front porch trash

front porch trash

Monday, September 18, 2017

Busy Busy Busy

Where does the time escape to? It seems just like yesterday that it was New Year's Eve and January was off and running. I know I have been running non-stop since then. Ebay was good in January and and after that things kinda hit the old fan.

Ebay sales have been very, very, very, very s...l...o...o...o...o...w. I was on vacation Labor Day week and I put my store on vacation with date heading so everyone would know. I had 5 sales for the week and had 5 days with no sales. That is the most dry days I have ever had, ever. Since I have been back I have had 7 sales. Now, I have not had time to get anything listed yet but I have photos of 7 totes full of stuff ready to list.  While I was in Atlanta I did my shopping thing while the daughter and granddaughter did their dragon con thing. I only filled 4 Ikea blue bags with stuff on the whole vacation. That includes two trips to GW outlets on the way home. I have so much stuff that I really don't need to shop. SweetiePie was being well taken care of by his sister and daughter and it was more of a vacation for me. I slept for 8 hours in a row and didn't have to listen to Roy Boy even once!! Now that was a vacation!!

 When I got home I had to deal with this, and a car with a dead battery. Dead battery, piece of cake. Lawn mower, something else.

I was mowing grass at our other house, the one I'm trying to restore, and ran over a piece of wire that got wrapped around the blade spindle and I just couldn't get to it to get it off. So I loaded it up on the trailer and took it to our local lawn & garden repair shop. The nice service manager removed the wire while I was waiting and didn't charge me. I was flabbergasted when he didn't charge me anything. We have had other equipment serviced there and we need to get our chipper/shredder up and running so I will take it in and get them to fix it. I can guarantee that will not be free.

After the mower was up and running I was able to get part of the front yard mowed before another problem popped up. The drive belt broke. I don't think that the wire caused the belt to break but it could have. In any case the drive belt is just a bit more complicated to replace. After I purchased a new belt and followed the directions to remove the mowing deck I had to go back for another belt. I had the wrong one. With the right one on and everything back together, no leftover screws or parts, the mower works fine and I finished the front yard. Now the sides and back and load up the mower and take it to the other house and mow there. It never ends.

Ebay has taken a back burner but somehow they force me to work on ebay. I am still working on removing active content. I had trouble with finding where to get it done. After several calls to ebay and lots of explanation I finally got started on the active content only to be hit with non compliant listings that need to be fixed. I have 2000 listings and I have over 1800 non compliant listings. And there is no bulk fix for them. I would scream and pull my hair out if I thought it would do any good. But  I just need to bite the bullet and get it done.

SweetiePie requires more time and attention. He doesn't want me out of his sight. I always tell him where I'm going, i.e. upstairs, to the laundry room, to the garage or where ever. About 2 seconds after I start whatever I need to do, where I need to do it, he "needs" me to do something for him. Most of the time he just wants my attention and I understand. But sometimes I would really, really like to go to the bathroom without him standing outside the door saying "leave the light on" his cue for he needs to go next. We have 2 bathrooms downstairs, no waiting, but he wants to be in the  one that I'm in. After 45 years, that's not a problem. But every time? Come on, give me a break.

So, life goes on but busy, busy, busy. I'm being forced to learn new things that I depended on SweetiePie to do. I never dreamed I could replace the drive belt on a riding tractor mower. But I did.
Now every muscle in my body is screaming.

All those times I tagged along with my dad to the hardware store are paying off. (I still love the hardware store!!)

Thanks Dad!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Creative Marketing

 I can't believe that I went to a GW yesterday and did not buy a single item. Shoes were all stinky. The bins where they have t shirts, linens, lingerie and small stuff was down to just the really, really used items. Broken, stained, ripped or stuff I wasn't interested in. It doesn't happen very often that I buy absolutely nothing. Sometimes I find stuff for myself, SweetiePie or other family members.

Today it was so hot, hot, hot but SweetiePie needed to get out into the world. His gait is changing and he is dragging his feet so I feel like I need to get him out when we can. So we treated ourselves to lunch and about 30 minutes shopping. We were going to a large thrift store but decided to go to a smaller one that has high prices but good markdowns. Today was 50% off of one item. No coupon needed. We browsed all over the store and found only a couple of things for resale and nothing for anyone else. I purchased a set of copper ladles that I think may be liquor measuring ladles. More research needed. An a set of hot roller clips. Very exciting purchases.

But the most interesting thing in the store was the knick knack area. You never know what you will find on these shelves. Like for instance this:

Well I call that creative marketing

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Laptop

I found this laptop at my favorite thrift store but I can't seem to find where the battery is.

I even checked the back

It looks like it's been around a while so I'm guessing that it needs a new battery.
Well, if I can't find a battery I guess I could sell it on ebay...just a thought.

I wonder if kids today would know how to use this chalkboard or would it be too boring? No qwerty keyboard!!

Monday, July 3, 2017

A True Scavenger Adventure

I'm always on the lookout for free or next to free stuff to complete the remodel that I am reluctantly doing on a second abode that we own. I troll  carefully search craigslist for a good refrigerator, a stove and washer dryer for the kitchen every day. I refuse to wait until the last minute because I know it takes time to find the right appliances at the right price.

I also try to find anything I can at Restore that I can reuse in the house. I recently found a small bathroom window and I have already purchased some kitchen lights. But I haven't found any insulation and I need some more for the bathroom.

The insulation in the bathroom is R-11. Not enough for two outside corner walls. I was reading up on insulation and 1" of styrofoam equals R-5. So if I could find 1" styrofoam sheets I could just add them between the studs on top of the current fiberglass and upgrade to about R-16. Good idea !!??

I found some on craigslist for $4 a sheet, 1" thick,about 30"x80".But another listing was for $1 for an entire pallet of styrofoam sheets. Yes, $1 for the whole pallet. There were about 60 sheets on the pallet and they were smaller than the $4 sheets but still very usable. But...they were 60 miles away. Pffft, we travel 52 miles, one way, 3 times a week to work on the house. Piece of cake, or piece of styrofoam cake.

After deciding to purchase a pallet to test and see if it was a solution I called and scheduled a pick up for Thursday. No rain, bearable humidity and an easy interstate drive. One pallet would fit in the back of the truck and I had tiedowns. The person I talked to said the pallets were wrapped. I assumed that meant wrapped in plastic and didn't take a tarp. Bad idea!!

So Sweetiepie and I took off for the pick up. I don't know if you know anyone who has dementia but routine and repetition are what keeps them happy. Lately Sweetiepie wants to listen to his music in the truck when we are traveling back and forth to the other house, aka "the country estate". His current favorite is Roy Orbison. Now, I do like Roy Boy, as he calls him, but 2.5 times the tape each way is an overload of Roy for me. He has a cassette player in the truck (1995 Toyota) and a single tape that I taped for him from a cd.But if it keeps him happy, then it is worth it.

The styrofoam was on a wooden pallet and it had ONE black strip of strapping around the entire lot. Of course for use in a warehouse you only needed to keep it all on the pallet. Not enough tie down for I-85. So the two guys that got the pallet from the warehouse tied the pallet down with my straps for me and I tipped them $5 and told them to have a cold one on me, they deserved one for being out in the heat to tie down my styrofoam. And off we went. Me, SweetiePie and Roy.

I only got about 2 blocks away before the top two pieces broke at the strap and flew away. I immediately pulled over, assessed the situation and decided that rope would be the answer. Luckily, :), I was at a Restore store and went in to purchase rope. Wouldn't you know it, no rope in the entire place. I purchased a sheet for $1.50 and thought I would rip it up and use it for tie downs. After about 30 minutes of tieing and pulling and getting everything just so, we took off.

Again we went about 2 blocks and more styrofoam broke and the sheet started coming off. Grrrrrr what to do? So I pulled into a parking lot of a laundromat and pondered what to do. The base of the pallet was on the truck bed. If I could get the pallet on its side and have the pallet break the force of the wind I could keep it from breaking and flying free. Easier said than done. A single person with a pallet of styrofoam and trying to turn it on its side. And of course I had on white pants. It was a site to behold. A very kind gentleman that was hanging out at the laundromat helped me get down from the truck and helped me with the tie downs. Bless his heart!

I got the pallet on its side but the styrofoam looked like a row of dominoes with a black strap around it. But...I knew the wind would not catch the styrofoam so I proceeded to tie down the heck out of that pallet.  I'm sure cars behind me were expecting it to tumble down any minute. So of course they wanted to be really close to the tailgate so they could SEE the styrofoam really close up.

In the end I opted not to take the interstate and took the back roads home. It was a nice drive since most of the way the speed limit was 45 and traffic wasn't too bad. I did pull over twice to let traffic pass when there were over a dozen cars behind me. I took my camera to take pics of everything but didn't take any. I was busy.

We left home at 11am and we got home at 7pm. I was about to scream, pull my hair out and I'm pretty sure my blood pressure was off the charts. We had to listen to Roy both ways and since it took so long to get home it was about 10 repeats of Roy. "Only the Lonely, Working for the Man, Pretty Woman".

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Bonus Surprise

I am always waiting until the last minute to do things that have to be done. I put off using my ebay coupon until last week. I had lots of excuses. I was busy. I had enough boxes and tape. I needed to clean up my box storage area before ordering supplies. Yada...yada...yada

So last week I finally sat down long enough to decide what I needed to order. I did a brief inventory and ordered my ebay supplies and USPS boxes.

Fast forward to Thursday and ebay boxes arrived.

I am so glad that I am not a UPS delivery man. The boxes arrived in two HUGE boxes and a small box of tape. The boxes were about 3' x 4' and weighed too much for me to lift safely. (Sure, I'll lift a sheet of drywall but not a box of cardboard?) I opened them on the porch and pulled out the various sized boxes and put them in the grand girls bedroom until I could put them up in their correct spaces.

I finally opened the tape box today.

I ordered 24 rolls of tape, but what is that mystery box in the middle?

Why it's a new tape gun!!!

I ordered 7 sizes of boxes/envelopes for a grand total of $3.56 out of pocket. Plus I get a free tape gun? Well it's about time for a nice surprise.

Did I miss a special announcement about free supplies or is this just an error? Did anyone else receive a tape gun with their tape order?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

S l o w Progress

Ain't life grand?

Just when you need time to do other things ebay just about stops. I know, I know, I haven't been listing new items lately. But I have been super busy trying to demo the house I'm trying to fix and get on the market. So as the saying goes, "you reap what you sow". I haven't done any new listings so I don't get to reap the benefits. Just look at it this way. No sales mean no complaints! ?? Well not really.

I recently sold a book titled "Complete Natural Medicine" in Spanish. It was one of those books that you sign up for and you get laminated, glossy pages every month for a small fee. This book was about 1/3 finished and I stated that in my listing. I get a message after he had received the book saying, "not what I expected, pages missing". Now the smart ass in me wants to point out that if you had read the listing you would know that it wasn't complete, but the business part of me politely pointed out that the title was "Complete Natural Medicine" and that didn't mean the book was complete. Holy smoke if you had a book of complete natural medicine who knows how big it would be. My first thing to do was to call ebay. They agreed with me that I wasn't at fault. Now I'm waiting the five days before I can close the case. Hopefully I will win, fingers crossed.

Progress on the house is slow. Getting a new roof in 3-4 weeks. Bye bye skylight. The roofer is busy but worth waiting for.

I have ripped out drywall, a soaker tub, a shower stall, bathroom double sinks, and cabinets. You can now sit on the sofa in the living and see all the way to the end of the house and the master toilet.

That very far wall, at the back, on the right is now gone and you can see the toilet. Even from this far away you can tell the tub was a lovely peach color. The wall of studs in the foreground will be removed also. I just have to move the wall sockets wiring. The space from the stud wall to about where the bookcase is, on the left, will be added to the living room. The rest of the space will be a walk in closet in the master bedroom with the arch becoming the location of the closet door.

There was a bar type thing in the kitchen that I always thought was, well, stupid looking. The bar was too tall and thick to sit at unless you were on a ladder. Kids couldn't sit there comfortably. And it had blue laminate on the top. Ugly blue laminate. All it did was collect stuff.

But boy was that sucker screwed down tight. I had planned to take the cabinets and countertop and put them in the garage to make a work area. I couldn't get the screws out without breaking the frame. So I used my new favorite toy, a sawsall, and cut that bad boy to bits and hauled it off to the compactor. Bye bye ugly blue laminate.

The white section of drywall behind the cabinets will be going bye bye also. The new cabinets will be installed along the center line of the house. That will make a nice wide kitchen with  new L shaped base cabinets where the old bar was. There is a small pantry on the other side of the fridge. Only 18" wide and very deep. No roll out drawers, just four shelves. Very inconvenient. Like sticking your hand into a black hole.

I am planning a new pantry down at the end of the kitchen. Where the oval coffee table is turned on its end. Much better lighting down there and easier to see what is stored. The old pantry will become regular base and wall cabinets. The spot where the new pantry will be was a "breakfast nook". It was about 4'x4' with a shiny gold chandelier. Bye bye chandelier.

There is a window at the end of the kitchen cabinets on the right. I wish I could take it out and close up the space. It looks out to the covered deck on the back of the house. Very dark space. (The tiny shiny chandelier was useless for lighting up the space. (I have old/new Restore lights for the kitchen that are shaped like a aluminum mixing bowl.) If I closed up the window I don't have enough vinyl siding to match to fill in the hole. Of course I could add painting the vinyl siding to my budget. We will see if my back holds out long enough to get to that point.

SweetiePie goes with me three days a week to watch the demolition. He has a tv, comfy chair and a maid to wait on him (me) so he has been doing fine. He doesn't like the sawsall, too much noise. But I try to keep it to a minimum so he doesn't get upset. So far so good.

I wish I could just gut the thing and work from one end to the other but I have to think about having a bathroom and somewhere to cook for SweetiePie. So I'll work on the master bath and bedroom and then move to the kitchen and save the living and dining room for last. The other end of the house doesn't have as much to do. I started on the tough end.

I hope I don't bore everyone with the renovation but I'm excited to get the work done.  I helps me keep my mind occupied on something other than SweetiePie's problems.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Am I crazy?

The road lately has been filled with super duper potholes. Some of them have no visible bottom. What am I talking about?

I've been away from blogville for over 2 months. Yes, life does get busy with someone sick at home but things have been happening fast and furious over the last few weeks.

We have an additional property that we own other than our house. Our mortgage is paid off--a good feeling--and we purchased this additional property to help out our daughter and her family. They both have had lots of hardships and about 10 years ago they lost their new house. For a couple of years they lived in several places that were somewhat unsafe. (bad neighborhood, bad landlord) Fast forward to now and they are finally back on their feet and hopefully things will be smooth at least for a while. About 8 years ago my SweetiePie (and me too) offered to help their housing situation by purchasing a house with the understanding that after two years they would take over payments and finish paying for the house and it would be theirs. Sounds good doesn't it?

Fast forward to two more kids, still some medical problems and finally things have evened out. They didn't want to live in the home any more and moved into a rental on their own. Now I was proud that they could make that big step. Renting from a stranger is much scarier than renting from Mom.

Now we need to fix the house and get it on the market. We are both on fixed income and ebay sales have not been too good. Some weeks I do good to make $200, other weeks I make $600. But it isn't as good as it was a couple of years ago.(But when sales were good I saved.) Is ebay oversaturated with small sellers? (yes IMHO) Does ebay promote "brick&mortar" stores over their small store sellers? (yes IMHO) I'm trying to make up for my lost salary and not having much success. I need to sell and I have SweetiePie to take care of and now another "thing" to do.

So now the reason I am crazy.

I am doing a total remodel on the "other" house fondly called the "country estate". It does have 2 acres, a pond, a 2 car garage and a 1766 sq ft house. It was a nice place until two large dogs were allowed to play fetch inside on the carpet and scratch all the doors and moldings. I have never seen so much dog hair in my life left behind. Oh and we need a new roof. So that is where I have been. Ripping out bathroom cabinets, cheap fiberglass showers, and carpets. This is all stuff that my daughter and son in law were going to do but never did. Now for the fun stuff. Getting the roof done and learning how to do...everything. I'm trying to do as much of the work as possible to make my funds stretch as far as possible. I do have a budget.

I have followed Shampoo & Booze since the folks over at Scavenger Life started that blog. Not because I wanted to restore a house for a rental. No, it was just interesting. Never did I think that I would use the information on my own house. We have been getting estimates for the roof to be replaced and they have been very broad. From $8K to $4K.

The first roofer also offered to take the house off our hands so "we didn't have to worry with it". His generous offer was $40K. To put it nicely, jerk, the land is appraised at way more than that. His estimate to upgrade was $45K. We had a whole upstairs of our 1.5 story house finished and ready to move in for less than that.

Has this man never heard of Habitat for Humanity Restore or Craigslist for supplies? Get real. I get totally thrilled when I find a undermount bathroom sink at Restore for $8 and a white enamel kitchen sink for$15.

So if I am a little slow on blogging and ebay selling that is why. I am kicking back in the recliner and taking a nap. I deserve it.