Friday, December 2, 2016

Tiny Neighbors

This post should be named "My Crazy Thanksgiving Day" or "How I Got A Tiny House in My Yard".  So, I'm a member of a Facebook group for Tiny House enthusiasts.  There is another group for people looking for places to park their Tiny Houses and people willing to let them park.  I've been lurking on that group and if someone mentions Arizona or Tucson, my ears perk up (or my eyes since I'm reading it?).  Some people were looking for parking on the west coast.  I didn't take much notice because I didn't think I could compete with what others could offer.  They came back a month later and posted their plea again.  Still, they were looking in multiple states and my property doesn't have water so I didn't offer.  Another month later, they came back with a more desperate plea for Arizona, Utah, New Mexico.  I sent them a message about my property but said they would have to haul water in.  We friended each other on Facebook so we could send instant messages but then weeks went by and I assumed they found a place. 

The day before Thanksgiving, I suddenly get an IM from them.  They were asking more questions about water and electric.  We went back and forth and it seemed like it wouldn't work because they need a place now and I would need to purchase and set up a water tank and pump.  Finally, I asked if they would like to come down from where they were in Phoenix and take a look for themselves.  They could park temporarily in my side yard at my house in town.  We started talking about parking space needed - the house is 13.5 ft tall so I would have to cut the lowest branch of the pine tree.  Water would be easy with my garden hose.  Electric was more complicated because my house only has one outside outlet and it was only 15amps, they needed 20amps and a double outlet not single.  Thanksgiving morning I was dragging an extension cord and lamp around and flipping circuit breakers to find an available 20amp outlet.  I did find one in the bathroom which used to be a laundry room but it only had a single outlet.  Finally, I asked it they could plug one of their giant extension cords in to the 15amp outlet and the other into the 20amp.  Yes, that would work.  By the way, I think having the tiny house powered by two cords is genius.  It gives them a lot more options for getting power.  They also can plug in to a 30amp RV outlet if that is available.

I asked them what was wrong with their current parking space and they said the property that they were on had a well and the pump kept breaking down.  They had to haul their water by bucket.  They were eager to get to a spot with reliable water and electric so they headed down and in 4 hours, they arrived.  After some back and forth, squeezing the tiny house in to the side yard, and some switching of the vehicles to make sure everyone could get out and in without hitting each other, they were settled for the night.

The door is on the other side next to the oleander hedge but they don't mind because it makes the entrance more private.
Meanwhile, I was running around, pruning shrubs, raking pine needles, chopping off a tree branch, while simultaneously trying to watch movies with my nephew and make Thanksgiving dinner.  Whew.  It was a long day.

If you want to see better pictures, go to this article.  The builders talk about building the house and there is a video tour. Yes, this is the actual house.

What do I get out of this? $300 for one month rent plus utilities. They have the option to stay longer if the neighbors don't complain. I doubt they will want to move the day after Christmas but if something better comes along they can tow their tiny house away. That's one of the benefits of a tiny living.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mortgage Update for November

$25, 405.  1 year and 5 months to go.  I waited until the last day of the month to make my extra payment because I couldn't decide if I was going to do $1,000 or $600 this month.  Jimmy-dog's vet bill was $450.  I also had the opportunity to get the timing belt and water pump replaced in my PT Cruiser for $650, less than half the amount it was quoted to me.  Since the car was 10k miles over the recommended maintenance time and I had heard that a broken belt usually kills the engine permanently, I decided to get it done even though the financial timing isn't the best.  So, that's negative $1,100 for November.  I have $600/month budgeted for these kinds of expenses.  Then, I had the opportunity to host a tiny house in my yard for one month.  (Details to come later) That's a positive $300 for rent.  To make up the difference between -$1,100 and +$900, I only paid an extra $1,000 instead of my usual $1,200 for the mortgage.  Now I can move on to trying to balance December.       

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Ready for a Break

Whew, what a hectic week.  Have you ever seen an email at work and felt like the other people copied weren't reading it?  This has been going on for months and even though I re-sent the information to the person and mention to other people that I don't think the current information is being used, nothing is time to ship the product and there are discrepancies.  Then it's "Why didn't I get this information" and "Someone didn't follow procedure" and everyone points the finger at everyone else.  Ugh.  I can't wait until I don't need this job anymore. 

One of the big bosses at our other plant is retiring at the end of the year because of medical issues.  I'm assuming cancer because they talked about treatment for a year.  That is not the way I want to retire.   And then, last Saturday, one of our co-workers had a heart attack and died during a bicycle race here in Tucson.  He was only 54.  His office was next to mine although he traveled most of the time.  We just never know when it will happen.

Update on Jimmy-dog:
Last week, Jimmy-dog had his surgical consultation.  The surgeon was not convinced that removing the adrenal tumor would alleviate all of his symptoms.  He also evaluated his back and hind-end weakness and said that he seemed to be doing ok for now and he didn't recommend any treatment but referred me to the internal medicine vet.  So, on Friday, we went back and repeated Jimmy-dog's history to the Internist.  She did another ultrasound and said we should do the 8 hour adrenal test to rule out Cushing's because even though the 4 hour test came back negative, she still thought his symptoms pointed to Cushing's Syndrome.  I'm beginning to feel like I'm going in circles with these diagnoses.  The first surgical consultation recommended the same course of action, the 8 hour test, and I am wondering why my vet didn't follow up with it.  She must have been convinced that surgery was the answer.  It would have saved me $450 for two more opinions and another ultrasound.  Anyway, I'm going to schedule the 8 hour test for January because the next few weeks are too busy and it's another $400.  If that test comes back positive, hopefully, Jimmy-dog will react well to the medication.  If not, surgery will be back on the table but I really don't want to do that.

And, thank you to the reader who suggested buying an egg-crate orthopedic mattress topper to use as a dog bed for Jimmy-Dog.  I found a queen-sized one at Walmart for $20, folded it twice and wrapped it in a large flannel sheet.  It is plenty big for him to stretch out and provides a comfortable sleeping spot while being much cheaper than a conventional dog bed of equal size.  Great idea!  Luckily, I don't have any dogs who shred dog beds.  They only destroy squeaky toys.

In other news, my mother is in California for the next few weeks and she seems to be having a good time so far.  She will be back here before Christmas and then will have to decide if she wants to stay in AZ or move to CA permanently.  My nephew came down with a cold last Friday and stayed home from school yesterday (Monday).  It was only one day but in my head I always over-react.  What if he misses too much school?  There is a 9 absence limit and then classes have to be re-taken.  What if it turns in to pneumonia and lasts for weeks with doctor visits and medications?  What if he's faking it?  What if he gets behind on school work and his grades fall?  What if he gets sick next year at college and doesn't know what to do?   Calm down.  He went to school today and has the next 5 days off to rest and catch up on any homework.  I have been trying to educate him on when to take cold medicine and when to go to the doctor, the difference between viral and bacterial infections, the importance of fluids, etc...  He doesn't like to take any medicine but I want him back in school asap.  Graduation is only 6 months away and we are going to make it!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Where did I leave off?

Last Thursday, it rained.  I was worried that the rain would affect my car starting, but it didn't, until Friday.  I can't be sure it was the rain but it was the only thing different.  On Friday, I went out to my car and it would not start.  Up went the hood, down went the hammer, then the car started.  After work, I was the last one to leave.  I probably should have tried to start it before that.  It was dead again.  I tried the hammer, and again, and four times later, I was getting worried, but it started.  On Saturday, I ran outside to start it before loading up two dogs for the adoption event.  It hesitated, but started.  No dogs adopted at the event.  Two families were interested in Sassy but her medical costs and interest in cats kept her from getting adopted.  After the event, the car started right up.

On Sunday, no problems.  On Monday, I thought I should probably get a new starter so I called them and they said to bring it in on Tuesday.  I dropped it off and got a ride to work from a co-worker.  That evening, I called to see how things were going.  The mechanic said the car had a new starter but it wouldn't start and they needed to keep it another day.  One of the young mechanics gave me a ride home in his well-worn truck.  I said, "I bet you got a great deal on this truck."  He smiled broadly, "Only $600!"  He just got his first apartment too.  Almost to my house, he realized he had left his wallet at work.  I tipped him $20 for the ride.  He looked like he needed it.  Wednesday, I got a ride from co-workers again.  The car was finally finished at 3pm.  They had to take it to another shop for diagnostics.  One of the circuits had failed.  I don't know if the starter was bad or it was just the circuit but I have a new starter and a new circuit and an oil change for $400.  There goes most of my extra cash for this month and I still have a surgery consult for Jimmy-dog next week.

Jimmy-dog has been much improved in the last week.  His back seems to be getting better.  I asked the vet for an alternative to Tramadol since I couldn't tell if it was helping or not.  She gave him Gabapentin for a week and then I used up the rest of the Rimadyl that he had from before.  He actually tried to get on the recliner, although he wasn't able to jump up, and he has been moving faster and terrorizing my chi-weenie again (much to the chi-weenie's dismay).  I don't know how long this will last but it is good to see him with more spunk again.

Oh, and I wanted to show you the pretty Canna plants that my mother gave me a couple of months ago. They flowered! So pretty!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Car Repair and Dog Repair

Continuing the car saga, I didn't hear back from the mechanic on Friday, which was odd, so I called on Saturday morning.  He told me that the car would not repeat the problem, meaning, it started up every time they tried it.  He said his technician had been going out and starting it every half hour.  Since the car kept starting, they couldn't diagnose the problem so there was nothing to fix.  I guess that was a good thing.  I now carry a hammer in my car just in case my starter ever needs "motivation" again.  My nephew and I drove over to pick it up and then we stopped by the cat shelter again.  I asked if they had more chores to do because the point of volunteering, besides helping out, is for my nephew to be able to add skills to his resume.  We ended up scrubbing litter boxes in the back so now he is qualified to be a dish washer.  Haha. 

All this week, I have been reluctantly counting down the days until Jimmy-dog's surgery next Tuesday.  Then, yesterday, my vet calls and says that she wants me to get a another opinion from a second surgeon.  She had called him for advice for this case thinking I had already had a consultation with that surgeon but I only consulted with the one surgeon because after that we were going to try non-surgical options, which we did.  Anyway, the surgeon at Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson, VSCOT for short, mentioned that some dogs can have these adrenal tumors with no symptoms at all so we should be sure that his symptoms are actually being cause by the tumor.  We shouldn't try risky surgery if the outcome is not going to improvement his health.  I completely agree.  I was under the impression, and my vet was too, that removing the tumor would fix everything, except his back pain.  So, Jimmy-dog has a consultation on Nov. 15th and I hope that this surgeon has some answers.  Jimmy-dog has been doing better with walking lately.  I give him half of a pain pill twice a day.  He still isn't able to jump on the bed or chair like he used to but he hasn't been holding up one leg and trying to hobble around on three legs like he was doing.  And even though the eye drops for his excessive thirst cost $80 a month, maybe there is a cheaper medicine out there some where or maybe I can give the drops every other day with the same effect.  So, the Jimmy-dog story is to be continued...

Friday, October 28, 2016

Like Playing Whack-A-Mole

 After work yesterday, I trotted out to my car, turned the key, and it didn't start.  Oh great.  I've been worried about this ever since I decided to use most of my savings on Jimmy-dog's surgery.  My 2 vehicles haven't given me any trouble recently.  What if something happens?  It happened and I called AAA and waited, hoping there was a problem with the battery because that's easy to fix and it would have been free since my last battery was through AAA and still under warranty.  After an hour, the battery guy comes out and checks the battery.  The battery is good.  Darn.  Checks the starter.  Bad.  He says he can get it started once but I decline because by now it is after 6pm and every auto shop is closed and I don't want a dead car in my driveway.  I decided to wait to call a tow truck the next day and a co-worker was nice enough to take me home. 

The next day, my nephew and I have to share his truck.  I drop him off at school and head in to work late.  But wait, this is also the day for my third attempt at the final inspection of my barn-shed (for allowing it to exist on my property).  I called the inspector at 7am like she told me to do.  It went to voicemail so I left all of the directions in the message.  She called me back and said that she was not going to be the one to do the inspection today but she would pass on my phone number to the fellow who was chosen.  I was worried because he did not have the directions and what if he couldn't contact me by phone like the first inspector?  30 minutes later, I get a text from the inspector telling me he will be at my address between 2-3.  So nice to have contact with an inspector!  I sent back a text with the directions.  

Then school, work, ok, now time to deal with the dead car in the parking lot. I called the auto shop.  They say they can look at it.  I called AAA again for a tow truck.  The tow truck driver comes out in 45 minutes and says "try to turn it on when I tell you".  He has a hammer in his hand.  I am curious.  He looks around and says to try to start it while banging on something with the hammer.  The car starts and I am thrilled.  I asked him to show my the trick and he shows me where the starter is but I would need 2 people, one to bang on the starter while the other one turns the key.  I have learned something new!

I drive the car to the auto shop which looks really busy and another co-worked gives me a ride back to work.  Time goes by and I eat lunch and then send a text to the inspector asking if I need to be present.  He says no, just look for an update online.  For the next hour I nervously refresh the building permit website until... PASSED! 

 I am so relieved.  I can finally stop worrying about that permit expiring and having to do this all over again and pay all the fees again. 

After that it was work as usual until my nephew called and needed a ride home. I was hoping the car would be finished but it wasn't so I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out the bill. I hope it isn't a lot. My reserves are very low.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Mortgage Update for October 2016

Another $1,200 extra payment for the mortgage.  The total is now $26, 674.  Only one year and 6 months to go!  Then I will sell the house, or rent it out, and move back to my property .  I was out at my property yesterday.  Although, I miss it, I do not want to go back without enough money to make life easier out there.  I have dreams of a 20'x20' metal carport going in where the old garage used to be and some nice big water tanks for rainwater collection.  Also, some block walls, field fence for the perimeter, covered porches, and finish the inside of the barn-shed. 

I called the building department and scheduled my inspection for the barn-shed, again.  If you remember, the inspector said he couldn't find the address last June when I scheduled it the first time.  I added another address sign and wrote down the miles from the main road and left more explicit instructions on the voicemail.  I hope he just finds it and passes the inspection.  There isn't much to inspect.  The grading inspection and the tie-downs were already approved.  I just want to close this permit so that I don't waste $300 in fees and have to do it all again. 

Anyway, I will be nervously checking online tomorrow to see if I pass or not.  There is no phone number for the inspector and no time frame for him to show up other than between 8 and 5. 

*Update* I blissfully forgot all about the inspection until noon and then nervously checked online.  FAILED, again.

This time, it was a woman inspector who couldn't find the place.  She didn't leave a contact number in the comments so I called the general number and got sent to one guy who sent me over to the Addressing department who gave me the cell phone number of the inspector.  Finally, some useful information.  I called her and she said that she drove up and down the main road but didn't see the address and didn't receive the detailed voicemail that I left on the automated system.  Sigh.  I asked her if she would be the one to go out tomorrow if I scheduled it again and she said probably and to call her at 7am.  I signed up for the inspection tomorrow and will call her with directions.  I hope, after all of this, that I pass the inspection.  I think I will change my address with the addressing department to get a more accurate address before I attempt the electrical permit.  I've been waiting for the closest dirt road to get an official name but now I think it will have the same name as the other dirt road before the turn.  That's fine.  If I get an address that an inspector can find, I will be happy with it.

Friday, October 21, 2016

How Much Is Too Much

The temperatures are still in the 90's and I am looking longingly at my sweatshirts.  The forecast has been saying 80's for next week but when next week gets here, it changes to 90's.  As far as I can remember, the weather is always chilly for Halloween and all of the princesses and thinly clothed ghouls must shiver while hunting down their candy.  My other reason for wanting the weather to change is my tired wardrobe.  Either I pull out the long-sleeved shirts or I buy something new.  I'd rather not spend money on clothes besides something from the thrift store now and then. 

So, my veterinarian just called and offered to do Jimmy-dog's pheochromocytoma tumor removal surgery for $3,000-$3,500.  The estimate from the specialist was $5,000-$7,000.  The reason she recommended going with a specialist initially was because she was worried that the adrenal tumor had latched on to the vena cava.  Since the ultrasound showed that it had not grown that big yet, my vet is willing to try the surgery.  She has never done this surgery specifically, but she has removed other tumors.  I had decided not to do the surgery because it seemed too risky and I didn't want to pay $7,000 with only a dead dog to show for it.  But now that my vet is all excited about doing it, I'm considering it again.  It would leave only $1,000 in my emergency fund but it wouldn't take that long for the fund to recover as long as there weren't more costly emergencies in my immediate future.  I was planning to use that $3,000 next year to speed up my mortgage repayment plan if nothing important came up. I think something Important came up.  It seems like I should do it so that he will feel better.  I don't really know how he feels except that he drinks a lot of water and has to pee a lot.  I'm hoping that it will fix his bloating issue, help him lose weight, and reduce the strain on his back.  I think I've talked myself in to it, at this point.  Surgery would be November 8th.  I'm already a nervous wreck.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Plumbers, Dogs, and Other Things

Last week, at work, I happened to see that the toilet was plugged.  I didn't think much of it and, after several attempts, managed to unplug it.  There are only two other women in the office but I didn't want to ask them who plugged it so I didn't say anything.  Later on, one of them mentioned that the plumber had arrived to unclog the toilet.  Um, I already unplugged it.  No one told me they had called a plumber.  The plumber fussed around in the bathroom for 30 minutes and then presented the bill.  $179.  The toilet was unclogged but he snaked it and put the camera down it just to be able to charge something, I guess.  I'm really glad I didn't have to pay for that.

On Saturday, I took my dog, Sassy, to the vet for her Valley Fever test.  Her titer finally went down from 1:64 back to 1:32 where it was a year ago.  That is good because we were concerned that the medicine wasn't working and she would have to take the more expensive medicine.  Now that the VF seems to be under control, I have to decide if I want to try to get her adopted.  She was supposed to be a temporary foster but her knee replacement and VF took much longer to stabilize than I expected.  I think she would like a family with more people in it.  She loves attention and she doesn't get much with me as one of 5 dogs.  I think I will try it and see if I can find the perfect family for her. 

After the vet, my nephew and I went to volunteer at the cat shelter again.  He likes the kittens and I prefer the friendly senior cats and "GI" cats (the smelly cats with bowel issues who are in the back room and don't get many visitors).  Turns out 30 minutes in advance is not enough time for allergy medicine to block all of the histamine receptors.  He had a mild allergy attack but it wasn't as bad as before.  Next time he will take a pill at least an hour before. 

Then we went to dinner at Culvers and I used my gift cards so the total was $1.08 because I wanted cheese curds instead of fries.  When we sat down, an employee came over and offered us ice cream sundaes.  She couldn't locate the people who ordered them and said she was going to toss them out.  I happily accepted them since I had not ordered any ice cream.  One I ate and the other I took home and froze for another day.  My nephew had ordered a mint brownie sundae and had to go find it because the people working there had left it sitting on the counter.  It seems that the person making the sundaes was slow and by the time they brought the ice cream out, the other food had already been delivered to the table and the table number had been retrieved, thus, orphaned ice cream. 

After that, we went to Home Depot and I bought 6 more bags of bark mulch with the rebate card I got from buying paint last month.  $20 for bark leaves $60 on the card for more shopping later.  NO MORE SHOPPING until I get the final inspection on my barn-shed (just so that it can exist on my property, not the inside inspection).  Really, I have procrastinated long enough.  I need to get out there, post my address so the inspector can find it, measure the distance of the turn-off from the main road so I can give good directions, and post the building permit on the outside of the barn-shed so that the inspector can see it.  Then call for the inspection.  It makes me nervous because the inspector said he couldn't find the address last time and the phone number I left didn't work even though he had supposedly been out there once before for the grading inspection.  I just need to do it and stop worrying about it.    

Thursday, October 6, 2016

If I Can't Grow It, Buy It

Last weekend was my weekend to relax, only it didn't happen, at least, not a lot.  On Friday, I took my mother a new flat screen TV to use as a monitor for her Chromebit computer.  The monitor that I had purchased was big but we had two issues, there is no audio jack in a Chromebit which meant I had to buy a Bluetooth speaker.  The sound quality was terrible and the charge cord broke.  I thought about buying a better Bluetooth speaker but then realized that I should have purchased a TV (build in speakers) in the first place.  Originally, I paid $100 for the HDMI monitor and $20 for the Bluetooth speaker.  The flat screen TV cost $125.  The sound is great!  No more fussing with charging or Bluetooth connectivity.  Secondly, the video buffering made watching any video impossible.  I don't know if the TV fixed this problem because it doesn't seem like it should make a difference, all I know is that the TV has no problem playing videos.  Problem solved.  I now have an extra HDMI monitor and I am hoping that my nephew can use it for the gaming computer he wants to buy.

On Saturday, I spent the morning killing weeds with a shovel.  I knew I was over-doing it but the weather was nice and I wanted them dead.  After that, I went out to fix a plumbing leak for the tenant at the mobile home.  I got it all fixed but in retrospect, I should have used a larger diameter pipe for the faucet section.  No leaks though.  

I arranged for the neighbor to bring over 300 more gallons of water.  The tenant should be able to contact the neighbor when he needs water now.  I think we have a reliable system in place.  The tenant had been cleaning and rearranging the back storage room.  While this is a good thing, I had to calm my inner-control freak since nothing was where I had put it.  All that organization from last year was gone.  I moved almost all of my stuff out to the barn-shed in a big un-organized pile and I will deal with it when I have some free time.  At least the barn-shed is vermin-free, so far. 

On Sunday, I was really sore from the weeding and moving boxes.  I had another $10 off $100 coupon and a $100 gift certificate to Home Depot.  My plan was to buy 22 bags of mulch to keep the weeds at bay.  First, I stopped at the carpet aisle to see if I could find an inexpensive piece to put in the dog area.  They love to roll around on carpet and it is easy to sweep off plus it blocks the weeds.  I found a small piece for $20 but then I saw it.  A 6' x 12' piece of premium fake grass.  I have been wanting some fake grass for a long time but the cost was too high.  This was on clearance for $104.  If it is durable, I can take it with me when I move.  I dragged it to the cash register because I didn't have a cart and happily paid for my new doggy grass carpet.  After putting it in the truck, I went back and got 4 bags of mulch for the other areas.  I think I need at least 6 more bags of mulch.  That will have to wait for another trip to Home Depot.

Back at home, I unrolled the grass and the dogs came over to investigate.  Much sniffing and rolling commenced. 

 I can actually sit down with them in the yard now.  Jimmy-dog even hobbled over and sat on me while I petted him.  They say that fake grass gets too hot to walk on in the summer.  We shall see.  We have many months to enjoy it before summer comes again.  

Plus, I could just roll it up and store it in the shed June through August.  Sometimes I buy things and they don't work out, but this time, I am very pleased with my purchase.  Time for some picnics with the dogs!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Mortgage Update for September 2016

Since I have had some large vet bills and last month's $1,000 A/C repair bill for on my rental property, I decided to reduce my monthly extra mortgage payment from $1,200 to $800 this month.  I need to make my maintenance/dog/auto fund grow back to a more comfortable $3K level.   It shouldn't be too hard unless I can't resist going ahead with all of the projects that are floating around in my head for my property. 

Extra payment:  $800
New mortgage total:  $28,138
Pay-off time at $1,200 extra/m:  1 year and 7 months

The weather is a little cooler now and I could be painting and building steps and putting up gutters and buying more water collection tanks, and....  No.  I don't need it yet.  But every time I get a $10 off $100 coupon from Home Depot, I want to BUY more stuff!  The only things I should do out there don't involve money.  I already bought the paint so I could do that.  I also need to put up address signs so that the building inspector can find the place for my final inspection.  If you remember, the last time I called for the final inspection (I think it was last May or June), the inspector said he couldn't find it.  I guess he doesn't know how to use Google maps.  I will try to make it as easy as possible for him this time since I want to pass the inspection and close the permit until I am ready to add electric to my barn-shed later on. 

My nephew is visiting my sister in California for the next week and a half.  Last weekend I took him to get a free haircut from the high school hair cutting class.  It turned out pretty good.  Then to test out Allegra allergy medicine with the cats at the shelter.  It worked!  After an hour, there was no reaction.  Then to the thrift store to buy two dress shirts because he grew out of his except for his white one and I want him to have other color choices, plus, I am hoping my sister will take some senior photos of him while he is there so that we can include them in his graduation announcements. 

His Monday flight was delayed an hour and then 10 more minutes, and then 10 more, prompting me to call Southwest to make sure he wouldn't be stuck in Denver overnight if he missed his connection.  The airline replaced the plane for his flight which improved the time to only 1 hour late and he was able to make his connection without incident.  My brain is decompressing while I have this break from being guardian of a human being.  I'm not totally off-duty though.  I added minutes to his Tracfone, scheduled a windshield replacement on the truck that he drives, just sent in his college registration fee and we will be filling out his Federal financial aid form by Skype this weekend.  We keep moving towards the college goal little by little. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

First Quarter

Last day of Quarter #1!!!  1/4 of the way through senior year of high school.  Remembering back to my high school days, senior year went by pretty quick.  It was exciting to get to the finish line and then anti-climatic when it was over.  I went to community college and floundered for the first semester, excelled the second semester, and then went off to a four year school.  Floundered again, and found my footing, graduated, floundered, floundered, floundered (that's my new favorite word), went back to community college, and finally got on a career path.  As soon as I got a "real" job, I started reading early-retirement books.  Work for 10 years and then retire!  It didn't quite work out that way.  I've been working in the engineering/drafting field for 17 years now.  I'm much closer to my goal though.  Retire by 50?  More realistic.

My nephew goes off to visit my sister on Monday.  He will spend 12 days in California and I will not have to hear "What's for dinner?" or have to say "Is your homework done?" for all that time.  The next quarter will go quicker.  He will have more extracurricular activities for choir and youth group.  Thanksgiving break is coming soon and then he will go visit his Minnesota relatives for Christmas break.  I keep telling him that he should stay and get a seasonal job over the break but he's just not motivated enough.  Maybe next year when he is a poor college student he will appreciate the benefits of a holiday job. 

The weather is great.  Still a few days in the upper 90's but the temps are going down.  My garden is looking very green but not producing much.  I grew my first 2 zucchini!  I know a lot of people say zucchini is really easy to grow but it isn't so easy in the desert. 

 I got four acorn squash.  The gourds are not producing anything yet and if they don't get any female flowers soon, I don't think I will get any gourds.  The tomatoes don't have many blossoms.  The sweet potato vines are doing great.  Last year I used the sweet potatoes to grow new sweet potatoes but didn't eat any.  I have at least 6 mini watermelons growing from volunteer plants.  And the pomegranates are starting to fall off the tree. Usually they aren't ready until the end of October but we had such a warm spring, some of them got an early start. I got more free seeds from the seed library for cool weather plants but I don't have any space to plant them until the squash and watermelon have died.  

I need a bigger garden.  I have plans for a bigger garden after I move out to my property.  I have 4 acres.  Of course, taming it will take money.

Plans for this weekend?  My nephew and I will pull weeds in the front yard, go get a haircut for him at the cosmetology school (only $6), visit the cats at the cat shelter to see if Alegra allergy medicine is better than Claritin, cook something (maybe zucchini bread?) and take a nap.  Such grandiose ambitions!