Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Month: June 2017

Three Day Vacation in Budapest, Hungary

Every couple of years, our business partner for The Wirie goes on a vacation with his family. Since he is responsible for the assembly and distribution of our product, we usually put a notice on the website that new orders will not get shipped until a certain date, when he is back a week or two later. Mark, who is responsible (among many other things) for customer support, continues work, wherever we are. That’s what happens when the product is your “baby”, you are extremely responsible, you want customers to be happy and you hate catching up on all the piled-up emails and phone calls afterwards. That’s why Mark and I never go on a holiday. Luckily, our lifestyle as house and pet sitters is diverse and exciting enough as we move locations a lot and enjoy the weekends as mini-vacations.

My favorite view of the new-to-us city

This spring, however, we had the greatest of ideas! We did not take a full vacation as Tim set out with his family to Italy, but we added a few lines to the notice on the website, the automatic email response and our Wirie answering machine. It said: “The Wirie crew is on vacation from May 18th through June 4th, 2017. No orders will be shipped during this period and customer support might be delayed. Requests by email have a quicker response rate than by phone. Back orders will start to go out on June 5th and customer support returns to normal then as well. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Chain Bridge seen from above

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Stopover in Reykjavik, Iceland

Every first Wednesday of the month, when creating an update about my writing progress (or digress), I am baffled by how quick another month has passed. Today, back in Northern California, I wonder how two months have disappeared, since we watched Lola in Sebastopol. Of course, I know what happened. Time didn’t just dissolve; it decided to go crazy fast while Mark and I were occupied by a million things! So much so, that I didn’t even post my weekly Wednesday blog, yesterday. Besides being exhausted beyond belief and unable to concentrate on writing a post, Mark and I got settled at our current three-week house and pet sit in a great neighborhood of Oakland, CA. We organized our life, caught up on two missed workdays of Wirie work, went on a massive grocery shopping spree (we had no food left, since we stored our car and belongings for two months) and both took our new pets for two decent walks. Full disclosure: we did split up the chore parts.  🙂

Being good puppies, not begging at the breakfast table

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Monthly Expenses – May 2017

Expenses - image

Every month, I post a report of our expenses to show that it is possible to live a comfortable, exciting and relatively adventurous life without being rich. Or even without owning/earning a lot of money. That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is car, plane, travel or computer-related. Luckily, we live totally rent-free, wherever we end up. 🙂

This report includes ALL of our expenses, in US$, for the two of us. Under groceries we incorporate all the food, produce and non-alcoholic drinks (100% orange juice, oat milk for Mark and organic 2% milk for me) predominantly bought in supermarkets. Toiletries belong in that category as well. Dining out means eating at a restaurant/event or purchasing take-out food. The health category covers non-prescription medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements; medical contains prescription drugs and doctor's visits. Utilities are always Skype-related, since that is how we make phone calls. 

Health insurance and costs are related to my health care. Mark is still eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts as of today. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of that state, it will be expensive! Every six months, we have to fly or drive to the East Coast for cancer check-ups. I still pay a small quarterly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I mention in my year report.

Everything on the blog is a bit delayed this month, due to our travels and busy schedule. May and June are unusual spending months, partly because of this, and partly because of a new development I will report on later. Here is an overview of our normal expenses in May. Mark and I were located in Massachusetts for three weeks of the month, followed by ten days in Belgium/the Netherlands.  We passed the $1000 mark, because of our long weekend in Friesland (or our upcoming travel in the US). Driving an SUV around instead of our economical Prius raised our fuel budget. The price for all the plane tickets have been calculated in the expense reports of previous months.

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IWSG Writing Update June 2017 – Let’s Call It a Downdate

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For June, that question is “Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the inspiring and accomplished co-hosts are JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to. Don’t be shy.

That’s me, hard at work as an IWSG co-host in May

I can hardly believe another month has passed. And, what a month it has been! Since a writing UPdate usually involves some progress, accomplishments, change in status or at least some UPlifting writing tidbits, and none of that has happened in my May, I am inclined to call this post a writing DOWNdate. As in “thumbs down” instead of “thumbs up” when it comes to my memoir. In the month of May, I managed to work on my book for a total of three hours, at the library in Newburyport, MA during our hectic three-week stay at my in-laws’ condo. Yep. That is all. Since arriving at my childhood home in Belgium on May 21st, I haven’t even had the space in my head to think about my book, let alone take action. Maybe I am excused from writing duties when visiting family? Continue reading

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