Tuesday, July 31, 2012

$1.99 Breakfast at IKEA

Today l scored a cheap breakfast at Ikea.  Yeah, l know, Ikea sells furniture and other nik-naks.  They also have a restaurant.

For a very reasonable $1.99 l received scrambled eggs, 2 sausages, home fries and pancakes.  If l choose to forgo the pancakes l would have gotten the eggs, sausages and home fries for $1.00.  I love bargains.  I couldn't even cook it in the van for less.

For that $1.99 l also got to people watch, I love watching people....after all...most of us are strange and entertaining.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Attacked While Sleeping

Yes, l am guilty of  headline exaggeration like the CNNs and The National Enquirers of the world.

Everything has to be sensationalized, to get you to tune in or click on the link. I think it is because we are all inundated with information that so much gets missed and so many places are competing for your "views" that news sources have resorted to sensationalizing everything,  even to the point where the titles really don't  have anything to do with the story.

At least my title does have something to do with the my story.

I am getting attacked by mosquito's in the middle of the night while l sleep.  I have so many welts on my body from the little buggers.  I do have screens on my windows, but they must manage to get through.....or it could be from when l let the cats in and out of the van when l get home from work.

I try to kill all the little buggers before l sleep, however the welts show me that l am not quite successful.  Thank God, my body doesn't over react to them and are never really itchy.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Change Of Scenery

l have a change of scenery everyday, it might be the same scenery from different angles, however it still changes.  This morning I was up for a real change.  A little further away from the city of Toronto.
Today, l went for a drive, and l headed north.  My black tank needs to be emptied (it's been three weeks), and l wanted to get out of town.  The weather is supposed to be cooler, or shall l say seasonal for this time of year, although much needed rain is expected later tonight, l still want to get away.

The cats are looking for some new territory to explore, and l wanted some entertainment. So I've headed to our local - out of town - casino.  I knew Casino Rama had a big parking lot to park the van in, and their is a campground nearby to dump my tanks in the morning.
                              Fiona is in the very back beside the watershed pond and forest.

                                                                    Looking to the left
                                                                     Looking to the right

I've got lots of company in the parking lot, and the cats have room to explore.  I am so glad l got here around 2 pm this afternoon, since l was able to snag a pretty sweet spot.  Nice and private, and if l only look out the side door, you would think l was in the forest, not a concrete parking lot.

                                                    Tommy and Charlie out and about

         Pretty nice spot, isn't it?  They even have pine cones strewn about for a nice effect.

Oh.....and it's all free!!!!  And l don't have to worry about overstaying my welcome in the Walmart parking lot if l choose to sleep in tomorrow!!!!  The casino has restaurants, and free beverages.  And if l do well at the Black Jack tables, l might just come out ahead!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

In The Nick Of Time

Last night my regular spot where l go to after work (Lowes) to use the internet and let the cats out was occupied by a tow truck driver, so l headed on over to my new daytime spots by Dave & Busters. 

I like the Dave & Buster’s spot because it is around the back of their building, it is shaded by trees, and l can use all the help l can get this summer to keep the van cool for me and the cats, there is also free internet from the Marriott next door, the signal is weaker then Lowes, but what do you want for free?

I got there around midnight, and at two am, l called the cats in to move to the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Just after l got Tommy and Charlie in l noticed about 30 feet from the van a little black critter with a bushy.  I thought it was a bit strange that a squirrel would be out at that time.  As it started to move towards the van, with all three of us staring at it, l realized it was a baby skunk and it was moving closer.

I don’t think l have ever jumped into the driver’s seat so quick.  The skunk was only seven feet away as l started the van, its tail went up as l startled it when l started the engine…..We got away safely, thank goodness. 

I’m so glad that l called the cats in when l did.  I couldn’t imagine having to spend the night with two cats that were sprayed by a skunk in a living space smaller then most people’s bathrooms.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Drunk Monkey

Well, even though l just posted on my blog last night that l was glad to be back in my home town so l can be close to family and friends, l have a drunk monkey dancing in my head.  I've experienced a couple of less then superior shifts at work the last week or so, and l am a bit frustrated.

The term drunk monkey is a little monkey that has gotten into the liquor cabinet and taken up residence in my brain.  Causing all kinds of ruckus, sending ideas to ponder, and possible act on.

This little bastard has gotten into my head and is whispering to me that maybe l should think about moving to Calgary, Alberta.  Why?  Change of scenery?  Something new?  Better job?  I don't know.

My problem is that usually once this bastard is lodged in my brain, l need a major distraction to either get me off the idea, or to really distract me so that l don't sit and take action.

The good thing is that my home is mobile.  But that could also be a bad thing...since l can just start the engine up and leave, anytime.......

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Veterans Retirement Home

I went and visited my Grandfather today.  He has recently move to a Retirement home.  He has been in the hospital for 6 months, and won't be returning home.  He had pneumonia at Christmas, then C-Diff shortly after that.  I've seen him waste away during the last six months from a health man to a frail one.

The facility he has been moved to is fantastic.  I'm sure he would rather be home, but since he can't be, he's at the Sunnybrooks' Veterans Retirement Residence in Toronto.

Today, and everyday they have entertainment.  Someone comes in and plays music and sings for the residents.  Some of the Vets really got into it.  A couple was dancing, another women closed her eyes as she relived memories from the past. The guy playing was really quiet good.

They show movies, they have a pub on site, beautiful gardens, friendly staff and the residents are happy.

All are Veterans, and various facilities are donated by organizations for the services the veterans provided over the years.  For example, there is a gazebo that was donated by the wine club from Bordeaux, France for the freedom our Canadian Soldiers gave their country.

I hope he will be happy there.  He will receive extra therapy to help him get stronger, and personal care that he wouldn't get at other facilities.

My aunts and l were there today, and l could see that he was happy for us to be around him.  That is one good thing about me being back in my home city.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Laundry Day

I spent just over an hour today at the laundromat.  I usually go every two weeks.  I have enough clothes to last that amount of time easily. I even have an extra basket of clothes that are my dress clothes.

 It works out to about a load of light and a load of darks. 

I used to have so many more clothes, they were purged before the move into the van.  Why did l need so many clothes?  I don't really know.  I don't know how to answer that.  I think l thought l needed them at the time, so l bought them.  I now know l didn't need them.  None of them had worn out, some had faded, but most new clothes do after a wash or two.

One family was there, they were doing about 16 loads of laundry.  We ended up chatting for a bit, their cat had been locked in the room with the clean clothes for the weekend, without litter, food or water.  So it got pissed (literally), and covered the clothes in urine.

Still, that is a lot of clothes to wash.

I'll stick with my 2 loads, and carry on with my day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


People have lost their ability to adjust to the heat of the summer by living in such an air-conditioned environment.  I believe l have regained some of that ability.

Even though yesterday we broke all kinds of records, it has been the hottest day of the year, l didn't think it was that bad. Of course, l consumed lots of water and sweat most of it back out, l wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as the beginning of all these heat waves.

I drove a friend to pick up his vehicle yesterday and he complained the whole way of how hot it was in the van, and l hardly noticed.  My dash-board air-conditioning just can't compete with the hot temperatures. 

The friend was even so nice to try and re-charge the air-conditioner, but the van is so old that he didn't have the proper attachment.  I didn't mind him not being able to do it, l didn't find it all that hot. 

I'm hoping in the winter it will be the same, l won't feel the cold as much as if l lived in a sticks and bricks home.  I'm relying on my blood thickenings come November.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Thinking About The Future

As you may know, there are other blogs that l follow.  I have some to the right of my posts about halfway down in my favorite blogs, of course, there are many others that l visit on a regular basis, that aren't there.

I've recently added one that l think l can learn a lot from, and gain acceptance of myself from myself.  How?  We'll, l knew l wanted to live in my van, and that it was good and that l was able to save money by doing it.  It was hard though to put into words to others WHY l was doing it.  Why l was going against the grain of society.

Most people think normal is sticks and bricks and acquiring things, things that l have shed over and over again through out the years.  Because l always get trapped back into the "game of life".

The blog is Early Retirement Extreme I got it through Glenn's To Simplify blog a week or two ago.

Jacob the author of Early Retirement Extreme breaks down how to retire early and it makes sense.  I now have a road map to follow and l have Glenn to thank, and of course, Jacob.

Take a look, it might help you see things in a different light and get you on the road to early retirement.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I got woken up this morning by a knock on my side door at 6 am.  Wasn't the police, wasn't a Wal-Mart employee....it was a friend.

I got my friends now visiting me at my home in the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Too funny.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hottest 12 Months On Record

Yep, l could have told you that.  It's been the hottest 12 months on record and I'm living in a van.  It's not so bad, l do like warm weather.  The only problem is it's surpassed warm and headed to sweltering too many times this summer so far, and it's only July.

I only hope it isn't balanced by headlines that read "The Coldest Winter on Record" in 4 months!!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

You Tube Commercials

I was watching a movie (Out of the Blue) on YouTube last night and was shocked to find commercials in the first 45 minutes, some were for 15 seconds, some were for 2 minutes (it was a movie trailer for an up coming release).

I have experienced commercials at the beginning of some of the items l wanted to watch on YouTube, this is a first for the commercials DURING the feature.

The great thing is l could SKIP them after the having to watch the first 5 seconds or so....but really?  Is that going to be the next wave of commercialism?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Flashing The Neighbours

It can be a problem.  It's not intentional, l promise.  I don't have any weird desires to show people my junk, l just forget that l am in the middle of a parking lot or have transient neighbours.

A lot can change in 5 minutes when living in your van.  Even if your not moving, your scenery can change, you can gain and lose neighbors in seconds.

I would be lying if l said it was the first time, it's not.  I'm sure no one saw anything, however it could have happened.  I do feel protected by my van walls.  And also a little invisible.  But I'm not.

Lets face it, my van is small, so do l use the flimsy little divider door from the bathroom to the van? No. Not even once.  My cats have seen me in all states of undress, and have since they came to be in my care. 

I'm usually pretty good about pulling curtains/blinds, but sometimes l feel so invisible and in my own world, in my home on wheels that l don't realize until my pants are down and l am perched on the loo that l have a new neighbour that l didn't even think about checking for.

That's me, living on the wild side.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

400 Watt Inverter Deal

Look at the 400 watt inverter that l purchased at Costco for a grand total of $14.97.  A fantastic bargain.

I bought one last week from another store, a 300 watt at $27.99, which  I will be returning today in light of this great deal.

Speaking of lights.....another great deal, three head lamps at Costco for only $9.97.

I have one already, and l love it.  Why would l buy another 3.  Lets just say, they were cheaper then me buying batteries for the one l have.  I will give one or two away to friends also.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Love My Ford Falcon Van

I just love my little van.  For a 1988 she runs like a top.  Sure l could use a wee bit more space, but l can make do with her.  She's a breeze to park, all of her innards work.  And she handles rain storms really well.

Tonight while l was at work it poured rain.  Now l knew it was coming, so l adjusted my windows to accommodate keeping the rain out, however they were still open for the cats.

When l came back tonight l was tickled to see/feel that no rain entered the van.  I had had the cab windows open, about 3 inches, as well at the upper windows open about 5 inches and then the one over the bed only about 3 inches since l didn't want my bed soaked.  And then of course, the pop out windows were open, but unless rain is coming from the ground up, those are safe.

I'm back sitting at the Lowe's parking lot and Charlie the cat is keeping their mouse population in control.  That a girl!!! She's earning our keep.

Monday, Monday

I am spending my most comfortable Monday day back in my van, the weather is very comfortable, a perfect summer day.

I woke up early, l still am on my old  schedule of early rising, even though l go to bed late now because of work. Also, my one cat, Tommy is also on the early rising schedule and starts demanding his morning treat as soon as l open an eye in the am.  Charlie could care less about the treat, and is undemanding.  I look forward to the nap l will have later on in the day.

We are hanging out beside the field at the Lowe's parking lot with the doors and windows open. The cats are coming and going as they please, they are quiet content to do that.

Every day this lifestyle becomes easier.  I don't think about (as much) as what 'they will think' (Walmart, Lowe's or anywhere else l park) as to me parking on their property to sleep or as now, to let the cats out.  Why?  Because, no one seems to care!

I'm not leaving trash, I'm not blocking their business, l am tucked away where no one parks, I don't blast music, cause problems, l basically think about them, by not overstaying my welcome, and carry on with my day.

I work tonight, but don't need to think about that until about 3pm.

It's a good life.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Offered Sticks And Bricks

I just spent a couple of days at a friends house, giving the kitties a bit of respite from the heat and humidity in the van when l am at work.

While it was nice to go home to a home at night after work, l missed booting around in my van, sleeping with the windows open, being close to the outdoors, even in a big city.

So tonight l am back in the van with the cats.  It has cooled down considerable and tonight will be very comfortable to sleep.

I know they think l am nuts, but l actually like my little kingdom. :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tossing Cookies in a Van

I tossed my cookies this morning, and no, l wasn't baking.

I'm not sure what caused it.  There has been 'something' going around at work, not sure of the details of it, since "l don't get sick", l haven't really paid attention to the symptoms.

As most of the rest of North America, we are in a stinking hot heat wave.  I am at a campground since l am off and l needed to dump my black tank, so l have electricity and ran my air-conditioner yesterday and this morning.

Yesterday was so hot, with the humidity, the air-conditioner hardly made a difference.  The poor kitties were panting.  I have made arrangements for them to stay at a friend until Friday since it's only going to get worse, the weather man says.

I cooked pork chops and beans last night (once it cooled down a bit). I don't think it is food poisoning since it was only 7 hours after l ate that they came back up.  Food poisoning takes longer to kick in.  And it was only the one time (the cookie tossing part).  I have had food poisoning once before, and it was no picnic, and was a whole day affair.  And believe me, having food poisoning once is enough, and l am very careful of what l eat because of it.  I had it over 20 years ago, and the memory is still with me!!

Maybe it is because of the heat.  I feel fine now.  I had a headache last night, but that has subsided.  Who knows the reason, l am just grateful the headache and the throwing up is gone.

As l was laying in bed, l thought, okay, I'm going to be sick.  I have wondered what it would be like living in a van and getting sick.  I am hooked up to water today, but even if l wasn't, l have my fresh water tank, so l would have access to water.  I have a toilet, and all that a house would have, so why was l worried?  I can still get cozy in my van, and actually, it's not too far of a dash to the toilet, closer then any houses' would be.  LOL

The only problem would be if l was parked somewhere where l had to move by a certain time.  Even then, l haven't run into that yet.  It's mostly me who figures out it's time to move, not wanting to push my luck, or over stay my welcome.  Besides, who would kick out a person throwing up?

So another first in the van.  Nothing to worry about.  Glad it didn't last too long.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wal-Mart Parking Lot

There is something to be said for sleeping in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Convenience.  Pure and simple convenience.
If l run out of something, l just take a 100 steps to the Wal-Mart front doors and find it in their isles.

No gas is spent, no traffic frustrations, and l get a little bit of exercise at the same time.

I even get a little bit of entertainment as l watch the people that frequent Wal-Mart.  I haven't seen any of these people yet, but l might!!!!

Not quiet  stealth parking in the handicap zone.

Hey, if my Black Tank fills, l could get one of these...l wonder what isle that would be in?

Do you think they might mind if l drove my Van into the Wal-Mart like this dude?  Then it would be really, really convenienent.

Not my neighbors!

Well, it is almost a full moon in the sky tonight, looks like these guys are just playing along.

This won't be me in the winter, okay, maybe it will be just minus the dog.  I'm pretty sure the cats will refuse to go on a leash, but those PJ's are smashing!

Honestly, l didn't except candy from this stranger (or beer), as tempting as it was.

I wonder if l will ever show up on the The People of Wal-Mart website, if l do, l will let you know!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cross Breeze

During the two heat waves we have had in Toronto recently l have been invited to stay at a couple of friends’ houses, and my sisters, instead of sweating it out in the van. 

The thing is, it’s not so bad in the van. No one believes me either. As long as the windows are open and l make a conscious effort to park so that the sun is shining on the back of the van (less windows) it's all good. Day or Night.

The only problem comes when it's going to rain, or is raining. It's hard to park the van and leave the windows open for the cats when they are calling for rain. I did leave them open one afternoon, and it rained like crazy, my bed only got a bit wet, l was lucky because it was torrential. The wind must have been blowing the opposite way (thank God).

I did stay at my sisters one night, and l left my cats there for two days because l was going to be working long hours and l just couldn't do that to the kitties.

What l discovered is l would have been more comfortable in my van. My sister and l share the same dislike for air-conditioning, and so, her home is not air-conditioned. It also takes hours to cool down at night (so it pretty much doesn't) whereas in my van, it’s pretty instantaneous. If it cools down at night outside, it's very comfortable to sleep in, almost to the point of needing a blanket.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July 1st And Rent FREE

Well it's that time of the month. The beginning. The typical day for most people to pay their rent, or their mortgage. I am happy to say l have neither to pay this month.

My home, which is my van is paid for. Yep, free and clear. All mine. (okay, l still have insurance.....can't get a way from that!!!)

This will be the first month that l will not have had to pay rent or a mortgage. Of course l was travelling for two months prior to this and living in campgrounds, l never paid those fees; it was a swap out for the services l was providing. I consider this different. I am working in one place now, and most people who do this, rent or buy a home to be close to their work.

For the month of June the only monies l paid for a campground was for one night and totaled $37. with taxes. I got to dump my holding tanks for that amount, and to fill up with fresh water. I even died my hair at the campground, and did laundry (l did have to put coins in the machines).

It seems like l can dump every two weeks at the rate l am going. Of course, l shower at the gym, so my water consumption is minimal in the van.