The Story of Us
How we came to be,
the CAPTAIN and his Lady
Chapter 1: It’s Time!
"I just can't live like this any longer!" My husband and I looked at each other and then took a good look at our lives again...
Where do we start? How do we start?? We were tired of working to get by, and even then, just getting by... working hard to pay someone else's mortgage, aka rent... We knew that was quite normal in this life, but I think we were just READY TO REBEL! :) Sometimes one has to hit bottom before he can start the climb up...
Thus began our 2017, and the biggest, and most outrageous change we have ever gotten ourselves into!
When I was a little girl, my cousins, Claudette and Lucille, had a Barbie Winnebago, and I was IN LOVE!! For years, I fantasized that one day my Prince and I, (with our mini princes and princesses), would travel the globe in our big, beautiful RV! (I MAY be a hopeless romantic...) And in those years, we have visited many an RV store, young and dreamy again -- that is until the price tags took the breath out of our idea, like a swift kick to the gonads! We have travelled the Continent, and so very often wished that we had our motorhome - all those rented hotel rooms, worries about leaving our dogs behind, concerns about food issues (since I have Celiac Disease)...
On one of our phone calls from our youngest daughter, she mentioned that she saw a used school bus for sale in Quebec...dirt cheap! Why not build our own tiny home inside, and travel like our hearts desired?! We chuckled, and kept RV shopping, but not for much longer! Some research later - WHY NOT!? I mean, we were kind of used to being looked upon as hippy-ish ;) We had homeschooled our daughters, tried to eat natural foods, and moved 14 times in 25 years. Like Gypsies, we just needed our caravan!
The actual next step we made was to have a family meeting -- we wanted our daughters and sons-in-law to give their input and opinions and, yes, we cared about embarrassing them... After they all heartily gave us their love and support (our kids are so cool!), we dropped the bomb, I mean idea, on our parents :) We are so thankful to have a loving and supportive family! Family means the world to us!
So, we started the ball rolling. We gave our notice of vacancy, advertised almost everything we owned was for sale, and began the slightly painful task of minimizing... Ha! “Minimizing” - such a tidy and simple word for tearing down years of what one puts together to make one’s perfect space of comfort for one’s ideal life... It definitely is a more difficult process than the name suggests...
I had a few items of furniture that I was determined to keep and build right into our home on wheels: our queen size bed, the exact style of which I had dreamed of since girlhood, complete with swirly metal head and foot board; our solid wood corner cabinet and book shelf that I fell in love with and purchased when our children were just babies; and our beautiful antique dining room table at which we fellowshiped many times with family and friends. There were moments when Fern would say silly man-things such as, “This will not all fit!” Hahahahaha!
But alas, my husband, such an amazingly patient man, made to-scale paper cut-outs of furniture and appliances and such, and we dreamily measured out our floor plan. What a fun and exciting time this will be!! We are young and have something to aspire towards again!
Chapter 2: Time Moves On
We are such a close family, and I LOVE that about us! But I have to say, that when one puts so much of oneself into persons, when they leave us, they leave a HUGE hole! And this is what I had been struggling with at this time in my life! Suddenly, after spending my days, weeks, and years staying at home, homeschooling our daughters, doing most everything together with my favourite girls, I was alone… I mean, I had my husband, but I didn’t have “me” anymore… who was I anyway?? Who needed me?? What was I to do with my time??
While living in Alberta, God had dropped schooling in health care into my lap,
and I thoroughly enjoyed working in the health field with people that had need
of my services, but once we moved to Ontario, no matter which door I tried to
open in this field, it would always be closed to me... so confusing!
I poured myself into offering my services wherever it seemed there was a need
in volunteering, and spent as much time as I could with my new grandbabies
and their mommies.💗
I even offered my pathetic services to my husband, who had started out on his own with CAPTAIN Electron...good thing he is, as I stated before, such a patient man! He painstakingly taught me electronics and computer “stuff” - and I am not mathematically minded or computer savvy!! But we made a great team nonetheless!
So! The thought of having this bus-venture together seemed like a plan straight from Heaven above!! Something to aspire to again!
Anyone else, like me, feel the need to always have goals, plans, aspirations?
Chapter 3: A Life-Time of Choices
It wasn't quite as much fun shopping online for the bus... (I am NOT a shopper, but when I do make the decision to buy, I want to enjoy the full sensory experience! So, yeah, online shopping is just not the same for me.) When we did finally get to see, touch, and drive a bus with the romanticized thoughts of "This may be our future tiny home!" (imagine that said in squeaky, excited voices), we both had difficulty hiding our excitement from the seller. You know, the typical do not show excited interest, or the seller won't give you a good deal... I am pretty sure we failed that test.
Living within our means...that was our new goal...and the purchase price of the very beginning of the change, was almost within the amount we agreed upon between ourselves and our budget. Well..... I remember the day, years ago, when our daughters were just toddlers, to be more exact, that good friends of ours, namely Greg and Catherine, told us about Dave Ramsey. And you have probably already guessed it - we didn`t listen! In January of 2017, our oldest daughter told us that she and her husband were doing the Dave Ramsey course and budget and were going to dramatically change their finances for the better - and my husband and I looked at each other (we do that a lot), and agreed that it was time for us too!! And we kicked ourselves! (Not literally, thankfully.) We had wasted twenty years of could-have-been financial independence. :( BUT, it is never too late! So here is where we start. We totally figured that we could live in a motorized tiny home, no rent, nor mortgage, no utilities - and pay off any debts within a three year plan!
Today marks one year since we made that decision, and as I write this, and think back, I chuckle, because I have had my share of crying...and life is just not how one pictures it...it never is...but it is good!
It took only two months to minimalize...two months of having to look at
everything we had accumulated over twenty-eight years of life, and
decide which "things" were important... It's kind of funny how our
heads know that it is not "things" that are important, but memories,
yet so many of our memories are wrapped around our "things". We
are quite thankful that we were able to give some of our belongings
to our loved ones. :) The other side of minimalizing? Who thinks what
is important, and man’s ideals vs. woman’s 😉 All in all, when we were
done, we were still quite hyped about the new adventure, and where
it may lead!
We made so many lists and plans: costs, timelines, floorplans, travel
places... Most amazingly, and I want this to stand out, was our
meeting with the most awesome family of friends! Don, Wendy,
Dawn Marie, and Chris decided that we could park our house on wheels on their acreage,
while their home was being built. They were just as excited as we were about our harebrained idea! And, I must add, that part of this deal, was the inclusion of the use of their hydro, access to their water source, and all of our belongings were to be stored in their garage! All at no cost to us! Recounting my blessings...WOW!!
First step in gutting out a school bus, is removing all those nasty seats! Talk about gum...let's not ;) Hard work, for sure, but we were determined!
And then, within the first week, my husband made an error in judgement that changed our lives in a way that none of our plans or lists or dreams, could have imagined! One moment of forgetting to put his safety glasses back on, and one random flying metal rivet...right through every layer of his left eyeball, and within a short period of time, life was completely different for sure.
Chapter 4: Time Can Almost Stand Still - aka The Longest Day!
We were spending all our free time running from our home to our bus, and trying to put in as many hours as possible into getting this tiny home on wheels ready to move into - after all, our move-in date was to be May 1st! And April 26, 2017, was no different than any other in our plans. My father, who was 75 years of age, was coming out to meet us at the acreage every day, and we thoroughly appreciated his assistance!
This day, as I was rushing between two of my favourite men, trying to be useful in
any way, even to just consistently picking up the scraps of wood to keep our
workspace safe, my mind was slightly distracted by the fact that someone had
used our iron-rimmed glass-top patio table as the spot to cut wood with a skill saw,
and had sliced right through said metal and almost to the glass... yep... when I
suddenly heard my husband's "too calm" voice calling my name. I am pretty sure
everyone knows what kind of voice I mean - the one your mother uses, and you
know she means business. Well, when I heard my husband say, "Kimmy, could you
come here please?", I knew something not positive was up.
I went to see him, and was informed that he thought something hit him in his eye, and could I see anything... From my viewpoint, once I put my reading glasses on, I could see that something funky was going on with his pupil - it was no longer circular, but torn downward and leaky-looking. So, I suggested that we not worry my father, clean up the site, and inform Dad that we were going to get the eye checked.
That we did - we didn't want to leave any messes...reminds me of the time that one of our daughters split her head open, and I cleaned the blood off the floor and used a burgundy towel (so I wouldn't stain it), before I brought her to emergency... One just never knows how one is going to handle emergencies!
Another issue we had to face, was the fact that we had come in my husband's standard pick-up truck, and I could not drive it. We decided that Fern could drive the truck to our place, and then we would transfer to my SUV - and to add insult to injury, he was out of fuel in the truck, so we had to stop for gasoline!
All these little details are embedded in my mind, especially because as the time was passing, Fern's vision was disappearing! His eye was going black... We called our daughter while on the road, so that she could find the closest and best place for us to go. The first eye doctor we called, told us to go directly to the hospital, but my husband insisted upon going to the closest clinic.
I HAVE to add the fact that one of our dogs was sick, so in order to best use our time, I dropped Fern off at the clinic, and proceeded to the veterinarian. It took me all of twenty minutes to get to the vet's, and when I was in with the doctor (I had informed said doctor that I needed to be quick since my husband needed me), my phone rang, and it was Fern. The doctor at the clinic told him to get to the emergency as fast as he could!
I spoke with the veterinarian again in regards to the fact that I had to go get my husband - but it was as if I was back in a slower time in history, with the vet calmly explaining how he had difficulty with the new filing system blah blah blah...he couldn't find my file... And then, as if in a comedic drama, to add to my soap-opera of a life, my car horn started blaring! This got the vet's attention! My dog was standing on the horn in the car :) And finally, the veterinarian got the point that I was in a rush! In retrospect, obviously God has a great sense of humour!
In the meantime, my husband, realizing that this may be serious, started WALKING towards the hospital! I met him on the road and we went to the hospital together...I am SO GLAD that we live in the area where there are eye specialists, and that we live in a country that has health care!! I had to put that in, because I must recount my blessings!
In the midst of all this, one of our daughters called the Prayer Chain in our Church family. I am sure this was the reason of my husband's and my own peace...neither one of us was overly concerned... I actually left Fern at the hospital and went home for dinner.
Once at the nearest hospital, which just happened to include a renowned eye clinic, within somewhat short of a time period, we were informed that Fern needed emergency surgery. Fern had called me to let me know what the specialist had prognosed, and it wasn't hopeful. I didn't say too much to him, mainly because I didn't want to upset him - he seemed so calm! I called his parents, and forgive me if I do not censor this reaction - we laugh at it now!
As I told Fern's dad that Fern had what basically was "like a bullet fired at close range straight through his eye", and had destroyed every layer, Dad's first response was, "Oh shit!" And then the quiet...We spoke more, but I will never forget that. When I called my parents, my mom just started crying, and that was when their reactions hit me... Was this actually serious?? I got off the phone, and as I was driving back to the hospital, I started to cry myself... Suddenly, I commenced singing, "Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows come?...I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free, for His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." It didn't sound pretty, but it was straight from my Heavenly Father, and I knew peace again!
As Fern was whisked away to another hospital for the surgery, I met him there. We prayed together... And then, next thing I knew, I was sent to a different waiting area, and one of our daughters was beside me, holding my hand, and then Aaron and Nancy (friends and elder from our Church family), came to sit with us.
And Aaron prayed aloud... After a couple of hours, the specialist and surgeon came to inform me that the surgery was a success, in that he had saved the eyeball, but not the eyesight.
On one of the longest days of our lives, one thing held true - God knows, and He is there with us through it all.
Chapter 5: A Time to Heal
I awoke early with somewhat of a start. My head reminding me that yesterday’s drama was real. But having no time to ponder, because I had to pick up my love at the hospital and bring him to his first of many visits to the specialist, the day began in earnest.
I brought my precious pirate home to chaos -- thankfully we still had our bed 💗 My poor husband had to spend the next ten days face-down, leaving the bed only to use the privy 😉 Four different kinds of eye drops every three hours for a month… and for the first time, he was my full time patient. I had no other clients, jobs, or engagements at that time -- I literally had just completed all my outside of home responsibilities in preparation of our move, which in fact, was supposed to take place in four days! I have to add that, and I am sure this is because of Fern’s amazing report with his clients, all of Fern’s jobs had to be put on hold, and not one client complained.
We couldn’t possibly continue with the building of our home under
the circumstances, and in turn, were not at all certain where to go
from here -- we had nowhere to live in just four days! For the first time
that I can think of, I was totally lost as to what I should do… I just took
care of my husband, and kept packing and praying.
Food was brought to us, visits were made, doctor’s appointments were
driven to, more packing was done, so many phone calls received, so
many people assuring us that they were praying -- so much outpouring
of love came our way!!
It was at this time that Ronny and Natalie, my brother and sister-in-love,
offered us the use of their beautiful camper trailer, and we were given
another go-ahead by Don, Wendy, Dawn Marie and Chris to park it
beside our bus ❤
Even as I write this, I think, Who could have imagined this chain of
events, this astonishingly miraculous show of love??! Yes, it was a tragic
event. Yes, we were sorry it happened. But what a blessing! And would
we change this lesson in our lives? No. Definitely not.
What a blessed time in our lives!