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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

more ice storm damage cleaned up

Good morning.
Surprisingly, the rain stopped just before the tree guy arrived, and the sun even came out. It was just a man and his son, and it took them nearly 7 hours to get 5 branches cut out of the tree, cut up, and hauled away. All that time for $150.00. But he didn't have the equipment the big companies use but did get the job done.

I got this guy from Craig's list. I called a couple of tree companies, and they are so busy, I couldn't get anyone out until mid June. But I was happy with the results,  they cleaned everything up, and the price was right.
So that was the last of the ice storm damage, as long as I don't look 'up' at the Chinese Elm in the back yard. That's the big trunk you see in the first pic. It will be interesting to see how much re-branching it does, if any. I'll take a pic once it leafs out with what few branches it has.
In other news.....
Craig called and got the insurance put back on the mo-ho, and I finished restocking it. I'll un-winterize the water system next weekend and we should be ready for our first trip.
We've also been looking at Las Vegas area furniture companies. Craig is now thinking he wants the house furnished (if and when we get it) so when we go out on vacation, it'll be all nice and new. Then when we retire, we'll sell our stuff here and just take our really special things with us. Anyway, that's the plan as of today. We haven't heard anything as of yet, but it's only been just over 2 weeks since the offer went to the bank, and our Realtor said it could take 46 - 60 days.
So that's it for now. Back to work for what looks to be a busy week.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

another productive weekend.

Good morning.
The rain held off until today, so I had a couple of productive days.
We got the mo-ho out of it's winter parking space, turned him around, and I spent part of 2 days putting things back in. We were fortunate this winter that we had no mice for a change.(knocks on wood)
I also worked on downsizing another section of a flower bed.
This was the largest flower bed in the yard that went along the side of the pond.
In this first pic, I returned a large section of the flower bed back into grass last year. That's the entire grass area to the left of the path. It left for a nice border garden.
 This year, I'm extending it all the way back behind the pond.
It weaves around a weeping pine......
And connects to the grass behind the pond arbor.
It will make for an easier mowing, and a bit less weeding. Now, I can seed it if it ever warms up enough for the seed to germinate.
I also did the first mowing of the season. The grass wasn't really long enough to mow, but the first mowing cleans up all the little debris from the winter.
I'm currently waiting for a company to arrive to get the broken branches out of the Sunburst locust. I'm not sure they will come in the rain, but I haven't recieved a call yet, so we'll see.
That's all for now.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

spring creeps forth

Good morning.
Spring continues it's slow arrival.
I've just returned from cleaning the salon, and it's a chilly 37 out, going for a high of only 46.  :-(
Why are the crappy days always the ones when I'm off. 
Anyway, it was a busy week in the salon.
Here's a pic of what's left of the tree in the front yard....
The brown stuff around the stump is ornamental fountain grass. I'll need to dig it up and transplant it before they come to grind the stump.
And here's what's currently blooming in the garden....

As you can see, I've got a lot of flower bed clean-up to do yet.
And this is why....
I've got one big damn back yard and many years ago I got carried away putting in flower beds that now encompass the entire perimeter of the back yard. But I've been slowly downsizing them to a manageable size.
You can't see it in this last pic, but the latest downsizing is happening just to the other side of the pond. I'll take some pics when I get a chance.
I read in the paper this past week, the great lakes were still 36% covered in ice. That's the latest ever they've been this covered this late in the year. That's one of the reasons for our cold spring.
Soooo, we've had a record cold winter, a record cold spring, a record ice cover, and they are trying to tell me it's global warming. Hmmmm. I'm not so sure.
Now time to get going on my weekend.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

busy busy

Good morning.
It was a fairly productive weekend.
We had 2 nice days out of 3 and I was busy.
Cleaned up more flower beds, and cut back more bushes.
Craig and i also took out all the low voltage lighting we had around the yard. Most of the lights didn't work any more, and the style of lights we had was no longer available for replacement. and since we plan to move in a few years, no sense spending money for an entire new system.
I also started on downsizing another flower bed, and started cleaning out the storage area by the compost bins. I have a huge collection of pots that people have given me for my annual plant sale. Well, I'm not having any more sales, so time to get rid of all those pots. Must be a couple hundred stacked up back there. I also have a guy coming out next Monday to cut out the broken branches from the Sunburst Locust tree. I think we are going to wait until fall to maybe cut down the other Chinese Elm tree. The ground is now too soft for lift trucks to drive on.And we also manage to get the snow tires off the Kia and the summer tires on. Maybe next week, we'll get the Hyundai done.
So busy, busy, busy. And I've got lots more to do. But now, time for another work week. Think how much I could get done if I was retired!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

ah, spring

Good morning.
Happy Easter!
 I've just returned fro cleaning the Salon as usual.  :-)
Finally, some signs of spring......

It was a very busy week in the Salon, and as a treat, had a late lunch at Reno's.
Today is forecast to be sunny and 70, so I'll be in the yard all day.   :-)
We've also been looking at furniture on-line. Thinking for the cost of shipping our stuff to Vegas, if and when we get the house, we might be better off furnishing it with new, and when we're ready to move, sell all the stuff we have here. That way we'll have a nicely furnished home to use for vacation in the mean time. I love shopping for new stuff!   :-)
Anyway, not much else going on so time to wake up lazy bones and get going on the weekend.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

offer accepted

Good morning.
 We finally had our offer accepted by the seller. It only took 2 weeks and several counter offers, but they finally accepted it and now it goes to their bank for processing, which our real estate agent says could take 45-60 days. Since it's a short sale, meaning the owners owe more on the house than it is currently worth, the bank has to agree with the price. And depending on how busy the dept that handles short sales is, our offer could sit in a pile for a while before it gets looked at. But at least, we're in the process, which also means the sellers can't entertain any other offers while ours is being considered.
And since our move is upwards of 2 years away, we've got the time.  :-)
The snow we got yesterday, slowly melted away with the the days sunshine even though it only got up to 36. Today is forecast to hit 46 with 50's retuning for the weekend.
On Monday morning, I scooped some of this out of our pond.....
I know it's a bad pic, but if you look closely, you'll see tiny long filaments of some type of plant that has invaded our pond. It grows in clumps all over the bottom getting about 6-8 inches tall. I bagged up this clump and took it to Hammond Farms hopping for an identification, and a solution for it's eradication.
They looked in a book, determined what it was, and sold me a large bottle of some type of granular vegetation killer. Once the water temps reach 60, I'll treat the pond. It will basically deplete the water of oxygen, staving the underwater plants and then they die.   >:-)
Now time to get ready for a very busy week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

more snow :-(

Good morning.
Here's a few more signs spring is on it's way.....

But this morning, they're covered with snow.   :-(
We received about an inch over night as a brief cold front went through. High today, only 36, but it should warm back up into the 50's again by this weekend.
I did manage to get a lot of yard work done Sunday. Raked out beds, and trimmed back shrubs.
Monday, it rained all day, so I was stuck indoors cleaning and making another batch of kale chips.
Today, it'll be to damn cold to do anything outside, so another day stuck indoors. And some of you wonder why we want to move to Vegas.
Anyway, one more day off before a very busy week ahead. And that's mainly because of Easter.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

signs of spring......finally

Good morning.
Spring has finally arrived as evident in the following pics....

It's been slow coming, but at last, it has arrived.   :-)
I've never seen crocus bloom so late before.
It's been a busy week at the Salon, and yesterday, I left for the Salon early, and Craig came in a little later. When he got to work, he said, "did you see the dead Raccoon laying on the side of the road near the end of the driveway". I said I did, but didn't have time to 'dispose' of it then and said when I got out of work, I'd take care of it. Later in the day, I noticed Craig was getting out of work about 1 1/2 hours before me so I said he could dispose of the raccoon. He looked at me with the expression of really? Me? I said "man up and just do it,"  I shouldn't have to do everything right?
Well when he was ready to leave, I told him if he really didn't want to do it I'd do it when I got home.
Well, when I did get home, the Raccoon was gone. I asked if he did it and he said he did. I thanked him. He also said when he took the shovels back to rinse them off, discovered a big pile of Raccoon do-do on the deck next to the patio door, so he cleaned that up to and said at that point  he didn't feel sorry for the Raccoon.
Craig always comes through when you give him the chance.  :-)
Now time for one more work day.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

we put an offer on another house

Good morning.
Spring has finally sprung here in mid Michigan.  :-)   The last remaining snow mounds in the yard are now gone.
We're forecast to be near 60 all week.
I was actually able to work in the yard all 3 days.
Monday I edged the driveway, using the removed sod to patch all the holes in the yard caused by falling branches from the Dec. ice storm. Tuesday trimmed back bushes and raked out a couple of flower beds. I also spread preen on the beds to help keep down early sprouting weeds.
I also managed to make another double batch of Kale chips.
On the house hunting front.....
As of Monday, no response to the first offer yet. Our realtor explained that since the house is empty, and the owner will get nothing from the sale, there is no motivation to be timely with a response. It's also possible the owner could be out of town and unreachable. Just a couple of the many reasons a short sale could take so long.
Anyway, in the meantime, I noticed another home in Aliante had just been reduced to the price of the other house we put the offer on. This home has the exact same floor plan and isn't a short sale. I asked our realtor about that one. She said we could put in an offer, and in the meantime, she would go and take some pics for us. We could then wait until an offer is accepted, and rescind the other one.
Soooo, we now have 2 offers pending. Apparently it's very common to put multiple offers. Real estate works a little different in Nevada compared to Michigan.  Obviously Craig is a bit of a wreck right now with all the goings on.The thought of buying a house sight unseen is a bit unnerving for him. But the realtor says it's in as good of condition as the other one we looked at. And that was one of the reasons for going out there to actually walk through some of these floor plans so we know how big the rooms and home is. I'm completely comfortable buying site unseen. What's the worst that could happen?
And you know, Craig could give me a list an arms length long to that question.
What happens happens.
Actually, Craig is doing real good with all that's going on. I think all the planning and prep for this whole house buying thing has helped him get prepared to deal with it all. I've been working on him for 2 years.  :-)
Now it's time to get ready for another work week.

Monday, April 07, 2014

I did it!

Good morning.
Well, it was a very productive day yesterday, and I'm all stiff and sore today.
I cleaned the Salon as usual, came home, woke up lazy bones, had our coffee and read the Sunday paper. Then, while Craig did laundry and paper work, I headed out side to tackle the mountain of branches in the back yard.
and after.
another view....before....during.....
and after.

The piles of branches I had hauled out back from the front yard. Before and after.
I was actually surprised I managed to get it all done.   :-)
Now I still need to get some out out here to take out 3 large branches that are broken, but still connected and hanging from the Sunburst Locust tree.
They are too high up for me to reach with a ladder, and to attached to pull off.
I tell you I did sleep good and long last night, not getting up until nearly 6 am.   :-)
But it was a nice day yesterday, sunny and mid 50's.
If we get back in time today from our usual Monday running around before expected rain starts, I hope to get some more spring yard work done.
Now time for me to get going.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


Good morning.
It's been a very busy week in the Salon, and I booked solid today also.
Spring like weather has been slow to come, but it is coming. The snow is nearly all gone, and it rained most of the day yesterday. I've managed to finally get the front yard picked up and raked. Hauled 10 wheel barrels full of small branches out back and dumped them near the burning hole. Plan on spending the entire day Sunday burning up as many of the branches from the ice storm as possible. It's suppose top be sunny and 50 tomorrow.   :-)
I'll try to remember to take some pics before I get started.  I have piles and piles and piles of branches in the back yard.
Now time to get to work.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

house shopping

Good morning.
We've just returned from a very short quick trip to Las Vegas.
We left Saturday morning, flying out of Detroit on Spirit Airlines, returning yesterday afternoon.
We continue to hear horror stories about Spirit, but we've now flown them 4 times, and all 4 flights left and arrived on time.  The seats are a little close together, but they don't recline, so you don't have to worry about someone in your lap. And I had my tablet to pass the time, so we were good.
We stayed 3 nights at New York New York, for free, thanks to comps from  the Facebook game, My Vegas Slots.   :-)
Of course, the purpose of the trip was to look at some possible homes to buy.
We had previously lined up a Realtor, who met us early Sunday morning, and showed us 11 homes. I must say, nearly everyone we looked at was in far worst shape than the pics portrayed. The pics also were way off when showing the size of rooms. But then this was exactly why we wanted to physically walk through a bunch of homes to get a better feel for the layout and space.
There were a few possibilities that Craig and I wanted to discuss so we went back to our hotel, made a couple of drinks, and hashed out our differences. He liked a free standing home in Summerlin, and I liked a fixer upper attached 'villa' in Summerlin. We also both liked a free standing home in Aliante.The fixer upper really needed a lot of work. New kitchen, 2 new baths, a ceiling leak that needed to be addressed and also a patio door leak that had rotted trim.
We finally agreed it would be logistically hard to fix up a home long distance.
The house in Summerlin I thought had too small of a living room, and Craig agreed after re-looking at pics I took. We were also surprised at how poorly kept the homes were in Summerlin, considering they were built in the early 90's. We decided to take another look at the one in Aliante on Monday. These homes were built between 2005 and 2008. Much newer although much closer together than the ones in Summerlin. We completely passed on looking at homes in Las Prados, after our Realtor clarified the hoa's were $260 per month. Way more that we wanted to pay. Also, those home were built in the mid 80's.
So Monday morning, we met the Realtor again, and she had one more home in Aliante to show us. A little higher priced, but the same floor plan we liked in the other home we were going to re-look at.
I was glad we did, because that home had furniture where as the one we looked at the day before was empty. That gave us a good idea how big the place would look occupied. It did look nice, but when we re-looked at the place we saw the day before, we were sold. It had tiled floors throughout, a walled private back yard, and cost less.
So........ we headed back to the office to write up the offer.
Now this purchase, if it even happens could take some time.
This home is listed as a short sale, which means the owner owes more than the home is currently worth. So that means, even thought the seller is willing to accept less, the bank makes the final decision whether to accept the price or not. And apparently, the banks are never in any hurry. Now according to records, this home has been for sale since last July. The bank has since then rejected 2 other similar offers. It was most recently re-listed last October, and the price has been dropped 3 times. Our Realtor seems to believe the bank will now take this offer, or counter offer. Considering how much time it took her to prepare all the papers for the offer, I hope she knows what she's taking about. Also, there's also a chance the property could be foreclosed on, since the owned stopped making payments last July and a different arm of the bank deals with that part. So technically speaking, the bank could foreclose on the property and sell it at auction for less than we offered. Crazy right?
So now we wait. Our realtor said it could take 3-4 months to close if all works out. Fortunately, that would be good, since we won't be moving any time soon anyway.
Also, we could keep looking, and if we found something we like better during that time before it's accepted, we could cancel the offer. So, right now, were in kind of a good spot. The seller can't accept any other offers until ours is approved or declined, and we still have flexibility to keep looking.
I'll post some pics, if and when we actually own the house.
Now time to go.