Home Improvements

September 18, 2014 by · Comments Off on Home Improvements
Filed under: House 

When we bought our house, we knew there would be things that needed repairing/updating. Shortly after we moved in, we did convert the fireplaces from wood to gas. It was great because we could heat with them and not run the furnace so much. But now three years later, we did one of the things we’ve been talking about for a while. I knew when we moved in that the windows in the house were old. How old I didn’t know but I thought they were original to the house. We ordered new ones, and last Saturday, they came to install them. According to the installers, the windows were original to the house which was built in 1962. No wonder they were drafty. It took them about seven hours or so to replace them, and now we have discovered all the things they brought.

First, they are clean, and will be really easy to keep clean. Second and the most important thing is that they keep the heat and cold out. We haven’t run the air conditioner since they were installed, and yesterday it got to 90 degrees here. We had closed the windows early in the morning, and the house stayed very comfortable all day. Once the sun went down, we opened them up and the cool night air came in. It’s supposed to be hot today again, so we’ll see what happens. If this keeps up, we’ll have much lower energy bills and save a lot of money.

The other improvement we made was to have a stairlift put in to make it easier to go up and down the stairs. Both Jane and I have trouble with stairs, and it got to the point where I didn’t even attempt to go up and down. Just too much trouble. So I’ve been stuck upstairs for a while. Not any more. This thing is great. I can sit and ride it down, do what I have to do, and go back up when I want. It makes my life so much better.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the year. I want to see what happens to the utility bills, and how much savings we will get from these improvements.

Insurance problems

July 13, 2014 by · Comments Off on Insurance problems
Filed under: House, Rants 

Having only lived in the states for about 3 years after living overseas for almost 25 years, I wasn’t sure about homeowner’s insurance and also car insurance. Farmers insurance was recommended so I went with them. Now three years later, I have decided that I made a mistake.

The first problem came last April when I got the renewal for my auto coverage., Since starting, it has gone up over $100 every six months.Why? Well, according to the agent, Colorado has one of the highest rates due to all the problems with hail, fires and such. Yet I never made a claim. I got the impression that I was paying for others problems and also to keep the profits up for the shareholders. Yes, farmers is a traded company and as such, must keep the shareholders happy at the expense of the customers. I started calling around and found out that I was paying one of the highest rates for auto insurance. So I switched to another company and the cost was about half of what Farmers wanted. I dropped them, and went with another company.,

So now the second problem has come up. Yesterday I got a bill from Farmers for another $175 on my home insurance. The reason on the bill was “fire insurance”. I did a bit of checking online, and found out that that wasn’t the case, but was an increase due to dropping the auto insurance. Before I found this out though I had written to my agent to see what in the heck was going on. Got the same song and dance about all the claims due to fires, hail and floods. Still no claims from me, so I didn’t understand. I let it go and started looking around this morning and got the real story.

Let me just say that as far as I’m concerned, Farmers is a ripoff. Their fancy commercials don’t tell the real story.  They’ll keep taking your money and jack up your rates without blinking an eye. Personally, I’ll tell it as I see it. Oh, and did I mention that in three years I’ve had 4 different agents? One quit, one got promoted, offices were combined, and now? Who knows. I’m just not going to be part of it anymore.

Critters

February 21, 2014 by · Comments Off on Critters
Filed under: House 

I never imagined that when we moved into our house that we’d see so many critters. In the two years we’ve lived here, We live in a part of town that’s over 50 years old. It’s a residential area and really not close to open land. So far I’ve seen foxes, rabbits, a deer, a couple of red tail hawks, But yesterday took the cake. We had two skunks in the neighborhood. Late the night before last my neighbor had to dig them out of his window wells. He got them out and thought that was the end of it. The smell was horrible. But they didn’t go far. They meandered into my yard and hid under the small deck behind my house. It was terrible. You couldn’t open the door or the stench was knock you over. This morning though, they are gone. No more smell, It’s great. Hopefully they will stay gone.

Having fun

September 29, 2012 by · Comments Off on Having fun
Filed under: Fun Stuff, House 

It’s been a bit over a year since we moved into our home. We purchased it with a VA loan through our credit union. That’s the best part. Then last November by mother passed away. I didn’t know it, but she had a rather large savings and investment portfolio. That along with the house she owned and had lived in for the past few years made for a nice inheritance.

Since moving in we’ve been bombarded with the folks that want me to refinance my loan with another company. I wouldn’t do it, but for the most part was pretty nice in telling the folks no thank you. A few of them were very persistent. Especially the callers. I got to the point where I was rude to them. The calls started to slow and that was nice.

The most fun though was this past week after we used part of the inheritance to pay off the mortgage on our house. That’s a great feeling. About two days later I got one of those phone calls wanting to lower my mortgage payments. I decided to have some fun. The guy on the other end gave me all the good news about lower interest rates and so on. Then he asked me a question. Do I know how much I own on my loan. Well, yes I know the exact amount I told him. He said that great, how much is it. I said zero! What he said? Zero I said. I paid the mortgage off earlier in the week. At this point, he muttered some unprintable words, and hung up on me.

Oh, darn, did I really make him mad? I sure hope so. It’s fun to make these clowns work for nothing. I’d told everyone of them that I wouldn’t switch my mortgage. I have been a one bank/CU guy for years, and wasn’t going to change.

So that’s the story. I finally got back at these clowns that have called for over a year. Now if I can just get rid of the political calls.

 

Being Realistic

June 12, 2012 by · Comments Off on Being Realistic
Filed under: House, Rants 

Several months ago, my mother passed away. In her will she gave her home to me. We decided to sell the house as I don’t want to live there. The house has been on the market for a few weeks and so far it doesn’t look promising. The house needs updating, but it’s big and the price is right.

What I get upset about is folks complaining about the street noise. Well darn, I can’t move the house and they see it when driving up. When we stayed there, I never really noticed the noise but I guess with an empty house it’s obvious.

Another thing that makes me so mad is talking about the appliances. It seems that everyone is sold on Stainless Steel or nothing. Well, I guess they’ve never had them because they are a real pain in the ass to keep clean. But hey everyone wants them. They are also the most expensive. Seems silly to me. Oh, and granite counter  tops is another want from everyone. They do look nice, but take it from someone that knows. The darker ones are a real bitch to keep clean. I’d rather have something that’s easy to clean. Our broker mentions all of this on his website, and while I’m sure he’s trying to cater to younger crowd, but our house really isn’t for that crowd.

I hope it sells soon. I’d like to have this finished.

Working around the house

April 25, 2012 by · Comments Off on Working around the house
Filed under: Happenings, House 

Last summer was a bit frenzied with the furniture delivery, and getting things organized. This spring, we actually have a lot more time, and have started getting the yard in shape. Last year it was water and mow. That was about it.  This year we’ve cleaned out the flower beds, and put down new mulch to get things looking better.

Now that it’s gotten warm here, the flowers are starting to bloom and we’ve added  some to the mix. They look great. The arbor

We also got a shepard’s staff to hang some more on in another corner of the yard.

The shepard's staff

Now that this is our house, we can do things like this. We thought back to all the places we’ve lived, and this is really one of the few times we’ve had a back yard to use and change to our liking. We’ve got more plans for later including a seating area in a shaded corner of the yard. That will really be the best part during the summer.