Friday, March 16, 2018

Waiting to start the work

There was no back to work on the rockery wall yesterday, as hoped. The machinery the guy is using is still at a shop being repaired (they thought it would be ready by now) and though most of the snow has melted, it's just too wet and muddy now. Sigh....Some rain Wednesday didn't help matters.  DH is still working on getting all the parts for his gate piers. He'll need a bunch of rebar, too. He found out the other day our local lumber store does carry it in like 20 ft lengths. He needs it cut up in various sized pieces for his project. The store has a cutter he can use to do it himself, if he wants. He also needs some of it bended. Then he was talking to his friend on the phone last night, who is going to help him with it on Saturday. He said the company he works for has a cutter for metal he can borrow and bring with him, so that will be great. Then DH's dad called and said he has a "bending tool" that you bolt to something and he will ship it to DH. DH will go buy all the rebar today and friend will come with the cutting tool tomorrow and they will get it all cut and bended. We also need our well casing cut down (it's sticking up like 6 feet from the ground) and so DH is going to use that to cut that down, rather than paying our builder or the well guy to do it (when the well guy comes back to put in the pump system inside the well casing). At least he'll have something to do on Saturday to keep busy.  He's pretty bummed they couldn't start on the rockery this week. Now, next week is out of the question, too, as the equipment operator guy has to go in for some minor surgery, but needs several days to rest from it.

DH just got back from the lumber store to buy the rebar. He had thought it would come to like $250, but it was only $142. Yay!  He usually UNDER estimates what stuff will cost, so this direction is really good.

It appears our property neighbors are realizing how much their dogs bark. DH had stopped at the property yesterday to check on snowmelt again and I think guy was home. Last night I had sent them an email just to let them know to expect machinery and excavating getting started in the next week or two. He replied back that is great news.....just wish our dogs wouldn't bark so much, thanks for putting up with their rudeness!  Hopefully they will all just settle down once we are there on a daily basis and it becomes more normal for them. At least they seem aware of the problem and hopefully if it doesn't clear itself up, they will do something to help the situation. They don't strike me as the type that would ignore it, but I've learned people do all kinds of things that they don't care how it affects others.

I'm about a 1/3 of the way or more into reading the next book club book "The Handmaids Tale". It is as boring as the tv series. A very monotonous read. But, I'll get through it. Supposedly in order for a book to be suggested one of the members has to have read it already, so someone must have liked it LOL.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I've been about 30/70 with liking the books to read for book club. Especially the past few books. I have not really enjoyed the books much.  The one for this month, I read quite a few months ago, and did like that one ok (Tell the Wolves I'm Home).  But the one for next month, I gave up on. It's called the Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. I tried to start it before Christmas and didn't get very far at all. Then I started it again this past month. Another book about slavery in the South. Nothing much different than other books I have read on the subject. Then suddenly the underground railroad was being portrayed as an actual underground railroad. I was like what the heck? I lost interest after that. I guess I felt that the book could have stood on it's own, delving into the personality of the main character, rather than adding that fake stuff into it.

We plan the books several months in advance, so as soon as I know, I put them on reserve as an e-book to borrow from the library. I'm glad I haven't paid money to buy these books! Sometimes I have to wait quite a while, so it's good that I can know pretty far in advance. I've been waiting forever for "The Handmaids Tale" (coming up for discussion in a few months) and it's finally my turn to borrow it. I don't even know if I will like it. I tried to watch the tv series and pretty much hated it. I hope the book is better. Have any of you read it?

I think, in general, I like books I can just read and not sit and analyze. While I enjoy the meetings and talking about the books, I'm finding that the books for discussion aren't that great LOL. I guess I just don't have that sophisticated of taste in books, haha. I enjoy a wide variety of genres and I especially enjoy series books.  I've recently read a series by Debbie Macomber. I've been reading a couple different series books by David Baldacci. I'm still waiting in line for the last book in Stephen King's Dark Tower series.  I'm always waiting for the latest book to be written from my two favorite series that I have been reading for YEARS:  Sue Grafton Alphabet series (first published in 1982) and Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series (first published in 1990).

I'll continue with the book club, if nothing else for the social interaction aspect. There have been times when we pretty much all showed up disliking the book we were to discuss. But, I think trying to read through and then be motivated to meet to discuss books that aren't so good is probably one of the reasons so many meetings have ended up getting cancelled.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spending money to save money

DH had to spend $100 on 6 pieces of lumber. No wonder building a home costs and arm and a leg! He needed boards to make forms for the gate piers. He also went and talked to the guy who will be making/welding the 4 gate posts. At first he told DH it would cost $450 (mostly material costs, I guess) and then he called DH and said he underestimated the cost of the metal, it will be $650. Ok,.. it's still about a $200 savings over what he was going to buy online from a gate supplier.  Gotta save where we can. I could only imagine what having someone else make the gate pier forms would cost, so at least it's just materials and his own labor involved. And (I think) once the concrete is poured into the forms he can re-use the scrap lumber for something or other at some point.  At least this little project is giving him something to do on this nice sunny day.

Notice the tennis ball laying there in front. Silly dog kept trying to get him to play fetch.
It sounds like DH and the equipment operator guy will be starting work on the rockery wall again on Thursday. He's also asked our neighbor across the street's son (early 20's) if he'd like to make some extra money by helping with the labor on the rockery, so I think he will be helping, which will really help DH out, so he doesn't have to work  his muscles so hard. This kid is a hard worker and has muscles - he's a forest firefighter in summers.

My side job "boss" finally got back to me on my offer to do a little extra work for them. The one main thing I had offered to do, they are going to do internally with a different way. She didn't offer to throw anything else my way, so I guess that's a no. Darn. That would have been an easy couple hundred dollars a month to make.

I have not been doing M-Turk at all. I want to do it. I need to do it. I just can't get into the groove of it the past month or so. Getting my raise and the extra money in paycheck (total net of about $375/mo) from the tax cut took some of the pressure off of needing more money, which probably is why I haven't been too excited about spending 10 or 15 minutes to make 50 cents. But it does add up. I need to start taking a lunch break again and doing what I can with it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Lenders, banks, and gates

Aside from the appraisal taking so darn long to get done, the actual dealing with this lender has been really easy. Every other time I (or someone I know) has had to deal with a mortgage loan, it's endless requests for documents.... and documents for the documents. I have not had that at all. I sent them what they requested in the beginning, and that has been it. I keep waiting for it to still happen. Another more recent bank statement needed.... An explanation for this or that....what's this deposit or this payment on your bank statement... Of course, I still have 8 days until closing, so it's possible they will still be doing that.  I'm sure the day before they will start bombarding me with more documents the underwriter's suddenly need.

Over the past year my credit score has steadily been going up about a point a month or so. At the time I put in my loan application it was 743. Literally within days of them running the credit check on me it dropped to 735. I thought that credit inquiries for big loans, like mortgages was not supposed to lower your credit score? Hmph. It has now (in 2 months since I applied) gone back up to 741, so I guess no harm. I just wanted to keep it over 740, LOL.

It sounds like the builder wants to come out this week or next to stake out for the foundations. Hopefully he'll stick to what he is saying and not delay.  DH called the excavating guy to let him know we'll be able to start after the 20th. He's ready to get started, he says. He's also going to be doing the excavating for the couple that bought lot #7. They are just waiting on better weather, as we are now too.

Today DH is figuring out some gate posts. I thought he had figured it all out/priced it all out over the winter, but here he is, freaking out about it and how much the gate companies want for the stuff. He needs like 4 posts and just those parts are like over $200 each online. He decided to give the guy a call who lives down the road about a mile (our next nearest neighbor haha) from where we will build our house. We met him once before and he has a machine shop business. DH called him up to ask him if he could weld/make the posts. He said yep, if you have some drawings for me on what you need, no problem. DH does, so he is taking them out to him this morning. I'm sure it will be much cheaper this way.

When we were at the property on Saturday he was trying to figure out where to move the downed trees, to get them out of the way (until the guy can come saw them up) of the excavating. I suggested out in front of our property, on the other side of the road. There is a big strip of land between our road and the main road, that is also our property. Why not just have them moved out there, parallel with the road? Then they are completely out of your way. He agreed that would be the best plan and make it easier for the saw guy to get to them when he does it. When the equipment operator guy brings out the machine to finish the rockery, he can drag the trees over there.

Two or 3 months ago DH bought some ammunition online that had a $60 rebate. That check came yesterday. I had forgotten all about it. I can't get it to scan to deposit to mobile banking. We've already decided that when we are at the bank next week, signing our construction loan papers, we are going to open up a checking account there. I need a "local" bank. While there isn't a branch here in our tiny town, at least it's in the city and not over 400 miles away, LOL.  I don't want to use one of the two banks in our town anyway. Too much gossipy people, plus our property neighbor is a teller at one of the banks.  She doesn't need to know how much money we have.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Easing into Monday

One of the questions our lender asked me a few weeks ago was if we had any flood plain paperwork for our land. She wanted something showing elevations. No, sorry we were never given anything like that. I explained we are high bank property, like at least 100 ft above the river. She said don't worry about it, the insurance company will figure it out (I guess to determine if we need flood insurance). I did some research online, just out of curiosity to see if I could find what "zone" we are in. I couldn't figure it out.  When the appraiser was out, DH mentioned about lender asking for this info. He looked down at the river and said "if it floods up here we are ALL screwed" LOL. Very true. Anyway, in looking over his appraisal report I see we are recorded as in flood zone X. Meaning no worries, no flood insurance needed.

DH got his scrap boards cut up yesterday in the nice warm sun. He cut some 2x4's and such into smaller "strips" that he will use to put between all the lumber we will cut out of the trees on our property. That way they are spaced out some from each other, and help dry faster.

I was reading an article from the big newspaper in the city about housing prices there. They just keep going up. They are blaming it on people like me. LOL. People who don't rely on "local" income. They are people moving to the area that are either retired, have passive income, or telecommute. They are driving the housing prices up and there just isn't the supply and the new building isn't keeping up with it yet. But then in another sentence they say less than 10% of the homebuyers are these types of people. There was one statistic that said in all of 2017 there were only 9 single family homes for sale that were priced under $200,000 (which is more in line with the wages around here), but 5,000 looking to buy in 2017.

That has to help us, for our house value, even out here, 55 miles away. It's a 45 minute commute to the city from here (because the freeway speed limit is 80, LOL). Some people do it. And the more people can't find, nor afford, the prices in the city, they will make their way out here. The  house in town our realtor sold last summer was to a commuter to the city. They could get our house for in the low $200k range. Hopefully it means our house will sell fast. Plus our realtor is from the city - most of his customers are in the city. He'll know how to market us out here. The realtor we have here in town is terrible. No wonder all their stuff stays on the market for ever. You should see the photos they take for the listing. They look like a 10 year old took them. Plus, our house will be spotless and look almost staged, which always helps. We always look online at houses for sale in the area. I'm always amazed at the condition people will leave their house in while trying to sell.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday funday

I think Linda at Practical Parsimony hit the nail on the head in regards to my big mystery carpet stain. It was obviously still down into the padding (a lot) and when I started using my new Dyson is when I really started noticing the stain. I was like what the heck? I'm vacuuming and it looks worse?! Well, whatever the stain was, still in the padding, was apparently getting sucked up into the carpet by my good vacuum.

My use of my little green machine yesterday did help, but I realized I did not put enough solution in the water. Plus, it said it might take repeated cleanings. Today I did it again, with the right amount of solution. And I really really spent a lot of time sucking up the water/solution up from the carpet. The water sucked up was still gross, but at least it wasn't black, like yesterday. I think I'm going to keep on doing it, until it sucks up somewhat clear water. I'll give it another go next weekend. Hopefully it will at least get light, like when we first moved in. The carpet is variegated browns, so it does cover stains pretty well.

After DH got back from the rock quarry yesterday, we decided to go out to the property and take a look at snow melt, as it's really warmed up this past week. We could now drive into where our driveway starts. Still snow on the ground, but it's going away and DH thinks the ground can be dug up now. The neighbor dogs weren't too bad, for a change. They all came out their doggy door, as soon as we pulled in, barking up a storm. But after about 5 minutes or so they all settled down and for the most part were just relaxing in their dog pen/run watching us. That was much better.

We took naps when we got home. Then we decided to go out to dinner. We had celebrating to do! (we don't drink though LOL). DD's engagement and the green light to build our dream house. We had a nice dinner and on the drive back  home got to see about 100 head of elk just grazing in a field alongside the freeway.

Today we've just been playing it by ear. DH got out his table saw on the picnic bench and is cutting up some boards for one of his upcoming projects. It's pretty warm out - a sweatshirt will do, which is a nice change. I was getting low on some groceries, so I ran over to the store here in town. Again they were out of bread we like. I didn't really need a loaf, but I was going to pick one up to freeze, if they had it.

A couple of high school boys knocked on our door yesterday. They were with the high school drama club and selling ticket to "dinner and a play" for $15 ea. I'm not for certain we will go, but they were so sweet, I couldn't say no. If nothing else, it supports their club. It does sound like fun though and I'll have to talk DH into going.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Cleaning up

DH got a call this morning from the equipment operator guy (he also snow plows logging roads as one of his various jobs). He wanted to go plow out the road to the rock quarry, so the dump truck guy can get back there next week to get us the few more loads of rock we will need. The snow is melting a lot around here. Other than where it's been plowed into piles, it's all melted here in town. We can see our lawn again. DH got ready (and dressed warm, it's still only 29 degrees out this morning) and went to meet him out there. While he's doing that DH is going to see if he can find any flat type rocks that would be good to make steps with. At the back rock retaining wall he wants to add some natural stone steps down to our lower back yard, so is hoping to find enough big flat type rocks.

I'm home getting some laundry done - washing sheets and blankets. Enjoying the quiet me time, while I can. I messaged with DD a bit first thing this morning. She's still on cloud 9, of course. Today they are doing homeowner stuff - pressure washing their driveway and going to pick up some applewood for their smoker. Found a good deal on Craigslist. They will get a whole little trailer load, for cheap, rather than buying the $15 small bags at Lowes.

I'm going to work on this big area of carpet stain in the area between our living room and dining room. I noticed a big stain (but light in color) when we moved in, but it's just gradually gotten way worse. I have no idea why. I used some carpet cleaner spray on it last summer and it helped for a bit and then got worse again. It's nothing our dogs are doing, plus it was there prior to us moving in. I have one of those Bissell Little Green machines. I bought it several years ago, thinking I was going to use it all the time. I've used it once! (thankfully it was a BlackFriday 1/2 price deal, so I didn't pay full price for it). I've pulled it out of the closet and going to give it a go on the big stained area. Of course I couldn't find the instruction manual for it, but I was able to find it on google. I've given it a go at it. Hard to tell so far if it helped, since the area is still wet. I might have to do it a couple of times.  The cleaning solution bottle that came with it is 8 oz. The instructions say to use 2 ounces/2 capfuls. Well, I don't think a capful is one ounce! I should have used a quarter of the bottle the first time and then another quarter this time. There's still more than half the bottle left, for sure. (and I put 3 capfuls in this time).

I just cleaned out the tank on the machine that sucks the water and cleaning solution back up. It was almost black! so obviously there is some dark whatever in that stain. Ewww. I'm going to let it dry a bit and then work on it some more with some new hot water and more solution. 

This is the area, after cleaning and still wet. But really, that's about what it's been looking like before I did it! Let's hope once it dries it looks better.
I just know when we moved in it wasn't that noticeable. You could see the stained area a little, but not like it is now. The previous owners must have really cleaned it before they moved. I'm just not sure why it keeps getting worse. It's a mystery! If anyone has any tips on how to get rid of these stains, I'm all ears! I want this gone! There is one small spot in our living room that I know is caused by one of our dogs. He always takes his kong there to get the treat out and slobbers and drools. I also cleaned that spot, so I'm anxious to see if that is better.