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Archive for February, 2014

Spend, Spend, Spend

Sheila invited me to a preliminary meeting with a landscape architectural firm she has hired to revamp their yard. Part of the plan includes a new fence which separates our yards. We’ve been repairing the existing fence for the last few years hoping to extend its life. The time has come to replace the fence which has started to look rather sad. Tom and Sheila are in a better financial position now that new tenants are moving into their office building. They’ve pulled the trigger on updating the landscape. I would prefer to wait a bit longer since it seems like I’m constantly dealing with outbound cash flow. The new fence comes on the cusp of spending thousands for the new roof and the upcoming tax bill.

The meeting went well. Sheila has some great ideas for a really cool fence. The designer expects the fence to cost at least $100 per linear foot. Yikes! The current fence between the yards is ninety-six feet long. Do the math. It’s a lot of money. The fence will be a good investment and will add a certain panache to the back yard. I will have three different fence styles unless I spend the extra money to replace the existing north and south fences. Keeping the existing north and south fences could make the yard look like a dog’s breakfast when the new fence is installed. The new fence endeavor could turn into a major expense that I was not planning on incurring this year.

The good thing is that I can raid my savings account for the new fence without touching my emergency fund. The bad thing is I’ve haven’t been able to replenish my savings after buying K out of the house. I’ve always been a saver so I get anxious when funds keep flying out the door. I guess I have to get used to it.

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Truckland

I’m still living in a construction zone. The project across the street to the south is three months behind schedule. It’s only a 500 sq. ft. addition but something went terribly wrong while the owners were on vacation in Europe. The husband, a lawyer, told me the project narrowly avoided litigation over engineering and construction issues. The bricks have been torn off the exterior, the windows have been removed and the interior walls have been gutted to the studs. Yesterday, there were six trucks and two trailers parked on the street for most of the day.

A new remodeling project just started mid-block. A woman bought the house a year ago and never moved in. She found a house she liked better so she relisted the house on my street. The new owners are remodeling three bathrooms and the kitchen. Five or six trucks are in front of the house during the week.

Surveyors have been at the house across the street to the east which is finally under contract after languishing on the market for many months. I’m guessing the house is either going to be scrapped or a major remodeling project is being planned.

The neighborhood looks like a used truck dealership on most days. At least there isn’t any construction activity on the weekends.

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57 Years ago in 1957

I turned fifty-seven yesterday. I didn’t have any plans so I made the day up as it happened. I’m not one of those people who announce their birthday weeks in advance to friends so that a celebration is planned. I never had birthday parties as a child so I never expect them as an adult. I was surprised when my father called me last night to wish me a happy birthday. He has never called me on my birthday. It was the best gift he could have given me.

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Don’t Let The Dog Out

Cindi and Joe just got back from a week in Reykjavik. Cindi, flush with cash from renting her warehouse to a marijuana cultivation company, fled the country. She has a habit of hopping on a plane when she has a few extra dollars. Cindi came back to news that a bobcat had killed seven dogs in her canyon. She has to keep her shoe destroying pooch in the house until the bobcat is trapped and moved elsewhere. We’ve made tentative plans to get together this weekend but sometime trying to meet up with Cindi is like herding cats.

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It’s All About Priorities

S is having a lumpectomy this morning. She was in good spirits when I talked to her last night. I made a batch of fudgy meringue cookies for S and her husband to enjoy post-procedure. I’m going to leave them on their back patio later this morning. S told me the high winds blew down part of their fence yesterday so there’s no need to unlock the gate. The repairman can’t come until Saturday but she didn’t care if the fence looked like something on Green Acres. We had a good laugh about cancer treatment trumping a fallen fence. You can do that when you’ve had cancer. It’s all about priorities.

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Financial Sucker Punches

It seems like I have a never ending string of financial surprises in my new single life. Last Monday, I received the annual property tax assessment. The taxes have almost doubled on my house thanks to all of the new multi-million dollar houses in the neighborhood along with a recent reassessment. Next, the first roof bid came in at $17k. I was hoping to have the house reroofed for less than $12k. I’m still waiting for two more bids so I hope they are more in line with my expectations. Last Thursday, I received a couple of 1099s with a large amount of unexpected capital gains that will ultimately cause me to write another large check to the IRS again this year. Finally, this weekend I received the membership renewals for the art museum and botanic garden. It’s getting to the point where I dread going through the mail every day. I may have make a strong gin and tonic the next time I see the mailman walking up to the house.

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I Can’t Take It Anymore

I’m still trying to avoid Trish but I’m not always successful. She continues to turn every conversation into a rant. Trish gets frustrated with everything. I don’t think she realizes how negative she has become. I think she needs to be back in therapy.

Trish and I had dinner last Saturday night at a Vietnamese restaurant. K left that morning and I didn’t want to spend Saturday night alone so I met Trish for dinner. During dinner I couldn’t wait to get home. She was negative all night.

Trish called on Sunday afternoon wanting to hang out but I was antique shopping with Mike.

Trish called again on Tuesday wanting to borrow vanilla she needed for a baking recipe. She thought vanilla was too expensive at the store but had no problem sponging off me. She was going to drop by on Wednesday but she never showed up. She called Wednesday night to tell me she went to the doctor to get her sore knee examined. She had to pay $280 because her new health care plan has a $5,000 deductible. Trish was so upset about the medical bill that she took her bed and skipped dinner. She launched into a rant on Obamacare that I didn’t want to listen to so I told her we already had that conversation. I couldn’t help but wonder how an educated person couldn’t understand how a deductible worked.

Trish stopped by yesterday to pick up the vanilla. She wanted to know if I had plans on Friday night. I lied and told her I had plans with Aaron. I would rather stay home alone in the dark on Valentine’s Day than spend it with Trish. How sad is that? I could meet up with Aaron at shul. After all, I’ve never been to services on Friday night. Perhaps I could meet a nice doctor.

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