Monday, January 21, 2019

Playing Catch-Up

It's been a while for sure.  I think about my blog every once in a while but the lack of exciting news in my life seems to keep me from writing a post.  Plus, one of the main reasons for this blog was to keep my mother up-to-date with my life so that she wouldn't call me with a million questions.  She isn't able to read now so the motivation is gone.

Living with my mother was harder than I expected.  There was no way to keep her happy.  At the end of June, she agreed to move-in to an assisted living place because she didn't like being alone all day while I was at work.  We moved her there.  The weather was so hot and my nephew and I moved her stuff there ourselves.  It was a nice one bedroom apartment which opened to a shaded courtyard.  She hated it and they said they couldn't keep her.  I think she was there a whole 10 days.    I brought her back to the house for a week while I looked for a memory care place closer to home.  The cost was a lot more, $5,000 compared to $2,800, but at least she couldn't walk out.  The new place moved her stuff for us.  I was so happy about that. 

She hated it there too and called me many times a day to tell me but I couldn't bring her back to the house.  She wasn't able to live without supervision anymore.  People try to be helpful and say couldn't you just hire someone to stay with her while you are at work?  I could, but I could not mentally stand it.  She didn't know what time it was.  Knocked on my bedroom door at all times of day and night.  Moved stuff around so that I couldn't find things.  Wanted to drive the car.  Walked out the door. Complained of all sorts of illnesses and issues from wetting the bed to not liking her shoes.  Wrapped up food, trash, soiled clothes and hid them until they molded and smelled.  Poured oil on the stove. Turned the A/C up when she was cold (yes, it gets colder).  Thinks people are stealing from her and breaking in to the house.  I could go on and on but anyone who has experience with dementia knows what I'm talking about.  I did find a special programmable phone for her after she called 911 ten times at her new place.  Instead of single numbers the buttons only call preset people.  I'm glad someone invented that because I didn't want her to be totally cut-off from communication.  Unfortunately, she can't remember how to work the TV or her computer anymore and she can't read well so she is bored most of the time.  If you want to rile her up just say the word "Bingo".  She hates it.  I spent about 6 hours with her on Sundays, took her to church and shopping or out to eat.  It was getting more difficult though because last time she refused to get out of the car when we got back and before that she grabbed on to my arm and wouldn't let me leave.  I would have visited her more if she was more amicable.

In the middle of this moving from one assisted living apartment to another, Jimmy-dog suddenly became ill with diarrhea and vomiting.  I took him to the vet and they tried to help him but he died at home the next day.  I think his tumor finally interfered with something important.  I miss him.  

With mother out of the house and Jimmy-dog gone, I tried fostering again.  I took in two chihuahuas after a local shelter had flood damage.  It was only supposed to be for a month but it stretched into 3 months and I finally returned them.  The two chihuahuas were very scared and I was hoping they would like me and relax here but they stayed in the closet and only came out to pee on my stuff.  I had to put up a puppy gate in front of the closet to keep them in while I was at work. 

I also tried to foster a larger dog but that was a disaster.  I picked out a dog that was on the euthanasia list.  He was black and tan like Jimmy-dog and I thought maybe I could adopt him if he fit in.  Well, someone else wanted him so the rescue suggested that I get another dog.  This is where I should have said NO but he was going to die and I thought, maybe, he was a pit bull mix, not one I would have picked, but his evaluation just said he was a little shy so I drove an hour and a half to get him.  Then, I volunteered (I must have really been feeling energetic that day) to transport another larger dog at the same time.  I thought I would just drop the other dog off but as I was driving back the rescue called and said they couldn't get ahold of the person who was going to foster the larger dog, then, when they realized the dog wasn't neutered they asked if I could drop him off at the vet in the morning.  I said ok, one night wouldn't hurt.  

So I dropped him off the next day and then they asked if I could keep him for a week while he heals from surgery because the other foster home had a pool and they didn't want the incision to get wet.  I reluctantly agreed.  These two new dogs quickly became more than I could handle.  They were both around 4 years old and very strong.  The one I was supposed to foster was not house trained and my bedroom became a disaster area.  My terrier did not like either one of the big dogs and let them know it.  He got bitten 3 times in the head, the last time he was bitten I ended up crying to the rescue that I just couldn't do it.  I felt like a failure but I had to protect my dog.  Things got out of hand so quickly.  By the end of the week I was taking my terrier to work with me every day and we were hiding out in the guest room at night because the foster dogs would whine and scratch at the door for hours but I couldn't trust them around my terrier. Finally on Saturday I took the larger dog to his new foster home and the smaller (50 pound) dog had to go to a boarding facility until they could find a new foster.  I paid for his boarding so the rescue wasn't really inconvenienced and they found him a new foster home 2 weeks later.  Later on my dog's head got infected and he needed half of a face lift to close the wound.  I will spare you the Frankenstein picture.  I thought he had only been scratched but it was actually a puncture wound.

Around the end of September, my mother fell.  When I went to visit her, she was in a wheelchair and now had to wear diapers.  No one could explain why she suddenly couldn't walk and she could barely say coherent words.  I thought she might get better but the doctor at the facility just gave her more sedatives and anti-anxiety meds.  She fell out of bed and her wheelchair many more times.  Finally, I took her to a previously scheduled neurology appointment with a doctor she had seen back in April.  He was appalled by her condition and told me to take her to the ER for a complete work-up.  We spent the next couple of days at the hospital while the very young doctors tried to diagnose her.  What we did find out was that she had a broken pelvis from a previous fall and extra fluid on her brain.  There was ultimately nothing they could do for her that wasn't invasive surgery.  We didn't think she would survive another surgery so I took her back to the care-home.  My sister came out to visit and we went to look at a smaller group home where we thought she would get better care and attention.  We moved her there and that is where she is now.  The hospice people come and visit her and make sure that she is getting good care.  They got her a hospital bed with an air mattress and a wheelchair.  Her condition is about the same.  Some days she sleeps a lot and some days she is awake and trying to stand up.  She is still close by and I try to visit her 3 times a week.  Lately, I think she recognizes me but I never know if she will or not.

And back to the dog situation.  My other sister came out to visit for Christmas and we went dog-shopping at the pound.  I was looking for an old mellow dog, preferably female.  Well, I found this old guy.  He was sleeping and didn't seem to care about the barking around him.  He is 14 years old according to his previous owners, 75lb. pit-chow mix, and arthritic.  I brought my terrier to meet him and it went well so I brought him home.  I know he won't be around for very long but I'm glad I can give him a comfortable bed and good food while he's here.

He has a soft cone on so that he doesn't lick his leg where he had a lump removed.
One last photo of the Arizona snowman made from the 3 whole inches of snow week got the first week of January.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hello, Again

I took mom to the lake this weekend.  Not much happening there.
I don't know about you but to me these weeks are just flying by.  Now that I don't have a mortgage, I need to get serious about saving for my early-semi-retirement, or job change, or long vacation, or whatever you want to call it.  The sale of my house gave me $50k to start off the fund and it is invested in a mutual fund.  I figured out that I can realistically save $2K a month.  My goal is to save enough to give me $1,000 per month until I am old enough to start withdrawing money from my 401k.  I should reach that goal in three years.  Ugh, three more years.  It seems too far away. 

My original plan was to just eliminate my debt and live off of my rental income but that income is unreliable at times and this $1,000 a month will give me a cushion when the rentals are vacant.  Also, health insurance is still an unknown.  There used to be a lot of low cost major medical plans and plans with health savings accounts but they seem to have disappeared.  Now, when I put in my expected income, the calculators say that Medicaid is my only option.  I don't know whether that is good or bad.

Since I just had a birthday, three years from now will put me at 49.  Maybe I should just go for 50. Or maybe I should stop putting it off and just jump ship now.  I don't want to regret leaving a good job too soon but I don't want to regret missing out on other parts of life.  Will I ever find a balance?

On to the update:

Rental house 1- Rented with a good tenant who pays on time.  After putting some of the rent aside for taxes, insurance, and maintenance, I have $600 to go in my early retirement account.

Rental house 2- Rented.  After expenses, I should have $500 for my early retirement account.

Mobile home - My nephew is living here and I only charge him $50/m plus whatever the electric bill is.  There is a water tank there with 2500 gallons of water.  If he uses it up he will have to get it filled at $150 per 3000 gallons.  He doesn't have a job yet.  I told him that if he lines up an interview then he can use my truck and then when he lands a job he can buy it from me for minimal cost.  So far, he hasn't taken me up on that offer. 

Tiny shed-house - I hated to do it but it is stuffed with my extra belongings right now.  I didn't have time to downsize like I wanted too.  I wanted to leave it empty so that I could get the wiring and plumbing, walls and floors done with ease.  That plan has been put on the back burner but it is still my goal to live there in when I semi-retire.

The house I live in now is owned by my mother.  I don't pay rent but I pay all of the utilities.  My side of the house is full of boxes that I need to sort through.  It is always on my to-do list but I rarely have time for it on the weekends.

Pets- I still have my three dogs.  I'm not fostering right now but hope to get back in to it when I live in my tiny house although it will be crowded.  Perhaps the mobile home can be my kennel. Who knows what things will be like in three years.  One of my sisters is moving to Texas, the other is moving to Ohio.  Maybe I'll decide to move.  I can't say I haven't thought about it.

Saturday, March 31, 2018


The house has sold! It took 5 months of work on weekends and holidays and days off, but it is finally over.  After paying back the money I borrowed from my mother for the installation of air conditioning, and the money I raided from my nephew's college fund, I net $50k. $30 will get invested and $20 will go somewhere, maybe some projects and a trip to Europe? 

I haven't decided yet because things around here haven't slowed down. My nephew informed me on Monday that he was leaving school. His grandfather, with whom he was living during the past summer, had a stroke and is not in a position to invite him back. Unfortunately, the kid hasn't ingraciated himself with his other Minnesota relatives, so he will be returning to AZ in two days. Since I have moved in with my mother, there isn't a place for him here, or, let me be more specific, I will not be buying food for, providing meals for, cleaning up after, providing transportation for or otherwise mothering my nephew. We will be exploring housing and job options next week which will include the old mobile home which we lived in during his junior year of high school and possibly a studio apartment. But anyway, that is a future project. Let's get back to my house.

 The view from across the street. Typical 70's slump block home in Tucson, AZ.
 The 70's rock wall in the entryway. The colored glass is an interesting touch. I wonder if it is original to the house.
 Rock fireplace in the sunken living room. I used this room for storage since there is no garage.
 Looks nice with all my junk in it. LoL.
 The dining area off of the living room. I used this as the computer area.
 The family room. This is where I had my TV since it is connected to the kitchen. Make food and watch Hawaii 5-0!
 Another angle.
 The new kitchen. It didn't turn out exactly as planned. I bought cabinets from and I should have bought a sample door but I was in a hurry and when they arrived, I hated them. I had to change my plan a bit and add more lights to make them look less dreary and green.  They were supposed to be antique white. I have since learned that antique white is more like white that has sat for 100 years in a house with a wood cooking stove so that it now looks dingy and drab. I still don't like them but it doesn't matter because someone did like them and bought the house. At least they are good quality plywood cabinets instead of the particle board and plastic cabinets I had before. (except for the doors which are MDF medium density fiber board.)
 The bedroom was never this clean with all of my dogs in it. It cleaned up well though.
 This bathroom had already been remodeled by the previous owners so I didn't do anything.
 This bathroom got a new vanity cabinet, shelf, mirror, shower doors, toilet and towel bars.
The yard got cleaned up. It looks much nicer than this when the trees have leafed out. This was taken at the end of January.

So, that finishes that house. I finally don't have to go work on any urgent projects this weekend. I get to stay home and do my taxes. LoL.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Past Few Months

Maybe if I work on this synopsis of the last few months a few minutes a day, I will catch up.

  1. The move: As you know, my mother bought a house and we both moved in mid-August. It has been non-stop activity since and it is still on-going. I am very tired of moving!
  2. My mother's townhouse: We decided to tackle moving my mother's stuff out of her townhouse first because it was smaller than my house and close by. When we had removed most of the personal items, we asked our realtor how much stuff to leave for "staging"and what to take out. The realtor came over, gave some suggestions (less is more) and commented that another realtor in her office had some out of town clients looking in the area the next day. My mother gave her permission to show it even though it hadn't been cleaned and was still in disarray. Surprisingly, the people liked the townhouse and made a full price offer. We were thrilled and made plans to move the rest of the stuff out. It was hot and a lot of work but with a rented Uhaul truck and two rented guys, we got it done.
    Unfortunately, ALL of the stuff, including the trash, was now at the new house. We are still sorting through it.
  3. My house in Tucson: It has been very hot and finding the time to drive to my house, 45 minutes away, has been difficult. I have made a few trips, car loads, pick-up truck loads.
    What remains is the miscellaneous, most of which can be given away or taken to my property. These things are most tools, gardening items, fencing, anything I won't be needing in the suburbs. The new backyard has very little garden space. I've been throwing old seeds out by the drip system emitters. That's the extent of my gardening, at the moment. The new house does have roses and citrus trees so keeping those alive is enough responsibility for now. This week, my handyman has begun the repairs I need to do before I list it for sale. I do want to replace the kitchen cabinets but haven't figured out exactly what to replace them with. Maybe IKEA cabinets if I can take a day off.
  4. The dogs: I got Francis adopted the Saturday before I moved. That was very fortunate as she was the most energetic and the loudest barker. I brought 4 dogs to the new house and talked to all of my neighbors who were home to let them know to tell me if the dogs bothered them. Everyone was fine...until last week. The snowbirds who live on the corner came back and the dogs barked like crazy when they heard new voices. The neighbors complained to the homeowner's association and we got a visit from them. Turns out the neighbors like to eat breakfast in their backyard. So, out came the bark collars and I had a nice chat with the neighbors and gave them my number in case the dogs start barking again. BUT...I also got my last foster dog adopted last week and we finally got solid gates on the fence so the dogs can't see the people who walk down the alley. Big improvements.
  5. Living with my mother: It's a work in progress. Between moving, selling my house, my job, and regular life stuff, I don't have a lot of time. My mother wants to watch movies and I just want to take a nap. She does the grocery shopping and the dishes, which is very nice. I make dinner on the weekends and try to have enough leftovers for the week.
  6. Rental house #1: I got a notice that the tenants were moving out in August. Almost immediately, I got a notice that new people were moving in. There are always repairs and cleaning bills so I waited for the email. The second week in September, I got an email from the management company that said I needed to authorize $2500 in expenses so that the tenants could move in in 3 days. I was like, um, no, you're fired. They were apologetic and re-did the estimate.
    I looked at the property and decided to pay for carpet replacement, got my handyman to clean up the yard, and took a day off work to paint the walls with my handyman which only cost $350 rather than the $1,100 that was quoted to me. I also took down the old window shades and put up shear curtains.
    The tenants decided not to move in but I got to keep their $850 deposit and new tenants have since signed a lease. Hopefully, Rental house #1 will be stable for a while.
  7. Rental house #2: My tenant, the one that was living out in my mobile home and then I bought this little house in town for him to rent, has decided to move to Brazil at the end of the month. He wants me to help him re-home his 2 dogs and 2 cats. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to foster so I can only help with advertising them. Soon, I will need to find a new tenant. I've had a few inquiries but the area of town that it is in isn't the greatest and I don't think either of the single women who inquired would want to live there. Someone will appreciate it though. Hopefully, a responsible person who always pays their rent on time.
  8. My mobile home property: It's being totally neglected. I go out there to collect the mail once a month. The weeds are taking over. I hate seeing it like that but I don't have the time or money to work on it yet. Once my house sells, maintaining the property will be easier.
    Maybe I will even have some money for more improvements like bringing electricity to the barn-shed and building more fencing or walls to keep out the snakes.
  9. My job: It is going crazy. They let one person go from our office and they have asked me to go to out plant in Mexico twice a week. So far, I've only been going once a week because I get so behind on my emails when I go down there. I want to take some time off to work on the house that I will be selling but I just seem to be getting more and more behind every day. I think I will take a half day every Friday anyway because I have some vacation time to use before December. Since I'm going to the Mexico plant, I've finally started trying to learn some Spanish. I downloaded the Duolingo app on my phone and I have practiced every night for 2 weeks. The beginning stuff was easy because I did have Spanish in high school but it is quickly getting harder. The most of the people at the plant speak English but I tell them all that I am trying to learn so they teach me new words. Todays word was carrots: zanahorias. 

There you go. The quick synopsis. My home computer is still dead and I don't have the new laptop they are supposed to be buying me yet. Maybe next month.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bumps in the Road

I'm still here! Yes, I moved in with mother and everything has been on over-drive ever since.  I have a lot to catch up on but I am trying to type this on my little phone. My home computer is stuck in an automatic repair loop of death. My job has picked up speed, I have to go to our plant in Mexico twice a week now.  They are going to buy me a laptop which should be here at the end of the month so I guess that is good because I won't have to replace my desktop computer just yet. Oh, and our IT guy at work said he would help me recover my data.

Mom and the dogs.

Anyway, I wanted you all to know I am alive and well and I hope to post a real update soon.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Moving In, Maybe

Moving day tomorrow! The wall project got approved by the HOA architectural committee and my handyman has been working on raising the wall from 4' to 6' this week. The sliding glass door isn't installed in my bedroom yet but I am determined to get moved in this weekend. I've been taking bags and boxes to the new house every time I go there but tomorrow I'm taking the dogs and that marks the official move day because I will be sleeping there from now on. Home is where the dogs are. After that, I'll help my mom bring her stuff over.  

On Sunday, I will move the quail and another load of stuff. So far, I'm bringing a lot of stuff but hardly any furniture. I am leaving some furniture for staging the house for sale. My handyman decided that he can't afford to buy my house right now. That means I will have to go ahead with my remodeling plan to get my house ready to list. That's probably for the best. House prices in my neighborhood are going up and up. It almost makes me want to rent but I'd rather just get the money and invest it. Two rental houses is enough for me.

I got a dog adopted! The dog that came back after being adopted as a puppy 5 years ago, she got adopted to a nice young lady who likes to go for runs and hikes. That's exactly the kind of person she needed. I am so glad that I have one less dog to move to the new house.

There are still a lot of projects to do at the new house. On Monday, I'll get the sliding glass door for my bedroom so that I can use my sliding door dog door. Then I'll get a small patio cover over it for rainy days. Then my mother bought a bathroom vanity and sink top and also wants a new toilet, tub, and tile. By then, I should have all of my belonging out of my house and will want the handyman to start fixing up my house. So much to do! I only have $15k to work with so I had better use it wisely.I need new kitchen cabinets and to remodel the master bath just to name a few things. The list is long. Whew, I'm tired. Wish I could sleep in tomorrow but no, I can't put this off any longer! 

Update- I went by the house this evening and the wall is only about 20% complete. How disappointing.  I'm still going to move in tomorrow. If the dogs bark too much with the workmen there, we'll go back to my house during the week when I have to work. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Slow Progress

Yes, I am still here and doing fine. Things are chaotic with the new house and renovations. We finally got the keys on the 14th and I brought a load of stuff down to put in the closet because I thought it didn't need any work but then Mom suggested that we get the popcorn ceiling texture removed while the house was empty. The living/dining room, master bedroom, and half of the closet had popcorn texture. Almost all of the house needed paint so I couldn't bring any more stuff there. So far, 80% is painted, the popcorn is gone, and there is white dust everywhere. The ceilings have been re-textured and I think they got painted today. Mom didn't like the brown light fixtures so last Friday we went shopping for brushed nickel fixtures with white shades. They got installed today. 

Next on the list is painting the inside of the garage and then most likely covering the countertops with something of a lighter color than black. I submitted the application and project plans for raising the wall in the backyard and adding a sliding door and patio cover. The HOA (homeowner's association) has to approve all outside changes. Hopefully, I will get their approval next week so that the handyman can get started. It will be a lot easier to bring the dogs if the wall is high. I don't want them barking at every person walking by.

Our monsoons are in full swing. It is hot and humid and my evaporative cooler only makes it sweatier inside my house. The rain usually dries up by August so I am hopeful that it won't be so humid when I have to move. 10 minutes of breaking down garden fencing left me a sweaty mess last weekend and the only comfortable spot was sitting in front of the fan. I continued to box up my nephew's stuff and the boxes were soggy. 3 more boxes got mailed to his grandfather's house, 3 more to go, and 3 more to be shipped later to college. I asked him where he wanted his stuffed animals to go and he said to college. Awww. That's cute.

My internet went out for 4 days last weekend. It was strange to be away from it for so long. I still had broadcast TV so I wasn't totally cut-off. I tried to get all of the utilities turned on at the new house last week. I accidentally sent in the request to the wrong water company and the water got turned off on Monday. Mom told the neighbor and they turned it on for her. I think that was illegal but the water company was going to turn it on that morning anyway. 

There are 2 internet providers in this neighborhood, CenturyLink and Cox Cable. I wanted to go with CenturyLink since that's who I have now so I have a wifi modem/router but, as the Cox commercial says "We're in a slow zone". They can only offer 5Mbps. Cox can do whatever we are willing to pay for. I signed up for 15Mbps plus TV and phone, took half day off last Friday to wait for the technician and then found out they had rescheduled me for Monday without telling me. I cancelled that bundle and tried CenturyLink. They wanted to give me 5Mbps for $45/month. That's ridiculous. So, I went back to Cox and signed up for internet-only 15Mbps for $35/month. I had to buy a new modem/router but I got a used one off Amazon. I still need to activate it but I haven't had the time to dedicate to that chore. Oh, and I had dismantled my computer and brought it to the new house in anticipation of the technician showing up last week so now it sits in the house alone and I have to rely on my phone and Kindle. 

I unplugged the tiny house people's life support today (2 large extension cords). They are headed up to Idaho in search of permanent parking. It's too bad they didn't want to live on my mobile home property. Tiny houses are legal out there. Having to haul water is a turn-off for many people. They were here for 8 months! It was only going to be one month until they found something better but it turned in to much longer. I wish them the best. Maybe they will come back if Idaho doesn't turn out well.

Whew, we are making slow but steady progress on this moving thing. Maybe I'll be living in the new house in two weeks? It could happen.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More of the Waiting Game

The rollercoaster ride continues. I don't like writing about things when they haven't been resolved so, forgive me for not writing about making an offer on the house. We did make an offer and then waited, and then the bank counter-offered, and then my mother counter-counter-offered, and we finally heard back on Saturday that they had accepted. Since this house is a foreclosure, there is extra paperwork and extra time for every step. The bank wanted to close on it this Friday, which was really fast, but our realtor told them we needed more time for the inspection so they were willing to stretch it out until July 7. Still really fast. The inspection will be on Friday and I will take the day off for the inspection and another half day for closing.

This is all so weird. I hate moving and change and this is going to take a lot of work at the hottest time of year. But at least the new house has air conditioning, unlike my current house with only evaporative cooling and the small A/C unit that I fit in the sliding door. 

It works great for getting to sleep before midnight but I have to dismantle it if my big dog needs to go out at 2am.

So, that's what's been going on. Just waiting on other people to make decisions. I still get a 4 day weekend for the fourth of July so I am looking forward to that. All of my weekends after that will involve moving or handymen or remodeling my house to put it up for sale. I just want to wave a magic wand and it will all be done.

Friday, June 16, 2017

House Hunting Again

Things have slowed down and sped up at the same time. The day to day things like high school stuff, grocery shopping, making dinner, doctors appointments, college prep, etc... have slowed drastically, which is a relief. My nephew has his class schedule for next semester but he needs to change one class because they signed him up for Survey of Math and he has already taken Calculus I in high school. He is waiting to find out his score on the AP Calculus test (not until July 9) so he will know which math class to add or if he doesn't need anymore math, maybe he can get a natural science core out of the way. 

The big goals have sped up. The porch cover was finished on my barn-shed. Gutters and water collection tank will be attached some time in the future. There isn't a desperate need for it since my water tanks are pretty much full right now and it is so hot that I don't want to go out there to do it. 

My mother and I went to look at houses for sale in the neighborhood close to where she lives. We weren't expecting to find any that would work for us but a couple of them did. We are going to put an offer in on one on Monday. The yard is not as large as I would like but there is a large Arizona room where I can make an "indoor dog park". It connects to the master bedroom and bathroom and then there is a walk-in closet and then the closet has another closet! I think I will have enough storage space. My mother will have the other half of the house including 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen, dining room, and a big living room with a fireplace.  
 Big enough for my indoor dog park. Just needs a dog door.

The walk-in closet has it's own closet. I think that would be enough room.

The kitchen needs some style help but it is big enough.

I'm still looking for new listings though because one of those houses with the extra large lots is going to come up for sale one of these days! I just know it.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Luxury of Time

Nephew update:  He has a job at Mc Donald's.  I shipped 3 boxes and his golf clubs for arrival on Friday (Note to self, never ship golf clubs again.  Too expensive.)  There are 6-8 more boxes but I am going to wait to ship them until he asks for them since some things should be shipped straight to college in August.  His grandfather is trying to convince him to buy a laptop instead of a gaming computer.  I'm staying out of it.  That's about all I know.  He doesn't communicate much so I'm going to assume that no news is good news.    

This was mid-sorting.
Now that I'm not worrying about my nephew's whereabouts, meals, homework, screen-time, etc... my brain has so much time to think about all of the things I've been putting off.  I threw out all of the trash in nephew's room and put 85% of the stuff in boxes on the bed which I have left open so that I can find things.  I cleaned out any food that I bought for nephew and that I don't want to eat like Kraft Mac and Cheese and Hamburger Helper.  I'm going to drop it off at my tenant's house along with a big bag of dog food donated from the dog rescue and a table top bbq with leftover charcoal.  I'm really not the bbq type.

Today I took a half day off to wait for the water delivery truck to deliver 3,500 gallons of water to my new tank at the mobile home/barn-shed property.  The guy filled my 3,000 gallon tank, then put around 300 gallons in another tank.  Then I thought we could empty the truck into the 300 gallon tank but when it was filling, suddenly water started pouring out.  There was a 2 foot crack starting halfway around the tank.  Dismayed, I tried to think of how to save my water and ended up stuffing a plastic grocery bag inside so that it poked through the crack and slowed the leak to a trickle.  I wasn't planning on having to transfer water today but it was clear that it would leak out if I left it so I set up the pump and hose.  I suspect it got cracked when the neighbors helped my tenant get water when he was living here.  They took the tank in the back of their pickup and it looks like it was shoved out too many times.  The tank was very old and brittle so I'm not surprised.  I'm going to try to repair it and still use it for rainwater collection like I had planned.

Crack in tank with temporary plastic bag fix.
 While I was waiting for the water to transfer to the other tank, I dropped off 3 bags of clothes and 1 box of toys with a friend.  She'll find a new home for everything.  I stopped at Dairy Queen for a hot dog and drink and drove back to finish up the water transfer.  As soon as I pulled up I realized there was something wrong with the car and, sure enough, the passenger side tire had a side-wall gash.  Not wanting to use the cheap car jack on gravel, I called AAA.  I figured they would arrive by the time I finished transferring the water.  Unfortunately, they got lost and I ran out of drinkable water (I wasn't expecting to be there that long).  Next time I go out to there I must remember to bring reserves.  It was 105F out there.  Too hot!  I miss not having a refrigerator there since I moved it to the rental house but I will bring the fridge from my house as soon as I find a nicer replacement.  At least I had a window A/C which I stood in front of whenever I wasn't moving stuff around outside.

AAA arrived and changed the tire and I drove slowly to the tire shop.  A coworker picked me up so that I could spend 2 hours going through my email.  I'm going to have a lot to do tomorrow to catch up.  My coworker dropped my off at the tire store on the way home and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tire was under warranty and they only charged me $10 for labor. That was a relief. I'm glad I am safely at home now and I have crossed a few more chores off of my list.

Here's a layout of my property so that you know what I am talking about.  This is not where I am currently living, it's just used for storage at this point, but it is where I hope to retire someday soon.  I put the water tank on the hill to use gravity to my advantage and for ease of filling.  Eventually, I would like to have all rainwater catchment but I don't have enough roof area yet.

1- Shed. 2- Mobile home. 3- Barn-shed (someday tiny house) 4- New water tank.
This is the memorial tree for my father that my coworkers gave me almost two years ago.  It has more than doubled in size.

Just a reminder that the rattlesnakes are nearby in case I forget. This was under the water tank when we tipped it up along with a fat packrat.

Next Items on the List:
-Bring food and bbq to tenant.
-Dog adoption event.
-Pick a day to go look at houses with Mom.

It's nice to be making progress.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We're All Graduated!

The week I have been both looking forward to and dreading is finally over. It has been the end goal ever since my nephew came back to live with me two years ago. GRADUATION WEEK! and all that went with it. It began with my birthday, then Mother's Day, the Choir concert, Honor's night, Choir Awards Banquet, Choir Lock-In, Graduation, my sister visiting, and celebratory dinner with nephew, sister and mother. Whew, done. 

My sister went home today after taking my nephew shopping for college clothes. We went to a final doctor's appointment for a booster shot and enough asthma and allergy medicine to hold my nephew over until he goes to Minnesota on Saturday where he will be magically cured of all that ails him. Well, at least, it seems that he doesn't have as many allergic reactions back there which is funny because "the desert" used to be the place for less allergies. But, his grandfather doesn't have pets except for the next door dog which visits and there is less dust although there is more mold. 

For the remaining days until he leaves, we will shovel through his room and make the appropriate piles for immediate use, college use, and storage. Then I will ship his things off to Minnesota including the golf clubs which were shipped here from Minnesota but never used because he lost interest. His grandfather golfs so hopefully they will get some use again.

It's an exciting time of change and possibilities for us. My nephew is excited because he has enough money to buy his own gaming computer now with no parental controls or screen time limits (I keep warning him that he still has to do his homework or reap the consequences). And I am excited to get on with the cleaning out of this house and selling of it so that the mortgage and home equity line of credit can be paid off before my mother and I buy a house together. The weather has moved in to the 100's this week so that puts a bit of a damper on my enthusiasm but at least I will have less to do on the weekends and less grocery shopping. It's time for super-saver frugal mode while I eat all of the leftovers in the house and get organized once again.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

That Day Again

Last Saturday morning was gloriously calm and slow. I was cooking up some late-morning pancakes when the phone rang. Now, I knew there was a possibility of me getting a dog returned but I had hoped that it wouldn't be for a few more weeks since they had to take her to the shot clinic first to get the shots up to date. So, I answer the phone and it's the people with the dog asking when it is a good time to meet. Ok, might as well get it over with. I told them to call me after the shots since that can take hours at the cheap clinic and then we would meet at the dog park. I brought my dog, Toto, because he enjoys car rides and we picked up Sadie, the puppy I adopted out 5 years ago. I also got the rest of the story. The guy had been married when he adopted her but since got divorced and remarried, has a 1 yr old and his wife is pregnant again. Sadie, being a high energy dog, wasn't tolerated well by the new wife. I can empathize but there are things one can do to keep an energetic dog occupied. They just take time and patience. 

So, now I get to do those things to keep an energetic dog occupied until we can find her a new family. Trainers say to tire out a dog, they need physical and mental activity. First off, I don't run. I also like to sleep in. This dog likes to run and likes to get up early. I've been getting up at 6am and taking her and Toto for a walk. It's only 15 minutes or so but it's a huge accomplishment for me and the dogs like it. Then we practice her sit, down, shake. I go off to work and hope she behaves. She isn't a big chewer and hasn't destroyed anything, much to my relief. When I come home, I take the 3 slow dogs for a short walk and then exchange them for Toto and Sadie and we go on a longer walk. I throw the ball around the back yard and then put her in her crate at 8pm with something to chew on like a bully stick or Kong toy filled with kibble and peanut butter. It's worked so far and she has even been staying quiet in her crate until I go get her at 6:30am although I need to get up earlier than that to not be late to work.

I would really like to be able to hitch her to a cart and have her pull me around but carts are too expensive and I don't have the time to design my own. So, I borrowed a bike from a friend and bought a leash attachment bar for $15 on Ebay to keep her away from the wheels. The attachment will be delivered on Saturday and I hope it works. 

I would love to be able to get enough speed on the bike for her to run.

Ok, enough about the dog, even though that's been my main focus all week. Today is my birthday. 45 years old and I am not retired yet or semi-retired. I am still at my same job that is "meh", but gives me adequate money. My new retirement goal is still 2-3 years away although I really like the security that comes with knowing that I could survive if I quit my job today. I want to do more than merely survive though so I will keep working towards that goal.