Update on last post

Real quick-like: While I’m in favor of doing exactly what I’d said in the last post (and wasn’t 110% “all up in” going in debt for 23 years to begin with,but as the expression goes “if Mama ain’t happy,ain’t nobody happy!” ;) :P ),when we contacted the realitor to update him about interest in that land,he promptly replied back that he “potentially has other,better,less expensive options than Vanderbuilt” on a similar (if not the same) unit and the same piece of property,so we’ll be trying to meet/sit down with him over this long weekend and discuss options. My thoughts? I do so love that porperty (enough to want to go into debt to buy it),but wishing karma/whoever would simply make their minds up one way or the other so’s I can commit to an emotional response and go on about my business wither way,LOL :P

That is all (for now…),wishing you a wonderful weekend :)

Posted in General Life Stuff | 3 Comments

Alternative Thoughts

As I’ve been known to tell the Wife (especially in recent times),the most economical route to our current issues of home ownership,would simply be to do what’s necessary to correct a few of the lies we were told when we bought/moved into this place. It was described as “Beautifully remodeled” and “any/all issues repaired/in excellent condition” (that last one wasn’t far from true,but I digress…different story there). With the Wife wanting to go even more-so into debt (she’s now looking at 35 year mortgages on houses out of our budget range…),I think it’s high time to put my proverbial foot down before we get ego’d into signing more of our lives away than we’re willing to lose.  See,part of the whole “living smaller/simplifying/etc” thing for me was to get out of debt ,or at least to do so sooner than later,not to go deeper into debt (unless for a nice piece of land to call ours) or for decades longer than we currently are.

I believe it’s high time to get some serious DIY going on around here,time to begin a complete remodeling/rebuilding/and the making of what we already own of our own design,utilizing modern design and small/tiny house innovations while giving it a “real house” and a homey,classic feel once inside the door. Of course,the beauty of deciding to do such is,we need not go into more debt to do so,simply do one room at a time as we have budget each month ;) The Wife has begrudgingly agreed to give it a try,to see how it goes and what we think/how we feel as it goes,but she does so with an eyebrow raised with skepticism. Fair enough.

Problem area first. We have only a few “real” problems (things that really bug us) here,most we can fix/solve,some we have potential to do so,and some we simply cannot,at least while our trailer sits here in this rented lot,in this park. No need to go into the ones we “can fix/solve“,as we’ll delve into those soon enough.

A few of the more major “potentially fix” would be no longer having a shed/workshop (and thus having all of my hobby things and at least 3 bicycles parked in the living room),not having privacy/roof on our small porch,and in-front neighbors who are continually having scream-fests at one another (with doors open),as well as their beyond-infestation of bugs (yes…those bugs,the ones every person dreads seeing anywhere they live) which they refuse to deal with (thus ensuring all of their neighbors have hella fits keeping their own places bug free).

I suppose my Dad and I will get together and build a portable/movable shed of modest size (from 8’x10′ to 10’x12’…we dont’ wanna build one and then leave it in a few years ;) ). Nothing fancy or expensive,using as many reclaimed materials as possible*. Ditto for a porch roof,and then maybe buy some lattice to build 3 walls from,a lockable swinging gate for the door,and maybe screen it in for flying insect-free evening sitting.

As for the neighbors…I think it’s overdue for the other neighbors and I to stop “just standing around complaining about it”,get organized and start taking formal,legal action against them and the park management to have force them to de-infest/take care of their bug problems,or if in case of an extreme refusal to comply (this is a health issue for all of their neighbors,after-all,not even counting the aggervations of living next to a group of incestful-not kidding there-loud and obnoxious people who are always bumming their way through each week,among many other things). I wouldn’t want to be responsible for anyone being evicted,but I’m also sick of spending hundreds each month in a losing battle to keep our own home bug free. The park management knew ahead of time that this was an issue with them,and entered into breech of contract with all of us by not “disclosing” that information,let alone not doing anything about it. Will be treading lightly here,with respect given to everyone involved.

A few of the “cannot fix” issues: It’s a trailer park,and all that that entails,despite it’s “semi-gated community” appearance. We cannot park our camper here (despite the fact that absolutely nothing is said preventing any such thing in the lease contract we signed on the lot). There are so many (and rather large,diagonally placed) speed-bumps here that when I say “it’s a real pain”,I mean actual,physical pain with both the Wife’s lower back and my own spinal issues-some days are worse than others on that. Once P.I.F. (paid in full ;) ),we have bought our own land,yanked this place out of here,these issues will be solved,and we could do the final DIY project (more modern-ish “A roof”,vinyl siding/etc…things we don’t wish to do until it’s moved**).

First things first though (not referring to the planning stage)…neither of us have ever done any “home improvements” (though I have helped on a few porch/shed buildings in my day),so there are books to read/e-read (Woohoo! :D ),and honestly,I would like to have some practice…so I’ll start with the 2 least visible (or otherwise not as important visually) rooms that we have,the hallway and the “toilet room” (separate little room in our/master bathroom just for the toilet) before tackling the more often used/seen rooms,sometime during next month (September),starting with the hall (that goes from the family room,to the kid’s bedrooms and bath room).

It’s not a simple “mask and paint” job. Trailers have these thin strips every few feet on the wall (vertical) to cover pieces or drywall (or paneling on older models). We don’t like these strips,they greatly irk the both of us (disproportionately so),LOL! I’ll be removing those,and filling the “cracks” (between the pieces),and then prepping and painting the walls. I intend/plan to yank up the carpeting as well,and (using reclaimed wood,prossibly from CL where possible) laying real hardwood flooring down (complete with the polishing and staining),and designing/building a shoe-cubby against the wall to house all of our shoes that currently get piled up at the door (which would also give me place to stow my hats on top of and out of the way),and then design/build a coat rack for the remainder of the wall past the shoe/hat cubby to the end (bathroom).

So anyways,some lemonade we’re thinking (HARD) about with lemons we were given this week. Happy long weekend/Labor Day,everyone :)

 

 

*In all honestly,there’s a high probability that I already own all of the “reclaimed materials” we would need,only needing to make trip and take them from the burned house.

**We have a solid,non-leaking roof currently,and as this will be a mostly cosmetic choice for us,that we wish to incorporate some solar panels when we do it,and we fear damage when it is yanked out of here/moved if we were to do that first…it will wait. In the mean-time,a good sprucing up with all new “real” guttering (not that crap that is supposed to have passed as guttering in 1998 on trailers) and a well prepped/applied coating of paint for the outside will do.

Posted in General Life Stuff | 3 Comments

Of Common Core (Obama’s Math) and Mortgages

Well,here’s the gist…we were approved on a $93,000 land/home package,which came out to right at $750 per month for 23 years,paid bi-weekly,with 8% down payment (I’d previously thought it to be 10%,but paperwork shows 8%). Not wanting to spend quite so much (with the Camry and camper payments,plus knowing my limited fixed income will lose 1/6 of it’s meager monthly amount when the Girl turns 18 come February as well),we opted for a less expensive option.

That “less expensive option” was,obviously,the singlewide I’d mentioned,which is advertised as “SUPER SLASHED PRICING! SPECIAL FINANCE RATES!! LOWER DOWN PAYMENT!!!” on their sign. Well,we got approved on that as well (no surprise there),here’s the rub. For 23 years,to be paid by-weekly,with 13% required down payment and their “special financing”,the payment on the singlewide with less than half of the square footage and less land,the payment comes out to………..$737 per month :o They must be using Common Core (Obama’s) math on that one.

So tomorrow,I will drive down to Oakwood Homes’ lot,express my gratitude to the salesman (Johnny-a really nice guy that we share church with) for all of the legwork that he personally put into this for us (it isn’t his fault Vanderbuilt Finance company is a bunch of……I best hush,LOL :P ),and then will stop by the finance company’s office on the way home,and tell them exactly where to shove their “special financing” (well,they kinda went out of their way to get the Wife and Kids all excited,then try to rip us a new one…),inform them that they “had” a customer who would have been paying them until his 60’s,but that now one of their competitors will have them.

Truth be told,that’s not really the reason I’m in such a dramatically darker mood this evening. I give my in-front neighbors credit for that. It’s pretty bad a man can’t even go out and mow his lawn without being bombarded with “can I bum this” and “can I bum that”,and without seeing a never-bathes nasty lady sitting at her open back door staring at him while licking her lips and with hand in bra….sigh. Yeah,I’m aggervated we won’t be moving sooner than later (park management has been telling me for over a year “they’ve been served move-papers,they’re on their way out”…yeah,uh huh :/ ). Screw it,Ima go bike camping soon.

Posted in General Life Stuff | 2 Comments

Random Thoughts and Goings On

There hasn’t been a lot going on around here the last week or so-no rides,no major trail runs with the new RC rigs (I have had them out,nothing unexpected or not normal,and since I have yet to print out the wedding pics I had no memory left on the SD card so I haven’t shot any pics,so no need talk much about it :P ). We have went a step or three closer on thinking of a new home (which includes making agreed-upon compromises on our differing ideals of how we wanted to spend life living,more on that in a bit),but other than that,it’s been “life as usual”,which is never a bad thing :)

The “differing ideals on how we wanted to spend living life”,at least as how pertaining to housing are fairly simple…the Wife has aspirations of moving up to newer and larger homes,I have aspirations of building simpler and smaller. Not really so much as “as far as the east is from the west” kind-of differing philosophies,LOL,but opposites indeed. For 22+ years,though,we’ve known that we were relatively opposites in most aspects of everything,but we’re the personification of the expression “opposites attract”,and we fit very well together,most often finding a middle ground we both make happy living in on most everything. Besides,where it really matters,she and I are one and the same person anyways (insert a big heart smilie here). This issue is no different,we found a middle ground where we can both be satisfied,if not blissful.

We’ve owned or rented houses as large as 2,500 square feet in the past,our current single wide mobile home being somewhere between 1,200 and 1,300. She admitted that the square footage we have here “will be plenty,seeing as one of our birds is a short time from leaving the nest,possibly”,but of course I wanted to go smaller…not quite “Tiny House Movement” small,but like “small house movement” (if there were one on-going),thinking that 350-450 square feet being plenty for she and I,but wanting to build/buy 500-650 square feet seeing as how currently both kids live in house/at home with us. So,we agreed to split the difference,and look for a home of around 800-900 square feet. With that solved and agreed upon,the next thing to think about was “what kinda home? new or used?” (note that with the Girl being a Senior in high school,and the Boy having made great friends and playing sports here,not to mention the Wife having a good job-note that I didn’t say “the best paying job” there,but those aren’t necessarily one and the same ;)-moving out of this school district wasn’t even considered,isn’t an option,so that much is/was easy).

As I’m too “disabled” to have reasonable expectation of ability to build our home (nevermind the expense of such)-not that I have the know-how to do such anyways-and not wanting to either go through all of the hoops and headaches of buying a house used (potentially inheriting someone else’s nightmare of a lemon in the process),and having spent several “moves” in “mobile homes” (including here,our last residence,and not the least of which our burned house oft spoken of being a “double wide”),and that buying one is akin to buying a new car (very little headache…basically,get credit approval,sign and drive away ;) ),we decided that would be a pretty good fit for us. Besides,modern mobile homes have a much higher quality than even our current home has (it’s a 1998 Clayton 14’x80′ single wide),and the pricing/financing isn’t  outrageous high either.

So,long story short,we’ve started the process,and have leaped across 3 of 4 hurdles to buying one (gotten credit approval,decided on/picked a unit,an Oakwood 825 square foot 3 bedroom unit,and found a piece of land we fell in love with,2.1 acres just inside the school district-but out in the country,within our budget/price-range,no less). All that’s left is for them to let us know how much of a down payment will be required,and to see if we can manage that now,or have to wait until tax refund season.

Anyways,nothing more on that to talk about really,just a waiting game,so onto other,lesser things. I’ve finished reading a few e-books,and read 3 newly started ones on the Kindle in the past couple of weeks (on of which was a monster of a book,having 900+ pages in print form…I’ve been hitting/missing on that one all year,LOL :P ),and as it’s always inconvenient to read my basic-model,non-backlit Kindle while on trail/camping trip (needing exterior lighting placed strategically so I could see it after the sun sets),I ordered a shiny new Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon a couple of days ago,and am seriously considering the ordering of a 14-16 watt portable solar charger that I can take along with,strap down to the top of the tent as it rides on the rack to recharge as I ride. Sounds like a neat idear to my ear,as the Boy could also charge his Nintendo DS or tablet (on which we could potentially download movies onto to watch while camping,inaddition to the games he has on there). Yeah…..we like to “rough it”,hahaha :P

I had flirted with the idear of selling my Jeep (WHAT?!? :o :P ) and replacing it with a full size long wheel base van a bit last week. I should note,that at that time,I was travelling nearly 500 miles round trip for what I’d planned to be a bike/road trip to do some bike-camping over last weekend,but after making the drive it didn’t work out*. Anyways,I could certainly repair/fix the ole XJ’s cruise control and air conditioning,but at a steady 75-80MPH for 2-3 hours at a stretch,it will always be a bit (read:considerably…) loud,as well as feel under-powered on the interstate (it feels like a muscle-man off road,to be so close to stock,though…everything’s relative),thinking that I could use it as a mobile bike-shed (always having bikes with me,while still retaining seating for a minimum of 5 peeps),that it would be better suited for monthly road tripping,not to mention that it would yank our little 20’er Jayco camper anywhere we wished without even noticing it was there,all while at  bare minimum matching (if not exceeding) the average MPG’s the Jeep turns in. Ultimately,I decided that while I do wish to buy a van for just those reasons within a year or two,I just can’t part with the ole Jeep…I enjoy it too much,and still have too many aspirations of offroad fun and over-landing a bit with it.

On the Surly Troll-front,I have nearly everything I need to convert it to dedicated mtn bike now,with the order currently being shipped from Amazon (note: had my trusty bike shop friends been able to match the prices I found to within 30-35%,I would have went that route,but they couldn’t). I have an Truvativ 60mm zero rise aluminum stem and Origin 8 Space Off Road II handlebars coming,leaving only tires and rim-tape for the new wheels. Pics…

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Still kind of a roadish/cruising handlebar,but designed with mtn biking in mind,and I’ve ridden with “alt bars” on and off road before. My train of thought was that these could serve well on either long on or off road (trail or gravel),loaded or empty. Plus,I’m digging the all-blackness of it’s newest setup. I suppose I’ll run to the bike shop and pick up some decent rim-tape and get the new wheels ready for the new tires (which I will order soon*) to come.

Well,other than lots of day-dreaming of bike and Jayco trips in amongst the routines of everyday life,that’s about it for here lately. When I get the Troll parts in and installed,I’ll post up pics of it (assuming I remember to either print off those wedding pics,LOL,or buy a second SD card :P ). Happy Hump Day,everyone! :)

 

 

 

*I’m probably going to order up a pair of CST Heathen tires,26″ x 2.25″,wire beads. Kevlar beads are always lighter (plus they fold neatly and take up less space),but I’m not really being weight conscious on this bike…I don’t race,and I’m not obsessive about every gram like some riders tend to be (not that there’s anything wrong with that,I’m just not). Plus,I’ve found this tire on sale online for under $13 each (+ shipping),which is an unreal price,even for a budget priced brand of tire these days. I’ve ran CST tires in the past (on my much loved/missed Vassago Jaberwocky 29″er singlespeed) and were pleased with them (aside from the weight penalty they bring with them…it’s rotational mass :P ),they wore well,and worked well on trails I frequent. On malady with CST tires is they tend to be a bit undersized for the size (width/thickness) that they claim…the 29″ x 2.25″ size they claimed on the units I ran on the Jabberwocky were much closer to 29″ x 2.1″ in actuality. This wouldn’t be an issue,but the Troll has this sticker on the chainstay that reads “Fatties Fit Fine”,and I know it will fit 2.5″ to 2.7″ wide tires….skinnies look kind-of out of place on it,but I digress…..

 

Posted in Bike Projects, Camper, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, General RC Banter | 2 Comments

And Like Sands Through The Hour Glass,These Are The Days of Our Lives Post

      Actually,there was a time I was hooked on that show several years ago,LOL! It was a time that I was off work for 5 1/2 months,injured,recouping,doing daily physical therapy and able to do little else besides watching daytime television :P How did I cope? By realizing that I had a brand new finger internally with cool titanium bits holding it together….and that I was being paid $635 per week just to sit there the entire time,hahaha!

      This has been a fairly busy week,to have not accomplished much. Aside from the sending of a friend to a new home (see last post),the kids both went back to school,I was almost able to get together to meet some cool people/blog buddies in person,I got some parts in for the RC rigs,and,and…..not much else.

      This year is to be the Girl’s last year as a high school student,she’s officially a senior now. There’s even been talk of her having opportunity to graduate early (after 1st semester),as she will have more than enough credits to do so at that point. At this point,however,she hasn’t made any decision on the matter,she’s torn between going for it and taking that time as her “vacation”/”finding herself” time or re-entering the work-force,but she’s also much tempted to continue,grab some extra credits to go towards her first years of college to be ahead of the game. Both sound like decent ideas to me,for different reasons.

      The Boy entered his first year ever outside of an elementary school,now in 7th Grade,he’s officially a middle school. So far so good,at the end of week 1,he’s not hating it,LOL :P

      Good friends and good people Rob and Chelsea from Arrow’s West blog (here on WordPress) were driving through this area on their adventure trip from old home in PA (I think it was) to new home in Colorado,using as many all dirt roads as humanly possible. Due to bear aggervations (I know that’s spelled wrong,it’s a DC-ism :P ),unfamiliarity with the area/distances/travel times and my schedule with the kids school and shipping the On One to it’s new owner,sadly we missed the chance to get to meet face to face and share a cold Mtn Dew. This saddened me,I was really looking forward to meeting those guys,but sometimes it just happens,I suppose. I want to take a moment to wish them a fun and memorable,safe and interesting journey,sending them thoughts,prayer and much envy of their trek.

      For the RC4WD Trail Stomper,I was able to find and score some of RC4WD’s super softly sprung red leaf springs to swap on,which should give it much more flex (and thereby more trail capability),and for the new SCX10 Honcho (Axial),I ordered/received an aluminum link kit (identical to the one I own but have yet to install on my SCX10 Jeep),which includes suspension links as well as steering links,to cure the relative slop of the plastic pieces. I’m still waiting on one item ordered at the same time,a Proline 1992 Jeep Cherokee crawler body (big surprise there,huh? :P ),so I can semi-replicate my 1:1 (real) ’98 XJ,tracking says it’s shipped,but it must be a very slow boat it’s on.

      Not much else going on around the DC’s Place this week,other than lots of day dreaming of smaller/simpler living,semi-off grid in a cabin somewhere (I’m always day dreaming about that ;) ),window shopping online for mtn specific parts to complete the Surly’s dedicated-mtn bike transformation*,pre-planning a possible overnight/weekend bike trip for the near future,etc. In other words,lots of doing not much,but that’s ok,a week semi-off is needed once and a while.

      I hope everyone has an awesome weekend :)

 

 

 

 

*All it really needs at this point (now that I already have the wheel-set on hand) is a pair of fat tires,a stem and set of handlebars (and some elbow grease,of course,removing the racks and road-ish bits). I’ve always dug fully rigid steel bikes (and that suspension corrected length steel fork included/on there is a thing of versatility-magic/beauty IMO,with it’s fender and rack mounts,2 H2O cage mounts,disc or rim brake capability,etc),plus it adds a look of being complete,matching the rest of the bike so well. Eventually though,rigid inevitably wears thin on my old spinal injuries,especially on really technical,rocky or root filled trails,so at some point I may look into a nice 100mm air sprung fork…if I have to,I’m digging that sweet Troll fork for now :)

Posted in Bike Projects, Cherokee, General Life Stuff, General RC Banter | 4 Comments

On One Inbred: SOLD

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I had all but decided a little while back that I would most likely sell my beloved On One,having built up the Surly earlier this year. It was actually the plan while planning the Surly build,it’s why I chose the Troll,the built in versatility in the frame would potentially allow me to “need” fewer bikes for the same differing types of riding I want to do. Same ride options,less equipment needed,more free space.

I did really like the On One,though,it rides well,isn’t overly heavy (certainly not the lightest SS I’ve ever owned,however),handles great (good geometry built into the design) and such,plus you just don’t see one every time you ride down the trail (in fact,being a Brittish company,I’ve never seen one in person other than this one,only on bike forums).

Oddly,though,as popular as Surly Bikes frames/forks are,I rarely see one of them on trail either*-that’s a plus for me,BTW,I’ve never been much of one for “cookie cutter bikes” (bikes just like everyone else’s),and it rides well as well (another classic steel frame).

Anyways,it’s done. The guy seemed very excited about the On One,he’d seen them online and read reviews,and has “been wanting to ride a SS (singlespeed ;) ) for some time now”,but didn’t want to “spend an arm and leg only to find out I wouldn’t like it so much”**. I believe it to be going to a good home. He Pay Pal’d me early this morning,and I shipped it mid day. Bon Voyage,On One,I enjoyed my time with you,may you enjoy many years of smiles and miles of sweet singletrack with your new friend/owner :)

 

 

 

*Before the house fire,living there and riding the Breaks Interstate Park as my local trails,my best riding bud in that area,Deadhead Dave rode a Surly Instigator,and I see the occasional Long Haul Trucker (Surly’s road touring rig),and rarely but sometimes see a Surly fat bike in the shop for an upgrade/maintenance/repair,but that’s about it.

**That’s exactly what I was saying back in  2002 when I bought my first design specific dedicated SS,the ’02 Redline Monocog,and what I said about 29″er bikes in 2008 when I bought my ’08 Redline d440

Posted in Bike Projects | 2 Comments

A Toast To Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Perkey

Saturday,my very good friend married his best friend,they are no longer just Josh and Maegan,they’re now Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Perkey :D It was a semi/non-traditional wedding (super hero themed,as the both of them are huge comic fans*) that was both very moving,and very enjoyable by everyone in attendance-I’m pretty dang sure that EVERYone (myself included) shed a tear of happy for them,and I know everyone laughed and had a great time.

Unfortunately we ran out of film 3/4 of the way through the ceremony,but hoping to get copies of all the pics we missed when these kids get back from their honeymoon and settle in (there were some GREAT shots that we missed. I don’t know how to post videos (which is what ate up all of our SD card,leaving very little room for pics,LOL :P ),but I would not without first asking permission to do so anyways,so here are pics that my lovely Wife took,several didn’t “come out”,as the camera was on the wrong setting,but these are the ones that came out well…

002 003 004 005 006 007 008  (The Jeep wanted to apologize for photo-bombing their kiss in the next pic :o :P )

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Ladies and Gentlemen,Mr. and Mrs Joshua Perkey; We love you guys,send you lots of love and prayers for a wonderfully blessed and long love filled life together,and thank you for the great,great Honor to have been chosen to share in this special day with you,I was humbled and honored to have stood beside you as your chosen Best Man,and I will never forget,but will always treasure that,my friend :D

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*For eg,each of the Groomsmen and I (Best Man),and of course the Groom (Josh) wore super hero shirts of our choosing underneath our dress shirts,and after the wedding,we took pics of all of us standing with dress shirts coming off as the logo of our chosen character showing. Said in my most bestest Christian Bale’s Dark Knight voice….I’m Batman :P

Posted in General Life Stuff | 3 Comments