Having Our Ups and Downs

We’ve been on a weather roller coaster for a while now.  It’ll warm up, then get cold again, then warm up, then get cold …  Tomorrow, it’s supposed to get up into the 80’sF/26’sC, and the low Sunday night is supposed to be 19F/ -7.2C.  I overheard a lady in the store yesterday telling her friend that lately when she hangs out clothes in the yard, she never knows if they’ll dry or freeze.

It’s almost March.  Usually, during March here, the wind gets up.  Not what you’d call blustery; more like sustained, roaring gales sometimes for a day or more at a time.  That’s always fun.

Postscripts Windy day

Cousins, In-Laws and Important Developments.

CL, EL, and DadThis past weekend, as advertised, two cousins, CL and EL,  the daughters of my dad’s youngest brother, and their mother E came to visit my mom and dad.  My mom fixed the famous potato dish, the famous green bean dish, ham and lasagna.  We had the drinking of the Margaritas, and we chose up sides and E, CL, Mom and ELphotographed various groupings of everybody with everybody’s camera, like you do.  My oldest cousin CL brought her laptop on which she had a bunch of old photos of her folks and of her when she was a ababy.  I had some old photos of my dad, their dad and their family that I shared with both of them.  My youngest cousin, EL, has been bitten by the genealogy bug and has gotten a trial membership at Ancestry.com.  My mom has quite a data base on both sides of the family, which was printed out and shared.  I hadn’t seen that particular bunch of the family since EL’s wedding five years ago, so it was great fun catching up on their goings and doings.

EL and DadAs promised, here are some pictures from EL’s wedding.   My father was the fourth of five children, and his brother K was the baby of the family.  My dad was always closer to him and they and their respective families have remained close over the years.  K passed in 1992, and when EL married PG in 2009, she asked my dad to stand in as father of the bride and give her away.

EL's weddingIt was both a joyous and a touching moment for both our families.  CL’s two daughters, Mo and Ma, were two of her three bridesmaids.  It was a beautiful ceremony, and the bride and groom left for their honeymoon in a white convertible amid a cloud of eco-friendly bubbles (Small bottles of bubble liquid were provided to the guests as favors instead of the traditional rice, which is not only wasteful but when thrown on concrete presents a potential fall hazard to those who have mobility and/or balance issues.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had found an apartment that suited my needs very well.  Monday I submitted my rental application, and today I found out it had been accepted, so it’s official.  I’m moving in May.  We have already put down a deposit, so it’s officially mine, and only awaiting my moving in.  I may start bringing stuff over on the 16th and hang drapes, but I don’t think I’ll actually move on the 16.  Maybe on the 19th or the 20th.  I need some time to check for phone jacks, cable connections and see where the plugs are.  I’ll sell at least three of my living room lamps, if not all of them.

HPIM1467As I also mentioned, I have bought new drapes and a new area rug for the living room.  The rug is 5 feet 2 inches x 7 feet 3 inches (157.48 cm x 220.98 cm).  It picks up the green of the drapes and anchors the furniture.  I think I’ll be able to keep all four of my end-tables (I don’t have a coffee table and don’t want one — I like access to seating to be unobstructed).  I think I’ll be able to keep my little birds-eye maple escritoire which I have in my entry way.  It doesn’t take up all that much room.  I have a dish on top for my keys, a little lamp I turn on when I leave, I stash my purse inside and my shoes underneath it (I don’t wear shoes in the house as a rule).  I don’t know where I’m going to park my wagon — maybe in my office.  I can tell there is going to be a lot of tape measuring in my future, not to mention boxes and packing tape.

Some Pictures Worth 1000 Words

Nonsequitur Great White Minority
Art © 2014 Wiley Miller, Non Sequitur

Wiley Miller has a razor sharp sense of political satire.  Like here.

I have featured Mattias Adolfsson’s artwork (below) more than once in this blog.  His stuff is so incredibly detailed.  I just love to pour over them.  Notice the bathroom sink.  I’ve noticed that phenomenon myself.

weather“Old Salty” artwork © 2014 Mathias Adolfsson.

Almost There

Mom and I went by this afternoon and saw a unit that has the same floor plan as the one I want to rent only reversed. I put the deposit down so they’ll hold it for me and I’ve got the lease application, so I’m 3/4 of the way to actually being able to move there in May.  My birthday is in May so it will be a great birthday present.

It’s a really nice unit, 825 square feet in size (76.645 square meters).  About 1/4 less than where I am now, but I’ll be able to take my good furniture.  And it does too have washer and dryer hookups!!! So I’ll be able to keep my washer and dryer.  The kitchen is about half the size of the one here and is in a U shape, but I think it has more counter space than I have here.  It has a large pantry, and there are lots of closets.

The larger bedroom has the half bath (sink and toilet) and that’s where I’ll have my bedroom. The full bath (sink, toilet, and shower/tub) opens to the hallway.  I think I can manage 3 book cases  (maybe 4)and a unit that has shelves above and cupboards underneath, as well as my computer and a small chest of drawers for my knitting stuff — yarn, needles, etc., in the smaller of the bedrooms, which I’d be using as my office.  I’m glad I get to have two bedrooms still, because I need a room that has a door I can shut to keep the cats out of my computer equipment.

Sofa in place
Sofa in place

The living room is large enough that I think I can keep my gold recliner and have it, my two leather chairs, and my leather couch, and the TV armoire.  I’m going to have to get some green drapes for it and a green area rug. (edit: already have!)  The red drapes in my living room here are going in the dining area, which is the same size as the dining area here, so I know my dinning room furniture will fit.   One odd thing, the area for the washer and dryer is in the living room just inside the door, but they will be concealed by folding doors.  It makes sense though as the kitchen is on the other side of it and there would be sink plumbing nearby.

HPIM3421My bed will have to be against the window, but  that will be OK.  I plan to get a sheet of something like thick cardboard or particle board to cover the window and block the light.  And then I’ll hang my gold bedroom curtains (made from a banquet size table cloth and a table runner).  I’ll have to put a cat flap in the bedroom door.  After I do that, I’ll sell my jigsaw and reciprocating saw, but keep my cordless drill.  That’ll mean I’ll have to buy them a new door when I move out, but no biggie.

Since my bathroom is on the west wall, I’ll have gold towels in the big one and probably my red towels in the half bath.  Where I live now has a bathtub in one of the baths, so I already have the spring rod and a lovely white “Battenberg lace” pattern plastic shower curtain with liner.

One thing, the sills on the windows there are maybe an inch wide, compared to the 6 inches of sill in the windows here.  That’s going to put a serious cramp in the kittehs watching the Outside Channel on CatTV.  Also, there are Venetian blinds in the windows which I will have to adjust for optimum viewing pleasure.  The couch will be in front of the living room window so they can watch out that window from the back of the couch.  Also I think I’m going to put the small chest of drawers in front of the window in my office for their viewing pleasure.

Can you tell I’m getting excited about it?

Exciting Developments

After going into a blue funk since my last post and reading three whole books to keep me from dwelling on the idea of having to put a healthy cat down just so I can find a place to live, today I started calling around to apartment complexes. First three I called had a hard and fast rule, only two pets.  But then I found one that has a 2 bedroom unit that I can afford.  I must dash by tomorrow,and hand them $250 (to reserve the unit) and fill out the lease application. My mom and I are supposed to go by tomorrow at around 1:30 so I can fill out the lease application, and we can see what the units look like.  Then we’ll keep fingers and toes crossed that they will accept my application.

The unit is on the ground floor at the end of a building and the only partition I will have in common is with the unit above.  It does not have a washer and dryer hookup, but it’s right near the laundry facility. (The only problem there is I will have to come up with the money it costs to wash and dry it every time I want to wash a load of clothes, and I’ll have to sit there with it) but then I won’t be paying for the water to wash them or the electricity to dry them.) Their pet deposit is a one-time fee of $350 (£210/€255), with a monthly charge of $15 (£9/€11).  Even adding $15 a month to the rent, it’s still $30 (£18/€22) less than what I won’t be paying to that knucklehead in Ballinger any more starting now.  I would still be paying less than I’m paying here.  And guess what? — they will take all three cats!!!! I am almost giddy with relief.

I think I have a pretty good chance of being accepted since I want a place where I can live for the next 5-10 years.  I’m a quiet, stay-at-home person.  I’m not a drinker or a smoker.  Most of the time when I’m listening to music it’s through ear buds or earphones and I don’t turn it up that loud when I’m not.

HPIM1488If my application is successful, I’ll have to start thinking about what I’ll take with me and what I’ll be selling.  I’ll have to start packing things up. My good furniture will go with me — my dining room table, chairs and china hutch, as well as my TV armoire, sofa and two leather arm chairs and ottoman.  I’ll sell the other TV and that little dinky armoire


When my BFF moved to her current digs, she had movers that charged her only 150$ to put everything in the truck, drive it over and unload unload it.  She said they were very careful with everything and were also courteous.  I wonder if my new landlord will let me put up curtains or whether I’ll have to use what’s there — or maybe I’ll just have to use their curtain rod?  My mind is awhirl with questions and possibilities.  I can already tell.  Making this move is going to be like herding cats.

In other news, the two daughters of my father’s youngest brother, K, are coming to visit this weekend. CL and EL are both married and CL has 2 daughters in college. Since K died a number of years ago, my dad was sort of in loco parentis there for a while and played the role of father of the bride at EL’s wedding.  Their mother E (my father’s sister-in-law) will be coming, too.  CL lives up near Dallas and owns and runs a company that custom builds homes and retrofits and remodels older homes.  The younger one, EL, and her husband are both lawyers and live near Houston. They have two papillons.  Since they live relatively far away and are both professional people, they have had to plan ahead in order to take this opportunity to spend some time with my dad.  It’s in all our minds that at 91, he’s not going to be with us much longer.  I’ll ask EL if she minds me posting the picture of her and my dad at her wedding.  She was such a beautiful bride.  (My dad was delighted and honored that she asked him to walk her down the aisle.)

This has really been a roller coaster of a week.  Stay tuned.   I’ll keep you updated on our main story as the situation develops.

Suspicions Confirmed

I called the lady who used to live in A again and she answered the phone this time.  They have indeed moved out and she has had the utilities disconnected.  She says  that the water heater is inoperative and needs to be replaced.  They called and left a message for him to send money to have it replaced, and he did not reply (what a surprise!).  She is going to give me the keys sometime this weekend.  Later today (it’s 1 a.m. at the moment) I am going to call the number I have for him and leave him a message regarding the above and ask him what he wants me to do.  I am also going to search on Anywho.com and see if I can find another number for him.   I am willing to get the water heater replaced and find a new tenant, but not unless he responds to my inquiry and tells me I have his permission to do so.

Since it is highly unlikely that he will respond, I am going to have to start looking for another place to live.  I really hate to do this, because there is no way I am going to find a two-bedroom duplex as large as this and as nice as this — at least on the inside — for what I’m paying here.  That means I’ll probably have to go back to living in an apartment, since very few duplexes have only one bedroom.  Unless I can find a two bedroom apartment I can afford, I will have to find a one-bedroom place and that means I’m going to have to downsize.

Once I’ve found a place to move to, I’m going to report him to the City authorities for substandard housing as his property is not properly maintained.  If the city condemns the property, maybe that will wake him up, although it’s doubtful.

The very big downside in all this is that the places that accept cats typically will only accept two cats.  I have three.  Naturally I will try to negotiate to see if I can get them to work around their restrictions (like pay an additional pet deposit), but if I can’t, I don’t know what I’ll do.  I hate the thought of having the white one put down (since at 16, he’s the oldest) so I can move into a place where the owner keeps it well maintained.  It’s highly unlikely I can get a shelter to take him since he is virtually unadoptable.  I don’t know that I can do it.  Then again, I don’t know if I’ll have a choice.  Stay tuned.

I’m going to start calling apartments tomorrow, too.  Needless to say, I am having very unkind thoughts about my absentee landlord.

Books Read in 2014

23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil.
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10.  A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9.  Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8.  Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, P.
7.  Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6.  Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5.  Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4.  *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3.  *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2.  *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1.  *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher


A Sneaking Suspicion

Sunday morning, as I walked out to my car to drive over to my folks, the lady in A was outside, their van was backed halfway into the carport, all the doors of the van were open including the back hatch, and it looked like the contents of a clothes closet had been laid in the back seat, with the hangers still in the clothes.  Just then a pickup with a low trailer that already had a refrigerator strapped into it, came up and started backing trailer-first into the driveway. She said they had come to get the couch.  I jokingly asked if they were moving, and she said that, no, they were just getting a new couch.  I asked her to close the door of the van that was on my side, so I could back my car out.  When I came back, neither the van nor her husband’s pickup was there.  It’s not unusual for the van to leave early in the morning and be gone all day as she works and her sister keeps their two boys.  Sometimes it’s after dark before they come back, sometimes as late as 8 or 9 o’clock.  It’s not unusual for the van to be gone all day on the weekends either.  But it is unusual for the pickup to be gone on the weekends.

At about 3 o’clock Monday morning, I went out to put a book I’d sold on Amazon into the mailbox to be mailed, and the first thing I noticed was that their porch light was out.  They never turn their porch light out.  They’ve left it on all the time ever since they moved in.  The second thing I noticed was that their kitchen lights were on.  Last night I went out to put another package into the mailbox.  Both their cars were still gone, their porch light was still out, and there were no lights visible through their blinds.

She told me last year they were going to start looking for a larger place. The two bedroom unit was big enough when they moved in, as they only had the one boy.  Now they have two boys, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old and they want more room, as well as a back yard the boys can play in.  There’s a back yard here, but with all the stickers, never mind the thicket of volunteer trees, she won’t let the boys play in it.

In view of what’s happened in the past two days, I have a sneaking suspicion the family in A have moved out.  I called the cellphone number I have for her and let it ring until voice mail came on. Caller ID shows my name, so she either had the ringer turned off, or saw who it was and didn’t want to answer the phone. I left them a voice mail and said, “Y’all have moved out, haven’t you?  Have you had the utilities turned off?  Where are the keys? ”

If they have moved out, this presents me with a problem.   If she’s mailed the keys to the landlord, they might just as well have fallen into a black hole. If our former apartment manager could not get our absentee landlord to answer her letters or phone calls after almost five years of trying, I don’t see what hope I have of getting him to communicate with me either, never mind mail me the keys.  If I don’t have the keys to their part of the duplex, in the first place, I won’t have a way to get inside it to check on things like burst pipes, backed up plumbing, etc. In the second place, unless I get the locks changed, there’s no way I could get a new tenant, if I decide to take it upon myself to get one.  I would have to explain to a locksmith why I wanted the locks changed, and convince them it was OK for them to do it. Understandably, locksmiths have to have a security bond and, since I have no authorization of any kind from the landlord, I doubt a locksmith would do it, since it would potentially leave them open to legal action from the landlord.

On the other hand, if she still has the keys and gives them to me, do I want to take on the responsibility of finding a new tenant myself? And another thing:  I don’t know whether he has a loan on this property or whether he owns it free and clear.  If he’s got a loan on it, the bank would make him carry insurance on it.  If he owns it outright, does he have insurance on it?  And if, say, a tree fell on the roof, what then?  I mean, he’s so easy to get a response out of (not!).

I was talking to my mom about it earlier this evening and she didn’t much like the idea of me taking it upon myself to find a new tenant. (I’m not real wild about the idea myself, come to that.)  She suggested maybe it’s time for me to start looking for a new place, too.  But the thing is, I would really, really, rather not live in an apartment complex again with the good chance of having noisy neighbors above/below, or on either side of me.  I’ve played that game before, and it’s a bummer.  However, I doubt I could find a duplex that is as big as this one and as nice as this one, for what I’m paying in rent and I’m right at the limit of my budget now. Another thing, most landlords here want a one-year lease and each time the lease comes up for renewal, they raise the rent a little (“cost of living increase”).  Although I signed a lease when I moved in here, I’ve been living here almost 13 years and have never been asked to sign another lease, nor has my rent ever gone up. I’m still paying the same amount as when I moved in.

And then there’s my cats.  Finding a decent place that will take pets is hard.  And the places that will take pets, will take two cats, but not three (go figure).  I had to look for over 6 months to find this place, and the only reason I got it was because the then apartment manager’s sister had managed the apartments I had been living in for the past 21 years, and she vouched for me.  I will tell you straight out.  I will not abandon my babies to a shelter in hopes someone might take them. I’d sooner take them to the vet and have them put down, and if I had to do that, I would have a really, really, really, really hard time living with it.  Frankly, it would be pretty easy for me to decide I didn’t want to live with it.

Oh, And Did I Mention . . .

Hulk Trashes LokiWhen I had to reset Firefox yesterday to get rid of that stupid ^&*%^$#@! Microsoft search engine, *()%^%#@^&! Bling! that was stealth installed into my browser by another program I actually wanted, it deleted all my stupid cookies and cached passwords.  I’ve already gotten locked out of one blog I follow because their cookie and password had gotten deleted.  I haven’t even tried to get into my bill paying applications or banking applications yet.  AAARRRGGGHHH!!!