Sunday, June 25, 2017

Cruisin'

Friday ended up being a very busy day. I worked half the day, then went into the city by myself to get some misc shopping done and stock up on some groceries. DH was busy working on the sofa table and I wanted to go by myself anyway. Much easier looking at stuff when someone is not with me making me feel like I have to hurry and get done. I needed a pair of shorts (I only have one pair of jean capris for this hot weather) and a couple of t-shirts. I figured I could probably pick up something cheap at Walmart.

First I stopped at Ross. I like to look through their home decorating stuff. You never know what you will find and it's always cheap. I did pick up a few things to put on top of my new sofa table that totaled $20. While I was there DH texted he needed some more screws from Lowe's. Ugh. Another stop. Oh well.

I then headed to Walmart. Got everything on my list, except a case for DH's new ipad mini. I really didn't want to spend $25 and am hoping I can find something cheaper on Amazon. I did find a pair of Cargo bermuda shorts for $14 and 2 t-shirts that were like $5 each. Though the shirts were slim pickins in size medium. Loaded up the car and put the frozen and cooler stuff in my insulated bags. Stopped in Lowes real quick to get the screws and then decided to stop at Subway and bring home sandwiches for dinner. DH had received a Subway gift card from his parents for his birthday and that's the closest Subway to our house LOL. Nice to have a free dinner and we haven't had Subway since we moved.

I got home at 4:30 and about 45 minutes later DH's good friend called and said there was a car show/cruise in the city that he was taking his old car to and DH should bring his pickup truck ie. the metal scultpure on wheels) out. Even though DH was pretty tired from working on the table project all day, he decided to go. So into his pickup we climbed and another trip (45 min) back to the city for me. LOL. It was really fun though. Heard lots of "nice truck" and that made DH feel good. Around 9pm all the cars did a cruise through town, which brought back tons of memories for DH as he used to "cruise the drag" on Friday and Saturday nights there as a teenager. But this was like being in a parade - there were tons of people lining the sidewalks to watch. Our friends wife and daughter watched from the bridge (her hubby and son rode in their old car) and said she could overhear teenagers saying "no fair, we never get to cruise", since it seems to be illegal now everywhere.

Yesterday I got all the flowers and shrubs watered first thing in the morning and then cleaned house. DH had to wash his pickup (of course). Lots of bugs from the highway drive. We are indeed having a "neighbor free weekend" again this weekend. Ahhh...the peace and quiet :)  The guy that owns the 4 lots across the street and on each end of our side had someone come out and mow down all the grass/weeds that were 3 feet tall. It looks SO much better. We use that area to throw the ball to our dog and I haven't been using it the past 2-3 weeks because it's gotten so tall the ball would just get lost. DH talked to the mower guy and he's going to go out to our property to look it over for mowing and give us an estimate on our 2 acres. Said he charges $80/hour and it didn't take him more than 2 hours to do what he did here, so I'm thinking it would be about hour and a half work. Probably 1/4 of our 2 acres is steep river bank.

Trying to keep the house as cool as possible - supposed to be 92 the next 2 days. I like 70, yes I do.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Long term disability insurance and TGIF

I was able to get a couple of online quotes without giving my phone number. Yikes - apparently the plan offered through my employer is a screaming deal at $36/mo!  The first quote I got online gave a range of costing $319-432 PER MONTH. Zander Insurance (who I got my life insurance through) was $124 per month.

I decided I better check the extra life insurance I can get through work and compare to what I'm paying. I thought I had done that before, but wanted to make sure. I'm currently paying $330 per year for my life insurance plan. The same coverage through work would be over $500 a year, so I'll stick with what I have, obviously.

I did drop the HBO and Showtime channels today. We did get one last movie in last night - The Free State of Jones. Pretty good, but we still don't watch enough to justify $15 a month. We'd be better off to rent a couple movies a month if we really want to watch one of them.  Local channels are part of our package deal, but they separate it out at $10 per month and it kind of looks like maybe I could remove that charge, if I wanted. We hardly ever watch the local/network channels. DH just about never does and the only things I watch are The Voice and Big Bang Theory. I watched This is Us last season, but watched it on my computer the next day or two after it aired. I doubt I would miss the local channels much at all.  I mostly read in the evenings now, while DH watches political news or something like Deadliest Catch or Gold Rush.

DH finally got started on my furniture project yesterday! At least he got the boards cut. I think they are going to look pretty neat and rustic, as the lumber is live edge. Knowing him though, once he gets started he won't want to stop working on it until it done, which is good for me, LOL.  Here is the top of the sofa table cut and sanded. We bought him a belt sander and that is working well, he says.



I also meant to chat about our pretty cheap weekend with DD last weekend. We spent $5 as a donation to the historic ranger station. Then we spent $5 to drive through the buffalo range. That's it! other than we ate out twice, which somewhat offsets that I would have had to feed us anyway. We also used about a tank of gas, at the most.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Budget decisions

I found another expense that will be able to get cut in another month. When I upgraded our Dish service to have a Hopper dvr last February 1, it was cheaper overall to sign up for their Protection Service for 6 months at $8.99 per month. I could have either paid for a service call at $95 or signed up for the protection service for 6 months for a total of $54. I just had to remember to discontinue it after 6 months! Which of course, I will do. I had made myself a calendar reminder on Outlook.  With that 8.99 a month and the $15 a month saved by removing premium channels. We'll save $288 a year.

My little blog ads are slowly generating a little bit each month. One of these months I'll hit the $100 mark and actually get paid, haha!

We'll be getting our propane tank refilled probably next month. Apparently that is when rates are cheapest during the year. We still have about 30% left, so that seems pretty good. I don't know what the rates are other times of the year, but I'm sure it will be quite a bit of savings if we can fill up the whole tank when it's cheapest. We've never had propane before, so it's all new to me. We are supposed to be on "auto refill" with the company and I'm not really sure what that even means. Will they auto refill this summer, when rates are low, or do I have to call to have it done? I'll be calling for sure. There was a notice in the little county weekly newspaper to call by July 7 for a summer refill appointment (which is why I'm not really sure then what "auto refill" really means, then).

And then there is the decision on increasing a monthly expense....it's annual benefit renewal time at work. One thing I discovered is my benefits allow my dependent (DH) to get a free eye exam, even if I don't have him on my insurance plan. That's nice. I'm trying to decide if I should add some Long Term Disability insurance. To get 60% off my annual salary would cost me $36 a month (for a $3900/mo benefit)

I went online with my Social Security account and if I were to get disabled right now my monthly benefit would be $2100. Not really enough to cover until I could tap into my 401k. And once I turn 67, do I then get my regular social security amount or do I still just get the $2100 a month? Ok, so I just researched that and when I'd turn 67, it would switch to my social security retirement benefit amount.

If I'm getting $2100 a month in SS disability, I wouldn't really need to get $3900 a month from insurance, but it doesn't appear I have the option of choosing a lower benefit amount. Maybe it's possible to get a lower benefit amount from an insurance company directly. I did a quick search online and could qet some quotes but they all want my ph# and address and I really don't want to deal with sales calls trying to pressure me to buy their insurance.

So, still can't decide if I need to pay $36 a month for long term disability. I have until the 30th of this month to figure it out.

In looking at my SS estimated benefits, I now have updated amounts that have increased. If I retire at age 70 (currently the plan) my monthy benefit is $3030 and with DH able to get half of that, that would give us $54,540 a year in social security, plus 401k draw. If I retired at 67 our combined annual SS would be $43,056. Guess we'll see how I feel at 67! Maybe I'll be able to retire by then, but not holding my breath.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Doctors, cutting expenses, and old neighborhood update

I put in a call this morning and got DH set up with a doctor appointment with a PA here in town, so he can get his cholesterol medication refilled. Their first available appointment isn't until Thursday of next week, so he'll have to go a day without his cholesterol med. We can walk to the doctor office - it's a block away LOL. I'll have to double check on his insurance, but I think it covers a few office visits where we only have to pay the co-pay and not meet the deductible. Might as well gets something out of that damn $511 I am paying per month for insurance!

Next thing I need to do is schedule a vet appointment, but I'm waiting to hear if my PTO days request gets approved, so I can make the appointment on one of those days. I have to drive like 55 miles to the nearest vet.

We've decided to save $15 a month and cut out the HBO and Showtime we have with our satellite service. It was going up to $30 a month next month, as the special rate period will be over. I was just going to keep one at $15, but we decided to cut both. I will miss out on the new season next month of Game of Thrones, but I'll catch it at some point. Sometimes they have Free HBO weekends during the year. We have Starz/Encore as part of our package, some Dish Movies on Demand and also still have Amazon Prime video through DD's membership. I also cut down the coverage on his pickup truck to the bare minimum. It just sits in the garage and never gets driven (1999 with 53,000 miles on it), so that saved about $20 a month. I didn't have a lot of coverage on it, but was still able to cut down some more. I think he's driven it once since we moved here.We really need a pickup for driving around these logging roads and hauling stuff, but he won't drive this one anywhere at all, unless it's the nicest day of the year and even then he won't drive it because then he'd have to wash it. He can never sell anything, so we're stuck with what I call the metal sculpture, rather than selling it and buying a nice used old truck to have and actually use.

DH still follows a bit what is going on in our old neighborhood, as far as a couple of the low-life's have been in jail. First off is our slumlandlord neighbor's drug dealing/using son. He got arrested Feb of 2016 for intent to distribute - 3 charges of it, for 3 different types of drugs, a gun charge attached to all those and possession. It has taken this long to finally resolve. It was delay delay delay for over a year. He was a failure to appear at least twice on his court hearing, they'd pick him up and let him back out the next day and reschedule and he'd FTA again. And then they'd be delayed until they caught him again and then delayed some more. Last month he plead something just prior to his jury trial and they dropped/reduced most charges (unbelievable!), let him go and told him to come back in 30 days (ridiculous) for his sentencing. This is the guy that, when he originally got arrested, the prosecutor assured DH he was going away for like 5-7 years. So, last week was his sentencing. Of course he was a Failure to Appear. Duh! They caught him a few days later and he's been held in jail and his sentencing is today. What do ya want to bet it will hardly be anything?

The other one is one of the brothers that lived behind us, in the walk up drug window house. He got arrested a few months ago, the main charge being failure to remain at the scene of an injury accident, as well as theft and assault2. He's been in jail this whole time, apparently no bail for the felony charge on the FTR at injury accident. He just got sentenced yesterday to 13 months, which means he's going to prison. Anything under 1 year is county jail, anything over is state prison. At least the neighborhood will have a break from him for awhile. Our good neighbor said it's been very quiet back there, as well as the rental house at the end of our street hasn't had the traffic, with the "better" renters that moved in just before we moved.

Then, his group of buddies from the neighborhood that was near us, with all the same problems (and many of same people dealing with) got arrested! He's kind of a hot head, but he's also SO sick of dealing druggies 24/7. He rides a motorcycle and was coming home from the gym late Sunday night. A big group of them standing in the street just before his house. He stopped to tell them to move on. One of them tried to tell him she lived in the camper trailer at the drug house. He lives  next door, so he knew that was a lie. They started to threaten him and he open carries (or maybe he was conceal carrying) so he held his gun down at his side. The druggies called the cops on him and he got arrested for brandishing a weapon. Stupid of him to do, but I totally understand he is beyond frustrated, after 2 or more years of it, and the cops will do absolutely nothing to these people. That's one of the reasons we moved - DH said he was getting so frustrated that he'd be the one they arrest for something, like trying to protect his own property. It will be interesting to see what comes of the charge against friend. They all joked with him "hey, just ask for drug court. That's what all these lowlife's get off on their charges with".

DD and her BF just installed the SimplySafe security system in their house. She said it was really easy and only took them like a half hour to set up. 


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A little of this and a little of that

Our neighbors have been pretty quiet, thankfully. He's done some metal cutting (or at least that's what it sounds like) a couple of times around 8 or 9pm, but it didn't last long. The first time he did it the other day it was so loud (of course it was like 8pm), we were like "what the heck was that noise?!" It was so loud it was echoing off the two houses across the field from us and at first we thought it was coming from there. But, no, guy was in his garage, with the garage door closed cutting metal. I can only imagine how loud it must have been inside there and their attached house!  We've come to the conclusion that the guy must be cheating on his wife. Ever since she started working nights (she usually leaves about 8:30pm and gets back sometime the next morning, or sometimes is gone 2 days) some young woman shows up within 15 minutes or so of her leaving. Every time. She's always gone before wife gets back. We have never seen her car there when wife is there..........And the same time wife started working nights, he suddenly no longer is going to his "night job" he's had all this time up until then. They should also be gone all weekend coming up - some big weekend mud truck race in nearby town. Their two little one's are still gone - starting on the 4th week now. So strange. At least that is to me. I couldn't imagine not having my 3 and 5 year old for that long! Maybe they are visiting them, wherever they are, but I highly doubt the guy is. He never pays one minute of attention to them when they were here. Sad.

My book club meeting for this month got cancelled. I guess not enough interest, people busy with summer vacation, family visiting and stuff. I wasn't going to go to this one anyway. I tried to start the book and just couldn't get into it. I just finished One Second After, that was recommended by one of my blog readers (sorry, can't recall who it was now!). I put in on my library e-book reserve list weeks and weeks ago and finally it came through on Sunday, as well as the second book, which I'm now reading. Good books and good food for thought, for sure, especially in this crazy times we live in.

We had mild cool temps all weekend but now it's back to 90. We might have to break down and get an air conditioner for the house. DH just can't take the heat very well. I don't think we'll be able to get a window type, as all our windows open sideways, instead of up and down. At least starting tomorrow it's back in the low to mid 70's for the rest of the week.

I need to get DH a doctor appt somewhere here local (not like we have lots of choices) so he can get his cholesterol med refilled. But, of course, now that I need to find one on the health insurance provider finder website, it appears to be down. Nothing will come up - even if I put in zip code of the big city nearby. I'll try again later, I guess.  There's a doctors office, with a few doctors/PA's,  just one block over from us and I'm pretty sure I looked up to see if they were on the provider list when I got DH the insurance, but I can't remember now.

I just took 3 days of PTO, but realize I need to be taking some more days off, as I've currently got 215 hours built up - like over 5 weeks! We are getting the 3rd and 4th of July off as holiday. I think I'll just take the rest of that week off and use up another 3 days that way. I'll see if I can get a vet appointment for our younger dog, who is due in for shots and an annual checkup. Our property neighbors gave me a referral to a vet in the city (there is not one vet in our whole county!) so I'll try them.

Still hanging on by a thread if we will meet our sales goal by the 30th of this month, to get our mid year bonus. But, it appears our commission percentage went up another point. That is huge and if holds up at that all year long, is yet another million dollars to the company. Anxiously waiting out these last 10 days to see if we can make it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Boots, Buffalo and Bear! (and other adventures)

We had a pretty eventful few days with DD and her BF visiting. They arrived around noon on Thursday. After we had some lunch we decided to drive to the city so DH and I could get something better to wear on our feet for hiking around. We both got some nice hiking boots from Sportsman's Warehouse. He got some Merrell's and I got some Vasque's. Not cheap, but not the most expensive one's either. I wouldn't even let DH try the $400 ones on!


On the way back home we veered off and stopped in to check out the "historic ranger station" sign we always see on the freeway. It was kind of  a neat place and the lady in the "museum" part of it was full of info and probably glad to have someone stop by to tell it to, LOL.  DH had asked her if the fire lookout tower was still around/active and she said yes and pointed it out - about 8 miles away and said you could drive up there from the other side. We got back to town and decided to have dinner at the restaurant, since it was already 5 o'clock and making dinner would have taken me an hour.  That evening we watched a movie (The Accountant) and just visited.

Friday we headed over to do a drive through a Bison range. DH loves buffalo and this is a drive we've been planning to take at some point, There is about an 18 mile drive through the range. Saw the bison here and there and got up near the top and decided to do the 1/2 mile (each way) walking trail.

We start out on the walking trail going up to a lookout area, still in view of the trailhead. DH and BF were ahead of DD and I a bit. Two other guys were coming down the trail and just as they pass DD and I, they say "there's a bear" We turned around and said "what?" and they pointed up on the hill behind us, a bear making it's way down. I turn around and yell ahead to the guys to get back here. The six of us are just standing on the trail path area, not sure what to do. The bear finally comes down and crosses the path and we think it's going to head down into the draw but it stops and starts paralleling the path towards us. We all back up a bit. The bear is just busy turning over rocks, looking for food, not seeming to pay much attention to us. At that point he was only about 40 ft from us. Then he kind of gets behind a big bush next to the path ahead and we can't see him. We all decided to walk up the hill area above us and over and come back down on the path on the other side of the bear and closer to our vehicles.  As we got back down on the path the bear stood up behind the bush and looked at all of us. We just got ourselves back to the trailhead and our cars! We had actually bought bear spray when we got our hiking boots. Thankfully we didn't need to try it out.


That was quite the excitement for the day! We all got video of it too, though DD's video turned out the best. My phone camera seems to be going bad and I don't get very good photos or video's anymore. We finished the drive through the range, saw some deer, elk and antelope. Stopped at the little burger joint in the town next to us on the way home for burgers and milkshakes (yay, I didn't have to cook again. LOL). Spent most of the evening talking about the bear and sharing it on Facebook, haha.

Saturday we decided to take a drive and do a little hiking. DH decided to head up the road to the fire lookout. What a beautiful drive up this valley of huge homes on big spreads. Lush and green fields and wooded in some areas. One home was huge 3 stories. DH looked it up online when we got home. I said it had to be over 10,000 sf. It was more like 16,000! Then we get on the switchback logging road up and up (I really hate those roads LOL). The first sign before we started going up said 15 miles. Then we passed one that said 8 more miles. Then we went up some more and came to a locked gate. Are you kidding me?! All that way and then we can't get up the last few miles? Welp, let's hike it then. DH and BF estimated we had 2 more miles to go. It was a brutal 2 miles for me, since it was all pretty steep uphill. We went up 1000 ft in 2 miles. DH had been up ahead and was standing up on this little ridge. We climbed up and OMG. You could like see forever it seemed, with a 360 degree view.


Then DH says, don't look over there......but that's where the lookout station is....it was clear across another little ridge and UP! I said no way. I'm done. Still gotta hike back 2 miles and I can't do anymore. They estimated it was 3/4 mile (and it was) and it was another 500 ft up. DD and I took the bear spray (DH also had a gun) and started the 2 mile hike back to the car and let the guys go up to the lookout tower. It was much easier going down, that's for sure. It took us 40 minutes to get back to the car and we had our lunch and just rested. About same time we got back to the car the guys got to the lookout tower (cell service was working) and then they headed back to us and got there an hour later.

SOOO tired after all that. It's Monday night and I'm still sore and tired. I'm really glad I decided to take today off, too. DD and BF headed back home Sunday morning, so I've spent the last 2 days just resting, napping and reading. I've had enough excitement and adventure for awhile.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

It's a good week so far

The very nice thing about living near all this beauty and nature is that it doesn't cost us anything to get out and enjoy! Well, a gallon of gas, is all. Our other weekend excursions didn't have to cost anything. The flea market was free and so was the car show. We just chose to buy some stuff and some raffle tickets, but we certainly could have enjoyed both just walking around and looking.

We are currently using only about a tankful of gas per month living here. Approximately two trips a month to the city, which uses a little less than a 1/4 tank per trip. The rest is just trips to the mile to the heart of town where the post office and grocery store is and our little drive-abouts. Last night we drove about 15 miles (30 total) to see if there were any elk or deer out grazing. We only saw a couple of deer is all. Haven't had much luck with that lately. They must be staying up in the trees.

It's been quiet (knock on wood) at the neighbors since the sheriff sergeant and deputy were here last week. Wonder how long it will really last! Their 2 little kids still are not there and have been gone over 2 weeks now, nor have the two older daughters (both over 18 and one has two little kids, also) been there the past 2 weeks. The guy did clean up the drive line laying in his driveway and the tires stacked up in front of his garage. The only thing that appears to be left is an old pickup still parked in front of his garage, that doesn't run and an oil barrel. It's really not even an eyesore, in our opinion, though there aren't supposed to be any non-running/non licensed cars, per the covenants. If that's all there was/is we wouldn't even bat an eye. He also brought yet another trailer home last Thursday night (where he gets all these I have no idea) and loaded up the piece of junk that he's been working on inside his garage (we assume that's what he races) and left with it later Friday morning. The wife had left in her car (with pillow and bag) on Thursday evening. (I only saw this because I had gone outside to water my flowers). After the guy left later Friday morning, they didn't return until early Sunday night (without the trailer and race truck) and have stayed quiet. It's like living next to normal people!  I'm sure at some point soon all the kids will return and it will be back to chaos, as far as that part goes. That is what it is, but we are not going put up with the junkyard nor the excessive noise until 1 or 2am. Not giving in on that one bit.  DH spoke with the attorney we had consulted and we are going to hold off sending any letter (similar to what the developer sent) to the homeowner. At this point, how it's been the past week, we cannot ask for more.

Two more days until DD arrives.  Today is her one year anniversary at her job. She's chomping at the bit for a review and a raise, but she's pretty sure she's going to be disappointed in it (based on what a few other employees have told her). She said she is going to ask her boss when her review will be. If it's not a decent raise she'll start looking elsewhere and can surely do that, given that they live in an area where there are lots of jobs now. I would think with her now experience she would be able to find something in the $45k-50k range, easy. My company would hire her as a project manager at that rate in a heartbeat - it's just too far for her to drive every day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Take a hike

Yesterday was such an adventure,  that I can't even remember now what we did on Saturday! Oh ya, I cleaned house in the morning and DH went for a drive up in the hills with neighbor friend, though they were only gone maybe an hour. I took a nap. Made a nice salad and steak for dinner. It was peace and quiet all weekend because the crappy neighbors were not home. We pressure washed the front porch real quick after dinner. Figured it was a good time to do it, as a pressure washer is always a noisy thing and unlike our neighbors, we try to be courteous and do that kind of stuff if no one's around to lessen the noisy impact. It only ran for about 15 minutes but is still loud.

Yesterday morning we packed a lunch, took the dogs, and headed up another nearby creek road. It was about 13 miles to our destination, but the road was not bad at all, as far as being narrow and it was so wooded you really didn't see down the cliff edges LOL.

We got there to find a few other cars parked there. Put the dogs on leashes and took a very short easy hike and came to this paradise







Talked to a guy and his kid fishing and he asked if we were hiking up to the other lake. He said it was about a mile, a pretty easy hike. On our way back out the trail from this lake we stopped and chatted with two young men who had pushed themselves out on a makeshift float

They asked if we were going up to the other lake. They said they hiked it the day before. It wasn't too bad, but you do have to cross a snow field to get up there and the lake is still mostly all frozen over. Ok, we decided to try it.

Here's the snow field - there was no one else around so dogs got to go off leash the rest of the hike.


 but what they neglected to mention was that it was still snow all the way through those trees too. LOL



This was the view looking down at the first lake, as we were crossing the snow field. . We kept trudging along. Holy crap, I am out of shape, but to be fair, uphill in the snow isn't that easy in tennis shoes. I'd stop every so often to catch my breath up and move along until the next steep-ish hill and I'd cuss some more. I guess the hike was rated moderate, which for us-non hiker's was about correct.

I guess it was really about a mile and a 1/4, but we finally got there.



We were at about 6,000 ft there.  We ate our lunch we had packed in DH's daypack. Going down was a little easier, but it was a bit slippery on the snow, of course. It was about as perfect of a day as I think we could have. Can't wait for DD to get here and share some of this with her!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Weekend plans

We experienced a brief moment of bliss last night LOL. The renter got home around 7 or so. With yet another trailer! He and wife bustled around outside for about half hour and then she's putting a bag and pillow in her car. She leaves and then he leaves in his truck. We figured they must have been going "racing" (because he thinks he's some big time racer haha). We promptly went and sat on our porch and enjoyed the warm evening and it was soooo quiet. I watered the flowers. Watched an adorable Mountain Bluebird take a bath in my bird bath. It was like heaven. Just after we went back inside around 9pm the guy came back. What a let down. LOL.

It's my half day (yay!) Friday. We'll probably head into the city for the afternoon to get some shopping done. I have a prescription to pick up and need to get DD's BF a birthday present. She said he'd like a circular saw or some saw horses. DH found a used belt sander on Craiglist, on the way to city, so if it's still available he'd like to buy it for his (one of these days!) projects to make my sofa table, book case and boot bench.

The weather has cooled down from the 90s to 60s, thankfully. Looks like 60's to low 70's for the next week. I'm not a very good hot weather person, especially with no a/c. The house does stay nice and cool all day long until around 6pm and then it gets pretty warm.

DH's friend neighbor took his dirt bike up into the mountains for a ride the other day try and get to a small lake. He wasn't sure if the snow had melted enough for driving his truck all the way there. He got back and told DH it's all melted and we could get up there with our car, so maybe we'll try that this weekend. It's one of those places you go and most likely not see another soul. Sounds perfect.













Thursday, June 8, 2017

What a long week this has been

Long story short (I'm turning over a new leaf LOL) the renters did get their letter from the developer and they are going to sue Us, apparently. I can't imagine for what, haha. As of last night they've been told by the sheriff (a sergeant) to knock off the late night noise and have also been warned that if the sheriff see their kids playing in the street, with no supervision, they will be reported to CPS. I'm so sick of white trash. I'll just leave it at that.

DD and her BF are coming for a visit next week for about 3 1/2 days. Yay! We've got some sight seeing planned and I'm taking a few days off work. It's also her BF's birthday, so we'll take them out to a birthday dinner too.

This afternoon I made a tuna casserole for dinner - half went into the freezer for another meal. Yay me. I'll be very appreciate I did that next time I don't feel like cooking dinner or don't have much time.

It's been like 90 this week. Our house is so warm and stuffy. But we've been hesitant to open up windows in the evening because we already have to listen to enough volume of noise, we sure don't need to hear it even louder than it is. Today DH put the screens back on a couple of windows. One in my office and the living room (plus we can open our dining room sliding door). Hoping to get some of the now cooler air coming in. It's helped so much already...but I'm sure we'll have to close them up when renter gets home, as I really doubt he has any intention of being a decent, quiet neighbor. But for now, I'm sitting in my office typing this with a nice breeze coming through. Tomorrow the temp really drops - to the 60's. much better!

A little while ago DH was over at friend neighbors chatting with them...and our suspicions of renter getting a heads up the two times we called dispatch on him were confirmed - he (or his buddies) has a radio for being on volunteer fire dept. Friend neighbor has one also, for being a volunteer ambulance driver and she said "heck ya, he can hear everything on his radio!". Anyhow, she was telling DH a funny story and there kept being this beeping noise coming from somewhere and she stops mid sentence and says "WHAT is that beeping noise?!" Her hubby says "I don't know, sound like a back up alarm" DH says "sounds like a smoke alarm"  "OH CRAP!" says neighbor as she runs back into her house to save whatever she was cooking/baking LOL.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New friendships

DH's new friendship with the neighbor guy across the field between us is really a good thing for DH. They probably visit with each other just about every day (either here or there) when neighbor is home for his 2 weeks. He is a pretty funny guy. He wants us to go with them to where we USED to live and show them sightseeing. DH is like NO...LOL...we just got away from there! He mentioned it again to DH yesterday and kept saying "think about it" and as DH is walking home across the field he's yelling "think about it!!".  Too funny. He also told DH "I think I'm just gonna walk up to that guy (renter neighbor) and tell him off". DH is like, no I wouldn't do that. This guy is sneaky. He'll manage to turn it around and you end up in trouble because you are standing on his property or he's always got that stupid bluetooth in his ear - you never know if he's recording or someone else is listening.  Then neighbor friend said "I told my wife - you mess with (DH) you mess with me!" LOL.

Anyhow, at least for last night renter must have gotten the hint - no noise. We have spent almost 2 weeks trying to talk to an attorney for some answers on what legal route we can take! I guess we need to try someone else. Our good friend is a paralegal, so we obviously first contacted her about it and about setting up to talk to someone at her office about our problem. She had us send her our documents, which she looked over and then gave to one of the attorney's to review. We've been told for a week now he's going to call us......it's not like we are asking for free help. I even emailed friend and said if we need to make an appointment, let us know.

Yesterday (warm day out) there was a young kid working out in the field part of neighbor lady's property across the alley. First he had mowed her yard part. Then he was getting a weed eater ready to do her field part (I guess too rough to use mower on) and DH was out in our backyard. He hollered across the alley and asked the kid if he wanted a water or something, but he said he already had some. About an hour later he was cutting the brush down just the other side of the alley on her side. DH had me make a couple of root beer floats and he walked out to the alley and said "hey, my wife made some root beer floats, would you like one?" The kid was like sure! They chatted while eating. He's 13, lives in town. His big brother used to do all her yard work (and made a lot of money!) so now he's taking over the job. DH told him that was a good thing, we don't see many young kids around here doing yard work for the older folks. His reply was "that's because they're all sitting inside playing video games all day!" He's 13 :) He was also excited that the town swimming pool opens up for the summer next month.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Neighbor issue update (again)

This is long and boring, so feel free to skip it LOL. I'm not good at condensing stuff.

Sigh......so after 10 nights of listening to neighbor make all his garage repair shop noise until 1 or 2am every single night, except one, DH finally decided to give the sheriff's office a call again last night at close to 11pm. Enough is enough. When your noise is louder inside our house then our own tv on, you are just an ass!

And exactly like the time we called in last month, within minutes after DH hangs up the phone with dispatch, one of the guys buddies pulls up. He closes his garage all up and turns all his lights off and buddy leaves. He and his buddies are on the volunteer fire dept - we aren't stupid - of course they have radios that can hear the police stuff, so of course he's getting the heads up.

A deputy (different one than before) shows up about 10-15 minutes later. Again, a very nice guy. But, he wouldn't go knock on the guys door and tell him to knock it off (yet the sheriff had no problem knocking on our door because of a complaint, asking for DH's ID - because he mowed weeds in the alley on a Sunday afternoon LOL). We mentioned that both calls we have made, within minutes he closed up and turned all the lights off. Deputy is like ya....that's not good. He's getting word first. He wasn't sure if/what the law was on noise (he's only been working there 6 months), especially after a certain time of day, but said he'd look into it. Said next time he's doing it again, to call and ask for him and he'll come over and try to catch him while he's making all the noise, to talk to him.
 
Also, yesterday the developer emailed back that the certified letter he sent to the renters was returned to him, as he did not have their PO Box# and sending it "general delivery" didn't work.

This morning we decided to go to the sheriff's office to talk to the sheriff and see what he recommends and get a definitive answer on a noise ordinance, time allowed, etc. The dispatcher asked us to fill out a complaint form, so we could get it on file. While we were doing that the sheriff and his under sheriff came out into the hall to talk to us. Boy, is that sheriff a pompous jerk! His attitude right off was basically what do you want? hurry up, you are wasting my time. He asked DH what the issue is and DH started to tell him and he interrupted DH right away and when DH tried to give him more info he was like "don't interrupt me, I'm talking". Whatever. The under sheriff was totally relaxed and you could tell was listening and getting what we were trying to say. At first the sheriff was like I'm not aware there has ever been a problem with this neighbor (though the first words out of his mouth when we gave our address and said we had a neighbor issue was "oh the guy with the chop shop (or something like that) in his garage?" By the middle of the conversation the sheriff had calmed down and was listening and by the last 1/3rd of the conversation he was actually trying to be helpful. Then he was telling us there had been lots of calls to them from the previous owners of our house. (no duh) Make up your mind which it is.

About 3/4 the way into the conversation a guy walks in to say something to the dispatcher at the window (why we are standing right in the middle of this area to walk up to that window, I have no idea) and it's the guy that showed up at renters house right after we called the sheriff. He's has a distinctive appearance, so not hard to confuse him with someone else. DH and I both kind of glance at him and then each other as he's walking in between us and the sheriff's to the window. The under sheriff kind of caught that look between us and raised his eyebrows and DH quietly says "he was the guy there last night".

He says they can't be making unreasonable noise after 10pm, so please call it in every time he is doing it after 10, as they need to catch him doing it. Ok. We can do that, but what do we do about the fact that it appears he's getting a heads up somehow and knows you are coming so he closes up? He got all defensive like we were accusing him "no one in my jail is doing that". Then the under sheriff says well, he's a volunteer with the fire dept, so he has a radio......then the sheriff calmed down and said ok, then when you call it in, tell the dispatcher to call the deputy on duty on his cell phone with the dispatch, not over the radio, because the guy has a radio to listen to it.

The maybe good (?) part is this guy that had walked in during the last part of our conversation had to go sit on a bench to wait for something from the dispatcher (he's apparently a tow truck guy or something) so he pretty much got to hear what the sheriff was telling us to do about his buddy. So, I'm sure the renter guy has already gotten word that we were talking to the sheriff about him.

Then he suggested we also talk to the county planner about the covenant's issue. So, we went to his office (same building) but of course he just basically told us the same thing he told the developer guy, when he was there to talk to him about it a couple of weeks ago. He had brought the map up on his computer of our neighborhood and when we were talking about the developer already meeting with him, I mentioned that the developer sent the renters a certified letter, but it came back to him because he didn't have their PO Box...(hoping maybe he had it in his system and would offer it up) and he looked it up and gave it to us. So while DH was still talking to him I used my phone and emailed the developer the PO Box.

Then we get home and the neighbor lady across the street had kindly looked up the PO Box on their school records and it was a different PO Box than the county guy had. Who knows which is right. We gave that address to the developer too.

It's one thing to have to look at a bunch of junk cars and parts, we can be a bit patient on fixing that issue, but we're not going to be kept awake every single night listening to his pounding, grinding, etc until 2 am every night. It's been some 90 degree days. We can't even open up our windows to let some cool air in at night while we are trying to sleep - or the noise would be even louder :/

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cars, sun, prizes and dirt work

We had a pretty good weekend. Saturday we went to a car show. Our friend brought his old car and entered it, so since he was entered we ended up spending the whole day and to keep him company. His wife is always off doing her own stuff, so she never joins him in anything much that he wants to do. The nice part is that it was only like a mile from our house, and I was able to run back home mid day and let the dogs out for a few minutes.  The weather was a bit hot (85) for me (and DH) but we were able to find shade to sit it for most of it, though I did get a little sun burned. It was free to look at everything, though we did buy some raffle tickets and lunch for $7 total. And we won a raffle prize! A Ford clock, hat and t-shirt. Funny, that is the raffle DH wanted to win, too. There was also a booth set up for the town historical society/museum and they were selling some books on history of the area, so we purchased a couple of their books. Friend won a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant.

We also had plans to meet up that afternoon with same friend's (with the old car) brother in law out at our property to look at him doing the site work.  He was running late, but the car show wasn't over and we were still waiting on if friend might win something and some raffle drawings, so DH ran out to the property and met up. About 20 minutes later the car show got done, so I rode with friend (in his neat old car) out to our property to meet up with DH and his brother in law. It sounds like between him getting the equipment, and him, friend and DH doing the work with it, we can get it done for about $6,000 - that's for getting the land cleared, lots of dirt moved, driveway put in and pad for house and shop. Looking to do this probably July or August. I don't have that much moola saved yet, anyway.

Our neighbor guy at our property was at the car show, volunteering at a booth. We chatted with him awhile. I just love him. He's so happy and funny. He's aware of our renter neighbor problem, in fact the renter wife worked where he does and he said was a problem the whole time. He said he was telling her a year ago to find a new job somewhere because she was rude to the patients and other employees and was always in a bad mood. He said he even told her he'd give her a glowing review (and deal with the possible consequences later), just so she would take a new job. He said he was very happy when she finally quit recently and went to work somewhere else.

This brother in law of our friend is also a pilot and has a small plane he keeps at the tiny airport nearby. DH is friends with him on Facebook and he has posted some neat video of flying over our area and somehow before it had come up that while DH is too chicken to fly in a little airplane like that I would LOVE to go up there.  Well, as we were standing there he says to me that he's having some maintenance done on his plane, but should have it back next week and did I want to go up for a ride sometime soon? I was like "REALLY?!!  You bet!". So, that should be happening sometime soon and I'm beyond excited.

By the time we left our property it was like 6pm and we were both tired from the long day walking around looking at all the cars, the sun and walking over our 2 acres and we just stopped at the restaurant for a quick dinner. We both crashed and took a nap and then it was almost time for bed, haha.

We didn't do much at all yesterday, both took naps around noon and just relaxed.  Neighbors were fairly quiet most of the weekend. Friday night guy was out in his garage painting something with automotive paint, as that kind of has a distinctive smell. The wife left Friday morning and was gone all weekend and we have not seen their 2 kids all last week,  though while his one daughter with the 2 little ones appeared to have moved out on Memorial Day, two days later another young woman, also with 2 little kids appeared to have moved in. We are guessing it's another one of his grown kids (he has 6 kids total). Last night, just before midnight there was all kind of car doors slamming for about a half an hour. It was the (latest) girl with the two kids and the daughter that just graduated, apparently loading stuff in their cars Then they both drove off in their cars.  The wife finally came back this morning and then she and the guy left together in his truck. In the 7 months we've lived here I think that is like the first time we have ever seen them go somewhere together. Doesn't that seem odd? He has Monday's off. Still no sign of their 2 kids. DH joked "hey, maybe they are going to look at some new place to rent!"  HA! not likely, but we can wish, right?

The developer replied back to my email from Friday. Says he has received no response from the home owner or the renters from his letters. In my email I had also mentioned to him that the attorney being consulted with is checking more into it, but thought that since he's still the developer, he'll be responsible for enforcing the covenants, absent a provision in the covenants, otherwise. He had actually told DH he thought that was the case, the first time DH talked to him. Now, in his email he's saying he wasn't aware that he is responsible for enforcing them. Good grief. I wanted to reply back, what was the point of you giving her 7 days to comply, if you aren't going to do anything now that it's been almost 2 weeks? Again, good grief.  I see from his address he lives in a nice neighborhood (in a different city) where they obviously would have covenants/HOA..he wouldn't put up with it next door to where he lives. Everyone we talk to about it is just like why don't they just move somewhere where they have the land space (to park/store all the crap) and ability to live like they want (like a junkyard)? There are lots of places, in between here and where they work, that offers that kind of lifestyle, if that's what you are looking for. Most areas around here do not have restrictive covenants.

Last night we got some needed rain, which also helped cool things down, well, at least until tomorrow LOL. when it will be up to 80 again.




Friday, June 2, 2017

TGIF

The wild birds are eating the seed faster than we can put it out in the bird feeders. We have a new feed store just outside of town that we thought we'd check out. Maybe they'd even have the dog food we use (since it's mostly found at feed stores) and we could start getting it there.  It's not much of a store yet, LOL. But they did have a big bag of bird seed. I don't think the guy working there was the owner and he couldn't find the price (there's no prices next to the bags of feed) on his price list, so he just charged us $8. It was a huge bag, too. He laughed and said don't expect it to be the same price next time, since he was just guessing. It was a good deal, so I'm sure it probably should be double that.  They didn't carry our dog food, just one brand they carry, so far and I can't even remember what it was called. I've never heard of it.  We're not willing to go through changing our dogs food, so we will just keep buying it 2-3 bags at a time at the feed store in the city.

Our new friend/neighbor is back from his job and home for a couple of weeks. He was over first thing this morning visiting with DH on our front porch. When we had gone out to dinner with him and his wife, she said the mayor lady is her best friend. He told DH this morning that they talked to her about these awful renters and all their violations and she told her they are documenting it....whatever that really means. He also invited us to go with them up into the mountains tomorrow, where they are caretakers of an old mining camp with cabins and such. We'd love to go (DH has already seen it) but have already made plans with our other friend, who's going to bring his old 1950's car to the car show here in town tomorrow. I think I'd rather go up into the mountains than look at cars, haha. Oh well, both will be fun and the neighbors go up to the camp often, so I'm sure we'll have another opportunity to join them.

I was just outside watering the the flowers, while DH just finished up mowing and was watering the lawn and shrubs. He said he looked up earlier and the neighbor friends dog was at our house and our two dogs were over at his house. LOL.

I got my niece's wedding gift ordered through her registry at Target. I wanted to keep my budget at $150, but only ended up spending $97. I picked out a comforter and a sheet set she had listed. They were on sale, plus another 10% off with a code, plus 5% using my redcard and another 2% back in Swagbucks. I think the original prices were closer to $150. After I hit submit on the order, I realized I didn't add in the note on who it was from! There was no way to edit the order, so I just quickly canceled the order and re-ordered it with a note saying Congrats and who it was from. I still need to pick up a graduation card and put in a $50 check for the other niece and get that sent off.

I don't think I mentioned this before, but another thing we did, to keep track of the neighbor's violating the noise covenant and city ordinance is downloaded decibel meters on our phones. That damn guy sure is loud (well, he has to be if the other neighbor can hear it at their house on the other side of the field between us). A normal tv volume, sitting in our living room (with windows closed) reads 45. Him running his pressure washer (and he always starts up at 8-9pm) is 58.  Sitting on our porch it's 83. His diesel pickup truck (that apparently doesn't have mufflers, according to DH), just idling in his driveway reads 67 inside our house - and he has been known to let it idle for 30-50 minutes at 5-6am. We haven't got the reading on it when he actually steps on the gas pedal, but it's even louder. I might also add that our house is well insulated for these harsh winters, so not like the sound can come in super easy.  I looked on Dept of Ecology's website, where there are some decibel listings, as far as what should be acceptable in a residential neighborhood and no more than 55 should coming onto your property from a neighbor's property. While most of this noise wouldn't be so bad, if he did it during regular daytime hours, but it's always after 8pm and before 6am.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A nice visit and other stuff

I received a text this morning from the realtor who handled our transactions here. He was on his way to town to do a new listing he just got, so of course I told him to stop by and say hi, if he had time. He is just the sweetest guy. He's very good looking (like a model out of a magazine good looking) - and if he wasn't gay I'd probably have a crush on him (oh, who am I kidding - I do have a little old lady crush on him LOL). He hasn't seen our place since we moved in and fix it up a bit (though we are friends on Facebook, so he's seen some of my pictures). He works in the city, so it's about a 45 minute drive out here. He had a guy stop by his office yesterday, that bought this house in town about a year or so ago, and wants to sell (getting divorce) so realtor agreed to come out today to get the listing set up. He said he had asked if the place was ready for pics, etc and was told yes. He  got there this morning and said "um NO, it's not" LOL.  He said he kindly suggested getting it ready to show for listing photos. So, he's going to have to make another trip out here. He said our house now has some great curb appeal and like what we had done with it.

Now, DD's BF's mom is saying it's not the hotel they owe extra for, it's for the van they rented for all 7 of them- it ended up costing more. Who knows. I guess BF is paying her.

We continue to plug away at somehow/someday resolving the renter neighbor issue. Yesterday the 7 days was up, from the developer giving the home owner 7 days to abide by the covenants (or he will seek other alternatives, ie. legal means). It certainly doesn't appear from any outward appearances that 1) it's getting cleaned up - still a junk vehicle and lots of car parts in the driveway and next to house and still the loud working on cars until early morning hours OR 2) they have been told to move out. Why water the lawn if you have been told you have to move out?

Last night DH talked to our good friend, who is a paralegal in the nearby city. We emailed her copies of the covenants and the letters that the developer sent out last week. She is doing some checking for us and will talk with one of the attorneys at her office about it.

From her initial research she has two items she will verify with the attorney. One is that our covenants state these homes will be "single-family" residences. She said under our state's law a "single-family" residence is defined as an "owner-occupied residence". So, that is interesting!  But I'd be surprised if that was really true. The other thing (and the developer alluded to this) is since the development is still in process, only he can enforce the covenants and it doesn't appear we'd have a basis to enforce legally, directly with the home owner. We'd have to take legal action against the developer to enforce the covenants.

Again, she is going to check on this more and have one of the attorney's call DH to discuss our options. At this point it sounds like just keeping pressure on the developer is going to be our only option. Thankfully he seems willing to take care of it, though it will probably be a long process, that we will be tired of long before it gets resolved. When you aren't living with an issue 24/7 it's not usually a priority. At the rate this development is going  - he'll be in charge of it forever LOL. He started this in 2005. These two houses were built in 2007 and since then nothing else has gone on in this development. He does have the other 6 lots for sale, still, after all these years. My boss said the development she lives in has like 24 homes and finally the last house was built/sold and the developer was finally able to sign off responsibility to the HOA.

One of the things DH overheard when he was sitting on our porch (they don't talk quietly LOL) was the wife talking to someone (he wasn't sure if she was on the phone or just talking to someone there with her) Monday evening, saying that the 5 year old needs to be at school by 8am the next morning (which was for Tuesday morning) - if he misses anymore days he's going to have to repeat Kindergarten next year! OMG. how hard is it to make sure your kid gets to school everyday? I know he missed at least a couple of days the last few weeks (or was very late) when the older daughter with the 2 kids moved in and it was her job to get him to school. She apparently didn't wake up in time. Our other neighbor works at the school and said one day a couple weeks ago the older sister called the office 40 minutes after school started, wondering why, when she went to drop him off, no on was outside...."um.....because school started 40 minutes ago?!"  It then looked like no one took the kid to school on Tuesday morning.....

So, last night we were chatting again with our neighbor across the field - her first question was what the heck is all that grinding noise going on like at 10:30 at night? We told her it's the renter guy grinding and cutting on metal and it's going on until like 1 or 2 am. She wasn't hearing it after that because she goes to bed and their bedroom is on the other side of their house.  She also said that the 5 year old is not in Kindergarten, he's in preschool and that ended last Friday, so what the heck was the mom talking about telling someone they needed to make sure he got to school by 8am the next morning or he'd have to do Kindergarten over? Is she that clueless of a parent that she didn't even know he was done with school for the year (and not even in Kindergarten)? So strange.

Then she told us another interesting tidbit about them...last Fall/Winter the boy shows up to school with 5 cigarette lighters, some bullets and what she is about 99% sure was a roach clip. They called the mom to come over to the school for a talk. We live a block away from the school.......it took her 45 minutes to get there. They show her the stuff and she promptly says that the clip was a hair clip from her daughters hair things that got broken off. Ya right............They are such crappy parents and those kids are just starving for any attention. That's the reason the previous owners put up the fence because the kids would literally be at their house 24/7 if they let them.

I'm not a gossipy person  - ok, well on here it sounds like I am, but I don't repeat stuff around other people - especially in this small town! My boss always tells me secret work stuff because she knows I will tell no one, but just trying to give you an idea of what these neighbors are like.