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Advice for Dealing With People

 
pollinator
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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If you`ve read my posts here it will probably come as no surprise that I`m socially awkward at best, and I`m just getting worse.  More and more I find that I just can`t understand most people and I tend to piss a lot of people off, often for reasons that aren`t apparent to me at all.  I find that people either really like me, or really hate me, often very soon after meeting me.  I can definitely be an asshole but I`ve known that for a long time and I try really hard not to be.  On top of that, I`m one of those weirdos who raises their own meat and is into gardening and doesn`t give a shit about stuff that most people do.  I know it`s probably hard for you guys to relate to that  

To sum up my situation, I said `fuck it` and moved to the east coast of Canada, on to 3ish acres of raw land last July.  I`m broke AF, especially after my daughter needed to find a new place to live last fall and I had to send her all I had to get her out of that.  When I got out here I was pretty much this guy:



Except I was in a 16`camper.  No electricity or water and I was using a propane BBQ for cooking and heat.  No big whoop to me as it`s like luxury camping and it`s getting me to where I want to be.  

I was planning on spending the winter in the camper but a guy I worked with offered to let me stay in his small cabin that had a woodstove and electricity, but no water or bathroom.  I was moving on up like these guys:



He offered it to me for $50 a month if I helped him with an addition and whatever else he needs done and covered the electrical bill for him.  I asked if he was sure and he said that he couldn`t rent it out to anyone else and he`d use the $50 a month to pay for a well pump.  This was in September.  I got a look at the place and it hadn`t been lived in for at least 5 years and was full of construction stuff he`d been collecting.  There was a path through the stuff in the 12x22 cabin that was a foot wide at best.  So, I helped him with the addition.  I`ve worked as a framer, stick framing, panel builds and modular homes as well as done lots of renos over the years.  I always tread lightly because I`m an asshole, so I let him take the lead.  I guess he learned to `frame`from his dad, who`s one of those guys who knows better than everyone else and thinks everyone else is a complete moron, his son included.  It was a shit-show and took at least 3 times longer than it should have, but I wasn`t going to rock the boat.  His dad was sometimes there and couple of other guys helped.  The other guys had framed too and they were constantly rolling their eyes.

I should also mention that I work nights and worked almost all of the 2 days a week that he had off, but I would get home at 7 am, sleep for an hour or two and get to his house around 10.  We`d work until dark, 5ish or so, and I`d go nap and then get up for work.  I put in at least 75-80 hours, not including the days that he said we`d be working but nobody was there when I showed up.  That doesn`t bother me because life happens, especially when you`ve got 4 boys 5 and under.  We trenched in a water line from the well head, but he didn`t have a pump, so it`s still not hooked up.  So, October bleeds into November, then December and January.  He kept saying we`d clear out the cabin, but it didn`t happen.  I`d actually given up on it when he called me the middle of January to clear out the cabin.  We only cleared out about half the stuff, but I could get in.  A third of the space is still occupied with his crap and there weren`t any cabinets, though there is a countertop and sink.  He has the cabinets and we were supposed to get them in today for about the 10th time, but it didn`t happen again.  I eventually built a stand for the countertop out of firewood.  The ledger boards on the eaves are rotted, and there`s no attic, so air just pisses out of the eaves and they`ve got to be closed up before deer fly season.  I blocked it up as best as I could, but you can see daylight in about a quarter of the spaces.  The electricity wasn`t working right but I couldn`t chase the issue down so I could only use 2 CFL lightbulbs, that`s it.  He finally called NB Power a week ago and they came and replaced the neutral.  Under load, I had 160V on one leg and 80V on the other.  It`s fine now but the oven doesn`t work.  The roof leaks in about 8 places because the shingles are half gone and he didn`t want to get a roll of synthetic to cover the roof for the winter.  He works at a hardware store and gets a big discount on stuff, just FYI.  I should also mention that the door wouldn`t even close until I used my car jack to raise the cabin up at the door and block it.  The door closes now but it doesn`t latch.  There was a gap of almost an inch around the door, but I filled it in.  I can secure the door from the inside and I`ve added a hasp to lock it, but it`ll open if you cough on it.  All in all, it`s a mess.  I`ve made it work but I seriously thought about moving back into the camper many times.  I`ve got a friend who`s been in prison and, when he saw the place, he said that it was much worse than prison.    

So, in February he came over with the electrical bill and I asked him if he was still good with $50.  He said yes, so a day or two later I went over to give them the rent and bill money.  He wasn`t there, so I gave it to his wife.  A couple of weeks later he came over and says that we never discussed how much I was going to pay.  I was dumbstruck.  Normally I`m just dumb, but I had no idea what to say to him.  I just looked at him blankly and he got uncomfortable and left.  He`s tried to broach the subject again, but I told him I didn`t have any more money.  What I think happened is that he didn`t talk about it with her first and she doesn`t think it`s enough and, instead of being honest with her, he told her that we never talked about the amount of rent.  The cherry on top is that he has been calling me during the day, despite knowing I work nights and me repeatedly asking him not to call until after 5.  Even worse, if I don`t answer, he`ll just keep calling and calling.  I have to leave my phone on in case I get called in to work.  After about 6 months of this I let him know as nicely as possible that I was fed up with it.  I have major sleep issues and it`s brutal.

Sorry for the long background.  Anyway, it`s gotten kinda frosty between us.  I like the guy and I think his wife`s great, but she thinks I just decided to pay $50 per month and I`m squatting.  It`s a very small community and I`m sure that`s getting around.  There`s also been no acknowledgement of the work I did.  I get the feeling that he doesn`t think I put in that many hours and I wouldn`t be surprised if his dad`s convinced him that I didn`t contribute much when I was there.  He`s that kinda guy.  Even at $10 an hour, that`s at least $750 and framers get twice that here.

I`d like to stay until July and, after I got the cabin into some sort of shape, I figured it might be a good option for another year before this all went down.  I`m fine with fixing the place up if he buys the materials but I`m not going to put much more effort into it unless I know I can stay there for a reasonable amount.  I also want his wife to know that I didn`t just move in and set the rent myself, but I also don`t want to cause trouble between them.  I also don`t think she has any idea how bad the place is because he refused to acknowledge it himself.  I really don`t have any idea how to approach it with them.  I`m willing to pay a bit more even though I think $50 is actually fair given the condition and the work I did.

So, if you`ve been able to get this far you probably need to get a life...  I guess the first thing I need to know is if I`m out of line.  It`s his place so he can set the rent to whatever he wants, but $500 around here would get you a small house with all the ammenities.  You know, heat, bathroom, electricity, water and a door that doesn`t blow open several times a week, leaving a snow drift inside.  I`d also love some suggestions on how to approach this with them without sewering him.  It`s important to me that she knows my side, though my experience has been that that`s not important to other people.    I`d like to hatch out some eggs, start my seedlings and enjoy all 250 square feet while I built a shed on the land I`ve got access to.  Please tell me what you guys think.



 
gardener
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How hard would it be to make the camper liveable for winter?
 
Timothy Markus
pollinator
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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It`s not great.  The great thing is it`s tight, but the bad thing is it`s tight.  The issue I had was that the condensation on the walls soaked my bedding.  There`s just not enough room to keep the blankets away from the walls and propane has a lot of water in the vapour.  The winds are pretty bad as I`m about a mile from the ocean.  It almost flipped during Dorian and that wasn`t the only time I was worried.  

I`d like to throw up a 12x12 shed that I can winter in, a little bigger if I can get the money together.  I only work part-time and I lost my other job along with just about everyone else around here, but I think I could get something outfitted for a couple grand.  That`s my first choice, but I`d like to stay in the cabin until July so I can hatch and brood some birds.  I also don`t have anywhere else to put my stuff, so I`ve got to get some storage going, though I can cheap out on that.
 
James Landreth
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I would forgo the birds, personally. Way too much of a headache until other aspects of life are stable.
 
James Landreth
gardener
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My sympathies,  by the way. Making deals with people is not easy
 
Timothy Markus
pollinator
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I just got told that the camper, with my stuff, is gone.  Had my tools and camping gear stolen as soon as I got out here and now this after my ex did a run-around in court and got everything.  

I guess I`ll be living in my car.  I`ve got a pretty sweet fucking life, I tell ya.
 
Posts: 382
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Here's a link to a free cabin in Whitchurch-Stouffville that they will pay you $500 to move.
https://www.free-boat.com/free/30-wood-schooner-whitchurch-stouffville-on/
 
Timothy Markus
pollinator
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OK, so I called the guy who lives across from (let's call him G1) me to find out about the camper.  Turns out the number I have is for the guy (G2) who boards with the guy across the street (G1), but he didn't answer, which is just as well because I can barely understand him in person and I couldn't understand a word of his voicemail greeting even though we all know it's some variant of "I'm not here; leave a message".  So I called the store down the road to talk to G1 because it's 7:30 and he's probably there drinking coffee and shooting the shit.  I forgot about Covid-19, so he's not there but her elderly parents are fine and they're taking all the right precautions.  They had to stop selling gas because they filled up their tanks just before this all happened and they would lose $0.30/l if they sold it at the going rate.  There's other news but you don't know the people, so it won't mean much to you.  I don't know the people either, because I'm new, but I'm up to speed anyway.   G1 isn't going to the store anymore because of the C-19 but I got his number and the advice that, if it goes to voicemail, leave a message because he's probably screening his calls.

I call G1 and it goes to voicemail.  I leave a message, but he picks it up because he's screening his calls and didn't recognize the number.  He's doing OK but he had to cancel his medical procedure because he'd rather die from a heart attack than C-19.  Also, the border's closed and everyone here goes to a hospital in the next province because it's close than the ones in this province.  The dog and cat are doing well and they've stocked up on pet food.  The dog's now been allowed inside because she's 12 and, in my opinion, one of the prettiest and sweetest German Shepherd's I've ever met.  The bobcats are really hungry this time of year so they're out on the roads and under decks looking for mice as the rabbit population seems to be down.  Guy 2 (G2) can clearly (audibly) be heard in the background, so he's also screening his calls.  One of the local Bald Eagles killed a seagull that was on his compost pile and the coyote haul has been particularly impressive this year.  I now know the names of the best trappers in the area, though I could have guessed as there are only 4 surnames of any note around here, just like there are basically 4 surnames in the nearby Acadian town, though those names are French.  Found out who raise turkeys locally, who used to have quail, whose guinea hens are starting to get inbred, and weather or not 'wild' turkeys are any different than bronze turkeys.  Turns out I can contribute to the conversation for the first time as I grew up 20 km from where they re-introduced the wild turkeys in the late 70's and I happened to get the crap beat out of me by one when I was 10.  The farm he grew up on (the same farm he lives on now) used to raise 4000 turkeys each year.  A three man crew used to come in to process them.  One guy was the 'sticker' and one guy per wing so the flapping didn't bruise the meat.  If the sticker did it right, the feathers came out easier.  They dry-plucked and could process 200 birds a day.  They didn't scald because the turkeys wouldn't keep as long.  They switched to white turkeys because consumers didn't like the pin feathers of the Bronze turkeys.  There was some talk about potatoes, Scotia tomatoes and 'bank beavers'.  Back in the day, fox farming was the ticket and you could get $15-20k for a good breeding male.  The birds aren't really showing up like they used to.  

I've only touched on the conversation as it lasted over two and a half hours.  In related news, the guy who reported the camper missing (G3) was over yesterday on his 4-wheeler.  When he left, he would have had to drive 150 yards down the driveway, straight towards the trailer.  Turns out the trailer's still there and maybe that means G3 has some visual issues because it was literally right in front of him.

I can't express how much I enjoy living here and how much I like the people here, or how happy I am that the trailer's still there.  Especially since that's where my seeds are.  I've still got this cabin mess to figure out, but at least I didn't lose everything for the third time (third time's the charm...).  
 
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Timothy Markus wrote:I just got told that the camper, with my stuff, is gone.  Had my tools and camping gear stolen as soon as I got out here and now this after my ex did a run-around in court and got everything.  

I guess I`ll be living in my car.  I`ve got a pretty sweet fucking life, I tell ya.



so sorry to hear this!

I know there's always a way back out of the hole even if it doesn't feel like it while you're down there.

You do own the three acres then? that's certainly something important...but I guess it's not spring there yet?

My husband and I have avoided 'deals' with other folks for years.  It took us so long to realize that no matter how well you think you understand what the other person intended it can get pulled out from under you in an instant just as you've experienced.

Wishing you luck and hope and best wishes and some good positive steps forward.....

EDIT...must have posted at the same time you gave an update...good news!
 
pollinator
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Yeesh.

Glad the campers' still there.

In your shoes, I would not plan to spend another winter where you are. This guy is not honest, and it's impossible to see where things will go next. And, I would hate to spend another minute patching together that cabin.

Plus, that camper is going to age poorly while empty, even if it doesn't wander off.

I'd focus on some sort of a shed for next winter, built onto the camper.. seems to me the bare minimum to make it work would be about 6x8, just big enough for an exterior door, a door into the camper, and a woodstove.

Ideally, just a couple more feet of width would give room for a bed and a barrel of water, but even without that, getting away from the propane heat would be a cost savings, improve comfort, and improve safety.

If I got that done, I'd then try and get some sort of a windbreak setup for the camper. I'd put a roof over it, if the materials became an option.. but hopefully steel, not plastic, definitely don't want to burn it down.

Bloody covid is obviously not going to help with any of this.. rotten timing.


Good luck.
 
pollinator
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I find one of the most important things among humans, and one that should be taught and cultivated, right along with reading, writing, and math, is communication. I am convinced that if we all just communicated more effectively, which means both talking calmly and true listening, we would have a much more peaceful and less violent world.
So... my suggestion would be to go and talk with both the husband and wife together, and calmly go over the agreement you made with the husband at the start. Not, of course, to tattle, but just to communicate. I would also calmly point out the approximate number of hours you put in to help him with his other place, the point of telling him that being to gently remind him that you have kept your part of the agreement you two made at the start. I have a feeling that he does not quite realize how much you put in to there, nor does his wife. Then I would ask how he would like to proceed going forward as far as rent (going over again the fact that you are doing work for him), and also ask more specifically about when the work at the cabin will be done, and whatever else needs more specific clearing up. When you all have come to an agreement together, I would then make the suggestion of putting the main points in writing and everyone signs and has their own copy of the agreement so there aren't any future misunderstandings/miscommunications.
And before going to talk to them, I find it is important to find a peaceful space in oneself so the communication will be from that space. It lands much better with the other party and is very unlikely to get any defenses up, thereby allowing for true listening, which is part of true communication.
I'm sure the misunderstandings will be cleared up. I wish you the best with it all! Let us know how it goes...
 
pollinator
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D Nikolls wrote:Yeesh.

Glad the campers' still there.

In your shoes, I would not plan to spend another winter where you are. This guy is not honest, and it's impossible to see where things will go next. And, I would hate to spend another minute patching together that cabin.

Plus, that camper is going to age poorly while empty, even if it doesn't wander off.

I'd focus on some sort of a shed for next winter, built onto the camper.. seems to me the bare minimum to make it work would be about 6x8, just big enough for an exterior door, a door into the camper, and a woodstove.

Ideally, just a couple more feet of width would give room for a bed and a barrel of water, but even without that, getting away from the propane heat would be a cost savings, improve comfort, and improve safety.

If I got that done, I'd then try and get some sort of a windbreak setup for the camper. I'd put a roof over it, if the materials became an option.. but hopefully steel, not plastic, definitely don't want to burn it down.

Bloody covid is obviously not going to help with any of this.. rotten timing.


Good luck.



I share the same sentiment as D. It sounds like you have been more that fair in your patience with this guy and have held back long enough. It sounds like a lost cause and your time/money could be better spent working on your camper.

A number of people out here live in campers for a few years to many. All of them have a wood stove. This makes dry heat which will lower the humidity you are experiencing with the propane heat. Plus propane is expensive. One thing i would like to stress, i lived in a slide in camper for 3 months in the fall and i ended up burning up the place. The wood stove was to close to the walls. I lost all of my belongings so i would suggest if you go the wood stove route that you make sure it is as safe as possible with plenty of space around the wood stove(2Ft plus from the walls)

Good luck Timothy
 
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Always get it in writing, signed and dated by both people, and make a lot of copies, hide a few of them....if the other person won't do that, you've got your answer about whom to trust.  We can find out really fast whom we're dealing with that way.
 
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Sorry you have to go through this. It sounds like a toxic environment you have to live with. Not sure if you can relocate yourself, but if you're looking for a cheap cost of living and a good paying job, and don't mind roughing it. I would recommend you try and apply for a job with parks Canada. For example you could rent a campsite, and have access to a public bathroom and shower amenities, while earning a decent wage just look at this job posting for over $20 an hour. You would have access to 1000's of acres of foraging land, and lots of well stocked lakes to fish in. This is seasonal work so in the off season you could qualify for EI and go back east or wherever. Hope this helps.

https://www.gojobs.gov.on.ca/Preview.aspx?Language=English&JobID=148995
 
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Hard times. I'm pulling for you. Keep doing what you can -- sometimes that's the best any of us can do.

+1 on agreements in writing, even if it's only on the back of an envelope. People are easygoing until money is involved; then some get greedy and paranoid.
 
master pollinator
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I would get out of there as fast as possible.
 
D Nikolls
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Hard times. I'm pulling for you. Keep doing what you can -- sometimes that's the best any of us can do.

+1 on agreements in writing, even if it's only on the back of an envelope. People are easygoing until money is involved; then some get greedy and paranoid.



And, in my experience, honest people are rarely offended by a request for a written deal.. so a negative reaction to a request for a scribbled contract can be rather telling.
 
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