All you are really doing is “stirring the waters” and making it look like there’s a lot of business to lure prospective victims, er, I mean investors. You can do this in real estate by flipping houses without really making a profit — or even losing money. And it’s very easy to do with stocks and bonds and buying and selling often, to no particular effect. The point is to look like there’s business in progress which to most people, presumes that money is being made.
Beware of churning, by the way. It is a frequently used “tool” by dishonest brokers.
Photo: Garry Armstrong
Right now, on a personal level, it means I have to come up with money I don’t have to do a bunch of things I have no choice about. Routing out the bugs and mice. Fixing at least as much of the dry rot, collapsed window, and finishing the bathroom. Tearing down the old outdoor shower we haven’t used in more than a decade. Tearing down the rotting old shed that’s probably full of carpenter ants — and who knows what else.
From a homeowner’s point of view, this really isn’t huge, but from a retired person’s point of view, it’s a lot.
I knew the ants would be back today because it’s warm. It will be (maybe) in the 60s — even 70s — today. The pest control people called to warn us about tomorrow. We have to get the dogs out of the house — us too — for four hours and no matter what Garry said, we can’t keep us and three lunatic dogs in the car for four hours. We would be gibbering idiots before the days end.
Our regular groomer had no room. Slammed. It’s spring and everyone is getting their dogs cleaned up. Our old groomer went out of business. The dog day care folks have a waiting list months — years? — long.
I called the vet. Gibbs need his annual checkup anyway, but I also need to warehouse the dogs for half a day tomorrow. They said fine but please bring in Gibbs today because he needs his checkup and probably his other (not rabies) vaccines … and we need to talk about ticks (I loathe ticks). So we have to take Gibbs to the vet this afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll board them. They have never been boarded, but they actually like the vet — so do we — so I’m not anticipating any issues.
Lord only knows what this is going to cost, but at this point I give up. Whatever it is I will deal with it. Somehow. Not like there’s a choice.
Speaking of ticks, last year and the year before, I used the Soresto collars which were great. But when we got Duke, he thinks that collars are fun toys and he just pulled them off both Bonnie and Gibbs. It was the end of the season, so it wasn’t a big deal — but those collars are expensive. At $60 a whack, that’s a pretty pricey chew toy — and it won’t keep the ticks away if Duke removes them. So we have to have a chat about tick, flea and mosquito repellent. I’m feeling dizzy with all the stuff going on at the same time.
Just this side of gibbering am I. It’s lovely we are escaping for the weekend! We need a few days to regain sanity. And a sense of balance!
Meanwhile, I spent $75 yesterday to discover Garry’s computer is broken and I can’t afford to fix it. I have no idea what today and tomorrow’s trip to the vet will cost, but it will be what it will be. Sometimes, there’s just no way to negotiate your way out of the stuff going on.
On the up side, stuff is getting done. I don’t know how, but it’s happening. I found a collar that fits Bonnie. She had a beautiful new one with a matching leash, too, but Duke pulled it off her and we never found it again. He thinks it is hilarious to haul her around by the collar. I think it is less hilarious because you would not believe what they charge for dog collars today. I swear they didn’t used to cost this much money.
I scrubbed the floor with Fabuloso (that floor cleaning stuff works very well). Then I redid the whole kitchen a second time with vinegar and water. Sprinkled Comet across the doorway. Killed any bugs I could find. Went downstairs and realized that the few mice we thought we had have exploded into a frenzy of mice — sort of like you saw in old black and white cartoons where the mice are chasing the farmer and his wife around the table while one of them wields a weapon? I never really understood those cartoons until today.
Welcome spring. Glad you are bringing life to our home. Personally, I was hoping for flowers, but instead we have ants, mice, and dry rot. Be careful what you wish for. Be VERY specific when you make those wishes!
I’m going to give up on comments, writing, and reading today. There’s just so much else I need to do, I can’t fit it all in. So — again — I apologize, but I’m a trifle overwhelmed and then we’ll be away until Tuesday while Owen minds the pups.
I was dreading going into the kitchen this morning.
It will be five more days — five very long days — until the pest control people can get the job done. Until next Thursday, we will continue to have ants.
They haven’t left the premises. But not as bad as yesterday because very little is as bad as yesterday.
I got up early to make sure the dogs had enough water and turn the coffee on … and see how many ants had returned to the kitchen. I was pleased that there were some — small bunches and single wanderers — and more of the little sugar ants than carpenter ants today, but at least it wasn’t like yesterday.
Yesterday, it was me standing alone against the crawling hordes. This wasn’t nearly as bad. I cleaned up and went back for another hour or two of sleep.
I hate ants. I’ve probably mentioned that before.
At around 11, when I know it’s get up or have Duke knock the door open and leap onto the bed, I gave Garry a shake and we got up. He hit the kitchen first. I’m sure he was filled with fear of what he might find. Not so bad … at least not compared to yesterday. Anything was better than yesterday. He killed some, and then I arrived and killed some more.
“Die you little bastards” I cry, but they don’t hear me.
Ants are single-purpose insects. It turns out these ants — the carpenter ants — kill other insects so in theory, I should welcome them.
Otherwise, they build monuments. They walk in lock step and build hills full of ants and more ants and if they had the world to themselves, they would fill it completely with nothing but more and more ants. Some cartoon I read said if you weighed all the ants on earth, they would weigh more than all the people on earth.
Think about that.
Doesn’t that give you a big pause for thought? There are a lot of ants on this earth and about half of them seem to be living in my backyard having (it would appear) built a monumental hill next to the foot of the deck.
This house is old and it has a lot of damp areas of wood. The ants like damp wood. Short of stripping the house and essentially rebuilding it — we are going to have to live with an old house and its bugs.
There are trillions of ants and one of you. They are there, watching you and waiting.
Yesterday, I saw an ant. Just one ant. He climbed onto my computer screen. Yuck.
I said to Garry”I guess it really IS spring. There’s an ant on my computer.”
Mental marker. Call D&T Pest Control. They fixed us last year. They will fix us this year. Decent prices and if there’s another problem, they come back and do it again, free.
D & T Pest and Termite Control, Inc. 5 Stars (from everyone, no less) 21 Google reviews Pest control service in Bellingham, Massachusetts 7 Judy Lane, Bellingham, MA 02019 Hours: Open 24 hours Phone: (508) 966-4470
This morning I went into the kitchen and there were a million ants. Everywhere. In every drawer and cabinet. On the floor. Not in any of the food because every single food item in this house is in a sealed container. Been here before. Between the mice and the ants, I’m a serious sealer-upper of all food stuffs. I wash every item as soon as it gets used.
Where did they come from? Yesterday, ONE ant. Today — the world is covered in big black (no wings, so not termites) ants. Carpenter ants, probably. They are the big black ones, but I also saw a good number of little sugar ants. Where there’s one, the others can’t be far behind.
Garry and I ripped the kitchen apart. Finally threw away ALL those old Dunkin’ Donut cups and containers from who knows when that that gathered under the sink. Washed, sprayed, washed, sprayed. Hauled trash.
Then washed, vacuumed, sprayed, washed and sprayed more.
And then called D&T and said I had a serious ant emergency and how could so many ants show up when there was just ONE yesterday? I must have had that desperate sound in my voice. I had been invaded.
“Who knows?” she said.
I think they came up from a hill in the backyard and are coming in under the French doors and the kitchen door because they are definitely centered in the kitchen. I found a bunch in the dining room and we haven’t even used that room for months.
Although we have mostly cleared them out for the moment, I don’t doubt they will be back in three heartbeats.
And, it’s pouring rain. They want us and the dogs OUT of the house for at least four hours. On a normal day, no problem. Dogs go into yard, we take cameras and take pictures of the dam, but we were …
In this weather, I can’t in any conscience put the dogs outside. So we are going to have to set up a date for the first day it isn’t raining, hopefully tomorrow.
It has been beautiful for the past two days. Why is it cold and raining today? Why us? Why are the heavens falling on us when we need dry?
Meanwhile, the nice lady from UMass Memorial called . Just to find out how I’m doing. They’ve been doing that lately. It was a bad day for that call. I was not in a happy mood. I have been spraying and cleaning and spraying and tossing trash for hours and I am NOT feeling polite. Or even civil. So she got the sharper side of my tongue. Not that the hospital didn’t deserve it, but this was the wrong day to try to have a normal conversation with me. There were ANTS EVERYWHERE.
I hate ants.
Ants. I hate the ants. They have followed us from Charles River Park in Boston to Beacon Hill. From Beacon Hill, they came to join us in Roxbury. And then, they showed up here. Worse than ever.
I hate bugs. I really hate bugs. No one hates bugs MORE than I do and in recent years, I have been plagued by these nasty things. I actually took some kind of sick pleasure is squashing these little bastards and hearing their thorax go crunch. It is unworthy of me.
The ants are just being ants. But I am just being human.
When I was living in Israel, I had an artist friend who gave us a couple of lovely etchings. I liked them enough to frame them. I took down the pictures that had been there only to discover that the wall badly needed painting. We used gas heaters in those old houses because they were built many years before central heating. Most people back then used space heaters, usually gas. But they produced dirt and every few years, you had to repaint. So, we painted. After which the sofa needed reupholstering (our parrot had eaten pieces of it and the cats had clawed the rest).
By the time we got through with one thing and another, those free etchings were $3,000 free etchings. You have to be careful. Home repairs can quickly spiral out of control.
Today, it’s the bathroom. It’s our “main” bathroom — which is to say, the only room that has a bath, a toilet, and sink in one room. The other water closet is a toilet in tiny room in the corner of our “master” (but it’s a very small “master”) bedroom. Garry calls it “Marilyn’s bathroom” which means he has 100% occupation of the other room. He lets me keep a comb and brush on the sink and a towel on the rack. Otherwise, it’s his room.
He says it’s not true but I defy anyone to find anything in the “main” bathroom that is mine other than my comb, brush, and a big towel. I have long since given up any hope of co-ownership.
Meanwhile, I don’t have anything I would call a talisman. I think I might have had a Mogen David (pro: MOH-gan Da-VEED) (to all you non-Jews, that’s what Jews call a “Jewish star”), but I was a teenager and it is long gone.
Currently, life is all about a bathroom vanity. We got a nice sink. Which we needed. Unfortunately, I measured the old sink incorrectly, so the new sink doesn’t fit the old vanity. It’s not much of a vanity, but at least it’s made of wood, not particle board.
I like the sink, though it’s two inches narrower than the vanity currently supporting it. Since the bathroom is very narrow, a narrower vanity might improve it. Thinking “how expensive could a simple little vanity be?”, I hopped online to look at the stuff Home Depot is showing.
I almost fainted. Shock. Horror. Are they serious?
Good grief! Hundreds of dollars and not for anything fancy. Just an 18 inch deep by 30 inch wide vanity made from plywood with wood doors. Probably not including a drawer (that would cost extra).
That’s a lot of money. I still have to fix the window and the front wall of the house and I owe the plow guy money.
At that price, is the vanity a talisman? Would installing it improve our luck? I was thinking it would just be a place to put the sink that looked better than the box it is currently sitting in. The cheapest vanity available $140 and that’s particle board. Painted white. Anything made of wood is upwards of $300 and most are a lot more than that. Many are more than $1000.
That’s when remembered the two free etchings. And how expensive they turned out to be. I can see this evolving into a full bath restoration. Not that we couldn’t use a new bathroom, but we need a lot of things.
Anyone have a money talisman? Wear it around your neck and money just falls your way.
When my grandfather retired and my grandparents moved back to Tennessee from Chicago where they had lived for close to twenty years, they gave away many items they felt they no longer needed. Chief among them was a snow blower. “What if it snows, grandpa?” I asked. He explained that in the unlikely event of snow, it would melt off in a day or two. There was no need for something they may never use again.
When he asked if I would like anything, I said I would take his nightstand if the plan was to leave it behind. It was an inexpensive little piece with a small door on the front to hold just a few items inside. It had a homemade quality and symbolized my grandfather to me. I was probably in early teens. I still have it today. The item could be 100 years old by now.
Their home in small town Tennessee was remarkably uncluttered. They had just what they needed for the next twenty years of their lives. The house was always, neat, clean and orderly and I truly believe that it added to the relaxed and comfortable existence they enjoyed for many years. They never seemed to lack for anything when I would visit. I envy that simple existence now.
When my father retired and moved to Florida with his second wife (not my mom), he too left behind things he could not imagine using again. He had decided to give away his winter outerwear and offered me a nice coat and other items. “What if it gets cold, or you come back to visit in winter, dad?” He pointed out that it never gets that cold in Florida and while he may be back to visit, it would never be in winter.
Aside from taking this winter offering, I desired nothing else. I had his World War II medals and discharge paper. There was nothing else I wanted. I have since passed the World War II memorabilia to my older brother. He has children and may be able to pass them on. By the way, I kept a Good Conduct medal for my “good conduct.” Dad had more than one and I decided not to award my brother with several of these.
Mom was a collector of stuff. I sometimes wondered if this was the result of growing up poor in the Depression. Was the accumulation of items, no matter how little the value, important to someone who had nothing growing up? Were many of us from the Baby Boomer generation collectors because we saw that our parents were?
Mom collected everything from coffee cups to shot glasses, refrigerator magnets to picture frames, swizzle sticks from hotels and restaurants, to match books from the same. There were figurines and candle holders, tea services not to be used, special occasion kitchen ware that may never have seen the special occasion. There were “knickknacks” of all sorts, or what her mother would have simply called “dust catchers.” To me, most of these items did not have enough value to have to dust them every weekend.
After mom had reached her 80’s and could not care for all the stuff, or even recall all the stuff she had, I moved her to an apartment in the same building so we could watch over her a little more closely. That lasted less than a year and she was in a hospital, then a nursing home. I moved to the larger apartment to hold on to the “stuff” in case she recovered well enough to come home. She lived almost 6 years at the home and I not only had a lifetime of my own stuff, I then inherited a mountain of stuff I would never have considered owning. Worse yet, many of the dust collectors I owned were some of the same items I grew up looking at. I can not explain how I did not want these things. For whatever reason, I could not get rid of much of it in the years that followed.
In the past year, however, I decided it was time to start to eliminate many of these things. I had shelves and cabinets overflowing with items that I would never use and in some cases never wanted. What if I have to move? I do not want to have to take a lot of these things. What if I die? Someone will just toss out most of it anyway. Is this “stuff” adding anything to my life? This really is the key question. If I was not going to use it and it did not hold some great personal value, it was time to go.
It is hard to do an assessment of items that have been in your house for decades. You may falsely conclude that they have a sentimental value when all they really enjoy is longevity. Consider cleaning up and not leaving it to others. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your kids, or grandkids, do not want your stuff. Yes, they may desire an item or two, but for the most part your stuff will end up being donated or tossed out, so you might as well do it yourself. Consider how much of your parents or grandparents stuff you wanted? I am not talking about family photos, I am talking about “stuff.”
Last year I tossed out a lot of stuff. I did not want them and could not imagine anyone paying 25 cents for them, so they finally hit the trash. I gave a lot of stuff away to various charities, depending on the type of item. I also listed things on eBay if I thought they had a value. I sell about a half-dozen items a month. At this pace I could sell stuff for the next 25 years and still have a lot of things. When I retire, I will likely increase my eBay offerings or my donations to resale shops, probably both. If anyone wants stuff, I will be happy to oblige.