Archive for the ‘Baby Boomers’ Category

Do you have an accident waiting to happen at your parents house?

Are your parents climbing ladders and step stools because they feel they can do things themselves? Climbing the ladder to clean out the gutters or touching up the paint is something they always did and still feel capable still doing. Years ago that wasn’t a problem; they were a lot younger and much more agile and steady. But things are changing.

How can you stop them from doing this before they have that accident which could put them out of commission permanently?  Whether it is fixing the dripping kitchen faucet, changing a filter or light bulb, putting in the screens, or anything else that needs fixing.  What peace of mind would you have knowing that Dad and Mom are not climbing ladders or step stools, crawling under sinks, or make many trips down the basement stairs which are all possibilities for accidents.

There are plenty of small businesses that can help you help your parents.   Some of them you and set them up on a monthly retainer, and they will stop by your parents home on a regular basis throughout the month and take care of things that need fixing.  You know all the little (and not so little) do it yourself projects that you don’t have time to do for your parents. Arrange to have everything done without anyone in the family climbing a ladder and taking unnecessary risks.

All you need to do is keep a perpetual “honey do” list and once a month, as regular as clock work; this company would come in and do what is on the list. If the job was too big or more involved then they may need to schedule more time, but for the most part routine maintenance and repair projects that Dad or Mom want or need done are finished and scratched off the list.

Consider this type of service as a gift for the entire family!


Attic Treasure Hunting

The value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.

For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it — will be a wonderful discovery.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the “stuff” has been categorized what happens now?  For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repacked and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.

Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.

  • Move the trash, if possible, directly out to the curb, a dumpster or at least to the garage to wait for trash day.
  • If you have not already scheduled a donation pick up; do it now.   Move the donation items down to the garage clearly marking them as donations – not to be mistaken for trash.   Resist the temptation of second guessing your decisions.
  • Items marked ‘give to family’, bring them down to an area that can be designated staging area; put all items in here clearly marked with the designated family member’s name. Make a call and schedule a time for      things to be picked up. You may need to make several calls, and then  finally say; “If you don’t come by Sunday, I will be putting them in the trash on Monday.”
  • Put all items for sale in one spot (either leave them in the attic or garage marked sale items). Then determine what type of sale to have.  Arrange for  an appraisal, if necessary. Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, it will help motivate you to complete the project.

For items that you truly feel have monetary value but you don’t know what it is, I recommend strongly that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an appraisal of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You won’t walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.

Condominium Living 101

Condominium Living 101.

Condominium Living 101

Condominium living is wonderful, in my opinion.   You pay the money and someone else does the work!  No mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, or shoveling snow, etc.  However, you need to be somewhat flexible with your expectations and not become angry or bitter when things are not done exactly the way you think it should or when it is done.

I have lived the condominium life for over twenty years and most of it has been a wonderful experience.  I am currently the chair person of our board of trustees and it has been an education and a challenge.    Everyone wants to have platinum or gold services but they only want to pay for Bronze, and sometimes they feel that Bronze service costs too much and we don’t receive the service.    I have to say that my board is extremely diligent in overseeing and counting our pennies, but there are always people who are not and will not be happy with anything.

Now that we are in landscaping season we are spending 90% of our time dealing with landscaping issues.  Spring in New England started early and the trees, shrubs, and other plantings really have had a growth spurt.  People are unhappy with the way the place is looking and they want it fixed and fixed immediately.   The board is in agreement, and is working on getting things resolved, but this is one of those situations that we are not going to please everyone all the time.   The board has the task of defining and implementing standards to guide the contractors in performing their jobs; for instance,

  • Keep the shrubs to window sill height and at least 6-8 inches away from the side of the building.
  • Ornamental trees should be trimmed and not be touching the siding or roof

It is difficult for many of the condo owners to adjust to condo living.  Because everyone has an opinion on how things need to be maintained, and when we owned our own home we did what we wanted.  If we wanted the shrubs to grow taller and cover the windows for privacy it was okay.  A condominium is much different than owning your own home.   Everything needs to be standardized, and just because you prefer it one way and your neighbor wants it another way, it all needs to be done uniformly in order to maintain a consistent look within the allotted budget constraints.  The contractors do not work for the individual condo owners, whey work for the total good of the association, and owners stopping the landscapers for trimming or cutting the lawns only disrupts the scheduling, uniformity, and costs everyone more money.   Yes, it is frustrating at times, and not everything can or will be done the way everyone would like.   The process is not instantaneous or perfect.   The board members are dealing with a management company, who works on our behalf, who is dealing with the individual contractors and vendors and it can (is) frustrating at times.  

Life in a condo will never be the same as owning and caring for your own home.  My advice to people thinking of purchasing a condo is to really determine why you think you may be happy in a condo.  Once you have the plusses then really think about any of the negatives that you have heard or can think of then weigh them.     If the plusses outweigh the minuses then a Condominium may be a great fit for you.  If not, then opt for a smaller home and arrange to have the services you need provided for you when and how you want them.   

What’s On Your Bucket List?

Saturday evening and I am home writing this blog!   What’s that tell you about my social life or life in general.   Actually, my life in a small town is not all that bad.   This evening, our regular group of ladies adjourned to the local pub after the 4 o’clock mass.   We do this most every Saturday evening, but we do vary our destinations among a few favorite hot spots in town.

Tonight’s conversation was about items we have on our bucket list, which I always find fascinating.  It always amazes me that some people don’t have that much on their list, while others would need to live two lifetimes to finish their list.   Pondering this topic I have added 4 new items to my bucket list, why? –I want to!

I added:

  • Take the summer off and drive cross country – stopping when and where I want until I do and see everything I want.    No planned itinerary just meander the back roads of America.
  • I want to go up to Canada and France to do some in depth, hands on research into my families ancestry on my Father’s side; and then to England and Ireland to do the same thing on my Mother’s side of the family.   I can only do just so much on the computer, I really need to get up close and personal to really understand the stories we were never told.
  • I want to write a book and have it published.  It would be my legacy to tell the world that I lived and I don’t want to be forgotten.   It will be my leave behind for the next generations to read and learn about their long forgotten ancestor.  I know when I find snippets of information on an unknown ancestor I find it fascinating.  So I hope that they will also.
  • I want to learn a foreign language that I never did when I was in school.  I think it would be French.  To be able to read and speak French when traveling would be helpful.

Of course, I still have plenty on the list that I am working on but these additions only add some incentive to keep on eliminating and enjoying the bucket list adventures.   Also, there is no bucket list police to say you have to do them in a particular order!   So relax, I am, and enjoy your bucket list items; the large ones and the small ones.   I think I deserve a Hot Fudge Sundae for writing my blog!

Preparing to Downsize When it Triple HHH Outside

Summer is here and so are the triple HHH’s — Hot, Hazy and Humid, and you are in the middle of preparing to downsize, declutter, and move.   You need to keep moving along with this project so when your home is sold you are on target to finish everything and move without going into total panic and melt down mode.   So what can you do and not become too hot and sticky?

Okay, crank the A/C and put on the ceiling fan in your bedroom.   Pull up a comfortable chair, and pull out and empty a dresser drawer onto your bed.    All you need for supplies are;

  • Trash bags,
  • Dust cloth, and
  • Various size baggies.

One drawer at a time, sort through all the items in the drawer.   Throw out everything that you don’t need or have not used in past 6 months.  Especially the old cosmetics that have been opened and starting to dry out, as well as the gardenia scented talcum powder, and the bobby pins.   For the smaller items that you want and need to keep, use the baggies for the cuff links, the costume jewelry, and other smaller easy to misplace items.  As you empty the drawer, take your dust cloth and clean the drawer.  If you have tissue paper and want to, reline the drawer.  Then you can put back the items you plan on keeping.

If you do this for 60-90 minutes at a time, you will probably be able to cleanout and organize 2 drawers a day.   It’s a great way to sort through all the ‘unmentionables’ that are worn out and should be tossed. However, you keep on wearing them just because!   Only keep the good items that you will use and toss the others.   Donate only good serviceable items, it’s  not a donation if the charity spends money to throw them away.

Again this is a job that you can do in the heat of the summer, sitting comfortably on a chair, and never really become hot and sticky.   Take advantage of this time, and don’t lose your momentum.   Turn the hot, hazy, and humid days of summer to your advantage!

It Is A Mirage – A Clean Garage!

Okay, this month is the time to make a confession. If you think that my house is neat as a pin, with nothing out of place you are wrong! Don’t get me wrong I am organized and stuff like that, but I live to enjoy my home and, like everyone else who provides a service for other people; I am tired when I get home so my house is the last to get any attention. This goes for all parts of the home, especially the Garage.

Garages are suppose to be for your car, or if you are from Massachusetts ‘cah’! Personally my ‘cah’ has never been in the garage. It is always ‘pahked’ in the ‘yahd’ (or driveway), because there isn’t enough room in the garage. There is always enough room for other things, like shelving units, storage boxes, bikes, tools, my work supplies, and anything else you can think of BUT not the ‘cah’.

So this month we need to concentrate on the garage. It should be a fairly simple and quick process now that the weather is warm and you can leave the door (or doors) open.  If you really look around, there really are not a lot of useless or unneeded items.  The real problem is that we don’t put the items back where they belong. When we finish with the item we put it in an empty space, and there is stays, that space becomes its home. Slowly, but swiftly, these items start to encroach into the next available space and then everything just looks so cluttered and unwieldy it becomes too much trouble to spend the little extra time to make things right.

Now let’s get started! Put the ‘cah’ on the street (out of the driveway), and pull everything out of the garage and put it out in the driveway or the ‘yahd’. Don’t forget to gather all the help you can for this project, because it can become tiresome and hard work as the day progresses. It should only take a few hours with help.

Once all the ‘stuff’ is out of the garage take the broom and give the garage (floor, walls and ceiling) a good sweep. You will be amazed at the amount of dirt and dust you will pick up. You may want to sprinkle a little water (not too much or you will have mud) to hold down the dust. When you finish sweeping, let the dust settle for a bit, and start sorting through the ‘stuff’ out in the ‘yahd’.

Trash whatever can be trashed. All those grocery bags and other plastic bags that you have accumulated, consolidate partial packages of items, put like items together. Decide whether or not you need to install wall hooks or purchase another shelving unit.

Remember the goal is to clean the floor so you have room for your ‘cah’.  With a plan in mind and the dust settled, it is time to start putting things back where they belong. Tools are in the tool box, the bikes are in a rack or hung on wall hooks, and the trash barrels are off to the side but convenient to the door. Everything is in place now step back and take a picture!  Remember how it looks, this is what you want all the time.

Now ‘pahk’ the ‘cah’ in the garage. There is plenty of room now!   You can actually open the door without knocking or hitting anything.  What a nice, satisfying experience and just think it didn’t take forever to accomplish.  Congratulations, you have a ‘wicked p**a’ clean garage that any Boston ‘cah’ is proud to ‘pahk’ in.  Now it is time for a Dunk!

Making Life’s Perfect Pie!

ImageLemon Meringue pie has always been my favorite pie. I have always wondered, however, how a lemon pie tasted so sweet and flavorful when lemons are so sour.   When I was very young, I realized that lemons were very sour.   I didn’t like the taste, but I the smell of fresh lemon was wonderful.  Every time I smelled a fresh lemon, I would forget how bitter and sour they tasted until I tried them again.

Lemons, like many life’s trials and tribulations (as my Grandmother would say), we keep trying over and over again to make things perfect.   Make them feel, smell, and taste delightful.    If that didn’t work we add some other ingredient or nectar to the mix to and see how that works.    Eventually, with just the right dash of this ingredient, and less of something else, we usually make our lemons, or our life, into a respectable, if not outstanding, pie. 

 Perfection, one hundred percent of the time, is impossible to achieve in life or when baking.  Making a pie is a good example.   There are just so many different variables that can go wrong making pies.  The crust can be too sticky or crumbly; the filling can be too thin, thick, or lumpy, instead of smooth and creamy; or too tart or too sweet.   The oven thermostat can be out of whack and the pie can burn or be undercooked.  

Life also has many different variables as well.   We are not living in a bubble, our interactions with people and things are just a few of the obstacles that cause lives many challenges.  Because we are social beings and interact with our peers in many different arenas; family, school, sports, play, work, marriage, and so on.   Every time we relate to people in different environments there is something new that gets thrown into the mixture.   Just one more ingredient that may make the perfect pie or not, we just don’t know but we have to try it before we make any judgments.  There were times that the pie was too sour or too sweet, but with all the opportunities that life presented to me over the years I have had many chances to make it perfect.  

 In creating my ‘life pie’, and I know many of you will agree, there have been many different  life events mixed together, kneaded, pushed and pulled, and rolled out; at times too thin and sometimes too thick.   If handled too much, the crust sometimes became too tough and nothing could penetrate; or too thin so it broke apart or crumpled, and needed to be patched together many times.   During the course of trying to create my perfect ‘life pie,’ I learned that the challenge was always to discover the right ingredients and correct proportions in order to correct or alter the way ‘life’s pie’ turned out.  Ingredients and proportions changed along the road to my perfect life.

 Perfection however, is never going to be achieved.  I am always search for something to make my pie just perfect.   So after  many years searching for the perfect ‘life pie,’;  I am going back to my childhood to the advice my Mother and Father gave me; “just do your best, “ and when I did I knew they loved me and I would be all right.  

Go Fly A Kite!

Go Fly A Kite!.

Go Fly A Kite!

ImageHas anyone ever told you to, go fly a kite?   Maybe not in those exact words, but the meaning was the same. 

The more I think about that expression, the more I think that flying a kite is a very intricate, precise, and exasperating task.  I feel that it takes a very talented person to, go fly a kite.   You need experience, certain amount of expertise, energy, and stamina.    Not unlike, preparing a home for a move.   I see many similarities.  

There are certain seasons of the year that are better for flying a kite and for making a move from one home to another.   The best seasons are, I am told, in the spring and fall, but summer and winter also work.   In spring and fall the weather is cool with a good possibility that the weather, wind, and breezes are just right to accomplish the tasks at hand.  Whether it is kite flying or moving!

Both these endeavors require the right equipment and or tools.   For kites you need to have a light frame covered with the right material fitted to the frame in order to catch the wind in the right way.   You also need a substantial amount of string, rolled in the right way to easily unwind and wind up, that will assist in maneuvering the kite while airborne for optimal in air flight time.   Also essential is a tail for the kite, with just the right length and weight to assist in take off.

Likewise to prepare for a move, you need the proper materials, tools and equipment.   To pack you should secure the proper size, quality, and quantity of containers for the pieces you need to pack and move.    It is important not to over pack, or stuff, containers.   Putting too many heavy pieces all in one large container will make it impossible to lift and move without hurting yourself or someone else.    Use proper tape and material to protect and seal the cartons.   Utilizing sufficient materials for the items in the container will protect the items from breaking as well as shifting while in transit, and taping the container closed prevents containers from inadvertently opening if tipped or the bottom letting go if it were only folded closed.

It is also important that we have the right space or area as well as the proper time, to either fly a kite or prepare for a move.   The more space the better.   Flying a kite is fun when you can run along an empty stretch of beach or on a playing field.  To do this you need to be aware of time of day as well as the weather.  It is really difficult to fly a kite properly and safely when the beach is crowded with sunbathers and children playing or the playing field is having activities.  So finding the right time and space is important for an enjoyable kite flying adventure.

To make moving easier and less cumbersome, it is best to;

  • Develop a time line and action plan
  • Set aside blocks of time
  • Tackle one room or area at a time
  • Have the proper supplies and materials
  • Have a ‘buddy’ to help you, it is less overwhelming.

Most importantly, for both kite flying and moving, make sure you are traveling light!   On your kite keep the tail properly weighted based on the weather conditions.   With moving, travel light.  Clean and downsize as you go from room to room.   You do not want to be weighed down when you move for 3 reasons;

  1. It is difficult to lift and move the cartons
  2. Depending on how far you are moving, the cost of the move is based on weight
  3. You want to be free of old clutter as you transition to your new home.

Thinking of moving now or in the future, then think about how to go fly a kite and what is required to do that, and apply the same or similar theory to prepping for your move.   With the right breeze and all the other material and techniques necessary to kite flying, you and your kite will fly freely with a safe landing.   Or if you take a short cut, skimp on materials, make things too heavy, plan time and space poorly, you and your kite will quite likely crash or get hung up on avoidable obstacles.   

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