Standing in the rain

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It starts like a normal day here, the clouds are rolling and the wind is whistling. Yet, still we never plan ahead. We stand outside on the driveway and open the car doors as they drop off their children. The kids get out carrying umbrellas and running inside while we continue standing there. Door after door we feel like this moose. Just standing in the water; no since in staying out of it since we are already so wet. It pours and pours buckets of water on top of us. By the time the bell rings to start the day and we are headed inside….it stops.

 

True story – luckily we have washer and dryers in one of our rooms and extra clothes that fit me in the nurses office!

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Ye Merry Time

My life went downhill and then ran back up the hill so much this past weekend. Friday I found an empty bank account because someone hacked my PayPal account and took out several hundred dollars. My rent was due that day, I had insurance coming up and my storage rent for my bus. I was devastated. Called the company the money went through and got them to refund me the money but that would take until Monday (4/2) at the earliest. so I had an entire weekend with no money for laundry soap, no rent, no gas money except what change we could scrounge up. That night the in-laws took us out to dinner and tried cheering us up, and then my sister-in-law called and asked if she could buy our tickets to go to Renaissance festival. I started crying at CiCi’s.

It almost felt like the universe said: “Oh shit, wrong people, fix it, fix it”. I had never been to any other fair besides Scarborough and it turned out to be amazing. I networked with so many people my fiance’s family knows and they offered help and advice on any project I will be working on. They made me feel like a part of the Ren family. I still had no money but the experience I got to have and share with the kids was amazing! It more than made up for it and all thanks to my sister-in-law.

On our way home we stopped along the side of the road to pick wild onions and milk thistle. My son actually tried the raw wild onion and enjoyed it. I couldn’t have been happier for the life lessons we were learning. My son had so many ideas of things he wants to make one day and sell to other people. They were good enough ideas I actually wrote them down for him so he can continue his work when he is ready.

I also pulled him out of school. It’s a small known fact that after spring break the kids don’t really learn anything new and just spend their time reviewing and preparing for and taking tests. Its two months of no new skills. Why?

I had to inform the teacher and the principal it was not their fault but because of his behavior as of late being around those children. He had been teased and bullied and started doing it back to other students. Calling his teacher names and interrupting the class. Outside and actually being engaged keeps him so much more focused. He helped build the pallet wall to our bathroom on the bus. No problems. He had so much sugar Sunday at Avalon fair because of easter and he was good the vast majority of the time. He doesn’t have a need to misbehave he just cannot contain himself when he is indoors.

So homeschool here we come! My money is slowing trickling back into my bank account and my kids are in Oklahoma for a while spending time with their grandparents. A great time for them to be outdoors and learning! Hopefully, with the kids out for a bit we can get more done on our bus and get things packed and ready to go by the time summer is approaching. Gonna have to check out that air conditioner and see if I need a door or just a really heavy curtain inside the bus.

Just waiting patiently and going with the flow making sure my world gets turned upside right again.

Are you teaching your kids?

I was standing outside today with my garden club at school and one of our lovely girls offered to do the sweeping. I handed her the broom and she started sweeping all the dirt towards her feet because she was never shown how to handle a broom. How are nine-year-olds getting by with no chores and no one showing them basic life skills? I don’t understand it. My son has had a broom since he was three and my daughter has been helping in the kitchen since she could talk.

You wanna know why kids are feeling entitled and why they are rude and selfish? Because that is what we are teaching them when we don’t make them help out around the house, church, or anywhere really. You are hurting your kids and the future they will grow up in.  You are worried about being a good mother and for some reason nowadays that means that you do everything for your kids. Do not get me wrong I love doing things for my kids, but I also know the life we have and the adventures we plan on having, my kids need to be more self-reliant.

Nor are my kids prone to act they are entitled but I shut that down fast. The other night we came home from work after a long day and my son immediately starts hounding me for food. I told him I would cook dinner and asked him to pick up things out of the living room. After a few minutes, I found him laying on the floor, so I asked him again to pick things up. He still did not want to, claiming he was too hungry to eat. I said “Well if you are not going to help me clean, I am not going to help feed you” He had to make his own dinner and then he still had to clean.

No way I am letting my children demand everything from me. It is a give and take here.

As most know by now, we are going to be traveling for a while with the kids and I expect them to be able to handle themselves to a certain degree based on their ages. My son has been traveling through the woods with his sister without supervision for quite some time now, and in doing so there are rules he must follow. Now that we are building up the inside of our bus, I expect them to be able to help with the process. My son(7) and daughter(3) were able to paint objects inside the bus without constant supervision because I have explained to them what I expect from them and how they should help.

The Suv seats that we put in the bus were given to us for free by an older gentleman. he asked if we could send pictures of the seats on the bus to let him know it worked out for us. I finally got to send them to him yesterday after the kids painted most of the wood base the seat was bolted into. He was so happy they worked for us. after a few minutes of talking, he suggested to me that in a decade my kids would be the only well-adjusted kids I know. I don’t mind agreeing with him (cause hey, praise to my kids) but I really hope that is not the case. I am not sure if it was because he saw them painting on it or just because of the lifestyle we have chosen. But I thanked him generously anyway.

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If your children are not helping you to do anything in your house, outside of the home, helping friends at school, or anything, How can you expect them to live in this world without you? What values are you teaching your kids and how are you making sure they become independent?

Yes, it is hard, I do get frustrated when I ask them to do things and they don’t do it, or do it wrong, or make an even bigger mess. But if I never let them try and set good examples for them then I don’t see how they will learn to do these things themselves. As you know I do not believe the school will teach them any basic life skills. So it is up to US to do it. Yesterday, felt so good when I got to tell the kids “Thank you” after they helped with the bus the whole day. Was the whole day perfect….NO. But they did their best. They painted, helped hold wood, Dae watched his sister and me and dad got to work almost undisturbed at tearing apart wood pallets.

And no, I do not make my kids spend their entire day cleaning and helping me. Yes, I let my kids be kids. We go to friends houses, we go to parks, we walk around the woods by the lake, and some days we spend in front of the T.V playing Minecraft together. Maybe you think you are doing better than me, Ok great. Maybe you think I am crazy for making the kids DO things instead of letting them run my house, Okay great. But this is what I feel works for my family and this is what is going to help the future our kids live in.

Work In Progress

This past week was spring break for our district. On the 9th when I got off work we rushed home and finished packing our bags. I was planning on leaving Sunday and giving us some time to finish the work we needed to do before leaving but then found out some other family members were going to the same place we were but they were leaving Sunday. So, I changed plans and we rushed to get things done.

It was almost dark by the time we got everything loaded into the car and headed for the bus. Luckily we stopped at a home depot before that and had bought some headlamps for us to wear. Then came the challenging part. Bolting seats to a bus. I have not worked with many power tools myself and we watched video after video on youtube to see how it was done. We started with what we assumed was to be the hardest bolt and found out when we drilled the hole that it WAS the hardest one and we couldn’t push the bolt through the hole we drilled cause we ended up drilling right over the box under the bus that held the house battery. So we drilled our other holes. One bolt had to be cut in half cause my fiance had bought really long bolts not really knowing what size we need. We had a hard time getting the nut on it but it ended up working out just fine. The other two bolts we easy peasy! So yay. but now it is 10 p.m. and we still have to drive.

We drove past Mckinny and stayed at a flying j truck stop to rest for the night. We were very unsure of what to expect cause we had never slept at a truck stop before. Found us a parking spot…which I am pretty sure was actually in a fire lane because Will didn’t want to park next to the big rigs lol. He felt we didn’t fit in there. Turned out the spot he stopped for the night was actually in front of the gas pumps and trucks had been driving around us all night just to get out. ( To any truckers out there who had to drive around a white bus, I am very sorry if we inconvenienced you, won’t happen again!)

But we woke up just fine around 7:30, got the worst coffee I have ever put in my mouth, ate donuts I bought the night before and off we were. Took us another few hours to make it into Oklahoma cause the bus only goes 60 – 65 mph and eats all my gas money. Stopped three times on the way up to put in gas. But she drove beautifully all the way up the mountain roads to my mother’s cabin! She never once gave us any trouble or cause for alarm.

Our days up there were spent hanging with family, going for walks, and deconstructing items in the bus to use for other purposes :). The kids helped with a few things but they were more interested in being with their grandparents they hadn’t seen in a few months and playing all the video games lol.

We tore wallpaper off the wall, took apart a clinic bed, cut up two bookcases, and tore down the beer wall that was part of the bathroom walls, so now everyone can see when I pee! Just kidding we don’t even have the compost toilet that goes in there yet so I have to use the bathroom outside or at a stop. FUN FUN.

We also did some sanding on items that really needed it so I can paint them later. We decided to make sure everything was painted and ready to be bolted before we actually bolted them.

I hate going back and undoing work that I have already done. We did that with the seat because the wood base really needed to be sanded. So we had to unbolt it :(. Which was a freaking pain in my rear. Then my daughter wanted to help unscrew some screws so she played around with tools as well.

The week went well for everyone and we are proud of the work we have done so far. It really gives you a sense of worth and accomplishment to be building things or even deconstructing things and thinking of new ideas for them.

I will get some cleaner photos of where we are putting things next time we go back to the bus before we start painting! Thanks for hanging out with me and sorry I wasnt in a place to post this as it was happening last week. Signal not so great up there.

Happy Bus Ride

We finally got to all ride in the bus yesterday! It was the first family bus ride 🙂 .

busride

We had to drive about half an hour to get to the SUV seats we were picking up. After having a small issue starting the bus we finally got her moving. The kids and I sat right next to each other on the bus so I could try and keep them safe as we do not have seat belts and car seats yet. (Cant say that now!)

bus seats

Today we are getting necessary tools and then bolting this sucker to the floor facing the rear of the bus just behind the driver seat. When we pulled up to get the seats, Terry, the guy giving us the seats offered to buy our bus if we ever sell it. That is the second offer we have received to buy our bus. We have not even gotten to live in yet. But he seemed to really enjoy the bus and spent a while talking to us about it. I love being able to meet all these new people who have similar interests and very unique ideas. Their generosity is uncompromising. Helpful, friendly, and courteous, those are the only kinds of people I have met since becoming a member of the skoolie community.

 

 

 

Turn everything Off!!

My fiance forgot to make sure everything was turned off on our bus. We were about to head out to go grab the SUV seats to put in the bus, that way I could have my children secured safely in the bus while we are driving, and he could not keep the bus started and drained the last of the juice from the battery trying.

After a little bit he noticed he left the backup camera on…for two days. Drained the battery. At this point we didn’t even think we would need to bring our tools but of course the battery compartment was bolted shut and our sockets were at home.

Had to call the in-laws and have them come jump us. At first a small portable charging station was tried. But to no avail. Had to use a truck to jump and get the battery going again.

We did find out that the battery compartment had plenty of space for two batteries so we can go get a new battery and save it for emergency use. So yay!

Now that I have the bus, I am thinking of pulling a lot out and re-arranging it. I know I said I didn’t want to change anything but I think this way will give us the more space and better storaging. I don’t want to replace a lot, just move it around mostly.

I need to figure out where the electrical is running so I can mount cabinets. Or take things out then raise the roof and redo everything from there.

The dilemma of time and space. I seem to always want to pick the easy way, but I think J will enjoy the process more if I go the hard way. I must figure this out and soon!

What does it feel like?

In this adventurous time I am having, I have come to understand something. I had it all wrong.

I thought happiness was me buying things with the money I made from the job I had to pay for the phone and apartment I had. I thought happiness was approval from others about the things I bought with the money from my job. If I had stuff people would like me more because I had all these cool things to show them and talk to them about. I thought happiness was living with your SO and then buying a house, paying off debts and becoming financially stable, or finishing that degree. I thought happiness was views and likes on my blog, or Facebook, or forums.

Now I know better. I know that happiness is none of those things. EVER. At least not to me, but I am guessing you are figuring that out as well.

So what is it? What does happiness feel like?

Happiness feels like a smile that never goes away. Happiness feels like kicking off your shoes and running through a field just cause you can. Happiness feels like the weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders because you have learned that in order to make anyone else happy, you must first be happy on your own. Happiness feels like the sun shining through the branches on a cool spring day. Happiness feels like rain that doesn’t stop you from playing outside.

Ever since we decided to get a bus, I have felt happier every day. Throwing away, donating, or storing most of my “stuff” has given me so much excitement. Planning on new ways to live and how we can decrease our carbon footprint is something I have always wanted to do. And now I know “If you want it, Go get it”.

I did not feel this way moving into my apartment. I did not become happier to finally have my own place. I did not become happier by buying more stuff for my apartment. In fact, it was super stressful, it is never clean, my kids have so much stuff that they have no floor in their room and I was always grumpy because of it.

No one is going to personally help you achieve happiness or your dreams. No teacher is going to tell you to get homeschooled and go live off the land and learn actual life skills rather than whatever they are teaching in class. No politician is going to say “Go be happy, no matter what that means to you”. The IRS is not going to approve of you selling all your belongings and living for free off BLM land. No one is going to suggest living poor.

The media keeps telling you that you need to go shopping for sales, you need to have the newest, best “things” or else you won’t be happy. They tell you the world is a filthy dangerous place and feed into all your fear. They show you happy people with big houses, lots of dogs, brand new shiny cars, and as much life insurance as they can buy.

Because those people have not found happiness in simplicity. I want to be a minimalist and live as much off the land as I can while trying my best to make sure my children grow up cultured, learn acceptance and diversity, live with respect of others and things, and always make themselves happy first.

I want my children to feel how I do right now, even while writing this post. I had it all wrong. But Now I am Happy!!

The Happy Bus Adventure begins

My fiance drove home our bus Sunday. My eldest got to ride on the bus during the trip and had a blast while my youngest and I rode in my car behind the bus. We stopped at Buc-ee’s for the first time and got some food, put gas in the bus and then headed up 80 for the rest of the trip home.

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We have it parked in a very nice storage place and will be working on finishing the conversion. Today we go to pick up the SUV seats and decide where to put them on the bus for my 3-year-olds safety while we are driving. Skoolie.net has been a very helpful forum and community to help get us started and provides us with many ideas.

Once it was parked we decided to go out for a celebratory dinner and drinks. We asked the waitress to tell the bartender that we were following our dreams, bought a bus, and are waiting for our adventure so he could find a shot for us to take. celbrate1(I love getting shots from bartenders because they always find something that we never had before). She brought us “Sex w/ an Alligator”. Really don’t think you can get more adventurous than that 🙂

 

Thanks guys for continuing to follow us on our build and adventure. We have been really busy with packing and figuring out the things we need on the bus and how to actually go about doing it. We have 3 months to get everything ready and with our job at scarborough fair starting in April we wont have many weekends available to do so.

Here is to late nights and lots of sweat spent on making this bus Our Home!

Oh, where the troubles begin.

Thr troubles are here. We have our “Happy Bus” but now we have a problem of where to put it. We have until May, that is when the lease is up on our apartment. We need to build the cabinets and couch but, we live in a very small apartment area. There is one road that leads in and out and almost no room for a bus that size, at least not to turn around.

I am trying to contact storage facilities that will let me build on the inside of the bus while having it stored there. I have received one reply to the 10 emails I sent yesterday. Going to call places tomorrow and see what it is going to take to finish my skoolie.

I plan on using the bookshelves that are already in my apartment and turn them into a pantry and more shelves for storage. We also need to add underbelly storage to the bus so we can carry batteries and tools. The gray water tank needs to be installed, as well as the pump.

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These are some of the design features we are thinking about adding. I have never worked on a project quite this extensive but I can’t wait to learn how. I will have five days to build it out at my parent’s cabin over spring break. At least then I know I will have help and access to all the tools I could need.

It is very frustrating looking for a place to keep it, but it is making me continue to look for solutions rather than get disappointed and decide against doing this. Any tips or recommendations for resources are greatly appreciated.