Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Downsizing - House Selling - The Curb-Appeal Stage

With some advice from realtors, I decided what had to be done to fix up the house for selling. I didn't want to spend a cent more than would be necessary to get the house sold! But, I got some good advice and did a little more than I originally expected to do.

Indoor paint, 2 shades. A light tan on the walls and a contrasting white on the trim. An extra wall in the kitchen needed to retexturized and painted. Outside, I had some rotting wood replaced. Didn't think I would do this, but it was near the front door and affected "curb appeal." It looks much better done! I decided to have the brand new deck sealed, even though people said I didn't need to bother. The deck looks so nice, and I don't want it to start weathering before I even sell the house. New carpeting, cheap but new. Hired a cleaning crew, even though the house was mostly clean. I didn't want to do it! Also hired a guy to wash the windows. I was on vacation the day he was there; and my Realtor took care of the admin details. She reported that he had a bad attitude. The windows look better but not great. Their age shows.

The house looks great! The fixes are mostly cosmetic, but the curb appeal is definitely there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Francis Goes Home to Houston

Francis is leaving tomorrow to go back to his home with my daughter. He has been such a sweet little fellow! His little face looks out from wherever he is, with bright eyes. When he first came here, the dog was away, and I was happy to have a little furry business. Francis had been upset at his home by the death of his cage-mate, Cyrus. Then the arrival of Jekyll the cat had frightened him quite a bit. He had been hiding most of the time. Francis was a comfort to me, and I think my attentions helped him to forget his troubles. He became very responsive, coming to his cage door whenever I go near, coming out of the cage and following my hand to wherever I would tap on the table. Sometimes, I would take him to the couch while I watched TV. I would put him on a big towel, and he would run around on the towel, hiding among the folds. Then he would lick my hand for a while. How tiny a tongue is there that likes/licks people? This might be the tiniest! I will miss Francis!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Reducing Anxiety

Ha! There's an interesting title for a blog post. There are books written about that. I am sure there is no succinct answer to the anxiety problem. More likely, there are as many solutions as there are anxieties.

Today I am making a small step in minimizing my anxiety. I'm having a quiet day, mostly at my computer. I am downsizing my unread Google Reader subscriptions by reading some of them. Listening to some music on YouTube. Sending some friendly emails. I took the dog on two walks, one in the morning and one in the evening. I am not trying to get anything important done. It's a day of rest, meditation, and relaxation.

Often on the weekends, I have seen other people in my family taking the day off for relaxing, napping, listening to music, watching movies, or reading. Most often, I do these activities for short times but after or before some sort of chore or endeavor. Typically while others would nap or watch TV, I would prepare food and/or clean the kitchen, research something online, work on some volunteer work I had committed to, or 'work' on just about anything else on my ever-long list of things to do.

Not that I am always working and never relaxing. Not at all. I spend a lot of time not getting important things done. I get a lot of unimportant things done. I have a nice amount of social activity during my weeks, and I watch some TV and movies and other Netflix things.

But it is rare for me to give a whole day to relaxation.

I am enjoying it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Dog is Back!

Well, so much for downsizing the dog. She was depressed in El Paso without her grassy yard and her other comforts. El Paso has very little grass and it has sticky burs, which is the reason I think she didn't like it there. So when Husband A brought the truck, he brought the dog, too.

So now I have Pi and Francis to keep me company. And now I have dog-walking every day or every other day and rat cage cleaning every few days and attention to pay to the two animals.

Not a simplified situation, but I love the animals!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Car Go Round Results in Downsizing a Car

Daughter E has been in Chicago with no car for 2 years. This was wonderful, but it got tiresome for her, and I don't blame her for starting to want a car. She wanted to move to a different apartment, one where she would be able to invite people over without having her bed and exercise elliptical machine taking up the space where chairs might normally fit in the living room. But to find a place like this near enough to the El would have been an astronomical rent. So she was wishing for a car.

Husband A had more than 120,000 miles on his 2002 Toyota Prius and was impressed with new technology available in the new Prius. So, he came up with a plan. He would buy a new Prius, and we would give the old one to Daughter E.

This plan was very fun and exciting. But there was a hitch. The way new cars are sold, usually you pick one on the lot and take it home. But with the new Prius, there weren't many or any on the lots. So, Husband A had to order a car. The dealers received lists of cars that were headed to their dealership from Toyota on the 10th and 20th of every month. That meant that we wouldn't know when Husband A's car would be available.

Daughter E visited us for several weeks in August but had plans to leave to drive her new car back to Chicago on the 20th. Meanwhile, Husband A had my truck with him in El Paso. So he planned to drive it back to me when he was able to pick up his new car. We would be one car short as of August 20th. Upon hearing about the situation, my dear friend Carla offered to lend her old truck to me. They weren't using it much, so they were glad to have it off their driveway for a while. I was so touched I agreed. It would save me the cost of a rental car! After E left on the 20th, we learned on that no white Prius would be available for us on from the list the dealer received from Toyota on the 20th, so we would have to wait. The good news was that the salesman thought he might be able to trade cars among some dealers to get one for us before the 10th of September.

The truck was 10 years old. It was big, a full-sized truck. I drive a small truck. I was uncomfortable about the possibility of breaking something or having something go wrong on my watch, so I limited my driving. I missed a few things, but it wasn't too bad. I did go where I needed to go. I didn't want to change the radio, so I listened to the UT NPR station all the time in the truck. This turned out to be a bonus; I heard lots of good shows and music!

Finally, Husband A's car arrived and he drove my truck home and we returned the big old truck. So now we all have vehicles. The new car is great! Shiny shiny and drives great. It has a camera in the back so you can look at the screen and see what's behind you when you're backing up. All fun! I'm glad to have my truck back.

Did we downsize a car? Yes. Did we add a car? Yes. I guess we came out even but ahead.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Opportunity to Downsize...A House!

The tenant is out. The house is empty. It's kind of bittersweet to have it back. I guess once the tenant started failing to pay and I began thinking of needing to get him out; I started looking forward to getting control of the house again. But I don't want to be attached to it; there's nothing in that for me.

I have decided to sell the house, for the following reasons:
1) I am tired of the hassles of landlording. I am somewhat disillusioned because although I thought I was providing a service and helping people, I realized that the basis of my interest was really financial and I was unwilling to provide much charity...just a little.
2) Because of the $8000 tax credit for first-time home buyers, the size and price of home I have is selling well.
3) The house is getting old, and old things should be disposed of before they start breaking down (things, not people((I hope))).

So I am starting to think about selling. There is a lot to think about. It's not like trying to decide whether to keep a bell or not! There are several places/ways to sell a bell, but not nearly as many decisions as there are involving the best way to sell a house.

Which realtor, what kind of service to expect from the realtor and with that what kind of commission to be willing to pay. What repairs to do, how much to pay, who to do the work. Do the cracks in the wall mean anything needs to be done?

Do I fix things or just get estimates and suggest the buyer choose their own paint and carpet colors? Do I get carpet that I won't have to pay for until the house sells? Or will they charge extra for that privilege.

I have to get prices on everything.

Meanwhile the high-school kid across the street wants to charge $25/week to mow the small lawn. And the worst part of that is that there is a small mower in the shed, but I don't have the kind of strength it takes to start it!