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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Day 3

I have officially moved into my old house, which I’d rented out for the past five years. I am also, officially off-grid. Seeing as how the renters left me with a $1200 electric bill, and I also have to pay an additional $350 reconnect fee, I suppose it will be awhile before I reconnect to the electric grid.

In June, I have two appointments with two different specialists for this Trigeminal Neuralgia. I also have to have an MRI and MRA, both with contrast. Counting the gas it is going to cost for a three hour round-trip and my medicine, all that is going to cost me $230.

I also have a car payment ($272), and have to pay my mother $100. That will leave me $68. I have to take $30 out to save for car insurance, which is due in November. So, I’ll have $38 to buy food.

Thank Heavens I happen to like (and have on hand) a wide variety of dried beans, various grains (Kamut, quinoa, millet, amaranth, brown rice, steel-cut oats, rolled oats, quick-cooking oats, grits (both white and polenta), whole wheat and all purpose flour, cornmeal, and Maseca (tortilla flour). I also have frozen mixed vegetables in the freezer at Mom’s. So, I only need to buy meat, eggs, and visit the local farmer’s market for a few fresh vegetables. The meat and eggs, I’ll most likely order from ThriveLife Foods since they come in #10 cans, and both will last me at least a month.

It’s a good thing I know how to cook on a camping grill. I’ll admit to being a total noob on using one, but it isn’t any more difficult than cooking on top of a stove. You just have to have enough Sterno or rubbing alcohol, or tea lights for your heat source, and you definitely cannot leave it unattended! (The bonus with using tea lights is that you can somewhat control the amount of heat you need for whatever you happen to be cooking.) ;)

A four-eye propane cooktop is on my “List of things to buy” to at least let me can vegetables, meat, salsa, and soup, but I don’t see that purchase happening until at least October or November since I have other pressing obligations.

That, however, reminds me that I have to buy all new canning jars, because the renters stole every last jar I had in the attic.

I have a list of things I want to get done, which I listed in my Fresh Paint post, but I have a growing list of things I need to get done.

It seems every time I turn a corner, I’m finding one or two things that need to be repaired, replaced, or redone so that my house is (1) safe for inhabiting, and (2) ADA compliant for my needs.

I am finding rotted spaces in the floors, and the floors are literally bouncing in the living room, which makes me suspect either rotting floor joists, or not enough support under the house. Either way, I am going to have to tear out flooring, and most likely will have to jack up the house.

Anyhow, the first thing I have to do is build a pvc pump to get the water up out of my well. I have been using eight gallons a day for the past couple of days, and none of it for any deep cleaning. I have three 5-gallon water jugs, and will be filling those tomorrow. I need to buy at least two 55-gallon water drums so I don’t have to continue going to my mother’s house every day to get water.

The second thing I have to do is figure out how I am going to cool the house this summer, and heat it in the coming winter. A swamp cooler is out of the question since it is too humid here in Georgia, and buying the necessary parts for the solar system is going to take me more than a few months due to continuing health issues, the cost of the medical care, and the impending insurance and property tax payments that will be coming sooner than I would like.

Anyhow, it is time for me to make up my to do list for today. Cooking is definitely on the list. Rice and kamut is soaking to cook later, and I’m making huaraches today for dinner.

I need an income! (Perhaps that should come first!)

Aside

I spent some time on Pinterest this evening getting some ideas of how to remodel my kitchen. If I had found only one kitchen that came anywhere close to how my kitchen is set up, I would have been happy.

Alas! But, that was not to be. I have a pretty good idea of now of how I want to remodel, and I am positively thrilled that I finally found the floor color in an “easy-lay” vinyl flooring that resembles wood. I won’t even have to pull the tile that is currently on the floor!

So, without further ado, here is my Pinterest board, “Kitchen Remodeling Ideas.”

KitchenRemodelingIdeas Follow my board ‘Kitchen Remodeling Ideas’ on Pinterest.

Fresh Paint

Kitchen

  • Cleaned & Painted refrigerator
  • Cleaned & Painted one set of cabinet drawers using the same paint listed above.
  • Cleaned & Painted side of cabinets (one side of room only)I used Valspar 12-oz Secluded Garden Satin Spray Paint from Lowe’s. I purchased two cans at $3.98 ea. I absolutely love the color! When painting, remember to open the windows so you have a cross-breeze, and tape off all of your work area. The spray is an extremely fine mist!

Bedroom

  • Cut & bagged carpet
  • Cut & bagged carpet padding
  • Called recycling center to make sure they can take carpet, so I don’t have to drive 35 miles to the landfill.

Yard

  • Sprayed yard around steps & where I park for fleas. I used Ortho 12-month bug killer, but with all the rain we’re having, it’s not working. I purchased Malathion this past week, but that is going to be for treating under the house.

Porch

  • Sprayed baseboards & around windows for bugs. I need to repaint the porch, because the wood-boring bees are huge this year, and are attacking the house! As soon as the rain lets up, that’s yet one more job on my To Do list!

Pics to come! You’ll see some paint on the kitchen floor when I post the images, but the flooring throughout the entire house has to be replaced, so I wasn’t even concerned about it. I’m still trying to decide what type of flooring I want to lay down.

All of the walls also have to be scrubbed, but what do I use to scrub drywall? I may end up having to replace all the drywall. If I go that route, I’ll be plugging holes from the drywall install, and staining the tongue & groove that’s under it if I can. The tongue & groove had originially been painted with at least five coats of (lead) paint, and I wasn’t able to get all of it off with the pressure washer when the house was first remodeled.

The house is cold today, and that got my trigeminal neuralgia acting up, so I had to stop working before I wound up in severe pain, but I’m happy with the progress on the house. Having a disorder that limits your physical actions is a tremendous let-down when you have to pace yourself, but want and need to get things done!

Anyhow, that’s all for today. I would love to see any home projects you’re working on!

No income is produced from the links. (As per the FTC ruling that require I let you know if I receive any income.)

Denise

Aside

I am moving!
I am so excited! I will be moving back into my old house, after having rented it out for the past five years. Long story short, I have been confined to a wheelchair since July, 2009, and my mother broke her hip in July, 2011. I couldn’t afford to remodel my house, and my mother needed help, so I moved in with her. Big, big mistake! We do not mesh, and never really have, and…well, I won’t get ugly, but we’ve had our share of hurtful words, and the camel’s back finally broke, so I moved out.

Alas, it was a temporary move! Unfortunately, the renters had five indoor-outdoor dogs, and they’ve left me hanging with a house infested with fleas, a pile of trash to remove, and a $600 light bill that I cannot afford to pay all at one time, so the power is out. I am humbly biding my time…and you guessed it…back at my mother’s house. I am biting my tongue. All in good time. There are plans in the works!

The Plans
I have just over two acres to work with, and plan on going into organic gardening. I can at least get my gardening areas ready while I get the electric bill paid off so I can move back in. I am going to have to build raised beds so I can reach them. Not having power has also gotten me to thinking about going totally solar, and just stay off grid. It can be done, but solar power is out of my reach for the moment. But, hey, that’s what savings accounts are for, guys and gals! :)

In the Works
I’ve already sprayed the outside with flea poison, so next is to bug bomb the house and clean up the mess that was left behind.  I could light the oil lamps and stay in the house since I have a grill, but fleas….I’m highly allergic to them! There’s also the matter of having to use the toilet. I’m not about to start a humanure compost heap! Anyhow, it’s been two weeks, and I’m still recovering from flea bites, and the awful allergic reaction I had to Tide laundry detergent. I also have a wedding to go to the end of this week, so I will be starting the cleanup on Monday of next week as I have too much to do this week!

Improvements to be Made
The house needs a lot of work. Here’s the list of things I’d like to add or improve upon, plus a few things that have to be done:

  • Have vinyl installed on the exterior
  • Replace broken windows
  • Add porch railing and a gate at the top of the steps to keep my indoor dogs from venturing into the yard, but give them a place to sleep in the sun during the day.
  • Install polycarbonate sheets on the side porch to have an attached greenhouse
  • Install vinyl on side porch
  • Install a sink on the side porch
  • Run the water line to the sink
  • Enlarge a couple of doorways inside
  • Drop the kitchen sink so I can reach it from my wheelchair
  • Replace the bathtub with a roll-in shower
  • Repaint the dining room, and the master bedroom. (I had let the renters paint, and while the colors they chose are neutral, I do not like gray paint, so I will be changing a few colors.)
  • Pull out all the carpet, and replace it with vinyl
  • Screen in front porch
  • Install a wheelchair ramp off of east side of front porch
  • Replace one window with a door to east side of front porch
  • Insulate under the house
  • Insulate the attic
  • Install an automatic fan in the attic to remove the heat in the summer
  • Install propane heater

Curb Appeal

You may want to bookmark now if you’re interested in reading, because this is a long section! ;)

The house is on a dusty dirt road, so it needs some cleaning up. (This is an old photo, and it doesn’t look this bad now, but the porch walls always need washing!) I also need to close in the bottom, which probably won’t happen this year, because I have some bills to pay off, but soon!

ThisOldHouse

White lattice work is pretty common in the area on old houses like this, and is something I could afford, but my grandmother’s house has decorative brickwork around the bottom of it, and has better curb appeal.

My second oldest brother bought the old place, and he’s had an amazing amount of work done to it to bring it into modern times. I say, let the competition begin! LOL

He has a very small front yard. The house sits maybe 10-15′ from the road. The only outdoor decorations grandma had out front were two old stone flower containers that sat along the edge of the steps that were filled with hen and chicks sedum, and the cement walkway out to the mailbox. Now, there’s a newly painted red front door, and a huge dark fence that is just inches from the edge of the road. Not much has changed. ;)

Both of us have roughly two acres, and while he has the room behind his house to have an out building large enough for a full size kitchen/dining area/grilling area large enough to comfortably seat 25, a sugar syrup house, and a large pole barn, one-quarter of my back yard is wetland, and I can’t touch it according to GA laws. That totally blows since there is a shallow pond on the back of my property which could be dug out and stocked. Besides, I constantly have to fight mosquitoes! My dad told me back in the late ’90s that that little pond used to be stocked with bream, and that he and his brothers would fish there when they were kids. Bream is good eating, so maybe I’ll do that again. It’s certainly time to start thinking about self-sufficiency!

My house sits 100′ back from the road. At the moment, there is only a lonely Leyland Cypress beside the driveway, and a couple of nice sized oaks and large pines along the east property line. A ditch, which I discuss later, is on the west side, and needs to be cleared out. I would like to eventually fence the entire property in, but beyond that, I do not know what to do with the front yard. I will most likely spend the next few months sketching out ideas for beautifying the yard, and adding some sort of hardscape so there is less grass to cut.

As a single woman in a wheelchair, two acres is a lot of upkeep. I will have to use a weed eater, because I can’t afford a zero-turn lawnmower, and certainly can’t operate a push mower from my wheelchair! I also can’t afford to hire a lawn care service, so I’ll have to have more hardscaping than is typical for your average rural lawn. Seriously, folks, I could throw up a fence and install goats! Don’t think that thought hasn’t crossed my mind a time or two! =D I wouldn’t mind having a couple, but that’s later on down the road when I have a real pen installed to keep them safe.

There is a ditch that divides my property from my brother’s land. It is two feet inside my property. It needs to be cleaned out. I would love to eventually line it with pea gravel, edge the sides with retainer walls, and leave space on the sides for bearded iris.

As an aside, I’ve just joined FarmingSuburbia.com. It’s solely for those interested in getting back to the earth, and I’ve had the “itch” to do so for quite awhile now! I’m totally interested in medicinal plants, and can’t wait to learn the growing techniques!

Crawford Slip Approach

Stalling. Procrastination. Putting things off. Dreading the to do list. Sound familiar? Sometimes, we truly do have too much to do; or we take on too much; or we have so many ideas we don’t know where to start first.

Projects

I have been using an A5 Filofax and a Franklin Covey Personal 365, and they have been ideal for listing my tasks, tracking meals, keeping a budget, and helping me keep appointments, they have sadly failed at helping me get my day-to-day activities accomplished, because (1) I do not always look at them, and (2) although I thought I had finally found “planner peace,” I have so many assembly ideas that I spend more time making new sections and dividers than I spend getting anything done. This has to stop!

9

Enter the Crawford Slip Approach. I am absolutely delighted with the system. I stumbled upon it while looking up images I could use for labels, using the Getting Things Done method by David Allen. The first reference came from Judy of the Woods, a delightful blog about a woman who built her home with her own two hands, proving that persistence pays off, no matter who you are, or what your size.

The Crawford Slip Approach has been around since the 1920’s. It is mainly used when brainstorming in groups. You simply write one idea on one piece of paper, and after you’ve finished your brainstorming, you sort them according to topics, and/or project lists. I imagine that if you want to get totally immersed, you would want each project to have its own board, which I think wouldn’t be a bad idea. You can see how Judy of the Woods did hers. She’s an inspiration!

Anyhow, in a collective group, such as a business meeting, each person would write their ideas down, and be freer to come up with ideas for the company, without interfering egos, as each person’s ideas would be anonymous. I am going to use it for completing my many unfinished projects.

Ms. Judy, of Judy of the Woods, has a handmade easel to hold magnetic boards, along with storage for several project boards, and I may attempt something similar later on, but for now, I am using a shipping box.

I cut off one side of the box to make a triangular shape, and then marked off the lines with a Marvy Marker. I wanted to combine the GTD system, so my sections are “In Box,” “Projects,” “Next Action,” “Daily,” “Someday/Maybe,” and “Archive.” I cut up some index cards, and used thumb tacks to fill my board.

CrawfordSlipBoard

I like it! I can see at a glance what I have to do for the day, and have a visual for what needs to be done in my “Next Action” section. Ms. Judy used pictures on magnets, and that works for her. If I want to get fancy, I’ll make some inchies and glue them to a thumb tack, but I don’t want to spend too much time decorating when I need to spend time working. I may reward myself with a few when I get some of my board cleared.

I haven’t yet started on it, but I plan on creating a mindmap on the back of the box. That way, when I need to work out next action steps, I’ll have somewhere to pin my thoughts. I do want to make that side more colorful with DMC floss, ribbons, or washi tape.

I am off to work on one of my major projects, and will hopefully have a post up about it soon. Stay tuned!

Aside

A little history lesson

The Riesling grape is a white grape which hales from Rhine, Germany. The grapes’  history dates it as far back as 1435, according to the English translated page of the Count of Katzenelnbogen  (German website). Riesling, Wikipedia’s listing, gives alternative sources which claim hold to the grape’s emergence, but Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany  is the one with the written history.

Riesling grapes are a white grape; and acidic, with a perfumed odor. Grown in the Pfalz or Palatinate (wine region) of Germany, Riesling grapes are one of the three highest rated grapes used in wine production because they are plucked from the vine at a young age.

PolkaDotReisling

On to the tasting!

Pfalz Pölka Dot Riesling 2011 is a white wine which is sweet, acidic, and perfumed. The label reads, “…flavors and aromas of tangerine and lime with hints of peach and honeysuckle.” Honestly, I could taste nothing but the alcohol, but that is because I rarely drink…which, for this blog, is funny when you think about it since I will be doing wine tastings!

Alcoholic content is 10.5%, which is a low ABV (alcohol by volume) level. This is a good wine paired with chicken or fish, or with spicy dishes.

Have a bite of food, a sip of wine to mingle the flavors, and repeat.

Wine.com lists Pfalz Pölka Dot Riesling 2011 at $11.99, and is currently sold out as of this writing, so check back with them, or check your local stores for availability.

Happy Tasting!

Aside

After an all nighter making sure I had all of my blogs and images downloaded from the my.opera community, I’m pretty sure a glass of wine would probably knock me right out. I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinking anyhow, but there is a bottle of Reisling Pölka Dot wine on the counter.

I bought it last week, and haven’t even popped the cork! That in itself is a shame, because I was planning on enjoying it with the fish I had Friday night. Now it’s Sunday, and instead of having a glass of wine, I’m swapping sips of cold black coffee with water. Boring, I tell ya! lol

I am going to use this blog to track my rather large to do list throughout the year, and will share my planner, the wines I try out, and maybe, I’ll even introduce you to the beauty that is creating your own wine.

Stay tuned!