Tuesday 31 March 2020

Another Handy Item

Okay, so when the height of the fear of this pandemic hit, I will admit to buying a few items just in case I might need them.

I am convinced that one way or another we, as a society and a people will be fine. We will get through this and the economic fallout afterwards.

What I did buy was this.

So the large box is a gravity fed water filter with a spare replacement filter, a few water treatment tabs (for treating suspicious water) and seeds.

I have heard that there is a bit of a run on seeds, but I bought this a couple of weeks ago. (Shipping was slow and I get my mail once a week).

That water filter will mean that I could . . . if I needed to, go find a nice spot out in the wilderness somewhere not too far from a mountain stream and be okay.

I have solar panels to charge my batteries, I have the filter to filter the water, and I have propane to cook and heat with until that runs out. 

After which it is switching to open fire and not refrigerating anything (other than the old putting it in the running stream trick).

There are a few more books on the way, and all in all, I am okay, and I do believe that everything will turn our okay, that this pandemic will pass as well.

I am doing my social distancing and isolation . . . as I have always been doing. So, thing just haven’t changed much for me.

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

Monday 30 March 2020

Three Day Weekend & 4 Day Workweeks

So, this past week was the first time I had a four day workweek and a three day weekend in quite a while. 

What I mean is that this is the first time that I am doing this as the new “normal.” As in I will have more of them coming up in the future.

Boss has decided to close us on Fridays, and so that makes the shorter workweek and the longer weekend. Not bad, but it is still an odd thing to get used to.

Just like the considerably slower pace at work. As in our business has slowed considerably. So that is a worry.

What is nice is the new 75% subsidy of wages for small businesses. That will help us keep our doors open and us still working. 

We shall see what happens, but I am still working and still staying home. So nothing new for me, but this new normal will be something to adjust to.

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

Friday 27 March 2020

Down To Four Days

So, today’s blog is late because I slept in. I learned yesterday, we all at work did, that our office is not opening on Fridays.

So, that means that I only work four days a week for the foreseeable future. Thankfully Boss is continuing to pay us for Friday, so we have not taken a pay cut.

Our business has been down considerably over the recent times, and so things have been slow. We still get some orders but almost all of them are over the phone or internet. 

I still get the feeling that the general lockdown of the country is coming in a week or two. Or that our office will shut down in around that timeframe.

Until then I will still go to work and be thankful that I can do so. I have been practicing self-isolation for years now, so I’m okay with all of this.

Whatever will happen, will happen, but I will do my part to help stop the spread of this virus. 

For now, I have three day weekends and a four day work week. I know this can’t continue for long, as Boss only has so much cash reserves.

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

Thursday 26 March 2020

Be The Light In Times Of Darkness

When things are bleak and those around you are losing hope, give them some of yours. When others fear the dark, shine a light into their world.

I will be honest, I see a few different ways that current events could unfold to turn out bad . . . really bad.

Even if the economy crashes worse than it did in the 1930’s (and that was really bad) the world will keep spinning, though our lives may change drastically.

We must always remember to keep our humanity about us, and focus on being the better person of who we are, the good, decent person who is inside each of us.

Inside us there is good and evil, chose good over evil, light over dark, helping rather than hurting. 

No matter what comes, we must always remember to stick together, work together and help one another. 

Be the light that shines hope into the darkness of a bleak world.

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

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Hope Is All We Have

In times of darkness and times of trials, Hope is the only thing we have to keep us going. For if we abandon Hope, then there is no reason to go on.

It is Hope, Hope for the future that keeps us trudging through the muck and the mire. 

It is the Hope that on the other side of this dark forest that we are in there will be a green field of grass waiting for us with sunshine to warm our body and our soul.

There are many things currently that give us reason to dread and fear, but we must cling to Hope as we do what we must to get through these fearful times.

This pandemic and the economic fallout of it shall pass. Things will get back to normal, at some point. 

For if we abandon Hope that the future will be better, than we had all better start fashioning improvised weapons for the anarchistic apocalypse that the lack of Hope shall surely create. 

Embrace Hope, all ye who inhabit here (Earth).

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

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Bought Groceries Last Friday

So, since it was a payday weekend, I did my usual grocery stock up for two weeks. It is a thing that I do, where I stock up what groceries I will need until the next payday.

I will still need to buy bread for sandwiches at work, but other than that, I will be set for groceries.

As I perused the store shelves and found them shockingly bare, I felt an impulse to overbuy. 

That voice whispered into my ear “if you don’t buy extra now, you may not be able to buy it later.”

I didn’t go crazy, and I didn’t hoard, but I did buy extra, food that would last me for a few months. I stocked up on canned goods but did not buy all that was left.

I bought extra of my oatmeal that I eat in the morning (as you get older fibre is not just a good idea, it is a necessity).

I resisted the urge to totally overbuy, but just prepare for when, not if, that edict comes down for everyone to stay indoors for the foreseeable future.

I understood that urge to grab all that you can for you, but I resisted it, because that is the path to the dark side of our humanity, the path to the road warrior future.

I choose the path to unite and work together to solve the problems that face us, no club each other over the head for the last can of beans (or roll of toilet paper . . . yeah, I went there).

Seriously, this current virus, (while serious and must be taken so) will pass, this too shall come and go in our lives. 

We will get past this and we will deal with the after effects of it, economic and otherwise. Of this I am certain.

Yet, I like to be prepared, so I bought a bit extra food, for the medium term.

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

Monday 23 March 2020

The Homestead Fund Update (Embrace The Chaos Edition)

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That is 19.4% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 30.8% of my savings target. 

That means I put away an astounding 11.4% of my total Savings Target this payday! That is an astounding number and one that strains credibility.

No, I didn’t short the market, rob a bank or otherwise gain a large windfall. What I did was revamp how I measure that number.

You see, I have been trying to keep the number fairly stable and take out the wild swings of investments.

I have a few different types of investments going and so they will swing up and down in value depending on different factors. (Don’t ask me for financial advice as I am not a financial planner).

I have decided that with me moving to put more of my cash in the stock market. The market is lower now and the interest rates that my savings account has also tanked.

That means that my savings, the value of my investments (across the different types) will vary greatly each payday. 

So, this number is going to go up and down, regardless of how much I put into my savings and investments each payday.

So, I will just measure what those investments are worth on the eve of payday and plunk that number into my savings target calculations.

So, there will be no predictability in that number going forward, it will be chaos. But also fun to watch . . . and I hope moving in and upward direction.

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

Friday 20 March 2020

The Recipe For A Depression

So, with all of this talk of the virus pandemic, there is the added fear that the cure to stopping it will trigger another depression, like the one in the 1930’s.

How? Well, let’s walk through it. Okay so this pandemic is here and needs to be stopped, but the best way to stop it is to keep people away from each other.

To do that we:

Isolate sick people
Institute Social Distancing
Wash hands really well and often
Shut down social areas
Order people to go home and stay there
Shut down non-essential businesses
Wait it out until the virus dies off

Yet, while that will work the risk is that these measures will push businesses (and people) who were on the edge of insolvency into insolvency.

Don’t forget that even before all this we have the debt crisis. As in the average person is overloaded in debt that they are servicing and carrying indefinitely.

A serious downturn in the economy for long enough (even a few months) could push businesses to close and/or people to go bankrupt.

Every business that closes puts not only more people out of work but the jobs they had are gone, which means that there are less jobs around and more unemployed.

Seeing this trend will cause people to panic further and then they will further not spend a dime they don’t have to. 

Survival mode will set in across the general population. 

This will put further pressure on the economy and push more businesses to fail as there will be a general dread of the state of things throughout people.

This will be a self-feeding cycle that will cause a downward spiral into an economic crash. 

The only real way to stop this and/or break the cycle is to convince people that things are okay and that things will get better.

A good way to do that is a direct payment to the population, as in every last adult gets a guaranteed income, regardless of their employment status.

That would give people the confidence to go out there and either get a job or start a business. 
There is, however, a fundamental refusal by government to directly help people. It is somehow thought that only business or the rich should be helped in such ways.

I am hoping that all of this will be avoided but this is a real possibility.

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

Thursday 19 March 2020

Billions In Aid, And I Don’t Qualify

The Canadian Government just announced a wonderful financial aid package to help people with the economic impacts of this pandemic.

That’s a great thing and all, but after looking it over, I don’t qualify for a dime of it. Yet this is nothing new, as I never qualify for any sort of assistance or aid, I never have.

You don’t understand I don’t qualify for this aid not because I am living in my RV, but because I just don’t.

Even if I was still living in my townhouse buried in debt, I wouldn’t qualify for help from this aid package.

I am still employed, so no “quarantine pay.” I don’t have a mortgage, so no help there. 

I don’t know if this package would pause truck payments, nor have I heard any impact they may have on credit card debt.

I buy my propane from the local gas station and have a solar system, so I have no utility company to pay, or for them to cut me off if I don’t pay.

I am happy that the government is doing something and I am happy for the people who are getting some help from this aid package.

I also wish that this pandemic will pass over us quickly and that the economy rebounds quickly afterwards. 

This is why I have said repeatedly to deal with your debt before something large happens, because you have to be able to rely on your own resources if need be in times of crisis.

It is nice to see that some aid is coming . . . to some people, yet not everyone is being helped. Once again, I am told that this is fair.

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

Wednesday 18 March 2020

Broom Handle Hang-Up

So, I like to have my broom by the door in order to help keep snow and dust out. I have a hook on a spot near the door to keep the broom handy.

I had tried a solution of screwing an eye-hook into the top of the handle of the broom in order to keep it in place, but that didn’t work.

I had bought a wooden handle for my El-Cheapo broom as I kept breaking the handle, so rather than keep buying new brooms, I bought a solid wooden handle.

Yet, I broke off the eye-hook on the top of the broom and sheared off another one just trying to screw it in.

I don’t have an electric drill, as charging them has always been a pain and for the few times that I want to drill something, it seems silly to spend that much.

So, I bought a hand drill. It is a manually powered drill that you turn a crank in order to turn the drill bit. Not fancy, but effective.

So, with the help of that and a handy thing I find many uses for (key rings) I made this . . . 

There you have, it I was able to drill a hole through the broom handle and loop the broom handle onto the key ring, like it was a massive key, and voila! I can hang up my broom again!

This should be much sturdier, as the next time I need to do this, the broom handle will most likely be broken.

Again, not fancy, but effective.

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

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Choppy Savings Ahead

So, with the current state of the economy and the markets, I am forced to make some changes to my long-term savings.

With the rates that I was being offered being insulting, as in close to zero, due to the fact that the prime rate tanked, I have been forced to rethink how I save my money.

I am still saving, but investments are more volatile by their very nature than a good old savings account.

So, this kinda throws a wrench into the whole “posting up a percentage of my savings target” thing.

I am still committed to saving and I still have a number, and I could still post that percentage each payday, but that number would swing wildly.

Why? Well, it would be a reading of what the value of my investments were at that particular moment. The next moment the value would shift . . . again.

I will see how things go but the one thing that won’t change is that I won’t stop saving. I am just not sure the best way forward, or how to report that progress.

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

Monday 16 March 2020

The Less-Than-Glamorous Necessity of Winter Mode.

Okay, so when I am in “Winter Mode” as in I can’t use my sinks, faucets or toilets, one question I get asked is how to I go to the washroom.

For the most part I try to use public facilities or facilities at work. Yet, what do you do when it is late at night and work and other places are closed.

Besides it is a bit of a pain to pack up and go to a local restaurant just to take a pee.

So, therein lies the birth of the “Pee Jar.” Once again, not glamorous, but necessary.

So, here is the contraption that I have come up with.

What that is, are two two-litre soda bottles connected together. The top one has its bottom cut off, so it forms a nice large funnel.

This is key because the swirl and rush of peeing can make the pee swirl out of a regular funnel (Yes I know this through experimentation).

Here is the nice little connector that makes this happen so smoothly.

You can pick this up fairly cheaply online, just search for “Vortex Bottle Connectors” and it should come up. They are sold as a way to make a whirlpool swirl in two solid soda bottles.

For me, I was looking for a way to make my pee jar.

I made my own connector, so to do this you will need two two-litre bottles and three bottle caps.

One bottle cap is there to seal the pee-jar when not in use. The other two you glue together and then poke a bunch of holes in the two, now joined bottle caps.

The Vortex Bottle Connectors are a much better idea and well worth the few bucks you spend on them. They come in a pack of four.

This way you can have more than one pee jar so you can still pee yet not have to find a toilet to pour the contents of your pee jar into. 

Once again, not fancy, but effective.

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

Friday 13 March 2020

Winter Hath Returned

So, it’s dark and we’ve already hit the daytime high . . . for the weekend . . . it’s all downhill from here.

Again, it is only for a weekend and a bit into next week, this too shall pass.

I could rent a space at a campground, or, perhaps a room at a hotel, but that would be a poor use of cash, and it is just one weekend.

I will endure this and I will get through it, as this too shall pass. 

I am hunkering down for my future, as I am still dedicated to having a house without wheels under it on land, and a fireplace to cosy up to when these nasty winter blasts come calling.

Until then, I have my warm blankets to keep me warm at night, and my sleeping bag on the couch to keep me warm during the day.

Not fancy, but effective. Not forever, just for now.

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

Thursday 12 March 2020

Bracing For The Blast

So, here we are another (hopefully last this winter season) blast of winter. In perfect timing winter has come back with a projected high of -20C for the day on Saturday.

To me, that is hibernate weather, as in I just hunker down, listen to the radio and stay warm. I know how to do that. It’s not all that fun, but I can do that.

If I want to use my laptop, I have to trudge off to the coffee shop to warm up and use my laptop there.

As it is too cold to even try to keep the trailer warm. I know this from experience as the furnace is running non-stop just to try to get near zero. 

I will be okay, I will be fine, as it is just one weekend, and then things start to warm up to “I can do things around the trailer” weather.

I’m okay with that, I prefer warm weather, but I can do the not so cold weather.

In essence, this too shall pass, do what you have to do to get through it and keep your eye on the horizon and your focus on the future.

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

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Balancing Demands

So, there are many demands on us, some financial, some time, and some attention. It is always important, yet tricky, for us to balance all of them out.

For you can’t spend all of your time on one project, nor can you spend all of your attention on one person. Nor can you spend all of your money on one thing.

We all have many different goals that we want to achieve with what resources that we have. So, how do you do that? How do you balance all of these things out?

You do so with asking yourself: what has to be done right now, and what can wait?

You can chip away at a number of different things over time, rather than focus on one thing at a time.

They will all get done, just little bits at a time.

Either that or pair down your list of things you want to do.

There’s always that.

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

Tuesday 10 March 2020

Cold Cold Go Away.

So, we seem to be stuck in a sick and twisted cycle of being nice (a relative term) for the work week yet cold for the weekend.

This sucks for a few reasons, but for me because I am a homebody and so I spend a great deal of time at the trailer, particularly on the weekend.

I am just getting used to not just hunkering down in my sleeping bag or hibernating in my bed.

Yet when it looks to be -17C as a high for Saturday, that seems to be a bit too cold to try to warm the trailer up (without a wood burning stove).

I know that this cycle will pass and the warm weather shall return. Once again I will retire my sleeping bag for another summer season.

I do enjoy the days of warmth where there is a nice light breeze blowing through the trailer. I do not like the cold days of me hunkering down in my sleeping bag.

This is life though, this is my life and I do this now so I can have a nicer future.

So, I will endure the cold and whatever else comes my way, simply so I can get my house, my land and my homestead, and mayhaps, mayhaps  . . . a Mrs.

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

Monday 9 March 2020

The Homestead Fund Update

Okay, so it is that time again, when I update how my progress is going on my “Grand Savings Plan!” (to build my "Homestead Fund") 

Okay, so let’s see how I did . . . 

For review, here is how things looked from last payday . . .

That is 18.8% (of my Savings Target).

And this is how things look like, after the dust settled on this payday’s budget . . . 

That’s right things jumped up to 19.4% of my savings target. 

That means I put away 0.6% of my total Savings Target this payday.

I am still on track of getting to that magical number of 20% by next payday. 

To me 20% means that I will be finally at a minimum level of cash in the bank for me to feel okay. As in I can relax a bit. 

Of course this means that usually around the time that the sensation of “Hey, I’m not completely screwed!” hits me that the other shoe drops . . . on my head . . . as in I’m the bug on the floor and the size twelve hits me from above . . . out of the blue.

Anyways, I will continue to build my savings and move forward, but at least a sense of urgency will go away, after getting to 20%.

All I can do is the best that I can do with what I have each day, and each payday to move myself forward.

On a side note, I was able to dump my tanks on Friday afternoon before the big freeze this weekend. 

I was able to get the water out, but a pile of slush/ice remains in the middle of the black water tank. 

I can at least flush the tanks now, but I won’t bother to do that until next month. As that would require a visit to a full hook-up campground to do that.

I won’t start using my toilet again until I have flushed that tank out. Progress is progress and I am happy to see . . . a pile of slush rather than a ceiling of ice.

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

Friday 6 March 2020

Winter for The Weekend

Soooo, it is Friday, and so the joys of the freedom of the weekend is here. The problem is that in time for the weekend, Winter is returning . . . for just the weekend.

Things will warm up next week, but probably get cold again for next weekend. So, my getting used to the warmer temps is premature . . . hopeful but delusional.

I will be okay as even at its worst it is only getting down to -16C or so, but during the days it will be only -9C then -7C.

So . . . cold all around. Not bitterly cold, but cold nonetheless.

Again, this too will pass and Anti-Fall and Spring will come . . . not soon enough, but it will come.

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

Thursday 5 March 2020

The Cusp of Something Bad

Fear is what triggers recessions. Fear causes people to stop spending, and it is the stopping of spending that hurts companies. 

Companies that are hurting cut back. Cutting back strikes more fear in the hearts of employees. 

Companies that are hurting also take in less revenue. Lower revenue from a number of companies sparks fear in investors.

Fear in investors causes them to sell their stock in those companies. The selling of those stocks, on mass is what causes the stock market to dive.

A diving stock market is a funny thing as it can either go back up again, as investors see bargains and buy, buy, buy. 

Or a diving stock market can continue to fall as investors rush for the exits. Investors rushing to the exits is what causes a stock market crash.

Fear is the underlying motivating factor in all of this . . . fear.

And fear is what this new virus COVID-19 has sparked in many people in almost every country on the globe.

If you haven’t started to get your fiscal house in order, now would be the time . . . before you have to . . . and when you have to it is almost always an ugly scene. 

So, use this . . . fear . . . as motivation to get your debt under control and . . . heaven forbid . . . gone! 

For it is far much easier to manage a downturn in the economy when you have little to no debt, than if you are buried in it . . . and suddenly unemployed.

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

Wednesday 4 March 2020

Ground Was Clear, Then It Wasn’t

When I got up this morning I looked out the window to see if it snowed last night (as had been predicted) . . . the ground was clear(ish).

I made my morning coffee, got settled in to write and after a bit, there was a great rush of wind outside which kept up for some time (I don’t know how long).

When I got up to make a new cup of coffee, about an hour later, I looked outside again only to find that a fresh dump of snow, just a blanket of a few millimetres had been dropped.

Just like that I went from being happy I didn’t have to break out my ladder and brush off my solar panels to . . . having to break out my ladder and brush off my solar panels.

Things can and will change quickly, we all know that, especially those of us who have been involved in traffic accidents.

Even worse is when those accidents turn fatal, but that is another blog entry. My point is that we think that we have plenty of time and that everything will always be okay.

We don’t and it won’t. So, while it is never good to go around being paranoid, it is good to try to be prepared for whatever may come. 

Again, you can only do so much, but thinking about what you would do if this or that happens, and taking necessary precautions is always a good thing to do.

You never know when that skiff of snow will be suddenly dropped all over your best laid plans.

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

Tuesday 3 March 2020

The Hope of The Slush

Okay, so as I reported yesterday my black water tank has a large block of ice in it. You know, ice made of “water.”

I check on how it is doing, how the block of ice is melting, by looking down my toilet. Once again, yet another aspect of this lifestyle that is not glamorous. 

Anyways, so what I saw was not a solid block of ice looking at me, but rather a slush. This means that things are working, and that that ice block is melting.

I also have not seen any puddles or other signs of damage from a draining and dripping cracked black water tank.

In fact the rush of water coming out is a good sign that such a crack does not exist. Again, we shall see, and only time will tell how right this assumption is.

Again, my real problem stemmed from not dumping my tanks quick enough when the weather froze.

Sure I had long since winterized my fresh water lines (early October). But I continued to use my toilet and sinks until the weather gets cold enough that I can’t dump anymore. 

Once that happens I have a problem getting the “water” out of the black water tank. I have solved this little dilemma by buying a hand activated water pump.

Again, this is for use when the drain pipe at the bottom of the trailer, the part that sticks out under the trailer, gets frozen up.

This way, with this pump I can pump the water out of the toilet. So, next year, next time I will be okay in getting the water out, this time I was not so lucky.

I was lucky in the fact that the tank was about half full at the time that it froze. Again, it could be damaged, but who knows.

I will have to wait until enough of the ice block melts (due to warm weather) so that I can erode it through water. 

When I do de-winterize, I will do so at a full hook-up campsite. I can then simply flush the daylights out of the back water tank until it is all clear of ice.

Again, that is the theory, for now all I can do is wait for that block do melt and drain it a few gallons at a time. 

You know, until I can get a steady rush of “water” coming out to drain the whole darn thing.

So, remember kids, when the weather starts to turn cold, air on the side of caution and dump your blessed tanks sooner rather than later.

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

Monday 2 March 2020

Still Carrying Around a Block of Ice

So, on Friday afternoon I tried to dump my grey and black water tanks. Again I paid my 50 cents to try and after running around gave it a go.

Unfortunately all that came out was a few gallons, I mean like 6 gallons tops (and that’s pushing it).

My best guess is that the main part of the black water tank is taken up by a large block of ice. 

So that when there is enough water in there, it floats. Drain the water and the ice will drop down and cover the exit (as in the drain thing).

The good thing is that I haven’t seen any signs of leakage or water draining out where it shouldn’t . . . I haven’t even smelled anything to suggest that. That’s a good thing.

There really isn’t much that I can do other than wait for it to melt on its own. I could go to a full-hook up campground, plug in and run my heat tapes. 

Heat tape are a special kind of electrical cable that heats up, so you wrap it around pipes or water tanks to keep warm them up.

I am hoping that the weather will get warm and the thing will met on its own. Yeah this is all my own doing by not dumping that one last time back in late December. 

The one thing I did do was buy a hand operated water pump, so I can pump the “water” out of the black water tank by sticking a hose down the toilet.

It works but I can’t do that, as all I see is the top of a block of ice . . . and I can’t pump ice out.

Again, we shall see how things progress, but for now, I am stuck in Winter Mode. Joy.

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