Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Realities of COPD

I came back because a relative was diagnosed with COPD, of which I have little to no experience on a day to day basis dealing with the affects. COPD is scary to watch, and has no cure. I am not looking forward to this situation, so we do the best we can with what has been given. There is no timeline, and we will continue to fight, but I have watched my relative's overall health go down quite a bit in the past few years, and it is scary. I am concerned, and hope there is a long time, with a turn around in health to be seen, and that is the best we can all hope for. This entire situation is overwhelming to a point, but it is a day to day struggle. Anyone who has dealt with COPD that has any advice on how to make life better for someone with COPD would be greatly appreciated to email or comment given the situation. Oxygen therapy and surgery are something the individual is not willing to work with. So, prayers and positive thoughts....

Future Plans Coming into Place

Technology has changed so much in the past 20 years, and so have the gear, tools, and equipment available for traveling. Full time travel has become more socially acceptable, viable, and a choice for many. People no longer have to stay home tied to the phone when on call, and are no longer tied to a beeper. Now there are cell phones, texting, and voice mail, multiple lines, telecommuting, and working from anywhere. What makes this all possible, and what is the end goal when considering what to own in day to day life? Living life as a minimalist between studio apartments, mobile dwellings, and moving every so often, there are certain belongings that are critical to success.


Back in 2006, moves were made with much larger and bulkier electronics, and were less energy efficient which limited usage, and public internet was not that common except in a few airports and coffee lounges. On the flip side, more people had unsecured wireless, and crossing borders was more complicated. Nowadays, electronics are light, energy efficient, and more individually tailored, which translates to buying a computer, and then needing to buy pieces and parts for the individual’s needs. Gone are the days when the Blackberry was the most sophisticated item, and no one had ever head of a netbook or tablet.


The items listed are items owned for over 2 years, and are a critical part of day to day life, and have proven their value over and over again.


The first is the Acer Aspire netbook, which was built in 2011, and was bought at the local trusty Wal-Mart. I added a spare battery, extra charger, extra chord, and it came with the international charger. It has been loaded with full windows 2010, and allows for full time college education, as well as the watching of Netflix being hooked to an old flat screen monitor in place of television.


Next is the Archos 101 which when loaded with Android 2.3 has proven useful, even though it isn’t the most up to date to be found on the market. It serves my purposes, has WIFI built in, and has plenty of ports, attachments, cases, accessories, and at 300 on EBay, proved to be a smart investment. Especially great is the game Jewels and the RealCalc app from the Google Play store, which is where the Android apps are found.


Then, there is the Nokia E71 which via JoikuSpot allows for WIFI where it wouldn’t normally be available, has a recorder, is great for texting, and works great for personal needs such as Google maps, email, and other basic app abilities. The E71 still costs over 150 dollars, and holds its value well due to the diverse nature of a phone no longer made through Straight Talk. The Razor is also great for prepaid Verizon, still looks great, has large numbers, and has proven a solid, reliable phone when the Straight Talk phone lacks reception. The fact is that traveling with prepaid phones that can have different numbers assigned, be activated at any given time, and have national cards, as well as buy from any other phone capabilities, as well as website ordering makes it a great offer. As a former happy customer of Sprint, the constant moving proved a problem with reception so prepaid, with the various plans available, became the best option available.


Next is the old trust Sony Walkman 8GB from 2012 that works great, has wonderful radio reception, charges quickly, and really does have 30 hours of battery life, which gets used over and over again. Sporting a 3.5 mm headphone jack, the choice became a pair of headphones made for the iPhone that has a microphone, and a built in antenna for better reception. Nice and simple, and not connected to any internet network of any sort, it is a great device for bus stops, running, walking dogs, or simply relaxing at home due to the small size, radio, MP3, and podcast abilities to allow for seamless transfer between one function to the next. The amount of space holds quite a bit, and as a fan of Michael Duncan’s History of Rome podcasts, which are listened to over and over again, Sony has proven reliable once again.


The camera is a Canon, and is relatively aged, so without going into reference, it is worth saying that Canon still has great quality photography equipment, and Sony ranks a quick second. There was a time when one camera to the next was the norm, but after a while, certain items remained, have aged, and just get better with age. Adding a better pixel quality camera will come when the need presents itself, but for the time being, Canon remains on board, capturing the most precious of moments.


Add 2 USB backups, a few memory sticks, and a portable USB DVD player for the laptop, that can be played with any USB port that connects to the TV or computer monitor, it has proven extremely useful, and has been well traveled, which will hopefully see many more miles throughout the years to come. The DVD case continues to be carted around, of which the DVDs are backed up onto memory sticks, along with the music for easy access as needed. There is also the Canon Pixma scanner, printer, and fax combo, the reliable Target camp chair, DVD and blue ray disk player, lightweight fans of different sizes (including 2 USB fans), trusty Thermos canteen, luggage set, a few books, foam gel mattress, clothes in two totes, a few dishes that are easy to wash, coffee maker, camping gear, and the cats bag, cat tree, and BoodaDome litter box. Add the cat show kit, and that literally sums up what is to be found as a minimalist. Never again will I worry about moving because of owning to much stuff as many others have done, and with that, the next move is coming up.


After extensive research, and making sure to know what needs and wants there are at a personal level that can work with the need to work, continue to provide an environmentally protected area for the cat with the litter box separate from living quarters, and the exact furniture needed so that nothing has to be given up. Time has been taken because after 3 vehicles being home on a temporary part time to full time basis, the decision to have a manufactured trailer that has a bathroom, does not rust, and is lightweight to haul became the requirement for happiness. Day to day maintenance and tasks became too overwhelming, parking to unreliable, and repairs expensive to make full timing in a motorized home (no home if repairs are needed) a problem.


 So, a 16 foot toy hauler trailer is the final decision that fits having a shower, toilet, kitchen with sink, stove, fridge, living area with flip down bed on one side, flip down seat and flip up table, a/c, heat, bubble windows, awning, outside shower, garage area between flip up bed and table/chair, and anchor hooks so the ramp can serve as a porch. The inside a/c will have shelves to the ceiling that personal belongings fit on in slide out shelves. In front of the shelves and the inside shower/toilet will be curtains instead of doors, as doors take up room to open and close. The litter box will in the back corner of the garage with diamond patterned flooring in a custom made box that has a hole in the back, and a slider box that is brought out for cleaning to limit odors and tracking. Then, a mount will be made on the wall for the bicycle, as that is the reason for the toy hauler.


Toys stay inside, having a shower readily available, having a separate area for the litter box away from the kitchen, and not stowed in the indoor shower, and space for the cats sturdicage are items that will not be negotiated. Having space for an office chair, an area that can be open for exercise when outdoors isn’t always possible, and a pet friendly, easy to clean area are needed, The low cost Huffy that has been since high school is reliable, and comes for the long haul, and with a family members health declining due to a diagnosis of COPD means the acquisition of 2 dogs, which means plans had to change over the course of time. Realistically, the dogs do not change the spectrum save for the fact that a back ramp that can be used as a porch seems like a great idea, and a separate area where pet hair is not welcome also had to happen. The space at the end that forms the garage area will be used for kennels with wheels that can be pulled up the ramp to reduce lifting, as the two dogs sleep in kennels when their owner isn’t home. One is ten years old, and the other is three years old. Both get along with the cat, and the three year old requires a significant amount of exercise, and weighs in at 50 pounds. She has a great temperament, and loves to travel.


The trailer also allows for the dogs and cat to stay in a climate controlled home where they can remain hooked up, and have a pet sitter visit them during the day as needed. Working a regular day job is required, and having a vehicle where the pets do not go to work is required. Preference does not lend to boarding, and having a home that is separate from the daily driver is preferable. In case of emergency, someone else can haul home as well, and the cost of parks is cheaper than rent in some cases. Also, motor travel will not change, so why not have both readily available? There is also an interest in a small motorcycle as well, and a toy hauler allows for it. Attending dog and cat shows, having company, parking in a park where age will not be an issue because a standard toy hauler is like an old fiberglass egg, which means a timeless classic that blends in, and is still lightweight should work out well. For what is findable in rent, doesn’t involve yard work, and isn’t required to be a permanent fixture, the trailer is perfect. Work requires travel in most cases, and the pets have been the largest issue, trailers are nicer than most apartments, and come with a/c at a reasonable cost. Add solar panels, a large screen flat screen that mounts on the wall, and life is great. There is no time frame for what is to come, but hopes are for within the next year to have a car, toy hauler (there are many to choose from), and simply move what is hear into it. 


Considerations were also given to a pop top, but the condensation could prove to be a problem, and a slide out the cat could get stuck in doesn’t seem like a great idea. I can’t wait to get on the road again, and do it better this time. Finally, the problems that have been long term are finally ending. My current residence is selling in the next year or so, and so the time to make the move is coming. The excitement, dedication, planning, and money are coming into place much quicker than planned, and the pet situation isn’t one now, as well as meeting park requirements as there is a love of campgrounds with amenities. It is amazing what a person is willing to accept in the span of 10 years of adventure, of which floors that can be swept and mopped, exercise area,  a/c, and a built in shower are not optional. Then, off to explore kayaking, and more national parks.


The Essentials for Every Abode as a Minimalist: Looking Back at the Past Three Years

It has been over three years since I found my way to Minimalism, and it has been longer than that since the journey began. It began in September 2006 when I moved over 2000 miles, and ended up with staying with a relative while I got settled. I was used to an 1800 square foot apartment, and after a divorce, still had quite a bit of belongings as I had moved most of my stuff from high school to my new home of 2.5 years. Upon returning to Ohio with my cats and car, I had to work with what I brought for my 2 week trip through Canada and the United States until my stuff arrived. I realized at that moment that I didn't miss any of the items coming back to me, and where on earth was all of it going to fit in three rooms upstairs. Storage was to expensive, and I didn't have to drive far as everything I needed as far as food, supplies, thrift stores, and everything else was right there.

There are benefits and drawbacks to city dwelling. The city offers smaller spaces, less storage, but easier access to just about everything, which means there isn't a need for 3 months of toilet paper, or a fancy printer setup as the copy shop is right around the corner. Oddly enough, there wasn't much for public transportation upon my return, and walking was restricted to the safer times of the day, as well as working day in and day out to find a job, so replacing, or buying new items wasn't something I could freely do. So, I had to work with what I had brought home, which after pet supplies that weren't local (I bulk packed to make sure there was enough for the trip, and the transition to food and litter that could be locally obtained at a reasonable price, as money was incredibly tight at that point), wasn't much.

With me were: four weeks of clothes, one tote of dishes, food, and camp stove &/or electric burner to be used outside the car, toiletries which included a Coleman camp shower, portable towel, 6 packs of wash cloths, baby wipes (good for just about everything), hand sanitizer (has many uses), and toiletry bag with shampoo, body wash, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, no wash poo and body wash, and toilet paper (conventional and camping). Also, the car preparation kit included: battery charger, jumper cables, hardware kit, (screwdrivers, 12 volt drill, and so forth.) Cell phone, heavy, giant laptop, and camera with attached chargers and cables. I also carried a sleeping mat, bag, and tent. The cats each had a carrier with a litter box, bed, food and water dishes, as well as toys for the trip. They all traveled well, as we practiced prior to leaving by going on local quick trips to get them used to the feeling and noises of the car. After the first bumpy part of the cruise, everyone settled in, and it went well. I stayed in two hotels on the way home, and visited many places. Therefore, travel and pets is fully possible, and dreams do come true. It was that cross country trip that changed the way I looked at travel, and became addicted. This post comes as I explore the next phase of what is to come, and how my views have changed, what has worked, what hasn't, and how finances come into play.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Greetings from the great midwest

It has been a while since my last post, and not to much has happened other than working on school, spending time with the family, and figuring out what comes next. With only 3 semesters until graduation, time is wrapping up on the full time college gig, and thus the beginning of another chapter in life. I settled on renting a studio for the time being, and it has been nice, other than the lack of air conditioning in the summer. But, the price is right, and school is online only, so the stipend is less, but te goal was not for a fancy place in the Beverly Hillls. It is a nice country like setting where my neighbors dogs keep me company, and I have room for Ajah. She is doing well after a long winter. This is my first year of not showing, but with only one cat, no vehicle of my own at the moment, and working the last leg of school; there just isn't the funds. However, the scenery, the precious moments with my grandma, who is now 80, and spending time with my nephew are more valueable than anything money can buy. Besides that, living within my means, and having no additional debt from school is a beautiful thing. I am thinking on working a low pay job this spring until summer while working to find a more permanent job, and continue my masters in the fall, provided I can get situated. There is parking for a truck and trailer in my current location, with plenty of others around here, and no leave date, so I will feasibly be able to stay here, park here, and have a homebase, mailing address for the future. Beyond that, it is hard to say where things are going. With my families health going, and no kids of my own, I plan to begin looking at potential traveling companions. I am a bit unconventional, and it has been 9 months in my current location. This far in, I have not unpacked, have not really decorated, and find myself longing for some traveling. A home base with the system set up like it is makes having a home base almost mandatory.
I was considering more animals in the future, but Tippy will be mine if something happens to her owner, and Ajah turns 7 this year, so that is enough when looking at the long haul. As it stands, traveling takes part of the priority list, but so does being situated and responsible. It is hard to say what i going to happen with job offers out of state. Money is important, and with so much hinging on the righ one, it is a gamble to look at.

I talked to some old friends, which was very uplifting, and made for a bright and beautiful day. Well, that is it for now. Time to enjoy spring time.