Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yesterday we scoured Lewiston for tiny house counter top options and failed. Cement is too labor-intensive and we'd have too much left over (etcher, sealer, etc.)--we're talking about 15 sq. ft. Not anything you'd need a GALLON for. We hit Habitat for Humanity's store and struck out, too.

Except I found a couple of photography books. Out of the 800 or so they had from some sort of "compulsive buyer." One is a brand new copy The Great LIFE Photographers. $10. And another one on shooting portraits. Which I thought would come in handy since I'm thinking if I can get any takers I can make some money this summer shooting photos of people. If you're local and this sounds intriguing at all, hit me up. I get a beefed up portfolio and you get some prints.

So, assuming TurboTax isn't lying to me... (please don't, TurboTax, or I will have to hurt you), I want to spend some of my (our) refund on a new digital camera. The one I have is on its last legs. Too much dropping will do that. I am just torn between getting a better "professional-looking" one (like this) or one that's small and sleek and can hide in my pocket (like this) so I don't look like a tourist later this year when we go to Mexico-Belize-Guatemala. I don't want to spend too much and I really can't justify getting BOTH...?

Keith talked me into this last week.

It was only $200 including the trailer and it's sea-worthy, we think. It needs a lot of cosmetic help, but it will be a fun summer project. We might try to float it down at the river tomorrow if the weather is decent.

There's a lot of people fishing for steelhead right now. Not that we'll be fishing. Probably just rowing. But the waters can be crowded. We walked the railroad tracks across the river from the end of our road the other day and saw several boats hanging out there.

(wishing he was out there in his boat)

Including a guy with a propane heater and his dog.

Planning for our trip toward the equator is well underway. I am the Researcher. I think we'd be going there blind if I left it to Keith. But the more I read, the more I'm becoming enamored with Belize. I'm even checking into volunteer opportunities there (through WWOOF). And Keith wants to be sure to hit the Oaxaca--the state, if not the city--for culinary reasons. A month sounds like a long time, but I think we'll find our schedule pretty full. I'd like to make it to Guatemala, but I don't want to rush and their infrastructure is infamously bad. It might not be worth it this time around.

Keith accidentally broke the news to my parents last night, about our trip. The first thing my mom wanted to know was, What are you going to do with the dogs? His timing was not the greatest because the dogs had destroyed The Dog Chair earlier that day and she was a little annoyed about that. So I said, Well, we can board them to give you guys a break. She's thinking she's going to be working at the restaurant full-time and then dealing with our dumbass dogs... We'll have to butter her up.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today we were supposed to have a budget meeting. But Keith spent most of the day being Groundskeeper Willie and I cleaned house and made a fire and took a nap. (It feels to luxurious to make a fire during the day. And makes for a great nap, too.)

We're notoriously bad with money and mostly we deal with it on an abstract level. We're just need enough to get by. And we usually don't save any. But in order to finance an idea like a month-long backpacking trip in Central America, we're going to need a budget to help us save. (A friend said she has had good luck with mint. But I'm not ready to sign up for a new account yet.)

Considering I'm technically just out of poverty (and Keith hasn't been paid recently either), saving for something this big is a little daunting. But I've pledged to stop buying tall cans of Starbucks before work, etc. and if we have to I can commit to eating a diet of beans and rice. It could be a weight loss program, too.

Speaking of (not) saving money: Today I bought a baggie full of letters for $2 at the second-hand store. And some red-handled kitchen scissors. I can't decide if they should spell something (even if it doesn't make sense)

or if I should arrange them in a shape.

It's Balmy February and the dogs got to chew on some tennis balls and leftover ribs Keith cooked for the Superbowl.

We Keith finally got the door of the truck fixed. We can now get out of the driver's side door without rolling the window down. (But we still have XM radio antennae cords strung out on the dash like rednecks.) Pulled a door handle mechanism thing (I wasn't watching) out of the only wrecked Ranger they had.

To the lumberwrecking yard! I finished a roll of film and started a new one and we didn't even go inside the main gate.

I took this shot with film, too. To compare. And I should get an email any minute that 3 rolls I sent in at the beginning of the week are posted online (before the prints are shipped). I'm definitely exciting thinking about taking my film camera(s) on the road.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Small steps on the tiny house...

Other than saving enough money to fly the coop at the end of the year, one of our goals for 2010 is to do more work on the tiny house. I'd say FINISH the tiny house, but we'll see how it goes.

Thursday we had a couple of small projects to get back in shape. I can hear the knees cracking and smell the IcyHot, can't you?

1) Install wire bookshelf supports around the bedroom.
The shelf, you remember (or not), goes along the top of three walls on the north end of the house. But it wasn't sturdy enough for us to comfortably use them and not worried about being bludgeoned in our sleep by falling books.

So, we've had this idea for a while and stalled executing it, but once Keith started it went pretty quick. We used wire, eye screws, and hondos. Wait, what are hondos??

These are hondos.

The first wire has a little slack in it because it was the prototype, but once there is weight on the shelf it will look like the others. The rest are tight like the Golden Gate Bridge cables, yo.

We used this wire-eye screw-hondo rig on every other rafter above the shelf. And I really love how they turned out.
I had to go dig for some books to test them. Once I have the shelf full(er), I'll post a photo.

2) Fix the solar panel lights.
Ever since Keith put the barn wood up above the shelf the solar reading lights haven't worked quite right. We didn't know if the cable had been damaged or what, but Keith climbed up there and hooked it back up and it seems to be working alright. They're dimmer than they were before, I think, and definitely dimmer than the CFL lamp next to my bed. My eyes will have to get over it. End of story: the solar panel works.

The dogs did their part by staying out of trouble. When I went to check on them, they were getting some Vitamin D therapy. (This IS February, right?)

Lazlo's hiney is healing surprisingly quickly, so I am going to attribute it to the spray my friend Seneca sold to me that's supposed to help healing. Since I don't have a control group I can't be 100% sure, but they were deep puncture wounds and 3 weeks out they're almost completely healed. Hoping we don't have to deal with any more injuries, but I think the spray might also help Mia with her itching (Dalmatians have sensitive skin).

What's the next project undertaking for the tiny house?? Bathroom or kitchen. Those aren't small projects, though. And finishing either or both with a self-limiting budget (see: saving for flying the coop later this year) will be interesting.