Today’s Missive is all about Taking out the Trash
Do you know what day the trash is collected in your area? How about knowing when the recycle folks show up? What time do you need to have the trashcans out at the curb? Where should you place them? How much time do you have to bring them back to the house? (This could be an issue with your homeowners’ association.) Are there any special restrictions on what you can place at the curb?
If you haven’t been paying attention to these details, talk to your neighbors or observe what they are doing. Your local county is also a good source of information on trash. Visit their website or give them a call to find out what is or is not acceptable.
Garbage cans can be extremely heavy when they are full, so either do not fill them completely, use more than one garbage can so that the weight is more evenly distributed, or get a dolly to roll the can to the curb. I do not recommend putting the garbage can in the back of your car; even if you could lift it (this sounds like a hernia operation waiting to happen).
If the trash spills out, you could end up with a very smelly trunk. Make every effort to get rid of your trash on a weekly basis. The longer it hangs around, the more likely you will attract bugs, rodents, or other small animals. Trash does not get better with time. It also does not go away on its own. (Think Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, here!)
You can also purchase garbage cans that have wheels. They come in very handy if you need to pull your garbage can to the curb for pickup. You may wish to put your house number on the side of the can so that you can identify it from those of your neighbors; a magic marker usually works well on providing the cans with permanent identification. Again, be sure to follow the homeowners’ association rules for when you’re your garbage can be placed at the curb and the deadline by which it must be removed.
In my present neighborhood, I am required to turn my trash can a certain way, so that the wheels are facing the street. The city has a special truck that picks up the cans and dumps them into the back of the vehicle but they will only pick up the trash can if the wheels are properly aligned.
I also have to have a city sticker on the top of the can, or they won’t stop. The sticker costs $40-80 per year, depending on the size of the can. It has an expiration date that is easily read. I must pay the bill to get a new sticker or the city won’t pick up the trash!
Interestingly enough, my new city does not recycle. If I want to recycle anything, I have to take my empty bottles and cans to a recycle center and pay to have them take the empty containers off my hands.
I hope my trash talk has helps smooth your transition to the single life. Do you have any tales to tell?
A clogged drain is not a particularly difficult challenge. All you need for a simple clog is a wire clothes hanger, opened up to its full length. Keep the hook crocked, so that you have something to hang on to. Put a smaller hook in the opposite end of the hanger. Thread the end with the smaller hook down the recalcitrant drain, twist it in circles several times, and pull the entire glob of gunk out of the drain.
You might have a buildup of hair and other items in the drain. You might actually be surprised by what you find down there, clogging up the works. You can also buy a Drain Devil, which is a piece of plastic that has serrated edges that allow it to pick up the gunk in your drain as you snake it down the pipes. You do basically the same thing as you would with the hanger, but you don’t have to destroy a hanger to do it.
(Keep a paper towel handy, to wrap the mess in. You won’t want to touch it any more than necessary.) You will want to throw this gunk in the garbage immediately; make sure you seal it in a Ziploc bag when you dispose of it or it will stink up the house.
Keep whatever you used to unclog your drain; don’t throw it away because this will happen again.
Do not EVER use muriatic acid on your pipes. When it is poured down a drain, it smokes, it smells, it gives off dangerous gas, and it doesn’t always work. It can kill you and yours. Do not take a chance on it.
What is the other option? If you don’t unclog your drain, the water in the bathtub will back up and it will be soapy. It will get on the floor of your shower or bathmat and it will become slimy. (Note that, if it is already slimy, time will not improve its condition. You will need to clean the mat or shower floor after you unclog the pipes, or you could have a slipping hazard.)
Yes, you truly love the color you painted the living room eons ago, but it is time to repaint, if you want to sell the family homestead.
One of our family friends died recently and his children decided to put his condo up for sale. Their emotional attachment to the property was immense, so much so that they decided to put it on the market for $40,000 above the price of comparable units. They did nothing to it, mind you.
The condo had not been painted since the parents moved in and its age was obvious. The flooring was old and worn out, the carpeting was threadbare in places and stained in others. The kitchen had the original builder-grade quality cabinets and linoleum; the condo was on the ground floor of a property that had been flooded by several big storms.
The property did not meet the upgraded standards of other units in the same complex. They were selling it as “for sale by owner” to save the real estate commission. After several unsuccessful months on the market, they reduced the price and then they reduced it again.
The last reduction was accompanied by placing the property with a real estate agent, but they are still overpriced for the area and have had no takers for this well-worn condo. I saw the property recently and it still needed new carpets and a fresh coat of paint throughout.
Also, although you may absolutely love the mermaid you personally (and without any artistic training) hand painted on your kids’ bathroom wall, prospective buyers may find it horrid. You absolutely need to paint over it in a neutral tone.
The bright yellow hair and crooked smile may be charming to you, but it could gag the people walking into your bathroom for the first time. (I actually saw this on a make-over show. The woman was almost in tears as she removed the huge mermaid, while her husband stood by to comfort her.)
If you decide to repaint, keep in mind that any pictures you take down may need to be rehung when you are finished. Get someone at your local hardware store or a friend who has experience in hanging pictures to teach you how to find a stud in the wall, how to use the proper screws and anchors, and how to get things perfectly level so that you can do the job right. If you do the work incorrectly, the area behind your pictures may look like the shoot-out at the OK Corral when you are finished. You want things to stay in place, be secure, and look great, so ask for help if you need it.
One of my friends had an elderly grandfather who grew up during the depression and he didn’t trust banks. As a result, he kept a great deal of money at his house.
One day when she was vacuuming, he told her to be careful around the drapes. When she asked why, he told her that he had money pinned to the bottom of the inside of the curtains. He also had additional money hidden throughout the house but he refused to say exactly where it was.
When he died, he still hadn’t told anyone. His wife and family never did locate the hidden stash. It is still hidden. He was a good hider! If you are hiding money, make sure that someone in your family knows where it is or the money could be lost to your family forever.
When cleaning out my aunt’s house, we discovered money hidden in magazines. She had tucked over $1,000 away for a rainy day, but none of it was in the same place. There was a $20 bill here, another there, all over her house.
She also grew up during the depression and realized it was important to have money in case the banks were not open. We also found family members’ death certificates in old magazines, so be very careful when going through an older person’s belongings.
Also, some of the elderly person’s furniture might be valuable. If you are not good at valuing antiques, find someone who is. Don’t just throw things out.
Do you have tales of woe regarding hidden treasures? I would love to share your experiences with my readers!
This coming Sunday morning, I will be on WLNI, finishing my first interview (which was started last weekend) with radio and television host Andre Whitehead.
If you would like to listen live, it can be found at WLNI.com at 8 am. This was my first venture into a long conversation, and was seen via television twice last weekend, along with the first half of our conversation. for a first endeavor, the feedback was fairly positive. I would covet your feedback on this continuation of that conversation.
So far, the most popular part of the first discussion was the story about how I killed a mouse that was trapped in a mousetrap in my garage.
I am available for interviews in your area, if you are relatively close to Virginia, and would love the opportunity to share about my book Suddenly Single. I am also available for church conferences on singleness.
If you would like more information, please post a comment herein and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Today, I would like to share some fuzzy numbers with you.
Now, folks, I am not the world’s greatest mathematician, though I am the daughter of one and the mother of a certain young man who called calculus and “Easy A” in college, but I am still relatively good at basic math skills.
Case in point: Two days ago, my next door neighbor, who I only know by her first name, came knocking on my front door. She invited herself in and sat on my couch, where she proceeded to tell me a tale of woe.
It seems those nasty folks at the power company had turned off her power because she hadn’t paid her bill. For quite some time. However, there was a way I could help her.
She wanted to borrow $421.00. She would give me $300 the next day, after she got paid by her employer. There was no reference to any additional payment, so I guess that she was willing to borrow $421 from me, with the understanding that $300 would settle her debt. Since the problem that led to her nonpayment still existed, I would have an opportunity to share in this type of money scheme in future months.
When I declined the opportunity, she asked me how much money I did have. I allowed that I might be able to rustle up $200 in cash, but that I needed it for my own bills. I did offer to “carry her around” to three churches, to see if they would pay her bill out of their benevolence funds. She agreed to be carried.
No such luck with the churches. It was after hours, so they were all closed for the day.
During our trip around town, she said that $200 would do for now, and she would pay me back $100. I commented that, while I sympathized with her, I was not willing to do that. It seemed to me that, in the first case, she was willing to pay back 71% of the money owed me but, just a few minutes later, she was only willing to pay back 50%.
Things went downhill from there. She then suggested I give her one of my credit cards. What????? It seemed that she thought I should not only pay her bill (without the smallest suggestion that anything would ever be paid back), but that she would be able to shop at my expense, until the card was maxed out. Seems you never need to pay back credit cards, in case you were wondering, or the person who owns them.
So, my question for you is this: Are people really this nuts when it comes to money, or is it just me?????
I would pay tribute to this mathematical genius by name but, sadly, I don’t know it. However, if you would like to pay her bill, let me know and I can walk over and give her your number. The good Lord knows, she isn’t good at them.
I will be appearing on Andre Whitehead’s radio and television shows this weekend. Here is the information on dates and times:
This weekend we’ll introduce you to an author, educator and blogger discussing becoming “Suddenly Single!” You just have to meet Sheri Dean Parmelee on TV Sat 7am WGNT/27 in Tidewater, Sun 9am on CW Central VA. Sheri will also be on our Radio show Sun 8am atWLNI.com.
Traveling has become a recent occurrence in my life ever since my mother died. About once a month, I go from Point A to Point B to visit my elderly father.
One thing I learned pretty quickly was that it is very easy to lose your car in a 9-story parking garage at the airport. Covered parking is only one of the options available at the airport, so how do you know where you left your car when you get back? I have run into folks who were clueless, telling me, “Oh, I left my car in the garage. Won’t the bus take me back to it?”
Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. The bus, if you hop on the right one, will take you to the garage. Keep in mind that there are a boatload of parking options at larger airports, so which bus will you get on? Daily? Long term A? Long term B? Amtrak? Metro? You get the idea.
Let’s say you get on the right bus. Now, at which stop do you get off? With the Daily Parking Garage, you have four more choices. Then you have to decide which floor to go to. There are nine options with this decision.
“Whoa,” you might say. “Slow down here.”
Let’s work through this backwards, to figure out how to find your vehicle. You arrive at the airport and decide on the Daily garage. Superb. If this is the first time you parked there, write it down. Next, pull into the parking space, making note of which floor, which aisle, and which space you are in. For example, 7H 42. Write it down and put the piece of paper somewhere you can find it easily. Do not leave it in your car. Do, on the other hand, leave your parking ticket in the car (see the next paragraph).
Make sure you put enough cash in your car, along with the parking lot entrance ticket, to pay for your parking expenses when you get back. You may return from your trip penniless. (My record is 25 cents.) That way, you can get your car out of hock without having to go to a strange ATM with your suitcases in tow.
Do not lose the parking ticket or you will have to fill out forms galore and prove when you took off and landed, in order to get out of the garage. I will be the poor, in-a-hurry slob behind you in the cash payment line who has to wait for you to fill out the form, pay through the nose for your parking, and chat with the employee about how unfair it is….I’ve been behind plenty of those folks and had some unkind thoughts about them during the ten minutes it took them to pay their way out of the garage. Help me keep my Baptist, folks. Don’t lose that ticket!
So, you are on the right bus. Take a minute and locate your piece of paper that has your floor, aisle, and parking space written on it. Get off the bus when you get to the garage, take all of your baggage (and small children) with you, take the elevator to the right floor, and there’s your space!
You know those weird sounds that you have been hearing, the ones that sound like scratching? Do you sometimes find strange brown turds on your counter tops? Have you ever reached into a cardboard box that you had in the shed and saw something move out of the corner of your eye?
My dear, you have mice (or, at the very least, mouse). Keep in mind that these critters are very fertile and letting one live with you can lead to your having a whole colony of mice.
You need to get rid of them ASAP. There are various ways of doing this; we have effectively used baited traps in our garage and basement. The upside is that the traps can be baited with peanut butter; the bad news is that you have to get rid of the mouse after you catch it and it may still be alive, just stuck.
When a mouse threatened the sanity of my time working in our garage a few years back, we put out a snare, only to find that the mouse survived the entrapment.
When the little critter showed up for the peanut butter feast, my hubby was out of town, so I managed to get the mouse and trap into the middle of the garage, covered it with a layer of cardboard (to protect my tires), and drove back and forth over the covered mouse until there were no more signs of life underneath.
I then swept the entire contraption outside and moved the car back into the now-mouse-free space. The deceased rodent thoughtfully remained under the cardboard until my husband returned home, though it might have looked a bit odd to the neighbors.
A good friend of mine has a cat that periodically demonstrates its love by depositing half-dead mice at her feet. After she got somewhat used to this method of devotion, she said that her favorite means of removal was to pick the rodent up with a large pair of kitchen tongs and place the unfortunate animal in the toilet, for rapid flushing.
She must have a really high-quality toilet, since there is no problem with the toilet accepting the mouse for disposal. If you have a toilet that might not take such deposits, you might be better off using the tongs to toss the creature outside in order to rid your home of it.
However, if the animal steadfastly refuses to die, you could have a problem with a mad, injured mouse returning to torment your life via the courtesy of your cat, since the mouse would be considerably easier to catch in its current condition.
Do you have any stories of woe regarding these furry little critters? I would love to have you share your tales with my readers.
I discovered something last weekend that was very, very bad. The weather was nice and my front porch seemed to come alive in the warmer weather.
Sure enough, the pest control fellow discovered a boatload of carpenter bees had taken up residence under my front porch. An infestation, if you will. A huge bother.
The good news about carpenter bees is that they don’t sting. The other good news is that they are merely curious about who and what you are. They seem particularly fond of people with flowers in their hair. Or person. Oh, joy!
Additional news, albeit bad, is that they have pinchers that like to grab a hold of something and eat it. Like the wood on your wooden porch, for example. Failing to find purchase on your porch, they are also willing to take a nibble on you.
Talking to the man at the bank, I was informed that he likes to rid his home of these pests by offering tennis rackets to his kids and letting them have at it. It’s a two-for-one special, as his kids get some much-needed exercise and he gets rid of the bees. I prefer the “squirt and murder” approach to the bees, so I asked the exterminator to spray the life out of them.
He tried Plan A with regard to my newest family members; he will be back in a week if they are still hanging (or, in this case, flying) around. I’ll keep you posted.
Do you have any tried-and-true methods of extermination?