NaBloPoMo ~ National blog posting month

My friend Martha posted today over at Seaside Simplicity about NaBloPoMo (National blog posting month). I too had forgotten all about it, but used to participate regularly back in the good old days of blogging.

All you have to do is post every single day for the month of November. I’ll also give it a try – no promises with the way things have been going in life, but I’ll give it a shot. I hadn’t posted today, but this may be the kick in the butt I needed and wanted to spread the word too.

NaBloPoMo no longer exists in an official form and nobody is really “in charge”, but many times individual bloggers sometimes host their own mini-NaBloPoMos. You can find these bloggers doing a search online for NaBloPloMo and the current month and year if you need to find writing prompts or ideas. For me the idea is just post something, anything (recipe, meme…) at all EVERY day!

I did find this prompts that I’m going to try and follow (though some will be out of order and combined in order to catch up) over at PINARTWORK.  They fall into the Thanksgiving type questions of gratitude and WHY AM I Here type of a category.

Day 1: If I didn’t feel shame or fear, what would I do now?
Day 2: If this was my last day, would I be satisfied with my life?
Day 3: How would I like people to remember me when I am no longer here?
Day 4: What if everything is as it should be? How would that make me feel?
Day 5: What kinds of situations do I avoid?
Day 6: What is my worst fear?
Day 7: How would I want to be encouraged right now?
Day 8: Why am I doing the things I am doing right now?
Day 9: What gives me great joy?
Day 10: What are my most important values?
Day 11: What is my biggest dream?
Day 12: What am I thankful for today?
Day 13: What or who am I beneath all my roles?
Day 14: What kinds of feelings am I feeling right now?
Day 15: What is the worst that could happen if I let go of things that no longer serve me?
Day 16: What have been the most defining moments that have helped shape my life?
Day 17: What does ‘being’ mean to me?
Day 18: What fascinates me so much that the thought of it won’t leave me alone?
Day 19: What are my best qualities?
Day 20: Where am I going and why?
Day 21: What does happiness mean to me?
Day 22: What is my life like when it is in balance?
Day 23: How or in what way do I experience myself when I’m alone?
Day 24: What kind of advice on life would I give my younger self?
Day 25: What kinds of routines/habits limit my experience of everyday life?
Day 26: What is my instinct telling me to do?
Day 27: What is my gift to the world?
Day 28: Am I focusing more on what my life looks like than on what it feels like?
Day 29: What kinds of recurring situations or people do I attract?
Day 30: Is there something in my life that makes me forget time while I’m doing it?

Anyone else want to join in the fun?  If you want to join in, but missed posting today just jump in tomorrow and do an extra post somewhere along the way. This is always a fun challenge. I hope you do it with us!  🙂

2 YEARS LATER…

It has been 2 years, but I ran across the post below this morning by accident and it bears repeating. THIS! This is not something we we will ever really recover from – financially (in the end he swindled us for over 65,000 dollars), health wise (my health deteriorated with multiple infections that are at times ongoing and resulted in hospitalization and surgery before it was all over) or heart wise (your heart is never supposed to break from the actions of a blood relative who claims to have your best interest at heart). It does serve as a stark reminder though of how strong I CAN be… SO I am re-posting this as a reminder of that strength and perseverance.

 WARNING: THIS IS A LONG POST, BUT WAS THE FINAL WRAP-UP POST ON THIS HOUSE FROM HELL

While I was cleaning up the kitchen and dinner dishes recently I realized I’ve been posting quite a few recipes, but have been severely lacking on my actual “writing” about what is going on in our lives. For years I have worked really hard at keeping this an eternally optimistic blog full of grace for the great and wonderful blessings in my life, always trying to live by the old rule, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. BUT, there comes a time to call out the crazy acrimonious instigators and tell it like it is, if for no other reason than to get it out of my head so I can be more at peace.

Well, today is the 2 1/2 year mark (though it feels like 10 years), the house is sold and we are completely packed and CANNOT WAIT to have this horrific experience in our rear view mirror.

You all know my categories for this place, A HOUSE FROM HELL, REHABBING GRAMS & GRAMPS HOUSE, CHRONICLES OF MY MISGUIDED COUSIN BETH which fit REALLY well, but in the 2+ years since we started this project there are a few tags that could be added that now fit even better like GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX, THE FOX IS LOOSE IN THE HEN HOUSE, NO BALLS COUSIN and LOONEY TUNE UNCLE.

ALL of this is so sad to admit, you never want to believe the worst about your own family. This experience has lent credence to the adage that family isn’t always blood, but those you chose to love. It still baffles me that anyone can turn their back on their family, their own flesh and blood, for money which is exactly what my uncle did when my aunt passed away and he took up with the apparent GOLD DIGGING WITCH WITH A GOD COMPLEX.

He became an even more arrogant, egotistical and abusive cheating bastard after taking up with her. Almost immediately she had his power of attorney and things took an immediate turn for the worse as they tried to swindle us beyond belief. After hiring an attorney we were able to force the sale, but are still losing a ton money on the deal. My uncle used us and our skills as well as our cash to get the work done on the house and then tried to evict us claiming we had done nothing to better the property. Fortunately, I kept a chronological progress here on the blog, every receipt to the tune of over $50,000.00 and a detailed log of hours which adds up to over $200,000.00 of labor. So, unfortunately, my blood uncle did swindle us in the end, but worse than that he abused a sacred blood relationship.

The definition of swindle is: swindle – to use unscrupulous trickery or deception to defraud others or cheat someone to obtain money or other assets.

Many of you remember how disheartened we were when we arrived here to find NOT what we were told, but the HOUSE FROM HELL full of…well just FULL and filthy! It was a rodent’s dream AND it was a hoarder’s nest. It was full to the rafters and even the rafters were full and so was the backyard and the garage.

The agreement with my uncle was that the house was ours for a discounted price if we came to help clean it out and care for my aunt. He was offering to help get us back on our feet after the cancer, surgeries, VA claim issues and health issues. Ironically, if he really loved me he would have never exposed me to this house which ultimately left me with the bacterial infections one after another that culminated in my bypass surgery. Supposedly we were going to use our abilities in the process of helping him and make some money for us too, NOT end up completely upside down and worse off than when we got here both financially and physically not to mention we never even had a chance to work on the VA red tape mess.

Here are the BEFORE and beginning AFTER pictures to refresh your memory

So on to the before and after pictures. Hubby is upset that the before pictures don’t truly show how HORRIBLY DISGUSTING this place really was. I just hope the after pictures show how truly GREAT it is now – it really is turn key now!

MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM BEFORE
There was “STUFF” everywhere! The walls where all stained from who knows what and the carpeting was full of melted wax and cigarette burns even in the closet. I have to say that my cousin was evidently suffering from some form of mental illness because this is NOT how she was raised!
The picture above is what I got out of the bedroom carpet on the first pass of available floor with my Rainbow Water Vacuum. Disgusting does not begin to describe how it looked or felt. Below was just one of the cracks to be repaired that was caused by the foundation issues.
The master bathroom didn’t look too bad until you looked close or opened a door and saw all the mold in the wood. So, it ended up getting gutted too. It took me 2 weeks, but I did get the tile clean in the shower, but we still need to find someone to professionally refinish the tile.
MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM LATE 2016

Finally a new window and completed bedroom. We used wainscotting floor to ceiling for the new bathroom walls.
SPARE BEDROOM BEFORE
The spare bedroom was stacked to the ceiling with junk! It also housed much of her “business” food products. What was the city thinking when they gave her a food license to operate out of this house? Not to mention it is completely against the H.O.A. rules and regulations for this neighborhood. In the photo below the bottom left hand corner was mouse droppings. YUCK!!
SPARE BEDROOM late 2016
KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY AREA BEFORE
THERE WAS “STUFF” EVERYWHERE. NOT ONE CABINET WAS CLEAN OR ORGANIZED .
THE CABINET HANDLES THAT WHERE THERE WERE GREASE AND DUST COATED. THE CABINET DOORS WERE HANGING BY A THREAD.

THE REFRIGERATOR WAS FULL OF SPOILED AND SPILLED FOOD, MILDEW AND MOLD – A SERIOUS SCIENCE PROJECT IN THE MAKING AND ONE THAT THIS IMMUNITY CHALLENGED GIRL WAS HAVING NO PART OF. THE SEAL ON THE REFRIGERATOR DID NOT WORK AND HAD BEEN LEAKING OUT FOR SOME TIME. THE FREEZER WAS ANOTHER ISSUE TRYING TO GET THINGS OUT SINCE THEY HAD FROZEN INTO ONE BIG GLOB BECAUSE OF THE LEAKING SEAL.
This is the pantry floor as clean as it would get! We scraped off all the linoleum and sanitized the foundation before re-flooring.
BEHIND THESE DOORS (which are off their hinges and just propped there) IS THE LAUNDRY AREA AND ONE OF THE SCARIEST LOOKING AREAS. THERE WAS A RATS NEST UNDER THE COLLAPSING, NOT TO CODE WATER HEATER base. THE DRYER WAS NOT VENTED TO THE OUTSIDE AND HAD NOT BEEN FOR SOME TIME AS THE LINT WAS EVERYWHERE AND THE WASHER LEAKED LIKE A SIEVE!

This 10 pound bag of sugar was spilled ALL over a pantry shelf and was one of the biggest sources for the ants, cockroaches and mice.
KITCHEN/DINING/LAUNDRY LATE 2016
STUDIO BEFORE
STUDIO 2017
ATRIUM BEFORE
unfortunately we can’t seem to find the picture that shows this room stacked 10 feet tall of papers, cabinets and “crap” so have to start with this empty picture.
ATRIUM late 2016
FOYER BEFORE
The door would no longer open due to the foundation issues and she used this 24 square feet (8×3) as a “CAT BOX” area. I hate to admit that this was the MOST disgusting of ALL the house and required several bottles of hydrogen peroxide etcher after we removed the toxic 2 layers of tiles.
FOYER 2017
New floor, new door and new paint are done and looking good. I LOVE how much light the new door lets in.
LIVING ROOM BEFORE
These are cracks, tears and stains in the atrium/living room carpeting.
It took weeks/months to get the living room to this organized point LOL. Notice the crack near the vent? It went all the way to the floor and was 3 inches wide. It is also why we waited over 3 months for the highly recommended dry wall guy that turned out to be a HUGE joke. The picture below is the living room after we finally got it emptied and ready to start painting.
This is one of 3 sections of the living room carpet that had melted candle wax all over it. She had just arranged the furniture over it.
LIVING ROOM late 2016
We made built in cabinets in the living room to hold things like the DVD player, WiiU, movies and games, etc…
I could not get Whiskey to move so she’s in the picture! There are still many Christmas things sitting around as I get them pack up to put away, but all in all it’s looking good.
SPARE BATH BEFORE

There was a funky built in area above the tub for linens that needed to be removed and the walls had to be re-done after the 2 layers of wall paper were removed and the wall board was peeling away.

SPARE BATH 3017
GARAGE BEFORE
This was after hubby spent 4 weeks cleaning and and making a path for donation and trash.
GARAGE late 2016
Hubby has done wonders at creating a neat and organized garage!

It took months to get to this freezer and then weeks to get into it. The key wouldn’t work! Turns out the seal had failed and there was a HUGE layer of ice sealing it shut. It then took hubby days to chip away ALL the ice and bag the food that was there. We are SO thankful for our trash guys. For a case of beer and soda twice a week and some “special” bottles at Christmas they took ALL we gave them. Way more than they were supposed to or should have. We thank them for going ABOVE and BEYOND!

ATTIC
From this point in the attic you can turn 3 directions, but they all look about the same. We got as much stuff out of the attic as the house it seemed. It is now ALMOST empty except for some insulation that needs bagged and the storage boxes I added just around the opening for when we move.
I tried to salvage these globes covered in nicotine and dirt, but in the end it was a lost cause.
JUST A TYPICAL TRASH DAY. It looked like this, sometimes double this EVERY! trash day (2 times a week) for 9 months!
The wiring had to be all re-done as gramps and possibly Beth’s boyfriend, Tom had done some really scary Mickey Mouse jobs that left us thankful the place hadn’t been burnt to the ground. We found an awesome Electrician and while Tommy was expensive, he is a Master Electrician and left us with a safe feeling allowing us to sleep at night.

This was the path hubby created through to the back gate.

Did I ever mention that the neighbor next door in a 2 story tried to buy this place because he loved the floor plan, but my uncle wouldn’t sell until the foundation work was done? In ALL honestly this house would still be sitting here in the same condition we found it if we hadn’t come long when we did. Unfortunately for us it appears my uncle does NOT appreciate any of this. He still wants more money than it was worth and said if he’d realized it’s condition, he would have just dumped it. If that is the case I have to wonder why he didn’t sell to the next door neighbor to begin with and honestly if he’s going to “DUMP” it why not do so to the people who spent the money for the parts and labor AND did the back breaking work for over a year?

Here are the FINAL AFTER pictures of an empty sold house:

I would like to say I am thankful for this experience and the lessons learned, but I just can’t. I do know grams is no longer turning in her grave over what her son and his daughter allowed her home to become because we have restored it and made it better. The girl scout in me has taken over though and we are better people for having done the right thing by family and are DEFINITELY leaving it better than we found it.

I can say I am glad it’s over and after taking some serious time to rehab at the gym and in the pool to regain my strength this summer elsewhere, we will move forward to something better FAR FAR AWAY from any influence of my caustic, toxic, back stabbing uncle who gave such a wonderful speech at our first Christmas about how lucky they all were that we came to the rescue when they were in over their heads because of my Aunt’s Alzheimers and dementia after my cousin died and left this place such a shambles. He went on and on about how he would make it worth our while because he had no real idea what an F***ing Pig his daughter was until we spent months just cleaning out the place to begin this project. Calling his daughter, my cousin an F***ing pig were his words, not mine, but then he turned around and literally swindled us out of our time, my health, our trust and our money.

My rant is done. I know Karma and God will take care of the rest.

HOW ARE YOU FILLING YOUR TIME AT HOME?

Our old real estate agent sent us an email recently with a few ideas on indoor and outdoor projects for keeping busy during the pandemic and I thought I’d share some of those.

I hope that you and those you love are staying safe and keeping busy. Literally the world over, people are trying to find creative ways to fill their idle time and be productive at home – getting things done around the house, delving into those hobbies and activities they always think about but never have a chance to explore, and spending some good old-fashioned quality time with their family.

HOME IMPROVEMENT
BRAIN GAMES
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
  • Outdoor Fun
    • Play hide-and-seek
    • Jump rope
    • Play hopscotch
    • Draw sidewalk chalk art
    • Fly a kite
    • Take a bike ride
    • Go roller skating
  • Indoor Activities

WHAT DID YOU ACCOMPLISH DURING THE COVID-19 STAY IN PLACE ORDER? A.K.A. HOW LIFE IN ISOLATION IS GOING!

I’m normally a homebody, but I DO normally shop every couple days for fresh ingredients for scratch cooking in between the home projects and we like to get out for a meal or two and see friends.  I especially miss my munchkins and seeing Janie!  BUT, being told to stay home and NOT being able to shop for the FRESH ingredients is a whole other thing!  I am NOT a can and box girl for cooking!

My ‘”STAY AT HOME” time actually began LONG before being told to at the end of February with a bad case of bronchitis. Since I was first diagnosed with Systemic Lupus and found out that my “weak” area was my respiratory tract and ANY infection which I became easily prone to, I have been a MAJOR germaphobe.  I get Howie Mandel though I believe Howard Hughes was an extremist I refuse to become.   It was PURE self preservation!  It’s how I have stayed alive all these years.  Now here we are in 2020 and I can FINALLY say, WELCOME TO MY WORLD!

SO, it occurred to me that maybe I’d feel better about all the time confined if I composed a list of everything we accomplished during that time that was not a day to day type of chore. I know I missed a few things probably, but after reading my list I’m just happy to say we didn’t just sit around and watch Netflix though there was plenty of that too! 😀

WEEK 1
  • Grocery shopping before I knew I shouldn’t
  • A lot of television, computer and reading while I recuperated
  • cleaned out kitchen drawers
  • menu planned
  • repaired downspout drain
  • dusted and vacuumed
WEEK 2
  • paint shelving unit to match hope chest
  • created whiskey barrel planters to cover old tree stumps
  • dusted and cleaned door jambs
  • watched Hallmark movies & shows I missed when I was in college
  • menu planned
  • rebuilt garden planters
  • started jigsaw puzzle
WEEK 3
  • cut quilt pieces for 2 quilts
  • Farmer’s Market, NOT, but a girl can dream!
  • cleaned out photo file
  • repaired mudroom step and added missing molding pieces to mudroom
  • rebuilt and stained garage step
  • watched more Hallmark movies and shows I missed when I was in college
  • menu planned
  • added fence bottom
  • cleaned out email SPAM folder
WEEK 4
  • paperwork and filing
  • menu planned
  • planted flowers and hummingbird vine
  • watched more Hallmark movies and binge watched shows I missed when I was in college
  • cleaned curio cabinet and washed all the crystal 
  • cleaned and washed the ceiling lights and fan globes
  • pressure washed ALL the concrete front and back
  • cleaned all the eaves and removed the wasp nests
  • cleaned and painted metal porch furniture
  • vacuumed again
WEEK 5
  • weeded
  • cleaned out and straightened linen closet
  • menu planned
  • worked on Mirepoix quilt
  • Polished kitchen counter tops
  • worked on Christmas ornament “hooks”
  • scrubbed garden tool shed and painted it
  • organized pantry
  • set sprinklers on timer for spring watering
  • vacuumed garage and washed window curtains
  • scrubbed window awnings free of moss
WEEK 6
  • Farmer’s Market NOT, but a girl can dream that it will resume 😀
  • Cleaned baseboards
  • planted tomatoes and zucchini
  • Cleaned out rain gutters of 5 gallons of silt
  • organized big shed
  • hubby gave blood
  • menu planned
  • still working on jigsaw puzzle
  • changed out corroded bathroom light fixture
  • scrubbed rain gutters, but they seriously need painted
WEEK 7
  • pruned trees and eliminated volunteers out front
  • pulled weeds and “cleaned up” individual flower planters
  • tried to clean tomato cages up of rust, but had to start with fresh ones, painted the joints to prevent rust this time
  • cleaned out the refrigerators and freezers
  • cleaned oven
  • re-grouted backyard pavers
  • pruned dead growth from trees
  • weeded under those same trees
  • adjusted flower box sprinklers
  • added bolts to garden boxes
  • started Christmas pillowcases
  • cleaning and laundry…and started everything else all over again…

FYI to make you smile!

I’m sitting here watching football with hubby and there was a commercial for a “NATIONAL” pinata day and hubby was like that’s not a thing!  I just laughed and pulled out the laptop to look it up. 😀  Not only was it National Pinata Day, but I found a site for National Day Calendar that will tell you what ANY given day is a “NATIONAL” thing of day.

2019 SNOWMAGEDDON update

So while the power is on and the internet is cooperating I’m going to do a quick update.  Hubby had been saying how disappointed he was that snow had been on the forecast all month, but never really materialized.  Well, I’m here to tell you BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

We’re accustomed to snow, lots of it even from our time in the U.P., but unfortunately this little town wasn’t!  They are used to a couple inches that melts away fairly quickly.  It would have been okay and even a little bit funny if it hadn’t happened ALL at once and taken down thousands of trees and the power too!  I was never this cold even during the long winters of the Upper Peninsula… Here we are a week later and still have several inches covering everything.

Hubby tried to keep the walkway cleaned off, but every time he’d finish it would start snowing again.  At one point during the 3 day outage it was warmer in the refrigerator than the house and it continued to snow even more with tons of road closures all hampering the repair crews and their efforts to restore power.  Even the cell towers took a beating leaving us with compromised communication.  My neighbor and I resorted to throwing snowballs at each other’s window to get each other’s attention. 

During daylight hours we would use the cars to charge up phones and electronics which would also help melt the snow off the cars while we sat there getting a little bit warm and charging up. I braved it and walked over to talk with my neighbor.  Neighbors checked on each other and banded together as necessary.  Some were kinda stupid running propane heaters in houses that had gas pilots, letting their kids go out and get cold and wet with no way to warm them back up or take their cars where they couldn’t get out without making a HUGE slushy, icy mess.

I have to tell you 2019 Snowmageddon will not be forgotten ANY time soon.  Remote rural areas will NOT even be restored for weeks to come. 

When we finally left the house we were so surprised by just how many trees and I mean BIG trees had fallen onto and over roadways, onto power lines, houses, cars…  Clean up will take some time!  The sun made an appearance on Friday for a few hours and it felt heavenly, but other than that it has usually only appeared at the end of the afternoon in time to start setting.