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Archive for May, 2013

Busy, spendy day!

June 1st, 2013 at 04:46 am

Today was a vacation day.

The hub made an appointment (and paid!) for a side by side massage for us! What a treat! A foot soak and neck wrap, followed by an hour of stop-it-some-more massage, followed by a sauna and shower..uh, yessss!

Then, I had to get my driver's license renewed ($40). The DMV always takes so long- but an hour and a half later, we were done with that chore. While we were there, we got the paperwork ($4)to dispose of an old vehicle that no longer runs- I cant find the title, so this is the alternate option. The hub will be selling it for scrap.

Then, we went to lunch and enjoyed a lunch of mexican food.

Today was also payday for both the hub and I. Because it was the third payday this month, my paycheck had a little over $100 extra because the extra deductions dont come out when there are three paydays in a month. That extra was easily gobbled up when we went to Costco this afternoon and bought a memory foam topper for our bed. We are sleeping on a smaller bed, that is not the quality of our king sized bed, so we are hoping this topper will help. We also got a tri-tip, dog food, and some food for the week and supplies. We spent $270. (OUCH) When does this simple living plan start equating to spending LESS? Honestly, I think we are done getting everything we needed for the little house, with the exception of fixing the AC.

Tonight the hub is working on his friends log truck up near the hubs wood yard- it is so nice to be out here and not in town. While they are working, I have been reading one of the books I checked out from the library. "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. It is interesting. I can relate with the author, who lost her mother and then struggled with dealing with her grief. I am enjoying the read...and having the TV off while the hub is occupied outside. Big Grin

Tomorrow should be a stay at home, no spend day, which I am really looking forward to.

Settling in

May 30th, 2013 at 07:50 pm

The hub and I are finally all moved in to the little house. Although, we still have some work to do since our perceptions of what would fit in 390 sq ft vs the reality means we need to continue to downsize before everything that will stay, fits.

Our first (real, moved-in) night, Sunday, we had my sons two little ones (5 and 3) with us, as well as DD3, our lab and my very jumpy-from-the-move cat. Having one queen bed and two recliners made for a night of little sleep-(except for the two kiddos and the dog who conked out and slept just fine)

I did learn that a king sized top sheet, adjusted correctly in the new bedroom, about 3 ft over the bed, will reach all four walls and, when secured, comes out looking like a giant tent when laying in the bed. The grandkids loved it.

On Monday, the hub bbq'd and we invited his nephew over. The nephew has been living in the big house, but is moving out this weekend. After he moves, the next phase of this master plan begins. We plan to rip out carpets and most of the flooring, remodel a wall and fireplace, repaint the entire inside and out, and lay new flooring. If there is money left in the budget, there are other repairs on the wish list, but for now, that is our scaled down plan.

Before the hub leaves for Alaska, I am going to learn how to mow, weed eat, and take care of things on my own so that I am self sufficient while he is gone. It has been comforting knowing his nephew was nearby if something came up. After he moves, and the hub leaves, my nearest support is 30 minutes away. Guess its time to get reaquainted with all the neighbors..

Yesterday, the internet and TV were hooked up. The hub definately missed watching his programs. Me, I missed the quiet last night. And the internet is intermittent at best as they hooked it in the big house, which is about 200 ft from the little house so the signal isnt real strong. But, it is something.

My cat has settled down and is actually enjoying being a country bumpkin. He has already caught his first mouse and is doing a good job of claiming his outdoor play space and hunting territory among the three dogs. He plays hard and sleeps well. As it should be.

I am enjoying the book on CD that I checked out from the library. It is a murder mystery and makes the drive to and from work fly by.

I am taking tomorrow and Monday off. After all the moving, kiddos, work, etc. I am really ready to enjoy the peace and quiet for a few days.

Checking in

May 29th, 2013 at 03:55 am

We are all moved in to the little house. All 390 sq ft. We don't have Internet until tomorrow so I'm writing this on my phone. This is a journey I want to blog about but will wait for a more convenient way to do so!

Being back in the country is wonderful. It is so peaceful. I'm also enjoying being unplugged. I checked out some books from the lib and actually have time to read. I also checked out a book on CDs and its making the 25 min drive go by faster.

Hope to blog more tomorrow night!

Last night in the City House tonight

May 22nd, 2013 at 11:38 pm

My son's kiddos are in town for a few days. I am going to have them sleepover tonight. Which means I will be staying in the city house tonight.

Several reasons..the first is that the heat is not working at the little house. When I got up this morning it was 52 degrees inside. That is too cold for my California grandbabies who arent acclimated to that. I also have to be at work early in the morning, so DD3 will be at the city house with us to take over when I leave. And finally, it is going to rain- which means the kids would be cooped up in a tiny place- with not many toys..SO, for all of the above, tonight we will be back at the big house.

I talked with a contractor today about the repairs on the big house, and he is going to meet the hub and I there on Saturday. Hopefully he can let us know if our plans meet or collide with our budget. I have adjusted my expectations on the big house repairs. There are a few things that HAVE to be done. There are lots of things I would LIKE to have done. I just have to remember the difference and balance Needs/Wants and retirement goals.

First nights in the little house

May 22nd, 2013 at 12:45 am

5-19-13
I spent my first night in the little house last night. Within 30 minutes of getting there, I logged my first kill- a big black hairy spider that was hiding under something. THank goodness he didnt run and hide. Then, at bedtime, I saw a smaller one dangling on a web in the bedroom. He met his demise as well.

Nites in country: 1
Logged Kills: 2

The little house came together SO cute. I am tempted to live there when the hub is in Alaska. Easier to clean..and much less expensive to heat and cool. I also felt very safe- not sure if I can say the same in the big house...Its big and old and settles a lot at night. I am a chicken. We shall see- I have months before that is even an option.

In any case, I plan to spray for spiders.

I dont have satellite or internet out there. I would like to get internet, the hub really wants TV- right now it is kinda like an unplugged retreat, so I will hold off on both until the hub gets here this weekend and make appts for both next week.

5-21-13
Not having internet makes it hard to stay up on a blog. I had to stop by the city house tonight to toss a load of laundry in the dryer so I am using the few minutes here to post a quick update.

I bought an electric skillet ($20) and rice maker ($13)for the little house yesterday. The stove works on propane and I havent got that set up yet, so I am improvising with electric appiances until I do.

Last night just after I got home from work, the house was 79 degrees- I cant wait until the air is fixed...but tonight, it is only 52 outside, so I am sure the house will be COLD tonight. I brought my tiny little space heater from my office at work home to at least heat the bathroom in the morning.

I was enjoying the view last night from my patio and just across the street, I see four deer - hanging out enjoying some grass. Those are the things I love about being out in the country. The drive is going to take getting used to. Its about 30 minutes each way. But along the way I pass over a river, through pear orchards, farms with cows, horses, goats, etc and finally get out to where the country house is.

Living in the small house so far is wonderful. I am enjoying being unplugged from TV, computers, etc.

The hub gets home in two nights.

Updates:

GS(4) with the broken arm is doing good. Having a cast is now a novelty for him and he loves the special attention. The adults are all finally slowing down on having flashbacks of the event.

SIL starts 6 months of chemo tomorrow. He is outwardly brave, but inwardly scared. I pray he beats this!

The situation with Z has had no change.

Life is good. Time to unplug for the night!

Gs (4) broke his arm today

May 19th, 2013 at 04:46 am

Today was the start of all the moving. Unfortunately, it got cut short when my 4 year old grandson took a tumble and broke both bones in his arm. Ive never seen a limb with a break like this, and hope to never see it again. My poor little gs- in his four year old mind, thought his hand died, because it wasnt moving anymore as they were rushing him to the hospital- after 7 hours in ER, his arm was set and is now in a temporary cast and he is on his way to being ok. His fingers move just fine, so he is less traumatized tonight. Most importantly, he is out of pain.

Before the accident, we moved the fridge, couch and bed into the little house, which is all the big stuff. Now I can move in officially and pack everything else. If tomorrow goes as planned, I will start staying out there tomorrow or Monday night.

What a stressful day. Thank goodness our little guy is better tonight.

Little house AC, still dont know how much it will cost

May 16th, 2013 at 03:13 am

The bid on the AC on the small house came back much higher than I guessed. I thought $200-ish, the bid, $3000...however, there was a miscommunication on what was needed. We dont need a new AC unit installed- we just need the current unit to be serviced and the duct work reattached. Not sure how that big of a communication gap occurred, but hopefully we will get it straightened out tomorrow. If not, the hub said he will deal with it when he gets home.

I stopped by the small house tonight and vacuumed the carpets and cleaned the linoleum floors. The house is now ready for the carpet cleaning.

I thought I would share some pics.

Here is the city house that I am moving out of:


Here is the little house that I am moving in to:

Here is a veiw of the living room looking in from the front porch. I love all the windows.

This view is looking at the kitchen/dining area. I was standing in the living room- down that small hallway is a small bathroom, and at the back of the house, the bedroom.


Here is the bedroom- the drawers need the drawer sliding hardware replaced, which my SIL is going to do for me.



And here is a view of the country house from the little house:


The rustic little house is a club house the hub made for our oldest grandson years ago...If you look closely, you can see little birdhouses along the wire fence up on the poles..My dad set those up - they loved watching the birds nesting in them.

One of the last things I will do to the country house is have it repainted a color that will blend more with the country. I always wanted a blue house, which I obviously got...but I am ready to change the color to something more subtle.



Long, wonderful day

May 15th, 2013 at 12:30 am

Today was a long, 10 hour work day. But the trainings went great and I came home to this view, so I am not about to complain!



In addition, I had a wonderful (free to me) lunch with a co-worker. We ate at a lovely little place, ocean view- the food was awesome, AND we shared a lavender creme brulee for desert! (How YUMMY does that sound? it was amazing!)

One more day of training this week and I am done with the bulk of it- I will just have to come back for a make-up training day for those who missed it...and then I get to start training our other 200 staff members back at home.

On Monday, my team will increase by one employee. This will help SO MUCH with the workload. I have needed this help since December, and have juggled for months. It is so nice to know relief is just 3 work days away. If all goes as planned, we will get one more employee in July. However, this employee will come with a full plate of responsibilities, when we rearrange the reporting structure- but the transition on Monday is primarily much needed help for my position. (yay!!) Now when I am out of the office, like last week and this week, there will be someone in the office to take care of things in my absence- this person will also permanently take some of the things Ive been taking care of. Her help will allow me to focus on the strategic things Im responsible for, which will be SO nice to finally get time to do.

The AC repair guy looked at the little house today and said he can do the work. He is going to call me tomorrow with a price. I have no idea what to expect, but anticipate $200-ish? We will see how well I estimate the unknown tomorrow. Big Grin

This is my last 5 day work week for a while. Starting next week, I will work 3-4 days a week for the next 4 weeks- which will be very helpful with the upcoming move.

Tonight, I plan to enjoy my last night here. I have another LONG day tomorrow- 3 trainings, followed by a 2 1/2 hour drive home. But right now, a glass of wine and an amazing view is all I plan to think about. Ciao!



Back at the Coast, enjoying the free stay and view!

May 14th, 2013 at 01:34 am

I am back over on the coast tonight and will be conducting training the next two days. It is absolutely gorgeous over here.

My job pays for meals while we are on trips, but I am a cheap date this trip. I opted to just stop by the store and pick up a couple of grilled chicken breasts from the deli, some veggies and a small cheese, which will be dinner tonight and tomorrow night. I also picked up bagels, cream cheese and oj for 8 staff in the morning. Total bill was $25.

Today I scheduled the AC service and duct-work repair for the small place. Holy cow. I had no idea NO ONE does this kind of work. I started with the bigger shops, who sent me to the smaller shops, who sent me to this guy....Anyway. He sounded nice and said he may or may not be able to help me depending on how the AC unit was installed. I will know after he takes a look tomorrow. I hope it is the kind he fixes, otherwise a big monkey wrench just got thrown into the plan. And hopefully, he wont charge an exorbitant amount..but at this point, Im kinda at his mercy.

A friends husband owns a carpet cleaning business and he is going to clean the carpets on Friday. Once all this is done and the SIL helps with a few handyman type repairs on Sat am, the little house will be move in ready.

I put the word out that I needed moving boxes and a co-worker offered me theirs- they just moved. NICE. I have PLENTY of boxes now.

So far, the moving expenses have been fairly small. We have spent about $600 on the little place for plumbing and repairs. We have spent about $500 for equipment to clear the property of old shrubs, blackberry bushes, etc...and for dump hauls.

The big expenses will come when the nephew moves out of the big house and we start working there. I have been browsing lots of websites for ideas. Since the house is 50 years old it needs not only repair work, but a few renovations. I am compiling all the ideas so that the hub and I can determine what will make the final cut...then, see budget-wise what makes the final-final cut.



Happy Mother's Day friends!

May 12th, 2013 at 04:30 pm

Z spent the night last night, so I woke up to his sweet smile this morning. Such an amazing way to start the day.

Happy Mother's day to all the mom's here. I hope your day is filled with sunshine and love!!

I have massaged the budget over and over to come up with the money for the household repairs on the big house so that I dont have to tap into my 401k. I have had to cut WAY back on debt and savings repayments, but between now and the end of the year, I am able to come up with $40k. That includes about $9k of an interest free loan that need to be repaid by next May.

I have a long list of repairs that need to be done, and we will have to make the $40k budget work. We need to replace a load bearing wall, remodel the kitchen and an upstairs bath, replace all flooring and paint inside and out.

My DIL's monther owns a painting business, and her SO does flooring installation for a living- so I will be contracting with them for those projects.

The hub will do all the demo work...

And I think I have found someone who does the remodel work.

I just need someone for that load bearing wall. Right now, it consists of floor to almost ceiling windows on half the wall and a very old, crumbling brick fireplace on the other. Here is a picture of what I would like the end result to look like:



Lots to do..now that I have a number, I just need to put the puzzle pieces together to make it work. I anticipate the kitchen being the most expensive- lots of homework to do!

High Tea for Mother's Day

May 12th, 2013 at 04:01 am

Today was a busy one.

This morning I worked out at the little place washing cupboards and walls. I found evidence that mice had been there..so I cleaned and disinfected everything. All signs of critters are gone- so I can keep an eye on it to see if there is new activity. All part of country living, but I intend to make it REALLY difficult and uninviting for critters to want to share space with me.

I need to schedule someone to come this week to service the air conditioning unit and to reconnect a few of the ducts. Unfortunately, park models arent always built to last. The drawers in the bedroom were installed very poorly and they will also need to be repaired. However, this fix should be inexpensive and pretty easy.

Next weekend I will shampoo carpets and start moving in. I am actually getting excited to move into the little place and try simple, minimal living for a while.

Today my daughters and I went to High Tea for Mother's Day at my friends tea shop. It was fabulous and we had such a nice time. Here is our food, right after it was delivered to our table:



It was as yummy as it looks and was followed by a wonderful dessert and all the tea we desired!

Tomorrow we are having a taco bar dinner for Mother's Day here at the city house. My last big family gathering before moving back to the country.

A couple of updates:

On SIL- He is healing from surgery, but learned he will need a port and will be on chemo for six months. The type of cancer he had has a 30% chance of recurrence. His attitude is amazing and he is determine to fight and win this battle. Every day I am more proud of the young man that he is.

On Z - Bio mom has broken ties with her mom and is now living in a home that has previously been found unfit for Z. So, the permanency process is back to square one. Bio mom will need to be monitored in this new home and a home study will need to be conducted to determine if it is now acceptable. This process take 2-3 months. Z is now almost 2 1/2, has been with DD2 for 2 years and has not seen Bio mom in almost 18 months. No other family members have followed through with phone visitations in over 4 months.

OT..I froze in front of the group...every trainers nightmare came true...

May 8th, 2013 at 04:27 am

You know that dream..or that fear.. speaking in front of a group and totally freezing up, forgetting where you are at what is next and NOT finding your footing until its obvious to everyone? Yeah, that happened today and it really was as bad as I imagined it would be.

I conducted three trainings, the first went fine..but the second just got off wrong - I couldnt remember what was next, had trouble explaining my points, and about mid way through I drew a very blank screen for a brain. After a very pregnant pause, plus at least another minute or two..(people in the room actually saying, its ok, that has happened to me....)the person who is here with me jumped in and redirected the discussion- which gave me time to regroup my thoughts and finish 'ok'. The third training was much better.

I am not sure if it was lack of preparation on my part, just major stage fright, or old age setting in- but it is something I hope doesnt happen again. I typically shake stuff off- but this one was impactful on the day... bleh.

I have one more training tomorrow morning, and then I am done for this week. I sat down tonight a reworked my training notes and materials so that hopefully that doesnt happen again.

On a happier note...very nice actually, DD3 found out was rehired on the slope for summer work. She is dancing on the moon with happiness tonight. I am so proud of her. This will give her more experience and it shows they were happy with her work over the winter!! Im a truly proud mama.

Not one of the best days today..but life is good.

Splurged on me today - not a frugal day, at all!

May 6th, 2013 at 12:15 am

Today I took a day off from work and house stuff and splurged on myself. EEK.

I havent had a haircut in a year...and I havent colored in months..My former hair stylist closed her business a year ago and I have been postponing finding someone new, mostly out of apprehension of what I would end up with. But I lucked out today. I went to JC Penney's and the lady who took care of me was amazing! She cut it so cute..and showed me how to style...and then just for fun put it in an adorable up-do becuase she loves doing them. WOW. Best $75 plus tip I ever spent! I also got my brows waxed! I feel so much better and my hair looks way healthier!! The stylist gave me a plethora of tips for cutting my bangs, how to make curls last all day, etc...but also told me I can just stop in anytime and have the bangs trimmed between cuts for free.

Then, I stopped and bought some new makeup (not the usual under $10 brand I normally buy)...I want to see if spending more helps my aging skin..so I bought a new 'primer' and a foundation.

With some of the shampoo and conditioner the stylist recommended, the cut and color, the makeup, the wax, and lunch, I spent about $200 on myself. (wow)...but it came out of saved up allowance so I dont feel guilty. Actually, I feel pampered!!

Since I am spending much of my next two work weeks training our staff, this will help me feel a little more polished and professional.

Big Grin

Plumbing is DONE.

May 5th, 2013 at 04:22 am

I spent today working out at the little place that I will be moving into and getting all of the plumbing work done on both the little and big houses on the country property. The little place, a park model RV is cleaning up cute as a button. It will be so cozy at just under 400 sq ft. I intend to keep it purposefully minimal there.

The plumbing repairs took all day. About 9 hours with two people working pretty much straight through. The repairs included putting in new piping for the sink, dishwasher and washing machine in the big house, PLUS repairing the toilet and hooking up a sink in the downstairs 1/2 bath. AND at the small house, repairing all the pipes that cracked because the house did not get winterized, (note to self- NEVER let this happen again) adding a shut off valve up at the small house so we dont have to run a half an acre away to turn it off when there is a problem, replacing the heating element in the hot water heater and cleaning out lines that have become narrow with mineral buildup (theres a name for it, but it eludes my tired brain tonight)

I feel I got a great deal for all of this - $500. Money well spent to know that there is new plumbing, hooked up and declogged and working at both places- since I will be there alone 50% of the time, at least, knowing things will work is huge for me.

Check mark.

My feet hurt, Im a little sunburned, and Im tired, but things are coming along.

Tomorrow, I am taking a mid day break to FINALLY get my hair cut- its been a year, it needs it...and I am going to have it colored while I am there. Im tired of my unintended gray highlights and my hair is desperately dry..I am afraid to get around open flames. So it is time.

Tomorrow afternoon, I am taking the kids uncle (my exes brother- ditched the ex, but stayed in touch with J all these years)..to dinner. He was the plumbers helper today and refuses to take anything for helping. He is retired and enjoys helping- and wrote out a to-do list of things to help with while I am at the coast for work this next week. I really, really appreciate his help- he is a retired contractor/plumber and knows his stuff.

It was fun spending the day back out at the property. There was a great breeze this afternoon and the dogs (our 3, J's, and the nephews- all labs) had a blast playing all day.

I had to run to the (little) store out there a couple of times for misc hardware- they are celebrating 30 years of being in business and had a picture up of the little original 'corner market' building..which was there when we first bought the country house about 18 years ago. They have really expanded over the years - for a small independent, local store, the prices are fair. They have even added a small mexican food diner, a real estate office and added on a hardware and farming supply section.

It is starting to feel like home again out there. Although there are months of work left to do on the big house. One bite at a time.

Life is good!

The hub got a raise!

May 3rd, 2013 at 05:34 am

The hub found out when he got back to work today that he got a $2 an hour raise! Thats over $200 per week for him!! Nice!

That will help SO much with all the repairs we have to pay for on the country house!

I love unexpected surprises!

Planning

May 2nd, 2013 at 08:51 pm

The hub made it back safely to Alaska last night. He will be gone for 3 weeks. Since he was home the past two, there is no paycheck for his job this week. I get paid though. My pay is salary, so no OT surprises tomorrow.

I have created a few lists to help with the upcoming changes at home.
Must Haves
Wanna Haves

The Must Have list includes:

Repairing the living room wall
*New flooring throughout
unclog kitch/laundry room plumbing
*remodel upstairs bath
*repair downstairs bath
*replace broken window
*replace missing screens (argh!)
*paint entire inside
paint or reside external walls
*replace wood stove
*replace stairway bannister


* due to renter and dog's distruction and son's 'repair' jobs...

Wanna Haves:

Remodel kitchen
enlarge tiny master into master suite

It all depends on costs...which I am sure are going to eat up our budget very quickly.

My brother in law (from my ex) reminded me that he is a retired plumber with all tools and offered to take a stab at the plumbing issues. (yay)

I have found three contractors that specialize in remodeling- and will be getting bids in June.

The good news is that once this is done, we can put either or both homes on the market if we want, which is peace of mind for long term goals. I just need a good budget and the fortitude to stick with it.