Moms twin is here for a few days, taking a break from her caregiving role with her SO (who has terminal cancer) The mood here is OK, but lots of talk about how we need to live life to it's fullest all the time.
We made tentative plans to take a day trip to view a planned retirement community all 3 of us have been interested in. It would seem to be so easy to have both of them in the same place.......thinking selfishly here. I've been thinking about how easy it would be not to have the rentals & when we checked on the prices of these new homes today we were all pleasantly surprised at the costs. Way lower than we're used to in our respective areas.
No spending, but lots of cooking. I'm pooped and ready to talk of anything but cancer, pain and dying. This will feel like a looonnggg week end by tomorrow night.
Archive for July, 2007
Moms twin is here for a few days, taking a break from her caregiving role with her SO (who has terminal cancer) The mood here is OK, but lots of talk about how we need to live life to it's fullest all the time.
I've been to Costco more times in the last 2 months than I have been in the last 20 years. Mom is a shopping fanatic; as are all the other shoppers I saw at Costco.
We supposedly went for a chicken. A cooked chicken for dinner tonight. We got that, but "picked up" about $70.00 of things we just had to have. I couldn't believe the things people were buying...
Mom is still talking about moving to a beach, which would most likely take us to a part of the state without a Costco quite so close. She was talking about how I'd have to get used to not being able to just run out and get whatever. I reminded her that was herself she was talking about, that I was used to not shopping at all! I would really love being further out; am carefully lobbying for a smaller community than the one we're in.
Other details: Had the Craigslist sewing customer/barter person here this
AM. Everything fit, delivered one more item with only 3 to go now. Will take the items to her in 2 weeks & guess where she lives? Near one of the beach houses on our list to see.! We'll make a day of it & see what mom thinks.
Did spend some money today on vitamins and supplements. I'm a firm believer in them & order online so I feel like I get the best deal possible.
Also paid for a new water heater for another rental. Gads, July has been a pricey month. Things like the pump and the hot water tank make me weigh the plus/minus bit of the rentals. I've had them to use for my retirement, as my job had no retirement plan..... Now, I'd really like to not be thinking about repairs & such all the time. Fortunately, I don't need to decide anything right away. Food for thought.
Made last payment for extreme dental work too. Can't wait to get this all finished up. Sounds like everything is on schedule with original plan, will perhaps be done by the end of Sept.
I'd better put the checkbook away & hold the line for a bit now!
I'm going to have to work on this one. I do believe city water is going to come out the winner..........and I'd wish I was paying a monthly bill, no matter how high.
The well repair/plumber people were here yesterday, after the house was without water for 5 days. The parts were checked in order of least to most important.......and of course, it was the entire pump that had blown out. So hoping it was going to be some stupid breaker box snafoo........but no.
With all the innards of the pump strung out on the driveway, they began to put the new set up back down in the ground. Pretty simple system actually, but way more than I was going to tackle. HA!
A mere $4600 and change later, we have water. Since there is no city water here, this is my only option, but wow, what I'd give to be complaining about a water bill monthly at this point.
Fortunately, there is an ER fund here and the check was written and we're all taken care of. Can't say enough for putting money aside, especially if you're a homeowner. Homes do just suck up money!
We splurged today and went to our little towns garden tour. Six gardens for $15.00. Not a bargain by any means.
We did get a few ideas and mom realized her new gardens could hold their own in a few years.....there were things she saw and realized hers' were just the baby version. Several of the gardens had live music which was a treat, but it still didn't seem like it was a good value for the money spent. (I'm spoiled with the garden tours from my little farm town; more manure = better flowers I guess!!)
We had a coupon from the entertainment book for a 2 for one lunch at a new Thai place, so we finished off our day with that. Very yummy!
Even the rain held off while we did all this today which was good. Only one garden was tough to navigate due to it being so wet, the others were OK.
Tonight I've got another hobby woodworker showing up with helpers....and I'm giving them a van load of dry wood for turning or carving. All this is stored in this basement, making cleaning the space up impossible. Can't wait to see the difference after this evenings load!!!
Heading for my old house tomorrow, to check on the water/pump situation. Apparently still no water & the electrician friend said it was out of his league, we need a well person. Not wanting to pay week end rates, we decided to "camp" until Monday. Hauling water in from the rain barrels is not the easiest, but the water is on the property, so it could be worse.
I can feel a lesson in wells & pumps coming on!
I've been blessed with two moms. Not two people who have acted like my mom, but mom and her identical twin. Two of almost exactly the same person. Very few people can tell them apart.....and as little kids, there are stories of us not knowing which was which....and yes, they did tease us.
My 'other' mom has been widowed for decades and has had a SO for the past 20 years or so. This gentleman has just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer with months left to live. My aunt has expressed how she will in no way be able to continue to live in her current home, or in that community when her SO dies.
Mom is on the phone now, and the subject has come up about the possibility of all 3 of us moving somewhere together. Hmmmm
It could work. I would love to be somewhere other than this house, it is OK, but not my choice of areas or house or just about anything.
Mom also found a home today that is right on the beach (now this makes 2 of them she is interested in seeing) but this new one only has 2 bedrooms. I can hear her wheels turning as she tries to come up with a solution for her twin as well as satisfy her wish to live right on the beach. I'm willing to just go along for the ride!
On the financial front......no spending today, just a trip to the beach between showers so we could watch some amazing kite flying and let my week end young man watch the waves (his favorite activity).
I've been finding out little things since I moved to moms.......like the cancelled health coverage, because she had signed herself up for two of them. Well, todays news topped that one for sure.
Mom asked me to help her find her last check register so she could wrap up her income tax stuff (for 06...and yes, she had an extension). I assumed she was working on the 06 taxes and even tho numbers aren't my gift....not even close...I offered to assist in getting things ready for her tax preparer. I suggested her check register that was missing might be the one in her check book and Bingo! it was the one. We gathered the numbers she needed re; rentals & repairs and I thought perhaps we were done.
Oh, no.......not quite. Mom then says to me "you thought that was bad? There's more!" Seems she hadn't filed her tax forms since 03. (keep in mind, she doesn't think she has ever filed for the trust, which was put into place in 2000)
I suggested we just gather up her paperwork & head to the tax guy...which we did.....and yikes, did I ever get a stress headache there. (and during that meeting, a tenant called & the pump has apparently gone out, or dry or whatever.....the result is no water)
The good news is: the trust did file taxes up until 2003 when mom just stopped going in for the tax appointments. And, she has enough stored up tax credits the sale of some property in 2004 didn't even generate enough income to offset that, so no capitol gains tax there.
The bad news is: the sale of a big chunk of property in 2005 will have capitol gains tax on it, plus interest since the due date. She has the funds, but was under the impression she could sell what she wanted without the tax. Pretty sure it will take awhile until this new info sinks in.
I'm almost scared to get up in the morning, for what I'll uncover here! Between the taxes, the medical plan snafuu, and the lack of upkeep on the house here.......there is enough work for a troop of people. And, now I get to do another plumbing task on top of this......I'm so over the top with little pesky details from all this I'm truly looking forward to going in for my last oral surgery appointment next week. I've scheduled a couple days in town at a lovely hotel & will recouperate there while trying to forget all about pumps, rentals and missed tax deadlines.
I know things will all work out, but wow, I'm amazed mom was holding together as good as she was with all this happening around her. No question about IF I'm moving, it is just about how quick I can get things back & under control here.
Hoping a nights sleep and a fresh new day makes a difference in my outlook (and a phone call from the tenant, or a plumber I've called wouldn't hurt.....here again, it is a plumbing difficulty on a Friday night!)
Since I'm out of commission most of next week, we'll tackle moms issues the end of next week. Mine.......I'll keep trying to get a plumber, or is it really an electrician one needs for the pump, out to the 'ranch'. And, I'll pray it is just a low water situation and it will magically be flowing freely by morning.
That's the name of the new yarn I just received in the mail. And, the best part is I didn't pay for it!!! I was chosen to be a test knitter for a new yarn from Knit One, Crochet Too.
I've got one sock already on the needles as you can see from the picture. Yummy yarn. (no one but another knitter will understand how yarn can be 'yummy') The colors are perfect, couldn't have chosen better myself. The yarn is a superwash Merino wool (which means it's washable) with a tad of nylon and an even smaller amount of elastic. Should make up into great socks. (which I get to keep)
Doesn't get much better than this for a knitter!
I had an email last week, inquiring if I would ever be interested in taking on another young person as a long range sort of thing... In our area, this is called Companion Care, what I retired from a year ago June.
Anyway, today the "packet" arrived in the mail, with a contract all ready for me to sign and an envelope to return it in! Gads, a tad presumptuous I think.
I was pretty sure it wasn't going to turn out to be anything, as it took so long for info to get to me and now that it has, I'm totally unsure of what to do.
I did run the email past my mom, so she is in the loop. She wouldn't be licensed, but the house would, and I would. Depending on the person, mom would be fine with it she said. (neither of us is willing to go the autistic route again)
I need to read the packet in the daylight & when I'm not tired....as it seems like a definate NO tonight. This kid is just 21, still in high school and has "eloped" 7 times from his previous foster home. (can't wait to see who filled out the form here & ask them about all the spouses!!) They must mean runaway??? And, my policy has been to not take runaways back. Leave my place & you're out. With a kid that is delayed however, I just don't know.
This would certainly up the income here, from nothing to a whole bunch. That would be nice.
Having this sort of placement here in this house, in this neighborhood has the potential to really cause havoc. Moms neighbors all have "help". (for everything!)
Mom has been hinting around to get licensed and have babies here, temporary sort of placements......but babies none the less. (I'm not fond of little kids, so I haven't pursued that with much gusto)
Teens are more my style. Will call tomorrow and at least set up a meeting with this gentleman before spending anymore time weighing pros & cons. Just laying eyes on him might make my decision for me.
The rest of the day has been interesting too.........the mail also brought a denial letter from moms health plan. Apparently she has signed up for another plan and was turned down from her primary one. I've spent so much time on the phone my ears wore out. Tried on line, but the websites weren't helpful, just basic info.... Have details from both plans coming in the mail, will come up with one plan before August.
The little details like the health plan make me realize I needed to be asking more questions of mom alot sooner. So far, nothing is horribly serious, (but the income tax bit for the trust is a little scary) and we're making progress....but I no longer assume mom has everything in order.
Can't wait til morning. I'm going walking again (have been lazy while it's been so blinking hot here), and everything always looks clearer to me in the mornings.
I continue to chip away at my new task of clearing out my parents house.....not totally clearing it out, just the parts mom gives the go ahead on.
Today was a carnival here........craigs list folks, freecycle folks, both the door bell and the phone ringing non stop. (the chihauhau went a little nuts)
When my son arrived for a visit, he kindly carried up the 4 boxes of National Geographic magazines of my dads. We had used them for school reports as well as general reading material in the house for all the years I can remember. It was odd to see them all head to a new home. (still can't believe someone WANTED them all....the collection went back to 1952 and up through 2000)
As I'm finding all these collections new homes, I am continually tightening up my list of what is important to me. Boxes of magazines.....absolutely not. Do I want to "collect" anything? I don't think so. Interesting thoughts as I wade through the stuff here. Things important enough to build custom book cases to fit the collection of Natl Geographics for heavens sake. (also a custom book case for the Readers Digest books)
I knew my dad was an odd duck, but I'm getting an even closer picture of him by going through all his things. Pretty darned sure I don't want anyone going through my things after I die.....most likely that is why I'm able to trim down my trappings these days.
No spending today, ate fresh veggies & salads from the garden. Feel quite productive this evening as I realize what a mountain of stuff I moved out of here today; the 50 years of magazines, 2 rockers, a coffee table, an old table top game set up, a home made balance beam and a 1962 set of World Book Encyclopedias! TA DA!
I can probably count the hours I've been alone the last couple of decades on my fingers. Seriously, I would think I had squeezed an hour or two out of the schedule to be alone......I'd shut the door as the last kid left for a home visit or something.........and someone would drive in. Five minutes by myself; Max.
Well, this week end my mom headed to her twin sisters place for 3 days. I'm like a kid with all new toys. I really have no idea how to use up all this ME time. (but I'm a quick learner) I've been more than busy and have loved having the house to myself.
Picked up some freecycle plants this AM, St Johns Wort.....which I've never grown. Actually, would never have recognized it before today. Nice plant, makes a terrific ground cover, but it has yellow flowers & I just can't do yellow in my garden. So, this will be banished to the back 40, where it can just grow to it's hearts content and cover as much ground as it wants. Also picked up a piece of carpet (really did think it was a room size rug, but no...) and not sure what to do with it now. I have a van full of carpet!
Took advantage of not having mom here and have had a virtual parade of freecyclers and craigs listers here for all sorts of junk. Made progress in the yard, basement and the garage. Pretty sure mom won't even notice what's missing....and took care to not get rid of anything I know she is still attached to.
I had waited til today to get a really cheap haircut, with a coupon that began today....only to find out the shop was giving that cheap price to everyone. Wow, were they busy. $5.00 for a haircut and I love it. For being cheap and for being a truly good cut. They also gave out gift cards for $5.00 off the next haircut, a coupon for a family members cut and a great tube of lip gloss. It was a good way to start my morning!
As of tonight........my time alone is almost up. My son called & is coming tomorrow for a visit & to help (I have his list all ready!) So, after my morning coffee, it will be back to normal here. After living with so many people for so many years, I don't think I'll ever get enough time by myself. Odd, I know...........
Gads, the difference 20 or 25 degrees makes! We were flirting with 100 degrees yesterday (outside...actually no idea what the temp was inside) and today we're at a balmy, breezy 80 & on the way to an expected 75 for overnight.
I can breathe again. There really isn't any air left at 100 degrees I don't think. Being from WA state here, no one has A/C that I know of. Not even the ones that sit in a window. So, there is no expense to this heat that I can think of. One blessing I guess. (can't think of any other positive to it)
We ate at home, since leaving the house would require movement of some sort.....and there was no way I was going to do that. So, we were frugal but HOT. Thank goodness I didn't have anything I had to do. Saved any errands for tomorrow!
Have several freecycle items I get to go pick up tomorrow; convinced people it would be better after the heatwave here. An almost new area rug, which I'm hoping will work in our living room. (need to replace something of moms that is slippery & terribly dangerous here) Also have a couple starts of new to me ground covers to pick up and get in the garden.
Made plans for my oral surgery days; which is coming right up. Supposedly this will be the last big appointment which puts the whole thing done prior to August which was the original date I was told. Nice. One of my 2007 goals almost wrapped up. (will need to dig out my list of the other goals as I can't remember anything but walking regularly) So, the 2 I can remember, I'm doing.
Moms birthday today........we did it pretty low key, as that was what she wanted. Her twins S.O. just found out he has inoperable cancer so the mood here is less than lively. Lots of phone calls between the twins. I do hope I'm as interested in life when I turn 85 as my mom is. What an incredible woman I have as a role model.
We did have a "finance" meeting this evening with the #1 grandson. He is the mortgage person who was tweaking the credit report/score for his mom....and then he will be buying the house from my mom ....this gets really complicated. Anyway, the house is in my moms trust, and there is now differing info coming from the accountant & attorney. Just hate this stuff. We're putting it all on hold until next week; must get the birthday weekend wrapped up first. So, house sale/transfer will have to wait.
Totally looking forward to sleeping all night in a much cooler house!
Remember the new rose bushes I planted in moms garden? Well, along with the bushes, I now have a mold problem. The dusty white stuff on the tops of the leaves sort of problem.
Not one to head to the garden store to purchase a chemical product to get this condition in check, I began to research and experiment.
Seems that regular old baking soda from your pantry is the ticket to clear up the mold. I found two "recipes" and can give results on one at this point.
Recipe #1: 3 t. soda
1 t. dish soap
1 gal. water
Mix and put in a spray bottle. Spray every 7-10 days throughout the growing season.
Recipe #2: 1 t vegetable oil
1 gal unchlorinated water
1 t plain listerine
1 t dish soap
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 T vinegar
Mix and put in a spray bottle. Spray every 7-10 days throughout the growing season.
I've been using Recipe #1, since I wasn't about to go buy mouthwash for a tablespoon of it....and I wasn't going to buy water either.
The spray has certainly kept roses from getting worse and I do believe they are making progress towards being healthy bushes.
I've had roses before and never had a disease problem, so this caught me by surprise. Supposedly, it can come from the shock of being transplanted, poor soil or poor circulation and of course, watering over the top of the bush. I've added better soil, we are now watering with the soaker hose from freecycle and I'm trimming out some of the leaves to open up the bush for better circulation. Since mom actually paid for these bushes, I'm on a mission to see they all survive........and thrive.
I'll keep posting the progress, hoping I can get these bushes on track without spending any money. All suggestions welcome!!
I know it is hotter somewhere in the world, but for this Pacific Northwesterner, anything over 72 makes me tired and just a tad cranky. We've hit 90 something today and are supposed to be flirting with 100 tomorrow. I think I'll get more work done in the basement, as it's still cool down there.
Tenant brought the rent money today...late, but it is now here. I walked a bit this AM, but just couldn't get past 30 minutes with it warming up.
No other spending today.....and didn't accomplish much at all. Heat makes me more than lazy.
I did unpack a soaker hose I had picked up last year some time from freecycle.....and I found the end cap I had to buy to make it functional. Hooked it up here and wow, is it going to be nice. I've never had one of these fancy black things. You sort of bury it in the garden, so it doesn't show and then it does all the watering for you. Now I'm really on my way to being a lazy gardener, not just a frugal one!
Busy and busier. My days just seem to be flying by.....
The empty house is still empty. Haven't paid the electrician yet, he hasn't asked for money and he isn't done. My favorite way to work with sub contractors. Still hashing out the plans as to renting commercial or residential; mom is having trouble making up her mind & the potential commercial tenant is chomping at the bit.
My funds came through from the re fi, and are in my account to finish paying for my dental work.......which is coming up pretty quickly (later this month, I do think it is the last surgery required)
My bartered deal on the salvaged lumber in the back 40 is working out well. One gentleman is clearing up the mess created by the grandsons when they rented the place for a few years in exchange for lumber to build his woodshed and the other young man is going to make my moms raised planter/bench event for us in trade for his lumber for a tool shed. Both of them have given us their address so I can take mom by their places to see what my dads collection of lumber has created. Nice touch I think.
Yesterday brought some not so nice news (if it is really news) about my son in law person. His wife was one of my foster kiddos for at least a decade & I know her like a book. She is great with money, has always been and I trust her with anything & anyone. Since I have been a foster parent for decades, I always told everyone I knew & came into contact with.......I needed everyones help & their eyes & ears to keep my kids on track. I used to call all these people my "little birdies" .....I know, how dorky...but my mother did the same thing with us & it seemed to work. People would let me know when they had seen one of my kids, anything.........it was the best help in keeping track of 6 teens! Well.......one of my old, good track record birds called yesterday & told me she had been in contact with son in law person & had some concerns. He had offered to help sell a business for them (odd since he isn't a realtor) and continued to say he needed funds to make this deal happen. (big funds......over $10,000) He went on to say he was 3 months behind on house payments & things were headed to foreclosure if he didn't get an advance from these people. They paid him. I know.....way too many things wrong with this scenario. But, the deal is he now won't answer email or phone calls & they are sure they have lost their money. (yes, they did have a contract)
I tried to contact my foster dtr today & got son in law person. Not knowing just what to say I just told him I had a feeling something wasn't right in their lives.......but, he told me thanks for my concern, he appreciated that, but things were fine. Then, he said he couldn't talk and would call me back. ( he hasn't) I'm going to wait until tomorrow and try reaching my little gal. Not sure what I'll say then either, but foreclosure.....her....????? No way. Not a chance. She has been paying 2X a month to pay off her mortgage early....she would not let something that important slip up. Plus, she is working and has an income enough to cover all their expenses without his new business income. Hmmm??? Very odd indeed.
No money spent today.......or for the last few days. Heading out tonight (after the sun goes down and it cools off) to get some plants from a freecycle buddy. I realized I'm now on my 3rd garden done with primarily free plants. It can be done. This stage isn't pretty, as everything is so tiny and all transplants........but, just wait til spring!!! (famous last words from a true gardener, huh?)
I've met and walked with my new walking buddy this morning. Felt great to get back to that. I was truly determined, as most of the streets in this little town were blocked off for the annual parade. I had no idea things would come to a screeching halt in the morning for a parade that started at 1PM. So, after much driving to find a way to get even halfway close to the walking track we were to meet at.......I made it there only a few minutes late. We walked through town, as the track was already closed for some sort of holiday activity. (teach me to not read the little weekly paper!)
We're meeting again tomorrow....feels good already. She only walks 30 minutes, so I'll have to get there earlier & get 30 in on my own.
I've got a full day of freecycle pick ups tomorrow. Since the water problem in the basement has been resolved, I've been able to work down there finding other 'treasures' that need to head to new homes. On this note........anyone have an idea as to how to get rid of old books? The kind without barcodes, way before those... Dad has at least 1000 books all boxed up; mostly hardbacks and all in great shape. I've no clue how to move these out of here & most of his collection is pretty odd. I'm not going to be reading them, especially the ones not written in English.
Going to go plug my ears & try to sleep. I'm really not enjoying the illegal fireworks people are setting off around here. I'm a party pooper on the 4th. Between hating to see so much money just get blown up and worrying about things like how dry the shakes are on the roof.....I'm thrilled when the day is truly over. My dog will be glad too!
Yes, that is what the plumber charged for our repair. While it sounds like a ton to me for 20 minutes work, there was no way I was going to tackle this project myself.......and going without water in the kitchen and no dishwasher wasn't making life a party here on a day to day basis.
So, the bill sounded terrific to both mom & I. Gladly would have paid twice that (maybe more??)
I was glad we had found the leak first and I did learn lots by watching the guy work. And, yes, I asked a bunch of questions. Enough questions I'm pretty sure I could do the repair myself if necessary. And, no, this man didn't suggest we needed to re do the plumbing (although I do know that is in the cards fairly soon.... or some other option like selling this place and letting someone rebuild on the foundation.)
My son visited today, it's been ages since I've seen him. He had said he had a car (been ages since he's been in a position to own one) and I'm happy to report it wasn't a new car. Was going to have to disown him if he bought new. He even made himself useful by carrying a couple van loads of donated stuff and trash for the dump run up to the garage. Plus he followed me to the recycle part of our local dump and lifted the dead TV out of my van for me. We did have to pay to dispose of this giant (which didn't belong to anyone currently living here), but it needed to be gone, & we had no other option.
A good day. Productive and fairly low cost, all things considered. And, we have water in the kitchen!
I'm hoping the plumber calls tomorrow with a free day....and I'm hoping like crazy he will replace the intersection of pipe that is leaking.
I do know he should at least investigate the status of the other pipes, as this house was built with copper & all of that should have gone belly up about 10 years ago. Running water on a prayer here~
I spent some time looking into replacing the plumbing & I would rather take a group of disturbed teenagers on a vacation to another country than be here with my mom when someone starts taking out walls, floors, etc to replace the pipes. Yikes, it sounds dreadful, awful and a trip out of the country might be in order.
The other option sounds good, but the only explanations I can find are from the companies doing the technique....so, I'm a tad distrustful. Forcing a coating material through the pipes, coating all the insides, making the existing pipes virtually new & able to withstand anything. Hmmm. Sounds way too good to be true. No need to make holes in walls, nothing. Just access to the pipes in a few places, depending on the layout of the house. The goo goes around corners, wherever the plumbing goes.
Spent my first Sunday not going to the food bank to work........just laying around. Had a new book to read, so I spent most of the day on the patio reading and watching the plants grow. Oh, and I moved the hose every once in awhile! I did get up to mow the back 40 too....so it wasn't a totally wasted day.
The electrician spent a half day at the vacant house, has one more full day to go he says......plan to be there tomorrow to meet with him and see how the little house is shaping up.
Spent no money today......we're beginning our experiment to see if we can go the month of July without buying groceries. Mom did ask if she could get milk during the month (like she needs to ask me!) but we agreed, milk would be it. Our goal is to make a dent on her HUGE pantry of items, as well as work on the 2 freezers full of food.