Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Best Decision EVER !

Well, we've lived in our little trailer for 5 months now. Best thing we could have done !
It is stripped back, just-the-essentials . Life (in the trailer) is easy and straightforward. It has taught us just how little space we need and how few things we actually want. All the things we packed away - even the very sentimental things - have not been missed.
It has been a difficult time in other aspects of our life and this simplicity made it easier to deal with all the other things going on. No matter how bad the day was, we always looked forward to retreating to our little trailer. It seemed like an oasis in a world that was changing too much and filled with too much bad news. And there are even more benefits. Because we are actually LIVING in the trailer we have really thought about what we need for a home. If we had stayed for a shorter period and just during the summer, it might have just been simple camping . But this way, the trailer has to work for us every day for almost a year. It has to be home. I cook dinners, I bake - and, for now, without an oven - so it has been a very interesting learning experience. We have all the comforts of home. We have a place for everything but still room to relax and do what we want to do.
We started this adventure with 5 cats ... and wondered what that would be like. No way could we have litter boxes for five cats lined up in the narrow hallway or sitting in the living room. lol. We joined our space to a woodshed so we could accommodate the litter boxes and feeding area. It worked beautifully. So beautifully , in fact, that we were able to give a home to 3 little kitten siblings. So now we have eight cats and it still works ! :)
Because of all of this, we have revised our home plans several times - each time getting smaller. The experience has shown us how much space we need or don't need . Our expectations have changed. We buy less. We want less. It has been a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to the next 5 months. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

It's Been a Long Time ...

It's been a long time since my last post. Long. Long days, long nights. We started in April ... working on the house, on our businesses, on the trailer, on the woodshed. The list of things to do was enormous.
Get the trailer cleaned out ( we were using it as an office and bead studio). Get the water diverted so we could have running water in the trailer once the house was gone. Hook up sewer and water to the trailer. Add permanent power. Add a floor, ceiling, insulation, gyproc, lights etc to the woodshed. Attach the woodshed and trailer. Move into the trailer. Pack and sort 30 years of collections, yard sale finds, and "stuff". Buy a bus for storage. Remove all the seats. Carry all the furniture into the bus. Prep for a huge yard sale, make multiple trips to Value Village, keep packing. Bag up loads of garbage. Keep packing and sorting. Still packing and donating.
Run two businesses. Do the year end books for both. Expand one, change one. Sell off much of the stock from one. Start on line sales with one. Create an expanded seed shop. Bag up over 5000 bags of seeds. Work through two very busy spring and summer seasons. Keep on keeping on, lol.
Find not one but two stray pregnant cats, keep them, care for the babies, get the moms spayed and vetted, find homes for them, then vet the kittens and find them homes. A lot of extra litterbox scooping and cat chores ! Add that to the to-do list, lol.
And then ... the permit issues. We struggled for more than a month to get a building permit ... I don't even want to revisit that whole crazy scenario !!
Since April we have worked 7 days a week, all day at work then 3 or 4 hours at night either at home or at the house. So it's been almost five months of nose to the grindstone.
Behind the scenes there were all sorts of things going on, difficulties, family health issues, and more. Finally, at the beginning of August, we just decided that we were exhausted. We no longer had any excitement for the project. There was so much going on and we were overwhelmed. We just wanted to stop, breathe, worry about our people, and enjoy life for a few minutes. We didn't care about the house anymore ... we couldn't imagine 4 more months of construction and trying to beat the freezes and winter weather. We were worn out. SO ... we talked about it and pulled the plug on the project. We would wait until spring. Such a feeling of relief !!
So now we have plans to winterize the trailer. Our outdoor laundromat (at work) will move inside. If it gets too cold in the trailer, we'll move into the store. No big deal. As long as we have somewhere to sleep and make meals, we're fine. Actually, we're kind of excited ... it's another adventure !!
So now, we work at getting everything out of the house and hopefully having it torn down before winter. We will have time to work at our businesses, spend time with family, and maybe even take a day off ! Exciting.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tiny Living

We have been living in the trailer for 2 weeks now ... and love it ! It is so freeing to just have what you need, to be able to clean top to bottom in under 30 minutes, and have a little spot for all the necessities, and no more. It feels like a huge weight has been lifted .
I have been busy this last month instituting the Year of Less process at my business - selling off all the stock I can in a huge clearance sale, making way for a more streamlined on line type business with more time for kits and workshops. I want to make & help others make. Less stock, less paperwork, less stuff. More making, more creating, more enjoying.
But that has taken precedence. So after tomorrow, I will be done with the clearance and can spend my evenings and weekends purging the house. So much stuff will be going !! It feels so good to walk into a room, pick the 2 or 3 things that mean something to you, and then decide the rest can go. What a wonderful feeling !!
So the Great Purge of 2106 will commence in earnest this weekend. Excited to start that process.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Steps Closer ...

1. Demolition permit - in hand.
2. Building permit - applied for.
3. House plans - finalized.
4. Windows & doors - ordered.
5. Trusses - in the queue.
6. Power disconnect - scheduled.
7. Water & sewer in our tiny temporary trailer home - hooked up and working.
We're getting there !

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tick Tock

It's getting closer ... and real. Our plans have gone for the last revisions. The demolition permit has been applied for. The enormity of the clearing out task is hitting me ... yikes. We are figuring out what we are keeping, what we will need in the trailer to live with this summer,  what we can get rid of at spring clean up, who we will hire for various jobs, what things will cost, what our budget is ... so much to think about. But first we have a few big jobs at each of our businesses,  the 2015 books to finish, and a few other odds'n'ends. Then the real work starts !
I am putting April 1st - no joke , lol - as our start date. That's when the checklists,  give/keep/sell bags, and packing boxes come out. That's when we start building our storage building and getting ready to move. That's when the trailer gets cleaned out, repaired, and prepped for being our home. The tools will come out, cleaning and sorting will begin, and we will be on our way !
I saw this the other day and figured it pretty much summed up how we roll ...
Here's to greatness !

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Enough ...

So what did you do this Valentine's/Heritage Day weekend ? Our plan was to finalize the sketch for our house so we could take it to the building supply company and begin the process of our final blueprints. But, no, that's not what we did. Not by a long shot.
Instead we were reminded of why we are doing this. Honestly, we are sure about our decision. The universe can stop driving home the point. WE GET IT !!
* Saturday after work, we installed a propane stove at my place of work because the pellet option was just getting too messy, too difficult, and tying us to work Seemed to work just fine. Happy dance.
* Cue the coldest night of the winter ( thanks for that) and we burned through an entire tank of propane in less than 16 hours. Luckily we got up early to come check it and caught it as it was drawing it's last puffs.
* Mad scramble ... 15 minute drive to buy gas jugs for the back up furnace. 45 minute drive in the other direction to get them filled, then another 20+ minutes back to pour them in the furnace.
* Debate begins ... after much debate ( "that is way too expensive !!" "could it really use that much" "well I guess it was super cold" ) we decided to allow for the extreme cold and give it a week trial. After all, the other stove had been disconnected and this one had been put in. We had purchased the stove and the vent kit. C and his friend had spent the entire afternoon getting it moved in, the other moved out, and then hooking it up. And I had already let myself believe that I wasn't going to be cleaning up greasy black residue off everything every 2 days. We needed to try.
* Now propane ... we need a large tank obviously. I called all over and finally found one in New Minas ... another 35 minute drive. BUT, they can't fill it. They tell me another spot that can. So I call them. Nope, they can't either. The only place that can isn't open weekends. AND the next day is a holiday so it would be Tuesday - and they aren't open in the evenings so we can't do it anyway.
* Start the truck. We are now making the 2 hour drive to Costco for propane and a tank. Luckily their propane is less than half the price. Not so luckily, we can't take the filled tank because we have a cap on the truck. Lies are told, and the tank is placed on a cart and wheeled away to the capped truck.
* We drive 2 more hours home and put the tank in the warehouse for the night so it can re-stabilize from being placed on it's side.and we head home. The oil will last for the night.
* We get home to find our house very cold. Very cold. The water is frozen. The pump is frozen. The furnace is having issues. C works on the furnace and tries to get it going better. I start the pellet stove. We have to close off the upstairs and confine the heat to a few rooms in order to keep the house at all warm.
* We sleep fully clothed with extra layers and comforters in our chairs and on a wee love seat . Very uncomfortable. Very cold. I get up at 4am because my neck cannot take it anymore. (that's it !!) I have just started physio for disc damage in my neck and the loveseat is killing me. I head upstairs for my pillows. It is 23F degrees in our bedroom, the bathroom is 33F degrees. The cats' water bowls upstairs are frozen solid, the water in the toilet is frozen solid, the taps won't even turn. Frozen. FROZEN.
* I check downstairs and the temp is only 49F. I wake poor C who heads out again.  The furnace has taken a turn for the worse. He pokes, scoops, finds better wood, I'm not sure what else and gets it going better. We go back to sleep. Or whatever that painful twisted repose should be called.
* We get up early and C goes out to put more wood in the furnace.  In the daylight he can now see that a window in the back of the house, in a back hallway that we don't use, has been blown out by the terrific wind. Towels and plywood are used to fill the  hole.
* Then we come in to work to check that the oil is still working. It is. (thank god, that might have been the last straw, lol) We use some of the lovely flowing warm water to wash up and we go grab a warm breakfast and then come back to hook up the propane tank. The phone rings. It is my Dad and the neighbours have called him - something bad is happening to the furnace. Smoke is pouring out of it everywhere - except from the chimney. C heads back home.
* The smoke was actually steam and there is a leak somewhere in the fittings. But again, it is a holiday and there is nothing we can do until tomorrow. C patches it the best he can.
* He comes back to hook up the propane tank ... and the regulator won't fit the larger tank. No propane until the holiday is over. So we lower the oil thermostat and limp along until Tuesday.

A friend asked me a few days prior to this if I was excited. I said yes but in my mind I was thinking that actually, we're not excited. We're exhausted and discouraged and the only thing that keeps us hanging on is this plan. It has become our light at the end of the tunnel. Our life line that we cling to. And that only became even more apparent after this weekend.
So ... we didn't get our plans drawn up. But we did survive the Valentine's day massacre.

EDIT : I think I need to tell what happened after the phone call about the furnace. We do not call anyone when we have troubles. We deal with it ourselves and we are a strong team. This has been a 30 year (mis)adventure and we have kept a pretty stiff upper lip about it all. Really what choice do we have ? You just deal with it and move on.   We sometimes talk about the problems  afterwards to others & laugh about it.  But it has been a huge struggle and it feels pretty darn lonely sometimes. It's just the two of us and we sometimes just get weary. So when my Dad called, I passed the message on to C and then called Dad back to tell him that he was headed home and to see what the caller had said. I spoke with him for a few minutes just briefly touching on the weekend's trials. I said goodbye and hung up. I was on the verge of tears. I try so hard not to do that - my family has enough to deal with and I don't like to add to it - but sometimes it just sneaks up and the wave washes over. A few minutes later my Dad arrived ... he knew . It was the first time in so many years that someone had given us a hug and some sympathy and encouragement. I can't tell you how much that hug & visit meant. ♥

Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's a Process ...

I think downsizing is a process. We were going from a huge 2 storey house with 20+ rooms to a 7 room house that included a half loft. A big difference !! The plans were drawn up and we were ready. Excited and ready.
But time ticks by ... you ponder that house ... you start mentally disposing of your belongings ... you choose what matters to you and what doesn't.
And all of a sudden, you know. You know that you can go smaller.
I think the jump from huge to small is too big a leap ... it takes time. You need to whittle the space down. You give some up . Then you give a little more. It can't be done quickly without feeling a little panic. But over time, you begin to completely detach from your belongings and it becomes very simple.
Now we could stick with the plans we have had done and save the cost of altering them. Sure we could. But we also know now that we could live in a smaller space and that small investment for alterations will have a big payoff. One storey means one complete level less of gyproc, flooring, painting, studs, no special load bearing posts, no special trusses, fewer windows, fewer light fixtures, less wiring, less plumbing, no stairs, no open concept areas to figure out lighting for, less siding, one less toilet & vanity ... and the list goes on. That means significant savings. It also means money to make our mudroom a hair bigger and to add a porch on the front so we can watch the amazing tides and sunsets. Maybe a new but smaller furnace.
It also means no extra hide-y holes to squirrel away extra "stuff" - and that's good. If there is space, we will fill it. No stairs - and that's good.  It means no lugging a vacuum up the stairs or carrying laundry down. It means no stairs if, in time, we were to find them too difficult. It means less space to heat.
It means less. Just less. And that's what it's all about.