Sunday, July 27, 2014

That's Just NUTS!

I've been virtually stalking someone today.  I even got his wife's permission.  In fact, she asked me several times for updates.  You see, today my brother-in-law was competing in his first Iron Man competition.  He's done a few marathons and I even think a triathlon or two but an Iron Man... that's HUGE.  She's been waiting for him to finish, but the cell service where the race is hasn't been that great so I've been texting her updates.

This morning as I was struggling to get in my 4 miles on the treadmill (training for my first half marathon) I kept thinking of him and how grueling it must be to train for and complete an Iron Man.  For those that aren't aware, it involves 2.4 miles of swimming in open water (in this case a lake), followed by 112 miles on a bicycle, and finishing up with 26.2 miles of running.  I'm tired just typing that.

As I was interrupted by one of my children, I thought about how hard it's been for me to find the time to train consistently.  Then I thought about how hard it must be to train for an Iron Man.  So not only am I going to give props to my BIL, I'm also going to give props to my sister-in-law too.  I know there have been MANY days when she handled everything alone so he could train.  But today it all came together when he finished in 11:00:12 hours!  And he finished 59th out of 305 in his age category.  Way to go! 

An inspiration to me for sure.  Is there an Iron Man in my future?  Certainly not.  But a couple days ago I was thinking of giving up on trying to even do the half marathon, so he's at least inspired me to keep training for that. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Becoming a Dog Person

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a cat person.  Don't get me wrong, I like all furry animals (with a few exceptions), but give me a cat any day.

The last couple days I've been rethinking that.  A few days ago my daughter realized that one of the kittens had worms.  Yuck!  That meant we had to treat them all.  So I gave 12 doses of medicine to 10 cats (a couple of the cats in the house are so heavy they needed an extra 1/2 tablet).  Let me say, giving cats pills is NOT easy.

We are also having to do a serious flea treatment of all the cats (they keep bringing them back from the pet store every time we take them to be adopted).  For some that means meds but for the 6 little ones that means using a flea comb on each of them as often as I have the time.

And this morning I spent almost an hour dumping, scrubbing, and refilling litter boxes (had to get rid of the litter left from the de-worming pills).  I hate cleaning my own bathroom so cleaning the bathroom of 10 cats is just way gross to me.

I realize that dogs can get worms and fleas and may need to go through some of these same things, but at least they don't have a litter box.  So that is the one positive thing about cats.

If nothing else, I think it's safe to say, I am SO over fostering cats right now.  Once these leave I will dance and rejoice and will NOT be suckered into doing it again anytime soon.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Joy of Homeownership

Have you ever heard a story of something that happened to someone and say to yourself, "What?  I've never heard of such a thing."?  I have, but I didn't think it would ever happen to ME.

A couple weeks ago we were contacted by our homeowners insurance company.  They stated that they needed to send someone out to do a 4.1 inspection on our house.  This inspection is pretty common in Florida and is required for all homes over a certain age when you first get your policy.  For those not aware, this inspection looks at the main (aka. expensive) components of the house: the air conditioner / heater, plumbing, electrical, and the roof. 

Although our house was originally built in 1970, there were many updates to the house before we moved in.  We knew the electrical and plumbing had been updated in the 90's and the roof was updated around the same time.  We knew the roof was getting old but were told when we bought the house a couple years ago that we had maybe 5 years left.  So our big concern was the air conditioner.  Hubby has fixed it to help limp it along for a while and we were worried the inspector would say it's too old.  When he didn't even look at the air handler (the thing hubby fixed), I thought we were in the clear. 

Unfortunately, that was not the case.  The middle of last week we were informed that if we don't repair 3 things, our insurance will be dropped.  The first thing mentioned was that we needed to power wash the outside of the house.  Say WHAT?!?!?  Yep, they will cancel our policy if we don't power wash our house.  And yes, every time I think about that my mouth drops. 

The second thing is that we have 2 very large trees in front of our house and some of the larger branches reach over the house.  That one's legit.  In fact, we started work on it last fall but haven't finished.  So now we have the incentive to finish sooner rather than later I suppose. 

The third and final thing is that we have to replace the shingles on our roof.  Like I said before, we knew it was coming.  We just thought we had a few more years.  So when I was informed last week that we had till Aug 2 to get everything done, my heart skipped a beat (or three).  You see, with hubby being without work for a while, we had to dig into our savings and we haven't been able to replenish it back to the point where we could redo the roof and still have money left in savings.  That means we have to get a home equity loan of some sort.  Those take time.  I've been told it could take up to a month to get approval.  Umm... that takes us beyond Aug 2 right there!  So I explained to the lovely people at the insurance company that there is no way we can get it done that quickly.  They were SO generous (insert sarcasm here) and extended the repair date to Sept 9.

Needless to say, I've been on the phone a lot the last few days.  Scheduling contractors for bids.  Contacting the county to see about whether we want to do it ourselves.  Contacting the bank to get the home equity stuff rolling. 

Contractors start coming today, so hopefully we will know how much it will cost soon.  First thing on the list is working on the branches (that way if they damage the roof, at least it wasn't the NEW roof).  We can do this ourselves while we wait for the home equity approval too.  Then we deal with the roof.  And after all the roof work is done, we can power wash the house (I'm sure the roofing will add some dirt and grime so might as well clean that off at the end).

Now I'm off to have a little lunch before the first contractor of the day shows up.  Wish us luck!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Calgon Take Me Away

Today was one of those days where I which I could have skipped to the end, because I'm not sure a redo would have helped.  I think the issues that made the day so tough have at least been worked out to such a degree that we don't have similar issues in the future.  At least I hope so, because I don't even have a bathtub I can use to relax at the end of a day like this.

Here's to bigger, brighter, and better things tomorrow.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Takin' One for the Team

At my son's cleaning visit, the dentist recommended I take my son to see an orthodontist.  I wasn't surprised really.  Unfortunately for him (and our bank account), he has a curse courtesy of hubby and me.  You see, we both have small mouths.  I also cursed my son with rather large teeth.  Large teeth in a small mouth is not a good mix. 
In fact, I was expecting the orthodontist to recommend that we needed to start appliances immediately.  What he recommended was that we have 2 teeth removed sooner rather than later so that his teeth could shift around before they started to permanently attach in their current locations.  One of those teeth was already loose but was behind the adult tooth.  This made it hard to wiggle and get the tooth out.  So the orthodontist recommended he chew on something like taffy or Starburst. 

Say what?!?  Yep.  The orthodontist recommended that he eat candy to get his loose tooth out.  We scheduled the tooth removal for a couple weeks after the orthodontist visit (the dentist was busy and it would give us more time to get the loose tooth out).  The first three nights after the orthodontist appointment my son diligently age his Starbursts.  They loosened the tooth some but it just didn't seem like it was going to come out.  Life got in the way for a while and we didn't really focus on the tooth until the night before the appointment to have them removed.

We got home late from a friends house (as in 10:30).  My son asked if he could try the Starburst one more time.  At first I told him no because I didn't want him to get sugared up before bed.  He reminded me that if he didn't get it out on his own it would cost me more money.  And you know what, he was earnest in wanting to save me money. 

As my regular readers are aware, my family has been spending lots of money on dental work as of late.  My daughter had 10 fillings, Hubby had 2, and I had 2 as well.  All within the last 7 months or so.  Luckily my son has been cavity free.  But he knows how expensive all this has been.

So I gave in and let him try one last time.  We had one last 2 pack of Starburst left, and although he winced a few times with the first one, it didn't do much other than loosen it up a little.

But that second one... well, the tooth came out!  Not without some pain.  Oh, and the tooth got stuck in the Starburst and he accidentally bit into it and then swallowed it.  Oops!  Guess we found the down side  :-)

Who knew that Starbust could save money on dental work?  How much money you ask?  According to the dentist's office $140.  So what did I do... I took him to Wendy's to get a Frosty on the way home as a thank you for saving me money and for being such a good patient with the one tooth that was removed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Scheduled Relaxation

The life of a Realtor is an interesting one.  It definitely offers a level of flexibility that many other jobs don't.  At the same time, you are also at the mercy of others to a degree.  For example, when someone you've been working with for a while contacts you letting you know they have a house (or houses) they want to see on a particular day, you do what you can to make that happen.

I've often been asked if I take off Saturday or Sunday and to a degree I do.  I don't schedule anything for Saturday evening so I can go to church with the rest of my family.  I also try not to do anything on Sunday, but sometimes I will have someone who is only available to see homes on Sundays because of their work or travel schedule.  So, I'm kind of on call (with a little notice to schedule seeing the houses).

So when I heard about a surf camp for kids at a nearby beach that's being offered on Sunday afternoons I jumped at it.  I figured it would be a great family trip but also just a way to force me to take a break from technology.  And with the exception of taking some pictures and videos of my kids surfing, it was just that.

Sunday the kids and I spent about 2 hours at the beach and we had a great time.  I admit it, the kids probably had more fun than I did.  After all, how can you not have fun learning how to surf (and doing it too)!

One of son's first attempts

One of daughter's last attempts for the day