I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My head is in as much of a topsy turvy state as my room is.

I am trying to sort through stuff in my room and it's hard to do when you don't have any space to divide the 'keep and pack' from the 'garage sale and get rid of' piles. It's a nightmare.

So is my head.

I went out and looked at the Toyota RV I found yesterday. It is owned by an old man who has a big bus RV as well but bought this just for a trip up to Dawson Creek and back, and that is all he's driven it. He got it cheap and in pretty rough shape and proceeded to spend a lot of time and money getting it into shape. It has a rebuilt engine, new alternator and wires, new batteries, new brakes, new rotors, new bearings, new shocks, new toilet, new fridge, new flooring ... and a bunch of other smaller stuff I can't recall. Even though he'd done all that, it was very dirty inside. The vinyl on the cab doors was sticky and dark with grime. The sink in the bathroom was filthy and needed new silicone - what was there was black and no longer attached to the sink. The kitchen taps were loose in the counter. The small bank of plastic drawers inside a cupboard were broken and wouldn't slide in and out very easily. There was almost no storage space other than a small closet and then TINY cupboards up at head-hight. And I do mean TINY.

Even though I thought it was on the small side and storage was definitely going to be a problem, I decided to buy it because I felt it was very mechanically sound. I did discover that the exhaust had a leak up near the engine when I started it up (probably shaken loose on the gravel road to Dawson Creek which makes me wonder what else got shaken loose) and took it for a run around his neighbourhood, but figured it was an easy fix. He wanted $7,500 for it and I left him a $2,000 deposit with him agreeing to keep it until I get back from Kelowna at the end of September.

I had regrets before I left his house. I just didn't feel sure it was the right one for me. And I realized that I had only researched what was available for under $3,000 in a camper van and had no idea what $7,500 could get me. I had sort of jumped at this because it was a good size to drive and park.

When I got home I did some research into the make and model and found that there had been a real issue with ones made just a few years earlier due to being too heavy for the axle and then it would break causing all kinds of collateral damage. This made me feel ill. I then went to an RV board and asked what they thought and got the reply that most of them don't recommend the Toyota because the chassis is too small. I called the guy who owns it and expressed my concerns and he said he never heard of such things and he had no issues with it or another one like it he owned several years ago. Somewhat mollified, I decided to keep it. Then, a few hours later, as I was still feeling like I had made a bad decision - the thing is really too small for me even though I am worried about driving something bigger - he called and said he wanted me to be happy with the decision and, if I wasn't, I had till the next morning to let him know and he would give me all of my deposit back. I really appreciated this and said I would let him know.

After reading some more stuff about it on line that I wasn't happy with, I called him and then drove back out to Chilliwack (an hour each way) and got my money back. I left there not knowing if I was making the right decision but I felt better so I think I am. Who knows? I know NOTHING about RV's and could really use the help of someone who does but I don't know anyone who even owns one.

To top it off - I sold my Jeep for $600 yesterday. It has over 370,000 miles on it and needs new rear brakes, rotors and a new catalytic converter and muffler. I still have it as I told the fellow I needed it 'till Sept 5th and that worked great for him. But now I am wondering if I should do the work on it and hang onto it so I have something to drive when I get back from the job in Kelowna. OR... I could maybe even take it up there if I got all of the work done on it. But I don't think it's worth getting the work done on it. It's OLD... a '93. Who knows when the transmission will go. It seems to all work fine now but I've had one go in another car I had and it's very expensive to fix and definitely not worth doing on this. I don't need to have a car to go to Kelowna as the production is taking a coach bus up for crew that doesn't want to drive, and will provide transport between the set and hotel. But once the job is finished and I come back down here, not only won't I have a place to live... I won't even have a car. So I am thinking I should hang onto it until I get that sorted out. He only left a $200 deposit so I can give that back.

I feel so unstable right now, second guessing myself at every turn.

I wish I had someone to run all of this by and help me think straight... but all of my friends are women and I don't know that they know any more than I do about any of this. What I wouldn't give for a good man right about now.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Well, how things can change in a day or so - in my life, anyway.

Here it is in point form as I just don't have what it takes to write it all down any other way:

-went into work yesterday to pick up a cheque - after being given the month of August off with assurances that I will be back in Sept.,  now I won't be back in Sept (due to the next item, it was my suggestion but was very eagerly accepted - too eagerly for my comfort) and maybe not even ever.  The script supervisor they brought in for August only seems to be a 'better fit' than I am.  There was talk of keeping me on and then alternating with her, which would be better than nothing but a far cry from ideal for my bank account.

-got a call about a job for all of Sept. in Kelowna on a movie.  Went and met the director, producers and PM yesterday.  My friend, the 1st AD who called me about it said I would be hearing from him, probably in 10 minutes to say I had the job.  It's that was yesterday at 4pm.  Still haven't heard.  This seemed like a great answer to a couple of issues - gave me somewhere to live for a month while I make enough $ to buy a decent small used motorhome.  I actually found THE perfect one today on CraigsList for a price I could afford by the time I was done the show.  But now I am doubtful I am getting the show as I haven't heard.   I will call today to find out once the office is open and they've had an hour or so there.

-so without a job I really don't know what to do.  It turns out that the van I was looking at buying has a LOT of issues mechanically as it has sat for 4 years (just to be clear, this is a camper van I was looking at last week NOT the one pictured above that I found today).  The present owner is a mechanic so he was listing off all it needs doing.  He doesn't want to do it as he doesn't have the time.  I think it will take all I have to buy it and get it in running shape so that really isn't an option.  It will be 6 weeks before I can start collecting Employment Insurance, so I have to have something to live on between now and then.

-I was thinking of going to my bank today to see about getting a small loan so I could buy something better (like the one I found today) for about $5,000 - $10,000 which, in normal circumstances, I could have paid off in two or three months.  But now, with work being so uncertain, this isn't an option.

-I started looking at other job postings but all that does is make it glaringly obvious how unqualified I am for pretty much any other work than what I do.  I am useless at book-keeping so most office jobs are out, and I really am not up on all of the usual office software.  I have never worked in a restaurant of any kind - well, that's not true - I was a car-hop back in my high-school days but that's not going to get me anywhere... having said that, I'd love to learn how to bar-tend on the job but everyone wants people with years of experience.  Retail work pays slave wages and requires one to be on their feet all day and my lower back just can't take that anymore.

Hind-sight being 20/20, I shouldn't have gone to the BVI.  But I had NO idea that my job was in jeopardy, in fact - I was told to order another years work of paperwork with my name on it, I was sent the 'welcome back for season 2' letter, I was sent the schedule for the second season, and - above all - when I was asked to train a replacement I was assured that my job 'was not in jeopardy' but it was just a safety net in case I should get ill or need some time off.   So I had every reason to believe I was good to go and that part of my savings could pay for a much longed for trip.  I do NOT regret going, however.  It was SO amazing and soul restoring and just plain fabulous in every way.  But one can't help but think of how I could just go and buy that RV today had I not gone.

So despite all I wanted to do to keep myself from having my back against the wall with no options ever again, I find myself pretty much there.

***UPDATE: Not 5 minutes after posting this I found out I HAVE THE KELOWNA JOB! So I am off to see the motorhome this afternoon, will offer a huge deposit to hold it until the end of the month and then pay for it when I get back. I can't put into words what a HUGE relief and answer to prayer this is. Now to get on with reducing, packing up, and selling what I have in this one room!!

Monday, August 22, 2011


It's about time I wrote again. I have neglected the blog because I have had a lot going on - not so much physically but certainly in my head. There was just too much swirling around in there, and resulting stress, to try to sort any of it out for a blog. It's still a bit that way but I think I can manage to pull together some coherent thoughts.

I have to be out of my place at the end of August. I thought I had to the end of September but that is not the case. So I have been earnestly checking CraigsList and other ads for an apartment within a 20 minute drive to work. I can NOT believe how many scammers there are on CraigsList. It makes me sick. I estimate that for every 10 ad's I answered, 3 were scams. What is the matter with people?! And the thing is, I can't imagine that they actually work because they are all the same - with slight variations, and so obvious.

I was house sitting in New Westminster for a week, for the family of the star of Mr.Young while they went to California. I planned to use the opportunity of staying so close to where I wanted to live view some suites. I attempted. I wasn't very successful. In a week, I managed to view ONE. The reason? Well there were a few. Some stood me up;  I showed up and there was no answer on the intercom I had been instructed to buzz. That happend THREE different times at one location. Some wouldn't even let me come and look as they weren't interested in hiring someone who worked in film. I am sure that is against the law as it smacks of discrimination, but I didn't have the energy to fight it. There were a few who asked me to call back or they would call me back to set up a time to view, and then when I called back, it was gone. I was so frustrated by the end of that week.

The next week, I viewed two apartments that couldn't have been more different. One was located on the second (and top) floor in a 90 year old building with 32 suites. The floors were the original oak, the ceilings were high and curved where they met the walls, the fixtures were ancient, the kitchen was miniscule. The view from the livingroom was onto a huge tree in the park next door. The other place was on the fourteenth floor of a 20 floor concrete hi-rise. It was to have brand new carpet, new blinds, new paint on the walls. The view from the livingroom was over the north shore mountains ahead to the river on the left. Both were the same price. The hi rise also had a swimming pool. I filled out paperwork for both places and, two or three days later, I heard back from the old building that I had the suite. I never heard back from the hi-rise.

Then the anxiety started.

I flew up to Kelowna to visit my daughter for 12 days (I am writing this on my last day here as I sit in the coffee shop across from where she works). I was waking up every night between 1am and 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. My stomach was in knots, my heart was racing, my mind was racing even faster. All I could think about was how much money this was going to cost me every month. Not only rent but parking, storage if I needed it, and all utilities. Going from $300 a month at my friends house to $1,300 a month was freaking me out.

I started thinking about the RV option again. I can't park a big rig on the studio lot because there's no room. But if I find something that takes up just one parking space, then it shouldn't be a problem.

One night, while tossing and turning, feeling sick to my stomach and sweating from the stress, I make a decision. I am not taking the apartment. I am finding a camper van or a small motorhome and that will be where I live. As soon as I make the decision, the stress just drains out of me, my stomach stops churning, and I fall promptly to sleep.

I know it's not going to be a cake walk. I am now stressing about how I am going to fit what I need into a camper van. I am stressing about getting rid of all of my stuff (not that I care about getting rid of it - but rather figuring out what has to go and then selling it in time). I am doing lots of research on line about living as a nomad; boondocking, camping, storage, and - worst of all - batteries and amps and converters etc. etc. The whole electrical thing freaks me right out. But I feel I need to learn it, despite my total lack of any brain cells devoted to science, physics, electricity, and my terror at getting shocked (not even electrocuted - just shocked).  And, although I am stressing, it's not of the same intensity I was feeling about taking the apartment AND it will be short lived, whereas I really don't see an end to the stress of rent and bills etc.  The experiences I have had in the past two years have permanently affected me and I don't know if I will ever be without financial terror in my life as a result.

I plan to keep blogging regularly about my agony and progress through this whole venture. It has nothing to do with sailing. But... BUT... in a way it does because living like this will allow me to save most of my income and then, perhaps... just MAYBE... I can make other dreams come true.

All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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