Wednesday 30 November 2016

Winter Rituals Resurrected

Okay, so the first taste of real winter has come, at least in the overnight temperatures anyways. 

The bitter cold of real winter will hit next week, but for now, at least I get a small taste of what is to come. (It was -12C overnight, which will be a daytime high next week.)

What this taste of winter allows me to do is to remember and practice all of those little winter rituals that I have developed in winters past.

Such as: bundling up a bit more as soon as I get home, lighting candles for light, and who could forget wearing the sleeping toque all evening, night and morning.

It is all of these little rituals and habits which seem silly, but have a reason and a purpose. They all help to keep me warm and weather winter. 

It is not a pleasant process, or one that I would wish on others, but I wear it as a badge of honour: I can live in my RV on the streets of a Canadian prairie town and live to tell the tale (sans-frostbite). 

I will grumble, and I will protest, but most of all I will look to spring. Or as I call it “Anti-Fall” as it is just like Fall, it just happens in reverse.

During these few months of “Real Winter” all I really need to do is to warm myself up, not my trailer . . . just me. That is something that I know how to do, and know how to do efficiently. 

The thing to remember is that when it comes to winter is that it is all in the resources, more specifically, the resources used; the more efficient the usage the better.

It is far too easy to just run the generator every night and keep the furnace cranked. 

To do so would use up way too much gasoline and propane, which would negate any cost savings staying in the trailer over winter. 

This is because the more resources you use, the more cash you are required to spend. 

So bundle up buttercup and just hunker down, after all, body heat is the cheapest (nicest when shared) and most renewable form of heat there is.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

(and stay warm)

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Get a Room, Why Don’t You?

It seems inevitable that every time the weather starts to get cold (as in starts to dip below zero during the day) that someone suggests that I rent a room for the “real winter.”

You know, get out of my trailer for the really cold months, say December through March. It’s only 3 months, right? What’s the big deal, right?

It is a big deal, to me. I know that nobody else may understand but when I moved into Wanda full-time, I swore that I would not rent again.

I told myself that, for better or worse, unless my life was in danger (as in south of -40C) that I would continue living in Wanda until I finally BUY a place.

For me, staying in Wanda for the long haul is not really a matter of pride, or even a test of macho bravado, but practicality, and fiscal prudency.

You see, if I rent a room or even a campsite, that would take a bite of $500.00 – 1000.00 out of my budget each and every month. 

That would all but pause my savings plan for those months and in so doing, lengthen the time it would take to get the Wanda Loan paid off, and yes build up the Homestead Fund.

This Urban Nomad Lifestyle is, and always was, intended to be a temporary measure to correct my fiscal situation that I allowed to get so disastrous.

It is also a protest, as in: why should anyone have to forgo living in a warm and cosy home, just to get ahead in this country? 

The answer is, of course, that nobody is ever expected to get ahead in this country. We are never told to pay off debt, just “Manage Debt” 

Manage Debt, as in keep paying those minimum payments. When you get rid of one debt, get another one . . . Don’t get me started, but at best, that is another blog entry.

Back to me and my rental-moratorium. I would allow myself to campsite at a year-round campground, but it would have to be as a case of last resort. 

To me, doing such a thing would be a sign that I couldn’t handle doing what I am doing and needed the comfort of such a living arrangement. (As in sustained -40C temps.)

Not to mention that such a campsite is would cost me approximately $900.00 a month, plus the cost of power. No thanks, I will keep that cash in my pocket and move my hiney ahead, thanks.

So, whilst I have approximately three years to go before this Urban Nomad journey of mine may come to an end (at the earliest), I will stick it out (stiff upper lip and all that).

I have already been through two winters living in Wanda. I can do three more (or more) if need be. I know what to do, and I know how to handle it. 

The most important thing is getting in the right mindset, to just accept that winter has come. I’ve done this before, and I can do this again.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 28 November 2016

The Long Road to Roots

As some of you may know from my Facebook status update over the weekend that I got kicked out of my Western Home on Saturday evening.

It was nothing personal, I just got caught up in a sweep they seem to do now and again in response to some people who just stay there 24/7 /365.

I understand that it is their right to do so, as it is private property. They have a right to say who can and cannot stay there for how long.

It is just frustrating and a bit sad that I have once again lost access to a place that is, or was, my weekend home; such as it was.

It was a place for me to put my slide-out out and therefore have a bit of extra space, coupled with not having traffic roaring two feet from my window all the time.

Such is life, and these things can and will happen as long as I remain mobile. Mobile is what I am and shall remain for 30 months at least.

How have I come up with this number of two and a half years? Let me break it down for you.

I have (as of Wednesday the 30th) 11 months and 1 week until I pay off the Wanda Loan in full. That will put me a year from now: Late November 2017.

At which pointy I will most likely have decimated all of my savings and so will need a payday to top up the Mid-Term Savings before starting the next phase of my journey to a home.

That phase is of course building up The Homestead Fund. I plan to have $60,000.00 in that fund before I start to seriously start to look for a place.

By my Estimations that will take me until late May 2019 (Yes, 30 months from now).

Even then I will need to stuff an extra $6000.00 in extra cash, over and above my regular, ambitious, savings plan to make that goal.

This target of $60,000.00 will give me enough to buy something and pay for all of the closing costs.

Exactly what I will be able to get for that or where it will be, is anyone’s guess. I plan to buy something for cash outright and not get a mortgage.

This is an ambitious and some may say unrealistic goal, but I have to start somewhere, I have to have a dream and a vision of what I want.

After that I need a plan to get me there. I have both of those, and yes I am working that plan.

That is the essence of the recipe for success and the way to improve your life: Dream, Set Measurable Goals, Plan, Act.

What having a piece of land means to me, is a place to finally belong. It means having a place to put down roots, of building something permanent, something lasting, and yes, a life.

My life is transient and in a constant state of flux and, in truth, on hold. It will be so until I can finally unhitch Wanda on that patch of dirt that I own.

The only way that this number (30 months) until that date will shorten, is by way of some sort of outside intervention: lottery win, crowdfunding, etc.

I may have jokingly asked for donations before, but I was not serious then, and I am not asking now.

(Don’t let me stop you if you indeed feel so motivated to donate or arrange a crowdfunding campaign, though . . . $100,000.00 in total thanks).

I will pay my own way, on this journey to have a home of my own. Even if it is just a patch of ground with nothing but trees, grass and perhaps a stream, that sounds great to me.

I choose to see that there is an end in sight that, sure it is two and a half years away, but there is some sort of end in sight; an end to this Urban Nomad Journey.

Just buying the property is not enough, as there are improvements that will need to be done to make that land a home.

I will, most likely, need to keep working for a year past the time of buying the property.

That eventuality is too far unseen, as I may yet get a place near this work or some other decent job. At which point I can still be home, and steadily improving my home.

Once again, I digress, while it is a long road to a place where I can set down roots, I have a dream, measurable goals, and a plan. So, there is a real chance that this will happen, that I will finally have a home of my own.

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 25 November 2016

Don’t Look Too Far Down The Road (Trust Me)

It has been said that “Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch, yard by yard anything is hard.” What that means in today’s blog message is to just focus on the now.

This is a lesson that I keep needing to learn. When I look down the road and the long haul that I have to go before I can return to some semblance of “normalcy” the view is depressing.

Why? Let me lay it out for you.

First of all I have a year and one winter (as in this one) to go through before the Wanda Loan is paid off and I am debt free (Nov 7, 2017). 

So far only one tuchus-freezing season: Winter 2016

Well, after that I will be debt free with next to no cash in hand and still living in my RV. 

My next goal, as I have stated numerous times, is to buy a plot of land and start that Science Research Community (for lack of a better description)

To do that, in order to even begin to look for any land remotely close to what I want, I will need at least $60,000 in my hot little hand.

At my best estimates that puts me sometime in May of 2019 . . .

Three tuchus-freezing seasons: Winters of: 2016, 2017, and 2018. 

Naturally, before driving off to start said Research Community from the ground up (literally, as I will be buying raw, vacant land) I will need, you guessed it, more cash.

So that puts me a year later at somewhere in the spring of 2020 . . . 

FOUR tuchus-freezing seasons: Winters of: 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

At least I will be standing on my plot of land, with a place to live (Wanda) a fistful of cash and a dream, not bad . . . even if I will be: 50, still single (let’s face it), and still without a real house . . . 

Yet, to look at the bright side, I will be totally debt free, on a piece of land that is mine and paid off, with a modest pile of cash in hand in order to start my dream, and another adventure in life.

I will just focus on the now and hold true to getting Wanda paid off on time. I will then look towards the next phase of my journey: saving up the cash, after that, buying the land. After that . . . planning and working for settlement (as I save up cash).

It is all in how you look at it, and for me, I need to block out the steps down the road, as they are not guaranteed. 
All I really have is this moment, so I can either use it to move myself and my plans forward or I can sit and wallow in my misery and complain about my life. 

Today may or may not be a good day to die, but it is a good day to DECIDE then ACT to change your life.

I choose to stay focused on the positive direction that my life is moving in. I am in this situation because I failed to act and do what was necessary to fix it, years ago. 

I made this mess, and so I and I alone am responsible for cleaning it up. I will get there, on my land, just not today; someday though.

As always: keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 24 November 2016

Wanda Loan Paydown Plan Update

Just because I have paused beginning the Wanda Paydown Plan one month does not mean that I have paused my study of the Wanda Loan. 

Today was a regular Wanda Payment, so that means that the balance of the loan has changed this morning. 

So, with new balance in hand I have plunked that into my Wanda Paydown Estimator Spreadsheet and a pattern is emerging. 

I have notice that with each and every Regular Wanda Payment that the amount of Principle that comes off of the Outstanding Balance increases by 10 Cents!

Here is the schedule for what has come off of the Outstanding balance so far:

1. October 27: $43.08
2. November 10: $43.18
3. November 24: $43.28

With this info in hand I have speculated what the payments in December will look like and see if I am correct. Again this is part of my plan to be able to predict what will happen in the future of this loan. 

Why is that important? Well when I start to pay down in earnest this loan, I want to be able to accurately predict how quickly I will actually pay this loan off.

Why is that? Well I want to know if my plan will help me hit Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov 7, 2017) or not. As well, in a nerdy way it is kinda fun, and feels like I am cheating the system sorta.

Just in case you are curious, here is the spreadsheet as it stands now. 

Just FYI: The checkmarks on the side let me know if that payment has actually happened or not. So it is a quick way to let me know where I am in this ever changing spreadsheet.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Hedging My Bets

Okay, so yesterday was payday which means that by now, all of my money has been allocated and distributed. 

My bills have been paid or monies set aside for their automatic payment, life is normal, since I am broke once again. Something we all know, all too well.

The exception is that I have a smidgen of money put aside in case something goes kerblewie and/or life tosses me a slight bump in the road.

I am about to embark on a phase where I hand most of my money over to the bank and in essence give it away. If I need it again, I will not be getting it back (but they’ll lend me more).

This time of year (Corporate Liability Insurance Renewal Time) is always a stressful time for Boss, this year is no different. 

It was an off-handed remark of his which set me on this journey of being an Urban Nomad this time of year three years ago.

That comment was his openly musing to just “pack it in” and “close up shop” and “get a job elsewhere.” 

This year he just vented about the stresses of a small businessman, but I could tell that the temptation was there.

This is also complicate by the murky and uncertain future of trade relations between us up in Canada and getting access to the market where 80% of our sales directly into.

Being a small company, my immediate fiscal future rests on the whims of one man and the fluctuations of the market and the access thereto. 

With this in mind, I gave myself a bit of a “fiscal stress test” yesterday and found that if I were suddenly unemployed (for any of a thousand reasons) I would not fair well, 

This goes especially if there was a delay, or I was ineligible for, unemployment insurance. This gave me a chill and a moment of pause.

It is for this reason that I will delay the start of the new Wanda Loan Paydown Plan until my January 7th payday.

For this payday and the two in December, I will focus on building up my savings. I will still go on my Christmas Break, but whatever cash I can spare will go into my two savings accounts (Mid-Term and Long-Term).

Since I am not talking about taking an epic trip to Vegas or buying that stellar laptop, but instead socking cash away, this cash can and will be used to finish off the Wanda Loan in November.

Yet, at the same time, I will have this pocket of cash to live on if the need arises. I need to be prepared for just about any eventuality that can be solved with cash.

I don’t want to borrow money, as I like keeping my credit cards at a zero balance and the thought of being totally debt free is what keeps me going.

So, this is the new plan, as it stands.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Payday Dance Finalized

I have been wondering what to do with the shortfall in my budget that prevents me from funding each of my accounts to $1K (as planned).

I had thought about just underfunding my Main Account, but that tends to lead to (as this past weekend revealed) the F*it attitude.

This then leads to me just spending a bit more anyways due the belief that I will never get out of this debt anyways. 

I thought about just overfunding my Mid-Term Savings Account but just making sure to stay above $1K in it. 

I wanted to make sure to never touch that $1K and keep it for that Monsoon day. That was when it hit me . . . that was what the Long-Term Savings was for.

So, what I will do is put (and leave) that $1K into the Long-Term Savings Account as that is for when I really need it.

The Mid-Term Savings Account, I will keep topping up as much as I can, and also dipping into when I need it over the course of this year.

This way all of the money in the Mid-Term Savings Account is available for me to use, not just anything over $1K. 

I really do hope to top this up to that $1K mark, but it will be a stretch if that happens this year. At the very least I will have 1K in my Main Account and $1K in the Long-Term Savings Account.

I have a year of my most stringent budgets yet to look forward to, but it is necessary if I am to be debt free by the end of 2017. 

For my future and my own sanity I need to be finally free, finally and truly free. Debt freedom does not just mean fiscal freedom, but total freedom.

Debt Freedom will allow me to go where I like and do what I like, as long as I have a bit of cash in my pocket. That is something worth freezing, scrimping and economizing over.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Monday 21 November 2016

Progress and Success

My regularly scheduled blog entry had been pre-empted by this cause to pause and reflect on past successes and look forward to future ones.

Tomorrow is Payday and that means that it was a year ago tomorrow that I paid off the last of my large and looming credit cards.

In the year since then I have saved up and paid off my truck (two years early). Not bad when you think about it.

I am now working on paying my trailer (the last and largest debt that I have) in another year. 

It will be tight and I sincerely hope that I can get it done by Nov 7, 2017, but in reality as long as it is paid off . . . period, that is a win. The sooner the better.

I look forward to not only saving up for that property but starting to settle it. I can see myself puttering around and trying to make it a place where people would want to come.

In any event, it will be a place where I want to go, that is for sure, and with any luck, not to mention determination, I will remain debt free. 

For now though, I need to steel myself for the cold weather to come. I just need to get back into polar bear mode, after all, this bit we’re in, it’s the warm part. 

I will, as always, survive and thrive, and in so doing, come out the other side stronger and all the better for it.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Friday 18 November 2016

Getting Ahead of Myself

Again, one of my greatest strengths and weaknesses is my ability to envision and plan for the future. 

It is this ability that tends to lead to frustration and aggravation these days. Why?  

Well, I keep thinking and planning as if the Wanda Loan is already paid off, that it is a done deal. 

Again, why is this bad, since in the realm of goal setting this is good thing, right?

One of the best ways to stay motivated and ensure that you will succeed at your chosen goal is to envision it already achieved. So, why not be happy about this?

The trouble is that I already find myself thinking about “what next?” What happens after the Wanda Loan is paid off? 

I think about saving most of my take home income for myself, sure. I think about saving up for a property, sure. 

The most aggravating thing is the thought of starting to settle that property, of starting the research and construction of my various “off the grid” type contraptions.

I pause and wonder about renting a small space, in town, even a garage or something of the like. 

A place where I can start to play with car alternators in order to design better power generation equipment, all based on the humble car alternator. 

Or even Water Filtration, waste processing and yes water reclamation from sewage. You know, to find ways to recycle everything and waste nothing.  

That, to me, is fun, that kind of clomping on forward, type of research with a practical end is fun for me.

Yet, I have a year to go before even considering renting such a space, or setting aside any kind of research budget let alone getting a research space. Reading books is pointless unless I can try something out. 

No, for now it is all “stay the course” keep up my miserly ways in order to close out this phase of my life, one that has been with me far too long: the one of never-ending debt.

I will make it, I will pay the Wanda Loan off, and I will get that little workshop, just not yet, as I can’t spare a thin dime out of my budget and still make Total Debt Freedom Day (Nov, 7, 2017)

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Thursday 17 November 2016

Deficit or Underfund?

Okay, so, I am facing another fiscal dilemma, one which requires some pondering and fiscal dancing. 

This all started a few weeks ago when the on button on the radio in Wanda broke, sorta. 

The plastic button that you push broke from its moorings and twisted so that it wasn’t pressing the actual electric button underneath. 

What I did was take the radio apart and just removed the plastic button, leaving a hole in the face of the radio. 

For the last few weeks I have been turning the radio on and off by poking through the hole on an angle with an old stylus (a pen-sized stick with a rubber end). 

This worked until I poked that electrical button off of the circuit board . . . with the radio still turned on.

This meant that I couldn’t turn it on (or off rather) without me yanking the main wiring harness connector behind. 

Knowing that parts for this radio (as in the plastic button that started all of my problems) were non-existent (as in they wouldn’t sell me it), I knew that I needed a new radio.

I did a bit of research and was going to buy a better radio (since I had to replace this one anyways). Why not, since I was buying a new radio anyways, right?

I found out that the newer model was a power pig and the last thing I need is a radio that drains Wanda’s batteries faster, but does pretty much the same thing. (Yet still with no satellite radio.)

So, I ended up ordering the same model radio that I have from a Canadian company. Don’t get me started about trying to buy stuff from the states. 

It was after ordering the radio that I remembered that I had a remote control which I could just use that to turn the radio on and off . . . *smacks head*

I then decided that I wanted the properly working radio for Wanda and the broke one would be the shop radio . . .

As in the radio for the workshop that I will have on the property that I will buy . . . in the summer of 2019 (large cash windfall or crowdfunding effort notwithstanding). 

How this affects my current fiscal plans is the rule that I have that all credit cards are to be paid off completely each and every payday.

This means that this radio will put a sizable (yet not stupidly-sizable) hole in my budget. Up until this I was able to complete the task of putting $1K in each of my 3 accounts.

This will mean that one of the three (Main, Mid-Term Savings , or Long Term Savings) accounts will not make that mark, the question is, which one.

The other option, that I have rejected is to just carry the balance for a payday or two. This will lead to me just tossing a few other items now and again (I know me) onto that card and its balance will grow.

While, technically I should underfund the Long-Term Savings, as that one is the lowest priority, it is also the last account that I touch when I need something. So the cash in there would be left alone for a monsoon day.

I should underfund the Mid-Term Savings as that is what it is for. Yet I set a goal to put $1K in each of those accounts by this next payday and I meet my goals.

I will most likely dip into my Personal Overdraft as a way to punish myself for this spend, and ensure that it will be back up to “zero” of $1K in that account as soon as possible.

It may seem silly, but cash is still tight as starting next payday I start that Pilot Project with regards to the Wanda Loan.

That is the little experiment that I am running to see if regularly making extra payments will decimate the amount of interest that I pay on that loan. 

(Stay tuned to find out.) 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Winter Nature Necessities

It was mentioned that I should “Get a bucket” rather than dart outside. To that I will say that I do have a bucket to poop into. 

I tend to know where the public restrooms are and do my business there, when they are open. I save the poop bucket for late night emergencies.

As for what it looks like here it is: 
I have blogged about it and how to build it here: 

In a nutshell it is a five gallon bucket with a kitchen sized garbage bag lining it, with a bit of pipe insulation around the rim to hold the bag in place and give a bit of cushioning. 

To pee, most times I use a regular washroom, however, when they are closed I just find a forlorn tree or fencepost and “water” it.

I do have a pee jar, which is just a pickle jar (sans-pickles) as it has a wide mouth and a secure lid. (Trust me, you don’t want to spill your pee jar.)

The theory is that you can pee (into the jar) without going outside into the biting cold. The next morning you then pour out the contents of that jar at the base of some tree or bush.

I only break the pee jar out when the weather is south of minus twenty Celsius. Warmer than that I just get up, go outside to pee.  

If the pee freezes in the jar before morning (it has happened) then either put the jar in front of the furnace or heater to warm it up, or heat it up on the stove.

How you safely heat it up on a stove is to put the pee jar in pot half-full of water and boil the water. That boiling water will indirectly heat the jar up without breaking it. 

Then once the pee is melted enough to pour out, go find that thirsty tree and “water” it.

Again, this is not a glamorous subject but one that is necessary to cover. Trust me, the time to think about this is not in the middle of the night when you can’t use your toilet and all of the public washrooms around you are closed.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Changing Seasons, Changing Habits

With the change into Winter Mode, a few things have changed and I have to constantly remind myself to do things differently. 

Such as not pouring the last of the coffee down the sink, or washing my hands in the bathroom sink, and yes, not using the toilet. It is this last one that has caused me minor troubles.

You see, when I sleep I typically prefer to sleep, shall we say, without pyjamas. I find that not only is it more comfortable, but it also, the less you wear in bed, the warmer your bed is.

What happens is that by wearing less, your body heat can radiate quicker to the bed and heat it up. So while I am a bit cold (and complaining) getting into bed, soon enough I am warm.

The trouble comes in the middle of the night when one of the joys of getting older kicks in . . . that urge to pee in the middle of the night (oh joy).

So there I am, all snugly warm in my bed and my house is now a fridge (at best) and a freezer (at worst). Then the inner debate comes . . . how badly do I really need to pee?

I know what needs to happen, now that the weather has turned colder and now that getting out of bed to pee means going outside to find a forlorn tree or fencepost; clothes are needed.

So, I need to wear my warm clothes to bed, thereby meaning I will already be wearing warm clothes when I emerge to dart outside to take care of business.

This is yet another sign of the changing seasons and thus one more way that I need to adapt what I do in order to not only survive in this Urban Nomad Lifestyle, but thrive.

After all I have eleven months and three weeks until total debt freedom, and that is worth getting a little chilly for.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 14 November 2016

Final Fun of Fall

Winter is coming and it apparently made an appointment this year. 

As it turns out that it was a good thing that I went to Banff this last weekend as things are finally going to take a turn for the sub-zero.

So, sure I did go out to Banff and I made sure to BBQ while I was out there, partially for the tasty food, but also for the novelty of being able to do so (sans-parka) in November. 

I have been watching the weather forecast like a hawk recently, looking for that time when the weather will finally dip below zero and stay there. That day is Wednesday.

What that means is that I am now in Full-Blow Winter Mode. What that means is that I can’t use any of my tanks meaning I can’t use my sinks or toilet. 

This is a big shift for me, as now I can’t do my dishes in my sink or even have a jug shower standing in my bathtub. 

Why? Because that water would go down to my Grey Water Tank just like any business that I do in the toilet goes down to the Black Water Tank.

Again, why is this an issue, after all I have been doing this all this time since I winterized, right? 

Well, with the weather now about to dip below zero and stay there (as in the daytime highs will also be below zero) this means that my tanks and sewer connection will freeze.

When this happens, at best I can’t open the valves to drain the tanks, but at worst that water backed up there will crack the pipes, connection or rupture the tank.

In my books, that is not worth the risk so I drain my tanks just before it freezes and then not use those tanks until Spring. As in when the daytime high is consistently above zero.

Sure there are heat tape, skirting and other measures that you can take to minimize this freeze-up risk, but none of those work if you are mobile, as I am.

So, with that in mind I made sure to drain and flush my tanks, making sure that they are all clean, dry and ready for winter (as in totally empty).

I made sure to do this during the day yesterday, so sure I had to move and setup camp again, but it was worth it. 

By draining and flushing yesterday afternoon I was able to take my time, and do so during daylight. When I dump at camp, I typically do so on my way out of the campground on my way to work.

This time I was able to flush it out and let it drain completely, as there was no line-up waiting to use the dup station. 

I didn’t use the built in flushing nozzles that Wanda has, as I wasn’t sure how well or completely those lines would drain before the freeze-up. 

So, what I did was use that spray nozzle, wand-thing that I bought to spray and wash the inside of the tank. 

With the clear straight pipe that I attach to the sewer connection I can easily see when the process is done. 

How is that? Well, when the water flows clean, clear and without chunks or floaties. Hey this is not a glamorous job, but a necessary one. 

So, all in all it was a good weekend, and the best of all is that my favourite section of the campground should be open by the end of November. 

Even better is that it should be available to be reserved online in early December. This means that I may be able to pay for and more importantly secure my spot for my Christmas break.

I hate going out there and not knowing that I have a spot, I much prefer to not only know that I have a spot but be able to pick it ahead of time.

Ah well, winter may be coming, but this is nothing that I haven’t seen before.

On a happier note, here are some pictures that I took this last weekend: 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 10 November 2016

Wanda Loan Study Update

Okay, so today is Thursday, not just any Thursday but a Wanda Payment Thursday (that and I get to run to the hills tonight after work . . . yay!)

This means that since a Wanda Payment went through last night (at midnight) that this morning I get to see what the new balance of the loan is. 

This allows me to see just how that payment affected the overall balance and even drill down into it to determine some sort of pattern. 

By doing this, this month, my “Control Month” I get to see just what happens when I just make the regular payments on the loan.

This will be important when I start to make large payments on that loan along with the extra payments on the Off-Thursday (Non-Wanda Payment Thursdays).

I need to see just what effect any of my efforts are going to have on the loan so I can tweak and tune my plans so as to have the maximum effect on that loan. 

As it stands my last payment was 64.80% interest yet this payment was 64.72% interest, a drop of .08% from one payment to the other. 

I will see if this trend holds or if it is just an anomaly. Again, this is the point of this part of the study, to see what happens if I do nothing (other than what I have to).

I have one more payment this month (on the 24th) before my first “Odd Payment” oddly enough it falls on December the 1st. I eagerly await to see what affect that extra odd payment makes on the loan. 

By doing this, by measuring what happens now and what happens when I make my changes, I can better model and predict what the loan will look like in the future.

By being able to do that, I can more accurately predict just when this loan will finally be paid off. This is vital to make sure that I stay on track and on schedule.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 9 November 2016

Stash or Pay?

For the most part I try to be neutral and non-political, yet as a result of last night’s US election I feel I have to say something. 

Rarely does the machinations and plotting of foreign (I am a Canadian and darn proud of it) affects me in the slightest, this one does. 

The President-Elect of the US has vowed to rip up or renegotiate NAFTA, that free trade agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico.

This is bad and bodes ill for the Kingdom of Geffieland, because the company I work for does approximately 80% of our business exporting directly into the US.

Essentially, NAFTA has made our business quite profitable, yet the prosperity does not stop there. We sell to manufacturers, electricians; companies large and small. 

We sell them good quality product at a competitive price, and back that up with advice, knowledge and yes a good, no hassle warranty.  

(I swear this is not a paid plug for the company I work for). 

In essence, we benefit by selling our products to people and companies in the US and in turn they benefit by being able to be more competitive and prosperous using/selling/installing our products. 

(It is a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win-Win) (We win, the manufacturers we buy from win, our customers win and their customers win, and yes even both of the economies of the US and Canada win.)

What the tearing up of NAFTA means for little old me goes back to the question that loomed over me as I started this blog and Urban Nomad Journey . . . 

What if the boss decided to shut down the company or go back to a one-man operation? (He has done this before, before my time.)

What if I find myself suddenly unemployed? 

It may not happen overnight, but it may happen now that the future of NAFTA is uncertain. 

So, the question I face is do I continue with my plan to stuff all extra cash onto the Wanda Loan, or do I stuff the cash into the bank and pay it off when I have enough to do so all at once? 

If I stuff the cash into the bank I then have that cushion of cash in case I am suddenly unemployed. Then again I have been told to rely on Unemployment Insurance, 

History has taught me, however, that UIC is not all that dissimilar to a lottery ticket; it is unsure and not guaranteed.  

I will move forward with my project for the months of December and January, and see from there what to do. 

If it does not look like I will pay the loan off any faster then I will likely bank the cash and hedge my bets. 

If it does look like I will pay the loan off quicker, then I will keep moving forward with my massive payments on the Wanda loan. 

Either way, I need to get that loan paid off as soon as possible, because once I am totally debt free, I can live cheaply and breathe easier, if I was suddenly unemployed.

If any of you need the nudge to do something drastic to eliminate your own debt load, might I suggest that you wonder what would happen to you and y our family if you were to find yourself suddenly unemployed for reasons out of your control?

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward.

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Why I Stay Mobile

There are drawbacks and benefits to being always mobile and always being at home, no matter where you are. 

There are days when I muse about somehow finding a way to stake a claim to a small parcel of land and setting down roots, yet that is not to be, not yet anyways.

I had a reminder this past weekend of just how important it is that I keep Wanda hitched to Trea and ever-mobile. 

It was time for the semi-annual servicing of Trea (my truck) so the simple solution was to park Wanda across the road, unhitch and wait in there while the truck was being serviced.

I decided to be generous and let them keep Trea, all day. After all, I didn’t have anywhere particular to go, and I was, after all, still at home.

I wasn’t bothering anyone, the street was an unassuming side street and there were no parking limitations (i.e. pay parking, or time limited parking).

Well, I had only been there for a few hours when a bylaw officer came pulling up with modern ticket book I hand.

Someone had complained to the city about the grievous and heinous offence of a “detached RV trailer parked within the city limits.”

The officer was nice and understood that my truck was in for service (at the dealership that he was parked in front of) and that I had only been there a few hours. 

Apparently it made a big difference that I was actually with the trailer, I’m not sure why, but maybe that means that it has not been “abandoned.”

After that, I then politely asked the dealership to hurry up, as I was unsure how the next (and there would be) bylaw officer would be and I didn’t want a ticket or further hassle with the fuzz.

They obliged and I was on my way in a few hours yet it reminded me that I can’t just find a forlorn patch of dirt, unhitch and make a home, not anywhere near civilization anyways.

I have thought about renting a space in the back of someone’s house, you know beside the garage in the back. 

I think that I might be able to be there for about three days before the neighbours would freak out and call the city on me. Again, I don’t need the hassle or the expense.

Then again, I could just park my trailer and live in my Western Home, as I have seen others do. 

I just don’t like the idea of disconnecting and leaving Wanda anywhere so, public. Nor do I like the idea of taking advantage so extremely of the generosity of my weekend hosts.

I will keep Wanda attached to Trea, and keep moving around, as I have been. I have less than a year to go before I am totally debt free. 

After that I work towards buying a place, something that is mine and somewhere where I can put down roots. Until then I will stay mobile.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Monday 7 November 2016

Three-Sixty-Five-and-a-Wake-up . . . OOOOH Lord

Yep, it's official . . .

I have just one year (or less) until I am totally and completely debt free and even own my home. So there!

Okay, technically my house has wheels under it and they spin as I move around daily, since I don’t own or even rent the land beneath it, but hey, let’s not get picky.

It is one full year until I am debt free (fiscal disaster notwithstanding) and that deserves a moment of pause, and perhaps a minor splurge.

The other nice thing that happened this weekend was that the boss gave me my paycheque early.

Not that it did me a whole lot of good, as I can’t cash it until today (after work) but it does let me see what the amount actually is.

This allows me to finalize my budget for the upcoming payperiod. Most times I do this while at work, just before the day, and other times it is after work and before I drive to the bank.

My paycheques have been a little larger as of late, and the reason is, is in fact that apparently I have paid my share of CPP and UIC this year.

This means less taxes coming off and so what I get left over is larger. January, of course, will be a bite back into reality, but that is life, and as always I will deal with it.

What this windfall means is that I can still keep my goals for this month on track while stealing away to Banff for the weekend.

It is important to take a bit of time to enjoy the nice things in life while still keeping yourself and your path to your goals, on track and on schedule.

This is a difficult balance to make, but it can be done, yet there are sacrifices to be made, as nothing worth having has ever been achieved without sacrificing something to get it.

(Just make sure that you don’t sacrifice humans to appease a deity in order to get what you want.)

As always: Keep your head up (and attached), your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Friday 4 November 2016

Fwump Day Cometh

I had never heard of the word “Chinook” until I came to Calgary, yet, after being here for a few years, it is, by far my most favourite word in the whole world.

To me, it means “a respite from winter,” and/or “not freezing your butt off,” weather. I won’t bother to explain the science but it has something to do with wind coming down off the mountain, somehow bringing warm winds and weather. 

What it means is that here in early November it is plus 20 during the day this week when last year it was dipping down to -7 overnight (regularly). 

While I am enjoying the weather and liking the warm temperatures, there is always the thought that lingers . . . real winter is coming.

I know that winter will come and when it does it will come with a vengeance, and the weather can turn on a dime. 

Let’s not forget that the prairies are a place where you can (regurlarly) experience all four seasons in the same day.

No matter how lovely and nice the weather is now, that day, the day the weather turns is coming and I call that day “Fwump Day.”

That day when the temp drops suddenly and you wake up to a few feet of snow and an apocalyptic “winter wonderland” everywhere.

The back of my mind wonders if we will pay later (say January and February) for the nice weather now. 

I will survive and adapt though, I always do. I just keep a weather eye on the horizon and another on the weather predictions.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Thursday 3 November 2016

Netless Fears

When you’re young you have no fear, you can charge at anything, do anything, be reckless and not think twice. 

As you get older, however, time, experience has a way of instilling and imparting wisdom to you that such actions are . . . unwise and ill-advised. 

I have been living paycheque to paycheque without any savings whatsoever for my entire working life (thusfar). Let’s just say that’s been a decade or three.

Now that I have been on this journey and particularly with this past year actually had that cushion of my savings, the thought of being without it is like skydiving with a tea towel as a parachute.  

This month is particularly stressful for me as it means not only paying my Low-Interest Credit Card off (again) but also rebuilding my savings accounts to their mini um acceptable levels. 

Even then, even if I have accomplished all that I would still only have a month or two before my savings would be depleted.

The thought of entering a phase of this journey where I give large wads of cash to a bank directly on the loan feels like throwing cash on a fire. Once you do that, you can’t get it back.

I am tempted to do what I did before, and just sock cash away until I have enough saved to pay the loan off outright.

I know that the best option is to just stay the course and trudge on ahead with this new plan, this new way of doing things. 

Fear of the unknown and fear of operating without a safety-net does scare me. I will survive, I will be okay, and I will settle my nerves. I am nothing, if not adaptable and survivable. 

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward!

Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Almost Payment

Today is Wednesday, more specifically it is the Wednesday of a Non-Wanda Payment Week. 

That means that when I enact my plan that tonight, after work, I would have made that extra $100.00 payment on the Wanda Loan.

I was tempted and would like to get started on this, but I just don’t have the room in my budget. 

It is even a stretch to make room in the 22nd payday budget for the extra payment on December 1st (okay, technically November 30th).

In doing so, I will then fully enact my pilot project that will run for two consecutive months at least. 

This way I can see if the payments in December somehow affect the payments in January. 

It is still a toss-up what effect any of these extra payments will have on the loan, but I will forge on ahead regardless, trying to bolster my savings along the way. 

Bolstering my Savings is a good way to put my goals for this month, as that is the plan, to have a bit of a cushion, just in case of the unforeseen.

It is that unforeseen which also drives me to paying off the Wanda Loan as quickly as I can, so that I can be still sitting pretty, no matter what life throws at me. 

(No, fate that is not me tempting or daring you to toss a large ball of muck at me.) 

I will boldly forge on ahead with: Optimism, Courage, tempered with Prudence.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive, and keep moving forward.

Tuesday 1 November 2016

The Hidden Long Weekend

Now that Halloween is over and done with, thoughts turn to Remembrance Day, at least for me. 

As a side-note, I had no trick-or-treater’s, as for some reason parents don’t want to take their kids to the industrial section of town and knock on the doors of RV’s parked there . . . funny that.

Back to Remembrance Day In years gone by I would go down and find some sort of Remembrance Day ceremonies to partake in.

Due to the fact that I drag Wanda with me wherever I go, so parking is a challenge and I refuse to drive downtown, in recent years I will watch the ceremonies on the TV.

This year November 11 falls on a Friday, so that means that it is a defacto long weekend. I am considering heading to the hills (I can watch the ceremonies from there).

Yet, with the fact that my budgets for November are so tight and my goals so lofty, it seems just too risky and reckless (financially) to do.

I could put it on a card, but I have just paid this one off (this upcoming payday) and so the rule is to keep it at a zero balance each payday. 

With this month being like it is, I won’t be able to do that and so I am back to carrying a balance . . . no thanks.

So, I will see how this payday actually is, and if I can somehow squeak out enough to pay cash for this retreat and still do what I plan to do, okay, I go, otherwise I won’t.

After all, my priorities are to get back to a level fiscal position so I can move ahead to get totally debt free by the end of next year. I can manage without heading to the hills to make sure that happens.

As always: Keep your head up, your attitude positive and keep moving forward!