Monday 31 August 2015

An Interesting Weekend

Okay, we have all seen the sight of someone doing minor vehicle repairs in the parking lot of an auto parts store. You know, changing a light bulb, replacing an air filter, adding oil etc. That we have all seen, we chuckle, perhaps shake our head and move on. What I saw this weekend tops all that.

Picture this, there is a couple who own and live in this full sized motor home parked in my Western Home. This thing is the size of a bus and takes up two spaces, one after the other, you know across a parking lot island. Fine, no big deal. 

They are doing repairs to this thing; again, we have seen this so okay. I am not talking about minor repairs, but replacing insulation and drywall and essentially gutting this thing and redoing it . . . in my Western Home! How do know this? Because they have bits of: insulation, wall boards, new drywall and whatever else they have pulled out, all stacked up outside the motor home.

It gets better. Apparently due to the extent of the repairs to this motorhome it has become unlivable. So they bought a second, older, used, yet long fifth-wheel trailer to live in. It is obvious that he is a trucker by trade because he pulled up with this trailer, towing it with a nice, new looking big rig truck. 

So, in case you were wondering, yes those big rigs can pull a fifth-wheel trailer. I wonder if a pickup truck can pull a full sized tractor trailer? Hmm, there is a YouTube video in the making.

So there they were, trying to figure out how to park this thing and ended up with the trailer pulled up three spaces over from the motor home and the rig cut over at the last moment to fit in. It formed a U-shape with the motorhome. To top it off they parked their car in between the two.

It got interesting when a large wind blew through the area and ripped bits of roofing off of this motorhome and strew it around the parking lot. I retrieved a large piece and returned it to them, as it appears they weren’t home at the time.

I find this humorous and an extreme example of someone taking advantage of the generosity of a corporate neighbour. I always am appreciative each time that I am able to park in my Western Home or wherever I do. 

I don’t disconnect, nor do I stay for too long, even when I do, I park far away from the door, so as to allow regular customers to come and go unhindered. I also shop there, when I need to get something, a small way to say thank you to the owners of my Western Home.

To me, to see a motorhome or trailer parked in the same spot for months is a bit much. Repairs are one thing but rebuilding is another. I just found this interesting, and had to share. I thought about taking a picture but decided against it, as I don’t want to embarrass anyone, but just use this as a learning example. 

As for me, I was able to finish one and three quarters chapters this weekend. I laughed yet felt guilty at the same time. One chapter was hilarious and the other was funny yet still very tense for one particular character. 

The first bit of the first chapter was us outside of a room listening to the beginnings of a very intense “amorous rendezvous.” This takes place between two characters who have been attracted to each other yet been holding back, until they can’t. Add in the fact that they are having troubles getting clothes off before the fun can really started and you understand the humour. Trust me it is freaking hilarious.

The second chapter involved one character (who is under immense pressure) trying to recruit another character yet trying to avoid talking about the large elephant in the room. Again, tension, good dialogue and exchange is had between the two. 

Yet with all that his character is going through, I kinda feel guilty for doing this to this character. I know that she doesn’t actually exist, but as a writer and creator of this character, she is kinda my kid . . . sorta . . . in a way. Writers will understand (I hope).

But the good this is that I am now half way (word count wise) through book two. Gee, it would be nice to hear some feedback on book one.  *He says looking out through the internet to one particular person . . . hint, hint, hint . . . you know who you are.*

Friday 28 August 2015

Two Weeks Until my Vacation

Seriously, it’s two weeks to the day until I leave for my much needed break. I will enjoy relaxing in the serene surroundings of nature and unwind. Not that I am counting the days but it is fourteen days and six hours until my wheels are rolling out of town.

The first bit of positive news is that Card #1 and Card #2 paid off. There is something special in login in and seeing a zero balance on a credit card, or in my case, both of the active ones. The second bit of positive news is that I should be able to pay for the week without using a credit card. We shall see how that goes, in practice, but if I end up with a few hundred on a card, that will not slow down Card #3’s ramped up (and full force) paydown.

I had an inspired morning today and finished a chapter that I had started yesterday. This was one of those good ones, which just flowed out and was a joy to read as I wrote. It is hard to describe, but when you know your characters as well as I do, sometimes all you have to do is put them in the same room and see (or in my case record) what happens. (No, my characters are not the little voices in my head, I just know them really well).

The smoke is still in the area and while the view of the red (as in blood red) sun was cook peeking through the smoke and clouds, I couldn’t get an interesting shot. So, there will be no red dot on a sea of gray photo for you today. 

Work approaches, and I do hope that this inspiration continues and I can get going on this book and get it done soon. Mainly because I want to see how it turns out, and the next one promises to be chocked full of action this one is setting things up with tension and drama.

Thursday 27 August 2015

Lessons From a Spider

Okay, for the last week or so, I have been fighting with a spider. No, it isn’t a 90 foot, fire-breathing tarantula, hell bent on world domination. No, I have been struggling with a plain old, regular spider. 

Perhaps “Regular” is not the right term for this plucky little guy, as he just won’t give up. You see, this brainiac has decided that the best place for him to build his spider web is between Treabilla’s right side mirror and the side window. 

At first I figured that the wind would take care of it for me . . .  nope.  The combination of the wind shielding characteristics of the side mirror and how this little guy engineered that web meant it was fine despite a trip down the Deerfoot trial (a local freeway).

So I smashed and destroyed his handiwork as soon as I parked and told him that it served him right. He shook his little fist at me and swore to rebuild. I laughed, but the next day after work, there he was sunning himself on his new web.

Again I smashed it and again he rebuilt it, I even made sure to remove all of the web components and drop it on the ground, in nearby grass, hoping to give him a hint. The struggle remains to this day, I destroy his web he still rebuilds it. 

It just irks me that he is still there decorating my truck in such a manner. As yet I have not bought a can of raid or will do anything so drastic. I don’t want to kill him just “actively encourage him to seek other accommodations.” 

Maybe he just wants to see the wide world. Perhaps he likes the rush of the wind blowing through his hair as we drive down the road. Whatever the reason, I am sure that he and his web will be back. 

His plucky determination to stick with his plan means that I admire him. We can all learn something from a spider who just won’t give up and keeps on rebuilding, each time he is dealt a setback.

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Calgary’s Starman in Trouble

I have long known and said that I am not the only person out here living in an RV. Many people live in RV’s for many different reasons. Some are like me who are looking for a way to get ahead. Some are living in the area temporarily in order to work, make money and keep the maximum amount of the money they earn. Then there are those who have little other choice, those who are, shall we say, down on their luck. 

I am not an expert on this man’s case, nor have I spoken to him, so I only know what I have read or heard in various news reports. From what I understand he gets by picking pop bottles and other recyclable materials, so his cash flow is, shall we say, less than desirable. At least his is doing something to better his situation and that needs to be recognized and commended.

Essentially the crux of the situation is that he owns an old and “classic” motorhome that was given to him by a friend two years ago. Apparently the motor in it is shot and so it was towed to its current location in a nearby industrial park where it has sat for the last two years. 

A little girl drew a star on this motorhome and this inspired him paint it up in a colourful star field display. The real problem started when someone apparently complained and bylaw enforcement came by. The motorhome is either being impounded or at least there is the threat of it being impounded.

I do feel for this man and wish for the best resolution to the situation. Like me, this is his house, and everything he owns is contained therein.  I can only imagine the feeling of having all that taken away, pause and think about that for a moment.

I know that the eyes of the law could turn towards me and cause me trouble just as easily, should they so desire. I trust that they have a thousand better things to do than harass little old me. Here are a few lessons, one could learn from this situation, not that I wish to get preachy or talk down about this individual. This is just for learning and self-improvement.

For one, since the vehicle is not running it has been sitting on a public street, rather on the service access road in an industrial area for two years. This permanently takes this space up and nobody else can use it, or has the opportunity to use it. 

Public streets are there for the public’s use, not any one particular individual. I move around every twelve hours so that others have the opportunity to use that space. There have been many times where one of my usual spots is taken up by another vehicle, so I go park somewhere else, that’s life.

Since this vehicle is not running I am not even sure if it has current registration and insurance. This is my supposition, so do not take this as actual fact. If this is true, this then makes it a road hazard and it cannot be legally moved. What’s more it is my understanding that all vehicles must have current registration and insurance to be parked on a street. 

I do hope that things work out for this guy and if there was a crowd funding campaign of some sort to fix his motorhome I would chip in twenty bucks. 

I always try my best to be as considerate of others and share the road while I am out here. Sharing the road and understanding that the street or parking lot space that you are parked on is not yours. So never treat it like it is yours or you have a right to be there long term. I never run my generator at night and only do so for a few hours in the evening. These are just a few of my observations, so keep this in mind if you out there living in your RV or thinking of doing so. 

Tuesday 25 August 2015

How Trash Becomes a Memento

A few years ago I was dating a woman, who happened to aboriginal. This is not the intriguing part as her heritage was neither here nor there as far as I was concerned. The reasons we got together and broke up had nothing to do with her ethnicity. 

More to the point is the fact that we were about to go on a road trip and she decided that she wanted to do some sort of blessing on the truck for a safe journey. So, off to the reserve we went so she could buy the required eagle feather.

She did the blessing and we brought that feather with us and all was well on the trip. Time passed and we broke up. After moving her out to her new place I found that she had left that feather behind. 

I knew enough to know that just throwing an eagle feather away was wrong, so I kept it. Even through all of the pairing down and getting rid of most of what I owned, I kept it. For the longest time I just kept this feather pinned to my goal board. This weekend I finally bought a frame and a bit of fabric to display that feather in a manner in which it deserves. 

To me, this feather, which was discarded or left behind intentionally, is my little lucky charm. Not that I really believe in such things, but it has become special to me. Not that I miss the ex-girlfriend who bought it. I wish her well and all that, I just hope that she stays far away from me, thanks. 

It is just interesting how some things become special to us over time. Just as this one feather, once discarded, now holds an honoured place on my wall.

Monday 24 August 2015

Celebrate Your Achievements

There is something nice in pausing to recognize when you have done something you set out to do. For me, this weekend, it was burning those little reminder notes that I post up above my fridge. 

Each time I achieve one of these goals I reward myself by finally destroying that constant reminder of the goal yet unfulfilled. So when I finally do achieve that goal, be it pay my cell bill or finally pay off a credit card, I delight in its destruction, I even bought a new metal plate to safely do just that.

I used to just rip them up and toss them away, but with this one, this Card #2 I wanted to really celebrate as it was a big one. Now I can focus on Card #3, and of course paying off that upcoming mini-vacation which will take place in the middle of next month. Some people go to Cuba or Mexico while I drive a little over an hour away (sigh) to do what I do every other day of the year . . . camp.

I am focussed on what I need to do and I am really looking forward to the day when Card #3 is finally paid off and done.  For that celebration I will build a mini funeral pyre and burn that chopped up card on it. I will even use the reminder note as fire starter. Yes, as I have said before, I will post that video.

I expect to pay it off, most likely by the last payday in November, if I am lucky by the first payday in November. Either way it will be paid off before my two year anniversary of starting this journey (and blog).

Celebrating your achievements is important, as it will help motivate you to move towards your next goal. For me, this is what my goal board looks like now.

Friday 21 August 2015

Rainy Day, Sunny Outlook

It is dark and raining this morning, yet all I can think about is how we need this water for drinking water and irrigation. Not only that but a wet forest is much less likely to burn . . . and I like trees. 

I am not a ‘whistling Dixie out of my butt’ kind of eternal optimist, as I do have my down days. I do try to ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ as it were. Again, this is a struggle as there are so many things to get you down and depress you. 

Since I have to live with myself, I might as well be a decent person to live with. Others can walk away from my bad mood, I can’t. 

Today I get my paycheque, so I can budget and plan out what to do with it tonight, so I can deposit it tomorrow morning. Here is hoping that it will be just a bit larger than I expected, so my budget doesn’t have to be so drastic.

One way or another, I will: pay off Card #2, get what groceries I need, and keep moving forward towards my goal. What helps me do this is a positive attitude. What helps me keep that positive attitude is to choose to see the things that I do right, rather than focus on what I do wrong.

Thursday 20 August 2015

Embrace: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly!

I have said it before but I will say it again, I am really looking forward to this payday, because it will mean that my paydown will be back on track. For me, this means that a mistake has been corrected.

Something good has taken place over these past few months. I have learned and proven to myself that I can use Credit Cards responsibly. They don’t scare me anymore. I can charge things on them, and pay them off in a few months. This lesson I have learned and learned well, so that is good.

My paydown process was interrupted in the beginning of June by the failure of the guy who hit me to pay me what he owed me. (I have still not heard a word from him and don’t expect to). I was left with the bill, and that threw me for a loop, skewing my financial plans. Sure, I will admit that I put one or two other items on this card. In the end, all of it was my choice to do, I blame nobody else.

Yet without that eventuality, I could have been paying off the last of Card #3 by now, but that is life. What are a few more months in the grand scheme of things? Yet still it is this last point which nags at me. I wonder, what could have been if I had made different choices? 

As I see myself digging myself out of this hole that I have dug myself into, I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier, years earlier. I also know that I was not ready to make such a leap of faith. I am the person that I am because of the choices that I made; both good and bad. 

I have learned from what I have done and what has happened to me. If I were to go back and take a different path, then I would end up being a different person. Simply put, you are the result of your choices, so embrace them, all of them: the good ones, the bad ones and yes, even the ugly ones.

Your good choices only teach you what works. This is something handy to know but it doesn’t teach you much more than that, you won’t really know why something works, only that it does. 

Your bad choices teach you what didn’t work. It is through your reflection on these which teach you not only what didn’t work, but why it didn’t work. This is a much more worthwhile and more valuable lesson to learn.

Your ugly choices are the ones where things really went wrong, as in an epic fail of spectacular proportions. These ones are massive and huge and require reflection on the scale of a commission of inquiry, or an autopsy of the mistake. 

These lessons can help teach you or shed some light on an aspect of your character which may have contributed to this ugly choice and epic fail. These ones are the most valuable ones, as they teach us the most. 

Now, to brighten your day, here is your sunrise shot.

Wednesday 19 August 2015

I Got Shoved Out the Door, Sorta

I got told yesterday by my boss that I need to take a vacation in September. Now, it wasn’t an order, not really, but more like a friend or co-worker saying “trust me, you need a break.”

So there I was looking at the prospects of taking a tour of the lovely Walmart parking lots around Calgary. It wasn’t long after that, that I started searching online for camping deals. I found one not too hideous in price for a week in a nice spot . . . so I booked it. I will take my vacation in the middle of September. 

The nice thing is that I didn’t need to pay for it all at once, so I have this payday and next to save up a bit towards it, thereby lessoning the impact to Card #1. I will put this trip on Card #1, because this is the card that I always pay down to nothing each month. As well, I can see this card and its balance each time I log into my online banking.

One way or another, this card will be paid off by the end of September as well as the full $1500.00 will go towards Card #3. I can do this and still get my vacation, in that undisclosed location. Yes, Card #2 will be paid off in full this Saturday, vacation or no, that thing will die.

I am sure that I will just plop and not move for the first day or two. While I can’t really afford it, I can make it work and yes, I know that I need the break. For those of you who feel so motivated, I am now graciously accepting donations towards the vacation fund.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Card #2’s Days are Numbered

I did a preliminary budget yesterday, based on what I estimated my paycheque will be and what Card #2’s balance should be, come Saturday. It will be tight, as in insanely tight, but I can do it, I can pay off Card #2 this Saturday. 

I have food and supplies, enough to last me and with a minimal amount of cash on hand I can make it through till the next payday. It is important to me to get this card done, on this payday.

I can then begin the real work on Card #3 as I try to pay it down by the end of October, if possible. This will be a tight and probably unrealistic goal. Most likely it will be paid off by early November, but we shall see. (One thing is for certain is that there is a nice funeral pyre in Card #3’s future . . . yes indeed.)

I did get up and I did work on the book, though progress is slow. I was able to get the main thrust of this chapter started and I am on track to finish it off tomorrow. Again, the progress is slow, but at least I am nudging this book forward, and I don’t have a specific deadline.

As far as my doing my dishes go, I am two for two . . . I did them this morning too. They say that it is three weeks to set a new habit; we shall see how this goes.

Again it is these thoughts of the future and envisioning my completed goals which keeps me going through what I am going through now. As always, keep positive and keep moving forward.

Monday 17 August 2015

Pluckiness and Positivity Begets Progress

I have said this before and I will say it again, not to be preachy, but because it bears repeating. Whatever it is that you are doing, if it is important to you, stick with it. 

Be determined to keep working at it and keep moving forward, no matter what. Some days you will do nothing, some days you will do next to nothing, other days you will do considerably more. If your goal is important enough to you, keep going no matter what the setbacks.

I have had a number of setbacks and I am way beyond my initial goal that I had set out for myself when I started all of this. In fact my end goal has changed and shifted and will likely shift again, you know what, that’s life.

By the time my second anniversary came around, I was supposed to have paid off my credit cards and had close to 20K in the bank. Clearly, that will not happen, but I did not give up, I stuck with it. I rolled with whatever came my way and kept going, keeping my eye on my primary goal of paying off those credit cards.

It has been a struggle to remain positive and I do have my down days where I question everything and all of my choices in life. Again, we are all human, so we all have those days. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and set off again.  

Progress is progress, and worth celebrating before moving on. This morning I did a little happy dance because I did my morning dishes before leaving for work. If I don’t do this, since I live alone, I have this bad habit of just ignoring my dishes until the following Sunday and doing a large pile of the week’s worth of dishes . . . not cool. 

The point is to pause to congratulate yourself when you do something right, or if you do an action or activity that you are trying to change. As in my case, I will congratulate myself for doing my dishes before work or before bed. This may seem silly but it will encourage that behaviour in the future . . . so ends theory.

This weekend I made another batch of my Taco stuff, this time I added a bag of mixed vegies which I simmered and cooked in an onion soup mix first. I still treated the hash browns like meat, and all that, the result was amazing. Here is what I got out of it.

This should keep me fed for a month or so and will lower my food bills for the foreseeable future. 

What is really picking up my spirits is the fact that payday is this Saturday. This is not just any payday but the payday that Card #2 is finally back down to zero . . . again. 

After this, after Saturday, it is all Card #3 and I can focus on that final and dreaded card. I will rejoice once it is done, truly I shall. I will even cut it up and burn it (yes I saved the physical card to do just that) . . . expect to see the video of this celebration.  

This card has been turned off since 2011 and yet I have been paying the interest on it, just like it was active, since then. I was told that I could apply for a new card if I wanted but this card is dead. 

Nobody from this institution had contacted me at all to see about getting a new card or how I was doing. Even when I call them their “Customer Service” people talk about policy and what not . . . I call them “Hubots” . . . “Human Robots.” So no, this is not an institution that I wish to do business with again.

Again, the point is to stay positive and keep moving forward. A good tip is to envision where you want to be and remind yourself why you are doing what it is that you are doing. For me, I am living in my RV now so I can take control of my life in the future, go where I want and perhaps even finally buy some land . . . and a house. 

Friday 14 August 2015

Say Hello to my Little Friend!

Forgive me, I couldn’t resist using that quote. For those of you who don’t get the Scarface reference, don’t worry about it. 

Yesterday my telescoping ladder arrived and it ended up being as good and handy as I hoped it would be. This is a 3.8 Meter (or 12.46 Foot) ladder when fully extended or just a few feet tall when packed away.  

An interesting note with the next two photos, the camera was leveled perfectly. The ground and therefore Wanda (and I) are sloped and a bit crooked (or some might say kinky).

This is the ladder when fully compacted.

These are the sliding lock releases.

These sliding lock releases allow you to shorten the ladder by bringing one rung down at a time. To extend the ladder you just pull up and the rung will slide up and lock when fully extended. You keep doing this one rung at a time until either your ladder is tall enough, or fully extended.

This is the ladder when fully extended.

    The following are a few shots of the roof of Wanda, just for fun and to prove that I did get up on the ladder.

This is the damage that I discovered to the cover of my refrigerator vent. This was the other damage due to the hailstorm. 

While this ladder is handy for all kinds of uses, as it is compact and yet is sturdy and strong, for an RV it is essential. With this, I can easily store it in the back of Trea, but I can also use it to get up on the roof of Wanda to do repairs or clean. 

This will enable me to replace that cracked bathroom vent cover myself . . . but maybe not this weekend, as it looks like it will rain all weekend.

If you do some internet searches you can get this ladder for a decent price. I was able to get mine for a little under $140.00 with delivery included. 

Once again, for no reason, and just because it looked spectacular, here is today’s sunrise pic.

Thursday 13 August 2015

I’m on Twitter . . . I Think

A friend of mine has been encouraging to get on Twitter so as to be able to post my blog feeds there as well. Personally, I have never seen much use for Twitter, and have used it twice. So, it goes without saying that I am not well versed in what to do with it, but I am going to give it a go. 

I was able to configure the service I use to automatically post my feeds to Facebook to do the same thing to Twitter. Today is the first day, so we shall see how it goes.

It is important to grow and try new things, so I will begin my foray into the world of Twitter. Seriously though, don’t expect me to tweet every last thing I am doing, nor hang out and search hashtags. 

I will be honest though, I would much rather hand this off to someone else and say . . . go promote and have fun. Then again, I might really like it, who knows. 

I suppose that is the thing to remember when stepping outside of your comfort zone, you may like it or you may hate it. We shall see, what happens with me and my Twitter Experiment.

In case you are curious, my Twitter: handle, account, thingy is: @geoffwestlock and I will be tweeting the blog under the hashtag of #calgaryurbannomad. 

With regards to the camping trip, that has been cancelled. Why?  Well, if I were to take any such trip going anywhere, I would have to be prepared to spend about $500.00 in fuel and camping fees. For me, at this point, that is just out of the question.

I need every spare dime to put towards cards. I am so close, in relative terms that just pushing it off would be irresponsible. If I get pushed (by the boss) to take a vacation, I may take a week and hang out in my western home. 

It has been suggested that I try to find a bit of crown land to stay on. Squatting on Crown Land always feels like trespassing to me, so I have never done it or been comfortable with it. I mean when I stay at a big box store parking lot, I generally shop there, and I know that they are okay with it.

I will not stay in a campground, not if I have to pay, which is frustrating because a week in a nice campground surrounded by nature is just what I need right now. Ah well, back at it, and we shall see how it goes with regards to Twitter, as I try something new.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Fun or Frugal?

It is now August and the constant pace of life is starting to drag on me. My thoughts have thus turned to perhaps spending a week at a campsite to rest and relax. I certainly could use it, and it has been a long and rough year, so I have earned it, right? 

That is when my other side kicks in, the one which has been dominating my thinking this past two years . . . the frugal side. 

The fun side of me says that I only live once and that the summers are finite and so let’s go. Heck, let’s take two weeks and go to the coast to see the family! 

The frugal side then runs the numbers and gives the fun side a smack up side the head.  Either choice would push me back paying off my credit cards, as it is I am in the dangerous territory of not having my debts finally under control by that two year anniversary of starting this journey.

This is the inner struggle that we all face, between our fun side and our frugal side. I may still take a week off and try to find a nice spot of crown land to stay at, or just stay in my western home. Most likely I will just keep pressing on, in order to save cash and keep this journey moving forward. 

Just to show that I do notice the nice things in life, here is your sunrise shot.

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Sluggish Progress is Okay.

I have now completed half of a chapter that I started Sunday and worked on yesterday morning. I am sure that it will take a few mornings to finish it, but I have a good idea on what to do with the second half of this chapter. The pace of this book is going slower than the previous book because this book is all new material.

The previous book was heavily based on a screenplay that I had written, thus it was just a matter of converting the screenplay to the novel form. This is an in-depth look into the world of The Sisterhood, which is delightfully disturbing, and is mostly new material, going in a new direction. 

I know that the pace will increase as in the past chapters have flown out of me. This story is a bit more complex and not as straightforward, there are so many options and possible directions on how to take it. 

The pace of my writing will pick up, and let’s face it, I do not have a deadline to meet. My goal is to write the best book that I can and make it a book that I want to read, and hope others do too. 

As long as I am steadily moving forward on this project, that is okay. Just like paying down my bills, as long as I am steadily working on it, slow progress is okay. 

Monday 10 August 2015

I Made the News Again!

I was contacted last week by a reporter from Metro News here in Calgary wanting to do a follow up article to the one done a year ago. In essence they wanted to see if I was still at it and how things were going.

On Wednesday I had my interview with Lucie, from the Metro News team, in my western home. I sat down with Lucie and talked to her about my journey as we had a great chat. We talked about: what motivates me, how I have been able to do this, the high points, the low points and yes the people I see on the same journey as me.

Lucie asked a lot of great questions and was genuinely interested in my journey and what I had to say. She had a keen and inquisitive mind, key traits needed for a successful reporter. She did, however, make one mistake . . . she asked me what book I was writing . . . there went ten minutes.

It was nice to talk to her though, so I could get the word out that there are more people than just me out here living in RV’s full time. The numbers of people I see living full time, even in winter, in these RV’s are growing. I am out here by choice to pay down bills, but I wonder how many of them are doing the same thing as me, or just can’t afford to rent a place.

It wasn’t until the following day that the talented and enigmatic ‘Jenny’ came by, also in my western home, to take pictures of me and various aspects of Wanda. As far as I understand, her camera is still working, thank you very much.

Jenny had a great eye and a talent for taking interesting shots of common things. Most of them are not displayed here, but her talent was clearly there as was her natural curiosity to explore the world through her camera lens. I wonder if she works in film or has thought about getting behind a film camera.

I will now have to find a copy of this newspaper, so I can frame it and put it up on the wall, next to last year’s article.

Here is the article

Friday 7 August 2015

Chipping Away Works

This is payday for me and so this means that I do my little ritual I have done for years. I look at what I have and see how much I can squeeze out to put on this card and/or that one. Today I will be putting money on all three cards. 

I had to borrow a bit of money from Card #1 to keep my hinny out of overdraft. I still choose to live as if there is no overdraft. So I borrowed a bit (a pittance really) from Card #1 so that when that extra Wanda payment went through, I would still be in the black. Card #1 will be back down to zero today.

Extra Wanda payment you ask. Well, my Wanda payments are bi-weekly, as in ever second Thursday but I get paid on the 7th and 22nd What that means is that every few months there is an extra payment that falls within a pay period. 

This must be accounted for in your budget, or you will end up with a whoopsie, as I did. This is where that contingency fund would come in handy. I do have my payments set out as reoccurring appointments on my calendar on my phone so I can see when these payments are in relation to payday. 

I am also putting as much as I can on Card #2, and I have vowed to make sure that it is gone and done by the end of this month. I know that I can then keep Card #1 and Card #2 down to zero, as I have done this before. I can and will maintain a zero balance. When I choose, I can and will charge something on them only if I vow to pay it off within a few months. Again, I have proven that I can do this.

I will be paying my usual amount on Card #3 as well. This steady paying is making a difference, not as much as if I had not had a few unplanned expenses (some of which were my own doing). I have been steadily and consistently working on Card #3 since April. It is already down to about two-thirds of its previously maxed out balance. 

What this means is that small efforts do work over time. It is a frustratingly slow process to put that little extra on a card and keep doing it. It may not be much but whatever you put on a card over and above that minimum balance will go off of your principle. 

Remember, that minimum payment is just the interest on that credit card loan and it gives you no benefit whatsoever. Imagine taking that amount in cash and throwing it in a fire just to watch it burn. That shock and horror should hit you each time you see that number on that credit card statement. 

We all know that Credit Cards are a one-sided and bad business deal for you the consumer. Keep in mind that nobody forced you to agree to this deal but you did (as I did). There might have been mitigating factors that nudged your hand to use your credit card, but you did (as I did). In the end each of us chose to pull that card out of our wallets and use it. 

What this all comes down to is that each of us got ourselves into this credit card mess, so each of us must get ourselves out of that mess, by chipping away at it. Don’t give up, you can do it, credit cards can be beaten. 

As far as should you cut up your cards, that is up to you. I say that credit cards are like loaded guns, they can save your hinny or blow it off; it all depends on what you do with them.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Not Unscathed, But Still Okay

I was driving after work yesterday towards an appointment when the rain hit. I was on the freeway and in the middle lane when the hail hit. I was then stuck siting a few hundred feet before an overpass as it continued to pelt down. 

A few cars took refuge under the overpass and refused to move further, blocking up the freeway. All I could do was sit there and hope for the best as it hit. Each hailstone sounded like a boulder hitting Trea or Wanda. I glumly sat there and awaited my fate, unable to do anything else. 

I got to where I was going on time and that was good, but it wasn’t until later that evening that I noticed it, this.

This is a shot of my bathroom vent, from the inside, that light area is the hole in my bathroom vent. I have been lucky so far with regards to these storms. If this is the only damage I have sustained, I am still lucky. 

I have a garbage bag taped up on the inside of the vent to keep the water out. This weekend I will buy another vent and figure out just how to put that up there. I hope I can replace it from the inside, as I have no ladder to get on the roof. 

With regards to writhing, I did get half a chapter written today and have a clear idea on what to write for the other half. The title of this chapter may change yet, depending on how this other half goes, but we shall see what happens.  I am just happy that this minor rut is over and that the progress on this book continues. 

I always do strive to keep a positive attitude and not see the negativity that is in the world. This is a challenge when some of that negativity comes from me. 

Your reality shall be what you focus on, so if you focus on negativity, you will only see, and be surrounded by, negativity. If you instead focus on being positive and progress, you shall manifest that. 

So I will focus on my debts being eliminated and churning out book after book. I will not always be mired in debt and living in my trailer, but for now it is what I need to do, to get where I am going.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

So, This Happened . . .

After work I went out to do a bit of grocery shopping and while trying to navigate a tight turn in a parking lot, while not hitting that inconsiderate car coming towards me, I jumped a curb. 

No big, deal, I have done this before, one side of Wanda’s tires goes up and around a curb. Well, this time I heard a crash coming from within Wanda.

I parked and went inside Wanda to see this . . . 

I did what I sometimes do in these situations: 

1) Got mad
2) Deny, deny, deny!
3) Storm off and fume
4) Calm down
5) Clean up
6) Adjust and deal with it

I do allow myself the time to get mad and be illogical as I scream that such a bad thing hasn’t happened. It is a good, and needed, emotional release. I know that it serves no purpose. 

I knew, even as I first saw the dishes lying there on the floor all smashed up that there was nothing to do but clean up and move on. Yet I still needed that release of emotion. 

It was just one of those things which happen. Perhaps I didn’t shove the dishes back in far enough, perhaps I should have put the dishes in a different place or put a special lock on it. 

What I am saying is that when you get mad, let yourself get mad . . . for like two minutes, tops. Then, calm down, be rational, logical, sensible and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with.

I thought about buying a new set of dishes but realized that the main casualties were my large dinner plates. I lost all but one of them and only a few of the smaller plates. With it just being little old me in Wanda, I will be fine with the plates I have, after all, my bowls didn’t move at all.

Such is life and I have been lucky that this hasn’t happened before now. 

I did get back to my usual parking spot before that massive storm hit. I was going to take a picture of it, but you couldn’t see out of the windows, so I decided against it. Wanda was rocking back and forth from the wind but I was warm and dry with my windows and vents sealed shut. 

The bit of fun (and cursing) came when my propane tank decided in the middle of the storm was the time to run out. Sure, I have another tank and all it takes is closing one valve, opening the other and flipping the switch to change which tank I am drawing from. Those are located outside of Wanda, at the front.

With it being sheet rain coming down outside it was not fun and I wanted to just wait and ride it out. I was in the middle of cooking, however, so I had to brave it, so out I went. In my: hat, rain jacket, shorts and sandals, but I got it done. 

I made more of that taco stuff, for my dinners, just a small batch of only four pounds, but I have food, for a few weeks, all for less than twenty bucks. 

The writing is coming a bit slow, but I do have a good idea formed for this chapter, a fresh and new chapter. I know that it will come and that my progress will continue at a steady pace. 

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Home Meh Home

It was good for me to stay in the same place for a week and I did have a good and productive weekend of writing. Version Three of Book Two is coming along with ideas flowing well. It looks like I am on a roll, finally.

I am up to Chapter eight of this new version. There is more tension and drama as we focus in on the shadow world of The Sisterhood that Brian has been dragged down into. As well, there is less fragmentation of storylines with this version.

The campsite that I have been staying in sure has some nice amenities but the sites themselves are packed in rather tightly together, with minimal space between them. The other odd thing is that you back up on the same gravel ‘road’ to your neighbour’s unit with no clearly defined boundaries. Add to this the single lane roads and you have a tough time backing in and maneuvering those long trailers.

I understand that it is a business and that they make more money with more sites. There comes point where you get that feeling when you are just packed in too tight. You could almost pass a jar of mustard from your unit to your neighbours through the windows.

It was nice to stay in one place and disconnect from Wanda for a while. Steady power and steady water were a nice luxury for me. The internet which had download limits that cut you off was a bit frustrating and even then they wouldn’t let you do much on the internet. 

Rules, limits and restrictions were the norm at this place. Again, it was a nice place but there was no privacy at the campsites and a lot of rules. Even the firepits were: small, poorly placed and even then on the grass with no gravel around it. 

Even if there was a firepit on my site, I wouldn’t dare light a fire in one for fear of setting the grass on fire. That seemed to be what others were thinking as well as I don’t remember seeing anyone using any of the firepits.

This is a campsite intended for transients, yet you could stay there longer. If their rates were a bit more reasonable and if they were open in the winter, I may have considered wintering over there. 

I packed up this morning and went to work, again it only took half an hour to pack-up and get rolling.  Back to my usual routine I go, I hope to keep the momentum of writing going so I can finish this book and move on to the next one.