I am surprised………

………….it has been a long time since a blog post got no response whatsoever.  Not one!  Ageing batteries….?  Rotating them?  This does not spark ANY interest for you?  Sheesh……..my jaded audience………….

“I was laid out flat and more than stunned.  My clothes were smokin’.  I had just been ‘flashed’ by a gazillion amps at 48 volts.  I had been zapped!  My friend was shaking and hyperventilating. One of the batteries slumped in a melted heap. The screwdriver that caused the arc to happen was a blob.  Man, oh man, ya gotta be careful around 700 amps of juice trying to jump out of the box.  Thank God my screwdriver had a thick plastic handle or I may not be here to tell the tale.”

Better now?

Well, that little one-paragraph story above is not true.  It was an uneventful rotating of batteries.  But I will lay it on thick if I have to.  

Got your attention now?

So, here’s what’s on my mind today: as you know, we are onto book two.  Haven’t been able to quite capture any magic yet.  It has some interest but no ‘spark’ so we are workin’ on it….may take awhile.

In the meantime, I have gone back to read some of the ‘comments’ and ‘reviews’ and ‘critiques’ of the first book.  Responding to those criticisms prompted the book-two effort in the first place but, to be honest, I just started writing and did not actually refer back to any specific criticism except, maybe, to some of the readers who wanted more in the way of HOW-TO.

And, since we still don’t know how-to very well, I was not doing much in the way of responding to that….

But after reading them again in detail, I re-discovered some vehement responses that were bitter in nature.  Angry.  People being kinda mean.  And the gist of their comments was, “They must have been rich.  It is easy to buy waterfront property if you are rich.”  OR “They use gasoline and buy food.  They are NOT off-the-grid.”

………..and such stuff.

It was odd how a story about two people struggling to have an adventure would annoy some other people.  Don’t you think?

And so, I will respond to some of that in book 2 but I wanted to say something about those mean comments here first.

The definition of living off the grid does not require one to be a mountain man or a Cougar Annie.  You do NOT have to be isolated, independent, self sustaining or primitive, brutal and dirty.  The image of the OTG’er as living like a savage in a drafty, log-hewn, moss-covered dump with a pack of mangy dogs for company is old fashioned at best and most likely a myth even when it was closer to the truth.  Some people lived like that back in the day when their larger society was also pumping water by hand and using outhouses.  You can always find stories of old-time homesteaders roughing it in wattle-and-daub dumps. But the key word in that sentence is ‘old-time’.

It’s not that way anymore.

Living OTG can, of course, be basic and minimalist.  Even downright hill-billy, if you want it to be. There is virtually no limit to scaling down.  But Denny Washington lives up here (one of the richest people on the planet) and so does the actress, Michelle Pfieffer (seasonally). They live rather well, if you must know.  Helicopters and all. But the vast majority are middle-class types with skill and ingenuity making up where income might otherwise be considered insufficient. They live rather well, too.

Seriously, I would guess that the median income up here is less than $36,000 per year but the lifestyle enjoyed could not be duplicated without over $100,000 a year or more in salary in the city.  The difference: they do a lot for themselves and more and more they are doing what urban people now have to pay for, like home maintenance.  Like going fishing or gathering oysters.  Like whale watching.  Gardening. The point: OTG lifestyle is better than the income would suggest.

So, when people suggest that we are somehow spoiled and privileged, they are right.  We think so, too.  The difference in the meaning, however, is that we are NOW spoiled and privileged because we live here and do this.  We did not COME that way.

And everyone is invited (not here, mind you, but Canada is big.  Go find a place.)


20 thoughts on “I am surprised………

    • Thanks. But Sal says all men are too easily flattered. We believe nice stuff about ourselves.
      Still, I do not listen to everything she says.


  1. Read about the batteries but I’m so inept that changing batteries in a flashlight is at. The upper end of my skill set. Playing with death is not my penchant.


    • Nor mine. But I have to admit, we are more than passingly acquainted. First name basis, I should think. I think I am ‘the big one’ that got away. A few times. Death is sitting around with his buddies, “Gonna get that boy, some day. Just got use the right lure. He’ll go for it and BANG, just like that! I’ll land him. Just a matter of time.”
      Revenue Canada says, “Not if I get to him first!”


  2. As for the ‘screwdriver on a battery post going KaBoom” been there done that with a wrench and my car battery……shorted it out on my radiator. Double KaBoom!
    I got the flash, bang and vapourized steel from the wrench and the scalding hot radiator fluid spraying all at the same time……
    Luckily no war wounds to bs to the ladies in the bar later about.
    And apparently I’m not the only one to do it according to the Rad shop that soldered the pinhole in the top of my rad………..


  3. OTG purist are trolls. So you ain’t pure enough. You capture your own electricity OMG. You do not wear clothing made of tree bark. You did not make your own dougout canoe. As for the negative nellies let them rotate your batteries. Not one of the complainers could walk in your bark slippers. RG


    • OK, buddies, we’re back! Whew! Missed ya and it was only one blog. Sal says, “You’re needy.”
      I say, “Just for love…why doncha come over here…..?”
      She runs screaming stage right.
      So, I look to stage left for my buddies.


  4. We’ve had a lot of nasty troll comments online to articles and videos. I never bother answering them, not worth the time. If someone has a decent comment or question, I really enjoy conversing online. Sorry I missed your battery story. I’ll read it next. We were on a short vacation to watch college women’s softball in Oregon and then drove back along the Oregon and Washington coast. I haven’t done that since the 80s so it was fun. – Margy


    • Thanks, Margy. But I am not really THAT sensitive. A smidge, maybe. Only a few tears were shed but I wouldn’t come out of my room for awhile…..but that happens to everyone. Right?. I have a thick skin. Some call it fat. I call it thick. I’m OK.
      As for the trolls? Well, they were unnecessarily harsh a couple of times but they weren’t 100% wrong. They WERE wrong, but not 100%. So, I wanted to address the slings and arrows in an effort to be mature, ya know?
      But the sling/arrow that suggests that only starving recluses living off grubs and roots are truly off-grid needed to be addressed right away.
      You and I have yet to meet but my guess is that anyone who goes to watch college women’s softball in Orgeon is not a mud-hut savage eating tubers in a cave and you and Wayne are OTG.


    • We live for UNDER $36K a year but I always have a project that adds some so $36 is pretty average. A surprise here, a car repair there and maybe if there is a winter month away, we can hit $40K but not more. That’s it for income. And we don’t do debt anymore. So, $36-40K is topped out. Two of us.


    • The numbers quoted below are for two older Canadians on the West coast. The US is cheaper by far. We also eat well, entertain and drink wine with every meal. We do not lack. Even tho we still use fuel, we use it differently. My vehicle fuel bill is $65 a month. But my boat and genset fuel bill is likely $100 or sometimes a bit more. Propane is $100 plus a month. The absolutely useless cell phone is close to that and works only half the time. Satellite is that, too. In the States, all that is cheaper by way more than half. Canadians pay more for everything. In Hong Kong you would be hard pressed to ‘talk’ the equivalent of C$100 a month. $15 is more like it. And we still pay over $4.50 a gallon for gasoline (more from the delivery barge). So, our numbers are NOT your numbers. But, in Vancouver, they are even higher but they come at you in a different way.


  5. Hey Dave, just cause we don’t comment on your blog doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it.
    My wife’s ongoing lifelong health issues meant we couldn’t even think to live OTG. I like to think we are somewhat OTG in the middle of a small city, because I have always done most things for ourselves. In fact, I’m off this PM to get gardening supplies; going to try to grow our own veggies on our condo patio!!!!
    John in St. Albert (previously Chilliwack, BC and Cold Lake, AB)


    • Thanks, John. Appreciated. I tend to whine like a little girl now and then…..well, mostly all the time, actually. It’s what I do. Others grow gardens, hunt, build. I wine, dine and whine. Tough life.
      Cold lake? Adam? Know Adam-the-pilot? Sorta Top Gunny-ish?
      I am not sure if they still have it but I am pretty sure Chilli-bloody-whack has a communal garden plot somewhere… but balcony-gardening is MY kind of gardening.


  6. Wow! Eighteen and counting! Have we the readership been vindicated now? Perhaps ageing (aging) batteries is not our ‘thing’. Doesn’t mean we don’t read you though. I’ve personally been planting cauliflower and keeping the cleaning lady happy. No time to comment on batteries.


    • Were they accused? Maybe. But NOT convicted. The question was asked. But answered. A last minute appeal seemed to work. Phew. You are right, tho. Ageing ain’t our thing, that’s for sure. What exactly, is our thing? I lean more in the direction of the cleaning lady than cauliflower but really…..?….do we still have a ‘thing’?


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