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Doing the Pre Moving Shuffle

September 22nd, 2007 at 10:50 pm

The expenses are beginning to add up already and the deal hasn't even closed.

I picked up 2 van loads of boxes this AM, (freecycled), so the only expense there was the gas. Planned the pick ups to be close to the old house, so I wasn't too far afield. Met my son at the old house, so used cheap help!! Good help however. And, as an aside....fun too. Which is saying alot. He hasn't been the most likable fellow in years past.

I have hired a real moving crew and truck for Thurs however.... so there will be money out for that day. Well spent, since I only have one son and my nephew is recovering from a car accident... A paid crew seems to fit my needs this time around. It works better too, when I tell them what to do. Not so much with relatives! Smile

Was too tired tonight to unload my van. We packed it with things I'm going to try to get rid of, as well as all my computer stuff, hate to put that on a moving truck for some reason. Sent an email to foster dtr & she is interested in much of my stuff I just couldn't see getting rid of entirely. She will keep and use things like the dehydrator & juicer, etc........and if I ever feel the need for them, I can borrow them back. She was thrilled and I don't have to pack them. Works for me.

Found a property mgmt firm who will take on my old house & help come up with a solution re; old room mate person. Pretty sure this won't take long, if she has to pay someone besides me. Calling her tomorrow with the details of the new regime.

Can't wait to have all my things in one place. When I sort of moved to moms last spring, I brought just the necessities. Then, I started bringing a van load of things at a time, but have had no where to really put them. I'm doing lots of daydreaming about my own furniture in my room, my piano at the same place I'm living and being able to look around my space and see NO boxes! I know the new place is very small & I'm planning accordingly......tossing or farming out all the things I have not used in the past 6 months.

Will deal with the crummy load of things in the van in the morning.....everything looks better in the morning, right??? Smile

Staying Busy While Waiting

September 21st, 2007 at 03:53 pm

We're in the waiting stage again for the house deal. Ordered the title search today and thought I had a friend who would do the inspection, however he has vanished......so haven't got that part nailed down yet.

Ran some errands, picking up last minute things for the little rental, so it is up and running by next week end. Splurged on a big roll of packing tape and a good dispenser thingy.....so I'm set for tomorrow morning. There are some things it is really worth paying a bit more for and this is one of mine. I will have a FULL van load of boxes by the time I meet my son at the old house, and most will be flat....so the tape is going to be handy.

Mom got to the eye DR today, to find out cataract surgery is necessary. She wanted to wait til after the move, but I'm lobbying for sooner, so we don't have to find a new DR, or go back & forth daily on the ferry. Doesn't sound like a good time to me!

Emptied out one of the bedrooms here at moms today. Grandson #5 has just rented his first apartment & mom went nuts packing a truck of things for him. Worked out well for all concerned....we got rid of things we couldn't take with us and he got a furnished apt!

There was a bit of sun here today, so I cleaned out the lettuce beds, as well as the old cucumber vines. The gardens have been so full and productive all season, it seems odd to see bare ground again. We are just now having to purchase veggies again, and not that many yet.....so the garden was definately worth it. I'm always pushing myself to clean out the gardens come fall, as I truly hate that job if I let it get too far into winter. Cold, wet, slimy .........not if I can help it.

I've appreciated all the emails giving pointers and encouragement re; real estate transactions. I don't know if there is anything more stress producing...than buying and selling. I will be happy to be done with it all; mom and I were placing bets as to when we think we will be fancy free!

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

September 20th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

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!


September 19th, 2007 at 03:40 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

Gardeners Make Great Friends

September 18th, 2007 at 03:09 pm

Almost 2 weeks (maybe even 3) ago, I answered a 'Wanted' post on freecycle, regarding rhubarb plants. Today, I was finally at the old house and got to meet Joy, the woman wanting rhubarb.

Joy came bearing gifts. She had everything from starts of chocolate mint to fresh tomatoes from her garden. (If you have never had the aromatic type mint plants, you really should try some, kids as well as adults love them.)

We visited while she did the work....digging up 2 of my rhubarb plants the current tenants are just letting go to waste. It always bugs me to see food going to waste anyway......and these plants were starts from my old place.......which was from a start from my dads garden when he was still living, so to me, they were even more important.

Before Joy left, I had managed to convince her she "needed" some other plants from my garden......strawberries, crocosmia, Japanese anenomes, lavatera, and a minty little ground cover. I hate for people to come all the way for just one plant! And, despite the neglect in this garden, things were growing fairly well. With some attention in Joys' garden, they should flourish.

On my way home, after spending the last couple days at the old house, I was pondering how gardeners seem to be so friendly. Is it just because we share plants between us & we are outgoing in order to share?? Or, perhaps gardening is usually a solitary pastime and we are thrilled to spend time with someone else?? I don't know for sure, but as we got starts for Joys' garden, I was reminded of the generous gardeners I had met because of the garden.

Thanks Joy, for making my day! I know each of us will be working in our gardens today, getting our new to us plants settled in!

I Hate the Waiting!

September 16th, 2007 at 11:22 pm

Waiting. Seems like that is what real estate is all about ........at least after you have the property picked out.

We can't get questions answered re; the plat map until the county opens up the offices tomorrow. So, waiting for that. Seems the road to the house is most likely an easement, with the last 2 houses on the road using an easement through the house we're interested in. Would like to know for sure, as well as have it written down somewhere prior to purchase.

And, to top off the waiting........moms twin is here this week end and mom isn't sharing the house deal with her. So, we're waiting, and being quiet about it. Hard when it is pretty darned exciting.

My aunt took us out to dinner, so that was a fun treat. We've been pretty good with our meals, eating most of them at home, which I am certain is healthier; to say nothing of being cheaper.

I begged off shopping at the mall (yikes, was it a terror on the week end), when my aunt needed to "just run in for a bit". Sat in the car & knit! A much better use of my time. Can't believe how many people were at the mall.....trying to park was dangerous.

Daydreaming of the new place almost all the time.......no malls. Heck, no stores to speak of. I do believe there is a bait shop that also has the word groceries on their sign... Smile Post office, fire dept, and a school; but only through the 8th grade. Not sure what they do with high schoolers! We'd be almost an hour away from any sort of town with real stores and serious shopping. Sounds dreamy to me; but mom is making plans so she can get to Costco and Macy's on a regular basis.

Heading to the old house tomorrow to finish packing and have all my things organized for a truck & crew to come pick them up. Need to get them here, even if the beach house deal doesn't fly for any reason. Meeting with former room mate person this week to, laying out the finances for the house, to see if she honestly thinks she can handle the rent. Hate to go into a meeting with negative thoughts.......but I see no way this is going to work.

At least all this gives me stuff to think about while waiting for our offer to get written up and presented. Continuing to keep fingers crossed!

Gearing Up to Make an Offer

September 15th, 2007 at 09:31 pm

Yes, mom & I are getting our act together so we can present an offer on the beach house on Monday. We had a list of questions for the listing agent, and were in hopes he would get back to us yesterday.........here we are on Sat night and still no word from the gentleman. I'm venturing a guess he isn't the top salesperson in his office!

We're going ahead on Monday, even if we haven't heard back, mom wants this house in a bad way. Her eyes light up and she gets pretty goofy when we start talking about it......or we look at the pictures again. Have my fingers permantly crossed that the offer is accepted, or at least we get a counter offer we can live with. I truly hate this stage of real estate transactions!!!

The rest of the day was a blur. I took my week end young man on a freecycle errand and we shoved moving boxes in my van until there wasn't an inch of empty space left. Then off to the old house, unload the boxes and start packing. I have sorted prior to packing, as either way....moving into moms or the beach house, not all of my stuff will fit. (and I've been living without it since May anyway!!) Then, back to moms, unload the things we brought in the van....and it's already time to fix dinner.

Company for dinner; moms twin. Thankfully, both of them are on the mend from their recent falls. Each are just sore....but doing OK. My mom is not telling her twin about the potential beach house; it is so funny watching her.....I can't tell if the twin knows, but she mentioned the house this evening, so it's a possibility.

Knitting like a mad woman in all my spare time, to get ready for this quarters knitting & crochet classes. I've been asked to put a display up in the rec center office and when I stopped in to measure the space I was shocked to find it 4' X 5'. Yikes. That's alot of knitting!

Feeling a bit like a circus performer; the one with the plates on the sticks. Smile Knitting, moving, caring for my young man, taking care of mom, getting the little house rented, packing, sorting, and more packing and sorting! While I was driving home this evening, I couldn't remember when my classes started & thought perhaps I had forgotten one.......fortunately that wasn't the case & I'm good to go....nothing starts til Oct 4th...whew! I can tell I've got a few too many sticks and plates when I begin to panic! Time to take one thing at a time I guess.......

How Long to Hold Rental Properties?

September 14th, 2007 at 01:41 pm

We're having a meeting here in the next 30 minutes or so.........with the main topic being......what to sell so mom can get her dream house?

I've been gathering numbers (me who is number challenged) to show her on paper, how she is really loosing money these days on her rental properties.

Anyone else at this crossroad? Where years of hard work and budgeting to the max and accumulating real estate have come to the spot where it COSTS to keep them. The money she has to pay out each year in property taxes, as well as insurance and repairs doesn't equal what she can bring in with rental income. And, my properties are in the same position now too.

I think she gets it......but I'm never sure these days with mom. So, me, the math whiz (HA) is going to try and lay out the plan where getting her equity out of these properties (she owes nothing on anything in her portfolio) and doing anything else with it, is the better deal.

She wants so badly to gift her 5 grandsons with something when she dies.......I do believe that is the reason she is holding on to the properties. I need to show her she can leave a nicer estate if she isn't chipping away at the equity all the time.

I'm having one of those weeks, where life as I thought I knew it is changing faster than I can imagine. Dreaming of doing nothing at this beach house of moms!!!

Unsettling Phone Call

September 13th, 2007 at 08:19 pm

We had a great day, crossed the ferry, had lunch out and viewed 2 more beach houses prior to visiting The House we had seen twice before. Sat on the porch there & made a quick plan for tomorrow to list some more things, and come up with an offer to present.

As we got back home this evening, while everyone was saying good bye, and congrats to my mom for her decision re; the house........I decided to check voice mail. I was waiting for the call from the couple we need to get together with to sign the lease for the little rental. (probably the piece of property mom will list for sale too.......not the best timing, however the lease is for a year and any commercial use will have a couple years with the planning stage, so it should work)

Anyway........back to the phone. I did get a call from the young couple, excited out of their minds, this will be their first place. Also got the call from moms DR, her prescriptions are finally ready but they didn't get them faxed in. Drat. Then, there was a female voice, never did identify herself, saying horrible things to my mom re; the little house that just rented.

This woman was very ticked that we had "kicked out" her friend who used to live there. We did ask her to move, last Oct, primarily for her disregard of the lease terms & not paying her rent. It has set vacant until this coming Oct..... But, the woman on the phone was crazy mad that it was being rented to anyone, (there is a for rent sign in the window) as she thought we were selling it as commercial property. And, little does she know.....it will hopefully be sold asap as just that.

She continued to rant at my mother on the voice mail.......about how she was going to tell everyone in town just what mom had done. I'm so glad I was the one to check the voice mail! I deleted her right then, as I didn't want mom to have this spoil her day.

We did decide on the beach house...it is small, but it will work. Mom is on cloud nine. Tired, but still happy with her decision.

Hoping the voice mail lady has a really terrible day, that her negative stuff will circle right back at her. Not nice, but I'm tired and cranky too and that is exactly the way I feel. Sooooo grateful I grabbed the phone as soon as I got in the house!

Couple # 2 Gets the House

September 12th, 2007 at 11:41 pm

We chose the couple with no kids, the one that didn't ask if I was going to re do the attics, pull out the counters, and when would the roof be re done? After sleeping on the choice, the couple that was satisfied with the house in it's current condition, the ones that were willing to finish up the stuff I just didn't feel like doing........they are the happy campers tonight.

The house really is cute, just VERY old and quite small. And, I'm tired of old, small, dirty and vacant. Hoping to set up the meeting with Couple #2 sometime next week, to draw up the lease and give them the keys. They won't be moving in til the middle of Oct, as they are getting married and heading to Hawaii.

Since we rented the house, and did (finally) meet with the flooring gentleman, mom & I decided to go out to a late lunch before quitting for the day. Our favorite restaurant(the one where we always have a coupon from the paper) was closed. So, no lunch, no money spent........we headed for home & fixed dinner ourselves.

We did have time for a LONG discussion re; the pros & cons of keeping the property we just rented, or selling it. I need to dig for some numbers and we're going to repeat the same talk. I believe mom is paying to keep the property, what with insurance, taxes and repairs. I know that is the case on my 2 rentals. There is no way to charge enough to cover the expenses. I think mom is close to some breakthrough thinking here, she did say she thought I might be right.......and if she is making any money, it is minimal.

We're taking the whole day tomorrow and heading out to look at "our" beach house again, along with 2 other homes we have seen on line that meet moms needs. I'm hopeful she will just make up her mind and decide one way or another to move, stay, sell, rent.......something.

I did reach one of my interested people on my vacant lot. He owns the neighboring lot & is very interested. Told me not to accept an offer without letting him know. Plus, he's interested in our other lots.... Possibilities here I believe! Contacted our 1031 facilitator, so he's ready if mom does decide on a house tomorrow....we can get the ball rolling.

Next step needing attention: Contact the city to see if I can have trees taken down. Not used to working in a city, and I would hate to get fined for removing trees...even tho they are on our property. They are not helping the condition of the roof, so I'd like to get them down, build up the wood pile and have it all done before the new renters get moved in.

Each day I become more aware of how far behind my mom was getting on taking care of her life and all that entails. I think we're making progress, then another new chapter pops up! Tomorrow will be a welcome break!

Getting Very Close

September 11th, 2007 at 10:03 pm

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 10th, 2007 at 10:57 pm

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 9th, 2007 at 10:49 pm

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 8th, 2007 at 08:02 pm

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 7th, 2007 at 11:04 pm

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!

Not Rose Colored.........but, New Glasses

September 5th, 2007 at 09:23 pm

Had my eye exam today and got the new glasses I had picked out Monday. Used the AAA discount, as it was more than the 50% off sale LensCrafters was having.
Since I don't have insurance, this is considered a good deal for me. And, as an aside, I have been doing a fair job of a series of eye exercises for the last couple years, and I do believe it has helped. My right eye had almost no change, the left eye.....a bit more she said. Trying to treat my eyes as muscles & it seems to be making a difference to me.

Did fill up the van with gas while waiting for the lenses........I was almost on empty so I ended up using all of $40.00. Made a deposit of the one rent check that came on time, as well as the payment for my week end young man.

Mom had her physical too today, and got a pretty good report. We managed to get the meds all as generic, with 90 days of each so we can now order by mail. TA DA. Money and time saved and she should squeek in the window of this Medicare business. Have yet to understand the logic of it, but there is a range of money spent on meds that isn't covered. If you go above it, the expenses are again covered......but there is this no mans land in the middle. I'm aiming to come in under, so most of the prescriptions are covered.

And, I'm also aiming to drop some of the meds (with the DR approval of course) by cooking things a bit differently here. So far, moms chlorestrol is back in normal range with just the few changes we have made since May.

My biggest step today was making the schedule for the vacant rental....cleaning starts Friday and I managed to pin down the elusive electrician who promises to meet me there on Friday also!

A long day; but many lines crossed off on the TO DO list here.

Icky Mail Day

September 4th, 2007 at 09:22 pm

I have been really angry since Sunday, but unable to do much about it. Spent the time here, shuttling mom & her twin from appointment to errand, & back home for meals........giving all my spare time to a letter I was going to write to former room mate person, now tenant at the old house.

I did get to the computer today & have the letter written and in the outgoing mail for tomorrow. Room mate person had conveniently forgotten several things I had said or asked.......so I wanted to put my communication to her in writing.

Well.......back to the mail. I have now got my mail coming to this address, and in my delightful collection was a rent check from the other house which was nice.......and my contracts for the rec center teaching position for fall quarter........and a letter from the county, letting me know I had 10 days to contact them re; the condition of the old house. (yes, the one with the former room mate person) I had just sent the letter to her, detailing much of what the county has probably got on their list of complaints too..... Called room mate person, just voice mail. Hate that when people just don't answer, or return calls when they know something is wrong.

Not sure what my next step is. I do know this kind of stuff makes me not sleep at night. I feel like I want to hit my head on the wall & knock myself out so I can get to sleep!

I did make some progress with my mom re; her vacant rental. I have a cleaning party with some help coming this Friday, and both Monday & Tuesday of next week. Feels huge to have got that on the calendar. Mom could use the rent from this place & it has now been sitting idle for a year as of next month.

In the conversation to get this plan set up........mom let me know her grandson (not my kid) who is renting another of her houses........is behind 2 months now on his rent. She will not speak to him. She won't allow me to speak to him. I did tout the benefits of putting all our rentals with a management firm, letting them do this part of the job for a fee. Seems cheap to me....and she didn't argue. May be making some progress on this too.

Moms twin went home, so life here is a bit more relaxed. I really need to clean, since I haven't while we had company and truly haven't thought about it while moms been recuperating from her fall. I feel like I'll never catch up with all that needs to be done, here, and our collective rentals.

Pretty sure I'm not going to get the mail for a day or two! Icky things out there! Smile

Another Item off my 2007 Goal List!

September 3rd, 2007 at 05:57 pm

Both my mom & her twin wanted to go shopping for glasses frames today.....so off we went. Since new glasses were also on my goal list for this year, I picked out a pair too. Not alot different from my current pair, but enough it felt like a 'new me'.

We all have AAA memberships, so the frames were 15% off this week end. Mom & her sister have insurance for the exams and lenses, but I'm going to be paying for mine. It's been years since I've had my glasses updated so this will be a nice treat....and I always have my old ones tinted to use for sunglasses too, so they will also come in handy.

The rest of the day was spent back at home, I'm still trying to keep my mom pretty close to home after her fall. It will be just a week tomorrow since her acrobatic stunt here.

Heading back to get my eye exam on Wed, as I didn't want mom waiting for me today. Will leave her napping when I go.....

It's hard to find the mid ground between guarding over her and leaving her room to be independant. Roles are definately switching here.

Roses, Rhubarb and Leek

September 2nd, 2007 at 09:22 pm

Went to the old house (rented to former room mate person) for the afternoon. Had to go drop off the week end young man, so planned to spend time packing a van full of my things to bring home.......

Ended up in the garden since it was such a great day here.

Picked the rhubarb first......I know, it's not spring anymore, but these plants are still producing nice tender stalks. Since I'm not into wasting anything, I picked them. (no one at the house cooks anything more complicated than top ramen)

Noticed my rows of leek were dry as dust, so set the hose out while I was there. Three of the leek were decent sized, so picked them to put in the freezer for homemade potato/leek soup on the next rainy day.

And, before I left, I scalped the rose bushes........I had quite a bouquet when I was done. I did forget to grab some water to put them in for the trip home, so they didn't look nearly as great when I got them here. Hoping they get themselves refreshed by morning!

I always feel so self sufficient when I can pick fruits/veggies and flowers from my own gardens! And, grabbing 4 dozen eggs from the chickens while I was there was fun too!

And Another Dr Visit

August 31st, 2007 at 09:44 pm

Called the DR this AM and yes, wonder of wonders, the faxed referral for mom to see the specialist had actually come through.......

So, off to Seattle we headed to have her nose checked out by the DR that came to the ER this week. She is breathing better now, but we have another routine of stuff to do for her nose, so a stop by the grocery store to restock the kitchen and a quick run through the pharmacy.......not even sure how many dollars that was, but we figure we're set for the week end now.

Came home to find moms twin sitting in our driveway....she was due to come late this evening, but she was here by noon something. She just had eye surgery and has fallen and fractured her wrist.

Getting the idea my weekend is filling up by the minute here?? Smile

Just as we were getting everyone settled, my week end young man was dropped off. Now all 3 rings of the circus are full here! He is pretty taken with the twins, and loves to just look at them. Hopefully they won't get to creeped out as he can get to be a bit much when you're feeling great.....not to mention when these two are feeling a little less than chipper!

We've got 2 weeks now before mom needs to go in for a nose check up......and Tues I'm taking the twins for matching glasses frames. Hopefully I will have time to pick a new pair out for me too. (can't forget one of my goals for 07 was to do things for me!!!) My young man will be back home by then, so it should be easy enough.

I'm tired and getting a touch cranky. If someone asks me what I did on the holiday week end..... I'm not going to be responsible! Smile

Moms Health Insurance: The Saga Continues

August 31st, 2007 at 12:00 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.

Beyond Frustrating

August 29th, 2007 at 04:22 pm

I'm past my tantrum now, but this morning it took all my self control to not scream into the phone!

I was attempting to follow the discharge directions from the ER re; moms fall yesterday. Thought it shouldn't prove to be beyond my capabilities.....HA! Was I ever wrong.

First, called the specialist, whom she needs to get into on Friday. (this being Wed, it didn't seem impossible) Well, not so quick..... We could get an appointment, but it needed to have a referral from her primary care DR.

OK, a quick call to the primary people & speak to the referral dept. (who knew they had an entire dept to deal with just the referrals?) At this point, the logic of any conversation began to seep away fairly quickly....

The insurance co. had made an error on the last membership card, giving mom a brand new primary care DR. We had noticed it last week and called for a new corrected card. (was that ever a mistake...) New card won't be effective until Sept. 1st! (started tearing my hair out about this point)

So, the upshot of the deal is we need to go register as a new patient of the mistakenly listed DR, have an appointment and he will give us the referral.

Insurance co. would be willing to revoke our change of Dr's but that wouldn't help, it would still leave us with the brand new guy. No one seems to know where the difficulty began & I couldn't uncover a trail that led to the switch in the first place.

With almost no patience left, I gave up. I feel so sorry for anyone having to wade through this health care mess. I've just had no experience with this at all until I began working on moms medical with/for her. It is worse than the condition or accident I believe!

We are headed to the brand new Dr. tomorrow morning for a full fledged appointment with someone she has never met and will never see again. Being nice enough just until we get said referral in hand........we're out of there!! Then, we wait til Friday when we have to trek all the way downtown to Seattle (me who doesn't DO Seattle!) for the nose specialist appointment. With luck it will also be a one time deal & she will be on the road to good as new!

Note to self: I will be certain to double check all of the insurance cards coming in.....making sure the DR is the correct one.
Also plan to get all moms meds on a mail order situation, saving as much as possible on each prescription. I just found out there is a 'window' each year, if her total meds go over the line and until they reach the top line, she pays 100% of the costs. This is just so blinking complicated, it is hard for me to follow all the rules, no wonder she had difficulty and was just shoving the paperwork in a closet here!

Hoping for a better day tomorrow!

Lights, Sirens & half day at the ER

August 28th, 2007 at 10:08 pm

It's all the chihauhaus' fault. At least that is moms story. She fell today, landing on her nose she says..... all because she picked up the dog and was going to set him on the sheepskin dog bed. (which the dog has so far refused to lay on)

After a couple minutes here, we decided together to call 911 for a professional opinion re; the major nosebleed mom had. Nothing else seemed amis.

Well, 7 hours later, we drove home, via the pharmacy.......after a stay in the ER. Nothing broken, just a small tear on the inside of her nose from smashing it into the floor. (the dogs fine! )

Through all this, both of us were just a tad concerned about the health insurance snafuu ongoing here. We did get it figured out, but while scheduling her regular Dr appointment this AM (before the acrobatics) mom discovered the health ins. card had a different DR listed. We called, and no, she couldn't use that card. Wait to schedule appointments until new card........not more than and hour later we were at the ER. So, the insurance bit is sure to be more complicated than necessary. She does have a supplementary plan, but I'll bet we're working on the paperwork long after her nose has healed up.

I had lots of knitting time, we learned lots about noses.......and after sitting in the ER, were very grateful we weren't dealing with some of the other crisis we saw playing out there.

Since this is moms 2nd fall since I moved in.......I will be watching her closely!

Mom promises not to pick up the dog....ever!

Hair Cut Coupon & Other Stuff

August 28th, 2007 at 10:34 am

Mom had found a coupon for a local salon....same one I used last month and received a $5.00 gift card for a return visit. Since the coupon expired this week, I stopped off for a routine haircut yesterday. $7.99 instead of $15.00......works for me. The woman cut it almost as short as I've ever had it...almost no hair left! The flip side of cuts this short is I can go almost 2 months without having to return. Then, I'll use my gift card.

Moms raised garden bed is almost finished. The basic box is constructed and attached to the ground. All we're waiting for are the benches now. What a nice addition to the yard this will be. Good thing we wern't planning to use it this season, as it might just get done before the snow flies. Since it's a barter situation, I'm not going to push this gentleman, he has given me more than I was ever thinking of in the first place. We will spend the winter filling it half way with garden trimmings, leaves, and a bag of lime to keep things sweet. I've got a tarp ready to cover the "mix" with for the winter, all we need to do is plan out the spring plantings!

Sold another book from my dads collection. This is getting to be a regular deal here. I've listed a few more books this morning with cases and cases still to go. Anything that isn't worth selling goes to freecycle and the odd books I believe are really worth something are here in my room waiting for me to figure out how to market them.

Talked to downstairs tenant from house #1 yesterday, they too want to be out of the house in approx 6 months. So, it is time to market the place, either for sale or for lease again. At least this time it is in great shape. These people finished things I had been living with for decades. (2nd kitchen installed is the biggie) First thing on the agenda is to get the 6 month lease deal written up and signed all round. Then, will start to figure out what to do with the place.

Did make reservations for the 1031 seminar for next week. I've done one, but certainly don't understand all the details. Hoping to get much smarter after attending this event!

Off to work on moms income tax stuff again. Small celebration in order here.......we're almost done gathering details for the 2005 taxes here! Huge promise to self: 2007 will be totally different~ Smile

Back From a Quick Trip

August 26th, 2007 at 01:02 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?

Three Book Sale Day

August 21st, 2007 at 04:13 pm

We sold 3 of dads books in one day! I've never done that before, however I've never had this many listed at once either. Apparently there are others who are interested in obscure history as well as math books from the 40's.

The freecycle birdhouses are a hit. I picked them up today and already have one in a tree here.

Did spend some money on the way home.......the local craft store had all their yarn on sale. Prices lower than I could get on line, so I picked up enough for a new afghan for moms living room here......and enough extra to use for my knitting/crochet classes this fall. So, truly, I'll get reimbursed for the yarn and the afghan will be free I believe.

Did get my address changed & the mail forwarded. Left a message for tenant with the post dated check. Working with former room mate person to get her name on the utilities from the old house.....that is harder than it needs to be. We both need to go in person with ID to get this accomplished. Gads.

Not feeling like I'm making much progress on this paperwork issue.

Did get a baby step in on moms tax stuff. Called the tax man....got some more specifics as to what he needed & then left another voice mail with the woman who holds the magic answers re; some property mom sold last year. (she just sold it, didn't file taxes, so all the capitol gains haven't been paid)

Called the electrician who is supposed to be working on the rental. He promises to get the job done by this coming week end. Scheduled him to come disconnect a heater in moms house......it won't turn off. (baseboard) Just runs on hot all the time. Guess which room?? My bathroom! Hotter than it needs to be in there, to say nothing of using power all the time.

Picked 6 cucumbers from the garden this AM, they are so good when they are this fresh. Hoping mom gets into cooking mode pretty soon with a couple of them. She makes a molded cucumber salad that I absolutely love.....slivered almonds in it....& cottage cheese. Very savory type salad and for some reason I've never made it myself. I laid all the cucumbers on the counter this AM....if she doesn't get the hint I'll have to dig out the recipe & add it to the pile!

Off to list more books!

Beach houses & Bird Houses

August 20th, 2007 at 09:27 pm

Figure out that title will you?? Smile

We spent the day looking at beach houses, on an island near us here in WA. Yukky rainy day, so it wasn't terrific, but we got to see the homes in normal condition! Did lunch out, and roamed around the little island. Very fun. I can see myself living there (one of the houses is almost perfect), no problem. Mom, I don't think so. She is just too tied to this house she is in. So, I'm not thinking a move is in the future. Hopefully, I'm dead wrong.

Came home to a voice mail from a freecycle pal......he has 2 bird houses in answer to my Wanted post yesterday. I have been trying to add things to moms backyard, since it was pretty much a blank slate. These bird houses sound oh, so frugal. Made from wood and recycled coffee cans! Can't wait to see them, they sound just funky enough to fit right in here!

So, it was houses of a grand sort.......down to a house made from an old can.

Did get an email from foster dtr today....finally getting some info re; their finance difficulties. I had heard from a friend that there was trouble & I so hoped it was not true. I guess it is. My gal is trying hard to pull them out of the situation she says her husband got them into...... Working several jobs, doing all sorts of things to earn extra......hopefully, it will be enough. Not sure what is worse, wondering if what I heard was true, or finding out they really are having a tough time?

Since I've decided this move to moms is a permanent situation, I began working on the paperwork that needs to be changed or transferred. Thought the auto insurance would be an easy beginning. Not so. Thought I could just add a vehicle onto moms policy, can't do that with State Farm they said. Plus, this would make my insurance almost 4X the cost it is now. Yikes. Tomorrow, I'll call my company & see about doing just a change of address, dropping room mate person from policy and only having a single vehicle. Will be interesting to see the comparison then. Showed mom how much she is paying for insurance, she isn't interested in making a change, they have been with the same company since 36 I think she said. Gads.

Received a rent check from a tenant (who was behind in rent anyway) and it is dated for October! Hopefully, it was a mistake, as the date was right, just the month and date were transposed on the check. But, need to call & get one reissued. Bother. I'm failing at Landlord 101......over & over.

The First Tomato

August 18th, 2007 at 07:05 pm

We harvested the first tomato and had it on a salad for dinner this evening.
Is there anything that tastes as different fresh than its' counterpart from a grocery store??

What is it exactly? Most likely the time from picking to plate. Let's see......about 5 minutes here! With lettuce & cucumbers from the garden, topped with this almost sun warmed tomato.....and drizzled with homemade blue cheese dressing. A taste treat for sure.

Watered the flower/veggie beds even tho there are reports of rain. (I don't believe them!) Watering is important even if it is raining; as the summer rains often aren't enough to get to the roots of the plants.

Have a kettle of fresh applesauce simmering on the stove too......from the tree at the edge of the patio. Applesauce always signals fall to me; although I haven't noticed other signs of the season changing.

Gave all the container gardens a shot of fish fertilizer....hoping for another month of flowers; especially from the begonias.

Used the new hedge trimmer again, but now I've got a different problem. No where to put the trimmings. Our yard waste container is full (with 2 piles in waiting too) and pick up isn't until Wed. Can't believe we only get pick up for this 2X a month.

I've decided this waste bit is one of my biggest difficulties in getting used to city gardening. Where to put it all?? On the positive side, I'm really enjoying having a finite space to work with. Having acreage for a yard, I never knew where & when to quit. This way, I've got some pretty definate limits as to where I can garden!

No Money Fun Sort of Day

August 17th, 2007 at 09:28 pm

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........

Are You a Mustard Lover??

August 16th, 2007 at 03:24 pm

Some people are into mustards, some aren't. I can tell the older I get, the more I enjoy mustards. Must have something to do with taste buds. I've never been into ketchup, maybe due to all the kids and seeing it used as a food group sometimes!

I'm going to be in mustard heaven since my box of 3 new mustards from Grey Poupon arrived today. Can't wait to start experimenting with them in some of my recipes.

Tonights meal is homemade pot stickers & rice, so mustard probably isn't going to make an appearance til tomorrow. My favorite recipe comes from one of my first kids. Round steak slathered with mustard, then lay in a spear of dill pickle.....roll up and wrap with a strip of bacon. Brown, then simmer for 3 hours. Tastes oh so good!

Since moms kitchen didn't have any mustards, these are a welcome addition!

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