I am on track to have this edit done by the end of the weekend. Then I will do it again, and then it will finally be ready to be read by another human. 

In the evenings I am done and frazzled so I just relax, editing would be useless as when I am mentally tired I am not in a writing frame of mind. I will miss more than I alter. 

As I write and craft this book, I remember my goal was always to write a story that I want to see in a way that is interesting to me. I only hope that others will share my enthusiasm and appreciation for the Book . . . Series . . . and the Film Trilogy . . . and the TV Series . . . and the Merchandise (but I digress).

I am staying warm with the nice weather and saving on propane and staying out of trouble. I am spending as little as I can as I keep my eye on the prize of getting those credit cards paid off.

Monday 26 January 2015

Book “Done” And in One File

Okay, as we all know, in literature “Done” is a relative term. For now though, the first book is all in one file, has all of the chapters it is supposed to have and is as long as I want it to be. It is now 263 Word Doc, letter-sized pages long and just over 102K words. 

I would love for someone with drawing and/or graphics art talent to create a picture or two for each chapter and of course the cover. If anyone out there is interested, drop me a line.

I will now edit it at least twice more before letting anyone else read it, but it is getting there. It is exciting to see this project and this book come together in such a fashion. 

Speaking of which I am about to start the process of revamping the website or rather my websites . . . I have two of them now but want three.

One will be for the Tanea project Book/Film/TV, etc. Another will be for my idea for a TV/Film Studio. Of course there is this blog, which kinda classifies as a website. Finally there is the one that I will create to tie them all together is one under my own name. (Yes I have already registered the domain name). 

This last one will be were all of my ideas and various projects will stem from as I work on all of them at once. As well this website will allow me to put up some of my writings, just for fun. I will keep you all posted as I bring each of these websites into existence, and/or revamp them.

My brain comes up with so many ideas all the time on a wide variety of subjects. I need/want somewhere to display them all in hopes that one will gain traction and thus spurn the others into existence. 

So, I will stay busy for the foreseeable future, as once Book One is off being reviewed, edited and prepped for publication I will resume my work on Book Two. 

The weather has been fantastic out here in Calgary and while we are enjoying spring temperatures now, it will cool off this week. I am not looking forward to the cooler weather but I am ready for it. I am looking forward to spring actually arriving, but I know that winter shall return first. 

Sunday 25 January 2015

The Unplanned Plop-Day

Do you ever have one of those days were you have plans yet your body says “nope?” I had one of those days yesterday. I slept in, got up tried to do a bit of work, yet didn’t. 

I went to the library and tried to get work done there, but ended up lazing in Wanda most of the day. I even went to the nearby pool and rested in the hot tub for a while. I then went to a nearby reservoir and walked by the water, just to relax. It was refreshing and was needed. 

In the evening as I was running Jenny, I was able to edit two chapters before more lazing about and listening to the radio. 

This morning I was refreshed and able to edit two chapters before getting to the library. It looks like I will be able to get my editing of the book done today after all. 

Then I will put the book together in one long word document and edit it as one a few times. Then it will be ready for others to read and review. 

On the financial front, if I keep up my current payment schedule, it looks like I will be a month early on my credit card payoff. Of course I may still be in the overdraft but the cards will be paid off. This is something worth striving for and scrimping and saving for. 

All of the hardships that I have endured because of this lifestyle will be worth it if I can do that. Also, I will be proven right, that this is a viable option to get your bills under control and master your own finances and future. 

Saturday 24 January 2015

Surgery With Forklifts

So I did make it down to the Dealership and talked to the service people there. They looked at Wanda and agreed that the damage wasn’t all that bad. I also agreed that they should look at it. 

So I bought some “Awning repair tape” so I could patch up that crack temporarily and then wait until June when they can fit Wanda in to get repaired. I also remembered to order that taillight, as naturally they didn’t have that particular one in stock. 

The funny thing about RVs is that they are not built out of set stock parts like a car. I mean if you need a door handled for a 1976 Ford Pinto, you can order that exact part and it will be the same on all 1976 Ford Pintos.

With RV’s they are all hand built so if they run out of one type of part they use a different one. For example the appliances may vary slightly from one particular unit to another. Or the door-latches and taillights may also vary depending on available parts when they built that particular unit.  So there is no master parts list for Wanda, she is a mass produced, custom unit (as all RV’s are). 

A silly thing I did yesterday morning caused me with a problem. I forgot to fold up my stairs before leaving. So I drove all the way to work from my western home with my stairs down. Thankfully there was no incident . . . until I got to work.

At my parking spot there is a bit of a snow ridge I have to drive around. Usually it is fine, but when you have your stairs down, those stairs plow into it, thus bending the stairs, so they won’t fold up. 

I tried to fix it before work but left it. After work I tried to bash it with a rubber mallet and did okay. Once I was at the dealership I casually mentioned that I was going to pick up a prybar and then bend it back into place. (Once again is suck at remembering to take photos of these things).

Then he came back with one forklift to push the stairs into position. Then when this didn’t quite work he brought in another forklift to push against a different part of the stairs. Between the two of them they gently nudged my stairs back into shape. I was so dumfounded and amazed that I forgot to take pictures of this. (But my stairs got fixed).

Before leaving I made sure to get Wanda booked in for service and I will wait to get Wanda Fixed. 

I noticed today this, this morning. 

Which is just on the other side of this. 

So this will naturally impact the estimate to get Wanda fixed, and make things interesting when I can start to shower in Wanda again. (Yet another Challenge to be surmounted).

I am in the library and continuing with my editing and revising project of the book today. 

Friday 23 January 2015

Payday Was Yesterday . . . Broke Again

I did get paid yesterday and yes I did knock down card number two down below two thousand. This means that I am on schedule for that one to be toast by March 22nd which is fantastic. This will mean I can them ramp up my paydown on card three. 

Yet after that big paydown, after the bills are paid, gas is in the tank and food is in the pantry I am still deep in the overdraft. I poked my head above zero for a few hours yesterday evening, though. Like I had planned I am better off than a few days ago, and in a few months I will be out of the overdraft altogether. 

With each penny I save I am that much further towards getting out of the overdraft. I am moving on up and moving ahead with my plans to get myself consistently above zero and my credit cards paid off by July 22, 2015. 

Despite all this I am still putting that $50.00 per paycheque into savings, regardless though, and that is a habit I plan to keep up. So far, so good. 

Yet now that this is the day after payday I have to wait two weeks (Feb 7) until I can do another paydown. What I am left with is trying to save as much as I can, while I can. That and keep myself busy with other projects so I don’t spend. 

Speaking of which, I did get that other chapter finished. Now to edit it, polish it up and move on. I still hope to get the whole book edited before the weekend is out. Then of course comes editing it again (one pass over each chapter) two more times and then see what others think of it. 

Hopefully it will be ready for publication soon. I think it is worth it, and I hope that the reading public does too. I have been working on the story and world that this book has been set in since 2000 – 2001 (not sure of the exact date).

I also take Wanda to the dealership today to get their opinion on how bad the damage to Wanda really is. Then I can put a plan together and let the guy who hit me know how much it will cost. I still plan to do this privately and not involve insurance, as I see no reason to needlessly stir up trouble. 

Thursday 22 January 2015

Wounded Wanda Still Waiting

So I contacted the dealership yesterday and talked to their service department . . . they are not taking bookings till after the May Long Weekend. 

I want them to fix the damage, not only because they are my dealer and my extended warranty is with them but also because they have a proper body shop there as well. 

Since the damage to the back wall appeared to be just the cracked fiberglass, they suggested that they arrange to send out a guy (subcontractor) to fix it. 

After closer inspection of the damage it appears that the corner post is bent a bit.  I will go down to the dealership tomorrow afternoon and have them give me a better estimate. 

Then I can either get the guy who hit me to pay that amount and I will wait till May/June to get it fixed. The crack itself will have to be temporarily patched and that tail light cover will have to be replaced in the meantime. 

I didn’t work on the chapter this morning as I slept in, (I had a restless night). It was nothing major just I have been a bit under the weather. I am thinking of that final scene to properly bridge where Brian is and how he gets on the ship to Egypt.

I will write it tomorrow morning and be on with my editing this weekend. I hope to finish the book before Monday, but we shall see how that goes. 

Today is payday that means that my big payment is tonight.  Yay! That second card will be knocked down another thousand (plus minimum payment) tonight. 

Wednesday 21 January 2015

My Day Could Have Ended Better . . . or Worse.

To set the scene, for the past two days my usual spot for parking in has been occupied by a truck that hasn’t moved. This part, while irksome, did not anger me, as it is a public street and anyone has the right to park there. 

As a result I had to park just around the corner. I have tried to park over as close as possible to the sidewalk to allow vehicles to drive by me with ease. I also make sure that there is enough room for vehicles to pull out of a driveway behind me so they can turn. I try to be as considerate as I can when parking. As you can imagine, the inevitable happened . . . 

There was a note and I contacted the driver, who was very apologetic. Apparently they were turning around and didn’t see Wanda in their mirror. That makes me be said individual was a trucker. Not only because of the height of the damage but also the fact that I am sure that if you were driving a Smart Car, that you would see Wanda in your mirrors. (Trucks have really big blind spots).

They agreed to pay for it and I have sent a service request in with the dealer to talk to them about fixing Wanda. The driver said they would pay for it, so I see no need to go through insurance or kick up a stink. I just want Wanda fixed. 

I also know that I could have returned to a demolished Wanda and a real problem. So I am thankful that the damage was minor and did not kill my house. This morning though, my regular parking spot was free so I am parked in my usual spot with plenty of room around me. So there is that bright spot.

In the end, I am irked and mildly miffed but I am not angry. Stuff happens and you have to roll with it and deal with it. There is no need to get angry or seek vengeance. Heck, if it had just been a broken taillight, I might not have bothered to call the driver and just fixed it myself. 

On the writing front, I do have three-quarters of the chapter that I am adding done. It is good but not quite done, there needs to be that little something extra added. It needs another scene, a few more pages to fatten it up and finish it off right. I have a few ideas percolating; I should be ready to finish it off by tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday 20 January 2015

The Unexpected Character

It’s funny, I don’t know when this blog became a catalogue of my failures and shortcomings, but there you have it. I always promised to be honest with what happens to me, and so that shall continue. 

Yesterday a customer came in to look some products over and get to know what we sell and how best to use it. They were either starting a company or expanding into using our products. They were from out of town and came in to town to do a bunch of running around; we were but one stop among many.

The interesting thing is that this particular customer was a woman, a pretty woman at that. In the past I have been around and served (in a professional capacity) pretty women, so it is not like I get tongue-tied, blush or start drooling. 

Sure she was pretty but not excessively so. I think the real trouble was I started to look at her like a character. I started to inventory her and surmise what type of person she was, what type of character she would be. 

The first thing about her which struck me was strawberries. Not literally but the smell of strawberries hit me and emanated from her like a shield which protected her from bad smells. 

Her hair was long, falling straight and true down past the middle of her back, easily deviated by bumps and contours of her jacket. It was a mixture of: blonde, auburn and darker streaks all competing for attention in a friendly way. 

Her eyes were large and green, I think. Her eyelashes demanded more attention than her large eyes. Her eyelashes were huge, seemingly shredded butterfly wings attached to her eyelids. I was sure that every time she blinked, they stirred the wind. 

Her face, as you might have guessed appeared unblemished with her makeup expertly applied. Her face, like her appearance, was well crafted and very pretty, seemingly the smooth perfection of skin and contour. I surmised that under all that makeup lay a face not needing it.

Her entire torso was a mystery, due to two things. One was her large and puffy scarf which wrapped around her neck a few times with no beginning or end. The second was the puffy suede leather jacket which ballooned out from her body, but not in a restrictive way.

Her bottom half was a contrast to her upper half, in that its contours were no mystery, yet were. Such is the delightful contradiction that is yoga pants. It was clear that she was not as large a woman as her jacket hinted. One could deduce that she was as shapely and slender in the classic feminine form that her face had previously hinted. 

Her boots, like her jacket, were made of the same, or similar, suede leather and rose up to mid-calf. They were capped off in what seemed to me to be awkward to walk in stiletto heels. Somehow she managed to walk about gracefully whilst walking on sticks. 

I busied myself with my work duties as my boss tended to her, explaining what was what and how it was used. This is a routine I have seen and done many times before, nothing new.  

As she was leaving, after agreeing to come back to pick up some items, I asked for her business card. This is something I have done with many a customer, man or woman and the reason is strictly professional.  

If I have a properly formatted business card I can then enter all of your company’s information into our accounting system. That way your address and contact information is on file for us to invoice you, even ship items out or just email you the copy of that invoice you lost. 

What happened next was unexpected and a bit embarrassing; as well it threw me back to high school. Just after asking her for her business card, she, without missing a beat, “Just want my phone number, eh Geoff?” She finished this off with a wink after speaking in a knowing, yet cheeky manner. 

I can (as you already have) assumed that she noticed me looking her over and assumed I was attracted to her, and therefore hitting on her. I will admit that I was attracted to her, she was pretty, but I was not flirting with her. 

As I was in the professional capacity of serving a customer I take responsibility for my behaviour and if I had, in any way acted unprofessionally or made her uncomfortable. I know better than to hit on a customer, but not enough to not look them over so it seems (my bad).

I am not in a place to start a relationship with anyone, let alone with someone from out of town who likes nice things. (I just can’t afford to try to keep up). This is a disastrous match and a road that I don’t plan on going down anytime soon. I don’t need to run up my credit cards trying to catch or keep the attentions of a lady. (Yes I know this is all based on my impressions of her and could be entirely inaccurate).

Her comment may have been intended as a way to shut down yet another drooling potential suitor or even as a flirt to me. It struck me as the former and in that instant I was thrust back to the awkward days of high school. 

The feelings of the countless cruel and dismissive rejections I have received over the years revisited me. If I had a nickel for every confused and mildly horrified expression that adorned a woman’s face just after I asked her out, I would be a rich man. 

This experience, to me, shows that I have more work to do on me. I am not ready to date anyone. I just don’t know how I would explain my current lifestyle to anyone. Let alone ask them to accept it, or heaven forbid, join it. 

I know that I need to be in a place where I would not be embarrassed to take a woman back to. Don’t get me wrong I like Wanda, it just that this lifestyle does not show stability or the “provider” thing. 

I also know that the biggest problem is my lack of confidence and how I see myself in my current situation. I need to be less embarrassed about how and where I am living, I know that. Perhaps beyond August when I am saving money and can afford to take a woman out I will try, who knows. 

Monday 19 January 2015

Part of Chapter Mitosis Complete

So I did split the chapter I wanted to and filled in the part of the chapter that was left. The next chapter, the chapter that needs to be added has about four pages in it. So that will need to be filled out, but at least part of the process is complete. 

The trouble is that the part that I wrote this weekend was a very troubling portion for me. I had avoided telling the story of what actually happened to Brian’s family. I had just glossed over the fact by saying that they were killed and the farm burned down. 

Well, this weekend I actually wrote it, the really disturbing thing to me is that in order to write it, I need to envision it. So, in essence I watched and even directed the action and sequence that killed characters. These were friends of mine, of a sort. I created and developed them, shaped them and now killed them. 

If you are not a writer/director or perhaps an actor, you will not get it. Don’t get me wrong, I know that my characters do not exist. Nor do they talk to me. They are not the “little voices” in my head. Yet, when you spend so much time with them, they can sorta feel real, yet not. If you haven’t experienced it, you will not get it. 

I will keep writing and keep on with my editing as I am not far from the end now. I still need to write that one chapter in my way, after that it is smooth sailing. I will of course edit this book a few more times, yet this will be one pass each chapter to check the flow of the story. Who knows, it may end up not being a steaming pile of regurgitated rat puke after all. 

As far as the weekend went, it was good, the weather was nice, I got my writing done and nobody bothered me. Well, there was one minor incident. A couple of (who I assume were) stock boys who got off in the early hours of Sunday morning decided it would be fun to throw a paper cup of water at my trailer. You know, the kind you get from any fast food place.  Thankfully it seemed to be filled with water and didn’t do any damage. Ah, those crazy kids.

I did try a nifty thing that I thought would give me meals for a week but ended up just lasting the weekend. I bought a pound of ground beef, taco seasoning, small soft taco shells (things) and shredded cheese. I then had tacos whenever I wanted.

I cooked up and processing the whole pack of meat for the taco filling. I made sure to expand it with some hash browns (as in diced potatoes) to thicken it out. Then, when I wanted a taco, I pulled out my small fry pan, and heat up one soft taco shell (thing) and put it aside. Then I would scoop out just enough taco filling for that one taco, and heat it up in the frying pan. Once it was warmed up I would put it in the taco shell (thing) and add the cheese. Presto, instant Taco (lettuce and other fixings extra).

The warm weather looks to stick around for some time to come and by the looks of things should not dip below -20C for the foreseeable future. This is of course the prairies, where the weather is, by its very nature unpredictable.  Those of us who have lived on the prairies for any length of time have experienced all four seasons in a single day (no joke).

I will delight in the promise of good weather and cling to it as I wait until the beginning of April. That is when I can think about de-winterizing my trailer and have indoor plumbing.  Oh to have a shower in my own shower again, and poop in my own toilet . . . ah luxury.

Friday 16 January 2015

A Man Ahead of My Time

Seriously, apparently I am a year ahead of the curve . . . at least according to news reports today. This morning I heard a few news stories that people, particularly in Alberta, should “pay down debt” and “recession-proof” their finances. 

Well . . . doesn’t that sound familiar. 

I got a chuckle at the reports that people are beginning to panic since Albertans have the largest debt ratio of all Canadians. Gee . . . people are just now wondering what would happen if the price of oil tanks? 

Here I am working so hard for the past year to get my finances under control and prepare for an eventual financial tsunami. Perhaps I’m not so crazy and paranoid as people may have once thought? 

It feels kinda nice to be ahead of the curve. Now if only housing prices could completely tank and those “zero-down” offers come back in say . . . August. That would be sweet . . . for me. 

Last night I did park in my usual spot and had an early night, which was good because a big rig parked right behind me and decided to idle his engine most of the night. To make matters worse it was the kind that had the engine sticking out in front of the cab, with just a thin metal shell covering it.

I thought I was bad running Jenny for two hours every evening, this thing was running most of the night (or so it felt). It sounded like the engine was in the middle of Wanda too. I wanted to go over there and turn the damn thing off, but I didn’t.  Ah well, I survived.

Editing has been going well and I am edging towards where that chapter will be inserted. It may now be splitting a chapter and inserting a bit into two chapters; I call it “Chapter-Mitosis.” This should happen this weekend. 

Well, I had best get back to it, hunker down and continue to save money and pay down my debt. This has been encouraging to me. It is nice to see that I am on the right track. 

Thursday 15 January 2015

The Pace is Frustrating

While I am on the road to financial improvement and things are getting better, the pace of things is getting to me. I get paid twice a month and the really fun payday is the second payday of the month. 

Yet, even then it only takes a chunk out of my target. Sure, I have worked it so that each payday there is some movement but that is but two days in thirty. It is a slow chipping process that does not show any large movements, in a quick way. 

A quick fix would be nice, a large cash injection would be sweet right now, but I know that is not coming, despite that Lottery ticket I have for tomorrow’s draw. 

It is that slow pace which can lull you into thinking that nothing is happening. You can get to think that you are living in this little space for no good reason. It can get to seem that all of your efforts are proving is that you are a fool. 

It is at times like that that you need not give up and to remind yourself that things are happening.  Slowly but surely things are getting better. Slowly but surely you are paying your debts off. Slowly but surely you are digging yourself out of the hole that you dug for yourself. 

For me I see two dreams, two visions for the future that I may yet merge. One is the Film/Television Studio that I wish to build which will give all filmmakers access to the tools and resources (even funding and distribution) to do the projects they need, all in one place. The other is a nice cabin, in or near the mountains, with a nice workshop to putter around in and invent whatever strikes my fancy. 

First and foremost I need to pay my credit cards off before I can do anything towards either goal. For that I need to struggle daily to spend as little as possible. I need to remind myself that every dollar that I spend foolishly is a dollar that I could have either saved or put towards a credit card. 

Again, the answer to the dilemma of these doldrums is to look to the past and then to the future. Look back and reflect on how far you have come and then to the future as to where you want to go. The combination of the two should help keep you to stay the course. 

Wednesday 14 January 2015

How to Improve Your Mood

I woke up this morning in a bad mood. I don’t know why, I just did. It wasn’t that cold out, I was warm, and things around Wanda were going well. For some reason I just was in a bit of a miserable mood . . . Okay, fine, it may have been something to do with the status of my defunct love life (but I digress).

I got to work and I decided that I wasn’t going to be in a bad mood. I know that the only person you really hurt with your bad mood is you. Others can walk away from you and that bad mood, but you are stuck with it. 

That got me thinking, how do you improve your mood? 

Well, for me the trick was to look back on how things were a year ago and how far that I have come. This gets me to see that things are better than I had let myself believe. Editing is going well, the weather is warmer, and my paydown is on track. 

All in all things are going well, and I am in a much better place this year than last. A year ago all of my credit cards were maxed out and I was living in the bottom of my overdraft.

The thing to remember is that we choose our mood. While you may get angry and discouraged you choose to stay there, you choose to allow yourself to be angry, hurt or depressed. You can and should choose to improve your mood.

So if you find yourself in a bad frame of mind, look at your life and choose to see the good points of it. If you need help, ask yourself this question: “What are the things in my life which makes it great?” 

As far as romance is concerned, I know that is out of the question as long as I am living in an RV. (Seriously, I don’t see “Hey baby, wanna come back to my trailer? It's parked right over there.” working anytime soon.)

If an opportunity arises, sure, but I won’t waste my time trying to date anyone, what would be the point? For me, this August will be that much sunnier, as I will have extra money and savings, just for me. Down the road, when I am situated in some place without wheels, I can look for love and a relationship. Until then, I will keep on keeping on, and keep my mood positive.

Tuesday 13 January 2015

So Far, So Good

Okay so it seems that even with this recent bout of cold that I have been able to stretch that one tank of propane to ten days. Not bad for winter, not bad at all; in fact it is the same as fall. 

I have been running Jenny for two hours each night and charging up Wanda’s batteries as the furnace heats up Wanda. This of course takes both electricity and propane. 

Unfortunately I can’t run my electric heater as I run Jenny as that seems to kick the breaker out and doesn’t heat Wanda as efficiently as the furnace. 

After I turn Jenny off I run the furnace for another hour or so and then go to bed. I light the cabin with either the tealight lamps or the LED lamps, (more light). Either way I use as little electricity as possible.

I sleep in my thermal undies with my toque on and I am warm I my sleeping bag all night. In the morning I turn on the furnace (grumble), put my warm clothes on (curse that they’re cold) then fire up the laptop, brew coffee, and edit a chapter. 

I figured out that what I am feeling in the morning isn’t frost but just that everything is frozen in a humid atmosphere. It is an odd feeling but it quickly goes away once I fire up the furnace. 

When the furnace is running, it does take care of the humidity problem; I just can’t run it all night. I will see how it goes with leaving a roof vent open. It shouldn’t be that cold tonight so it shouldn’t let out too much heat.

This pattern seems to be working as I am getting through this cold okay, it could be better, I could have a few more niceties but at doing okay, so far so good. 

I have my good days and my bad days; days where I am in a positive mood, and days when I’m not. 

Such is life and the human experience, the trick is to keep going, keep on keeping on and take one day at a time as you work for a better future. 

Monday 12 January 2015

A Productive Weekend

I did force myself to sit down and do my books on Friday afternoon. It wasn’t as bad as I thought and it did feel good to get that out of the way.

Saturday I did do my three chapters and I did the same on Sunday. The editing is going well and progressing quickly. I am averaging a chapter a weekday and three each day on the weekend. That wayward chapter is looming and I know that it will go in the middle of Brian’s Backstory, there is a hinge chapter needed.

On the financial front, I have decided to lock up my whole wallet rather than just my debit/credit cards. I came to the realization that without my debit or credit cards, I don’t need my other cards (Costco card, etc).They are all to do with buying things. As far as my Driver’s license is concerned, well Wanda is always with me, if I need it, I can just go get it.

I really need to buckle down and get out of my overdraft, already it is bugging me. That is a good thing, as I do not see it as a casual thing to be below zero in my main account. I have also kept my first card paid off and my second card is still below 3K, so that is on track. My third card has now been knocked down its first sizable chunk.

All in all I am doing better than it feels but it just feels like this journey will never end. There is that little nagging voice that screams about the injustice of having to go through this to pay off credit cards. As well, these cards have been with me for so long that the thought of having them done still seems unreal.

I need to keep going, I need to keep my spending in check, it is a struggle, but it is necessary. There is that little hit that you get when you buy something, as well it is a bit of a social experience. I have what I need and so I need to keep my spending under control so I can get ahead and out from under this debt.

The cold is getting to me but I am warm enough in my sleeping bag. It is just the waiting for the trailer to warm up in the evening and first thing in the morning with ticks me off. A remote or programmable thermostat would be sooo cool in this trailer. I keep imagining late July and making that last payment and finally being free of these credit cards, and that keeps me going.

I am tempted to run the furnace during the night, just to keep the very minor frost from forming inside Wanda. I know the batteries will likely give out by morning thus making it a very cold morning with no relief in sight. I may try tonight to keep the furnace on the lowest setting and see what happens. I also know that to do so, if successful, will use extra propane and thereby cost more. I will consider this some more.

Friday 9 January 2015

Warm Evening, Cold Morning

It takes a special kind of gumption to get your butt out of your warm bed when your house is -15C. You could say that it took a bit longer than usual to get out of bed this morning. I was warm though, and made sure to wear my warm hat to bed so my head was warm too. 

Yesterday evening I was warm enough and relaxed at home, and even had the furnace up to plus 15C. I tried to read the chapter I needed to read but didn’t quite make it, okay I barely started it. 

This morning I did read it and then read the next chapter one time through. Once again I will read it today or this afternoon so I stay on schedule of one chapter per weekday. 

As I was relaxing yesterday evening I saw a police car parked across the street from me, in front of a construction site. I was curious so I went out to say hello. He was just doing his paperwork and wasn’t there for little old me (why would he).  

This evening I will do my bookkeeping, as I really need to get into the habit of doing this once a payday rather than once a month. I want to keep my bookkeeping on track as it does me good to look back and see where I have been and where I am now. 

I am looking forward to this weekend and not just because I can be in the warm library and use their heat and power. I will pick up steam and read through chapters more as I get going this weekend. 

A few ideas on what that wayward chapter should be is starting to form in my mind. We shall see what happens and if it does come to fruition. The one that I want to add at the end is not coming.  

I find myself just getting through the days and hunkering down during the nights as I look towards the future. I hate winter and I hate the cold so for me to go through what I am going through is doubly challenging. 

I look forward to spring and the warmer weather. I keep my mind focussed on what I need to pay down and how wonderful it will be when I am finally saving for me and my future. I am on track though, and that is important. 

Thursday 8 January 2015

Big Sky, Bright Future

So, yesterday was Payday and so that meant running around. As I was walking to Wanda from work I had to pause to take in this lovely sunset.

I deposited my cheque and then filled up Trea’s tank. I then did a bit of shopping, for one I bought a pair of winter boots and a few essential groceries.

They were on special and a necessity.

They are now my “outside slippers” as they are always easy to put on and I always buy them a few sizes too big, for comfort and so I can put a few extra socks on in there, if I so choose.

I put my first big chunk on my third card yesterday. I am going to knock that one down to well below that $6000.00 mark before I seriously start paying it down. I hope to have it down to 5000.00 when I start to pay it down. An ambitious goal I know.

Another goal I started and am committed to is to put $50.00 a payday into my savings account. This will happen regardless of what is happening. This also feels good to start a bit of savings and get into that habit of savings even before all of those cards are paid off.

I will trickle save my way out of the overdraft, as I need to keep those paydowns on schedule. That is why I will lock my cards away and just buy what I need for the time being. I will keep doing this until I am out of that overdraft. This way any savings I can manage will stay in that account.

I did have a lovely and warm evening as it was warmer than usual and above zero all evening. Since I was in the parking lot of my western home I even splurged and put the slide-out out . . . oooo luxury.

As a cruel twist of fate, tonight it will drop down to -25C tonight. I am prepared and can weather this storm. I know that and how to deal with it. The important thing is that I have seen this before and I am not afraid. Next week is looking nice though, yet only time will tell if that comes to pass.

This morning I did stay in bed longer than I should have and only got one reading pass done on my chapter today. I will read it again once or twice tonight to catch up. This is something else I need to ensure to keep on track.

This New Year is starting off good and while my life is dull and I don’t do anything but hibernate, I am on the right track to accomplish my goals this year. That is not nothing, and next winter is looking even brighter.

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Never Underestimate the Importance of Warm Socks

I mean it, warm feet are the start of a happy night. Your whole warm clothes ensemble must work together. You can’t have one part of your body colder than the rest, as you will focus on that cold part. 

So far, all I have needed for my hands is a good pair of mittens, but my feet need multiple socks and one pair of slippers. The key to socks is to buy large, thick and oversized ones. That way when you put them on they are not pressing down on your feet. 

I don’t wear shoes in the house so that helps keep the pressure on my feet low. I wear a pair of loose slippers, so I have something hard between that cold floor and my feet. 

Layers are key to keeping yourself and your feet warm though, it is the trapped air in and between the layers which works to insulate. I tried (for all of less than a minute) to wear only one pair of socks last night, then I screamed (cursed a name) and put my layers of socks on. 

I did have a nicer evening last night as I puttered around the house and I am getting used to this modified winter living. I did sleep well and warmly, though I should have worn a warm hat to bed and will do so tonight. All in all, I can do this, I can survive and that is key to my overall financial success. 

I was able to have my morning coffee with little fuss as I followed a suggestion to pour the water in the percolator the night before and then just heat it up enough to melt the ice that formed. Then I could put the central part in and perk my coffee like usual. 

With my water situation, since I can’t even keep water in a completely liquid state even overnight, I have taken to carting three two litre bottles of water back and forth to and from work. That way I can top them up and yes let the full ones defrost while at work. 

As far as editing goes, I am averaging a chapter a day, with two reads through each one. On the weekends I plan to do three chapters a day. I have even taken to reading aloud parts of it to see the flow and how the story feels and sounds. It feels good to get back to the editing and to see that the book is back on track.

Today is payday so I will pay what I absolutely have to and then lock the cards away. I will spend what little I have to and not fund any of my wallets this pay period. I will coast through as much as possible to the next payday.  This is important as I am now well below zero in my account and will likely be so through to next payday. 

I am on track with the major project: paying my credit cards down, though; that, for me, is key. As long as I hit that target of July 22, 2015 for my cards to be paid off, this will all be worth it. I look forward to the conversation with my banker in August, as I tell them I want to pay more on Wanda.

I also look forward to then shifting my focus to saving large chunks of money. Of finally being able to pay myself in a manner in which I deserve. A few bucks a payday is one thing, but saving large amounts each payday is another.  Then I can have the fun of building for my future in a real and concrete way.

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Bugs in Rugs Will Say They Were as Warm and Cozy as I Was Last Night

Okay, I think I figured out how to get through this “Real Winter” stuff. I get home, and run Jenny for two hours and let Wanda warm up as her batteries charge up. I was able to get Wanda up to 10 C inside last night. 

I change into my warm clothes and settle into my five layers of clothes and 4 layers of socks and (large) slippers. I relax for the evening and even edit a bit or play on the laptop as I have dinner and putter about. 

When I am ready for bed I turn the furnace off and get in the sleeping bag which is in the bed. I do this while still wearing my warm clothes. 

I am comfy cozy and snugly warm in there all night long. 

I know that the theory of these sleeping bags is to wear less, so that your body heat heats up the bag quicker. I sleep in those warm clothes so that in the morning they are already warm when I get out of bed. 

Trust me, it sucks getting into ice-cold ‘warm clothes’ that have been hanging up in the freezer that is your house. Take my word for it, this is not a nice way to wake up. 

Though the warm in bed yet cold in the house dilemma still looms large and yes it took me a bit longer to get out of bed this morning, as I was so snugly warm.

Yet sleeping in the sleeping bag in the bed, under the covers is not for the claustrophobic, as it can be a bit restrictive. I will happily take this over being cold any night. 

In the morning I got up, turned the furnace on and warmed up the place. I had to use the heat of the furnace to defrost enough of a bottle of water to brew come coffee. 

As you can imagine everything freezes and so just having water is a challenge. Cold cereal is out as my milk freezes solid, so it is porridge in the mornings for now as that I can make.  

Once again I am getting into the swing of things and figuring out how to survive in winter in this RV. This is a relief and I am doing my best to stay positive but I am still a bit grumpy as I wait for the house to warm up to zero each morning and night. As always, I will keep calm and carry on . . . as well as improvise and overcome whatever challenges comes my way.

I have started to edit the book at the slower and more careful pace and that is going well. So far I have ‘done’ the first chapter, but I will plod along and add that elusive chapter where it needs to go, not necessarily where I wanted it to go. I do plan to have this done by the end of the month and then perhaps take another quick pass over it.

Monday 5 January 2015

Another Cold Night

I am alive with all of my fingers and toes intact and attached, yet it was another cold night. I broke out my cold sleeping bag and slept in my warm clothes, I was a bit chilly but nothing serious. This pretty much sums up my night. 

The most I could get the furnace going up to without having it going non-stop was 4 C (the lowest setting)

So the temp, at best, was at zero.

It was a cold night but at least Jenny did start and run for the hour and fifteen minutes I had her going for. The batteries ran dry before morning however so it was another -10 C morning. The added joy was that this morning I couldn’t turn the furnace on, not without running Jenny again. Even in an Industrial area I didn't feel like running Jenny at 4 in the morning.

I will try the tactic of turning the furnace off and using a few comforters over and under my sleeping bag. That way I can run the furnace in the morning and a bit in the evening as Jenny is running, (and a bit after that).

If I knew someone to borrow a bit of their back yard to park Wanda and plug-in I might do that. Alas I don’t know anyone that well in this town, and to rent any space would put paying my bills off till November or December, even for a few months of comfort. 

I just can’t handle another day beyond that deadline I have set for myself. July 22 is my line in the sand, a date that I shall not miss. The other side of that day is where the fun begins of savings building. 

Once my debt obligations are under control and I have a chunk of savings in the bank, I can then think of doing something in the film and TV industry, as my needs to live will be that much lower. I can then take the risk of venturing into this unstable yet exciting and rewarding field.

My budget is too tight right now to start saving, more than the 50 bucks a payday I have told myself to start doing. As it is taxes and debt retirement/obligations was 60% (Taxes: 25% & Debt 35%) of my gross pay and this year I expect that number to be higher, as I don’t pay rent.

I just need to hunker down and get through this week, next week should be warmer. I can and will get through this and then, yes my blog will be happier and more positive. 

I am a happier person now, despite this frustration of the cold and the insult of having to go through this experience just to get my debts under control. I got myself into this mess, I will get myself out of it.  

Sunday 4 January 2015

2014 In Review

I did get a chance to finish up my bookkeeping for the year that was 2014. As I look it over it is interesting to see that things are pretty much as I had figured they would be. 

Depending on which graph I look at I paid between 23 – 27% in payroll taxes. My credit card payments were about 20% and my truck payments were 10%, with Wanda coming in at 3%. As she was only half a year and about half the payments. 

I am aware that I should consider selling Trea for some used truck, as it would make financial sense, but for now things are okay so I won’t rock the boat.

Renting my little room came in at 6% and that was for half the year. Also, as expected paying me or doing things for me was less than 1%. Groceries was 3% and interestingly enough so was my banking/credit card fees (at 3%).

I look forward to a better year ahead and to see a savings building up this time next year as well as my credit cards paid off. 

As far as the recent bout of cold weather is concerned, I am frustrated, but adjusting. I was spoiled out in Banff and I am now adjusting to the realities of this lifestyle. Thankfully Jenny did start and run for an hour and fifteen minutes yesterday after her ten day rest and being frozen to -30C. 

I awoke this morning to a house at -10 C and I didn’t get much rest. I was bundled up all fine and warm, trust me, I wore all of my warm clothes to bed, including mittens and slippers. What happened was my tank ran out in the middle of the night. I had only set the thermostat for 5 C.

So it looks like my trip to Banff used up about two tanks, or just under. I don’t regret it, as the trip and the break did me good. As I said, I just need to get used to the cold again. It will not be too cold for long, as it is warming up this week, and should stay relatively mild for some time to come. 

This cold weather will pass and the warm weather will return, as will true and real control over my life. With debt, you are tied to your job and your home. You dare not do what you feel like, because you have too many obligations. This is not truly living; this is indentured servitude with toys. 

Saturday 3 January 2015

Further Adventures in Tire Changing

No, I didn’t get another flat tire, but I was able to get Wanda’s flat tire fixed. Luckily it was only a nail and not a slash in a sidewall, so it was an easy and cheap fix. 

I was determined to get a lug wrench so I would be able to change my own flat tire again. The next time I may not be in a campsite but on the side of the road, with no helpful neighbours around. 

None of the lug wrenches would fit, nor would the “special sockets.” I tried and tried all manner of combinations but ended up getting a new socket set. 

Did I get a cheap one? Nope, not because I demanded quality but because the cheap socket sets didn’t have the socket big enough to fit. I ended up getting a 200.00 socket set just to get that one socket. 

Then I bought a torsion bar (a bar with an end to fit sockets to) so I could put a lot of pressure on it to get those lug nuts of or on again and not break the ratchet. 

Since I was in this deep I figured a few more bucks for a torque wrench wouldn’t be a bad idea. That way I can make sure all nuts are torqued to their proper amount. 

This is what I bought. 

Just to get this.

I am ticked that a simple lug wrench didn’t come with the trailer and I probably could have complained and demanded one. I also know that I probably could have bought just a socket and a torsion bar.

I figured that I never wanted to be in a similar situation again. I never wanted to be anywhere without the basic tools to fix what needs to be fixed. 

I didn’t put this on the card but used the overdraft, I will pull myself out of it in a payday or two but I will keep that first card paid off and my paydown on track. Once more, I shall continue to live on a limited budget as I continue to get my finances in order.

I will spend today finalizing my record keeping for the year that was 2014. I will then close it off and come up with a report of sorts on how things went and what I spent on what. It should be eye-opening and interesting, if a bit embarrassing. 

Friday 2 January 2015

Relaxation, Reflection and Introspection

What all that adds up to is: a new year and a new me. I know what you’re thinking and lots of people do this stuff at this time of year. They say “this year will be different!” Often times it turns out to be more of the same. 

What I did was take time to relax and reflect on what has been going on and my journey as well as my life in general and how I see myself. As well as played a lot of video games (all that free-flowing electricity allowed me to do that). I made sure to play an offline game so as to not rack up huge data usage charges. 

So that was why I was not blogging, as I needed a break from everything . . . for me. The soul-searching and reflection did me good and I straightened out a lot of (but not all) things that needed to be sorted out. Don’t bother asking what as it is private, and I still believe that the contents of my head are just for me.

I did get out and on Christmas Day did have my BBQ.

I also saw a few things which struck me as interesting such as this “Mini-forest.”

As far as the electric heater went it did me great and was a wonder. I had my furnace on 24/7 all while I was there and went through just over one tank (for nine days and nights).  That includes the really cold spell of December 30.

Even that day I was warm and cozy. Sure, I had to turn the furnace down to 10 C and then nudge it up to 15 C but considering it was below -30C with the wind-chill, that was just fine with me. All I did was bundle up and stay indoors. As well I tried out my backup way to brew my morning coffee.

I wasn’t sure if I had emptied my propane tank or if it just didn’t want to flow out of the tank that low at that low temperature. I will see when I get more propane this afternoon. At the end of the day I wanted to make sure that I could cook still if all else fails . . . and yes, don’t mess with my morning coffee.

I did see a lot of great scenery and I did make it down to the town of Banff on December 31. 

Funny story, I was almost about to not go, as I didn’t want to move Treabilla. I had disconnected Wanda from Treabilla when I setup camp, but I didn’t move Treabilla. I just didn’t want to go through the bother of backing up and aligning the hitch again. 

Then I remembered that I hadn’t renewed my registration yet . . . it expired at midnight that night. So a quick search online found, low and behold, a registration office in Banff. So I went down, saw the sights, enjoyed the scenery and yes renewed my registration so I could drive home.

The fun came about late afternoon of the first. I decided that I didn’t want to pack up and hitch up in the dark of first thing in the morning so I would do so that afternoon, during daylight. That was when I discovered that one wheel on Wanda was flat. It was under the slide-out and so I didn’t notice it until I was moving about cranking up the stabilizing jacks.

I figure, big deal, I can just change a flat, I have done that before . . . no, not that simple. You see, with Wanda’s “Fancy, (yet cool) Mag Rims” the tire iron from Treabilla wouldn’t fit, the head was too fat. I could not find any tire iron from Wanda, save a tiny, inadequate piece of crap. 

So I bust out the socket wrench set and tried to loosen the lug-nuts that way . . . nope.  It took two (three on the outside) tries to break the ratchet on the cheap socket wrench. I threw the whole set in the garbage; I got what I paid for.

I was able to borrow a ratchet and socket from a neighbour and got the tire changed. I don’t think I hit anything as I checked photos and the tire was fine when I got there, I think someone may have let the tire out as a New Year’s Prank. I will get the tire checked this afternoon. 

Before you ask, no I didn't take any pictures of this whole ordeal as I was busy trying to change a tire on my house so I could get to work the next morning . . . I was a little busy.

I will also be buying a proper lug wrench for mag rims and a hand tire pump. That way I can try to pump the tire up or at least change the bloody tire myself. The decent socket wrench set can come in time.

I was pleased that I kept my cool during this whole ordeal and kept working the problem to find a solution. Not once did I berate myself or get angry or lose my temper.  I just kept trying one solution after the other, after the other. I kept myself focused on solving the problem and as a result finally found a solution.  

What I learned from this was that I should have done a test tire change earlier to ensure that I could do it and had the proper tools with me. I will also stop by the dealership (when they are open again) to see just how I can make use of that magical/mystical roadside assistance I thought I had. (You know, the one that they tell you comes with happy elves to come out of thin air and do all this stuff for you).

I am now back at work and getting ready for another year and I know that in a year from now I will be in an even better financial place than I am now. Already I am in a much better place both financially and emotionally than I was a year ago. 

Happy New Year everyone.