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Giving Myself a Reminder

October 1st, 2007 at 11:25 pm

Just in case I needed a reminder of why I quit/retired from full time foster parenting........I had my last full time kiddo here for an overnight tonight. I'm pooped and I'm only half done with the visit.

I need to hold up until after lunch tomorrow and then I'm taking him home..... He did help with a long list of chores that had just backed up on me here. Things like finishing the van unloading job; so easy for him! He only has one speed and it is ten times faster than I can ever dream of going, so we do make short work of TO DO lists together.

I was storing an item for a friend of this young mans.......so tomorrow on the way back to his house, we're packing up the item and I will have one more thing off my list of 'stuff to do before moving'.

Beach house update: Electrician only found one wall heater that needs replacing, the rest of the electrical system is fine. Concrete/foundation guy said he would get a report faxed in to us by this evening.....so far, nothing.
Haven't heard from the plumber either. My skills at waiting aren't getting much better, even with all this practice! Smile

Sold another book on Amazon tonight. Just took 3 to the post office this morning that had sold over the week end. I'm getting used to this regular little addition to the savings account.

Off to bed, need to rest up for a full morning of watching cartoons together!

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!

Mystery Shopping Works for Me

June 13th, 2007 at 12:08 am

I'm in my 2nd month now of this and can now be considered a Professional Mystery Shopper I guess. Isn't getting paid for something all it takes to be considered professional??

I had signed up for 2 dining "shops" this month and just this evening finished the last one. The online survey doesn't take long, since the restaurant is the same one, the questions are the same too. It is easier the more I do if it....just like everything else.

This company is paying for the meals as well as paying a small sum for completing the survey, so in my opinion it is a great deal. The latest email from them says there are still more of the "shops" unassigned, so I might offer to do one more......as mom said tonight, "force us to go out to dinner again!" Smile

Spent what seemed like the entire day on the phone. Cancelled several things that had shown up on my CC for some reason, called the companies and the CC & will get it all credited. Hopefully, have it straightened out.
Trying to figure out the history on an account of moms, ended up with more questions than answers today. Her advice was to "look at it again in the morning". Not thinking it is going to be much clearer......think a trip to the bank is in order pretty soon here.

Also trying to weigh the info coming in for moms 2 investment accounts. I'm just barely understanding what she has done with her proceeds from 2 real estate transactions. Both account reps want the money from the other account....and they are putting on some pressure, each trying to say the other account is BAD for one reason or another. (I hate that when companies focus on the bad, rather than impress me with their own positive points)

I've listened and tried to follow so many money trails today....and my brain absolutely fries when it has to try & process numbers. I'm going to try moms advice & think about it all tomorrow!

Still no resolution re; the potential renter. Mom is leaning towards just letting the property sit vacant. I'm thinking of putting together a counter to his proposal; yes to the 2 year lease with the cap on rent increase, Yes to 2 months rent in exchange for the work (extensive work needed, we have a list from the walk through yesterday). No to the lower rent proposed from Sept-Dec and No to him adding additional desks and renting them out himself to get his rent lower.

Hoping I don't dream of numbers, for me that would truly be a nightmare!

Deeper Into Landlord Land

June 11th, 2007 at 10:35 pm

I hate the little bit of landlord-ing I have been doing and now I'm getting in deeper. Mom is quickly turning over all her rental business to me.

Todays lawn mowing event at the empty rental turned into a walk through with the potential renter. Mom sat outside & told me to just handle it. I'm no where close to handling it.

Need to talk with her in the AM & get her opinion on what the renter proposed. I believe the plan will be in everyones best interest. Not sure what mom will think. Renter is excited.

The plan includes free rent for 2 months, actually 2 1/2 months if he starts working on the place tomorrow like he wants. He supplies all the materials except for the vinyl for the kitchen, which I have. We hire the electrician & supply all the materials for that gentleman.

Mom wanted a year lease & an option to increase the rent at that time. The renter wants at least a 2 year lease & a cap on the increase.

Renter wants to add a couple other gentlemen next year, splitting the rent between the 3 of them. Mom won't like that....thinking her rent should go up with other people being added. I have no idea on this part....If I were renting, I'd be thinking of ways I could get the rent lower, so I'm tending to side with the renter.

Will sleep on all this, talk to mom in the AM and then set up a meeting to come up with a rental agreement.

I still don't like being a landlord.

Coins Everywhere

June 6th, 2007 at 11:32 pm

While moving some of my things into moms house, I've been organizing to make some room. In the process, we've been coming across a container or two in almost every closet & drawer.

Yes, each one of these containers (everything from her favorite cool whip tubs to zip lock bags) is full of coins.

Some all sorted as to pennies, dimes, etc........some all mixed up. Oh, and the odd items too. Best one was a ceramic piece of an angel wing! Several miniature Christmas tree ornaments, bobbie pins (who uses those anymore?), buttons, paperclips, a vitamin, a vintage roll of Certs and a couple items we can't identify. They were apparently special enough to save, but no idea now as to what they are! We have had some laughs......

I've been counting and rolling coins now for 2 days. We're no where near done. I ran out of the paper thingy's and have to make a trip to the bank.

There are so many coin rolls, I have them in a shipping box in the trunk of the car! No way can I lift it anymore, I've been taking them out to the trunk when I walk the dog. I'll have to take them in to the bank over time too.....a handful whenever I make a deposit.

No idea what the total is yet, but it is in the hundreds. Mom wants the money in her newly formed 'greenhouse' fund. That is funny, since she has money already to go purchase one, but her brain is wired to save up for something, so that is what we're doing!

The morning was spent meeting with the potential renter for moms little house. Liked the guy! (he likes yard work!) He is willing to bring the place up to speed, other than the electrical which I have someone working on next week. All this in exchange for a break on the rent as he called it. We are both sleeping on the idea & will talk again tomorrow to see if we can come up with an agreement. We're willing to do 2 months of no rent in exchange for the work, he wants 2 more months with a bit less than the rental amount.

I'm in the middle, as of this morning. Mom told me as she had the notebook ready for the meeting, "you're now in charge of the rentals". She is the one with the experience, I'm the one who hates being a landlord. Doesn't seem like a good fit, but she is not taking the lead role here. So......I jumped in.

Seasons of ones life can be a funny thing when you see them unfold. I would never have imagined my life taking the turns it has over the last couple years.......The older I get, the less I think I'm in charge/control of things. Seems like more stuff just happens & my life is a series of reacting to the stuff. Pretty sure I'm too tired to be making any sense.......should sign off and take care of that! Smile

Another Hard Work = Less Money Project

June 5th, 2007 at 08:05 pm

Elbow grease. That's what it takes to hold the line here regarding spending money......even if the money isn't mine.

I procured a free picnic table and 4 little benches for mom, so she can have her bridge games outside, hopefully. But, the table & benches was old, beat up and all wet. Moved the whole thing into the garage prior to the current week of rain, and started working on the set with a wire brush. Will scrape the nasty places and then tidy up with some sand paper. I've got free paint from the county recycling place and already have the sprayer, so I can see the end of this project already!

We window shopped a local pool/spa/outdoor furniture store this week, and almost died when we saw what they were charging for patio furniture. None of it looked like my mom or her house & yard anyway, so there was absolutely no temptation. Our little set will just fit her patio, is small enough for the ladies to reach across when playing bridge and has benches that aren't attached, so they can all sit down comfortably & safely.

Can't beat all those positives for a free table. So far, the only expense was the wire brush for $4 and change.

Also spent a whole .97 cents on an end cap for a soaker hose. I had picked one up from Freecycle, but it was missing the end. This will be perfect here in the new garden, and will reduce the watering time as well as the cost of the water. (having to get used to a water bill instead of a well here!)

Another splurge today for mom.....we found a hedge trimmer with a rechargable battery so I can try to catch up with the shrubbery gone wild around her 2 places. I have never been able to start the machines with pull starts, so this one has my name all over it. Was about $100 but it will be cheaper than having someone else do the jobs that are on the list here.

Off to watch the baseball game with mom, I will be doing more knitting than watching the game......but it is fun to see her so involved in the game/players and stats.

Mystery Shopping, More Plants & Missing Money

June 4th, 2007 at 11:18 pm

Today was another mystery dining experience for mom & myself....and it again was fun & not more work than it was worth. Our first reimbursement check has come for last months outings and there seems to be nothing amiss. As mom said, "how long do we HAVE to go out to eat like this?" Said in a very sarcastic, joking voice! Smile Pretty fun to have our lunch or dinner outings to be paid for!

We just goofed off after lunch, heading to a nearby waterfront community for a drive. Mom had said this week, she had always wanted to live on a beach....so of course, I had looked up a couple beach cabin/house possibilities. We checked one out and it is a NO. She wants to be able to walk onto the beach from the house...this one had a bulkhead & she didn't like it. But, so help me......I think this woman is ready to move! Smile (I'm thinking of this garden here....and will I dig up all these plants to take with us???) Smile

The other house I had printed info for her is more to her liking, but of course, it could be totally different from the pictures. It is a ferry ride away, so we need to make some better plans to get to this one.....but I do think it's on her schedule within the week. Blew me away!

We passed a cool little nursery with a huge sale sign........and our car always turns off at those. Mom picked out 3 roses for the new garden here, as I had told her she needed something substantial to anchor the space. These are perfect. Will get pics as soon as they are planted. The price for all 3 was less than one at nurseries near our house. We had help squeezing them in her car, since we didn't take the van on this jaunt.

Tried to visit a couple little country antique/junk stores but none were open. Need to remember Monday is not a good day for this! Still need assorted tables for moms house. She bought new couchs & chairs, but for some reason hasn't done any of the tables yet, so we're dealing with country furniture and early american tables. Odd to say the least. Need some wood tables I can paint and we'll be done with the furniture piece of the remodel here. (only area rugs & some accessories remain)

Spent only the money for lunch, which I will get re paid for. I did have to borrow from mom temporarily, as I could NOT find my money anywhere this AM when we needed to leave. I was apparently so tired when I got back here last evening, I had taken my money out of my jeans pocket and.........yep, put it in my sock drawer! Too warm for socks today, I never looked there.....besides I've never kept my money in my sock drawer!
Was uneasy until I got home and then had time to go through the entire house and van until I found the money as well as a paycheck.

Feel so much better knowing I wasn't going to need to ask for a check to be re issued.....as well as short the cash for the month. Going to bed to catch up on much needed sleep apparently!

Back to the Old House for a Days Work

June 3rd, 2007 at 01:44 pm

I hauled the week end boy out of bed at dawn, we hustled to the old house & dumped the entire van full of tree branches I had stashed in there from the projects at moms. Then, off to the grocery store glean and then on to the food bank. Thank goodness I had a helper today, as we moved 640 lbs of produce! Twice! I don't need to lift weights today!

Then, back to the old house, fed the chickens the spoiled food and jumped on the mower. Tired and hot now, since it is 75 outside! (I fade fast after it hits 72)

Now, I'm waiting for the week end boys dad to arrive to pick him up......and I'm packing another van load of things to take back to moms. I've got a list, so it isn't as crazy as last week end when I couldn't remember what it was I needed from her.

Gathered a couple dozen fresh eggs and I'm clipping all the roses & other flowers before I go too. No one here pays much attention to the flower garden & they sure aren't eating the veggies. I'm glad I stopped planting when I did!

Back to work.........I need a different solution on the lawn mowing situation. I can't keep up with 3 places!!!

Farmers Market= Cheap Fun

June 2nd, 2007 at 05:59 pm

Mom & I took our week end boy & headed to the farmers market this AM. What a fun outing, for zero money. Wandering through others booths.....gleaning ideas by the bucket load! Can't beat that. I picked up a great idea for a container garden.......truly 2 clay pots, one of which needs to be broken. Didn't feel like taking a picture, but when I get my copy of it done, I'll post it here.
Very original, and I happen to have a couple broken pots I've uncovered out back!

The sun was out too, so it was a bonus day here. After we wandered through everything from custom made pet snacks to plants, we went to the beach and watched part of the vintage boat display at the waterfront festival.....also free.

Freecycled 10 cases of canning jars from the basement, they are already hauled upstairs and off the property! Gotta love that freecycle. I'm slowly clearing out room for my sewing area....should be done sometime next year! Smile

Shopping; But Not With My Money

June 2nd, 2007 at 12:32 am

Off to the stores we went again this morning. I have shopped more in the couple weeks I've been at moms than I did in the last several years. In and out of parking lots, in and out of the car, stores, elevators, more stores..... Yesterday, we even went shopping twice. Once in the AM and once again later in the day. Gads.

Today started with a meeting at the bank. Mom has a fund she moved around a bit and increased her monthly income.....as well as decreased a bit of the risk. A good move. We are still stalled re; meeting with the attorney re; giving me power of attorney. Not sure what the hang up is......or how many hang ups there are perhaps? I can see mom struggling with decisions as to how she wants her assets distributed after her death....and until she knows the answers, meeting with an attorney will just have to wait.

Went to something easy next; picking up the new cushions for the lawn furniture. (furniture all free....I've been busy!) Hoping to pick up the painting supplies from the old house on Sunday and get the table and benches painted this week. As soon as that project gets crossed off the list, the patio will be pretty close to done.

We had a coupon for Chinese lunch out....so off we went! Came home and tore the fridge apart as there was a foul odor coming from somewhere. Mystery solved: a bowl of leftover cauliflower. Now we've got a sparkly clean fridge and I can tell what's in there. (moms & my housecleaning style/standards are WAY different)

My week end young man is here at moms as of today. He was excited for a change he said! Cute. So far, OK. A new room, new house, we'll see how he does. He will be skipping a week end in June, as he is vacationing in Hawaii, so my paycheck will be only half... but, we've got the details worked out so I'm going to continue caring for him every other week even though I've moved. Some things are falling into place.

One remaining sewing client with projects unfinished.... I must get on this. I'm planning on bringing a bare bones sewing room of stuff with me back here on Sunday.....so I will have no excuse. Challenging myself to get this woman contacted and set up a fitting....forcing me to SEW, SEW, SEW. I truly hate having unfinished things & no deadline, I can drag out a project for months! Let's see what I can accomplish before the end of June?




1/2 Price + 1/2 Price = Really Expensive

May 31st, 2007 at 04:12 pm

A couple weeks ago, I convinced my mom (didn't take much arm twisting) to buy all the begonia tubers at a local nursery since they were half price. She used to raise the most amazing begonias, and hasn't had any for about a decade I think.

She opened them up asap when we got home, dug out a throw away pie tin and added some of the new magic compost to it. Set in her little babies and they have been growing ever since.

This led to the flower pot search here. Everything too small to go on the porch. I tried all the nooks & crannies. Also tried listing on Freecycle & CL. Nothing.

So, off we went today to 1/2 price pots.
Wow, are there some lovely items there! We needed 3 pots, and they had to be BIG.... Read, expensive.....even at 1/2 price. As mom said, 'half price from what exactly?'

The total for the project, not counting the tad of dirt.......is just under $150.00. Not exactly the budget project I was hoping for. But, mom is thrilled and it is her money.... Smile They are tall enough she can reach them, they show from the house as well as from the front when people drive up.. I think we will get that much enjoyment out of them.

And, in the future, we only need to get the half price tubers, which should hold the cost down to under $20.00.

Spent half the day running errands and then we got too hot. Home til the sun goes down & then we have to head out again. I've done more shopping since moving here.......more than I usually did in a year! But, the projects on the TO DO list here all seem to require something to finish them up.

Spread some more dirt, stuck in some more onion sets and got some of the old plants moved to better locations. Almost to the end of the bedding plants mom routinely purchases each spring.

Definately at the end of my energy today!

Gleaning Day Here

May 27th, 2007 at 02:30 pm

Took mom with me on the glean for the food bank this AM. Easier day all round. The manager was coming out the back door when I arrived, saving me tons of time and a long walk to the front of the store in the rain. Only half the food today too, so it will be slim pickings at the food bank for the clients, but it took me less time. I'm pooped. Hauled 500 lbs of food out, in the van, out and into the food bank. Oh, and then I hauled the spoiled food to my other house for the chickens this week.

Scalped my gardens, bringing bouquets home with us for the cemetery tomorrow. Also dug up boxes of plant starts and some of the garden sculpture pieces I've collected.

Definitely pooped. Mom & I went out to breakfast again after the mornings work. Nice to just sit and visit. Breakfast is a cheaper meal when going out....plus, we only do 2 meals then for the day. Works out well for us.

Pouring here today, so no gardening. Have brought a van full of plants from my other garden to start here....but I'm willing to wait for a dry day. Gotta love these perennials; they just keep producing more plants at no cost. A frugal gardeners dream. Mom has always had annuals each and every year, with no perennials to speak of. This is fun teaching her another way to garden....and odd too. She is a fantastic gardener, so it seems peculiar to be telling her anything!

I'm planning an afternoon of knitting, which is just about as active as I want to be the rest of the day! Smile Oh, and a few freecyclers visiting this evening........I'm starting to give away my dads back forty collection of lumber. So, there will be a bit of traipsing through the woods I guess.


Lifes Good

May 26th, 2007 at 09:23 pm

So far, life is very good after moving to my moms. I feel so good being able to do things to assist here on a daily basis. Plus, we're having so much fun.

When I would come for a few days, it always seemed like we had a deadline for everything, and time would go by so fast.

Now, not many deadlines......but time is still whooshing by. Can't believe it is almost the end of May!!!

We had a massive TO DO list made out for today and almost made it through the whole thing. I found a great electrician, referred from a friend, who came for a walk through of the empty rental. He wasn't scared of the old construction, nor the small job....I do think we'll hire him for the necessary work on the place.

The Saturday market was just opening up when we finished our electrical meeting, so off we went for a stroll through the booths. We bought a pound of cherries and 2 pieces of hand dipped chocolate that was better than any I've ever tasted! Heaven! Not exactly on the food plan, but who wants to live without chocolate??

Then, errands for mom, and out to lunch to celebrate our almost deal with a new renter & the pretty sure we're hiring the new electrician. Any excuse will do for a celebration here!

While out, mom had spotted a rhododendron that is in bloom here in WA right now. It truly is gorgeous, & she has none like it. So, off to a nursery to see if we can spot one like this.....and voila, we did. I love watching my mom spend money, as I never remember her doing that when I was a kid. The new plant is perched in the new garden space while we evaluate where exactly we want to plant it.

Cheaper Equals .............Hard Work

May 21st, 2007 at 09:21 pm

I'm a firm believer in that......if I want to save money, I need to be willing to work hard. Neither one being my favorite word!!

Today was a good example. I could have hired someone to do the patio cleaning event. Or, I could have saved some money renting a pressure washer..... But, we did this ourselves with almost no cost.

Mom had bought a gallon of some sort of plant friendly cleaner, that was supposed to work magic. I brought my extreme nozzle for the hose and we got out a couple old push brooms. With a couple applications of the cleaner, some good exercise on the end of both brooms....we now have an almost new looking 40 year old patio.

So, work and time ........and a great job done for very little expense.

What to Pack?

May 20th, 2007 at 06:30 am

This is an odd move..........I'm moving, but not. Returning each week end for at least an overnight......and then back to moms.

So, the question as I look at anything here is....do I want it here, or there? Or, the better question, do I want it at all?

I've been keeping the freecycle list moving right along this week end, CL too, with posts of things I'm not willing to move, or pack up here. Voluntary Simplicity at it's best!

Almost done with my week end responsibilities here at the "old house", lawns mowed, sewing job almost finished (some hand work left on it, had to save it for daytime) and another van load of my things ready to load up after the food bank/gleaner job this AM. Even fit in a load of laundry & got it dry on the line.

No money spent this week end, but will be buying gas before leaving tonight. One more plus at moms, is her little Mazda. Way better than the van re; gas consumption.

Back to the packing.....have an odd load, clothes, fresh eggs, the pots of flowers from the garden (since they didn't get watered while I was gone) and all the household files.


I'm Now a Mystery Shopper

May 16th, 2007 at 09:55 pm

I'm approved, I've shopped, and it was fun.

Neither of my two "shops" were actually shopping... as I have only picked things that were NOT in malls. That would not be fun for me.

However, this seems pretty painless, and was actually fun this evening. I chose one my mom could join me on & we agreed to sign up for more of the same. Getting paid to go out certainly has our name all over it.

I gardened for most of the day....whew, much better than working outside in yesterdays hot temps. Then, gave mom a perm and a haircut and printed a TON of signs for the other house's Barn Sale again this week end.

New goal: convince mom to list 4-5 things on Freecycle each week. (I think it will be easier to loose weight!!) Smile

Eggs & More Eggs

May 11th, 2007 at 07:38 pm

We're gathering almost 2 dozen eggs a day these days! Yikes. Even if we all ate eggs daily, we couldn't use all these!

I need to find some outlets for them. Advertising on CL to no avail. Only interest has been from one time buyers, to incubate the eggs for their own flocks. No help at all!

I'll be taking a couple dozen to moms this week end, by Sunday, it might be closer to 4-5 dozen! She can pass them out to her bridge playing buddies. Smile

I have had the same size flock before, actually for over a decade (not the same chickens, new ones every couple years, but always 24 hens or so) but I don't remember having this many eggs.

I don't live on a street with any traffic, so a sign out front won't work. Will keep thinking of options. Will call foster dtr to see if she'd like a half dozen hens for Mothers' Day?? They lost the flock they had to predators. If they have a closed in coop/run, that might be a solution to my problem.

In the meantime......everything we all cook and eat MUST contain eggs! Smile

Shutting Off the House Phone? Yes or No??

May 7th, 2007 at 01:17 pm

I'm getting so ready to shut down the land line phone here, as the autistic kiddo calls at least 7 times a day. Early as 6AM too, if I don't remember to unplug the phones the night before~

This would also curtail the use of the phone by the 2 couples living here......a couple of them have used 411 more than a few times this past billing period, even though I provide the free411 number at each phone.

However, I realized that left no phone here at the house in case of emergency. I'll be taking my cell phone, room mate person has her cell, but is frequently not here...and only one of the couples has a cell. (although, they have been known to misplace theirs more than a couple times)

I've been checking on line, for options re; providing a cell phone here, with no plan attached to it, truly no phone number. Just the ability to call 911.

Anyone have a better idea? Or ideas as to specifics re; the phone?? I understand all cell phones are supposed to make free 911 calls, but I'm reading about not using an old phone for this, due to the numbers being programed into it?? Rapidly heading into uncharted territory here for me....
I want to make sure the phone isn't set up for other calls, so I keep myself from getting a surprise bill.

Weird Walking Weather

May 2nd, 2007 at 04:42 pm

I'm keeping up with my walking program, one of the many goals for 2007.... Having located a walking buddy has made a huge difference, as neither of us wants to be the one to wimp out. And, believe me, if we were going to wimp out, today would have been a good choice.

The weather seemed OK when we left...but before returning, the sky opened up and it poured. Then, the wind blew, and it hailed and just for special effects, there was thunder! Smile Gads, it's May for heavens sake!!! (currently, the sun is out and it looks like a different day!)

Anyway, we're both proud of ourselves, we're walking 3miles, 3 times a week at this point. Not bad for a couple of old, out of shape women!

I've made a list of things that need to happen prior to trying out my "move". (I'm an obsessive list maker!) Things are pretty divided up into the finances to hand off to the room mate person....and the sewing customers to notify and finish up current jobs.....and then the personal stuff like giving notice to volunteer positions.

Mom & I have talked about this possibility since last June, so this isn't anything new. I just wanted to stay here a year before making a decision. By the time I get moved, it will be a year. Moms house is so big for just her, there is no way she can keep it up, and it has a full acre of yard too....... so there is plenty to do.

If I can just keep managing the 2 places of mine as rentals, and keep up with my knitting, sewing and such for some spending money, I'll be in OK shape. It will just be different. And, I know I can do different.

This new living situation will give mom & I time to spend together without me feeling like I need to head home to take care of things here........ And when I'm here at home, I always feel like I should be helping out my mom. I think I'll feel less of a pull if I'm at her place...that is the question of the day.

No money out today..........just worked here on my "list" and in the sewing room. Walking in the AM sure gives me a jump start on my daily chores...what a difference getting up, dressed and out of here!!! I'm not seeing a weight difference this week, but not gaining either and that's a good thing.





Many Changes Due Soon.....

May 1st, 2007 at 08:52 pm

There were just too many things happening yesterday and today for me to not get the hint it was time to move on from my current house.

First......and oddly enough, the previous owner of this house showed up at my door & wanted to know if I'm willing to sell to her ..again! Yes, she is the same one that called me last fall with the same question. She needed to be in her home 2 years prior to buying this back...and it's almost 2 years at this point. Got me to thinking!

Number 2: I got a screaming, swearing, out of control phone call from my previous placement here..........the autistic kiddo & his mom. She was attempting to get her son in her car to head back to his house and he was beating her up, etc. Impossible to handle this in person, let alone over the phone. His "normal" schedule includes calling me 7 times a day anyway & I can tell it is still draining the sap out of me. I've decided to cut the phone here at the house & use my cell... This would lower a bill, the "kiddo" doesn't have my cell # and all I have to do is let my current list of sewing/knitting customers know the new #.

Number 3: My housecleaner quit this week. I'm feeling like I'm missing a family member! He has been helping here since I moved to this place & I've totally enjoyed having him as a friend too. (he has agreed to come clean my moms house monthly, as a favor to her...so this is still a good thing)

Number 4: The new couple that has moved in are not on my favorite people list. I think I'm just getting too old to make any effort at compromise. They aren't bad, I'm just not into getting as chummy as they would prefer.

So, in looking at things this week.......I'm getting closer to making a move to my moms for a 2 month trial period...to see how I like that life. There are more positives than negatives & my room mate person assures me she can handle the entire house payment here as rent........the 2 months will also be a trial to see if she can do this. (the previous owner & her buy back offer is still in the wings)

Things are just falling into place & if the only thing I get out of this is a way out of the constant phone calls, it will be a good thing.

Last bit of good news; my mom got the signed agreement for her apartment I had listed for her.........It is rented, as of today, with a years lease. That feels so good, and the best part is the tenant said he could help me out with the yard work! Can't beat that..... Smile


Money Out doesn't Equal Money In

April 27th, 2007 at 02:50 pm

I'm getting closer to my June deadline ....the month I make a decision as to what to do re; my life, retirement, where I'm living, etc, etc.

After paying the property taxes this month, it is horribly clear to me I'm not cutting it with my pasted together lifestyle I've created this past year. It's been fun, as well as different, but I can't continue indefinitely, or I'll run out of savings. Not a good plan.

Touchy keyboard, it published while I was typing... I know, I should type in Word & cut & paste. Too lazy. This is about the biggest risk I take in life, so I'm going to continue this way! Smile



Help Needed for Gardening Feature!!!

April 16th, 2007 at 02:33 pm

I'm stepping into uncharted territory ...for me! Needing help........big time, and quickly!

Background: Jeffrey passed an email on to me, from a network news organization....who wanted to do a feature on Frugal Gardening.
They have contacted me and now want to do several other interviews & stretch out the topic to cover other aspects.

What I Need: The producers asked if there was anyone I knew of that had read the blog or articles on www.frugalgardening.com AND had followed any of the tips. Anyone??? Plus, they want this person by tomorrow, Tuesday! Anywhere in the U.S. is fine, they explained, as they have affiliates throughout the nation!

If you have created a garden on the cheap, using Craigs list, Freecycle, a plant exchange among your friends & neighbors..........I would love to hear from you. If you have procured free plants from landscapers, nurseries, etc.......I would love to hear from you!
I would need your contact info, in order to pass it on to the producer I'm working with. Speed is of the essence here....as they plan on finishing up the feature here in the Seattle area on Thursday. (yes, THIS Thursday!)

I'm contacting others locally, in addition to a landscaper who dumped their trucks of trimmings here last year.......and a local nursery owner......so am scrambling to come up with people available here to speak with reporters this week. (and yes, I am still crocheting like a crazy woman, to get my samples set up for my Thursday evening class...THIS week!)

I'll check email often.....And, a huge thank you to anyone able to help out!

And Again with the Post Office

February 22nd, 2007 at 06:14 pm

I'm selling a book a day still......another note in the email this AM. The new batch of books seems to be very popular; photography and massage texts. Wish I had a bunch more!

It was a no spend day, other than the postage which will get deposited in my paypal account.

The fitting went well for the sewing customer; no money at the end of this job, as it's the barter one from Craigs list. I need to keep reminding myself of all the new fabric I now have........just so I don't start resenting my decision to take on this job.

The potential new pasture rental person was here again this afternoon to show the area to the other person that will be riding. So, it seems like it is going to pan out. Will curtail excitement until I get the first check in my hand however.
The pasture is looking better, even with just 2 weeks of rest. Should be looking much better by the time the 2 new horses get in here.

Got the cc statements back with the pay offs included.......of course, there is a teensy amount still due.....how does one ever get it to zero out anyway? I had called in for the payoff figure prior to writing the check for heavens sake. Will be closing these 2 accounts out, rather than keep them open. Both were related to the business, but have my name on them. I have other accounts open with no balance and no annual fees.......so I am not worried about closing these out. It will feel like the last chapter closed on this I think.

Took one of the tenants here to the food bank.........my kitchen will benefit, as they don't know how to cook dried beans, nor make oatmeal out of oatmeal (used to the little packets). Sounds like a batch of chili and a pan full of oatmeal bars with homemade jam to me! I used to volunteer for this same food bank, and it is now more irritating to me than it used to be. I know there is food stored and food tossed..........yet, they severely limit the amount of food they let clients take. Just the bread issue drives me nuts! This one couple was limited to 4 loaves of bread for 2 weeks. When I volunteered there, we were all responsible for disposing of excess bread at the end of our weekly shift! Seems so silly to me.

Need More Memory

December 18th, 2006 at 12:29 pm

The older I get, the more I have to forget it seems. Even though I've earned the Gold Medal in List Making......I'm managing to forget things AND people this holiday season.

Got a phone call today & they will be coming over tomorrow......How could I have left them off the list? No idea! I won't see them prior to Christmas, so I'm pondering a few ideas today. Going shopping isn't an option
1) I hate it
2) I don't know what I'm looking for anyway
3) One of my week end boys will be here until after dinner
4) Did I mention I hate shopping?

So, it's going to be internet something or other.........and most likely Heifer.com with a gift in their name. Can't afford the top of the line any longer.........so, I think it will be fowl of some kind.

This brings up a beef of mine. This couple had talked with me a few years ago, about no gifts. They weren't even doing gifts for each other, etc. So, I did no gifts........and they show up with something for me. So, now I am back to gifts, but apparently, my brain was thinking no gifts when I made my list.

After reading recents posts from many of you.........I think I'll head into the kitchen too & make a double batch of truffles. Enough to add different flavors & make some variety. Now, if I can just remember where I put the Christmas plates & such?????



My Furnace Quandry

October 24th, 2006 at 07:14 am

I'm still going back and forth on the question of the year here...........Do I put in a new furnace or just tough it out with the wood stove??

I thought I was done with this decision; weighing in on the wood stove side.........but I've come up with more questions for myself and it seems I need more information to make this a well informed decision.

I've had a couple mornings here, where a fire would be nice.........but I was going to be gone. With the new tenants, I'm not totally confidant they would "pass" my test of sorts to be Keepers of the Fire. So, we had no fire.....& it was definately chilly in here until I got the stove started later in the evening.

I'll call my magician of a furnace man & get a quote on a new furnace; just a bare bones variety. We don't need bells & whistles here.........just a bit of heat when lighting the stove isn't an option.
The figure will make my decision for me. And, the line where it is just TOO MUCH, is totally imaginary. Funny, that. So, we'll see if I can get this decision made & be happy with it finally. We'll either be able to turn on the furnace for a bit to take off the chill.....or I'll be busy knitting everyone their personal afghan to cozy up with! Smile

The Babies Arrived!!

October 13th, 2006 at 07:53 am

It's been a busy morning here at our little "ranch". I got the call from the post office a few minutes after 5........and headed off for what I thought was the post office. (I had called yesterday to get address & directions, since I needed to go to the next town & hadn't ever seen the P.O. there)

After dinking around in the dark and the FOG.....I finally found the post office, only to be told the package was at the Annex. Who knew??

With a new address and directions, off I went, still dark........and still in the FOG.....lots of FOG now.

Couldn't come up with anything that remotely resembled a post office, pulled off and called. Got more directions, which all relied on me being able to see landmarks. HA. No landmarks visible. I finally stumbled upon the Annex. Then, had to find someone coming in to point me to a door that I could get into.... no easy task.

After an hour...........or more.........I did get to pick up my box of baby chicks!
Hustled them into the van, had the heater on.....and drove them home to the newly prepared coop.

Took them out of the box one at a time and dipped their beaks into the water, then into the food before setting them in their new, fully furnished chick condo. Without a thermometer, I'm guessing I have their area at 80 degrees or so...... which should work just fine for a few days, then I can start raising their heat lamp a bit.

One little chick didn't make the trip, she was toast when I opened the box. That's happened to me once before, so it was no surprise.....But, it looks like the other 24 are making themselves at home and are already drinking their fill and beginning to scratch around in the chick-start feed.

My Surprise from the Tax Lady

October 12th, 2006 at 06:57 pm

I'm not sure if I should get excited, or if I should search out a second opinion! I went this AM to pick up my paperwork from my tax preparer lady....I had been trying to reach her all summer (hit and miss trying) and then lately, very seriously trying.

She asked for a few more numbers last week, I emailed them off to her asap.......and today was the day to pick up the piles of paperwork she had of mine, as well as I needed to pay her for her services.........AND, then send off the check with the proper forms.

She had me review the return (like I can tell what it all means???) and said I owe zero. ZERO?? That I truly don't understand. I had asked her to estimate how much I would owe when I dropped off the paperwork to her last spring. She told me a whopping figure for the capitol gains tax......which I promptly did some short term CD stuff with, so I could make some money while she was putting together the return.

Apparently, she had not figured in the 1031 exchange bit, which is set up to reduce capitol gains......thus, the zero owed. Now, do I go with "apparently", or do I pay money to have someone else double check the figures? Gads, what to do in these kinds of situations? I'm absolutely no good with anything to do with numbers....truly deficient in that area.

The whole thing has been e-filed, so it is on it's way already.... I can always hope & pray it passes muster and no one finds anything amiss??

I confess, I'm already imagining a bathtub in my master bathroom now.....in the worst way! Smile Definately enough money in this stash of mine to do a tub and plumbing. Will ponder the situation for a few more days...but the vision of steam coming up from a bathtub is almost too much for this tired old woman!!! I might start tearing out the closet in preparation!

Another Oddity in my Garden

October 1st, 2006 at 08:33 am

I don't know what it is this year, but I seem to be racking up the odd & unsual.

My garden is in zone 7 and I typically have rhubarb to use or freeze early in the spring....and still a bit by early summer. Then, it is over and I'm cleaning the patch up & waiting for next years new crop.

But, my rhubarb patch is confused here. Last spring, I transplanted little tiny scrappy plants from my parents neglected bed ............


...........and I'm still picking rhubarb on at least a weekly basis! It's October for heavens sake.



At this rate, I'll be serving a bowl of rhubarb sauce at Thanksgiving dinner!

Collecting House Painting Bids

September 22nd, 2006 at 08:01 am

I met with my first potential house painter person last night.......before leaving for work; and I didn't faint, didn't even gasp.
In fact, I had to bite my tongue so I didn't just give him the job right then. His bid is WAY less than I was expecting(but then, I have no idea what I was expecting, since it has been decades since I had a house that needed painting).

$1700 for the whole place, including washing, all the paint and my outbuildings. I think that sounds like a bargain; since it would take me forever to do it myself....and truly, I'm pretty sure it would never get done, as the first step is definately ladder type work & that's not me these days.

Another person supposedly this AM, with another this evening. I called 5, and have appointments with these 3 already. Maybe I can get a decision made prior to leaving town on Sunday? We've only got a few weeks window here to get this project fit in before it will be icky, wet, cold, typical Seattle weather again.....so I need to be quick.

The house is so awful, there really is nowhere to go but better.........so I'm not too worried about the job. I will want to know what brand of paint is used, and how the surfaces are prepared, but that's about the most I need I think as far as info goes. I am getting very excited about this...... Can't tell you how bad this color makes me feel here. Anxious to get it done prior to starting off Year #2 at this place.

It's so nice to have a house fund for projects like this........and it's nice to see a bid that didn't knock me over with the estimate. Nice all round........and I'll end up with a color I know I already love. (using almost the same combo as my other house; why mess with a good thing?)

It will be interesting to see how the other bids come in. This first one was running a 15% off special, end of season deal......... I really didn't think of it on purpose, but this might be a pretty economical time to get the place painted. I know the rush season would be spring here....... Maybe I accidentally am "shopping" at the right time? What are the odds? Smile

Nothing to Sit On

August 27th, 2006 at 07:07 am

My lack of normal furniture was really apparent yesterday. For some reason, our house was full of drop in company from early AM til way after dinner. For most people this probably wouldn't have created a problem.........I mean, the people weren't all here at once, but I don't really have a place more than 3 people can sit down in the same room anywhere here.

When I moved, I left most of the big stuff, as well as the custom stuff the kids couldn't ruin or tip over, at the other house..... And, I've never done anything here but sort of "camp out" when it comes to furniture.

We've got 3 (albiet mismatched) chairs around a tiny little table in the kitchen.......and we can "borrow" the chair from my desk to make an eclectic little grouping if we have 4 for dinner (which has been often lately).

I've got a new couch & loveseat in our TV room, but the universal rule of loveseats for some reason is 1 person to a loveseat........which means again, I can seat 3 people.

I think I am going to have to do something here. We had 9 of us milling around at one point yesterday, people would sort of rotate through the available chairs. Fortunately, everyone knows me well enough to just deal with it.

I'll start watching Freecycle more closely for sitting upon sorts of events, to see if I can come up with a comfy, animal friendly, FREE option to solve my guests standing up situation here. When it was just me and the almost never here room mate person, 3 chairs seemed like overkill.


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