Friday, August 31, 2012

Van Reno Reveal or Ta Daaaaa!!!!

It's done.  It took three days, to take apart, tape, paint, put back together, and to do a few other things l have been wanting to for a while.  But it is done.


I really, really like it.  I am very happy with the outcome of a few coats of paint.
                                                 Not bad for an old girl, the van, not me!!!

I have just made the van my 'home'.  Sounds crazy since l have been living in it since April.  I have done little things to put my stamp on it prior to this.  However, painting it was a major Reno for me.

I have never like panelling, whether in a home or a van/RV.  I find it just plain butt ugly.  Now it is gone. 

I am now motivated to add a few more things to make it my home.  Artwork, drapes, little kitchy things.....

And of course, a new floor!!!!  That's next.  I think the person who l am house sitting for is going away in a couple of months again....might be the perfect time to install a new floor.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

There Is A Lot Of Swearing Going On

I'm painting the cabinets today and l can not tell a lie...there is a lot of swearing going on.

Today is a day that l wish l had joined the circus in my earlier years just so l can contort to get at all the small spaces of the cabinets.

Most people have a hard time living in 80 square feet....try painting it!!!!  LOL

It went pretty well, and l am happy with the result.  Once it dries, l can't wait to move my stuff back in and see what it looks like all made up.  Pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Little Of This And That

I am totally taking advantage of having a driveway to putter around in with my Van.

I am painting the interior, but as l have to wait for the coats to dry l have taken advantage of that driveway and finally changed my house battery.
Costco Battery $89.  Whoot!! Whoot!!

The one that came with the van was put in in 2006 (sticker on it) and it was D-E-A-D!  It had a crack in it that leaked battery acid and just last week it finally did it's death roll and wouldn't hold a charge or recharge.

One thing l discover is that l really don't use that much electricity in the van.  I don't really run the lights.  I do have that headlamp that l use when l read.  The pump is only used when l run the water to flush the toilet.  And l haven't had dishes to do, except the occasional silverware.  I have switched to paper plates for the cats food in the morning.  I don't know why l didn't do this sooner.

I know my battery use will increase with the cool/cold weather since the furnace will use battery power for the fan. 

Getting at the battery is a bit hard.  Usually l have the back box on the van, but since l have been house sitting, l have taken it off, which is also why l have decided to replaced the battery this week, access.

Look at how hard it is to get the battery out.  That grey pipe is the water pipe for the toilet.  It needs to be pushed aside to either put the battery in or out.  And of course, batteries are not light.

I also decided to put a tint on my windows.  I have tint on some of the windows, but not all.  I wanted to put tint on the side door windows, and l needed to fix the screen - it had come loose from the edging.

                                                  Pre-tint with window screen removed

                                                 Window tint on and screen put back on.

The tint doesn't look all that dark from  the inside looking out, however it is pretty dark trying to look in.  I got the tint at Wal-mart, it is 2.5%, which is the darkest they had.

I must of got it on sale when l bought it 3 days ago, when l returned the unused packages today it had gone up from $16.97 to $49.00.

I returned a 2.5 % and a 5%, and l needed to purchase a 20% for the driver and passenger cab  window.  The cashier at the return desk was nice enough to give me the sale price on the new one l needed, even though it wasn't a straight exchange. Score!

Oh...and today l moved the extra rocks from the pond build to the back of the property.....and l thought it was my day off!!!! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ohhhhh Noooo....What Have I Done?

Taped and ready to go

After I prepped the van to begin painting, taping and sanding......I slapped on my first couple of strokes of paint.  My first thought was.....Ohhhh Nooooo...What have l done?

It was really white.  I can't say that l can see any of the yellow in the pale yellow.

Since l had already started.....l was committed and had to continue.

As l continued, it started to look better.  I definitely needed two coats of paint, which means, a single quart for the walls is not enough. :-(

Monday, August 27, 2012

Before Pictures of Van

I'm painting the interior of my Ford Falcon Camper Van because l am not too happy with  the lovely panelling.
I'm hoping to brighten it up, l have chosen A Touch of Olive, which is a light yellow paint for the walls and Pegasus, a light blue for the cabinets from Sico.  A quart of each.  I have bought outdoor paint since the van goes through temperature fluctuations, especially in the winter.
I've removed the back curtain that seperates the toilet area from the kitchen and livingroom.  I've only pulled it out once to see how much room l would have while it was open, and l think, only a toothpick would have any room to move while showering or using the toilet.
I might put up a material curtain so l don't continue to flash my neighbors when l forget to close the blinds.
This is looking from the rear barn doors.  The toilet is in the bottom of the picture frame.  Fridge to the right.
As l wrote about before, l removed the back rest from the sofa.  The back part of the sofa would swing across the top and end up in front of the sofa to make a double size bed.
I found during the day the sofa was too small of be comfortable to snuggle with a book, so by removing the backrest, l now have a bed a bit smaller then a twin, but a great area to relax and read a book.
A bonus of removing the back rest is l don't have to take up living area now when l make my bed.  The hall way is always open and not blocked by the bed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

So Glad I'm Handy

I've started on the van project.  Pictures will follow.  I promise.  I just wanted to stop working on the van to update you.  And l need to make a run to the hardware store for some more painters tape; who knew l would need more then one roll on such a small space!!

I just unloaded the old pond shell.  Someone came to pick it up 20 minutes that's out of the way.  Yeah!

I love that l am so handy.  I'm not tooting my own horn,  however l am tooting all the people that helped me get so handy.  My Dad would be the first one, having me help him with projects around the house, handing him tools, observing. 

The second would be J, who always gets me out of a jam, but is sooooooo handy himself that after the 28 years of knowing him, from the beginning years of owning a business with him building swimming pools and landscaping to helping him with his projects while he builds his own house.  I went from observing with Dad to doing with J.

I have observed J go through thought processes that help him solve problems whether with a car or some obstacle in construction.

All of that has helped me become the person l am.  And l want to Thank them for helping me become ME.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sleeping In

I can't believe how tired l am while l am house sitting.  I am sleeping late (until 9am) and struggling to wake up.  AND l am going to bed earlier at 2am

Tommy the hungry cat doesn't wake me up at 6:30am for his snack since we are no where near the kitchen in the house.  We are actually sleeping in the spare room in the basement.

I guess it just confirms what l have always thought....sunshine makes me feel alive and charges me like a solar panel.

There is a window in the basement bedroom, however it is small, and doesn't let much light in.

Another thing l've noticed, even though there is cable TV in the house, l have only watched 1 hour on Monday after l had built the pond all day.  I guess once you break the could careless about TV.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pond is Done

Pond Pre-Tammy

Pond Post-Tammy

The big difference between the two ponds is the one l did has dropped lower to the ground, is more stable ( Pre-Tammy the walls were wobbly) and the waterfall is made out of stone vs. the plastic waterfall.  I've also put a flagstone walk to the right of the was a great way to use up some of the stones....l still have so many left over.
I would have preferred to have bigger stones and a different style of stone, but l used what l had and total cost was only the $70 for the liner.  Pretty cheap. 

Now on to the next project......painting the interior of my van!

More Pond Construction

                                              Yep, my back hurt by the time this was over.
I sure hope Ma Mere likes it.  It is bigger then the previous pond, and the waterfall is now stone and not the plastic molded thing.

I'm still under supervision.

I have all these stones left over.  I told you l continually hit rocks as l dug.  What the heck to do with these.  I text Ma Mere, asking her what should l do with the extra stones.  She said she will use them in her garden....l don't think she has any idea how many l have left over.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

One Stone At A Time

The pond liner l purchased at Canadian Tire for $69.93, it was half price and saved me a load of time by being forgiving in my design.

It was a 14 by 14 foot liner that l cut to size.  It was a bit big to handle, but l got through.

I wasn't totally happy with the stones l had to work with, all were re-purposed from the other pond.  Every time l stuck the shovel in, l seemed to hit more rocks.

Stone by stone........

Pond Tease

Yes, l know, last post l mentioned the beginning of the pond re-vamp, and left it at that.  Cruel, wasn't it?
Notice the lovely plastic waterfall.

It really was a cute little pond as it was.  Ma mere, a very good friends Mother, wanted to get rid of the plastic waterfall and have something more natural looking.  That's where l come in.  As a gift to her, since she is such a nice women, l volunteered to do it.

In order to achieve the new look, l will have to lower the pond 12 inches and build up a rock waterfall.

Today l scored a bargain at Canadian Tire for the new pond liner, it was on sale for half price.  Yeah Me!

The current pond is one of those prefabricated pond shells and is very limited in the shape that you can do.  Really limited.  So l bought the new pond liner to make my life easier.  It is all about me isn't it?

Here you can see l have reached the point of no return.

                                         Love that lovely plastic glad it's gone.

                                                Don't worry ...l do have some supervision.....

                                                     Anyone want a pond liner????  Cheap!

                                                                                                       Stay tuned for further developments.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Van Living vs House Sitting

I'm currently house sitting.  Why, when l have my van?  It's where l am doing the pond re-vamp.

A couple of things I've noticed.

I miss the sun streaming in my windows in the morning.  I've always loved waking up with the sun shining in my window.  So either l was tired (could just be that) or sleeping in a basement with a little window makes me sleep a long time.

Tommy, the cat doesn't beg me for his breakfast in the morning.  In the van, anywhere between 5:30 and 7 am he starts to remind me that he wants his breakfast. When l am going to sleep between 2am and 3am - it's pretty early.

Not having to think about water consumption is a nice break.

Not having to workout before l take a shower isn't as good for me.....but sometimes l just want to be lazy, and be clean.

When Charley didn't come in the house last night before l left for work, it wasn't a big deal, l drove to work in my van and Charley stayed out at the house until l got home.

I really miss having all my stuff with me.  Obviously, l haven't unloaded the van for my stay here, and l miss not having all my stuff with in arms reach. At least it's a short saunter to the driveway to get what l need.  Yesterday it was clean underware.

It's only been two days and l miss my own little space in the van.  It has a certain level of comfort.  Like a cocoon.  The few inconviences are worth it, l love my living in my Van. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Busy Weekend

This weekend l worked, attended a small wedding and started on the pond re-vamp.

Saturday l went to two friends who were getting married for the third time (obviously - not the third time to each other.....and l am sure it will be third time is the charm).  It was a lovely wedding, only 40 people attended, the ceremony was short and lovely, the bride and groom were able to spend sometime will all the guests in attendance, which was really nice.

The brides dress was a silvery-platinum color, and it's the one on the right.  The Bridesmaid (her daughter) was the yellow one.  I loved the texture and color of that dress.  Stunning, really.

It's nice to see a couple so happy.

Something l thought was funny, was how many people used their phones to capture the pictures of the wedding then an actually camera.  Me included.  :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Evening Bath

Imagine my surprise while l was sitting in my van, for the first time this year, my windows were closed, since it has cooled off here in the evening considerably, when the sprinklers at Lowe's turned on.

The van got a bath, big time.  The sprinkler heads were pointed into the parking lot and l was only about 3 feet from the sprinkler. 

I jumped up to move the van and couldn't locate my keys.  If those windows or the side door was open like it usually is, l would have been soaked.

It scared the shit out of the cats.  And gave me something to write about.  :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Canadian National Exhibition

The CNE opens tomorrow.  And for us Torontonians it marks the end of summer.'s over.

The Canadian National Exhibition has been around for 133 years.  It's a huge event that lasts until Labour Day (this year Sept. 3rd).  There are rides, buildings to go into, concerts to see (when l was a kid it was one of the few big venues to see some of the big acts- Micheal Jackson, Wham, Genesis), games to play, food to eat, money to spend.

The buildings are changing a bit over the years, however the biggest attraction is the food building.  There is all kinds of food to eat there, samples to try, meals to eats, sweets to be had.  It's great. 

I'm pretty sure you can still find live stock there, you know the blue ribbon winners that are traditionally at country fairs.

I haven't been in many years.  The last time must have been 20 years ago, l was selling printed magazines for the airshow.  Good money for a couple of days work!

If you are going to be in the Toronto area over the next couple of weeks, check out the CNE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time For New Shoes

I am in need of some new shoes.  Runners to be exact.  A friend told me of a discount place.  I LOVE discounts!!!!

This here is the women's section.  You should have seen the men's section, triple the size.  It boggles my mind how many running shoes are available.  So many colors, so many styles, so unnecessary.  :-)

I picked up my mostly white Addia's for $39.99.  There were a couple of others that l had my eye on first, that were a bit cheaper, however they didn't have my size.  Ladies 10.  I have big feet.

So I will break these bad boys in at the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Little Bit of Irish Dancing

I was off work last night and went to a friends for a BBQ with their relatives from Ireland.

A good time was had by all and l was treated to a wee bit of Irish Dancing to some Irish Music in the backyard before the rain sent us all inside.

I will be house siting that friends house next week for 10 days (they are heading to the east coast with the relatives to visit another set of relatives).  I plan on re-doing her little backyard pond and painting the inside of my van while they are away.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to paint the inside of the van while the kitties and some of my stuff can be out of the van and out of the way, while l do it.  Of course, pictures will follow as l do it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I Told Someone

Yep.  I told someone.  Sure, it was a complete stranger, but l actually told someone that l live in my van.

I'm so surprised at myself.  It was to two retired ladies and we were having a nice little chitchat about life and l told them that l plan on retiring in 5 years, and to help accomplish that l am living in my van - rent free.

As the words were coming out of my mouth, l was quiet surprised, but didn't stop them.  I almost felt like l was confessing.  :-)  l felt relieved once l told someone other then friends and family.  I still don't think l will be letting the world know.....

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Living In My Van

I’m getting used to this thing called van dwelling.  Every day, more and more.  I love the freedom of it.  I love the frugal-ness of it.  I love having my home with me where ever l go.

So far l have discovered a tank of gas (okay two, since l have duel tanks for a total of 28 Gallons-about 300 miles worth – city driving) it lasts  two weeks, that includes all my trips to work, outing with friends, visits to my Grandpa in the hospital, etc...  I only need to dump my black tank once every two weeks ($11.50 each time), same thing with laundry, l do it once every two weeks ($8.50).

I don’t have to pay rent at the end of the month.  I have unlimited free Wi-Fi available to me at various locations, some of them l don’t even need to leave my van (my favorites are Lowes, Marriott Hotel, of course the Library, any McDonalds – all of these are so convenient to me l don’t need to look elsewhere) I also have 5GB on my cell phone available to me, but l have only used 1GB a month.

No one at work knows that l van dwell, l park in a different parking lot and avoid leaving or entering the same time as other staff members.  Why?  I don’t want to answer their questions as to why l drive a campervan, which could lead to "What??  You live in your van??"

My cats have adapted very well to life on the road.

My friends are adapting very well to having a friend who doesn’t comply with society standards. :-)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bi-Weekly Dump

I went to my local campground today to do my bi-weekly dump of the black tanks. 

As l was paying my $11.50 for the privilege of such a joyous occasion l saw this ......

I would think it's a motor home, maybe designed after the Chinese/Japanese hotels in Asia where the renters only have a small pod as their sleeping quarters.

All those windows at the back of the bus, and there are 3 levels, are able to open and there are curtains on each one.  On the opposite side of those windows on the passengers side of the bus it was just a solid wall. 
What l wouldn't give to look inside!!! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Forward Thinking

I know it's only August.  I still have 3 months before most campgrounds close. 

Why does it matter to me when the campgrounds close if l am parking at the Wal-Mart parking lot?  Well, you see, l have become really fond of my bathroom toilet in my van.  Sure l can always use the restrooms at fast food joints, wal-marts etc..etc..

There is something to be said for being able to roll out of bed and visit the loo in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, and not have to change out of my pj's.

So today l did some research for dump sites that extend past the deadline of mid-October. I'm happy to report that l found a couple.  So if l stay in my van during the winter months (l will take it a day at  a time), l will be able to use my facilities.  Of course, l will have to be careful about freezing, mostly in the months of January and February.  In those months l will probably use the toilet very selectively.

It's good to know that l have a option though.  This is where l found the dump site info.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Week Of August - Over Already

I guess l have come to realize that it has happened to me.  What has happened to me?  Well, l think l am getting old, because time is flying.

Isn't it funny how time seems to fly faster and faster as we age.  Many years ago when l was a nanny (yes, l have done many things this lifetime), the father of the child put it in perspective for me.  He used the reality of his child to explain time.  He said when his child was hungry, the reason the child goes from "not hungry" to "crazy starving" and screaming blue murder in such a short time is because every minute, if divided by how many they have been alive- mean so much more to them.

So if the child has been alive 3 months, then to be hungry for 10 minutes in their life on the 89th day of their life, they are hungry now! But if you are hungry for 10 minutes on your 3650 day (only a ten year old) have a tendency to be able to wait the 10 minutes for your food to be prepared.

Okay...not explained very well on my part...but l hope you get the drift.

So on my 16950 day on planet summer is just whizzing by.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sex In Cars

Lately the weather must be making people frisky.  The couple of places that l call home, Dave & Busters, Lowes, Wal-Mart have been littered with used condoms.  Okay, not that many, don't think it's like the Bunny Ranch or anything like that, but l have noticed a couple discarded in my spots.

Don't these people realize they are littering in my yard?

I guess it proves that l do park in remote 

Maybe l should rent out my humble abode so at least they could get comfortable.  Good Idea???  :-)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Do You Want A Wal-Mart Mastercard?

Everytime l go to Wal-mart l get this questioned asked of me (and l go to Wal-Mart A LOT). Do l want to sign up for a Wal-Mart credit card.  The answer is, was, and always will be

NO, NO, NO!!!!

I realize the cashier is only doing their job.  And if l was their manager, l would be happy that they were doing their  job.  As a customer, however, l freakin' hate it.

I have had this one cashier twice now, when she asks me l say no, and that l would like to pay with debit, she then harasses me by saying, why pay debit when you can pay by credit card.  Are you freakin' kidding me?  I don't go into the long explanation of how having too much credit got people into trouble, or why would l incur the cost of "yearly membership dues" when l have the cash to pay for it.

I'm sure the good people of Wal-Mart have managed to ask every customer of theirs 10 times over if they want to sign up for a card.  And l'm sure if they were interested they would have done it by now.  So can you please stop asking us, your customers.

Also, no, l don't want to donate to this cause or that cause.....yes it is only a dollar, but why should the big stores get my money to donate and get the tax write off.  All l want to do is buy my shit and go. Please!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Taking Care of Business

Today was laundry day.  I know, l lead an exciting life. 

So after a relaxing morning hanging out at the Wal-Mart parking lot and then having breakfast at IKEA again, l was scoping out a laundromat.

The first l tried from my Google Search was a commercial launderer.  The second was filthy.  I walked in to a place with holes in the wall, soap and scum all over the washers and dryers.  There was even an attendant there, who obviously never got off their chair to do some cleaning.

After two failed attempts, l decided to go to the one l went to last time, it was clean, all their machines were in working order.  I was happy to see that this time was no different.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rent Free Month 2

It's that time again.  Time to reflect on how living in my van is going.  I have been living in my van officially since April.  From April until June l was living in campgrounds, selling advertising for different campground maps in Canada and USA.  For various reason, l decided that it wasn't working out like l planned.  So l quit and returned to my home town.

I have been pretty stationary the last two months and living in Toronto in a couple of parking lots in my van. 

I have been rent free since April, however l am counting only since June, if l was like most people, l should be renting a place since l am stationary.

I love being rent free and have a hard time wrapping my mind around parting with $500 to $1200 for rent, so for now, l will continue living in my van.

My friends are getting used to me residing in my van.  I actually really like it.  I have all the conveniences of living in an apartment, although l do shower at the gym.  I have spots where l know l can get free wi-fi, l watch net-flix or borrow DVD's from the library.  I have a kitchen to cook my food, a comfy bed to sleep.  A toilet for doing "the business".

And for two months l have saved between $1000 and $2400 in rent.  How good is that!!