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Archive for October, 2007

In G&d we didn't trust

October 31st, 2007 at 09:30 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk (noshed on the other half of the footlong for lunch)

More wheels in motion - two days ago I got a call from the administrator of grandma's trust, as did sister. Sister called back and was told that even being named in the trust she couldn't view it or know who else is named in the trust.

Well, that set her off again. Might just as well toss a red cape in front of a bull. I got a disjointed email and a sentence fragment "would email lawyer." Little did I know that she failed to write the word "you" as in "would you email lawyer".

I emailed back asking "what is your goal in all this?" I told her my goal in this which was "I want to receive what grandma wanted to give to me when she was of sound mind and body."

Sister called me at work today, and agreed with my goal. Then she asked me if I had emailed her lawyer.

I said, "Huh?"
Sister said, "But you would write it so well - it sounds reasonable. Me, I would sound like I'm ranting."

So I got down to writing sister's lawyer, and I'll send a copy to lawyer friend. Basically what it boils down to is that we are a bit suspicious of the cousin who made the trust. We don't know if he has a conflict of interest, when the trust was done, why the secrecy.

We'll be inheritance experts soon. We'll have seen everything.

goth potato salad

October 30th, 2007 at 09:17 pm

So first a pic - it disappeared completely during the potluck.


Now the recipe

Goth Potato Salad

2 lb purple fingerling potatoes (nice and small)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/3 jar of sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil from sun dried tomatoes
2 handfuls whole pecans
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c pesto
salt, pepper

Clean the skins of purple potatoes. Do not peel, do not poke. Steam potatoes covered, without allowing them to touch the level of boiling, salted water. I set up a colander with the potatoes over the boiling water and put a lid on the top. Potatoes are done when a fork can pierce them.

Allow potatoes to cool, do not splash water on them to cool them down. They will continue to cook a bit. Cut potatoes into bite-sized pieces.

Add chopped onions, sun dried tomatoes, and pecans to potatoes. Add the olive oil from the tomatoes to coat and gently toss.

Mix pesto with 2 tbsp olive oil, thining to a creamy consistency. Add pesto to potatoes, gently toss.

Salt and pepper to taste.

it begins again

October 29th, 2007 at 07:10 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $6 lunch (2 day footlong sub)

So it begins again. Tonight I got a call from the cousin's lawyer. In a couple of days, paperwork from grandma's trust will arrive.

I got a letter on Saturday from my bank that I've stashed 2 CDs in. Apparently they hadn't gotten the signed paperwork yet on the second CD. I called today about it, the rep told me that it is possible that it might be part of the backlog. I'll take a look and call you back she said. Thirty minutes later, the rep called back and told me it was there.

Fall pics

October 28th, 2007 at 06:32 pm

To give myself a little break from the kvetching. Fall is here, the bus rides are getting darker and darker, but the views are atmospheric!

From a stopped bus off the Ballard Bridge at bit after sunset.


Mid day in Occidental Park - the tree leaves obscure Smith Tower. In the early 20th century, Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi.


Benaroya Hall in the early evening. Blurry, but I just loved the purple lit windows.


A neighbor got into the holiday spirit.


Last night DH and I went to a Halloween Party - I didn't do much in the costume department, just sprayed some green hairspray in my hair and smeared some fake blood on my face. Total cost - $2. Bought nuts for the potluck tray - $10.

thanks, drunks

October 28th, 2007 at 06:28 pm

So I saw this in the Seattle Times Real Estate section:
http://tinyurl.com/yw3zlu
about how my neighborhood is "warm" in terms of real estate. I have only three things to say -

1. Please let the Seattle real estate market dive. I mean it. It'll happen, it just has to hurry up, chop chop!

2. Shut up. If you figure out that Greenwood's a great place by yourself, fine. If you have to be told by the Seattle Times (or hell, by me!) that its a great place, we don't want ya!

3. Thank G&d for the drunks. Saw a serious one this afternoon. Thank you - you scare the tourists and the real estate speculators (kinda). I use The Baronof as a canary. When it goes, Greenwood turns upscale.

bad door hygiene

October 26th, 2007 at 08:37 pm

Saving log - $6 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $6.50 lunch

Work was on the snoozy side today, so snoozy that we had a debate about whether daylight saving was this weekend or next.

Next, it turns out.

Been noticing, strangely enough, all the "No Public Restroom" paper signs on all the local businesses. Don't know if they've always been there and I've only recently gotten a clue, or they're new. The paper looks fresh, FWIW.

I've also been noticing safety lately. I work on the southern end of downtown, a bit north of Pioneer Square. Now with the days getting shorter, the nights getting longer and I work a bit later and get to the gym on Sundays, what I've seen has put me on my guard a bit. Two incidents.

1. An older, larger woman was testing out our front doors after hours on the weekday. I was about to open the front door to leave when I saw her. She asked me through the crack of the door whether there's a pay phone. No, I said. And then I stood there, and she stood there for about 15 seconds. Like I'm going to open the door. She sighed, turned, and left, and that's when I opened the door.

2. I was stopping over at work to unload before gym on Sunday. I spotted a guy in his early 40s testing our doors. I wasn't about to unlock the door; instead I walked past with a purposeful stride, then turned to see what he was doing. Yes, testing the door I was about to use. I walked slowly away, watching, until he crossed the street, then I looped back and unlocked the door.

It seems like over half of my coworkers have bad door hygiene. We have key cards for after hours (not a key), and 15 ft tall, heavy brass double doors that look like they take more work to open than they do. Most people use the key card, then love to open the door using the blue handicapped button, flinging both brass doors wide open for 15 seconds. That would be a very long opportunistic 15 seconds if someone was testing the doors.

Cripes, I feel so cynical, but geez, what's not to like about opening the door the regular way? Safety and a little upper body strength. How we've escaped having something horrible happen is anyone's guess.

cabin for farmette

October 24th, 2007 at 10:22 pm

Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + 12$ lunch $2 fruit + $21 "happy hour"

Deposited $49 from the tip box to my bank - a good haul. Unfortunately, I managed to spend nearly $40 in the blink of an eye. Two drinks and snacks during happy hour just kills frugality. Liquor really kills any ability to save money. I just have to be thankful I had $25 to spend and no thought of pulling out plastic to dig myself in deeper.

Since DH has access to his family's cabin in Montana and I have access to the farmette near EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) in Wisconsin, DH and I thought to arrange a trade - sister and her partner could come and visit Montana, and the BIL, a pilot, could use the farmette and visit EAA.

All parties contacted were very agreeable, but it was very interesting that DH's sister and my sister had very similar reactions - DH's sister was thrilled, but asked to remind everyone that the cabin's very primitive w/outhouse, no electricity, etc, while my sister mentioned the bathroom, the kitchen floor, no air conditioning and the fact that they might be sleeping in the same bed that dad died in, but heck...it's free.

Out of everyone, I'm the only person's who has visited both places, tee hee. They're both comparable - each is not for everyone, but for the adventurous, each would give you something to talk about for years.

sanity > 6K

October 23rd, 2007 at 08:57 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk

Gnawed on the footlong for the second day so I saved money on lunch. DJ friend did tempt me - he was interested in the 2 for 1 deal at the local indian restaurant.

Spent 101$ on a fall coat, a tote, and scarfy-earmuff thingee. Gearing up for fall/winter. Seattle rarely has a midwest style winter, but it does get cold, rainy, and dreary. I'll use what I buy.

Today, though, it was a beautiful day with blue sky, and freakishly warm - in the mid 70s.

Duvall friend is applying for another job - her boss is driving her insane. She fretted a bit about the loss of 6K of income should she get the job...but sanity should be worth more than 6K! I'll find out more about how her interview went this weekend, we might be picking up an actual blueberry bush.

eensy weensy spider

October 22nd, 2007 at 08:16 pm

Saving log - 0$
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $6.50 lunch (footlong to nosh on for two days)

So lately watching my stocks and 403Bs is like playing eensy weensy spider over and over. Spider is at the top of the waterspout (last Thursday), the rains came (Friday) and washed the spider out, and now the spider's crawling back (Monday). I've got to stop monitoring it so much.

This Halloween my ambition is just not into the costume. I might just put a big fake blood spot on my forehead and call it a day. The Halloween potluck, on the other hand, I'm ambitious about. Go figure.

I'm working on a dark "Goth" potato salad - with purple potatoes, beets, red onion, pecan (walnuts weren't dark enough) dressed with olive oil and a bit of pesto. In other words, if you dribble, it will stain.. Big Grin So far, the only way I've found to keep the purpliness is to get small, deep purple fingerling potatoes and steam them making sure that no potato touches the boiling water. Boiling liquid just kills the purple.

wait a minute

October 20th, 2007 at 06:00 pm

Not much has happened in the last two days. Played poker and lost. The company's fun, but not for every weekend, just once in awhile.

Lawyer friend and I are planning his lunch. I promised him lunch as payment for informal lawyerly help during dad's probate. Now that the second property has been sold, lawyer friend got hungry.

A wind and rainstorm hit, and now only green and brown leaves are left on the trees.

Today I bought a few groceries, keeping an eye on the register. "Wait a minute, I thought that..." I said. It turns out that some linguine I bought had been mistakenly set up as an end cap display, so mistakenly set as 50%. I got the mistaken price, but it gets one to thinking ... what is the most dollar-saving thing you've said?

"Wait a minute, I thought that," politely said, is mine.

lie about it

October 18th, 2007 at 07:27 pm

Thursday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $4 lunch

Wednesday
Saving log - $1 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $15 lunch

The hold on the 95K dug a bit deeper - I tried to send money to me to pay a credit card and to sister and couldn't do it. This time I called and sent an email. They will unblock at the end of the week. It was a security issue - the system thought the transactions looked funny, so close to a deposit with a hold on it.

I asked the bank's customer service to send the checks by physical mail. I'll see how long it takes to the electronic - electronic so far takes 4 days.

Today our HR at work unveiled the market research data - the average person working at my job (or jobs like mine) makes about 14% more, so I can expect a few more payraises in the next few years, which means that setting the 403B at 15% ensures raises there also.

I still do gym. My weight has been rising again - its at 190. Sigh. However, my new clothes fit better than they did 6 months ago. Go figure. We did the tape, something we haven't done in awhile - I lost .5 inch off the hips, .25 inch off each arm, and 1.5 inch off the waist. I'll just have to lose weight the old fashioned way: lie about it.

be like the fern, subtle and sneaky

October 16th, 2007 at 07:34 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $1.16 coffee + $8 lunch

I wonder how many people walking up or down the Cherry Street hill between 2nd and 3rd Ave past the parking garage ever noticed the fern growing out of the side of the building? Thinking about all the nasty paint and the shade the fern has to deal with, wow, its amazing its here and looking good.


This morning, I used the restroom, which meant washing my hands, which meant either wiping down the massive puddles around the rim of the sink and the counter, or ignore them completely. I've been wiping down the sinks and counters, but man, I'm just sick of it. This is what I did:

1. Wrote this on a PostIt note in tiny lettering -

"If you can read this -
You probably now have a line of soapy water cutting across your pants.
Please wipe down the counter when you are done."

2. Attached said PostIt eye level onto the mirror.

Went back to the bathroom at 5 pm. No PostIt but the counters were dry. I'm considering it a win.

quick on the uptake

October 15th, 2007 at 09:00 pm

Saving log - $8 tip box
Spending log - $1.16 coffee + $9 lunch

At noon, I went back to the bank to get rid of the non-sufficient fund fee, and talked to the training manager, who was doing customer service. I was armed with a printout about six weeks of transactions, which were mostly unnecessary - the guy remembered me from when I deposited the money. 95K makes you memorable, it appears.

As soon as I got to the 95K, he glanced at the paper and said, "oh, that NSF fee is so wrong, would you like me to reverse that for you?"

"I'd like that very much," I said.

We swapped stories about being reasonable to customer service in the face of weirdness. He liked my Nashville story http://baselle.savingadvice.com/2006/06/25/deep-frugal-part-...
Also told me that he has a speeding ticket to try to talk the judge down. I wished him luck.

Next time, he said, just call. No need to show up.

glorious weekend

October 14th, 2007 at 08:00 pm

Yesterday, on our way to the grocery shop, we drove past glorious autumn trees around Green Lake. Its very rare to see great fall color in Seattle - it mustn't rain if you want the trees to develop brilliant color.

Later, I walked around Green Lake with a camera in hand. Admission was free - it only cost me a few calories.

Cascade in gold.


The bluer water part of Green Lake. Many other places near the shore had algal mats, which aren't photogenic.


On the trail, colors turning. Green Lake is considered "Seattle's backyard". I overheard plenty of gossip, and if it wasn't in Russian, I might have had chance in understanding it.


Even the wildlife got into the gossip act. What were the ducks and turtles talking about anyway?


This tree's fully turned.


Just to let you know you are firmly in Seattle.

Saturday Seattle mystery

October 13th, 2007 at 10:52 pm

The Denny's that we ate at for the last year or so for a late Saturday breakfast is no more. That leaves us again with a quandary - where to go for a Saturday breakfast?

You see, on Saturday Seattle has far fewer breakfast spots than breakfast lovers - everywhere there is a line, places are packed. Its an annoying mystery - come on, we all can afford breakfasts - that flares up as a crisis. When the big windstorm hit on December and many folks living in hotels or in cold houses, one could literally drive all around Seattle to look for a place to eat that wasn't going to be an hour wait.

My thought is that most Seattle-ites grab a coffee and danish somewhere during the weekday, which means very few weekday full breakfasts which means that few breakfast spots are profitable during the week. Apparently we have the amount of breakfast sites that we deserve.

We went to the Library Cafe this morning. Nice enough and we got right in.

Yet another overdraft (NOT)

October 13th, 2007 at 10:16 pm

It looks like I will be employing the innocent missive to get rid of yet another overdraft $29 fee. This time its - ironically - the bank that I just put 95K into. I know how it happened, and it's totally inappropriate.

Step 1 - before I deposited the 95K, I had 16K, to use to pay sister in our joint account for farmette expenses.

Step 2 - deposited the 95K. Was told that the 95K, due to its size and that its out-of-state, that it will have a hold on it for 5 business days. Fine, I said.

Step 3 - actually Step 2a, because as I deposited the 95K, I said that I wanted to also put a piece of it into another CD. Great, they said, we'll mail you the paperwork so that we can send you on your way.

Well, I thought that meant that the CD would be created after I sent the paperwork. Well no, it was Step 4..

Step 4 - CD was created 2-3 business days, so with the hold, it gave me a negative account. Fine. And FYI, that's not when the fee was charged. It was charged during...

Step 5 - I sent 5K to my sister on the weekend after I deposited the 95K. After all, I did have 16K in an unheld account.

Well, what happened was that the 5K bounced because of Step 4, and that bounce generated the overdraft fee. Essentially what happened is that with the creation of the CD, all of my money was put on hold. That's inappropriate - I was told that only the 95K would be put on hold.

So its an innocent chat with the bank to get rid of the fee. I'm guessing that they will be reasonable - why charge me $29 when they have the use of, well, lots more?

So far this year the reasonable request using in-depth analysis has saved me twice - and what's with everyone charging $29?

got nothing

October 12th, 2007 at 08:11 pm

Saving log - $0 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $9 lunch

Not much happening here - just waiting for the Monday paycheck. I'll be running on financial fumes - $100 for the weekend. The Duvall friends have got our blueberry bushes. (We decided to get a couple and put them in kind of a secret corner of the back yard.)

Sister's lawyer sent both my sister and I so I asked in an email for a little clarification - did he split the bill in half, or is one just a copy?

Took the bus tunnel for the first time since it opened. Its geometry seems different, but that could be because I hadn't seen it for two years.

t-shirt month

October 11th, 2007 at 09:36 pm

Saving log - $3 tip box
Spending log - $7 lunch (for 2)

Had a free espresso drink card laying on my desk so I used that instead of the usual coffee and milk breakfast routine. Had the $3 in my wallet to put in the tip box.

DJ friend saved up a multitude of 2 for 1 cards at a new restaurant, so he organized an outing. Trouble is that when one friend accepted, he had to find another to keep it even. Smile A co worker didn't have the cash on him, so I bought the 2 for 1, plus tax and tip. He now owes me at least one.

Normally, I buy very few t-shirts; I get one every so often, so why bother buying? I hadn't gotten a t-shirt in about 2 years when today I got my third t-shirt in 3 weeks. Tomorrow, as a payment for some of my work on DJ friend's internet radio station (see links), I will get my 4th t-shirt. Weird how gifts run like that.

Schedule K-1

October 10th, 2007 at 07:55 pm

Saving log - $0
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk

Ate the other half of the sandwich I bought on Monday. These days a lot of people use the work refrigerator, but no one used the vegetable bin. Ha ha, score for a hiding place!

Last night I got the final piece of mail from the executors - a Schedule K-1. I'll have to look it up in the IRS site to see when and if its used. The letter stated that they filed a copy with the IRS, so we shouldn't. I suspect that it means that they've filed and paid so if I file and pay, I've paid twice.

Tonight I voted proxy as on one of my DRP stocks - M&I - is splitting off one of its subsidiaries into a new company - Metavante. If the split goes through, I get some additional Metavante stock.

wet tip jar

October 9th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

This is one of the more fascinating tip jars in Pioneer Square Seattle.


A few years ago, this coffee shop's tip jar was stolen regularly. The baristas came up with a novel solution: immerse the tips in water. It does cut down the desire. Water's heavy - you can't just grab the jar and flee - and who wants to stick wet money in his pocket?

Its just very interesting to see the tip money come out. The coins are easy - a quick wipe and they are dry. The bills have to be hung up along a line like the wash. And since dollar bills are 25% linen and 75% cotton, they are wash.

multi-cultural lunch

October 9th, 2007 at 09:05 pm

Saving log - $4 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk

Got bought and ate a Vietnamese lunch today with my Viet host, along with four other co workers, one from Thailand, one from the Philippines, and two of us mongrel WASP/Germans. Very fun and I learned of several new places to try around Seattle.

The three south asians all compared the consonants that each language didn't have and discussed intently the dishes they'd order.

I learned that pho (soup) is a breakfast food, although my host said, "we eat it for lunch and all the time."

Chopsticks are rarely used in Thailand - only for noodles in broth. I very much admire the pushing of food with a fork to a large spoon. Its a delicate, beautiful way of eating: a secondary cooking stage because you construct your spoonfuls.

I shared that it was interesting that the United States really took pho under its wing, while in Paris its bahn mi (bagette sandwich with pork pate and thin sliced pickled veggies).

And at the end of the meal as a digestive, my host and I ate 1 raw garlic clove, provided for by the restaurant.

I heard a rumor - which Wikipedia didn't confirm - that Ho Chi Minh studied pastry making with Escoffier. Fascinating what could have been.

unbloggably busy

October 8th, 2007 at 08:06 pm

Saving log - $2 tip box
Spending log - $1.84 coffee, milk + $7 lunch (footlong for two lunches) + $11.84 groceries

I was busy for the entire day, that kind of rushing around busy that isn't really exciting or financially descriptive - unbloggably busy, in other words.

Found out that in three weeks, the chiropractor is moving 3 blocks in the other direction. In other words, what would take me about 30 seconds would now take me about 5-10 minutes. Not horrible, its just going to take a bit of getting used to.

paper bag filing

October 7th, 2007 at 10:27 pm

Now to straighten out the last weird thing about the farmette (at least for now). Last Saturday, sister gave me a paper grocery bag of envelopes, proclaiming, "I am my father's daughter."

Yikes.

That night, I went through the bag, shucking envelopes like oysters. Many were closed, which was depressing. It turns out that about 40% of it was hers but had nothing to do with the farmette.

I sorted into four piles: statements from our farmette bank account, bills that are clearly farmette, incidental letters and info clearly farmette, sister's items.

I then made an excel workbook with three spreadsheets: costs, deposits, summary statement that linked the total costs and total deposits - the number is black if we are in the black, red if we have more bill than deposit. There were two transactions that I had to correlate with sister's checkbook.

This took me all of 45 minutes. We were in the black, the big assumption being that she put everything in the checkbook and the grocery bag.

"Could you at least get one of those file boxes with the handle? At least its swankier than the grocery bag." I chided.

I extracted a promise that sister would send me the spreadsheet, then tell me the totals of the bills so I update. It'll force her to open the mail. (Drat, I should have saved the spreadsheet on my flash drive.)

Man, that bugs me. Sister's not an accountant, doesn't 10-key, and doesn't do audits, but at least open the mail and tally your bills up with a calculator. I'm trying to figure out what sister's so afraid of. I'm worried that I contributed to it a bit by threatening to cut her off. But if you treat your bills like they are going down a rathole, then I have to assume that my money is going down the same rathole.

Money's complicated, but if you tackle it one thing at a time, its not bad. I was afraid, once, when I had more commitments than money. The first step is being able to face the bad news.

winds of doubt

October 6th, 2007 at 06:36 pm

Friday
Saving log - 3$ tip box
Spending log - 1.84$ coffee, milk + 7$ curry

I put $3 in my tip box for a later deposit, and deposited the $95,000 check in the bank. The $3 transaction was more satisfying to me as the $95,000 one. The 3$ transaction was all due to me, the $95,000 was the result of a long road. The proceeds of dad's estate are still unreal to me, as is now my new net worth. What to do with all that money? It would seem that I have an amount to do something good with, but definitely not enough to do nothing with. My ship has come in, all right, but its green sails are still powered by the winds of doubt.

Sister and her partner seem to have a plan for some of sister's share - they are interested in fixing up the farmette and using it as a weekend getaway. I was surprised to find out that sister's partner was especially happy with that, telling me that she found that she can really relax at the farmette. Sister's partner especially surprised me in telling me that sister is the frugal one, the one who trying to curb things, saying "we can't afford that" to projects, and not do everything at once.

But as for me, I'm not so interested in starting a business, have no kids to put through college, no strong desire to pursue holidays, toys, or hobbies. Retirement awaits, sure, but should everything have a 25 year time horizon? And if you don't have a habit for spending, you'll probably save and save and save even when you get into your 60s, all to create even more money for non-existant heirs.

Farmette tour pt 2

October 4th, 2007 at 09:14 pm

This is a little tour of the grounds, especially the pieces that now the Wisconsin Dept of Nat Resources (WIDNR) owns. Warning - lots of fields that all kinda look the same. You just can't make that composition interesting.

The zoning situation, in a sign.


This is due east. The clear area is now WIDNR to be restored to wetland. They've sprayed for weeds and have seeded.


This is southeast, taken from the road. The weeds are from the road. The soft gray area in the background is the WIDNR's previous purchase of our eastern neighbor's land 15 years ago. Its a sign of things to come.


From the south, through the weeds. The foreground weeds are all ours, BTW.


The property line between us and WIDNR cuts close to the solar panels. They have a bit of "our" pasture. We are on the left, WIDNR is on the right, and yes, it sure looks greener on that side. Big Grin


Sister in our weeds.


View from the southwest.


On the west edge, we discovered that our property line is about 10 ft farther than our fence line. So we own that 10 ft of grass past the fence. Its what caused that slightly increased acreage that freaked us out at the final step.


A picture of the corporate farm that sister despises. They were kind of interested in the property, but we were less interested in selling to them than to the WIDNR.


Fun shot of one of the barn kittens. He looks so much like my dead Augie that I just about cried.

Farmette tour pt 1 (very long)

October 4th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

I know you are curious, so as threatened, pictures of the farmette. These are shots of the house and barn. Warning - long, long, long, with lots o' pictures.

House - facing west. This is the side facing the barn, which we will see later. The foundation got recently fixed.


House - facing east. This is the side facing the garden and the property now owned by the Wisconsin Dept of Natural Resources. We'll see that later, too. We never ever used that porch.


This is the north side of the barn and the now fixed up milkhouse. The red barn door is now new, and there aren't many diamond windows around on barns these days. The house would be behind you and to your left.


Inside of the old shed on the east side of the barn - all you would do is take a few steps to the left of the previous picture. This old, 20 ft shed contained the old, copper-bottomed still my grandfather (father's side) used to make whiskey during Prohibition.


This is the south side of the barn. The barn is actually in the shape of an upside down U - The milk cows were generally led in the central courtyard before milking and went there during rainstorms. Nowadays, the solar panel stands proud on the left. Its generating power - kind of fun watching the inverter go in reverse, sending power back to the utility.


Close up of the three poles. We installed three poles in case sister and I wanted to install two more solar panels. Under the three poles lay a trenched copper cable which delivers the power to the farmette. In the background, the southwest corner of the house is peaking through the trees.


Close up shot of the back end of the solar panel.


Close up of the courtyard where the cows lay. The flooring - ahem, compost - is like scotch: very well aged.


This is the south west corner of the barn. That little blue-green thingee sticking out is the automatic manure spreader - how cow manure got out of the barn.


Grounds and fields next.

outclassed

October 3rd, 2007 at 08:25 pm

So I think that I'm doing well if I pick up a few dollars worth of quarters or in the case of a Milwaukee parking lot last Sunday, I picked up a stylus for DH's PDA (he loses that hardware a lot).

I'm hopelessly outclassed by sister's partner (DSP). Here's the story.

Sister and I were working on sister's laptop when DSP came by and asked if we would join her in walking the dogs. We said no and continued on with her laptop. FYI - it now starts a lot faster.

Thirty minutes later she comes back and says, "You should have come, it would have paid. Look what I found three steps from the porch."

She unfurled a $50 bill, which we later used at West End Pizza.

And last week she found three twenties and a couple of ones.

I run a coin rescue, DSP runs a bill rescue.

2nd property - finis

October 3rd, 2007 at 08:16 pm

Despite the fact that our second piece of property has to be rezoned entirely into agriculture, the State of Wisconsin mailed us our respective checks. I got a phone call this morning from sister.

$95,000.

So ends, finally, everything from dad's estate. Now we turn to grandma's estate.

Funny, non-financial story about grandma mentioned at the funeral. She had talked to the pastor a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that she had lived too long.

The pastor replied, "it beats the alternative."
Grandma retorted, "I wouldn't know, I haven't tried the alternative yet."

We are talking the funny, witty, sometimes mean side of the family. If you find yourself re-reading this blog and laughing every so often, I attribute that entirely to that side of the family.

back from Wisconsin

October 2nd, 2007 at 09:31 pm

A quick entry. Here's the itinerary:

Friday - at work, stitching things up, and getting bereavement time.

Saturday - flying out using Midwest Air. All about the warm cookies, apparently, which I got two of, but the real treat was the ability to fly directly to Milwaukee. First night with sister and sister's partner. A highlight (NOT) - sister put all the farmette financial statements in a paper bag. Sigh.

Sunday - I'm put to work at the now farmette near Oshkosh, taking pictures, hearing plans, and later harvesting squash. It was in the high 70s and I got eaten by flies and mosquitoes on the last day of September. Yes, George, global warming does exist. A pizza dinner at West End Pizza in Oshkosh. Proust had his memories activated by a madeleine dipped in tea; I have mine with West End Pizza cut in squares and a couple of glasses from a pitcher of beer.

Monday - At the farmette again before grandma's funeral and wake to measure curtains. Grandma had an open casket for private viewing - sister, sister's partner, me, cousin, cousin's wife. She was buried in what she wanted - peacefully, in her pajamas and pink bathrobe. The funeral itself was closed casket, with a dinner for the funeral party at her and grandpa's favorite supper club. Had a brandy old fashioned with extra bitters in honor of my grandma.

Tuesday - Flying out again.

More tomorrow.