The Camry is Home, What is My Purpose?

The Camry is home. My brother-in-law came down yesterday to help us out. We got the Camry out of impound and I drove it home, making it here without incident. Strange car.

I tried to replicate the driving I did on the night that both cars broke down. I had been on the freeway and, since the wheel bearing hadn’t actually locked up, I headed home yesterday in the Camry on the freeway. Lance’s brother followed in case anything went wrong. I really thought it would but nothing. Odd.

Once we were back home, Lance and I went to work jacking up the car and removing each tire to do a look-see and feel. I was pretty sure it was one of the back wheel bearings, most likely the passenger side one, but I’m not so sure now. None of the bearings are seeming like there is an issue or need to replace.

On the way back home with the Camry, Lance and I stopped at O’Reilly’s to grab brakes for the car. I had wanted to do the brakes before it had broken down. Coming to a stop just seemed to take longer than it should. My thought, yesterday, was that we would be removing each tire to inspect and attempt to diagnose which wheel bearing was bad, I might as well have the brakes handy so I could just change them while I already had the wheel off. No sense in having to jack the car up and remove the same tire twice, right?

So, the front brakes are just fine. In fact, they look great. This is good. I can take the front brakes back to O’Reilly’s. The back brakes…well, I’m thinking they are probably going to have to be replaced. I’m not sure, yet, though, since I am unable to get the drum off the rear passenger brake. I’ve sprayed penetrating lubricant, hit with a hammer next to and between each lug bolt and around the edges of the drum…nothing. Upon closer inspection of the drum and lug bolts, I don’t think the drum that is on there is the right one. The lug bolts seem to be pressed against the edge of the holes in the drum in such a way that there is no way to get movement. I think the drum may have been knocked on by whoever last worked on that brake. Bummer. If it’s that hard to get on, it’s not the right drum.

I’m going to have to do some more inspecting and attempting with this drum to be sure, but I think I may end up having to cut the lug bolts and drill them out in order to get the brake apart. This really sucks because it means I am going to have to replace that whole hub. Upside: I can probably pick one up at Pick n Pull for about $20, though I am really hoping I don’t have to go that route. At least I have that as an option.

I’ve started preparing to work on the Freestar, again. We are in desperate times so I am trying to utilize all of the available options that I know of. I charged the battery for it since that was dead. Once I get the Camry dealt with, I will have Lance follow me up to O’Reilly’s so they can test the charging system. I think the alternator may have a short in it, which is draining the battery when the van is just sitting and may be a contributing factor to the acceleration hesitation problem. If it needs the alternator, then I’ll need to come up with a game plan for that. I would also like to drop the gas tank on the van to inspect the fuel pump connections. If the negative isn’t properly grounded, it could be what is causing the hesitation. After those two things are dealt with, if the problem still exists, I will be throwing a for sale sign on it. I have enough to contend with at the moment and a cantankerous van is not going to be kept in the mix. Sell it and apply the money to something else to attempt to get us moving forward, again.

I had called into work yesterday to let them know it was going to take a few days to get a vehicle up and going. I let my trainer know that I understood that this meant I was no longer a part of the training. He said to let him talk with my supervisor and see if there was a way to have them recycle me into a different training class. My trainer told me that they didn’t want to lose me, I have been an asset to have in class. This made me feel so good and gave me such hope. Last evening, my supervisor called to let me know that they were not going to be able to recycle me into another training class.

If troubles happen in 3’s, then I think I have reached the 3 in this lot: Lance’s car breaks down – needs timing belt/chain, my car breaks down – may need bearing/definitely needs something with the rear brakes rebuilt, and the believed loss of my job, being given hope it may not be lost, finding out I definitely no longer have a job, along with the loss of Lance’s job. That sounds more like four, so we should be covered for a bit. I guess we shall see. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean we are back to backing two sets of terrible threes. Please don’t let it mean that.

I’m feeling really defeated, right now. I am fighting with the feeling that it makes no sense to work on any of the vehicles, I should just sell them, f*** it all, but I can’t just lay down and give up. I have to admit that there is a part of me that wants to, that’s just so tired of fighting, struggling, juggling, and figuring out only to end up right back where I started, again. It is said that when you are in the flow of your purpose, the Universe will conspire to work for you. I quite apparently have not gotten into that flow, ever, because it feels as if the Universe is constantly conspiring to knock me on my butt whenever I feel like I am starting to get it together.

I do not know what my purpose is. I apparently have no clue what my purpose is supposed to be. Cleaning? Struggling? Dogs? Writing? Photography? Homeless? Though the depression is severe and it really is feeling like my being here on Earth is a HUGE mistake on someone’s part, though I have no idea what to do from here, I’m going to have to figure something out. Why? Right now, I have no idea. No idea at all.

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Two in One Day? Why?!

I am so devastated I can barely breathe. I have struggled, fought, planned, made happen SOMEHOW so many things over the last 8+ years and now…well, now, I’m at a loss as to how I move forward. I am out of resources, ideas, and, at the moment, strength. Overwhelmed does not begin to cover it.

So, in my last post, I said I was in survival mode and would be gone for a bit so I could make things happen. I did that, quite successfully, I might add. Lance found a job, steady work, something that is scheduled to last a year. WOOT WOOT! He’s not earning as much as he would like to but it’s still good money. The commute ends up looking like 2-ish hours each direction, but, hey! It’s money, right? Something is always better than nothing.

I also found a job working in a wireless company call center. Training is 12 weeks. The pay took a few minutes, and a few self-talk sessions, to accept since it is severely less than I am used to making. It’s consistent work, though, and that means a lot. There is also room for advancement, benefits available, paid time off earned, wireless discounts, so, overall, not such a bad deal.

The work is something completely new to me and I have found myself a bit anxious about the learning process, how much we are learning in such a short time, the whole newness of it. Change always seems to screw me up at least a little bit, but I’ve been determined to make this work. I even have started to find hope in it, looking toward the future with this company and what that might bring. There is still another 10 weeks of training left, but I’ve started thinking this may have been a great change in my life. Maybe we would finally be able to get up on our feet. Fingers super crossed.

Then, last night happened.

My son had spent the weekend at a long time friend of his. My son’s friend is a Marine and stationed in Hawaii, so they don’t really get to hang out much at all, which is sort of a bummer because they have been friends since 1st grade and are pretty much like brothers.

Anyway, we needed to pick up my son. I was going to be the one to do this, so was trying to set up a time with my son that would leave me with a little bit of last-minute down time before starting the work week. My husband decided to go pick up my son for me so I could just stay home and relax…I love that man. He headed over, grabbed my son, and Google Mapped his return drive. Google said the normally quickest way was completely backed up and routed him a different way that was much longer in miles and would end up being only 3 minutes shorter. The normal route usually only takes about an hour, and Maps was saying it was going to take 2 hours and 15 minutes. My husband decided to take Google’s advice and started heading south. His car is really great on gas (Not Prius great but still impressive).

About an hour before my son and husband would have been home, I get a call from my husband. I figured he was calling to update his ETA since I was waiting to put the enchiladas I made in the oven so they would be ready about the time they got home. I answered the phone happily only to hear a defeated response from my husband. Uh oh.

“The car just died and I have no idea why.” Crap. I knew he had plenty of gas, so didn’t even ask the gas-related questions. He said he still had lights and all the other power items, but the car just wouldn’t start, again. None of the dash lights had come on either right before or when it died, so no help there. I told him I would just start heading that way. If he got it going before I got there, great! I’d just turn around and head back home. If not, we would just have to figure it out. I threw on some slightly warmer clothes since it was starting to cool off, hopped in the car, and headed toward the freeway.

As I was heading toward the freeway, my car felt like it was driving a little weird. Not engine wise, but handling wise. I wrote it off as I was just tired (which I was) and I tend to get a bit over-sensitive to the movements of the car when I get tired. Onward I drove.

Once on the freeway, it seemed like the weirdness in handling was a bit more pronounced. Was I getting a flat tire? Did I need to get an alignment? Did I lose a weight on one of the tires? I would need to check all that out, later, is what I told myself. My husband called. He was stressing out pretty bad and needing to brainstorm with me. As we are talking, I hear a humming start in the rear of the car. Oh god no.

I know that sound. I’ve heard it before. And then, it got a little bit louder. Uh oh. I told my husband I thought I had a wheel bearing going out. Just as I told him, I felt one of the back tires catch a little bit, then release. I told my husband I needed to pull over. I wanted to make to the next exit, but the tire caught, again, then released. It didn’t feel like I would make it to the next exit. That wheel bearing was going to lock up. I pulled over, hung up with my husband, and just started crying. How could this be happening? Both cars on the same day??? Please, no. I called my best friend.

Through my tears, I told her I was stuck on the side of the road with a wheel bearing going out. She knows a bunch about cars, also, so asked some diagnostic questions. I explained what had happened and she agreed: wheel bearing. She would come rescue me.

Before she left home, my best friend called me back. She said that she was looking for the tow chain and tow strap she has so we could tow my husband’s car home. Mine was not an option to tow since the wheel bearing was catching. That would need a flatbed to move it safely. My thought is getting one car home is better than making it home without any cars. At least we might be able to save ourselves if we can get his car going again.

So, we towed my husband’s car home. It sits just off the driveway, waiting for us to try to fix it. I, of course, hopped online this morning to see what info I could find that might help us pinpoint the issue. One of the downsides is that we just paid bills, did a small grocery shopping for the week, and gassed up our vehicles for work. I think, between the two of us, we have about $25. Please, please, please let it be something super cheap!!

From the research I did this morning, it sounds like there are two things that are most likely to be the culprit for the vehicle failure: the crankshaft position sensor (CPS) and/or the engine coolant temperature sensor (ECTS). Neither item sounds difficult to replace and the CPS is about $15. I haven’t looked up the ECTS price, yet. I’m hoping it isn’t expensive, either. One of us is going to either have to walk the 2.2 miles to the parts store or see if the bicycle we have here is rideable. It was having a few issues of its own the last time it was ridden and I’m not sure anyone has done anything to it.

I’m hoping its the CPS. I’m praying its the CPS. $15, about 15 minutes of work, and we could be on the road, again, though with only one vehicle. One is better than none. I think we will pull off the EGR valve, as well, and see if it has carbon build up on it, which could also be the problem, or at least part of it, though it isn’t strongly pointed to in the research I’ve done. Strongly mentioned a few times, randomly, but it can’t hurt to give that a shot, as well.

During training at work, you are not allowed to miss any days within the first two weeks, and any missed day of training after the first two weeks could lose your position on the team. I must have this car fixed today so I can get to work tomorrow or I am not going to have a job. To say I am in a panic is to understate my current emotional state.

I’m trying really hard not to just get stuck in the panic, but it’s pretty powerful, right now. If we don’t get the car fixed today, we both might be unemployed, and that is definitely reason to panic. I’m missing the Prius, extremely, right now. At least I know that car would still be going. But that is just wasted energy thinking about something that isn’t.

I can’t help but wonder if the universe isn’t saying something to me, though I am as clueless as always as to what that might be. Both cars down in one day, less than an hour apart. That leaves me wondering what it is I can do from home to make money, fast. Super fast. Or even at all. I don’t know. I’m just going to try to swim through the panic, attempt to get my husband’s car back on the road, and hopefully, keep us moving forward from here. Keep your fingers crossed for us. I’m not feeling super confident of the outcome on this one.

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Survival Mode…

I can’t believe how neglectful I have been to my blog in 2017. I want to write, usually when I’m falling asleep at night, but I just can’t seem to get there (here). I hate that it is turning out this way.

I think I am going to step away for a minute, though I will be back. Life has gotten a bit too overwhelming for me which, I have realized, makes it super hard for me to think about what to write about and I don’t want to just vomit all of the details here – how boring would that get? In a nutshell, I am in survival mode and not doing something that is going to help with that just can’t seem to pique my interest. Sure, writing may pay off one day, but today is not that day, nor does tomorrow look like it either, and, unfortunately, that is when I need it to pay off. Anyway…

Wish me luck as I hustle my best around to any and all that will pay for it. Pray that things don’t get worse. Send the most positive energies my way, and I will see you all again very soon, I hope.

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Dissecting The Committee…

The other day, a friend of mine and I were talking about the power of positive thinking. What seemed to come up the most was the need to eliminate the negative thoughts surrounding whatever area in your life you are working on improving in order to get out of your own way and actually move forward. It led me to think about how often I have run at something, or faced a challenge, with the complete belief that things would be ok only to end up with things blowing up in my face. It makes it hard to eliminate those negative thoughts in other areas.

For instance, about 6 months or so before we lost pretty much everything when the economy crashed, I started seeing the pattern of lack, or at least less, showing up. I tightened up the out-going money, but never once believed things would get horrible for us. Sure, tight, maybe, but we would catch it before certain catastrophe hit. I didn’t worry. I’m not sure how worrying would have helped us at that point with the upcoming crash, but it makes me wonder how things would have turned out if I had worried, paid attention to any negative thought about the situation, gone into panic/survival mode. Honestly, I doubt it would have changed much at all, possibly only postponing the inevitable. Or maybe it would have given me more time to plan how losing everything was going to go and where we would land.

This not worrying when the signs are there that it’s time to possibly start putting a bit of angst into the thought processing is something I have come to realize I do, a lot, and despite the horrific outcomes, can’t seem to change. Ok. Wait. That implies I’ve tried to change it and I’m not sure that I have actually tried to change it. I’m not even sure that I recognized the pattern that much until recently, as part of my processing my life to this point.

Silhouettes of Business People Meeting with Business Symbols

I’ve mentioned The Committee a number of times, those voices in my head that tell me not to do something, to do things this way, the nay sayers, the unrealistically optimistic, the overwhelmingly abusive voice(s) telling me I’m not good enough, reminding me of mistakes I’ve made in the past to support its negative opinion. I’ve named a number of these voices, if for no other reason than to have a name to attach to the STFU statement of defense I make in an attempt to quiet The Committee to a low drone so I might actually be able to think something through.

doubter

There is, of course, The Doubter, that voice that believes everything is a bad idea and doomed to fail, no matter what. The Doubter is best friends with The Jerk/Asshole, who is the one that makes sure I never forget every last mistake ever made by me, and spews some of the worst words of ridicule and meanness ever heard. If there is even the remotest sign of there being a possible error in my thinking or planning, these two are sure to jump on it with the manic vigor of a toddler on a sugar high and the meanness of an abuser determined to destroy someone completely with words alone.

i_run_with_scissors_decal

Then there is Psycho. Psycho runs with scissors, destroying at random, picking fights, shoving instigating words out of my mouth before anyone has a chance to proofread and edit as necessary. Psycho lives in a cage these days since he has proven to be untrustworthy, but, sometimes, the little bastard somehow finds the keys to let himself out and wreak havoc.

crazyeditor

The Editor has listened to every last person that has ever said “You can’t say that” or “Don’t say that” or “You shouldn’t say that” in my presence and edits what I want to say accordingly. She believes in hiding, blending, not being noticed, never revealing the truth about anything less than positive in any way. (Right now, The Editor is losing its mind with this post alone). So many things have gone unsaid by me due to The Editor, things that I probably should have said and, many times, have regretted not saying later. Errors in her judgment do not deter her from admonishing my open mouth. Too many silences have been a result of The Editor withholding the words I’ve wanted to say, even in something as private as a journal, for fear that someone could read it, regardless of the unlikeliness of that happening. I could be ‘found out,” and that would be disastrous.

hopeful

Then there is Hopeful, a shy, meek, quiet little thing. She holds her hope close to her chest because there have been too many times she has just glowed with the level of hope she was holding onto only to be disappointed. Now, if she doesn’t protect the hope she has, the others will admonish her for being so foolish. This doesn’t stop her from hoping, though, which, I have to be honest, surprises me. It also gives me a deep admiration for her. As many times as she has been trampled to the ground, pummeled with defeat, it’s amazing she still hopes as deeply and completely as she does. I am certain it is because of Hopeful that I have not become a bitter person, that I have not lost faith in people being genuinely good at their core.

Despite all of Hopeful’s good qualities, there are a few things that leave me wishing I could drown her sometimes. How many times does one hold out hope for the same thing, the same person, the same situation? Hopeful is up to the task every time, it seems, bubbling over with hope with things, people, etc. that have shown that having hope is basically setting myself up for disappointment or more damages, sometimes both. Yet, Hopeful perseveres.

I’ve been working on trying to develop new Committee members, ones that are a bit more positive than the ones I’ve got on the board now. Yes, Hopeful is positive. Psycho can even be positive, sometimes, through his ability to be loony when things get too serious. The Editor means well, but its time for her to take a back seat, at the very least. Doubter needs to learn to be a bit more discerning so she is more useful when I’m making decisions. As for the Jerk/Asshole? Well, I think he just needs to go, completely, but I am assessing if he holds any value at all first.

 

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Spring is Almost Here!

https://days.to/until/spring

Spring is almost here! I can hardly wait until the weather starts getting warmer and sunnier. The dreary, dark gray, wool blanket of sky that has taken up residence for oh so long has become obnoxious to see every day and I am more than ready to kick that blanket to the floor, throw on some shorts and a tank top, and get some gardening done.

One huge benefit to the continual downpour is that it is giving all my bulbs and perennials much-needed water, indicating to them that it is time to start growing, again. YAY! My catnip, lemon balm, hollyhock, wild bergamot, peppermint, and feverfew are all getting little, green, leafy slippers on (ok. the bergamot’s slippers are more of a deep purple), and I have tulip noses poking through the ground. It’s exciting!!

There is so much weeding to do, but I have absolutely no desire to go kneel in the puddling ground to pull them. I know I will eventually not care about the wetness and will find myself out there beautifying the growing areas so the show stoppers can do their thing, but, right now, no, no way. Come on, Spring!!

Speaking of gardening, have you seen/heard of Garden Genie gloves?!? These gloves look so cool and absolutely perfect for me.

Garden Genie Gloves

Garden Genie Gloves

I think I am going to need to get me some of these. If you go to the Garden Genie gloves site, you’ll find the best price (two pairs, $10 + $6.99 p&h per pair). Sure, you’re paying shipping twice, but it still is the best deal I’ve found so far. Unfortunately, as of this moment, when I click on the order button, nothing happens. I’ve contacted their customer service about this and am sure I will hear back from them soon. (as I was only trying to verify the deal, I’m not too upset about the order button not working. I’m sure it will be by the time I’m ready to place my order, whenever that happens to be)

I’ve been running headlong into whatever work I can find. So far, it’s kept us alive and bills are being paid (mostly. payment arrangements have been made on some), though it is not leaving much left, if anything, to feel like there is a little bit of a cushion. In my world, $20 is a little bit of a cushion. I’m grateful for at least being able to cover what I am, though maybe not so happy about the stress level of chasing it down.

I’ve been doing some cleaning, though that has been up north, so it’s a lot of driving. I’ve also been helping with a lead paint abatement…a lot of scraping, Tyvek suit, respirator, gloves…and the repainting of the exterior of a house, which we are doing by hand (brush and roll) since, with the weather, we are doing one side of the house at a time. It’s been a while since I’ve painted much of anything and am finding that, though I can still paint really well, my hands and wrists are not so happy with long-term holding of a paint brush, especially my left wrist. At least its work, money coming in. I’m not really being too picky about what I am doing for work…something is always better than nothing.

With the higher level of stress due to chasing down that next thing that will bring more money in and the approach of Spring, I am finding myself in kind of a weird funk. It’s not really depression, though I know there is part of that included. A lot of anxiety, sure, but I also seem to be in a zone of searching. What am I searching for? Well, a lot of things, such as a better way to make money, better ways to promote Dog & Den, better ways to juggle money so each penny goes farther, better ways of doing TONS of things. This seems to be a Spring thing I go through, with small variations each year.

The one thing that is really different this year with my Spring crazies….they don’t seem to really be making me crazy. Yes, I’m stressed, many times riddled with anxiety, but I don’t feel like its all too much. I guess I just don’t feel like I’m drowning and the difficult feelings over the finances at the moment aren’t seeping into everything else. This is a really great thing. I guess I’m growing up. 😉

Well, I’m off to go see what I can hustle up for today. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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The Fine Art of Juggling…

Ok!! I’m back! It’s been a busy month, though a lot of it seems like it was just spinning my wheels in the mud, trying to go forward. In all honesty, not much has changed since I posted last.

I have done a couple of pet sitting gigs – one farm sitting (chickens, ducks, quail, and a little dog) for four days and one dog sitting for the weekend. The dog sitting was for the two dogs I sat with in December – repeat business!!  I am indeed loving this aspect of my life.

Still no running water. Neither Lance or I have ever done any work involving a well system. We are learning, but it’s a slow process. We have also discovered that our network of friends and such does not include anyone that can get a well pump at wholesale pricing. Bummer. Oh well. Once we get the darn pump out of the ground, we can actually do some real pricing. Getting it out of the ground is proving to be a bit more challenging than we were thinking it would be. Sure, we knew it would take some work, no problem there. It’s the taking things apart in order to be able to start the process of pulling the pump out of the ground that has really slowed things down. Lance has watched some YouTube videos about it but we both seem to get a bit cautious, probably over-cautious, when we are doing something for the first time. We don’t want to make the situation worse. Anyway, we are still working on that.

My laptop decided it was done with the abuse of use I was giving it and died. It was a depressing moment, though I have to admit that I didn’t really feel depressed. Not right away. Once I thought about everything I am trying to accomplish, learn, do, the lack of a functioning laptop caused me a little bit of panic – for a few moments. Panic is not a good thinking spot so I put it down so I could attempt to come up with a solution.

The solution was a matter of coming to terms with my reality, pricing laptops, seeing what my options were for fixing the problem, and then having to move forward with the belief that things will work themselves out. Ok. With the belief that I would just have to make it work. Work has been beyond slow which of course means money has been just passing through my hands to the bills and groceries, to the best of my abilities. How is this different from any other time? So much less money to do that with.

Work has been beyond slow which of course means money has been just passing through my hands to the bills and groceries, to the best of my abilities. So much less money to do that with. It’s been stressful, but we seem to be balancing things ok, with a lot of extreme focus on where each and every penny goes to. Definitely have had times of borderline panic, but I’m learning to have faith that the universe will bring what is needed. Not easy to do since I tend to feel better when I am death gripping things. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Anyway, I ended up ordering an ASUS Chromebook (thank goodness for credit!). I won’t have payments on this until May, and my thought is that work will be in full swing by then and it will all work out ok. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I WILL make it work one way or another.

So, my Chromebook came yesterday. I haven’t had much time to mess around with it but, so far, I can say that it is going to take some getting used to. It is so much different from what I’m used to. I may do some searching around the web to see if it will help me to better understand how Chromebook works best and how to get it to do what I want most, besides writing. For the four days before it got here, I don’t think I have ever wanted to write more in my entire life. Pen and paper hurt my hands too much, though I was beginning to start thinking I may just have to muscle through it. Now, the laptop is here and all of those great ideas I had seem to have been stirred back into the mix. I’ve made some notes on those to look at later, but that was all I could get out of those, at this time.

The real estate stuff has been put on hold for a minute. My friend has some things she needs to attend to in her life, so we have rescheduled some of the training. That’s ok. I needed to take a step back from it, myself, to attend to some of my own.

Well, I’d better get working on stuff. Have a great day, Everyone!!

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New, Exciting, Terrifying, and The Normal Stuffs…

Where does the time go? I can’t believe how long it has been since I posted last. Its been a busy almost 3 weeks.

I have the Dog & Den website up (dogandden.com). I’m not sure it exactly the way I want it to be, but I think I may feel that way because I’m not a “professional” website builder. I like the site though and feel that I will be able to add to it as I finish more of my trainings, such as animal first aid and CPR and dog trainer training. This is all a bit overwhelming and oh so exciting.

I’ve started my volunteering/apprenticing with the trainer my friend recommended me to, and I’m absolutely loving it. Though its only been a few days of it, so far, I am starting to remember how much I love the feeling of being around a bunch of dogs. Sure, I have my three here, and I am in heaven with them, but it isn’t the same thing. My dogs are my dogs, family. The dogs I am getting to interact with while I’m apprenticing provide a whole different feeling, a detachment of sorts, and this is a good thing.

To help get things going with Dog & Den, I have signed up with a few dog walking, pet sitting, and house sitting apps, such  as  Wag, DogVacay, and Rover.com. Nothing, yet, but I’m there, and, like a lot of things, it’s just a matter of time before things get rolling. Again, super exciting.

I just spent the weekend at a real estate investing training class. A very dear friend came to me saying she wants to do this and wants me to do it with her. She knows my financial situation, so no surprises there. She is funding us to go through all of the training and her credit is sooo much better than mine so she is also the one that will be utilizing the funding available with the investing company we are signed up with. We are working out the details and specifics, yet, of duties and profit splits, but I have to admit this is also an exciting thing happening in my life.

Now, I know what most people think when they hear about real estate investing courses and such. That’s ok. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, right or wrong (I’m not saying either). There was not a single time throughout the whole weekend that I had any feelings of being sat in front of a used car salesman trying to manipulate me into buying the clunker, and this is not the first real estate investing training that I have looked into. In the past, I could hear some potential, but I had also felt like there was a scam there. What’s different this time? I’m not sure. It doesn’t feel icky, I guess.

At any rate, my friend signed us up for the advanced training, which includes mentors to walk you through your first finds and sales transaction. The mentors are something we have access to for life, any time we feel we need them, which will probably be for quite some time. Our next training is in three weeks.

In the training coming up, a group of mentors come here and walk us, physically, through the process of finding the right properties, checking them out, crunching the numbers to make sure its a good deal, making an offer, and finding a buyer. I’m excited to see this part. After that, it’s the expo in Las Vegas at the end of March, which they pay for the travel, three-night stay at the Luxor Hotel, and breakfast and lunch all three days. I’ll, of course, be keeping you all up to date on how this all works out. And, yes, I’m terrified, but also extremely eager to see the outcome. This could turn out to be really great.

We had the water back for about a week, and the well pump went out. The major bummer to this is that the landlord is in Mexico until March and we will have to deal with this ourselves. We had had a feeling it was about to go and informed the landlord, but I had decided we would try to see if anyone in our network could find a new pump at a wholesale price for us, or at least a discounted price. Just trying to save the landlord a little on the cost of replacement since I truly believe that if we weren’t living here, he probably wouldn’t bother replacing the pump. I let him know we would do the labor part of the replacement, too. He said he would pay for the pump if I found one. The pump is only about 85 feet down, so not horrible. Still a lot of work, but doable.

Of course, as seems to be the case more times than not, the pump going out comes at a time when we are very cash poor, so its bottled water for now. This is not an inexpensive way to go, but it could be worse. Again, I am gaining an even better appreciation for running water. We will figure this out.

Well, I had better get to doing some things around here. There is much to do. Have a great day, Everyone!!!

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Down with the Crud, Putting the Business Together Little by Little…

Well, the last couple of weeks have been such an unproductive time. This is not to say that progress in any area hasn’t been made, it just has felt like there was so much more I could have done, though I am unsure exactly what that would have looked like. Perhaps I am just a bit anxious over the recent financial changes and dueling with my inner demons.

I have spent the past two weeks with the nasty crud that has been going around. I have a day or two where I feel pretty good, followed by days of wondering if my stomach is ever going to stop feeling horrible, along with being tired. I’m so sick of being sick.

One positive to being down is that it has given me some time to read some books about starting a dog industry business, work on the business website, come up with a name for the business, and get a better grasp on the direction I am pointing myself in. Better finances would make this a bit easier to do, but I am doing what I can as I can and that is better than nothing.

The name of the pet sitting, house sitting, and dog walking business I am starting is called Dog & Den. There will be a LLC at the end of that, hopefully in the near future, but it’s a start and won’t cause huge problems to add later. I’ve looked into insurance and the cost isn’t that bad (about $200-ish), but is also on the back burner waiting for its own funding.

As I said before, I want to have dog training be a part of this business, but I have not been able to move forward with that part, as of yet. I have reached out to the trainer that my friend referred me to, but I have not heard back from her, as of yet. I’m so anxious to get going with it that not hearing back is giving the doubters on The Committee more fuel to throw in their two cents even louder. God, I wish I knew how to shut them up. I am ignoring the feelings of defeat that want to try to take over because of it. I will move forward one way or another, whether with this trainer, another trainer, or finding/coming up with the funding for school. This is happening and is something I now realize should have happened many years ago.

We had almost a full week of frozen pipes here. Running water is such a wonderful thing, and something I have come to take for granted. Frozen pipes meant no showers. Unfortunately, as the pipes thawed, one of the pipes in the 5th wheel burst, so there is still not running water in there to take a shower. Right now, even if the pipe hadn’t burst, I still wouldn’t be able to shower since we are out of propane. Thankfully, Lance has found work and we should be able to start taking care of all that needs to be taken care of in the ‘keep moving forward’ category, like propane and such.

I wish some cleans would come along, though I get the feeling that run is over with for whatever reason. I could be wrong. Either way, I am still going to need to find an income to either go along with the cleans as I build the business or replace the cleans altogether.

I’ve been trying to come up with some fundraising ideas, but this has never really been one of my strong areas.  Ok. That may not be completely accurate. I’m not familiar with how fundraising works, what types of things work for raising funds, and how to actually promote the fundraising in a manner that makes it do what it is supposed to do – raise funds. There are about a gajillion things online about it but so many of the stuffs I have found that way either require funding to start fundraising (??) or sound completely like scams. The others that don’t fall into these two categories seem unrealistic and/or I just don’t understand how to make them work. I could be over thinking it a bit since it is something I am unsure of, something new, but I don’t know. Maybe it sounds overwhelming to me. New stuff usually does.

Well, I should head over to my business site and work on that for a bit. If anyone wants to give me some suggestions about fundraising, please leave me a comment – I’d love to have someone, or a number of someones, to brainstorm with.

Have a great day, Everyone!!

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End of One, Beginning of Another…

The New Year is upon us and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas full of great memories. 2016 was a less than awesome year for me, though I can’t honestly say that it was completely horrible. Sure, there were a lot of challenges that came along to be dealt with, but it could have always been so much worse and there were a lot of really great moments along the way. That said, I am hoping 2017 turns out to be a much better year with less challenges and tons more great moments along the path.

I am still looking for ways to replace the lost income from the common area clean. Thumbtack has not turned out to be successful, at this point, and I am now out of credits to place quotes on requests, without having earned even one job. Maybe I’ll try again at a later date. We shall see.

I’ve looked into the pet sitting idea – what it takes to get started, how to move forward with it – and am going to go ahead with that as I can. Funding at this point is the main barrier between me and moving forward with pet sitting. I could always just start going with it without the business license and insurance, but that just seems like a way to invite the not so good things right in the door. It could be just fine without any bad happening, but, with the way things have presented themselves over the last 8 or so years, I feel that making sure all of the important things need to be in place before getting started. Maybe I’m just scared, though I don’t think completely unnecessarily so.

A friend of mine referred me to a dog care and training facility near me. She has known the owner of this place since she was a kid. Anyway, the center offers grooming, service dog training, dog obedience, a training camp, and an assortment of other dog-centered services. My friend said I should go talk with the owner about wanting to learn how to train dogs professionally and about wanting to start a pet sitting business. She doesn’t want to see me spend money on a dog training school when she knows I can get the same skills without spending money, plus there would more than likely be a lot of referrals for dog sitting. Another bonus would be that, if there is a position open, I would be able to make money at the same time. Sounds like a win for me. I am going to go talk with the owner of the dog center this week, once I am not feeling like I may just empty the contents of my stomach at any moment – not the first impression I want to make.

Have you heard of Teespring? It’s a site where you can create t-shirt designs and sell them. It costs nothing to do, you promote your ‘campaign’ on social media and such, Teespring handles all the shipping and stuff. I decided to give it a whirl. I have nothing to lose and possibly a little money to make. Do I believe I’ll make it rich, or even be able to support my family, this way? No, not at all, but something is better than nothing and maybe this will bring a little something into the budget. I’ve created one shirt already. You can find it here. (feel free to buy one – or a few. You know where the money is ending up) 😉

For the most part, I am not succumbing to panic over the loss of income. It’s really hard and I know there is at least one Committee member that is in there screaming at the top of their lungs, endlessly, but panicking is not going to solve anything. I have had a few moments when panic has started to rule the nest, but I shut it down as quickly as possible. If I’m panicking, I can’t think, and if  I can’t think, then I can’t figure out the solution. Deep breaths, which don’t always work. Just saying. Sometimes, I have to just stop thinking for a moment or so in order to get back on track.

Anyway, that’s really all that is going on here. I have to admit that I have started thinking about Spring, though I suppose that really isn’t a surprise from me. One of my Christmas gifts this year was basically Spring in a box – bulbs, seeds – and I am super excited to get those growing (Thank you, Lauren!). One of these days soon (hopefully), when the ground isn’t frozen like it is right now, I am going to throw the bulbs in the ground. I now have a few different types of lilies that are going into the mix, and more tulip bulbs. The addition of these items has started the mental image to form and it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous!!

Have a great day, Everyone!!

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Pet Sitting Gig Completed, Future Planning….

Well, my 17 days of dog sitting is complete. I have to say it was definitely a new experience, with a couple of out of my control snafus, but I have to say that I enjoyed it. Sure, it definitely shook up my normal routine and there was a whole lot of time spent away from home, but it was good. New things always mix up my normal routine, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I said goodbye to the girls last night after giving them their dinner and taking them out to go potty. I’m going to miss them for a bit, I think, especially the pit bull mix. She is such a sweetie with a really fun personality, and the chihuahua mix is somewhat of a bully to her, nipping at the pit bull mix’s mouth and face whenever the chihuahua mix felt like the attention wasn’t centered on her or whenever the pit mix came over for loving. She really is a brute, though sweet in every other way.

The radiant heating furnace went out a few times while I was there. This meant staying over with the girls a lot more than I had planned on so that I could keep a fire going in the wood stove to keep them and the house warm. Of course, the heater went out on the coldest days we have had so far this year, with snow. The couple I was dog sitting for had the heating guy come out and he did get the heater going for a couple of days by cleaning the ignitor, but then we had temps that didn’t get above 34 and went as low as the upper teens, and it went out, again. Bummer. Thankfully, there is a large ‘shed’ stocked full of wood. The girls and I stayed nice and toasty, though the mornings were super chilly to wake up to. We survived just fine.

I have to admit that being in a house was a bit weird, at first. I’ve been living the RV life for so long, coming up on 8 years now, that all the room was pretty uncomfortable for a few days. I did end up settling in and I am reminded, boldly, just how much I miss living in a house and all the conveniences that come with that. Sure, there is definitely a lot more to clean, but…well, more to clean seems like such a small thing in comparison to the conveniences. Eye on the goal completely refreshed.

I have given the pet sitting thing as a new career move a whole lot of thought over the past 17 days. There are some parts to it the I would need to either make peace with or figure out how to handle better if I am to do this. Mainly, being away from home, away from my dogs, Enzo mostly, for so much of the time. They missed me just as much as I missed them.

Enzo cuddled me all night last night, shifting closer to me any time I moved so that he was still touching me. Before going to bed, Achilles laid across my lap the entire time Lance and I were watching TV. Luna shoved her way in to me for loving as often as she could, regardless of whether or not whoever was cuddling me at the time had a problem with it. She can be so uncharacteristically bold sometimes. Silly girl. I was snuggled by the dogs and my husband well enough all night that I was incapable of moving. I love my family, though being able to move while I’m sleeping is a lot more important than I had realized before. It’s good to be home.

I have started researching what it is I need in order to make pet sitting my job. There really isn’t much to get it started – business license, insurance, marketing. I’ve been looking at pet transporting, too. I would need a better vehicle for that, but I’m not ruling it out as an option. I mean, if I’m going to go as far getting a business license and insurance to do pet sitting, I might as well round out available services. I honestly would love to do long distance animal transporting. I’d get to do a little traveling, see some things, maybe, take some pictures. Then there is always pet taxiing – taking people’s pets to the vet, the groomer, and stuff so they don’t have to take the time off of work or spend their valuable weekend time doing so. If I could get the damn van running right, it would be a great vehicle to do pet transporting with – more than enough room to put a few kennels in the back.

While researching pet sitting, I found a company (Home Business Forms) that produces all of the client forms I would need for pet sitting, and pet transporting. They offer different form packages, with one including 63 different forms for $130, or you can purchase individual forms. You receive the forms through email or a CD, then just print them out when you need them. I like this idea because I won’t lose the forms by putting them in a ‘good’ place.

I’ve also looked into dog training, as in going to school to be trained to be a dog obedience trainer. I’m pretty good at the whole training thing to begin with but this would give me some credentials to provide, help promote my services, and round out my knowledge in the area. The school that I spoke with also helps you with writing a business plan, for those that want to start a pet services business, and offers a bunch of other classes that you can add on after the dog obedience courses are completed, such as cat behavior training.

If my credit score was better, or I had a co-signer, there would be no down payment to start classes, and monthly payments would be $130 a month. With my current credit score, I would need to come up with $1000 down and the monthly payments would be about $180. I’m going to have to give this some thought and come up with a game plan on how I would make that work before I can completely commit to this. For now, it will sit in my head, circling, prodding me, until I do something about it.

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