Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! Sorry that I haven't been on here for so long, it's been a hectic, busy time both at home and at work. My younger brother came to visit last weekend. He brought chicken and noodles, a common dish in Indiana, he said. It was simple and plain and really good. I brought the fixings for sandwiches: fresh bread buns, cream cheese, smoked turkey and wild salmon (which I get at a discount in the building I work and keep around home to feed guests)garden lettuce, tomatoes and green peppers. We all ate well! He and I nearly got into it, though. We've had a rocky relationship but it's been good for the past two years until last weekend. He was just itching for a fight and criticizing my son, my work problems (which Mom had told him), my flooding problems and even how I do Sudoku! I held my tongue, which I'm getting much better at, through practice at work!

Only my friends have noticed that I've lost 34 pounds. Nobody in the family or at work has said a word, even though I'm 3 sizes smaller on the top and 2 sizes smaller on the bottom (wish it were the opposite, but any smaller is good!)

The kids are coming up late on Thursday, to stay until Saturday or Sunday to help on the basement. It's a lot of work. We got the bathroom and the bedroom door hung, flooring laid in the bathroom but there's still the huge job of cutting sheetrock to fit ALL the walls, which were cut up a foot or more.

At work I'm very busy transcribing hour-long pod casts, shipping all sorts of stuff and anything else they throw at me. I survived another near hit. But a higher up woman (but then, everyone there is higher up than I am) was fired. I didn't like her, but they did it in a very cruel manner and even had a pizza party the day after to celebrate her demise. I couldn't eat any...Favorite Co-worker isn't speaking to me again, which doesn't bode well as she has BZ's ear and is her little pet.

Anton, Amanda and I went on the Haunted Ship Tour again this year. It was really fun, I liked Dracula jumping out of his coffin the best, but the kitchen scene with meat cleavers and body parts was good, too. I actually got scared when (in the dark hallway) a masked figure leaned over and spoke low into my ear! For some reason it was more scary than the jumping out or screaming.

What are YOUR Halloween plans? Hope you have fun! I may not be around much for the next few weeks, either. Sorry about that. I do enjoy reading your blogs and miss you all!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

My vacation

The water line on one of my basement walls, before the demolition. The water was full of mud.

I'm still reeling from the latest disaster in The Year From Hell, but things are looking much better now. It's been nearly a week (last Monday morning) since I got up, showered and got ready for work, went downstairs in the dark--and stepped in ankle-deep water! The entire lower floor was submerged and it's (or WAS) a nice, finished, walk-out basement. My son's large studio bedroom is down there, with lots of his things, a full, nice bathroom and a very large living/family room full of furniture, TV, books, and all sorts of personal things. The water line on the walls was 11 1/2 inches, nearly a foot of water, and it came from a city storm sewer failure during a rainstorm we had last Sunday night. My sump pump simply couldn't keep up with the onslaught, it was like a tidal wave, knocking over shelves and bookcases.

One corner of the demolished basement.

I couldn't even bear to write about it, at first. It's such a shocking thing to lose books from my childhood that were given me by my Aunt and Grandmother, both long since passed. My son's high school yearbooks, stuff from college and grade school--books I read to him as a baby--all ruined, as was furniture, computer equipment, movies, games and electronic equipment. I was pretty distraught on Monday evening as the cleanup crew were stripping the ruined (new) carpet and floor tiles. They had to cut out the bottom of each wall because the water soaked upwards, to dry inside the walls. The insulation had to be pulled and thrown away, the frames and baseboards ripped off and discarded. All of the regular doors and my two pocket doors were torn out and thrown on two huge heaps of debris, outside. My once very nice, comfortable basement has been gutted and looks like a demolition site.

Even though I had to go down there constantly all last week, it's only stopped being painful yesterday. I have lots of vacation time accrued so I went in to work each day for only about 1 -2 hours and then came back home to deal with the cleaning and drying out, insurance, adjusters and all. The phone rang constantly, and people were showing up in work vans to check water readings, move fans, etc. for the entire week. My insurance only covers the actual cleaning, not contents or disposal. The cleaning costs were so high that they used up all of the insurance money like lighting a match to paper. And I had to pay the deducible, $500, before the crew even started. That was part of my mortgage money for November.

SLA came over for a few hours that first, horrible night. A friend of VMan came over on Thursday and helped me dig through the wet piles in seach of anything salvagable. We dragged a few things back in and the help and support made me feel a whole lot better (although my leg and back have been killing me since then, that stuff was wet and very heavy). I had been going to call the kids on Tuesday, as they were moving back up here (into the basement!) this coming Monday, but my son called me to tell me that they would be arriving on Sunday or Monday. I told him the sad story about all of his lost items and asked if they could come up any sooner to help. Well, they arrived last night! And I was glad to see them. VMan's friend has a trailer and an available dumpster, so today we are loading up the huge piles of ruined stuff and hauling them away.

Needless to say, I'm NOT having the planned Open House tomorrow. And, ironically, my house was listed in the newspaper for the very first time on Wednesday! Just when it is in no condition to show to anyone. Sigh. My house will be off the market until the basement is put back together, an extensive and expensive job and I certainly have no "extra" money to spend on it. It's really really got to get much better than this. Oh, and work, even though I was only there about 10 or 12 hours this entire week, was very very interesting, in a bad sort of way. But this is enough woe is me for today! Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Did you see the TV show "49 Up" last night? I don't watch much TV but had seen one of the "Up" shows and wanted to see the latest one, broadcast on public television--PBS--my namesake, lol.

If you don't know, the premise is that the film maker followed a batch of children in England, filming interviews with them every seven years. The first film interviews were when they were seven years old and it was called "7 Up" and other films/interviews were done at 14, 21, etc. until this last one at 49 years old. It's fascinating to see how their lives unfolded! I'd like to see all of the "Up" shows and will ask about them in the library the next time I go there. Hope you all are well and doing fine!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Ready, set...

The old realtor lockbox is gone and the new one installed. Today is the first day of my new listing, for three months. Even though the best, prime sales time has come and gone, I'm still hoping for the best. But as Gypsy said, there may be a reason that the house didn't sell:

For one thing I would have lost my garden and the opportunity to harvest from all my work.

Another thing is that the kids are moving back into town, probably on October 15--and they're going to live here in the bottom floor! My son is thinking that maybe I won't have to sell the house then, but that's only if they can pay me a pretty good sum in rent money. And they won't even have jobs, at first, let alone a paycheck or some "spare" money.

So we'll see...the house is still up for sale because I couldn't pay the mortgage all myself this time. The jeep repairs and all the extermination fees for shampoo, spray, powder, etc. took up my "spare" money, which wasn't really spare, of course, but needed for bills. With the utility bill rising in the cold weather, I expect a shortage at the end of this month too. So I still think I need to sell but having the kids living here is going to complicate that. But it sure will be good to see them! I miss them.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

One of them could have been mine

I think I have a talent for complicating situations. Last week the real estate listing ran out on Sept 25 (my brother's and Fizzy's birthday!) but the agent asked if he could bring someone through after that. I let him do it because they were interested and I'm running out of time and money here and really really need to sell the house. The people liked it and were going to the mortgage banker to see if they could finance the sale! However, they couldn't get there, for some reason on Friday so now will go today. The real estate agent wants me to sign on for another two months and I don't want to. He had his chance during the beautiful months of the summertime when my gardens were gorgeous--and never brought me an offer, not even one little low offer--nothing! So he's done listing my house, as far as I'm concerned.

He has been badgering me, using these "interested" people as a reason why I must sign on with him again. I'm telling him, "Well, if they are so interested, then bring me their offer to buy the house!" Of course they haven't been to see the mortgage banker yet, so that's part of it. But it seems like that will only happen if I sign on for another two months and I'm so not doing that! So it's a stalemate. The guy actually came over to my house at 10:00 at Saturday to knock on the doors. I had been up all night with my leg and wasn't even dressed yet, had just taken a bath. So I didn't open the door. He drove around to the back and pounded on that door, which I also ignored. I was aware that he has a lockbox with my key in it and could, actually, get into the house. But I figured he didn't dare. Shortly after that I got dressed and called a few people.

Soon I had another real estate agent willing to come to look at the house. We set an appointment for Sunday. One of the first things he asked was, "What's wrong with the house?" and after some questioning back and forth I found out the my house is listed incorrectly in the MLS (realtor listings) as having been on the market SINCE JANUARY 2006! Yikes, no wonder agents were not interested in my house, they were thinking something was seriously wrong for it to be up for sale for that long.

Not only that, but it showed the house inspection I had done (before buying it) in June 2006 and that the sale fell through after the inspection! Which is as much as saying that the house failed the inspection! I am SO mad at that guy, he's the same guy that I bought the house from. He did not register in the listings when I bought the house, and he's since changed companies. My new realtor said that his old company would get a fine for that if they tried to change it now, so probably would refuse to correct the listing.

I'm hopping mad and my former realtor had better not stalk me to sign on with him again. And I want his lockbox and sign gone by today, too. I had to tell the new realtor that this former agent DOES have someone going to the mortgage banker today (or so he claims) so it's possible I might have an offer from him and his buyer. So then the sale money would still go to him, which is fair.

I did sign with the new guy and his company. They do great advertising! I had called his company before, between the two listings I did with my former realtor, but nobody in the company was interested in trying to sell my house. Now I know why! They thought it was an overpriced, junk house that had failed inspection and been on the market for a year and a half. It really broke my heart when the realtor showed me all the houses in my area and price range that had sold since May of this year. There were a lot of houses that were sold, even in a "slow market" and one of them could have been mine.