Category Archives: House and home

Oy – major purchases are not what they used to be

There it was, waiting for me on the front stoop as I pulled into the driveway.

It’s big.

It’s green.

I needed to put it together. We’re going to be spending lots of time together.

It’s a lawnmower.

With all the deliberation that one uses to purchase an automobile, I finally decided to buy a manual (as in no gas – people propelled) mower. A push mower, as it is. No gas, no fumes, no messing with a motor. Just like the Beaver and Wally used to use.

Well, sort of.

They’ve come a long way. They’re lighter, to start with. And easy to maintain.

And, gosh-darn-it, easy to use.

And major kudos to the folks at Amazon. I ordered it Tuesday. It qualified for super saver shipping, which supposedly is the slowest. In the spirit of saving money, I went for the free shipping, not worrying about how fast it would get here. I mean, how quickly do I want to start mowing anyway?

It shipped Wednesday.

It got here today.

Glad I didn’t spring for next-day shipping.

I had to put it together, which went very quickly, even though the directions weren’t laid out well. I couldn’t find the part that told me how to actually attach the handle to the mower, so I found a photo that showed me where it went. I’d say it took me 10 minutes to assemble it.

Then, of course, I had to take it outside to try it out.

I was kind of excited. A little worried I’d look ridiculous.

So I went in the backyard, where it’s less likely that I’ll be witnessed.

I pushed it in the corner of the yard, where it’s kind of sparse anyway.

It makes a kind of zen (seriously) sound. The noise is the blades scraping against the cutting deck, or something like that. No motor sound.

After I did the little corner, I thought, well, let’s go for it.

Less than an hour later I was in the house making dinner. And the entire backyard was mowed.

Tomorrow I’ll do the front.

And I will have saved $35.00, which is what I was paying the lawn service every week. And not contributed to destroying the environment.

I guess I’ve come pretty far from someone who, in October 2008, bought a bookcase simply because it featured the magic words, “no assembly required.”



Filed under House and home

Numbers are numbers

“Oh, mom, I’m so sorry. Do you want to get another opinion?” Older daughter asked.

The good news is that the second opinion of which she spoke would not have been from a medical professional. By the way – did you know that now you can get same-day results from a mammogram? Sorry for the digression, but it was SO worth making the hour appointment to hear “come back next year” at the end. And I got some serious reading in while I waited (Caught by Harlen Cobin – awesome!).

Anyway; the “I’m so sorry” was the result of my conversation with a real estate professional, who, with numbers in a pretty binder at hand, gave me the bad news.

He might as well have said, “Ms. Coffee; you are the only person who gets a house in a divorce and gets screwed.”


The house I “got” is nothing but a big ole’ worthless lump of debt, at the moment. And, if it’s not “underwater,” it sure as hell is treading it.

My first inclination was so say I would suck it up, take the lumps and sell it, even at a loss.

But that’s dumb.

I mean, I’m fortunate that I don’t have to sell it; I just had a lot of great work done on it, and there’s no reason I can’t stay.

Except that I don’t wanna.

All year I focused on “moving out and moving on,” and now that doesn’t seem possible. Or even remotely intelligent.

So, it looks as if selling the house is not going to be in my immediate future.

Change direction…again.

Now – to figure out what to do to the house to continue to put my stamp on it, and hopefully, make it really outstanding, so that, when I do put it on the market, it wows any potential buyer.

Once again, a bump in the road.

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Filed under House and home