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Work from home today

February 20th, 2015 at 09:48 pm

I worked from home today because I had to call a plumber for the hot water heater and garbage disposal.

The call is under the home warranty given to me for three years with the purchase of the house. The hot water heater does not stay hot and looses quite a bit of heat. Within 6 minutes it is luke warm. The garbage disposal kicks up rust and the safety cover is a replacement and not protective. Both of them will be replaced next week. I only pay $50 total for both. Warranty hires the plumber and they process everything including the city permit. Of course I get copies of everything.

I spoke with the home inspector who'd said it would go within a year. He was surprised it lasted less than a week. He had not noticed the issue with the disposal but it also is not covered under his inspection stuff as it is not required by appraisal or bank issues.

The loan I have requires a home warranty for at least three years and I worked that into the request from the sellers so I am covered for three years. I am not worried I know things will go and I will always call the warranty company first if it is something I cannot figure out on my own. Fifty dollars a call is not bad and I can fit as many issues under one call as I want as long as they are related: appliances, plumbing, electrical or something else. The warranty was the platinum one because the loan required certain things to be covered and only this one covered what they wanted plus about 30 more things.

I tracked down the manuals for the sprinkler system and the thermostat this week so tomorrow I will reprogram both. City is not requiring watering on specific days yet but the county says odd numbered houses are Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I will stick to those days and only 2 days a week for only very limited times. With the lack of water and snow this year they will eventually say no watering.

I am attending a rainy barrel installation course next weekend. For $20 I get the lesson, lunch, and two 65 gallon rain barrels! (A colleague is going but doesn't want blue barrels and is giving me hers.) I checked, you can paint the outside so I will with the house paint I have in the garage to match the house.

I wish I'd had them installed two weekends ago - they would be full already. It was a monster storm and according to research 1 inch of rain off a 1000 sq ft house is enough to fill two 65 gallon barrels. My house is 1500 sq ft so I could have easily filled three or perhaps four with that rain storm. I plan to fill with rain water but also water from the shower that has to run to warm up in the am. Saving as much as possible for the yard without using extra water.

In at the New House

February 15th, 2015 at 08:39 pm

I moved into the new house on Thursday. It was an all day affair with the movers. I had a coupon from a home owners website that offered 10% off with the moving company I chose (they will pay 10% of the cost to the company) which was one of the thank you gifts from my mortgage company. They started the move at 845 am and finished with everything in the house at 615 pm. Was a very long day.

Then the driver didn't want to accept the coupon even though I had a confirmation from the owner that they accept it. He hemmed and hawed and I finally picked up the phone and called the owner emergency line. He called right back and suddenly didn't remember saying yes. I had the email confirmation and sent it to him to "jog his memory" about the conversation. I finally said accept the coupon or instruct your drivers to repack and reload all my stuff back to the house-then the move never took place. They accepted the coupon. All it means is they call the home buying company, give them my 15 digit code and immediately get the10% paid to them. It does nothing for them but saved me $80.

I have spent the past few days unpacking and moving things around the way I want them. I bought a desk/table yesterday that I love. It is a small table built in 1860s used at a library. It has three drawers a large working area and plenty of space. It will hold all my work times and my printer and still give me space to work. Love it! Offered half price and asked for free delivery and they agreed. :-)

Today I received an email from Home Depot that the items I had "put in my shopping cart" three weeks ago were on sale. They were the same ones I purchased at Lowes on Feb 1. I looked at the prices, saw they were $100 cheaper for the washer and dyer each, and called Lowes for a price adjustment and they gave me their current prices which was $1.20 cheaper than Home Depot. :-) So I got back a little of over $225 on my credit card.

Then I asked them about a 10% off coupon from my home buyers welcome gift that I forgot to use. After some discussions back and forth the appliance manager agreed to do it if I brought in the coupon tomorrow. That will be another $270 back as well. In total I will have received $3790 worth of refrigerator/washer/dryer for about $1900 after all is said and finished. Not bad I think. And I got the refrigerator I really wanted for $1300 on sale instead of $2300. I never would have paid $2300 it just happened to be on sale on their website and a local store had the same model.

I will not be buying anything for e house for a while.

Taxes were sent to my accountant and I have an appointment in a couple weeks to review with her and push the button on submission to IRS and state. I know there is a bunch coming back.

To Do List for new house

February 1st, 2015 at 03:20 pm

List of items for new house:
Re-key house DONE
Garage door opener installed DONE
Select garage code DONE
Air filter
Lights in hallway changed
Bulbs in hallway changed
Figure our switches in master
Bulbs in bathrooms changed
Dining room light fixture changed
Refrigerator DONE
Washing machine DONE
Dryer DONE
Washing machine pan DONE
Leak in water system
Program sprinkler system to match city schedule
Security system
Measure floors
Cleaning carpets DONE
Movers scheduled/moved DONE
Cleaning house DONE
Rebuild garage shelving
Hot water heater 2/25/2015
Replace ceiling fans
Roof issue 6 cracked tiles
Replace door to garage
Replace master bath shower thing
Buy tv mounts and Mount tvs
Sell ceramic animals from back yard
Transfer utilities: gas, electric, sewer, garbage, water DONE
Move master bath door
Table in entry way
New electrical outlet covers with night lights integrated
Scrape stars off ceiling DONE
Remove bathroom border and fake crown molding
Paint laundry room
Paint guest bath
Guest bath towel holders
Flooring throughout house
Lock for outside power cabinet
Laundry room drying rack possible?
Cancel renters insurance. DONE AND DEPOSITED REFUND
Move ATT services DONE
Dryer wool balls need 4 more
Chimney cleaning
Hallway light coverings
Pantry redesign
Window coverings
A add French doors off living room haha, years from now
Change sliding doors to French doors
Re do "brick patio" off living room
Laundry room light fixture
Porch light fixture front and back
Buy lawn mower
Fence and gate replacement
Find and buy desk for office DONE
Replace garbage disposal 2/25/2015

EDITED / UPDATED FEBRUARY 15, 2015, FEBRUARY 20, 2015

T-minus 45 minutes to go!

January 20th, 2015 at 03:23 pm

Oh my, in just about 45 minutes I am signing for a house. My first ever. I haven’t gotten excited about this yet because I am overwhelmed (a little) with the amount of things I have to do before I move into the house.

The list is a mile long and tonight I may type it up so that I can have it easy access someplace. It will keep me accountable on what I have to do and what money I spend.

My family is going to dinner at Red Robin to celebrate. I told this this is the last of my spending for a while let’s go someplace nice, haha! Then I remembered I have a gift card for there so…dinner is covered.

After dinner I am going to look at a console table someone posted on a local FB page. It was originally $400+ and they are selling it for $75. It look nice, only a year or so old and they would move it for me Saturday to the new house. It will sit in the window area of the living room with a lamp on it. I use timers in my current apartment for lights to make it look like I am home because I am so often house sitting.

My agent sent me a note that I was smart to stand my ground with them completing items off the pest report because more things were found once they took off the decorative finial. Nothing major, but it was another $700 to repair that the sellers were responsible for, not me! And I spoke with the company today who completed the work, there is a guarantee on the work and he said no other problems were found. And he sent me the before and after pictures for my records and the list of completed work. Nice guy.

I can’t believe how fast it has come together.

One step closer

January 13th, 2015 at 07:51 pm

We are one step closer on the home purchase front. They agreed today to do the pest work and give me credit for three other small things. I was not going to buy the house without them doing the pest report, not even taking the credits at closing, as they could have discovered something more for which I would have been on the hook.

They also agreed to the home warranty as the heater is 18 years old (ac is two years old). They also bought an enhanced warranty as opposed to the basic one. When I asked my agent said that is the one they wanted me to have. The enhanced covers much more than the the other one that is usually purchased. Either then
Y are very kind or they know more things are going to break. I am going with kind. My agent also throws in $100 as a gift to each buyer toward the warranty so that helps them a little, too.

Now I wait for the work to be completed in the next few days and then the loan will fund. I should be closing sometime in 14 days or so. Then the fun really begins with the packing, cleaning, cleaning the floors etc so I can move in.

I am using a professional company to clean the house before move in and cleaning the carpeting. I may still get painting done before I move on, not sure yet.

My mom has graciously offered to "babysit" my house when work needs to be done in the next few weeks. She said since I don't have kids and she has babysat all my nieces and nephews this could be the way she can help me.

So much to think about.

Wow so much going on and 2015 budgets

January 6th, 2015 at 05:56 pm

So when last I wrote I had made an offer on a house. They accepted.

I had the inspection on the 23rd and it showed very few problems. The major 4 were: 3 cracked tiles on the roof and flashing loose, no screen door off kitchen, the fire door between garage and house was made insecure when they put in a peephole and a gate is very loose.

I am waiting for the roof inspector to give an estimate on replacing those 3 tiles but then I am going to ask for all of those and the items from the past report (a few pieces of dry rot) to be repaired. I already know they will do all on the pest report.

I have been trying to plan a budget around the mortgage payment, expected income from my FT job and known expenses. I called the gas and electric companies for an estimate of what the current bill averages have been for the past year. I know sewer/water/garbage rates every month. I have estimates made for the next year worth of expenses. Any estimates that come in under will be swept into a house account for those months when things are higher or for repairs or things I want for the house.

We are getting a raise in July of 3%. 1% automatically goes into retirement as mandated by the union contract but the other 2% will go into my 401k and 457. I don't need it so easy way to save more for retirement.

I need to buy a refrigerator, washer, dryer and am looking at replacing the water heater before I move in. I'd love to replace all the flooring but that just can't happen before I move in - it lowers my reserves beyond what I am comfortable.

I plan to rent one of the extra rooms for either $450 plus half the utilities or $600 even (which should be just about the same). I am hoping to put new carpet the extra room I want to rent out and with fresh paint it would look very nice. Since it is a smaller room I might be able to do it with just a remnant.

I called a friend who is a contractor and asked if he has any crew members who want to pick up some extra cash and paint the inside of the house. He said yes there are. Once I have the keys we will go and buy paint and all they need to paint the inside of the house for me before I move in. It should take 2 days or less. I am thinking white for most of the house, a dark blue accent in the kitchen walls as very little shows but would make the kitchen pop, and gray in the living room-dining room.

I have received my first housesitting payment of 2015. It was for drop in care on 12/31 and the morning of 1/1. I am waiting for another payment more from this client for this past weekend, another clients payment for three days the last week of the year. I am currently on a house sit that will pay enough for the dryer I need to buy for the house.
I have several other drop in care appointments this month. So I will more than meet my goal of $700 earned this month - 11 months to go!

I have been pulling together all my tax papers for the business. I pay all my memberships, insurances, business license, po box etc. in December so it makes it easy to put into my tax papers once I print out all the receipts. I do my paperwork monthly for mileage and income so all I need to do is finish Decembers mileage report, hit print on the reports and the year is done. Once I get my w2 from my employer I can send it all to the accountant.

Offer on a house today

December 21st, 2014 at 06:58 pm

I made an offer on a house today. I saw it yesterday and liked it a lot. It is about 1600 sf. It is a little larger than I planned but it has a nice lay out.

It is three beds-two baths-two car garage. You enter into a formal living/dining room type situation and directly behind that is the kitchen. There is a small room off the kitchen with a fireplace that some homeowners have made into a dining room but I want to make it a small family-tv room. There is an eat in kitchen area small but workable.

The master bed room actually has a sitting area as part of the room. I will set up my treadmill and tv area there. Also it can hold my desk and filing cabinet.

One room is nice sized and I think I will be renting it out. The other room is a good size but it has French doors that open off the little family room area. I think it would be difficult to rent it out but may try to find someone. I would also be open to one renter renting both of those rooms a bed room and an office.

In this area you can charge more for access to park in the garage and I am considering that but not sure yet. There is a laundry room pass through to the garage.

The yard is nice sized but not huge. There is a small grassy area but it is not huge. There are two areas of patios. right off the kitchen and master bedroom. There is a nice area for a spice-herb garden right off the kitchen.

I like that the master bedroom has such a nice sized sitting area. I can hang out in the room working or watching tv and not impacting a renter or being impacted by a renter.

I need to buy a refrigerator, washer and dryer and I think a microwave. I can't remember if there is one. We asked for them to leave the gas stove.

I would love to rip out the carpet and put in wood flooring and tile instead of linoleum in the kitchen and baths and laundry room. I will tackle small projects as I have the money saved and will not add any extra debt.

All it really needs is to have the (newer) carpet cleaned and a whole house cleaning and then I could move in.

We made our offer the strongest we could but also know there are several other offers coming in tomorrow. I won't go into a bidding war-if I don't get it so be it. There will be another house down the road.

Oh my. What will the next couple of days hold?

Little Updates on Me

November 19th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I am going to try and be better about blogging even if just a little note each day.

There was no spending done Saturday and Sunday as I stayed home and made candles for Christmas. I am ready for some holiday movies to keep my company as I work. Hope they start on the tv soon.

I received a payment on Monday night from a house sitting client $127. She asked about drop in services for several days next week that I hope will come through.

Have Friday night scheduled next week as well for another client. I was already paid for it (she has two nights on credit) when she paid me for a house sit and came home two days early. She didn't want a repayment so she has a two night credit.

I have scheduled weeks of house sitting in March, April, May and July for another client. She wanted to confirm before she bought tickets. Each week scheduled is great for me!

All money goes to 2016 business expenses first (about $1000/year), IRA payments and then to house down payment savings and maybe a little for a vacation in 2015. I never took one in 2014.

I am getting the cold that is going through the office. I was so tired last night I fell asleep during the news, woke up at 730 made dinner and cleaned the kitchen and went back to bed. I am hoping to work from home Thursday and Friday on my major project.

I was also freezing last night when I got home even with the electric lap blanket. I turned on the little oil filled radiator heater to warm the apartment. It was on for two+ hours but on low and just enough to take the chill off. With the blanket I was good.

I was hoping to last until December 1 without the heater. With making candles this weekend I need it to be about 70 degrees in the apartment. It wasn't that warm this past weekend and I kept having problems with the candles so I may move the heater into the kitchen this weekend.

Have you turned on your heaters? Are you making gifts for Christmas this year?


Saving money off my monthly budget

November 17th, 2014 at 02:15 pm

I just shaved about $140 from my monthly bills and $145 from my yearly.

I have not had time to call regarding my cell and cable accounts in months because I have to call during business hours. I've worked so much that I never had time to sit and speak with someone for the length of time I knew it would take (which ended up being 67 minutes because I was on hold for 34).

I called first about my cable bill asking how I could lower the bill without sacrificing any services. She asked a few questions about the tv channels we watch, movies streamed, etc. Her first offer was ok but I asked her the - is that the best you can do question and she was able to take my previous bill of $155 (including taxes) a month to $84 a month (plus about 10 in taxes - estimated right now) saving $61 a month.

Then we had a good conversation about texting and the elderly and she mentioned her mother who is 87 needs to learn but none of them can convince her so I gave her some tips including for emergencies and how my mother uses it to keep in touch with grandkids. She loved that and said let me see what I can do for your phone bill! At this point I was so happy I said sure!

She was able to reconfigure our non-contract account to be $84 from $160 for two phones. She cut it in half and the account gives us unlimited talk and texting, unlimited international texting (handy with lots of friends abroad), a free hot spot access (for both phones for no extra charge), 5 gigs a month (instead of the 2 we were getting) and more!

I asked how this was going to affect me when I purchase a new phone in January or February. She said - it won't affect it at all, if you purchase your phone outright and stay off the contract. I was floored! She said it is a little known secret that you can purchase your phone outright and stay off contract thus saving money. I planned to just purchase a phone anyway and was considering going to another service without a contract but keeping our numbers but my mother's neighbors have used several and said it is not great coverage for the hills in which they live. This will allow me to keep all my services, coverage and save some money.

Then I called my insurance company as it is up for renewal this month and asked what the best they could do for my renter's policy. I had quotes from several other companies and was able to shave $55 off my coverage without changing anything.

I called a new credit card and got a yearly fee returned and as long as I auto pay something every month for a year it will not be added on next year. I just set up my cell and cable bills to auto pay - I pay them every month anyway – and I am earning 4 times points because of the auto pay. Saved $95 and am earning points!

The amount saved for the month is $140 (times 12) is $1680 + $55 for insurance + $95 = $1830 saved for the next year. I immediately went into my 401k and 457 accounts and set up the new contributions to equal $1800 in new contribution amounts for 2015!

New position possible?

May 19th, 2014 at 11:14 am

I am actively looking to leave the job I have loved for 6 years. I just can’t stand it anymore. Things never get resolved, poor management, no support for staff, bickering between managers has staff put in awkward places, managers who don’t do their work as managers means staff is coming and going at any hours they want or “telecommuting” but never are available via phone or email, no accountability and those of us who are here, do our work, are professional get dumped on with more work assigned.

I actually applied for a new job in the same field in Colorado. I am investigating the moving process of getting my personal items from California to Denver, looking for a new place to live, looking at the lifestyle and how the Denver metro are feels. I know I will rent an apartment for the first year. Must have parking and be a two bedroom because of the work from home opportunities since the position can travel up to 75%. After the first year I may rent a house or buy a small condo. It depends on how things are going and how I survive the first winter. Haven’t had a real winter since my time in Vermont for grad school. There was a ton of snow and I hated shoveling it. But much less snow in Denver than Vermont!

In 1998 I moved to Vermont after never having been there for grad school. I loved it. I would have stayed had I found a job in Vermont or Massachusetts. I am up for a new adventure and moving to Colorado sounds exciting and a new job sounds even better.

Does anyone have any experience in Denver? Know the area? Recommendations on where to live or avoid (that is my big question currently)? If I get the job I will drive my car there and they also are providing a car because they position can travel up to 75% time during major events and emergencies. I am excited about the possibility. More money, better benefits, small office, travel, work from home or in an office as I am the only one from the head agency there and assigned a region. Anyway, if anyone has any experience in Colorado, I’d love to know!