My new ride, Fraelsi

My new ride, Fraelsi
Fraelsi means Freedom in Farose

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Cold and windy weekend again

It seems like winter will never leave this year.  We are back to cold and windy again, hard to get the outside clean up work done with this sort of weather but I got a lot of the raking done after work this past week, when it was nicer.  
The survey is done, and paid for, think both myself and the neighbors north can live with where that line between our properties actually ended up being and hopefully they will agree with the fencing I have hopes/plans for on that side.
I do have most of the pampas grass cut down but will need to cut back the roses, think they all suffered winter kill almost to the ground with this past winter.
I have patterns ordered for underpinnings appropriate to 1820-40's and will start sewing as soon as they come and I have time to trace off my size and cut the fabric.  Now that I am finally able to attend meetings and get more involved with Pleasant Plains Historical Society and I want period appropriate wear for when I am there.  It will be open to the public in mid-May so I need to get busy.
We hope to do the needed outside clean up but the weather is working against us this weekend.
I need to make a few calls about the kitchen patio, should see 2 bids coming from the contractors that were already here but I would like 3 or more.  Once that is done and paid for I expect my savings to be empty or almost.
It will be slow and nickel and dime progress on the fencing, kitchen landing, steps and door replacement but any progress matters.  It is my place and I am working on taking care of it and on improving it.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A great spring Saturday

Shadow had me awake and up early, usual schedule for us now that I am working day shift.  But it gave me time to start graphing out my property, I need to plan the fencing so I can get costs of it by section/area.  And I start with graph paper and drawing it out.  I have marks where the house is but cannot draw that onto my map until the survey is done.  Then I draw in the fencing, measure and write in the distance from each corner post to next, figure spacing for posts, gates, how much chain link it will take.  And the easy part is the paper, the hard one will be the cost.  It will be a case of getting some posts, setting them, filling in the needed posts between 2 points, then the chain link fencing, and then the next section.
Jake went to Springfield with me, we walked the entire quilt show, saw every quilt, walked by every vendor and then went to Lowes to get the bike patio pavers and wall blocks.  Out to eat and then leave me for the doll club meeting while he ran where he wanted to go.
He took Shadow for a long walk while I started taking down the retaining wall so we could dig back another 16" by 11 pavers long.  Most was done before I came in, I did hit some ground that was still frozen, but the hope is, regardless of weather, I will get the area dug out, the new patio pavers set in where they go, the retaining wall built back up and rake some.
The first contractor will be here Monday after I get home from work, I need that bike parking area done so his measurements can be close to accurate for his bid, and I want my bikes back where they belong.  I will worry about the south end of that retaining wall and planting bed later, it moves back far enough I can walk between it and the fence, once the fence is installed.
I hope this is the last time/year I add to or change that bike parking space, it had grown a bit every spring, but it did resolve several problems for me, the sand washing down in front of the utility space door, a solid place to park my scooter, a shady corner to sit out and enjoy some fresh air.
I want to do a small patio in the front, on the north side of the porch, partly is better drainage and a place for the trash container but it would be nice to have a bit of a sitting area on the west side of the house that did not feel as public as the higher and more visible front porch.
I have been invited to attend a meeting of the quilt guild in Springfield, it meets monthly on the 2nd Monday of each month so I will try and see if I can make the meeting next month.  I miss being in a quilt guild and now that I work days I can start doing some of the things that have been on my waiting list for so many years.
Bikes were out today, and I am putting off buying that wind screen for the scooter until I have the survey and the concrete patio job paid for.  I really want it and to be running that very cheap on gas ride to work as soon as I can, the wind screen will make it easier to ride in cooler temps so run to work mornings sooner, thus saving gas and miles on the truck.
But the big projects outside are first, and the fencing costs need to have priority and importance and I will not put the windscreen on credit. Rats, rats, that financial discipline stuff I am working on. Good for me in the long run but not so much fun to live with in the here and now, want it now world.
I have to remind myself how very fortunate I am, all the nice goodies that I already have, the amount of credit debt I am paying interest on because of some of that want it now.
My dental work, the big jobs on my truck that went on plastic, the air conditioner for the attic, those things are not my credit problem, but a doll, or tech device, a few other things, those are the stuff I need to absolutely Not put on credit, and that includes bike stuff, gifts for others, music CDs or any DVDs.
It is getting better, I am getting more stable each month, I have the funds for my survey and the patio pour, and neither are small cheap jobs, the additional materials to make the bike parking larger is also paid for, the bills will all be paid this month, and there will be food in the house.  But I will not be adding even 1 cheap $5 cd to my music collection, I will not be adding any new plants to my planting beds, books to my collections, or doll patterns, fabrics, yarns....
Any one who knows me well, knows I have plenty of dolls, patterns, books, fabrics, yarns to keep me entertained and those who know my place here in Illinois know I have plenty of work outside to be done this spring, lots of pampas grass to get cut down, lots of grass to remove from planting beds, roses to clean up, dog poo to keep on cleaning up.
I will be fine with a strict budget, I will not feel sorry for myself or think I am abused and a year or two from now, I will look back and see just how much I gained.  A lower debt load, a nicer property that I do love and want to take pride in, and dolls with lovely clothes I have made, maybe another quilt or two to put on a bed or gift, knitted things that money cannot buy.  All gained by strict budget and working on what really matters long term to me.  But I still want that $159 before tax and shipping wind screen.  It will still be available when it will work into the budget without cramping me or causing a delay in what really needs paid for first.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

That book I would like to read

The one that is my life and go back about 4+ years! and see how it would go if a man had been honest about his finances.  I wonder what difference that would make, what roads we would have taken and where we would be today.   I know you cannot go back and change things but I have to wonder how that might have changed our lives.
With honesty, you can find a way to resolve things, make wiser choices, find a way to deal with stuff like major financial issues.  Without that honesty, some day the world will come crashing down, and every one looses.
Here, in this old house I make slow progress on stability, pay down debt load, fix a bit on this place, keep my truck running, keep going to work, and keep liking who I am and what I am doing with my life.
But it is spring, and as I start cleaning the outside grounds of my small place, as I watch plants come back to life, I wonder where would we be if just that one thing was changed.
I am finally getting the property surveyed and have plans to start fencing and I am hoping to finally get the concrete pour done for the patio off the kitchen and have the kitchen door replaced.  Yes, the house still needs a lot of work, yes, I will keep at it, probably the rest of my life.
Well, there is no way to change the past, and no way to fix some things, honesty would have gone a very long way to make a huge difference so long ago.  Now, I work on my life and hope that his life is going well and he is happy.
For the most part I am, oh, not with my lungs and the crud in them from my recent bout with the flu, or the annoying foot and ankle, but those are small things, most of the time I am very glad to be me and doing what I do with my silly little life.  
Do I miss him? Yes, but I can live with that too, I miss my grandparents and my mom, people that matter are never replaced, their space in your mind and heart is only theirs and when they are gone, no matter why or how, the space is still there, it just sits empty.  I dust it out now and then and go on living in the real world, not some book where I get to re-write parts and see what happens.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Rains and gray skies

I had hopes for some sunshine but got up to rains and the day stayed damp and cool.  But not bitter cold, not snowing and no winds whipping around.
So, instead of clean up outside, I did laundry, and cut out 2 doll dresses and got the machine work on them done, will work on the handwork tomorrow and watch movies, do not expect it to be nice enough for me to spend much time outside.
But at least I am making some progress on my UFDC project.  Shadow tried to help so now I need to retrace and cut out the back bodice pattern he managed to destroy for me. We had a quiet day for the most part with Jake off at work, the local radio station playing and just me and the dog here at home.
There is so much I need to get started with outside but I will not battle the cold and damp for a bit of yard work yet.  And the weather channel is already predicting another winter storm hitting this area mid week so I won't get excited about spring just yet.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Started Funny

and I wil give credit for that to both the local paper and the early morning gang at McDonalds.  It seems that the front page told the world that Cass county will now be able to issue same sex marriage licenses.  That alone isn't so funny, it's just updates in changing laws, funny was Johnny Walker telling Larry Lung they could now come out of the closet and go ahead and get married.  They went to school together, and off into the service about the same time, both ended up with heart problems and disability about the same time, Larry spent the last 4 years of his wife's life being home to care for her, Johnny's wife is still living and battling COPD, the same disease that took Larry's wife.
So, they have known each other most their lives, seen each other through hard times but no, they really aren't romantically involved, or even interested in changing their hetrosexual life style.
Larry doesn't think he wants to support Johnny's stint collection or share the remote control for the tv.  So, it looks like I might still have invitations to go camping and Johnny's wife will still have her driver and yard sale buddy for now.
At work I followed Jeff today on our job rotation, with Enricho following me, normally Jeff is behind me on the rotation, not sure what happened today but know I didn't remember where I was to start and the guys seem to depend on me to remember.  We managed to get through the day, shave hams, pull toe nails, shave bellies, shave hams, pull nails, shave bellies, and around and around 3 of us go, 9400 hogs was today's count.
Vacations are being scheduled, I have 3 weeks now but will take 1 week as seperate days and hope to use 1 for the concrete pour on that patio that I have yet to see any contractors here to look over the job and it takes that to put in bids.  But the weather is improving and it is time for the production departments to start scheduling the coming year of vacation time, hourly management went from June 1 to May 31, production does it in March and I have no idea when maintenence does their scheduling.
I am going to try and work on keeping my budget tighter so I can pay down the debt load more, waste less money and also put more into the old house, with outside being higher on the list this spring/summer.  I need the survey done and paid for, I need to start fencing and I want the patio done, the back door usable again and that might mean a $$ replacement and then build the landing and stairs down to the patio.
The work inside can be nickle and dime work for now, as will the fencing be, corners and then posts between and then buy chain link to go as far as I can, 55 feet across the east line will do the alley. Not sure how far up the south side before I corner for parking area and then come to the south east corner of the house, with 2 gates, walk through and a larger one for the bikes to go through from their parking patio.
I will have to see where the north line ends up and then know if the neighbors have a problem with their above ground pool and the deck with it.  None of that is grandfathered so it will have to be within city and state code once the survey is done.  I will not agree to giving them use of any of my yard but wil agree to some very limited time to get any structures or things off my property.  But I will either fence to the line or both of us will fence with a 2 foot space we both maintain between the properties, with each of us loosing 1 foot x 115 feet for that space.  City code allows the fencing to property line between 2 properties if both agree, if not, both are reqired to fence and each has to give up that foot by length of property and both get fined if it is not maintained for grass and weed growth.
The house is still a run down old house but the foundation is now solid and the roof is good. Most of the windows are new, double paned and the electrical, air and water systems are good.  I look at what all still needs done and feel that I have gotten so little done but forget what all I have done, and that includes the bikes, the trips, the dolls, books, yarns and so forth. 
So, it is a good life here, and I do like this old house, and do plan to keep on working on it, some nickle and dime, and once it is paid off, and the furnace replaced, the hope is to refinance for a major kitchen renovation and have the kitchen done well and long term very usable.  Right now I can't see the kitchen done, but I do know that I no longer want white cabinets and that I do want them to go to the ceiling or at least be closed off to the ceiling as I do not want a dust/dirt area that takes a ladder to clean.  And seeded glass in some of the cabinet doors that will match the framing of the art glass I now have hanging in the dormer window. 
But for now, I will be content with what I have, and my weekend to get some things here done, including clean up after our dog outside, doll sewing for our UFDC convention that I am not going to and some sleeping in, if Shadow will let me.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

12 degrees outside and covered in that cold white stuff, again

It is now 13 degrees outside, covered in white stuff and the dog has had me out so he could potty and play.  I did start shoveling, and will work on it here, and across for Alberta and Chuck during the day today.  But wish the dog would drag out other humans, I seem to be his designated human for cold, snow, winds ,rain trips out to potty.
My lot in MO is sold and the money in my bank account, and I hit the Springfield Home and Garden show Friday after work.  I have 2 concrete companies that will come look at my patio job and hope to get at least 2 more to come look, put in a bid, 1 is here in town so want to give the very local company a chance for the job. 
The bike patio will have to get some changing first, I have survey planned and fencing so need the bike parking entirely behind the house, not with a 16" paver row hanging off that line.  I added those pavers for my longer Rebel and it was just so much easier to add them there than unstack the retaining wall and dig out another 16" by 14 feet long area.  I will be doing it now, before the patio is done, and then have that so the patio will be able to tie in somewhat on the south side.
The fence will be gated across the bike parking space, and I need a human gate, and I will probably have more gates than I am happy paying for, but in the long run, they will be worth having, it will be just the initial cry and whine as I buy each one.
Today I will work on the snow shoveling and the laundry, have a load in the dryer to pull out and fold, have work jeans  yet to spray and wash the bottom 6" of the legs and then get washed, dried and put away and will knit, work on finishing the 2nd doll dress, plans for a quiet day. Jake and I will work on getting his taxes done too, and he will be doing part of the work, or all of it with Mom's help.
 Handed  my current case to Ben, with the new Nexus tablet he does not know I bought for him.  He will owe me help with mine for years to come, LOL, but it think he can handle that.
The Home and Garden Show in Springfield was smaller than I had expected but I had fun, found plenty to look at, came home with information on stuff I am interested in, and a place to order that platform with drawers for my bed when I am ready to move back downstairs. I looked at specialty baths, with plans for going very handicapped accessible when I move/replace the tub downstairs in the future.
The tub moves to the north wall and the door between the bathroom and laundry area moves east a few feet to make less problems with my much loved, used and needed spiral stairs.
But, alas, until I get a bathroom upstairs or the funds to pay a bath company to come in and do the job while I have some vacation days, the tub will not get moved and I will duck under the metal stairs and occasionally nail my head or shoulder on metal stairs.
The end of this month will make my 11th anniversary at Cargill here, and I am glad to be back on the kill floor, like working days, the end of March also marks my living in this house 9 years.  When I look at that time frame I feel like the work on this house has gone very slowly, but it have less than $5000 left to pay on the 2nd mortgage, the one that paid for replacing 1/2 of the foundation, at a higher cost than I paid for the place.  And the metal roof is done, paid for with no refinancing to pay for that.  Most of the windows are replaced, with the addition of 4 new ones, south attic retreat, 2 in the north attic studio area and the last new window is my east dormer window.
Part of the attic has drywall up, all is insulated, the 2 baseboard heaters work great and allow me to adjust the upstairs temps to suit my needs/wants.  The portable air conditioner was a good decision and will be even more effecient as I get more drywall work done up here in the attic.  All the wiring is done except what will be needed in the future bathroom and it is framed in and had drywall on the outside walls.
I will have to do a lot of reading on bathrooms before starting work there as it will get a custom tiled shower, to fit the space and sealing for moisture in the entire bathroom area is very important and the place to start. I have plans for a single unit for heat, light and exhaust in the ceiling, and then there will need to be at least 1 outlet, possibly 2, and a light over the sink.  I am planning a corner sink unit, might go custom with base and splurge on a cool vessel type sink.
Well, now it is almost the end of the week, Ben likes his Nexus 7, will help me with mine and I am going to order the case with keyboard as soon as I can to replace the case I gave Ben.  And I will do some tweaking with my Nexus also.
The weather has gotten a bit better so I need to start cleaning up the dog poo that Shadow has dropped all over the place.  And call contractors about the patio job so I can end up with several estimates/bids for the job.
I get discouraged at the credit debt I have, the lack of progress on this old house, my personal relationships, my poor choices in life, the past mistakes, you name it, I manage to find plenty of reasons to mentally beat myself up some days.
I need to work on the reasons I waste money and add to my debt load when I really do want to pay off credit cards and get some of those accounts closed.  I know at times I am my own worse enemy, but that does have some advantages over the days when I was letting some man screw up my head and my finances.
The winter seems to have been so long this year and cold.  The house seems to have stayed a mess, no matter how much work I put into picking up, sweeping, cleaning, you name it, I keep loosing that battle everywhere in the house and the dog does the outside mess for me to clean up again and again.
But I do know it is not a terrible life, I am ok with my place of work, like my old house and know the problems and the costs and the years of work ahead that might never end.  It is my house and my life now, not in the hands of someone else and me having little or no choice in the direction I am going.