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Giving Myself a Reminder

October 2nd, 2007 at 06:25 am

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 13th, 2007 at 06:41 am

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 07:08 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 12th, 2007 at 05:35 am

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 7th, 2007 at 06:32 am

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 6th, 2007 at 03:05 am

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 5th, 2007 at 06:18 am

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 08:44 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 3rd, 2007 at 12:59 am

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 07:32 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 11:12 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 09:30 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.