Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Is it getting better? Maybe, just maybe.

Well, my sister and I survived our visit together, both still alive! Amazing, really, amazing. Actually, I miss her and my brother-in-law, hot showers and TV and civilization. And I'm pretty sure my dogs miss their dog, at least, that's what they whispered to me last night, in between "mom, we're still hungry". Although that appears to be a never-ending mantra; I do feed my dogs, I do!

Thanks to those of you who commented and prayed for me, it means a lot. It is for you who have been wondering and worrying that I am posting this. I normally post about good things only after they happen, and this one's 50/50.

So the already happened good? Well, I met my neighbors at my property, and they seem nice and willing (and able) to help. They helped me back in my camper to where I wanted it to go. I will say they were impressed I got it where I did. But then, they didn't see me try to get it that far. They would have had a good belly workout, they would have been laughing so hard! Or maybe just me, because I can laugh at myself. I'm like that. And the neighbors have offered water - they will at least make sure I have that, which is a huge load off my back!

And the other thing? Well, I start a job tomorrow. Making just above minimum wage, I'll be working at a flying J a mere 10 miles from where I will be living (camping?). This one I would not normally post about until I had been there for a day, but I wanted to ease any concerns out there. At least it's a j-o-b. Not glamorous, but I didn't move to the area for the fantastic rat race employment opps!

I am currently at a coffeehouse about 35 miles away, just finished my first cup of coffee of the day. My son is playing his video games, I played a little solitaire. It has been a relaxing trip to town and we have been enjoying the privacy of the nearly empty coffeehouse this afternoon. The truck is still kicking and we have food and water.

I'm not going to lie and say it's great - actually we're going to be pretty miserable for a while. But I tell my son, we only have to make it through the first couple of weeks and then it will get better. I have to remember that, too, especially when I'd like nothing more than a 30 minute hot shower to get off all the grit. But we are started and on our way, and someday we'll reach that vague point when the pleasure we get from what we do is worth more than the misery we went through to get there.

Chin up!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

It didn't get better, it really didn't.

So, I'm hoping that my streak of bad luck is all used up, because I'm still having problems from the problems I've just finished having.

I will say, first, the moving sale went spectacularly well! I made 3x what I was praying I would make. If anyone reading this is going to have a sale, here's a hint: if you want to get rid of stuff, for the last day of the sale do a buy one, get one for your stuff. People will buy things they don't need because it's too good of a deal to pass up!! TOO GOOD!! :D

Okay then, so the Thursday after the sewage thing, the gas pipes were leaking. The gas company had to shut off the gas. Friday, Rocky (the new, sweet puppy who weighs about 50lbs and is 9 months and has mad jumping skills) jumped the neighbor's fence. The neighbor who is married, about 30, and acts like a 4 year old who's not getting his way. He and his wife were out there baiting my dogs. Then they got mad when I had to go into their yard to get him. That wasn't fun. SOOOOOOO glad to not be there anymore.

So I did manage to get everything loaded up and we were 150 miles into the trip to my sister's in Kansas City when the engine overheated and the transmission blew. *Sigh* Really? Should I have been surprised? At this point, probably not.

Luckily, I was close to a good mechanic, and, as it turns out, he only needed to replace the pump in the transmission, which is about 1/4 - 1/3 of the cost of a rebuilt tranny. And blessed am I to have parents and a sister who willingly split the cost. Unfortunately, it didn't fix the problem.

So I think my engine has almost no power, I can't use the a/c/, and going over 50mph is not recommended. I don't know what happened, could have cracked the heater core or a head gasket, but there is an oil leak and is sprays over an engine.

I thought I was nervous the other day? Now I'm somewhere between depressed and pissed off that I am having so many problems when a goal towards which I have worked hard, and dreamed of, is finally within reach.

I don't know what to do. I'm sure I'll figure it out, but I was planning on at least having a working vehicle.

I did get the camper onto the property. I was fully expecting it to tip over, given my luck, and am exceedingly happy it did not! I'm with my sister here in KC until Sunday, then begins the misery that is to be expected in a move like this for a while. Please pray I find a job quickly! I'm going to need all the prayers I can get. :) Time for more coffee.


Sunday, May 13, 2012



I think I'm going to end up doing all of this on a HALF of a shoestring budget. My nerves are jangling, I'm stressed out, and my stomach is doing that weird flippy-floppy thing that happens any time you take a huge risk like what I'm about to do.

Moving day is May 24th. I've just realized I don't have enough time or money to do what I want to do. But by the Grace of God, it's going to happen.

I just have to get the paper bag and breathe, and stop thinking about all the things that can go wrong!

Pray for me, please!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Good Times At My House! (Can you hear the sarcasm?)

I have had a HELL of a week. Power tools were involved. And sewage. I drank a lot of vodka last night. It was well-earned.

It's been fun.

On Monday, I was trimming the hedges. Now, I'm normally VERY careful when I use power tools. Being cut by anything with a motorized blade just does not sound like fun for me. Don't worry, folks, it's not that bad. It's only my fingers. I'm still not quite sure what happened. I ended up slicing through the skin on two of my fingers - it bled a lot. The hedge trimmers spent the night outside. Honestly, it could have been worse. They will heal and I have not lost the use of my fingers.

Ok, so could my week get any worse than that? Gee, funny you should ask!

I have known my roots needed auguring for about a week now. I just put things off, the backup in the basement wasn't that bad. So, Thursday I called Rick's Sewer Service here in Fort Wayne. He came out, tried his machine (apparently, did a shitty job, that's what the guy I spoke with yesterday said), and said he's not going to be able to auger the roots, there's something blocking the bit, basically. Oh, great news, because it could mean replacing the sewage drain pipe in the backyard. Fantastic, right? But he was going to try one more thing.

So I was cleaning out my toolbox and had to go downstairs to get some nails that were on the shelves down there.

And the dude, who's 60-something, was PEEING ON MY BLEEPING FLOOR!!!!!! AFTER he realized he wasn't going to be able to get the water to drain. I got my nails and went upstairs. And then when he was finished trying the "one more thing", which, of course, didn't work, I sent his grown man son (yep, works with his son and pees on people's floors) out to the van. Then I tore the guy a new asshole. And sent him on his way. Penniless.

When Miss Beth gets mad, she gets MMMMMMMMAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!! If anyone else ever tries that bullshit I'm just going to set the dogs on them. My dogs are scary. Don't come in my backyard if they're there - they don't like intruders. Big babies. I love my dogs. :)

So all that brings me to the final part of the saga. Yesterday Ben from J&S Excavation came out to have a look. There's a process called jetting (which is exactly what it sounds like, where high psi water pushes sediment out of the sewage pipes thereby getting rid of the blockage) which is in-between auguring and replacing the pipes. But it costs $300. And there's no guarantee it will work. So he asked if I could go the weekend without using water to see if we could get it to drain. I said sure, I'm from the hills, no problem. On Monday he's going to come out and put a camera down and see if he can jet it and it will work, or he might just be able to augur it, which is less expensive. If he can do it, the camera fee is included in the cost. If not, I'm only out $60 instead of $300. I kind of like this guy. He's working within his boss' rules to save me $$.

So this weekend, no sewage at my house. We are taking sponge baths, and the kitchen sink is currently draining into a 5 gallon bucket. Even, we are using a sawdust toilet. It's really not fun in the confines of the city. But it's good practice for MO!!

Oh, and did I mention there was a shooting in my neighborhood? Actually, the house directly behind mine (as in, we share a fence). It was a murder-suicide where a 53 year old man shot his father and then himself. That is so sad. I didn't know them really well, but my prayers go out to the family during this time of grief. I hope anyone out there who has problems can find someone to help them before the problems culminate in a tragedy of this magnitude. It puts everything else in perspective, because quite frankly, sewer problems and cut fingers are nothing by comparison.

Let's hope next week is a quiet one!!

Ok I have all these lemons, time to go make lemonade. :) Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I didn't have time for this!

Well, I have been absent a while from the blog here, and I apologize.

Ok, business out of the way, we've been having some awesome [awful] weather here in the States lately. Luckily, my neighborhood didn't get hit too hard during the tornado weather from a couple of weekends ago, but we did get some wind.

Very strong wind.

Wind that split in half the decades old huge apple tree in my backyard.


Guess what I was doing this weekend? Yep, got to use the chainsaw. So myself, a friend of mine, and our combined children cut down and moved firewood this weekend, and yesterday and today my not-so-very-enthusiastic son and I (and one of his not-so-very-enthusiastic friends) hauled all of the branches out to the city's yard waste recycling center.

Yes, I said it. Yard waste recycling center. Now, for those of you who live in the country, here in the city we are not allowed to use up our refuse in the manner accustomed to country folks. Which is probably as ok as it is ridiculous, because if we all burned our brush, what little clean air we currently enjoy would be negated.

So five days of work and my back is killing me! (It's my fault, I knew I shouldn't have lifted that one piece of firewood after working all day. But I'm stubborn and did it anyway.)

I leave in four weeks. I did not have time for that tree to split. Damn you, Murphy, damn you!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Do Rabbits and Junk Have In Common?

If you're anything like me, the sight of all the crap (where the hell did it come from!!) that seems to mysteriously appear out of thin air right in that spot you just cleaned really begs for a solution this time of year. Yes, this is the year all the crap is gone so you can stop spending time cleaning stuff, and just wipe the counters and go on to something more fun... And haven't we all said that before.

But it can be done, I'm almost finished with my crap clearing out and I've learned a few things I want to share to (hopefully) make yours a little easier:

1. Evaluate your space - either the space you're in now, or if you are downsizing, the space you're moving into. (I'm moving from an 800sq ft two bedroom house with full attic and basement to a tent. Granted, some of my stuff will have to go into storage...) If you have three bedrooms, are you using all of them? Can one be an office or playroom? Can one bathroom be a designated guest bathroom, and therefore, decorated as such, and the other having only what your family needs? Decide what you're going to do with the space you have.

2. Once you have made that decision, determine what furniture you need, and what you can reasonably expect to use to accommodate guests and family gatherings. Make sure you allow for valuable family heirlooms and antiques in this, and if you're not using them, pass them on. Get rid of everything else. Sell it, toss it, strike a match putitonthecurb just GET RID OF IT!

3. Everything else has to fit in/on/under what you have left (this includes closets, cupboards, pantries, etc). If you have collections of three different sets of figurines but only have room for one collection, choose your fave and get rid of the rest. Just remember you'll still be dusting them, and that is cleaning stuff.

4. When sorting through clutter, expect it to take time. It is not a one-day job. And once you start, you'll want to keep going. Take a three-day weekend if you want, or do one room every weekend day, and one closet every weeknight. You might want to stock a couple of frozen pizzas...

5. Don't be too sentimental. My parents saved work from my childhood - which was great, really, now my son knows my handwriting was sloppy and I had crappy hair once, too. But really, is it going to contribute to my life? Am I going to haul it out and make a slide show out of it? I don't need it. I kept 2-3 things and old school yearbooks (which I probably didn't need, either). I tossed all the stuffed animals. I unceremoniously dumped a lot of junk that was taking up space so I could look at it once a year while I was trying to determine if I should keep it or not. Decide you will live for tomorrow, not yesterday.

6. Are you really going to use that? Decide how much space you want to devote to storing items for projects that you want to do or may have to. Pick and choose what you will keep, the cream of the crop, and dispose of the rest of it. Do this with everything else in your house - how much space do you want to use to store the items (clothing, pots and pans, kids' toys, cosmetics, etc.) and keep only the items you get the most and/or best use from. (Keep the LBD, even if you only use it once a year, toss the parachute pants and expired food.)

7. Go through it all again.

8. Repeat step 7.

9. If you have been serious about this, you should be at a manageable pile of stuff. Try to organize it - winter clothes in one color of storage container, kids' toys in another. (I don't have all the toys out at once, I rotate them so instead of buying new things, the children feel they're playing with new toys when in reality they haven't seen them in two months.) Organize your pantry, your closets, bathroom, kitchen, and drawers so you know where to find things, and can clean and tidy up easily. Arrange the decor you kept and keep it streamlined - rotate seasonally instead of having all the non-seasonal items out at once.

10. Take a look around at your bright, clutter-free house. Doesn't it just have a designer feel to it? Congratulate yourself and figure out what you are going to do with all the extra time you can use now to NOT clean up stuff. Like maybe invest in gardening. But be careful, if you get a new hobby you might be doing this all over again next year!

Junk, it multiplies faster than rabbits. I hope these clutter-busting techniques prove to assist you in making the junk deluge disappear from your house.

Is anyone else out there decluttering or downsizing this spring?


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Haven't You Always Wanted a Tree House?

Do you like tent living? How about long-term tent living in a mass-produced, readily available, nylon tent? Sound safe? Secure? Weatherproof? I thought not. Well, it seems unlikely to be fun past the first week for me, and I've been deliberating various methods of throwing up a structure that will be not so large as to preclude the building of the HOUSE house, but large enough to allow us to live relatively comfortably (that's relative to tent life and possibly acceptable for a winter just in case) while building the HOUSE house. 
I have thought of everything - from tying a few trees together (no kidding) to fortifying a cave (which I don't have on my property, by the way) to erecting some sort of log cabin out of the trees on my property. I considered a wall tent - too expensive; a trailer home - too many chemicals, big fire hazard, little insulation; stacking straw bales and throwing some plywood on the top - too unstable; building a 12x12 house with attic bedrooms - would take too long once you add in the foundation and everything else that goes with that type of conventional building; and many more. I have determined the best course of action I could follow would be to build a treehouse, replete with multiple staircases, swinging rope bridges, different levels a la Swiss Family Robinson, and we can't forget the fairy tale roofline. Imagine the possibilities! The creativity, the artistry!!

*Snicker* Cackle, Hahahahahaha I had you going there for a minute, didn't I?

Actually I want to build a very simple platform tree house - my goal is to not put in a foundation for the first structure and I don't exactly relish the thought of living in a tarp over the dirt. Realistically, I could, if I had to. But by that same token, it wouldn't be tons of happy for a while. Probably just the opposite. So I'm going to use the assets the land has to offer - its trees.

Now, I'm no expert on tree houses, but they really do fascinate me. I wish I could build one that would take me away faster than Calgon. But TIME consuming, right? So simple it is. I could put up an 8x8 for about $100, give or take, but that would be no better than a tent. So I've designed a 12x12 - it's basically a canvas wall tent, four feet or so off the ground, made from 2x6s and plywood. Yes, chemicals, I know, but they'll air out eventually, and the goal is to get this up quickly. I have to account for the movement of the trees - bear with me as I try to explain this without drawings.

Under the frame of the house you have what I call the subfloor. Joists hold that up. Under that would be the foundation. Essentially, in a tree house, you have a cantilevered foundation, or a joist foundation, or you just saw off the trees at a certain height so they are all level and use them as your foundation. If you use a joist foundation, you would attach two joists to either side of one tree, parallel to each other. The subfloor joists rest on top of the foundation joists. They are attached to the tree, but not to each other. Does that make sense? This allows for movement with this type of construction. Cantilevered tree houses and chopped off tree houses would not necessarily factor in the same type of consideration. 

I will probably use a combination of "foundations" for my tree house. And possibly a rope ladder (because you do need some effect) or wooden ladder which is not attached to the frame, but instead set into notches to prevent it from moving when we go up and down. 

Of course the final design will take into account the position and number of trees and if the lumber I am able to purchase will hold the load etc, etc. But if you wondered about my plans, here they are:

In the beginning, I'm going to leave off the "Teensy Weensy Bathroom" and kitchen area and it will just be an open porch. Those plans are there just in case and we need to overwinter in it. But I'm hoping to leave it open, I think it will make a very nice guest house.

If a tornado doesn't get it first.

Happy Thoughts Tuesday Everybody!