Category Archives: simple living

Thanksgiving IN a Volkswagen

Ok, I’m sorry, How much fun would this be?

A crisp autumn day, a festive picnic table, some turkey casserole, mashers, my grandma’s pumpkin/pecan pie, and a jug of warm cider, all out the back of a VW T2 bus? All we need are pilgrim hats!!!

Happily making plans for future Thanksgivings….

GOBBLE GOBBLE!

My official Song

OK, so this song, was ALWAYS one I absolutely-loved! I finally saw the video…um surfing, beach, T2…Im in!

This is my theme song!

 

the perfect man

I like to joke that Mr Jones is my boyfriend. Which still is fun, especially when someone doesn’t know that my VW has a name…OR what that name happens to be. Its always fun, when I say, “sure I’ll bring my boyfriend” and friends that know Im single give me a strange look. But really, I do love my bug.

Mr Jones & I have been together for nearly a year now. And as we approach our first anniversary, I have to say I am even more in love with him than I was when I met him. Interestingly, it’s the he, who he is inside; his quirks…not just his showy self, that make me love him even more.

And IF, I could find the human, male equivalent of Mr. Jones, I might just live…happily ever after.

what Mr. Right would have…that Mr Jones DOES:

Reliability. Mr Jones always starts. Sometimes he grumbles about it, sometimes it takes a little prodding, but he starts. And he always gets me where I’m going. He may not be the fastest car on the road, but he gets me there.

In his quiet…and sometimes NOT SO quiet way, Mr Jones, always makes me see that life is just a journey. That there is no rush, and that anything that goes wrong..can be fixed. He always has a positive outlook.

Mr Jones makes me see things from a different perspective. It happened slowly. Over time, but its funny how differently you read the road when you only have about a 4″ clearance on your front end. I didn’t realize how strange my driving is when I’m with Mr. Jones, until a good friend was riding with me, and she said…”where are you going?” “what are you doing?” a few times. Until I explained to her, I was avoiding pot holes, and steep driveways.

Mr Jones makes me smile. Even when I’m not driving him. If I’m just washing him, or give him some love as I pass by on my way in or out of the house. He always makes me smile.

Mr Jones has lots of personality. He gets noticed yes, but he also likes to make a scene, when he want more attention than what he’s getting. Just follow me uphill, with a stoplight at the top, and you’ll HEAR why.

Mr Jones, doesn’t require a lot of money. It’s the simple things in life that he loves and shares with me. Sometimes its just a Sunday drive or an oil change that can make for a great date.

Mr Jones, likes old school. it’s a little thing really. But whatever puts him in a good mood, puts me in a good mood. And really what is better in life, than driving down the road jammin’ some tunes, and being happy with your man?

Mr Jones knows how to make it work. So there is a wire thingy, for his gas door release, and you have to turn the knob left AND pull to open the glove box, and you might have to close the door 3 times before it closes right, and you have to lock the door if you dont want to fall out. And there is duct tape holding the seat cover together….(I could go on…) but it works. Right? Mr Jones understands, it not always what you want…its what you need.

Mr Jones isn’t perfect. He’s flashy, & attractive…yes (always an important quality) but he’s rough around the edges…and honestly…kind of a dirty old man inside. (which I secretly like) Not everything works, but the important stuff does. I have to say though, his engine IS shiny and when he’s coming down the road you can hear how much testosterone he’s got. Kinda makes my knees go weak…ya know?

And the best thing about Mr Jones? I know, that as long as I put effort into our ‘relationship’; keeping up the maintenance, and showing him how much I care…he will do the same. Sure, we’ll have a couple bad days here and there. We may require some ‘road-side assistance’ at one point or another.

But on the road of life…that stuff is just, ‘bumps in the road’.

Bugs Invade Napa

the art of happiness

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting
happiness from common things.” –Henry Ward Beecher

Its amazing, how such a simple thing as driving an old car, can give you a moment of happiness. Contentment. When everything is right in the world each time you get in. That feeling that even if everything stayed exactly the same forever..you could be happy. Just as things are.

sounds a lot like love doesnt it?

Mr Jones. The love of my life….so far. 😀

 

cost to own comparison

In a previous post, I mentioned the difference in the cost to own vs a new car, but didnt really delve too far into that thought. Last night I was paying the dreaded bills, as I do bi-weekly, and remembered to do that.

the difference, makes me want to dump my Honda Fit NOW, and start saving for a Type 2!!

Its important to keep in mind that neither car has required any ‘fixing’ in the past 8 months. Only normal oil changes, tire rotations etc. In an effort to offset that and make it a realistic cost with the odd ‘part replacement’, I calculated maintenance costs based on 6 maintenances a year for each car. (They currently get 4 each). I also used an ‘average cost’ for each cars maintenance entry, as servicing both can fluctuate depending on if you are replacing spark plugs or just oil filters. 😀

Neither car is under warranty.

The Actuals:

I think its interesting that the government instituted the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program, in an effort to stimulate the economy. Basically all they did was get people to spend more, and get some of the coolest vehicles of the road. Instead of needing to have the coolest newest car, how about just the coolest…a little work never hurt anybody. (though Im beginning to question this phrase the longer I l ive.) I know what it means to stimulate the economy….but it seems to me that the solvency of the country is MORE linked to how much we have in the bank vs how much we spend. Haven’t we already learned that spending and living outside of our means is BAAAADD news?

I think I’ve single-handedly figured out how to save the economy, reduce waste AND increase recycling…everybody drive an old VW!

Happy Driving! 🙂

is that a goal?

I was just thinking today, how I can’t wait till my (ahem) other car is paid off. Then I can be car payment free.

Years ago it seemed we needed a new car every few years. My old wagon died, and I got a new car, then I got married and had another kid and got a dog and needed cargo space so we were back to a wagon. Then my x’s lease (rip-off) was up and we turned that car in. So we bought my parents moldy old Ford wagon for $500.00. That one lasted until the Passat wagon was almost paid off. Then we had to replace it which is when I got the Honda. Seems I’ve been making car payments forever.

The current car in question, (Not Mr. Jones, he’s waaay too cool to be a burden) payments are done in early 2013. And I already am counting down.

You see…. Then I can start saving for my bus…. 😀 And I can leave the ‘other car’ to the kids for transportation.

—–

Me n Mr Jones been toolin’ all over the place this week. (Had to make it up to him for being gone so long.) I think he has earned a spa day. Saturday….wash, wax, and soap on the interior too. Maybe even a little rust treatment (yes, there are a couple of rust spots starting to form..the bane of any vintage car owners existence, from what I hear.)

Happy Trails!………………………………….

The Simple Life

Just returned from Ireland a few days ago. Although I am admittedly pretty much set for life on the bucolic green hills, sheep, churches, and ruins. I am in love with the irish cottage.

I think, that bringing an irish style cottage to California (minus the high maintenance thatch roofing) would be an ideal way to move into the simple living format.

Doing a bit of research on building codes, simple stone masonry, and books on green building with ecofriendly materials.

From what Im reading a natural stone home is a really great way to go. The stone acts as a great insulator. Keeping summer heat out, and maintains internal temperatures in the home as well.

That and some really well thought out windows, doors for breezeways. and you’ve got a very efficient and comfortable little home.

Of course for Mr Jones to join me it will require a really great road TO that cottage. He could have never navigated the roads in Ireland with that dropped front.

I only saw 3 classic VWs in all of Ireland and all were Type 2’s. No wonder really. I dont think a bug could navigate those ruts well AT all. first they dont react fast enough for the trucks hogging the entire road at 50mph, and second I think the juts etc would just kill off the front end of the car.

Adding a picture of 2 of the 3 bay buses I saw…

Happy Driving. 🙂

Elements of Simple Living. VW Style.

For about a decade now I’ve been embracing (sometimes more-so sometimes less-so) the Simple Living ideology.

Yesterday’s post ‘needs vs. wants’, got me thinking on the VW Lifestyle.

I’ve heard the term “Volkswagen Lifestyle”, quite a lot, but yet, there is no definition for it. It MUST be somehow tied in with Simple Living. (Why? I say so…and for the purposes of this blog, at least until you disagree in the comments, Im the only voice here.) 😀

So along with Jelly Beans (dont ask) I was pondering yesterday how the Volkswagen Lifestyle embraces Simple Living.

Here is what I got:

Less is More: One of the principle ideas behind Simple Living. Ever been in a Vintage VW? Trust me, it goes along with it. No bells n whistles just a solid car…and if you have to roll up the windows yourself and lock the doors yourself, consider it calories burned. 😉

Fix it Dont Replace it: Anyone who loves Vintage VW’s agrees with this one. Why buy new when the old is just fine? And in many ways, dare I say…better.

Its not old it’s Vintage: Old is a state of mind. Vintage is cool. Sometimes what is old can be MADE cool. Like a Cali Style Vdub. If you want to be green, consider it renewing an old resource. Better than recycling!

Who needs AC?: My bug has AC. Is called 2-70 AC. 2 windows at 70 mph. And come on, what is better than the wind on your face? On the green front, think of it as reducing your carbon footprint. No freon = one less ozone threatening, emission. We humans survived all climates without air conditioning for thousands of years. You wont die without it. Unless you are dumb enough to sit in the car with all the windows rolled up on a 100′ + day.

Enjoy the Ride – OR- Relax We’ll Get There: Something I’ve always been a bit of a ‘mean mom’ about is NO DVD players in the car. Ipods n gameboys are barely tolerated, books and travel games are encouraged, and um, heaven forbid…enjoying the scenery! Its amazing how much we miss, when we dont actually look at the world around us. Free entertainment and an appreciation for all those ‘random’ little things. Like cool garage doors and oh, nature and wildlife! And by the way, you dont HAVE to play frogger on the highway, going 90mph. You get there just the same going 70. Who knows? You might actually enjoy the drive a bit more at that pace.

Does it actually DO anything?: My car does not have leather seats, it does not have a passenger vanity mirror, it does not have chrome instrument panel surrounds, nor does it have a dozen cupholders (like papa’s Nissan Cube – or so the kids tell me.) Part of Simple Living is making sure that everything you have has a function. You dont need to waste money and resources on ‘extras’. Mr Jones, does have a fancy little wire pull that releases the door to the gas tank. Ohhh but wait, that wire pull DOES something….nevermind.

A Little Dirt Doesnt Hurt: I actually read a study years ago, when my daughter was small that said that when parents kept their children festidiously clean and ‘germ free’, the children were more susceptible to infection and disease. This is because their immune systems don’t have a chance to build up antibodies against common germs, most of which our bodies will normally fight off. I think I read this to reassure myself, that it was OK, when I was too exhausted as a single mom to make sure my daughter had a bath each and every night. Every other, was just fine. Same goes for cars. Besides you ARE saving water. AND, in the case of some of the stories I’ve heard, it might be the grime holding some of those old bugs together!

No Sheep- Only Moondoggies…OK, fine!…sheep too!: Why drive a car that looks just like EVERYONE elses! VWs are icon’s. And there is something wonderful about NOT being just one of the crowd. After all we are all individuals. Enjoy it! And while I am certainly NOT a sheep, and dont want one in the back seat of my car (my pretty pooch Penny is plenty 😉 ) If it floats your boat…do it!

New ISNT better: More reliable maybe. Sometimes. Not always. But I did go off on another tangent with this thought process yesterday. COST. Have you ever figured out how much it costs do drive and maintain your car every year? I did…keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post, and you’ll see my point.

Know your Neighbor: In our fast paced urban/suburban existence, how many of your neighbors do you know by name? I only know 1. “Scary Steve”. And I’d rather not. But hey, if you’re tinkering in your car, you may just meet a few. Like the little girl across the street who has a yellow bug pedal car who waves in camaraderie every time I take off in Jonesy. Or that neighbor next door who’s an engineer and can just MAKE you that part your missing. (wtg Jon!) It might be a wrench instead of a cup of sugar, but really- why NOT get to know your neighbors again?

    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

rocks.

Need vs Want.

Thank You Mr. Big Rig, for tossing a lovely piece of igneous my way this morning. Yes, I was already contemplating getting a new windshield for Mr. Jones as a bday present. (Sometime after August), thank you for guiding me toward making that  a ‘need’ instead of a ‘want’.

Always good to have justification on your side.