Friday, March 24, 2017

Equity Shuffle

It's been a very busy month and I haven't made the time to sit down and sort out my thoughts until now. 

Old Plan:
Nephew goes off to college in May.
Mother moves in to my Tucson house after I turn my carport in to an apartment for her.

But the more we thought about that, the more we decided that it wasn't ideal since my mother would be bored and dependent on me for things that she can do herself now like go to church, see her friends, go to doctor appointments, etc...  The only thing that made sense was for me to move to her retirement town which is 45 minutes away.  Safer streets, less traffic, familiar routines. 

New Plan:
Nephew goes off to college in May.
Fix up Tucson house to sell and mother sells her house.
Move to my property temporarily.
Buy a house with mother near mother's current location.

I wasn't sure if I was even allowed to move to her town because it is mostly 55 and older housing.  But, only one person in the household needs to be 55 and older so, yes, we can live there together.  Then, I needed to figure out if there were regulations for pets.  I have heard of homeowner's associations limiting pets to only 2 and I currently have 3 dogs and 2 foster dogs.  I narrowed down the area that would work for both of us and the HOA does not have a pet limit so I'm good there as long as their barking doesn't annoy the neighbors.  Now I am watching homes for sale.  I have identified around 40 that have a large yard, as in more than .2 of an acre lot.  They aren't for sale but maybe one of them will be by the time we are ready to buy.

And, to kick off this plan, I bought another house.  This one is an investment.  Since the house that I live in now would only get around $850/m for rent, I decided to buy a small house and rent it out to my tenant who is at my property in my mobile home for $600/m.  He wants running water and accessibility to public transportation, and I want my mobile home back because I plan to move there temporarily and store more of my stuff there after I make it pest-proof. 

Here's a little more explanation:  I am emotionally invested in my Tucson house.  I have toiled in the yard, fostered loads of dogs and puppies in it, housed my parents and nephew, visited with other family and friends.  I don't want to rent it out and see other people change it.  I want to sell it and never go back.  Plus, the house is worth around $160K and I don't want to keep a mortgage on it so having that much money tied up in it does not work for my plan.

So, I took out a home equity line of credit for $70K and looked around for something small.  Something that I would never live in and not get attached to it.  But I have to back up again because I didn't start with the HELOC idea.  I started just looking for some place for my tenant to move to.  It was hard to find a place because he has two dogs and it is difficult to find someone else a place to live.  Then I had the bright idea to look for something to buy.  It would be win-win.  I would keep a paying tenant and he would have a better place to live than my mobile home.  The houses that I found in the areas that weren't either crime-ridden or way far out from civilization were all fixer-uppers and not able to be financed traditionally.  Thus, the HELOC.

It took a month to apply for the HELOC and get the money.  I was watching two houses but on the day my funds were available, both houses had multiple offers.  I scoured the listings again, asked my tenant about areas that he wanted to avoid, and checked trulia.com for their crime rating.  I found this little two bedroom, one bath house close to downtown and a block from the bus stop.  I went out to look at it asap.  My realtor said that the house was probably still available because it had a tenant.  We couldn't see inside but I wanted to put in an offer anyway.  The realtor wrote the offer up contingent on seeing the inside and there being no major issues.  Then we waited for the tenant to leave, and waited, and waited.  Finally he moved out and the inside was dirty with a few water hose leaks, cockroaches and some termites.  My realtor made a list of things to be fixed and we waited some more.  The closing day was getting close so I offered to take the house as-is for $1,000 off the price.  The seller agreed and we proceeded with the sale for $64K.  It's been a week now and my handyman has been painting and repairing.  It's been treated for cockroaches and termites and all the junk is gone.  We are focusing on the inside first so that my tenant can move in the first of the month.   

Needs some stucco repair.

Dirty but functional.

Water leaks and clogged drains.

I don't want to know what was living in the couch.
Now you are caught up with my plans and rental house adventure.  When I sell my Tucson house I will pay off the rest of the mortgage and the HELOC and have some leftover to put down on the house with my mother.  I will also have 2 paid-off rentals giving me income.  That's pretty awesome.

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Ever-Changing Plan

So much has been going on, and yet, so little actual change.  Most of the changes are just in my future plans.  For instance, my mother and I were talking about her moving in to my house and I was going to enclose my carport so that she would have her own space on the opposite side of the house furthest from my dogs.  It seemed like the most cost-effective move.  But, the more we talked about it, we realized that my mother would be bored at my house, far away from her friends, church activities, and transportation.  She lives in a 55 and older town 45 minutes away from me and I didn't think that I would be allowed in.  After doing some research, I found that anyone over 18 can live in the town as long as one resident is 55 or older.  Also, if the 55 and older resident dies, the other resident can remain living there it they are 45 or older (although I probably would not want to). 

The next hurdle was finding an area that we both agree upon.  I took a half day off last week and we drove around looking at neighborhoods.  I liked the houses on one acre lots but Mom needs sidewalks to walk on and would prefer a house with a front porch to wave at people as they walk by.  I would also like a large backyard so that she and I can both have our areas to do with as we please.  We found a neighborhood close to where she lives now.  It has a homeowner's association and I was worried that they would limit the number of pets per household.  I looked up the rules online and was pleasantly surprise to find that they do not but I will still have to make sure that my dogs don't bark and annoy the neighbors.

Bark? Not me!
Ok, if we actually did this moving in together thing, Mom would need to sell her house and I would need to sell my house.  So, now I am back to the plan of downsizing and then fixing up the house to sell.  This is after my nephew graduates and goes to live with his grandfather in May.  This plan seems like it might actually work if we find the right house so that we can maintain our own privacy yet be there for each other when we need to be.

What will this plan do to my early retirement plan?  Probably delay it because my house money will be tied up in another house and I might even get another mortgage, but if that is what I need to do to keep Mom out of a nursing home then I should do it.  I'll just keep paying down the mortgage and saving more money and someday I will be in a very good position to retire, hopefully, still early.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Winter Pause

Since my sister and crew departed last week, I had a nice, quiet weekend to get the house back in order while my nephew was away at Northern Arizona University for a school choir event.  The weather was great.  I noticed that the pomegranate tree was beginning to get leaves so I trimmed it, something I should have done a few weeks ago but I was not expecting an early spring again, and I still expect it to get cold at least one more time. 

I retrieved my motorized bicycle from my co-worker's house since I have had no serious inquiries to my attempt to sell.  I tried it out and it is definitely temperamental and LOUD.  It may need a new spark plug which will help with the temperamental part but not with the noise.  I am leaning towards donating it back to the dog rescue I bought it from so that they can sell it again which relieves me of the chore of selling it and gives them more donations for their vet bills.  I've decided to wait until after spring break in March to see if I make time to take my nephew out in the desert to try riding it on some trails.  The problem is, 2 people and 1 bike is not as much fun as 2 people and 2 bikes.  Either way, I don't want it taking up space on my porch.

What else... Jimmy-dog seems to be doing much better.  He has more energy and is more playful and mischievous like he was in his younger years.  Perhaps his new blood pressure medicine is the cause.  He is not due for another check-up for two more months and then we will see if his blood pressure has gone down. 

My nephew accidentally dropped his iphone 4 in the toilet.  It was a gift from his other aunt for getting good grades in 8th grade.  Honestly, I thought he would have lost it or broke it by now.  He only uses it for internet access with wifi because it does not have a calling contract.  He uses a tracfone for calls and texts.  The iphone in a coma is currently lying in a bag of rice.  My nephew looks at it hopefully and worries that it might not revive.  Only time will tell.  If it is truly dead, he will have to decide if he wants to use money from his computer fund to buy another or maybe he can strike a deal with his other aunt for her used one.  Dare I offer him my extra Kindle?  It only cost me $40 and I am not using it.  It is too big to fit in his pocket so he might not want it.  I think I will let him find his own solution to his problem.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Full House

Last weekend was a whirlwind of activity starting on Thursday night when my sister and crew arrived at my house.  6 extra people in the house for dinner was a challenge especially since I don't have a dining table, my nephew and I just eat at the kitchen bar.  There are 4 bar stools and then the couch and recliner.  It was ok, every surface can be cleaned.  Then 3 of the kids went to my mother's house to spend the night and we planned the activities for the next day.  Having half of the people staying 45 minutes away added an hour and a half on to the beginning and end of the day which meant either planning short activities or expecting a very long day. 

On Friday, we had breakfast and picked up my mom and the kids around lunch time.  Then we went to Sabino Canyon. (which I had never been to because I don't do touristy things on my own and the rare time people visit me they usually do not want to hike)  It had a tram ride up the hill and my mom and I took it while the kids hiked up.  There is a pretty creek from the snow melt and the weather was great. 

A hill of saguaro cactus.

Riding the tram with Mom.

 I would like to go back some time when I can spend time at the creek.  After that we went back to my house for dinner and took the kids back to Mom's house.

On Saturday, we hung out at Mom's house, the kids went swimming, and then one kid had to catch a flight out because she had to get back to work.  I bought pizza, the kids played games and we finally left late. 

Sunday was zoo day.  I had never been to the Reid Park Zoo.  





It was nice but it is not something I would do again unless I was entertaining people who liked zoos.  After 3 hours, I had a terrible headache and it took a 2 hour nap to get rid of it.  I awoke just in time to see the end of the Super Bowl.  My mother gave me a new flat screen TV to replace my old tube TV.  I was surprised to find that I could get the Super Bowl through my Roku on the FoxSportsGo channel.   Dinner at my house again and I was beginning to miss the cleanliness and order of my kitchen but tried not to let it bother me.

I took Monday off and we went on the Airplane Boneyard tour from the Pima Air and Space museum.  I had always wanted to do it but I was disappointed because it wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. 


 I'm just not that interested in the specs. of old planes.  it would have been more interesting if we had gone in the museum but we were out of time.  I'll remember that for next time.  Lunch was at In and Out Burger and dinner at my house again.  The kids and I took all 5 dogs for a long walk.  Jimmy-dog and my little foster dog were so slow at the end, I was beginning to worry that Jimmy-dog would just sit down but we all made it back.  As a last hooray, we went to play mini-golf in the evening. 


 I think mini-golf and the free laser tag with our Groupon was the most fun because everyone had a good time and there wasn't any whining. 

I had to go back to work on Tuesday and face the mountain of emails and the gang left around noon.  It was nice to get my house back in order but it sure was fun to have them here while it lasted. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Project update

Poor little Chester, he had 11 teeth pulled.  It's over now and he will feel much better.  He had a dental cleaning around 4 years ago when I adopted him but I don't think it was very thorough.  I went to a different discount vet this time and it cost $325 including pain meds and antibiotics.  I'm glad that's over.


I got the quotes back for the projects that I want to do. 

Move laundry space: $900

Update kitchen (install cabinets and countertops, move some switches and lights, build small pantry, install dishwasher and garbage disposal, build wall behind fridge): $1,000

Carport conversion to AZ room: $8,000  This is just for enclosing the space with insulation, drywall, and raising the concrete floor above driveway level.  Electrical, doors, windows, paint and flooring are extra.  

Fix roof edge: $200 

It's all very reasonable but I will need to use home equity depending on my timeframe.  I'm still emptying my laundry water by bucket because I haven't fixed the leak in the wall which is where the "Move laundry space" item comes from.  The trash can water collection system holds exactly two loads of dirty water.  I know this because I didn't empty the can after I ran a load and then my nephew did a load and I thought, uh-oh, was there a flood?  The water was up to the very tippy top. Whew.

Fixing the laundry drain is first on the list along with fixing the roof but... my sister and her kids are visiting this week so there won't be any construction happening for a while.  In the meantime, January's extra mortgage payment is still in my savings account waiting for me to decide.  And yesterday I noticed that the mesquite tree growing over the driveway is in desperate need of a trim.  I cut off one low branch but I need a professional.  That tree is a monster and needs to be thinned or I am afraid it will fall over and take my driveway with it.

So many projects for a home-owner.  It keeps me busy.  I would get so bored in an apartment with nothing to fix.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

More Days of My Life

Work has been really busy.  I usually use my lunch break to write a post now and then but today I am staying late and hoping that the traffic dissipates.  Last Tuesday, I brought Jimmy-dog to work, left early, drove over to the vet office which is the opposite way from my house, and found out that I was one week early.  Bummer.  It was too late to go back to work so I went home. 

On Thursday, I got the chance to go visit our plant in Mexico.  It was fun seeing the people that I talk to and email everyday.  I always find it interesting to see the differences in culture, housing, traffic, stores, everything. 

Saturday was cold and rainy and we stayed in.  On Sunday, I brought food for the youth group.  I should try to make something instead of buying the expensive deli trays but they are awfully convenient.

On Tuesday, I brought Jimmy-dog to work again and then to his appointment.  His test was negative for Cushing's so the vet didn't really have any new options for me. 
 
1) Wait and see. 
2) $5-6K surgery on a dog with a heart murmur and high blood pressure. 

We are back to the same choices.  Jimmy-dog is doing much better than he was last summer so I am fine with the 'wait and see' choice.  He got a new medication for high blood pressure and refills on his other meds.  The office visit and ultrasound re-check were free but the blood pressure, blood panel and urinalysis came to $500!  I wasn't prepared for that.  Oh well, I should be getting rent from my tiny house people and my mobile home tenant so it will all even out.  Since I wasn't expecting to spend more on Jimmy-dog, I made an appointment for my chi-weenie, Chester, to get his teeth cleaned (finally) next week.  I've put it off for too long.  He had his teeth cleaned when I adopted him but that was like 4 years ago and he has bad breath again.  As my 3rd dog, he is going to the discount vet, not the fancy vet with dental xrays.  Hopefully, we will still get good results.  Jimmy-dog is supposed to get a re-check in 3 months, that would be March.  And then Sassy needs a Valley Fever test in April.  Pets are expensive.  My cheapest dog right now is my foster dog because all of his medical is covered by the rescue group.

So, that's what's happening.  This weekend I might try to make it to the Habistore to look for cabinets if it isn't raining again.  It is across town and I never seem to be over there when they are open or I don't have a dog in the car.  I had a brief thought to make my own cabinets but with everything that I have going on right now, I would end up with a lot of plywood and no results.  That is a project for another day.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Planning Stage

Another week closer to my goals, or another week of my life gone, depending how one looks at it.  Where did I leave off, oh yes, Jimmy-dog had his test.  The vet called with his results and she was very surprised that he was negative for the 8 hour test.  So, yet again, he doesn't have Cushing's Syndrome.  She was convinced that the previous negative result with the 4 hour test was just an anomaly because of his symptoms.  That means more tests, but the vet is baffled at this point and asked that I bring him in again for a check-up and quick ultrasound to see if the size of his adrenal tumor has changed.  She said the magic words "bring him in at no cost" because she would have looked at him last week when he was there but was too busy.  She said she wants to consult with the endocrinologist at UC Davis to discuss his case.  I'm glad he's getting attention but I wish we had a treatment plan.

My brother-in-law came to visit last weekend.  He is my nephew's god-father as well as uncle so they spent some time together and then we went to visit his extended family who lives nearby.  We also took my mother to the airport so that she could fly out to California again to see her favorite dermatologist.  She will be back in a couple of weeks.  Not much else happened.  It rained most of the week but we managed to walk the dogs a little bit before getting hailed on.  I got the quote back for moving the washer/dryer hook up and installing cabinets and new appliances in the kitchen.  It was very affordable, only $1500 but now I need to find and purchase cabinets, countertops, etc....  I have decided to put my mortgage re-payment plan on hold to build up my cash reserves for this project.  I don't have a quote for the carport to AZ room conversion because he needs to come out again and take some measurements.  That's the one I'm really interested in because I need to figure out how to finance the project.  No rush though.  That's at least 5 months away.

For now, I am cruising craigslist for cabinets and weighing my options in my head.  This is what I want, although, on a much smaller scale since my kitchen is about 1/4th this size.


My ceilings are half as tall too. OK, so I just like the cabinets and maybe the countertop. I'll probably change my mind a few times.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Wants and Want-Nots

Last week was a short work week made even shorter by taking two sick days.  I feel better now but fear it has moved into my sinuses.  Hopefully, it will go away on its own without antibiotics.  On Saturday, a contractor came over to look at the work that I need to get done in the laundry, bathroom, kitchen, and carport.  He hasn't sent a quote yet and I am very anxious to see it because I want to know if my plans are realistic or not.  I have planned out my kitchen renovations more and it seems like if I can find cabinets on Craigslist it won't cost as much as I thought.  Most of the cost will be in upgrading the electrical panel to add electricity to the Arizona room/carport area.  Maybe I will be able to afford a mini-split A/C for this summer.  I am not looking forward to another summer with only an evaporative cooler.  If I can't afford a mini-split, I'll get one of those mobile units that use an exhaust hose out of a window.

Also, before Christmas, I bought, on impulse, a motorized bicycle.  I had been looking at them for a while and was hoping to buy one when I moved back out to my property for short trips to the store up and down the big hill.  A friend was selling one for $250, typical price for a used one is $400.  I jumped on the deal but after I got it home I realized that:

  A) I didn't need it right now.
  B) I didn't want to mess with a noisy motor and the gas/oil mix that it requires.
  C) It was taking up space and I would rather have $250.


Last Saturday, I took it to my co-worker's house for repair.  He loves bikes and has all of the tools, tires, patches, you name it.  He got it working and is going to see if he can sell it for me.  When I do move out to my property, I hope to buy an electric bike instead.  We shall see.

Anyway, this week is plodding along.  I took Jimmy-dog to the vet for his 8 hour Low dose Dexamethasone Suppression test.  I'll get the results next week.  This should tell us if he has Cushing's Syndrome or not.  The 4 hour test was negative but this test is supposed to be better.  I hope he does have Cushing's.  Then we can stop the guessing and go ahead with the treatment.

Today was payday so December's credit card bill has been paid.  This month's bill is adding up with Jimmy-dog's test costing $520.  The good news is that the Tiny House people are staying another month so that's $350 from them, and my tenant out at my property paid me $400.  That sounds like a lot of money but my tenant at the property has been living there for free since July because I told him I would wait for his social security payments to start up and they finally did in December.  $400 doesn't quite cover 6 months of free electricity, water, internet, and trash but if he keeps paying me I'll be able to building up my reserves again.  If I had the chance, would I offer to rent out my mobile home to a homeless stranger on the word of a friend of a friend again?  No.  It has been a learning experience and it has turned out ok so far and I am glad that the mouse problem is under control (thanks to his cats) but I should have moved all of my stuff out first.  But it was so hot in July and the mice were just making themselves at home and it was very overwhelming.  Most of my stuff is out now but it is all jumbled in the barn-shed.  The organization that I had last year is gone and I just need to put it out of my mind until I am ready to move out there again.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Year, New Ideas

Christmas Eve was peaceful since all of my shopping was over.  My sister asked me to make gingerbread cookie dough and, amazingly, I had all of the ingredients on hand.  The plan was for me to bring the dough to my mother's house on Christmas and we would bake and decorate cookies.  I started thinking that it would be nice to be able to taste them now and I also was trying to think of something non-materialistic to give to my tiny house visitors.  Inspiration hit - a tiny gingerbread house!  And not just any house, but a tiny gingerbread house shaped like their house.  I didn't have many candy decorations since this was a spontaneous idea but I had a few sprinkles and the perfect round peppermint for the door.


I ate the scraps, which were tasty.  On my way to my mother's house on Christmas, I left the tiny gingerbread house outside and left them a text message.  They found it and were delighted.  Then they sent this picture back.

Hansel and Gretel have been nibbling!
I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and the cookies turned out great as well as the dinner that my sister made for us.

The next day we did some after-Christmas shopping and returns.  It wasn't very crowded because my mother lives in a small town.  On Tuesday, my sister and aunt left for their respective states and I had to go back to work.  I took Friday off and my mother and I drove around doing errands.  We were discussing options for her to move near me or in with me.  We visited my property and thought about replacing the single wide mobile home with a new one.  After visiting some new mobile homes, I wasn't sold on the idea because they all smelled like formaldehyde and were cheaply made.  Then we thought about building something small on the property but the cost to build plus a $30K well, plus a $6K septic system was adding up fast and it is still a relatively remote location, as in, dirt roads, 15 minutes to groceries, 30 minutes to a hospital, and most of her doctors are on the opposite side of town.  Then I looked at buying another house if my mother and I pooled the money from the sale of both of our houses but everything that I looked at needed modifications or was too expensive and I really don't want to tie all of my money up in another house.  

My latest idea is to make my house in town, which I am living in now, work for the both of us after my nephew leaves for college.  This might put off my move to my tiny house but it is all just ideas at the moment.  I could enclose the carport to make what they call an "Arizona room" for my mother.  She would be on the opposite side of the house, away from the dogs to give her more quiet and privacy.  I haven't gone out for quotes on all of these ideas yet but I will.  

So, what about that water leak?  Like I usually do, I put it off for now.  I bought a trash can and tried out the washer with it draining into the trash can.  No water leak.  


I do have to empty around 15 gallons of water after every load though.  I've actually thought about doing this and using the water on the plants outside to save water in the summer, and now I'm doing it by necessity.  When I get the contractor to come out, I'm going to get quotes for the AZ room, a kitchen remodel, and fixing the laundry area.  I think I need to take out the shower and put the stacked washer/dryer back in that space.  My mother likes to take baths anyway and there is a motorized bath seat which raises and lowers a person in to the tub which we could buy.  That might be perfect.  The other option was replacing the tub in the guest bathroom with a walk in tub which cost around $1700.  The biggest complaint, besides cost, is having to stay in the tub while it drains before you can open the door.  I'll let her decide.

Anyway, those are all of the crazy ideas going around in my head again.  My mortgage repayment plan might go on hold if I need to pay for this remodeling project.  I had planned for the laundry/kitchen remodel after I paid off the mortgage but it might need to come first.  Stay tuned... 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Mortgage Update for December 2016

The gift buying is over and I managed to pay $1,200 extra towards my mortgage principal which brings the total to $22,931.  One year and 4 months left.  Now, to be honest, I haven't paid my credit card bill yet.  I don't get the bill until January 4th and  it's going to be a big one but I don't have to pay it for 30 days.

So, how did I spend my vacation days?  It stared off with a half day last Wednesday to take my nephew to the airport.  He wanted to be left at the curb so I was at work by 9am.  This meant I only had to work 4 hours and then I would be free.  I happily left by 2 and I don't even remember what I did after I got home.  On Thursday, I had the whole day off.  I slept late, did at least 6 loads of laundry, mopped the floor, vacuumed the bedrooms, moved stuff around in a semi-organized manner.  It was great.  The weather was great.  Everything was great until I made myself dinner and noticed liquid on the floor.  


I thought one of the dogs was angry at me for mopping but when I threw some paper towels down, it was clear that this was no dog puddle.  This was a major leak.  I threw a towel down and the water just laughed.  I thought the water might be coming from the closest appliance which was the dish washer so I got a wrench and tried to shut off the water valve under the sink.  


While I was trying to do that, my elbow went through the water soaked particle board, which is what my 70's cabinets are made of.  Curious, I easily broke off hunks of particle board to reveal a half inch of water under the sink cabinet.  Then, looking to my left, I noticed water around the gap between the tile and cabinet next to the fridge.  

Orange electrical cord for the Tiny House people.
Pondering that for a moment, I decided to check the bathroom pipes located on the other side of the wall.  They looked ok but the grout was a little damp.  Not wanting to break into the walls at that moment, I decided that it was probably a leak from the laundry drain pipe.


My laundry was mostly finished for the day and I wanted to eat dinner so I stopped the investigation and finished eating.  Then I remembered that I had a ShopVac in the other room.  Perfect for sucking up wet messes.  I dragged all the wet, dirty towels into a trash bag and out to the back porch and quickly sucked up all of the water and mess.  What a handy little machine.

I left everything to dry out and went to bed.  The next day was Friday and I picked up my aunt from the airport and had a nice dinner with my mother and sister.  Saturday was another cleaning day but I did not pursue the laundry leak mystery and that is where I will stop for today because I should just post this or else it will get too long.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Few Days Left

The gift buying is winding down.  Only a few more gift cards to mail off to nieces and nephews.  Last Friday, I took my nephew to Target to buy a few things for his relatives in Minnesota.  He wandered off to the toy section and I ended up picking the gifts.  I told him this was the last time that I would be buying gifts for his relatives since he will be in college next year and going directly to his grandfather's house.  He claimed poverty and when I reminded him how much money he has in his computer fund, he looked shocked that I would suggest that he use it.  Ah well, I was only suggesting that he put a little thought in to it.  He doesn't need to spend a lot.  It's just nice to bring a little something when visiting someone else's house, especially if you are expecting to receive gifts yourself. 


On Saturday, the weather was finally chilly by Arizona standards.  I think the high was in the 50's.  The leaves decided to fall off the trees and I picked the last of the green tomatoes.  The weather change gave me a sinus headache so I took a long nap which was very nice but I still had a headache when I woke up.  In the afternoon, we visited the cat shelter again and I went to my company's dinner.  It was small, only 12 people, and over by 7:30pm.  We have a new-ish boss.  I think he's been around for 2 years.  He just announced that our Chicago office will be closing at the end of next year so everyone is a little sad and nervous.  I don't think they will close my office unless they sell the company but that has also been a rumor going around.  I just need 2 more years and then I could put my semi-retirement plan into action.  If I lost my job today I would need to get another job, at least part time.  I would rent out my house and hopefully have enough money to finish off my barn-shed tiny house on the inside.  I don't think I am going to lose my job soon but I like to have contingency plans just in case.

Only one and a half days of work left this week and then some much needed time off.  I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Checking the List

Checking things off the list, one by one.  My nephew's high school choir concert was on Monday.  He came out of his room with black pants that were too tight and too short.  Good thing I saw him before he left for rehearsal because he didn't remember that I had bought him new pants a few weeks ago.  Pants changed and he was looking good.

Still working on his mustache.

Only a few days left of classes and then finals for him.  He is looking forward to the break and doesn't even mind that the weather in Minnesota is going to be freezing.  Last Saturday, I did my monthly 4 hours of trying to get my foster dogs adopted.  No luck.  Then I dropped off the dogs and picked up my nephew for volunteering at the cat shelter.  After that we had dinner at Culver's and then pants shopping at Kohl's so that I don't look neglectful when my nephew tries to wear shorts in the snow at his grandfather's house.  At least I provided appropriate clothing.  Whether he wears it or not is up to him. 

The next day I made lasagna which I meant to make for Thanksgiving but we actually had turkey instead.  The ingredients were getting old so I had to put them together.  I introduced my nephew to the movie "Scrooged" with Bill Murray.  He said he didn't need to watch it once the ghosts arrived because he knew what would happen but the movie kept him entertained enough that he kept watching.  Maybe next weekend we will watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  Lol.

This Thursday is our company audit.  It always makes me nervous because I am afraid I will be asked something that I don't know.  I've been at this company 10 years now.  I think I should know the procedures by now.  I did not expect to work there for 10 years.  5 years, maybe.  I still remember when my boss asked me what I planned to be doing in 5 years and I said I expected to have a child by then.  Turns out it did happen but I actually had a teenager instead of a newborn.  Strange how things work out.  Now that I have reached the 10 year mark, I get 4 weeks vacation!  I also got a $100/m raise for my usual annual raise.  That will be helpful.  I only took 11 days of vacation this year.  I must try harder to use my days next year because I will lose them if I don't take them by December.  I'm sure, if I put my mind to it, I will get them all used up.  That's the kind of challenge I like.