Monday, December 31, 2012

Keeping The Van

So l've come to a decision.  I'm going to keep the van.  It helped that l wrote the blog yesterday, defining my decisions to all of you, making it clear for me also.

As l was waiting for the guy to come and look at the van l was hoping that he wouldn't show up so l wouldn't be tempted by an offer.  He granted my wish and didn't show up to look at it.

I'm going to live in it one more summer, l felt that if l gave it up and moved to a sticks and bricks l would be miserable......so mobile l will stay -- as soon as it's not freezing cold outside.  :-)

So, Happy New Year Everyone!!!!  The Best to You and Yours!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Not Sold On The Idea

So my van is up for sale, but l'm not sold on the idea of getting rid of it. I have had a few inquires and a guy is coming tomorrow morning to take a look at it.  Is it wrong that l may still not want to sell it?

I love my van, but l have been tossing around what the future holds for me.  In three days l will have two jobs, a day job and a night job.  The plan is to have these jobs for a couple of years and save mad money.  Will l be able to keep these two jobs for two years?  Knowing my track record, it may be a challenge.  I may get bored or more likely - pissed off!!  LOL

The whole reason l am thinking of selling the van is when the summer comes and time to move back in the van, l won't have much time in the van, and if it gets too hot, the cats will be miserable.  A big question is will l be miserable not living in my van and stuck in a sticks and bricks apartment.

A couple of reasons why l was thinking of selling the van was  the price of gas for using it as a daily driver.  One of you guys suggested that l buy a car and have both.  So if l got a beater for a couple grand, and then insure it, l wouldn't be saving anything and l might as well keep the van and put the whole idea of the cost of gas out of my mind and forget about it.

Another reason why l was thinking of selling the van is, l was thinking l would like something just a bit bigger in the future.  It is a bit tight with the cats and the kitty litter.  It's do-able, however Tommy tends to take over the passenger chair and that leaves the sofa/bed for me to lounge on.  And when it gets hot in the summer...... the poor kitties are hot in the van when l am not there.

I have been thinking of ripping out the ceiling air-conditioner, since to run it l have to be plugged in, and replace it with a fan-tastic vent which will run off the batteries and keep the van cooler with air circulating in the summer.

I've also toyed with the idea of renting a spot at the local campground for the summer.  I've also thought l could rent a spot for just the hotter months, and stay at wal-mart or such for the cooler spring and fall, again.

I've got a lot running through my mind and l am trying to sort it out.

When l really think of selling my van l experience a huge sense of sadness, which says alot, doesn't it?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

I woke up this morning to a very light dusting of snow.  I hear there are lots of places getting hit with Christmas snow,  however l am glad it's just a dusting for me.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

I'm going to be heading out soon for a kind of new family tradition (been 4 years now) of going down to a homeless shelter in Toronto and bringing coats and bag lunches for some people down on their luck.

Last night l baked cookies and made tuna sandwiches, my sister made egg sandwiches, the guys really appreciate them.  I know we should think of others less fortunate more often then just on Christmas, and l do help out the guy on the street corner, but Christmas is the big production.

I meet up with my cousins, distribute the loot, then we hit a McDonald's in the area for breakfast. 

We used to have a big family Christmas, but as all things, times change.  Our family has become very fractured.  It's kind of sad really, however it is what it is.

In the afternoon l will go visit my Grandpa in the hospital/retirement home.  My Aunt should be there, depending on the snow.



Saturday, December 22, 2012

Changes

Tomorrow it will be one year since l have owned Fiona.  On December 23rd l registered her in my name at the licencing office.  The job that l bought her for is long gone, l'm no longer living in her, and last night as the winds and snow blew l was quite glad.  Brrrrrr.

I recently acquired another job.  I will be keeping my old one since it is just nights and weekends and the new one is Monday to Friday 9 to 5.  The plan is to stash the money away so l can get out of this rat race and back to the wandering lifestyle that l LOVE, and to never have to work again unless l choose too.

What l have been toying with, is do l let Fiona go?  I will probably be working for another two years.  Should l sell Fiona and buy a car that would be cheaper to run as a daily driver?  In the summer on those hot days l wouldn't have to worry about the cats melting in the heat, and in the winter, not have to worry about Tommy burning his ass again while l am working crazy hours.

I've kind of decided that l will put Fiona on Kijiji and Craigslist, and if she sells, it was meant to be.  If she doesn't l will look at my options come summer again and may move back into her and see how the cats fair.

I will be sad at her departure, if it happens, however l know when the time comes l will buy another home on wheels (it might be a wee bit bigger, so the three of us can spread out a bit more), but I will return to that lifestyle. 

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Metaphor

A very talented mother brought in this cake for her daughter sweet 16th birthday last night at work.  It looked like a beautiful cake, with so many delicious surprises inside.

Unfortunately like so many things in our society today, too much time was spent on the outside and not on the inside.  The inside was a disappointment, very dry, not much flavor and needed some work.

I prefer my cake, just like my friends, with depth, intelligence, reflection and a little bit messy on the outside.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dark Cave

Well a few days of self imposed rest and relaxation -  ah, who's kidding who - living in a basement is a wee bit different then living in my sunshine filled van, let me tell you.   My laryngitis is getting better, however the voice will be put to the test again tonight when l go to work.

The last three days l have been holed up in  the basement that l live in and have become a hermit.  I usually become a hermit in the winter, the lack of sunshine and warmth really zap my energy and desire to go outside.  I have a feeling that this year might be worse.  And l am worried about that.  Sure l can make an effort to go outside and bundle up for the weather, however that task might be a bit insurmountable for me.

It doesn't help that my job is in the evenings and l am not forced to get out of bed early and shower and see some day light.  The job l had last year when l started this blog was good for me.  Why?  I was travelling all over North America, and even though l was in some cold parts of the country, there were new things to go see, so l usually got out and about.

Living in a cave for a couple of months might be a bit depressing for me.  I'm counting down the days until l can crawl out of the cave and back into the freedom of the van.  I will really have to come up with a plan for next winter.  There has got to be a way for me to get south!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Free Medical Advice

Since l live in Ontario, Canada and have OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) as all Ontario residents do, I took advantage of a service last night.

I can go to a Doctor or an emergency room for free because of OHIP.  The emergency room was out of the question.  I certainly wasn't having an emergency.  I was just a little concerned that l still have laryngitis.  My voice doesn't seem to be getting any better, but otherwise l feel fine.

Some people do choose to go to the emergency room for little illnesses, which is a problem because when you do end up being sick with an emergency, you now have a bigger wait at the emergency rooms because of these people.

Another choice was a visit to my Doctors office.  Which also seemed extreme since l really wasn't all that sick.  I have been resting my voice, mostly because l have been off for the last couple of days and haven't needed to talk all that much.  I just wanted a little bit of medical advice to know that what l have been doing is about all l can be doing.

So, in walks a new service that has been advertised on the radio and TV for over a year.  It's Tele-Health.  You place a phone call and speak to a nurse practitioner.  Tell them your symptoms and they advise you.  If they think it is worth while for you to go to a Doctor they would tell you to go, or recommend little things for you to do to ease your symptoms.

She said l could have this for two weeks. (great!)  And for me to keep doing what l have been doing, rest my voice, drink warm liquids, rest.  Advice all given to me from the comforts of my couch.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Family Christmas

I know it's a bit early but this evening l went to a family Christmas get-together.  The family is all from my fathers side who we never get to see.  Actually, l don't get to see much of my family anymore.  It seems to have shattered once my father passed away.

It was good seeing all my cousins (or most of them) from that side.  There were about 30 of us.  We spent about 4 hours talking, eating, drinking.

Plans were made to go with one cousin and her family to a homeless shelter for men on Christmas morning.  We have been doing it for 4 years now.  Her immediate family and my immediate family no longer have big Christmas shin-dings so we give back to the community that morning.

A number of years ago we inquired about going and serving a hot meal at the shelters but found out that you needed to apply months and months in advance and jump through hoops, so we struck out on our own.

We bring lunches and coats and blankets for the men.  I probably benefit more then the men who receive the items.

It was good to see everyone tonight.  My, how we have all changed.

Sick Again

I'm sick again.  And for someone who never gets sick......this is unbelievable.

It's nothing too bad, l just don't have a voice. My throat isn't soar, just a squeaky voice like a boy going though puberty.

Could it be living indoors - maybe the house has cooties.  Could it be that l am unhappy with my job situation.  Probably a nice mixture of both!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Trip To St. Jacobs, Ontario

Saturday (yes, l have been a wee bit tardy in my posts), some friends and l went on a little trip to St. Jacobs, Ontario.  It is a Mennonite community about an hour and a half to the north west of Toronto.
 
The weatherman said it was Freezing Fog, but it sure was pretty.
 
Our destination was the farmers market, Main St. for a wee bit of shopping (yes, l actually sucked it up and went shopping - OK, l went browsing while they shopped) and then off to a little Mennonite restaurants called Anna Mae's for a lunch of Broasted Chicken.
 
A cold way to travel this time of year.
 
The farmers market - beautiful flower bouquets for only $20.
 
At the farmers market l bought bagels & homemade fudge.  I sure wish we had such a great market closer to home.  In the summer the market is expanded outside and triple the size with all the local farmers selling their produce.
 
Farmers Market
 
Main St. was quite busy and I have to admit, it had some really cool shops.  They were very quaint and very pretty compared to Walmart.
 
Shop on Main St.
 
Snowman is cute, but l would prefer "Let it warm up" written on it.
 
 
Lunch was delicious (sorry, no pictures).  The broasted chicken was so moist and tender.  It's cooked in a pressure cooker, with a table spoon of oil, and it comes out like southern fried chicken.  The chicken is raised local, organically.  The prices were cheap under $7.00 for two pieces with two sides.
 
We finished it off with homemade carrot cake.  Yumm.
 
 
It was so good we bought a slab to take home from their bakery section.
 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Miss The Van Living

I miss living in my van, but l sure don't miss the cold (or the singed kitties!).

It's below freezing today, and snow is expected this afternoon which should make for a fun commute to work.  I don't mind driving in the snow, grew up doing it. Actually had my very first driving lesson in a snow storm when l was sweet sixteen.   It's all those other knuckle brain ding bats that l worry about.

Even yesterday, on dry roads the car behind me got rear ended.  I'm just glad it wasn't me.  Makes me think l should buy a sleeve for my trailer hitch so the hitch and frame will take the blow and not the body of Fiona.  I did unload the box on the back of Fiona about a month ago.  It's at a friends house in their garage.  I wasn't really using the stuff in there (water hoses, various tools, camp stuff), and didn't see any need for it over the winter.

Part of my living arrangement is moving my van from the driveway first thing in the morning when l wake up.  I was parking on the road, but got a ticket one night.  I don't think the neighbours like me parking on the road since my friend S lived here for 5 years and only got 2 tickets for parking on the street every night during that time.

So when l wake up between 6am and 7am l got out in the cold and move it.  I'm very glad that l get to wake up in a warm bed, then brace the cold.  I'm counting down the days until Spring and to be living back in my van (only 4 months).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Death On Facebook

I went on a cruise about 10 years ago with some friends.  While travelling and partying on the big boat, you meet people.  Chances of meeting up with these people again is pretty slim, but you exchange e-mail addresses and become Facebook friends (not sure if it was around then).

The other day, l logged into Facebook and found out that one of the ladies l met on that cruise had passed away.  Her kids had gone on her Facebook account and announced her death.  I hadn't 'seen' this women in 10 years, however l felt l have known her the whole time.  I've seen pictures of her other excursions, commented on her posts, and seen her life through Facebook.

She had posted a picture of herself and kids just the day before her death.  I felt as though l had just seen her the other day and was surprisingly affected by her death.  If it wasn't for Facebook, l wouldn't have known this women through the years, and l wouldn't have known she died.

So as much as Facebook has it's glitches, it's a pretty amazing thing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Need A Snow Brush

It's the time of year in the Toronto area that it snows.  As l was walking to my van after work last night there was a light dusting of the white stuff on my windshield, that's when  l realized l don't have a snow brush.

I gave the ones l had away when l packed up my house back in April.

Being in Toronto this time of year was not my plan.  Funny how things change. 

Here l am living in a sticks and bricks place for the winter in Toronto, when l should have been further south.  Oh well, it is what it is.  Time to buy a snow brush.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

I've Gone And Done It

What have l done?  Well, my lifestyle has influenced a friend of mines father. 

He's been a bit of a wanderlust kind of guy his whole life.  I've known S (my friend) for almost 14 years, and so by association, her father.  About 4 months ago l became a topic of conversation between S and her father, and she mentioned that l lived in my van, in a Walmart parking lot.

A light bulb went off for Mr. M.  And he started to contemplate that path for himself.  He hasn't had a very, shall we say, stable life (l'm am seeing similarities, don't you worry, l'm not that much in denial).

Yesterday S spoke with her father and he is purchasing a small 22 foot C class, and shall we say.....the rest is history (to be written)!

Happy Thanksgiving my American Friends.  I'm still battling my cold, but l am gaining the upper hand.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I've Caught A Cold

For almost 8 months l lived in my van, through all kinds of weather- hot as hades to pretty darn cold, and now that l am living in a house with heat and all the modern conviences and  l catch a cold!  Really?  Must be all those cooties.

I've got the sniffles and a soar throat.  I am in denial about it since l refuse to be sick however l do have a box of tissues nearby and am eating Fisherman Friends.  Maybe l should move back into the van to be healthy!!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

I've Noticed

One thing l've noticed with my cats is that they love to be petted again.  They will flop all over me and want their pats on a daily basis.

When l lived in the van it didn't seem to take place as much as it does now that l live in a sticks and bricks basement.  They still like their pats, but they didn't flop as much.  Maybe there just wasn't enough room.  Could be that!  LOL

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Still Enjoy The Van

Even though l am no longer living in my van, l do enjoy the comforts of having my old house with me whenever l travel to work and such. 

I am the type of person who will arrive early to work to chill and gather my thoughts as opposed to rushing into the parking lot and heading into work.

With the cats out of the van, and my bedding in the house, it's not as comfortable as it once was last week, but it's not that bad.

Tomorrow morning l have a class that l am taking in Toronto first thing in the morning, which means either l sit in traffic for an hour and a half, or leave early, beat traffic and curl up with a book in the parking lot of the building where l will take the class.  I'm sure you know which option l am taking!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Can't Deny It

I can't deny that it is very nice to wake up to a warm room.  Since l was hesitant to leave the furnace on over night because of the possibility of a dead house battery in the morning, l would wake up to a very cold van.

Since living in a sticks and bricks home again (although temporary) it is nice to wake up in a warm room even when it's at freezing outside.  Very nice, indeed!

The transition to the sticks and bricks has been smooth.  Of course when it's only a handful of loads to carry from one residence to another, it makes life really simple.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Epiphany

I am continually amazed at my brain and how much information it holds.  How if you worry on a problem it seems to keep running from you, but if you stick it in the back of your mind it works itself out.

Like yesterday.  I had a problem with the heat in the basement l just moved into.  As l was sitting at my computer - moved on to something else - l had an epiphany, that l had shut the vents earlier in the year. 

I have misplaced things in the past and have torn up my van (or home, or work place) looking for them to no avail, l then say, okay l need to remember where this or that is, then l  move on to something else taking my mind off of my problem and out of the blue the answer pops into my head. 

I'm sure you have experienced the same if only when you try to remember something and for the life of you can't....until two o'clock in the morning.....it pops into your brain the actor that was in that movie....etc...etc...


I love that shit!  I find now l don't fret as much, l give it to my brain, or the universe to solve for me.  It makes my life much easier!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who Would Have Thought?

Who would have thought that l would be cold last night sleeping in bed.  I have the same blankets on, okay, they are no longer doubled up because l am in a HEATED HOUSE.  I was chilly and kept my socks on all night. 

I think l will have to double up a blanket or two in the bed.  I don't want to buy a new blanket since what l have now is more then enough for the van life. 

Maybe l should bring Mr. Buddy in?  lol

EDIT;  As l was sitting at my computer my wonderful brain kicked in about an hour ago and reminded me that l had shut the vents in the summer when l stayed here for a couple of extremely hot days to kill the excessive air-conditioning that was blowing.  It's warmed up nicely now.  Duh!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Next Stage -For Now

The last couple of days have been very nice and mild.  The sun has shone which has made the daytime in the van oh, so very comfortable.  Which makes it hard to leave.  Yes, that's right.  To leave. 

I have decided to rent the basement of a friends house for the next couple of months.  Okay, until April.  I just couldn't risk the cats attraction to the Buddy heater anymore.  Or my guilt on leaving them in a cold van while l was at work.

I will still be keeping Fiona, and plan on moving back into her in April and continuing the van dwelling lifestyle.  And if l can make it down to the south next year come winter, beyond that.

So now l have more room then l know what to do with, the cats are enjoying the freedom to move around more then 80 square feet while l am not there to let them out.

I am sure l will go through sunshine with drawl living in the basement. Of course, day trips are not out of the question.  I can already see myself heading to work early to hang out in my van.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Moving Forward

Things are going well here up in Toronto.  There have been no more mishaps with the Buddy Heater and my four legged friends.  Tommy does sport a rather brown patch of fur amongst his grey coat.  A reminder of his "hot seat".

It's been a bit milder, and the sun has shone the last two days which makes the need for heat disappear.

I may have some announcement in the next day or so......just want to finalize before l do the "announcing".

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Singed Cat Smells The Same

So, last night l had Mr. Buddy going with the WINDOW OPEN, and Charley walks by Mr. Buddy a bit too close.  I see a puff of smoke and the smell of burnt hair.  I guess Mr. Buddy has a bit of a bite, and Charley went a  little too close.

Charley seemed none worse for wear.  Kept on about her business.

Then this morning l turned on the Mr. Buddy, who is on the floor and curl back up in bed until the chill is off.  Well, that was the plan anyways.  Instead l have this over whelming smell of burnt hair again.  Only this time it's Tommy.  I look over and he is sitting in front of Buddy, not even noticing  that his ass is on fire.  Okay - not on fire, but pretty freaking close!

I quickly shoo him away and turn off the heater.  I grab the big guy and look at him, his rump is a bit singed.  I brush off his crispy hair, it was just the top coat.  His undercoat is fine and not damaged.  I guess l now know that he has built up a fine thick coat for the cold weather.

I need to find a new spot for Mr. Buddy.  I think he will be put back up on the stove.  I was enjoying the warmth on the floor, but it is too dangerous for the kids. 

It's bad enough that they live in a van, l can't have them burnt bald.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crack A Window

I don't think l mentioned in a prior blog post that l grabbed a few pieces of insulation from J and put them in black garbage bags and stuffed them in a couple of key places.  One in the side door step and two in the cab door steps.  I was having a bit of a breeze come through those area's until the insulation was put in.

It sealed it up nicely.  Maybe too nicely.

The net two days l was running Mr. Buddy to take the chill off.  When l decided to go to bed the first night l was feeling a bit nauseous.  I NEVER sleep with the heater running.

I didn't think too much off it since many people l know are getting sick this time of year, and they live in sticks and bricks and here l am in a cold van at night, healthy as a horse.

They next day l lit Mr Buddy again, started feeling nauseous again, went to the gym, felt better, then later that night, nauseous again.....and yes the heater was on again.  The light went off in my head (of course it seems simple in hind sight) l'm poisoning myself.

I've cracked a window and felt better ever since.  So when they say crack a window - it's important!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Clocks Back

One step closer to the 21st of December when the days start getting longer again.  At least this little milestone helps in the morning time with the sun (what sun?  Haven't seen any for so long - even though the weatherman has called for it.....nada, none, ziltch) rising an hour earlier. 

I have to admit l am wishing away winter...and l don't mind.  I know it will come faster then l think possible right now....but from where l am standing....it's still not quick enough.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Almost Every Problem Can Be Solved

I am learning more and more everyday that almost every problem can be solved.

On a small scale with me living in my van, l have fixed the heat issue nicely.  Not that it was too much of a problem, l did have heat, l had my furnace, but was worried about draining the battery if l only depended on it.  Then l bought the Buddy, and l had another source of heat, it might have been in those $5 a bottle green propane cylinders, however, l never had to worry about my battery supply.  Just my 1lb bottle supply, and Walmart was getting low on them (it's the off season and Sandys' warning made them have a run on them).

I'm now running the heat off a 20lb tank that l filled for $15.  It should last me 20 times as long right? For less then a 5th of the cost.Nice!  Problem solved.

Last night it got down to freezing, of course l don't sleep with the heat on.  I'm happy to report that l am still comfortable, l hope l can continue this way during the night.

Should l feel pangs of guilt for my cats?  They curl up with me at night on top of my covers - is that enough?  And there is no heat for them when l am at work for 5 hour stretches - should l worry?  They have blankets to sleep on and cozy little spots to curl up in.....I don't know if it would be safe to leave the heater (Mr. Buddy) on for them when l am working.  And l won't leave it on when l sleep at night, so is it any different?

I guess l still need to solve this problem. :-)



Saturday, November 3, 2012

First Flakes

Last night l saw the first flakes of the season.  They didn't stick, too much rain lately and the ground is a little too warm for that, yet.  But l know it's coming.

Today and for the next 5 days we are supposed to have sunshine, which will warm up the van nicely during the day, at night it will be all propane powered heat.  I also get to pick up my hoses for my Mr. Buddy (they finally came in).  Thank God.....just in the nick of time.

I have been using Buddy, just with those crazy expensive 1lb bottles...it will be nice to move to the more economical 20lb tank.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dreams

I have been sleeping so well in my van.  I think the cool air coupled with the warm blankets relaxes me into a deep sleep where l have fantastic dreams.

What are they about?  Who knows, like always they are fleeting upon waking.  But the details l remember is amazing.  Who knew l was so creative?  It must be my mind that makes up these dreams, whose else could it be.

I only wish l was that creative with story lines when l was up right and on my laptop.  I would be a best selling author.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November 1st, Still No Rent

Well, chalk up one more month heading into rent free.  Will l make it through the whole month with out moving into some where?  It will be a wait and see.  I emptied the tanks yesterday for the last time this season (l can't wait until April when the dump stations open again, and they have only been closed a day!).

As l have mentioned in previous posts, l have been taking an investment course.  I hope to turn that into an income stream so l can leave the rat race and next time winter comes around to Toronto, l can be far south. 

What l have been tossing around in my mind is I may choose to rent an office so l can trade.  I find it a bit hard in my little van, l need a couple of monitors to pay attention to the charts, an Internet connection and electricity to run it all.  Before l become completely mobile with this venture, l would need solar power, extra battery bank and some way of mounting monitors in the van.

An office is a lot cheaper then an apartment in Toronto.  I have been looking at spending between $300 and $500 for the office, where as, apartments are in the $800 to $1200 range.  If l am extremely lucky, maybe l can find an office where on the really cold nights, l could sleep there.  It will depend on the set up.

I have read of another vandweller finding an office space where he did that.  And when l worked at the job where l travelled and sold advertising, one of the guys that worked in the office would sleep in the office overnight.  A bit strange since he would sleep under his desk, in a bull pen, and never shower or change clothes.

I would love a place where l could take the cats in with me.....

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

It will be a wet Halloween for all the trick or treaters tonight.  I will be working, not that any would come up to my van.  lol

My work called me last night at 8pm to remind me it was Halloween and to say l could dress up if l wanted to?  Really?  You tell me now?  Less then 24 hours before l have to be there?  How's that for planning ahead?

Maybe l can find a pirate patch at the dollar store. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Made It Through - Snug As A Bug


All safe and sound on this end.  It was a windy night and felt like someone was outside shaking the van all night long.  I got used to it and was only woken by the occasional really big gust that felt like l was the target vehicle in a riot where they are trying to tip it.

I’m happy to say despite the rain for the last week now – l haven’t seen sun since last Wednesday, or very very little of it, Fiona has kept me dry.  No leaking in that window above my bed as it has happened before.

I’ve checked the gutters/sill on it a couple of days ago and nothing was blocking it, it could have worked itself loose, or perhaps since it is winter (close anyways) and l actually LOCK that window now, it might have been just enough leverage (?) to seal the small leak l was experiencing before.  Who knows, l’m just happy the leaking has stopped.

I had a couple of calls last night of offers to come indoors to shelter from friends, but choose to stay in Fiona.  It really was comfortable with Mr. Buddy heating up the joint.  I was watching NetFlix on my laptop and not worrying about my battery life because Mr. Buddy was heating and not using battery power (yeah).

Earlier in the day, listening to the radio, the radioheads were telling people to be prepared for power outages, and such.  And here l was ready for them without even trying.  I had battery power, heat, food in the fridge (that runs on propane and won’t spoil), a stove to cook a hot meal on,  water to drink, a cell phone that l can charge without effort, and a toilet that will flush (at least for a day or two longer……might move onto kitty litter). 

Some people in Toronto have downed trees and no power, but it is nothing compared to NY and NJ.  I wish them luck in the clean up and hope the death tally doesn’t rise.

Monday, October 29, 2012

If You See This Van A Rockin.......

It's just Hurricane Sandy blowing her top.  Woo!  There are some mighty winds blowing here in Toronto, and the worst is yet to come.

The cats haven't ventured outside today.  Well, Charlie did for a New York minute and was right back in.  I'm just not sure if she blew back in or if it was her choice.  Either way the van door was tightly shut just behind her re-enter in the van-os-mere.

The rain has been off and on and really cold.  Bite to the bone cold.  Yuck!

Stay safe everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fired Up Buddy

I LOVE MY BUDDY!!!!!


I am still waiting for my hose, but with the cold weather back here again l stopped by WalMart after work tonight to grab one of those little propane bottles (the 1lb green ones) so l could use my Buddy Heater.  It's supposed to last 3 to 6 hours.  It was $4.64 a bottle, but at this point l don't care how much it's costs to be warm on a cold damp night.

It took a bit to get the pilot going, being new and all.  Once it was going it was fantastic.

I've got it on low now, don't worry l have an air supply coming in, and l am toasty warm in the van.  And I don't have in the back of my mind that l am burning through my battery power running my furnace.

Don't worry, l won't run it all night.  I rather enjoy sleeping with the cold fresh air while buried in my blankets.

Sandy Is Coming To Town

Hurricane Sandy is coming up to Toronto Monday/Tuesday.  Well, maybe not Hurricane Sandy but her equally miserable cousin Tropical Storm Sandy.  Those two can be a terror.

It will be a very wet, windy week with cool/cold temperatures.  The sun isn't forcasted to show its face at all for the next 5 days. 

I guess l will be seeing how well Fiona the van holds out with 90 KM wind driven rain.  I have started thinking about little alcoves that l could park in that might keep me out of the wind on Tuesday.

I know l do have a little leak on my big window above my bed.  It seems once the sill fills up it drips inside.  Not the end of the world, but you may understand why l don't want driving rain on that window!!!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

47 Years Young



October 27th is my Birthday and has been for 47 years (imagine that).  I've taken the day off work, because l refuse to work on my birthday.  It's just my thing, My day - spent the way l want.

During the day l will be taking my investment class again, then the evening will be dinner with friends.  Pretty low key, just the way l like it.  The only thing that would make it better is if l was somewhere tropical. Maybe next year!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Of Both Worlds?


I came across this picture today on this website that advertises for homes for rent.  How cool is that?  A trailer inside ahome.  Now if only the whole home was on wheels.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Minor Heatwave

Last night it was a balmy 53 degrees.  Since it has gotten cold in this neck of the woods l have 3 blankets on my bed and l usually crawl under all three.  Last night however, in the middle of the night l woke up sweating and kicked one off.

When l lived in a house, l used to freeze at 67 degrees (the temp the house was kept at).  Funny how your body adjusts.
                                                             View for the afternoon

It's to warm up to 68 degrees today, and after the fog cleared this morning it was sunny skies all day.  I've got the van side door open that cats are coming and going as they please.  It's a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Funny Story

Here is a funny story that l find a bit of humour in.  And no, Maria it's not about my toe lint.  As fascinating as that is.....  I'm just saying, it's pretty cool especially if you dig deep into the crevasses!

Tonight for the third time in the last week or so someone at work has miss heard or made a joke about something l said.  It all involves something like "l though you just said you live in your car".  I have chuckled to myself and said to them, "oh yeah, l do".

If they only knew!!!!  

Could It Be?

Could l be running out of things to say?

Living in my van now for almost 7 months, and mostly staying in the same city has me running out of things to say.  Or it could just be a slow week!!!

I'm still enjoying it, perhaps l am really getting settled in.  And here l thought l was settled in months ago, however every day my comfort expands. 

I'm hoping it's just a slow news week.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rainy Tuesday

It's a rainy Tuesday as l slept late listening to the rain on the roof of the van while parked at the Walmart parking lot.  Not much going on, surfing the net, eating a van cooked meal, taking one day at a time.

I'm in my own little bubble, the world goes on around me as l "pause".

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A First For Me

I had a very busy and long night last night at work.  And this morning l had to get up early to go visit my Grandpa (who's in a nursing home), before l had to go do it all over again.

As you guys know, l live in my van.  And while l have a shower in the van, l have only every used the little thing once. Why?  Because it is so little. Occasionally l have showered at friends, but usually it is at the gym.

Today was a first for me.  I went to the gym JUST to shower.  There was no workout involved.  1) l was zonked.  And 2) l slept in a little longer then l should have.

It was busy at the gym,  l just put on my "l don't give a shit" hat and did my business and left. I might actually do it again in the future!

I'm Having A Hard Time

Getting up the gumption to go to work has been really hard for me.  My boss is a bit of a boob.  I work at a restaurant as a server.  I love the (usually) stress free aspect of the job.  I don't have to take work home with me, l don't have to hit targets.  It is what it is.

My boss the 'boob' made his money in a different business and decided that he was going to "play restaurant".  You know, kind of like how we played "store" when we were kids.  Just because we liked the idea of ringing up the cash register, didn't mean we should own a store.

This guy shouldn't  own a restaurant.  For all those people out there that think they want to own a bar or a restaurant, please, please, please work in one first and see what it's really like.  It's not all fun and games.

I think l need to find another job....or l might just get tempted to say F*** It and pack up and go.  Which would be OK with me, but goes against my plan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Picked Up Buddy

I went for a drive today to pick up Mr. Buddy.  He had to be specially ordered and it took a few days to get in stock.  I got the call yesterday that he was in. 

So that was my project for today.  Go get Buddy.  Should have been easy right?  Yeah, that's what l thought.  So l punch in the address of where l have to pick it up on the GPS and it doesn't come up.  Luckily the business card had some kind of map with the RV shop location.  Now l just said "some kind".  It was a bit of an adventure to find the place and took me longer then l would have liked.

I ended up trying to call, but only got their answering machine (it was lunch hour).  Thank goodness that l travel with all my possessions with me so it was no problem to fire up my laptop and hook up to the Internet.  They had some half assed directions on their website.  I felt like Sherlock Holmes trying to find this place.

I'm not familiar with Orangeville, and the place was on the outskirts of the town.  And it was really a rinky dinky place.  I had only seen them at RV shows and had no idea what their sticks and bricks place looked like.

I thought it was a dealership.  I thought wrong.

So, l pull up and start looking for someone to let me buy my Buddy.  I walked in buildings calling "hello", no body showed up for about 10 minutes.  I was starting to steam.  First l was a bit prickly because l had a hard time finding their location.  Now l couldn't get service.  I was starting to think, l should have gone to the other place.

Finally when the guy comes to help me, l pay for my Buddy then remember that l needed a hose to connect a 20 pound tank to him.  I didn't preorder one because they said they had lots at the shop.  They didn't.  They had plenty of 5 foot ones, but not the 12foot ones that l wanted.

I'm starting to get even more prickly.  I don't want to have to drive back (it ended up being an hour and a half each way).  The guy begins to flip through his catalogue looking for the hose l want.  Yep, he's got to order it in.  Half way through the process of ordering it, another customer comes in and he drops me like a hot potato, leaving me at the counter. 

I gave up waiting for him after 5 minutes.  I took my Buddy (yes, l had already paid for him) and left.  I don't plan on going back there, l'll get the hose somewhere else.

So l have Buddy sitting on the floor right now, and l can't use him.  At least l'm no longer prickly!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

1 Year Anniversary

It is my 1 year anniversary in blog writing.  Wow, who would have thought that l would have continued writing for a whole year. Not me!  I'm quiet proud of myself.  Who knew that l had so much to say!  Or not.

I had a different blog on blogger for a month, then moved over to a wordpress site that was tincanramble.com (l've moved those posts over to this site).  I was travelling by plane for the first 6 months to parts in Canada and the USA, and it has been 7 months living in my van now.

While the last 5 months or so l have been stationary in Toronto.  I certainly enjoy living in my van more then travelling by plane and living in hotels.  I did like seeing the different sights.  Living in a hotel out of a suitcase - not so much.  Although it did teach me that l don't really need all that "stuff" that most people have.

Now l'm aiming for year 2.  To all the people that read my blog, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Choices

I have been contemplating a couple of choices the last couple of days.  I'm not sure which way to turn, so l am just letting them paths percolate in the back of my mind.

They all have to do with my living arrangements.  As you know l live in my van.  And l really like living in my van.

Here are the choices (so far);

1. Stay in the van all winter, l will have my Mr. Buddy heater on Thursday, so l should be comfortable. Might have some nights to deal with moving when plow trucks come through the parking lots to clear big snowfalls (if they happen)

2. Think of moving to a friends for a couple of months to get through the harshness of Toronto's winters( l will be paying rent there), keep the van and move back in next spring, rinse - repeat.

3. Take advantage of  an offer l'm going to see about tomorrow, which is, rent a place with reduced rent by being their maid - one day a week.  I don't know all the details yet, it would be a one bedroom apartment.  They have rented the apartment for $1500 a month in the past, so what would be reduced?  Details tomorrow. 

The sticky part about number 3 is, it's not just for short term.  So that would possibly involve selling my van, since the expense of gas and l'm sure these people wouldn't want an older camper van in their driveway of their million plus home.

If l pick number 3, it would mean a big change or me, not one l'm sure l want to make.  I like living in my van.  Sure it would be easier to roll out of bed and head to the shower rather then going to the gym.  I would still need a vehicle, so selling the van isn't going to get me that much ahead.

I really want to save money now, so l can retire early.  Living in my van helps that.  Of course, once retired, l will travel by van/RV.  My time line on the retirement is 5 years.

I'm still going to percolate this, but if you guys want to chime in......go ahead.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Buying A Buddy

Yep, l've gotta buy some friends to keep me warm.  And make sure you call him Mister!

I'm going to buy a Mr. Buddy heater to warm the van on cold nights.  Others have recommended it on their blogs.  The great thing about Mr. Buddy is he doesn't require battery power to heat.  My furnace is a battery power hog (so l'm told), not that l have run my battery dry (yet), but l certainly don't want to do it when it's -20 out.

The candles are doing well for now, and l am using the furnace too.  The other night it got down to below freezing.....burrrrr.  When l'm sleeping all wrapped up, the cold doesn't bother me, l just can't be sleeping all day and night!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Are Your Thoughts?

Tonight the temperature is dipping down low, close to freezing.  The candle is doing a great job (l think l will buy one or two more to double and triple the heat), however, there is a wind that is blowing something fierce.  And luck would have it, my van is hole-y, almost to the point of being blessed by the Pope.

I have big drafts coming in so l have strung up a blanket on my side doors to block the breeze and doubled up the curtain dividing the cab from living space (all that has helped).

Do you think if l put on that plastic sheeting that people put on their older home windows it would work?  You know the kind that you shrink with a blow dryer?

I'm looking for suggestions here, since you all have been so helpful in the past.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Setting The Mood In The Van



This was last nights scene.  I purchased a scented candle (they don't sell big non-scented candles at my wal-mart) to help heat the van.  This way as l was surfing the Internet l wasn't running my furnace It wasn't too cold out - only 51 degrees dropping to 45 degrees overnight.

I have to chuckle when l say that it's not too cold out.....in my previous life l would have been miserably cold, cursing it.  Now it's not so bad.  Of course l like to flick on the heater before l get out of bed and get dressed in the morning.  But it ain't that bad.  I sleep like a rock all snuggled up under my blankets with a cat or two on top of me.

So, with Suz suggestion l purchased a candle, and l have to say l love the added ambiance.  I've put it in the sink so the cats don't knock it by accident (not that they would).

Just another exciting day of my life in the van.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Waiting for December 21st

I know what you are thinking, but it has nothing to do with the Mayan Calendar, it has to do with daylight.

Man, l miss my 16 hours of daylight.  And usually on December 21st (could be the 20th to 22nd) it is the shortest day of the year...which means..... it's only gets better from there.

I love having a couple of hours of daylight dancing in the sky before l open my eyes, and of course, having daylight until 9:30pm is fantastic. 

Have l mentioned before l am a 'summer' girl?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving

Today is the Canadian Thanksgiving.  Okay, really it is tomorrow, but l celebrated it today with some friends and a big dead bird.  It was delicious!  Poor bird.

It was a very nice time visiting the friends, unfortunately l had to leave early to head to work.  Ah, the life of the working class.

You can certainly feel the change of seasons now.  Much colder in the nights, and never warming up enough in the day.  I've turned on the heater in the van, sparingly.  In the morning to get out of bed, and a bit at night as l relax after work.  I'm afraid the battery might die, so l use it occasionally. 

I need to buy that battery monitor, but can't seem to find one that plugs in the lighter/12V socket.  I will need to order one on Amazon l think.  I'm also contemplating buying a catalytic heater so l won't have the problem of running down the battery. 

There is an RV show this weekend coming up in Toronto, so l will see if l can buy either of the above mentioned on the weekend.

I'm also experiencing some guilt for leaving the cats in the van all day when l am not around with them, especially if it gets colder.  I know they have those nice fur coats but the babies haven't been subjected to cold weather outdoors before.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Secure, Secure, Secure

The trick with living in an RV, Van, or anything Mobile....is to secure your things BEFORE you take off.

My heart kathunked with my laptop today when l took a corner and my laptop slid to the floor from the stove top where l had forgotten it, l was half asleep, when l moved my van this morning on my way to the gym.

As soon as l stopped driving l fired it up, and to my relief, it was still working.  Crisis averted!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween Candy & Hair Cuts

I caved today and it's only the 4th of October.  I bought a package of those little mini chocolate bars.  You know the kind that come out every Halloween.  It was just the 30 pack, but let's just say.....it's not a 30 pack anymore, and l'm on a sugar high.

I also got my hair cut today. Just above my shoulders.  Don't you just love when someone washes your hair, l know l do.  Almost as good as someone rubbing your feet.

Although, l think the kid beside me at the time was thoroughly traumatized with the experience today.  Poor guy.  The whole time no one took the time to explain what was going to happen, and that it wouldn't hurt.  They just man handled him into cutting his hair with the sheers, and got a lolly pop at the end.

Hey....l didn't get no lolly pop.....wait oh yeah...l got those 30 chocolate bars......

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's The Little Things

Whoot Whoot!  I just found out that the place where l go and dump my tanks is open until November 1st.  That is a whole 15 days longer then l thought they were.

I will have three  four options after November 1st for dumping my black tank in the van.

1. Find another place to dump the tanks.....I know there is one 45 minutes from here, of course if l can avoid travelling that far to dump, that would be great.  And if they don't freeze solid between dumps!

2. Get a bucket and utilize the kitty litter l have on board already.  I would use establishments toilets more during this time, but for the middle of the night necessities....it would be the kitty litter.

3. Get a short term rental, or house sit.

4.  Just don't pee

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One Less Mouse In This World

Here's how it went down.  It's a beautiful morning, the sun is shining, l'm sitting in the parking lot of the Courtyard Marriott, using their wi-fi signal for some Internet surfing.  The van door is open so the Kitties can come and go as they please to this grassy area with trees that l am parked beside.

I'm totally distracted and don't notice Charlie come into the van.  All of a sudden l hear a very uncharacteristic growling.  I look up and Tommy is trying to get close to Charlie (she is by the toilet in the rear)....who happens to have brought a Mouse into the van.  It was still alive, if only for a few minutes. 

Charlie was having none of the "sharing" that Tommy wanted.  She quickly took the mouse back outside (Yeah for me!) and devoured that sucker in under five minutes.  It's been a while since she has caught a mouse or a bird, so it must have been a real treat for her.

I'm happy the carnage happened outside.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Rent Cheque - NO WAY - Not This Month, Again

Well, October is here and once again, l am rent free. That makes 6 months of this rent free living for me. 

It's getting cooler, however, l am hoping to stay in the van longer.  How much longer l don't know.  I will take it one day at a time.

I am amazed at how my body has adjusted to the cooler temperatures.  The nights have been bouncing around the 38 to 50 degrees area and l have been okay.  I am amazed that l don't feel as cold as l used to feel in a sticks and bricks home where the temperature was kept at 66 degrees.

In the middle of the night when l get up to use the 'facilities', me or my feet don't freeze.  After work l sit in the van on my laptop or reading, of course l have a sweatshirt on, but l always seemed to have that on in a sticks and bricks house as soon as cooler temperatures hit. On the warmer nights (50 degrees) l even have the door still open for the cats to come and go.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Taking A Course

I'm trying to give myself options for life on the road.  So this weekend l have been taking a really interesting and eye opening course on stock/options/forex trading.  I'm hoping to be able to generate a bit of an income to keep me "in the money" while l travel in the van.  The great thing is l can take this course over and over again for no extra charge.  The guys that teaches it are well respected in the industry and have been around for a long time.  In case you care, here is the link .

As it stands, l won't be travelling for a bit, at least until next year, if not longer.  Let's face it, working for someone else sucks!  And the chances of wining the lottery are pretty slim.

If l educate myself and choose with care, l just might be able to finance my retirement at an early age!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I've Learned To Not Give A Shit!

That may sound a bit harsh, so let me elaborate.

What l mean is while van dwelling, I've learned to not give a shit - with in reason, of course.

I no longer give a shit if people see me getting out of my van after spending the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

I no longer feel the pressure to move at 7am (when the store opens) or at the latest 8am, when the buggy guy starts going around the lot.  Today l left at 11 am, it was warm with the sun shining in the van and l just lazed about.

I now park closer to cars, because l don't give a shit anymore!!!!    I'm at the Lowes parking lot now and there are some cars nearby, their owners are on their lunch hour, l now just drive up and park - instead of avoid.

I've learned to no longer give a shit that someone has to wait 20 seconds while l fill up my 1.5 liter water bottle at the gym, since l have no problem waiting for others to fill theres'.  They don't know that l use this water to live off in my van.  I actually fill two a day, one after my workout as l head to the showers and the other after the shower on my way out of the gym.  If l REALLY didn't give a shit, l would fill both up at the same time, since l don't have to, l don't, because l will not be rude.

I actually find myself saying in my head "l don't give a shit".  It helps me to just relax and do what l need to do.

I've learned to not give a shit when l fill up my van with gas....after all l have two tanks.  They can wait for me to finish. 

Now with all that being said, l still consider other people, l would never throw trash out in a parking lot, nor would l sit in my van after pumping gas and fill out my spending log (l have seen others do it), l would pull forward and take my time.

I guess what l have done is just become a little more like the rest of the population and put themselves first and Not Give A Shit!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Cat With Puppy Dog Eye's

Who would have thought that it was possible?  A cat that has puppy dog eyes that makes you give up your seat for him?

Well, l have one.  He is a rarity, l don't think many exist.

I was tired of sitting on my bed reading so l wanted to change it up a bit and sit in my chair.  Tommy the cat with the puppy dog eyes was occupying that seat, and it took a lot of coxing on my part to get him to leave it (translation - l had to nudge him to go).

I sat down to read my book again.  Tommy jumped up on the couch, fussed a bit, jumped down and sat in front of me, looking at me with those damn puppy dog eyes.  He won.  He didn't even have to nudge me.  I vacated the seat and when back to the couch.


Here he is after recapturing the seat.  I think l see a bit of smugness on his face too.  A new meaning to "pussy whipped".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Need Of Space

Yesterday l drove on up to J's house.  I had wanted a shelf to be built over the shower to add more storage to Fiona the van.  I don't use the shower, l go to the gym.  The cats actually use the shower....to do their bus'ness.

Previously l had cut a piece of plywood to cover the tub (l now store a few things in the tub)on top of the plywood is the kitty litter pan, the extra kitty litter in a pail, and the tin of food for the lovely Kitty's on board.

Above that area was just wasted space.  And when you live in 60 square feet (just a guess - haven't measured - left my tape measure at J's house yesterday), every inch counts.  So l had wanted a shelf there since the renovation, yes, ideally it would have been better for me to have it there during the reno so it could be painted at the same time, but sometimes things don't work that way.



So with J's talents and tools, these boards were turned into....

 
And placed here.....
 

Giving me a shelf and a place to store my shoes!

And some other stuff......
 
 
While there we also cut a piece of 2x4 to put under my bed.  Why not a 'pea' you say?  Wrong story.  Anyways l have been living with 3 books (Nora Roberts if you care - all were the same thickness) to prop my bed up.  I felt like l was always rolling out of it.  For some reason it was built with a tilt.  The books were a temporary fix.
 
The 2x4 - not so temporary.  That bad boy was screwed in for good.  We also cut a brace to match the angle and added it to the cross member to make the  bed good and solid.
 
 
So here you have the side view.  The 2x4 will disappear when l put my bedding back in place.  You can see the original sofa base and then the added foam pad l bought from Costco a couple of months ago.
 
I discovered that if down the road l want to replace my bed it will be super easy since the base of the sofa foam is only on a piece of plywood.  I could make it a bit wider when l renovate it next time.  For now this works just fine (until l see a nice big piece of foam on sale).

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Scanning Code Of Practice

What the hell is that you ask?  We here in Ontario have a rather large group of retailers that practice the "Scanning code of Practice".  What that means is if the price at the register is more then what was displayed on the shelf, the store will give you the product for free (the first one) up to a $10 dollar value.

When scanners first started being used there was tremendous inaccuracies, and the consumer was left holding the bag.  Retailers voluntarily joined this "code" and display it on their doors of entry and by their registers.

Funny enough, you have to know about it to push the point to receive the item for free, a huge number of cashiers and the public don't know anything about it.  I do.  And my friends know to (since l have told them).

Today l scored a pack of gum.  When l went to purchase the gum, the price on the shelf was $1.58, the register at Wal-Mart was $1.68.  I pointed it out to the cashier and l got myself a free pack of gum.
                                                                My favorite kind too

I love when l get free stuff.  I've gotten pizza's, eggs, bread, and many more items for free.  Once l kept going back to a store, day after day for about 5 days and got one item for free everyday since they failed to fix the price on that item.

You can bet tomorrow I will be back at Wal-Mart to see if they fixed the price yet.......  :-)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Crazy - I Know

What l'm about to tell you is crazy. I know it is, there is no reasonable explanation why l waited other then fear.

I finally had a friend turn on my propane fridge. Crazy hunh? I had been without a fridge since l haven't been hooked up at campgrounds, so that is since May.  I got by, ate food that didn't need to be refrigerated, and ate out cheaply.

As of yesterday, my fridge is working and chilling up a storm, thereby l can stop eating out and cook most of my food.

Why did l wait?  It really is a fear of propane.  I think l mentioned about my experience with propane when l was in my early 20's.  Obviously it wasn't a good experience and it has colored my propane experiences since then.

What happened?  My friend and l had a landscaping business and with that business we had bought a old city owned propane fired van.  One day we had stored the propane van inside our storage unit, the next day we came back and went in the storage unit.  My friend plugged something in an electrical socket, which caused a spark and ignited the propane that had leaked on the floor of the unit.

The fireball shot across the floor, l could see the flames fly pass my running shoes, melting my laces, burning my eyebrows and lashes (just like a flash from a BBQ).  My friend got the worst of it and burned a portion of his face (it healed without scar because it was propane and not gasoline - gasoline boils, propane is a 'gas' and once gone source of fuel is gone - causing less damage).  The building burnt down, and we were in court for 10 years. 

So, l have been a bit leery of propane since. Then of course l read about TravellingMan's (I tried linking the blog "we are experiencing technical difficulties" but it didn't work - so search for that article to read his story) experience with his fridge and it solidified my hesitancy to turn the damn thing on.

I figured it was time to conquer the fear, and l really wanted cold food - lol 

So now Fiona has a working fridge and l have a place to store my cheese.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bah - Hum Bug

I walked into Wal-Mart to buy some cat food today and l heard Christmas Music.  Really?  Already?  Don't we have to go celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving first? 

Consumerism- smozerism.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where Is The Sun

Parking the van day or night is an important step in van-dwelling. There are things to consider.  Are you in an area that is away from people?  Is someone going to come knock on your door late at night to ask you to move? (I haven't had this happen).  It might be quiet during the evening when you first park, and get very busy in the morning when you still want to sleep.

I have found what is also very important is where is the sun.  In the summer, l want to park in a way that l will get as little sun into the van as possible.  In the winter, the opposite is true. 

It's not winter yet however, l am enjoing the morning sun.  It has reached down to the low, low 40's in the night.  I just bundle down in my blankets and pass out for the night.  In the morning the sun has warmed the van up to a comfortable 65-70 when it is still only 50 degrees outside. How's that for passive solar?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Afternoon Nap

I had a wonderful nap this afternoon.  It's is my day off, and after the busy weekend with helping friends and working long days/nights l was zonked.

I accomplished my laundry for $8.00 at my tried and true Laundromat, dumped my tanks for $11.50 and had a subway sub that sent me into nap heaven.  Two hours later with the sun shining in my widows and the cats outside playing l woke up ready to finish a great book l am reading.

I'm parked at a large park in the city of Toronto, people coming and going all around me and l could care less.  Some may think l am crazy to sleep with my side door open in a busy park, however l feel super safe.  I really think people are just so  busy and caught up in their lives that they walk around in a daze and don't notice things.  It's kind of funny to observe how you can hide in plain sight.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Busy Day

Saturday was a busy day for me. As l said before l was helping a friend move into his house.  He built the house, actually tore down the original and built a much bigger and fancier house in it's footprint.  It took him two years.  Of course during that time he worked full-time at a demanding job, but every other waking hour was spent on that house.

He had a container full of stuff he hasn't seen in two years.  My thoughts are.....do you really need it?  Does any of us need all the stuff we accumulate over the years.

Of course, it's not fair for me to impose my beliefs on any one, especially since l have gone through the purging stage, and feel very free because of it.

I'm just glad it wasn't my stuff.  I'm glad that l have already gone through the purging stage.

And because l have gone through that stage it is eye opening to walk through any store, be it a Wal-Mart, or Ikea, or any really, and see all the products for sale.  Better this year then the last, a new colour, an added feature, it really is over whelming.  I am not tempted to buy any of it, l really don't have anywhere to put it if l did feel the need to buy it.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Battery Is Charging Now

I arrived at my friends house around 11:30 am, he wasn't home from work yet so proceeded to start cleaning all my connections to my house battery.
The Isolator?
 
I popped the hood of the van and attacked this little contraption.  Is it the isolator?  Is that the right terminology?  I know it is the link between the van battery and the house battery and it was pretty cruddy so l cleaned and polished up the connectors.  I only got one little shock when l leaned against the van, it was more of a tickle, but it got me to stop leaning against the van when l was unscrewing the bolts. 
 
The next step for me was to take the back box off the van so l could gain access to the house battery that is under my teeny tiny closet.  I cleaned those connectors also.
 
Next on the list was to take off the little cardboard door l had made (it's temporary until l get a piece of wood cut next week for it) to stop the cats from exploring another hole in the vans walls.  Behind this wall is this fuse (below)
 
 
Close up
Not so close
 
The fuse was blown.  That was the problem with the battery not charging.  Once l replaced it (yes, l have spare fuses in the van's tool box) the battery showed hope.
 
The friend showed up from work after l had solved the mystery and as l was loading the box back on the van.
 
I plugged in at my friends for a couple of hours, while l helped him do some finishing touches on his home before he moves into it on Saturday (yep, l'm helping him with that).
 
 I'm happy to report that all my house lights worked fine when l went to battery power before l left.
 
 
 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Battery Is Not Charging

My new house battery is not charging.  Even though the last little while l have put a few miles on Falcon, which should have charged the battery up.  I've also been plugged in the other day for 3 hours, to no avail, my battery is D-E-A-D. And as l have said in prior posts, l don't really use a whole lot of the house battery to warrant it being dead after all those charging opportunities.  At least l know it's not the battery since it is brand spanking new!!!!

So today l am off to a friends to do clean up on some terminals and to use his 'volt reader' or something like that to see where the connection is failing.

It could be my isolator (bare in mind l could be calling all these things by their wrong names - l do know that l got the battery name right though!!!  hahahahah).  The isolator wires are corroded, so it could be that.

It could also be all the shimmy and shaking on the wild Toronto roads that has wiggled a wire loose. 

The plan is to find out today.......wish me luck!!!!

I Just Don't Understand


This is a picture of a shopper this afternoon.  I'm sure you have seen it, it's not an anomalie.

Why do people leave their shopping carts all whilly-nilly in parking lots so they can get caught by the wind and slam into someones car?

A couple of years ago l actually witnesses a couple hop in their car and burst out laughing after the cart they just abandoned caught the wind and took off and hit a car across the parking lot.

It's one of the things l shake my head at.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Love Me Some Libraries!

I admit through out my life libraries never really played to big of a role in my life.  It wasn't that l didn't read, quite the opposite.  Since grade eight, l usually have at least one book on the go.

When l was younger, l couldn't get into town on a regular basis to check out books.  When l did end up getting a car, l was employed and usually bought my books at the various book stores.  Who needed deadlines to return books?

Now flip forward many years, l recently gained my appreciation for libraries when l started travelling for work over a year ago.  Then l was travelling by plane, and landing all over Canada and the USA.  Sometimes between appointments in the small little towns l worked in l would need to kill time.  Libraries were warm (or cool - depending on the season), had free Wi-Fi, an electrical plug for my laptop, a place where l could work if the hotel was far away, and they usually quiet.

When l came back to Toronto 4 months ago, l once again fully appreciated the local library.  The free unlimited Wi-Fi helped me look for a job and entertained me when l was tired/fed up for the day of looking for a job.  This time l even signed up for a library card, l checked out DVD's, and some books.

The other day l was contemplating buying a book l had heard the buzz about on the Internet.  I had a bright idea of checking out online if the local library had this book.  I highly doubted it, and l was proven right.  They didn't have the book in their catalogue.  However there was a spot for me to put my name down to request it.  My name would remain on file for one year, and they would notify me by e-mail when the book was available.

Imagine my shock when l got that e-mail late last night.  The book l requested was in.  Two days, that's all it took.  Amazon couldn't even guarantee me a book that fast with out costing me extra, and here l am getting it for FREE.  I love libraries!!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Travelling Cats

My cats have been the best travellers ever.  Better then l had worried about before my move into the van in April. 

During the last 6 months they have been so adapting in all ways but one.  The really don't like travelling at night in the van for any great distances.  Last night l drove for an hour out of town after work and they didn't like it.

Charlie was all up on me as l drove, trying to look out the window, wanting pats.  She was restless.  I think it has something to do with not being able to see outside the windows.  The glare of the glass must cut down on their night vision.  During the day, l can travel for hours without nary a complaint from them, but at night it is a different story.

Still, l love having them along for the ride.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Chilly Night

The fall has arrived.  Last night was the coolest night so far.  It wasn't terrible or even that bad, it certainly was different then sleeping with a casual blanket half on, half off.

Of course, l could have fired up the furnace, however that would have entailed me removing my shoes from the place that "is not a storage compartment".

In hind sight, l should have pulled out an extra blanket...but at 4 in the morning, you just want to hunker down and hope that you will warm up, not pull things down from the attic.

A good indication that it was a bit chilly is both of the kitties slept either on me, or beside me throughout the night.

Guess what is on the agenda for today? Yep, pulling out those blankets for easy access.  And of course, its supposed to warm up again in two days......I'll probably just leave them on the bed and sleep on top.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Sound On The Roof

About 11 years ago l lived in Virginia out by the Blue Ridge Mountains in Woodville (population 30- maybe).  It was a beautiful spot, right beside the mountains.  Every day l drove to work the scenery changed, depending on the weather, the sunlight, the time of year.

While living there, l lived in a cute little two bedroom home.  I can't say a cabin, because it was sided with aluminum.  It also had a tin roof.  The very first time l saw that house, l thought how great it would be in the rain.  To listen to the rain fall on the tin roof would be like listening to the best music by Mother Nature.

Unfortunately, it was a disappointment.  It had to be raining cats and dogs to hear even the littlest of music.

However, l  hear the music in the van now.  Last night it rained as l went to sleep, and it was still raining when l awoke this morning.  I love the sound of rain on the roof, while l am cozy in my bed (dry of course).

It's in the low 60's this morning, my windows are open and l am cozy in my little abode.

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Homeless Neighbors

I'm sitting in the Lowe's parking lot, it's 1:30am on Saturday morning.  I'm surfing the net, l just finished work an hour ago.  The kitties are out stretching their legs, and getting some fresh air.

I'm tucked in a corner of the parking lot, out of the way.  Not that it matters at this time of the night.  But l do get full Wi-Fi signal here; for free l might ad.  A truck rumbles in the parking lot.  It's one l have seen many times before.  I have seen him all times of the day and night when l have been here, all times of the day and night.  He comes and goes.  He stays in his truck.  It is a sleeper cab type, l'm sure he is enjoying the free Internet also.

He's my neighbor l guess you could say.  We both sleep in our vehicles. 

I've noticed other "regulars" at the Wal-Mart parking lot too.  I'm sure they recognize me too.  We have our own little community, it's a bit comforting, strange as that may be.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I MUST Be Crazy



I must be Crazy to love living in my van so much.  I mean really, this isn't the wild west where l am travelling in a covered wagon to discover new lands.  Hell, l'm not even leaving the big city l grew up in.

If you haven't done it, l don't know how to explain it to you.  It's freeing, even though l am tied down to my job and the city because of the job.  It's a bit adventurous, not always 100% sure where you might choose to sleep that night.  It's uncluttered, everything l own (other then the back of the sofa bed - which is in a friends garage) is with me in the van.  It can be a tad disorganized, that only lasts a day because l get a little rabid not being able to find "what l absolutely need right now".

The biggest thing is it is eye opening.  To scale down as l have done, to stop spending on frivolous things as l have done, you soon realize that it is the best way to live.

My friends always knew that l loved sleeping in my own bed at night.  And no matter how late it was, l would trek home so l could "sleep in my own bed".  Now l don't need to trek anywhere. I am home.

Of course, one day l do plan on travelling more, seeing North America at a leisurely pace.  Thankfully, l have had the opportunity to see a lot of it so far, it just wasn't at  a leisurely pace.  It still calls to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dollar Store Find

I found this little USB lamp at the Dollar Store for 2 bucks.  Yeah, l'm sure you know, just because it's called the dollar store, doesn't mean everything is just a dollar anymore.

It really is quite amazing what you can find for a buck or two.  How they can make this stuff, ship it from China, then sell it on their shelves for a buck and still make a profit is beyond me, but l like it.


When l am in the van at night and on my laptop l need just a little bit of light to see the keys on the keyboard.  I was taught in school how to type with all my fingers so knowing "those" keys is not the problem, but all the fancy keys outside their realm is, in the dark anyways. 

I love this lamp.  It runs off my laptop and is just enough light that l can see, and not so much light that l am sticking out like a soar thumb in the parking lot.  For $2 it is a great find.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Chicken Or The Egg

It has been a dilemma many philosophers have debated over for years and years.  Which came first the chicken or the egg?

I was needing to buy some cat food at Wal-Mart, as l pulled into the parking lot l followed a nice cherry red Ferrari.  And l had a thought......


Which came first......saving money at Wal-Mart to buy the Ferrari or being so poor now that you can only afford to shop at Wal-Mart?

Let the debating begin........

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Thank You!

Wow.....l am speechless.  Every one's comments have been so nice about the van renovations.

Before l did the painting my friend J was concerned about me wanting to paint the van.  He said if l painted it, it may loose it's value.  My response was, it's not worth much right now anyways! To me it is, it is my home.  I paid $4500 for the van in December 2011.

If the paint job made the value drop to $2000, l was okay with that.  And that was IF l was even thinking of selling, which l am not.

J is a really good friend, and supports me choosing to live in my van, however - he thinks l am only living in it until September/October (until the weather turns).  I understand it's not normal in our society to WANT to live in your van, or even your RV (unless you are a snowbird for six months of the year), so l just let his assumption slide.  No harm, no foul.

I have even decided in my mind that if winter is too tough, and l can't hack the cold, l will be back in the van in March/April.  I love living in my van. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Last Day House Sitting

Well tomorrow l pack up what little l've unpacked and move back into the van.

I have been house sitting for two weeks and it was a busy two weeks.  I've built the home owner a pond, and l renovated my van, and worked my regular shifts at my job.

And of course, all the regular stuff that comes with owning a home, l've cut the grass twice, water the gardens daily, put out the garbage and recycling on the appropriate days, gathered the mail, perused the newspapers that have been delivered (a rare treat since l don't get newspapers delivered to the van <grin>), did laundry and hung it on the line (only my laundry, so no biggy), fixed the recycle bin for the homeowner, and watched a total of 3 hours of mind numbing TV.

I also won't miss this........

Summer construction on the 401 Highway in Toronto.  Who wants to sit in bumper to bumper traffic at 11 pm at night?  Not me!!!!

I don't miss home ownership.  Living in my van l don't have to cut grass, water plants or wait for garbage day since any ol'garbage can will do (Wal-mart, Ikea, gas stations).

Oh, did l mention.....it's three months Rent Free today!!!  Whoot Whoot!!!!!