Friday 27 February 2015

Yearning for Yardspace

I have found myself looking online at the various real estate listing sites, and dreaming a bit. I have been looking to see if I can find a small piece of land for sale. I’m looking for that illusive parcel of land not far from work at a very reasonable price. 

You know, something I could save up not too long for and buy outright within a year. Then I could park Wanda on there and start to homestead on it as I work towards slowly improving it. All without a mortgage, perhaps a smaller short term loan but nothing as long-term as a mortgage.

I have found cheaper plots, but they are about an hour’s drive from work. This is possible, but not desirable, I have done this kind of commute before. 

This looking runs in conflict with my dream of starting a film studio and town out somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The concept is to build a studio and town surrounded by beauty so that not only is everything you need to shoot any project there in one place, but why not do it surrounded by beauty? Where would you rather shoot, in downtown of a bustling city, or in a small town surrounded by forest and mountains with paths and trails weaving throughout?  

It is that desire to have a small corner of the world that actually is my own which keeps coming back to me. As freeing and inexpensive as this lifestyle is, I still would like a place to put down roots, and yes that someone to put down roots with.

First things first, get out of debt, then start to save as I pay off Wanda and Trea. Land optional; woman essential. 

Thursday 26 February 2015

Cold Snap Grumble

It’s funny, it dropped down to -16C last night with a wind chill of -23C, yet all I did was grumble a bit. A few months ago, (okay a few weeks ago) I would have been cursing up a storm due to the cold and hunkering down in my -40 sleeping bag. 

Yet last night and this morning all I did was just grumble a bit and carry on. I seem to have gotten used to this colder weather, not that I like it, but I have gotten used to it. I have changed, this much is certain.

Back in September and October, I was fearful of the approaching cold (sub-zero) weather, but now I don’t fear it. Even the nasty and dreaded -30C to -40C does not scare me. I know that one way or another that I will survive. 

In the evenings I drive to my chosen parking spot and fire up Jenny before connecting the power cable to Wanda. This allows me to not only charge up her batteries and freely use the furnace but have the luxury of electricity for two whole hours each night. 

I take advantage of this electricity by charging my phone, firing up the laptop and mucking about on it for my allotted two hours. Typically, right after getting into Wanda I will change into my warm clothes for the night and make dinner. I have gotten used to my five layers that I wear in the evening, stripping down to just three layers when I go to bed. On the nice and warm nights (when it stays above zero) I may sleep sans-layers . . . ooo luxury. 

In the evening I can actually turn on the electric lights in Wanda and so I can see clearly. Without Jenny I use Wanda’s lights sparingly, saving almost every ounce of electric charge in Wanda’s batteries to run the furnace. When I go to bed and while I am at work (or otherwise out) I turn Wanda’s furnace off so as to save both electricity and propane.

When Jenny is not running I have gotten used to the dim lamps or candles that give me enough light to see . . . sorta. Sometimes I need to turn on a flashlight to see the keyboard to type. As always, I muddle through. 

I think nothing of finding a “thirsty tree” or other such vegetation in need of a bit of moisture when I need to tinkle. As far as other bathroom necessities, I typically am able to find a real toilet somewhere nearby, but the odd time I use my “backup toilet” (the bucket and bag). 

Two of the first casualties of this lifestyle are modesty and pride. You have to be able to do things that other people may look down on you for. Let’s be honest, I sleep in a trailer parked by the side of the road. I consider it a treat to sleep in a store parking lot, as I can put my slide-out out and have added space inside. As far as a campsite is concerned, for me that is downright homesteading and a return to civilization . . . for a weekend at least.

I don’t say this to elicit pity (or donations), just to say how I have changed over my time living in Wanda. I suppose that one of the key skills that this lifestyle has taught me is adaptability. You have to be ready, willing and able to adapt what you are doing in order to deal with the various challenges which come your way. I am constantly evaluating and improving what I am doing and asking myself “How can I do this better?”  

I look forward to spring the warmer weather to come. I will adapt what I am doing then so as to take advantage of the warmer weather. I have not deluded myself to think that winter is finished yet. It may surprise me with a bout of really cold weather yet. Even if it does, no matter what winter throws at me, I will be ready. 

As the cold weather comes again, I shall just grumble a bit and carry on, thinking ahead to spring, summer and debt freedom. I look forward to being able to enjoy a light breeze drifting through Wanda’s windows and doors. Hmm, a nice thought, a warm thought, one which makes me smile and not grumble.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Silly Credit Card Companies

Last night I decided to call up the credit card company for Card #2 and see if I could change it for a lower interest rate card. Apparently this was crazy silliness. 

I told them that I only wanted one card and I wanted that card to be a low interest rate card. I figured that since I have had this card for at least five years that they would treat me like an existing customer. I figured that they would use the information they have on file and take into account that the (now paid off) card would be gone. 

Apparently I need to apply like I am a new customer and if I get the new card, then I can kill off the existing card. That and they wanted the swat team address until the account is set up. Again, the fact that I have and account and am an existing customer is irrelevant and crazy silliness. 

I didn’t bother to apply for the card and don’t know if I will bother with this company. Perhaps my bank (and Card #1) may treat me better, I may ask in a few months, after Card #3 is paid off. For now the higher rate will serve as a reminder not to use this thing . . . at all.

I have hit a bit of a wall when it comes to my writing, I am not sure what to do for this one chapter, of just how to proceed. Often times I will pause and take a day or two off. If that doesn’t work then I will edit . . . . edit, edit, edit.

What I do is simply read (editing as I go) the chapters I already have and just see how the story flows. That usually gives me an idea as to what should happen next. That is what I am going to start doing tomorrow. 

Tuesday 24 February 2015

I Got Screwed

No, not in a good way . . . nor was it in a particularly bad way either. I didn’t do my taxes and find out that I owe the government thousands and thousands of dollars. (I did my taxes on the weekend and found out that I am getting $32.00 back, but I can’t file online just yet). I am not sure exactly when it happened, but apparently it happened a few weeks back. 

I am of course referring to the slow leek in my truck tire. I have been pumping it up and avoiding taking it in to be looked at. I just didn’t want the expense or being told that I was putting too much weight on these tires and had to buy special tires to take the weight. 

So there I was, pumping up that tire last night when I saw it . . . heard it really. I heard that little hiss, mixed with a slight gurgle. I looked and there I saw the offending outcropping . . . a metal item of some sort sticking out of the tire, in amongst the threads. It was hissing and the water in the tread was bubbling as the air was slowly leaking out of the tire.

I did consider saying to heck with it and just let it go, ignore it and deal with it another day, but I knew that was a mistake. I knew that come morning that tire would be not just flat but completely dead. I knew that I had to deal with the tire that evening, as in immediately. So with a groan I was off to a local tire shop to spend more money I didn’t want to spend.

When I got there I was told (naturally) that I would have to disconnect Wanda in order to get the tire fixed. Okay, so far so good, I have done this many times before. Well, then there was that padlock, the one which locks the trailer onto the ball of the hitch, that one which had rusted closed.

I tried to use the key but the lock wouldn’t budge. Then I tried to use my hacksaw, nope. I’m not sure if it was due to the hardness of metal of the lock, or that hacksaws are useless in this case or the fact that my hacksaw was just a piece of crap. In the end all that my efforts with the hacksaw did was do little more than polish the metal. Thankfully a guy from the tireshop came out with a pair of bolt cutters and that lock was toast.

The tire itself was just $35.00 to fix, and all in all it wasn’t as bad as I feared. The weather last night was warm too, so at least I wasn’t doing this in -30C and blowing snow. As I was paying for the tire repair they told me that the item which was in the tire was a screw.

Monday 23 February 2015

What I Did This Weekend

I did a bit of home improvement as well as got Book Two, and my finances on track. 

First let’s talk about the book. I was able to start the reshaping and outlining the three different perspectives on what is happening during this book. In fact there are a number of smaller storylines but they fall into three categories: 

1) Brian and what is happening to him while in the custody of The Sisterhood
2) The Sisterhood and their reaction to trying to recruit a man. 
3) The Gals and The Guards as they search for Brian (and their missing Guards).

I have a good clip going and am already a third of the way through the book (when it comes to word count). I am not as focussed on a certain number of pages for each chapter, but I like 3000 – 4000 words per chapter.

With regards to my finances, I did pay off the second card and in so doing I am stretched thin until my next payday, and even then, it is my tighter payday, so I won’t have wiggle room even then. 

Having that second card done is a symbolic victory for me. I need to focus on card #1 and overdraft next month, as I am dangerously deep in that overdraft. I am making headway though, even though it looks like I am trading one debt for another. Come April, my full focus will be on that third and last card. I will enter April with Card #1 and Card #2 both fully paid off, and they shall stay that way. 

Okay, on to the home improvement project. Here is what I ended up with, a nice bulletin board, two of them in fact. One I use to put up things I need to do (or whatever I want to keep an eye on) and the other one I use to put up positive messages. 

So this is what I started with.

These were two empty and useless spaces that just sat there, and were not productive at all. I had long wondered what to do with them, as they just seemed like a waste. 

The ingredients I used was not all that much:

1) Cork tiles (At least ¼ inch thick) 
2) Double sided carpet tape
3) Carpenter’s glue

There are two types of cork tiles, one is the course type, like I bought, and the other is the finer grade, like the ones we are used to for typical bulletin boards. If you get the finer grade, you will most likely need to put a few layers of it in as you need the thickness to be at least ¼ inch thick so your pushpins don’t poke through to the wall behind. 

First, I held up the cork tile in place and used and exacto knife (box cutter) to cut the tile in place. I probably could have either measured the space or marked the tile and cut it with a ruler on a different surface. Either way I cut my tiles so that they fit into the place snugly. 

Then I laid out a few strips of the double-sided carpet tape in the space itself. This is to hold the tiles in place and might have been enough, but to ensure that the tiles are not going anywhere, I used the carpenter’s glue as well.  I applied the glue to the back of the tiles before putting them up, making sure to press them firmly into place. The tape and glue will ensure this tile is not coming off.

I repeated this process for the small space as well.

Soon I was done. 

Then comes the filling them up with the messages.

I also put up a small dry erase board, so as to leave messages or to grow a grocery list. 

It is interesting what you can do with these small wasted bits of wall space to make them productive. Well folks, talk to you tomorrow.

Friday 20 February 2015

Doing Better Than Expected . . . Sorta

I have been dutifully paying my third card $500.00 out of the first paycheque out the month (7th). Then of course I am paying my second card $1000.00 out of my second paycheque of the month (22nd). So far so good.

While I may want to pause for a bit in order to leave more money in my main account, I am eager to get these cards done. This month, for whatever reason, I accidentally paid an extra payment on that second card instead of the third card. 

Due to that screw-up, two things happened: 

1. I pissed off a card which already doesn’t like me and has long since been deactivated.
2. That balance of that second card is now less than one paycheque’s worth away from being gone . . . done . . . paid off.

So I could drop most of this upcoming paycheck on that second card and get it done. Needless to say this has my brain working and churning. Why not live even cheaper for the next two weeks and just pay that second card off a month early? 

That way it will be done, and I can make that typical $500.00 payment next month on the third card. That $1000.00 at the end of next month can be used to pay off the first card and then left in the account. I will still be on track to start my large paydown on the third card. 

I could and should make some payment on the third card. As it is I have already missed that payment date, so the impact to my credit has already happened. I could really use a victory right now and this would be a nice boost.

I am still deep in overdraft but not so much so that I can’t continue to live make the one Wanda payment that lies between now and the paycheck after this one. As crazy as it sounds, I will most likely pay off the second card on Sunday. 

I estimate that I am somewhere near the two thirds mark of this paydown schedule. So while that second card is done, I am still deep in overdraft and have a little under $500.00 on that first card I am doing okay . . . sorta. 

Thursday 19 February 2015

Pulling at the Stray Threads of Book Two

Yesterday was a hectic day at work, one of those days which keeps you hopping. So as a result I just plopped down and didn’t do much. I had a few errands planned, but decided against them and just rested and relaxed with a nice cup of tea and listened to the radio.

This morning I got up and continued working on book two. As I try to work these storylines in and fatten chapters up, it is becoming more disjointed. This is because I am starting with the order of scenes in the movie script and sticking to my planned number of chapters and lengths. 

I have the feeling that this book needs to be more fluid, more dynamic with the chapters dictating their lengths. I still will hit my target of 100K words but I think I need to break it up into smaller, more organized chunks. As it is there are a few scenes tacked on or into chapters to fill space which have little to do with the chapter itself. 

Hmm, now that I think of it, this makes another version of the same book. Ah well, such is life, and the literary evolution of this book. (I shall begin that version tomorrow).  

The weather was warm and nice yesterday and last night, as a result, when I got home it was already +10C  in Wanda, so I didn’t run Jenny or the furnace right away, and even then I only ran them for an hour or so. When I woke up this morning it had only cooled to +5C, so it didn’t take long to heat Wanda up or that much trouble to keep her at +15C. It looks like it will be warm again tonight, so that is nice. 

I will have a busy weekend, as I have a number of errands to do, some of which I should have done last weekend. 

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Living Cheaply and Spreading the Word

First of all one thing I forgot to mention about the long weekend was that I was able to save a great deal while being out there. I was able to use just my electric heater to heat Wanda and even then I was able to splurge and have Wanda up to and maintained at a temp of +25C all weekend long! I even broke out my shorts for lounging around inside Wanda (having a self-induced heat wave). 

(Just to refresh your memory, this is my electric heater)

Being able to use my electric heater was important because that meant that I didn’t run my furnace all weekend long (which saved on propane). While at a campsite you are charged a flat fee for being there and not charged for electricity usage. I recommend using an electric heater anytime you are at a campsite and plugged into electricity. 

Since I was plugged in it also mean that I didn’t need to run Jenny, I didn’t even run Jenny last night. That means that I have saved the fuel for not running Jenny for 5 nights or 10 hours of fuel. Not bad.

It was also nice to use the little features that I have not used for a while, such as the porch lights and my interior lights. With always being on battery, you are constantly conscious of your electricity usage and always looking to conserve (all of your consumables). When you are plugged in, you can splurge a bit.

Last night I talked to a friend of mine who is going through financial hardships and is a bit under the weather due to stress. I talked to him and advised him to do what I was doing: live in an RV for a short bit to get ahead. He is considering it but unsure if now is the time for him to do it. I told him that my only regret was that I didn’t do this sooner (and perhaps bought a used trailer instead of Wanda).

Don’t get me wrong, I like Wanda but I now know that I could have toughed it out in an old trailer that I could have picked up for two grand and not cared if it fell apart after one season. As it is, Wanda will last for many years to come and gives me a level of comfort and style that I like and am used to. I plan to keep her (or some RV) even after I get a house (when and where to be determined). 

As far as the book is concerned, I am slowly working forward through the chapters and fattening them up as I go with interesting tidbits and story-nuggets. I will be up to Chapter 17 with all of the chapters up my target length in no time. After that comes the fun of shaping the end of this book, I am still split on that. 

I will continue to hunker down, live as cheaply as I can as I work on the book and wait for spring to truly arrive. I am already starting to look for a campsite with full hookups to reserve for the Easter long weekend, when I can and will, finally de-winterize Wanda and be able to take a shower in my own trailer and use my own sink to wash dishes . . . such luxury. 

Tuesday 17 February 2015

Escape to Mclean Creek

In the end I did get out of town for the long weekend. While I couldn’t book anything online, I was able to get a spot at one of my favourite campsites. Mclean Creek is a provincial campsite not far from Calgary and because it was “winter camping” the cost was lower and “self-registration” was in force. 

“Self-registration” is where you just go to the campground, find a campsite you like. Then you, either put cash in a little envelope, or write your credit card info on the envelope. Either way you also write your registration information on that envelope and drop in into a little slot in a special “mailbox.” If you decide not to pay or your information is incorrect, the park ranger will come and find you to rectify the situation. 

Since I get off early on Fridays, I was able to find a spot with full power (as in 120Vac / 30Amps). I got setup and even put the awning out. 

It did snow, but that didn’t deter me from using both my BBQ and the fire pit.

I relaxed, rested, cleaned and did some minor repairs around Wanda, and went for a few walks, all for much less than I expected. Because I tow my home around with me, I didn’t need to go home on Monday afternoon, so I got 4 nights out there.

However, I was the one of the only people out there in the middle of the bush. It wasn’t until I was driving out this morning that I saw that someone else was there. If anything had happened I would have been in trouble, as the park has no cell service. 

For me that meant no cell or internet for the whole weekend (thus why I didn't blog), and that turned out to be a good thing. I did find that when I wanted to look this up or check on that, however,I couldn’t. Oh well, it was still a nice and needed break. 

Sure we got snow, but it was nothing, barely a centimetre, if that, nothing like my friends out east (I feel for you). 

Friday 13 February 2015

Warm Evening, Happy Night

OOO, we had a heat wave last night and when I got home, the temperature inside Wanda was a balmy 10C. I was able to splurge and turn the temp up to a nice and hot 20C! Ooo, such luxury.  I had a lovely, casual evening and this weekend it looks to be warm as well, even overnight it didn’t get below freezing. 

I was thinking of going out of town for the long weekend, but no sites were available, I guess that was to be expected. I will stay in town and continue my work on Book Two and do something relaxing for Monday, as I won’t have the library to go to, they close on all stat holidays (so no free: power, heat and internet).  I need to lengthen my list of places with a free and available power outlet for me to work at.

Thursday 12 February 2015

The Night Jenny Almost Died.

So there I was, it was a cold evening, but not too cold, as I stood in the back of my truck, staring at Jenny in disbelief as the sun began to set. It was after work and I had moved to my, now usual, evening parking spot, that quiet spot down the block.  

The tonneau cover on the back of Treabilla was rolled back and I had just tried to start Jenny. This was something that I have done for a while now and just a part of my routine: flip a switch, turn the fuel on, set the choke and pull the cord. So far, Jenny has only failed to start once, and then yesterday.

I was puzzled as to why she wouldn’t start, or rather would sputter a bit and stop. It was a failed start, fire a few times but not start running. She was used to this temperature and has been running for at least two hours a day for the past few months. This shouldn’t be happening, yet was.

I decided, on a whim to check a few things, the first thing I checked was the oil; it was low but not out. In fact she was just down to that “low” mark. So I got out the special funnel and my fancy oil and proceeded to fill Jenny’s crankcase up with oil. 

As I watched the oil slowly gurgle down the funnel, I kicked myself for not doing something so basic. At least once a week I should have checked Jenny’s oil level. Some say check it just before each time you run the generator, I say that you should find your own schedule, but checking it regularly is good. 

As you might have guessed, oil doesn’t flow quickly at -10C, it moves slowly, more like molasses in February . . . so I had some time to give myself heck. It might be a wise thing to buy some 5W30 oil, as it is lighter and will move better in the colder temperatures. As it stands the weather does not look to get too cold in the near future, so I will stick to the oil I already have.

Eventually though Jenny’s crankcase was filled with oil and ready for me to try to start her again. Like a trooper, she didn’t let me down and started on the first pull. She purred for the two hours I kept her running last night. It was a good thing I bought the fancy oil, the kind that claims to stick to metal parts to keep lubricating, or I might have killed Jenny.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Book Two, Story Shaping

Okay, so I finished the read through of what I already have for Book Two. So far, so good and the basic storyline is there. The is still something missing and sure I could “Michael Bay” it up a bit with an alien invasion or explosions, but that is not what I am talking about.

What I am talking about is an opposing storyline or two, a few different perspectives on the same situation. The trick is to know what perspectives to choose and how many storylines are too many. Part of the fun of writing is seeing how these story elements pan out and emerge in the great soup that is storytelling and novel writing.  

I am still staying not far from work and not spending anything (save that tank of propane on Monday). I have the food that I need and I am just coasting through, hoping to make it to payday and not spend more than I absolutely need to. Part of what helps is that I keep my wallet locked away in my firesafe and only pull it out to spend. This way I must pause to ask myself if I really need this spend.

The constantly miserly ways does take discipline and I always fear that I am spending more than I need to. This being below zero in my account does not sit well with me, but for now it is unavoidable. My credit cards are all the high interest ones so it is pointless to move the overdraft balance onto one of them. 

I am still surviving though, and each day is a day towards my goal of debt freedom. This thought, and my writing, sustains me through the cold.

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Not a Complete Fatzoid!

The one thing I did this weekend that I didn’t mention was that I bought new pants. Not only because my old pair were looking a bit dishevelled, but also because they didn’t fit quite right, in fact they were a bit loose.

Now, as most of you know, with jeans over time they will relax and loosen up. I thought that this was what had happened so I didn’t think too much of it. I went into my usual megastore that sells everything and picked out a couple of pairs of pants to try on. One was the size that I usually wear and one a size smaller.

Low and behold the pants one size smaller fit. I mean they didn’t “Delusionally Fit” either, I mean they really fit. It wasn’t that I put the pants on, held my breath in and said, “I may not be able to bend over or sit down but since I did the button and zipper up, they fit.” They were, and are, comfortable.

This is something for me as these new pants are a 32 waist and a few years back, the largest pants that I have worn was a size 38. The smallest I have worn is a size 30, but looking back I looked way too thin. I like to be at a size 32 and it is nice to be here again. I do hope to do more biking in the warmer weather this year.

I haven’t been working out but I am active at work, I can only guess that since I am eating less at home, this has helped. Whatever it is, it is nice to be down to a reasonable size. Sure I could work out and get fit, you know tighten up some muscles and so on, but I am okay for now.

The reading of the Book Two is going well, but there is a lot of work to be done, specifically with adding scenes and fattening up chapters. Such is the fun of writing, the good thing is that most of the book is already there, it just needs to be enhanced and drawn out more.

The adding of scenes allows me as the writer to show you, the reader, some of the delightful sights at the “sides of the road” as it were. The “road” is the plot and main thrust of the story, the “sides of the road” are interesting things to show you in the world that I create, that may not be essential to the plot.

I can always tell when a writer has no idea of the world that they are writing in as they refuse to show you the sides of the road. The truth is that they can’t show you the sides of the road because they have no idea what is there. They just want to show you the plot and the story they want to tell. They fear that if they show you the sides of the road, that you determine a gigantic plot hole.

This is why I always say that if you are creating a world, create and define it first. How can you create characters from a world that you don’t know anything about? You first need to understand a culture before you can understand what the people from that culture would be like. Then and only then can you pic out and define interesting oddballs from that culture and focus on them.

As far as me living in my RV is concerned, things are going well. For the most part my little system of surviving and thriving in an RV in winter has been working. There are always things to improve and ways to make things better and nicer. For the most part I have things down to a science.

I am always looking to spend less and feel guilty every time I pull the wallet out of the lockbox/firesafe. On an interesting side note is that if all of my bills were paid off, I could live on or less than $500.00 a month.

As in:
·         Food (num-nums)
·         Gas (for truck and generator)
·         Propane (For cooking, heating trailer and hot water)
·         Dumping fees (which includes fresh water)

Monday 9 February 2015

Book One Off to be Reviewed!

I was able to get that “last” pass of Book One done and then sent it off to a colleague to be read, reviewed, and then edited. It is a big weight off of my shoulders to have this stage of this book done. There is more to be done but it is in the editing and tweaking phase. I don’t feel like reworking the story or making wholesale changes. I just want to move on with the next book.

I had planned to take a bit of time off from Tanea and possibly do a bit of website work, and I did, sorta.  I did watch some how-to videos on Sunday and got started on website stuff. I even installed a webserver on my laptop so I could do some website practice without paying for webspace.

This morning, however, I went back to Tanea and started on Book Two. Why? Because I was curious how this book would end and how the story would turn out, that’s why. Remember kids to always write a book or screenplay that you want to read or see. Personally I can’t wait for the filmed in IMAX (possibly 3D too) version of the film . . . particularly the chase sequence. (Hmm. . . Steadicam or drone-cam follow shot?)

As far as Book Two, is concerned I already have sixteen chapters of the twenty-five needed for this book. Sure a few need to be fattened up and one is needed to be added in there, but most of the book is there. It should not take all that long to get this book “done.”

With regards to little old me in my trailer, the weather was warmer this weekend, for a bit, like a few hours on Saturday, and then it went below zero again. Ah well, this too shall pass and spring will finally come. At least it is not -30C, -10C -20C I can handle easily . . . not like it mind you, but I can at least handle it.

I got paid on Saturday, so I poked my head above zero, paid my bills, and then dove back down into the overdraft. I am on schedule though, and that is the key thing to remember. I do hate being in the overdraft but this is what I have done to myself so I must live with it. I refuse to pause my paydown a month just to haul my butt above zero. To me, that would be cheating and would push my payoff date back a month.

I am considering turning this blog into a website (with a blog) devoted to people into or thinking about doing what I have done (i.e., live in an RV to pay down bills or just for fun). Feedback would be appreciated on this, (as in if this is a good idea and/or what you would expect to see on the site).

Friday 6 February 2015

Catching Up, Looking Ahead

I did do some reading yesterday and also this morning, I am almost caught up to where I should be. I do want to get this read through done so that the book project can move forward. 

I am also looking ahead to the weather coming and am pleased to see that it is not that cold, yet only time will tell if this moderate forecast stays true. As long as it stays above -20C I am okay, above zero is golden for me. 

I am also looking ahead to April and planning to de-winterize my trailer, something I am looking forward to. I also have an inkling of an idea to plan a trip down to Waterton Lakes National Park for the May long Weekend.  I am not sure if I will actually do that, but if I am I should reserve soon. (Anyone want to come along?)

It is this looking ahead which is keeping me going and keeping me positive, which is a struggle for me. In warmer weather it is easier, when things are cold and dark, it is harder to keep positive. I will be okay though, I am a survivor after all.

The laptop reinstall is going well and that will be a large portion of what I will be doing on the weekend, as I try to read the novel at the same time. This should prove interesting as I plan to have both the laptop install and the book done by the end of the weekend.

Thursday 5 February 2015

New Spunk in and Old Laptop

So I did install the hard drive into the laptop yesterday and installed windows. That didn’t take that long, as the actual installation process does not take that long. Neither did installing the antivirus. It was the updates, however, which took the rest of the day . . . the workday . . . as in all eight hours of it!

Okay, I was working, doing my actual job, but checking back on it now and again as I passed by and clicking check update or restart, but most of the time it was sitting there downloading updates or installing them.

It never ceases to amaze me why Windows makes you download each update in order, one after the other after the other. In the end I was able to get Windows and installed office, as well as both updated. 

Today is “Dropbox Day,” so the laptop is now downloading my data from the cloud, it should take all day too, but at least it can do this unsupervised. 

The result so far has been amazing, and I highly recommend doing this little trick for that 5 year old laptop you are thinking of replacing. Just get a SSD (Solid State Drive) and reinstall your operating system. This one thing will increase your performance greatly.

The reason is, is that an SSD is essentially a “Hard Drive” made out of memory; so there are no moving parts and the access time much faster. This is what greatly speeds up the whole computer. 

I am now considering not buying that really fast laptop later this year, as I don’t need it, nor would I put it to much use, this one seems to suit me fine. The only reason to buy that other one would be to edit videos, and without a camera or equipment, that seems silly. 

This will then mean that this move will have saved me a few thousand bucks, not a bad trade-off.  Again, this lifestyle is about doing more with less, yet making sure you have the tools you need, for me that is a laptop that is not insanely slow.

I did get my three chapters read today, but I am still behind three chapters. I will try to read them tonight but I think I know that I won’t. I will however most likely be able to get them done tomorrow evening. One way or another I will get both the laptop installation finished and my book read by the end of the weekend.

Wednesday 4 February 2015

Friendly Visit (and an SSD)

Last night a friend of mine was in town for a workshop and decided to look me up. It was a very pleasant surprise and a much brighter diversion to my usual evening’s festivities (relaxing and surfing the net).

We chatted in my cold trailer for a few hours that seemed like minutes (she never complained or mentioned the cold). Truth be told I don’t know how long we actually visited for as time stood still as we chatted, but it usually does. She has such a relaxing way about her that you just feel comfortable and welcome (at least me). 

Along the way I got a few pointers on what I should be doing and not doing. She informed me that while hunkering down to pay down bills I should also be building myself up.  I should be getting ready to emerge from my self-imposed cocoon a better person, ready for a real relationship. Don’t you hate it when friends are right?

Yesterday morning I was getting frustrated yet again about the race between my percolator and my computer. Each morning I start them both at the same time and sometimes the percolator finishes brewing the coffee before the computer has booted up and stabilized. 

I looked around at work and found a great deal and special on a 512 GB SSD drive . . . so yeah I bought it. 

This will:
Lower my stress level
Increase my battery life
Speed up the computer
Improve my productivity

I am now installing the operating system and files again. The old laptop hard drive is in a small enclosure so I can plug it into a USB port and access all of its files that way. I know this is a bit of a slow process but it will be worth it. 

I am reading my book on my small netbook PC, and will continue that as I get my main laptop installed and updated. This is perhaps one purchase I didn’t need to make but I use my laptop every day, to me this is a necessary tool. 

I am still on track for the July paydown, and that is all that matters, so sue me if I get a small toy. In my defense I was looking at new, and very, laptops online, so I consider this a pre-emptive strike. (no, I’m not trying to convince myself, why do you ask?)

Tuesday 3 February 2015

My Phone is a Wus

Okay, so I had a nice evening despite the cold weather. I again bundled up and got used to the indoor temp of 10C. 

When I went to bed my phone seemed to have enough juice to last it through the night. This is important because I use my phone as my alarm clock. Typically I will turn the phone data and the WiFi off and it is fine. 

I put the phone on the pillow beside me so that it is not on the edge of the trailer, closer to an outside wall. That way it doesn’t get too cold, as that has been a problem in the past. 

I woke up and looked around, wondering what time it was.  I do this from time to time so I reached over and pushed the button on my phone, to make the screen light up. The phone didn’t do anything, so I pushed the button again. I then pushed the other button, the one to turn it on . . . that worked.  Last night, my phone apparently decided to go to sleep. 

I ended up oversleeping by an hour and a half. Thankfully I get up early enough that this doesn’t affect my work, but it was a pain. Sure enough the phone was complaining about power but not enough that it should have turned off, it still had 15%.

I grumbled, got up and went about my morning routine. I plugged the phone into the mini battery pack I have so I can charge the phone without AC power.  The phone squawked, saying that the battery was too cold to charge. I then shoved the phone down my shirt and let it rest against my skin to warm it up, before I could charge it.

It looks as though I may have to put the phone inside the sleeping bag with me on the cold nights . . . who knew I would be snuggling up to my phone. I like it and all, but not that much. 

I have even considered getting an old school, wind-up alarm clock. You know one of the classic brass ones with two bells and everything. If I am going old school, it would have to be one with style.

As far as editing went, I got only two chapters read. I will read at least a chapter tonight so as to catch up. I want to stay on schedule and not fall behind.  

Monday 2 February 2015

Nice Day Off

I had a “sorta” day off, as while I didn’t read the novel but I did watch the website making videos intermixed with playing a video game. It was a nice day and it was both educational and relaxing. 

When I got out after the day at the library was over I found that one of Treabilla’s rear tires was flat. I had been ignoring a “low tire pressure” warning for a few days. Let me just say that this is not a good idea.

Thankfully, since I am prepared for such eventualities, this was not a serious problem. My little electric air pump was able to reach the DC plug-in in the back seat. That way I could just sit there and watch the tire be pumped up, rather than pumping it up with my hand-operated pump (my backup).

I will see how things go this week and keep an eye on that tire, as it may be a slow leak. I did get my targeted three chapters read this morning and feel refreshed for this next week.

It was a frustrating experience going through this cold snap again, yet it was not as cold as it could have been. I am just a bit out of practice and have been spoiled by the warm weather. So yes, I cursed and swore a lot this weekend as I got changed in my cold trailer.

There is a special kind of feeling of “what the heck am I doing this for?” which hits you as you strip down to nothing to get changed in a trailer that is below freezing. Trust me, it comes to you each time as you stand barefooted on a floor that is as cold as (and feels like) ice.   

The furnace warmed the trailer up, but even then it ended up being about 10 C. I didn’t want to run the furnace constantly, so I bundled up and muttered through it. I was able to cook, relax and be okay in my trailer.

In essence, spring cannot come too soon for me. Yet even if it drops down to below -30 C and stays there, I can and will survive. I keep in mind that I am doing this to get ahead, and it is all worth it. After all, I haven’t lost any of my fingers and toes to frostbite, so I must be doing something right.

Sunday 1 February 2015

Sleeping on my Own Couch

Okay, since Friday was laundry day, I washed my sheets and then when I was home decided to flip the mattress. That was when I discovered a frozen film covering the bottom of the mattress and where the mattress touched the board underneath. 

Part of the board is covered with linoleum and part is just bare board. The linoleum wasn’t as bad as the frozen film stayed on top. The part with the bare bored really stuck to the mattress as it had partially soaked up the frozen film. I left the mattress off of the board to let not only the mattress defrost and dry out but also the board as well. 

This left me sleeping in my warm sleeping bag on my couch for the last two nights. I am not sure what is causing this frozen film thing or what to do about it. In warmer weather I will stain and shellac the bare board portion, as that will prevent the moisture penetrating the board. 

I will be sleeping in my bed tonight as I am sure it will be dry enough by this evening to make my bed. I was able to finish the editing of the book and I am taking today off of reading before I start it again with the goal of finishing this read through before the end of Sunday of next weekend. 

I am, tempted to watch videos on how to do websites but I know that without access to my own website, this won’t help me. I am the type that I want/need to watch and learn something but then play with it myself to really make it stick in my head. I am still warm and in the library with power and internet access, so I will enjoy the day, my day off.