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Catch Up...and pictures!

February 2nd, 2012 at 07:53 am

So much has happened in the last few weeks! I'm behind in everything.

To start, the CA condo went up for sale 2 weekends ago. I posted before pics in a previous post. BB and his friend went to CA for 10 days and added new floors throughout, repainted every surface except the cabinets, had the heating replaced, changed all fixtures and had the place professionally cleaned.We had a stager come in and finish off the place to get it ready to put on the market.
Here are the after pictures:








We recieved an offer $20k below asking within 3 days and countered at $3k below asking. They did not counter back. Then 3 days ago we recieved an offer $3k OVER our asking price!

There are some issues for concern. The buyers want to use an FHA loan, and this HOA FHA eligibility expired a few months ago. The realtor is concerned about getting an appraisal to support the purchase price. Before this offer, she really pushed me to be happy with a purchase price $10k below asking. I thought our asking price would be a no brainer easy to get, but she had a lot of hesitancy. And now she is worried about the appraisal. Also the buyers are purchasing AS IS, but you never know how the inspection will turn out. But those are out of my control, so I am letting the realtor handle it.

In other news, on my side of the country, BB has been working hard on his new rental property. The downstairs unit has been complewtely repainted, recaulked, new bath vanity, smoke detectors and some window fixings. The roof has been repaired. The place was listed on Craigslist for rent since Sunday and we have 2 showings set up before the weekend.

Here are pictures of the downstairs unit:









So this weekend, BB and I will get the upstairs ready to rent. The upstairs does not need nearly the work the downstairs needed.

And then my work has been exhausting me. My boss is out this week b/c he had twins over the weekend. I unofficially took over his job as best as I could. I simply dont have enough hrs in the day to get everything done. I knew this would be a tough week, but I have put in 40 hrs in 3 days! Thursday and Friday will be pure overtime for me. I was so stressed today, I almost cried. But I didnt. I now have so many people to report too...I leave the office every night in good shape. I have a to do list set up for the next day and it seems managable. Then throughout the day there are so many unexpected phone calls, so many unexpected interruptions, and so many more people emailing me for updates! Asking when X report will be done, when I last did Y, am I going to do W, why hasnt Q been done. OMG I cxould get everything done in the day if I didnt have 5 people breathing down my neck constantly requesting updates. And I dont think the 5 people are very aware of each other...they think they are the only person I am reporting to.

But it is a great opportunity for me. I am being given responsibility to handle things way beyond my authority level, and aside from not getting things done fast enough to please my temporary bosses...there have been no catastrophes. Well, there were an unusual amount of catastrophes last week that I'm still cleaning up this week...Aand that is slowing me down too. But thankfully those issues cant be attributed to me taking over and making mistakes. They were problems that had been building and we couldnt contain them any longer.

Ugh. I wish I had more time to focus on the Real Estate. But right now I really trusting people around me so I can focus on work.

It feels good to vent.

New Financial Normal

January 22nd, 2012 at 11:29 am

A lot going on right now, I'm writing to just organize my life.

On the property side of life...

BB has returned from California. The job remodeling ended up being way bigger than we anticipated. New paint, flooring went down in every room, the heating was replaced, new faucets, light fixtures and then cleaning every surface.

I have not yet organized the receipts to get an idea of the cost of this trip. Including airfare, car rental, food, I am guessing in the $7-9k range.

BB and our friend spent about 8 days working on the condo getting it ready to list. They had 2 full days to play. They enjoyed the Haight Ashbury area of San Francisco but really loved the Redwood forest.

So the property went on the market a few days ago. Yesterday there was an open house and I am told 9 couples came out to view it.

I've got a few more papers to sign, send back and then that place will be off my priority list and fully in the Realtors hands.

Rentals...

We close on the Chocolate house Monday. The lawyer found a problem with the title and the bank needed a few days to get that cleared up.

BB has lined up a few contractors to make repairs, updates next week and we are hoping it will be ready to rent by the end of the week.

Renters move into the upstairs unit of my other rental in February. January was a tough month to go without renters, but I have learned to show the units after they are vacant. Showing while the old renters are still occupying the unit hoping for a seamless transition does not work for me. The unit is generally filled with dirt, chaos and does not show very well. So I wait till the old renters move out, clean it up and show it. This means a few weeks of vacancy, but saves me the hassle of giving 24 hr notice to the renter, and then showing it 10+ times. When it's vacant, it rents easily. This time I only had to show it 3x.

Personally...

When BB returned from CA his back was really in pain. We went to FL to see his back Dr to get injections to reduce swelling. BB is feeling better now. But he still cant do much around the house.

We are waiting on Cobra paperwork to fill out for his health insurance. I think the old insurance ran out in early Jan, and we need Cobra to cover these injections. On Monday, BB will call to see where the paperwork is.

I ran the numbers last night to get a sense of our 2012 income verses 2011 income (when BB was employed). We are short about $2400.00/month even if we count the full $3k of new rental income.

There are a lot of variables that changed besides losing BB salary. He recieved bonuses a lot which averaged to about $1k a month. Our health care was free. His employer matched 10% retirement contributions.

We were collecting rent from the CA property as well. The property that is now up for sale.

But on the flip side...selling the CA property...I plan to pay off my primary house mortgage, HELOC and CC bills, reducing my expenses about $2k a month.

And once those are paid off, I want to refinance our mortgage on our first house from a 5.5% rate to maybe a 4% or whatever I can get. That will reduce the mortgage by maybe $100.

So although we are losing a significant income with BB job loss, we can still pay our fixed monthly expenses. I am anxious to get everything settled so we can get a feel for our new financial normal.

10/31 Tax Deferred Exchange?

November 11th, 2011 at 05:02 pm

I need some help with a tax rule. I talked with a realtor in California today and set up a date to meet with her when I travel to CA this month to make a decision about the CA property (rent or sell).

I like her so far. She is very friendly, knowledgable. She told me about 2 tax items I need to keep in mind:

10/31 Tax Deferred Exchange
I can use the proceeds of selling the property to buy a property in my state and there is a tax break if I choose to do that. She told me to talk to a tax lawyer about it. Is anyone familiar with this? Can someone explain this to me better?

FITB (Foriegn Investment Tax Back)
Any out of state owner selling a CA property has to pay 3.33% tax on proceeds to the state of CA. It's a tax that is unique to the state of CA. Is there any way to get out of that one?

I was able to follow the rest of her conversation well. We talked about the property and renting vs selling. She said she has property managers on her team if I decide to go that route. She is gointg to email me a few listings soon so I can starrt becoming familiar with the market.

Just venting, rambling and organizing my thoughts...

November 9th, 2011 at 05:19 pm

Greetings, this blog posting is going to be a vent just to get all my jumbled thoughts into an organized process.

First I feel like I have had a wave of financial problems hit me all in the same month. Stupid October. And I feel like the problems stem from a bad decision I made by buying the Impulsive Purchase. I wish I could say it was a Stupid decision but it was actually a good decision. Short term pain (right now) for long term gain.

To start with the decision that caused the problems: Husband (BB) and I were living in ˝ of a duplex that we owned, and rented the other half out. Our financials were pretty secure but then BB got a big time job and our finances really improved. We decided (in 2010) that the real estate market was at a great time to buy and we really needed more space, and would like to live in a better part of town. We found a rundown duplex on a great street in an ideal part of town for way below market value. And within a few days we bought it without really, really considering the possible consequences.

At first things were good. We left it rented out for 6 months while we replenished the savings from the 3% down payment and closing costs. During this time we took out a HELOC on the first home to use for renovations of the 2nd home.

Once we began renovations, our budget was completely unprepared for this building. Our contractor found unanticipated structural problems, and we learned along the way that his “vision” of what we wanted and our “vision” was vastly different. So all the things we thought we would be getting suddenly turned into an extra cost. It’s not that we got taken advantage of; the contractor is BB’s best friend. And every time I went to the job site (2-3 times a day) the men were working. No sitting around or wasting materials. But it was a “oh you want crown molding in this room?” and “wait, you want subway tile in the shower not 12 x 12 tiles? The subway costs a lot more to put in because of the labor and additional time it takes to install. And subways are like .50 a piece versus a 12x 12 for $1 a piece.” (To tile 2 showers was $1338.00 in just tile). So it was little things like upgrades that I thought was standard and my contractor didn’t anticipate when we were discussing budgets. And it was things that were needed that the contractor didn’t think of like blinds for the master bedroom. $350.00 for 3 wood blinds! And $160.00 for light dimmers! Then there were big expenses like the original Air Conditioning unit breaking 2 weeks into moving in. That was a $3200 unanticipated expense. And $1729.00 in dumpster charges! I look at the detailed budget I kept and nothing sticks out as “the biggie” charge, just a lot of unanticipated and more expensive than thought charges.

So the budget went from $40k to an end product of $120k. And I know that is mind blowing. I thought it was mind blowing for a long, long time. Luckily the we gained about $50k in equity over the renovations we put in; the building 2 doors down equally renovated just sold for $90k over what we are into for our place. I congratulate myself that we walked away with debt of the $45k HELOC and $15k in credit card bills. The rest we covered out of savings and paychecks. And we did get the card down to $7k but then October came along and things are complicated and overwhelming.

BB lost his job. That’s the real issue at play here. If it was not for this, we could weather any of the rest of the things that came along. BB was on a year to year contract and his job called in Oct to say they are not renewing when the contract runs out in December. That was a totally unanticipated blow that hit us financially and hit BB hard mentally. He loved the job and was crushed. Aside from the depression and despair and disconnect he is now in, I don’t see another job of that caliber coming his way. He is a baseball coach and those jobs are hard to come by. We have sent out his resume to all teams 3 times since he got the news and we have gotten back 90% negative responses. There is one glimmer of hope with a team but they won’t know until mid December. I’m not counting on it.

We also contacted the local universities but there are no openings right now.

If the coaching does not pan out, BB has no other skills to fall back on. He has no degree, no office skills, no experience. He is exploring getting a phlebotomy? License but that will be 6 months of courses and just knowing BB I know he won’t follow through with it. Though right now he thinks he will. So he is counting on a Phlebotomy salary of $12-14 an hour, maybe with benefits, even though he is not signed up for courses, has no idea how to get into the field and has no contacts in the industry. He is kind of useless to long term plan with. I’m on my own in the realistic planning department.

So without his salary, we can get by on my salary and our rental income. We will be able to pay about $500 a month toward the CC and still live somewhat comfortably.

But then my long term renter in CA is moving out in January due to long term unemployment. For 13 yrs she paid $1750 a month and last year it was reduced to $1200 to accommodate her job loss. I recently blogged about whether to continue to rent, renovate or sell the property. I’m still undecided and constantly thinking about it. I’m kind of leaning towards selling to ease the current financial strain of BB’s job loss, the CC bills and the HELOC. Though I worry about missing out on long term benefits of having the property to ease short term problems. (Although BB is not very employable, I do think a baseball job will come along in the next 2-3 years.)

And now one of my renters here in GA announced they are not renewing their lease which runs out in January. I think we can get that rented out within a month, so it is a loss of one month’s income but it’s just an added stress that weighs on my mind. With the loss of that rental income just for the month January combined with the other lost revenue streams, we are going to scrape by that month.

How could this have been avoided?

I used our emergency fund to pay down the CC bills that were charged for the renovation. I had never touched the fund before and figured getting rid of the interest on the CC was a justified reason to deplete the fund.

I used the $18k I had saved for the CA rental property on the renovation. I had saved that money to put towards the time when the renter moved out and I would need to renovate the property and/or cover several months of it not being rented. But during the renovation I justified that “this renter had been there for 13 years, what were the chances she would move out before we could replenish the account?” (BB blames himself for that because he talked me into doing it. I blame him too.)

If either of those funds were still intact I would feel a lot better about the unemployment situation.
So I’m not sure why I am writing. I just don’t have anyone to talk about this with. I don’t have anyone in my life that is better or more experienced with finances than me. That sounds so egotistical, but my dad is the person who managed the family finances and he did very well. And he died before he taught me anything about money. My mother squandered a good portion of the money when it was left to her. And she died too, not that I would ever ask her for financial advice. My friends are young and struggling, or just getting comfortable, but don’t have a track record that makes me want their opinions. Some friends would look at my situation and tell me that I don’t have a problem at all. Other friends would rant on and on about how BB doesn’t carry his weight and he is the source of my problems. But all friends would probably look at me differently if they heard me use actual numbers in reference to my life. And BB’s family has made poor financial decisions as well. I wouldn’t want their advice. So that leaves people like my financial advisor who I feel has a stake in what I decide (He would advise me to sell and give the money to him to manage). Sounds odd, but I go to this forum because you guys are checked into your finances, aware of financial basics and can offer me perspectives that I had not considered.

So I don’t have any questions right now. Just a lot of factors on my mind that I wanted to organize and vent about. Thanks for listening.

Making a comeback

August 8th, 2011 at 02:01 am

I am back checking in after a long hiatus. BB and I were just reviewing our finances for the first time since we moved into the new house in April. I wanted to wait until the bills stabilized and the new house bills died down.

It's looking good. Really good. I'm surprised. The $15000 cc bill we racked up through the construction is down to 8800. I am projecting we can get rid of it by January. I'm really thrilled about that.

In other news on my mind...

The house we moved from that we are now renting out was broken into about 2 weeks ago. Someone busted in the back door while no one was home but luckily the house alarm scared the burglar away and they didn't take anything. The alarm company called me, I went over to the house and called the police and the tenant. The tenant was shaken up and asked to get a dog. I agreed. He got a Pitt bull from the humane society. He has his hands full, she is very high energy but is sweet so far. I am hoping he stays out the year with no more problems.

The tenant in my inherited rental in CA lost her job about 8 months ago. I gave her a significant break in rent for 6 months to keep her from moving out. She just asked for a 2 month extension. I am hoping that rent is restored to normal in October.

I got a 3 percent raise at work! I am happy about the raise but way prouder that I had a sit down and said I need a significant pay raise/ promotion because I have been doing the same thing for 2 years and feel that I am ready to take on more. He agreed and said he'll think about it and to give him a few months. I am going to hang tight and hope for the best. I believe my boss and think that this time next year I will be in a better earning bracket. We'll see how it goes down. I've never negotiated before and feel really proud that I stood up for myself and said what's on my mind.

Well that's a brief recap of what's going on. Hopefully I will be blogging more.

Still here...sort of

March 26th, 2011 at 04:38 pm

hey everyone,
It's been over half a year since I last posted. Wanted everyone to know I'm alive and doing well.

I've been doing extensive renovations on the 2nd property that my husband and I bought last year. the reno has gone way over budget and way over deadline but is nearing a close.

I lost interest in saving money for a long time because we were spending more money per week then we were earning in a month. I didnt feel like posting numbers and getting scolded, I didnt feel like posting numbers and depressing other people who didnt have a hundred dollars to spend, let alone what I was spending.

But its a few weeks from move in. I dont know if I'll return to my love of money blogging or not.

But all of my dogs are alive! And I'm still happily married. BB is in FL for another season of coaching and he loves it. I'm still in Savannah and I still love it. This is my dream city, and now I own a dream home (my original house) and a dream location (renovated house).

I still have my job and aside from extreme stress causing me to be always sick, I'm healthy.

Sorry for the concern and the months of no responces.

Hey FrugalTexan

June 7th, 2010 at 07:07 pm

A librarian position is opening up at my employer in Austin TX. The job starts in January but they will be hiring soon. I don't know how far you are from Austin but I know your in Texas. I am pretty sure you are going to school to be a librarian...right? If you want more info let me know. I don't know how to do private messages.

For Rent, Parking Tickets & Private Parties

April 25th, 2010 at 01:34 pm

I posted an ad on CL for the upstairs apartment last night. The upstairs tenants are moving out May 30th. I still don't see the ad posted though! I know CL has a delay or lag before postings can be seen but this is worrisome. I tried to make a new ad and was flagged for already having a similar posting. grrr...

I went out to a private party last night before going out downtown. A woman a few yrs older than me owns the house we were in and it is directly across the street from a house BB & I looked at when we first moved to this town. The house needed too much work and was overpriced so we passed on it. Huge Victorian that I LOVED in the online listing.

Last night at the party I was thinking about how our life would be if we had bought that house. This woman would have probably become a friend of mine and I would have integrated into her social circle. I was looking around at the guests wondering what life would be like if these people were my friends. I still would have met my current friends (because I was at this party with them) but likely would have been traveling in a separate circle cuz the woman and my friends don't know each other well. I like my current life, I am glad we bought the house we bought and it happened to be next door to a couple our age who are now our good friends. I am glad we integrated into the social circle we are in.

The party last night had a live band jamming in the backyard. The woman's boyfriend is in a band. Kind of fun to be in a small party with a live band rocking out.

After a drink we decided to head downtown and walked back to my car where I found a PARKING TICKET on my car!! $12.00 because it was a street sweeping night. The street was packed and all cars were ticketed. I'm a little annoyed someone would host a party on a night when their guests cant park on one side of the street- but $12.00 is the price of a bar cover charge and 2 drinks...so I have to look at it as an expense that would have been paid if we had seen the same band downtown. I guess.

...and at the end of the night we ended up at a bar charging $10 cover where a band was having a CD release party- but the cover was waived for us as we knew the owner. So it all evens out in the end. I guess.

Baby Names...trend over?

April 17th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

It seems that during the last few years, "Trendy" baby names have been taking over the earth. I am not a mama...but saw "hot" names such as Jordan, Chase, Hayley, Kaylie, Aidan, Ava, and Addison and Madison become as commonplace as the name "Jennifer" or "Christina" was to my generation.

Then in the last few months I have heard of 5 babies being born (thank you Facebook)..and 3 of the 5 were named Elizabeth!! 2 were named Sarah Elizabeth. Traditional spelling and everything. None of that Elyzibyth stuff.

Are traditional names making a comeback? I cant be sure because the other 2 babies were named Lana and Tanza.

The pregnant people in my life are going through a baby girl boom as well. 2 years ago everyone was having a boy. Now its all girls.

Appliances, Savings & Concerts

April 16th, 2010 at 01:14 pm

Had a great time last night. The Savannah Music Festival has been hosting bands around the city for the last few weeks but also charging for admission. Last night they hosted a band to play in the “Central Park” of the city and allowed people to spread out blankets, bring food and drinks and listen to the music for free. There were about 3-400 people who came last night. It was a treat. On the financial front- I didn’t spend any money at all even though I spent several hours with friends drinking and eating. Love it when you can bring your own!

I think our refrigerator is on its way out. It sporadically starts making loud noises and then randomly will return back to the normal level of noise that fridges make. 2 friends of mine work in an appliance store so I asked them if they could beat the $300 Lowes deal I found for the upstairs rental unit a few months ago. They couldn’t, but explained that if I tip the fridge onto its back and use a leaf blower to clean the coils underneath- that might fix it. Apparently underneath is where the fridge “breathes” and pet hair/dust/bugs clog it up. The appliance store makes a fortune accepting “non working” fridges and cleaning the coils only to have the fridge last another lifetime and reselling it as a used item. So- tip- clean the coils before you toss a fridge. My friend said to wait an hour or so before plugging it back in once it is rightside up again…this gives the freon time to drain back down into the fridge. I am not so sure I have the strength to go around tipping over fridges and lying them on their back…but we’ll see.BB & I each put $100 a month towards “1st house Expenses” so we have money for a new fridge if we need it.

The kids upstairs are vacating the upstairs rental at the end of May, so I wanted to use the savings to lay down new carpeting and repair plaster, maybe some painting before I rent it out again. I was planning to use just about all the savings for those items…but guess I might need to squeeze out a fridge too!

And in other news…one of my New Years goal was to save up $13,840 towards an eventual renovation of the CA property…whenever the tenant decides to leave that condo…and I am only $1300 short of the goal! I am just gonna keep going at my current savings pace and see how far I can get.

Gardening 102

April 10th, 2010 at 05:34 pm

Another picture blog! This time it's of the beautiful flowers that are in bloom. I took my dog for a walk over in Ardsley Park. Ardsley Park is considered Savannah's "first Suburb". It is an area that is all residential, and primarily high end living. I live about a 15 minute walk from Ardsley, and when you are in it- you don't feel the city vibe at all. It's a beautiful escape from the downtown energy.

Below are some examples of the vibrant Azelea bushes that dominate Savannah in April:




My dog:


Crowded out the sidewalk:




Many of the homeowners in Ardsley have their properties enclosed by tall walls...a secret garden type of look. I love some of the garden entrances:


Some pretty little cottage garden houses:





And then there are bigger houses...




There is a yellow viney plant that some of the houses are using. Its not forsyth...its something else. It's very pretty!




Here is a pretty use of the yellow plant and the Azeleas:



And these are some beautiful sidewalks:





This is a cool tree...It's like Hydrangias as a tree?



Heres a beautiful tree with pink rose blooms. I dont know what it is...the tree is very sprawling so it wont work on my property. But I love it.





The flower on the tree:



Another cool tree:



One of the street medians:


A castle house. Looks strange in Ardsley Park...but I am strangely attracted to castle houses.



And Savannah is not complete without Wisteria. I couldnt find a good example of it being used on a house, this will have to do:



I decided to be an under-achiever

March 30th, 2010 at 12:41 am

Work is still taking up all my time. I work 40-45 hrs a week...My boss works 50-55 hrs a week...and his boss works well over 60 hours a week.

Why do people aspire to be successful!? I don't get it. Yeah it's impressive to say you are president/vice president/program director/chair of this or that department...but after a person kind of looks at you in a subservient manner when they hear your title...where is the re-affirmation and sense of satisfaction!? When you get home at 9pm and realize you see your spouse sleeping more than awake? When it's the weekend and you are still thinking about work? When you feel guilty for leaving work at 5pm? When you get to enjoy beautiful weather walking from the office to your car in the evening?

I know people used to work hard because they could pass their business/skills onto their kids, and leave a legacy. But in today's corporate world- you cant leave anything to your kids. Once you quit/retire...you are replaced the next day and forgotten about within a year.

I don't know. I work hard because I have some weird need to please. I get a rush from a job well done. I work hard for the OFFER of promotion and bigger pay. I want to be recognized for my skills...but do I want my bosses job? No. I don't want his stress. Do I even want the position I am in line to be offered (hopefully when raise time comes in July)...maybe. I mean I think so. Well yes I can handle that job. That wont eat into my weekends and time off. I hope.

But I hope it doesn't become a slippery slope where I become accustomed to more and more stress and less and less life-living.

I know a sign of true wealth is when you don't have to work. You have either enough money that people are paid to work for you...or you have passive income that comes in while you golf.

So then are these guys who run around making $1-200k a year the real idiots who are trading in their life for a paycheck? Or are they maybe so in love with what they do that work has become their life- and "living" is the "work" to them? Or maybe they think they are on the brink of hitting "true wealth" where they can stop working altogether? Or maybe there is a bell curve- and once you are over the peek...you start making more and more money but can work less and less. I do see a lot of big players out there on yachts and have wondered how they have time to be partying on boats when somewhere a company is in need of being run.

I don't know. I am about as low on the totem pole as you can get. If there is a working bell curve out there, I have many years of sacrifice before I will even get to the peek...I am just not cut out for that. I am quitting now. (I am so Generation X..you would never hear a Baby Boomer saying this.)

I don't want to diminish my own job prospects (because I like being OFFERED), but I just don't see the trade off when you work your life away for a big title or paycheck.

Like someone commented in one of my previous posts, they "don't remember much from their work life, but will always cherish the memories spent with family." (I paraphrased).

Job-Baby?

March 27th, 2010 at 12:24 am

Things are rolling along. Trying to keep an eye on our budget but with all these weddings coming up and the uncertainty of The Impulsive purchase I feel like giving up for a while. I cant get on a smooth routine with the finances and it stresses me out just trying.

Anyways- BB is doing really well with his job. He loves it and the team seems to love him. I think this will be his forever job.

My job is going really well too. I was getting a bit lazy at it and my boss kind of called me to task about 2 weeks ago by telling me to tighten up and then he also heaped a bunch of additional projects on me- the added responsibility and the sudden clearer understanding of what my boss expects of me made me step up in a way even I didn't think I was capable of.

I killed myself to learn how to do long processes in a shorter amount of time, learn how to do things I had never done before, and to finish my work with a polish that made the work appear that my boss did it himself. He was impressed with my sudden "abilities" and so was I! So I have kind of become second in command in the office as my boss has been leaning on me more and more- fine with me- job security.

Sometimes BB brings up the kid conversation. He wants to maybe make a baby this summer. I think I am finally ready to actually go through labor and make the sacrifices to raise a kid- but I feel like my job is finally turning into a career. My boss is being prepped to be a president of his department- and that would put me in a position to also move in a power type of role- and none of the jobs I have my eye on could be done by working part time.

I don't know. I generally get burned out on jobs around the 2 yr mark. I'm coming up on the 1 years mark- I should just wait another year and then I will probably feel ready to give up the working thing for the baby thing.

I need to stop worrying about the big picture and focus on the smaller stuff. Its the day to day finances that feels out of control. I need to get into a rhythm..even with all these weddings coming up.

A walk through Savannah

March 7th, 2010 at 06:57 pm

SPRING HAS ARRIVED!!! For today at least. It was so beautiful today I could practically feel the joy of the city.

I grabbed the dog, the camera and meandered around town for a few hours.

Now that I am back I thought I might take you on a picture tour of parts of the city. These pictures are not of the commonly seen Savannah houses- the tours and guides take visitors around "The historic district" which consists of about 6 square miles- but Savannah and it's beauty stretch much farther than the Historic Districts boarders.

First picture is a glimpse of my street...


My next door neighbors house:


This next house is 2 blocks from my house. The house was burned in a fire and sold about a year ago at a public auction for $40,000! The owners live in Germany and I heard they would be coming to Savannah this summer to start the restoration work. I am very excited to see the progress.


Below is the Kiah museum. The previous homeowner was named Virginia Jackson Kiah. She was a local African American artist and was very involved in the Civil Rights movement. She turned her own home into a museum and featured art from around the world and also local artists work. Her husband was one of the first African American presidents of..I think it was University of Georgia. When she died she left the house to the local college of Arts but they have not done anything with it and it has obviously fallen into severe disrepair. It's a shame. Ironically the college named a whole building after her too.


A few blocks farther away:


Below is the Gingerbread House.That's it's real name, though I'm not sure why. It is a showstopper of a house. It is located pretty far from the Historic District so only locals and architect buffs know about this house. Apparently it is one of the best representations of this style of architecture in the South East. It recently was for sale for $2.5 million dollars.


Below is one of my favorite houses in Savannah. I don't think anyone really knows it's here. It's on an obscure street and is a bit run down. But it is just so cool looking. King of like a Victorian Castle.


I snapped this house because the colors remind me of Alice in Wonderland:


This is the only house in Savannah that I can find with Heart Handrails. It's another house that no one notices- but I always delight in walking by it and wondering what it is like to live in a house with hearts carved into the architectural details!


Someone was VERY courageous to choose these paint colors:


Some cool houses. I don't know what type of house they are though.


These are some more run down castles houses. One is abandoned and the other looks like it might be close to abandoned. But I think with some TLC these buildings could be show stoppers.


Another run down house that will one day be beautiful.


This is the "Funny Eccentric Wing House". It's located in a not so great area of the city so I always have a ball walking friends by it. Even people living in Savannah have usually never seen it! I cant figure it out other than it's painted wild colors and someone put a lot of effort into it!




These are "BB's Castle Houses" These can be found when you turn onto the street that also has our "Impulsive Purchase". BB has been in love with these 2 houses since we came to Savannah and I think a big reason he wanted to buy The Impulsive Purchase is because it is a block from these 2 beauties. I must admit- I am looking forward to getting to know the owners of these houses and getting a chance to go inside.


A better pic...


And THIS is the reason I wanted The Impulsive Purchase. This purple Victorian sold just as we moved to Savannah and it has always been on my list of favorite houses. It's only 4 doors down from The Impulsive Purchase!


This is a Church that was converted to condos. Construction is just about done and the condos are up for sale now. This church is a block from The Impulsive Purchase in the other direction.


And since The Impulsive Purchase is on the edge of the Historic District, the houses start getting prettier and better kept up...


And once you are in the Historic District, you will be able to relax in one of the 21 historic squares that fill the 6 square miles (though there are also many squares outside of the Historic District). Below is Whitfield Square:


progress

March 6th, 2010 at 01:00 pm

BB just had a meeting yesterday to learn about his retirement options. If he contributes 4% to his retirement, his company matches with 8%!! That seems a little odd...I wouldn't be surprised if he misunderstood- but he (and I) are pumped.

I met with both tenants of The Impulsive Purchase and finally everything is cleaned up in a neat and tidy bow. I have collected the deposits from the previous owner, the pro-rated rent, and the March rent.

Taxes were completed and it looks like the refund will put a small chunk back that we deducted to pay closing costs on The Impulsive Purchase.

Finally- things are getting back to where I was hoping they would be.

Not much to report

March 1st, 2010 at 08:30 pm

A fresh month for me. I came out considerably ahead in February if you dont count the $12,000.00 spent for closing costs/down payment on The Impulsive Purchase.

This month BB is away in FL and I cannot track his spending. So the numbers will be a bit off- just as they are every season. But BB is on a $1,000.00 a month allowance that gets transferred into his account, so I will just deduct the $1k and catagorize it "BB's spending".

Otherwise not too much is happening.
Which is great. I like it that way.

update

February 18th, 2010 at 07:17 pm

Doing well here in GA. The weather is warming up a few degrees. Makes me want to be outside.

BB left yesterday to start the baseball season in FL. Saying goodbye was not too bad. Brinks dying over the weekend used up all the tears I had and put BB leaving in perspective. BB will only be 6 hrs away and we already have plans to see each other once a month. Thats much better than once a season as it was last year.

BB settled into the house in FL. He went by the baseball school where he used to give lessons and re-negotiated his pay rate to do lessons. He is now going to be making $50 a half hour to teach baseball lessons. He has 3 lessons lined up for tomorrow!

Teaching the lessons is very hard on his back- I am pretty sure he is not going to be doing them very often once the routine of coaching for the professional team and then working a second shift at the baseball school starts up. But for now- while he is enthusiastic- go BB.

I'm doing well. Trying to keep the numbers working with this new house purchase. Still not positive how it's all going to work out but we will get there.

Brinks is very sick right now

February 13th, 2010 at 09:22 pm

Brinks is sick. I am sitting on the couch right now keeping an eye on him- figured I will blog about it as I have too much nervous energy in me about him and no where to direct it. I don't want to clean because I want to keep the place as peaceful as possible for him- no walking around and making noises.

When we adopted him from animal control in December we knew he had heartworm. But he was also underweight, had kennel cough and was unentered. So we fixed him, got rid of the kennel cough and worked to put some weight on him. We couldnt put on more than a few lbs on him- so 10 days ago he got the 1st round of heartworm injections.

I guess its a toxic poison they inject in him and it kills the heartworms, but also damages a lot of other areas, and the dead heartworms in the body are dangerous themselves because they can get lodged in the lungs and cause damage. So it's important to keep the dog quiet for up to 2 weeks while the toxin and heartworms dissolve and get out of the system.

We have kept Brinks quiet and he has reacted so well to the injection. He has gotten healthier and his appetite really increased a lot.

Last night he was totally healthy. He ate a big dinner and jumped on our bed to go to sleep.

This morning he was not on the bed when we woke up. That was odd...and he was slow to respond when we called him back into the bedroom. I had to lift him back onto the bed. So we knew he was sick- just thought he was a little mopey.

He ate no breakfast but he was very finiky eater as early as a week ago.

Then about an hour of waking up, BB left to go grocery shopping and I noticed Brinks kept getting up, moving a few feet and plopping back down. Like he was uncomfortable.

After about 10 min Brinks tried to get up again and had no use of his hind legs. He collapsed on the ground so quick I thought it was my imagination. I called Brinks to come to me- he got up and dragged his hind end as he tried to walk.

I called BB to get back home and made an appointment at the vets. They said they were slammed and couldnt see him for an hour. BB came home and we waited around. After 20 min we just carried him out to the car and decided to wait at the vets.

When they saw BB walk in carrying a 70lb rottie, they saw him right away. The vet said his heartbeat was very low, his lungs are filled with fluid and she thinks he might have had a stroke as a result of the heartworms in his system. The vet wanted to immediately get some x rays, EKGs and start medication. She said she was "cautiously optimistic" about his condition. So we left him at the vets.

BB and I came home and went for a walk. After an hour we got a call that he was stable and resting. They would call later with more news.

Then the vet tech called us 20 min later to say Brinks went downhill and we needed to come see him.

When we got there- they had him on the floor hooked up to an IV. Apparently he had vomited a huge amount of blood in his cage. His body had gone into shock and his organs were shutting down. His temperature had been low to begin with- but now its about 10 degrees below normal.

They were working to get him back and the vet said they had just given him everything they could give him- the next few hours would determine which way he went. So BB, me and the vet tech sat with him on the floor for an hour. We put heating pads on him to warm him up and just kept checking to be sure his eyes didn't turn yellow (another sign of organ shutdown). He had massively bloody diarrhea but the vet said that was a bad sign- but better than vomiting the blood.

The vet closed at 1pm- but our only option at that point was to move him to the emergency clinic or leave him at the vets in a cage with only techs coming in to check on him every 2-3 hrs. I didn't leave him alone in that critical state- but the emergency clinic is very expensive. So the vet tech offered to stay after hours with us for awhile until he either stabilized or had to be put down. So we stayed at the vets with him and he did better. He slowly became more alert and stopped the diarrhea.

After almost 2 hrs the vet came back to check on us and make a decision. She said he is not out of the woods but he's stable. If he's going to make it he just needs a regular IV and sleep. So we decided to take him home where we could keep an eye on him. The vet called the emergency clinic to let them know he might be coming in tonight, and loaded us up with IVs and medication.

We carried Brinks to our car in a stretcher and loaded him in. The drive was stressful with a lot of turns and bumps. Getting him out of the car into the house was hard. The whole thing took every ounce of energy he had earned.

We have him in the kitchen now. He is sleeping on 2 comforters with 2 heating pads and sheets. He is sleeping. He has no alertness at all. Basically we were told that if he throws up blood again- we would likely be facing putting him down.

I just heard him moving and checked on him. He had been sleeping on his side but just shifted so he is now sleeping on his other side.

That's a good sign. Not only because it takes a lot of strength to move under all those heavy blankets- but also because the fluid in his lungs pool up when he is on one side too long. I was going to shift him onto his other side soon- but he did it for me. And he didn't puke or have diarrhea.

So now I wait I guess.

Ouch! That hurt!

February 4th, 2010 at 05:00 pm

So BB and I had a good looonnng fight last night. Tears/threats/yelling...it was awful.

It started when BB called me at work to say he talked to a bank about getting a HEL to renovate the townhouse and learned they are nearly impossible to get nowadays. He said we would need to get a consdtruction loan.
I lost it. I know construction loans are very complicated/very expensive, require 20% down, and must be paid back in 1 year.

I took his call and said: "This project is already getting more expensive than we planned. You were in charge of organizing and making a plan. I knew it was going to get messed up because we were so impulsive and there was no research first...and now you want to use my inheritance for the 20% down to fund your construction loan. No. No Way. NO WAY!"

So we argued on the phone and hung up. I simmered at work and when I got home I really went after him. I told him I was tired of him coming to me for money, I was already tired of this project and that the down payment money I was fronting under the promise he will pay me back half was the last dollar he was getting for this project. ...those were the nicest things I said.

Then he keeps argueing with me and makes some good points and I start to weaken.

Then he goes in for the kill. Oh this hurt.

He said "Gamecock- you keep controlling the money with your plans and your ideas. But you had the biggest chance in the world to make money and you blew it. You made the worst business decision ever 4 years ago and I have never opened my mouth. I have never mentioned it. You just go on with your plans and have never even seen how stupid you are with your biggest asset."

He's talking about a condo I inherited 4 yrs ago in San Fransico. At the time of the inheritance it was appraised at $600k. The unit had been purchased by my parents in the 70's for $43k. When it was passed to me it had no mortgage, the taxes were locked in at less than $2k a year, and it had been rented by the same family for 6 years (the same family still occupies the unit.) The rent it was collecting was a little low for appraised value/cash flow standpoint. Basically my family had not been to CA in over 15 years and we really dont know what the rental market is like. But the place has not been updated so my mom had the rent at a price she thought was fair- and I kept the rent at that price, raising it just 3% a year for 2 yrs till the real estate market tanked at which point I have not raised it all all for 2 yrs.

My financial advisor/BB/ and BB's dad ALL tried to convince me to sell it.

I was leary of the financial advisor because I figured he just wants a bigger stock portfolio to manage so he can get a larger commission.

And I thought BB wanted liquidity so he could live like a king.

BB's dad was the most rational- showing me that $600k sitting in a bond fund was earning about 2x the interest as the rent was collecting without all the liability...but I looked at his charts and passed on the idea of selling.

The place is sentamental to me because it was my parents. And I personally dont trust myself to have access to that much money. Plus the rent it collects is plenty for a normal person to have as extra income- why get myself accustomed to a lifestyle that I dont need? I wanted something solid to pass down to my kids. And most of all- this might be awful- but I think once I sell the place while I am married to BB it becomes OUR money because it was accrued while we were married. Then if we ever get a divorce half of it goes to him. But if I keep the inheritance intact, in the event of divorce- it stays with me- because it was given to me only before we got married. True? I dont know. (Do I think we will get a divorce? I dont know. Does anyone ever think they will get a divorce when they get married?- yet 50% do.)

So for years I have not really given the property much thought.

Well the property value has of course tanked. Foreclosure listings in the building are selling for $450-$470.

So last night BB explained to me that I have mismanaged away $150,000. That people are predicting California will never boom again the way it was- that every year I own it the property is that much older and has more disrepair than the last year. BB told me that every week during the real estate crisis he would think about the CA property but never said a word. And I continued to live my life never even aware of the money that was being lost.

So ouch. That more than stings. It stings bad and you know why? - I think he is right.

Holding onto the property will just be trying to recoup losses. The property is getting no regular maintance and every year that passes a problem could be getting worse- leading to more inspection issues when it does sell. And having the property so far away with no ability to regularly look after it does increase liability issues.

I think I actually should sell it.

Should I?

financial planners

January 22nd, 2010 at 04:17 pm

I just had a yearly "State of Gamecock finances" talk with my financial planner.
I inherited the services of this planning company when my mom passed 3 years ago. She and my dad used the head boss for years. I never liked the boss- going by my mom's irrational spending habits I didnt think the guy did a very good job. Maybe logically I know that no one could keep my mom in check and it would have been my responsibility to do so over the financial planners...but I still dont like him. Even today 3 years later I get angry and annoyed at the thought of him.

So I was reluctant to keep my business with the company when I had the inheritance. I guess the boss knew that because after my first meeting with him I was then partnered with a young guy who was my own age. I initially thought it was because my business was less important than the other clients. My mom had spent down a lot of my fathers accounts but the boss continued to work with my mom out of loyalty to my dad. Now I was working with smaller numbers and was only worth the time of the young guy fresh out of school. My dislike of the company grew. I decided to keep them until my situation had settled then take my business elsewhere.

But then I got to like the new guy. He was "on my level" with communication styles and I was not intimidated to ask questions...He was never too busy to talk to me. Now it's been 3 years and I still continue to use the new guy. I still dont 100% trust him- I dont know if I will ever really trust anyone to handle my finances. But I am satisfied with him.

So todays meeting went well. I am 60% stocks and 40% safe. Thats where I feel comfortable being. Through 2009 my account went up 26.3% - which I can hardly believe with the stock craziness we have been having. But stats are tricky- though it's math and math doesnt lie- I know it is easy to twist numbers to tell whatever story you want to tell. And I dont know how to read the charts that were provided to me enough to read any bad stories that might not be told to me (my distrust peeking through).

But I use my own math formula. I know I inherited $xxx in late 2005. I know how much I have spent out of the account since it was put into my name. And today it is only about 10% less than what it was when I inherited it. I have spent much more than 10%. So according to Gamecock math- the account is doing alright. So I am satisfied.

Been around

January 19th, 2010 at 09:05 pm

Hey guys,
I am still around. Working is getting busier as I have learned to do more and gained my boss's trust.

Not so much posting time.

I also had some setbacks with my new dog and the stress over what to do was hindering me from focusing on anything else. (aggression with strange dogs.)

But BB and I just went away for the weekend and he took it like a champ (people coming into the house to take care of him and other dogs). I was really worried about that. Now I can focus on other things... like finding him doggie training classes!

BB and I are going to test him this weekend with some excersizes and then reevaluate what his needs are.

But because he was so good for our neighbors this weekend I have had a large burden off my back and will hopefully get back to regular postings.

Tuition reimbursement...lets start naming names

December 16th, 2009 at 07:25 pm

I am currently doing research at work and recently found out that Marriott Hotels and Publix supermarkets offer tuition reimbursement for all employees.

At Publix you only need to work over 10 hrs a week!

I am passing this along because I read about posters going back to school, or kids currently attending school and want to remind everyone that this could be a money saving way to attend college. Most kids in college have a part time job- might as well do some research and get some tuition reimbursement!

I also noticed that Delta Airlines, Home Depot, UPS and some banks also offer assistance.

If anyone else knows of companies offering tuition reimbursement, post the info here. (Include the companies city/state for easy reference.) This could be a good resource for parents or college kids.

Healed myself. No Dr needed.

December 16th, 2009 at 03:36 pm

I saved myself a lot of money yesterday.

Yesterday morning I poked myself in the eye and I think I scratched the cornea. Of course my eye is teary and it's awful. I tried to drive to work an hour later and ended up turning around. The sunlight was so painful.

I called work and explained I would not be coming in for a few hrs till my eye cleared up. I fell asleep and woke up 2 hrs later and felt way better. I called work to tell them I was headed in.

Driving to work was brutal. I immediately went into my office and just sat in the dark to calm down my eye. My 2 boss's came in and immediately told me to go to the hospital. One boss started calling Dr offices to set me an appointment.

The thing is that I have not used my health insurance yet this year. I have a $750 deductible and it is set to reset in 2 weeks with the new year! BB and I mutually decided not to go to Drs this year and to wait and do everything next year. So I was trying to protest the whole hospital or Dr idea. From looking online, a scratched cornea only requires antibactirial drops to heal, and then heals on its own within a few days. The only thing a Dr would do is give me eye drops.

I convinced my boss to drive me home. My vet tech friend brought me some antibacterial eyes drops and I slept on and off all day, then all last night.

I woke up today HEALED! I am at work, and aside from the fact that I am VERY head shy about anything coming near my right eye- I am healthy. Phew! Saved myself a big Dr bill.

Spent money and learned something about myself

December 11th, 2009 at 04:10 pm

BB and I were invited to a fundraiser for the arts a few months ago. It was a free party to attend in a museum- and the party was intended to gain memberships to an arts society.

Membership prices get a person a yearly pass to the museum, and an automatic invitation to attend the 3-4 fundraising events that are held throughout the year.

BB and I attended the party out of curiosity. While there, we were provided plenty of free alcohal and mingled with a crowd of young professional people that we didnt know.

Due to the alcohal, I got a bit swept up in the idea of becoming a member and paid the $100 dollar a yr membership fee for BB and myself. I didnt quite understand what I was paying entrance into- but several friendly people told me they had been members for years and so I figured it probably was a good deal and I just wasnt in the frame of mind to completely comprehend the benefits.

I think BB and I kind of liked the idea of "supporting the arts" and mingling with "high society" and we got swept up in those types of ideas.

The next day I really looked at this membership and no longer thought it was such a great thing for us. We were buying an invitation to the future parties but would have to pay to attend. The really big end of the summer party is over $200 to attend and you must wear a gown or tux! :!

I dont think BB and I actually have much "high society" blood in us because we dont think this is for us. For one night I wanted it to be for us, I thought this was us. Now I realize it's not a good fit. If we want to support the arts (which we do)- there are cheaper and more direct ways to do it that are a better match for us.

So lesson learned- I guess I kind of wasted some money trying on a persona that just doesnt fit. But at least BB and I are a little closer to knowing who we are, and who we are as a couple.

I was thinking about all this today because I wanted to go to the museum tonight with a reletive visiting from out of town. But the museum closes at 5pm and I work till 5pm. phooey.

real estate in my backyard

December 10th, 2009 at 10:15 pm




So during a slow period at work today I happened to check out realtor.com to look at houses for sale in my city. Wouldnt you know I ran across the listing for 1 of the townhouses located directly behind me.

These are a set of 3 buildings- each divided in half to create a side by side townhouse. They were built to look craftsman, and finished being built in 2008.

Only 1 unit sold for around $330k- the rest didnt sell and are vacant. The builder went into foreclosure and not much activity has happened with them.

The unit I came across is listed for $178k. It has granite countertops/slate tiling/2400 sq ft/3 bd/2.5 bath and a garage.

It's a good deal. I know BB and I were interested in buying a rental property recently but ultimately didnt because of a cash shortgage. We have been saving to fix that- and have almost 3k saved. Not enough to buy a property but we are on our way.

My mind goes to it because it is such a good deal. But I dont think it would collect enough rent to cover the mortgage/insurance/taxes due to location. Mostly college kids or low income people rent around here and I dont think neither population has the means to cover inflated rent due to jacuzzi tubs and granite counters.

Of course BB and I could move into it and rent out our unit. It is located directly behind us. But leave the house?! I think it would take more than slate and modern conviences to get me out of my house. But in fantasy world I sure would love to have a garage, an upstaires balcony, a dishwasher! and to spread out in 2400 sq ft.

Oh that would be nice. But not nice enough. I love my house. I need to forget this townhouse- it is a great deal for someone else to buy.

January 2013

December 8th, 2009 at 03:29 pm

This is the date we can break ground on our BIG house renovation and turn our starter home into our forever home.

BB has a secure job, and once you are in a coaching position- you are in- unless you really mess up. So I feel comfortable budgeting our income for the next few years based on his current income.

Based on BB's salary, mine and our other sources of income- I think we can save $48,800 by Jan 2013 (I saved $1200 in 2009).

We have not gotten formal estimates on prices but feel that $50k will get us about what we want to do.

We want to:
Enlarge our kitchen from the galley it is currently, back into the room next door where it was located when it was originally built.

Put a staircase inside connecting the upper and lower floors to return it back to a SFH rather than the duplex it is now.

Turn the top floor galley kitchen into a laundry room, and use the adjoining guest room to turn into a master closet/bath.

Repair the upstairs plaster walls.

It may come out to more than $50k but if it does we can see about using other resources to cover the difference. We dont want top of the line- middle of the line cabinets/appliances is what we have in mind.

The part that I wonder about is over improving for the neighborhood. We live in a low income area. Our next door neighbor purchased and remodeled his house during the height of the market and has $318k invested in the house. His house is the nicest in the neighborhood and maybe worth $250k. His finishes are about where we want to get our house when we do our renovation.

If this is indeed our forever house- then it shouldnt matter if we overimprove...right? Especially if we pay for the improvements in cash?

I guess I wonder which way the neighborhood is going. 3 yrs ago the city invested several million dollars into rehabbing our neighborhood. The town said its historical significance and it being an eyesore qualified it for huge grants. The area was resored beautifully. The victorian and craftsman houses belonging to families got fresh facelifts, and many people purchased rehabbed houses in the belief that the value would increase. The houses are all worth a lot more than the outlying houses that did not get fixed up- but the people in the fixed up houses are letting their houses deteriorate again.

Everyone in the area owns their house outright from generations where the house has been inherited, but that does not mean the residents have enough money to do the repairs needed. If a house goes up for sale in the area- it sells for a good price- but houses here dont go up for sale very often because the residents dont to want to leave the block that they grew up. Only 1 house in the area went up for sale over the year I have lived here. So it is not very often that a person/family moves into these houses with incomes that qualify them for loans on these houses and the subsequent idea that they have the financial ability to maintain the house.

I guess I have another 2 years to mull it over.

My poor accounting skills amaze even me

December 7th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

So I have been tracking my expenses for well over a year and just now discovered a mathematical error I have been recording every.single.month.

The good news is the error works in my favor. I save more money every month than I have been recording.

I track my daily expenses, and at the end of the month I get my list of daily expenditures, catagorize them into the general- fuel, fast food, clothes, ect catagories. Then I take out my checkbook and add in all checks I have written to the mortgage, utilities, CC...

Just this weekend I realized: If I buy a pair of $50 shoes on Dec 1st and pay for it on my CC- I am recording it as a Dec 1st $50 shoe purchase. Then when the CC bill comes at the end of the month I pay the $50 CC bill. And I track that I paid $50 to the CC company.

I have been recording two $50 purchases instead of one!

Every month for A YEAR I have been doing this. I went back and recalculated my December spending and rather than being in the red $837.00 as I previously thought I was- I actually was in the black an extra $13.00!

When I realized my mistake this weekend I pointed it out to BB who said : "Yeah I always knew something was screwy with your math because we have been living like misers and every month you moan and complain that we are overspending. I know we are living off only your income Gamecock, but you make pretty good money for how frugally we live."

I am actually embarressed that I have come to feel so capable and proud of my money saving efforts- and this basic law of accounting escaped me for a year. I have been so humbled.

Brinks!

November 11th, 2009 at 02:26 pm



Brinks is here! We picked him up from the pound yesterday. He is very sweet and well behaved.

Animal Control found him tied up in an abandoned building a week ago- but I think he came from a breeder and was somebodies pet at some point.

He knows sit, give paw, and walks on a leash very nicely.

Comparing him to our previous rottie (pictured in the upper left hand corner of your screen)- he sometimes looks exactly like her. Some of his expressions are just identical. And since it has been over a year since she passed- looking at him and almost thinking it's her is not making me sad- it makes me happy that she is still so strong in my memory and heart.

Tomorrow he gets microchiped and neutered. He was given all his shots yesterday at Animal Control.

I recommend Animal Control as a place to look for a new pet. There were lots of purebreds there and they are all on a short time limit.

Brincks? or Brinx? or Brinks?

November 9th, 2009 at 02:07 pm

BB and I are getting another dog.

This wasn't planned at all, but we are very excited.

We went to the Humane Society's "Mutt Strutt" Saturday. An event where you bring your dog and walk a mile around the perimeter of a big downtown park. It is really quite a sight to see over 100 dogs being paraded around.

The Humane society brings several dogs that are up for adoption as well.

While there, I saw a huge white American Bulldog named "Boss" wearing the "Adopt Me" jacket and couldn't believe he needed a home. I spent a lot of time looking him over, testing him with my dogs and trying to think of reasons why adopting him would be a bad idea.

BB and I had never considered getting a 3rd dog but we have often talked about future dogs we want to get down the road. An American Bulldog is on our "one day" list.

Getting our next dog was going to be a struggle because BB wants a purebred. And a puppy. I have told him many times that I refuse to go to a breeder when so many homeless animals live in shelters and are put down.

I was dreading the time when we would get our next dog because it was going to involve a lot of arguing or compromise.

But this dog is a purebred and on our list of "we would love a..." breeds. So it seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass up. BB got mostly what he wanted, and we would get the dog in the manner I wanted.

After the Mutt Strutt we went to the shelter. The dog was there but he was bombarded with interested families. There were no completed applications on him yet but he would probably be adopted by the end of the day. If we wanted a purebred American Bulldog- this was our chance but we had to act quick.

BB and I talked about it and we both felt the same way. Boss was going to find a home. We did not want to stretch our resources thin for an animal that would sooner rather than later be taken into a loving home by a family that really wanted him.

BB surprised me. And surprised himself. He wanted to save a dog no one else wanted. Although he wants a purebred he cant actually bring himself to get a purebred when another animals suffering might be prolonged because they are less desirable.

We didn't find a dog at the Humane Society yesterday. On a whim we stopped in at Animal Control next door. Neither of us had ever been to an Animal Control center.

It was similar to the shelter but the dogs are on a 10 day time limit. They have 10 days from the time they come in to be adopted/ claimed or they will be put down. These dogs need a home quickly.

And it is cheaper. The shelter wants $150 per dog and Animal Control only asks $60 per dog. They will give him his shots if he is adopted out.

BB and I walked around and in one of the cages was a rottweiler. Many of you know we lost our first dog, a rescued rottweiler to cancer 1.5 yrs ago and it was awful. BB immediately wanted another rottie, but they are hard to find at shelters and I couldn't get another rottie right after our last died. BB has told me many times that he really wants another rottweiler and since they are hard to find in shelters then he is going to a breeder whether I like it or not.

It was kismet. BB and I both dropped to our knees to pet the dog through the cage. I just said "if he gets along with our dogs then we will bring him home-right?" And BB nodded and went to find a person to find out what the next step of the process was.

So now we wait. We filled out an application to adopt him. We tested him with our dogs- and once he is nuetered they will be fine. We have to wait till Tuesday when his 10 days are up to make sure his owner does not claim him to pick him up. The staff said they were pretty sure no one will claim him.

The staff at animal control know nothing about him. He was picked up as a stray and they just feed/water him till his 10 days are up.

So I guess the Humane Society's "Mutt Strutt" is effective. BB and I thought we were only there to Strutt around the park- and we ended up adopting a dog.

BB and I have decided to name him after the home security alarm system Brincks. (Because he is our security system.) But how should we spell it?

Brincks? or Brinx? or Brinks?

I'm not broke and I feel guilty

October 27th, 2009 at 09:33 pm

It seems that many of my hard working friends are suddenly getting hit hard with the economic recession. I in turn feel bad and want to help somehow.

The guys who replaced our roof a few months back called yesterday offering us a great deal to get our windows repainted (They know we have some rotting panes and just need a new coat on the rest- and they are generally handy guys who specialize in roofing). Seems they have not been able to find work since our roof job months ago- the roofer has resorted to selling off personal items to friends just to try and stay afloat (I learned this from the mutual friend who purchased some of the items). When the roofing team called, BB told them that he would need to ask me about their offer. Before hanging up the phone the roofer suggested just hiring him to do a few windows at a time if cost was an issue. Then BB calls me asking if we can get our windows fixed because he feels so bad. I feel bad too- but windows were not in our short term plan. I went and tried to run numbers to see if we could even get the guy $400- but that would mean upcoming christmas would put us in CC debt.So I had to tell BB no. I feel so bad.

Our other friend is a realtor. He has had 4 closings in a row fall through due to financing issues and he has watched his savings account drain- drain- drain over the last few months. He is down to $400 and had a mini breakdown in front of BB today because of it. He doesnt know how he is going to pay his own mortgage this month. I feel so bad. I heard about it and tried to think if there was anything I could hire him to do for us around the house- (the realtor has a construction background)...but we are pretty done with our projects. And besides- this realtor has a very grand house and my $3-400 I offer him would not make a dent in his mortgage. I feel bad.

I just feel bad.


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