Monday, May 25, 2009

The Next Month

Thinking about all we have yet to do before our final trip out of here, I'm reflecting on what it's taken to get here. A lot of determination, persistently working our plan and God's grace. We are so thankful, especially given that we're getting older, facing health issues and have so little money. But, you know what? None of that matters to God or whatever Higher Power/Synchronicity/Flow you ascribe to!!!

We leave Wednesday with yet another load and will return here Friday. Sweetie's son has agreed to "tough it out" here in the countryside, keeping watch on the place and taking care of Lady, Mita and Kitty Kitty. That leaves more room for STUFF!

Once we're finally settled we'll no longer have high speed Internet as it's not available. Fine with me as we want to further cut our expenses.

Settling into the new place we'll spend our funds on installing the 18'x9' pole barn door (bought on Craigslist for $150); putting an insulated steel stovepipe through the metal roof for our wood stove; fencing a garden area & hauling in topsoil; repairing some deck railing and a few other small items.

So I'll post but not as frequently. Probably more pictures than anything as that's quick and I don't have to think much! LOL.

But no matter what, we'll continue to stockpile supplies. Through this whole process we've met a lot of people who are either losing their homes, jobs or some other calamity has befallen them and ONLY one thought to cut back and stock for future use. That ONE person just happens to be the person who's buying our home!!!

I had to go into town yesterday and the roads were full of yard sale signs and high school graduations. Where ever I went I heard about the lack of business at the yard sales and the low turn out at the graduations because people just don't have money.

Even our buyer was smart enough to realize that if he cut his housing expenses nearly in half he'd be in better shape. Like he said, "Who knows, the wife could get laid off or her hours cut back and then we'd be in the same shape as these other people."

Life is not static. It is ALWAYS changing and the old notion of "growth" is a fantasy. A population that continues to increase while resources deplete and the economy contracts is NOT a recipe for "growth." It is, however, a recipe for "change" though not the kind our President talked so eloquently about!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


We have sold our home here in Lower Michigan!!! When we were feeling at our wits end and hopeless and pressured, we got a call. Thank God!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Trials of Selling a Home Yourself

I know why our former realtor left the business. The market in Michigan is already tanked and the prospective buyers leave a person ready to strangle them.

We had a cash offer via Craigslist for $5,000 less than our asking price - if we'd build a pole barn. The guy then emails today and says: "I offered $20,000 on another place that had a $29,000 asking price. So when I think about it - we're still too far apart on a price on your place." We have 10 acres, the other place had 2 acres and less square footage.

From my experience, people who are losing their homes and/or jobs have no sense of reality. You'd think that somewhere along the line they'd realize that they have to make some changes. Our lookers last night were a classic example. When they asked about our electric bill I pulled out all the statements. "How could it be so low," asked the woman. "Because I have seldom ever used the dryer; we turn the TV off at the power strip when not in use; and we have the water heater turned down."

She looked at him and said, "I will not go without using a dryer." Yet they had both mentioned that their monthly electric bill is nearly $200!!!

Next she complained that that driveway was too long. By then I wanted to hang her from the nearest tree but instead said, "That was prominently mentioned in the ad."

"Well, I didn't think you really meant it," she said. It rarely happens but I as at a loss for words.

Tonight we've had one no show and are now awaiting someone else who "may drive by to look at the place."

Every one of these latest inquiries have been from people who are losing their homes and have no intention of changing ONE thing about their spending habits. The aforementioned couple also had two girls with cell phones attached to their jeans who complained about missing a something on satellite TV and their Friday night Chinese buffet in town "because we had to come here to see if we could stand to live here." The parents complained that they couldn't afford a new car so they're "stuck" driving a 2004 Chevy truck and a 2006 Ford something or another. Sweetie told them he'd swap our 1997 Ford F150 for their '04 Chevy - despite the fact that he's a Ford guy - but they were not amused.

Then, about 20 minutes ago they call here and "wonder if we'd consider a very small down payment and $100 more on the monthly payment." Sweetie asked how much smaller. Instead of $4,000 down they were offering $800. I kid you not!

And these winners have until June 17th to find housing. Good luck!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Fuming Mad!

We just received our statement from Chase Bank as well as a Notice of Change in Terms. Those &%#&%&XXX have increased out interest rate from 8.99% to 15.24% effective July 2009.

We pay off the balance EVERY MONTH!!!! Sometimes the balance is over $300; once it was over $700 and we paid it off. Some months we've paid the account twice because we knew that later on we'd charge enough to bring us close to our account limit which is $2,000.

So I guess those morons at Chase decided they weren't making any money on us so they'd rather discourage our business or see us decide to close the account. Never mind that we are now approaching the time when we will NOT be paying off our balance every month due to our move, etc.

I'm livid. Steam is coming out of my ears and fire out of my mouth.

This is just another good reason to STOP using all credit and operate entirely on a cash basis. Screw them!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Priorities People. Priorities.

Today I made a quick trip to town for a few supplies and stopped in at the bank with my container of rolled pennies.

Our account is currently at Chase Bank where they practically trip over themselves when you walk in the door. I was soon escorted into a cubicle where the young gentleman said we could "discuss the current status of your accounts" while another employee counted my coinage. Imagine the poor man's surprise when I told him I don't have any account in my name, though I'm beneficiary on a few.

These people must take classes in what I call "the quick recovery." You know, maintaining that plastic smile while they control their disappointment and ease out of the meeting while maintaining mutual grace. So the guy asked how I could not to have any bank accounts. "Just fine," I said. "I'm strictly cash."

"How do you manage that?" he asked.

"Nicely," I said with a smile.


He seemed at a momentary loss for words so I decided to brag about our recent real estate transaction. Low and behold he has an uncle who lives about 10 miles from our new home and is a member of the 120 acre Sportsman's Club across the road. We then chatted about the declining real estate market and the frivolous spending habits of people who are losing their homes while attempting to buy ours on a land contract. He smiled and said: "I have the feeling you could educate a few of them on how to live within their means."

"I could try but they'd have that deer in the headlights look and feel deprivation pulsing through their veins," I said. He laughed and said, "Well, I was going to say it's been nice doing business with you but you're not really a customer."

I smiled and said, "No offense to you personally, but I intend to keep it that way."

Then I was off to the grocery store where my favorite clerk was one duty. She asked about our trip north and I showed her some pictures of the place. "God, I'd love to be able to do that but how?" she asked. "Simple, you stop grocery shopping every day; you turn in your three cell phones; your disconnect the cable TV; and you decide to sit at home every day instead of going out."

"I'd go nuts," she said.

"Well, I guess I'd go nuts if I lived the way you do." She laughed as I said my remark wasn't meant to be derogatory. "Oh, I know," she said, "You two deserve your new place. If I'd get off my butt I might have the same thing. Guess I'm just in a rut."

Then, as she slides eight 32 oz. jars of Miracle Whip through the scanner she notes the "Buy 2 and save $1.00" coupon on top of the jars. "Wow! I never noticed these and I've scanned a lot of these today!"

WHAT???? You're a clerk in a grocery store and you don't notice a high volume of Miracle Whip purchases? Or did most people buying them not notice the coupon on top?

Either way, I DID. So that's two jars for $1.50 instead of the usual $3.29 per jar this store charges. You bet I noticed.

Next I went to Family Dollar where two women in line were bemoaning the night cost of living. If I had plastic nails, false eyelashes and TWO cell phones hooked on my jeans and then strutted out the door to my 2009 Dodge Nitro I couldn't afford much either.

It's priorities people. Priorities.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We're BACK!

From left to right: the Lake about 60 feet from our land; the house and pole barn as viewed from the road; and the living room with a couple pieces of furniture - especially Lady's chair (right side of room) covered in towels and across from Sweetie's recliner so she can keep an eye on her master.

We got back here about 5:30 p.m. from a glorious week up north. It was hard to leave but, the sooner we finish up things here the sooner we'll be settled in our little piece of Heaven on Earth.

That lake is calling me. And the Walleye are plentiful, as are pike, trout, and a few others fishies. Sorry - just had another memory lapse!

Our second night there we took a ride around the lake and saw a flock of turkey at one intersection; met someone who delivers firewood; and came home to a few deer in the front yard. Missed a great photo because the camera was in the house!!!

The next morning we had a flock of turkey in the front yard gradually pecking their way to the porch!

We discovered that someone I grew up with (10 years younger) lives on four lots near us. He's a jack of all trades and master of a few - as opposed to master of none! He's offered to buy part of our land across the road from our homes and we're inclined to sell because it's a wedge shaped piece that we don't have much use for.

The neighbors all seem to have heard that we don't drink alcohol anymore so they're not sure what to think of us! We told my old childhood friend that all the booze we've consumed in our lives - not to mention the tickets and jail time incurred - could buy up all their homes. Then George mentioned that he's a "retired biker and pool shark." I think this new bit of information will spread and the neighbors will relax!

The "community," as our area is called, is comprised of "good ol' boys" who help one another out and share what they have. That's okay to a point but we've discovered that over the years they've agreed to use part of our land for cast off tires, car parts, sinks and old windows and rotten lumber. This "tradition" has now ended as I spent most of the last three days stacking it all in a truck for disposal.

But, overall we're still satisfied with the place. We instantly felt at home and my Dad spent the first night there and pronounced it a "long drive for good company!"

So now I'm off for a well deserved shower and a little snuggle time with my cat - or maybe Sweetie! Talk to ya'll later, Treesong

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Things I'll Miss; Things I Look Forward To

We're all packed and ready to roll tomorrow morning.

We've been sitting here reminiscing and of course that brings to mind the things we'll miss. Tops on my list is our fairly new neighbor - a 40ish man who's been a great help when we've needed a heavy lifter, a "neighbor with a key" and just an all round nice guy.

I'll miss our local resale shop and senior center. Both carry used Charles Wysocki puzzles for 50 cents each. I'll miss our favorite grocery store clerk. She always ignores the customer limits on sale items because she knows we usually shop once a month.

I'll miss the little rock garden I've worked so hard at. Never knew arranging rocks and various plants and ground cover could be so challenging. Maybe that's cause I get anal about the placement of everything in that spot.

I'll miss the lower grocery prices. Good thing we've enough food stocked to last for a year. I just can't bring myself to go grocery shopping up there. When we were there two weeks ago we went through a grocery store 12 miles from our new place. I got disgusted on the third aisle and walked out.

Fortunately, there's plenty I'm looking forward to. Seeing my Dad and the kids and grand kids; sitting on the deck with friends; being out on the water and walking along the shore of Lake Superior; settling into our new place and giving it our own personal touch; and finally, savoring whatever time we have together in the place we intend to spend the rest of our lives.

I don't expect the financial news to improve so I feel fortunate that we're closing this deal before things deteriorate further. We'll no longer be living within a couple miles of a major highway so I don't expect wandering zombies.

We're at that time in our lives when we know we're in the sunset years. Obsessing about the latest and greatest stuff; the celebrity gossip and the local grapevine has no appeal to us. Our idea of fun is a good meal, a quiet evening with our pets or a visit from friends and family, and a sweet good night kiss. A good day is agreeing it's okay to NOT do anything that day. Security is knowing we've done all we can to prepare for emergencies; we're not in a lot of debt or living beyond our means; and we're committed to taking care of one another and loving one another unconditionally the rest of our days.

I won't be back online for over a week, so keep prepping folks.


Friday, May 8, 2009

If I Ever Mention...

If ever, for the rest of my life, I mention that I am considering moving. Please shoot me.

It is difficult enough being out of shape, having Fibromyalgia and MS and trying to pack an enclosed trailer. It is doubly difficult loading furniture and boxes with a man who has mis-read the measuring tape every single time he's used it today.

It is insane to believe he has told me EVERYTHING about the first phone call this morning from a couple wanting to look at this place. Never mind NOT mentioning the second or third phone call to me. Where was I, you ask? Showing the first couple around the back field. I had been told they would arrive "late this evening."

What THEY had said was, "We were out late in the evening so we won't get to your place until noon instead of 10 a.m."

But lucky me, he thinks I've done such a grand job of packing - and repacking when he mis-measures - that he now wants to make another trip to the Upper Peninsula with this borrowed trailer. "Then the last load can be the 26' U-Haul with all my stuff with a flatbed behind it hauling the tractor," he says.

"I thought that's what you said you wanted to do anyway?"

He says, "Did I?"

I say, "WHATEVER!!!!" And then added, "When we get this load up there I'll stay. You can come back and pack up your stuff!!!"

And then he says, "Are you mad at me?" as he scrapes the dining room table top along the corner of the metal shelving.

If I were a drinker, I'd be plastered. So Mayberry, and Busted and whomever else cares to indulge, please do so on my behalf.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Our Place

Here's a few pictures of our new place. As you can see, the back of the home needs vinyl siding. We've picked up a sample card and will go for a close match.
I'm dreaming of blueberries and deer in the yard and fishing on the lake and barbecue on the deck.

Sweetie figures we need 24 yards of topsoil for the garden and then a few truck loads of manure from a local farmer. Work, work, work but oh so good to be building up our own homestead.

Later, Treesong

I'm Exhausted But It's Worth It!

I simply cannot pack another box until the day we leave here for good. The living room looks like we're either moving in or moving out. The closets are bare, the linen closet has three towels, three wash clothes, three bath towels and two packages of toilet tissue. I've set aside four place settings, four glasses, four sets of silverware, two fry pans, and a one and two quart pot. There are four dish towels and two dish clothes in a drawer and a few utensils like the can opener, whisk, spatula and spoons. I can't bake a cake (nor do our waistlines need one) or make bread as all the ingredients and the appropriate pans are packed.

The neighbor is loaning us an enclosed trailer to haul part of the furniture in. The truck will be packed with boxes and the cat carriers and their food and litter. Lady sits in the front seat with us.

Our realtor has quit the business and is releasing us from the listing contract. We've re-advertised on Craigslist and had a few inquiries. One couple was supposed to look at our place last night until she got called into work.

Closing is tentatively scheduled for May 15th but now a neighbor disagrees with where the lot line is. Truth be told, the other neighbors say he's "used about 25 feet" of our (soon to be) land for 5 years. So, we'll see what develops.

My asshole brother is divorcing his wife and my father is sick about it so we're providing Dad a much needed distraction. He was at my oldest son's yesterday and today to "supervise" staining of his new kitchen cabinets. He and my son called to wish me happy birthday and Dad said he "can't wait" to have us move up there. Sure feels good to know people are looking forward to seeing us!

Believe it or not about 150 miles southwest of where we'll be living, snow and rain mix is forecast for tomorrow. Ahh... life in the north woods.

The first order of business will be unpacking enough to make a meal, sit awhile and then collapse on our bed. The next morning the first task will be fencing in a little area off the back deck for the cats. We don't want them wandering too far until we've had time to settle in. They go outside a couple times a day now and it's never been a problem but, I don't trust turning them loose in a new area. And, going in and out carrying furniture and boxes with cats wandering around is an invitation to tripping!

And thank God I'm a prepper. Went to town Monday to grocery shop one last time - at much cheaper prices than up north. On the way home, with the back of the truck nearly full of cases of food, there was an accident. No way to back track or take a detour so we sat for 45 minutes once and 15 minutes a second time. I'm diabetic and had to dig in my Bug Out Bag for a meal. Peanut butter and crackers, a can of green beans and a bottle of water never tasted so good. At my second stop I had trail mix and a banana from the sack I'd just bought.

Well, we have another call about this place so I'll sign off. Take care all, Treesong

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Good News

I am in shock. Sweetie has decided to sell one of his three riding lawn mowers!

First of all, I didn't know he had THREE of them! Maybe he's had some of his beloved STUFF stacked on top of them so I wouldn't notice!

Second, maybe he's realized that there's really no need to mow pine needles, ferns and sand!

Now, if I can only talk him into selling the other two mowers! That would be so much less to move!!!!

Later, Treesong

Our Back Yard

Here's a picture of our back yard - part of it.

On Thursday we met with the current owner at the property. Got along real well; he's much like us. He opened the sliding glass door in the dining area and asked if we hunt deer. "Not really," we said. "Well, my wife has stood right here every year for 22 years and shot a deer in the back yard."

Somehow, I managed to forget taking a picture of the lake and our shared waterfront access. Next trip.

Two of our neighbors are Harley owners and most of the neighbors seem to be laid back, do-it-yourself kind of people. In the winter there are about five families living in the plotted area next to us. Most own 2-4 of the 100x100 foot lots. Out 11 acres borders this plotted area. It and the lots were all part of a 40 acre parcel that was divided in 1961. Somebody had the foresight to buy several lots to equal 11 acres and we are so grateful they did!

Well, it's time to commune with my cat. She sat on Sweetie's son's lap most of the time we were gone and our dog Lady has not stopped crying since we walked in the door. We're very loved!