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Moving Again, Taking a Time Out

screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-10-32-52-amI began this blog with the hope of sharing my gardening experience, like so many normal people do.  But I am not normal.  Or should I say, my life is not normal.  By this time, I am probably a little off my rocker as well.

After closing on my new home just the other day, (it was delayed because of Hurricane Matthew, which didn’t surprise me a bit) I now have to face moving again.  I am not young.  There is a household of items to move, as well as a storage unit full.  It will be up to me and my two sons to do all the heavy lifting.  On the bright side, this keeps me fit.  I am stronger than the typical sixty-year old woman, for sure.

Recently I counted up the times I had moved in my life and came to the extraordinary number of 14.  I look forward to living in a nice home, and hopefully the last I will ever live in.  It’s not anything fabulous, but it will be comfortable.  Anyone who has moved to a new place knows that it takes time to get settled in, and I hate that I will have to waste more of my life doing that.

Many – no ALL – of my friends (or, past friends, I should say) are settled in life.  People my age own homes that are paid off.  They are not just now signing up for a 30-year mortgage!  They have fun.  Many of them spend time traveling and visiting their kids the grandkids.  They go to weddings, go out to dinner, have parties, and share stories of their fantastic lives on their FaceBook pages.  They live.  They have normal lives.  They live the kind of life I always expected to have in my later years.  For me, it went the other way.  This is mainly why they are “past friends”.  I have nothing in common with my old friends these days.  And I can’t expect them to understand.  I only visit FaceBook because I have a Store Page there, for my business.  Yes, I will be working until I die.  No retirement and slowing down for me.

I accept my lot in life.  What else can I do?  My posts here have become depressing, even for me, so I apologize.  Soon, I hope to have some photos and info about building raised garden beds.  I plan to have a few on my new property.  That will make me feel more normal.  In the meantime, I will be packing.

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Ending the Year With a Disaster

I’ve had a bad year. I’m not going further back than that, but these past months have been especially hard. After dealing with a drop in income and buying absolutely nothing extra for nearly three years, I was able to quickly sell my New Hampshire home and move back to Florida. I never wanted to come back here to live, but it’s more affordable. Also my older son is a firefighter here and my younger son is attending college here. It was my only option. Without money, there are few options in life.

I had a big yard sale, gave items away, and called a local shop to pick up lots of my furniture before we packed up the Penske truck and took the three day drive from New England to Florida. All of that was a tremendous effort, not to mention the packing, showing the house, and my sadness at having to leave – move again.

Since June my younger son and I have been living with my older son in his rental house in east central Florida. I dislike the area and hate the heat. But I am sucking it up, and trying to make the best of it. I know it’s foolish of me to hope for a better future, but when that is all there is, it can’t be helped. We began looking for a house to buy together right away. We found one and began the buying process.

Yesterday we were scheduled to close on the house. Everyone has been watching the path of Hurricane Matthew and it seemed to be headed straight for the coast where my new home is located. I wondered at the wisdom of closing on a home the day before a major hurricane hits.

My worries were lessened when one hour before the closing I got a call from the Mortgage company saying there was a moratorium on closings! It had been delayed because of the storm’s approach.

Depending on the damage left behind by this storm, it may be a while before we can close and get ourselves moved in. The house is only a few miles from the beach, so it may get some damage – and then what? The nightmare goes on.

I say ending the year with a disaster, but really there are a few months to go. Time for even more fun to happen in my life.

The Pitfalls of House Hunting

When I bought my home in New Hampshire, I had bad credit (thanks to my ex-husband) and had to settle for the least horrible house I could afford. So when I began house-hunting in Florida I was looking forward to being able to choose a nice home. I pictured house-hunting as a fun opportunity. It didn’t really turn out that way.

Here are the problems I’ve run into.

Without a knowledgable friend or partner to lend advice, I am still on my own when it comes to discerning a good house from one that should be passed by. As is the case always, I am alone in my decisions. But not quite. My son and I are buying this house together so his thoughts had to be taken into consideration. He knows nothing about home buying and ownership, whereas I do. He is not looking at the possible problems, just the parts of the house he likes.

One house seemed really great, or should I say the land the house sat on was great. The house itself was not impressive. In fact it seemed a bit neglected. I didn’t want a house with problems, and I could foresee work. We went and looked at the place twice, and we loved the land, and location, but by the second visit, I knew I did not want to live in that house. And it was overpriced. Continue reading The Pitfalls of House Hunting

Easing Out of a ‘Going Nowhere’ Career

work from home onlineI love what I do for a living working online.  Or at least I used to love it.  Now I like it, but the results of all my hard work is not as satisfying.  For two years I’ve tried to come back from the changes Zazzle made in summer of 2013.  Within a couple of months, my pay dropped by two-thirds because of those changes.

This is a post about my experience with working online at the print-on-demand company, Zazzle. It is not intended to put the company down in any way. I still believe that Zazzle is a good place to earn income online, for many reasons. I would encourage anyone interested to give it a shot. Their products are high quality, and they offer nice sales year round. I’ve received many reviews from happy customers. This post is about my own personal experience as I’ve made Zazzle my career for the past eight years.

It may seem like a fabulous opportunity to be able to work from home.  And it is!  I have loved working the hours I choose, usually getting up at 5 or 6AM and working all morning, with my afternoons left for gardening, cooking or other things.  I work 7 days a week, putting in about 50 or 60 hours and can still be home for my son. But there are downsides as well, which mainly have to do with lack of control. It’s nothing like having a regular job, where seniority counts, dedicated employees get ahead, and the pay is stable and usually increases over time.

learning When I began working online at the Zazzle site I had to spend a lot of time learning.  I didn’t have the advantage of youth and computer knowledge.  Everything was new for me.  From uploading and re-sizing photos and art, to learning about using social media, this old gal was in school all day long.

But the money began to come in.  And for about 5 years the income steadily increased.  Eventually I was making enough to support myself and my young son, while saving up for a house of my own.  I even wrote a page about My Zazzle Success Story.  Back then, working hard brought in more money.  It encouraged me to expand and do more.  For years my income continually increased, and I looked forward to ‘going to work’.  Then suddenly, things changed.

It’s something we get used to, those of us who earn money online.  We are at the mercy of the online platforms themselves.  I had many articles at the writing site Squidoo when it ended, but not as many as others.  My small monthly deposit to PayPal went away, and I missed it.  But that was nothing compared to my dip in pay at Zazzle. Continue reading Easing Out of a ‘Going Nowhere’ Career