Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of living in my new digs, and I tried to do a blog post about it, but my internet is … mercurial at best out here, which is kind of annoying seeing as how it cost me about $600 to set up in the first place (which goes in the “less-than-awesome” category) and refused to let me upload to flickr. This is probably all very confusing for all of you who only read the blog and don’t follow 3Woofs on FB, so let me explain.
When my lovely Goat Herder of a landlord couldn’t pass up the siren song of sweet, sweet cash and sold the farm for a massive financial windfall (and who could blame him really?) I couldn’t find a place to live. Like, nada in the rental market. It’s truly – and not in the internet-meme kinda way – BRUTAL here for renters. I heard this sentence a LOT in my search from (well-meaning?) friends:
“Well yeah, I guess it must be tough to find a place to rent with all those dogs.”
I’m here to give you a quick primer on renting in the BC Lower Mainland – dogs or no dogs, THERE’S NOTHING TO F*CKING RENT UNDER $2500 A MONTH. Not even kidding. The handful of places I looked at that were in/*sorta* in my price range included:
- A $1200 trailer with rat shit on the floors, broken windows and no doors on the kitchen cupboards (with no plans to install any). And a full on 9 people/families applying for it 6 minutes after the open house started. People with little kids :(
- A $900 park model trailer on a very sketchy property owned by a man who went there on weekends to escape his family, and was also occupied by a close-talker alcoholic man who lived in a shack that he built himself that was approximately 20 feet from said trailer. Me and Auntie Michelle noped the fuck on out of there as fast as we could!
- A house that had been abandoned for 9 YEARS on an island accessible only by small ferry/barge, with no working well (and no such thing as city water), and no idea if the septic worked, and no internet, which was offered to me for a paltry $1450 a month … which they lowered to $1050 a month “for the first year and then we’ll revisit.” I will say again – it had been abandoned and unlived in for 9 FREAKIN’ YEARS. “I wouldn’t open that fridge” is the phrase that haunts me from my visit to that place.
It has nothing to do with the dogs. Yes I have a lot of dogs. No I didn’t get far enough into the rental process for them to be an issue, because there wasn’t anything to rent. If you aren’t actively trying to find a rental property in my area right now, please for the love of doG, contain your inclination to make a judgy comment on how many dogs I have, because you really have NO IDEA.
So at the 11th hour, I made a decision that will follow me around for the next 20 years of payments, and has its pluses and minuses to be sure, but means I was not forced to live in my van. I bought a 40 foot long 5th wheel rv. Say “hi” to my new home!
She doesn’t look like much, maybe, but she’s all mine, for better or for worse.
It is surprisingly roomy inside, thanks to the slide outs … I dragged Michelle around looking at rvs for far longer than probably either of us wanted to engage in that activity, and as soon as we stepped inside this one I knew I could make it work, layout-wise. I mean yeah, the bedroom is small, but the living room area is quite spacious, everything in it is brand spankin’ new – furniture, appliances etc. – and it has storage up the wazoo, so there’s lots of places to put all my copious amounts of crap. Except for the rest of the copious amount of my crap which is in a storage facility about 10 minutes away, costing me a fortune every month. I threw away/gave away/sold a TON of stuff, and the rest got …. well, we’re country people so let’s just admit it. We burned it in a giant bonfire of epic proportions. However, there was still lots of stuff I couldn’t burn (ie: the discontinued Ikea cabinets I spent two full years collecting off sites like CL and refuse to part with) because I hope to one day live in a house again. I’m looking into getting one of those mobile storage containers and installing it next to the rv and moving all my stuff into that … but it has to wait until I have some extra $$$ because the move cost me a lot more than I anticipated it would.
And it was a NIGHTMARE of a move. The original plan was to move all the stuff-going-to-storage on Saturday early afternoon, and spend the rest of the day packing up the remainders of the household. But the company f*cked up and gave my rental truck to someone else so when we arrived to collect it – no truck. The weekend before moving day. There went Saturday. Sunday was designated for building the poultry shed (which you amazing blog readers made happen, because I wouldn’t have been able to afford to buy it without your help – the shed and fencing was about $1500) and fencing their area at the new place … I’d read on the internet that these sheds can take 2 people up to 6 hours to build. It took 3 people like 8 hours – into the darkness of Sunday evening, because the morning of Sunday was spent moving stuff into storage after the company finally secured us a replacement moving truck.
Monday morning I spent a good hour or two catching poultry and putting them into my van to move them to their new digs, which actually went fairly smoothly. The plan was to move them, then do a couple of loads of moving the last of my stuff into my friend’s garage overnight, as the rv was being delivered on Tuesday, and I’d spend Monday night in a motel with the dogs sleeping in the van. After moving the poultry, I stopped to get gas on the way back to my place and a man walking by said “you know the gas is pouring out from under your car as fast you as put it in, right?” NOT A JOKE. Some kind of … pipe? had rusted through and rather than going into my gas tank, the gas was just pooling under my vehicle. So you know what I did? I SAT DOWN ON THE CURB AND STARTED SOBBING HYSTERICALLY.
A nice and very concerned fellow gasser-upper slid under my van and taped up the pipe(?) with some duct tape and told me it would get me to the nearest mechanic. And it did. But the nearest mechanic advised that the particular part my van needed was difficult to acquire. So I had to rent a van, and the rental company was pretty adamant that NO DOGS WERE ALLOWED in it. Yeah well fuck that. I ended up spending the night at a friend’s, the dogs (and cats) spent the night in the van, which I cleaned out real well and the rental company was none the wiser, and I did actually end up getting my van back the next day because the mechanic found the part at a wrecker’s. But that was an unfortunate and unexpected expense. And delay – I didn’t actually get out of my old place until after midnight of the last day. Thank doG for Michelle’s brother and his truck, otherwise I’d probably still be moving shit out my old place! MOVE FROM HELL, you have no idea.
But anyway, here we are in our home. With internet, which takes us full circle back to the start of my myriad of complaints ;-) I’ve a friend who has a big building that is used for agility and other dog sports on his property. This is where my rv is parked, so basically I live in the corner of a parking lot for what is often an extremely noisy building. I have already learned for the most part to tune out the barking, and remarkably, so have my dogs (mostly). The only time it really does suck is when there’s a trial here, as the parking lot becomes jam packed, and not every attendee is pleased that my *home* takes up what they consider to be valuable parking real estate. Nor are they pleased when I don’t let them park in front of my van, effectively blocking my ability to come and go. We’re going to call this an “adjustment period” for everyone. Don’t misunderstand me – I am grateful I have somewhere to live! But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Because I live in a parking lot, I don’t actually live here, nudge nudge, wink wink. I’m quite far from the road, which contains no power poles on this stretch anyway, because it was previously all empty land. Since I’m “not actually here” and there’s no poles on the road, I couldn’t get any internet company to install internet here, so I had to get creative … I eventually convinced the internet company that I lived in the basement of the property owner (who is close to the road AND has power poles), and they installed a modem at his place, and I then purchased wireless range extenders (and paid some professional nerd a lot of money to set them up, because it was beyond even my nerdy capabilities) and I essentially beam internet from his place to my rv. Which is great, except that sometimes it’s slow/impossible to upload stuff during peak hours, and my microwave interferes with my Netflix streaming. And it was yet another unexpected expense! On top of other expenses I didn’t figure in, like potable water hoses and drain hoses and parking blocks and other stuff that as someone who has never owned an RV before wasn’t prepared for.
Which leads to my last complaint, which is that I ran out of money, and have to wait until I can save enough to afford to fence an area for my dogs that will go from the rv to the poultry, so they can run and play and poop in peace. Right now we get up really early in the morning and play frisbee in the parking lot, before other people arrive to use the building. But my dogs are accustomed to many acres of fenced free-roaming, and they are finding this a bit challenging to accept and keep wandering off. A friend lent me some xpens to create a small “yard” but they mostly refuse to poop or pee in it, and taking them out to do their thang on leash two at a time is getting real old real fast. Once I can get a fence up, they can at least have about 100 feet in every direction to be dogs … the WooTWoo in particular are really jonesing for a place to go outside and nap in peace. They’re old, and believe they are farm dogs, and also believe they should spend several hours laying under a tree or bush in a shallow scraped burrow surveying their territory.
Some of the younger dogs believe they should be chasing rabbits in the field behind us. But the field behind us contains cows and water buffalo, and those ungulates like to chase dogs with the same intensity and ferocity that the terriers chase rabbits. And all the separates US AND THEM is some electric fence that doggies can walk right under, so …
Also, since we aren’t fenced, and it’s difficult to keep an eye on everyone when we are out, I don’t bring the camera out almost ever. Because then I have to take my eyes off somedogs, and Silly might end up in another province if I do. So all of these photos involved taking dogs out one or two at a time and setting up some shots before returning the reluctant doggos to the rv. You can see quite clearly how Peetie feels about that.
Yesterday afternoon a coyote grabbed a baby turkey that had wandered outside (through) the poultry fence – mid day! I chased the bastard off with a stick. I had forgotten how much I hate coyotes, since they weren’t a problem at my previous fully fenced place :( So now I am back to being worried about The Littles again – really need a fence, cuz this face is precious to me!
The background isn’t the best for photos out here either, though with a little ingenuity I can make it work … I took this one with my studio strobes, but outside, and I was pretty pleased with the result! I bet I can get some really nice ones at sunset time, when I get around to it (this one was take mid day).
Anyway, as I say … not perfect. Definitely some challenges, including losing my studio (*sob*) and the fact that it costs me $125 every time I have to hire the company to come and empty out the, umm, pooper. But we are safe, and warm, and dry, and I know there’s a lot of folks in the world that have it worse, and I’m lucky that I have good friends and the means to buy myself a “home” such as it is.
I tried to take a photo of everyone in the rv looking happy in their new home, and instead got a photo of a bunch of suspicious spaced out meth addicted zombies. Well except for Dexter, my good boy, who always tries very hard. But how is Wootie looking in two different directions??
Also, remember those puppies I photographed last month for the breeder? A friend of mine bought one of them, and I got to photograph him on his first day home. With a little photoshop magic, even the background out here can be charming ;-)
Lastly, after living in the rv for several weeks, I made the difficult decision to surrender Carl the cat to SAINTS. (Don’t worry, Donut is still here! As is Cyrus) Carl is not a very … confident cat. She doesn’t adapt well to change, and she’s kinda weird. When I moved from Vancouver out to the first house in the sticks, she had difficulty with that and became very reclusive. When we moved to my last house, she didn’t adjust well at all and spent most of her time hiding under my bed, only venturing out at night to cuddle with my legs, though she would run away if I opened my eyes. When we moved in here, she lost her mind completely – she took to living under a recliner in the living room, and wouldn’t even come out for food. I had to feed her under there. The cats’ litterbox lives in the bathroom behind a babygate and the only way to access it is through the bedroom. Carl was too scared to use it except in the dead of night, and even then she sometimes couldn’t muster up the courage to do it. When she peed on the carpet behind the recliner, I knew I couldn’t ask her to live like this, so SAINTS kindly took her into their sanctuary, where she can be as weird and reclusive as she wants and needs to be for the remainder of her life. As I have not actually touched Carl in several years, except to catch her and get peed on whilst moving, I can’t say I miss her really, but I did want her to not have the shittiest life ever, so I hope she’s happier there than she was here. As soon as I have some extra moolah I am going to throw some money at SAINTS as often as I can. They do amazing work, and if you feel like donating money to a good cause, consider donating to SAINTS so they can continue that amazing work :)
Now that I’m back online, I will hopefully be able to start blogging again more regularly, especially once I get the dog fence up!