When It Rains, It Pours

You’ve heard the saying: When it rains, it pours. Or how about this one: One thing leads to another. Nowhere more is this true than in household repairs. First we had a roof leak. We had the leak fixed but not before it stained our living room ceiling. Since our roof tile was over 30 years old, we contracted for a new white barrel tile roof. This got done.

Meanwhile, an insurance adjuster came by and paid for our ceiling repair. These contractors are due to start tomorrow. We’ve spent a couple of days moving everything fragile or mobile out of the living room, dining room, and hallway since the men will be removing the popcorn ceiling and replacing it with knockdown. The bathroom also needs a makeover as water dripped through from the leak there, too.

So we are moving away my years-old crates of books from the dining room when we notice coffee ground size particles on the ceramic tile floor…and a few dead insects. And more particles sprinkled among the books. Lately, we’ve seen some flying insects around the light sources at night. Could this be where they are coming from? I call the termite guy, swallowing my dread that we might need the house tented next. I hope it’s drywall termites that can be spot treated. Otherwise, we may be in for more unpleasantness.

I really should get rid of those books in my never ending TBR pile. My Kindle and iPad are looking even more attractive, and my piles of print books less so. The pages are yellowing and who knows where I got them.

Speaking of yellowing, we’ve noticed a section of roof tile outside turning yellow. Could this be due to the black olive tree nearby whose leaves can stain? But they didn’t stain our previous white flat tile roof. Or is this section defective? I call the roof people. They’ll call back to schedule an inspection—I hope. They’ve been paid, so they have little incentive.

My husband suggests we cut down the black olive tree, and maybe our mature lychee tree along with it. They’re both too close to the house and rain dead leaves upon our gutters (that need a cleaning). The fruit on the lychee, which we’ve enjoyed for many years, is now too high to reach. And the tree’s roots are encroaching on the house.

Then there are the driveway and the pool that need renovations, and…the list goes on. Maybe we should call this the Homeowner’s Lament. I’m glad my Kindle free promotion is over so I can pay attention to these issues. It’ll be impossible to work anyway with people in the house tearing down the popcorn ceiling outside my office door.

What will we discover next? Are you sticking it out in your aging house or running to buy a condo?

Home for the Holidays


With Thanksgiving and the Holidays approaching rapidly, now is the time to straighten your house and clean out the clutter before festooning your living room with decorations and welcoming your guests.            


Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Dust Collectors: Make a list of all the items you want to get rid of in terms of furniture, memorabilia, paintings, and knickknacks sitting idly on your shelves. Write down descriptions and the prices you’d like to receive. If necessary, take digital photos. Then decide if you want to put them on eBay or Craigslist, have a yard sale, sell them on consignment at a local auction house, or donate them to a charity.

2. Photos, Slides, and VHS Tapes: Consider converting these into digital format. Re the photos, do you want to scan them onto a DVD, upload them to online storage, or scrapbook them into an album? It’s easier to sort your photos first by subject and then tackle one album at a time. Now’s the time to throw out duplicates and blurry pictures. Clear your drawers for other uses and save your heirs the job of sorting through this stuff later. Label the photos as you sort them. And how about slides and family videos of your early vacations or of the kids? Photo shops and places like Costco will convert your slides and VHS tapes onto DVD. Pay the price then toss the slides and tapes that take up too much room. Or buy a machine that will convert VHS to DVD in your home.

3. Clothing, Shoes, Handbags: Sift through your closet with a ruthless hand. Collect any clothing you haven’t worn in years and accessories you no longer favor. Donate them to a charity or hold a yard sale.

4. Files: Try to clear out those mounds of papers that collect everywhere. Tackle one pile at a time. Throw out items that are no longer relevant. File papers you want to keep for reference. Take care of things that need immediate attention. You’ll feel better when your home office or kitchen counter is more organized.

5. Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To You: What do you do about all the items in drawers and boxes that belong to your adult kids or spouse? Can you toss them without permission? If the item has any meaning to your loved one, don’t touch it. You wouldn’t like it if someone threw out your treasures, even if they held value to no one else. Remember the command: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. On the other hand, if you find a lot of old papers or letters, toys or tools, etc. that likely no one would miss, why not box the stuff and tell the owner you intend to toss the items. You’re giving him or her the option of sorting through them first. This makes the task less overwhelming by dividing it into small bundles to attack at a time.

6. Prepare For Company: Now that your house looks neater, and you’re ready to get out the decorations, there’s one more thing you have to do. Polish the Silver. Here’s a handy tip on getting your silver bright and shiny with little effort.   


Put the stopper in your kitchen sink drain. Line the sink with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Fill the basin with warm water. Dissolve 1/4 cup each salt and baking soda in water. Put in silver pieces. Let sit for a few minutes, then rotate. Sprinkle in more salt and baking soda as needed. When tarnish is gone, remove the item onto a clean towel and dry. If you wish, rub off stubborn spots with your favorite silver paste, rinse, and then buff with a dry cloth.