Sunday, August 31, 2014

Simply Home Ramblings

A reader wrote to me about vandwelling -I got long winded and decided to share with you all

I appreciate that everyone goes through changes in life.  My friend Wolf recently reminded me that homes and stuff like that change all the time.  It reminds me that I grew up with the idea that I had to research and buy stuff to last a lifetime. When I left home as a teenager I thought that the boots I needed had to be a great purcase because I could only have one pair of boots in my lifetime. Or the coat I needed would be a one-time in my life purchase.   It was quite some years before I learned differently.  Maybe it was because of my family's church beliefs about the world ending in 1969, 1970 or 1972 ... or really soon and people my age would never grow up to have families or grow old. ..maybe.  anyway Vandwelling advice and ramblings.

Just build and pack your van the way you would go on a vacation. Pack once then take a break. Remove half the stuff and take twice the money you planned to. 

Wish I had not been trying to make this van a home, that i Had planned for it to cost twice what I thought, and had kept my whole life more simple. Plan as my friend Al does, to take a vacation every few weeks - even renting a campsite or hotel room. I think he is onto something there. You might plan to cook every meal to save money and then find yourself at a McDonald's or Coffee Shop for coffee many mornings to have the personal interaction. 

Find your own lifestyle by getting to know yourself and your needs.  Work with that information.  I'm very social.  I need people. I make friends easily. I can't stand owing people, especially money. My life is better when I lived debt free. I get sick when it is wet rainy and cold - yuck. Mosquitoes love me. Food doesn't. I am a long-term relationship person - should have been a wife,  girlfriend is a temporary throwaway term and comes with no safety net.  I get bored or overwhelmed with a project or sometimes just get itchy feet and have to go explore and see something new. I want to visit friends on a whim. Stuff ties me down and costs me money to keep or care for. I CAN do anything.  I don't like to do everything and especially hate to do it alone.

I need or want a home base. I had one low income  Section 8 apartment in NYC that was a good home base for a few years while I was back and forth in Costa Rica. That was nice. But I could not ethically justify keeping it. Homelessness sucks. The definition of Home is way more than just an apartment or building.  I have entertained thoughts of having a place to come and go from - it seems that it would be better if it were near someone in my closest circle of friends. Because Home is more than a place its a relationship with others - community, family, a group, a place.  Escapees, ExPats, Veterans, WINS or LOWS or Sisters on the Fly - these groups provide a sense of belonging to thier members. I haven't found that group in my life.  So even a place to park and regroup for a minimal amount of money may help. I'm tossing ideas of a Tinyhome through my thoughts constantly. I pick out and sometimes buy great 'home' pieces like kewl vintage dishes and small stuff that dont really fit this mobile lifestyle. Then I find people or places in need and donate them - once in a great while I will make a few dollars by reselling. But geez I don't have the home to use this kewl stuff. I built a Tiny Home once when my kids were less than 5 years old. I have homesteaded a number of times but the land was never mine - rent to own sure benefits the owner when a job is lost, or the exhusband changes his mind and gives it away,  or the friend just changes their mind. I don't believe that poor people are supposed to do and give to rich people.  I think self responsibility is important. I made mistakes mostly in who I chose to trust. I learned to not trust myself and then learned that I have to trust me because everyone is looking out for themselves.  It's best to know myself well - so I know my limits and necessary boundaries,  I tested myself. I know my strengths and my weaknesses.  I don't get taken too badly because I only give others limited opportunities to affect my life. That's why my circle of friends is small.  Friends to me have been tested and I know in a general sense how they will help or hinder my days.

Here's some pictures of some of the homes I have lived in. 

I would love to hear other people's thoughts. ...comment away.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Simply more changes

Isn't that what they say is the only constant in life?  CHANGE!

In an effort to embrace that, I re-evaluated my PMs (project managers) that simply means the people I chose to help me. I can make better choices now that I have some tools of my own and more information as well as some practice with mixing FG (fiberglass) myself.  I can do it - I need to wear a mask - it could make me sick. So I let my friend Roger off the hook when I realized he was exhausted and frustrated after tough days at work.  And even though he wanted to help me I would rather keep him as a friend.

And...the master cylinder on my van's brake system went and it was scary driving - well actually trying to stop. I became vanless for a couple days as the part had to be ordered. I slept in the van at the mechanic shop because the Scamp isn't ready to sleep in.  While there I talked over my Scamp project with my mechanic friend and his family and we came up with a possible solution that includes bartering for particial payment. 

So - I'm proud of me - I towed the Scamp over to the shop yesterday afternoon.  The van and Scamp look so good together. Sorry I forgot to take pictures. 
The Scamp is safely tucked away at the shop. I've got my brakes fixed and van back.  I've also got another week here at Turquoise Triangle RV Park and then moving on - either to free rent, LTVA sites or to a park with more reasonable prices for the winter... I am not sure which way to go yet.

We still need to evaluate the scope of the Scamp project and my budget too and I'm close enough and have the van and SUV tent so taking a trip to visit with friends can happen no matter what I choose. I'm so open to suggestions.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Simply Small Successes

Finally - some successes. Okay they are small, but hey don't I teach,  in my Personal Project Plan (PPP) class, about Turtle Steps. Turtle Steps are tiny even slow motion steps. This is progress on its tiniest level.

1. I remembered that I CAN do this - even alone if necessary.  I even recalled how I was able to reach my roof to scrape off all the crap before we tackled the vent installation. That installation will have to be removed and redone correctly.  Unfortunately I listened to poor advice which has created stress and has cost me with temporary fixes and refixes. I need to get a step stool and wait for dry weather then I can remove the vent cover to reach the roof and reinstall the vent correctly myself.

2. My time line sucks -so I re-prioritized! Reality checks help tremendously. Given my budget I do need to move by September 7 in order to not pay rent at this rv park which would stall my project completely.

3. If it ain't broke don't fix it - well not yet anyway. So I remembered that the closet in the Scamp does NOT leak - so I started working with that. And even though I was so disappointed with the situation that resulted in having someone else paint my cabinet doors.  I started putting them back together and reinstalling them. This is giving me a success.  Which is motivating.

4. Support is a major part of any project.  Re-evaluation of my team players is a key to my success.  I have had some horrible experiences with help. I got rid of some leaching neighborhood handymen,  some greedy selfish take advantage friendly types and walked away from a couple reno businesses advice and realized my need to discuss my project with my emotional support team so I can stay stable and happily creative.  I need to keep hearing from my friends that they are confident that I can do this. Because I so can.

5. Redefine success. Okay - success now is being able to safely and legally move the camper by the move date. Everything else can be done anywhere.

My PPP major Time Line is: September 7 - move day.

I reset my PPP 3-5 realistic goals with time lines. Which now looks like this:

1. Running lights operable for towing.  This week have help on hold waiting on supplies that should arrive on Monday. There's a whole story I wrote about on the FiberglassRV website.
2. Safety check of towing mechanics like the frame, tires and bearings. This week.
3. Storage inside or in my van for all the parts and tools. On going and already done.
Only if I have time and can emotionally handle it 
4. Solve PO (previous owner) screw holes in roof leaks. Possible this week because I got new information and supplies.
5. Finish 12V and 110 electrical - mostly just testing. Need help.
6. Reinstall the kitchen counter and sink. Need screw hole leaks in the roof fixed first or it will ruin the counter.

Oops what about insurance! Oh yes I already have that set up for next months move date. Full Timers insurance is more expensive although I think that in my particular situation it is very important. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Simply a Senior Moment lol

Somehow my post from yesterday that was/is an update is stuck in "publishing" land on the internet.

To fix this whirling internet issue I need to login to my account. ..hmmm ah hmmm I like can't remember the password.  Duh.

Maybe later it will come to me

But today's progress on the Scamp is that I ordered my new tail lights and Chuck at says I should get them Monday!

Simply a new perspective!

What a difference a day and a few conversations can make.

I didn't realize that I needed to hear that someone belives that I can do the reno of my Scamp and that I can do much of it myself.  Thanks Dan for believing in my abilities and skill level.

I didn't realize that I needed to hear from the friends that I so wished that I could have visited over the summer.  To hear from them that they care enough to send hugs and emotional support.  Ms Linda, Donna n Mark and Sarah and Lucinda and Al - hugs backatcha. I do remember that all of you do and would help me anytime.

The surprise and much appreciated donation - well is overwhelmingly special.

Overnight the supportive comments kept running through my thoughts.  I couldn't get what  Dan said off my mind. He said "out of all the people I know - you,  Lesa,  CAN do this. I know if you read a book or watch a video you will figure out what you don't know how to do yet."

When I woke up this morning,  I wondered what I COULD do. What could I begin to think differently about?

I remembered that the closet in the Scamp does not have any leaks.  I had been waiting to finish other projects before even thinking about it.  Well why not work with something that is not a major problem.  So I insulated the bottom added a shelf and some wire baskets that I had picked up at a yard sale a while back.  Whew it felt good to do something. The weather was cooperating so I contacted a musician buddy and he was able to come give me a hand with a two person job. He gave me about an hour and together we got the major rivets replaced. Just as we finished it began to rain. I am happy to report that none of the new rivets leak! I think that solves about one third of the leaky issues.

I'm considering taking things slower and trying to do more myself.  Especially after honestly looking at the projects and as I am rethinking the time line as well.  It's more important now that I be able to safely move the Scamp. So finishing the running lights (I chose to put in new wiring) is the priority. I'm processing an idea of how I can fix the leaky screw holes in the roof - and do it myself. ..I think I may be able to do it....maybe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simply Depressing

I feel depressed. (Read or don't at your own risk - this is pure journaling today)

Most of the people that I thought were important in my past life have complained that they don't understand me. They have reminded me often of my ability to make poor decisions based on something that they didn't like - usually when I was not willing to take responsibility for their crappie unhappiness.

I have some good friends now that are wonderfully supportive.  I probably don't talk to them enough.  I learned pretty early on that I have to be independent.  People, even parents and siblings, cannot be trusted. Husbands and lovers reel you in like a fish chasing a worm on a hook, they baited me with talk of support, understanding, kindness and help and they lie and then wanted me dead. And strangers on the street will steal you blind, lock you in rooms or garages and leave you to clean up the mess. Because of this I have to do a lot alone. And let me assure you that these events occured a very long time ago.  They are the history that helped form the decisions that I make.

I am a problem solver.
I am a survivor.
I am creative.
I am kind.
I aim to be patient, understanding and to not hurt others.  I work hard to be honest and realistic. I think long and hard before making decisions.  And I only believe maybe less than half of what people say, watching instead their actions and for their character.

I have been on my own since I was 17. Moving to a small apartment and working a menial job. Dreaming of a comfortable life that would provide me the safety that would allow me to be able to travel and dance and sing and make creative stuff. Unfortunately the same day I moved I was given a curse of sorts by being disowned.  My struggles with homelessness began.
With no one to turn to. No one to ask advice. I struggled with perhaps my first severe depression.  I lost my job shortly after that because I refused to lie for the owners son.  I didn't have enough money for the rent so I moved out.  I spent my first night sleeping on a bench in the city park.  It was not illegal then.

That was 40 years ago, give or take. 
I haven't lived in any one place longer than 3 years since.
Now my story is not unusual - many people have been alone or on their own and moving around.

I don't want to live in a van any more.
My daily life is not very much fun.
I'm looking out of the window - rain and more Scamp is in pieces with work tools all around and yet there is so little progress.  I have had to live each day like this since I made the decision to buy the Scamp.  I have invested $500 in tools and people and supplies. I was not wanting this life - the one I am living today.   I wonder if I have made a huge mistake - and the memories of being blamed for mistakes that I had no control over swell up in my mind. I question my thought process and my needs and everything ..I want to just cry - but I will only have red eyes afterwards.

Perhaps I should just take my Scamp to a shop that knows fiberglass and just make payments to get it fixed.  I just can't live this way.  And I have to move on September 7 because I cannot afford to pay the kind of monthly rent that RV parks charge these days.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Simply 7:13 am

My neighbor has company that arrived 15 minutes ago.  They are 2 feet from my van window talking again.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Simply wishing I had more to say

And I don't.
It's been a long week.
My Scamp progress has been slow.
I feel like it is time to move on from here - from this town.
Yet the reality is that I am here until September 7.

I sent the tail lights out to be rebuilt.

The drip pans during this week's rain. 

Scamp and Jeep encouragement. 

Charlie came to visit. 

Cokeacola and salmon encouragement

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Simply Scamp Ideas

I am struggling with the progress being made on my Scamp.  It seems so hard to get help - even when it has been offered freely.  People have their own lives as well as motivations. And  projects like a relatively inexpensive older travel trailer reno always comes with unexpected issues.  I thought that some basic deep cleaning reinstalling the proper vent in the roof and I would be off and running.  Well actually I didn't think it would be that easy although I didn't think that I would be gutting it and doing things two or three times over.  (Rolling my tired weary eyeballs).

I like being creative.  I almost hate needing help. Truth be told I don't trust people and I have experience and reason for feeling that way. I, also, am a bit of a perfectionist - well I like things to be and to look nice and even on my budget they can look as though they cost a lot. I do projects on a budget and recycle, repurpose and make do a lot. Geez I dumpster dive sometimes. I don't buy every screw at Home Depot or Ace Hardware.  It seems that a lot of people in the US are used to buying stuff. Like all the time. I often hear them saying oh it's only $5 or just get another one - well $5 a few times and I am broke.

Well my help has changed a number of times.  One person moved. One's talk is cheap but they never show up - something about their work with aliens being more important. Another's schedule at their job changed. The Christian guy came when he said he would and tried although his skill is somewhere else - and where did the surprise 'sweetie' comment come from.  Do I hear fantasy talking?  He did a great job on the things he could do well. 

And progress feels as though it is moving backwards as the fiberglass hole patching job cracked and our lovely two days of rainfall showed me how many leaks there actually are.

So let's do some dreaming about the decorating possibilities shall we!

I'm kinda partial to the 4th picture! :)

Simply a Work Zone

I feel so tired of living in a work zone. At times it feels like a war zone instead. So I have tried to make the situation manageable and as comfortable as possible. Dumpster shopping (no diving required this time) helped create a seating area. And an old grill intended for the trash keeps my hot plate out of the weather. An old card table with metal chairs was in the Scamp and combined with my gear hammock has become the sink area.

It works. And can be passed along when it is time to roll on down the road. I am thinking about heading south during October.  I don't handle the cold well and would like to be more prepared before it becomes an issue.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Simply Yard Sale days

lol -Retail therapy comes in all shapes and sizes. In my budget range Yard Sales are the bomb!

Guess I am in a good area too.  So even though these might not be practical - they are beautiful AND they were FREE!