Category Archives: Making Home

Saving $$$

Because of the new porch and wanting to pay off the loan we got ASAP,  I’ve been looking for ways to save money.

Usually, this means that I find a lot of sites/data that I already know. However, pleasantly enough, I found one this morning which had info. new to me!

(here)

I get aarp’s emails regularly and from them and other sites, most of the ideas are those I know and have used for years:

  • Drink water at restaurants
  • DIY morning coffee/snack
  • Cook at home, from scratch
  • etc.

The saving $ ideas of mine which I’ve never seen elsewhere:

  • Buy the most concentrated form of soaps, or anything else that you can. If you use it with water, you can add it yourself.
  • Buy unscented products rather than buying “his” and “her” products.
  • Use tank tops as underwear, flipflops as slippers during the winter and other such so that you can buy less stuff to start with.
  • Have a set budget for restaurant meals and plan to eat at least one other set of meals from it, whenever possible. (Our budget for 2 adults = $20, and the 2nd meals make that $5/per meal, still expensive, but a lot more affordable than it might be!)
  • Shop your fridge/pantry and use what needs using first instead of sticking with a meal plan.
  • Use a chamois to “mop up” steam from glass and metal shower/bath rather than using glass or chrome cleaners. The steam is a free by product of bathing, use it!
  • Use “snow” from your freezer as sweeping compound to clean your hard floors.

Not unique to me:

  • Buy in bulk when you can afford to, items are on sale, and you have the space.
  • Have a price book.
  • Share and borrow, as needed.

 

 

dollar sign from zazzle.com

Been Working on the “Temporary” Drains

from the construction site. They and the rough grading of the land around the new patio are done. Supposedly we’re getting a new batch of soil from the contractor. Thought that would arrive today, it didn’t.

Not sure what’s up with the contractor? He was going to come by with a load for the dump today too and add some stuff here to it. Haven’t seen him, dump closes in 15 minutes or so, so obviously, if he was going to add our stuff, he isn’t now. We had a sort of “fight” this morning, no one raised their voice or even disagreed, but things got tense and DH sent an email which essentially said, “finish these pieces and we’re done.” Before that the contractor and I had talked and exchanged texts about the soil and dump. So I have no idea wtf will happen. We’ll get the soil/not? He’ll show up Sat. to take the stuff to the dump/not? He’ll finish the pieces DH asked for/not?

I have no idea.

There was a piece of the work which we’d all talked about, in detail. How to do it, when to do it, etc. We bought all the materials for it, weeks ago. He’s been running on money we gave him 2 week ago, so we knew he’d used it up and expected something like, “Look, this is taking longer than I expected, can you give me $$$ more?” What I got told this morning was that “it wasn’t in the contract.”

Hm. No, but if you couldn’t do it and if you asked for more money instead of being defensive about it, I probably would have dug into the money market or retirement or deep savings to pay you. I’m reasonable. But to leave a chunk o’ work to the end then say, “it isn’t in my contract,” just annoyed us. It wasn’t that you needed more $ to do the work. It wasn’t that at all, it was the way you handled it. And, if you knew that you couldn’t do it, why not say something two weeks ago or more? Additionally, there are things which got done which we didn’t need or even necessarily want done, and there’s some pieces which are just unfinished.

This person is also a neighbor of ours, which makes the entire mess a whole lot more complicated.

Sigh. I wish we’d just gotten the back roof done, period. The first roof, with the same person running the show was easy. And that’s the only reason we let ourselves get involved in this much more complex and expensive venture. Never again.

We will in the future use Angie’s List, ask for complete estimates and get everything written. And no, we won’t work with friends, again. I learned that lesson years ago, I  just learned it again.

(The “cat snarl” tag is because it’s how this feels: like a snarl of yarn a cat’s been into!)

Forward!

  • DH thinks he has the door squared up in the frame, which means the first door is installed, or will be shortly.
  • The contractor has said he’ll bring back the material he got for us to make an entry, years ago, so we can make the entry when we’re ready.
  • I hung up the 3 yard sticks which have been perched in a corner of the hall, waiting to be put up. They got hung on 3 tiny walls, between the living room and pantry, the pantry and the downstairs office, the downstairs office and bathroom.

We looked at the kitchen cabinet ruler again, with the idea that maybe we could hang it in one of the two remaining spaces (bathroom/closet and closet/hall). But we can’t, no holes to hang it from, so it went back where it had been.

I am amused. It took me 3 rulers to hang 3 rulers!

I measured the first space with a tape measure, standing on a footstool. Then realized I couldn’t hold the tape and hammer in a nail at the same time, or mark it easily either. So, I got down, grabbed the ruler I’ve been using for the house cleaning journal. Got back up the footstool and realized it didn’t start at the left edge and I couldn’t hold it accurately, etc. either. So I went upstairs, grabbed a  6″ ruler which starts on its left edge, went back downstairs and proceeded to measure, using the trim which was my left edge to prop the left edge of the ruler. Marked where I wanted the hole to go with the nail, put the ruler in my back pocket, picked up the hammer etc. With the right tools? Easy. Without them, way too complex! Anyway, the yardsticks aren’t cluttering up the corner now, they’ve become useable decoration. They can be removed and used if needed, but are tidy and displayed to an advantage. Took me way too long to just get that job done!

New To Do List 8/14/17

to do list 1

 

Get at least one piece of one item off of the long-term list!

SHORT TERM:

  • Replace the north/south doors. (They’ve been ordered, will be delivered tomorrow.)
  • Work on the websites.
  • Prime & paint the removed clapboards from the laundry wall where the new door will be installed. (Priming has been in process since last Friday.)
  • Get the nailers up so the guys can finish up the trim. Monday
  • Get the clapboards painted? Started Monday
  • Paint the rest of the exterior of the house next to the porch.
  • Get the clapboards reinstalled.
  • Finish filling in the holes caused by the construction. Wednesday
  • Finish edging the “rain garden”.
  • Fill the bagster
  • Order gravel.
  • Order wood.

MEDIUM TERM: (in the next 2-3 weeks)

  • Empty the old coffee table full o’ stuff in the hallway.
  • Resolve the “too many” coffee tables dilemma.
  • Remove the “island” of boxes of stuff from the attic. Sell, donate, or trash enough that the floor can stay cleared.
  • Put food away for winter.
  • The fridge freezer needs to be organized and purged. Started Mondaty
  • Clean the fridge’s shelves.
  • Paint the laundry room, inside and out.
  • Paint the bathroom.
  • Get the new shower curtain liner painted and installed.
  • Get through more of the accounting backlog.
  • Get last year’s unfinished clean up done in the entry/living room/hall.
  • Get the marble table out of the kitchen and to the antique booth. [Called the person who had indicated he’d help me get it to the shop.]

LONG TERM & ONGOING:

  • Get a job.
  • Pay off the equity line.
  • Continue to use up the stored foods: grains, beans, pasta, etc. (The canned goods purge the end of last year beginning of this year worked.)
  • Rebuild the winter pantry.
  • Writing Projects: Memoir
  • Writing Projects: Article
  • Writing Projects: Kitchen Book
  • Writing Projects: Novel

Favorite Foods

We have a new favorite yogurt, and, knowing us, that means it won’t last, alas.

DH bought two Yoplait yogurts this week, packaged in glass. The flavor is vanilla, the stuff is expensive, because of the packaging and no doubt because of the lack of preservatives. The ingredients are very simple, something like: milk, sugar, yogurt strain bacteria, and vanilla extract — that’s all.

It’s called “French style” yogurt and their website doesn’t even have a picture of it. We have decided we love it and need to buy a lot of it ASAP, because it no doubt won’t last. Simple foods which taste good, with no crap added to them tend to be short-lived.

Remember Haagen-Dazs Five ice creams? They were around for what, a year? Ice cream with 5 ingredients, milk, cream, sugar, flavoring. It was wonderful stuff — and it’s gone.

The other ice cream we fell in love with is almost impossible to find in New England, although it CAN be found, again it’s pricey. It’s Three Twins, organic ice creams.

vanila 3 twins image

Sigh. I long for the days when simpler meant cheaper and easier to find rather than the opposite. Ah well, we are food snobs and swimming upstream is something I’m used to, ‘eh?

J

Back to Work

It’s Monday, and despite wtf the calendar says, to ME it’s the beginning of the week. That means I am all full of resolutions, plans, & more ideas of things I should do than I can possibly do in the next 5 days,

So, we’ll see.

It occurred to me yesterday that I had not posted a “to do” list in some time. I’ll post it and make comments below. If/when I finish tasks this week, I’ll mark those too. This to do list is a cut/paste/edit from 3/20, so yes indeed, it has been some time!

to do list 1

 

Get at least one piece of one item off of the long-term list!

SHORT TERM:

  • Replace the north/south doors. (They’ve been ordered, will be delivered tomorrow.)
  • Do more prep before the doors are delivered. Tues.
  • Work on the housework book. Tues.
  • Work on the websites.
  • Denail, clean, prime & paint the removed clapboards from the laundry wall where the new door will be installed. Friday

MEDIUM TERM: (in the next 2-3 weeks)

  • Empty the old coffee table full o’ stuff in the hallway.
  • Resolve the “too many” coffee tables dilemma.
  • Remove the “island” of boxes of stuff from the attic. Sell, donate, or trash enough that the floor can stay cleared.
  • Put food away for winter.
  • The fridge freezer needs to be organized and purged.
  • Clean the fridge’s shelves.
  • Paint the laundry room, inside and out.
  • Paint the bathroom.
  • Get the new shower curtain liner painted and installed.
  • Get through some of the accounting backlog. Weds.

LONG TERM & ONGOING:

  • Get a job.
  • Pay off the equity line.
  • Continue to use up the stored foods: grains, beans, pasta, etc. (The canned goods purge the end of last year beginning of this year worked.)
  • Rebuild the winter pantry.
  • Writing Projects: Memoir worked on the formatting issues Thurs.
  • Writing Projects: Article
  • Writing Projects: Kitchen Book
  • Writing Projects: Novel

 

 

 

 

What’s New?!

I bought stuff Sunday and Monday.

SUNDAY: At the flea market I sold 2 shirts, an umbrella, two large saws. I bought 6 au gratin dishes. Took the extra 2 and left them at the storage — they’ll be put out for sale.

I got to a consignment shop and bought a dresser and a picnic basket.

  • The dresser is for the attic. The drawers are nicely proportioned for the size of the piece, and it’s slightly ratty, but not so much you’d cringe to own it. Why did I buy a dresser? Because I realized many of the “disorganized and in boxes” items are small pieces and I have nowhere to put them away.
  • The picnic basket is smaller and more complete than the one I had. I had started carrying one in the car in an effort to use unnecessary plastic and paper goods.

Got home, pulled the 4 au gratins I had, put them in the car, along with the bigger picnic basket.

MONDAY: I went to a shop where I consign things and bought stuff for the booth. I left the items I replaced (picnic basket & au gratins) as a consignment. The items I got for resale here were priced/ready to go that day. (They’ll go to the booth tomorrow.)

The roof/porch project, which was going to take 2 or 3 weeks? Well, it’s still in process, although they got the last of the roof panels up today. Hurrah!

Right now we have too many dressers, but that should change soon. The plan has always been to sell the double dresser (which I grew up with) and use the $ to help pay for the back roof. We have at least one other piece to sell too. The two pieces won’t pay for the roof/patio, but they’ll make a dent, and that’s good. Less debt, less stuff, and better living space doesn’t strike me as a bad deal!

This morning I worked on the other website and my cleaning plan while I was drinking my coffee and later, I cleared out the space in the attic where the dresser will go. Of course, several things came out of the attic which will be sold: a bookcase a bin of china/glass and there’s a few things which will go to the dump.

I haven’t finished cleaning the shed. I started cleaning the attic. I worked on the cleaning plan. I worked on both websites, as well as the day to day mundane stuff: cleaning toilets, dishes and laundry.

Life goes on!

J