Living in a 5X10

Now that we have made the lifestyle changing decision to sell the condo, we had to consider what to do with all the stuff we have in storage. We have had a 10 x 10 storage space for the last year but decided that now we are down-sizing further, we don’t really need it.

We have decided to sell most of our stuff.  A lot has been sent to be sold on consignment and we sold some privately but there are still more personal bits and pieces that have to stay.

Getting rid of stuff can be traumatic but the other side is, that our plan includes an escape clause that says we have enough resources to be able to buy new stuff if we have to. That can be a lot of fun. And besides, it’s only stuff.

Surprisingly, for both of us, this hasn’t been a very difficult experience. Rosalie has always been something of a pack rat and I’m proud to say that she has parted with a lot of stuff I thought we’d be stuck with forever.

The process of moving from a 10 x 10 to  5 x 10 was the hardest part for me. The obvious question of course is, will what we have left, fit in the new location? The only way to check this out is to actually go ahead and do it. We have never been ones to shirk for stepping off the edge so we just went ahead with it.

We wanted our new storage unit to be a little closer to home so we rented a place in Parksville just twenty minutes from the campground. It was cheaper and the whole place is energy self-sufficient. There are solar panels and windmills everywhere.

Our car, actually we call it our little truck, has been amazing both when we moved from the condo to the trailer and now into the smaller storage unit.

We went to the old storage and I, with a look of despair on my face started to sort things out. This for consignment, this for Sally Ann, this for garbage and this to be moved. I, of course, had Rosalie to support me and keep me going; I just wish she wouldn’t kick me so hard.

We opened a lot of the boxes and wondered why we were keeping this stuff in the first place. We took three large carloads to the Sally Ann including a chest of drawers that we should have parted with years ago.

I had built storage shelves from 2 x 2’s, that had to be dismantled and reinstalled in the new unit so we had to empty it before moving it. We moved carloads of stuff and eventually we found that we had moved it all.

Surprisingly, when we had finished we were left with room in the new unit for yet more stuff. I just hope that Rosalie doesn’t see this as she will find ways to fill it to the top.

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Gardening

This is not the best location for gardening but I thought I would give it a try. I started out cautiously and only made a 5 X 5 raised bed. If it’s successful (yea right.) I will expand it next year.

We got a bunch of mixed topsoil and mulch last year and I shoveled it into the box. We supplemented this when we went with Peter and Suzie to the beach to get a load of seaweed. I washed it off and dumped it on top of the dirt and left it for the winter.  We have some flowers that somehow survived the previous year even though we did our best to kill them off; we are not the best gardeners.

I planted garlic in October just before we left for Mexico and was Inspired by the fact that it was a foot high when we got home in spite of the great storm of 2018.  The tree fell close but missed the garden.

We were told that the best time to plant garlic was on the  October full moon at midnight naked. I stayed warm but poor old Rosalie froze her butt off.

After carefully choosing which veggies we are going to destroy this year I proceeded to plant and sow. Rosalie refused to have anything to do with it as we have been disappointed many times before. Probably a smart move. I noticed that she insisted on planting peas though as she likes to eat them off the vine. However, she had better save some for me.

I installed a timed sprinkler system a few years ago for the flowers but had to dismantle it when we built the sunroom. So now I have to find all the pieces and install it again just in case we have to go away for any length of time.

Perhaps we should invest in some marijuana plants now that it’s legal, (not that that would stop us.) With all the shortages we could make a fortune. I won’t though as it would be unfair to see all the local deer who get at the garden stoned out of their minds. To say nothing of Rosalie and the neighbours sneaking some.

I’m also going to try some of the upsidedown hanging tomato plants again this year as we were partially successful last year. I like them as it feels like you are torturing them without actually hurting anything. (I think I need help.)

If, in the Fall, you find me pestering you to take excess veggies then you know we were successful; but don’t count on it.

BGE vs Instant Pot

The battle has begun! Since I bought the Big Green Egg I have been the master of specialty cooking at our house. However, last year a usurper showed up in the form of an Instant Pot.

At first, I was happy with the arrangement. But then things started to change. As Rosalie got more proficient she wanted to cook things that should only be done on a BBQ; Like spare ribs. We duked it out and eventually, I gave in knowing that there was no way she could cook them as well as I can.

She did her thing and pulled them out of the pot all white and looking pathetic. (The ribs not her.) I made fun of them, especially when she begged me to brown them up on The Egg.

I did this with a smug look on my face knowing they would be terrible….I was wrong! They were delicious. Now the smug look had jumped from me to her. I think it was the browning on The Egg that did it but she doesn’t buy that and still insists it was the pot.

She has done a number of delicious foods in The Pot but is going to get a fight from me if she finds out that she can cook steaks or hamburgers in it.

While in Mexico we found a recipe for making Instant Pot wine. I can’t wait to try that, also, it’s more like what it should be used for. That and cooking beans or other veggies but not BBQ food.

Rosalie wants to take one to Mexico later this year as we can’t seem to buy one down there. We’ll have to take it as checked baggage and pay the extra. I can see security when they find it’s a pressure cooker stuffed with some of my undies and T-shirts.

I found this on Chive the other day and I was very reminiscent of what I’m going through.

Since we got rid of our old deep fat fryer (not healthy) I had to have some way to fry French fries so I wanted an air frier (more healthy.) We picked one up at Canadian Tire for a good price and Rosalie is very happy with it. Notice I said, Rosalie. I haven’t used it once yet. She has started to cook pizza in it, something I was looking forward to doing on the BGE. I’m pretty sure she can brown the ribs with it also.

OMG I think I created a monster and now I’m hearing about slow cookers. But the real challenge is…can she cook a whole turkey? I think not!

 

To sell, or not to sell, that is the question

While in Mexico we decided to sell our condo in Nanaimo and enjoy the fruits of our labours. You know: a new car, a big boat, down to the casino on the weekend, that world cruise. Aaah, but no! Maybe a river cruise sometime but other than that, no!

A lot, but not all, of the people we told this to said the same thing “You have to stay in the market.” The question I have is, how long do you stay in the market and when do you sell your biggest asset and start to enjoy the product of the fifty or more years that you have worked to earn it?

Of course, you can work all that time and leave it to the kids. But we think that we have given our kids the tools to sustain themselves and shouldn’t need our help. If they were in real need we would be there to help if we could but not to make payments on their BMW. If they were that strapped, they can sell the car and get a job at Mc Donalds.

Most people we know have a second or third pension income to sustain them and can only see things from that point of view. But we went through a bankruptcy several years ago and we only have our government pensions to live on. But don’t think we’re poor. We made some smart moves along the way and can now live the kind of lifestyle that we want…but we find ourselves, at times, a little short of cash.

We are minimalists. We don’t crave the big house or the big SUV. We are more than happy to live in our trailer for six months of the year. We’ve never been about keeping up with the Joneses; we enjoy our life the way it is.

So what does it mean when we do sell the condo? First, we pay off the small debts that we still have and then invest the rest. But where to invest? Cannabis stocks seem to be all the rage but until that market stabilizes we are not going there. I’ve heard of some swamp land in Florida but someone beat us to it, too bad, apparently, we could have made a killing.

Without going into personal details, we do have a plan. I mostly have worked on it for the last several months with Rosalie being the editor, mediator and giving me a swift kick when I get over-ambitious. I have built a spreadsheet so that we can change any factor and get an idea of what direction we are going. We have followed a similar plan for the last three years and so far it’s worked fine.

For us, this is a great plan and we’re looking forward to implementing it. For all the friends who have concerns; thank you for caring, but don’t worry, we know what we’re doing; at least I hope so or else Rosalie is going to kill me.

 

Home again

Home at last. This home anyway. We feel as much at home in Mexico as we do here.

When we came back we decided to leave our laptop in storage in Melaque to save space on the flight.

We have an old laptop at the trailer that I planned to use so all was well. Problem was that the old laptop refused to cooperate. It decided to retire permanently, It hicked, it coughed, it died. She is Kaput!

We had to have a computer as we need to do our financing: pay bills etc. Why are we always paying bills: why doesn’t someone give us money for a change,

We had bought a less expensive machine for the last three laptops and they lasted about two years so this time we decided to get a better quality one to last for a while. We drove to Courtenay to find a Best Buy store.

I have always been down on Mac computers because they are so proprietary but I did know that their hardware is the best. My Daughter Lisa is an Apple nut and I give her a hard time about Macs so she will be sitting back and giggling when I say that we have bought a Mac book.

It’s taking a bit of getting used to but I’m managing to sort it out. I’m also finding that they are not as proprietary as they used to be. I can even run Windows on here if I want to. Not that I want to. One of the reasons for not getting a Windows product was because it is becoming so invasive and always updating at an inconvenient time.

We are happy to be back at the campground but have a lot of cleaning up to do after the storm in December. The arbour in the centre of the fence is no more. The top of a white pine tree snapped off, rolled along the fence and wiped it out. We also had some snow problems with the car tent but Julie and Ron sorted those out for us. Thanks, guys.

Some of the damage done. It missed my garlic plants though.

The TV antenna that Peter and I put up last year was totally wrecked. The pole it was mounted on snapped off and I found the antenna in a thousand pieces. So I’m missing the Leafs in the playoffs. We also lost a gutter from the snow load.

The tree hit the table and severely bent two legs but didn’t break the glass.

All is not lost, however: we got Xplornet satellite WiFi install on Thursday. I’m getting so desperate for WiFi I gave up pub day to supervise the installation. So I may get to see a game or two if the Leafs last that long. GO LEAFS!!

I’m writing this seated by the campfire with Rosalie. The rain is beating down, but we are under the gazebo and have wine so we don’t care. After a daily 30 deg C in Melaque, you would think we would be pining to go back. Not so! We enjoy being here in Canada even if it is a lot colder. We love this place, are really enjoying our new lifestyle and looking forward to catching up with our Northern friends.

Scorpion

I was sitting minding my own business just after Rosalie left for bed when I saw what I thought was a gecko but turned out to be a scorpion sauntering across the floor. They look kind of funny. I always imagined them walking with their tails up but this one was flat to the floor. Of all the times we’ve been down here I have never seen one. Rosalie has now seen three.

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Okay! How do I deal with this thing? First, call for Rosalie, it cuts my chance of being stung by fifty percent and I know she’s a lot braver than me; yea right! Well, she did stand behind me and urge me on. I decided to use the old glass and a piece of paper trick so I grabbed a large plastic container and moved in. The fight began.

He wasn’t giving up without a fight. When I finally managed to get the container over the beast I could see his stinger bashing against the side of the container and knew that he was a tad pissed off. Next, I bravely slid a thin plastic cutting board under him. Again with a fight. He was a game little bugger and wouldn’t cooperate at all.

When I finally got him under control I took a closer look at him. They are nifty looking creatures with eight legs, two claws and that nasty little stinger.

We took him outside and I tossed him over the gate to his hard earned freedom. Of course, for the rest of the evening I was nervously looking about for more but fortunately didn’t see any. The next morning I was telling Gerry next door about it and told him I had thrown it over the wall into his patio. Fortunately, he didn’t believe I could be so mean.

Believing that to know your enemy is a good thing, I googled ‘scorpion stings’ and logged into the Mayo Clinic web site. It appears that they are no more dangerous than a nasty wasp sting although far more painful.

All we have to do now is find a name for him. Steve would be good but we already gave that to Peter’s squirrel. We are both somewhat leaning toward ‘Cyrano.’ He doesn’t have a long nose but does have an impressive tail.

Thinking back, I should have thrown him over the back wall from our bedroom window with a tiny parachute and instruction to get that f***ing rooster. That would teach him to wake me up at four am.

The experience was a little unnerving but a least it wasn’t a spider.

 

It’s almost time

Five and a half months have just flown by. Looking back, we did a lot of stuff while we were down here: from horseback riding, trips to PV, eating out and chasing the music, to learning Spanish. It’s been a lot of fun. And then we also had friends and family stay with us or a week or two.

Last weekend being a holiday, there were hundreds of Mexicans from the interior here. The beaches were covered with people having fun. But now they are all gone. We had a drink on the beach yesterday and the whole place seems deserted. There are more stores closed than usual so I think the locals are powering down for the end of the tourist season.

It’s a little strange walking around town. There are very few Nordenoes any more as most have gone home over the past few weeks. Also, we are used to people dropping in as they head uptown, but now, nobody! Gerry and Elaine are still next door and a few other people but that’s about it. We’re starting to feel a bit isolated.

Vic and Suzanne went home on Thursday so the night before we went with them to dinner with friends, Ray and Tere. He is from Ontario and she is Mexican but now has her Canadian citizenship. They also brought her sister Imelda along. They speak English very well and gave us some pointers to help with our Spanish.

We ended up at their home sitting around their pool drinking wine and tequila. We had visited them a few weeks ago and received the grand tour. It’s large and bright because Tere made sure when they built it, that glass blocks were inserted in the concrete ceilings. There is a central courtyard with a large dipping pool and at night it’s lit with fairy lights. It was a good night all around with great company.

Learning a new language has been fun. We have probably doubled our Spanish words and phrases. I can now ask for a beer in four different ways instead of two. I’m very proud of Rosalie though, she doesn’t get stuck very often and when she does we use Google Translate. But it turns out, we can’t totally rely on it.

I came up with my favourite saying “Mi esposa no dice mas” (my wife says no more.) We didn’t think it was quite right but Google Translate said it was, so, good. I used this phrase several times. I did get a few funny looks but mostly I was understood.  It turns out we were right. I was saying, “my wife no says more” After trying a couple of other translator apps I now use the correct way to say it.

There have been a lot of setbacks when learning new words and phrases but we plod on. We have heard things people say, that we thought were wrong, only to find out we were the ones off base. If we do get stuck we ask friendly, English speaking Mexicans for help, who have helped us out many times and seem to love doing it.

This year I was determined to try and use Spanish more, no matter the ensuing embarrassment. The more I use it the more confident I get. I sometimes come up with a Spanish word that has been buried way back in my noggin but then can’t remember what it means.

The problem I have is with understanding when people speak to me in Spanish. They speak very quickly, but I’m noticing that I can pick out more and more words in a conversation now. Numbers still mess with me though. I recently gave a shopkeeper thirty pesos instead of thirteen, he was good enough to give me change, so all was well. Now I have enough money to order two more cervezas in four different ways.