Friday, August 31, 2012

When It Rains, It Pours

The rain from Isaac has moved out & humidity is high. The highways are heavy with holiday weekend traffic and yard sale signs have cropped up like I've never seen here.

Meanwhile, here it is raining mishaps and mechanical failures.

Laundry didn't get done yesterday because no matter what, the washing machine would not start. It sits outside on patio slabs. It's covered in heavy plastic so the tub doesn't fill with rain water and bugs. It's hooked to a heavy duty extension cord which plugs into a standard exterior plug. The problem appears to be one of those push button start buttons that I loathe.

It's an old washer. Replacing the part costs about as much as buying another used washer.

Last night I went to the store for yeast because after searching for an hour - yest an hour! - I couldn't find my yeast. Driver side front end made a strange thrushing sound when I turned corners or went over a bump. I never drove above 40mph as that is the speed limit from our house to the store.

George crawled beneath the car and looked under the hood and swore a few times. I forget what the thing is but needless to say it means spending money. Money we don't have.

This morning we woke up to no water. We had both been up during the night and flushed the toilet & run water in the sink. I ran more water for coffee and dishes. After some investigation we discovered our pump is crap.

So here we are on a holiday weekend with no water, a car that shouldn't be driven and a washer that doesn't work.

I hauled my old compact wringer washer out of the storage shed and spent the morning doing laundry by using a hose connected to the neighbor's house. They had borrowed our hose awhile back while working on the empty house & it so happened that they are next door today. That was fortunate because I skipped laundry last week!
Filled buckets and dish pans with water too. Thankfully we have gallons of drinking water stored.

Life is full of challenges but we carry on. Thank God for preps and good neighbors.

Keep smiling folks. Life could be worse.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Frank Lloyd Wright, Timberframe Books

Timberframe buildings, Amish craftsmanship and Frank Lloyd Wright are my latest additions to Whimsywind, my Etsy Shop.

And thank you to the sweet woman in Cullman, AL. for your purchase.

A Happy Mower and a Dead Boat Battery!

We moved here April 2nd this year to a yard that looked pretty dead. Since then everything's turned green due to torrential rains and overgrown everything in sight.

We sold our mower in Michigan and let the grass get pretty high before hiring the job done for $30. Thereafter, a neighbor mowed four times for $20.

Eventually, I knew George would buy a used mower despite my desire to get an old fashioned rotary push mower. No gas, no fumes, no moise. But, he's the mechanical type. Gotta have something to fiddle with even though he can barely moves off the porch.

So, low and behold, he's across the street at another neighbor's yesterday, helping him with his brother's mower.

An hour later a Craftsman 42" cut mower is sitting in our yard courtesy of the neighbor and $300.

As usual, whenever you add something to your life, it requires upkeep and storage. It was my job today to make room in the shed for the mower. When George recovers from mowing the grass, it's his job to make a ramp for the shed so we can get the mower inside.

Thus far our expense besides the price tag is a few gallons of gas, a new battery and a new belt. The ramp will be built out of scrap wood.

Then we decide to take the pontoon out. Never left the yard because "somehow" the knob that turns the batter off was turned on and the motor tilt came up - due to a short in the switch - and further drained the battery.

I get a little frustrated with things like this. I'm the "check and double check" person in this household while George has become more carefree - to the point of NOT checking things.

There have been a few instances of this since we arrived here and it always costs money!

The neighbor came over to see how George likes his "new mower" and, when he heard about the boat, said, "George, I thought your sweetheart was the one losing her memory. I don't say this often, but you ought to listen to her more often."

Thank you neighbor!

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Etsy Sale

Monday I ship the Griswold #8 waffle iron to Texas. My first Etsy sale feels great. Here's hoping for many more!

Living in a small town options are few to sell expensive or unique items, especially antiques.

I've had my fill of Ebay and Craigslist is great for everyday items, cars, boats and furniture but antiques have not sold well there, in my experience.

When the snowbirds return, Craigslist may be a better option. Surely it will for a few yard sales.

Meanwhile, I continue to unpack, dust, photograph, price and prepackage some items.

Feels good to be doing something besides watching the rain, reading, cooking and napping. As long as my energy lasts, I'll keep plugging away.

Here's a few of my offerings at Whimsywind:

Flying Geeze twin quilt, hand stitched $125.

Wine Cork 2-shelf caddy: $22.50

Yelloware Water Cooler with spigot: $100.

Birch Bark Stars: 3 for $25.

Well, time for Kitty Kitty and I to porch sit awhile before bed.

You all enjoy your weekend! Treesong

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Whimsywind is Open

Six items have been listed on my Etsy shop, Whimsywind.

If you're in the market for an antique flying geese quilt, a yelloware water cooler, a Griswold #8 waffle iron or a hand crocheted popcorn stitch twin bedspread take a look at Whimsywind.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Setting Up Shop

I never seem to get rid of all the excess stuff around here so once again I'll market it online.

Must be a glutton for punishment as it took me forever to do a few simple steps on Etsy before giving myself a coffee break.

Much of what I have available is antique of good quality. Have no idea if any will sell but it's worth a try.

Besides needing to raise some cash to pay make our balloon payment in three months, I see no point in holding on to things that aren't being used.

Now, if my memory would be razor sharp and my energy like that of a Jack Rabbit, I might actually get the shop open!

It's time to find a new home for the following:

Flying Geese antique twin size quilt, Griswold cast iron waffle maker, yelloware water cooler, crocheted popcorn stitch twin bedspread, 1943 and 1953 National Geographics, crockery bowls, a few paintings, antique dishes, jewelry and a few pieces of slag copper from Lake Superior.

Gosh, I'm tired. Maybe I need a nap!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ah the Joys of Paypal

I don't know where to start except to say I FINALLY got our Paypal account straightened out!

TWO years after the fact!

It had become such a maddening ordeal that many, many times we just gave up.

We no longer sell on Ebay so it didn't seem to be such a bad thing - until someone wanted to send us money.

After gripping the phone until my hand fell asleep, muttering beneath my breath and asking numerous times to be transferred to someone who spoke in an accent I could understand, I got an honest to goodness human being.

Then the real fun began! Every time we tried to change our password, no email arrived from Paypal. Imagine our surprise when we were told Yahoo frequently does NOT recognize emails from Paypal!!

Then, to verify to account, we had to verify that we'd changed our address, bank and telephone three times in four years. It felt like being audited by the IRS.

I appreciate security measures as much as the next person when it comes to online transactions but it sure tests my patience.

After the dust settled we discovered we received a donation two years ago from a Jon in Ann Arbor. Thank you Jon. We appreciate your generosity though the thank you is late in coming!

On that fine note, we're going to sit on the porch awhile. I need a rest from this online stress!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Peeling Back the Layers of Pretense

In my wanderings around the area I've discovered a few things.

Lots of people appear to be doing fine when in fact, they're not.

1.A local man has kept up with the boating crowd by stealing gas for his motor.

2. A family takes in short term boarders for two to five day stays in their home while they camp out in the garage with a makeshift kitchen and porta potti so they can hopefully generate enough money to pay waterfront taxes.

3.Others place a Craigslist ad for "furniture wanted" and your phone will ring non-stop from people who admit to being desperate for cash or those who sing a familiar line: "I never use that anymore." When you arrive to pick up that never used item there are lots of nearly empty rooms.

4. More land line phones are being disconnected to avoid the monthly fees and collection calls. Cell phones numbers are changed because someone got an Obama phone but carries their old phone for looks. I kid you not!

5. Other adjustments are: growing your hair out; taking fewer baths and doing less laundry to save on the water bill; inviting yourself to lunch or dinner at a friends; going to church potlucks for a better meal; advertising your home on For Sale By Owner so a real estate sign doesn't tip the neighbors off and last, but not least, advertising your house sitting, lawn maintenance and painting skills on northern Craigslists for the snowbird owners.

Now, other than stealing gas and inviting myself to dinner, I don't knock these strategies. It's a shame, though, that people are so tied to appearances that they pretend all is well. What does that teach their children?

There is no shame in having a rough time. Being afraid of acknowwledging reality is.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

There is Never Enough Water

Some people learn this the hard way.

We all have private wells here and for some strange reason a few have been on the blink this week. Each well owner was assured it's not a drought due to the immense amount of rainfall we've had. However, the ground is composed of springs and coral, some sand, some clay and a lot of human activity on top of it!

Whatever the well problems were caused by - and I don't have all the info on that - I did hear that EVERY one of these owners had NO WATER stored.

You can't cook noodles in Diet Coke! And after a few thoughtless flushes, your well tank is dry!

The problems started in the middle of the night. ONE gas station is open 24/7 and doesn't stock a lot of water. The grocery store has a water dispenser in front of it but requires you provide the containers. The Dollar General closes at 10 p.m. and again, stocks little water.

Add to that unprepared homeowners who don't have money for a new pump or whatever the problem is.

And finally, it is hot as Hades out here with high humidity that lasts late into the night. Even the birds and squirrels are laying low.

We have water and stocked up on more of it yesterday.

We also have a well we know little about.

Without food and water, you haven't got a chance at survival.

The same people in this neighborhood without preps are the same without generators or hand pumps (some wells here are shallow).

Always good to have a reminder of how important preps are and NOT be the one in need of them.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


After paying OFF a few bills and making our usual monthly utility & mortgage payments, filling the gas tank and buying Kitty Kitty her meals, that's the balance in the check book. Until next month.

Most people would be in a panic, wondering how they'd "make it" another 24-25 days. Not us.

We're well stocked in food, personal hygiene and medical supplies. We're used to living well below the poverty line and most importantly, we're accustomed to staying home.

The price of gas has risen by 58 cents a gallon here in 16 days. It doesn't affect us until we fill up next month because we're not out running around just to be "out and about."

Living on a limited income RESPONSIBLY requires making prudent choices and sticking to them, no matter what shiny bauble tries to seduce you.

Some people never seem to understand that concept and suffer accordingly. Such is the case of an online acquaintance who's mumbling about "not knowing what to do" because two bills are due and she has no money. Being the disgusted, plain speaking woman I can often be, I asked her how much she contributed to the casino this month and was she still having her acrylic nails done.

"Of course I have my nails done!" She yiped. "And my hair cut at a salon. I don't dare hack it off like you do!"

Well, people keep complimenting my "hack" job, so I guess I'm not doing too bad in the hair department!

As for my nails, a reliable pair of clippers and an emery board get regular use.

My point to Ms. Prima Donna is that simple choices make a huge difference in one's quality of life - if financial responsibility and harmony in your home are your goals.

Yep, we love, love, love one another and our $100.12 balance! Heck, last month it was $86.17!

Of course, we have cash stashed here and there but that's like hiding candy away and discovering it years later - well preserved but still useful.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dependent on the Internet?

We've been without internet or landline phone service since 1 p.m. Thursday. About 51-1/2 hours in all. The experience was an eye opener due more so to the time of month it occurred. Like many retirees, most of our income arrives in the first few days of each month & we promptly pay bills electronically for most of the month.

George had NEVER before put off bill paying on the first of the month when one check is direct deposited. This month he did and we were left in a lurch. Twice yesterday we tried to access computers at the library across the river in Yankeetown to no avail. A cell phone call to ATT&T told us service was out until the evening of August 7th. Yikes!

We don't own a smart phone and all but our auto insurance is paid online to addresses far from here. Fortunately, in double checking things, a credit card bill had been paid July 30th (due on 8/02) and the other bills could be paid as late as seven days with no penalty.

In the meantime, his Social Security check was deposited as well as an IOU from someone. Every little bit helps!

George has advocated "going paperless" for a long time but event changed his mind.

The outage affected an entire neighborhood on the south side of the Withlacoochee and got a few peopled riled up. Another lesson about how dependent and short fused people are when they go without. We remained inside or on our lot and kept to ourselves and noticed a few neighbors did likewise.

Once ATT&T fixed the problem, we logged onto our accounts, took care of business and did a little shopping in Inglis. Used the debit card to get more cash; filled emergency water jugs & bought more gallons of water; filled the gas tank & checked all fluids & tires and stopped at a yard sale where I got a nice wicker chair for $10.

Overall, we're fine but glad to be connected again. As usual, the lesson is, have back ups in place or in this case, a cell phone and bills paid ahead of time!