Contractors, ugh!!

I don’t understand why businesses don’t seem to actually want your business.  You offer a service.  I am willing to pay for it.  Isn’t that how it works?  My goodness.  This is our third time dealing with contractors.  None of those experiences were pleasant, and ended in a lot of unfinished and poorly done work.  Now that we’re renovating the old house to move into, we’re trying to get a few estimates.  We had four scheduled this week.

Monday at 12:30pm.  The guy did not show up.  Didn’t answer texts or phone calls.  As of Thursday, we still haven’t heard back from that company.

Monday at 5:30pm.  The guy showed up early at 5:05pm and spent two hours going through the house.  Measuring, taking notes, offering up more affordable options.  THANK YOU!  Finally someone decent.  And he did some work for my mother in law last year, so I know his work is good.  He’ll have a quote to us early next week.

Tuesday at 2pm.  No show.  No communication.

Tuesday at 5pm.  DH called to confirm, and the guy said he was running late, so it’d be closer to 6:30pm.  No problem.  6:25pm he calls to say he can’t make it, and reschedules for the next day.  Wednesday at 5:30pm, he showed up.  Also very detailed.  He was nice.  Will have quote end of this week or early next week.

Whenever we have work done, I always like to get at least 3 quotes to compare.  That’s why we scheduled 4 companies.  Only 2 showed.  We decided to call a few more companies.

One hung up on DH.  He called back and they hung up on him again.  Not sure how this company has a 5 star Google/Yelp rating!!

One can’t come out for an estimate until June 25th…!?

Another said “he don’t do remodel no more” but would have his friend call us who did.  No calls yet.

And we left voicemails for 3 others who have yet to return our calls.

It’s just amazing how hard it is to HIRE a company!!

As far as the old house goes, we’re looking at $30,000 in renovations.  It’s a full gut job.  Even needs a whole new kitchen.  We looked at IKEA, but we dealt with them last time, and it was a nightmare.  I found Modern Family Kitchens in Oregon, who are pretty affordable.  But in the end I think we’re going with Lowes.  They have a new line of in stock preassembled cabinets in a variety of nice finishes.  Since this isn’t our forever house, it’s a better plan to keep it cheap.  We’re hoping to save the existing granite counter tops.

Assuming we can get anyone to show up for the job.  Is it like this everywhere!?  Frustrating.

Preparing to Move

It’s been 3 days since DH approached me with this idea and we’re now full swing into making sh*t happen!  We’re not moving out of state (yet) and we’re not selling the old house.  We’re selling our current house and moving back into the old house!

Relative renter is leaving in July.  (100% for sure!)  We did a walk through of the property two days ago and it needs a lot of love.  I should back up and explain the real estate market side of things.

We were expecting the old house to sell for $110k-ish.  It appraised in the mid $160s!  If it were fixed up, we could get $200-$225k.  I bought this place for $35k, and put in about $20k originally to fix it up.  Our current home will hit the market for about $450-$500k.  We bought this place with cash (for around $200k), it has more than doubled in value.

DH is concerned about a housing market collapse like 2008.  With all the loan forbearance’s happening, many people are not reading their banks fine print.  Not all banks are doing deferments, where they extend the life of your loan.  Instead, come July, they’ll expect 4 months worth of mortgage payments in a lump sum.  That’s going to mess a lot of people up.  Who knows what will happen.

Basically, we don’t want to lose our money.  If the market collapses, we’d lose all our cash with this house, but wouldn’t face a loss on the old one at all.  We looked elsewhere around town to move somewhere cheaper, and prices are all $300k and up if you want a decent school system.  DH figured why bother?!  We can cut our expenses in half by moving back to our old house.

Old House vs This House

  • Property Taxes: $1200 vs $4200
  • Homeowners Insurance: $800 vs $2000
  • Utilities: $300 at most vs over $800 some summers

Old house = BIG savings!  Plus I loved that place.  The decision to move several years ago about made abruptly, that’s a long story though.  Mother in law will be finding her own place.  DH has already discussed it with her, and shockingly, she agreed it’s a solid plan.

This plan will put money in the bank.  Once we’re ready to make the leap out of state, we’ll sell the old house, and have plenty of money to take a risk if DH doesn’t have a job prior to moving.  I also intend on starting trusts for the kids.

The biggest con is that we have to renovate the entire house.  Again.  Even the kitchen.  During our walkthrough we noticed all the bottom cabinets have been destroyed (animals – urine and chewing).  All new flooring, possibly subfloors, window sills, interior and exterior doors, etc.  Sigh.  But we can do it.  Our timeline isn’t exact, but we HOPE:

  • May:  Get quotes from contractors.  Clean out current house.
  • June: Get this house on the market.  Real estate agent estimates 30-60 days for this price range.
  • July: Renter moves out, renovation begins.
  • August: MOVE!

Although depending on contractors, it could be fall before we move.  Honestly that’s the most stressful part.  Finding a decent contractor.  I hate to say it, but they mostly seem lazy, undependable, and greedy.  So we’re being careful and shopping around.

We had a large dumpster delivered to our current home on Monday and we’ve been busy filling it up.  I’ve sold some furniture on Craigslist, and to a few friends.  We’ll have a lot more to sell off the closer we get to moving, because some of our furniture won’t fit into the old house.

That’s our big news for now.  We haven’t told anyone except MIL.  I don’t even care what my family has to say.  I’ve barely spoken to them in two months now.  Since it was *my* fault about the DNA link LOL….

This and That

I am glad it’s Friday.  This “homeschool” thing is not for me.  Perhaps if my youngest was older, it would be more bearable.  But entertaining and attempting to educate a 4 year old?  No thanks.  Kudos to the teachers who enjoy doing that, and doing it successfully!

On Monday the 4 y/o was crying hysterically about his foot.  Couldn’t walk on it at all.  We iced it, which seemed to help.  Tuesday, same thing.  I called his orthopedic, where the scheduler told me to go to the local ER.  Ha!  Are you crazy?!  No way!  We got an appointment for Thursday.  After x-rays, he was diagnosed with Kohler’s Disease.  One more thing to add to his chart, but at least he should outgrow this in 2-5 years.  Now he’s sporting a boot on that foot for a few weeks.

The credit card mess is still a mess.  I received my new card in the mail, but I still have that $5500 balance transfer on my account.  I don’t know what’s so hard about canceling that and returning it to wherever it came from.

DH’s business is doing well, but Amazon put a halt on all non-essential FBA items.  This means he cannot restock or send in new products.  We received the 4,000 pieces of new product a day before Amazon halted FBA shipments.  What terrible timing.  Now I have product all over my dining room, plus the kids school, plus products from my Etsy shop.  It’s crazy over here!  I tried to help DH and his friend’s business by setting up a shopify website, and doing Fulfillment by Merchant of Amazon.  It’s working, but slowly.  Starting a business just before a pandemic certainly wasn’t a smart move, not that we had predicted it lol.

The one upside of everyone being forced to stay home, is that there is a lot of online shopping happening.  This has a been a huge boost to my Etsy shop!  I’ve already made more in 2020 than I did in all of 2019!  Very thankful for this boost is income.

Oh!  And the most exciting news to share:  I HAVE A BUYER FOR THE OLD HOUSE!!!  The one that relative renter is still in.  I thought it would appraised in the $130’s.  I know it needs some work, and hoped to get $110k for it.  Well my real estate agent came back and told me it’s in the mid-$160’s as-is and would be closer to $200k if it didn’t need work!  I was shocked.  I paid $35k for this house back in 2011.  DH’s friend, and business partner, wants the house.  We already did a walk-through, and discussed numbers.  I’m willing to make a deal just to get it gone without having to dump $10,000+ into repairs (like flooring, paint, trim, etc.). The work needed is cosmetic.  Plumbing, septic, well pump, HVAC, roof – all the important stuff is nearly brand new.

On top of this exciting news, the guy buying (close friend of ours, actually lived with us at that house many years ago) wants to use my realtor.  She’s cutting the fee’s to 2% since she doesn’t have to market it or find buyers.  Big savings for me there too.

The timeline is a bit up in the air, but the goal is to close by fall.  Which works out perfectly.  What a relief it will be to get rid of that house once and for all, but still keep it “in the family”.  I sure miss it.  I’d move back if DH wasn’t against it lol.

Credit Card Fraud

Hulu was pestering me to update my credit card on file.  I have an Ebates – Rakuten now, ugh! – credit card that I use for auto billing since I get cash back.  I received my new card last month when they changed the name, and figured I hadn’t updated.  When I tried to submit the new card info it kept being declined.

I logged into my account and there was a notice that my account has been closed, and a new one open, and there was a balance transfer of $5500 into the new account.  WHAT!!  My card had been compromised.  Now I have alerts set up on this card.  I get a text for every thing.  Daily balance, purchases over $20, due date, etc.

Now imagine my surprise when I check my account information and see that it’s been altered.  My email, password, and phone number are all the same.  But my address was changed to somewhere in Ohio.  I took a screenshot of this address, and was able to find the people that reside there.  I immediately called the credit card company and they were so dumb.  Also, I never received a SINGLE notification about this.  And my text and email alerts are on!!

They said I reported the card as stolen on their website.  No I didn’t.  And when I did that, I changed my address.  No I didn’t.  And why on earth wouldn’t that set off some red flags?  Well they sent a new card with the new account to that Ohio address!!  I had to tell them a thousands time I do not live in Ohio, I did not change my address, I did not report my card lost/stolen.  So they canceled that card and account, and started another.  I’ll have a replacement card in 10-15 days.  Then I asked about the balance transfer.  Well this made for being transferred through 3 more reps!

In the end they need to “investigate” and it could take “30-45 days” and until then I am responsible for making the minimum payments on a balance that isn’t mine and was fraudulently placed on my account.  Oh and by the way, I love all my cash back since they closed the original account.  $165, gone.  I am livid!  Once this is handled, I’m canceling the card entirely.

I pulled my Equifax credit report just to check and all is good.  Ebates/Rakuten is already listed as a closed account on the report.  But nothing fishy on there.  I’ll pull another in 30 days, and the third around 90 days, just to be safe.

When I woke up yesterday I had an influx of emails from CBD stores with subscription plan confirmations.  Sure enough, they’re all located in Ohio.  So that was fun.  Unsubscribing and redoing passwords for all ten million accounts I have online.  I’m still ticked I wasn’t contacted at all.  Ridiculous.


Quarantine Life

School is officially closed for the remainder of the year, but we do have Digital Learning at home to continue.  I will never again complain about short summers.  I am so ready to send their butts back to school.  Also, teachers deserve an NFL worthy salary for all they do!  We’re on spring break this week, which is nice, I needed the mental break.

Quarantine isn’t much of an adjustment for me.  I’m a homebody.  DH is an “essential” worker, and received a $300 hazard pay bonus (lol), and a $2/hr increase for the month of April.  He’s working with a skeleton crew, which has been stressful.  But we are thankful he is still working and receiving a paycheck.

I used Instacart for the second time and didn’t have a great experience.  She didn’t notify me of item limits, then left the bags of groceries on top of DH’s car in the driveway!?!?  How random is that.  I tipped 20% on the app and had an extra $10 waiting by the door for delivery.  Kroger has limits of 3 items per person, so I’m not sure why I only got 1.  DH ran back and got the rest, plenty in stock.  Still cannot find toilet paper, we should be set for a few more weeks though.  And diet coke is very hard to find too!  (Should quit!)  Anyway, I know many people are out of jobs, picking up these side hustles to make ends meet, so I left my 20% tip and gave 5 stars.  Overall not a big deal, just strange.

As for the whole DNA issue from my previous entry.  Sigh.  We met with our mom.  (And before anyone jumps on me about going over there, my sisters and I have been safely quarantined for over a month now.)  I couldn’t wait until Saturday, so my sister drove in on Tuesday, and we went to moms.  Mom admitted that my dad is not our biological father.  It is the family friend from my childhood.  I knew it.  She was very hesitant to answer any questions and was obviously holding back a lot.

My sister and mom are adamantly against me reaching out to my half brother (there are 3!!), but as far as I’m concerned, that’s MY choice.  Not theirs.  I’m a bit upset about all this, because I have spent the last five years researching my paternal ancestry to help find a genetic link for my youngest son’s special needs.  My mother knew this.  She knew this for five years and not once told me.  Makes me so angry.  I was okay with the news.  It wasn’t a “big deal” to me.  My dad will always be my dad.  But as the days have passed, I can tell I am struggling.  I am struggling to know who I am, what I missed out on, knowing my real father better.  The fact that he seemed to die alone bothers me immensely.  I’m in touch with two half-brothers right now, who have been amazing, and forthcoming with details and answering my questions.  I can’t quite explain it, but we mesh so well, and have a lot in common.

My mother and sister have not spoken to me since that Tuesday night.  I am fine with that.  I need space to process this and deal with it on my own.   I’m sure they’re expecting me to host an Easter dinner, and I can assure you that isn’t happening.

It’s funny.  I’ve told DH for years that I just feel like something went wrong in my life.  Maybe something in my childhood, something missing, I couldn’t describe it well.  It’s just a gut feeling I’ve always battled.  A hole if you will.  And this news.  This makes things make so much sense for me.  I feel like I missed out on being in a family of people like me.  It’s a hard reality, but I’m dealing with it.

When DNA Hands You Lemons…

Do you make lemonade?

It’s after 2am and I’m sitting here in the dark in my living room.  My mind racing.  I tossed and turned when I tried to go to bed.  DH hasn’t noticed I left.  I tried to distract myself with some games on my phone, but it wasn’t helping.

Several years ago, after my father died, my entire family did the DNA tests to research our family tree.  This became especially important to me after my son was born with special needs, that are likely genetic.  In five years, it’s been a battle to get any information on my father’s side.  He was an only child.  Both parents gone.  Oddly enough, I didn’t match up with anyone in his family on Ancestry, but my youngest sister did.  (Funnily enough, my youngest sister also popped up as a “1st/2nd cousin/half-sibling” result, while my other sister is 100% sibling.  We laughed about that, didn’t think twice about it.  That was in 2017 when we original had our results come back.)  Can you see where this is going?

Two days ago I received an Ancestry update.  I had a new DNA match.  I logged in and before my eyes was a name I recognized, but not as family.  This was a family friend I grew up with as a child.  We had matched as “1st cousin/half-sibling” with higher matching numbers than my younger sister and myself and other sister.  This was odd.  Very, very odd.  His father was a family friend for many years, we spent a lot of time with him, especially during summers.  I called my mother to ask and she played dumb.  Within 10 minutes I knew I was on to something.  I reached out to this family friend to confirm it was in fact the person I was thinking it was.

I started a group text with the family asking if anyone else got results.  My sisters were responsive.  My mom ignored all texts.

Yesterday I received a response, it was who I thought.  I called my mother again.  She was like “that’s strange, your dad was an only child, I wonder if so&so had a brother or sister?”  Then the tone completely changed.  She was sighing heavily, upset, and I knew I struck a nerve.  I asked if she was feeling okay, anything wrong?  “I can’t talk right now.”  Why not?  Are you okay?  You can talk to me.  “I just can’t talk about this on the phone.  I’ll call you later.”  And she hung up on me.  A few hours later I sent a text, which she ignored.

Anyway.  Every thing came to a head last night.  My mother continued to ignore us.  My sister got concerned and called my aunt to see if she had heard from her.  She had, she was fine.  Then we immediately get a text from my mother:  “Please stop calling”.  My sisters lost it, concerned.  They didn’t know what I knew yet.  Despite having all the information laid out in front of them, neither connected the dots.

My youngest sister went over to check on my mother.  She refused to answer the door for 20 minutes.  Mom said she thought it was me.  How nice!  Well mom and younger sister had a tough talk and my gut was right.  My father, the only one I knew, who raised me, did every thing, is not my biological father.  Not only that, but my middle sister, who is 4 years younger, is also not his.  Only my youngest sister.

My mother still has not talked to us.  She doesn’t want us to hate her.  We don’t.  But we have questions!  We’ve arranged a family dinner for Saturday.  I’m not a fan of the wait, but it’ll have to do.  I was numb to the information.  No matter what, my dad will ALWAYS be MY dad and my kids grandfather.  Period.  But now that this news is sinking in?  I have so many questions.  This man was a part of my life, for a long time.  Unfortunately he passed away in the early 2000’s.  I also have half-siblings out there who don’t know about us.

In the grand scheme of life, nothing changes.  My father is deceased, my biological father is deceased.  They were both only children.  The half-siblings could be a change, if told.  But other than that, all that changes, is my paternal side research.   My mother was so excited to do these DNA tests.  I suspect she wanted us to know this information, but didn’t want to come out and tell us.  My sister is taking it hard.  I dug through my pictures, and found several of this man.  She is the spitting image of him, and I definitely see myself.  DH was shocked too, saying I looked exactly like him.

It’s April Fool’s day.  And I wish this was a prank.  I know this is hard for my mother, but I do hope when she finally talks to us, it’s a weight/burden lifted.  And while this doesn’t change much, I can definitely say it explains a lot about myself.   So be careful doing those DNA family tree’s.  You may just be in for a shock.  We’ll see how well I’m handling it after Saturday.

Other than that traumatic update, we’re still quarantined.  DH is working, as he is “essential”.  Kids are homeschooling, which is exhausting.  Teacher’s deserve NFL salaries!!  They’re suppose to go back end of April, but I think the school year will be canceled entirely.  Stay well everyone.

The COVID-19 Life

We are healthy, and thankful to be so.  More cases popping up in our state, and a couple dozen deaths reported.  I survived my first week of homeschooling the kids (ages 4 & 9.) . While it started off a bit rocky, by Thursday we had our routine set, and have all enjoyed it for the most part.  My 9 year old loves homeschooling, and how fast he can do his work without classroom distractions, or teachers slowing down to help other kids catch up.

My 4 year old is high-energy and sensory-seeking, which is mainly what made Monday-Wednesday a bit complicated.  But I added specific activities for him and downloaded the IXL app on his tablet, and he’s thriving in the homeschool environment now.

Of course, most the credit goes out to the amazing teachers both my boys have.  They’ve put a lot of effort into getting us the curriculum, keeping us updated, being in direct communication, and even having virtual classes through Zoom.   The experience has been, surprisingly, very positive for my family.

DH is still working, although a lot of coworkers have started to call out as “sick” or “exposed” to COVID-19.  It won’t be long until there are only a handful of workers left, and it’ll be pointless to be open.  We know so many people who were just temporarily laid off, it’s awful.  My sister is a GM at a restaurant and was “let go” until further notice.  No pay, cannot use sick or vacation time.  I know her stress level is through the roof.

Other than the homeschooling, and employment unknowns, life is basically the same for us.  We’re homebodies.  We like to be home.  Our kids like the be home.  No one is whining about being bored and restless.  For once being an introverted homebody is paying off.  I know my friends and family, mostly extroverts, are losing their minds being stuck at home.  I’ll be honest, it’s kind of nice not having to come up with an excuse to not be social, haha.  🙂

How are you all coping?  Bored out of your mind?  Enjoying the social distancing?