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A Hand Up

October 15th, 2007 at 12:07 am

A couple months ago, I mentioned I had heard about a nasty financial situation involving my foster dtr & her husband. All of the poor decisions were his, he hid them from my gal.......which really sounded wrong, but unfortunately, all I had heard & more was the case.

Bad decisions, followed by more bad decisions and downright lying caused my gals van to get reposessed. She had told me this last week and it took me a couple days to realize I had an unused van sitting in my yard here.

They came today & made the switch. Returning the new vehicle they were using from the in laws and taking the old, but paid for, van of mine. I will add my gal to the insurance policy tomorrow, and she has this listed on hers too, so I believe we will be covered.

I did hold my tongue while they were here, couldn't converse freely, too many other people around here today. I know the visit was difficult for the young man, as well as my gal, it was hard to admit to the errors all round.

With luck, prayers and hard work, perhaps having a vehicle they didn't have to pay for right now will help. They have made many changes, I know this same situation won't come up again.......but, I fear something similar will be rearing it's head sooner or later. One doesn't make the types of decisions he did and just magically turn over a new leaf. At least....I haven't seen it often! Willing to admit I was wrong in this case.

Also shared/loaned much of my larger cooking type equipment with dtr person....she is cooking for many more than I right now, with much less of a budget. Large restaurant type kettles, juicer, canning goodies, and a dehydrator. All of those will help the food monies stretch and I don't need to store them.....can get them back from her if I have a windfall of fruit or something and happen to need a cherry pitter for example! Smile

Will see how the van loan deal goes.......and then will "borrow" my van back for the move, if it truly happens. Then, I'm thinking of offering it to dtr person. It is old enough to not be worth much, but if they don't have one at all, it might be OK. Will see how the next 30 days play out.......

Catching Up

October 14th, 2007 at 06:08 am

The day has gone by in a whoosh!

My aunt was picked up this AM, supposedly to go to her home for the week at least. Well, plans changed, she got there (2.5 hours drive) and watered plants, grabbed clean clothes & more meds and her son brought her right back here. Glad she feels comfy here at least, but I know my mom was hoping for a break.

The sun came out for the afternoon, so I dashed about the yard & made a little more headway on the fall tasks. Can't do much more, as the yard waste container is FULL already. Hate this thing.

Seemed like I cooked all day too.......and have a kettle of beans soaking tonight for chili tomorrow.

My week end young man tripped in his room this morning, and I thought it was my mom falling.......she had just gone in her room to take a nap! As I came sailing down the hallway, she poked her head out of her room and said "I bet you thought that was me?" Smile Young man not hurt, he just tripped over all his stuff he insists on covering the floor with. Thought sure I had another fall to deal with!

No errands, no shopping, no going anywhere today. Nice. Did get a call from a tenant, he said he woke up during the night hearing noises in the attic or crawl space above his apartment. Tricky, since the building is a flat roofed affair with no attic. Hmmmm. Called the exterminator guy & gave him the job of contacting the tenant. Too much to do here to arrange that one. He thought he'd enjoy seeing an attic with the flat roof too! Smile

Week end Company

October 6th, 2007 at 11:48 pm

My 'other mom' (moms' twin) is here for a long week end, seems like it will be Tuesday before she is planning to return home. She is exhausted, as she has been caring for a close friend who is in the last stages of lung cancer. Not sure who the disease is harder on??

Cooking one big roaster full of chickens we had picked up on sale........so I don't have to cook much the remainder of the week..... Wine's chilling, and the rest of the meal is on auto pilot.

The twins are thumbing through some pictures of them when they were much younger.........taking their minds off current stuff and causing much laughter!

An easy day. Listed 2 dozen more of dads vintage books. All were out of print, most in New condition and many listed for a nice sum. I'm enjoying the deposits to the account from this avenue.

Taking the rest of the day off to just sit & visit .......listening to the stories of mom & my aunt. Funny stuff most of the time!

Finally Closing Utility Accounts

September 26th, 2007 at 01:29 am

By tomorrow morning, the utility accounts for the old house will be out of my name. I did drag my feet on this one.......my aversion to conflict cost me stress and actual dollars.

The power and cable/net bills were the only ones left, but they are some biggies. Former room mate, now tenant did pay towards the bills; however did not cover them totally......so this will be a money saving step for me.

I also found a property mgmt firm I can work with to just accept the check from said room mate turned tenant & then forward to me. I just needed a buffer here, so she is responsible to someone else, not me. Long story, but I think this might work. If she doesn't pay on time, I won't have to listen to her 101 reasons why and steps to have her vacate will already be happening. Again, my aversion to strife here.

The inspection of the beach house is tomorrow; mom & I will join nephew/realtor for the event. Another ferry ride........and all day spent at the possible new place. I hope to measure rooms to come home with a better idea of what will fit where. Still have fingers crossed re; the 3 items we have on our list of questionable things there.

Managed to fit in a bit more gardening today, using the hedge trimmer I finished the way overgrown shrubs in the front yard. As soon as I get the trimmings cleaned up, I will have worked my way around this yard. It's taken me since last spring and it's not a complete job.......but it does look like someone lives here now!

Another Point for Freecycle

September 25th, 2007 at 05:54 am

I've got many, many empty shelves in the basement as of this evening. I had tried my dads collection of Readers Digest Condensed books again and had a taker scheduled for today.

Since I've had a couple duds lately, I did not pack up all the books and lug them upstairs. But, surprise, surprise, the doorbell rang, right on schedule and a very nice gentleman packed and hauled all the books to his truck. Woo hoo!

I'm guessing there were a couple hundred books, easy. Back to the 60's, maybe even the 50's. Not sure when these started coming out, but dad had to have every one. I remember reading them all when I was a kid....loved them!

I love them even more at someone elses house! The thought of hauling them all out to my van and then to the thrift store was just beyond my energy level. This worked for me! Besides that, I just couldn't see donating them to a store who was going to turn around and sell them! Much better to find someone to give them to outright. I just needed to be patient and keep offering them!

With a little more work and organization, I'll have three 6' tall bookcases cleared out for the move. I'm guessing dad has them attached to the walls, which could be interesting to detach them....and they will need a coat of paint as he was fond of some pretty strange colors. Mom & I have never had the luxury of bookcases this large, so they will be a treat indeed at the new place.

No word yet on the house deal....staying busy to keep from thinking about it ALL the time. Trying to come up with an inspector as the one I knew has flown the coop it seems.

Flooring completed in the little rental, now just a few minor details to finish up by Sunday night. Amazing but true, it's going to be the bridal suite that night. The tenants are getting married Sunday, and the groom came to me in secret and asked if he could take his bride there for their wedding night as a surprise. She thinks they can't get into the house until they return from their honeymoon.... Hope she is as wowed with it as he is....it is a very old house and any charm it has is truly on the surface!

Putting the Garden to Bed

September 24th, 2007 at 03:04 am

I actually love this time of year; for lots of reasons. As someone who loves gardening and the results of gardening, this is sort of final curtain time with the yard.

I cleaned out the lettuce beds last week, nothing worth harvesting, they had all got too damp......so into the yard waste bin.

Today I brought in an armful of cucumbers.....twice......and pulled out all the old vines. Lots of cleared ground after this one, it was amazing how far a few plants went. We've had fresh cucumbers now for a couple months which has been very yummy.

Harvested a zuchinni that had got away from me, so it's going to become spice cake as of tomorrow. There are a handful of tiny ones that I'll be watching and try to get them in before they freeze if we have some nasty weather roll in. Hoping we have nice enough days these will continue to mature as we didn't get our fill of zuchinni pancakes! No matter how many of these plants I manage to put in each spring, I've never had too many. The zuchinni jokes are lost on me!

I've got many other projects to take care of before I'm going to be happy with the gardens. I am a stickler about getting the work done right away, because I hate working with slimy wet remains of plants in the garden. Today was sunny at times, no rain here and not cold yet........perfect gardening weather.

I won't be planting anything this season, as we've still got our fingers crossed about our beach house deal. (tomorrow should bring us some news about the title search/easement & well issues) So, the work is only cosmetic here; everything will be trimmed and picked up before I feel like settling in by the wood stove with my knitting!

Is it Going to be Sand Between Our Toes???

September 21st, 2007 at 05:58 am

Yes, yes, and yes.........our counter offer to the counter offer got accepted late this evening. Now, on to the hashing out the details stage so we can firm up the deal for the beach house!!! There will be sand in our toes, as well as everywhere else I imagine. (having never lived on a beach, I can only guess)

Parts of me can't believe the whole chain of events; and then when we think about it, everything seems to be flowing easily and we can picture life in the new house as easy as pie! So, it feels good; to both mom & I.

And, in the small world department, or it pays to be chatty department........mom has a hot prospect for the commercial property!!! Not even listed yet and we've got 3 people interested. She went today for her check up re; her nose injury from her fall. The DR had been asking her questions on her last appt, about where she lived etc. In passing, she mentioned the property in town and she said he got very inquisitive. Today, she told him the property was for sale.....he called here at home tonight and said he had already talked to his accountant & they were very interested. Passed him on to realtor/grandson person. Can you tell my mom is a retired realtor?? Never one to miss an opportunity!

I mailed off the packet of info to my potential buyer of the vacant land. He wanted plat maps & tax numbers.... said he is very interested. Hoping he steps up and makes an offer this week.

Some kind soul from freecycle dropped off a porch full of moving boxes today. I will repay the favor to someone when I'm finished with these. I'm off to gather up some more tomorrow.....when I envision packing up moms house it boggles my mind. She has been here since 62 when they built, and has not parted with a single thing since then! Smile

We got the lease signed tonight for the house rental. Made it only 6 months, in case the property sells right away.

Took my samples in to the parks & rec dept for the display there prior to my fall knitting classes. Need to order supplies tomorrow before I forget in all the real estate frenzy here.

Made a ton of phone calls, including a reminder to moms tax prep guy.....we're still waiting for him to finish up 05 and I'm crossing my fingers he has our paperwork for 06, as I can't find it anywhere here.

Tonight we received the first order of my moms meds, which is 3 months.....all FAXED in from the DR. Too easy. And, way cheaper than the 30 day prices with the local pharmacies. She was pretty impressed. Good thing we have 90 days worth, as neither of us will have the time to spend running to the pharmacy in the near future anyway! Smile

A good day, but a full one. Feels a bit like a week crammed into a day. Grateful things are working out, so I will be able to see mom sitting on her porch at the beach!

Well........poo

September 19th, 2007 at 10:40 pm

We heard from the listing agent, the sellers of the beach house didn't accept our offer, but have counter offered.
We're approx $75,000 different in our numbers....and have until tomorrow night at 9PM to respond.

Mom & I have had some interesting discussions today about what to do. I point out how hard she and dad worked for so long.........that this seems a small sum to me. She thinks it is huge, but she is always comparing things to what they used to cost.

I can't figure out what they pinched and saved for, if not to enjoy it. The grandkids have all told her the same thing, I don't think anyone has had a negative comment about her buying the little house on the beach.

Money wise, it will be a stretch at the beginning. She will be financing the house, after we pool our available funds for the downpayment. The other real estate is beginning to be listed, and when it sells, we can either pay the loan down, or leave it and invest the funds, so we create an income stream.

I'm not at all worried about she & I being able to 'tighten the belt' as she says. Between us, we take cheap to new heights! With a goal like this one, I know we both have our priorities set in stone already.

So.........it's a waiting game again. Easy evening here, then a wild day tomorrow. Both of us have appointments all day on into the evening when we have the new couple sign the lease on the little rental. In the middle of all that, we'll meet with our realtor (also known as #1 grandson) and see if mom wants the house enough to counter. I'm betting she does! Smile

Getting Very Close

September 12th, 2007 at 05:03 am

I'm almost decided ..........Plan to sleep on the top 2 couples (again) for the rental. Have 2 more people coming tomorrow, that are going to be in the Seattle area this week....but I am pulling now for couple #2. They are younger, no kids, no pets, both work, and neither will need a car at this location... plus they didn't ask for anything!

Couple #1 came through again today & began asking if I was going to do this, clean the atic, you name it. And, here I was thinking it looked pretty darned good.

The differences between the 2 couples became more obvious to both mom & myself today. Both wanted to have reduced rent for a time, but only one couple really had a list of what they could do for us in trade. I'm swinging to #2 for that reason. I'm tired, they're young & energetic, plus their references say they are able and talented. Can't beat that combo. I'm just old & tired at this point. Smile

I'm tired enough, I'd just like to exchange a key for a check and let the place go, anything they could do would be an improvement!

My son stopped by during the work day, so I took advantage of that and sat down for a visit! Crossing my fingers the stories he tells are more truth than fiction these days. He seems to be making headway......job, apartment, etc.

Received a couple calls from an interested party re; my building lot. He has the neighboring piece, so it might work out. Will try to contact him tomorrow, but I have a full day of rental stuff again. And, drat, the floor guy didn't show again. Trying tomorrow for the 3rd time now. Since he has made me wait, I'm expecting a nice cut on the bid. He's done most all of my floor jobs for years, so I can press the issue about him not showing up.

Can not wait til Friday.....promising myself to have this rental thing all wrapped up by then!

Decisions, Decisions

September 11th, 2007 at 05:57 am

I thought we had "the" couple to rent the house......and today, another young guy walked in while I was cleaning. He is almost a carbon copy of "the" guy from couple #1, which is weird enough, since we rented the apt in back a few months ago and he has almost the same story too. All 3 are youth pastors. Very strange........good, but strange.

So, a decision that was almost made, now is back in the iffy stage. Meeting wife of couple #2 tomorrow.....and we'll go from there. References on couple #1 are glowing. Haven't got the app from #2 yet, but I'm betting they are all going to be good too.

Met with the property mgmt person from adjoining property today. She informs me the trees in question (they are making a mess of our roof) are truly on moms property, not the parking lot of the bank. Well.......after letting mom stew about this for a bit, she informs me they kept back a 2' strip when they sold the lots for the parking lot eons ago. Huh??? A separate tax # and the whole bit. Guess where the trees are?? You bet. All the way along the 2' strip. We didn't plant them, but it was so long ago, whomever did is long gone. So, my friend the tree man now has more on his TO DO list.........will call him tomorrow.

Cleaned the little rental house, made some major progress. Couple #1 is coming back tomorrow for a 2nd look see. And, the floor guy friend, didn't get me to the top of his list.....which means he didn't get to my job today, we're trying again for tomorrow.

Sent both of my tenants notices about listing the properties. Don't expect anyone to be happy. None of them are answering their phones. Too much drama for me.....

Sleeping on the decision re; who to rent the house to. Mom has told me I have free rein this time......not that she really means that. She will have opinions all along here!! Smile Good thing we think alike!

We Turned a Corner

September 10th, 2007 at 05:49 am

I can tell, mom has made some decisions and I think they're good ones. The day feels like it has been a week & I'm that tired too!

Started out at a run it seemed, loaded the van with everything I could think of we might need at the vacant rental. Cleaning supplies, yard maint stuff, trash bags, hedge trimmer......we had it in the van. Got there to find the electrician hard at work. Things are truly getting done!

Began setting up shop to get the place organized for a couple appointments to see the place in the afternoon. HA! People started dropping in right away. I had done the old realtor tricks, had it smelling good, doors open;sunshine everywhere.......fresh flowers on a sign in table, music playing in the background. For a dirty, old, little house.......it looked pretty good with just a couple hours work!

Nephew/realtor/mortgage guy showed up to help his grandma........and did pretty well with the list I gave him. AND, he has a day set aside to take mom & I to see The Beach House again, as well as 3 other houses in the same county. A week from tomorrow we set out in earnest. Mom actually told him to go for it, I think were her actual words.

We dug up the paperwork for her extra lot behind the house we're in, and nephew person will call the city tomorrow to check on zoning, permits, sub dividing procedures and get that parcel on the market.

We're checking the 1031 specifics to see that we're still on the right track.

I've got a list of phone calls to try again on in the morning, then I'm meeting nephews wife to help clean the little rental again.

Oh.....one of the best things, I do think we met the future tenants of this little place. They have already faxed in their application & I'll meet with them again on Tues for another walk through of the house & yard. Hoping like everything they sign up for a year. That would get this piece off our list for a bit.

We did talk today of listing the piece with this little house, (also has an apt) but selling it to a developer, who will buy it even with the leases currently signed. Mom is really ready. I'm getting excited, both for her....and I'd love to move too. Being in this house I was raised in is just a tad odd at times.

So, I'm not sure I can turn my brain off tonight and go to sleep. Leases, phone calls, TO DO lists, beach houses, packing, more phone calls.......Too much going on for only one day.

The Landlord Business

September 9th, 2007 at 03:02 am

I'm deep in the process of handling the inquiries re; moms little rental house. Seems to have generated quite a bit of interest, however no real serious folks yet. I think we've got the price right, as that doesn't seem to weed anyone out. The parking and the no shower are currently tied for being the negatives.

Heading to the house tomorrow to let a few people take a peek. Hopefully, they will bring a ton of optimism with them, as it isn't ready for people yet! But, we're making headway and at least it looks like work is happening.

Did talk with mom today about getting us both OUT of this landlord business. She is ready to sell a building lot behind the house we're currently living in.......and I'm ready to sell an empty lot of mine too. (I actually listed mine on CL today and have one couple heading out to see it tomorrow) Moms lot needs to have some additional paperwork done at the city level here....it's large enough, but doesn't have it's own tax number yet. Mine has a number, but no road or services to it.

We reviewed the beach house paperwork again and went over the pictures. Just can't get a read on mom to know if she really wants to move.......really wants me to start pushing this through......or if she just wants to dream about it and have me hunker down and get this house we're in up to snuff.

Either way, I sure do want to be out of the landlord business. I'm contacting everyone on my list and letting them know I've got some properties available. All of mine would be great for a builder/developer to take and do something with. Crossing fingers here.

Listed another round of items here on CL today. Hoping to gain some empty space in the garage if these things sell. Furniture, lift chairs, commercial sewing machines........you name it, my mom has held onto it. Amazing she always kept enough room carved out for her car to fit in there! Smile

Lots of Work, No Progress

September 8th, 2007 at 06:04 am

No matter how hard I worked today at the lengthening TO DO list, nothing got crossed off. Hate days like this! I'm truly one who gets excited about crossing things off my list.

Mom gave the nod to start work in earnest on the vacant rental. Made a bunch of calls; and only received one call back. My friend in the tree business........ So, we managed to meet at the rental and here at moms, for him to give me a bid on hacking down the hedge that looks more like old growth timber, as well as limb up all the trees that are touching the house here. Can't schedule him, as there is an adjoining property issue on both jobs; neighbors to contact, property mgmt firms to reach. Waiting.....waiting.....

Dropped off moms 2005 tax info packet to the tax man. Came home all set to start in on the 06 stuff........only to find we can't find any of it. Only 2 of us living here, and we have misplaced a whole pile of paperwork. I'm crossing my fingers & calling the tax guy in case we were really ahead of the game and had taken it in the first visit. Again....waiting.

Put the rental signs up at the house, as well as listed it on Craigs list. CL response winning at this time, although I don't have any great prospects from either. Also called my friendly floor man, to get the job set up for a new kitchen and bath floor......have the materials leftover from a job of mine, so the price shouldn't be too bad. Again, no call back........I really hate it when everyone in the world leaves work by noon on a Friday.

Mom & I attended a seminar last night, primarily on 1031 exchanges. Poor speakers, but we did pick up some pointers and both of us got rather fired up to sell our rentals and get out of the landlord business. Now, if I can just keep that fire lit under my mom!

Sold another of my dads books today, did get it packaged and mailed today, so I guess there was something I actually finished today!

Moms Health Insurance: The Saga Continues

August 31st, 2007 at 07:00 am

Day 2 of this new journey into health care madness.

Discovered we truly HAD to go see the primary DR listed on moms card, there was no other way to get the referral to go back to the nose specialist on Friday. What a backwards system to have the more expensive method of accomplishing this be the only way to go....so, off we went today.

I did put my foot down.......or my pen to be specific. They asked us to fill out the reams of paperwork as we were a NEW patient. I put moms name on it, she signed it and I told them we couldn't remember any of the other answers. They left me alone. (I'm presuming I looked ticked from the moment I arrived!)

To the DR's credit, all he did was take moms blood presure & tell us he would fax the referral in prior to our Friday appt. Crossing fingers he does just that! Will call in the AM to be sure.

By the time I got the car, mom was pooped........we headed straight home and she went back to bed. Again, what a dumb system to make her do this for what could have been an OK over the phone, FAX or a letter to the insurance co.

Mom's doing OK, but has spent the day having sneezing bouts. Not good when your nose is packed full of what amounts to a teensy sponge. Hoping she looks OK to the DR tomorrow and they return her nose to normal.

I have 2 more medical appointments to go with mom in this coming week.....me, around doctors and nurses. I've had a life long thing with the medical profession in general. I worked in the health care field for a couple decades, and then had to again deal with so many appointment with all my special needs kids.........very few experiences could be classified as positive. I can almost see my mom hoping I keep my mouth shut when we go into these appointments. Smile I have been appropriate, she didn't have to give me 'the look' that all parents seem to know how to do. But, this week is trying my patience to the max!

Nephew person came over this evening (he is also the realtor for anything we are going to be doing) and we talked beach houses again. Waiting for moms nose situation to be cleared up, as well as the last of the Dr appointments off the calendar........then we're heading to another house on the penninsula.

My son also stopped in today, interesting to see him enjoying an actual job these days. He's getting paid very well it seems, however he has made some very bad choices in his young life and owes some pretty big money before any of this can be considered his money.....

No spending today.....other than the stupid DR appt, it was a quiet day; a little gardening, lots of knitting and plenty of time visiting.

Back From a Quick Trip

August 26th, 2007 at 08:02 pm

Made an impromptu trip to the Olympic Penninsula this past week, getting home late yesterday. What a beautiful state this is....and we had glorious weather too.

Several reasons for the trip; first was a visit & check in with my moms twin. She had a fall last week and has a teensy fracture in her wrist, so we wanted to see how she was doing. She is the one dealing with her long time SO being terminally ill with lung cancer. Gave her a couple days of some different things to do, see & talk about to take her mind off all the changes that will be upcoming in her life.

Mom had a beach house to go see over there too, so we all went (2 different days) to see this place. What a place! The road to get to it is a bit of a trial.....reminded me of a road I drove in Hawaii once. Getting down to the water level is not always easy. But, once there, this was the view and mom absolutely loved it.



The house is pretty good, we could make it work. We would have to do some real work to get it to a 3BR if my aunt is going to throw her hat in with us.



After reading the paper this AM however, mom is really backing off the idea, as the headlines are all about no jumbo loan monies, etc. We wouldn't have difficulty IF we could each manage to find a buyer for something we would be selling. That would be the question. I also think we could get the property in question down quite a bit, it is overpriced according to the area comps and she hasn't had a nibble according to the realtor.

Returned to find another book of dads ordered........so it's packed & ready to go to the post office in the AM. Mom is getting a kick out of turning his collection into cash I think, as she is planning on joining me here at the PC to enter the next 5 cases of books I have sitting on the floor.

Off to play catch up around here....gardening to do, weeding, deadheading and harvesting. Much of my to do list requires waiting til tomorrow morning when offices are open. Also received an email from tenants, one couple wants to move, leaving one couple only wanting to pay their share, which doesn't cover the mortgage. If I won't go for that, they both will need to move after 6 months. Need to contact couple #2 to see if that is truly their wishes, not just hear say.

Maybe it truly is time to put that big place on the market, hope for the best and move to the beach?

No Money Fun Sort of Day

August 18th, 2007 at 04:28 am

Over the years, with all the kids at my group home........we were used to finding No Money Fun activities. New kids expected to have a budget (or worse, no budget limits) & it was a bit of a shock to them how we spent our spare time. They soon learned we weren't a household that spent without thinking and planning......and then the No Money Fun sorts of events often won out.

Much research went on all the time, with all the kids adding possibilities to the No Money Fun list.

Tonight we did one of the favorites of all time.....just headed to the beach. This is a shot looking west from the little town I grew up in.



The sun was going down, there are ferries to watch, trains coming by regularly and lots of divers at the underwater park. My young man actually seemed like he was having fun.

Mom & I loved the evening. Great weather, no time limit; it was perfect.

Gardened a bit early this AM. I'm keeping up with the watering and the deadheading. No weeds yet to speak of, thanks to the heavy layers of compost all over the place. Gave the lawn a feeding, as it is struggling to grow in all sand. Can't wait for the compost load next spring, I'm going to figure out a way to sift a layer of compost over the entire lawn. No way I'm going to spend time on it again next year like I've had to do this summer.

A great day........

How Can I Be This Busy & Be Retired??

August 8th, 2007 at 12:22 am

I don't seem to have any true spare time these days. Moving to moms has saved the driving time between places (except for once every 2 weeks when I head to the old house)........but the rest of life seems to have gone into overdrive.

Maybe it's summer that makes it feel like that to me? Trying to keep up with the harvest from 2 veggie gardens perhaps?

Maybe it's how far behind moms place had fallen........Everything needs work here.

A battery powered hedge trimmer arrived yesterday & I got a pretty good workout today while taming the evergreen shrubs in the front yard. Very helpful tool; saved lots of time and for the first time out, the bushes look WAY better than before. I was worried I might butcher them, but I'm ready to take on the row of bushes along the driveway now.

Forced myself to the sewing room and finished another of the tops for my barter customer. Hoping to get to the last couple items tomorrow and arrange a fitting on Thurs. It will feel great to have this commitment completed.

Completed a Pinecone survey today, first one in a long time for me. It sounded like it was a product testing event too, so perhaps there will be some fun mail soon.

And, a book of my dads sold today. A pristine condition math book of all things. Hopefully, the rest will start moving soon & I'll be making a path to the post office! I didn't list anything that wasn't going to be worth the time & gas, so most sales will be over $25.00 and there are a couple that are in the 80-100 dollar range. Who knew dads books were more than just 'dads books'?? Because of his addiction to books, I can hardly buy a book. I need to really, really need it before I'll buy it to keep. Would much rather get it on loan from the library.

And, finally..........the Tax Update. We have got moms 2004 taxes done, both for the trust and for her. I've rounded up most of the paperwork for 2005 now, just waiting for a few things to come in the mail & we'll be ready to turn all that in. 2006 is close to being ready and heck, we'll even be in time since she has had an extension on this year for some reason. In the process of looking for all the right papers & numbers I've been re vamping her filing system. 2007 taxes should be a walk in the park come January. (no extensions either!!)

Company For the Weekend

July 29th, 2007 at 03:42 am

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.

I Feel a Crossroad Coming

July 22nd, 2007 at 04:24 am

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).

Mom's Secret

July 21st, 2007 at 03:45 am

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. Smile

It's a Job Offer

July 18th, 2007 at 06:41 am

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.

A Lifetime of Magazines

July 16th, 2007 at 03:56 am

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!

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

July 13th, 2007 at 04:07 am

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!

Too Hot to Think (or do anything else)

July 11th, 2007 at 04:09 am

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!

Catching Up

July 10th, 2007 at 02:09 am

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?) Smile

New Walking Goals (and buddy)

July 5th, 2007 at 06:34 am

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! Smile

Researching Plumbing Options

July 2nd, 2007 at 04:24 am

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.

Water Down the Wall Again

June 29th, 2007 at 01:16 am

Zipped downstairs today to get the punch supplies from the freezer and checked "The Wall" just to see if it was dry.......and no. All the old water drip lines on the wall were dripping new water. Yuk.

This tosses my theory about the garbage disposal out the window, since we haven't used it since it leaked when we did. This AM it was the dishwasher and the right hand sink in the kitchen....and the leak. Just the dishwasher last week, no leak. And, no water whatsoever upstairs around the sink area. Heck, none in the kitchen.
Once we get the plumber at the apartment tomorrow, we put this job on the list to be fixed. Still no emergency, but a definate must be fixed sort of problem.

I'm noticing mom isn't at all concerned about maintaining this home (or any of the others she owns). Not sure why. Dad was always the one that kept track of things, even tho mom helped and handled any rentals. She would rather not know about the water downstairs.....even tho she does KNOW how water damages anything it comes into contact with.

I've been the only one taking care of my homes for decades, so I'm used to watching for 'stuff that needs doing' as I call all these jobs. I even opened the conversation with mom last night about wondering when to stop putting big money into this home and just do the hold the line repairs. If she ever does sell this house, any new owner would level it and re build on the existing foundation. Or, at the very least, gut it and add a 2nd story. So, it seems to be excessive to put a new roof on (which the house will be needing) or make any big changes.

I have had a stay at home, no spend, no work (almost) sort of day. Moms bridge buddies are here having a great day of it... I did all the last minute cleaning and straightening up this AM and made a dessert for her to serve then have been enjoying a day of just playing around in the sewing room and here on the PC.

Moms bank called & said the funds were being deposited into her account from the bond she had bought earlier this month. The bank found another buyer for the entire order, so mom got all the money back. She thinks she should not invest these funds now and use it for the projects on this house. I guess this is where the conversation started yesterday; I'm just not sure the money would be well spent here. We are certainly making do here, although there are some things it would be nice to update.

This house is in a very well to do neighborhood.....although neighborhood is not the right term. There are houses along this one road, no one knows anyone, no one speaks really. Almost everyone has 'staff' and I'm the only person I know who mows the lawn themself. So, the property is worth more without the house almost! And, mom has a large enough piece she could build & sell the back half....which I think is a better idea in the long run.

This would cut the work in half here (which I'm totally in favor of). She could either move to the new house, or fix up this one. Or, sell the new, lease this and move to the beach house of her dreams. I like that option too.

Heard from the financial planner/accountant and attorney. The decedants trust was funded when dad died, and has the tax number. But, for some reason moms accountant never had her file the taxes on that trust. They all are saying it's no problem.....but, I'm guessing there probably are a few since it's been 7 years with no filing.
I'm sure learning lots...it seems like no day goes by without another huge thing coming into view here. Property, tenants, trusts, investments; all needing attention. No question why I moved over here anymore, that part is certain!

And, There Was Water........drip, drip.....

June 28th, 2007 at 06:26 am

Yes, this AM on one of my many treks down to the basement......I flipped the light switch and made a quick check of The Wall...... A small trickle of water and a crack in the wall with a drop or two; plus about an eighth of a cup of water on the floor. Hmmm.
Think the culprit is the garbage disposal after all the checking and re checking. Not a typical leak at the disposer however, but something to do with either the incoming water, or the drain behind the kitchen wall. The water is pooling upstairs in the dead space below the undersink cabinet or behind the cabinet. Yuk. Makes it almost impossible to get to.....but, easier now to tell a plumber what is leaking. Our version of taking care of this right now, is to not use the disposer! Temporary fix, but right now, that works.

Borrowed moms car for an errand to the title co, to sign for the re fi. Money will be wire transferred to my acct soon; actually forgot what day they said.
Took the car to the auto parts store, to pick up a tail light bulb, as we have one burned out. I thought I could get someone to show me how to replace said light since I couldn't seem to get to it on my own. (hate to be stupid, but the car must have been built around the light) No one at the store could get to the bulb either! So, it's a trip to a dealership for a lightbulb. I prefer vehicles where I can do at least the minor stuff.

Spent the last 48 hours cleaning and gardening so the house & yard look spic & span for moms bridge day tomorrow. Whipped out a bridge table cover too now that I'm here & understand just what she was needing. (from fabric I bartered for) Looks pretty good if I do say so....and the make shift sewing room worked too. I'm obviously too pooped to be writing....just tried to re read this paragraph and it doesn't even make sense to me! Off to bed!



Bending the Rules Credit-wise & Other Updates

June 27th, 2007 at 02:42 am

This was a new one for me, however it was explained to us as something being done "all the time" in the mortage business.

Mom was asked to add a family member on to 3 of her high limit cc acounts (all at zero balances) just long enough for the credit reporting companies to add the family persons name & account. This makes the credit of the person in question broad, or varied they explained. As soon as the report is noted, mom can take the person off the accounts. (which she will do) So, there is to be no risk to her.......she feels like she is helping in a family situation and I am just going to watch.

I'm not a betting person, but I'm willing to put money on this family person not being able to maintain a mortage .....if it happens in the first place. Buying isn't always a good choice for some. Although continued renting isn't a great option either, it seems to have so much less risk in this situation.

I'm grateful I don't need someone to work the system as it was explained to us.

Plumbing Update: None. No info. Nothing. Basement floor & wall are still dry. Just too frustrating not knowing how it got so wet, and obviously many times before. Mom said this AM "It's a good day if we don't see water".......I feel just the opposite. I think it is just nasty I can't come up with the problem! Wish I could see some water & nail down where it came from & when!

Historic Happening Here: I turned down money. Yep. Found 3 gentlemen to divide up the first round of cured wood dad had been saving to turn or carve. One of them asked what I was selling it for, and I turned it down. Dad would have shared before selling.....so that is what we did all day again today. There are 3 pretty excited woodworkers here in the Pacific NW tonight!


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