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Archive for June, 2016

Fixing all the little broken things

June 28th, 2016 at 05:24 pm

One of my friends once described all the little not quite working or broken things around her house as 'death by a thousand cuts.'

Now that I'm home even more over summer vacation, I realize I too am suffering from hundreds of little frustrations around the house.

There are a million little things that are broken or wobbly or not quite right and we just never bothered to fix them because it wasn't an emergency or we were too busy.

I've started fixing them all, one by one, vowing to do one or two a week, until this place is running much more smoothly. The best part is, most of the repairs take time, but not a lot of money, so it's helping me stick to my summer budget.

Here's my list so far....

-I fixed the broken shower door. It was stuck on the track instead of running through the track, and it'd been like that for at least six months. It took a measly five minutes to fix.

-I replaced a broken hinge on the cabinet door.

-I replaced the broken dimmer switch in the dining room. It's soooo much better. Why did I wait so long????

-I unclogged the drain in the master bathroom sink. It's super slow, and has been forever.

-I cleaned the grout (mostly) in the master shower. I'm open to tips on a product that actually can get grout clean!

-I killed the weeds in the front patio (with boiling water. eco conscious and cheap), and refilled the brick spaces with sand.

-I propped up a sagging section of brick out front by putting sand and gravel underneath. Finally!

-I finally called the windshield company and scheduled the replacement of our cracked windshield. They're coming Thursday and it cost about half what I thought it would (only $200!)

-I took all my empty garden plastic pots to Lowe's. They recycle them for free. With a big garden, I had hundreds of these things sitting around.

-I took three carloads to GoodWill, hence clearing out the boxes in my basement office I've been tripping over forever.

-I'm dropping off a bunch of toy trucks and truck videos to a friend with a younger son today. Our kids are too old, hers will really appreciate them.

-I started cutting down the invasive honeysuckle on our property. I'm going one section at a time, trying to fill up one garbage can a week so the city can come by and compost it.

Oh my gosh. It feels better already....

Does this happen to you, too? Or am I just really bad at being a homeowner??

Finally, the calm.

June 25th, 2016 at 04:26 pm

Do you ever get the feeling that life is a rushing river and you're just trying to hold on for dear life until you can make it to calm waters?

That's kind of how I've been feeling the last few months. I had tons to do with the kids' school, my trip to New Orleans, the family trip to Arizona, managing two boys at home all day for summer vacation, etc.

I think I may finally have hit the calm. We got home from AZ about 10 days ago, and are starting to fall into some sort or normal (for summer at least).

Sadly, despite paying off the mortgage, we have managed to put very little in savings, in part because of all the trips, required paid in advance days for the kids summer camp, etc.

The bright side is, starting next payday, we should be out from under all of that and should be able to start putting money in savings and start paying for repairs for things around the house.

I am a little mad at the bank/ county about the mortgage though. I was expecting a bill for property taxes, and nothing came, so I logged onto the county auditor's site only to discover taxes were due that day, and for some reason, my bill was mailed to the bank, not me, and not forwarded, despite the lien being cleared in april.

So, I had to pay online and pay a $78 fee to do it, instead of mailing a check. I'm a little peeved, and I tried calling the county office to make sure they will be mailing my bill to ME next time, but the lines were busy all day, probably because bills were due. Oh well.

In other news, things seem to be going where they need to go for my youngest son. We found him a psychologist to help us with the anger / social issues he has with peers and at school. (Long story).

Let's just say that two professionals have suggested we get his IQ tested because he might be having social problems/ boredom/ frustration because he's bright. Well. I'm not that kind of mom who brags or pushes for my kids to be gifted, so I had to laugh to myself, but hey, it can't hurt to have another test right? If anything will help him, I'll do it.

He's also still seeing his school counselor over the summer.

As for the normal day to day, the garden is finally producing, which for me is like Christmas all summer. I picked mulberries off my sister's tree last friday, and made them into 8 half pints of jam. (I wish there were an easier way to de-stem them!)

I picked and froze all of our home grown strawberries before our AZ trip, and will be making them into jam later this week. (We also made two strawberry pies, and had two rounds of strawberry shortcake and strawberry pancakes before that!)

And, I haven't had to buy a lettuce green at the store since mid-May, although I might try a new variety of lettuce next year. Something milder.

The big news!

June 12th, 2016 at 08:08 pm

It's taken five long years and five huge revisions/rewrites, but my first novel is officially finished. Now, I'm crafting a query letter so that I can send it off to agents and fingers crossed, get a book deal.

I know it's hard work, but I don't have blinders on. I've been a journalist and writer since age 18, and now at 41, I'm right where I need to be. So yes, this month, I'll start querying agents and writing my next book.

With two little kids and a freelance job, this has been a long time coming. But I'm excited and optimistic, and I'm excited to really get going writing more books. I have so many ideas--too many really- and I'm anxious to birth them all.

My life will change drastically in the fall-- for the first time in 8 years, I will have kids in school ALL DAY, and will have a large uninterrupted block of time to actually work on writing projects. I suspect this will be life changing.

(For those of you who are curious, it's a young adult supernatural suspense novel. No vampires, I swear.)

In other news...


I haven't been on here much since the mortgage was paid off. (Still loving that. ) I've been caught in the end of year rush.

I took a trip to New Orleans to see friends and go to a concert, then the boys got out of school, then we immediately left for a family trip to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, et al, with kids and other family.

I'm still catching up financially from those two trips, and the initial charges for the summer day camp I'll be sending the kids. But, I'm optimistic now that I am home, and we will be settling into a routine, that I'll be able to put money into savings and really get going on other goals now that the mortgage is dead.

I've missed all of you!