Shall I repeat all the trouble I've had that is water related? Storm Beth? Hurricane Irene? Hurricane Sandy? Dealings with my insurance company or with FEMA? How about dealing with the city of Milford? It seems that the city is desperate for money because of our recession. Property taxes are based on the value of houses. The value of houses is going down from the peak. The city did not count on the downturn, so they have budget problems.
An assessor is walking the streets, looking for improvements to tax. I've replaced siding and deck railings because of hurricane damage. The city wants to raise my taxes, but I proved that I did not improve my house. I merely replaced damaged wood. The house looks pretty good at the moment.
I am taking a look at the neighborhood. We are all scared of climate change or global warming. Take your pick of terminology. Which term do you prefer? Several neighbors are renting out their houses during the summer. I had never thought to do that. Maybe I will do that.
After research, I sign up with "Vacation Rentals By Owner"...a web site. On this site, I see how houses are advertised and what the rent should be. Last summer, I rented out my house for the first time....and met some very nice people. I met a family from Germany...another family from Saudi Arabia. This summer, I rented to people from Georgia and from Pennsylvania. The family from Saudi Arabia came back. I think I made a friend. I restrict the number of weeks I rent the house, as this is my main address. I don't want the tax man to challenge me, as I may sell this house some day and claim a capital exemption. I don't make a lot of money doing this. It is a lot of work, but it pays most of my taxes.
Tina helps me clean and set up the house for the next guests. She make a decent fee for doing this.
However, I am getting tired. My age is slowing me down. Perhaps I should take a vacation??? I block out September, 2013 just for myself. Where shall I go? I want to go back to Lake Erie. I want to swim in the lake and walk on streets I walk on when I was little. The colony where Dad had a cottage is now over developed, so I am not going back there. VRBO leads me to a cottage in Angola, NY. It is south of Buffalo NY. Close enough. I make the arrangements. It takes me a full month to get everything in place.
Larry will cut my grass and take care of the outside of the house on Park Circle. Dan will cut the grass on Melba Street. I set up electronic bill paying so I can pay my utility bills while I am away. I don't want a batch of overdue paper bills waiting for me when I return.
Stephen shows up. I pay him (over pay him) to install some insulation under he porch and pull some weeds. He can use the money. The porch will need more insulation to finish the job, but at least the job is started.
Ernesto is here. He has fixed the hatch door. He installs it with bolts so it will no longer pull out from the frame. He has painted it with primer. I paint it again with exterior paint that approximates the house color. It is not an exact match. The house has faded. I don't care. The hatch door is protected from the elements.
Two Pella doors have arrived. One will be installed in the kitchen. The other door goes to the dining room opening to the front enclosed porch. Then, there is the toilet: I've decided to replace the toilet with a wall hung toilet. It will make cleaning the floor a lot easier. Ernesto's brother is a plumber in New York City. He has installed many of them. The toilet has been sitting in my living room for over a year. I can't wait to get it out of the living room and installed upstairs. Ernesto will work on those projects while I am away. He has a key to the house
The mail arrives. I have a water bill for over $300. It is not a mistake. My faucets have been dripping for some time. The plumber comes to put new washers in every faucet in the house. I never want a bill like that again! While He is at it, I send him to Melba Street to fix the yellow toilet. It rocks on the floor. After He leaves holding his paid bill, I hear the toilet "sipping" water. The problem is still there. Nothing to do at this time, but to turn off the water to the yellow toilet. I will deal with it when I return from my vacation.
The mail man is notified to hold my mail. They only hold mail for 30 days. I may be gone for more than that. Carol offers to pick up my mail after the 30 days is over. She is a good friend.
Jack needs a sitter while I am away. Beth volunteers to take care of him. Pushing my luck, I ask her to take him for the entire winter. She agrees. I will be driving through Syracuse on my way to Angola. I can drop Jack off. Next stop is to Trader Joes for dog food. About 50$ of dog food is loaded into the Ranger truck. I don't want to cause Beth and Don any expenses related to my dog. A tote bag is filled with his allergy medicine, medical records, leash, coat...stuff a little dog will need during his stay. By leaving Jack with Beth, I can move into Melba Street. Jack can't come into this house because it is carpeted and rented to others. He may soil the carpet...a no no...
I have yet start my trip... I make phone calls , email and post cards to friends that I will be in the area. If I am lucky, I will get to spend some time with old friends, college friends, cousins. Yes! It is coming together.
Two bills arrive. I receive contracts for furnace insurance, Tina's furnace and mine need to be cleaned and serviced in September. I pay the bills. Tina will set up the appointments so both furnaces will be cleaned on the same day. She knows how to get into the house. Both Jay, the furnace man and Tina can be trusted to enter my house. That is the last detail I need to address in order for me to take a vacation.
One week of clothes is thrown into the truck, along with art materials, jack and his stuff. I also have furniture I want to drop off for Judy Fisk...a senior and friend of Don's mother. She lives in Senior Housing in Syracuse. She is a sweet person on dialysis. She never complains. I love to see her. Some how, I get a dining room table, lamp, small bench for the end of her bed and some other stuff into the truck. Off I go. I am on vacation.
First stop is at Beth and Don's house in Syracuse. Don comes with me to Judy's house. He takes the furniture out of the truck and up the elevator to Judy's apartment. She is so gracious. She is thrilled with the furniture. I have one more upholstered chair for her, but I could not get it into the truck. That is for the next trip.
Labor day! Beth, Don and I and Don's family are gathering at Dori's house on Lake Oneida. The lake is so similar to my memories of Lake Erie, I should have rented a house near here. We had a nice picnic visiting with family. Dori is an artist. She showed me some lovely things she has made. Richard has made a "push swing" . It is sitting outside. I always loved them. He will make them as a small business. I order one. It will be delivered in the spring. Good feelings here.
Don says He has some vacation time the same time I will be on vacation. They are coming with me. I did not plan on this, but why not? Don has to repair his Jeep. He uses my truck to get car parts. On the way, my brake fails. I am so glad this did not happen when I was on the road. Don replaces my brake line and adds fluid. He starts to work on his Jeep. This can't be happening, but his brakes fails, too. He also needs a universal joint. There is no way all those repairs can be done on time. I am scheduled to drive to Angola on September 3. There is only one solution: I rent a car for them.
Anthony says He will take care of Jack. Off We go in two vehicles. About three hours later, We are in Angola. We have a nice little house....two bedrooms, one bath, a deck out front, a deck out back, a fire pit, a horseshoe pit. Luggage is moved in, but out host is not there. She has called. The key is under the mat.