We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We totally put this flag on the mailbox

We did a bunch of cleaning and repair work at the rental house over the weekend. We had thought we were done, but the property manager came back with a big fat list of stuff they wanted done before they would agree to list the house. So back over there we went to knock out a bunch of them. One of them was putting a new flag on the mail box because the last renters ripped it off. Who does that, really? How odd.

Continue ReadingWe totally put this flag on the mailbox

The Flood

As you may already know, Stephanie and I have a rental property on the east side of Indy – we’ve had tenants there for the last two years and they’ve just now moved out, so we went over on Sunday to take a look at the house. The property manager had already done an inspection during the week and said there was some serious cleaning and painting and other stuff to be done, so we went over to assess what we wanted to do ourselves and what we should have them repair.

We walked all over the house lamenting how poorly the rental family had done taking care of the place and what we needed to do – we thought we’d let them clean, but attempt the painting ourselves. We’re still deciding on that; last time we did the painting, it took quite a while, and we want the house ready and back up for rent ASAP.

Then we went down in the basement. And we discovered 8 inches of water in the partially finished basement. It was bad. The water was high enough to cover the outlets. We went home and got our rain boots, and we called Stephanie’s dad, who drove down from Valpo with 2 pumps that we set up and started pumping water outside. Once we got the water level down we were able to wade over and see why the sump pump wasn’t working – it had been unplugged by the tenants. Not good. This was the result:

We managed to get the pump turned back on and between all 3 pumps, Stephanie and her dad got all the water out of the basement. (I had to go to bed so I could get up to pick up my rental car in the morning.) There is some work to be done on the water heater potentially, but the furnace is up and running.

We need to have some additional inspection I think, and we need to go over and truly clean stuff up. Lots of stuff in the basement that needs to get thrown out, and we need to get some de-humidifiers & fans going. Also, I’m making some instructional signs for the sump pump and for the washtubs that the washer and dryer drain into, which always seems to get clogged up.

We’ve had some crappy weather-related problems so far this year – I’m hoping that the rest of the year goes more smoothly.

I’m really concerned with how this will affect the next few weeks – I was looking forward to it getting warmer so I could spend time outside. I’ve been getting caught up on photo editing, so I’m ready to get back out to take photos. I have a bunch of work in our own yard to accomplish, and a bunch of writing to do, now that I finally feel like I have some sort of momentum going on the writing. And frankly, I’m worried about this chewing up all the money I got back from my tax refund and from my company bonus. I had some big plans for that money, and I hate to see it sucked into the rental house.

Continue ReadingThe Flood


Way back in the dark ages when I started this site, I didn’t manage to keep track of the date. It was before blogger software, and before it was even affordable to own a domain name for a personal site (it cost in the $200 range to purchase one). I believe – but am not entirely sure – that I put my first pages up in November of 1994. My “site” was hosted at my local ISP. I had the pages of jokes up, and an article I’d written on the National Women’s Music Festival (Cringeworthy! Don’t read it!), and various news stories I’d cribbed from around the internet. And a bunch of “essays” on love and life, some of which aren’t up anymore because I’m embarrassed at how ridiculous they sounded upon reading them later. One of my first site iterations has a treasure map image map on the front page, and all the sections of content were items on the map. It was deeply cheesy and I’ll have to dig it out, because it was hilarious.

Time Flies The consequence of all of this is that I’ve never had a “blogiversary” date to celebrate like other sites. So I’m making one up now. November has just past; this site is at least 14 years old. Woo ha. Party hats for all.

I haven’t written much lately; summer is always hectic, and we’ve got lots of outstanding projects.

The rental house is again empty, and we have again have lots of repairs from tenant neglect and abuse of the property. We’re working on those and hope to have a property manager so we won’t have to deal with this sort of thing for months on end every freaking year. It amazes me how little people care for where they live if they don’t own it. It’s really sad, and frustrating for us, since we have to put time into it when there’s so much to do at our house, too.

We’re also working on lots of stuff around our house. We’ve made some progress here and there getting stuff in shape and clutter-busting. The guest room has been a particularly knotty problem for us. It turned into the catch-all room when we were moving in and didn’t know exactly what to do with stuff, and consequently, we have boxes and boxes that need to be sorted — all piled up in front of the Murphy bed cabinet. At one time or another, one of us would wander into the room and attempt to figure out how to put stuff away, get overwhelmed, and scurry out again.

So we hired an organization guru to help us. So far, she’s spent 2 hours with us in the room, working on sorting out boxes and choosing what stays, what gets trashed, and what goes to goodwill. Having someone other than yourself ask you questions about your stuff is REALLY helpful in focusing your thinking. She doesn’t have all the hang-ups and blinders, so she can ask what the item really means to you. And she can keep your attention on small chunks of the organizing so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the full volume of stuff. We got so much done in the first two hours that I was excited for days afterward. We can see large sections of the floor! The Murphy bed is within reach! We can have people stay over soon! Maybe! I’m not sure Stephanie was equally thrilled, which worries me.

Last night I went through and reorganized much of our Christmas decor in the basement. Inside, we’re only decorating modestly and putting up the small tree to keep things simple. We plan on decorating the porch with lights for the first time (we had an outlet installed this summer) so I have to work out a lighting scheme. Last night we also went through all the strands of lights we have available and tested and fixed many of them. I really enjoy that. I kinda wish we had an art project using lights.

I’m looking forward to Christmas, although it’s hectic at work and we’re already shaping up to have too many parties to attend. But it is at least some respite from the down-in-the-dumps feelings I get every year when there’s no sun and it’s too cold. I really would just like to curl up at home and stay there and never venture out into the weather. The news and worrying about the economy and financial considerations of loved ones also has given me the blues in a serious way; hence the lack of real writing here.

There’s so much that seems out of my control that I feel helpless a lot of the time, and angry, too.

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