Going Our Own Way {Saying Goodbye to the Conscious Caravan, and Maybe Even Life on the Road}

A country brunch with friends, strolling the Commons, and a drive with my lover around #Ithaca. A beautiful Sunday.

We said our last “See you later’s” to the Conscious Caravan on Monday. After traveling together for the better part of this year, it’s time for us to go our own way.

Let me back up.

If you remember we started traveling with this band of wild nomads back in March after first connecting in January. It was a serendipitous connection of many dots that brought us together and met the needs of our family in such deep and meaningful ways.

Mostly, it was a traveling village…actually dubbed “The Village” between us. It was friends, a network of support and a lot of love. Some split off in the spring to head up further north for the summer, but even then they were in our hearts. The rest of us traveled up the coast and into Maine together.

I’m trying to find words that describe the experience – the love, the stretching, the learning, the trust, the fun, the growth – in all of us.

But I can’t.

So I’ll just skip ahead to now.

Right now, we’re visiting friends in Ithaca, NY. Angela and Clint and their kids spent several weeks here with us before they went out to Vermont on Monday to meet up with other members.

We made the choice to stay behind. Partially, we wanted to avoid going any further north this time of year. Partially, the truck needed some more work before we hit the road. Partially, we weren’t ready to leave Ithaca and wanted to squeeze one more week out of the fall here.

It didn’t hurt to say goodbye to Angela, who feels so much like my spirit sister. I wasn’t sad or worried. I felt comfortable, certain that it wasn’t goodbye. That it was just another “See you later down the road.”

Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet. Or maybe I’m just not afraid of losing her. Ever.

My sweet spirit sister, @ecowomb

Now after several days, I think I can also say we stayed behind because we needed the space to transition into the next phase.

When Justin, Zeb, and I made the decision to hit the road (exactly three years this month!) we made the choice together. We talked together about the pros and cons, the needs we each had, what we wanted out of it, what our concerns were, how we would handle those things.

It was a cohesive decision between the three of us. Which felt good, knowing we were all heard and honored and on board together.

For the past few weeks Justin and I have been sorting out our new needs, how we’re feeling and what we desire for the future and have both been feeling the same thing:

We’re ready for roots again.

Top of the #tree ...one of my happy spots #climbing #play

We’re ready to find a community we want to stay. We’re ready for library cards and local meetups and chickens and a full-size oven and fridge, for goodness sake. We’re ready for ground beneath our feet and a treehouse and cable internet.

We’re NOT ready to quit traveling completely, but we like the idea of snowbirds (traveling south for the cold months). And we like the idea of world travel with an official home base.

We have been mulling these things around in our head without talking to Zeb yet, until he came to us Wednesday night and asked if we could all talk.

What came out: he’s ready to stop traveling too.

(Damn, I love when we’re all on the same page at the same time!)

He wants more community (instead of warming up to people just as we or they leave again), and the ability to delve into his interests easier (computers, which requires more reliable internet than we can always find). He wants more space of his own.

He wants roots, just as we do.

So together we talked about our needs again, the things we’re ready for, and how we might make another transition.

And this is what we concluded with and what we sense we’ll be moving toward:

We are still heading to Florida and white sand beaches for the winter, because I miss Mama Ocean like whoa and we’re just not prepared to be anywhere colder. After that we’ll start making our way north again, coming back to Ithaca. We’ll be staying on our friends’ land, helping them build out their property, and exploring the area more. If we still feel drawn to the area come fall, we’ll try staying over the winter (to see if I can handle it and all).

Anything can change – and I’m sure something will – between now and then.

But after three years it feels like this is it.

Life on the road has changed us. It was the most amazing guru we could have had, allowing us to explore not just the country but our understanding of Life. It’s opened us up to possibilities for experiencing the world that have freed us, spiritually and otherwise.

And after all that – all the adventure, all the examination of ourselves, all the liberation we found – it’s nearing the time to take what we’ve gained and plant it somewhere, plant ourselves somewhere.

Life might show us another direction, but either way…all roads are leading home.

The New Professionalism: Unapologetically Imperfect

My most ergonomic desk eva. #myofficetoday

Today is my day to breathe. Take space. Drop my shoulders.

The Organic Parenting e-course is complete, sent out, and officially off my To Do list. It was such a huge project, with so many components and dozens of contributors, making it my biggest project to date.

Over a year in the making. The last three months of which were flipping crazy.

I’ll admit. I have a bit of a perfectionist streak. Especially when it comes to the work I love to do, sharing my heart and soul. And the parenting topic is such a big, tender one that I spent a lot of time stressing about how it was coming together, how the audios turned out, the right formatting, the right voice, if it all made sense, and so on and so on.

This project alone was a full time job.

That’s without seeing clients, facilitating the Organic Tribe, holding events, and still exploring the country with my family.

As I inched closer to today’s date, I began to inch closer to my perfectionist saying all sorts of things:

“You must have all the audios completed before you go to Wide Sky Days.”
“You’ve got to send out at least 4 emails next week.”
“You need more blog posts! What happened to the 5 other posts you had planned?!”

According to my project and marketing plan, I was far from perfect.

And this would have really stressed me out in the past. I would’ve been a big old ball of nerves trying to do it all, be it all, have it all together.

But this time I adopted a very fitting motto as I worked…

“Unapologetically imperfect.”

“I’m going to unapologetically create a course I believe in, without fear that it must meet every last person’s needs…”

“I’m going to unapologetically say what’s on my heart without fear that I’ll sound crazy to people who don’t get it…”

“I’m going to unapologetically take breaks, or complete postpone pieces of the project that aren’t inspiring me in order to play with my friends and family or read or work on the part of the project that is calling my name…”

“I’m going to unapologetically get the last audios created and uploaded in their own timing…”

“I’m going to unapologetically screw up my marketing plan this time around…”

“I’m going to unapologetically be happy about it all too…”

No amount of stress can make time slow down so we can get more done and still have time to play. No amount of trying can make every last person happy, can make this everything to everyone, can possibly simplify such a big topic, or can get those last audios uploaded by my chosen deadline. No amount of stress is worth missing out on our family throughout any project either – something I did too much of at the start.

So I let it all go. And embraced something different.

Imperfect entrepreneurship. Without apology.

Of course, there’s a balance there…leaving people hanging isn’t cool. Creating less than your best isn’t cool. Not taking into account the needs of others while you meet your own needs doesn’t actually meet anyone’s needs at all.

But there is a difference between professional and perfectionism.

You can be the first without trying to be the second.

I let go of the idea that I’d have all the audios from all six modules edited and uploaded by the time the first module started. I let go of the idea that the contributors goodies would be organized and formatted before the third module.

I just let go and leaned into joy and trust.

If this “trust” thing is good enough for parenting, you’d better believe it’s damn good enough for our passions as entrepreneurs. 😉

Of course, letting go changes everything.

I did, in fact, have all the modules completed before Module One began today. And I got the Village Wisdom contributors PDF formatted and uploaded this afternoon.

I could’ve stressed over doing these things, and likely not done them.

Instead I just adopted the same philosophy I have toward life itself: Joy and Trust. And it all fell together without the stress, because I just let go and leaned into joy and trust.

What Have I (Re)Learned?

The same lesson life is teaching me again and again…

I don’t care if you’re talking about parenting, or your partners, or your work…you’ll never regret the sense of ease, wonder, and perfection that comes when you stop trying to be perfect, stop forcing it to happen or controlling how it does, and let the current carry you where it will.

Make and follow a plan. Just don’t marry the damn thing.

And stop apologizing – to yourself or anyone else – when you follow where your heart pulls you.

Ask yourself: Where do I need to let go and allow?

 

Carlsbad Caverns (and exhaustion)

big room tour

Yes, it was amazing. Surreal, actually. A bit like being on a movie set (especially when you walk up on the diner and gift shop 750+ feet underground – seriously?). It *almost* “took my breath away”…but it’s not as if I can live there so it wouldn’t count anyway. 🙂

The formations were incredible and the information we all took away from the day is fairly immense. And we – including Zeb – can tell you the difference between the stalactite, stalagmite, soda straw, popcorn, column, flowstone and drapery formations, how each type was formed, as well as when the park was founded (1930), how our modern culture first discovered it (a 16 year old hiker following the bats) and what mountains of bat guano smell like (wet synthetic baby diapers).

column

We took one guided tour and walked the rest ourselves. I was much more impressed by the self-guided tours, namely the sheer size of the caverns. I couldn’t help but find the irony in the paved walkways and LED lights when the tour guide discussed how previous generations left burn marks on the rock and how we know better know than to disturb the area now. 😉 And I discovered just how weak my knees were as we traversed down the switchbacks. Yikes.

natural entrance light

I’m still having a hard time at the end of the day. I’m emotionally, mentally and physically drained. And THAT is the exact moment when Zeb needs one-on-one time (or one-on-two time, since he prefers both our attentions). There are heavy moments when I don’t think I’m cut out for this lifestyle, but can’t imagine going back to a home. I know I need to strike a balance between downtime and “Going going going” but it’s hard when there is so much to see and do and we honestly don’t know how long we’ll have to do it. There is also a lot to be said about HOW we’re doing it that I think I’ll save for another post.

Our plan was and still is to find “a home” along the road. We’ve originally given ourselves one year to travel and search, but it seems impossible that we’ll feel “done” or ready to decide in just 11 short months with so much left unseen. I suppose we’ll just finally stumble across a place and not feel like leaving until one day we realize it’s our home. Until then the plan remains for the three of us to reevaluate the whole shebang at the end of 12 months. And maybe somewhere along the road I’ll hit my stride, fall out of “vacation mode” and find this isn’t so fucking exhausting after all.

More photos here and Justin’s account here.

Highly-Sensitive Transitioning: Before The Move

Zeb making lists of our dreams
Zeb, making a list of our dreams: places and people we want to see
and things we want to do on the road.

When we first started discussing the decision to travel full-time and eventually settle outside of Vegas, we included Zeb. How could we not? He’s one-third of our family and his experience will be as life-changing as ours.

So, we sat down. We talked over our situation and our choices as best we could without overwhelming him or stressing out an easily-stressed soul. We told him every pro and con of full-time RVing we could think of, we gave him a timeline for being on the road but were honest that it could change, we discussed the potential challenges. And we asked what he thought.

He was hesitant, for sure. Thoughtful and questioning. But after some time, and a promise we’d make room for his Legos, he told us it would work for him.

And then he was excited…for about a week. That’s when his real transitioning began.

Zeb is an emotional, highly-sensitive child. He creates strong attachments to animals, friends and family, as well as things that hold special significance. For years he kept his school reports and certificates on his walls because it reminded him of *something* good from those difficult years. So it’s really no wonder that this transition – away from loved ones, best friends, his hometown, all that he knows, even his pets – would hit him hard.

All at once he was torn between sadness and anger. This isn’t to say he wasn’t simultaneously excited. But he realized how much he would miss his friends and family. He worried that he’d be bored. Truthfully, I think he was a bit afraid of such a Huge Unknown. In his ten years, he’s experienced some pretty difficult stuff and it’s left him leaning heavily toward the hesitant side of life. Now here we were, and he was feeling as if the security we’ve built for ourselves was being stripped away. It’s a big world out there and it’s already proven to sometimes be scary.

This went on for awhile. Some days  – many days – I didn’t handle it well. Truthfully, my own excitement was building and I was feeling resentful for his raining over my parade. I didn’t want to be pulled into the emotional upset and away from the budding joy. Internally, I didn’t think I had the energy to handle it.

On those days I tried to rationalize with him, remind him how much fun we’d have, how many more friends we’ll see and make, how many things we’ll have the opportunity to do. I took lots of deep breaths and left the room countless times. It’s not that I didn’t understand him. It’s that I was too wrapped up in my own expectations to react to his needs.

He doesn’t need to be rationalized with or reminded that he had once agreed. He needs to mourn what we are leaving behind, so that he can be prepared to move ahead.

Zeb has always needed a slow transition. He’s slow to get out of bed, slow to stop one thing and start another. We work with this by giving him plenty of notice before we leave, before we eat, before company comes.

And this anger and sadness was the beginning phase of a very big transition. All he needed from me was a place to vent, some validation over what will surely suck and some patience. So I finally stopped rationalizing or talking him out of his emotions. I stopped trying to fix it. (Wait. I thought I learned this one already?)

I allowed myself to be his emotional punching bag.

He needed a safe place to let it all out. And with lots of deep breaths and quiet reminders to myself to keep my mouth shut, I became that place. Sometimes he yelled, other times he cried. Sometimes he questioned and voiced concern. Some days he talked excitedly and made plans. At one point he blamed us for ruining his life and called us names, hating us with conviction. And that’s about when I was suddenly able to see past my own expectations and look with compassion on my son who was grieving a loss in advance.

And as soon as I managed to stay present and compassionate during his storm, it passed. In a matter of an hour he went from total meltdown to cuddling in our arms. In the end he gave us a look that resembled a Thank You, a hug that said I Love You Too and he was off to conquer the day without the heavy emotional load dragging him down.

I’m not about to assume we’ve seen the end. He’s not that kind of kid. And he still has his moments of fear amid the moments of excitement, although they aren’t as explosive now. But if I can remember to breath and not take it personally, I know we’ll get through them, too.

There is plenty more to say on the subject of transitioning/moving/traveling with a highly-sensitive child. You could probably consider this Part One.

Benny’s Big Reveal!

The RV remodeling/renovations are complete! Four months of time, countless trips to the hardware and auto parts store and more work than we anticipated (when is it ever less?) and the only thing left to do is convert Benny the Brave to run on waste veggie oil (WVO) and move a few things in. 😀

Kitchen Table and Second Bed

All Before and After shots here

It’s still a little stark, but I’m seeing it as a wide open canvas, to be filled with memories along the way. I’m thinking of embroidering the shower curtain and front window curtains, hanging photos and finding unique items to decorate the walls all while on the road.

Interior:

  • Removed vinyl wallpaper from ceiling
  • Refinished ceiling
  • Replaced broken paneling on walls
  • Cleaned more smoke residue off the walls than I thought possible
  • Removed old carpet
  • Removed microwave
  • Built doors for cupboard where microwave was
  • Painted bright white to open space
  • Painted and hung new curtain rods (made from dowels)
  • Replaced vinyl shower walls with panels
  • Replaced peeling countertops and tabletop
  • Installed secondhand flooring
  • Replaced vinyl backing on seats
  • Sewed new seat cushion covers
  • Hung new curtains
  • Shampooed carpets and seats in front cab
  • Deep, deep, deep cleaning

Body/Engine/Technical:

  • New blackwater tank
  • Resealed the roof
  • Resealed and repaired drafts
  • New tires
  • Numerous engine leaks fixed
  • New shocks
  • New power steering pump
  • Glow plugs
  • Tuneup
  • New deep cycle batteries
  • Two 80 watt solar panels (will supply all electrical needs)
  • Lots of small misc things

Things soon to be added:

  • Rocket stove
  • Water filter
  • Hand-cranked blender
  • Waste veggie oil conversion
  • Our things! (clothing, pillows, blankets, games, etc)

We’re hoping to be in my mid- to late-February, with a few more weeks to adjust to the smaller spaces before we hit the road.

My favorite thing (other than the whole get-outta-dodge aspect)?

Our new home blessing hung over the door:

Our RV Blessing
With our tiny RV and everyone we’re hoping to meet on the road,
I don’t think this will be a problem. 🙂

And because it just didn’t feel right not to, I updated my blog layout and header to reflect our new transition. If you’re in a Reader, be sure to come check it out!

SO Big. SO Life Changing.

Are you just
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dying to know
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the big
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life changing
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decision?
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We’re moving!!

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Or rather, I should say, we’ll be on the move. 😉

Meet Benny the Brave:

Benny the Brave

Here’s the deal: Justin is facing layoff within a month or so. 🙁 He feels fairly certain he can scrounge up a few more months of work. But construction is grimmer than Vegas has ever seen. And he knows he’ll need to find work elsewhere. And with Benny, we can follow the work while we scope out new places to live.

Apparently, he’s been thinking about and researching going on the road for awhile. He approached me with the idea while at GVC and totally freaked me out. (I think Jeff Sabo’s talk at Good Vibrations on pursuing our own Passions pushed him over the edge.) But after thinking about it and talking it over with Zeb, we all started to feel really good about the idea. As soon as we made the decision together, things clicked into place and we found Benny immediately (although we took several more days to research and compare before coming back to him).
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Here are his specs:

  • 1982 Winnebago Brave Series M-22RB – 22′
  • Chevy 6.2 L DIESEL engine with only 67k miles
  • Ugly as sin VERY retro
  • But cheap as DIRT (thank you poor economy)

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Some things he needs:

  • New air, oil and fuel filters
  • New tires (they’re okay but we’re not taking chances)
  • New blackwater tank
  • New fuel cap (we’re using a sock right now!)
  • A deep clean

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Some things he WANTS: 😉

  • Veggie oil conversion (#1 after small maintenance)
  • Solar panels
  • Complete indoor remodel: new flooring, paint, storage, cushion, curtains (I’m totally inspired by Sara’s recent remodel)
  • Some outdoor sparkle…maybe some stenciled “Unschool Bus” or buttloads of bumper stickers

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We’re going to make a conscious effort to sell our home. Home values are down 60% and I’m not yet familiar with short sales. So, we could be looking at a foreclosure when the work stops. Scary, yes. But I’m trusting everything to work out for the best.

We’ll sell everything that we don’t absolutely love, store what we don’t absolutely need and tow the truck (with Justin’s tools) behind the RV. We’re also trying to create a way to accomodate as many of Zeb’s LEGOs as possible. (Eep!)

We’re thinking six more months until we’re on the road. Talk about revamping our Five Year Plan! Anyone interested in buying an urban homestead in the making? 🙂

ETA: More photos here.

Plan of Action

It’s a rare moment Justin and I get the opportunity to talk. You know, really talk – about finances, plans, etc. The kind of talk best done out of ear shot of a easily stressed and environmentally-sensitive kiddo. Earlier this week, we plopped ourselves on the bed and really hashed things out.

This discussion came about as we had been looking at our yard and really, really, really wanting to do more – more perennials, more raised beds, water catchment and graywater usage, more investment into a home and garden we weren’t sure we would be able to afford or remain in when/if Justin’s work runs dry. Is it worth the investment? Should we plop more money in this yard, only to give it away come as early as next spring? But what if work holds out and we’re able to keep to the plan? What if we’re putting off the enjoyment of where we are, in case of something that doesn’t even happen? How do we plan for such unknown variables? And how do we live in the meantime?

We’ve sat stuck for several months, idling at this inevitable fork in our minds. I felt myself reaching for a solution; something that would give me permission to move in either direction. I don’t even care which way we travel, just give me a damn course already!!

Our conversation swirled around a few main topics: Is it a waste of time to invest anything else in this place? If, come December, Justin finds himself unemployed what do we want to do? And how? Are we saving enough money? I’ll spare you the details and share with you our conclusions.
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Navigating the Fork:

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Before we looked at anything else, we had to look at where we want to be and how we want to get there. We don’t know where we want to be but we know it’s not here. However, we’re very particular about moving. Neither of us wish to move hastily or go into debt again. So we made the choice that come what may, until we have the savings to support our original “Five Year Plan“, we’re not budging.

If Justin gets laid off we’ll do whatever possible to remain in this home while we work toward our financial goals. If staying in our home becomes impossible, we’ll continue to stay in Vegas where we have career connections and family support. We are not going to move out of Vegas until we can do so debt-free. If things remain at the current pace, this will be in 4-5 years. But we’re going to try to expedite that process (explained below).
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Investing in the Present:

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Once we decided we were going to do whatever possible to stay in our current home, the choice to invest more into our garden and home came easier. We still had to decided what to invest and how. Perennial fruit-bearing, insectary and nitrogen-fixing plants, as well as animals, more raised beds and water catchment/greywater storage and usage encompass our desires.

In regards to plants, we’ve decided to invest in nitrogen-building and insectary plants first. These will support our annuals and general landscape over the next year, thus saving us time and money. Come winter, we’ll be able to judge when or if to add fruit-bearing perennials (who’s benefit would be farther off) based on the local economy. Raised beds will be done using only free and salvaged materials, although the soil will likely be purchased. Animals for eggs or manure and rain and greywater catchment will save us money soon after their initial investment making it a worthwhile endeavor now.
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Investing in the Future:

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Then came the real financial discussion. Are we saving enough and what can we do to save more? What options do we have if Justin is laid off and what are our options now?

Two decisions were made. The first: I’m going back to work. As an independent massage therapist, I can make good money seeing only one or two clients a week. I love my work and if I’m careful about who I see (no more deep tissue work) I will be able to work without injury to my back. I saw my first client yesterday and it went very well. This decision brings up a lot of other thoughts; perhaps I’ll blog more about it later.

The second decision is to reconsider a new online venture. It’s been something I’ve been mulling over for quite some time, and although it is a small initial investment, it will require much more of my time and energy to get off the ground. But its potential of passive income (even if to the smallest degree) once it’s established is great and will be a huge asset to our goals. I’m not going to go into details just yet but if all goes according to plan, I will be getting started within the next week.

So there you have it! I have a definitive course and plan of action, as well as feel so much more secure knowing we will be staying here as long as we possibly can. Not all of it is ideal but it feels good and stable, not to mention wise. And I love that I no longer have to feel so torn about pouring my heart and soul into my garden!

How is everyone else weathering the current economy? Anyone else deciding on new courses or making new plans?

Uncomfortable Limbo

I’m in this place. A place beyond description, although I still try. It’s a feeling of being unsettled, unsure, dissatisfied and frustrated. It’s a low mood and a spiteful tone and a cranky outlook. I’m not sure where it originates, nor why. I feel a slight inclination toward believing it has something to do with a state of Not Knowing, a place of Wanting and Waiting and Impatience.

I’m ready for More. Either more right where I am or more somewhere else. But I don’t know how long I’ll be where I am or when we might be somewhere else. And the anticipation feels like  a bear wrestling within my bones, ready to bust out and tear me to shreds in the process. I want to do so much to this home and this garden, but it doesn’t feel right. I feel my intuition telling me to save my pennies for a sunnier day. And yet, waiting, hoping, wishing I knew what that day was, when it will arrive. I want to explode from all this conflict within me.

I want a plan; to know what to expect; to work toward something. But instead I feel stuck. Stagnant. Purposeless. For what is the purpose of sinking more money or energy into a house we could be out of in as little as six months. But what is the purpose of living here, uninspired and unhappy and not work toward making our arrangements as ideal as possible.

I flux between loving and hating this house.

There are days where it is my home and my heart breaks at the mere possibility of an unstable economy pushing us out. I hunker down and revel in its comfort. I enjoy it and I want to remain in it. I can’t imagine leaving the community we’ve built, the family we love, the friends we cherish.

Then there are days like today. Days when it feels like a trap. An unrelenting burden keeping us pinned down; like a beast sitting on my chest as I fight, powerlessly to get up. To breathe, even. It’s one thing to peacefully sit down. Quite another to be pushed to your knees. And as anyone forced to comply, I’m left in a fighting mood.

And here I’ve swung for several weeks, back and forth between determination to make this happen, making the best of it, growing where I’m currently planted; and feeling unsettled, out of control, anxious, uncertain and even depressed.

Justin said it best. “I’m ready to move.”

And yet, here I still sit, holding back emotion. Acquiescing to my circumstances. Trying to remain focused on what I can do, what brings me joy, what lifts this mood. Succeeding for a day or two. Failing for another. Back and forth between two places I don’t want to be.

This is harder than I imagined.

Goodbye Darling

Saying Goodbye

I watched my truck drive away last night. The insurance and title has been arranged and the new owners were anxious to take what was now theirs. I wasn’t sad to see it go, like I’ve been in the past over other vehicles, despite this being my first *brand-new* vehicle. I was really excited to know it was going to a great family, since it’s been such a great family vehicle for us.

I’m still adjusting to driving Justin’s truck. It’s a heavy-duty monster and I’m always afraid of parking lots or gas stations (the latter of the two being were I gave it it’s first dent – whoops). Although it’s a full size truck with a back seat, it’s still not much room so I need to simplify our “travel” gear. It’s also difficult to drive at night with it’s darkly tinted windows. But I do feel like a bad-ass driving it around town. 😉 I wonder if he’ll let me get a bumper stick that says “Real Women Drive Big Trucks”. Maybe a pink, fluffy steering wheel cover, too? ha One great thing about his truck is the smaller space is easier to cool with the A/C in the summer. Not that we’ll really be saving much on gas; it’s not as efficient as the SUV.

Goodbye

We are saving MUCH more on other things though! Without the SUV’s payment, insurance, registration and maintenance I figured we’re saving nearly $800 a month!! I’m seriously fighting the urge to feel like I’m rolling in it. ;)My friend asked me what we’re going to do with all that money. Long-term savings is obviously our first goal, but within that goal are some things we’d like to save up for – like orthodontic care for me and Zeb. It’s awesome that we can pay cash for it now! Other than our house payment, we’re out of debt!!! That’s so awesome. 😀

Goodbye Truck

Between the truck and cutting the cable we’ve increased our monthly savings to $840. Plus there are some other things I’ve been working on that I’ll share soon too. Looks like all my financial brainstorming is paying off. (No pun intended.)

Anyone else feeling some financial successes lately? Any creative income going on – like this guy’s idea?

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Brainstorming (or I Love To Make Lists)

Shine

Thanks for all the feedback on my last post. The consensus seems to be there is no harm in preparation. And forgive me for saying I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling a doomsday scenario coming on. Okay, maybe not doomsday, but I still have all these horrible images in my mind depicted by Dmitry Orlov who is likening the USA to Russia right before its collapse and had plenty to depict what that might (will?) look like for us and what could be done about it. You can read all his comparisons and predictions here. Can we say yikes?!

Justin and I are still discussing it all. We’ve been talking about ways to earn extra money or save money. We are leaning strongly towards getting a piece of land asap, regardless of whether we move there this year or not. At least we’d have it if we needed it. There has been a new twist, thanks in part to Denise and Lisa. Justin has family both in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Family with farms and cows. Family with a long history in the area. Family that are apparently part Hothian (thanks Zeb for the Star Wars reference). Talk about a climate shock. How does a scrawny desert rat survive the bitter cold winter up north? I barely survive it here!

But I digress. It’s still just talk (with occasional meanderings through land sale sites) at this point. We have bigger fish to fry at the moment. Like the money thing. I love to brainstorm, mostly because it leads to more list making. And if you couldn’t tell by looking to your right, I really enjoy my lists. I could create page after page of lists; anything from famous last words (“They couldn’t hit an elephant from this distance.” ~ John B Sedgwick), to how you know you’re from Vegas. I especially love lists that allow me to cross things off, which brings me back to this list and all the things we can probably (and most definitely) nix at the gate. So here goes; our brainstorming session on all the ways we could make money (some tongue-in-cheek, I swear).

We (he or I or both together) could:

  • Work on motorcycles or bicycles
  • Offer handyman services
  • Take any overtime possible (he’s got some tomorrow! yay!)
  • Install irrigation and raised beds for others
  • Donate sperm (all Justin there)
  • Donate other bodily stuffs
  • Green people’s homes
  • Garden maintenance
  • Clean houses (BLEH)
  • Sell seedlings and seeds
  • Gigolo or call girl
  • Photographer
  • Rent a room
  • Rent out storage space in our home
  • Sell extra produce
  • Male stripper
  • Loctician
  • Selling crap vintage finds online
  • Selling handmade goods on Etsy
  • Mystery Shopper
  • Errand Runner
  • Professional hitman Who put that in there???
  • On-location car washer
  • Work at Wal-Mart Who put THAT in there???
  • Petcare or pooper scooper
  • Childcare (or pooper wiper)
  • Medical guinea pig
  • Advertising on the blog
  • Write a book (my husband has such faith in me!)
  • Certified massage and bodyworker (my former life)

So many thoughts on that list, no desire to bore you with them.

Ways to save money are a bit harder. We’re pretty darn frugal as it is. There are few “extras” we have and little we don’t take advantage of: we only shop second-hand; we don’t use credit cards; we meal plan and grocery shop with a list; we use a budget; we take advantage of our library; we drive slow; I’m just incredibly cheap. But we did come up with some ideas on how to save money:

  • Cut the (basic) cable
  • Cancel the (basic) home phone
  • Skip that whole “eating” thing
  • Or at least simplify our meals
  • Give up beer Nevermind. Not well received.
  • Stop eating out completely (or order appetizers and water if we do)
  • Become (even more?) fanatical about energy usage
  • Become a coupon cutter (eep!)
  • Mooch Have dinner with family. Mom?
  • Barter garden produce
  • Barter other things
  • Reevaluate our insurance plans/needs
  • Doing yoga at home If he keeps his homebrew…
  • Sell the second vehicle
  • Refinance the house
  • Downsize our living arrangements, if selling is at all possible

There must be things we’re missing in either category. Throw it at me! The more ridiculous, the better!

😀