Monday 30 April 2018

Lost My Favourite Spot(s)

So there they were, all lined up where they were not supposed to be . . . a line of cars. It was mid-afternoon on Friday and I was pulling into my Western Home when I saw them. 

I grumbled, ranted and railed against the injustice of someone parking in my favourite spot, yet I did what I always do . . . moved on.

I found another spot elsewhere in the parking lot, some other forlorn spot that is just big enough to park in. 

It takes a bit of doing but I can parallel park my truck and trailer in there. It is for that reason that it is usually waiting for me. 

I wondered why all of a sudden the end of the parking lot that I usually park in is suddenly so popular.

I mean all of the spots in that end of the parking lot was taken up. Not one or two, or just a few strategically parked yet spread out so I can’t park there, but every last one.

It took me a bit of thinking, as I was getting setup, to realize the reason, and why this is probably an indicator of things to come (for the next while at least).

A new store has opened up in the adjacent shopping area, and this end of the parking lot is nearest to that store. 

As you might have guessed their parking lot is jammed packed, so this means that the spill over is invading our parking lot. 

Either that or the staff of that store had been instructed to park in our parking lot. The reason matters little, but the result is the same: I can’t park in the end of the parking lot that I like the most. 

Again, this is not something new, as I know and accept that I may own my home, but I do not own the land underneath it. 

Everywhere I go, I am an invader, a guest and I have no right to be anywhere, I simply have permission to be there, for a little while at least. 

It is this “Permanent Guest” mentality that informs how I live my life and how I interact with my environment, and those around me.

I will always find a place to park and make a home. There is always another place to park. 

There is no reason to come to blows over one particular parking place, no matter how nice it is, or what sentimental value it has to me.

My lifestyle, by its very definition is one of impermanence. This is the way of things and one thing that anyone who wishes to follow in my footsteps needs to accept.

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

Friday 27 April 2018

Batteries Still Suspect

Okay, so I was able to keep using my batteries as of last weekend. So, that’s good. Yet, they still seem to be lasting me only three days, no matter what.

I ran my generator last on Monday night, for three hours. That lasted me until sometime Thursday daytime (As in yesterday).

I know that I have not been plugged in, as in at a campsite since the weekend of the 23rd of February, and the following week that Wanda was in for service. 

I am still thinking about just replacing Wanda’s batteries now, but I will see how things hold out. I want to wait until after the May Long Weekend, and that long, uninterrupted charge.

I have a sneaking feeling, that I will be upgrading Wanda’s batteries sooner, rather than later. Again we shall see.

By not being able to hold a decent charge this is costing me in fuel, as I need to run my generator more often. 

Yet, if I can hold off making that capital purchase until later, that would also be good as I am trying to build up my emergency fund ASAP.

At least, Wanda’s batteries are still working, even if they aren’t what they use to be.

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

Thursday 26 April 2018

The Racers Are Back

So, as I have said before, for the most part I live in an industrial area. 

My Eastern Home, is where my work is located so, I park in one place near work during the day, and another place two blocks away, at night.

I do this so I am constantly moving around and thus, less likely to draw the ire of the locals and Bylaw. So far, it works (anywhose).

With the warmer weather brings a certain sect of society to my otherwise quiet place . . . a group I like to call “The Racers.”

This group likes to bring their supped up cars and drive them real fast around the streets of my Eastern Home at night. 

I can understand why, most of the streets are nice and long and empty at least in the evenings, and particularly on the weekends. 

For the few weekends that I have spent in my Eastern Home, I have found that it resembles a site that has been evacuated, all it lacks to be a ghost town is the tumbleweeds. 

On one hand, if some yahoos want to race real fast down empty streets, I say go ahead, have your fun, just don’t hurt anyone or smash into anything. 

Yet when people are zipping by your house, two feet from your window doing 80 – 100KPH (or faster), that’s reeeaaaly annoying. (The whole trailer rocks side to side).

It doesn’t help that they all sound like someone has turbocharged a lawnmower. 

This is what I have to look forward to, as the warm weather has returned. As with all things, you must take the good with the bad.

That and sooner or later, the police will start patrolling more frequently (as The Racers will draw the attention of the po-po on their own.

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

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Spring Has Sprung

I know that it is almost a taboo to actually say those words, as one fears that it will summon winter back. 

I just have to say that the weather has turned warmer, and that suits me just fine.

It has been plus 20 in my trailer these past few days (okay between 10 and 20C) all without running my furnace.

I actually had a jug shower this morning without cursing and grumbling about the cold chill I immediately felt upon getting out whilst questioning my life choices that brought me to that particular place.

So that was nice.

The point is that the weather has turned and while I could run to the hills to de-winterize, I won’t. 

I have already reserved and paid for my spot on the May Long Weekend (now just less than a month away) so there is little point to incur the extra expense. 

I am still on that drive and push to fully-fund my Mid-Term Account ASAP.

I will enjoy the warmer weather and the easier living that such temperatures bring. It is always good to take a moment to recognize the good things in your life.

Far too often we pick up on what is not going well in our lives. I have been guilty of this, myself. 

I will, push on ahead while trying to notice the positive more than the negative, in all things.

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

Tuesday 24 April 2018

Taxed to Pay a Tax

Okay, so as you may know, every now and again (twice now) I have been buying books to add to the “When You Need To Know It, But, Can’t Google It” Archive.

This is a collection of books that I might need when starting the homesteading process on that land that I plan to buy and turn into a self-sustaining town. (As in providing food and the other necessities for the townsfolk.)

I make a point to buy my books from a Canadian website of a large international online marketplace. This is to avoid the hassles of buying things across the Canadian border.

To be Canadian is to know that your government loves to tax just about everything you do, and ensure that it can do so unfairly in so called “free trade” deals.

I work for a company that sells our products into the United States. We can do so tax free for up to $800.00 into the US no problem. 

We sell either to the skilled trades people needed to install our products or to people who will then hire those same skilled trades people to install our products for them.

This, as in what we do, helps spur the American economy as well as our own. 

Yet, the Canadian Government insists on getting a the very least the GST on every penny of every product that comes into this country. 

Case in point. I bought a few books, one, as it happened was coming from an American seller (fine).

Yet when that book crossed the border, it was assessed at a Canadian value of $43.97, so I was charged $2.20 GST, yet then charged a $9.95 “Handling Fee” from the Canadian Border Services.

See for yourself . . . 

Essentially I was taxed to pay a tax all to remind me that I was a bad boy for not buying this book in Canada. 

After all, we Canadians are only supposed to do business with Canadian Businesses. Why is that? In order to maximize the taxation trickle back to our own government, of course.

Heaven forbid we have open competition in this country. Ah well, it is frustrating but there is little to be done about it. 

I still think it is unfair, but I will keep trudging forward. Yet another reason why I want to build that little town and break the cycle of: Work  Spend  Debt  Repeat Until Death for me and those who come to that town.

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

Monday 23 April 2018

The Battery Bleeder

Okay, so this is a story about how your biases can affect a situation. In particular, if you are not careful, you will see what you want to see, rather than what actually is.

I did go to the battery specialty place to buy two new batteries for Wanda. The aggravating thing is that they had them in stock yet since the worker was alone, I couldn’t get them. 

They were up high and the lone staff member was not qualified to operate the forklift. (Those batteries are a little too heavy to just get a ladder and go up and get two.)

This was frustrating due to the fact that this store was open pretty much the same hours that where I work was. (With the exception of Friday afternoons.)

So, I would have to wait another week to get the new batteries for Wanda. This is a problem, as the fridge will not stay cool on its own for too long.

So, I grumbled and left, making arrangements to come back in a week to buy the batteries. 

I started contemplating taking time off of work to rush here to get the new batteries, earlier in the week, as in Monday or most probably Tuesday. 

I knew that I would have to hook up the existing batteries and run the generator this weekend, as in that very day (Friday afternoon).

So, after getting to my Western Home, that was what I did. I knew that Wanda’s Batteries were so dead that I would have to run the generator before getting setup. 

After the generator was running and hooked up to Wanda, and as I was about to get started my setup routine, I noticed this . . . 

That was when I saw this lone light on. This is my pass-through storage compartment that is under my bed. This light is on the passenger side of the storage compartment.

That dual pole thing is a contraption that I made to help organize my thoughts while writing by attaching index cards to it. 

That thing is eight feet long and stretches diagonally across the whole of the pass-through storage compartment. 

It was at that moment, that I knew what had happened and who the real culprit was in the case of the batteries that couldn’t hold a charge . . . it was this light.

This light is one that I never use and always ignore, but it has happened in the past where this light is accidentally clicked on by way of that wavering pole contraption.

That is what happened here, as with that light on all the time, that would surely drain the battery and fast. 

I did a test and ran the generator for three hours and it lasted me all weekend and should last the day today, but I know that I will need to run the generator tonight.

I removed the bulb from that light, so this will not happen again. 

This just goes to show that you need to be careful about your own biases and what you want to happen in certain situations. 

I wanted to replace those batteries and I will most likely do so before this next winter. 

Yet, since I don’t have to do so right away, I won’t, as I don’t want to incur an expense if I don’t absolutely have to. I am still focussed on building up my Mid-Term Savings.

When something happens try to be as objective and neutral about what is going on. Try to determine what is actually happening and resist the urge to jump to conclusions. 

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

Friday 20 April 2018

The Almost Battery

So, there I was yesterday evening, looking at a battery that would have worked for Wanda. They had more than two, so it would have been a solution to my problem.

But, I didn’t buy them . . . why? You ask?

You see, Wanda’s Batteries sit outside on the front of the trailer, behind the propane tanks. See here . . . 

The batteries are inside those plastic boxes. They are there to protect the batteries from the weather and stray metal (to prevent short circuits).

I looked around and found two suitable batteries at a large retailer that was open later than the battery specialty store that I was planning to go visit this afternoon.

So, I decided why not check this large retailer out yesterday evening, after work, and solve my problem of dead batteries a day earlier.

I had gotten the measurements of the new batteries from online and measured the area where the Wanda’s Batteries are.

They would fit, but they were an inch taller. That’s fine as an inch taller is no problem, and more battery is a good thing (more space to store electricity). 

Yet, this would mean that I would need new battery boxes (those plastic protective boxes) to go with my new batteries, 

Since my current battery boxes are an inch short, I would need to rig something up (such as lots of duct tape) . . . no thanks.

I still remember the blank expression and total lack of offering any options or solutions by the attendant at the large retailer. 

I had to prod to see if he could order in new and taller battery boxes, but they didn’t have any available. 

So, I left the store and left the batteries there. They were no use to me, if I can’t protect them (in the Non-Red Green way).

I will go to the battery specialty place today after work and hope that they not only have the batteries I need, but also the battery boxes. 

One way or another, I will solve this problem. 

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

Thursday 19 April 2018

Keeping My Cool, With No Power

Okay, so as I mentioned yesterday, I have disconnected Wanda’s batteries, meaning I have no power in Wanda.

This affects the obvious things like the lights and the radio, but it also affects other systems as well. Systems such as the furnace and the fridge.

The furnace needs electricity because of the fan that is in it in order to push out the warm air.

Some older RV’s have a small furnace that needs no electricity in order to run. While they may not push out heat that far or fast, you can run them when you have no power.

The fridge needs electricity because it has a small computer circuit in there to run it. It can switch between 120VAC and propane, as well as it has a light inside it.

So, that won’t run without electricity either. So what to do to keep things cold for the few days that I am without power?

First of all, the fridge itself is insulated and designed to keep the cold in. So the first thing I am doing is keeping the door closed as much as possible.

The second thing I am doing is having one of my “blue-gel ice packs” put into a co-workers freezer overnight to get frozen again.

Mine are doing okay, but this way, I can make sure to keep my frozen stuff, frozen with a freshly frozen blue-gel ice pack.

One way or another, I am going to get new batteries this weekend (unless all stores are out of stock). I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

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

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Wanda’s Batteries Are Dead

I knew it as soon as I looked at its blank screen; there was no denying it then. You see, I ran my generator for two hours on both Sunday and Monday nights.

Both times the charge in Wanda’s batteries did not last 24 hours, when in the past, that would have lasted me for half a week.

This was not just “make the radio unusable” dead batteries, this was “blank screen on the radio” dead, and yesterday it was “propane sensor beeping every ten seconds” dead.

That usually takes a few days to drain the batteries down to. This meant they were dead dead. 

My next test would be to plug in somewhere for the weekend, to charge the batteries up from Friday afternoon till 5 am Monday morning.

The trouble is that I have no place in town to do so, I have no place to plug in for extended periods of time, and I am not running my generator for hours on end.

Yet, to go to the mountains (and a campsite) costs me about $200.00 each time (for camp fees and extra fuel). To do that in order to confirm what I already heavily suspect, seems foolish.

So, yesterday afternoon I disconnected the batteries and will be without power in Wanda until this weekend.

There is a battery specialty place that I will check out Friday afternoon and look at purchasing new batteries of a better design. As in, better equipped to handle the cold winters.

This is yet another expense that I don’t need, yet was expected. 

After all I will have owned Wanda for 4 years come the 15th of next month. I will have been living in Wanda full-time come the 12th of July. 

I will still push on ahead and do what needs to be done. This expense will go on the card and be paid off with the other expenses in August/September. 

I will be okay, as I know how to handle a trailer without power. I have seen this before.

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

Tuesday 17 April 2018

Not Stopping Mid-Term Funding

Okay, so I have said, and I remain, committed to staying Totally Debt Free. I am still committed to that, but I also have said that I will use debt to my advantage, to get ahead.

I have had a couple of recent large expenses, the first of which was my generator, the second of which was maintenance (brakes & oil change) to the truck over the weekend (it is a 2012).

It also looks like Wanda’s batteries will have to be replaced sooner rather than later. They cannot hold a charge more than 2 days, 3 tops (again, they are years old).

With all of these dipping into my meagre savings, I will have nothing to live on, as a cushion, if the worst happens and I am unemployed. 

(I refuse to factor in any sort of government assistance or charity help, as they are never guaranteed, and out of my control.)

So, what I am doing is putting those expenses on my low-interest credit card as I charge ahead to fully fund my Mid-Term Savings Account by July 22 of this year.

At that point I will have 2 years worth of living expenses saved away, as I then focus on paying off that low-interest credit card, before turning my attention to the Long-Term Account.

I already have enough in the Mid-Term Account to pay the card off, but if I spend it now, I will have nothing to live on later. 

(I can stretch a dollar, but I need a dollar to stretch.)

I will still pay $50.00 a payday to the card to service that debt for the next 3 months. I estimate that it will take less than 2 months to pay it off at that time. 

I am already in the position that I will not be ready to buy my property until Spring of 2020. (As in having the Long-Term Account fully funded.)

I need to do this for me, as I need to have that cushion under me. So, I will take advantage of the low-interest credit card to secure my peace of mind.

With all of the uncertainty these days, I need to have some sort of backstop, sooner rather than later. 

I will not let this get out of hand, and I will pay this off, I will just use debt to get ahead. 

Keep in mind that I will always have more in the bank to pay off that card than I will charge up on it. 

With each payday, my savings will continue to dwarf, ever more the outstanding balance on that low interest credit card. 

This is a key and vital difference, between now, and getting myself in trouble years ago. (Remember that kiddos, if you plan on doing a similar move.)

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

Monday 16 April 2018

The Saga of the New BBQ

Okay, so I’ll admit it, last weekend (as in the one a week ago) I bought a new BBQ. My old one was a bit beat up and the parts needed to fix it were almost the cost of a new one.

So, I decided to buy one, and got a not horrible price on it (for a cheapskate like me). Yet I didn’t unpack it until this past Saturday. Here it is, in its inaugural BBQ!

You will notice that small bottle of propane down below. That is an 11 pound bottle of propane and it took some doing to track down someone who sold one.

It was more expensive than a 20 pound bottle but I wanted the small size and light weight, because I didn’t want to lug around and try to store an extra 20 pound bottle. 

You may be wondering why I didn’t just get that special RV hose and connect the BBQ directly to Wanda’s propane system. 

Well, the short answer is you need a more expensive BBQ, one that can bypass its internal regulator, and the cheap ones don’t do that (as far as I know).

As well, it seemed simpler to just get this little bottle and refill it now and again. 

Well, that led to a bit of a problem. You see, the first fill of a propane tank is a bit of a big deal and requires that the tank is “Purged.” 

They do a certain procedure to it, so if you have a new tank, and are getting it filled for the first time, let the propane attendant know that before they get started.

Okay, so my usual truck stop that I buy propane from couldn’t purge the tank, so I went to another place that specialized in selling propane. 

So far, so good.

Well, as was the case the last time that I bought propane (in the summer, sometime) I was overcharged.

You see, I pulled up to get my little 11 pound tank purged and filled. I decided that since I was there to get the 30 pound propane tank (that I had been using since I got Wanda back from repairs) topped up.

The attendant told me that it was about half full but he could top it up. I decided, why not.

Well, when he was done, he did not hand me any paperwork saying how much propane he had used in either tank. He just told me to tell the clerk that he had filled “one 30 pound tank and one 10 pound tank.”

I questioned this, saying the 30 pound tank was half full, and he replied “we flat-fee now.”

True to form, despite what I said to the clerk, I was charged for 35 pounds of propane, (at $0.99 per pound) plus taxes despite being given much less.

This happens at all of the propane retailers in my area that I know of. This means that they are not charging for what they actually give you, but whatever price they can pull out of their butts (just for more money).

I have contacted the govt, the propane retailers association and the press, but I expect that no one will care. It is just frustrating to not be given a fair deal on something so vital to me.

Ah well, I will carry on, rip-offs notwithstanding. 

(But I did have two nice BBQ’s this weekend, and will have many more in the future.)

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

Friday 13 April 2018

My Bad . . . I Planned a BBQ Today

Yeah, so I had planned a spur of the moment thing, to have a BBQ at work today . . . 

I know that this is Alberta and so the weather changes at the drop of a hat. I mean, I am not kidding, I have experienced all 4 seasons in one day. 

It is supposed to warm up this afternoon and I do park my house close to work, so it may still happen.

It was going to be the “I want spring, BBQ.” 

This is just the way of things this time of year . . . in what I term as “Anti-Fall” (as in it is not spring but Fall, but in reverse).

I am stubborn, so if there is still the will, I will make it happen. At least tomorrow, I will have a BBQ, as the weather should be nice.

Spring will come, the warm weather will come, yet not quite yet, it seems. 

It is for days like this that I have pushed off my De-Winterizing until the May Long Weekend, I just don’t want to push things for the slight convenience of running water. 

Again, I will continue to press forward, towards my goal and try to enjoy each day in some way. (BBQ or no BBQ).

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

Thursday 12 April 2018

The Spillover Savings Method

The true power of spreadsheet programs is that they let you quickly try out various scenarios and see what will/could happen. This is especially helpful in budgeting.

With my slow start to my savings plan this year, I spent some time yesterday trying to figure out how to ensure that my Long-Term Savings Plan would stay on track.

I cooked up this idea to just start putting cash into my Long-Term Account on schedule and keep putting a set amount into it no matter what.

That way, by the end of next year (2019) I would have enough saved up to buy my land. Sounds good, right?  

The trouble with this plan is that it underfunds my Mid-Term Account, as I would just put in what extra cash I could spare into it. 

This would leave this account underfunded, and it would not be fully funded until about the same time. 

This violates the simplicity and essence of what I term “The Spillover Savings Method.”

You see, it works like this: 

You have (or should have) three bank accounts, as each one serves a different purpose. 

The first is your Main Account, this is your primary account where you do most of your banking from. This is where you put your paycheque into and where you pay your bills out of.

Your second is your Mid-Term Account, this is your “rainy day fund” or where you go for emergencies. Trust me, this is an important one to have. 

Your third account is your Long-Term Account. This account is for you to save up for your long-term goals and dreams, such as a down payment on a house, college education, buying land and paying cash, etc.

These accounts are shown as buckets because they should keep some cash in each of them, but for different reasons.

Your Main Account should have some cash left in it at all times, this will be your own Personal Overdraft. 

By training yourself to see that a certain amount of cash in that account is actually “Zero” then you can have a bit of a cushion to dip into (for free) if you need to tide yourself over between paydays. 

(You know, just like a “Bank Overdraft” but for free because it is your money.) 

I recommend building this up to $1000.00 because it is easiest to just lop off the $1000.00. You then see that if it says that you have $1002.35, that you actually have $2.35 in there. 

(It will work for lesser amounts, as you build it up, but multiples of $100.00 are best.)

Your Mid-Term Account is your own Personal Credit Card. This is where you borrow your own money from (for free) if you need it. 

This is vital, because unless you break the cycle of running to credit every time you have an emergency, then you will never get out of debt.

(If you don’t take control of your debt, then you will never take control of your life, and you will remain a debt slave.)

Your Long-Term Account should be an investment account of some kind. You know, the kind that takes a day or two to get cash out of. 

(So as to make sure that when you do take cash out of there, you really want to and have thought it through.)

How the system works is that you put your paycheque into your Main Account, pay your bills and leave what cash you have left over in there. (As in, don’t spend it.)

That cash builds up over time until you have that bucket filled (up to that $1000.00 “Personal Overdraft” target.)

At that time, you will then “spill over” the extra cash into your Mid-Term Account. This bucket fills up until you have reached your target amount in this account. 

(I recommend enough to cover 2 years of living expenses, but it should be at least enough for 6 months.) 

This is shown as an even pipe to demonstrate that cash flows back and forth between these two easily and freely (when needed).

Once you have filled your Mid-Term Account until it is full, then you start spilling over to fill up your Long-Term Account.

This is shown as a drop, as once cash goes into the Long-Term Account, it should stay there, until you are enacting your dream/goal, that you have been saving for. 

If at any time you draw down on one of your buckets, you fill the buckets, up in order. 

So if you dip into your Main Account’s Personal Overdraft, then you have to fill that one back up to its target amount.

Then you can continue to spill over to your Mid-Term Account. If that one has been dipped into, then you need to fill it up before you can resume putting cash into your Long-Term Account. 

If you are trying to get out of debt, I strongly recommend that you at least give yourself that Personal Overdraft in your Main Account, and then focus on your debt elimination.

All of this hinges on you having extra cash in your monthly budget. Cash flow is everything. You need to know how your cash flows, and find ways to save.

Otherwise you will stay on that hamster wheel of debt until you die. 

Anyways, on that happy note, I will leave you with this explanation of my simple Spillover Savings Method, one that I have recently re-dedicated myself to.

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

Wednesday 11 April 2018

The Cost-Comfort Trade-off

In all aspects of life, there is a constant balancing act between the nice things in life and what that will cost us: (Money, Time, Peace of Mind, etc).

There is a sound that I like, yet don’t hear all that often, and it is the sound of a lowly fan running. 

That fan, is on the battery charging/low voltage power supply unit within Wanda. That fan only runs when Wanda is plugged into full power (120VAC / 30Amps).

I am not an expert on the charging unit, but I get the impression that it varies how much power it puts into charging the batteries in response to how much power it gets.

It’s almost as if it asks the power line “How much power can you give me?” and then varies what “charging level/mode” it goes into.

The higher the “level” the more power put into charging the batteries. At least that is what I understand, but I could be wrong. 

Where this comes into is the fact that I only typically hear that fan running when I am at a campsite. Last night, however, I heard that fan running, when I ran Jenny.

This is a first as before, with the previous generators, I never heard that fan as they both gave Wanda less than full power, closer to half power actually.

That still charged the batteries but it would take longer, as they charger unit was always on a lower setting.

Yet, while this new generator cranks out more power, clearly more than Wanda can use, that comes at a cost, a higher operating cost (as well as a much higher purchase price).

The gasoline engine that is in the new Generator is twice as large as the previous ones and so it will take more fuel to run.

I could have gone the other way and bought a baby generator (say 800Watt to 1000Watt) where it will use much less fuel than I this or the previous generators.

Yet, that extra power allows me to do things that I couldn’t do with such a small generator. 

For one, I can plug in every device I have and charge it when the generator is running. I can also not worry about overtaxing this generator and causing it to stall.

The other thing that I am thinking, is that I can run this generator for less time, yet still get the same or more charge into the batteries (because of the higher “mode” that Wanda’s charging unit goes into). We shall see about that.

The point is, is that we all make choices in our lives, every day, about what level of comfort we want, and trade that off against how much we are willing to pay for that comfort.

So, I will spend more on generator fuel, but I will enjoy having more power available to me. Just be mindful of this balance and trade-off that you do every day.

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

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Setbacks Frustrating

I know firsthand how things in life don’t go as planned. My year of savings has gotten off to a slow and very frustrating start. 

I also know that this is due to self-inflicted fiscal wounds. I also accept that the expenses (most of them) were needed and/or not that bad. 

After all, not one of them is an “epic weekend in Vegas," nor am I back in debt, for I am, and shall remain, debt free.

Yet, it is also very frustrating to come to (closing in on) the end of the first fiscal quarter of this first year of savings and have made shockingly little progress on actual savings.

I have upgraded a few things and yes fixed Wanda, and so, those were expected or should be anticipated expenses/rewards for getting debt free.

Yet, I know that my journey is not at an end and I do not wish to live in an RV for the rest of my days. 

This trailer has always been a means to an end, a way to get myself ahead. 

I will buckle down and refocus myself on my savings as I continue to move forward. I need to see some significant progress on this savings front.

I hope that things will be markedly better come the end of the second quarter of this first year of savings.

The one thing I know is that when you experience setbacks, you must acknowledge them, understand why they happened, but then leave them behind and move on.

That is what I will do.

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

Monday 9 April 2018

Pesky Persistent Power Problems

So, as is true with life, there are times when things happen that you don’t want. Or rather, expenses come at you when you don’t want them to. 

This blog-entry is about one of those times.

For the last week or so I have been having to run my generator more often. 

I thought that this was a result of the cold and my batteries not wanting to keep a charge when they are cold. Turns out, I was wrong.

 My first indication that the source of the problem was in a different location came at me one of the times that I started Jenny.

I noticed that the voltage gauge was hovering around half of what it should have been. Instead of reading 120VAC it read 40 – 60 VAC. (As in half of regular wall voltage).

In my typical “I don’t feel like dealing with this problem right now, so I will just ignore it and hope it goes away on its own,” style I did nothing. (I get into those moods now and again.)

Well, this past week I was running jenny every other day for two hours, this was becoming a real problem. 

The other indicator that there was a serious problem was the fact that devices that typically run fine (like my microwave clock) was turning on and off on its own.

This led me to believe that I had some sort of wiring issue or what have you within Wanda. 

Then when I started to notice that Wanda wasn’t charging, and the battery indicator (which usually reads full when the Jenny is running) was reading almost dead, I had to investigate. (This was Saturday afternoon.)

I looked at that voltage gauge on Jenny and this time took it seriously. I then pulled out my multimeter and then checked the voltage coming out of a wall socket in Wanda. 

This confirmed it, I was getting 40 – 60 VAC. In essence since Wanda and her systems were getting half of the voltage they expected all of her systems were browning out. 

Thus, while the engine of the generator was running fine, the actual thing that generates the electricity was faulty. 

Thus I spent some time doing some online research looking for a replacement generator. After searching and weighing cost vs. what I would get, I ended up getting a larger generator. 

Here is a shot of the old (and faulty) Jenny Mark II (on the left), and the new Jenny Mark III (on the right). 

The new Generator is a 7000 Watt Generator (I got it on special) it will kick out more than enough power to power all of Wanda’s systems fully. 

Its engine is twice as large as the old Generator but it kicks out almost three times as much power (2400 Watts VS 7000 Watts). 

One other nice thing (and was the kicker) was the electric start (with a pull cord backup).

As you can see, this new Jenny is as tall as I can fit in the back of the truck and still close the tonneau cover. I had to take the wheels and extra foot off just to drop it down a few inches. 

I gave the old Jenny to the store for them to try to sell for the motor itself, or who knows. This is me salvaging the almost full tank of gasoline from the old Jenny.

I can’t haul around junk and so everything has to have a purpose and a use, or it has to go.

Why did I buy so large a generator when a 2400 Watt one would do? 

I figured that as long as I had to buy a new generator (I can’t function without one) I might as well upgrade. After all, I can afford it these days (and that is a nice thought). 

Yet this pushes my fiscal plans back even further, but I will be able to make up time, later this year. This year and the next is all about savings. 

There are times, however, when your best laid plans will be thrown a curveball, despite your best efforts. For me the key is to balance savings Vs comfort.

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

Friday 6 April 2018

Actually Looking Forward To Monday

Yep, I am actually looking forward to Monday, and I am saying this on a Friday. Why? 

Because Monday is the day (supposedly) that the bitterly cold weather will leave, and leave us with the cool weather (of Anti-Fall).

At least that is the plan and what the weather prognosticators are telling us . . . at the time that I posted this blog entry.

I hate the cold . . . I loathe it . . . I can handle it; I know what to do to survive it, but I hate it, despite living in it for months at a time. 

Again, I do this, so I can get ahead. I live in the cold in this RV so I can live as cheaply as I am willing to, so I can use that freed up cash to move my butt ahead.

So, I am looking forward to the non-deep freeze and beyond into the warm weather, which will make my life nicer, and easier. 

I am also looking forward to seeing my savings steadily grow. That is something worth enduring some cold for, let me assure you.

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

Thursday 5 April 2018

The Average and The Long

So, payday is this Saturday, but as sometimes it happens, I have my paycheque in my hand early. 

I can’t cash it (legally, morally or ethically) but it at least lets me finalize my budget. 

As some of you know I have a spreadsheet attached to my timesheet, that lets me estimate what my paycheque will be. (I used to call this tab the “Will I Make Rent” tab.)

On there I just calculate out my Gross Pay: (Hours Worked X Hourly Rate) + the sum of Daily Commission on Online Sales.

Of course we don’t get paid our Gross Pay, but our Take Home Pay. I calculate out my take home pay by lopping off a certain percentage. 

At the start of the year I take off 27.5% yet in the last two months of the year this is closer to 18 – 20%. 

This is because the government takes off more at the beginning of the year than at the end (they want their money quicker . . . go figure).

From experience I can guess what the accurate (or closest to real) percentage that will be. 

I like to take off more than realistic in my estimations, so my projected pay will be less than it most likely will be.

I do this so that: 

1) I will not be shocked when/if my actual paycheque is lower than my expectations.
2) My actual paycheque is a little bit higher than I had estimated, so each payday I get to figure out what to do with “Extra Cash.” (It feels like Christmas each payday).

This payday my cheque was higher than expected, it was a good payperiod. So much so that I was able to put my entire “Budgetary Minimum” into savings and fund my expenses with the cash that was over my Budgetary Minimum.

What is my Budgetary Minimum? That is a budgetary holdover from five years ago, as that number was the minimum amount I needed to bring home to pay my bills and exist.

Since I have worked so hard at eliminating my debts and monthly bills, that actual number is around 10% of my take home pay. 

I keep that number there, as I insist that I pay myself what I have been paying my previous debtors. I have a massive debt that I owe myself, and goals and dreams to accomplish.

The interesting thing is that I must contrast the wonderfully overflowing paycheque that I have in hand with the drastically short one that is coming. 

My next paycheque looks to fall short of my Budgetary Minimum by around the same amount that this one overflowed. 

I will still do what I can to make my Budgetary Minimum (I still have till then end of next week on that paycheque’s payperiod) but in reality it is beyond my control.

I say this all because when looking at these higher than average paycheques and these lower than average paycheques, one must keep in mind the Average and the Long.

The Average is just that over the Long Term, these two extremes will balance out. Make hay (or savings) when you can, for there will be times when you can’t. 

Keep in mind that there will be large and small paycheques for a variety of reasons. All you can do is do the best you can with this paycheque in hand. Things will work out in the end.

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

Wednesday 4 April 2018

The Winter That Never Ends

So, for those of us out on the prairies, we are experiencing an extended winter. 

It is still cold and it looks like the winter weather will stick around for another two weeks at least.

Joy, just what I want to hear, I am fed up with winter and I just want it to go away. 

Yet, I will stick it out and persevere out here, because I know that I can and will endure this. This stuff now is but a nuisance to me, I have seen worse.

So to, I find, is the best way to look at the other problems in your life. Look at them and compare your current tribulations to the ones you have bested in the past.

I am sure that you will find that you have been through worse before, so you can get through this current patch of troubles.

They trick is to keep focused on your greater goal: the reason why you are going through all this. For that will keep you motivated . . . in amongst your winter that never ends.

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

Tuesday 3 April 2018

I Swear That I Am Not Collecting Anyone’s Data

In the light of all of this “Mass Data Collection” scandal, I thought that I would point out that little old me, running this blog, is not collecting anyone’s data.

Seriously, I don’t even know how many people actually read this blog, or from what country. 

I have a good bet that there are some Canadians and Americans, but that’s only because . . . you know . . . I have chatted with them. 

(Then again, everyone could be Russian bots).

The point is, the point of this blog is to just put out there my experiences and what has worked (and perhaps most importantly) what hasn’t worked being an Urban Nomad.

I have toyed with the idea of turning the blog address ( into a homepage of sorts for those living this lifestyle to gather together, share stories, ideas and experiences about this lifestyle . . . but that sounded like a lot of work . . . and expense. 

I will admit that I have looked for some sort of third-party phone operating system that I could load on my android phone so as to stop a certain “lettered” company from knowing my every move and bowl movement. 

Then there is the desire to find a web search engine and social media platform that doesn’t track my every search and movement online. 

I am tired of being constantly watched and marketed to. We are all getting pretty good at ignoring the ads and spotting the inflammatory propaganda dropped into out newsfeeds. 

I, for one, chuckle at the general notion of “well, you’re out there online, so you did this to yourself by living in a digital world that tracks everything, you only have yourself to blame.” 

My official response I cannot post in public, but suffice it to say, I reject that notion. 

Yet, take heart, folks, I am not collecting your data, other than a name or two that I recognize as I say hi. (but that is only in my mind and memory).

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

Monday 2 April 2018

The “When You Need It, But Can’t Google It” Library

Okay, so a week or so ago, I got the idea to start to buy books that I may need for starting that homestead (which I plan to grow into a town).

I ended up buying a few more books than I had intended (just to qualify for the free shipping  . . . yeah . . . that’s it).

Here they are: 

The one in the upper middle “The Encyclopaedia of Country Living by Carl Emery” is the one that I really wanted and I have started reading. 

This one was started back in the early seventies, and has been worked on and tweaked every since. 

It has all kinds of stuff in there for growing your own food, and yes for going back to be as much of a “Pioneer” as you want (as in doing everything yourself, on your own land).

For me, I thought that it was a good place to start for someone looking to homestead and be as self-sufficient as possible. 

Yet, I don’t want to live like a pioneer or like and Elf in the trees, forsaking all modern tech. I want to move forward and build the future. 

I want a fully modern place with technology that we develop, in a town focussed on science for the sake of science in the pursuit of: Science, Technology, Knowledge and Understanding. 

For me, I want to break the cycle of: Work -> Debt -> Work More = Working Poor (AKA: Modern Peasant). The town idea is to help break that cycle for more people than little old me (but I digress).

You have to start somewhere, and since the primary goal is to be self-sufficient, you go back to the basics and build from there. 

The other books were mostly for interest or stuff I figured was a good idea to have on hand. 

The one I am most amazed at (other than the encyclopaedia) is the Pocket Reference by Thomas J. Glover (ISBN# 978-1-885071-62-0) If you do a web search for that, the book will come up.

This thing has all sorts of charts, lists of info along with formulas covering a wide (and I mean wide) variety of information, and it is quite small and cheap. 

I recommend everyone pick up a copy and have it on hand. You know, for when you may need it but can’t Google it.

As far as my “When You Need It, But Can’t Google It” library, I will keep adding to it as I move forward, with all manner of things that I may need once I am there.

As far as reading the encyclopaedia, it is good that I can actually get into reading it. I can actually start to work on that homestead idea without it hurting, because it seems so far away into the future.

I may truly be three years away from living on that land, but at least, I am moving towards it. (If others banded together, with me, this would happen a whole lot faster.) 

For now, I will work towards it by keep trudging forward. 

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