Doors and windows oh my soul!

The door was next on the agenda today. I have had an unprecedented two days off in a row. I slept in. I woke up. I saw that door. And that was it.

The door had ripped paneling all along the bottom. I considered taking out the whole panel and buying a new piece. Then I remembered the great success of that hole in the ceiling I fixed and I thought why not? Except this time foam insulation wasn’t going to work because I couldn’t get a piece in the hole. I reached for the blue can of Great Stuff for Windows and Doors. I probably should have used the red can for gaps and cracks but this stuff worked pretty well!

Now. You have to be prepared to use the whole can when you initially use it because it can be self sealing, if allowed to dry in the tube sprayer. So if you only use a little and put the can away, you’re not going to be able to use the rest of it. Put down newspapers because you don’t want this stuff on your carpet or linoleum.

I sprayed it in the hole in the bottom of the door where I could see daylight in the frame. The outer shell of the door was in one piece so thats why this worked well. Had there been a hole all the way through the door I would not have been able to use the spray foam.

It sets up in about 15 minutes which is pretty quick . Don’t worry about if it poofs out. When it dries you can cut off the excess flush with the window or door. Here’s what it ended up looking like. I ended up spraying a second layer to get it all filled evenly. I trimmed the excess the second time.

It filled in the hole pretty well. And the outer shell on the door held it all. You can see why shoving a piece of foam insulation would not have worked well. I topped off this layer of foam until it filled the space evenly.

Then I got out my magic peel and stick laminate! (You knew that was coming!) That stuff is like duct tape. You can fix anything with it! An hour later, this was the finished product:

It isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that no cold wind or snow will be getting into my tiny home this winter! I love the way it turned out. You can’t tell the laminate from the original paneling!

I also used the spray foam between the insulation I put on the wall:

Again, not perfect. Trimmed the excess and it worked just fine. I’m ready to cover it up with new paneling or fabric.

To celebrate the day’s work I bought red leaf mini lights on a string which made it look very festive! The more I do on this camper the happier it feels! It is home. I can’t wait to decorate it for fall.

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Freedom

Today is the first day of utter independence on anyone other than myself. I have a camper. In my last entry I was a little disgusted with the economic conditions that put me in a camper. I was a little scared about living full time in a camper particularly in the wintertime. The encouragement I received in the comments helped clarify my mixed thoughts and I realize now I have been handed what people say they want but find so difficult to have because they are chained to a mortgage or a job they hate or five thousand other reasons why they cannot live in a freer, more minimalist manner.

I have been planning how to fix up my camper and decorate it, and it definitely needs a few things.

1. A good coat of paint on the outside.

2. Foam blown insulation just to make sure I don’t turn into a frozen corpse this winter.

3. A couple panels replaced for cosmetic reasons.

4. A mini refrigerator.

I have unloaded a lot of things and my storage is not full, but I do have insurance in the form of some very nice furniture I got fairly inexpensively that I can sell if I need more money. I have a good enough job. So this is what I have done.

1. I created a budget that allows for some wiggle room but not much.

2. I donate plasma for a little savings and it makes me feel good to help people too.

3. I write on a weekly basis for a rat trap blog called the British Rat Trap Company. Most of the blog entries on there I have written. You guessed it. The owner sells Fenn traps from England. He is from England originally. It is great fun for me to write and a good little side income. It is different but part of a plan to do what I love and I love to write.

4. I made a short list of supplies I would need to fix my camper. I’m so glad the exterior is tight and waterproofed.

5. Today I went swimming in my lake to celebrate my new lifestyle. (Lake Superior if you are new to my blog). I spent 25 years longing for this place I call home, and now I am here. This is the best benefit of all. I can go to the lakeshore anytime for free. People spend thousands to come stay here for a summer and I can be here for free.

I realize I have also been given a great opportunity, a gift as you will as a writer, to share my adventures in my caravan with all of you so I will take you through my year to come living this way and hopefully see the blessings in what I call “tiny living.”

From house to car in 2.6 seconds

My life has telescoped of late into a Tiny Life. I haven’t really had a place to live since I lost my job 4 years ago but I did stay with my mom a few months. Then I got accepted to school in Canada and I thought I would get a student visa to live there with my boyfriend at the time.

Nope. Got turned away at the border because they thought I was defecting. No kidding. They saw a backseat with two suitcases and two boxes of food my mom gave me and suddenly I found myself detained for 3 hours and boom. I was kicked out of Canada for a defection plan I never even had.

My life is weird. It was probably for the best. The boyfriend ended up being a mistake. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. But…since I had no plan other than Canada and school (my student loan falling through was the next thing after my purported defection That Never Was), I suddenly found myself in Buffalo at the mercy of a friend. I stayed with her for a year. I didn’t mind. I’d lived in Buffalo before. Its a cool town. Tonawanda is different. Its pretty with the Erie Canal but boy. People love to drink there. Lots of bars. Pubs and holes in the wall, any kind of bar you want. All with grills. Beef on weck and chicken fingers are the thing. Buffalo thing.

Finally after a year of not being able to get any kind of a job with a future other than ending up an old waitress, I decided to hang it up and go home. A friend at home in Wisconsin offered to have me stay with her. Fine. Got a job transfer and I’m there.

Kind of. I’m home but while I was busy living my life for 25 years, Enbridge the oil pipeline folks moved in to my hometown and tripled the rents. 600.00 for a ROOM in a house. Plus deposit. Yeah. 1200.00 for a ROOM. Not a fancy room. A room in a house that looks like my Uncle Wallys place hasn’t been cleaned in a dozen years and the landlord wants to do a credit check on me for this princely dwelling and have me fill out a five page application like he’s renting a place in Trump Plaza, and boy he has People “waiting in line” for this dump he says in order to pressure me into taking it.

I’m thinking yeah I bet you do.

I wish I were exaggerating. 1 bedroom apartments in a town where everyone else who doesn’t work for Enbridge makes on average 30,000 a year (women on average make 22,000 so way less than the men), is 750.00 a month. Plus utilities. Plus deposit. Thats 1400 up front plus 900 a month for heat, rent and electric. Plus a 20.00 application fee that is non refundable. Of course.

I meet lots of people who room together. Never knew each other from Adam before this. But they have to live together to split the rent and utilities because they can’t afford a place on their own. Want a house? You’re looking at 1500.00 a month plus deposit. Yup. Hand over 3,000.00 please.

No fucking way. I think of all the short videos I’ve seen on Facebook of regular people like me having to live in tents and suddenly I understand why. I even tried to get government housing. I filled out something like 15 forms on which I had to detail every place I had lived the last two years. Because I lived with friends I had to get their landlord’s name and number. Most of their landlords hadnt even known I was there and it got so invasive, the personal information I was expected to get for the government, and the process so convoluted and long I eventually threw up my hands and gave up. Which was I suspect precisely what the guy administering the process for the US government wanted me to do. He kept telling me it was a year and a half waiting list for a government apartment, a two year waiting list for Section 8, which helps people pay rent, and the final straw came when he found out I’d had no utility bills the last 3 years. That’s how they track your payment worthiness you see. No utility bills? The government runs your credit before they approve you for a HUD house. Keep in mind this is poor people housing. Here is the catch 22. I didn’t have good credit because I went broke–I went broke because I lost my job due to budget cuts. I need good credit to get poor people housing. If it wasn’t so frustrating it would be laughable. People think if poverty happens to you that you can get all this “free stuff.” I’m here to tell you that doesn’t happen. What the government expects you to go through to get anything at all is humiliating, and convoluted and shaming. They make you ashamed for using what you paid for and paid into. And we have a government right now in which our Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson wants to triple the rents for HUD housing you have to wait 2 years for and who you already pay a third of your income to. As if poor people like me don’t have enough challenges and as if we need the government, who really seems to hate poor people) piling on to what is already a situation they wouldn’t put up with if it happened to them. I find it ironic I pay his salary and he gets the health insurance his buddies in Congress enjoy and don’t want me to have, while he himself doesn’t want me to use my own tax money that I earned over 35 years for a place to live when life kicks me in the gut. But he gets to eat out in a nice place every night– and this is the same guy who tried to spend 133,000 of my money for new furniture for his fancy office that I paid for. But I’m the bad guy here for going broke through no fault of my own. I ask you what’s the point?

Oh yeah. The government official who administers the HUD housing, very smug in his nice shirt and tie did offer to pray for me.

So now I am one of them. The tent /car people. Except I bought a tiny camper that I was able to park in a mobile home lot for 450.00 a month. No deposit. I just saved 250.00 plus 600.00 for that room rigbt there. I just saved almost one thousand dollars and my little camper paid for itself instantly. It was 700.00.

I live in a camper. Or will do on Friday when the guy who sold it to me pulls it into town. My Honda is a great car but it has its limits and no towbar. Until Friday I live in my car.

I live in my car. I have to stop and shake my head to reconcile to myself the reality of where I am.

I live in my car. I have a job. Not a great one but enough to pay the bills. But not enough to get me one of those crappy old apartments for 800 a month or a dank room for 600 a month.

It hits me how fast this happened to me. I’m an educated person. I have two degrees and I was a teacher for six years in a high school and a college. I made more money at McDonald’s than I did in my teaching career. Irony of being a teacher in America.

All it took to get me here was the loss of that job after salary cuts with zero white collar job prospects in the tiny rural town I was living in at the time. Valentine, Nebraska. I took a job at a ranch supply store along with my McDonalds job and slowly watched myself go broke trying to pay rent and propane and electric and food and gas for the car for me and my kids. A job loss. That’s all it took for me to lose everything because 8.50 an hour pays nothing. 16.00 an hour between two jobs is little better but you lose your family time which meant I worked all the time and never saw my kids because they would be sleeping when I got home and in school during the day.

How far I fell and how fast. I went from sleeping in a bed to sleeping on an air mattress on the floor after I got my kids graduated and off to college. While I had the kids I had to sell everything to pay bills. I failed utterly to pay them even though I worked 50 hours a week. I had to get assistance for heat or freeze because the price of propane shot up to 4.00 a gallon. I had a 250 gallon tank. Electric went up in thr winter too. Gotta have electric to run the propane furnace. Yeah. You got it.

So when I hear some smug person with a good job and a husband with an income and a house tell me that all I have to do to succeed is work hard I just want to punch them in the face. I work harder than I ever have and I cant get ahead. I can’t catch a break no matter what I do. Ive been being educated about being poor. You wouldn’t believe how nasty people get when they see an EBT card in your hand.

Taker.

Lazy.

Leech.

Never mind I paid taxes for 35 years and I’ve never needed help before this. Never mind the economy is so bad for me I can’t get a job in my field or any field that pays well and has retirement and health insurance. I don’t know why. 230 resumes. Not one phone call or email. Not one.

People who say that shit don’t understand what they are talking about. What has happened to me despite my education and my hard work and the mystifying question with no answer as to why I haven’t been able to get a job after fielding 230 resumes nationwide in my field can happen to anyone.

It could happen to you.

I have my tiny home nobody can take from me. I don’t have to worry about rent increases. I don’t have to worry about being homeless. I can fix it up. Have a dog. I am really experiencing freedom for the first time. It is terrifying. I don’t know what winter is like in a camper. I hope it will be warm enough. I can use an electric heater and it has a propane furnace in it. It has a full size bed that folds into a bench on one end and a twin bed thst makes into a breakfast nook with a table on the other. No bathroom. There’s one close though. I have storage for things but I have no room for things I don’t need. I am learning to stop blaming myself and start learning to think positively about my new situation. I do free things for fun like go to the beach at Lake Superior and sit in places with wi fi and write for pay. Its not much but every little bit helps. I read books more. My life has slowed way down as it does when you shed the possessions and live simply. People have been good to me. Helped me get on my feet a little. I’m actually looking forward to living in my new (to me) tiny home.

Here it is. The camper.

I’m not lazy.

I lost my job which didn’t pay a living wage anyway. Things have got to get better, right? Next time you see a homeless person keep your judgmental mouth shut. It could be you in this day and age. Remember that.

I am American.

4th of July 2018

Heavy treads descend. I hear the matched marching heavy booted clump clump clump jackbooted night drawing

upon us all

Freedom duels with itself and flags fly perpetually at

at half mast

dissent arrested shots ring out sad and slow and true scything down the flower of our youth who

die in vain for their country.

what is right is now twisted into former versions of itself and injustice uncloaked no more pretending to be something benevolent something

sinister

I hear the cries of children who are the lambs in this slow slaughter of liberty while

a soft slow voice tells me let the dead bury their dead

let the sleepers sleep

I run to gather up the discarded heart of she who has dropped her torch and sits weeping soulessly eating innocence

her castaway heart is too heavy to bear

and God has fled

an impostor shadow stands laughing mockingly

I am I am I am

there will be no fireworks only the screams of the damned behind barbed wire starving

work will set us free

souls will climb heavenward the sleepers unaware of

the hell they have unleashed

death creeps slowly forward in the eyes of the jackbooted suited fiends delighting in the chaos and

fear and

pain and burning black smoke goes up the chimneys

look here

is the abyss with an echo of the past

a child’s voice

My country ”tis of thee

Sweet land of liberty

let freedom ring

the whisper

dies

freedom no

more just a word we used

to fight for

a white dove

plummets

to the earth

Clump clump clump clump

Coffee shop

This is the Daily Planet in Buffalo, NY. I go there to relax and listen to live music…today it was a young man playing Spanish guitar music. I wrote and observed people and had dark coffee with a giant chocolate chip cookie. I like to observe without being observed. Especially when I am planning out the next major move in my life accompanied by the smell of coffee beans and panini.

Someone was well meaning doing the chalk board. See if you can find the mistake.

Help your local independent coffee shop. These folks work hard to make your stay comfortable and the food is gorgeously fantastic, homemade. And the decor is wonderfully kitschy and makes me and a whole lot of other folks feel right at home.

warning

first they came with their religion saying get back to God (while they stole from the people)

then like farmers

Of the devil they sow division and tear down schools and beat down teachers

busted unions systematically

taking away the freedom of others they fear

the people

they fear you, the people

in the name of freedom they do

these things

standing up

talking about

how they need to own my body because I can’t be trusted to live in it

Godly (while they give guns to madmen and the earth burns fire and spews hatred like green acid streaming down the purity of rivers annihilated)

annihilation is their name

telling you they are civilized

behold

they do not come in the name of freedom they come to destroy in the name of the greed that drives them enslaved to the whips and chains of hatred

talking about jailing journalists

talking about burning newspapers burning books burning burning

talking about fair and balanced

while they stomp on the scales and defecate on justice’s flowing skirts

talking about freedom

talking about freedom while using the flag to bind us all while using the flag as a hate symbol as the justification for all that these types of people do

They ain’t talking about our freedom

They only talking about what they’ve ever talked about 400 years and sliding backwards

talking about their freedom

Freedom to destroy

Freedom to rape

they believe the earth is a woman you see and these same types been justifying rape for time immemorial woman is subject to man subject to God we not subject to anyone you see we got our balls out so you can see how big they are so we can grab your womanhood it’s our freedom

not yours it’s not rape

when we do it

Freedom to silence because freedom of speech is too messy and we don’t like being told what we do we don’t like the exposure we don’t like the truth so we tell you the truth is not the truth we make up facts we change the language we don’t tell lies we speak the language call it alternative facts we

love freedom when it frees us we beat down the law

above the law

we only need you to keep winning so you hang on to those ideals we spout wave the flag stand up we passing laws to kill you when the curtain burns down when the puppeteer is exposed when the

Scales

Fall

From

Your

Eyes

when you flood the streets in protest we can kill you we have been killing you to see how far we can go we started with the brown ones to see what the

results will be the public outcry seems

quiet the doctor says (they don’t seem to mind)

And about that wall we got you so excited about we lied it isn’t about keeping them out it’s about how

that wall will keep you in

the cross will save you white

Freedom

Is

Sacred

Freedom morphs

the red white and blue slipping slowly inexorably

Into a white flag with a blue field and a cross

Freedom is upside down and inside out freedom is gagged and zip tied and we don’t hear her screaming or the nails being pounded in her

coffin

Listen listen listen

can the sickness be cured

she is dying