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Archive for October, 2013

Baby Baby Baby

October 25th, 2013 at 06:51 am

I'm having a C-Section in 3 days. I'm not into "saving money" right now like I was a week ago. I'm more into "please don't make me get off this couch" mode. So I have not been checking in with you guys.

Though one thing that is interesting is my sudden about change regarding baby consumerism.

Up until a week ago I was the pregnant lady who was content to let her baby bang pots and pans together and play with boxes. My baby didn't need all the stuff Target tried to sell me.

Then suddenly I panicked. I heard one to many stories about a baby screaming for 40 hours straight from colic. About a baby screaming for hours because they wouldnt take the pacifier given to them. Refusing to breast feed (or getting sick from breast milk) and taking formula only. Specific brand of formula making baby sick and more screaming.

I DO NOT WANT A SCREAMING BABY. I will buy whatever it takes to avoid 40 hours of straight screaming.

So suddenly it occured to me that I better have all these items on hand "just in case" I needed them. Its easier to buy them now than it is when the baby is screaming.

So I own 11 different pacifiers (because baby might only like a certain brand, so you better have it on hand.) I have 5 bottles even though I plan to breast feed and 2 different brands of formula. I have 17 cloth diapers...but in case that doesn't work out I also have 200 disposable diapers. I have a changing pad in the nursery and another downstairs. I have a crib in the nursery and a pack n play downstairs. I bought a CD player to play soothing baby white noise, but also picked up some classical music CDs for her as well. And then I also have all other baby essentials...I think.

I think I have spent about $1000 on this baby so far and she is not even born. (I bought all her clothes used.)

I am SHOPPED OUT. I feel like Consumerism at its strongest. I hope I never need to go to a baby store again. And if I hear husband say "we need to buy..." I will collapse.

ok, so this might be my last post for a while. I'll be back...maybe when the baby is a few weeks old.

Any baby advice, feel free to post it! As a first time mom I'm kind of lost.

Holy *!$!* Health Insurance Increases!** Updated

October 22nd, 2013 at 04:16 pm

So everyone is always horrified hearing about my $250 deductible $1532/month COBRA payment that I pay for my spouse and I.

I received a package today outlining price increases effective Jan 1, 2014.

I'll be upgrading to a family plan (because we will have a baby by then), and the monthly rate will be $2,999.00/month with a $750 deductible.

That is $36,000 a year! plus my co-pays and deductible. No dental.

That is more money than I even earned at my old employer in a year.

Why is the rate doubling?! Husband says its Obamacare but has no explanation for how he is impacting this.

I am just totally frustrated and sad.

I know I'll be looking for a job with benefits prior to Jan 1, and I hope to sign up for Obamacare (but have not figured out where the website is), but this being a last resort is really no resort at all.

Do babies REALLY need healthcare? If they are born healthy? I imagine vaccines are cheaper to pay for than this monthly rate and husband and I can go without for a few months until I get a job with benefits.

** update** OK- I just called another company. A compare different company rates person. She said that there is a healthcare company called Assurance that has rates effective Jan 1 ranging $700-$1000 /month. The best package for $1000/month has dental, $0 deductible, covers name brand prescriptions. She said she is calling me in December to get me signed up for Jan 1. If I sign up prior then I have to go through underwriting and husband with all his preexisting conditions might be difficult to push through. But come Jan 1 it will get approved automatically.

I told husband to contact his Doctors to see if they take that health insurance. I'll check to see if the pediatrician takes it. I feel much relieved.

8 days to go on the pregnancy front

October 20th, 2013 at 01:47 am

Well the baby is coming in 8 days and its interesting how husband and I are reacting to the stress.

From my perspective:

I am in spending lockdown and scouring the internet obsessively checking my retirement accounts/bank accounts/projected SS benefits (thank you CCFree for putting that on my radar)/potential healthcare options for Obamacare (where is the official sign up website? I cant find it). I am reading blogs, forums, and stories about everything money related from bankruptcy to extreme high net worth.

It's like I am so avoiding the arrival of baby- reading about babies makes me feel physically ill. It is too real at this point.

I'm also in cleaning/ decluttering mode. Which is hard to do with all these contractors in our house every day (more on that later). I am trying to have the house sparkling all day so I can relax my mind and not run through a mental checklist constantly of what needs to be done. I feel like we have accumulated so much for the baby- I want to get rid of stuff. I mean jeeze- we have way to many chairs in this house now! And the dining room now houses a pack n play, stroller, and baby swing. It's very visually cluttered over here.

Husbands erratic behavior:

Husband is burying himself in projects. He has chosen THIS WEEK to get A/C installed in our attic to start to "finish out the attic".

We have had contractors traipsing through the house for the last 3 days. They are back to finish up tomorrow. I am regretting giving him cart blanch on that project because at the time of planning I was too distracted with, oh I don't know, the BABY COMING IN 2 WEEKS!

I told him to do whatever- this project wasn't a priority to me. Well, I swear he told me the A/C guys would have a few wires trailing down the side of our house to attach the new exterior unit to the unit in the attic.

The reality is TWO WHITE METAL GUTTER PIPES housing all the wires. It is so MANLY.

So typical to take a plain, unnoticeable BLUE side of the house and visually clutter it up with your electrical wires and WHITE pipes running from the 3rd story down to the ground to make sure EVERYONE can see that there is technology and gadgetry going on. Every time I think about it I get irritated. But its done. And husband and workmen are happy with the result.

I try to repeat to myself that a finished attic increases our property value more than the new curb appeal decreases it.

Then on Monday we have a handyman coming to cut open some drywall to expand the attic space, he'll install a firewall to protect us from our attached neighbors, and add plywood decking to the expanded area.

Because a partially finished attic is exactly what we need right now.

Husband is also scrolling the internet looking for rental properties. I KNOW WE CANT AFFORD ANY RIGHT NOW which is why I just don't worry about that. Given that there is 0 chance of a purchase, I just humor him. His choice to waste his time looking for something that doesn't exist.

He also looks at adoption websites for a dog. A DOG! We lost Copi about 2 months ago- so we have the room for another. But Please. No. We still have a 2 year old dog that is too strong on the leash for me to walk safely in my pregnant state. Why don't you focus on better leash training our existing dog Mr. TashaC?

hmmmpff...so that's whats going on in my household.

And in defense of the husband, he is pretty sweet to me on a daily basis making me meals and fetching things I need when I am too tired/comfortable to get off the couch.

I did throw two pieces of bread at his head a few nights ago and he took the beating like a champ.

This & That with the Property Rental

October 18th, 2013 at 03:41 am

Hello Everyone,
I had a good day yesterday. I got just about nothing accomplished but it was a peaceful day.

Husband and I went to the rental property to measure out the damaged fireplace hearth tiles and start the hunt to replace them. We found some on our first try at an antique re-sale store in town. They didn't have many, but we only needed 6. They had 5 1/2. (Score!) And because they were leftovers they were really cheap, $4/ per tile. Now we need to figure out how to cut them to size and set them. That is husbands problem though.

I snapped a few pics while I was inside of the re-glazed sink. The fumes are still way too strong for me to stay in the apt longer than a few mins.

Sink Before with the peeling glaze and hair dye stains:

Sink $139 later:

The re-finished fixtures makes the bathrooms in general look dingier- I am looking forward to the fumes getting out so I can get some more cleaning in!

Rental Property Goodies

October 16th, 2013 at 02:59 pm

Went over to the vacant apartment today. We hired a professional to re-glaze all the cast iron bathroom sinks and tubs because they were horribly stained or damaged from the previous tenant. The man came out and did all 3 fixtures in one day for $710.00. He is giving us a 3 year warranty. He did an AMAZING job. I wish I had before/after photos but the fumes were to strong for my pregnant self to stay in there longer than a few seconds. So no pictures.

I did go around and collect up the tenants mail that they did not forward. That reminded me of all the misc. goodies that come free when tenants move out.From this particular property vacancy I have scored:

3 window curtain treatments
3 boxes of trash bags
2 unopened packs of AA batteries
A hand held vacuum
A cheapo vacuum
Generic brand bottle of Tylenol
2 magazines
A 20% off Bed Bath & Beyond coupon
Some half used bottles of window/tile/misc cleaners

And more free stuff that we cant really use:

Several plastic Tupperware tubs (un-needed- so they will go outside in a "free" pile)
A small flat screen TV (husband thinks this is an awesome score- but really- we don't need another TV. So its going in the attic.)
Several small plastic trash cans-again, un-needed, so it will be left for the next tenants.

In the past we have gotten new ceiling fans or light fixtures. Those are pretty awesome. But window treatments are very appreciated as well.

Furniture Auction Yesterday

October 14th, 2013 at 01:16 am

Yesterday was the furniture auction for the items I let go of to clear some space in the attic and make some extra cash.

The auction house is in my town, and over the last few years I have bought several items from them. As a buyer, the prices are on par with Craigslist, but then you have to pay a 10% buying fee and tax. As a seller, you net a little less than Craigslist because you pay a 35% selling fee. The advantage is that around 600 items are sold at each auction. So you are bound to find several items you like as opposed to driving from home to home to look at Craigslist items. A lot of antique dealers frequent it to fill their shops.

I had 9 items go up on the auction block, all 9 sold for a total of $660.00. One antique Victorian couch sold for $120, down to a white wicker bedside tray sold for $10.

The house takes a 35% cut, so I will get a check for about $430.

There are 2 items that did not make it into this auction, maybe they will get in the next one in 2 weeks.

I thought it would be an exciting day, but it was sad. I maybe should not have gone. These are items I inherited and carted from state to state as I moved because I thought of them as sentimental or high quality. But ultimately they have been in attic storage since I got them because I do not have a use or room for them. I does not look like we will be moving anytime soon, so they were slated to stay in the attic indefinitely.

But seeing poker faced strangers bidding on the items and seeing them sell for not a lot of money made me sad. I do not know where they are going, and do not have the satisfaction of knowing that they are going somewhere to be used, admired and appreciated. I am sure they are...it is just that I am used to Craigslist where you meet the buyer and you can explain the history of the item.

Anyways, the attic is emptier now. I STILL have stuff up there that I can not part with even though I can not find a place for it in the house. Husband is just thrilled that about 50% of the attic is clear.

My check will be sent to me within 2 weeks. I'm not sure where I want to put the money. We will have a baby at that time, so it will probably pay for a hospital bill.

Baby Shower

October 13th, 2013 at 05:33 am

Well last night we had the baby shower at my house. My two friends hosted it and it was just our core group of girls, plus some of my old work friends. 10 people total.

I am so completely overwhelmed by their generosity and support. Almost everyone who was invited came, and made an effort to make sure it was great.

I had a friend HAND MAKE Pad Thai (which I did not know could be cooked in a regular kitchen). Another friend made egg rolls and spring rolls. They also made Edumame, cupcakes got me a cake. They knew I love Thai food and chocolate, so they surprised me with the complete spread. Everything was vegetarian too- which was so nice. I did not request that because it can really inconvenience guests getting a limited food offering. But these girls did not think twice about accommodating my lifestyle.

And they came up with games. A friend bought a bunch of white baby onsies and fabric markers for everyone to decorate a onsie for the baby. So thoughtful.

A friend brought her professional work camera over to get pictures of everything and everyone.

Another friend brought over non alcoholic champagne, and non alcoholic beer. for me. They brought Red and White wine for everyone else.

And then they ALL also brought gifts! I feel like the baby is now OVERPREPARED. I have multiples of a lot.I know I will use it up, I am just not used to needing a STOCKADE of stuff. 10 pacifiers, 3 teething toys, 3 things of diaper wipes, 2 boppy pillows... It was great because they got me stuff I did not know I needed. So I was able to ask questions and understand better how to use a lot of the stuff.

This baby and I received so much love and sincerity last night I do not know how to repay them. I really hope this baby turns into a loving and generous person like the "aunties" who are welcoming her into the world.

Even my husband supported me by helping me clean for 2 days, spent the evening at a vacant rental property with the dogs hanging window treatments to stay out of the party.

I do not know how I can tell these people how much they made me feel appreciated and loved in just a thank you card.

Changes to my Tickers!

October 11th, 2013 at 04:17 pm

Hey notice anything different about my sidebar??

The credit card debt is gone! No ticker because it's been paid in full!

Husband's settlement money eliminated it...and now we need to save for the next rental property.

In other sort of related news...our guy in CA who owes us money requested that I set up a Bank of America account so he can just deposit payments into my account. I set up a Money Market Account with them today. I guess it was casual Friday because a man in jeans approached me to set up my account. IT FREAKED ME OUT! I was internally trying to determine if he was a random man posing as a bank employee to get my identity or private account information. The bank was busy and I was worried none of the "real employees" would notice a random guy taking over an office for a few minutes while he "set up an account for me" but really just got my info so he could clear out my account.

Reluctantly I agreed to deal with him, and felt more comfortable as he was able to confidently explain different account options with me.

As I was leaving the bank I noticed other employees coming out of their offices in jeans too. That's when I figured out "casual Friday" theme.

I tell you I was ALL FOR Casual Fridays when I was in the workforce...but it's unnerving to see it as a customer! I don't know that I'll participate in the future if my next employer offers it.

That's it. I hope you guys had a good day too!

Settlement Money Arrived!

October 10th, 2013 at 01:01 am

Crazy how I put complaints or wishes on this website and then they happen for me! Like, immediately!

Yesterday morning I was complaining about our settlement check for Workman's Comp was taking forever to arrive with no distribution date in sight. After my complaint I emailed the lawyer requesting an update and she said that she will deposit the money in our bank account that day!I just logged in and it's there!

About a week ago I put it out there in my blog that I was tired of chasing down the guy who owes me money and how he is so unreliable. That day I talked to him and he said he would get me a payment over the upcoming weekend. And he did!

This website has magical money qualities!

I wonder how the California disaster would have gone (or not gone) if I had been a regular blogger of this website at the time.

Anyways, for the settlement money that has arrived. I am writing big ginormous checks today to pay off our credit cards!

We also have our roofer coming in today to replace our roof for $10,500. He's taking the 14- 17 yr old shingles off and replacing it with metal. He said our roof is so flat that shingles were a terrible idea for it. Water is pooling up there and shortening the shingle lifespan. New shingles were $2500 cheaper than metal, but we opted for metal because it is expected to get a full lifetime out of the metal, rather than a shorter lifetime of shingles.

While we were in CA the roof leaked and rotted a lot of wood and spread black mold in the nursery ceiling. We had two different people checking on our place semi regularly (someone was out here 1-2x a month) and no one noticed it. And we asked them to check when it rained because the roof was old! But they were checking the attic only for water damage, not the bedroom ceilings below the attic.

We were told when we bought the place over 3 yrs ago that the roof needed to be replaced "any day", and we often DISCUSSED saving up for it. But there always seemed to be a project that was a more short term priority. The timing of the roof actually going hit us pretty bad as we were coming off a huge financial investment with a lot of incoming transitional bills. It was a good reminder moment for me to SAVE UP FOR BIG EXPENSES!

And husband has our A/C guy coming out today to discuss adding A/C to our attic. We are slowly turning it into a Mancave/Playroom. It's huge, with a walk up staircase, and it WAS finished when we bought the place. But very old/dirty so we tore out the carpeting and damaged a lot of sheet rock with our remodel (we had to lift exterior walls and that caused cracks in sheet rock throughout) and thus used the room for storage. For years we have talked about what we wanted to do with the room.

This month we cleared out most of the attic and have decided to do a bare bones upgrade. We asked our handyman to update the electrical and plumbing up there and we were pleasantly surprised all was working. I remember when we were remodeling that our permit inspector refused to pass our inspections because of that attic, not understanding it was going to be turned into storage space. But I thought our contractor finally got the inspector to "let it go". I guess the inspector got our contractor to upgrade all the systems!

The floor is plywood and it will stay that way for now. Husband wants to add an A/C vent and then put his TV, seating, video games up there for now. When the baby is crawling we will add carpet, new sheet rock, paint and redo the bathroom up there. Then she can have a play space and keep her toys up there.

That's it for spending the money. We'll have enough left over as a down payment on a future rental property purchase. My goal is to SAVE THE MONEY and chase down our California money to add to the account. Maybe by Christmas we will have collected all of CA money and will have enough for a down payment and repairs on a rental. And husband can have a project to work on. Or maybe the baby will be enough of a project. We'll see.

This is my home decor blog now

October 9th, 2013 at 03:51 pm

ok, nothing financial related. But husband brought in the new rug and...


I'm working on the nursery now. So that means nursery pics coming tomorrow.

Stay Tuned!

October Net Worth Increase

October 9th, 2013 at 03:59 am

Well I gotta love Passive Income.

Our Active Income from the rental properties is down because we now have a vacant rental. Our credit card balance is up because currently we are spending more than we earn, but our retirement account has increased by over $22k. So altogether our Net Worth has increased by $19k from September to October.

The Credit Card balance is bugging me.

When we first moved back home we had enough going on to put that on the back burner. But now that we are settled in, it is the last remaining dark cloud left over from the California move. I want it gone so I don't have the reminder of our bad CA move.

We have someone who owes us money that we are Constantly. Chasing. Down. He was supposed to mail us a payment yesterday, but since we have not heard from him, I plan to call him today and that means we'll get the next payment in about 2 weeks after 2 or 3 additional phone calls/text messages. His payment could almost knock the CC down by a third.

To my husband I brought up the subject of how I thought this guys payments would have eliminated our credit card balance by now and every month that we receive a partial payment we are being charged so much interest that our original payment plan with the guy is now costing us money. Husband responded with "I know, we must have paid like, $600 in interest charges by now." I then told him "we have paid $1400 in interest charges on just your card alone this year." (Thank you gut wrenching credit card statement that clearly outlines your interest paid for the year.) Husband actually gasped and then started angerly rambling about how our ex business partner screwed us. To make him (us) feel better I piped in about how ex business partner will never succeed and we are so much better off without him. It did make us temporarily feel better.

We are also waiting on a BIG check from husbands former employer who owes him a Workman's Comp settlement. We settled almost 3 months ago, and the bureaucracy to get the money is taking FOREVER. I def thought we would have the money by now. I'm not being impatient, husband filed for Workman's Comp over 2 YEARS ago. But as of 2 weeks ago the check was at our lawyers getting cleared and then they would send us a check for our cut. When that comes- it will eliminate the CC debt altogether. We plan to use a little of the remaining money to get the roof fixed and save the rest for a down payment on a future rental property purchase.

But the CC minimum payments are coming due in 9 days- so there wont be enough time to get any money owed to pay these suckers off before the next payment due. I need to plan to spend another month juggling money to get a minimum payment in.

So I'm kind of rambling here. Just organizing my thoughts. Trying to stop myself from staring at these credit card bills and freaking out over the balances.

I feel better now. I hope you have a better day too.

10 million pictures of various CHAIRS

October 8th, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Ok so this entry is entirely about chair shopping. If you have never had a particular interest in chairs, then feel free to skip this one.

Now for those of you who DO have an interest in chairs, I declare VICTORY from today's shopping!

I started by going to all the shops that I DIDN'T go to yesterday. I'm not sure if rumors were spread around town that there is a pregnant woman determined to buy several different types of chairs, but in these stores I hit up today, they all had what I needed!

The most important was the living room chair. Now called "the Occasional Chair". It couldn't be heavy because it was going to be moved in and out of storage except for when I needed it "occasionally". It also had to be cushioned so it is comfortable. And it needs to be sturdy for people of all sizes to use. Below are some contenders:

This was my least favorite option. But it would work in a pinch:

This was the most expensive option ($280 with tax!). But it fit all criteria so it was my "I'll get it if I cant find anything else." I was worried about the fabric being WHITE. So it was not completely perfect.

Then I saw this antique french chair. I was strangely drawn to it. Over and over again I would look at the price tag hoping it did not say $300 (It always did). I kept shaking it trying to convince myself it was more sturdy than it was. I kept staring at the bright busy pattern that I normally would NEVER like, and tried to figure out why it was not bugging me. In the end, I walked away because I couldn't justify $300 for a an un-sturdy chair that would accommodate petite people only. That would make it the "Rare Occasion chair", and I'd still be hunting for an "Occasional Chair" to use for everyone else.

In the end, it was tied between this chair (below) and the chair I actually bought. I preferred this chair because it better matched our living room colors, and the dark fabric would hide dirt. But when I sent husband pictures, he said he preferred the other chair even though it was more expensive (by $15). I decided to throw husband a bone because he always complains he has no say in decorating our house. So his whining has won him an Occasional Chair pick.

So this chair is still available if any of you want it.

So here is the winner sitting in my living room ($125)!

Next I focused on my kitchen chair replacement set. In the interest of saving money- I thought I would get 2 matching kitchen chairs and mix them in with my 2 original weakling chairs and have an eclectic look. Walking through the stores I found good contenders that came solo. So I called husband and he agreed that if I place a sturdy chair in the most accessible spot of the kitchen, then our guest will gravitate towards it and bypass the weakling chairs. So instead of buying a 4 chair set, I now only needed 1 kitchen chair.

These would work as a pair. But they totally don't work with the burnt orange Chinese rug I wanted to buy for the kitchen. So I couldn't pull the trigger.

For $48 this chair was SO TEMPTING. I could cover the yellow seat with one of my burnt orange seat cushions and it would be a good match with my other chairs. I stared, walked by, sat in this chair a dozen times.

In the end, I found a plainer chair for $34. Here it is mixed in with the other chairs! Pretty good fit.

So I have a living room chair, and a kitchen chair that can also be used in the guest room for our work-from-home guest.

That leaves the last chair. The chair to go into the already crowded nursery. The chair that husband told me yesterday HAD to be a rocking chair. The chair he has now started calling The Nursing Chair. He thinks this new title will suddenly elevate it to the top of my priority list. Silly husband. My reluctance to add a chair in the babies room will not change because he is now referring to it as The Nursing Chair.

So I have not found The Nursing Chair. I have not even tried. Accommodating husbands request is less of a priority than accommodating our incoming guests requests, I guess. Wow, that's a sad way to look at it. I better get husband a The Nursing Chair soon so he doesn't realize he's at the bottom of my priority list.

And to satisfy MY request (because my needs are at the top of my priority list) I BOUGHT THE RUG! But it's still in the truck, husband said he will unload it tomorrow (so maybe my requests are at the bottom of his priority list as well? LOL).

Here is a sneek peak of it still in the store:

I'm not in love with the pattern, I know the chairs/table will cover that. And the rug looks better in real life than this picture. It will look better in my kitchen than this picture. I bought it for the color and got $50 off the price! I paid $240.

I'm having a baby in 3 weeks- I need to buy CHAIRS!

October 7th, 2013 at 04:54 pm

ok, taking a break from the vacant rental (which is still getting spruced up daily and has had no calls).

Today I search high and low for some new furniture. Sure we live in a beautifully furnished house. But we are having a baby and have received furniture requests from family that will be visiting. (this is totally normal I'm sure -sarcasm)

One family member needs a chair in the living room. Couches are uncomfortable for her to get up and off from. So she needs somewhere to sit in a room full of couches.

She has also requested a chair in the nursery so she can comfortably sit and hold the baby. The nursery already has a twin bed in it which is what I planned to use. But once again, a bed is too difficult to get on and off from. So we have to get a chair.

The nursery is full. bursting at the seems with a twin bed, crib, 2 dressers and 2 bookcases. The chair will sit in the middle of the room for everyone to navigate around. Husband has recently said it has always been a dream of his for a ROCKING CHAIR to be in the nursery, so he can watch me sit in it with our baby. I fought him about the rocker because they take up even more space than a kitchen chair- but then he was really adamant about it. So what the hell- he's putting in his request for a chair too.

Another family member has requested a chair for our guest room. They will be staying a week and plan to use the desk in the guest room to work from home. Our guest room has a giant wood desk, but no chair. There is not really room for a chair and I use the desk for storage. So the request has come in for an office chair to be added to that room.

And also our kitchen chairs....I have 4 pressed back, painted and stenciled antiquey white chairs for our kitchen table. I love them. They have butterflies painted on them! They are a little rickety. We have some guests coming in town who are a little heavy for these beautiful but not strong chairs. Rather than risking one of my kitchen chairs getting broken and ruining my most loved kitchen set ever- I am opting to get a set of replacement chairs to put around the table for when our guests are in town. So I guess that is MY chair request.

All these chairs will be stored in the attic and brought out only when the specific guest comes in that needs their specific chair. We don't really have room for all these chairs and I am not planning to permanently clutter up my home because of these requests.

So another aspect I need to consider when looking at chairs is their weight. They need to be lightweight enough that I can lug them in and out of the attic.
Sadly, the older wing back armchairs I'm liking are very heavy.

So this seems insane. I know. It took me weeks to take these request seriously. But time is ticking to baby and the reality is that we have family coming into town for days on end and they need to be comfortable. And they will probably be coming in more frequently because they want to visit the baby.

So my day was spent chair hunting. I went everywhere. At an antique store I found a faded burnt orange Chinese rug that I love for our kitchen. But I resisted it and kept looking for chairs.

I found a contender for the living room on Craigslist for $10. I'm going to look at it tomorrow. I found a backup at Homegoods for $280 if I cant find anything else.

I found a distressed white rocking chair on Craigslist for $45. Waiting for the seller to reply to me if it is still available.

I have found several contenders for the guest room so I put that to the bottom of the priority list.

I have NOT found a set of 4 kitchen chairs. Husband thinks I'm being ridiculous buying an extra set of kitchen chairs and wont entertain my whining about it. But he has also told me I need to just accept they are going to get broken because I bought old chairs that wont support heavy people. So he ADMITS these chairs are in danger, but thinks its a waste of money to prevent the damage. I'm not listening to him, I found these chairs years ago on Craigslist and I call them the SCORE of my lifetime. (Ironically the reason the couple was selling these chairs was because they no longer felt the chairs were safe for heavy use and replaced the set with generic, stronger chairs.)

So yeah. I'm having a baby and my shopping for baby is spending my days hunting for multiple chairs to put in the house. Though it is acting as a great distraction from my anxiety over labor.

My kitchen chairs. Don't you think a burnt orange Chinese rug would look FABULOUS under that table? I cant stop thinking about it.

Rental Progress

October 4th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Not much to report. Husband and I painted one of the rental bedrooms today. Tomorrow we'll paint the other room. And then we'll hang window treatments. It's been nice spacing out the projects over several days. Before we would cram it into a weekend because I had to work during the week, but not this time!

Our handyman was a no show to take the claw foot tub away for refinishing. No surprise there, he has good intentions and then gets busy. We'll call him tomorrow to remind him.

Bedroom before it was painted:

We choose the new color to be Behr 'Navajo White'. The purple-grey color was left from the old owner, he painted the whole place in that color. It looks good as a fresh coat- but ages badly. We've decided to transition the place to the Navajo White with a few pale blue rooms too. So every time we re-rent the place we'll paint a new room until it's all been redone.

Bedroom after today's painting:

Rental Apartment Still Getting Work

October 3rd, 2013 at 01:30 pm

Husband & I spent ANOTHER 2 hrs at the vacant rental property today. After a $350 Home Depot run to get supplies, We mudded walls and sanded. I deep cleaned the bathrooms and again went over the rooms I deep cleaned yesterday. Tomorrow we will paint two bedrooms and hang the window treatments. That should complete everything.

Except for all the stuff husband wants to replace.

Refinishing a cast iron claw foot tub is harder than I thought. The handyman coming over tomorrow is coming to remove it and send it out for re-finishing. Altogether it will be $300 to pick up and refinish the tub. They cant just fix it while it is in the apartment.

Which means that the other cast iron tub would need to be removed and put back if that was to get fixed. And it is attached to the wall, so I don't see it moving as easily as a claw foot tub. The ugly plastic insert is winning.

And the cast iron sink would need to be removed and put back as well. I might be able to talk husband into saving that. It would depend on removing it and how the plumbing looks regarding reattachment.

My question is regarding refunding the deposit of $1200. Some of the $350 we purchased today is not going to be taken out of the deposit. I wont charge them for paint, new security light (It's LED and husband HAD to get it) or light bulbs, or paint brushes. I WILL charge them for the mudd, plastic gloves, cleaning detergents, new toilet lid...

I dont charge for our time spent working/cleaning the apartment. I cant because I'm not a professional. I could charge them if I hired a cleaning service. But I've done that in the past and I'm never even halfway happy with the outcome. So even though I have to clean for free- the finished product looks so much better. Cleaning crews are only if I cant do it myself.

I will not charge them to refinish the claw foot tub. It's getting work from normal wear and tear. It just wont come clean anymore.

But what about the sink? It is stained purple and blue from the girls hair dye. We are replacing the sink (or refinishing it if I have my way) BECAUSE of the hair dye. I think that is a fair charge towards the deposit. The hair dye is also in the cast iron tub (not a lot), on the bathroom door (not a lot), and in the shower head (A LOT). All the dye is permanent, not even straight bleach got it out of anything. So I wont charge her to replace all those items, though we will be replacing the tub (if husband has his way). But that is more due to the general grossness of it not coming clean due to age, than purple stains in the corner.

No more calls to see the apartment yet. The pictures look great and I'm listing it several times a day. So if there is a group of 3-5 people out there looking for an apartment, they will be calling me.

Husbands mudd job:

Antonio Banderas Almost Rented an Apartment From Me

October 2nd, 2013 at 11:39 am

Husband & I spent 2 hrs at the now vacant rental cleaning. It wasn't nearly as bad as it was since the tenants spent 2 days cleaning before we came in. But we still have a few more hours of work to do.

Touching every surface with Lysol and a rag helps identify problems not seen on a walk through. Clear tacks in the wall, dartboard damage in the walls, clear packing tape on the molding, staples in the molding were things we uncovered as we hit every room.

Husband has called a handyman to come out on Friday to price out resealing the claw foot tub. It just wont come clean anymore. We have used a home depot kit before and it just peels off after a few weeks. I hope this guy is the real deal.

Husband said he wants to replace the other porcelain tub in the apartment with a PLASTIC INSERT Stand up shower. I am horrified. Husband saw my look and explained the insert will just fit against the wall over the white subway tile that is still in great condition. That does nothing to help my opinion. I am hoping the re-sealer guy can also reseal this porcelain tub and I can argue away a plastic insert.

Picking & choosing battles. The porcelain sink jutting out of the wall has been stained with BLUE & PURPLE hair dye and wont come clean. Thank you college kids. Husband wants to get rid of it. I suppose it will be replaced with a modern vanity or pedestal sink. I am hoping that allowing the sink to be replaced I can save the tub from plastic insert hell.

Husband received a call asking about the property today. I listened to him advise the caller to look at vacation rentals. After he hung up he said it was a film crew looking for a month to month lease while they shot a movie.

SpongeBob Square Pants the sequel will be filming here in my town in the next few months. ANTONIO BANDERAS is starring in the movie. I know Antonio wont stay in my college rental unit, but people he works with everyday like camera men and stylists and set designers might have stayed in my college rental! And that is close enough to stardom to perk up my interest! If husband hadn't sent them away to a vacation rental, maybe I would have been invited to the movie premier! Maybe I could have gotten behind the scenes tours! Maybe I could get into the movie as an extra cast member! Maybe Antonio would be hanging out there! I could have become Facebook friends with his wife Melanie Griffin! (I loved her movies in the 80's.) And husband just casually sent them elsewhere. My life might have been forever changed, and husband sent them away. Expletives insert here.

Or maybe it was students from the local Arts college looking to shoot a movie. Much less exciting.

Or maybe it was related to the Film Festival that is starting here soon. I think it starts...in 2 weeks maybe? I know a lot of up and coming actors and crews come into town to give speeches and appearances. Last year some cast members from "The Walking Dead" were in town and a friend of mine got to do some kissing with one of the main characters. That would have been cool to have some of them staying at my unit.

So for husband to turn away a "film crew" of unknown background makes me irritated. And him talking of Plastic tub inserts and trashing porcelain fixtures makes me mad too.

Hopefully it rents soon- before he has time to ruin all the original fixtures with his cheap replacements.

And another picture of the apartment that Antonio Banderas almost lived in:

Getting Apartment Ready to be Rented

October 1st, 2013 at 08:23 am

Well it's the 1st of the month, that means tenants have moved out of our largest and most profitable rental unit.

Husband & I met one of the students and her mom yesterday. Her mom drove down from Maryland to Georgia to help her daughter move out. We mentioned some areas that we were concerned about, large furniture pieces still inside, STICKERS on the walls, mirrors and windows, and cracked fireplace tiles.

They must have worked from dawn to dusk yesterday. We walked in today and it was worlds better. There are still furniture pieces in there, but nothing large. The stickers are GONE, with not a lot of damage to the paint. The cracked tiles are...broken. The tenant tried to argue they were there on move in, but I have a picture of the fireplace showing they were not. Husband thinks he MIGHT be able to seal them in, 0therwise I'll be buying antique hand made glass tiles at about $40 each tile (yup I priced it out when we were undergoing a renovation on our own home).

The tenants are back in there today finishing up. I'm not going to shoo them away from further cleanup!

But I have the place listed on Craigslist already, it is show-able right now.

Husband wants to paint a few ceilings and I am up to paint a bedroom to just spruce up the place.

We have decorative curtain rods and curtains that we brought over from California. So we'll install those and that will be a big asset. We have noticed that tenants complain when there are no window treatments/ and they also remark on window treatments when they view a property.

So, below is a picture of my antique fireplace BEFORE something was dropped on it causing a large chunk of missing/cracked tiles:

I am HOPING for 1 months vacancy. But with the holidays around the corner...I cant think about dealing with an empty unit through the holidays.