Friday 29 May 2015

Jittery Anticipation

It is less than a week to go before Wanda goes into the shop for repairs. She goes in on the 3rd of June. There are so many thoughts going through my head, so many wonderings and fears. I won’t list them as I am sure that you can imagine a few yourself.

I just hope that the work is done right, in a timely and doesn’t cost that much, that and that the guy who hit me actually pays me, as he said he would. I will not call him until the 1st, as I said I would wait until June for the money and would not bother him until then.

I know that I need to get Wanda fixed and that I will be fine sleeping in Trea for a few days. I just want this chapter, this challenge over and done with. 

I will enjoy this weekend in Wanda and try to do some bike riding as well as cleaning, organizing and preparing for my short separation from Wanda. 

Thursday 28 May 2015

Don’t Wish For a Do-Over

Now and again I look back on my life and wonder how I got to this place of living in an RV. I try not to think too hard about the past and the choices and mistakes that I have made. Sometimes it is irresistible to play the “what if” game and I unwisely play it.

What if I had gone into a more lucrative field when I was young? What if I had put more of an effort into wooing a woman in my early twenties? What if I had started saving years earlier? Why didn’t I do this Urban Nomad thing right out of Film School? Why did I wait three years to start this process of financial renewal?

All of the things that have happened to me, all of the choices that I have made, the struggles and triumphs of my life have shaped me. For better or worse, I am the person that I am because of what I have faced. Take them away from me, and I cease to be the person I am.

I still look back on my life and wonder what my life would have been like if any of these “what ifs” had come true. What if I could have a “Do Over”? What if I could go back to the time in my life of just graduating high school with all of the knowledge and experience that I have now?   

Such thoughts are pointless and while fun to entertain for a while they are counter-productive. Thinking and wishing to change the past will not affect the future. This is just as bad as “victim mentality” of blaming someone or something else for the state of your life. You shape your life by your choices, period. Both of these thought patterns will avert and divert your attention from the here and now and prevent you from making changes in your life. 

Don’t wish for a “Do Over” instead, chose a “Do Now.” If you don’t like the way your life is heading, make a change. Do something to change your life now, don’t wait. There is never a good or easy time for change. All you have is now, so make that change that you know that you need to make in your life. Do it now, don’t wait.

As for me, I will trudge on and keep going until my bills are paid and I am debt free. It is hard though as the date for Card #3 to be paid off keeps being shoved down the road. It looks as though that I won’t have achieved victory over it until somewhere in either October or November. That is coming close to that two year anniversary of starting this journey, of being an “Urban Nomad.”

I will eventually break the cycle of perpetual debt and “Corporate Indentured Servitude” that such debt really is. I will continue to change and reshape my life. For while my lifestyle is not easy and some say odd, it does help me get ahead. I am always taking one step further towards my ultimate goal of “Financial Independence.” 

Remember, there is no Do Over, only a Do Now!

Wednesday 27 May 2015

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Camping.

I have decided to go camping this weekend, I have reserved my spot and will be at Mclean Creek this weekend. This weekend will give me a chance not only to: get water, dump and charge batteries but some other needed tasks as well. 

I also need to do some minor repairs and cleaning of Wanda. Then there is the necessary task of putting aside what I need to camp out in Trea for the next week or so while Wanda is fixed. Here is hoping it is only for a few days, but we shall see.

I will look for a new place to dump next week or if I get brave tonight, after the rush hour traffic has died down.  One way or another I will find a new place do dump and buy water, of that I am certain.

I have had a few meals from this latest batch of “Taco Filler Stuff” and it is not looking good. Part of the problem of “experimental cooking” that is my style is that sometimes you can end up with stuff that doesn’t turn out. I mean, usually I pull it off and it tastes okay, but this batch just tastes off. 

It is not spoiled or “turned bad” but the flavours didn’t blend well and there are too many beans in it. This has resulted in a hash taste and giving it a hard paste-like consistency that doesn’t cook nicely. I will see how I feel after a few more days, but it looks like this batch will not survive. 

I have food so I will survive, that is certain, as always, we: live, learn and move on. 

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Another Day, Another Challenge

I saw it and I sighed. I grumbled (in my head) and shook my head as I stood there and read the simple sign. It politely said that there would be no water at this RV Dump Station due to an underground pipe crack. 

The added bit of “niceness” was that I found this lovely bit of news out as I was patronizing their business by buying propane there last night. (They are the cheapest around, so I still will.)

The way the sign was written indicated or hinted that they were not going to fix it. After all why should they? If they fix it, it will cost them money by giving people water when they dump their tanks. As it is now, they can just sit there and take the money (same price) for just for letting people dump their tanks. 

This is the station that I have been waiting months for them to turn their water back on, only to find out that they weren’t going to do that. Now I need to find another RV Dump Station, with potable water, and soon.

This is going to be challenging as there seems to be very few RV Dump Stations in Calgary and none in my area of the city. Again, I don’t just need a place to dump my tanks but fill up my fresh water tank as well. As with all challenges that I face I will figure this one out and find a solution to it. After all, this is what I do. 

On a happy note, the large payment on Card #1 went through and so I paid it off again. The bounce was not much, just shy of $15.00 . . . I think I can handle that. So now I officially have only one Credit Card to go, the dreaded and dastardly Card #3. 

Well, that is until I get the bill for fixing Wanda, and the guy who hit me somehow can’t pay. A crowdfunding campaign would hot right about now . . . (I won’t hold my breath).

One challenge at a time, first find a new RV Dump Station, then fix Wanda then pay off Card #3. Onward and upward to victory over debt!

Monday 25 May 2015

A Good Weekend

I did get my test letter on Friday, so that meant that I changed my address on my Driver’s License and registration over. Happily, it didn’t cost as much as I thought it might. Filling up my fuel tank on the other hand cost slightly more that I had hoped it might. 

So that meant that Friday was a busy afternoon for me, with a bit of extra running around. I did go grocery shopping for my new batch of taco, filler . . . stuff. This batch turned out more of a solid and paste consistency which means it is more filling and ‘stick to your ribs’ but it also means that it is harder to cook and deal with when frying in the pan. 

Again this batch should last me at least two months, I looked back in the blog but haven’t been able to see the date that I cooked the last batch.

As far as the bills are concerned I did go with the option number three, so I finally have a bit of a contingency fund. It is also good to see that Card #1 and Card #2 are back down to zero. Well, there was a bit of bounce on Card #1 that I need to take care of this week. 

Literally the same day that I paid it off to nothing, a few hours later there were the interest charges and other monthly charges (that you get when you carry a balance). So when the large payment actually hits the card I will then pay it off again (it is like $30.00).

I filled my fresh water tank with my blue jug and this went really well with the help of my little table.

I was able to pour the smaller bottles into the blue jug and so this again. I didn’t bother to pour the other large jug into the main tank, as I am still somewhere near full. Later this week I will pour that water into the tank. If I am conservative I should be able to stretch out the need to dump and fill until next week. This is good, as I would like to dump just before Wanda goes into service next week, on third.

I did go for a few walks and tried to keep active but I did no writing at all. Even this morning I didn’t do any writing. For now, book two is still paused, and this is frustrating to me. I need to force myself to write and get this book moving forward again.

I have achieved victory over two of my three cards (again) and that is something to celebrate. 

Friday 22 May 2015

Debt or Savings?

Today is payday, that means that I enact my budget that I crafted last night. As expected I got my paycheque yesterday at the end of work. While I can’t deposit or spend any of it until after work today, it means that I was able to plan out what to do with it. 

All of this planning and budgeting left me with an interesting dilemma and a few choices that I am facing. This dilemma was brought about by a happy circumstance that my paycheque was larger than I had anticipated. So in fact I have a bit of extra money, and I must decide what to do with it.

For fun I will put the choices facing me, to you to let you mull over what should be done. I will let you know what I actually decided on Monday, when I blog again. Each of these choices has both good points and bad. They bring with them both advantages and disadvantages. There is no clear winner . . . thus the dilemma. 

Option 1

My first and most sensible option is to pay my planned (and first) $1000.00 on (the dreaded) Card #3, and keep its paydown on schedule. Then I will pay $500.00 on Card #1, this will take a large bite out of it but not pay it off, I will carry a balance of a few hundred dollars. There is a miniscule amount on Card #2 from one of my reoccurring payments, that will be paid off regardless. This plan keeps my Card #3 paydown on schedule but leaves me with a balance on two cards. This means more interest paid.

Option 2

Another way to go would be to pay off Card #1 entirely, pay off Card #2 and put $500.00 on Card #3. With a bit of economising I can make this work. This would leave me with a balance on only one card but set back my paydown schedule on Card #3.

Option 3

This option is a modification of Option 2. I would pay off Card #1, pay off Card #2 and ignore Card #3. Instead I would put that $500.00 into my savings account and actually start a contingency fund. The trouble with this option is that it would set back my paydown schedule on Card #3 (already delayed) back a month. In doing so I would pay even more in interest on Card #3. Yet in recent months it has become apparent that a contingency fund is a valid thing to have. 


I welcome your thoughts on this but at the very least I hope that it lets you see that there are many ways that you can manage debt. You can do many different things with your money so take a bit of time each payday and plan and explore a few different options before you actually spend your paycheque. A spreadsheet is a great tool to help you do this. If you don’t have one but would like one, contact me and I can send you mine.

Thursday 21 May 2015

Busy Weekend Ahead

Okay, I have a few things planned this weekend, for one it is payday so there is the usual running around and bill paying associated with payday. 

I have decided to pay off Card #1 completely and leave whatever extra, if there is any, in the main account. This will certainly push my card payoff date back, but it has to be done. I have been living on Card #1 in small bits over the last six months, using it to augment and supplement my stringent budgets. Again, this is because I have no contingency fund; again, I reiterate how important this is. 

I am now on the last of my taco filler, stuff that I have been eating. That means that this weekend I will make and freeze another batch; this should be fun. In my usual style I will try to improve this batch from the stuff that I have learned from the last batch. 

I had planned to change my addresses over on my driver’s licence and what have you, but what is giving me a reason to pause is that, as yet, I have not received my test letter. 

I always send a letter to myself to ensure that I have the address correct and that mail will actually get to me. This way I can avoid spending the money and going through the fuss of changing my address, only to do so to an incorrect address. 

I will check the mailbox tomorrow after work, and just add it my list of Friday payday errands. If it is there then I will change my address over tomorrow, if not I will wait a week, I can do that.  

Another thing I hope to do this weekend is to get book two moving forward. I have an idea for the next few chapters, it is just working up the gumption to force myself to sit down and write them. I know that it will get done, the progress on this one is jut slower that it should be, I know this.

With no idea how book one is being received by a friend of mine who is reading and reviewing it, it seems to affect my progress on this book. I know that I need to just write the book that I want to read and hope others will want to read it too. 

As May winds down, June approaches; so too does Wanda’s date with the repair shop. I will wait until the first of June, as agreed, before I call the guy that backed into me to see if he has the money to fix Wanda. Either way, Wanda will get fixed. The only thing which is up in the air is if he has the money he said he would, when he said he would. 

The happy thing of note is that the warm weather has returned and that is something to smile about. 

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Organizing and Backing Up

Two of the things I did this weekend was to organize my wallet and organize my keys. 

With the keys I decided to make sure that I had duplicate sets for all of my keys and lock one set in my firesafe. That way if I lose any sets, I know that I have a backup set in a safe place. 

To organize my keys I bought these ID tag key rings that you can get at a stationary store. With a clear label you don’t have to guess which key is which. 

The extra set of the “Hitch & Tools” set is in the glove box of the truck so that I can always access my tools (located in the back of the truck) or disconnect the hitch assembly from the truck (that thing with the ball).

The grouping of keys up top are the forlorn keys, the ones that I have no idea where they go to, yet somehow can't bring myself to throw away keys, lest I find the lock that they go to and thus need them.

A simple and organized key rack, with keys at the ready.

Here are the set of backup keys ready to go into the firesafe yet not take it over. 

Organizing my keys this way makes sense to me because my home is always with me. What that means is that I don’t need to carry around a large ball of keys (as I have done in years gone by). I have my keys hanging on hooks just inside the door ready to go. I only take the keys that I need at the time then put them back.

With the wallet I did just strip out the key items that I will need on a regular basis: my debit and credit cards, my Costco card (for fuel), and my rewards card for buying propane and dumping. Those I put in a slim “Card only wallet” and the other cards I put in what was my old main wallet.  

I still keep all wallets locked away in the fire safe unless I need any of them at the moment, then back they go. Again, this is not only to prevent impulse spending but because my home is always with me. 

I was going to put a photo of my wallet up here but that seemed unwise with my bank card and Driver's Licence visible.

It is an odd thing to get used to, always having your home with you but it has its advantages. For one, I never pack for trips, I just go. When I grocery shop, sometimes I don’t even bother with the grocery bags, as I push the cart to my front door and unload.  

During a road trip, if I need to stop to use the washroom or grab a bite, I can pull over and do that. As well, if I need to change, clothes are always at the ready. 

Two of the keys to success in this lifestyle lies in only keeping what you need, and being organized. That and yes keeping calm and dealing with problems and challenges as they arise. 

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Puttering in Paradise

“WHAT?” she shouted in stunned disbelief. 

Life in the little shack stood still as three sets of eyes trained on me in: shock, horror, and disdain. I tried my best not to smirk, for a moment, before I chuckled, then laughed. The groaned, grumbled and shot a few sarcastic remarks back before returning to their knitting.

You see this was as I was checking into the campground in Banff, as in the National Park of Banff, and the Park Ranger lady was giving me the usual spiel. When she got to the part where she said, “Be careful, we have bears in the area,” I (being the sarcastic smart-mouth that I am) replied “That’s okay, I brought my gun;” thus the shock. As you can imagine Park Rangers tend to frown on you having a gun in a National Park and look even dimmer on you actually shooting any of the wildlife (Gophers included). 

I did get to Banff and got settled in on Friday with little trouble. Here was my campsite, my home for the weekend. 

The first thing I did was to fill up my fresh water tank and then connected up the hose to the main water in. I made sure that water flowed through the lines and then turned the main tap off (at the campsite connection). That was when I tuned on the water pump and turned on the bathroom tap. It started as a sputter but it did work. My water pump was fine, I danced. This meant that I would have running water after I left the campground, and not have to have it replaced again. 

That night I plopped and did nothing. I sat, relaxed, went for a walk or two, but that was about it. Saturday I also plopped and did very little. It was my official plop day. When I do get out of town, the first day is where I just plop and do nothing. 

My excuse for doing nothing was that it was raining . . . spittling really. For a guy from Vancouver this rain was nothing. A nice spot was that while it did lightly rain off and on, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it didn’t snow.I did get to see some wildlife, though on my walks.

On Sunday I did go for a hike in the woods around the campground. 

I got around to some minor repairs, cleaning and organizing that I had been meaning to do, but never got around to. On Monday evening was when I topped up with water, as in as much as I could. I filled up the main water tank until it was dribbling out the filler spout. 

I filled up the large water bottle that I buy water in and my five gallon jug. I then scavenged all of my bottles that I had soda bottles or those previously containing “other consumable liquids.” I filled them too. How? With my fountain and hose setup which is essentially a funnel shoved into the end of a hose.

That left me with about 14 gallons of water in these containers. This combined with what my fresh water tank can hold (40 Gallons) means that I now have 54 Gallons of water. oh, then there is the 6 Gallons in the hot water tank, so it comes to a nice round 60 Gallons of water. (Tee Hee Hee)

Here is my water jugs that I ended up with.

You may be wondering how I will get this water into the fresh water tank? Well with the smaller bottles I can just pour the water right into the spout. With the larger ones I can’t do that, so I came up with this solution. I bought a hose adaptor and small hose for my 5 gallon jug. 

This way I can put the hose down the spout and lift the jug, thus emptying it. I can then transfer the water from the large blue jug (that I buy water in) into the blue jug and repeat this process.

Monday evening was when I got the perfect shot of the mountains, so here is the best of the lot. 

Since my trick is to leave the morning of when I have to work and drive straight to work, I pack up camp the night before. This way at Four in the morning people don’t hear me cranking jacks up or motors whirring. Since there was a frost advisory, I made sure to pack up the water and sewer the night before as well. The electrical cord I left plugged in until the morning. 

It was a good weekend and I got a lot done, and rested up but I didn’t get down to the town of Banff nor did I go up the gondola. I just didn’t feel like it or spending money. Oddly enough I wanted a weekend to putter around the house and get some stuff done, stuff I have been putting off for a while. I feel most relaxed and at home on a campground. This is because I have paid to be here and am ‘supposed’ to be here. This fall, once the finances are stabilized I will look for a camping spot to winter over in (as long as it is not stupidly expensive).

Back to the grind, and back at it, though I do so, well rested (and with a lot of water). 

Friday 15 May 2015

Run To The Hills!

To be clear you don’t have to run to the hills; as far as I know the Zombie-Apocalypse hasn’t started. Today is the day however that I rush to Banff National Park for the long weekend. 

I will also enjoy having water, if at least for the weekend. I will see tonight if my water pump survived and is still working. One thing at a time, one challenge at a time; first get through the day, then go to Banff and setup, and then try to get my water pump working.

I will also try to spend a bit more time exploring Banff and see about getting up Sulphur Mountain, as the views up there are amazing and well worth the money to ride the gondola. 

This all hinges on the weather of course as it looks to be a bit gloomy for at least part of the weekend. I have my Wanda and the weekend is paid for, as well, I get power and water . . . I will be fine no matter what happens. I should have some interesting pictures when I get back on Tuesday.

Thursday 14 May 2015

So . . . I Found my Wallet Yesterday

I love my country . . . I really do. Why? Well for a thousand reasons, but today it is because my wallet was turned in.  Yep, my wallet was found and turned in and not a thing in it was touched. 

Where was it? Well, it was in the first place I looked after I realized that I didn’t have my main wallet, the trouble was that I was a moment too late to find it. What happened is that I emptied my shopping cart of groceries but left my wallet in the shopping cart. 

The next person who came to go shopping found my wallet in what was now their shopping cart. What did they do? They turned it in after they had finished their shopping. Think about that . . . some person (a man, apparently) went shopping with my wallet and didn’t use anything from it. 

Let’s face it, he could have bought fifty bucks of groceries for free . . . on me (using that tap function). Come to think of it he could have bought $150.00 ($50.00 on each card). He could have taken it home and done various nasty things with it. Such as: fraud, identify theft or any one of those nightmarish scenarios that we hear about all the time. Instead this nice person turned the wallet in. 

As I was signing the lost and found book I was heartened to see that there was another wallet (a woman’s wallet) that had also been lost . . . so it wasn’t just me being forgetful. 

So what does this mean for my address change? Well, I am still going to do it. By the time I had checked at the grocery store to see if the wallet had turned up after all, I had already gotten my new mail box. I went to my local branch of The UPS Store and got one there.

While I am not one to flog products I feel they need a mention, as I was impressed by what I found there. The friendly lady helped me sign up with no problem and the address does seem to be nondescript and not scream PO Box, so that is good. 

A few businesses use The UPS Store’s address as their business address: such as renovation companies or those working from home. Apparently this is a way to keep your privacy and prevent people dropping by your house unexpected, expecting to do business. 

Sure you can ship things via UPS and they do have printing and copying services. For me it was the fact that she seemed to genuinely be interested in customer service and the fact that they will forward my mail to wherever I need them to . . . anywhere in the world (for free). 

The downside is they were more expensive than the post office, by almost double, so that is a reason to pause, but for me it is worth it. I will get my cards changed over when I get paid, as I don’t need to do it right away, as I have my cards back. 

What I will do is start to update my address on all of my various cards and creditors.  Slowly I will ensure that all of my mail will go to this new mail box and not my old one. In December I will just not renew the Post Office Box. 

So all is well that ends well in this adventure, now to focus on shrinking down and splitting up my main wallet and organize my growing collection of keys. As well, I am looking forward to the long weekend in Banff (jealous?).

Wednesday 13 May 2015

So . . . I Lost my Wallet Yesterday

No, it wasn’t one of the ones I could stand to lose, like my groceries wallet or my utilities wallet. No, it was my main wallet, the one with all of my ID in it. I already took care of cancelling and reordering my debit card and credit cards. These days they give you a new debit card right away. 

Where did I lose it? In the grocery store, and no, I didn’t find it nor did anyone turn it in. I will check today after work to see if it somehow turned up.  

So now comes the fun part of getting all of those cards replaced, you know, driver’s licence, Costco card, AMA card to name a few. So this got me thinking, perhaps now would be the time to change my address. 

This way if someone with nefarious purposes did pick up my wallet, all of my information will be wrong. Also it may help me vote federally. So I will try to get a different mail box (not a Post office box) and just change my address on everything, including that driver’s license I have to replace anyway.  

Sure this will mean me checking two mail office boxes, for the rest of the year, but it will be worth it.  It will be interesting to see if I can get a mail box, as the only ID I have now is my birth certificate and my change of name. (My new debit card doesn’t have my name on it). 

The trouble came with me carrying two wallets into the store to buy groceries and water. My main wallet has my ID as well as my bank /credit cards, and my groceries wallet had my groceries cash. As you might expect, I brought the groceries wallet in to pay for said groceries. I brought my main wallet in, however, just in case I went over budget and needed to pay the difference for the groceries with my debit card.

I try not to freak out or panic, as I have a credit watching service to keep an eye on things if someone tries to steal my identity. I am still recovering, so there isn’t much anyone can do with my info, but there is still a risk. I will focus on dealing with this situation and moving on from here. 

Yes, after all of my cards are replaced I fully expect to find that said wallet had just fallen into some obscure hiding spot in Wanda. From now on I will get a smaller, thinner wallet for just the essential cards that I would need to carry with me. I will keep another one to hold the more important cards and keep that in the fire safe.

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Counting Consumables

It never ceases to amaze me how precious and fleeting our consumable resources are. I, for one, have this fact reinforced to me daily by my current lifestyle. 

I see how much water I use each time I pump water out of my water jug. It hits home what it costs me to heat my home each time I switch propane tanks or lug the empty one across the parking lot to get it filled again. Then of course I know the cost of electricity each time I fill up Jenny’s gas tank or run Jenny. 

If more people lived like I do, we as a society would be more mindful of what resources we are using and would likewise use them more sparingly. Don’t get me wrong, I like being plugged in and having unrestricted electricity and water, just as much as the next person. I like my hot showers, watching TV and having my electric heater going 24/7, just like anyone else would. For me, such self-indulgent times are a treat, as well as few and far between. 

I don’t mean to preach, nor am I turning into a hippie . . . at least I don’t think so. It just hit me yesterday as I was staring at my near empty jug of water and wondered just how I could have gone through five gallons in as many days.  Oh well, back to the store I go to buy at least one more jug of water before camping this weekend. 

So next time you turn on that tap, be thankful that your water is always there, ready to flow. When you flick on that light switch, be thankful that you are not worrying about how much it is draining your batteries. Last but not least, be thankful that you wake up to a warm house, having run the furnace all night long. 

As you do go through your day, however, give a thought to the consumables that you are using and perhaps try to use them more sparingly.  

Monday 11 May 2015

I Got Invaded Over the Weekend

Yes, my plans were thrown awry after my home was invaded by two savage beasts . . . .

Indeed, my life was never the same and certainly I didn’t get what I wanted to get done, as life seemed to revolve around these two furry balls of fury. 

The thing I learned is that little dogs 1) have bladders the size of a pea and 2) have no interest in learning how to use a toilet . . . they didn’t even try. So going for walks was a somewhat regular thing.

Why was I overrun by these two? A friend of mine was coming into town and needed a place to keep the dogs for the weekend. They were going to heritage park and didn’t think they would do well with all of those people there. You see, when you are a little dog, the world is awash of feet . . . feet which step on and kick you. So you get a bit jittery in public.

The upside of this is that I did go for walks on a regular basis this weekend. The downside is that I went for a walk before I even had my coffee . . . . (small and bursting  bladders won out over caffeine need). While they were a welcome addition and were good houseguests, they were atrocious for productivity.

They were much calmer and more relaxed than they were the last time I saw them, and that is good. The funniest part is that once the day was done, on Saturday my friend brought their family around, and I had my excuse to BBQ . . . 

Yes, folks, I finally fired up the BBQ in the Walmart parking lot! (Yes that is the awning deployed too). You see, someone (online) had complained that other people had done this in their local Walmart so I took that as a dare. 

It was a good visit and a much needed relaxing weekend. This upcoming weekend will be delightful as I will be in Banff, relaxing and playing tourist. I will get back to the grind and continue working on Book Two. 

Friday 8 May 2015

Working for the Weekend

It has been a long week for me as I have been running the shop myself.  That means: answering the phones, dealing with customers coming in as well as my main job processing orders and making sure they get out the door. 

Yesterday was especially busy and I just wanted to plop and do nothing after work. It was payday, however, so I had my usual running about and errands do to. It ended up being even longer than usual. 

I still have not done my budget or plopped that usual amount on Card #3, I will do that tonight. The bright spot is that due to my frugal driving ways, my fuel cost was about half of what I had budgeted. This was despite me running Jenny more than usual on the weekend.

I play a little game with each budget; I look for ways to pay everything that needs to be paid, yet stay within the amount of that paycheque. I furthermore try to add at least a little something to the meagre amount that will be left in the bank after everything is paid. Trying to trickle save after all. 

My goal financially will be to get back to a place where I full fund my wallets and have a bit of spends for me. First things first, I need to get my finances back in order, and back down to only one card being paid down. I am working on this, one paycheque at a time.

I will look forward to resting tonight and trying to do some writing this weekend. Always on my mind is that vision of next weekend and the time in Banff that I will enjoy, and yes the unrestricted access to water. I even plan to play tourist, visit the town itself and perhaps visit a few of the touristy attractions.

Thursday 7 May 2015

Time Marches On

With the election business behind me I can focus on the day to day tasks of tending to my own patch of troubles. I will talk to Elections Canada at some point to see what they have to say about my eligibility to vote in the upcoming federal election. I don’t want to lie or deceive them by using a creative way to disguise my PO Box address. I want to vote, as I am, as me: honestly.

For now, since it is payday, it is time to enact my latest budget and carry on. Tight and stringent budgets are somewhat normal for me, so I am used to living on little. The extra little bit of cash that I squeeze out of a budget goes to pay down bills and debts. Slowly and surely I will get these debts paid off and have my freedom. 

As I look over my space and what I can put where, I keep coming up to a conclusion that I don’t like, yet seems inevitable. I don’t have the space for my bike. All winter it has been in the back of work and just sitting there. Each time I pass it by I feel a little guilty that it is there and frustrated that I don’t have it with me. 

I will most likely give the bike to charity and at some time in the future, when I have the space, I will buy another one. I know that I probably could find a way to partially disassemble it and cram it in a corner of the back of the truck. Then it would not be readily available to be used and therefore dead weight. Even worse it would be in the way when I climb into the back of the truck to run Jenny. 

I am not ready to buy that bike rack for the back of Wanda just yet, so the only choice is to get rid of it. I can and will have another one, when I have the space . . . perhaps that one will actually shift gears reliably (don’t get me started).

I am looking forward to next weekend and camping in Banff for the May Long Weekend. This means that I will have full hookups and yes water in my main tank. It also means that I should be able to buy water when I pay to dump my tanks. Things are steadily looking up for me, it is all in how you look at them, and yes . . . time marches on, and steadily away from the problems and mistakes of the past.

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Adventures in Voting

I made my way to the polling place, found parking (an adventure in itself) and even had stopped by my mail box on the off chance I got my voting card last minute (I didn’t). 

I clutched my government issued ID in hand and lined up to register to vote. Naturally I was not on the list and so I was sent to the “Voter Registration” table. Again, I dutifully lined up and waited my turn to register to vote. 

I have voted in every election that I have been eligible for, save one. There was an election for the village council in a small town that I lived in that I didn’t vote. The reason was that I only slept in this village, yet worked in a nearby city. I had not bothered to get to know the candidates or the issues. Since I had not informed myself, I felt that I had no right to vote. So to punish myself, I chose not to vote. This is how serious I take the civic duty of voting. 

As I stood in the voter registration line and awaited my fate I went over if I should just lie about my address. As you can understand, I did want to vote, and in in this pivotal election in particular. 

Eventually it was my turn and so I sat in the chair and presented my driver’s licence and my health care card. The nice lady picked up the driver’s licence and was about to start writing it down on the voters registration form. She looked up at me and asked “Is this current and accurate?”   

“Yes, and this is the only address I have,” I replied politely. 

The nice lady then looked back at the driver’s license again and then she saw it . . . “PO Box.” 

“Do you have any mail with your ‘real’ address on it?” she asked as she put the driver’s license down in front of me; essentially handing me back the offending and insufficient card.

“No,” I replied. My mood was starting to fall; I already knew how this would end. 

“We need some piece of ID or mail with your real address on it,” she said with hope in her eyes. Even then I could see that she was hoping that I would pull out some suitable piece of paper out of my back pocket. 

“Well, I’ll go look for one,” I remember saying politely as I stood up, nodded and left. 

“We will take any mail,” The nice lady called after me. 

I left the polling place disheartened as for the first time in my life I was refused the opportunity to vote, all because the government doesn’t know where I sleep. 

Again, I have said it before; I understand that you need to have a fixed address so that you can prove that I live within a certain riding. We are so fixated on having that little place that is yours; that place for you to return to at the end of the day. We have institutionalized the fact that you are indeed nothing if you have no fixed address.

As always, I will continue, I will survive, I will carry on and I will get through this chapter of my life. Sooner or later I know that I will have that little place that is mine, that little piece of ground to call my own. Then, I can vote again, until then, I can’t.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Decision Day in Alberta

It is Election Day here in Alberta and so I thought I would take a brief moment to encourage all people who are eligible to vote in any election to vote in every election they can. Not only that but put some thought behind your vote and don’t give in to scare tactics or nifty marketing of political parties.

This election is interesting to me, not only because for the first time in a long time the ruling party here has a strong challenger, but also to see if I will be allowed to vote. Trying to vote may be tricky, and it remains to be seen if I will be allowed to.

Sure I have identification which proves that I am a Canadian Citizen and my driver’s licence does have my (mailing) address on it. The sticky wicket is that I don’t have that all-important “fixed address.” 

I understand that they need it in order to determine what riding I fit into; so, on one hand I get it. This is, however, another example of how our society is ‘Cubby-Hole Centric;” you are nothing if you don’t have a cubby-hole. 

I really don’t want to give a false address or my work’s address in order to vote. I may give an address nearby where I usually park, but again, that would be lying and I don’t want to do that. I may simply refuse to do so and in so doing be barred from voting, just to make some sort of stance or be honest to myself.

I do firmly believe that it is every person’s civic duty to vote and participate in the democratic process, no matter how woefully broken it is (don’t get me started). So in saying that, I really do want to vote and in this key election in particular. 

I will let you all know how my attempt at voting went tomorrow, but for now, enjoy this unique sunrise.

Monday 4 May 2015

Didn’t Move All Weekend

Okay, I moved (barely) but my truck didn’t. I decided to test out a little theory, could I stay in my Western Home all weekend and still get done what I wanted to get done? 

I ran Jenny for three hours Friday night to charge up Wanda’s batteries. Saturday I used the laptop all day to work. I was even able to continue going after the time when, by the afternoon, Wanda’s batteries were too weak to run the inverter. I just then continued to work using the laptop’s internal battery.

I then ran Jenny for three hours that evening and continued to work Sure I took a few breaks here and there throughout the day and even took a nap, or tried to. In truth I didn’t get a lot of work done, but I did rest and relax. That is something, I suppose. I ended up doing a lot of web surfing, played a lot of video games and made a few token attempts at writing.

I was able to do the same trick Sunday to work all day, but then I only ran Jenny for two hours last night and not three. Things were fine for running the laptop this morning and I don’t even expect to run Jenny tonight. 

For me, there is something about going to somewhere to work. Even just going to the library gives me the feeling that this is my office and I have to be productive. I do get more work done in the library but I was able to think through this new chapter that I am writing. 

This morning was different and I was able to make some headway on that chapter. By the time I had to get ready for work this morning I had it mostly done and the final scene is percolating in my head.  
I expect to keep this effort up and write at a steadily increasing pace, being more productive each day from now on. I have done this before and it takes a bit of effort to get going, but I do pick up speed quickly.  I am looking forward to finishing this book and on into completely new territory of book three.

Friday 1 May 2015

Striving for Sunrise

For me, today, the first of May is a turning point, one that I have decided to make. I see this as the beginning of the warm season; call it Spring/Summer/Warm Fall, what have you, for me it has arrived. I do plan to enjoy the warmer weather more this year than I did last year. 

I have chosen to make this day the start of a bright future for me, to keep positive as I battle my credit cards. There are still daily challenges and frustrations that are both unique to my lifestyle and common to everyone. It is in the attitude that I chose to approach them which determines their power over me.

One example of this is the fact that this morning my usual spot that I park in while at work was taken up by not one but two vehicles. Not only was the same truck that was there yesterday, still there (in the same spot), but another one was parked behind it. 

For me, due to my size and length, parking is a larger and trickier issue than parking a smart car is. So when my usual spot is taken up, this is a serious problem for me.

Rather than get mad and curse out, or get vindictive, I just parked around the corner in another spot. I was able to find one not too far away, and not too bad. In short, I just dealt with the situation and got done what I needed to. 

I know I will still have my down days (we all do), but I choose to have more up days than down. For if I am angry or miserable, I am the only one forced to live and deal with it . . . and I don’t like being miserable, it serves no purpose.

So I instead choose to focus on the goal that this journey is about: Debt Freedom. For, as I eliminate debt from my life, I increase my amount of freedom and independence. With each dollar of debt eliminated, with each dollar saved, I increase my ability to do what I want, when I want. 

As I go through my daily life and endure the slow process of “Debt-Redemption” that I am going through, I need to keep focussed. I need to keep focused on why I am doing all of this: to get this millstone off of my back. 

This millstone of debt and financial burden has been with me all of my adult life and I just want it off of my back. I don’t want to be tied to a particular job and a small plot of ground until I am of no further use to the working world.

I hope to slowly bring in small niceties and luxuries into my life, over time. As more debt is eliminated and more funds are freed up from my budget, perhaps I can find a small plot to rent and place Wanda on. Perhaps I can buy that smart phone and laptop. 

For now, I need to hunker down and get these cards done, so I can move on to savings and Wanda/Trea debt elimination. Then I will truly be free, with or without winning the lottery or becoming a best-selling author.

So here, appropriately enough is a wonderful sunrise shot.