Home > Archive: April, 2007

Archive for April, 2007

I'm still here!

April 30th, 2007 at 10:52 pm

Sorry I've been incommunicado lately. I've been busy doing (guess what!) work on the house. Everything is done now except for the ceiling repair -- and top to bottom cleaning. I even had the garage sale this past weekend -- but I can't tell you what I cleared, because I was so tired I didn't count the money I started with, and I still haven't counted the change I brought in. Suffice to say it was over $100. The ad was $42.40 -- two-day run. Next time I'll just do one day; that's too much of a cut. I also ruined a good pair of khaki pants because I wore an apron with a pen in the pocket. The pen was poking through the fabric and drew on my thigh all morning as I was moving around. I'll try to treat the pants, but I don't have high hopes.

Just did my month's end summin' up. It's been a blowout month. I spent $3868, well over my average of ~$3100. Several reasons -- $877 in home repair costs (which included some new carpeting), $493 in vet costs (my dog had to have a toe amputated), $219 in gifts (and not one occasion!), $140 in lawn & garden (shrub trimming in addition to lawn mowing). Gas, groceries, eating out, miscellaneous were all higher than usual. Oh, it was just that kind of month. I just hope and pray I can reel it in next month.

I had 8 no-spend days -- but I spent a lot when I was spending!

I AM proud that through all this stress I've maintained an average calorie intake of 1770 and I lost three pounds this month.

Still working on the house

April 22nd, 2007 at 08:04 pm

Well, I haven't been here for a while. I've been so busy with the house, pushing to be ready to show by the end of the month. I feel like I've done a lot, but all I can think of right now is that I've finished painting the two bedrooms and I've replaced a set of closet doors. Now I'm trying to pull stuff together for a garage sale, which I will hold on Saturday. I'm gathering a lot more stuff than I thought I had.

I've been to another funeral since I was here last -- the sister of the aunt who died several weeks ago. It was not a great surpise that the two sisters went close together. They were always very, very close, and they were both ill. It was good to see family and pay my respects, but the trip cost me a day and half, which was stressful, when I'm working so hard to get ready to sell. Fortunately, I did not have to pay for anything but gas; food and lodging were covered by someone else.

As far as money matters go, I am continuing to dribble money away. Today I bought some frames, a lampshade, and some artificial flowers just to pretty things up. I've given my handyman another $175 for his work, and he has yet to replace the hinges on the kitchen cabinets and hang some shelves. I have to have the ceiling fixed, also, and that will not be cheap. I also have someone scheduled to trim all the bushes. Some time I will total everything I've spent fixing up the house, but not right now; it's too scary!

I would say it's looking nice, but right now it's a wreck, with everything pulled out for the garage sale. I'll be glad when THAT's over!

New carpeting

April 13th, 2007 at 09:55 pm

My carpet was installed today. As much as I hated spending the money, I am thrilled with the result. And, once they pulled up the old carpet, I saw very clearly why the spots never came clean. The damage went all the way through the pad and into the floor. I poured some bleach on the floorboards before they laid the new pad; hopefully that will keep smells at bay. Since the cat who made the mess is gone, there is hope that the carpet will stay clean.

After pulling all the furniture back in (part of which was setting up the computer again and untangling all the cords) I was too tired to do anything else. I rested a bit and then went to Menard's (my home away from home) and bought some ceiling paint ($12) and returned a switchplate ($2). Then I grocery shopped ($42) and filled a prescription ($24). I also paid the carpet-layers $10 to carry a heavy futon down to the garage.

I feel like I haven't done much. Maybe after I get off the computer I'll scrape the wall again. Oh joy!

My dog took his bandage off today, but it was with my permission. His foot appears to be pretty well healed, and he doesn't seem to be bothering it too much. We are both very happy he is not wearing the cone on his head any more. I hope, oh I hope I hope his foot does not get infected again.

I have been invited to my nephew's wife's baby shower tomorrow. It is a three-and-a-half hour drive away. I want to go, and I think I will, if I can get going early enough in the morning.

While I was out, my handyman came and installed one, and only one, cabinet knob in the kitchen. I wonder what the story behind that is!

I've made a decision

April 13th, 2007 at 12:18 am

Well, progress is being made on my house, but I have privately decided that I will not try to get it on the market by May 1. I understand that the realtor believes it would be best, but I am just not ready and I'm not willing to kill myself getting ready. I will graciously accept the consequences of being a little late on the market.

In the past couple days my handyman has replaced the bathroom fan, put up a shelf in the laundry room, installed a door, replaced three vent covers, and replaced two light fixtures. I have finished stripping wallpaper in a bedroom and have begun cleaning and scraping the wall. Tomorrow new carpeting is being laid in another bedroom. My handyman has yet to put knobs on my cabinets, install closet doors, fill holes and paint two rooms. I arranged to have a different handyman (with more expertise) fix some ceiling problems. He called today to put it off until May 1. Thank goodness I had already decided I wasn't going to meet the deadline, or I would have blown a gasket!

I'm also having my lawn guy trim my shrubbery, though when is still a question mark. And somewhere in the midst of this, I must have a garage sale and clean the garage. And clean the house -- and have the carpets shampooed.

I think my new deadline is June 1. At least.

I continue to just spend money left and right. I hate it. I really hate it. I had no idea that selling my house would be so financially draining. Every time I think there can't be anything else to buy, something else comes up.

I did have one piece of luck. I was going to buy a bathroom cabinet because I want to take the one I'm using with me. I actually bought one at Wal-Mart, but once I got it out of the box it was so cheap looking I took it back. Then I happened upon some nice decorative shelves I'm no longer using. I'm going to hang them in the bathroom for storage. They'll look nice, and they're free!

I can hardly wait until I can be frugal again.

Met with the realtor

April 10th, 2007 at 10:40 am

I met with my realtor again last night and she gave me the valuation. It was right on the mark of what I expected -- asking price $97,000; worst case scenario $85,000. (I won't actually go that low. I would take if off the market and wait a year before I would do that.) Despite being prepared, I was very sad and depressed when I went to bed last night. Today I feel better, so I guess I'm just going through emotional cycles as I work through this process of moving away.

I still have lots of work to do. The wallpaper is almost down now, just a few strips to go. The steamer actually didn't turn out to work as well as just using DIF, though I think it helps to pre-loosen it. I think it will be really helpful when I have to scrape the glue off the wall.

My realtor really wants the house on the market by the first of May. That's only a few weeks away. I wish I had more time; it is very stressful. My handyman, who said he could start on Monday, didn't show up. He is like that. I should get someone else, but he is a family friend and kind of a sad case. He did say that nothing on the list was very time-consuming except for the wall prep, which I am doing myself.

My dog is adjusting to being a "cone-head." He has learned how to eat and drink and how to get up and down the stairs. He still bangs around and knocks things over, but he's getting better, and his attitude is better. Still, we will both be thrilled when I get to take it off on Friday. It is nice that his bandage is staying intact and I don't have to worry about it.

I shop, I shop, I shop

April 6th, 2007 at 05:22 pm

Well, it was back to my favorite place today -- Menard's. I'm being sarcastic, but actually I do have to say the people there are very nice. Anyway, I spent $24.48 on paint, vent cover, switchplates, tape and scrapers, plus a very cool tool for painting corners. I also spent $26.49 on a Scunci steam cleaner. Hope it will make the wallpaper stripping go faster. It does look like a neat little machine, but I haven't tried it out yet.

Then it was on to Wal-Mart, where I got a variety of supplies for $49.60. The most fun was two Golden books for my grandson's first Easter. One was Richard Scarry's First Bunny Book and the other was The Pokey Little Puppy, which I loved as a kid. Of course, they won't get to Kansas City by Easter. Sigh.

My third stop was Kroger, where I spent $53.49 on groceries, saving $18.28 on various deals. One thing I bought was a beef kabob -- on sale because it was ready to expire -- but I ate it for lunch; what a treat! Only $2.

I took my dog with me in the car, just so I could keep checking on him that he wasn't chewing his bandage. It stayed on last night. Hooray! If we can make it till Monday when it comes off, I will have accomplished something.

Yesterday I stripped off two more sheets of wallpaper, painted the first coat on the bathroom and painted the baseboards in the kitchen and living room. Today the day is already half gone just running errands, but I will get back at it as soon as I finish up here.

Naughty dog

April 5th, 2007 at 02:28 pm

Yesterday -- or I should say the night before last -- my dog removed his bandage. (If you're not up to date on my blog, he had surgery on Monday to remove a toe that was infected). I had to take him back to the vet, and they had to sedate him again to put on a new bandage. $41. They sent him home with an Elizabethan collar over his head. He spent the night wearing it, but in the morning he couldn't get back downstairs -- the collar is so long it tripped him up when he looked down. It also makes it almost impossible for him to eat or drink because it knocks the bowls over. So I took it off. I had taken it off and put it back on successfully the evening before, but this morning he simply would not let me. I didn't want to get bit, so I called the vet and asked if bitter apple on the bandage would help. They reluctantly agreed that it might. I don't think they understand how hard I tried to get that collar back on. Forty minutes of frustration and tears! Well, now the bandage is tasting pretty bitter (I assume) and I will hope for the best. The bitter apple was $7.47.

Also, since I've talked to you last, I've gone out to lunch (birthday event at work). Spent only $6.29 including tip, and had enough left over for my dog's dinner. I also bought a baby shower gift online, $36.88, including shipping. The shower is for my nephew's wife and is being held next weekend in a neighboring state. At this point I am planning to make the trip, even though it is inconvenient timing, because I haven't seen my relatives there since Thanksgiving.

I'm feeling pretty gloomy about finances in general; my credit card debt is higher due to the home repair, and I keep having unexpected expenses. My emergency fund disappeared into the house months ago. It makes me wonder, do you have to be wealthy to sell a house these days? The expectations of buyers are so high. I guess that's what it's like in a buyer's market.

Today I am scraping glue off the walls where I stripped off wallpaper. Awful job. I'll never be a house flipper!

Sorry -- gotta whine --

April 2nd, 2007 at 11:16 pm

Spending last month was $3200 on the nose. Quite a bit more than February ($2380). $909 went to home improvement, as I barrel toward putting my house on the market. My realtor tells me I must be ready by May or plan to sit a while.

I also spent $233 on the vet, and $139 for vacation and travel. I spent $109 on gifts. Other than that, my spending was pretty low. For instance, I spent a record low $50 on groceries! That was due to a free gift card and a $10 off coupon at Aldi's. That low grocery bill did NOT make my eating out higher! I only spent $28 eating out. So I'm doing very well in that department. And I had fifteen no-spend days!

Oh, if only I didn't have to spend so much on the house! Today the guy from Carpetland came to measure the space that has to be recarpeted. He convinced me that I should not do just part of the bedroom, or it would look bad; I should do the whole thing to make it look right. He offered to use the good part of the carpet to redo the hall, so that will save me some. It's a small room, only 10 x 10, but it will not be cheap. And it was just done in 2004! Never say pets are not expensive!

I also need to get a new medicine cabinet. The one I have is handmade and an unusual shape, but it does not have proper shelves. My recent vast experience of shopping at Menard's has shown me that getting anything to fit a non-standard piece is A. expensive and B. almost impossible. So I think it will be cheaper (and easier) to just buy a crappy medicine cabinet that looks new than it will be to fix up the old one. I'll take the old one with me and fix it up at my leisure.

I also have to take down wallpaper -- I've already started, but it is so tedious, I'm thinking about buying one of those little steam cleaners -- not only to get the rest of the paper off, but to clean up the gluey residue on the wall. I know you can rent them, but I am just not in the mood to lug around a big industrial machine. Anyway, I have a lot of cleaning to do.

I'm so tired; there's so much to do. And to top it all off, my dog had his toe amputated today, and he is miserable! And it cost $400. Oh well, it was necessary -- it was an infection that wouldn't heal. Oh great. As I write this, he just knocked over his water dish on my living room carpet and came within a half inch of peeing on a brand new mat. I give up!