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On Politics

I am not a Republican, nor am I a Democrat. I am an American and I am a human. I will vote for the politician I believe most aligns with my views and will do the best job. I care about human rights issues, animal rights issues, and protecting the environment, for these are global issues. I care about clean air, clean water, shelter, and a healthy food supply for these things are essential not only to my survival, but the survival of the planet. I want my leader to stand for world peace, defending the animals (humans and others), and not only protecting, but cleaning up the environment and trying to undo some of the immense damage our species has shamefully inflicted over the years. Maybe after we successfully take care of those things I can begin to care about the petty bullshit the media tries to shove down our throats like who pisses in what toilet, who can marry who, and what god(s) everyone is praying to in order to save us from our own evils.

Natural Born Helper

(wrote this months ago)
A series of events over the past few weeks has made it clear to me that I’m a natural born helper. I have been spending an increasing amount of time in a town with an increasing population. Cars make u turns, pedestrians stand in intersections, and life in general happens at an alarming pace. My inclination is to point out the nearest public rest room, rush over to a car accident I witnessed, ask people if I can help them find the restaurant or trail head they are looking for, etc. The politically correctness in me ingrained by society sometimes has to stop and ask when to help and when not to help.

When did offering a helping hand become offensive? When should I stay out of other people’s business and when should I get involved? Why should I have to worry about stepping on someone’s toes? Let me elaborate a little. If I offer help to someone they might be offended because I am inadvertently implying that they are not capable, smart enough, strong enough, etc. to do it themselves. Additionally in a world where there is a professional in every conceivable field, I am inadvertently implying that the trained professional is not skilled enough, quick enough, doing their job adequately enough to handle the situation on their own.

A simple real world example, I see a skier on the ground on the side of the trail. My inclination would be to ask if they are ok? Are they lost? Are they injured? Are they simply waiting for a friend? Society says it’s none of my damn business. It’s offensive for me to get involved. I am now implying that the skier is not skilled enough to stay on his/her feet, that they are too dumb to read a trail map, and ski patrol isn’t competent enough to handle an injury in a timely manner. This is not my intention at all! When did we have to start worrying about offending someone when offering a helping hand. Why is it shameful or embarrassing to ask for help? Everyone could use a little help sometimes, and even if you don’t need help per se, isn’t it nice to get it once in a while if it makes life easier and makes your day run a little more smoothly?

How do you decide when to help and when not to help? When did society change so that this is even a choice? Why doesn’t everyone just help everyone all the time? Wouldn’t life be easier? I’m not expecting anything in return at the moment; I am just forever hopefully that if/when one day I really need a helping hand that there may be a kind enough stranger to offer it, even if I’m hesitant to ask.

DONE.

I am done, I am spent, I am exhausted. This has been extremely difficult and I am beat down and defeated. It's hard to stay positive, optimistic, cheerful. I can no longer fake smile at people and say things are going good when they ask about my day in passing. I am used to the day to day challenges; the lack of electricity is a breeze, the lack of plumbing is a bitch, but showering at work or the rec center is a work around. These are the obvious struggles, but what is eating at me are the bits I internalize. Aside from the dust and the dog and cat hair and the pollen and mold growing in the camper are the thoughts in my head causing the lack of sleep and lack of appetite. I am constantly nauseous and tired. I cannot focus; my brain is elsewhere. I miss work, I do not see my friends, I do not interact with anyone.

Sunshine. Sunshine and my pets are on my mind all day every day. Sunshine has grown old, and while she is not in poor health exactly, she is in pain every day. She cannot get around. She cannot climb in and out of the car. This morning she could not even lean down to eat out of her bowl; she laid in the dirt. Her medicine helps, minimally. Living in a car is no life for a dog or a cat. They need to run and roam and be wild and free. My days can be dictated by the weather. The animals need to be either kept from freezing or kept from cooking in the sweltering sun. I constantly need to find pet friendly places to hang out, because that's all Sunshine can do, hang out.

Nollie on the other hand makes things difficult in her own way. She is the polar opposite of Sunshine in so many ways. Nollie needs to run wild for miles. She needs exercise, but Sunny can't. She does not like people she is fearful and would defend me to end of the earth. She guards the camper and the car. She chases off strangers on the trail and then crawls into my lap to be petted and comforted and told she did good. Nollie demands extreme attention yet wants everyone to ignore her. She gets in fights at the dog park and scares the crap out of little kids and adults alike.

Then there is my lack of hiking. The time spent juggling work and the dogs has left little time for the trail. Sunny can't join me and she can't be left behind. It's put a cramp on my hiking and backpacking which is my mental health cleansing activity. No overnight trips, no summit attempts, no long hikes of any kind. This also means no camping away from people. Town is getting increasingly busy as are all the 4wd roads and easily accessible trails. With the truck and the camper and the dogs we are restricted to easily accessible wilderness areas which mean, yay, we get to hang out with loads of strangers. Generally I head into the woods to get away from people, society, my own thoughts, and now we can't escape. There are people everywhere. This also cramps our style with Nollie, who as I've mentioned, needs to run, but can't handle the strangers, so now she needs to be leashed more and more often.

Maybe I'm putting too much stock in this house. I've for years had a dream of a little house with a yard. Nothing extravagant, but when I saw this place with the fence and the dog door, I knew it would be perfect. I want the dogs to run out the door and chase squirrels and not have to worry about them chasing strangers or being hit by a car. There would no longer be 3 flights of stairs for Sunny to struggle with and she could just hang out on the porch and relax in the sun with her nose in the air, or underground in a hole she's digging, enjoying the world. Sunny deserves to be a porch dog in her retirement, and it kills me to see them in the back of the car some days.

So no hiking on my own and no operating my hiking business either. The lenders are spying on me and I'm not making this shit up; I wish I was. I cannot be open for business. Next weekend is 4th of July, the busiest weekend of the summer, and I can't capitalize on it and make money. No classes, no trips, no rental equipment, no meal packages, hell, I'm not even allowed to update my travel blog about my final bits of my personal New Zealand trip months ago. I cannot answer my phone or return emails or advertise or update my website. At this point I'm pretty much ruined for a successful summer with Beyond Backpacking. Ugh. So dumb. They are still counting my debts from opening my business against me too, but won't let me operate to recoup any of those expenses.

Not just no hiking, but no vacations for me either. I always have to be accessible and in cell service and ready to access my financial files and documents and near a computer and able to respond to phone calls and emails quickly. So no headed into the wilderness, but no headed out of town either because no only do I need to be near this pertinent information, but I cannot use my credit cards. That means no plane tickets or long term planning. I missed my uncle's wedding, probably can't go to OBX in August because by the time I'm allowed to buy tix and leave town prices will be through the roof. I'm trying to plan travel to Bali or Costa Rica in the fall as well, or maybe join Kumar in Nepal as I've been planning for over a year. No booking a honeymoon either or planning my wedding.

That's right, the wedding, the one I may have to call off at this point, the one that is supposed to be in a few months, is totally on hold. As I said I can't use my credit card, so no buying anything, booking anything, putting a deposit on anything. I don't know how much closing on the house is going to be so I need to save every dime in my bank account, no big purchases of any kind. Also when this all began and we started looking at wedding venues and realized how absurd the pricing was we decided we'd rather spend our money on a house, that was more important to us, a place to live and raise a family for years as opposed to one day. We said that once we bought a house we could have a wedding in the yard. All we want is our family and friends to all come together, have a BBQ, hang out, see the beautiful mountains in which we live, and celebrate with us. I am running out of time. If there is no venue, there's no date, and I can't really set up anything else.

I want to have a family. It is no secret. Call it biological clock, or whatever you want, but it doesn't change the fact. I try and be responsible and right now I feel like I can barely take care of myself and my pets, let alone human kids. I think I should have a place to live first before bringing them into this world. I'd love a house, but really it's in part about living somewhere a bit more affordable because rent is astronomical. I need somewhere with 2 bedrooms where the second bedroom doesn't have roommates. I don't want roommates, I want a family.

These are the things that are eating at me every day. These are the things I am not talking about. These are the things that make me cry daily and make me angry because I work hard and try and do what's right and things are still a mess and I wonder where I went wrong. This house has been in the works since mid March, in many ways longer. In many ways it's been in the works since the day Clayton asked me to marry him. I've always wanted a house for the above reasons, but I needed someone crazy enough to want in on it with me, to share the dream of a better life. I put my condo up for sale January one and the madness began with regular showings and packing and cleaning and moving out and it hasn't stopped since, it just shifted into camper life. I don't know if we will ever close on this house. The lender continues to delay and the seller continues to want to back out of the deal. It just needs to end, to be done, one way or the other, so that we can live somewhere and move on with our lives. Hopefully it all works out soon, but it is still a day to day thing with no set closing date and no real end of the deal. The lender is still working the realtors are still working and I am still here, now a zombie, staggering around the mountains, hoping for a cure.
Defeated
So much for a house
With a yard
For a backyard wedding
And my dogs
So much for space
For an office
And kids
So much for affordability
Working from home
Living in the mountains
Raising a family
So much for luxuries
Indoor plumbing
Heat
Electricity
A bed
So much for dreams

40 nights of hobo life

Actually it's 43 total nights, 10 down, 33 to go if all transpires according to plan. I am currently homeless. My condo has been sold. We have moved out. Done.

Moving on. We are in the process of buying a house. We are under contract. We are in negotiations regarding inspection issues. We do not close for another 33 days. We cannot move in. We are homeless.

You may think camping for 40+ nights is glamorous. Being unattached. Travelling. Staying off the grid. It would be. If this is how it really was. I did not chose a camping adventure like when I traveled to New Zealand. There are no plans. There is no fun. I am still tied down. I have to show up for my 40 hour a week 9-5 job. Clayton has to show up for work as well. We are essentially sharing a car. We have extremely different schedules. I find myself driving him in at 4:30 am or killing time until the rec. center opens at 6:00 am. We are up before the sun and in bed before the sun sets and often up in between to run some heat so that we do not freeze to death, literally, in the middle of the night. We cannot keep the heat running or we will die in our sleep of carbon monoxide poisoning instead of cold, our heater and stove run on propane. We need to stay camped close to work which means we are still in the mountains in the midst of winter and the nightly temps are between 15 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit. There is frost inside the windows, I can see my breath while I lie in bed, I stop reading when I can no longer feel my fingers wrapped around my book. The ground is frozen and the snow comes up to the stop sign on the road where we are camped. This means no campfires, all the wood is frozen beneath feet of snow. This also means no cat holes, if I need to poop I poop in a bucket with a frosted plastic seat on top. No running water. I do dishes and laundry at work. I shower and wash up at the rec. center. If we are not careful our water freezes overnight. We move the camper every day so that we are not towed or robbed of our essentials. I have things in storage. I have things at work. I have things in my car. I have things in the camper. I have donated and disposed of many things. All this equates to is that I can never find anything and never seem to have just what it is that I need at any given moment whether it's to cook with or wear or even simply wash my hair. I am not asking for sympathy or help or even complaining. I'm just saying it how it is. It's the way my life is right now. It's not easy, but it works. I wish it was a fun adventure, but due to the buying of the house I need to be around to take care of things, I also need to keep working due to the impending mortgage. I wish I could just take off work for 40 days and travel around in the camper and have a real adventure. See new sights. Be carefree. Love life.
Wrote this a week or so ago, my ongoing issues with the system. Maybe it's my punk rock mentality, but I'm pretty sure society is broken in a lot of ways.

The struggle of the middle class in middle America is real. I'm not looking for sympathy so much as an acknowledgment of the holes in the system so that maybe we can work towards a solution in our lifetime so future generations stand a chance at success. The two places I have faced glaring problems are with the health care system and more recently, housing. I know I've talked about this before, but since I haven't reached a satisfactory solution in my own life, it's hard to just shrug it off.

Background on myself. I have a full time year round job. It's not one of the prevalent seasonal jobs tied to the ski resorts in the area, it's a genuine career type job with health insurance and paid time off. I'm an hourly employee, but required to work at least 30 hours a week. I make more than what the federal government has established as the poverty line and less than what the census has established as the median income for full time residents in my county. My credit card debt is minimal, and I do have a car payment, but on my used vehicle it is lower than most. Based on all statistics I think I fit firmly in the middle class.

Healthcare I have talked much about before, but I feel it factors into everything, especially now that we are essentially required by the government to obtain health insurance. If I were to get sick or injured, as is normal in human life, and go to a doctor and had to pay for the entire bill out of my own pocket, I could not afford it. I would be paying that bill for months, possibly years, and they might even send collections after me if I didn't just put it all on a credit card. If you put it on the credit card because you can't afford it, then your bill is even higher, because now you have to pay interest on it, and it's even less affordable. If I were to obtain health insurance on my own, I couldn't afford that either. That $200 plus a month is food for one person, or my car payment (and my car gets me to work), or more than my whole month's gas budget. I'm not talking about having extra spending cash to travel or buy new gadgets or gear, I'm talking about cost of living expenses. I also, according to statistics, make too much money to qualify for medical assistance programs. So, too poor to pay for medical care/coverage, but too rich to qualify assistance. This is where the struggle of the middle class lies. I hate to say it, but it's possible I'd be better off if I made less money. So what do I do, well, I'm fortunate that now, after years of this, I can get health insurance through work, which is marginally more affordable, but I can't help but think that money could be better spent on something else, especially when I still hesitate to visit a doctor when I need it because I still can't afford the deductibles.

Housing. The cheapest single family home on the market in the zip code I live in is listed at $160,000. You may not think that is all that bad until you dig a little deeper. This property has no well or septic and is not hooked up to public water, this means no drinking water and you have an outhouse. There are many properties like this on the market, they sound ok on the surface, but they are not habitable by the standards of the lenders. If you make enough money to purchase a home with a large sum of cash you have managed to save over the years and have more cash to spend on upgrades and repairs you are in good shape. If you are middle class, chances are you have possibly saved up some money for a down payment and plan on obtaining a loan to pay for your new home. This is pretty standard in America. What I wasn't prepared for is that if you are obtaining a loan, the property you are purchasing not only has to meet all of your personal requirements for your new home, but the bank's requirements as well. So that home for $160,000 isn't something you can buy because the bank isn't going to give you a loan for a property without running water and a toilet that flushes. Looking at move in ready homes, your prices tend to jump up. Here's another one for you. The next zip code over, so between my current residence and my current job, the cheapest single family home on the market is $667,500. Low income housing in the county starts in the $300,000 range. According to my banker, the purchase price of my new home needs to be under $200,000 or my monthly payments would be 75% or more of my monthly income, and after paying for my mandatory health insurance there may not be anything left over for a car or food or gas or a phone or utilities or any other luxuries. Oh, you don’t consider having a cell phone or internet access or cable tv a luxury? What about electricity? Again, these are the problems of middle class America. These are things we have come to accept and expect as standard quality of life necessities. I could sell my car and hitchhike to work. I could live without a phone at home. Do I want to? No. So I listen to my banker and hope that I can find a home I can afford because the notion of a higher paying job in the area seems absurd when this is the highest paying job I’ve had ever. Perhaps I am an idealist, and I like to believe that since I have worked hard my whole life, and hold multiple jobs, and have landed some sort of career, that I can have a roof over my head, preferably a house. We could look at the rental market, but here’s the reality, renting my own home is actually more expensive monthly than purchasing one (and we’ve already looked at the expense of purchasing one). Renting a room means I have to have strangers as roommates, I can’t live with my fiancé anymore even though we have lived together for almost 6 years and want to have a family together (and having kids while we live in different houses with various strangers as roommates really doesn’t sound like a good option to me), and I’d have to give away my pets, and I’m sorry, but I have had Miss Sunshine for almost 10 years now and it would break my heart and hers if we were to part ways, this is not an option. So these are the difficult choices I make as a middle class American. I choose to have a car and a phone and a fiancé and a dog (actually 2 and a cat). I choose to live in Colorado. I choose to stay at my middle income job. Because of this I struggle with housing and healthcare. There is no easy answer. The system is flawed. If I were to live somewhere the cost of living was lower, the wages would be lower as well. When I moved to NC for a summer, I learned this first hand. For the same position as I’d held in Colorado at the time (actually it was a higher position in NC) I was to make $3-$5 less an hour. I keep telling myself it will all work out eventually. The reality is that it will all work out because I work hard and make it work out. I’m not sure I’m trying to complain exactly, but I’m frustrated. There are programs in place to help low income families get food and healthcare and housing, but I make too much money for these programs and I don’t make enough money to take care of these things without them. I’m stuck in the middle class. A topic for another day perhaps, but what’s really eating me up is that I want to have a family and that’s even more challenging. I’m looking at housing with the notion that I’d like to have kids in the second bedroom not a roommate. I want to have health insurance so I can take them to the doctor or take care of myself so I can take care of them. One day of child care would cost as much or more than one day of my wages so available income for other things would be less. It’s a fragile and complicated system and I’ve yet to figure out how to make it work to my advantage.
Can't sleep. The sun isn't even hinting at rising. I am camped with the girls on the floor of my soon to be "old" condo thinking about the loss. People seem to assume that I'm selling to make some sort of financial gain, that I'm waking away from this with a boatload of money. The fact of the matter is that I'm paying a boatload of money to get out of this shithole. The longer I stay here the more money I will lose. In case you weren't paying attention, the housing market tanked, and in case you didn't know, selling a house is complicated and expensive financially and emotionally. As I lay uncomfortably on the floor of my empty living room in my sleeping bag and look around I see what made me fall in love with this place in the first place and I am sad it didn't work out. I was supposed to fix it up and flip it and move on to something bigger and better with money to spare, well that didn't happen. A few years after I bought I was still in the mindset to sell, but it was worth far less than I'd paid for it. So since I didn't exactly need to sell I did what a lot of people did and sat tight, hating living in this condo every day, waiting for the economy to recover. The recovery, if you can call it that, from possibly the biggest recession this country has seen, has been slow. When Clayton asked me to marry him I decided to take a chance, to cut my losses and run. It's complicated. I am taking a risk in hopes of a greater reward, a better living situation for me and my dogs and one day a family. I could keep waiting, miserably, for the economy to recover further, and in that time pay thousands more in interest and repairs over the next few years so that any profit gained by waiting is still essentially a loss. Instead I am getting out. In a few short hours we will be homeless. I wish I was more excited to be free, but the balance due at closing which is far more than I had anticipated is looming over me and I was unable to find a suitable rental that starts April 1 and we've been getting dicked around on the purchase of a new home and I'm beginning to feel like that will never happen and that was the whole point of moving out of here all along, to move into something better. In short, my life is a mess and I hope I'm not fucking it up worse.

House Hunting

The properties in my price range that are currently on the market include some real gems and have some great features. I have seen two houses with bullet holes, one with an outhouse, one with mold, 2 with bad foundations and one with no foundation at all. They range from plowed out and winterized to needing snowshoes and a shovel with totally frozen pipes. I could see myself living in any of them, but not happily. The most recent one even had a child slave dungeon. Their previous owners range from too emotionally attached to actually sell to so detached the bank has repossessed the plot. Maybe I should have considered myself lucky to live in Aspen Ghettos, or maybe one day I will have a house of my own.

so long fare well

so long, farewell, goodbye to social media, goodbye to telephones, goodbye to internet, goodbye to text messages, and pinterest, and facebook, and livejournal, and instagram, goodbye

i am taking a vacation from everything and everyone

i have gratitude for family and friends and time spent together and wisdom and love that we share

i will be back in a month, we can catch up then

without the support of my family and friends and coworkers this adventure never would have come to fruition

thank you all

i am out
Today I am feeling completely overwhelmed with my own life, which is no one's fault other than my own. So instead of getting ready for work, I am going to sit here and drink coffee and watch the glorious sunrise and write. There is so much going on I don't know where to begin. I was fine with it all two days ago and today I am doubting everything. For that I am going to blame lack of sleep. Nollie woke me up at 2:00, Clayton had to get up for work at 3:00, Nollie woke me up again and puked on the carpet, the kitten crawled in bed to snuggle and in my late night stupor I was convinced I'd crushed her and she was dead tangled up in the blankets, not so, and then she joined on the waking Beth up bandwagon and played on me for awhile. You get the picture. Coffee. Sunrise. Computer. Breathe.

My parents have been here all week despite that fact that I told them numerous times not to come because it's pretty much the worst possible time in the world for a visit. And I suppose I fucked up by bringing them into discussions of a new house and a wedding because that's what's on my mind and all I can think about. I'm not sure why but even as an adult I worry about their approval. I want them to see me as successful. I want them to be proud. I'm afraid they view me as a fuck up because they only get to see little bits of my life when they are here and I don't think they understand it. Hell, it's my life and I hardly understand it. I suppose as much as I say I'm happy and successful, part of me is still insecure and wants some verification from time to time that I am doing the right thing.

I think the hardest part is my financial situation. I'm couldn't tell you if they judge it because they never say anything bad, but I judge me. I hate that I'm poor. I work hard. I have multiple jobs, including a "career" job, and my own business, and I live paycheck to paycheck. I like my lifestyle, I like where I live, I like my relationship, I like my pets, I even like my jobs, but I could never afford the lifestyle I grew up with. It's not just that I can't afford it now, it's that with the track I'm on, it's not foreseeable in the future either. I can't afford new clothes, I'll never buy a car that isn't used, I'm doing good with groceries, but I have to budget my gas and if I run out I seriously think about bussing to work. If something out of routine happens it takes extra hours of work and lots of scrimping and savings to get by. A broken down car, a vet bill, or an illness could throw off my finances for months or more. There's no security blanket, there's no savings. If I lost my job tomorrow and didn't start a new one in a week I would be down at the food bank. I am not proud of these things. They cause me anxiety, but for some reason, not enough to abandon ship. I feel like I'm on a good path and a steady course and grew up with the notion that if you work hard and are honest and kind that good things will come your way and everything will work out and rainbows and butterflies and magic and other such nonsense. The fact of the matter is that sometimes bad things happen to good people and sometimes you can work your whole life and not get ahead and sometimes lazy ignorant people become rich and famous for doing nothing of note and will get some absurd reality show made after their pathetic life and perpetuate the idea that it's ok to live a lifestyle like them and you'll be fine and good things will come your way too. Ugh, I could go on and on but this is not a good train of thought to be on. This is why I have started Beyond Backpacking, this is why I'm involved with Herbalife. I will get ahead, and it will be the direct result of my own hard work and my own business and I will be my own boss and run my own company and care about my job and primarily work from home or outdoors and spend more time with Clayton and my furry little loves who are desperately trying to get my attention as I type.

I am stressed about the wedding. I was super excited about the possibility of a wedding. I had little girl fantasy dreams and started a Pinterest board and if I close my eyes and try hard enough I can envision that 100% of the people I invited show up and we sit around and eat cake which I can just about taste now. I have emailed and researched my dream venues and discovered that even with a small group (my large family and short list of friends still constitutes a small group) and have found their minimum pricing to be roughly half of my annual salary and more than I paid for my new car, in fact more than I pay on my mortgage for a year, and I can't wrap my budget oriented brain around this number. Even if I could come up with the money it's so hard for me to justify spending it on this. It seems excessive. It seems wasteful. It makes me question if I want to have a wedding at all. I'm one of these stubborn people that doesn't compromise and doesn't settle and if I can't have what I want I might just say fuck it, I don't need it, and abandon ship entirely like it's an all or nothing proposal. We'll see. Friends and family are working on convincing me there are ways to do for less and I can have some sort of compromising ordeal. We'll see. Also my parents keep saying they will help pay for it, but won't give me any idea whatsoever of what that means in terms of a dollar amount. If I don't know what the budget it I can't exactly make any sorts of plans. My mom must have said 100 times I need to pick a date so I can tell the family. Well no shit. Half the venues are booked. The date is that date the venue I can afford is available. If I don't have a budget I don't know what venues I can afford. If I don't know what venues I can afford, I don't know what dates are available. No date. Fuck. Someone tell me what to do here. It's not like I don't want to pick a date, but it's contingent on other things that are out of my control. Oh, and really the most important thing is that I want the people I invite to show up. I am self conscious and have this fear that no one will care enough to come and in the end I will be sad and friendless. Maybe this is absurd, maybe not. I feel like I've gotten burned a lot in life by caring perhaps too much about people who clearly don't care that much about me. I'm afraid that getting married will also sever some ties to others. Like I said, for better or worse, I've got this all or nothing mentality, and if friends or family don't come, I might just say fuck it, guess I don't need you in my life. Not the best attitude to have I know, but maybe for the best in the end, sadly. And all those positive thinkers in my life will say don't worry, everyone will come, I'm sure they had a legitimate reason not to come if they don't, and just focus on the people who love you and who are here. Whatever. We'll see. At this rate there may not be a wedding, but ask me tomorrow when I'm in a better mood, and I'll tell you all about the fabulous and cheap alternative plan I came up with last week where we have a huge house party catered by Chipolte and a make your own margarita station and the whole thing costs less than $2000.

This will be at my new house of course. The one that the mortgage guy this week essentially told me I can't have. I know you shouldn't get your hopes up about a property before you have your finances lined up, but I never expected him to say that roughly a third of our combined income doesn't count for various reasons. I didn't expect that I wouldn't even qualify to buy the home I'm currently in even though I have a much higher paying job than I did when I bought it years ago. I knew the lending market had changed, yet the optimist in me didn't expect to be screwed by it. So my budget is now about $50,000 less than I was initially told, which means there's little if anything in the area that's remotely affordable. My mom of course keeps asking what if you want to have kids. I think what she's really saying is shouldn't you move out of the mountains if you want to have kids, it's expensive here, you can't afford a house here, there's no town and no school here, she doesn't fucking get it. The whole point of the house hunt is to be able to raise a family. To not live with kids in a 500 square foot condo on a busy road with no yard. The point is to have a house in the mountains with a yard and not be in the city around that toxic environment (that's what I think of city life if you didn't already know, it's toxic). We will grow our own healthy food, and have chickens, and the kids will be able to play outdoors unattended as long as there's a dog or two around to warn us of a lion or bear in the yard and everyone can be wild and free and protected from the pitfalls of the materialistic society that I was raised in that I'm struggling as an adult to break free from. Again, with my parents, who want me to live in a nice house, which I can't afford. We looked at some property and afterwards they comment on the house that was dumpy. Well the house that was dumpy is what I can afford. The house that was off the grid and had an outhouse and no indoor plumbing, that's the house I can afford. And I'm not opposed to these ideas. Not because I'm accepting of my financial situation so much as I'm rejecting materialistic society and willing to put in hard work to have a nice home. I'm ok with gutting an remodeling a house. It's the line of work I'm in, it's exciting, you can make it exactly how you want it, I know loads of contractors, and Clayton has loads of skills. I'm ok with having to dig and install a septic and using an outhouse for a year if it saves me $50,000. We've been talking about buying land to build on and living there in a camper for a few years until there's a completed well, septic, and house. To buy something that already has a house and a well on 5 acres where all you need is a septic and to build a bathroom sounds like a great start. Instead of looking at an off the grid cabin and what is lacking, to me I think of the lot and all the steps that have already been taken towards having a house with all the bells and whistles on it. If there is a house to sleep in with solar installed and a wood stove and potable water, that's a huge and exciting start towards building my dream house. So we'll see. Nothing can happen until my condo sells, which we'll work on harder once I'm back from New Zealand. Even if I can't buy right away, I still want to sell. I've wanted to get rid of this condo for years. I've been stuck with it for far too long. Again, my parents say they would help with a down payment because I expressed that this is clearly more important than a wedding to me. Also if we buy a house the wedding would be at the house, that's pretty much a given. But again, there was no discussion of what this translates to in terms of a dollar amount so I have no clue what my budget is. Do I have an extra $100, $1000, $10000?? No idea. So I guess I keep going on the basis of what the mortgage guy told me based on our own income and any help from my parents is a bonus.

And on top of all that, as if any one of those things isn't enough to worry about, I am leaving for New Zealand alone in 4 days, which is super exciting, but I feel I haven't had time to sit and look at my plans and I haven't packed a single thing and although I'm mostly ready, I need a day uninterrupted to tie up loose ends here. I need to pay my bills before I go, I need to do laundry, I don't have a hotel to stay in when my plane lands yet, etc. etc. blah blah. It will all work out. I keep telling myself that. The mortgage guy reminded me that that's not the smartest attitude to have. It's not that I think everything will just fall into place and work out on its own, that's an understatement. It will all work out, and I mean all of it, the wedding, the house, the vacation, the kids, everything, but not on its own, it works out because I care about it, they are my dreams, and I will bust my ass every day to ensure that I achieve them.