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Get My Parka! We're Experiencing a Cool Down!

July 12th, 2007 at 09:07 pm

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. Smile 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!

Catching Up

June 23rd, 2007 at 12:20 am

Been working all the waking hours here.
Making slow but steady progress, clearing out space for my odd collection of things I move over to moms every week end. Things I can't live without, things I won't live without and not much else.

Freecycling things as soon as my mom breathes anything about letting me get rid of something. The neighbors must wonder....if they even notice. Mom lives in an area of homes where I would bet no one freecycles or re uses or anything similar. And, yes, I do feel quite out of place here! Smile

We've been out somewhere every day for what seems like weeks. In my other life, I would go weeks without going anywhere. What a switch. Not sure yet which I prefer.......most likely a decent combination of the two.

The rental issue is still not resolved. The potential tenant came back to the table wanting to know more about the 2 items I couldn't say yes to. Specifically, what percent the increase would be after the 2 year lease.....and what we would charge if he were to add other businesses in the bldg. Of course, I don't know those answers.

The biggie was the bond issue of moms. We did get that sale reversed. Had no idea you could do that......but we did. The firm sold it to other clients & mom has her funds back. In this whole deal, she met with the financial mgr from another firm (where she has had funds for decades) and the one where she & dad had first learned about living trusts. After only minutes of this meeting, I knew we were in deep doo doo. After one person dies, there needed to be a decedents trust set up and funded. This gets a tax ID number & pays income tax separately. Well, can you say no, to all of that? Mom hasn't had any of this done. Should have been accomplished 7 years ago. Much scurrying and phoning going on to see if we can play a grand game of catch up here.
Also found out there are probably no properties in the right branch of this trust, the branch that will eliminate probate, and decrease the estate taxes. Of course, all this needed to be done 7 years ago too.

My brain is tired from all the meetings and my back is tired from all the gardening. At least I can see progress in the gardens! Even worked a deal with the neighbor kid; he needed to borrow my mower & I got him to start my edger! Things are looking tidier after running that around the beds.

Crossing fingers that Monday brings a round of phone calls and no further road blocks re; the trust/will/funding issues. Biggest issue I want to deal with is 'do iris require full sun or filtered sun??' Smile

Slow Tenant Finally Pays Up

June 17th, 2007 at 02:46 pm

Came to the old house again today; and in my mail was a check for May & June for one of the couples in the other house. Finally.
I had called twice, only able to leave messages........and was trying to figure out what Plan B was.

The group here at 'the ranch' says they will have rent soon........I'm just not sure this is going to work. Giving them til the end of July to see if they can get it together & get rent in on time. I know I jumped ship here with almost no notice, so I can't expect my little group of folks to suddenly be on the ball.

Got a rebate check from the power company, for turning in an old freezer. Also had 6 freebies in the mail, fun when they come in a bunch like this!

Also have the paperwork for the re fi on this house, so I will be paying off the major dental work. I've never pulled out cash, so this is a one time deal for me....but it is the year for me I decided, so here goes.

Have a van full of more 'things I can't live without' to take to moms. Heaven knows where I'll put them when I get there. All on top of the bridge playing table I suppose Smile That way, mom will have to let me get rid of some of the stuff stored in the basement so I can move my things in. Seems to be my best technique yet.

A shares vs. C shares ???????

June 16th, 2007 at 09:34 pm

My alergic to numbers brain cells are having a meltdown this week end. Trying to keep up with mom & her banking/investment business, the meetings where people are explaining stuff to her (and to me) are making smoke come out my ears! I truly do think I have a learning disability when it comes to math. Is that possible???

I was with mom when she decided to take half of an account in an anuity fund and buy bonds with it, thus the A shares. Then, another of her investment people called and said......No, you shouldn't do A shares....let me come explain why. He touts C shares & told mom to call the bank and "bust the deal". Now, doesn't that just sound like something my 85 year old mother is going to do??? Well, she made the phone call, but had to leave a message on voice mail. Monday should be show down day between the two firms......with my mom in the middle and me just barely being able to follow the action.

I'm not the one to be giving mom advice, she has done just fine on her own over the decades, but I do believe I side with the C share guy.

Besides the money dilema here, we have had a great week end. The electrician has begun work on the rental house, we have purchased all the new fixtures & can see inside now. We sent the potential tenant our version of what we can and can't do. (thank you to all who have been brainstorming with me on this one) We are going to: go with the 2 year lease, give 2 months free rent for his labor & materials on the work list and we are paying for the electrical. We aren't going to: put a 10% cap on an increase after 2 years and we aren't going to give him reduced rent after 2 months of no rent. We are not going to allow him to sublet the space to other professionals to share the office, without renegotiating the lease, which would mean they would be paying for this house at commercial rates, by the square foot.
I'm expecting we have just ended the negotiations with this gentleman, but he could surprise me. We are OK with it if he decides we're too expensive. I think the property can pull in twice what we were asking. It has set vacant since Oct of last year, there is no mortage on it, just taxes, so mom is fine with continuing the search.

Have my week end young man with us this week. We packed picnic lunches and took off for a local beach park today. Very nice day. Sold a book on Amazon and got the funds for a Pinecone survey. Not a bad way to finish off the day.

Giving Notice

May 30th, 2007 at 06:23 pm

After a bit of soul searching, (and the newest power bill arrival), it is time to give the "back yard people" notice to move on.

They were my mission & I've moved. It isn't fair to expect the others at the old house to try & work with these two. They have had one year next month, & have made much progress. (paying regular rent isn't on the list however)

The idea is to have the property rented, both the rooms inside and the areas out back. This should keep enough monies coming in to cover the expenses, if not make a bit of income.

I know I'll get involved in some sort of mission work, I'll just need to get a bit more creative, or take a bit of a break from it while here with my mom.

Worked outside before breakfast.....as that was the only cool time here today. The yard is coming along nicely and I can see my efforts paying off. I am coming up with some interesting difficulties being in the city. I can't cut a whole bunch of things down with my chainsaw as there is no burning here. So, each week I'm chopping down a van full of brush and taking it to the other house for the burn pile. I can compost here still (although the neighbors complained to mom about the food on her compost pile.......so can only do yard waste) but most of the things are so overgrown it would take years to break down.
And, the real eye opener for me is I'm already running out of room! I've never had a problem, since I've had acreage & could just make gardens until I ran out of energy or daylight. I'm having to hold plants until I can come up with a creative solution as to where they can be planted! (I'm pretty sure the lawn is going to be alot smaller by fall!)

Hoping to harness some freecycler with a strong back; have advertised free trees here this week. I need to clear a path to get the mower to the back forty and there are a couple really pretty evergreens right in the way. Too big for me to dig & transplant and too nice to just cut down and burn. Crossing fingers for some positive (and strong) responses!

A Bit Gun Shy Here in Blogland

April 9th, 2007 at 06:26 pm

OK, this is the 2nd try here to post an entry. I had almost finished a long rambling on post about my day & all the details when...........with much internal grinding noises, my PC flipped a few pages instantly and there I was viewing Thrifty Ray's latest post about her new job starting tomorrow.

Now, I'm always interested in Rays new adventures, but I would have liked to have finished my post before reading hers!! Smile

So far, I haven't disappeared again....and all the error messages on my Add Entry page are not included this time.......so I'll do an abbreviated version.

I put ME first today, in line with my 2007 goals. Walked before I got started on the things for others.......and fit in a haircut......even tho I didn't have a coupon or a half off offer.

Interviewed a potential renter for the room here.....a single gentleman who says he loves to split wood. Is there a better way to make points with me???

I'm committing to sending the icky email to the tenants in the house.....the ones who want to reduce their rent by $600. I've checked locally, my rent there isn't out of line. The state hasn't answered yet, about the possible new home, if they do, I'm giving the tenants notice asap.

OK, that's the quick version........still probably more than anyone wants to know.
Will try this and see what happens!

Keeping Track Here

April 1st, 2007 at 01:45 pm

First off........the April Fools version pales compared to last years event! Cute, but not even close to the panic that set in last year! Smile

I entered a bin full of books onto Amazon last night and sold one already this AM. Good to get that going again. The new books are all the same theme/topic, so perhaps the rest will get picked up too??

The backyard people brought home a bunch of really ripe bananas from the food bank & asked if I knew how to turn them into banana bread (or anything else??), so I've been doing the Betty Crocker impression in the kitchen today. Smells terrific in here....I hope I can NOT eat any of this.

Been doing OK with the diet changes. Managed to stay the same weight while on vacation. Did get into a different pair of jeans when I got home, so one small victory for me! Can't wait til my walking partner is ready to hit the trail again, thinking we can get back to our schedule as soon as tomorrow...hopefully.

Found a couple gift Cert. for Amazon when I was cleaning my daytimer for this new month.........they are good til the end of the year. Will start putting some thought towards gifts for the year and use them up, just so I don't forget them.

Hard to believe it is April already. I'm ready for spring, but it seems like time is going so much faster than I am these days.

Changes at the Ranch

March 30th, 2007 at 01:29 pm

Much happened in my absence. Most of it I kept up to speed via phone calls and voice mails.......but it seems like a different place than what I left.

The new horses arrived, just 2 and well behaved too. The fence isn't even turned on and they don't care. They are not going anywhere. It's been 3 weeks now and no escape attempts. Love them just for that! The horse owner is terrific, she is planning on overseeding the pastures in rotation this spring/summer & paying for it herself. She is so much easier to get along with, & so far is paid up ahead too. Plus, she pays more than the other person did for half the horses! Her kids are great too, no autistic wonder children to deal with(not that I'm not used to that, but these normal little guys are a treat)

The chickens started laying!!! So exciting to gather fresh eggs again. They were right on schedule.......we had figured they would be laying by Easter. The fridge is full of eggs, as no one here wanted to be the one to use up the fresh eggs....how silly! Fresh custard, egg salad, omelette's, strata's.......I can do almost anything with eggs!

The young couple that was living inside the house has moved. Not willingly either, so there are some glitches. He crossed a fairly serious line so I asked him to move while I was gone, she chose to stay with him (stupid woman). So, there is a small hole in the sheetrock where he shoved the front door open.........and they didn't clean up their room nor their fridge. Easy fixes however.....and they left a perfectly good couch and entertainment center I have already listed on CL, so no loss. They did exchange their interior doorknob and put in a new one with a key lock, so that will be a nice feature for the next person(s) too. Even left both keys! Smile

The garden is doing fine....my seedlings are coming along OK, although I have something mysterious that is eating the leaves. Usually don't have things eating cabbage family leaves here, but they are getting chomped on. Almost big enough now that it won't matter, but I'll slosh them with some leftover dishwater just to discourage whatever is out there.

All but one rental check was here when I returned. Did the banking yesterday and called the tenant with the missing check. He swears he mailed it....will continue to stay in touch with him.

Turned in my income tax paperwork since I got back, this is one expense I'll gladly pay. I have no idea how to prepare taxes and it seems that each year mine are so complicated. I just keep the same woman each year & then don't have to continue to explain my odd situations. I've got 4 pieces of paperwork to find for her today and then I'll be done. Hope to get the filing caught up at the same time, as well as move the BIG file cabinet to the garage with the other BIGGER file cabinet. Tired of having them in the house.

And, the neighbors have a new calf......in the pasture right outside my window. Too cute. One more due any day now too. Calf-vision. Beats TV any day! It is most certainly spring around here.

What I Did on My Spring Vacation..........

March 28th, 2007 at 03:52 pm

I've been working...........and driving.....and driving some more. I'm not even calling the last 2 weeks a vacation any more.

I knew it was going to be a labor of love sort of event before I left, but I had no idea the physical condition of my passengers (other than my own mother.....)

We left 2 weeks ago, to drive to Palm Desert, CA......from the Seattle, WA area. Me, the designated driver and my mom, plus her twin and their older sister. That made two 84 year olds & one 86 year old plus me.

What a trip. Not bad on the way down....not even too bad at our destination.....but the trip home seemed endless at times. By then, the sisters were getting just a touch cranky with each other.

I did keep them talking almost the whole time; everything they could remember from being kids to when they were raising their families. Very fun, interesting and most often VERY frugal type stories. I can see where I got most of my frugal training from!

Most of the scheduled stops were gambling related; all 3 of them love to gamble. Only 1 came out ahead, the other 2 just didn't have the right 'feeling', so didn't do much. No one lost their shirt.

It was so interesting to be with the 3 of them as they dealt with the finances of a shared trip like this. They had appointed one to pre pay the hotels (my mom) and then they will split that cost when they meet up again this coming month to handle the money. The meals were shared and 2 were in charge of keeping those records...again, this will be split up when they meet. Gas had a 'treasurer' of sorts too....and again it will be divided up. We didn't go without......but we sure were looking for bargains. All 3 of these ladies are living more than comfortably these days........not one of them has ever had a mortgage and they are all living in huge, view homes that were custom built.
But, there we were .....most times asking for an extra plate so meals could be divided at least 2 ways! All the hotel rooms we booked had to feature a complimentary continental breakfast too!

So interesting to observe their different habits concerning money & finances.

We had many fun times, a couple brief health scares and one awful moment when my mom realized she had misplaced her wallet. (I tracked it down at a hotel....they overnighted it to our next destination, all the money & ID intact....needless to say, there is a thank you going out to a certain pair of maids this week)

I came home, very grateful I have the best mom out of the 3 sisters. Mom came home determined not to take that long of a trip with the other 2 ever again. The other 2 decided they really aren't up to this kind of travel any longer & are only going to go on short trips, in our own state.

So, much was learned.........some fun was had.........I got lots of socks knit while waiting for them to get the gambling bug out of their systems and we all made it home in good shape.

Will I do it again? Yes. But, I'll make all the arrangements myself next time, so I can be assured of things like easy access, etc.

Oh, and MY finances??? I didn't spend a cent. I'm pretty sure my mom (and the other 2 either) won't let me pay my share of the expenses. They were pretty thrilled about not having to drive at all....and having door to door service.....along with a couple other percs like getting their hair done every day, that I think I'm going to make money when all is said and done.

Glad to be home........love my own bed & pillow.....and tons of changes to the ranch in my absence. Must get to work!!!

Catching Up Here, I think!

March 7th, 2007 at 06:11 pm

I managed to get 3 of the items for todays customer finished before she arrived today......and she was happy. One down.

Almost finished with customer #2, another hour in the AM and that order can be picked up & paid for.

Customer #3.......not started, will get to this one tomorrow night, hopefully.

And, before I could place a vacation setting on the Amazon account, Yes, you guessed it.........sold another book. So, another post office trip is on the schedule for tomorrow. Can't believe the sales the last 30 days. Hope I can pick right back up upon my return.

Finished handing out my strawberry plants, had 4 freecyclers here picking them up. And, in the process, I've got one of the strawberry beds all cleaned out here. That will be nice to come home to.

I had also requested a commercial clothing rack from freecycle and had 4 responses. So, of course I've been running all over picking them up this week.......finished those errands up too, and have a terrific selection of racks now for the sewing room. Looks so much better & I'm WAY more organized out there because everything that was sitting around, is now hung up.

So, my TO DO list for this week......getting ready for The Trip.......does have items crossed off. I am making progress.

Back Home......Power Outages.... Goal Review

March 1st, 2007 at 03:05 pm

I had a great time at my moms, we accomplished many of the items on her list, as well as I had several days to get comfortable driving her car. (planning on taking that vehicle next week on our trip)

Left moms Tues, went directly to dental appointment.........went well, I got an A+ on the healing up of the recent work.. which was great to hear. Dropped off my dog at home and left for a knitting class. Then, came home....feels like I've been gone forever.

Fortunately, I got right to work on my customers orders....because we've had another snow storm & power outages. Got the power back on this AM, but we still look like Alaska here! (very tired of looking out to all this white stuff)

Spent a bit of time just now reviewing my 2007 goals I had set here in January. I started with 5.......here's the update
1) grow my sewing business & the knitting/crochet classes. Seems like what I'm doing is working. Once I get back from the upcoming trip.....I will locate another local newspaper to advertise in.
2) Make the changes to this house, so it feels more like my home. Primarily, the tub installation in my master bath. Not sure on this one...........no money for this project at this point, but I'm not even sure if I want to stay here long enough to warrant putting it in. Will continue to think on this one.
3) Put myself on The List. I've been doing this daily. Found a walking partner & we're meeting at least 2X a week (with the exception of snow days) and plan to increase this after I return from my trip.
Getting dental work done .....in the process. Appointments set up for April after I return.
I've been concentrating on better nutrition, and it's working for me. Continuing to see new (lower) numbers on the scale here! TA DA.
4)Give notice to horse boarding people. Did this. They have the horses moved, still have lots of their 'stuff' to take off the property. Met with potential new boarder......reducing # of animals to 2, and increasing the rent by 100%. Not a bad deal if it happens.
Increasing the amount of money coming in from the property: Have responded to several ads on CL, but none have ended up with anything concrete. Will continue thinking creatively about this one.
5) Legal Stuff; Have made no headway on this one. Will likely have to wait til after income tax day. I need to do this with mom, she won't be ready to think 'legal' until after she finishes her taxes. We are continuing to talk about what needs to be done however.......so there is progress....albeit, slowly.

Feel good about The List. It's the first of March and I haven't dropped the ball on any of the items.......and I can see much progress in a couple of areas. Will continue to keep the hard copy of the list in front of me here at the desk, and will review here on line in a couple months.

On a Roll

February 19th, 2007 at 07:18 pm

Another email in the IN box today.....sold another book on Amazon.com. Two days in a row, a record of sorts here! With todays holiday, I'll be mailing both of them tomorrow & then just sitting back to see the $$ added to my Paypal account. Pretty easy money. This was one of the original ways I tried when beginning the $20.00 challenge here a year ago.........and it's still plugging away.

RE; putting ME on my 2007 goal list....I walked again this AM for an hour. (in the pouring rain, mind you!) Enjoying the walk and the company; one of the women who answered my Craigslist post for walking partners. It makes a huge difference to me if I've got someone to meet at the trail....otherwise, I could come up with dozens of creative answers as to why NOT walk.

Spent nothing ........used a bit of gas to get to the trailhead...but that was it. Thought I was going to sew, but it was too cold in the sewing room to concentrate. Will try again tomorrow; hoping for a warming trend here again.

Continued the Cooking From Scratch lessons today for the non cooking tenants here. They bought the ingredients & I showed them how to make ranch dressing (a food group for them I think) from scratch. Everyone agreed it was better than the stores. Duh!! We did pancake syrup last week...not sure what next weeks "lesson" is going to be. I always forget how spoiled I've been; to have everything home made all the time. I can't imagine how much money that has saved over the years???

Tenants' Trauma ...............con't.

February 9th, 2007 at 05:50 pm

I mustered up my landlord voice and called the horse lady again.........she did answer me this time and assured me she would be here this evening to start hauling her stuff out of here. And, the horses would be leaving tomorrow. No permanent place for them she said, but she has a temporary place lined up. Can't imagine how one comes up with a temp. situation for 4 horses!!

Got a check for partial rent on the house...and an email explaining the amount. It is a two family share situation, as the house is actually 2 homes, one up, one down. The Up people paid, the down people....not yet. So, now I wait again, to see if the downstairs folks bring some money to the table. If not, I need to ask them to move too.

None of this is working out well for me. Need to wait til Monday to make any calls re; renting the big house out again. I'm planning on posting a sign on the pasture fence after the current critters are gone; so that could be done by this weekend.

The only thing going great guns here is the sewing and the knitting. Busier than I remember being when I was doing this before. I think less people are capable of sewing these days....at least that is my simplistic reasoning for the numbers of customers.

I have begun a new venture here; in my spare time! Smile Room mate person has been purchasing storage units at auction for years now. Selling things at a local swap meet, advertising in a little local paper. Not big money, but enough to keep going to more auctions. I am now meeting with room mate person every AM, and reviewing the Wanted posts from Craigs list. I can type and read faster than this person, so can enter a ton of responses as well as ads. My ulterior motive is if enough stuff sells.......room mates portion of the rent here is paid. So far this week room mates phone battery has died.......and the voicemail box has been stuffed to overflowing with responses. (I'm happier when everyone is working as hard as I am!!! ) Smile

The potential for this auction bit to become income to cover all the expenses here is a definate possiblity. I'm just not sure how long I can continue to work this close to room mate person. Practicing patience daily! Will continue to fine tune this whole set up.

Odd Events Continue

February 7th, 2007 at 02:38 pm

My life is certainly not boring. In fact, I'd like to try boring for a day or two. Smile

Sewing like a crazy woman here, taking on some jobs I had no business taking on....since they are the kind that makes me cranky for doing it in the first place. When will I learn to hold the line on the ones I really don't like?

Picked up 2 new knitting students; fun ones, that actually know how to knit but want to add to their skills. These always make me learn new things too.........so much the better.

The first of Feb came and went, and guess what? The 4 horses were still in our pastures. I had given notice to their owner to move them out by 1/31.....and apparently, she has no calendar! I have a call in to her but I'm pretty sure she won't call me back. I just can't imagine doing something like what she is doing....just ignoring my request, pretending we don't see her when she comes daily to feed???

And, if the horse bit isn't making me cranky, I got a LONG email from my renters (who were scheduled to start paying rent this month.........they had been repairing the house & property for me in exchange up til now).... They informed me they needed a new furnace, new water heater, and they would like the floor leveled in the upstairs... An exterminator for the ant problem (any hints Thrifty Ray??....I've already had an exterminator & still have ants) They were upset I had told them my electric bill was $150 a month (average plan) and their latest bill was over $700..... They want me to do something about one neighbor and a neighborhood dog.... They were miffed about my recent email letting them know I was going to list the adjoining empty lot, complaining it would increase traffic, disrupt their parking situation and generally mess up their lives. The last sentence was the topper however.........they only plan to pay less then half the agreed upon rent, as they couldn't consider paying the original amount with all the things that were wrong with the house/neighborhood, etc.

I had to sleep on this email for a couple days or my reply was going to be delivered with flames attached. I ended up with a decent sounding, but VERY firm response. I reminded them of our agreement and told them I wasn't in a place I could underwrite the property any longer. They did respond back this AM, saying they would pay the correct amount, and I agreed to get someone in to look at the furnace & hot water heater. I'm just not cut out to be a landlord. I hate this part of the job. Seriously thinking about selling the property .........and did tell the tenants that in my response. Surprised myself and told them if they didn't hold up their end of the agreement, to consider my email their 30 day notice to vacate.

Anyway..........life here is just sailing along. Still have a houseful of formerly homeless folks, with one additional gentleman added to the mix as of last night. Lots of my odd jobs are getting attention these days....Smile

Times up, must head back to the sewing room.

Retiring the Painting Equip for a Bit

January 23rd, 2007 at 09:41 pm

I finally finished the painting project in my end of the house. Did the bathroom, and then the bedroom and one of the closets. Totally ran out of energy at that point. I have taken over the one closet as my desk area......so I painted that one.

I'm dealing with the latest cut in income here....which is better than I would have done in the past. Frantic is what I used to be when anything changed income-wise. I did send out a couple resumes, got an inquiry back, now not sure what the next step is. It has been decades since I truly searched for a job; this is new territory.

Did the dentist thing again today....I'm making a big step here in deciding to go ahead with the big project I had been saving up for. Pretty much a new do on my teeth.....All part of putting ME on the list for '07.

Freecycling with abandon this week, still clearing out old things from my bedroom project.....as well as collecting other items that can be put to use here at the 'ranch'. Sure beats spending money to take my old stuff to the dump.

Sold a book on Amazon.com this week. First in absolutely ages. Not going to get rich on this particular deal....but it is turning the free to us books into cash, so I'm not complaining. Also received a $24.00 check for surveys this week....a nice surprise. And, a letter saying I had overpaid my income taxes by a whopping $12.00; which is interesting since I didn't owe anything.... Will let the tax lady sort this one out.

Heading to my moms tomorrow for a bit of a break from this place. I get a bit cranky with no time alone here. Usually have the days to myself, but one of the renters here has been home all week........so it's time for me to take some R & R at moms' B & B. Smile We have much to do anyway....one of her rentals is now vacant and we need to get to cracking on putting it into shape to advertise again.

Hit A New Low

January 17th, 2007 at 08:18 am

I'm flying high this AM with the new low I saw on the scales this morning... It's the best news I've had in ages and fits right in with my 07 Goal of putting MYSELF on the list.

It's good to see a change in the numbers, so far that is my only concrete evidence of some of the changes I'm making in my routines here.

Loosing weight equals money saving for me....I don't have any expenses related to this, just time, effort and the will to change... I've even got the new clothes so I don't need to go out and buy the next size down. (actually have a couple sizes ready to go....feeling optimistic)

Off to my dental appt this afternoon too........it was another thing on my 07 list to get the ball rolling on some work that has been on my wish list for ages. Not many people get excited about going to the dentist.......but I am! Smile This will be a pricy event; but planned for.

And, if that weren't enough for the day; it looks like the weather is finally turning from the frozen tundra sort to the more typical Seattle rain/shower/drizzle sort of rotation.

Moving Along Smoothly

January 12th, 2007 at 03:10 pm

I can see progress everywhere here! Love that.

I moved a temporary sewing room into the unused/empty dining room as it was WAY TOO cold in the garage to keep up with the deadlines that were looming. Lovely place to sew, but I can't wait to get back to my workspace when it warms up a bit. Have a steady stream of clients at this point, so small money coming in on a regular basis from sewing. Adding a knitting student every other week now for the last month or so too....

Room mate person paid another installment towards her half of the rent for Jan. She is just over the half way mark now, so she may make the amount this month.

Horse boarders received their notice to move out the end of the month....reminds me to take first & last when I come up with the next contract. Didn't this time, but I was negotiating the current agreement when I had used up all my brains; I can't be held accountable for anything. Have an interested boarder coming next week to preview the property...have not quoted her a price yet. I'm finding it difficult to come up with comparison prices; will keep asking around so I am in the right ballpark.

Dug through my paint and found the custom mixed stuff for my new to me piece of furniture. Think I'm starting that this afternoon....as I'm up to speed with the sewing.

Still frozen in here; there is no way I'm going to drive when it isn't necessary. So, spending held to a hard and fast ZERO today.

Do Rather Than Buy

January 7th, 2007 at 09:24 pm

I subscribe to a weekly online newsletter that touts the Do rather than Buy philosophy and I decided it would be another addition to my 2007 Master Plan here.

Not that I buy much..........but the DO-ing part is where I need to light a fire under myself!

So, Step one was my bedroom. Since that is where I spend most of my time these days (other than the sewing room), I decided I needed to get off the pot and DO some of the things I had already set aside for projects in there.

I had received a free gallon of paint (really expensive paint no less) and have completed the walls & woodwork in my bathroom. Gave it almost a new look. I think I'm going to continue and paint the cabinets, since I really hate them like they are now. Can't mess them up in my opinion. Then, I've already got my bolt of to die for fabric for the room.......I'll finish the window treatments and a curtain for the gigantic closet in the bathroom before calling it done. (giant closet is the new home for the wished for bathtub)

I also remembered to post a Wanted note on Freecycle and got one response already. Started with dowels to use for my drapery project. (already have fabric for the entire house) If I remember to put something in each week, I should be able to fill in the gaps here and begin making a dent in the collection of supplies I DO have.

RE; My Goals and the plan to reach said goals.......... I did mail off the letters to the horse boarders, giving them 30 day notices. And, I've advertised on Craigs list for new critters. Just in case I had any doubts this was the right move.......tonight a stranger came to the door to let me know "my" horse had become tangled in her blanket. Called the owner, who came right away. Excuses a mile long as to why she is using blankets with hardware missing, and generally in need of repair! (she has asked over & over if I would fix the blankets!)

Sent one week end boy home with stories of the power outage & no water no flushing event here. Told his mom, so she wouldn't wonder about us!

No spending ...........although no income either. Had an interesting question/comment today from one of the people here. She said she was going to town and did I need anything from the store? Told her no, but thanks. Everyone commented that I always say No.... Seems they are all running out for something all the time. I just haven't been raised that way. Runs to town were planned events, with lists. I don't need anything, so I don't go to town. Seems simple to me....but it sure confounds the natives here. It has caused me to think ...Again.... about the way I'm living. Simple. Uncomplicated. Cheap. But, living well nonetheless. I have everything I need....food, water thankfully, and all the clothes and other stuff I could ever use. I guess I'm more confused by how they can think up more stuff they all need, as often as they do... Someone is headed to town more than once a day here!! If I ever DO need anything....I won't have to wait long! Smile

My Latest Luxury: Flushing!!!!!

January 6th, 2007 at 11:04 pm

We finally got hit with some of the power outages that have been happening here in the Pacific NW. Last nights winds toppled a couple HUGE trees near our street; taking out the power, cable, phone and the road.

When this happens at our place, we have come to the conclusion the biggest difficulty is Flushing. That's right. We are on a well, so without power, we are without water. Without water, the toilets are pretty much just for decoration. We did have our rain barrel with 50 gallons in it, so we were running out to the barrel and hauling water in to fill the toilet tanks. Lessons learned included.....it's better to fill the tank BEFORE you have to go..... Smile

We were out of power over 24 hours....felt very Little House on the Prairie-ish here.

With help, I got the generator up and running..........and yes, had it outside the house. (Seattle had multiple people die from having them indoors; although I can't imagine doing that, the noise alone would be too much for me!) Kept the food in the fridges and freezer at the proper temps....didn't run anything else off it this time. I discovered I need a different kind of plug in order to connect to the generator thingy that is wired into the house. Will pick up one of those this week...just to be ready for another outage.

Cooked on the wood stove.........fashioned "pans" from heavy duty foil, as I didn't want to put my good cookware on the stove. Did a variety of things, including soft tacos from leftovers.

When the power did come back on, the water started filling the toilet tanks........one of the best sounds of the day!!! I'm so grateful for automatic flushing toilets!!! What a treat....we were all way too excited about this!

Update on 2007 Goals (already!!!)
I did mail out the letters to the horse people, giving them 30+ days to move out
Have begun to do more research on going rate for boarding any animals.

And........amazingly, room mate person paid a chunk of cash towards her share of the rent. Woo Hoo.

A good day.........Lots of positive stuff amongst the people here today. Adversity does seem to bring people together. Lots of laughter re; the hauling water for the toilets...... Everyone was busy doing things requiring no power which was a nice change. All the Christmas decor got taken down and stored away, I got my bathroom painted and put back together.....and the week end boys got to pee on trees!! (saved a bunch of water hauling!!) They will have stories to tell their parents come Monday. Smile

Onwards to Year #2

January 4th, 2007 at 11:09 am

Yes, amazing as it is.........today is my one year anniversary here!! Didn't post daily, but darned close I think. The taking myself to task on a regular basis is not a new thing for me, but doing it in front of others sure was.

The magical things that have happened due to the posts are too numerous to mention. They happen all the time (and yet, I forget the power of this little event & don't post things sometimes until I've tried everything I think!) Maybe 2007 will get me posting things before they really are tangible, more in the idea/wish stage.......it sure seems to get the universe moving around my place.

Looking back, I can see where not much changed and on the flip side EVERYTHING has changed. I'm still the frugal, cheap, allergic to spending money person I've always been, but my life has taken a turn I wasn't prepared initially. Hindsight being what it is.......I guess I was more prepared than I thought I was, as I'm still here, life is still humming along and there haven't been negative rammifications to me retiring so abruptly.

My goals for 2007 have been committed here earlier this week, and I've got them copied off and posted in front of me at the desk. I can feel the momentum picking up, my enthusiasm and creativity are bubbling away steadily here.... (I really love all the things involved in starting a business!!)

I'm still gleaning bits of information from everyone here who posts or comments. I read many of your blogs regularly and feel like I would know you if I happened to run into you personally! I can't stress enough how much ANY post you make helps the rest of us......even if it seems unrelated or you're still mulling around an idea........ Reading of others paths here has been so valuable & I know I'm not the only one thinking this way! I just want to say "Thank You" for giving me gentle reminders and encouraging pushes to keep moving, for being my coaches and my cheerleaders along the way. I appreciate having a friendly space to share what is a huge part of life!!

Baby Steps Today

January 2nd, 2007 at 07:04 pm

I made some itty bitty steps towards one of the BIG goals..........the building the business goal here. I'm horrid at posting the business ad on Craigs list, forgetting to do it on a regular basis; but I had one in yesterday and have 3 really great responses as of this afternoon. No appointments yet, but certainly some possibilities.

Also had a couple phone calls from existing clients, setting up appointments for this coming week.........people must be getting back into their normal schedules quickly after the holiday break.

Had my overnight holiday company until this afternoon, so didn't get much done re; "work". Did get a customers order ready to go for tomorrows appt. as well as my knitted purse off the needles & ready to take to my class tomorrow afternoon. Could hardly restrain myself from felting it, but wanted the student to see the before & after..........so I waited. Might get to it tomorrow night!

Have the new ad copy ready to go, will get it faxed in to the 2 existing papers I work with this week.

Got a freecycle full length mirror too ......picking it up tomorrow.....Have lots on the schedule tomorrow it seems. I have needed a good mirror for clients here; having left my nice one on the wall at the other house when I moved. I don't have a wall that seems likely for a mirror here; so still thinking of a way to make this work. Has to go somewhere, as it is too big to be a portable sort of event.

No spending today........got treated to breakfast for the 2nd day in a row, which is pretty unheard of here!

No walking either here today.......horrid weather, company; I'm full of excuses! Will aim for a walk tomorrow; along with all the other things on the schedule.

And..........I'm going to print out my goals & plan right now & put it in a plastic sleeve thingy to post in front of me here at the desk. I was thinking of coming up with some sort of way to track anything I do that is part of the "master plan".....even if it is simple hash marks. I'm a sucker for tracking progress, no matter how small. I'm also old enough to know it's the small things that add up to make big changes!

Goals: And.... My Plan to Reach Them

December 31st, 2006 at 06:28 pm

Goals for 2007

1) Grow my new business so the income covers my half of the expenses here.

2) If.. better make that WHEN I accomplish #1, continue pushing for new clients so I have enough income to make the changes to the house & property that I want to do with the bathtub in my room the top priority.

3) Put my physical self on the list.

4) Increase income from the property.

5) Legal stuff attended to (didnt happen last year, although I made some progress in this area)

I think 5 is a good numberseems realistic. Each goal requires multiple steps to make it happen & Id love to be writing next year at this time that Id crossed all of them off my list, so don't want to get too enthusiastic in my goal setting.

Action steps necessary for each goal: (this is the important part)

1) Send in the new ad copy for the 2 papers Im in currently. Add 2 other local papers as soon as possible. Remember to post my ad on Craigslist on a regular basis. Get signage for the van as well as a sign for the front gate. Order new business cards.

2) More of #1 in order to make this happen. Will get a bid on the items I want to get done around here, so I have a concrete figure to shoot for.

3) Walk 3 times a week. Continue to tell everyone I come across that Im looking for walking partners so I can increase my chances of success on this one.
Finish up some serious dental work, including some cosmetic changes Ive had on my list for ages. (appointments already made for Jan)
Get new glasses
Concentrate on eating more fresh food, less meat, sugar & white flour.

4) Give notice to the current horse boarding people. Let the pasture rest while advertising for a new renter. Ive learned tons in this past year; not the least being Im renting this space for pennies. I know I can find fewer animals for the space and double the income at the same time.
Keep looking & advertising for other uses for the property; ie parking vehicles, etc.

5) Meet with mom & the new attorney; primarily to get her trust tidied up and then get my will finished up so my affairs are just as in order as moms will be.

I will print this out and post in my office so I get daily reminders of where I want to be this time next year.
I will also do a monthly check in to keep me honest here.
I will celebrate all the small steps and not fret the setbacks. (old enough to know the reality of this much change)
I will fill my life with good things and good people, remembering to enjoy each and every day.

A Stay Home Holiday

December 31st, 2006 at 10:01 am

I've never been one to do the party bit, especially didn't enjoy the couple big New Years Eve celebrations I've attended.......so, I don't anymore. I'm going way out on a limb this year and having company this week end, usually I spend it even quieter!

Overnight company too........so, it's strip the beds time today, a bit of last minute pick up sort of housekeeping and I think we're ready. The company is bringing dinner, wine & appetizers so that part is taken care of too.

I'm itching to get to the sewing room, as the cutting table is finished & in place! I'm so spoiled........Smile No more cutting on the living room floor or the kitchen island! Oddly enough, I've had a couple calls from new customers over the holiday weekend already... Was thinking things were going to be pretty quiet til after the 1st.

Treated the chickens to the last of the gardens pumpkins this morning. The "ladies" are now able to spend their days outside the coop. Having my own chickens was one of my goals I met years (decades actually) ago.......and I've really missed them this past year. Getting into the swing of caring for them again & counting the months til they start laying. Up til then, I'm enjoying just having them around!

Will be working on my '07 goals today....not much new news with them, but I'll write them down just the same.

Blessings to you & yours for the coming year!!

Back to my No Spending Habits

December 27th, 2006 at 07:43 pm

Everything is almost back to normal here after the holidays. Didn't spend anything today and don't forsee any expenses the rest of the week. I'm having guests overnight next week end, but things are all purchased for the meals/snacks. People are bringing things too, so no one has to pay for the entire spread.

Paid the end of the month bills (actually they are the first of the month bills) yesterday, so things are all caught up on that front.

Still working on my goals for 2007....I had the house to myself today, so there was some good thinking time to be had. The list seems to lean towards increasing the business, to bring in enough income to cover expenses as well as the improvements I want to make to this house. Need to get the goals more specific to get me on the path towards all that. Since I'm addicted to making lists, this is a fun activity for me, not a chore!

Enjoying some free time this week, as I didn't schedule classes or customers until after Jan 1st. Worked in the sewing room with a new sewing machine (gift from mom), cleared out the area for the sewing table construction project this week (courtesy of the Navy person) and have been knitting like a crazy woman. Will be felting a bag for me (don't usually knit for myself) tomorrow as I got it off the needles tonight. Anxious to see how it turns out!

Dog wants out...........times up here!

Holiday Thoughts

December 26th, 2006 at 06:22 pm

I've been gone & haven't posted since before Christmas.......it feels like ages. I think I'm enjoying the holidays more than in the past; it could have something to do with the fact I'm not dealing with all the kids that used to live with me (and their not so healthy parents). Christmas used to be my one and only DAY OFF during the year, with no kids..........so I usually spent the day in a tired sort of haze. All the work to get the kids ready to spend time with their families, typical holiday preparations, extra events, by the 25th.........I was all used up.

This year, I was gone most of last week, staying at my moms, just "playing", doing whatever we wanted. All the prep. was done, most of the gifts were already to go.....baking; done & in the freezer and the young couple that live here were cooking the big dinner.

I prefer this new version of Christmas, hands down! Smile Most of my household limited or decided on no gifts at all.....so we could have the 'backyard people' join us for the day without them feeling guilty they didn't bring anything to the festivities. Worked out well. They were blessed with some truly useful & much needed gifts and the rest of us got to see how blessed we were in the process. Some pretty heavy stuff to take in for a holiday........ But, I think it was the most fun I've had and it certainly felt the best at the end of the day.

My only negative was not finding a gift I had ordered for my mom.......we were planning on using it for our New Years celebration .... I searched all over the place & it was nowhere! This house is not that big, I don't have that many places to put things, nor did I have to 'hide' it from anyone.......so I'm befuddled as to how this package could have walked away.
I had something else for my mom, so no one knows my slip up but me.....and the up side of all the searching is ALL my closets are cleaned and organized. (wouldn't reccomend this technique, but it did work)

Spending some time pondering life in general and more specifically my goals for '07. I have a personal tradition on New Years Eve.........I open up what I wrote last year to see how I'm doing on my goals and I add to the envelope with my plans for the coming year. Not sure how many years I've formally been doing this, but it is in the decades now. It is my favorite part of New Years Eve..... I'm not a party sort of person, hate to be on the roads that particular night, and I can write and ramble on like crazy (you already know that part, huh??) so, a formal, get it down on paper, enjoy the fire & some wine sort of night is exactly right for me.

Just Humming Along Here

December 17th, 2006 at 05:48 pm

Watching the news (yes we have power!!), I'm continually reminded of all the reasons I have to be grateful here! Our power just flickered, but has been on continually.......amidst the Pacific NW storm of storms.

So many things I have that others are doing without this week........Basics like heat & food, etc plus all the other things that make life fun here. I wonder, with this huge wake up call, are people going to be getting themselves better prepared, once they get back into their homes and the power is restored? I am not putting any money on that one!

Power got restored to my moms; was out only 2 days, so she feels blessed. Invited her over here, but she is pretty well set for outages too........felt smart cooking on her wood stove! ( I think my household is just a tad too nuts for her to head this way if she has another choice!)

I feel a bit like this week has been one of those Universe Lessons ........I'm as prepared as I can get for most situations and nothing happened here on our street! Funny in a way........but what is/has happened here in WA isn't funny in the least. Reminds me of my mom telling me to always take an umbrella......then it wouldn't rain!

On Line Banking Error.........Uncovered & unexplained

December 15th, 2006 at 06:18 pm

I forgot to mention a piece of mail that came on the odd mail day here. I didn't recognize the envelope, it had one of those blind sorts of return addresses, no name, but it was addressed to me.

I opened it and become more confused, not less. There was a form letter from Payment Processing, with a check stapled to it. From me..........to my insurance company, for the amount of my last premium for the rental place. The form letter said to refer to the attached letter to see why the check was returned........ Wasn't made out to my mortage company was the reason.

Now, mind you.........the date on the check was Sept. 15, 05. I had received no call from the insurance co, letting me know I was behind.........so this was the first I'd seen of this difficulty.

Quickly heading to the phone, while grabbing my Bils Folder........I called the number on the letter, which stated I could call for more information. HA, was that an untruth. No one at that number could understand the problem at all. They just kept telling me to get in touch with my mortage company to see why they hadn't taken the check. Then, I'd be transferred to someone else. The only other person that would 'get it' would be my mortage company. They had the sense to send the check back.........it wasn't theirs. Duh.

I finally hung up with Payment Processing and called my bank. Thought I'd try from that end...... Yikes. I misjudged there too. The young lady that took my call continued to push me contacting my mortage company again. Fortunately, my records showed I had called in to pay that months bills, since WAMU was having some bugs in their bill payer system. I knew the bill had been paid, had the confirmation number and knew the error had to be the bank staff person who somehow crossed the amount of the check with the house payment..... I know now how she did it, but that has to be it. My records have the correct addresses for both the insurance and the mortage......I checked first.

Bottom line was........I will have to wait 90 days for my money now. Never mind that it is my money in the first place. Never mind that the problem was bank generated. Never mind that the check never got cashed. I was so frustrated I didn't even know what to say.....and me speechless is truly amazing. I did authorize an investigation into the problem, she asked if I wanted one.......Well, gee.......no, let's just let it slide??? I think not. Yes, investigate the heck out of it. She said they would.......and to top it all off.....if I wanted to know what the answer was (presuming they have one), I will have to call later (couldn't tell me when) to see. They wouldn't be able to call me she said. Hmmm....they forgot how to dial perhaps??

I followed up this unproductive phone call with a quick call to my insurance co, and sent money off to them asap. Noted the error & told them a FAX was on it's way from my bank. (did get them to agree to send this off, taking responsibility for the mess up)

The whole thing makes me a bit unsure about the online banking bit.......not enough to stop using it, but enough I'm more than careful now when updating my hard copy records here. And, I think I'll keep my eyes open for local bank offers to see if there would be another one to try.

Survived the Storm

December 15th, 2006 at 01:52 pm

Seattle was hit again yesterday and throughout the night..........rain, frozen rain (thought that was snow..??) and lots of WIND, then some more wind.........on and on.

Our place survived, the worst we have is some standing water on the property & the horse toys (who knew horses had toys?) are blown around the place.

Felt good to have the prep work done so I wasn't one of the people on the news at Home Depot, stocking up on batteries, generators, and the like. All the expenses over the years to get the emergency "kit" put together paid off. Didn't need any of them; but the peace of mind was worth any expense last night.

Best of all has been the water barrels, purchased mostly for the semi automatic water system soon to come for the chicken house. That barrel holds 50 gallons & has a hose hookup, as well as a faucet on it. So.........if we have no power & thus, no pump for the well, we have water stored for whatever. (comes in especially handy for flushing toilets!!)

Didn't bother with the generator, as our lights weren't out for more than 10 minutes total. We are totally blessed, as many in western WA are having a difficult time with the water and wind related problems. I've invited my mom and some old kids to come over, as they have been without power since yesterday. Totally grateful for all the extras power gives us!

And, lastly, a very Little House on the Prairie-ish moment here........I'm wearing my all wool socks I finished last night during the storm. So soft, so warm......toasty toes today!!

Chick Report

December 12th, 2006 at 01:38 pm

The chickens are big enough we took down the temporary section in the coop yesterday. Since we're experiencing a bit of mild weather, I've opened the door to the chicken yard ......but no one will go out voluntarily.

I tossed about 6 of the ladies out the door, hoping the others would follow, but no, still no takers for the extra freedom and treats.

I'll have to spend time this evening, wrangling chickens, to convince the 6 I tossed out......to go back in for the night. Usually takes about a week, then they start doing this on their own and all I'll have to do is close the little door at dusk.

Amazing to see how big they have grown, almost half size now I believe. Many different kinds in the mix, (since I bought them at a Year End Sale, I didn't order them by type).....I can spot what look like Rhode Island Reds, perhaps an Arucana or two???, maybe a Barred Rock and a Black Jersey Giant. Not sure on some of the smaller ladies, it will be a surprise!

Think of me this evening......I'll be in the chicken run, trying to get 6 chickens through a trap door in the coop! Who needs an entertainment budget anyway?? Smile

Made My Decision

December 10th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

Talked to mom re; the 2 cc's left over from the sister person and the nasty business of 2005. The decision is to pay off the balance on both of them this month. Mom will foot the bill on these, coming to the rescue yet again.

I've paid on them for a couple years, so it isn't as though I've not pulled my weight on these....... And, truly, they aren't my bills. Both are made up of charges the sister person made after the business break up & the agreement to hold the line on any spending. (translated to sister speak; spend freely until caught)

Feels good to have made the decision, I know it will be nice not to see the bills come across my desk each month. I am trying hard to erase the nasty mess from memory & this will help.

No other money news..........No spending, no income. Anxious to get to work this week!

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