Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Post Revisited : STUFF

Since I have been dealing with packing up Mom's house and now unpacking some of her things at my house, I thought that this post from January 2006 would be appropriate to revisit (with a few changes)!

Stuff. Yup. Stuff. We all have it. We all want it.

It is both a blessing and a burden.

It starts when we are young. We want cool stuff. We ask our parents to give us that cool stuff. We get the stuff, or at least enough stuff to leave us wanting more stuff. We even get things to carry our stuff around and things to keep our stuff in order.

When we are young adults we want even more stuff. Now we work for our stuff. The more stuff we get the more stuff we want. We start to keep track of our stuff. We never have enough stuff.

As we get older, maybe we get married. Then we really get a lot of stuff. Still this does not satisfy us. Now we know we really need more stuff. We have to get a bigger place to live to keep all of our stuff with us. The place we get has extra room, so we get more stuff to fill the empty space. Then maybe we have children, and we have to get stuff for them, too.

And now we have to do more to keep track of our stuff. We worry about losing our stuff. So we document our stuff and take out insurance on our stuff. Our kids start to demand more stuff of their own. And because we know how important stuff is in everyone's life, we get them more stuff. And we increase our insurance to cover their stuff, too.

Now a new phenomenon starts to creep into our lives...

We start to feel that we need to get away from it all... all our stuff. So now we take vacations from our stuff. We take our children with us. They spend most of the vacation bemoaning the fact they want to get back to the stuff that they have left at home.

Then one day, the kids leave home, and we look around and discover that we have too much stuff. We need to downsize and get rid of stuff that we don't need anymore. We have garage or yard sales and sell our stuff to unsuspecting people who are still in the mode of acquiring more stuff. Then we take the money we make at the sale and decide that now that we have gotten rid of some stuff, we can now buy more stuff. And we do.

And so it goes. We get rid of old stuff, and replace it with newer and better stuff. We do this and do this, until one day we are too old to do it any more. Then our children have to do it for us. Maybe they move us to a retirement home. Our stuff gets redistributed. Now our children buy us things that they think we need or would enjoy. But it is stuff that doesn't take up much room.

Yup. We all have stuff.

Sometimes irreconcilable differences put a kink in this life plan of acquisition and disposition of stuff... for a while...

When getting a divorce, you have to inventory all of your stuff and finances. Then you have to fill out forms that require all of this information. You also have to pay a lot of money for the privilege of doing this.

Then at some point, someone will look at all of this information on the forms that have been filled out and will use some sort of formula to decide how much of the stuff you get to keep and how much money you will get to help you take care of your portion of said stuff. And then you get to pay some more money so that all of this gets recorded and becomes a legal document. You then will get to add this document to your stash of stuff... a smaller stash than you had before.

What happens next? Will you get to acquire more stuff? Will a reduced income greatly impact your acquisition phase? Will your children keep you in new cool stuff as you get older. Will you rejoice in your new freedom from excessive stuff? Will you finally get all of your closets cleaned once and for all?

I suspect that not only does life go on... but stuff goes on as well.

As for me, Mom having to reduce her stuff has been an avalanche of additional stuff for me. Some of this stuff, I will pass on to my children. Some of it will go to charity. Some stuff I am really grateful to receive. However, it looks like my closets may have to wait another year or so to get cleaned...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Keepin Up With The Youngsters!

My daughter's boyfriend Charles has completed his product for the Next Internet Millionaire show: It is actually quite useful if you want to learn how to do videos on the internet. Below is the promo for it. A music friend/contact wrote the song for the video. I'm not crazy about the title, but obviously it is aimed at a different age group! The world is changing so fast... I feel way out of step!

Mom's move date is NOvember 19th. So after this next week I hope to have some time to do a couple of posts that I have put on hold... one on my trip to Virginia to visit my son Matt and one on the ongoing kitchen project. Perhaps a few Turkey Day photos will emerge as well...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oops! I Goofed!

My duct work is done and I have a new vent into the Laundry Room. Yay! The electrician is coming on Monday to put the new panel in and complete the rest of the various electrical things that need attention. "L" is coming on Sunday to help me get the laundry room ready for the work. So today I went out to buy a new refrigerator to replace the one that quit working properly.

I was very careful to measure the width and depth of the refrigerator I now have because it is a tight fit between cabinets. I look up and decided that I did not need to get a height measurement because I could eyeball it by my own height. I looked at the cabinet over the top of the refrigerator and decided that I had plenty of leeway there. I should have used a stool or chair to check the cabinet clearance, however... like I did after I got home to unload the top of the old refrigerator. What I had thought was about eight inches was only about an inch an a half. It has been a while since I got up there to view the clearance. Uh, oh.

So how do I fix this problem? The price of the refrigerator was right. It has everything I wanted... and more. The color, width, depth and design are all good. Hmmm... Well, being the practical and sensible person that I am, I have decided that the cabinet above the refrigerator needs to be taken down! It is too high to be of much use to me anyway. No band-aid solutions for me! That cabinet has got to go... and before Monday when they deliver the new one... I think I have a few things to do... This should be good!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Things Seems To Be Coming At Me From All Directions!

Things are moving along, but I have experienced some unexpected glitches in my life of late. Mom will moving into her new home on November 19th. Some of her "extra" things are getting moved to my house. That means I need to be ready to have them moved in to various spots in my house. Okay, not so bad.

I am having Thanksgiving at my house this year. It has been years since I have roasted a turkey. The kids will help, though. I will need to have the house ready very quickly after Mom's extras are moved here. I'll have more beds for people to sleep in while they are here. Okay, not so bad.

I planned on having some work done on the house. To start, I have arranged to have the back of the old garage closed in with a new ceiling and drop in an air conditioning vent so my laundry room will be nicer and cleaner. I got a good quote and noted some other things that needed to be done before the ceiling work is started. An electric panel would need to be moved and I would need to check with the A/C people to make sure that the system in that part of the house could handle another duct. With about $1,000.00 for the new ceiling, a seasonal check on the A/C when they come out to check out if I can add that duct, and the electrical panel move... Okay, not so bad.

The air conditioning guy came out and did the check for the system. Yes, I can drop in a new vent... no problem. Good! However, he did find out that some of the air circulation problems I have been having in the older part of the house are due to the fact that the metal coils in the duct work are old and rusting and some of the duct work has collapsed. He put freon in both A/C units and wrote up a quote for the duct work... $2,750.00 to replace the duct work in the old part of the house, add boosters to the vents... a redesign of the duct work system basically. Okay, not so great, but I can deal with it.

The recommended electrician came out to give me a bid on moving the second electrical panel to the inside of the house. Hmmm... it seems that some things are not up to code. We could wait on the incorrectly placed well pump for the sprinkler system to see if the inspector would let it pass even though it is situated right in front of the electric meter... a no-no. To make a long story short, in order for things to be done properly-- there have been some safety issues with that outside panel-- remove the old well pump that was never taken out when the new one was installed, move the clothes dryer hookup... well, what I thought would be around an $800.00 to $1,000.00 job has turned into a $2,500.00 job IF the inspector lets me leave the new well pump where it is. Okay, things are getting out of hand a bit here.

...In the midst of all of this, I discovered that my refrigerator/freezer decided to quit on me just after I went to the grocery store. Ouch. I have been pricing new ones. Ouch, ouch. They sure cost a lot more than the last time I bought one! Costs for one the same size as I currently have seem to run between $1,000.00 and $2,300.00 depending on the features (more features, more to go wrong, I figure!). I guess that also means more time off from work to wait on a delivery and hook-up. Let's see... missed days for A/C duct work, electrical work, numerous appointments and arrangements for Mom, refrigerator delivery... I don't even want to think about the lost wages! Okay, I think I've had enough.

Oh yeah... it's minor, but the blow dryer for my hair also quit on me a week ago, someone put a rubbing alcohol solution into my orchid spraying bottle and I thought it was still water until I had doused my orchids with it, and no one seems to be able to fix my doorbell. Sheesh.

Next year had better be a very good year!