Downsizing continues…

Well, after much ado, a lot of hair pulling, and probably more swearing than is allowed by law, GM has the van back in order.  Just to make it a bit more entertaining, after all of this fixing he has had to do…we have a trailer hitch for the van enroute.  The website warns we may have to drop the exhaust, which thrilled him half to death.

I’m probably lucky that he’s really fond of me, because he certainly is not fond of that mini van right now.

In addition to the hitch assembly that may require work on the exhaust, we have some used parts at a family member’s home about an hour away, including a mirror to replace the one that was damaged in a parking lot incident by some mysterious vehicle.  No more duct tape holding on the mirror, right?

There is also a box coming via the postal service bringing us brake pads, as GM has been worrying about the brakes.  I’ve not driven as much as he has, because I avoid driving because of my medication and physical issues, but I still HAVE driven it.  The brakes aren’t that bad, and I have accused him of being a worry-wart.  He gets grumpy and resentful, so I try to be good.  I agree…brake pads are in order, as brakes are important, and will be even more so if we have a trailer of any kind behind us.  We had opted for the trailer hitch assembly rather than a gps system.  For me, using the laptop in conjunction with a gps sensor is probably just as efficient.  I typically act as the navigator anyhow, and the laptop screen is MUCH larger, and offers more options for navigation than the limited ones offered by a small gps system.  The hitch was very inexpensive from Amazon-less than half the price of the closest competitor, and I was afraid if we didn’t buy that now, it would soon be as expensive as it was everywhere else.  So…hitch it was.

The hitch will also allow us to tow a trailer or the boat, something that was impossible before.  I’m sure we needed that far more than a gadget to replace the laptop in the passenger seat.  Carrying the laptop isn’t that big of a deal, and it certainly can do more than what the gps system would, even if we have dropped our data card for now as we downsize our budget as inflation strikes.

Now, we just have to return the borrowed equipment we’ve had stored in the van for what seems like forever, allowing us to start swapping out things from the storage unit.  That’s another sore point with me.  I had hoped to find more permanent digs than where we’re at, preferably with the ability to have a shed.  We had even decided to start looking for property, and then had that come to a grinding halt with the van’s repair issues.  Now, all of that has to begin again.

Most of all, I’m finding myself regarding the economy with growing fears of instability, inflation, and the political connections.  This mumbling about states’ rights and civil war is very concerning, as in my entire life, it has never been something even whispered, let alone mentioned in public.  Because of that, I would really like to find a place to BE.  I’ve always been a huge advocate of emergency preparedness, and living in New Orleans with Katrina had only driven that fact home.  (I had evacuated to NE Texas the day before it struck, only because my daughter was visiting at the time, and as a diabetic with complications, I had feared we’d need a hospital and wouldn’t be able to navigate there or call an ambulance.  Little did I realize…)  As a life-long country resident, barring the few years I lived in New Orleans (2003-2010), being prepared is a way of life, between storms, floods, and just generally being “out of town” meant you didn’t run to the store every day or even every week.  I can actually say that I have picked my daughter up from school on a horse, which is something that not many parents in this day and age can state.

But, being prepared, even for a couple of weeks, in a travel trailer is definitely pushing it.  Being prepared on my budget is also stretching it.  We need to “stock up” and cut costs, and that means figuring out a way to create some storage space.  We are also looking at gasoline price projections and cringing.  With those predictions putting gas at $8 per gallon, we’re not anticipating a great time of balancing the budget.  So much for no inflation, right?  I’m seeing steady price increases already.  The situation in Egypt is apparently already affecting our stock market too.

So as much as I love the “boonies”, common sense says I need to be careful.  We need internet access–we do too much work online to even dream of being able to contain our monthly usage for a data card contract.  Even two data cards, one for each of us, might be tough to stay under the limits.  I find that the cellphone company’s lack of interest in offering larger data packages bizarre, especially when it is industry wide.  I can find voice packages for almost any size, right up to unlimited voice, but the data card packages are available in only two sizes.  Weird.  I’m also not anticipating the promised nationwide wi-fi to ever come to rural areas in my lifetime.  Dial up is impossible in this day and age, so that means we need to have access to either cable or dsl, and cable is the better option.

That really limits our options for location for a lot.  We also cannot afford a “maybe” or “next month/season/year” answer to whether it is actually available.  I’ve had the phone company go so far as to actually install dsl and have it work for six months before they decided it was not available and disconnected the address.  And that was for a commercial account.  I don’t trust their installations to remain functional after that experience.

Along with all of this unrest, I was given some rather disappointing news regarding my own physical issues from my orthopedic surgeon.  According to him, I’m as good as I am going to get, which means no more therapy, and no more hope that next month, I will regain functional use of my arm again.  That changes the equation a lot, because now I’m heading down the road of insurance settlements, filing for disability, and the long-term pain management issues.  It also means that I’m not ever going to regain the ability to indulge in most of my hobbies and passions, as well as not being able to rejoin the workforce.

That means a lot of downsizing has to occur, everything from long-term budget to daily living.  I had remained optimistic for over a year that “next month” I’d regain functional use of my arm, and now I know…it isn’t going to happen.  I was not prepared to retire now, instead assuming that I had another twenty years of work ahead of me, and this is a financial disaster of totally unexpected proportions.  In addition, for many things, we’d made what we’d assumed were temporary adjustments because of my inability to accomplish many tasks.  Now, we need more permanent ones.

My first recommendation born out of this experience for the travel trailer/RV crowd is to abandon your stoneware dishes in favor of Corelle dishes.  They are much lighter, much  more compact, break resistant, and an excellent choice.  For me, their lighter weight is a godsend, as the stoneware was impossible for me to manage.

So with that, I pump up my optimism, and get on with the things I have to do.  I guess it’s a great opportunity to develop my “finger pointing” skills so that I direct activities and share what I have learned with others at a more hands-on level than I have in the past.  Maybe that’s what it is all about on a larger scale, forcing one generation into a position where they can’t DO it all in order to ensure the next generation learns how to do it at all!


About giascott

Writer, blogger, cook, grandmother, mother, wife, radio personality, outdoor enthusiast, dog enthusiast, crafter, artist, and part-time nut~~I've earned a lot of t-shirts in my day! I'm one of those crazy independent women who can cut down a tree, build you a shed, sew you a dress, cook your dinner, make some soap, pitch a tent, build a fire, catch some fish, dig in the garden, chase a kid or two, write you a poem, paint you a picture, and a dozen other things...just don't ask me to sing! I'm also embarking on a relatively new portion of my life, one of being disabled. I'm learning some lessons along the way about a lot of things too.
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