Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Visited Nanaimo

Yesterday, I took a trip to Nanaimo, BC. I was looking for potential homes for my family. All but one were terrible. Each boasted a yard, and all but one had wide open yards, and typically on the busiest of streets. The one that was off the beaten track, with an enclosed yard, was nearly perfect. It was as the realtors put it, "cozy". It was small, but had an amazing yard in a quiet area.

We were denied for one simple reason.

We are looking for something a bit more long term, and the owner of the home is currently thinking she may move back into the house once her lease in her condo is up.

She was a nice lady to chat with however, and I can't fault her for not wanting anyone long term "just in case". I just wish she would have put that in the ad.

Now, I have an ad out looking for short term rentals until we can locate something long term. I need to get my wife situated, so we can get the hospitals and doctors worked out. If I can't, I will miss my daughters birthday, and my sons birth. If I can't find something even short term, my wife will go stay with her dad in Ontario.

How fair is that? Potential landlords don't want to rent for fear they may need to move back, or boast about their place being "family oriented" with no fence and on a busy street where my child, if she were to run chasing a balloon could get hit by a car, and now, I risk missing two of the most important things that I have been waiting for?

Renting sucks, and this economy sucks. We get a boom, it raises housing prices, and when theres a bust, the real estate board pretends to not notice. Thus, home ownership gets even further out of reach.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Oh, I have been so darn busy

Hey all,

I apologize for the posts being so few and far in between this past month. One of my clients had major network melt-downs in Mexico, and most of my waking time has been spent on trying to repair the network, the rest on trying to locate a home for my family.

On the finding a home front, I emailed my boss last week about the fact that I am pushing further and further away from Vancouver in an effort to find something that is affordable, and in a safe place for my family. I noted that I am now looking at over two hours commute for a crummy place that I share with someone else living in either an upper or lower suite. The houses are aging terribly, and the last one I looked at had a weird layout, and smelled musty in one room, and another room needed extensive repair to be livable.

That one cost $1500/month. The cheapest I have found so far that would suit my family. Oh, and the backyard was completely paved. No grass.

So, I asked that I either receive a raise to reflect the fact that I am now living in the most expensive city in Canada, or they relax, and let me move to Vancouver Island, where i have found full 4-5 bedroom houses for 1200-1400/month with huge yards and views of the ocean.

On Monday, my boss said he would talk it over with his partner, and get back to me the next day. I still haven't heard back.

So, we are moving to the Island. On the mainland, I'm looking at houses that are now two and a half hours commute without traffic, as opposed to two hours from the Island with traffic.

They'll either need to deal with it, or let me go. I updated my profile online the day before yesterday, just because I hadn't done so in a long time, and I've been hammered with calls and job offers ever since. There's a market for what I do, and I won't go hungry. I enjoy the company I work for, and the variety I get. I would prefer to stay with them, and that choice will be up to them. I have two weeks until I am supposed to bring my family out here, and when I asked for consideration, I had three weeks, and heard nothing. I really don't care if the CEO is busy, when an employee reaches out, presents the facts, and alternatives, as well as welcomes ideas he may not have thought of, you need to get back to him asap.

I've been in contact with both of them since that email, and the topic was avoided. Oh well.

I can't bring my family out to live with me in this RV as it is too small for a family of four. The company needs to deal with my choice of where I live. Especially since I work 95%+ from home anyways.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Just a rant, feel free to skip over this post

I'm just ranting in this post. This blog is about my life, and times in an RV, and everything that comes with it. Sometimes, I need to vent.

This past couple weeks have been incredibly stressful for me. I have the typical stress of work, compounded by an issue with a client that has taken over a week to get results, and I've been spending nearly 12 hours a day trying to resolve for the past week, coupled with trying to find a home for my family.

My wife wants to know about where we're going to be living asap as she's stressed out with the uncertainty we're currently facing. This is understandable for numerous reasons. I'm trying to find something on the mainland to appease my company, and my wife is still looking on the Island. I have to figure out how to approach my company for either a raise so I can afford to live on the mainland, or somehow make them understand that I need to live on the island where it's cheaper.

Seriously, I work 95% of the time remotely. For the first 6 months of my employment, I handled my clients in BC from Calgary. It's not going to magically change to me being in client offices daily now that I am here. In fact, it hasn't.

I am in the process of getting a line of credit to put all of our debt under one monthly payment, which at most (from talking to the bank) will be around $600/mth if I spend it all, over the $2000 we're paying now to try and cover everything, and falling terribly behind. I need to coordinate with people in order to get that done as well.

I have so much stress right now that I can't even process it all, and I just don't know what to do to regulate it all. I have never understood why people think that everything happens within a couple minutes or a day or two just because they want it to. It does not work that way, and expecting me to wave some sort of magic wand and everything falls into place "or else" is a terrible thing to put onto a person.

I'm not a money person. I am a work, and get paid, and let the money go where it needs to without me thinking about it person. I like to work, and not think about money. I can, on my own, just live. I don't like to shop, I really don't care for new things. My money can be spent just handling what needs to be done. Debts added up more due to the recession in 2009, and then a layoff last year didn't help.


Okay, end rant. If you actually read this, I apologize. I just needed to vent.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Not too much to report

It's been quiet here for a bit, mostly because I have been so busy with an issue affecting a clients site in Mexico. I even worked for 12 hours yesterday on what should be my day off trying to get the site back online. It's been rough!

On Friday, I sanded and painted my furnace cover and the A/C hood. I found a dark grey, and I think it works well as an accent.

Today, I'm listening to music, and cleaning up the RV. I did some more sanding today on the cabinet doors that still need to be painted for the kitchen. I need to wait to buy more paint sadly. This next week is supposed to be beautiful, with no rain, so I'm a little sad I can't get the rubber roof mix to reseal the roof of the RV. It would be fantastic to be able to get that done. Most of the roof is bare metal currently, and the paint that was up there is peeling away. Thankfully, the first month and a half out here has proven there's no leaks, but I'd like to reseal regardless.

I was hoping to go down to the waterfront yesterday, but I couldn't because of work, and today is scheduled for other things. Perhaps next weekend. It's going to get to 21C/70F today, and I'm loving that! It's so sunny, and the breeze is just right. That is my perfect temperature.

My kitty, Loki, has been enjoying being outside today, and has spent about four hours so far just hanging out. He was digging a hole earlier to lay in, so it must have been warm for him. Maybe I'll give him a trim and thin out that long hair for the summer...

Loki started to dig in the dirt, and find himself a cool spot to lay down. Once he was covered in dirt, he happily bolted inside the RV, then came back out after a couple minutes of shedding the dirt.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The house sold in Calgary

When I first embarked on this journey to BC without my family, the plan was that my wife and child would be in Calgary until perhaps end of June, or July. During which time, I would be able to get finances figured out, save money and find a place for us here.

My mother in-laws house recently sold, and the move date is now May 29th. So I now have a month and a half to get things settled. With the costs of paying bills in both places, I haven't been able to save anything yet, so now I'm stressed out a bit. I need to come up with at least $3000 in a month and a half. This would be very easy if I wasn't paying so many bills. Then there is the matter of locating suitable housing in Vancouver. The cost of living is very high here, and housing is incredibly high. Average price for a 3 bedroom home is around 1700-2000 per month.

I pulled out my budgeting spreadsheet to start working out what I can afford. This spreadsheet came from Gail Vax Oxlade's website, a financial advisor who has a TV show here in Canada called, Til Debt Do Us Part. It was an in-depth worksheet, but there were other financial online tools that should be used with it that were not available. I took these tools, and I merged them, and added several other sheets to the work book.

Basically, your monthly housing expenses shouldn't go over 35% of your monthly income, and other calculations. Based on my current salary, without the quarterly bonuses, I can afford housing at about $1350/mth. There is nothing in Vancouver for that price except one bedrooms, or studio apartments. We require no less than three bedrooms.

On the Island however, there is plenty of living for that price, and much nicer homes as well. My company wants me to stay on the mainland as this is where the majority of my clients are. This means I am now working out all the math in order to approach them for a raise. If a raise is out of the question, then they need to permit me to move to the Island.

Their concern is the time to commute. All in all, there's an hour and a half trip across the Straight of Georgia, then the 40 minute bus trip to downtown Vancouver. So, a little over two hours of commute. Many places here on the mainland are also a similar commute. There's one big difference though. The ferries have Wifi, and I don't have to drive. I can actually work while commuting, something I cannot do while commuting on the trains and busses here.

Their reasoning is also that it would be hard if I suddenly got a call that needed me to come in for a 7am meeting. Well, for one, this is BC, and while the people here dress very nice, they're so laid back that I cannot get into a client office until around 9am. This has been my experience so far. The only time I have ever had a meeting early in the morning, has been because of my companies CEO.

IF for some reason, I got a call that one of my clients oddly needed me in at 7am, the ferries first trip of the day starts at 5am, which means I would be downtown Vancouver for 7am if I left that morning. The reason I bought this RV, aside from the need for a place to stay in the meantime, was to have a place to stay when I needed to be in the city. The last ferry of the night is at 10pm, and I have never heard of a company calling a meeting for the next morning that late.

It's doable, it's just convincing the company that it is. So today, I am working out all the logistics. Average cost of a home for my family, average travel time, what I need to earn, etc.

This is going to be interesting. I've never been restricted to location for where I can live before, and it's doubly weird that this company is imposing this restriction, being that I work 95% remotely... So far, the only reason I have been in a client office in the month I have been out here is to meet the client. Otherwise, I do everything for them remotely. I just don't get this...

Hopefully it will all work out.

If you are interested in getting my spreadsheet, I have made it available here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

90% complete on painting

I cannot believe what a difference a little painting does!

This past weekend was a four day weekend due to Easter, and I was able to focus on painting. I lost track of time and was painting until about 1am, but the results are certainly worth it. I got to work on the most disruptive part of the job which was the kitchen and dining room wall.

I took advantage of the beautiful days this weekend brought and worked outside on what I could.

The most important thing is light coats. Two coats should be enough, but don't make it thick. It'll take longer to dry.
There is not a lot of room in the RV to be moving so much stuff away from one area, so I really wanted to get it done as soon as possible. Now at night, I can see inside the RV a little better as the lighter paint reflects more light, and during the day the RV just seems so much bigger.

I removed the terrible pillars from one side of the kitchen counter, and took down the tacky spice rack as well. Those two items being gone has really opened up the space as well. I painted the wall around the range for now even though it will eventually be covered by new tile, just so it looks complete for now.

The remaining portion of the kitchen is the cabinet doors, and I should have enough paint left to do those four doors. Once that is complete, I have the bedroom area, the one wall in the bathroom, and the loft left. Then the entire RV will be painted!

Once that is all complete, and that most likely won't be able to happen until next payday, i'll get to work on painting the range and oven, the overhead vent fan, the sink, and the fridge. My wife and I are thinking of going with a brushed nickel look to accent the new countertops.

After that, it's on to changing out all the existing lighting for updated lights and LED's. Eventually, it'll be onto the ceiling and replacing one section that has become brittle with age, and I'm thinking of using a grey/white wallpaper.

Speaking of wallpapers, I'm seen that decals appear to be making a comeback, and I might look into adding a little flair with some decals on the most bland walls. This project is coming along nicely!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Safely running 30amp power now

When I first looked at this RV before buying it, I thought it was a little weird that it had a 15amp connection on it. The previous owner said that it was like that when he got it and everything always worked. They just didn't run too many appliances at once.

After a couple weeks in the RV, everything seemed fine. I was only running my lights and fridge off the power, so there really was nothing to worry about. I ran out of propane after just under two weeks and had to run the a/c on it's heater at night for a couple days until the next propane delivery came through, and that's where the problems started. I would shut off my fridge at night and run the heater. Now, and A/C unit pulls about 17amps from what I have read online.

So I started looking into my electrical setup. Turns out that I am in fact set up for 30amp right at the breaker. Thus, I was going to need to buy a new plug for the RV and get it switched out right away.

Yesterday, I took a trip to Fraserway RV which is about a 45 minute transit trip to buy a replacement plug. Today, I got it installed and I can safely sleep at night knowing that I am not going to burn the RV down!

Unplugging the RV to get to work, I came across a very unsettling scene. I had been pulling too much power and had actually melted the plug and receptacle. This is where fires start folks. I'm so grateful that a fire never broke out...

After removing the old 15amp plug, I got to work on cleaning up the wires. Cutting off the old stuff, and changing the lengths to match as best I can to the new plug. Taking apart the new plug is easy, and there's even instructions on where the cables go. Not that they are needed mind you. The manufacturer was good enough to actually colour code the prongs! You can lose the paper, and still never worry.

The rubber that goes around the cable to make a seal against water needed a little grease to get on. It's that snug of a fit. Only grease I had to use was my bacon grease from breakfast. Worked like a charm, and I didn't need to worry about touching my mouth. lol

Next step was to split the wires into two sides to go around the terminals. This all took a bit of finesse, and wiggling to get right. What I did was simply take each terminal out, and connect the wire. The washer that goes with the terminal is round, with two sides trimmed, so you need to make sure that when screwing everything down, that the sides meet up properly in order to get past the raised sides and secure the cables.

Now that everything is connected and put back where it needs to go, it's time to put the cover back on, and start it up! Everything worked like a charm, and I can now safely enjoy all the electrical in my RV! This is a good thing since the summer heat will be coming soon, and I'm probably going to need the A/C.

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