Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Cut Grass

I don't know if the town sent a crew out to the foreclosure house or if the bank was pressured, but the lawn next door was cut today and the backyard was cleared out.  I hope this is not just a one shot deal and that I will have to perpetually blow my top every time the lawn is overgrown.

It's raining now so I didn't get a picture.  We did get the pup out for a swim and along walk before the sky started to cloud over.

I'm busy now packing to go away this weekend.  My workweek is short -- three and a half days as I'm cutting out four hours early because I'm riding with my sister out to Albany.  TBG is staying home.

My blogging will be sporadic over the next four or five days but I'll try my best to make up for it!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wine On-line

I ordered this collection of red and white wines from QVC last week.  It was $119 and came with free shipping.  That works out to ten dollars a bottle -- which wasn't a bad price.  It also saved me a trip to the liquor store!

There were a few reviews from people who'd purchased it so I'd ascertained it did not suck.  I'm not expecting anything great, but I also know it won't be horrible.

It came in a box with sturdy cardboard/composite packaging -- four to a layer with three layers of bottles on their sides.  I'll be able to burn this stuff in the fire and that is a plus since I am always looking for good kindling.

If this selection is good and I can get more ten bucks per bottle deals with free shipping, I'll be doing this again.  It seems weird, but with all the time I don't have, getting wine through the mail is actually a big time and effort saving trick.  The next time I'm at Premier, I'll have to see if they carry any of these brands and compare the per bottle price.  After all, I am a cheap wino!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Planters and Puppies

We wanted planters for our pad at camp so we picked up drought tolerate annuals at Grandad's in Williamson and then headed over to Tractor Supply to get the galvanized steel buckets and the puppy statue.  You can change the sign around to say "Go Away."  Not pictured are some stones and rocks I grabbed at the lake short to help keep the buckets in place when there are high winds.   The planters are situated around our main entrance rather than at the front of the trailer -- people let their dogs pee on any vertical surface and I don't want my stuff damaged.

Here's a nice picture of my pup sitting in the sun.  The weekend was very cold to start but it warmed up each day.  Friends came out on Saturday to tent camp and we had a swell time.  Around 2PM the sky was looking a bit dark so we packed up and came home.  It rained on the way home so it would seem we got out of there at the right time.

It's a bit of a splurge to put flowers out when we are only there every other weekend.  Since they are drought tolerant, they should survive with just rain for moisture.  It's nice to have some decorative element on the pad.  We will need new chairs so that will happen the next time we are out.  The main thing is that we have a relaxing environment and a place to unwind.

We do!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Packing... My Way!

I've already packed all of the non-perishables for the weekend.  The vacuum cleaner I ordered had a sturdy box that fits lengthwise in the back of the Scion.  Because we are having guests, I also packed the large electric griddle.  I'm not completely sure what we'll eat but we have a lot of basic ingredients including cookies and fudge mix for desserts.  In addition to what's in the box, there are two bottles of champers and one bottle of Scotch in a separate bag.
My tee shirt collection was getting rather scruffy so I stopped into a local discounter and picked up five Nicole Miller embellished tees.  They were $3.99 each.  These pictures came from eBay sellers, most of whom are selling them for $12.99 or higher.  These are the same as two of the shirts I bought.
While tee-shirts are cheap at thrift stores, they aren't much less than what I paid.  The bonus for me is that they are new and in good condition, and they coordinate.  Three of them are coming with me this weekend.  I picked designs that are suited for summer and now I will always have them for camp.  I'll just wash them after each trip and then pick two or three to put in by bag for the next weekend.

I won't be posting for a few days as I'll be tied up!  We are having guests on Saturday and Sunday night, and two of our favorite campers have the spot next to us.  It is likely that Teddy's "Aunt Helen" will be opening her camp this weekend and Bailey the golden doodle puppy and her folks Stan and Judy will have their cottage open.  This morning I won a $10 gift certificate for a burger drive-thru that is on the way to camp -- so I think we are all set.

I hope all my US readers have a swell Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Adirondack Chairs & the Flower Bed

These chairs are now where the conversation set used to be.  I need to get into a few of the tight areas to get stain where the rag couldn't penetrate.  There were a lot of edges to stain and by the last chair, I'd had enough.  But I do have some final touches to do.  I like the color and plan to do a second coat on each, but if I only get to one every couple of weeks, that will be enough!  This picture was taken before TBG did some weed whacking. 
We are also mostly finished with the flower bed -- for now at least.  We planted annuals, added a layer of mulch and then put in the solar lights.  I will work on getting a few planter boxes to hang on the section further back, but that is not a high priority.

I am looking forward to the lavender growing and having fresh basil and cilantro.  I didn't plant a whole lot but also wanted to see how it would do.  We also have one eggplant and one zucchini plant to grown on the wires.  TBG put in a Clematis that we can train too.  Two Hostas have been split so that was a bit of free space filler.

We are  not really gardeners.  The main goal is to have a pleasant patio that is low maintenance.  Since we are not sure what is going to grow from last year, we don't plan to do any weeding for now.  At least that will be our excuse!

It is nice to look out at the patio at night with the solar lights on.  We hope to have many hours of enjoyment and not too many hours of toil out here this summer.  I'll put a few more decorative things around when I get the time and if I can find anything cheap & interesting.  But for now, I am satisfied!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Small Changes in the Small Yard

This is the latest addition to my front yard.  Teddy gave me the little puppies for Mother's Day.  I planted the Dusty Millers (we call them "Dennis Millers" in our house) behind them.  This is certainly in stark contrast to the dump next door.

TBG mulched this bed and put out two whiskey barrel planters with a Zinnia, Dusty Millers and mulch which I also sprinkled with marigold seeds.  Nothing but weeds grow in that hell strip and it's got cement under it so we can't tear it out and put pavers in. I'll get a picture of it when it's sunny out again.
We had this conversation set around our fire pit but I moved it to the side of our house because that section of the driveway is shady.  It gets too hot to sit in the yard in the evenings so this is a place we can start out.  It was hot and sunny on Sunday so we ate take-out sushi and had plenty of wine here.

I had wanted a bigger "sofa" style seating unit so I could stretch out but didn't want to spend that kind of serious cash for just one piece.  The area is also a bit tight.  This small set works great.  There are two small foot rests that are under the window bump-out.  That means we can really seat six.

We still have more work to do in the yard but getting this set moved over was something I wanted to so early on.  I will enjoy sitting out here now that it's warm again.  There is not a lot of shade in the yard so I am happy I could find a spot to steal some.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Squeaky Wheel

This is a picture I took inside the foreclosure house two years ago.  That was May of 2013.  The condition of the house has gotten worse and once again we are into spring and the other yards in the neighborhood have been attended to and are looking good.

My yard is looking really nice but unfortunately it is next to this house and that yard has not been touched since last summer.  The woman who lives on the other side of the house pulled a couple of tics off her dog and we are certain it came from the yard.  The lawn is almost 2 feet high and full of weeds.  Birds are living inside.  The wood is soggy and water logged and the bricks are crumbling.

After making a number of complaints over the past three years and being referred to various town departments who all say they are aware of the situation but can't do anything because the bank pays the taxes, or the police department handles snow removal complaints, etc., etc., etc., I wrote a scathing letter to the town supervisor and cc'ed the building inspector and the assessor.  The property is classified as "Normal" for condition and the value is greater than mine.

Well as soon as I sent the email, the assessor was on the phone with me saying he was never told anything about the house and that his record shows the woman who dumped it as the owner of record, not Wells Fargo.  I set him straight that she moved out in the middle of the  night five years ago and left graffiti and trash all over the place.  He said he would look at it. 

The town supervisor emailed me within another five minutes saying he would send someone to look at it.  I sent my very strongly worded email around 12:45.  TBG was home for lunch about an hour or so later.  Someone from the town was already taking pictures so he went to talk to the guy, who told him someone sent a very irate letter to the town.  As is often the case, Tommy said "That would be my wife."  

I don't know what they'll do.  They forced the bank to deal with the roof two years ago -- someone solved that problem by putting a layer of shingles over the deteriorating roof.  The town cites the bank for the lawn twice a year but in between, the grass has to grow to about three or four feet.  I gave up shoveling this winter so the sidewalk was never clear and people had to walk in the street.

This is a home that could have easily been sold after it was foreclosed on.  Yes, there was a lot of vandalism, but there was minimal mold and structural damage.  People drive by and ask if we know who owns it so they can buy it and rehab it.  But even that scares me because it will cost a lot and the process ought to make a really big mess of my yard.

At this point, I am just worried from a safety point of view.  I hope the town condemns it so we can split the yard with the woman on the other side.  Between both of us, we can easily afford to buy the lot.  Had the town not reacted, I'd have started contacting news outlets and even resorted to taking out ads in the town newspaper asking others to complain.  As it is, I'm the only one on the block who aggressively pursues the town about it.

We'll see what happens.  The summer is here and I don't want my dog exposed to mosquitoes and tics in her own back yard.  It really galls me that we live in a nice neighborhood with a solvent town government and no overwhelming housing problems, yet this house was deteriorating largely unnoticed.  I hope things change -- and soon!