Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

For Whom the Wind Blows~~It Blows for Thee and not an good wind either~~~

Hello Sweet Things,

Yes I have been out of touch but with good reason. First I had to catch up at work after getting back from my vacation with my Family and I can say that with happiness in my heart. I will continue the updates on the Easter vacation but first, I’ve been having a bit of business and drama here at home.

After I got back, we had a heat wave that climbed into the 90’s and now we are down into the mid to upper 40’s at night with very heavy breezes, so first we are cooking and now we are freezing---I just LOVE this Bay Area weather.

But this last weekend I had to go back to the Sierra’s to finish signing and notarizing the paper work on the two properties that I bought, I’m happy, they are happy and I Know the real estate agent is very happy. It was very chilly in the Gold Rush country they too went through the same dramatic temperature changes that we suffered with (and still are).

So I came back home late Sunday night, crashed into Bed. Those Sunday drivers are insane, especially along 880 from Benicia to past Berkeley—I think I’ll take the Cordellia Junction turn off when I’m coming from the North from now on, coming from the South there is nothing that is better---***sigh***.

But did I get a good night’s sleep?? Think again Sweet Things, the night winds whipped up so bad during the night that I awoke to the sound of a terrible crash. At first I thought that my home had been broken into and grabbed my Berretta from the auto lock safe. I waited a couple of minutes to listen to anyone walking, prepared to call the police and defend myself if I had too, but after 5 minutes not hearing anything except the wind I grabbed my LED flashlight and with gun and flashlight in hand started checking things out.

I was immediately stuck by the bone chilling cold, and the sound of wind, when I got to my living room I discovered what had happened; a large branch from my neighbors’ tree had crashed though the glass of my sliding doors that led out onto my balcony. To say it was a mess is an understatement.

I didn’t dare walk across the floor with all that broken glass, and since it wasn’t raining, I decided the best thing I could do was get my heavy comforter and go back to bed.

Getting up early in the morning, I was looking up the phone number to my Handyman when the doorbell rang, it was my neighbor very sheepish, he asked how bad the damaged was and I showed him.

I kept thinking of the scene that I saw in a movie in which a car dropped from the sky onto a person’s home, the owner running out with his hands on his head saying “Mamma Mia, Madre Dios” and other exclamations in that vein.

We took pictures, inside, outside, from his property and mine, exchanged information I said that it might be at least two bills maybe one more, one for the handyman to clean the mess up and put a board over the very big opening, another for the glass man and maybe one for a carpenter, and another for anything damaged or destroyed inside, at least my neighbor was understanding and asked me to give him copies of the bills and he would turn it into his home owners insurance, he had some damage done to his home as well, not as bad or as dramatic as mine, we were just glad that no one was hurt.

Lillian showed up after seeing the big branch hanging off of my balcony, half in and half out of the house; trust her to not miss out on the excitement. She didn’t waste any time and put on coffee and made toast while I phoned my work and the Handyman. Oh well I was going to be late, couldn’t be helped.

I had to get to work for a meeting at 1 p.m. that I couldn’t miss, so I left Lillian in charge with instructions. And this time I had to drive to work, which I really didn’t like doing but one has no choice.

After the meeting I phoned Lillian for an update, they had managed to remove the tree branch, and were in the process of clearing up the broken glass, she was looking for things of mine that might have been flung or broken by the crash, I warned her to be careful.

When I got home everything had been cleared away and a huge board put in place of what was once a sliding glass door, a long note from Mr. Handyman as to what he thought needed to be done and Lillian gleefully waiting for all the details, she ordered Chinese to be delivered when I called her and told her that I was at the 16th Ave turn off on 880.

I filled Lillian in on all the drama, and she showed me what had been damaged and broken, some lamps, a coffee table, an end table, the hardwood floor was badly scratched, the drapes and curtains shredded, I would need Coit cleaners to clean the couch and have the material on the over stuffed chair re-done, some knick knacks were smashed, but my beautiful oil painting that I have over the fireplace was unharmed, I was glad for that.

The food arrived delivered nice and hot, we don’t have too many places that deliver Chinese, but this place has very good food, so Lillian and I had dinner and over dinner I told her about the meeting and my work. My neighbor, he of the rampaging tree limb came over to see how I was doing and saw the cleaned up aftermath, he had an idea it was going to be a very big series of bills, and in front of Lillian said for me to give him copies the bills for all the damage that was repaired and any items that had to be replaced.

He asked if I have to stay in a hotel and I said no the rest of the house was fine it was just this one room, I told him what had been broken and damaged and he saw the boxes of broken things and the furniture so I just hope he follows through on this, he is a lawyer, so I’ll be taking more pictures now that I can see the damage more clearly, but I don’t think I’ll ask for anything for the knick knacks, but everything else, well it was his tree branch.

After he left Lillian reminded me about the upcoming Friends of the Library book sale and that I had to take her, I told her I would take her to that if she would come with me to the Crossroads of the West Gun Show at the Cow Palace the next day and help me and my friend Yoshi with going over the room very thoroughly on Sunday to make sure there was no more broken glass and other stuff. She was very happy to do that, and I promised her that as soon as my new sliding glass door was installed and the hardwood floors redone we’d go shopping for drapes, curtains, and other things. She loves shopping.

After dinner since I didn’t want to use my living room, we went over to Lillian’s place and watched a DVD of this comic ventriloquist who has a vent doll called “Ahmed the Dead Terrorist” I never laughed so hard in my life and this was one of those occasions where laughter is the best medicine.

So now the glass man is here, and Lillian is coming over to take over while I go to work and put in a long day to make money to pay for the repairs while I wait on the insurance companies to repay me. Ahhh Life can be sooooo interesting. And I think Dinner will be Chinese again.

More Later Sweet Things.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Trip Diary--Day 1

Well Sweet things, I’m back,

I arrived by train late last Wednesday, and back to work on Thursday, so much to catch up with, but all done and now we are having a mini-heat wave, yesterday was very nice so I filled up my panty, washing, dusting, bill paying (such a bore).

Today I drove to Antioch for the Gun show there at the fair grounds, it’s a small show, what I saw was nice, however nothing really leaped out at me, but very nice people, good food and conversation and right next door a flea market, well that made my day, because I never know what I will find at a flea market. But it was getting very warm, even with the breeze off of Suisun Bay, so I drove home in the afternoon but even here it was warm, very warm. A sign of things to come for the Summer I'm afraid.

But now it's a little cooler and in the next few minutes, Lillian is coming by for Coffee ice cream and she’s bringing Mission Impossible season 5, so we must indulge.

While I’m waiting for her I’ll tell you about visiting my parents for Easter; it was a bit new, strange and exciting; so much has happened that I’ll have to post it in bits and pieces.

Traveling home by train on Wednesday was for me, a treat, to not have to worry about driving especially with the rain that we had, just enjoying the scenery, has left me “Diva Spoiled”. (purr) But if one wants to look glamorous, then I recommend soft silk slacks, a silk blouse and a cashmere sweater as the way to go, and go light on the makeup.

I am all for supporting railroads, such less trouble than flying, unless you really need to get somewhere in a hurry, but for me getting there is part of the fun.

And it helps to have someone there to pick you up; the only thing that had me concerned was how late I would be arriving. But it turned out to not be a worry, baby sis and her “boy friend” (well they are not an item but are friends—hmmm but who knows) picked me up, with the Parents in tow.

Baby sis was such a joy to see, the smile on her face made me feel so happy and there was her ‘gentleman friend’ Ted, so handsome and with an open face that you knew was friendly and---well ---honest. My impression was they seemed well suited to each other, that somehow I knew that they would be together for a long, long time.

But the first thing that surprised me was how Mother had changed, her hair was no longer in braids wrapped in a bun behind her head but cut short with soft curls, and a 50’s style hat that flattered her face, and a soft pink lipstick, and a touch of blush on her cheeks, she still was dressed in the old fashioned style but this time instead of the dark drab colors she was wearing a soft sage green suit with darker sage trim, I knew it was from one of her patterns but what a difference the color made. She looked younger, happier, livelier and beautiful.

And for the first time I smelled her wearing perfume I recognized as ‘Chantilly Lace’. She had never worn perfume, but this was just---Wonderful! But where did she get ‘Chantilly Lace’?

And to hug her, really hug her felt so wonderful and welcoming!

Then I turned and looked at Father, he was dressed the same but there was a slight smile on his face, and his eyes held a soft light that I had never seen before, he took my hand in both of his and said “It’s good to see you again, I’m glad you came. Are you all well from the Flu?” (I had recovered from the flu) and I said that I was, although I still had that slight dry cough which seems to plague people. Father said that it had been going around his office as well, “I bought bags of cough drops in different flavors to help the staff, the cough can be very tiring, and I have a bag here if you need it.” Which I did.

I looked at Father and saw that his face didn’t look hard or forbidding at all, but thoughtful, softer, and I saw that there was more gray in his hair, he still stood ramrod straight, but I felt that he could now be yielding. I also noticed that he was wearing an old fashioned silk tie of red and cream pattern. Such a change from his usual black and dark blue ones, I said “That tie is new, I like it, it looks good on you” Father laughed, I’ve never heard Father laugh, it was so different and his face just lighted up with the laughter and he said “Oh that’s your sister’s fault, but I think a good one, she should tell you how that happened.”

We got my luggage and got into Ted’s car, a Dodge caravan. very practical and comfortable. Father and Ted sat in the front with Mother, baby sis and I sat in the back, well Mother and I sat in the middle seats and baby sis behind us

Everyone was asking me about riding on the train, what I liked about it and what I saw, Father said that perhaps one day he and Mother would take the train to visit me and see San Francisco, maybe even go as far as Seattle, Washington. He said he still didn’t trust airplanes, and now with all the security checks, it just didn’t’ make sense to him to fly if getting there by train was more comfortable. We discussed the pro’s and con’s of train and plane travel and then we arrived at my Parents house, and here even in the late evening I was seeing a change, the whole house had been painted a new color; instead of the dull mustard color and tan window frames it gleamed with white paint, sage green trim and a deep maroon accents, the whole look of it was very refreshing and uplifting

My mind was spinning at all the changes I was seeing, Mother, Father, baby sis, the house. What miracle had happened? I was glad I brought my lap top so I could document all this, even if it is in bits and pieces.

Ted took my luggage upstairs to the bedroom while we went into the living room and as I walked in I had to stop and make sure I was walking into the same house. Such a difference, everything my sister told and written to me about was true, all these little changes had made the house warm and cozy, friendly and welcoming. Granted it was still the same old furniture, but such changes. But on top of that was one more; next to Father’s chair was a wicker dog bed.

I pointed to it and asked, “Who does that belong too?” “Oh” said baby sis, “that’s Trixie’s” and she went into the kitchen and opened the swinging door and out trotted a fox terrier mix, that came up to me and started barking.

Father said “Trixie, enough, sit” which the dog did, “Shake hands” and the dog held out her paw and I took it and said “Hello Trixie”. “Good Girl” said Father and the little dog went to her dog bed and sat down.

Mother and baby sis went to make tea, while Father and I sat down and I saw him pet Trixie’s head. Father told me how Trixie came to be part of the family it seems back in late January, he went out to catch the bus to go to work and found the dog on the porch, dirty, exhausted, starved, and cold with cut paws, he said that when he approached it, it cringed and shivered from fear, “It’s one of God’s creatures, I took pity on it, but in the back of my mind I was saying to myself it’s a mistake, now I can see it wasn’t.”

He called work and told them he had an emergency. He and Mother took the dog to the vet, and except for it being hungry, sore paws and dirty it was in good shape, gave it shots, brought it home with some medicine for the paws, bathed it, followed what the Vet said to feed it, took it back a few days later for a follow up, bought a collar and leash, then checked to see if it had an i.d. chip, which the dog didn’t.

They bought papers to see if it was listed in the lost pets, checked with the animal shelters, “Nothing” said Father “So it looked like we had adopted a dog, we didn’t know what to name it until I said ‘well that’s going to be tricky’ and the little thing responded to ‘tricky’ so I said Trixie and the little thing came right up to me, then she started sleeping next to my chair, I thought it would not be right for her to be sleeping on the rug, it can get hard and…well… she also has a sleeping bed under the kitchen table, but I’ve caught her sleeping on the rug on my side of the bed, not all the time but some times, for some reason I didn’t have the heart to scold her. She’s well house broken, and for some reason seems to like being around me.”

I looked at Father and smiled, “I think she likes you”, Father just smiled at me, sat back in his chair and said “You’re going to find a few changes around here, I hope you like them. When we can get some time alone I’d like to talk to you privately, there’s some things I’ve been thinking about, not to worry, but I’d like your thoughts on some things”

I nodded and said that would be fine. Mother and baby sis brought in the tea and home-made lemon cookies, Ted joined us, and for the first time I felt that this house was beginning to become a home. We chatted some more then Mother saw that I was beginning to droop and asked me how long had I been up and I confessed since 6 a.m. I thought I could nap on the train but seeing the scenery change kept me so interested, that I didn’t take a nap.

With that Mother took charge and said I had to get to bed, which Father agreed, that it was late. I said my good bys to Ted and I followed Mother up to my old bed room while baby sis, Ted and Father remained down stairs, Mother told me that I might see something different in the Bed room. And she was right, the room was brighter with new chenille bedspreads and pillows, some lovely framed landscape prints on the walls, and new drapes and curtains. Mother told me that the bedspreads and some other things were ordered from the “Vermont Country Store Catalogue”, baby sis found it on line at the college.

Mother told me that what I had done last Christmas at the Church caused something to make Father take a good look at himself and things; she didn’t know all of what had happened but his sitting down with her and baby sis has caused a lot of changes. “But” she said “We can’t change everything, I have to respect your Father’s feelings and wishes as well and I’ve grown use to many things so it’s not a problem for me to accept what he would like to keep the same, but do talk to him tomorrow, your sister and I are going out tomorrow morning to look for patterns and your father has taken a few days off from work to be here with you and all of us, so talk to him, find out what is really going on with him.”

She told me that although she was enjoying the new changes she was also afraid too, it was something she couldn’t put a finger on but all seemed very sudden, “And it’s made me a bit breathless, help me to understand what is going on in your Father’s mind.”

I promised her I would and she hugged me again, I felt I was seeing her in a new light, and that lightness had come into the house, but I remembered to “go slow and take it one step at a time” I couldn’t change a life time of habits and thoughts, but now I could understand them and work with them.

She went down stairs and I started to unpack and put away things, then I heard a light tic, tic, tic, turned and saw Trixie at the door, then I heard Father’s voice say “Trixie you know the rules”, and she turned to the sound of his voice and Father came to the door. “Sorry, I guess she had to check on you, she’s let us know more than once if a stranger has come around, so this is new to her.” Then he said to the dog “O.K. now go to bed” and the dog quickly went down the stairs “She’s smart too, never had a dog, this one maybe my one and only”

“A lot of changes, Father” I said. He looked at me and said “Yes, a lot of changes, I can’t make all of them. I have to use a computer at work, I don’t like it, but if I think of it as a sort of fancy typewriter it works, push this and push that, it’s a different world now, more for younger people.”

I sat on my bed and he sat on the vanity seat, I said to him “But it’s the older people who know how things use to work and there are a lot of people who want to learn all of that, some people want to preserve a lot of the old technology, like typewriters and rotary phones. But technology forces us to move faster than many people can handle, it’s become a 24/7 world. What happens in China or the Middle East affects us within a few hours, many people are not happy with that.”

Father asked me how do I deal with it, all the new things “Very carefully” I said “And I try to learn as much as I can about it, there are some things I really don’t need, but it’s easy to become enamored with the latest gadget or technology, so I focus on what I need to make my work easier and better, it’s not easy and one can still get burned.”

Father nodded then he stood up “You better get some sleep, if I know your Mother and sister they have a very busy time planned for you.”

I agreed but said “They’ll be out tomorrow doing things, will you be home?” And he said yes, so we made plans to have our chat tomorrow and went off to bed.

I finished getting ready for bed and typed all this into my lap top and just now baby sis came up and asked me what I thought of the changes in our old bedroom, I could only agree that they looked great and that I was happy with what I’ve seen.

The next day when Mother and baby sis went out to shop, Father and I had a very long talk, and I found out that what I had said at his church last Christmas was the final jolt that he needed upon something that was already happening to him internally.

But Lillian is here and Coffee ice cream waits for no one. I'll post more in the next few days, and Fram I am giving serious consideration about what attracted me to firearms, and I will do a post, but as you said, when I'm in the mood.

Until later Sweet things.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Easter Update

"Perry! Perry! Can you hear me?? Darn these low cost cell phones! Perry, can you hear me?
I'm down in the wilds of what-ever, I'll be in the office by Wednesday. Perry? Can you hear me? Perry?? Perry!!!"


Hello Sweet Things, I've been visiting my family for the Easter Break, it's been much better than I expected, many, many positive changes. I'll be back by Thursday and will post more later.

Until then take care everyone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Changes and Buying Things~~~~

Well Sweet Things, I’m back.

And I think I need to ‘splain myself.

I had remarked to dear Sweet Fram things about change and moving and such, and it seems that I received inquires here on my blog, from Mean Kitty and others, as well as a question by Fram, why was I moving or changing?

Well Sweet Things, it’s not so much moving as it is investing. My own home is almost paid off, and with interest rates being so low I began thinking (gently encouraged by Fram---you little devil, you ***smiling ;)*** ) that purchasing property would be a good thing about now, of course it depends on where and how one purchases it and for what reason.

I am of the belief that things will take a turn for the better, of course first the stock market has to improve then the economy and then finally joblessness will start going down ward and when that happens, spending goes up and so does the interest rates.

But now is a good time, as much as I would like to buy in Santa Cruz or by the sea, the values haven’t gone much lower in the areas where I prefer, but there are some areas where one can find bargains.

I took a few days off and went into the Gold Rush Country having made an appointment with a reputable and well recommended real estate agent to look to purchase some property, Fram you are right, the time is perfect now with the much lower interest rates and although it’s harder to get a home loan one can still find them.

I had been looking for a while in listings in the Sierra Foothills, granted with drought conditions and worries about wild fires perhaps the Sierra Foothills is not the best area to buy, but it is the most affordable. And I was looking really for a place to both rent out for vacation rentals and make an income with as well as an investment that will increase in value (as all things must) and eventually make a profit from should I decided to sell when the time is right. Or given that I can be a bit of a “changeling” eventually move to if I should decide to just ‘chuck it all’.

And if I should decide to do the latter I can always rent out my home here in the Bay Area and make an income from it as well.

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and now is the time to make my move to purchase.

This last weekend, I narrowed it down to two properties, both were very, very affordable, and fortunately both were and are handled by the same agency.

So I bought both!

Alright Sweet Things, why both---well I just couldn’t make up my mind!!! Simple as that!

The first property is in Merced, yes, at the gateway to Yosemite, a very simple ranch style board and batten house, two bedrooms 1 ½ baths, rustic but with modern plumbing, on one full acre, currently it’s being rented by a family that has resided there for the last 8 years, the husband was out of work for 6 months and finally got another job, they had hoped to buy the house but were not in a position to, but I talked to them and we’ve agreed to continue on with the lease that is in place (I’m over simplifying) they have kept the place up in great condition, and they plan to continue to live in the area until they are in a position to buy their own place, but that may take time and I know from the previous owner that they are excellent tenants so I’m not in a rush to have them move, and I don’t think they are in a rush to leave.

The second property, well this had a sad story which I was able to give a happy ending, the agent put me on to it. It’s within a short walking distance to a historic gold rush town (sorry, I do need to keep the location private) lovely old Victorian built mid 1870’s, owned by the same family since then, but now the people who own it made the mistake of taking out a very high interest HELOC to do repairs, well repairs done but they were only paying the interest on the HELOC and were planning to renegotiate the terms but the husband was stricken with congestive heart failure, and is now on disability, the wife works and they are able to make the interest payments, but they were not in a position to re-negotiate, they were having a hard time paying the outstanding medical bills and were afraid they were going to lose the family home.

I talked to them, they are both in their early 50’s and have no children, so when they die there will be no one to inherit the house, but they are also afraid of being out on the street, they agreed to sell me the house for the cost of the HELOC plus a little extra to pay off the balance on the medical bills, and in turn would pay me rent and keep up the place for me.

And with the much lower interest rate the amount of the rent will cover everything and it’s more affordable for them, they no longer have to worry about insurance, property taxes, the painful HELOC or medical bills and they know that the house with the original furniture will go to someone who will appreciate it when they pass on and they can live there for the remainder of their lives. They’ve also agreed to keep one bed room and full bath just for my use when ever I plan to stay there when I want to get away from the Bay Area.

I had wondered about why they didn't consider a reversable mortgage, but it turns out you have to be 62 and older to do that, they were too young. And they were worried that the house would be torn down and modern condos put up. Just would not do.

So with what it would cost me to buy a house in the Bay Area in poor condition, I’ve been able to negotiate purchasing two income properties in very good condition, with the income from both to cover the payments, insurances and taxes, plus a bit extra to cover other things, and have two very good tenants residing in them.

Of course I’m over simplifying, the whole process is more complicated, but that’s it in “a nut shell”. So the changes for me was thinking and purchasing income investment property, a greater financial security, looking towards the future and a place to go to should I feel the need.

But that will not stop my “foot-looseness”, if I want to just get up and go for a weekend I can, I have to admit that going into the Sierra Foothills, with flowers blooming, and all that fresh greenery was very refreshing, seeing different places, talking to different people, feeling a different pace of living. It is a start.

I don’t know if in the end I’ve done the right thing, but something tells me that I have, so if one is going to think or do changes, one has to start somewhere, right or wrong, one does have to start somewhere.

And Fram, thank you for the compliment on my changes in writing style, I know that this is not like the other two, but…well…one does have to try things and see what works. And I am glad that in some way my Web Log encouraged you to do your own, I do enjoy reading yours as well.

Now it’s a very warm evening, and I’m tired from driving, but Lillian is coming over later with Coffee Ice Cream, and I cannot resist Coffee Ice Cream, with walnuts. Mmmmmmm.