Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Master List

Let's check the progress on my never-ending to-do list:

Laundry - Fixed!  The handyman found the leak in the wall in the drain pipe behind the sink.  Someone had over-tightened the cap and cracked the pipe which eventually grew to be a big leak.  It's a good thing we hadn't used the toilet in that bathroom because, Eew, it uses the same drain.  The laundry water was leaking under the kitchen cabinets and now I know what was causing the moldy smell.

All fixed now.  I sprayed the inside of the wall down with bleach, and the handyman will come back later to repair the drywall.  It is so nice to be able to do laundry without the added hassle of draining it into a trashcan and then emptying it by bucket in to the sink.

Dog - Adopted!  A family came to meet Sassy at the big adoption event but they needed to wait a week since the wife was out of town.

Last Sunday, I took Sassy over to their house to meet their other dog and cats.  Things went really well and they love her and want to keep her.  It is exactly the kind of family I wanted for her because she is affectionate and loves attention and there are many people in their household to give her attention, plus the parents really like her too.  With my nephew leaving and me moving in with my mother, Sassy would get even less attention from me.  And, she gets 3 walks a day!

Visitors - My sister stopped by on her way through the state.  We had dinner and then floated around her hotel pool and caught up on news.  Then Aidan's grandfather stayed with us Monday and Tuesday nights.  He was in very good spirits and it was a pleasant visit for all.

Glasses - My nephew and I spend 2 hours at the eye doctor getting a new prescription and picking out a new pair of glasses for him.  He will be off of my insurance when he turns 18 this summer so we need to get these things done now.

Truck - The check engine light went on in the truck that my nephew drives.  I switched vehicles with him and took it into the shop.  $400 for a new fuel injector, system flush and oil change.  Hopefully, it will pass emissions testing this week.

Barn-shed- I didn't take stuff out to the barn-shed because I decided to stuff it into the extra bathroom instead.  It worked.  My living room actually looks like a functioning living room now.
 I wanted it to look good when visitors came but they never went in that room.  They didn't know how bad it looked before anyway.  Oh well, it looks better to me.  I plan to take stuff out to my barn-shed and mobile home (once I clean it) on Saturday and Monday (I'm taking the day off work).

Pre-birthday Present - I was tired of spending money on necessities and decided to splurge on a 3,000 gallon water tank for the property.  I would have done this 2 years ago instead of buying the above ground pool as a temporary water tank but I didn't have the money then.  It cost $1,537 with tax and will cost me a little more to have my handyman deliver it with his flat bed trailer in a few weeks.  Then, I will spend $150 to have it filled with water.  That should be enough water to last until I get some rainwater collection systems hooked up.  It will soon be too hot to work on any big projects outside so this is my safety net if/when I sell my house and need to move out to my property before my mother and I find a house to buy together. 

Tiny House People - The tiny house people are staying another month.  I told them that I was planning to sell the house this summer.  I wish I could get their tiny house out to my property but I think the road might be too uneven and narrow.  We are planning to go out there this weekend to evaluate it. 

New Rental house - The new rental house is doing well.  The tenant is paying his own utilities so I am looking forward to a lower electric bill.  The washer is working well and the tenant loves having unlimited water.  I know the feeling.  Hauling one's own water is a tedious and difficult chore. 

May is looming on the horizon.  Only 2 weeks of high school left, then one week of finals and graduation.  The airline tickets were cheapest on Wednesday and Saturday of the following week, so I let my nephew pick.  He chose Saturday so he will have a week to relax after graduation before he moves to Minnesota and gets a job.  I'm trying to enjoy these last days with my nephew but everything is so busy and time keeps marching on. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Moving Things Around

Whew, I took an extra day off to make it a 4 day weekend but there was still so much running around.  One of these days I'm going to get to stay home.  On Thursday, I took Sassy to her vet appointment and dropped my other foster dog at the groomer for a trim.

Got home around 11 and made some breakfast/lunch.  Watched some TV and procrastinated because I was supposed to be doing my taxes.  Worked on my taxes enough to realize that since my nephew turned 17 last year, I couldn't claim the EIC credit for him.  Sadness.  I ended up owing $1200!  That was a shock.  I will have to adjust my withholding again.  And this year is the last year I will get to be Head of Household.  I go back to being just plain Single with the high taxes that go with it.  Plus, I'll have rental income from the second rental.  Taxes galore!  I need to retire soon and reduce my income.

Later in the day, someone wanted to meet my foster dog and that went well.  Then, my nephew had a Fine Arts demonstration at his high school where he sang two songs with his choir.  I was late but made it for the last song.

On Friday, my nephew and I had planned to move the love seat, dresser, dog pool and bike for my tenant, but first, my mother misplaced her keys so we drove over to help her out and she bought us lunch.  Then we went out to the property and loaded up the truck.  We had some trouble keeping the plastic pool inside the truck bed even with a cargo net so I had to stop and stuff in behind our seats.  The stuff made it safely to its destination and the nice neighbors helped us unload.  On the way home we got blocked by a stopped train so we went home the long way but that was ok because we went by the good car wash (the one that costs $5 and actually uses soap) and got the truck washed.  We made it home by 6.

Saturday was the big adoption event at the Tucson Expo Center.  One person came in to meet Sassy and they reserved her pending a visit to their house and their 10 cats. (yes, TEN!)  We shall see how that goes later this week.

 Sunday was Easter and we spent it with my mother and also celebrated her birthday which was the weekend before but she was out of town.  Got home at 5 and took a short nap to try to get rid of my headache.  Then, time to finish my taxes and file them. (Goodbye $1200).  I did get $450 back from the state from prepaying my taxes to public and private schools so I guess that's not so bad.

I don't think I mentioned how the move went last weekend.  It took longer than planned and was a really windy day but we didn't lose anything on the road and my nephew got a lot of experience driving the truck with a full load (the bed, refrigerator, and other belongings) 50 minutes across town.  I am so glad that is over and my tenant is settled in.  He is paying for his own utilities now too so I expect my electric bill to decrease dramatically (and even more so when the tiny house people leave next month).  I do love paying tenants but, oh my gosh, I need to simplify and consolidate some things.

Next steps: 
Take Sassy to meet her potential adopters sometime this week.
Take my other foster to meet the lady's husband and dog (if they are still interested).
Take some stuff from the house and put it in the barn-shed for storage so that I can organize my house.
Clean the mobile home and haul the trash away. 
Get handyman to fix the drip edge on my roof and grease the evaporative cooler because it is embarrassingly LOUD and I am trying not to run it even though it is in the mid-90's here.
Get handyman to rearrange the laundry area so that I don't have to drain the washer into a trashcan and empty it with a bucket anymore.  That is getting old.

Plus, one of my sisters is visiting and Aidan's grandfather is visiting next week.  Only 5 weeks until high school graduation!  We can make it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Adventures in WiFi

Qwest/Centurylink has always been my nemesis.  I spent so much time listening to that annoying automated voice that I cringe every time I hear it.  At least now they give me the option to push a button instead of telling that voice what I want.  I've been paying for the internet service out at my mobile home.  Initially, I kept it connected because I planned to go out there and sort through my stuff.  But then, the tenant moved in and I said, that's ok, I'll keep it on since this will be a temporary thing.  8 months later at $57 a month, I was looking forward to cancelling it as soon as he moved.  He will be responsible for all of his own utilities at the new house. 

Last month, my tenant sent me a text and asked if I had shut off the internet.  No, I wouldn't do that without telling him.  I called Centurylink and they got me to the right department which always takes extra time because Arizona seems to be still under the "Qwest" brand name and a different division of the company.  We went through the usual troubleshooting and they agree to sent a technician out.  3 days later, I get a phone call from the tech who can't find my property, which is normal, and I give him the "third cactus from the right" sort of directions.  He made it, went back and forth to the main box on the street a couple of times and determined that my modem was about to die and a rodent had chewed the wires at the street.  The rodent part was good news to me because I always like it to be their issue.  My tenant sent me a text and said the tech gave him a free modem and everything was fine now.  I didn't believe the "free" part so I called the tech and he said, yes, they give out free modems now if the modem is dying.  Wow, I'm impressed.  I bet Centurylink has a lot of extra modems from their leased returns.  What a good PR stunt.  And, he told me that he noticed that my account was not on a promotion so he added one.  It reduced my bill by $20! 

Now that my bill was reduced, I thought that if I got a promotion for my other service at the house, then I wouldn't need to cancel and I could afford to keep it on until I am in a position to move out to the property again.  I finally called and was surprised to hear "add a promotion" as one of the calling options.  No threats to cancel necessary, the agent happily added a 1 year promotion and reduced my bill by $25.  Great!  Now I can carry on with my plan to get the house ready to sell and move out to my property while simultaneously looking for a house to buy with my mother.  And I will still have wifi available at each location which is really handy for my phone with no data plan, just wifi.

Monday, April 3, 2017

April Already

I never thought April would get here, and yet, it seems to be here too soon.  Spring break is over and I am glad because for previous breaks my nephew would go to visit his aunt in California, but this last time, he wanted to stay home.  That was fine with me except I didn't get a break from grocery shopping and thinking about how he is spending too much time on the computer and resenting, just a little, his care-free life.  But I know he will be off to college in a few short months and his life will soon be as complicated as the rest of our lives.  Is that a good thing?  My life could be a lot simpler if I wasn't trying to retire early or arrange semi-passive income from rental property, or develop my desert property with a tiny house and rainwater catchment system, or sell my house and live with my mother for as long as she needs me.  Bored, I am not.

Last Saturday, the plan was to pick up my mother, show her the rental house, go with my nephew to get my tenant and move his stuff since he doesn't have a car, and enjoy my care-free Sunday along with the usual grocery shopping.  It started out ok.  I picked up my mother and took her to the rental house.  The workmen were still finishing the inside and cutting and putting up the blinds.  The inside was still a mess.  I wiped down the new tile in the bedroom so that we would have a place to put stuff.  It's funny how a tile color called "sand" would seem like it would go with almost anything but in reality it clashes with the red tile in the living room and the orangish color on the walls.  

Oh well, that's what I get for not bringing color samples with me.  Did I really expect to get everything done in one week?  Hahaha.  I'm so na├»ve.  I did find this awesome little vanity sink and cabinet for $89 at the used building supply store.  

Plus a pre-hung front door for $109 and a metal security door for $39 (the existing front door was very small), and a gas stove for $75.  I wasn't planning on replacing the door and also rearranging the windows but since the outside is going to get new stucco, I thought this would be a good time to do it.  One of the double pane living room windows got removed and put in the front of the house to replace a single pane window.  The single pane window went to the back bedroom to replace a broken window.  And I bought one new double pane window for the dining area.  If I had more money I would have replaced the other 3 windows but they are on the north side so they aren't as important.

By the time we got home it was 1, I was tired and hungry so I told my tenant I would come out at 3:30.  At 3 I jumped in the car and noticed raindrops and the wind picking up.  The plan ran off the tracks and I postponed it until Sunday.  By Saturday evening I had a headache that wouldn't go away.  Sunday it was worse.  I cancelled the plan. 

My mother had spent the night and luckily, my nephew was able to take her home.  He was very proud of himself for not getting lost.  I was very proud of him too.  Not one complaint.  I started feeling better around 4 in the afternoon.  The workmen will have another week to work on the outside stucco, paint and fencing.  I am still on the hunt for a washing machine and hope to have one by next Saturday, which is the new move-in date.  It will be good to get "phase one" completed so that I can move on to fixing up my own house, if I have any money left.

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 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.