OTG habits

Town day yesterday.  About 450 pounds schlepped back to the house.  Haven’t been to town for a month or so due to small supplementary infusions of goods from guests who visited just as some things ran out.  Guests with good larder-timing are especially appreciated.  But we were overdue for a lot of things.  So, it was hard to complain about the day.  But I did anyway.  Whinged and groused all day like some old geek.

One of the parcels was a small crane.  It weighed 100 pounds.  One hundred pounds has never been light but neither has it ever been too heavy.  But getting that puppy off the boat, up the beach and onto the deck was an age-determining experience.  I guess I measure my age now by what I can carry up hill.  And I am definitely getting older. It is not only annoying and limiting but it can cause aches and pains.  Worse, there is all that whinging and grousing.

But it is interesting…the timing of the lower funicular is getting more pressing.  We can both feel it.  We are going to need the assistance.  If we had to, we could do the basic schlep for five more years and likely ten if we developed some kind of now-and-then delivery system in addition to the big barge.  But the lower funicular will make that ten years a piece of cake. I can feel the urgency in my lower back and see it in Sal’s growing reluctance to choose the heavy boxes.  We are going slower, packing smaller boxes and have developed unconscious and conscious habits that minimize extra or unnecessary effort but we have to do more. The writing is on the wall.

When we were younger and had a two story house, Sal would put things on the stairs. Puzzled, I’d ask, “How come there are books and sweaters and stuff on the stairs?”

“They are there for when I was going to go upstairs anyway.  No sense in making an extra trip.”

Well, we have taken that ‘be-efficient’ mentality to sophisticated levels.  We shop with that in mind, we leave things at half-way points, we eat up all the leftovers and even buy with ‘leftovers’ in mind.  It is amazing how efficient one can become with supplies, not out of sacrifice or skimping, but simply from doing the most with the least amount of town effort.

I was reminded of that this shopping trip, of course, because every trip is an exercise in efficiency.  But also from a note from the newbies to the area; “We took a small load over to the property and then went home and stopped for a bite to eat.  We were exhausted. You’re right — everything gets handled at least six times!  And then you ache the next day!”

When we do a town day, I buy half a rotisserie chicken and some deli salads with the groceries for dinner later on.  Every time.  Why?  Because we don’t have the energy to do any kind of from-scratch cooking and even heating leftovers is a pain, BBQ chicken is our fast and convenient go-to, last second dinner.

Over time our town trips have become more efficient–our packing more efficient, our movements more efficient–and we have developed systems to increase those efficiencies.  The shopping itself becomes more efficient as our menus result in less garbage, our bulk-buying becomes second nature, re-packing in the parking lot to get rid of non required packaging becomes a habit. Even things such as Sal’s growing reluctance to buy anything liquid because we should be able to find the same product dehydrated and not have to carry water starts to show up.

Strange – but this is a different meaning to the old saw, less is more.  In our case, we get more so as to carry it less often.


15 thoughts on “OTG habits

  1. Its funny you mention the “age related” unconcious decisions for packing, carrying, moving etc.
    My parents are now in their mid 80’s and have decided the rural life is a bit too demanding. Neither one of them should be driving…..at all. And they live in a rural setting. A trip to town is quite a logistical endevour/nightmare.
    Stairs are becoming a scary event when laundry needs doing, or food in the freezer needs to be retrieved.
    We urged them to move closer to town and rent because the next step will be a hospice.
    So they have just sold and are going to be renting a brand new 2 bedroom house without a basement, all new appliances, and more importantly. Driving wont be an issue(thank GOD).
    Its about 2 years overdue but they’ve finally seen the writing on the Wall of Time and I must say….all us kids are relieved.
    As much as I hate to be the “downer” guy.
    I’ve seen several close friends’ parents go through the denial, ……procrastination,…….then ethe mergency house sale, scramble for any accomodation available
    Plan for the inevitable eventual move back to somewhere “easier” cause it wont be the both of you needing a cane, or routine visits to a doctor….It’ll be one of you first and then that will put stress on the other…..

    Aging sucks, I’m not looking forward to it.
    Maybe I’ll invest in robotics and have my head attached to a robot………..


    • It’s true. No denying it. I am 67 and doin’ fine. I won’t be so fine at 87. Altho my father-in-law is 91 or 92 and is going like a train so it is possible. This lifestyle was good enough for the pioneers but, then again, the pioneers died early so we can’t rely on that! Instead, I am relying on mechanical aids and logic. As it sits now, we can do as we are. When the low-fun happens, we’ll be living like Riley. Lifting easy. But age will eventually encroach on all of that and further, in ten years time, things mechanical will need replacing or extensive repair. So, logic says we figure out a new way to learn and be interested before 85. I doubt that will mean hospice care or even flat-level living but it may involve a bit more ‘help’ now and again. As it was, we decided the Woofers were a wash in terms of help vs trouble. Entertaining but NOT really a leg up. But I can see a future that requires a bit more assistance of some kind. Move back to the city? Not a chance. Never. Move into an apartment? Sooner die. Truly. But holed up in an RV or on a boat somewhere..?..I can see that. Living here and inflicting pay-back on my kids as they run around making me tea? Priceless. I could live to 120 then.


    • Do you think we are in denial? It feels as if we are sometimes. Yesterday, I had occasion to feel the shoulders of a guy about my age. They were just bones! My own shoulders are fine. Rounded. Mostly hard. They work as they should. No problems. And my neighbour who is older than I am is fit enough to pose for an ultra marathon running magazine (he can’t do the running but he’d look perfectly right in the pose). So, I dunno. Some guys at 70 (like our yoga guy) can dance the night away and then some. Others in their sixties are having trouble walking. And I am referring to guys up here – all having to be active. So, I just don’t know about us but I think we are doing fine.


  2. How well I relate! Need to go for something? Take something with you. I started my OTG house last year – got a creek 120 above the building site, plenty of beetle killed timber. What else could I need?
    Well, I don’t have a ‘Sal’ and I’m six years older than you and I’m planning to spend at LEAST 15 years here. And I made a few emergency concessions. I was told ‘if you can see the power line, hook up to it’. So I did, for ’emergency BC Hydro power. I have wood generated heat, but the thought of climbing up the hills to scavenge wood in my 80s prompted me to put in a propane fired boiler ‘for emergency heat’. Oh, and ‘what else could I need?’ A little more strength. Thank god for funiculars!


    • JA, I had no idea you were actually doing it, too! Nor did I know about you having a funicular. Sheesh! Feels like we are on the same team all of a sudden. And I am impressed and in awe of someone doing this who is older than I am. I really thought I caught the last few years of my ability and here you are. Good on ya! And WITHOUT A SAL!!?? That would be bloody impossible. Ten Sherpas with three of them female = one Sal. Five Navy Seals + Gwyneth Paltrow and Martha Stewart = one Sal. Three Gisele Bundchens plus an ox still don’t equal one Sal. Seriously. You may as well try to live OTG without tools.


      • I don’ really have a funicular – just a figure of speech. A tool to make life easier, right. I have a few of those (because I DON’T have a Sal) and none of them are inflatable.
        I’ll let you know in a few years if my decision is/was irresponsible. In the meantime, if you find a spare Sal please let me know. I hate living w/o tools, on or OTG.


        • The answer to the question is in the question…”in a few years….” which, translated, means that it is already working out and you fully see your self there for at least a few years. The bonus is that this lifestyle adds years!
          Where are you? Roughly (don’t tell anyone exactly or else you’ll be visited by drones)? Beetle kill suggests mid to Northern BC?


          • My only regret (besides being sans a Sal) is that I didn’t do this earlier! The bonus is the added years. The downside is outliving your (financial) worth.
            I’m in the ‘central interior’. Northern BC is too cold. Love your blog – makes my day.
            I suppose, w/o a Sal though, you wouldn’t have time to blog.


          • It is true. A partner helps. And a great partner helps a great deal. I lucked out. Totally. I know that. And I am not likely to ever take it for granted. I have friends who insist on reminding me of that all the time. Male and female! Glad you are there and enjoying it. So much better than the rat race, eh?


  3. Hey David and Sally,

    Thoroughly enjoyed your book – many laughs and some courageous feats.
    Pleased to see David’s dry humour and ability to delegate as much as possible to Sally still endures David.
    All well here in NZ and hope to swing by your dock one day.

    Lots of love
    Ross and Jo


    • Sally is the only reason I am still enduring at all! Thanks for the compliment and, as you have likely guessed already, over 50% of that compliment should go to Sal. Writing is a piece of cake compared to editing and publishing. She did the heavy lifting on the book.
      And we hope you swing by, too….but, you do know that New Zealand is far away, right? Gonna sail the whole way?


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