NaNoWriMo 2014 – Days 3, 4, and 5

I have been feeling under the weather the past couple of days. I have managed to keep up with the word count by writing whatever pops into my head when I sit down to the computer. Not useful toward my goals for Reaper’s Moon, Elysian & Ether, and Nightmares & Nevermore but sick me was of the opinion that words were words. I managed to get myself together long enough to attend a write-in this evening, Day 5, where some poetry did happen. None toward Reaper’s Moon but Reaper’s Moon did manage to pick up a piece of rewrite work late on Day 2. Not where I had hoped to be progress-wise come Day 5. There is still time to pick up the pieces.

I have mentally thwarted by restlessness driven by the hope of getting my own home again. I continue to have no prospects on that front. It is has been over year since I discovered Al-Bisslii was caving in on its self – an issue I could not afford to fix – so I moved out and sold it to someone who could afford to fix the damages. Next week, will mark a year of when I moved in with my sister. While I do not live with her anymore, I certainly had expectations of having my own place by no later than this upcoming mark. If nothing else, this past year and then some of living with others has made me more appreciative of who I am, what I want out of my life, and of my long-standing single gal status. It has made me more aware of how I show love and respect to others and how I expect such in return. I cannot recall when I have actually gotten these things in return where they truly mean something to me. Perhaps that is why I have no interest in living with other people – family relation or not.

As I type this at the write-in, I become very engrossed in the notion of coming here tonight might have been a mistake. Sick, tired, tired and more tired.

There was a write-in on the evening of Day 3 but I did not attend. There is a write-in tomorrow yet not sure I will attend based on my current physical state and frame of mind. Keeping fingers crossed that I will be well enough for the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday write-ins so I may be extremely productive like I was on Day 1.

And accountability be damned for the past three days. I fell off of the “wagon” dramatically. I need to figure to stay on course even when sick.

Not sure what my daily word count stats for Days 3 and 4 are but I know the other numbers.

Current Stats
Reaper’s Moon: 1 piece of rework
Elysian & Ether: 74/100
Nightmares & Nevermore: 74/100
Day 5’s Word Count: 1932
Total Word Count: 8,634/50,000

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Simplicity Reveries: Moving Along toward a Tiny House…Maybe

This blog has acquired a lot of new readers since September 2013 so the following post requires a little background before the main intent.

I am a recovering hoarder. I hoarded to fill large empty spaces as I have kenophobia (a fear of open or empty spaces). I hoarded to fill a 2000 square foot home. In November 2011, I began to rid myself of the hoard. Along the way, I became more creative, and discovered tiny houses. Of course, a tiny or small house was not in my future at that time. In September 2013, a massive flood hit Colorado destroying the foundation of my home. I sold it to investors as I could not afford to fix it. From mid-November 2013 until late June 2014, I lived with my sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. Their 3000 square foot home was rather overwhelming to my mental well-being. I did get the opportunity, while living with them, to pay off all my medical and credit card debt which has been amazingly wonderful.

I presently live with my mother who is a severe hoarder. Her home is down right terrifying to me. I thought I could ignore the hoard and be productive. I had forgotten how exhausting and oppressive the hoard is to a person. I have been struggling to find a place that I can afford and is small enough so I can get away from the hoard.

Now that all are caught up…

 

I have an itty-bitty budget. This budget means moving to a small town far from familiar cities within Colorado. I found extremely affordable quarter acre tracks of land in southern Colorado. This is way more land than I need/want but willing to make due.

The town is small but it has some decent amenities and isn’t too far from Pueblo. I am going down there in about two weeks to view the parcels of land, and get to know the town. In the mean time, I am trying to figure out the details of types of construction, minimum square footage requirements, and other building codes for the area. Unfortunately, the town isn’t an actual town. It is a census-designated area which makes it very difficult to find the various bits of information I need.

At worst, I can put a 780 square foot modular home on the property according the real estate agent I’ve contacted about the land. A little larger than I want but if I can get one into my price range, I’ll be content. Still, I hold out hope for a tiny house. I’ll be contacting the county this week with my questions to find out if a tiny house can be legally done.

I really want a tiny house now more than ever. I have become more intent on this mission since seeing several episodes of Tiny House Nation. My mother is insistent that a tiny house is a stupid idea that I’ll regret. She suggested I tour some travel trailers/small RVs in the same size range so I can get an idea of how cramped a tiny house would be (aka how stupid tiny houses are).

Yesterday, I went to a local RV dealership. I toured an 18 foot travel trailer and a 24 foot travel trailer. The 18 foot one was nice but the “bedroom” was a twin sized bunk bed setup, and the bathroom was a touch too small. While workable, I’d prefer something a little larger. The 24 foot one was perfection despite the manufacturer’s design wasting a lot of storage potential. The 24 was roomy and adorable. Loved the layout of the main area and the bathroom. The price tag was unbelievably high though.  The price and wasted space confirmed why people opt to build houses on trailers rather than buy a RV.

I am glad to have toured the travel trailers. It gave me a sense of the space. I do need to downsize my possessions some more. I already knew I needed too but the tour just made the concept more real.

If you are considering a tiny house, I strongly encourage you to tour small travel trailers that do not have slide outs so you can see what kind of space a tiny house is.

Over the next month, my focus is to sell off a bunch of items I kept but clearly no longer need. I’ve done without them for 10 (going on 11) months now. I never think of them as needed so they obviously should find new homes.

In the interest of raising money for my tiny house, I have lowered prices on all of my books in order to increase sales. I hope, dear readers, that you will purchase some of my books to help me move a little closer to my tiny house dream.

Home Not-So-Sweet Home Part II

Changes continue to abound here at Al-Bisslli. Some are for the best and others are for the worse – at least, temporarily.

An tour of the foundation almost two weeks ago, for a work estimate, resulted in highly unpleasant news. 80% of the duct work had been ripped down by wildlife. Wires had been chewed on, and the piers had sunk significantly.

The insurance was only willing to pay for a third of the roof damage so there was not enough funds to fix everything even if I received something from FEMA.

Of all the options, the decision to sell it as-is seemed like the best option if enough could be obtained to pay off both of the house oriented loans. I knew I’d end up losing most of what I had invested into the house but that was true with any of the potential scenarios.

Luck seemed to smile when a local investor offered $4,500 over asking for the house. We close on the October 28th. This sale will make me mostly debt free. I get rid of both house loans and pay off over half of my credit card debt.

Of course, I have not been amused by the prospect of moving twice in a very short time frame. I ended moving out a week and half ago and into my mom’s house because it was too cold to continue living in a house without a proper heating system.

Living with my mom has been most unpleasant even though I spend my days at my house packing it up. My mom is a major hoarder and she’s gotten worse over the past few years. I hadn’t really noticed but now I do. I can barely walk in the guest room without getting injured by something. All the other common rooms are also challenging to walk into. Sadly, my mom informed me that the guest room only had a few items to clean up so I could stay in there. All lies I tell you. She blames my sister for the mess in the guest room – it is my sister’s old bedroom – but my sister only has a small bookcase worth of stuff in there. My old bedroom is now an office. I have stuff in the closet but I cannot walk into the room in order to liberate and discard closet items. My mom blames me for the office mess because ‘it wouldn’t be a mess if you’d clean out the closet’. I would clean the stuff out if I could get to them…

My mom also claims that there is room in the basement to store my boxes of books and fabric but I have my doubts. I cannot get down the stairs into the basement without major risk to my health so I cannot see the situation for myself.

I do find myself a little disappointment in my downsizing. I thought I downsized more than I did but I am proud of the fact that all my boxes, my bed, and my desk would all fit comfortably into a 14 foot x 14 foot space. It would be a bit full looking yet it is a huge accomplishment going from 2200 square feet of “storage space” to 196 square feet. I know that my possessions will continued to be downsized over the coming months. I am very intent on downsizing them further no matter what.

This weekend, the large furniture items I am keeping or are wanted by family members are being moved out. The plan is to move my bed down to my sister’s house. One of the guest beds will go to my mom’s boyfriend’s house and the other to my mom’s house to go into my old bedroom (supposedly). I have a sofa set, 3 bookcases, and two desks to sell off before the 28th because I have nowhere to store the items. I already sold 2 other bookcases to a friend.

I have spent the last week and a half packing and decluttering. The kitchen and the storage closet are the only rooms remaining to be packed and decluttered. I finished the family room yesterday and it took longer than I had anticipated. The orange room/old office was done the day before that. I feel bad for the trash pickup guys. Last week had a ton of trash and a lot of donations that my sister happily took to Goodwill for me. This week had so much trash that I could not put it all out at the curb for tomorrow’s trash pickup. Next week will also be a trash heavy week but not as bad as it has been.

It is strange to see the house so empty. It is making my kenophobia worse but, at the same time, being exposed to the horror of my mom’s home, I can cope with the emptiness a little easier.

There is a possibility of having my own little place in six to ten months and being completely debt free if things work out well. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I am still clinging to the potential of participating in NaNoWriMo even though my mom’s house is not conducive to the writing process and I have no idea when I will be moving in with my sister. I cannot afford to go to a coffee shop everyday either. I need to scope out the library near her home to see if it is viable location to use.

I hope the sale of the house goes smoothly as does the future intentions.

Home Not-So-Sweet Home

Last week in Colorado was one for the record books with its never-ending rain and the resulting flood waters. Fortunately, my home was one that did not flood out. Some of my neighbors were not quite as lucky but still better off than many who live to the west and up into the mountains. However, enough damage was sustained in my small town that a disaster deceleration was signed in order to help the town and its residents repair the damages done by the storms. Other than being trapped in the town as water flooded out the main roadways and the water restrictions as the sewer plant dealt with flood waters, I thought I would be one of the residents not needing to repair damage from the storm. I was wrong, so very wrong.

To understand the problem, it is pertinent to know that I live in a double wide manufactured home. The home before it was assembled here on the lot, it was in two pieces running length wise. After placement, the seams were connected together to form the house as a whole. When it was placed on the lot, the supporting structure of heavy duty jacks were placed directly on dirt. This was the minimum HUD requirement in 1994 when it was placed. Most manufactured and mobile homes, however, have the jacks placed on a cement pad or cement runners. Newer homes require some kind of crawl space to be built under the home.

Over the six years I have lived here, the house occasionally moved a bit after a big snowstorm melts off or a decent amount of rain because of the lack of cement but, physically, it is barely noticeable – it just made a lot of creaking noises as it settled again. This storm caused the jacks to move excessively. There’s a gap forming between the two halves of the house. Along the floor – where the distinction between the two halves is most noticeable – the gap is 1/2 inch to an inch wide. Most of the gap is covered by walls and/or decorative “beams” at the ceiling so it is not obvious in most of the rooms. This gap also allowed a great deal of water into the rafters. This water is gradually leaking into the ceiling. The shifting has caused a great deal of cracking in the ceilings and walls through out the house.

If my home coming apart the seams wasn’t bad enough, it wasn’t everything. The water and wind from the storm resulted in extensive roof damage. The roof was further damaged by wildlife seeking shelter in the rafters. By Saturday the 14th, there was something nesting in the rafters over every room. On Monday, one of the creatures discovered the ceiling in the closet housing the furnace was weaker compared to the other ceiling. (The drainage system with the furnace ventilation system may have leaked or backed up – it is hard to tell – resulting in additional water damage.) I came home from much needed grocery shopping to find the furnace closet door open and ceiling & wall pieces falling onto furnace as a creature aggressive attacked the area. It scared me but I acted quickly by slamming the door shut and placing boxes of hardcover books in front of the door. I can still hear bits of wall & ceiling hit the metal door in late afternoon and early evening. I am too scared to open the door to see if the creature has broken through.

The roof wasn’t the only area to come under assault by wildlife. Creatures also destroyed the underbelly protection and got up in the areas under the floors. I kept hearing them walking along the metal vents and ripping up the insulation as they moved under the floor.

The exterior of the house sustained damage as well. The gutters leaked excessively and leaked into the wood supports behind them. All the water warped the siding. The wood supports, the wood around windows (windows that can no longer open due to the shifting), and the siding elements that are raised above the base siding are all rotting and/or molding.

I am still able to live in the house. It seems safe-ish although I am deeply concerned about future storms of rain or snow. I do not know if the house can survive additional onslaughts. Supposedly, Colorado is in for a rough winter.

My house is most unhappy but, fortunately, my insurance company has been quick to respond to my claim filing. The insurance adjustor is arriving tomorrow to view and document the damage. I hope that they are willing to move forward with the claim and fix the house. There is a possibility that they may opt to replace it instead. I pay extra every month for full replacement coverage of the house and its belongings so the insurance company may decide it will be cheaper to replace the house than to fix the problems. Manufactured and Mobile homes are relatively inexpensive and there comes a point where they are no longer worth fixing which is why I pay for that extra coverage. Have to wait and see.

When (If) the claim moves forward, there is a high likelihood that I will have to move out in order to have the two halves reassembled, and definitely have to move for a house replacement scenario. So I may be moving some time between soon and January although the whole situation with my sister isn’t settled yet either. I am left with a heaping plate of things to do, and a heaping plate of questions with no answers in sight. I continue to pack and clean because I do not know what else to do plus I do not want to end up scrambling around trying to get everything packed quickly when moving time shows up. Nevertheless, until I get definitive answers from others, I am at loose ends.

At this point, I may not have time to participate in NaNoWriMo 2013, and this blog may be neglected for several months. Again, everything depends on how things work out for my housing situation.

Big Changes

This post is brought to you by drastic changes which about after August 25th. Most are for the best, I hope.

My sister asked me to watch my nephew five days a week while she and her husband are at work. Given the amount of time and the distance between our homes, it would be easier to spend the nights as well. This means my furbabies have to go elsewhere – my mom’s house – as my brother-in-law is very allergic. This ends up with me at my mom’s house on the weekends in order to spend time with my furbabies. It became very clear that I should sublet my house for the next year. Yes, my sister would like my ‘nanny’ services from January 2014 until, at least, February 2015. However, she keeps talking about me moving to an ‘affordable’ apartment after that time in order to be around to keep watching my nephew and the future baby #2.  I, personally, want to see how this goes for the year before I make any further commitments plus her idea of affordable and mine usually differ.

I primarily agreed to do this for the money. I have a variety of medical bills festering on my credit cards. The extra money would mean digging out of the debt black hole I have ended up in. Contrary to the often popular belief, being a writer is synonymous with being poor. Very few authors make a lot of money and it takes a lot of books being published before they may even make enough to pay their monthly bills.

I am looking at this opportunity as a chance to finally get my ‘clean slate’. I started working toward it in November 2011 with the beginning of the decluttering process. My debt was a huge stumbling block to my end goals. The whole notion of subletting will also finish off the decluttering process. I will also have the chance to live very simply in a small space as I will be living in the guest room with only a small amount of personal possessions. The rest of my belongings will be in storage at my mom’s house.

As of Labor Day weekend, I have lived here at Al-Bisslii for six years. It is bound to be unsettling – at first – to no longer have a home and to live with others. Moving out also means more money coming in to pay off the mortgage on the house. The sooner the house is paid down, the sooner I can do something more with it and gain the possibility of downsizing to a small house.

At this time, I am striving to have the entire house packed up – except for daily essentials – before November so I can spend November focused on writing. December’s focus will be moving out the packed items. Moving includes the selling of the larger furniture items. Do not have the space to store them and I’ve been contemplating on selling them anyway because they are much too large/bulky for a smaller place. Some of them haven’t been used in years too.

I do look forward to spending a lot of time with my nephew and be part of his upbringing. It is has been a long time since I have cared for children so I am a little nervous although not as nervous as my sister. She has never held a baby and has never really spent time with children. December will bring a learning curve for all of us.

If I become quiet here on These Words I Scribble, I’m probably surrounded by boxes wondering what kind of hell I have gotten myself into.

Did I mention that I hate moving?

Where Has The Time Gone?

I am having a hard time believing August is coming to an end as I wanted to get more done during the month.

Writing has not been very forthcoming the past few weeks as I’ve been rather distracted by sewing projects. Last weekend, I help my sister and brother-in-law paint the baby’s room then we went fabric shopping. My sister asked me to make curtains and a wall décor item for the room. We found a really nice Australian themed nursery print which made my sister extremely happy. The baby’s room has an Australian theme because my sister likes Koalas and both were living in Surfers’ Paradise when they met.

I have occasionally ventured out of the house to the local coffee shop and for write-ins but finding myself more interested in going home to work on sewing/housework than to write. Nevertheless, some writing has been accomplished – just not as much as usual.

At this point in time, I am hoping to get the baby’s stuff completely done by the end of August so I can spend September focused on the house, writing, and prep for NaNoWriMo. I really need to get all the housework done. I am completely exhausted and disillusioned by the decluttering process now. I just want it done so I can devote time to other things. I know I have said such before but distractions and the disillusionment got the best of me and held me back. I am hoping to move beyond these hindrances and forge ahead finally.

I’d also like to get a lot done because, soon, my nephew will be arriving and it would be best for the house to not be in chaos when he does.

In about two weeks, it will be the release day for Moments of Self: Volume One – consisting of five chapbooks that were previously released as 99 cent ebooks.

Later this week, there will be a few sewing-oriented posts as I forgot to write and post one last week for Baby Quilt #1. I have remembered to take pictures of the various stages with that project. I meant to take pictures of the beginning of the progress on the curtains and wall decor but did not remember in time. 😦 There is another sewing project in the works but it is a surprise so it will not be mentioned much until after October 27th aka day of the baby shower.

Simplicity Reveries: Living Small…Sort Of

While I have not been productive with the decluttering process, I have made a big step in downsizing. It may not seem like a lot to some people especially those who live a studio apartment. However, to someone who’s lived in a great deal of square footage and/or a recovering hoarder, this is a monumental accomplishment.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been having horrible evenings. I considered myself lucky if I could get 3 disjointed hours of sleep. There are many reasons for my lack of sleep. Most of them had to do with the house itself. The lack of proper foundation has led to a lifetime of instability for the house structure and an open invitation to creatures to nest under it.

Unfortunately, before I bought the house out of foreclosure as is, creatures had ripped up the underbelly to stay warm under the master bedroom and bath. I had tried to find a company to repair it but had no luck plus the crappy install of house made the search worse. There’s a 10 foot deep ditch at the center where the old single wide mobile home use to have its foundation. Typically this would be filled in or expanded on for a new house but the previous owners opted not to do this thus making future repairs difficult.

Right now, there’s a creature nesting under where the bed sits. It gave birth two weeks ago. Creatures also found their way back into the roof in spite of the repairs to it. Their primary nest is over the bed. It is also monsoon season which means the house shifts whenever it rains and all the smells from under the house seep up through to master bedroom and bathroom since the barrier is gone. Between the noise and odor, I could no longer sleep in that room. Factor in the hotter than the rest of the house in summer and colder in the winter problem, it was logical to move my bed elsewhere.

The bed is in the family room now along with my desk and my 3 piece living room set. The family room is about 400 square feet or so. It reminds me of a floor plan for a studio apartment. If I downsized my oversized living room furniture and got rid of the massive impractical built-in TV cabinet, I could easily see a bathroom and kitchen also fitting the space comfortably. There is plenty of space for all of my downsized possessions and all of the critical furniture to make it a practical live/work space. Realizing that I could definitely live in a space that small with all my possessions was shocking.

Considering how much clutter I had in November 2011, I have made huge strides in the decluttering process. I have always known it was a lot but kept focusing on the mountain still to tackle. This transition of space has made me look at my accomplishment with new eyes. Yes, I have a lot remaining but moving to small space isn’t as crazy as it once seemed. This transition is also letting me experience what it is like to have my whole life in close proximity. Looking at floor plans and imagining what it might be like is vastly different than living it.

I moved the bed into the family room Tuesday night and, since then, I have been sleeping well when I make the effort to go to sleep at a decent time. (For the record, 12 inch thick memory foam mattresses are a giant pain in the ass for one person to move.) I am prone to distraction so I often stay up too late. I do keep waking up earlier than I like. The family room’s windows face east and the sunrise keeps waking me up. I did put up blackout curtains but they cannot fully combat the onslaught of light brought by the sunrise.

The other space complication I have is the temptation of staying in bed to write, check email, and the like. It is immensely tempting but I am trying my best to have designated areas for each task thus leaving the bed only for sleeping and the occasional reading of books.

I am sure I will get use to the room’s quirks soon. Anubis, my feline overlord, is perplexed and amused by the change. Although, he frequently uses the bed as a place to play even when I am sleeping. Hopefully, he’ll get use to the change and see that area as being no different from the original location of the bed. The guinea pigs haven’t adjusted to the change either. They hear me turn over in bed in the morning and they start to wheek for breakfast even though it is 6am. Eventually, they silence and we all go back to sleep for a little longer.

While the new quirks are a tad bit annoying, they are better than the other ones so I am glad I made this change.

This coming week will have me at home more often so I hope to finish cleaning up the family room so I can start moving the possessions being kept into the space and make it my official home inside the house. Once I get the back rooms cleaned out, they will be shut off except for the bathroom as it is the closest one to the family room. The other (currently) functional bathroom is at the opposite end of the house.

The light at the end of the tunnel is getting ever closer for the decluttering process. I’d still like to move but that is a very distant dream right now as I have other things – like paying off all my debts – to tackle first.