Wednesday, September 20, 2017

What's that they say about neighbors and fences?

Well, I thought we'd need a fence! Let me start by saying, when we moved here 22 years ago, we already had a pretty good group of friends. We never tried to make friends in the neighborhood. Still, we're good neighbors and are always pleasant.

We have a neighbor on the right of us who---how shall I put this---is rather difficult. Okay I'll just say it, she's a "bitch!" I guess I should have realized it about 17 years ago when she called me and asked if the homeowners association had sent us a letter about our boat which is sitting in the driveway. That's against the neighborhood rules. She said that they had gotten a notice about their trailer. Now mind you, our boat is at the rear of the drive and is barely visible from the street. And usually there is a car parked in front of it. Their trailer was a rotted wood, rusty piece of crap that was plainly visible to anyone driving by. She then told me that they drove around the neighborhood and "turned in" everyone that violated any rules--us being one of them. Yep, pretty soon, we got that letter. Even after the association threatened to place a lien on the house, we decided to ignore it. It would be cheaper to pay off the lien---if and when we ever decided to sell the house rather than rent a storage place. Okay, that's the end of that story.

Story #2. Along the side of our driveway, is a row of trees. They are beautiful Sweet Gum trees. Even their spikey balls don't bother me. We've been mulching around the bottom of those trees for years. Early on, said neighbor came over to let me know that those were "their" trees. I asked her if she had a problem with me making them look better. Seriously? Would you have a problem if your neighbors wanted to spend their own money improving something that belongs to you? I think not! Okay, there's that.

Story #3. Anyway, a couple years ago, after a bad storm, one of the trees near the bottom of the drive, lost a huge limb that fell on our driveway. I called the neighbor to suggest that we split the cost of the removal---after all, it was technically their tree. She said "no" that she would not do that. That really fired me up! Then I found out, that by law, even though it was their tree, what fell on our property was our problem. We took care of it.

I swear, it wasn't a month later that it happened again, but on the other side of our property. The tree that fell belonged to the other neighbor, but fell on our side. He immediately called me to apologize and that he'd get it cleared up asap. I told him that it was our responsibility. He said, "well, it's our tree. That doesn't seem fair." I suggested that we split the cost. Yeah, that's what neighborly neighbors do! Poor guy, he just lost another big tree last week, but this time it fell on his side. I felt bad for him, but not bad enough to offer to help pay! I guess I'm not quite that neighborly!

Story #4. On to my recent problem with "right hand" neighbor. Several years ago, they had a pool put in. If you know anything about pools, the maintenance requires flushing out the filter. This caused all of their run-off to shoot on to our driveway which ate away our driveway sealer. I called her and asked her if she would meet me outside. She did. I started explaining the problem. I told her that the tubing should have been buried underground. I didn't even mention the fact that it was an eyesore to us---they couldn't see it from their front. Plus, I said the trees would benefit from the extra water. I offered to split the cost with her---because that's the neighborly thing to do. Right? She refused, saying that the problem was ours. She said that since we put in a little flower bed, that changed the lay of the land and caused the problem. OMGosh! There was no reasoning with her. What she said didn't make any sense at all because the flower bed was above the run-off! I told her that. I was so aggravated. I just said, "okay, I guess there's nothing else to discuss."
This is what it looks like from out driveway. I did not have a "before" picture, but the tubing is gone. They had the drainage problem fixed the right way.
You can see how the pipes are buried. Now the water runs off right down the tree line. I guess her husband isn't a jerk! But really, we offered to pay half. I'm totally fine not paying at all! Had she been nicer, I might have called and offered again! That would have been the neighborly thing to do, right? Well, I didn't and I don't feel a bit bad about it! Now who has turned in to the "bitch?" 

Don't push me!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Old House...

Does anyone remember that old song? 

When mom and dad went out when we were kids, I was left in charge. I don't know how it happened, but the house would be completely trashed in like 15 minutes! It never looked like that ordinarily. I guess it was the running around and being wild like we were never allowed to do ("hey you kids, get outside!"---and outside we went). Anyway, we'd put that LP on the record player and then we'd start singing and zooming around---to clean up.

"Ain't a-gonna need this house no longer
Ain't a-gonna need this house no more
Ain't got time to fix the shingles
Ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the windowpane
Ain't a-gonna need this house no longer
He's a-gettin' ready to meet the saints"
I don't remember that last line at all. The goal was to have the whole house cleaned up and put back to normal by the time the song ended. We'd sing at the top of our lungs and voila! The house was cleaned up! 
That little story has really nothing to do with this post except that it's going to be about the house. While thinking about it, the song popped in to my head. I sang it just to see if I remembered it. I did (Butch wasn't home---he'd think I was nuts--well, maybe). 
Our house is nearly 35 years old. There are a lot of things that need to be done---painting, window wood replacement, new driveway, ceilings fixed/replaced on the porches, windows replaced, garage doors replaced, garage re-done, etc. I mean a LOT of work. We've been dreading it. We had put together a 3 year plan. All of this was going to be the "unfun" stuff and pushed to year 3. But, we've decided that we need to address these issues now. So, here goes.
We went to the home show down at the convention center to talk to people and take names. The first people we talked to were the window people. I ended up making an appointment with Anderson. They came out, we talked a little and then I said, "look, I don't want to waste your time or mine. I can see we need to take a different approach." It became obvious to me that new windows were going to be out of the question. We have 43 windows, 24 transoms, 10 sets of French doors and 4 regular doors. That doesn't even include our decorative windows around the front door and the large paned arched window on the second story overlooking our entry. I was looking for energy efficient and no maintenance. Holy crap! We'd have to live here another 50 years to save enough money on that to justify the cost of the windows!
The guy was very nice and knowledgable, but he was sort of beating around the bush. I just put him on the spot and pointed to a skinny window in the kitchen and said give me a ball park on this window. He said between $1400 and $1600. What the ***!!!??? That's when I said "we're done!" Granted, Anderson Windows are the caddilac of windows---they are the only companies to still use wood. Still, you can do the math---and that was one of two of my smallest windows! I told him what I had in mind for a budget and he said we could probably get there with the 43 windows, but not the rest. Whoa! Time for plan "B." Repair and paint. 
Butch has set up some meetings. He's met with one guy so far. His bid sounds too good to be true. We'll see. We'll be really happy if we can get it done for that price or close. In the mean time, I have a guy coming out to talk to me about the driveway. I would love for him to tell me that it can be repaired. We have one HUGE driveway. 
It goes right on around to our patios in the back. I didn't have a better picture, but you can see just some of the serious cracking we have going on. I have in my mind what I think replacement will be. I hope I'm wrong!
Stay tuned.

PS A couple of side notes:
 I'm very excited about these samples of quartz for my kitchen counter tops---when we re-do the kitchen. That was supposed to be starting in 2018, but will probably have to wait until 2019 while we address the outside issues.

I'm very excited about these doors. I fell in love with these "carriage" style doors at my cousin, Chris' house. That's part of this year's projects.
This is completely unrelated to house maintenance. Well actually, I get it now. Our bodies are our own personal "house." I was wondering why they were at the home show. Connie and I sat down for a demonstration. Oh! My! Gosh! It really worked! She had tiny lines near her eyes that completely disappeared! One of my bags completely disappeared. I didn't even realize I had bags. I never really look at myself. There were two problems though. 1. The product cost $295!! We were told that if we tried to get it online, it would be 2 thousand! 2. They only "fixed" one side. We had to go around the rest of the day with half of our face looking 10 years younger!

Just goes to show---everything is EXPENSIVE! There's no way around it.



Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Mystery

It's been awhile since I've posted any mysteries. It seems like there's always something.

This week, I discovered this:
 Can you see it? A tiny little plant is growing out of the drain. Now wait, lest you think I'm a bad housekeeper or haven't cleaned my sink in a long time--don't judge! This is the side that doesn't get used.
It's where my dish drainer resides. It gets cleaned once a week---I just spray water in to it if it looks like crumbs are at the bottom. Anyway, I noticed the little green sprout and said, "What the heck??"
I pulled the dish drainer out and removed the stopper.
Oh My Gosh! Look at that! It's coming from a tiny seed that looks like a cucumber or cantaloupe seed---except that I haven't had either of those recently. I was trying to think what it could be. I don't know, it's a mystery. So, now I'm really curious.
I'm going to just grow it and see what happens. You can see the seed a little better here. I'll have to keep you posted. Plants are amazing things. And mysterious!



Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Few Things...

Some of my friends and I had lunch at DelFrisco's to welcome our friend Diane from England back---in time for book club. You might know she's the one who took the picture, so she's not in it! The food there is delicious! Nancy, Diane and I had the half tenderloin sandwich with a cup of corn chowder. It was so good. There were homemade chips on the side. Even the half was too much food.
We had a Miley Cyrus sighting. We had lunch together! She was waiting next to us for the valet to get her car. She looked cute---messy top ponytail, jeans, Vans and a white sweatshirt. She is tiny!
We've been having some gorgeous weather. Stephanie, Nicky, Mindy and Justin spent the day at the zoo (or half a day--our zoo isn't that big).


 Butch and I were out running errands together. I saw these rooflines lined up with birds.
I got Butch to go back so I could take a picture. When we first went by, they all had their wings fanned out.
 You can see a few here. I had never seen anything like that. We're not sure what kind of birds they are, but they were really big---they were bigger than crows---maybe turkey vultures.
 It was a rainy day, so we think they were fanning out their wings to dry. Uh, seems to me that if they were flying, the air would dry them naturally. Maybe it was their rest time. In that case, I totally get it!
 Saw this recently while shopping for a gift. Since when did Vera Bradley start making jewelry? I can't say I was really impressed. I didn't think to check prices.
 And then there's this. OMGosh! This is my favorite type salad of all time---Shrimp Louie (it could be crab too). I get it every time we go to Redlands before the theatre. The presentation! Tender bib lettuce, avocado, large, flavorful shrimp, topped with a thousand island type dressing. So good! I couldn't finish it all. The we had to share the carrot cake for dessert. And believe me, it's enough to share! 4 of us couldn't finish it. It's a huge 4" square piece, hot with runny, cream cheese frosting! Just delish. Didn't think to get a picture.

Okay, that's enough for now!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Our Kids are going to Hate Us!

I'm perfectly honest here. I've been saying it for quite awhile. The bottomline is: Our kids don't want our stuff!  If we don't start doing something about it, they are going to hate us. I know a few people who say, "let them deal with it when I'm gone." Seriously, I don't want my kids to hate me. I've told the girls, that when the time comes, go room by room and take what they want and hire an auctioneer to do an estate sale. Even that is questionable. Young people don't want "old" stuff. They don't think in terms of family heirlooms---it's just stuff they don't care about or have room for.

I just recently read an article from the New York Times talking about this dilemma. Young people, especially millennials, have grown up without attachments to stuff. Everything is disposable. As the article states, they don't buy for permanence. They are Target shoppers and everything is temporary. Heirloom furniture is not a "thing" for them.

Young people don't want china, silver and crystal. To prove the point, a friend of mine who recently moved, had to downsize her belongings. She had fine antiques of silver and crystal. And when I say "fine," I mean really old and valuable---like 18th and 19th century old. To young people, it's just old stuff. They don't have the time or want to take the time to polish silver. They simply don't care about it. She listed much of her stuff with an online auction house. She got pennies on the dollar of what the stuff was worth.

Heck, I got rid of most of my own silver years ago. I only had silver-plate, but still, it had to be polished. I didn't want it. My mom had tons of silver. My siblings and I didn't want it either. We each took some to give to our own daughters---who most likely didn't want it, but kept it because it belonged to their grandma. When Stephanie moved, I was helping her unpack. I came across two pieces of black that I thought was silver. I asked her if she wanted to keep it. She said that she thought she had to because it was grandma's. I set her free! I told her that mom got most of that silver from garage sales anyway! She kept one thing, we polished it up and she has it on her china cabinet. Fine. Easy.

The most expensive thing my mother owned was her sterling silver flatware. Still, when we were disassembling her estate, no one wanted it. My siblings said, "Barb, you take it---you entertain a lot!" Well, 1. I don't entertain much anymore and 2. I actually prefer my own silver-plate better. I took it home. Jordan and Morgan helped me polish it up. We used it in honor of mom on Thanksgiving. That was 2010 and that was the last time it's been used. I'm not sure what to do with it.

On to china. I had many Lenox vases that I decided to put on eBay. OMGosh! What a waste of time. They sold for just a few bucks---less than the shipping and handling. It was more of a hassle than anything. That's when I decided that eBay was not the way to go. I figured I would go to the Replacements, Inc. company when I decided to get rid of something  else. I don't think they are doing very well either. They might even be going out of business as I got an email from them a few weeks ago about having a huge inventory sale---it looked like a garage sale since it was outside. A couple weeks prior to that email, my sister-in-law, was telling me about wanting to get rid of her china. Her girls didn't want it. She tried selling it on Craig's list. She checked with Replacements--they didn't want it. Her china was beautiful! Noritake---full set with lots of accessories. Anyway, she GAVE it away. All I could think of was thousands of dollars down the drain.

I have my mom's everyday dishes. No one else wanted them.
They have value too. I'm saving them for Jordan, my oldest granddaughter. She seems to be sort of sentimental and her favorite color is pink. I'm hoping she'll want them since they belonged to her great grandma.

Heck, I'm pretty sure Mindy doesn't want anything. We still have a closet full of her stuff---and wedding gifts stacked in the library that she and Justin have no room for in their condo. She's not really the sentimental type. I do have a Lenox spice set in one of my kitchen cabinets that she says she wants. We'll see if she ever takes it.

Back to my own stuff. I have a lot.

  I don't think the girls or granddaughters are going to want most of this stuff. What to do with it???


The "little" girls all seem to want my Lenox princesses. When they were little, I promised them that I'd let them each pick a set when they were 21. Victoria reminded me of that when we were celebrating Jordan's 21st birthday. Jordan wants Cinderella. She really doesn't have room for it now--she's still a college kid. I just hope she'll want it later. We'll see.
And then, there's this---my great grandmother's punch bowl. I used it at Easter and Mindy made a comment that she would "take" this. I guess that means she likes it and wants it. It might be the only thing of interest to any of the girls. I'll have to ask them. That's another thing. I want to get most of it sorted out and settled. I don't want any hurt feelings later.
 I love my Christmas china. I'm sure someone will want that for sure.
 These are full of stuff too! My Waterford crystal, Fitz and Floyd collection and assorted other things.
I think the next time everyone is together, we'll discuss some of this stuff. I can at least start making a list.

Then there's the scrapbooks. Who the heck is going to want all of them? That's why I scrapbook about life today. I figure if they wind up in antique shops down the road, someone else will be interested in how we lived. At least I hope so.

And don't forget my needlepoint. Luckily for me, the girls all like that so most will be spoken for. My friends and I have an agreement. When our children are having a garage sale with all of our stuff, we're going to rescue the needlepoint!

The article talked about us "boomers" as being accumulators. I guess that's the truth! At least for me and my friends. We all have a lot of stuff. We need to do something about it NOW or our kids are going to hate us!

What are you doing about your stuff?


Friday, September 15, 2017

For Your Friday Enjoyment

I've always wanted to be involved in something like this. I thought it could be a fun family activity. The family---not so much!

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

You're welcome!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

One Last Post About my New Car

I promise! This one is for Morgan. She requested some interior shots. But first, I want to show off the color---that you have to be in the sun to really see!
 The color is called "brown pearl."
 It sparkles in the sun.
 Close-up, you can see the glittery sparkles. I'm a glitter kind of gal.


It's already sort of driving me crazy that it does seem to get dirty so fast. I'm just going to add the carwash to my weekly errands. That will make me feel better. 

One thing I'm loving---this car was definitely tested by a woman---and maybe a short one at that!
In the back cargo area, there are little hooks for those plastic grocery bags. Now I don't have to re-bag everything when I get home from the grocery store. I'm certain a woman came up with that idea. You only have to have those bags slide around and spill your groceries one time to know that those little hooks are a necessity. The hooks are on both sides. Genius!
Probably the best "new" thing for me is that you just press a little button to close the lift hatch. In my old car, I had to stand on tippy toes to reach the button that was overhead on the actual lift itself. I'm pretty sure a short woman said, "uh, NO, that button needs to be lower!" Heck, if both hands are full, you can even activate it with your elbow---the ultimate in multi-tasking!

So there you have it---everything wonderful about my new car. Maybe not everything, but I already reported some other awesome features. Oh, and one last thing, I had my nails done yesterday and didn't get blocked in. I think this car is just enough smaller to prevent that constant problem! At least I hope so.