About Donations

Quite a few months ago, a couple readers asked me to post a PayPal link as they wanted to help me out during a particularly rough financial period.  After wrangling with WordPress a while, I (sorta) managed to do so.  I received some help, and I thank you.

But I’ve come to realize that on mobile devices my link shows up first, and I don’t want that! As I’m solely working on a mobile device myself, I find that editing that information to place it less conspicuously, or even removing it, is not something I can figure out. For this I apologize.

I’m not rich, but I’m doing ok. If plans work out moderately well, I’ll be able to save and be really ok.  So, please bear with me in my continuing failure to understand WordPress. 😀

Enjoy your day!

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Wish Me Luck

Hey, I made it halfway to Arizona! The solar system just wanted sun so badly I decided to not head for the ocean first. So far, my truck had a minor breakdown with a $55 bill….and an $850 tow. Wiped out my emergency fund right there, but that’s what it was for, eh? At least my truck is healthy again. Had to get some kinks out of it’s system I guess! The fix was so minor, it was laughable. All the mechanic did was bypass the water extraction thingie and replace it with a bent metal tube. Ah, to know engines….

That was in the Modoc National Forest, in California. The next evening I made it to Reno where I met up with a trucker friend at the Sparks Petro truck stop. Seeing a friend so far from home was great (and weird)! He turned back north and home this morning. But maybe half of the 700 or so drivers here couldn’t go on with their travels due to Interstate 80 closures and chain requirements. That includes little ol’ me. My friend said to me when I asked his opinion about chaining up and going for it, “chains are for getting out of trouble, not going toward it”. Made sense to me!

So here I am, at a huge truck stop in Sparks, Nv. Could be worse; free cable in the tv room, pay showers, laundry facilities, and a safe place to sleep. I’ve made some acquaintances, which is rare for me, so there’s company if I want it. Much nicer than being stranded at the side of the road on a lonely highway, that’s for sure!  Thanks for the memories, California!

But I’d like to continue my journey south. Weather patterns are looking bad through the weekend, so I might be stuck here for days. Please, think thoughts of clear, warm days here for me, and all the other drivers trapped here. 😀 We’d appreciate it.

Posting on a Mobile Device is HARD (but that’s not what this post is about)

I am deeply touched that a couple people have contacted me since my last post, checking in to ask if I’m doing ok. As a very solitary person, I’m not used to that! I used to rebel against having to check in with family and significant others, which confused and angered them. Not at all my intention, of course. I was raised by a working, single mom back when that wasn’t as common, and naturally was on my own most of the time. I’ve read that the term “dorky” might have come from “door-key” (aka latch-key) kid, which makes me chuckle. It would be true in more than one sense in my case!  Hehe.

I took a city bus home from my grade school across town, as it was a better school than my local one. (I remember one afternoon I took the wrong bus and how scared and confused I was! I believe that was when I was in the third or fourth grade.) Add in first a bike then later a pony, and I was everywhere other than at home, sometimes with other kids and sometimes alone. I became fiercely independent and adventurous…qualities not easy to combine with trying to build a life with others, especially someone you’re romantically involved with.

But time has mellowed me, or maybe I finally have enough solitude in a regular basis to appreciate being connected to others. The first message I received surprised me. The second made me stop and think about my connection to people. It doesn’t matter anymore if your friends are right where you are. The internet, and probably especially smartphones, has made friendships seriously viable across the globe. For a mostly-loner like me, that opens up wonderful options for connection. It also means I have a responsibility to keep people up to date. This might prove to be troublesome, depending on my mood, but it’s overall a Good Thing. I don’t hate people – I’m not alone for that reason. So, thanks for reaching out to me. Thanks for saying hi. The little things do matter. I’m good, btw. 😃

Here’s me and my boy, taken yesterday after doing a last adjustment on my scooter carrier. I have some bruises today (need to get comfortable putting my green baby up there) but with this task done I’m ready to hit the road!

He’s a handsome one, eh? Learned patience and tolerance from growing up with a crazy mom. Yay? Silver linings and all that.

One last thing today. My scooter is very important to me. She gives me a somewhat similar feeling to riding a horse, gets an incredible 90+ mpg, and is useful for local trips and errands. I would not be able to finance replacement if she were lost to me. So the very last thing to do yesterday was figure out how to (hopefully) deter her theft. A braided wire cable locked with an uncuttable lock is now wrapped around her belly and the carrier. I also have a movement-triggered alarm to put on her at night. Chances are I’d hear anyone messing with her or the truck anyway, but I figure startling a prowler can’t be a bad idea. I also have a motion-activated light to help convince people to move along. And a bad temper towards anyone messing with my stuff.  Given I literally chased away two attacking Komodors (I used to work with dos for a living and am definitely an Alpha) from a friend’s dog I was walking, I think I can be scary when necessary. I’ve been approached by unsavory men trying to intimidate me and scared them off too. So, funnily enough it’s my stuff rather than my person I worry about. I’m awkward in social situations, but don’t mess with me. Grrrr! 

Thoughts in the Dark

I woke up around 3 am this morning. Too many thoughts going on in my head interfering with my sleep, probably.  But it’s warm in here thanks to my little heater and the abundance of on-grid electricity,  so I got up, made some coffee, and read some blogs written by other people already living the life I’m soon to dive into myself.  Not a bad start to the day.
I’m not afraid today. Not yet, at least. Instead, I have that nowadays rare thing called peace of mind.  Even a tiny bit of confidence.   Used to be I had that in spades.  I miss those days. Refinding that confidence, in myself, that things will work out, that I’ll handle whatever comes up, is my primary goal for the foreseeable future. How I lost it is a long and winding path of a story, and probably not of much interest to anyone, so I’ll just say life got really tough and I couldn’t take it any more.
But it’s been several years since most of those difficult situations had any bearing, and my present status is all of my OWN making.  “I” made the decisions that got me to this reality. That realization and distinction is important. See, it means that I am steering my little ship, not someone else, and especially not the someones who cared not a bit about me or my life or my needs. Or even a someone who does care, but doesn’t understand me, so makes things much worse by their attempts to help. That wouldn’t have been such a problem except that control over my life was part of the caring package.
So. I’d say I’m at a crossroad,  except I come to them so often that they are just another intersection. Nothing momentous in this moment, only when looking back, if I do make a profound change. Won’t know until  the dust settles.

A Great Post On Stuff

I was directed to a nice summation on viewing out possessions by The Tiny Life.  I’m still sorting through and deleting items from my “keep” pile, so it seems appropriate to link it here.  I especially like the bit about hanging on to dreams through things.  I hope you enjoy it, too. 🙂

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This is merely one room of stuff I had to go through when my mother passed away. Now add my own things in and use your imagination. Fun times!?

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My closet in Oliver’s Nest, still stuffed full of so very many things.  

 

Click here to see the original post over at Mostly Mindful.

About That Entertainment Center….

I wasn’t planning on using the entertainment center.  I’d forgotten it existed.  I’m not sure it is an entertainment center, as it also has a matching, rather large chest of drawers that goes with it, so it’s got to be for a bedroom.  Anyway, I’d planned on building nearly everything inside, and have lots of spare wood and plywood to do so, but honestly, I don’t think my building skills are up to it.  Sure, the build itself is solid.  I’ve been told many times that I over-engineer things.  But my detail work can be…sketchy?  Hehe, yeah, sketchy.  I believe with practice and some hands-on tutorials from a more experienced builder, I’d be able to put together creditable cabinets and whatnot, but not now.  I priced out cabinets and they are rather expensive, and heavy, and the sizes are mostly not right for the space.   So, what to do?

Look around here is what to do.  I thought about scavenging bits and pieces from this house, but I didn’t want to damage it. Plus there’s still that whole having to “build stuff” thing.  As I wandered from room to room, assessing what was available, I stumbled upon this oak wood set.  Ah-ha!  As it is modular, it seemed a perfect solution.  Without further hesitation, I started grabbing parts.

The only thing that took a lot of time was figuring out the placement of the upright attachment boards.  They had to be placed just right to set the hooks on the back of the shelves and cabinets properly, as well as being as close to the studs as possible for strength.  My spacial skills are apparently not too bad, as no mistakes were made.  So attach those boards securely to the walls, hook in the various bits, and done.  Well, except that after an experimental drive, several of the shelves fell down!  So, back to the hardware store for metal brackets to permanently attach everything.  Cheap and effective.

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Modular oak shelving pieces. See those metal rods sticking out from various bits? They stick into each other and the uprights.

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Shelving, cabinets and desk all hook onto uprights before I added the little metal brackets.

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I have a desk under the window! 🙂  The toilet will go between the desk and the kitchen cabinet.  The cabinet in this picture is pulled out and there’s actually quite a bit more room than shows.

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Re-purposed solid (even the back is wood!) EXPENSIVEquarter-sawn oak entertainment set from my aunt and uncle. Heavy, yes, but solid and, FREE.

As for the two matching white cabinets I really like and wanted to use, they turned out to be way too heavy to hang.  Sadly, I won’t be using the longer one at all (which was going to hold most of my kitchenware), but the squarish one got some legs and a top, and is now firmly screwed to the walls.  To build the top, I had to glue and clamp two pinewood panels together and then cut them down to get something large enough.  The cabinet is now a good place for heavy cast iron and random largish stuff.

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Painted legs to transform the hanging cabinet into a floor cabinet.

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Strong wood braces made from random 1/2″ plywood pieces added to the bottom of the white cabinet, and a thing to screw the legs into.

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Revamped upper cabinet. Painting the cabinet white, but I might try the tangerine color for fun. 🙂 The door is nearly ready to install, and it’s been painted a matching green.  I think I’m going to paint the bit of pink on the side wall above the counter top white.

Taking the place of the longer cabinet is a bunch of roll-out closet baskets.  Light, strong, semi-attractive… works for me!

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Drawer racks installed. The baskets are in the house being filled and sorted.

The lower kitchen cabinet was the real bear.  I couldn’t push it back against the wall, because of the front fuel line sticking out of the floor and wall.  Solution?  Either build a shelf behind it to cover the huge (8″) gap, or cut a hole in the back/bottom of the cabinet. No more building!!! 😦  So, my son came over and cut a hold for me, as cutting holes into furniture was something I couldn’t bring myself to do.  My anxiety over it was ridiculously overwhelming.  Even though I’d added strong supports to the underside of the cabinet after bringing it home, I had visions of the whole thing collapsing in on itself.

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Meet Richard from one of the local big box stores where I bought the cabinet. He helped me clamp in the support pieces I added to the bottom of the cabinet. Nice guy, right?

Yeah, that didn’t happen, and now the cabinet is against the wall and out of the way.  Thanks very much, dear boy!

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I can’t do anything about the metal bars, but was able to work around this fuel line.

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See how far the cabinet has to stick out? NOT GOOD. Oh, and in the background you can see the beginnings of insulating and covering the loft front area. OH!  And you can see the linoleum all laid down and looking pretty on the loft floor.

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Problem solved.

I did, however, cut the counter top to size, and cut out the sink hole, by myself.  So easy!  I still have the hand pump marine faucet to cut a hole for, but now I’m not worried about being capable of doing that.  My new saw blade for finish work has really impressed me.

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Look at that clean edge from my new finishing saw blade. So proud.

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And now the hold for the sink….

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BOOM. It still sticks out an inch due to the metal bars, but I can live with that.

So that’s the cabinet roundup.  I thought it might be interesting for people to get a sort of spacial sense of how I fit into this incredibly tight space.  I’m 5’5″, and the ceiling is 7′ high.

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I can easily reach and remove the top drawers to access the contents, but the ceiling doesn’t feel too low.  Yep, that’s me in glasses!

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And here I’m standing right by the bed loft area. The reflective ceiling really helps to add light. The camera I’ve been using is on my Kindle Fire, and has no flash. All the pictures pretty much reflect the actual light inside. You can also see the baskets I’ve found to store things on the shelves, and the cool closet curtains. I still need to find baskets to fit the upper shelves.

Bad Juju

I know it’s 7 years bad luck when you break a mirror, but what’s the penalty for breaking a window?  Dammit.

So!  Change in plans.  After the shock and horror wore off (could have been minutes, could have been hours ~ time stopped. JK)  I went in search of the new-fangled plastic, double-paned windows I’d purchased for the original TH.  Confronted with using either huge 3′ by 5′ suckers or more reasonable but smaller than I’d wanted windows, I went with a 31″ by 21″.  Now, here’s the thing:  I’d already cut the rough opening in the wall and flashed it, not to mention having to redo the framing.  Nooooo…..

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Rough Opening ready for the large wood window. Yes, that’s copper sheeting.  I was going to put that on all the window openings for a bit of style 🙂

Patching went ok, but now the back of the building doesn’t look nearly as good.  The patch is really obvious right now, and I don’t know if all the caulking and painting necessary will change that.  Plus, water entry is now more of a risk.  Such a bummer!  At least restructuring the framing went quickly.

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Restructured and patched Rough Opening w/o the copper sheeting, as it won’t show in this type of window install.

The upside of this huge change in plans?  Installation was a breeze, and I immediately had an opening window complete with screen.  That was cool. 🙂

Then the snowball effect kicked in.

As I stood there looking out my new window (yay) I contemplated the other two windows that were going in next to it.  No way.  Two old-fashioned (but cool) wood windows inches from a modern plastic window?  Nope.  I looked at the stack of double-paned choices and compared them to the framing already in place.  Nope again.  I just didn’t want to do it.  The single, smaller window surprised me with the amount of light it let in, so right there I decided one was enough.  This decision opened up changing the interior layout I’d planned on, so I spent the night obsessively redrawing plans.  Because of course.  And that wasn’t all, as now that I wasn’t using wood windows in the rear, I got really hesitant to use them in the front…and after checking to make sure double-paned plastic framed windows can safely be installed at an angle I’m going to do that.  So much less light, so much reduction in views.  A hell of a lot easier installation, so little risk of more breakage.

So a lot of changes, a bit of heartbreak, and much work later, here’s what things look like now:

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Framed, flashed and installed.

Before I go, here’s the latest pictures of Leo hanging out in the new place:

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Leo barely fits through the door opening, but likes to look out.

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Leo on the ladder outside. Doesn’t he know not to stand on the top???

 

I’m still working hard on the walls, and painting.  Stay tuned!