Monday, January 30, 2012

That's What On My Carpet? Post #4

Rusty and I left my sister's before the sun showed any inclination to rise. Rusty tried to rebel. Apparently he does not share the same enthusiasm for the drive that I do. He hunkered down and refused to jump into the back of the Explorer until I became cross and woke up half of Sun City.

The sunrise was gorgeous but I had no time to stop and take pictures. I had to meet the carpet cleaner at 8:30 and after a stop to get coffee and another stop to buy Rusty a water dish (I'd forgotten to bring his from my sister's), I had no time left over. I called the guy to let him know I would be there and his response rattled me. "I'm not scheduled for today - that's tomorrow."

Rusty's new yard. "before picture"
I know without a doubt he was scheduled - I remembered the conversation - and after some debate, he decided he could get to me but would be a couple of hours late. That actually worked better for me since I could get the ceiling fans and window sills cleaned that were in the carpeted areas.

After Rusty ran around outside for a while, he plopped down in the middle of the living room and gave me the evil eye. He might be having a rough time figuring out where he should call home. He's a spooky dog anyway so all the back and forth has him rattled.

Our 'orchard'
I could have planted indoor gardens on the fan blades. Then I moved on to baseboards. All I can say is they're clean . And that will be the story for the walls too. I've told Lance and Christie that since they are missing out on all this heavy duty cleaning they will be doing a LOT of painting. I hate to paint. We had to paint every room in our last house so I'm not keen on it.

Laundry room looking into master bath.
At last the carpet guys showed up and started setting up. His first discovery - no water outside. What? How can that be? Luckily he could hook up in the laundry room. He then walked the house and informed me I had multiple doggie spots in several rooms. What? He was a bit perplexed because of the lack of odor. Believe me, if the house had smelled bad I would not have wanted it. I have had dogs and cats and cannot stand the smell of their messes. But I sure as heck don't let my animals use my carpet for their relief. So he pre-treated and made several passes over most of the carpet. I can only hope the spots don't come back but I have my doubts. I'm figuring I need to start a savings for new carpet in two years. What brilliant mind chose white carpet in dusty horse country anyway??! And then let their dogs use it??!

As the carpet guy left, Bob showed up at my back door. Bob is a neighbor. In his ball cap, jean jacket, boots and close-cropped, salt and pepper beard, slow-talking Bob fit my image of the horse owner neighbor. Nice guy too. He was just driving by and thought he'd let me know 'she' has my extra keys and I can get them from 'her'. He pointed to his house as he told me.

Christie and Lance
Back inside, Lance texted me to tell me he and Christie would be there in an hour or two. I jumped in the car and made a run into Chino Valley for a McD salad. I no sooner got in the house when 'she' knocked on my door. Turns out 'she' is his wife Jeannette. As quiet as Bob is, Jeannette is a talker. We walked around in the chilly wind, her dark hair dancing around her shoulders, while she explained the irrigation system of the well. I learned all about the well workings and enough about the neighbors behind me to know there's something unlikeable about them. I do have water outside. The carpet guy didn't give it enough time to start flowing.

I was famished by then, but Jeannette had so much to tell me. It looked like she was winding down when Lance and Christie pulled up. Christie had not seen our place yet so Lance walked her around the two and half acres while Jeannette waited to talk to Lance. Then we went through the well system again. As much as I enjoyed her, I had to finally beg off and go inside to eat before I fainted.

Down the hall is Lance & Christie's space.
Christie was so cute as she checked out the inside, thanking me profusely for doing the cleaning. She and Lance measured and planned how their half of the house would lay out. Then I found out it will be March before they can get out of their current lease in Flagstaff and move to Paulden. On one level, it'll be fun for Frank and I to have the time alone but on another level, I was hoping to begin the communal living adventure. I love Lance and Christie.

Lance, whose idea it was to live under one roof, is nervous. He said he hopes I don't end up hating him! Christie said, "Lance,there's no way your mom would hate you." His reply: "no, but she could hate you." LOL

By the way, my interview is up all week at TBR, and I'm giving away a night at the movies, 1945 style to a commenter. Please hop over there, too! Click here: To Be Read Blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More on the Weekend - Post #3

Monday can wait. I didn't get to totally sum up the weekend's discoveries. Did I mention the gunk we cleaned up? Okay, yeah, but don't forget it. We worked hard and still didn't finish. If you were to spill something red and sticky in the pantry that splashed on the wall and dripped across the wire shelving, wouldn't you wipe it up before it dried? I'll move on.

Debra goofing around.
I slept very little Saturday night. Maybe it was the air mattress or the quiet that was so quiet it was loud. Or maybe Rusty, who had his eye on us half the night, snored part of the night and moved from bed to rug to bed the rest of the night had something to do with my restlessness. Or maybe the million thoughts zinging in my head. Anyway, I knew without a doubt I couldn't let Bob come get Debra and leave me alone Sunday night. So we got up at 6:30am and dug in so we would both go back to Phoenix Sunday afternoon. We got it clean enough to move into. The rest could be finished whenever.

We worked until past lunchtime, packed up our stuff and Rusty and headed out to find Mexican food before the drive back to Phoenix. Wow did we find it. Side note here, I don't think I've mentioned. Paulden is small. There is one bar, one gas station and a post office. That's it. So down the road, eight miles south, is Chino Valley. There is only one main street, but on that street you'll find McD's, Subway, Sonic, Dominos, Pizza Hut, CVS, Safeway, two steak houses, a few bars, a couple of gas stations, the great Chinese diner and a couple of Mexican food places. But we found THE Mexican food place. It's an order at the counter place and there's no margaritas, which could explain the big take out business they do. The young gal behind the counter loves her job, speaks fluent Spanish and is small-town friendly. I will be frequenting this place often! Alfonso's - open 8 to 9, seven days a week.

I called Frank about the window problem. Made his day. He said he'd contact the realtor. The water pressure is odd. In the bathtub it's strong, in the bathroom sinks it's a trickle. Have to figure that out. We have a well. Never had one before. Could there be something to do with that? It may sound crazy, but I love the idea of having my own well. The idea of it is much more romantic than it actually is. There's no round, rock structure with a bucket hanging under a wooden eave. But still, we have a well...

Built-in entertainment center.
Oh, and I haven't mentioned the built-in entertainment center. Back in Minnesota, there's a nine foot long, three-piece solid oak entertainment center Frank needed to move. What to do? Frank put it up for sale. The trade off is pathetic really. The built-in is not real hard wood. Phoney stuff. But it is built-in. Rip it out? Then how to deal with the carpet and wall? And the oak one is so heavy and big to get into the U-haul. Before I could change my mind and regret the loss, it sold. Just stuff - I have enough stuff.

Frank's computer is dying. Great timing. Retiring on social security in the middle of moving cross-country does not allow for new computers in the budget. Especially when I don't have a handle on the budget yet. No idea how much our new lifestyle will cost. I can guess - all electric, no water bill since we have a well, trash service. Then there is phone, television and Internet. Four adults in the house and splitting the bills. Nope, not a handle. Computer purchase will stall until after the moving bills have piled up.

The drive into the sunset back to Phoenix is becoming a familiar lovely site. If you've not been to Arizona, we have some of the most dramatic sunsets. Fell into bed at my sister's Sunday night with the alarm set for 5am. Monday - carpet cleaner, well water questions, meet the neighbors, Christie sees her house for the first time and Rusty meets the other two dogs. Details next time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Saga Continues - Post #2 Rediscovering Ourselves

My sister, Debra, and I loaded my Explorer with cleaning supplies and bedding Friday night. Saturday morning, after a stop at McD's for free coffee and an egg mcmuffin, we headed for Paulden. It's a two-hour drive and an enjoyable trek. Once I break free of Phoenix, the landscape changes continuously. Past the black volcanic rock on the edge of the city, the drive leads through the Arizona desert communities of Anthem (a very modern city that opened around 1998), New River and Black Canyon City. Once I'm into the mountains and I see the Bumble Bee and Crown King exit, I breathe deep, set the cruise control and relax. At this point, the Bradshaw mountains tumble in on top of each other. They seem to stretch forever. When the climb reaches the high prairie flatness, golden fields stretch out on either side.

...where the deer and the antelope play...
At Cordes Junction (very close to Arcosanti which could be a whole blog in itself), the turnoff for Prescott leads northwest and through the edge of the Bradshaws. Small, rustic towns pop up until the turnoff toward Paulden. The human population decreases across this prairie land where the four-legged inhabitants live. Elk roam freely. I got real excited when I saw what I call Texas long-horn cattle. I have no idea if they really are Texan but they look like it to me.
Got one guy to smile for the camera.

So enough of the travel log. Cleaning was hell. On closer inspection, gunk met us on every appliance and in every corner. Paulden has rich, red soil. I'm told when it rains, you can sink into your ankles in it. Right now it is light and loose. And since this house has been empty for a year, there is a thick coating of it everywhere. Lesson #1 - dust before wiping with wet cloth. This stuff turns to a mud that stains when water is added. ALL walls need painting. I scrubbed baseboards but you can't tell.

At noon we drove into town and ordered enough Chinese to see us through lunch and dinner. We stopped at Safeway and bought a cheap bottle of red wine. I refused to buy a corkscrew that cost more than the wine. I figured we could push the cork down. That proved to be easier said than done. But resourceful Debra managed to use a little knife just like a corkscrew (after chiding me for my cheapness in not buying one!)

At 10:00 we blew up the air mattresses and collapsed. Rusty looked as tired as we did - running around the wide open spaces can be exhausting. My eyes wouldn't close. Must have been sometime after midnight before I fell asleep. Very quiet out there. I decided while struggling to get to sleep, I would not be spending the next night alone as I had intended. I would just have to get up at 5am to come back Monday morning to meet the carpet cleaner.

Toppers and mini blinds have to go!
Sunset through the window, back in Phoenix
We worked hard the next day. I made some discoveries that weren't so good. Although the cabinets looked oak, only the doors are real oak. The cabinets are pressed wood. Okay, so I'm snobbish about my wood. I suppose if I had seen the place before buying, I would have known this. And maybe I would not have cared - the price was right. Three of the windows do not lock, but I couldn't get them open either. Hmmm... Two of the windows had moisture between the double glass and when I wiped the sills, chunks of plaster came loose from moisture. Double Hmmm... And after opening all the blinds, there are more spots on the carpet than first noticed. Arghhhh... Okay breathe deep and look at the good stuff - big, double door refrigerator, huge laundry room with cabinets and counter, big kitchen with island that invites good times, master bath with two sinks and separate tub and shower, and lots of wide open space with fresh air.

On Monday morning, I rose before the sun to meet the carpet cleaner. That day is another post for tomorrow - oh, what I found out!! and the neighbors come to visit.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Saga Begins - Post #1 in Rediscovering Ourselves

So a little back story dump, which isn't allowed in novel writing but I can dang well do on my own blog without an editor's red lines.

What do you do for retirement when the main financial contributor to the household has been out of work for three of the last five years - thanks to the not quite a depression of the last several years - and your retirement accounts have been cut in half due to the same state of affairs? I ask this question knowing so many others have found their life to be in the same fix. Do you work until death do you part? After considering that, we said no.

Lance and Christie
Two years ago, in the midst of wondering what the last half of our life would be like, my son, Lance, called and proposed we join forces, create our own little commune. Oh, I liked that - always wanted to try that life style way back when. After considering the pros and cons of living under the same roof as our son and his lady, we came up with a plan to do just that.

Am I nervous - only a little. Am I anxious - a lot. Am I excited - oh yes.

And that's what I will be blogging on for the next year. You'll hear all about our trials and misfires and what works. Maybe my glimpse into retiring with nothing in the bank but love will inspire or scare others in the same boat. Keep the bucket handy for bailing. Oh by the way, the retiring part is my husband. I will still be toiling away at my writing career, which is in its infancy - but I work hard!
This will be the "before" picture
Let the cleaning begin!
Now the first chapter - The four of us purchased a home on an Arizona prairie complete with a dirt road. It's 2100 square feet with a split floor plan. We get the master bedroom and bath, they get the other 3 bedrooms and small bath. The huge kitchen and living/dining room will be communal. Outside we have 2.2 acres where we will farm for our own consumption. Hmm...Frank says he does not play in the dirt. That leaves three of us. We'll find suitable work for Frank to compensate us! There are rain gutters to install and all the handicap ramps to remove from the last owner. We have what we affectionately call the orchard - 12 new trees. It's winter and it all looks rather bare but spring is right around the corner. So before we move in - let the cleaning begin.

Living room

Back patio

Sunset to our west

Friday, January 13, 2012

Today's Appearance and Closer to New Chapter

Really fun blog today at The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. Not everyone knows I worked for an e-pub house as an editor last year. I talk about my experience.

And as far as the new chapter in my life - it's getting closer. We signed the papers on the new house yesterday and hopefully by the end of today, it will be ours.

I visited our prairie home for the second time, too. Yes, I'd only seen it once before! It's been empty for over a year. This second visit revealed a few things I didn't see first time around - and not all good. The dust moved in when the owners moved out and became thoroughly settled. The walls are way dirtier than I remembered. The poor yard really doesn't exist. The carpet needs stretching throughout the house - not just in the two rooms I remembered. And jeez, I didn't remember a couple of those stains. But there is lots to work with and I don't mind a little hard work.

As soon as it is really, finally, in our name ours, I'll take some before pictures and begin my journal.

So anxious!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Appearance and When Will the Chapter Begin

Still on the promo road for Honey On White Bread. Rachel Brimble's lovely romance blog!

If my house on the prairie ever closes and our new chapter begins, I'll share what it's like going from city woman to country lady on a shoestring. This adventure started two months ago. There are so many houses on the market that are in foreclosure or short sale status, and we tried our luck with some of those. My husband is retiring, and I am now a full time author. Finding a reasonably priced house that could hold two families was our goal - my son and his lady at one end, my husband and me at the other.

We put bids on several and each one fell through for different reasons. We finally found this one, a regular sale without the hassle of bad debt status and the adventure took a good turn. It's on 2.2 acres in Paulden, Arizona with a small orchard, blackberry patch and lots of land for more produce. It has well water, a septic system and a dirt road. All new to us city folk.

It's big enough for all of us. But buying it has not been without tribulation. At last all repairs by the owner are complete, all inspections done and now we wait for the paperwork to be completed, the final walk through and closing. I'm anxious to make the transition!

I plan to share all our experiences - the next phase of life, how we do it with little financially and a new lifestyle to boot!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Blogs and Tweets

I'm having quite a time figuring out all this electronic communication stuff. I finally have a Twitter account but don't get tweets on my phone. Now I've joined a Tribe but can't find the smoke signals. LOL I'm a Facebook junkie but honestly I doubt I use it to its full potential.

And speaking of electronic, still waiting for the distributors to pick up my latest book in print format and my ebooks to show up on Amazon and elsewhere. Anyone wish for the good ol' days?

In the meantime, here are the buy links that I have so far!

Sleeping with the Lights On
Amazon , Barnes and Noble , The Wild Rose Press

Honey On White Bread
Melange Books , Amazon

Tattoos, Leather and Studs
Melange Books

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Here We Go

Started the year with a hike on a gloriously sunny day, mild temp and good company. Then I sleepily arrived back in my temporary home to tackle a mountain of work to kick start my book promotion. I've got two contests beginning today, an article in the January edition of Cocktails Fiction and Gossip Magazine and ten blog appearances in front of me this month. I'll list the links at the bottom for the contests and magazine.

Once our house in Arizona closes mid-month, my plan is to blog about this city lady becoming a country lady at a unique time in my life. And under unique circumstances. I expect this new chapter in my life will be filled with surprises, amusing and otherwise. Author and farmer - that will be me!

I expect 2012 to be tumultuous, both world-wide and personally. Contrary to the fears of some, I think the changes and challenges ahead will signal a positive, new world. I'm okay with out with the old and in with the new as we seek a new age of humanity, a back to basics. Personally, that new chapter on the prairie will help me focus on my writing too. I have so many books in my head, and I plan to dig in and get them all on paper.

So...Happy New Year!

Coffee Time Romance and More

Cocktails Fiction and Gossip Magazine (page 24)!issue10