When in Doubt…

Sometimes it feels like life is a constant start/stop of projects, ideas, and more. I feel so wishy washy, can’t I just settle on ONE plan and be done with it?

But life isn’t linear. Just when I have a good groove going with winter, spring pops up. And the gardener in me, cannot sit still and write. Instead, I’m out in the garden, dreaming of landscaping, flowers, paths, fences and more.

I fall down internet rabbit holes and spend hours paging through plants, birdbath options, and ideas for ponds.

And then, as summer edges in, and the heat starts (it will be 92 today, thank you very much!), I come back to myself and realize…

That this is NOT going to happen unless I get my crap together.

So I listed out the problems:

And then came up with some possible solutions…

I’ve also put myself on a spending freeze. I’m addicted to Facebook Marketplace, and I’m always finding gorgeous pieces of furniture, an old-fashioned mailbox I wanted for Cottage West, and so much more. That has to stop. I have to focus on what is important – getting more books out there, and marketing the ones I currently have out effectively.

A compromise. At this point, committing to write 1,000 words per day seems like too much. But writing 500 seems almost too little. Therefore, 750 words is a good in between number of words.

So, when in doubt, list it out.

The updated due dates

And hey, I’ll be 49 tomorrow! I’m entering the half-century mark of my existence on Earth. My oh my, how time does fly!

Shopping Won Over Writing Today

Em came running with the book, “I HAVE to have this!” and then how could I resist a “no mess” coloring kit for the little one?

I should be writing. This week is a “light” week when it comes to cleaning houses. Just two of them, and both are relatively quick and easy.

I snapped these up in a hurry – vintage Coca Cola boxes – just $10 each! I also found a Rubbermaid dish drainer and Em asked for the marshmallows for the party.

So I should be writing.

This gallon of Soy Vay teriyaki sauce was just $2.50. How could I pass it up? I see a lot of stir fry and teriyaki chicken recipes in our future.

But the weather has been so nice. It seems wrong somehow to be hiding inside at my computer.

I’m not much of a martini person, but these enormous mixers were just ten cents apiece. TEN CENTS! Pomegranate martinis for all my friends!

Yesterday, Em and I swept most of the pathways and half of the sidewalks free of the maple helicopter seedlings. Am I the only one, or has it been a heck of a year for those things? What do the maple trees know that we don’t? They were laying down carpets of the damn things.

Churros and chorizo…it’s a thing.

In any case, today I decided to visit a dented can outlet. Ever since my favorite outlet, Discount Groceries and More shut down, I’ve been pining for a place to go find outrageous bargains. Well, I can pine no more, for I have found the mother lode…Dirty Don’s Bargain Center.

The Oyster sauce was four for one dollar. The 2-liter Shasta sodas were all 50 cents each!

Oh…my…goodness.

Em loved the bacon jerky, I annihilated the teriyaki and the Sriracha jerky is for Dave. They were all just $1.75 each.

By the end of it, the cart was full and Em was insisting we needed to leave. Let me say that again, the cart was FULL. I spent just under $100 on what I’m pretty sure was around $600-$800 worth of retail-priced food and household goods. Seriously, take a look at this haul!

“Mama, look! These boxes are only $1.00 each!”
Each box contains eight packages of gum, each package of gum contains 18 pieces. That’s a lot of gum, folks.

I covered the entire butcher block table in the kitchen with food and household goods. Nothing cost more than $3.00 and most of it was for far less.

There is a lovely Orange Chicken recipe that I’ve made that calls for an entire jar of orange marmalade. This marmalade was only 50 cents!

Food expiration dates are not set in stone. Folks often forget that, but it’s true. You often have years more to enjoy a product than what the expiration date indicates.

Made with real cane sugar! On the right, the bacon marmalade, we will be trying that this Saturday. I’m curious to see what it tastes like!

Now, be careful, obviously. If you buy canned goods, be sure that the cans have not begun to bulge or leak.

If you live in the area, go check out Dirty Don’s in Raytown. It’s very close to the stadiums. Next time I go, I’m going to investigate the coolers better. They had all kinds of frozen foods.

Creating Our Family Trust – I Feel Like a Responsible Adult Now!

I had been talking about getting a will together for several years now. With one, possibly two, minor children in our care, having some kind of will or trust was very important.

The doing of it stumped me, though, how could I make sure my wishes were carried out? How could I ensure that my daughter would have a safe home to go to, and that whatever real estate we had was cared for until she came of age and inherited it?

We knew who we didn’t want as a guardian, and who it would be too much of a burden to ask, and I built it up in my mind as harder than it had to be. In the end, it was ridiculously simple. So much so that I wish I had done it years ago.

Did you know that only 36% of Americans with minor children have wills? In fact, even the older Baby Boomer generation is seriously lacking when it comes to wills. Only 58% of them have wills.

Without a will, any property you own goes into probate and your heirs stand to lose a solid chunk of that. You might not think you have a lot, but if you own a home, even if you haven’t paid off the mortgage yet, you have a net worth that’s worth preserving and passing on.

I keep track of every transaction, every savings account, every debt through Quicken. I was dumbfounded to see what we are worth on paper… thanks to owning four homes. Once both of the Cottages are fixed up, we will be worth around $365k. Most of it might be sunk into these buildings, but as the years progress, that number will increase.

We settled on a living trust, which will grow with us as the years pass. It establishes the trust, names executors and guardians, and clearly lays out who inherits. An added bonus is that the lawyer worded it so that if we end up adopting our foster daughter, she will automatically become an heir with her sister.

Even my books, which my heirs retain the rights to until 70 years after my death, are included in this trust. We didn’t have to state who gets what, it will simply go to my daughter, to be disbursed on her 22nd and 30th birthdays in 50% increments. And if we adopt our daughter than of course she will receive an equal share.

Any property we purchase from here on out becomes a simple act of copying the verbiage on the other deeds, and filing it as transferable on death into the trust. Which means we can sell or buy new property any time, as long as we record the properties as transferable on death to the trust, nothing else needs to be done.

It cost us a total of $1400 and I highly recommend it for simple peace of mind. It was worth every penny!