Friday, October 27, 2006

Need Money? She Can Work.

Because of our current money woes we have to make some lifestyle changes. We have to move to a cheaper place. We are also thinking of things to cut other expenses like maybe cutting minutes on our cells since we have way more minutes than we actually use. We may look at bundling our cable, phone and internet bills. We are also thinking of changing electric providers since Reliant is the highest in the area. I'm also thinking of going back to work, yuck. I worked at a motel in 2000. I was bored to death since it was 3-11 shift. I quit after about 6 months. Later I looked for a job like I used to do working in doctors offices or hospitals. After dozens of resumes sent I only got a few interviews. But because I'm not a "young thing" any more, I got no offers. I'd rather not work anyway, but... So now, I'm thinking of trying to get a parttime job or a call center job so I can work from home. If I have to work, I rather work from home for about 30 hours a week instead of going out. Since the pay would be equal or better from home, I'd rather stay at home. I just don't know if I would like to stay on the phone that long. But, sometimes you gotta bite the bullet.

All of this brings me to this point. My son and his girlfriend are living in a tiny trailer at the end of her brother's driveway. This thing is so small you can stand at the front and spit out the back. Pat says he is always broke. He's been separated from his wife for two years and still has made no effort to get the divorce going. No money. He still owes Jimmy $700. He is supporting his girlfriend Heather and her son. Her mother pays some of Heather's bills. Apparently her ex-husband doesn't pay child support regularly. The IRS caught up with him, getting Heather $3000. I hear they paid some bills, took a vacation and bought some stuff with it. Yet, Pat still complains of not having any money. So, how come Heather doesn't offer to help? After all, she is not working. She's worked before. Childcare is not an issue. I don't understand. Pat told her she didnt have to work. Huh? If money is such an issue, what is the deal. When Amanda lived here she got Heather at least two jobs. Both of these jobs, Heather walked away from. Guess she didnt like the jobs.

So why doesn't Heather get a job to help Pat? Do they plan to live in that tiny dump forever? Is she going to continue to sponge off her parents? I don't get it. Pat doesn't make that much money. These days a lot of couples have to work to make ends meet. I love not working, but I am going to have to try to bring in some extra money. What is her problem? Heather certainly stands a better chance at getting a job than I do.

Hello Pat? Wake up, tell Heather to help you out. If you are that broke and you work all those hours, maybe it's time she got off her butt. She's not getting any thiner sitting on the couch! If you want to improve your life you need to work together.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I Think I'll Take a Break

In my zeal to get a head start on moving, I've packed boxes of DVDs,CDs,games and such.I've got almost all of my mother's milkglass china packed. I would rather have anything of mine break, just not that stuff. I've also gotten an idea of china and crystal,etc that I never use that I plan to take to the local "I sold it on eBay" store. After all, I have hauled this stuff around for more than 30 years. A lot of the stuff was wedding presents from my first marriage. Gee, the china lasted longer than the marriage! I never use it and I am tired of moving it over and over. I also have some silver plates and trays, and stuff. Some of it came as golf trophies that my parents won over the years they played. I'll never used it. I even found some collectible tea cups and stuff that my great aunt sent me as a kid. Maybe they will have some value? Hey, I've seen the stuff on the Antiques Road Show. Maybe... Plus I've got book sets of everything from the story of civilization to art. No one in my family is interested in any of this stuff. There is no point in giving any of this to my children so I'd rather someone get it because they will use it. I made a mistake years ago when I gave my eldest daughter a "Peter Rabbit" Royal Doulton special edition cereal bowl and mug that my grandmother gave me when I gave birth to her. She left it in a storage building when she and her first husband divorced. So much for family heirlooms.

So, now with boxes all over the place, I need to take a step back. As my husband said, we need to be able to get some of the smaller chairs and furniture out. Can't have too many boxes in the way. When we get word that the townhouse is ready, we are going to try to take some of the stuff that we can handle by ourselves out first. That will hopefully make it easier when my daughter and son in law come to help us move the big stuff. Our big couch is really heavy because it is a sleeper sofa. Then there is my china cabinet which is one really large piece. It is huge and heavy, with glass doors, drawers and shelves. I cringe at the thought of moving it. The glass doors scare me as well as the fact it is on feet. In other words it is a monster to move.

Time to take a break before I stress myself out. The townhouse won't be ready for a couple of weeks. I'd love to be able to just pick everything up and go, but I can't get ahead of myself. After all I still have to tell my son that he will have to get our washer and dryer out of Amanda's storage building. I can just hear the whimpering now. But Mom, they are all the way in the back... Yeah, time for another cup of coffee.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Boxes and Boxes...of Pictures

As I roam through closets and drawers, I keep finding pictures. I think they have been breeding in the dark recesses of the boxes. A year or so ago I went through the thousands of pictures we have all over the house. I needed to cull out a lot of them. Let's face it 15 pictures of the dog under the tree is a little much. And of course there are a lot of pictures of the kids when they were little. There are pictures of flowers, birds, the Christmas tree and presents. I've got kids in every stage of dress, school pictures, Santa pictures and on and on. I've got pictures of class projects that the kids "worked" on, and just what grade did I get on it? I've got pictures of flower gardens and vegetable gardens from start to finish. Birthday cakes and presents, including Traci's first boy-girl birthday party. I could blackmail some kids with pictures of that Halloween party where one of the girls came dressed (or well covered)only to change into less. I've got concert pictures and rodeo pictures. Is Barry Manilow's nose really that big? Was Gretchen Wilson really here for the party and how come we weren't invited? There are pictures of the Christmas tree going up and decorated. There are pictures of our Dickens Village from start to finish in every place we have lived.

When I last went through all (I thought)the pictures I made a collection of pictures of all of the family. These were framed and hung on the wall which we have referred to as the "Wall of Shame". From when the kids were little to the kids with their kids and memories of all the other family members who are no longer with us. I have a lot of respect for the guys who have to decide what pictures will go into a magazine, now. That is a lot of work trying to get a good family grouping.

I thought I had gone through all the boxes. And yet the more I dig, the more I find. I thought I went through that box. I don't remember this box of pictures. Seems like every where I look I find another box. That doesn't even include all the framed pictures that are in drawers or other boxes. And I won't even discuss all the pictures that Amanda had in many,many, many frames under her bed.

Maybe I should just stop looking for a while. Are pictures like rabbits? How does one box of pictures become four boxes? Enough all ready. I quit!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Moving On-slowly

Well, we put a deposit on a cheaper place to live. We'll be moving from a large house with a yard and two car garage to a two bedroom townhouse with no yard and no garage.It will be quite a change from having a living/dining room, den, 3 bedrooms and an office. It's not what I really wanted. I at least wanted one garage. But since we dont have money to spare, it will have to do. The price is right. Cheap! We can pay the rent out of a little more than one paycheck instead of two plus checks. We looked at apartments and townhouses. It is amazing the prices for tiny apartments! Some complexes had townhouses in them. But to get enough square feet it costs a lot!Plus you have to pay extra for a garage! Then there is the crime element. Seems that every day there is news of crime in these complexes. Our new place will have less of that. There are three buildings of four townhouses each set right at the front of a very nice residential neighborhood. The building we will be in just got a new roof and our unit will be repainted and have new carpet.

So, I've been packing and tossing out things. The last time we moved, we hired a moving company. That was nice, but since we can't afford a moving company this time, we have to do it ourselves.Thankfully, my daughter and son in law who live in Brownwood have said they will help us. Funny, how the child who lives the farthest away will help us and the son who lives here in Houston is too busy. Little does he know he is going to have to get our washer and dryer out of Amanda's storage building. Gee, I wonder how long that will take. I'm still waiting for Amanda to come get the rest of her stuff. She's always too busy too. She only lives an hour away, hum...

I really dread having to do all this. Every time I think I am accomplishing something, I discover more to do. Do we really have all this stuff? Where am I going to put all this? I really do appreciate your help, Annie. Bless you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Toilet Paper Queen Strikes Again!

Daisy has a thing for toilet paper! I've learned to not put a roll on the toilet paper hanger any more. I have to put it on the back of the toilet tank. Most of the time this works, although she has grabbed it off there once, and pulled and shredded it all over or bathroom. I first discovered her trick one day when I accidentally didn't close the downstairs bathroom door good. She pushed the door open and pulled the paper off the roll and shredded it all over the floor. Then she did it in our bathroom. That's when I took the toiletpaper off the holder and put it on the back of the toilet. As I said, that didn't work too well, either. So since I usually put her in our bathroom when we know we are going to be gone for a while, I have to move the paper. I just have to remember to put it back before using the toilet!

Now I have had to make sure the downstairs and hall bathroom doors stay completely shut so she won't push the door open. Imagine my surprise while I was cleaning the tub in the hall bath. As I scrubbed down the walls and tub, I didn't see Daisy sneek in. I turned around to see her pulling the paper into the hall. I yelled at her to stop. I wonder if she would have pulled it all the way down the stairs? Talk about bold moves! Daisy has no fear... Too bad I didn't have a video camera going as she pulled the paper out of the bathroom and into the hall. She could have been on America's Funniest Videos!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What Do You Mean Thanksgiving?

Jimmy and I are not in very good moods lately. Since Steve cut Jimmy's pay(and lying about the supposed agreement) we can barely pay our bills. We're still looking for a cheaper place to live. I need to find some parttime work to make up the difference in the loss of Jimmy's income. I've been stressing over what to do. We need a cheaper place to live, we need extra money. Who will help us move? We can't depend on family to help us move, so we will have to hire someone. Do I try to get a job while we are still here or wait till we get settled? If I get a job now, how will I have time to pack up everything. Remember I have no help. Jimmy said he'd help but he is tired when he gets home from work. Plus he has been saying he was going to clean out his closet for 4 months. We need to clean up our storage building so we can have room to put our things that won't fit where we will be living. Depressing thoughts and daunting tasks keep filling my mind. When they appear, I find myself getting angry at Steve yet again. Bosses who lie really make me mad! And this guy is a multi-millionaire...

So in the middle of my irritation and stress, I get an e-mail. What are your plans for Thanksgiving? We want to see you. Thanksgiving! You must be kidding! I will not have the room for extra people and no money for food. Right now we are reaching the end of stuff in the freezer. All the stuff that you buy and then decide that you really dont want to eat that now, you'll fix it later. Later is now! The way things are going right now, we are having to buy cheap tv dinners. Don't think we'll be buying a turkey any time soon. Let's see turkey or electricity, which one do I choose? Thanksgiving is not high on my priority list these days. Putting a roof over my head and trying to find enough money to pay the bills it. Jimmy needs a new tire on his truck, don't think a turkey will roll very well at highway speed.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ever Seen A Fence That Runs Up Hill?

Ah, yes, the smell of new wood permeats the air as I walk Daisy around the yard. It's been raining here. This morning many areas of Houston have flooded or the roadways around town are impassable due to high water.

I noticed that part of our fresh, new fence seems to be running up hill. Huh? Some of the boards are leaning. This gives the impression that it is running up hill. And the guy worked so hard to make sure the boards were all the same height! Of course making them all look the same height means that they have gaps at ground level. With all the rain, the ground where he dug the holes for the posts is sinking. This added to the many holes dug by the dog that used to live next door dug makes a wavy looking bottom. Some of this is only an inch or two deep, other areas are a lot more. On top of that, they dug up some of my bulbs and just left them on the ground.

Oh well. Right now I am just hoping to find some place else to live. And the soon the better. The old saying about too much month left at the end of the money is alarming getting nearer. I wonder if the Big Guy upstairs can help us in our quest? Not getting much interest here.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fence Finals

Well, the fence is finally up. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it. The only good thing I can find about it is that the dog that used to live next door won't be digging under or climbing over it. For the amount of time it took to do this little project, it's not very good. There are gaps under it where the ground is uneven. The boards are not all standing straight. They seem to lean in various directions. On top of this, they knocked over or pulled out some of my elephant ears and other plants. There is dirt all over the yard where he dug the post holes. Actually, now the dirt is mud, since it rained. But, for what it is worth (not much) it is up.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You must be kidding!

I really thought that the moron who is putting up the new fence would not show up yesterday. After all, it was going to rain. But, no...He showed up around 11:30 in the morning armed with 2x4's, a saw and a nailgun. You'd think this guy would notice the dark, angry skys. Oh no, he starts sawing on the boards and nailing them to the tops of the posts he had put in Sunday. Then Mother Nature let him know who is the boss! Thunder, lightning, heavy rain, high wind. That'll learn ya! He grabs his tools and flees. Imagine that. Why did he even attempt to "work" anyway. Severe weather warnings and radar pictures of the impending storms were all over the news. It was so dark, it seemed like night. Still this idiot attempts his task. I guess when the trellis and some planters flipped over in the rain and wind, he decided to run. Serves him right.

This could get interesting. With a lot of luck and God's blessing, we might move to a different house before he finishes. Only time will tell. Wonder if he will show up today??

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

We Are Not Amused!

The war on two fronts groans on. The fence dude (or dud) didn't come by yesterday and I don't expect to see him today since it's going to rain.

Currently we are $450 down in pay so far. The bills are coming due and there is not enough money to pay them. Thanks Steve! So how come you haven't paid Jimmy his full pay since he has done plumbing only for three weeks and counting? We have come to the conclusion that this pay reduction is directly connected to Richard the Whiner. "Richard the Lionhearted" he isn't! Richard is a constant source of irritation to the entire company. He is always complaining to Steve or calling Pam to crab. He is also a pot-smoking slacker who never works a full eight hours. Work hours are from 7-3:30. He always leaves about 2:30 so he can take his "labor" home. Yet he reports his pay at a full eight hours a day.

Richard is also nosey. Occasionally one of the guys will pick up the paychecks on Friday and take them to the job site. When Richard has done this he snoops to see who is getting how much. Funny, every where I've worked an employee's pay was private! This is apparently why he whined to Steve that Jimmy was making more money than he was and wasn't doing "anything". Many times a licensed plumber must be on the job site for inspections, resulting in down time for "work" while he waits for the inspector to approve the work. Richard has a habit of opening not only paychecks but also paychecks to vendors or clients. So why does Steve not care?

This paycheck peeking brings up another question for me. Pam does the payroll. Instead of sealing the pay envelopes she tapes them shut! This just makes it easy for someone to sneek a peek. Why she won't seal the envelopes is a mystery to me. Is she allergic to the glue? Is she afraid of a papercut on her tongue?

I also find it interesting that Pete buys a new truck every couple of years. Guess who makes the payments! Not Pete. Steve pays Pete's truck payments. Hum...Does Pete have something on Steve? I think Richard must have something on Steve too.

Please pardon my rant, but I don't understand. The employee who is on time, never takes off, never stretches the truth and whose license the plumbing is done under gets screwed. In seven years, Jimmy has never taken a vacation. Pete takes at least two weeks, some times more, every year. Jimmy is always too busy. He's taken less than five days sick time while Richard last year took over a month. He said the VA doctors told him he was terminally ill. He's still here! Jimmy took a couple of days off when his parents died and 2 days off when we moved to this house. What is wrong with this picture? Why won't Steve keep his promise? I told Jimmy he ought to go sit in Steve's office and irritate him until he gets some answers cause Steve won't answer his phone or return calls. But, Jimmy is too busy doing plumbing. We are not amused!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Erecting a Fence at a Snail's Pace

My landlord is from India. Not that there is anything wrong with that other than sometimes understanding what he says. I have noticed that when I have had to call him to repair or fix something he calls his other Indian friends to do the job. When we first moved in here the AC fan went out. He sent his buddy out the next day. This guy replaced the ailing fan. Of course I could not understand half of what he said.

So now, two weeks after my landlord said he would, someone showed up Friday to "fix the fence". Great, I thought, finally I can let the dogs out in peace without wondering if they will accidentally knock down the fence. Let face it, one squirrel running along the top made it wobble.

So the guy, who showed up about 11:30 am introduced himself and his wife. They would be fixing the fence. Ok. So, between 11:30 and 2:30 pm they knock down the fence, board by board. Wonder how hard that was? She tapped the boards with a hammer and took down each board and put them in a pile in the neighbor's yard. He dug seven holes for the fence posts. Then they filled buckets of water and poured them into the holes. The ground was real hard and dry he said. Three hours to do that. Then they left and said they would be back the next day. Ok... But they did not come back Saturday. He came back Sunday at 11:30 with some posts and concrete. It took from 11:30 until 4:30 for him to set seven poles. Then he left.

So, will he be back today? Will he erect the fence? Just how long does it take to put up a fence of sixty feet? I had to keep the dogs inside all day yesterday. They were not happy. I wonder what he will accomplish today, assuming he does show up today. How far will he get? Will he get a few feet up or will he be able to do it all? I really think my five grandkids could do this faster. And the oldest is 11! Even Tom Sawyer got the fence painted faster! Jeez! I've seen faster snails!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Don't Need Spin, I Need a House!

And so, it goes... I don't need people selling me on something I don't need. When I call about your ad, not direct me to something else. I called on the ad and that is what I want to talk about with you! I live in a no spin zone!(Sorry Bill!) If I want spin I'll talk to a politician! In my search to find a cheaper place to live, I have found some "agents" who really don't want to break a sweat. I have gotten really good at spotting them, too. When I call and the phone rings 20 times before the voice mail kicks in and they don't call back for 2 hours, well... Then when I ask about their ads, they really don't seem to want to discuss them. I guess it is easier to just pull up the old software program on the PC than think about anything. After all 10 key strokes is easier than having to actually do some research, right? No wonder this is a free service. Yeah, you get what you pay for.

Let me dig into to all this paperwork and try to recall a couple of these people who actually seemed to have an interest in their work. I'm really tired of trying to modivate the people who are just taking up space. Go away, I can do you job, at least I am still breathing.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Give Me A Break!

Do this, do that, pick this, pick that. What do you want? As I search for the solution to our problem, the one thing I can easily find is frustration. Jimmy says lets look for something nice and cheap, maybe 2 or 3 bedroom townhouse. Then he looks at houses. Well, these are nice and in our pricr range. Call and find out. Right. Why is it that when you are trying to find out information, you can't get people to answer the phone?

I call one number for ads on what look like some nice townhouses. "Beth" won't answer her phone. Hey lady, how can I ask questions if you won't answer your phone? Then Jimmy finds a couple of houses he wants me to call on. Call the number, get the assistant. She tells me the agent is not in the office at the moment but will be back that afternoon. She takes my name and number. That was Thursday morning. it's now Monday morning. Guess this agent is not really interested in making calls or answering questions. I hate being on the phone too, but sometimes, ya got to do it, right?

Then again Jimmy goes back and forth between house or townhouse. First he says it's cheaper to get into a townhouse. Yeah, but most of them are in the middle of 100+ apartment units and don't have yards and may not have a garage. Houses have both but are more expensive to get into. Back and forth we go. What to do?

So, I'm the one who has to try to call all these people to get information and I get frustrated when I can't get answers. Then,Jimmy comes home from work and wants to know what I have accomplished. Grrr.

Then of course, we are still reeling from the loss of income. To me, something smells here. He did plumbing all last week and still didn't get a full paycheck. In a small company it is amazing how some malcontents can whine and get their way and others just keep doing their job and get screwed. Well, now I have to get back on the phone and hunt for answers.