Wednesday, September 21, 2022

When Life Happens

 Wow I have not been on the computer hardly at all and it shows!  Five thousand e-mails in my inbox, and when I looked at the last time I blogged it was August 10th.  I am not going to call this an I Like post, because as you read this you will think there isn't a whole lot going on to like really.  I will totally  understand if you don't read this story all the way through.  This is more like an informative post. 

My daughter and her family moved about 5 hours north in July.  I have been up to visit a couple of times and really love the area.  The downside, they left me a huge mess on the property to clean up.  Animal pens to be removed, a playhouse they had built and left because it had mold, and a lot of building debris from their different starts of projects.  Also they had a 26 foot Travel trailer parked in my barn and I wanted it out so I could hire a company to come in to prepare it either for an auction or an estate sale.  I had wanted to get their house and property on the market at the beginning of August. But.....


 1st order of business, replace the glass in the door.  The last thing I needed was someone coming in and having a squatter, or ripping out all the wiring and plumbing, which seems to happen a lot to homes which are vacant.  I called and the earliest the guy could come out was 2 weeks!  

Next was cleaning the house.  Unfortunately they have been battling a mice problem and with them, and all the critters gone I baited all over and got on top of that one really quickly.  I then started cleaning the house.   There are places where the paint is peeling severely (not their fault)  someone had painted over enamel paint with latex a few years ago.  Many of the outlets were broken, so I had to replace them.  For some reason they cut a corner out of all the mini blinds, so they could peek out, there was gum mashed into the laminate in several spots (easy fix with a little ice, and a light hand with a scraper).  For two days I scrubbed and aired out the house.  In the meantime I had several people express an interest in buying the house.  I told them how much I wanted and one told me that my property had no value , and another offered an amount much lower than I was thinking of asking.  

I had called a real estate agent a friend recommended and our first appointment was cancelled, because of a closing which had ran very late.  Between my work schedule and hers we finally managed to get together, the same day the man came to replace the glass, which was around the 17th of August.  I told her what I wanted, she went to research the market and was to get back to me in a couple of days.  Oh and the glass guy didn't have a piece of tempered glass in stock the size I needed and would have to order, and it should be about a week.

The real estate agent got back to me after doing the market analysis and was surprised that I was pretty much on the money when it came to price, and so we agreed to list the house, and she would be out in a couple of days.  

I was still cleaning up the property, and ran up to my daughter's house to borrow a child for a few days to help take down the pens and houses because frankly it was a huge job.  At that time there were some comments made, that they didn't understand what the big deal was with cleaning up.  I tried to explain, that I knew I could not pay for 2 households, electric, gas, water, nor could I afford the winter taxes in December so I really needed to at least get it on the market.  

Upon returning home I discovered for some reason the county had decided to put down about 7 inches of gravel and close our road to through traffic.  Unfortunately people ignored the sign still driving down the road at 50+ mph, and dirt, dust and debris rolled over my property for days.  The whole house I had been working on getting prepped was covered in grit, grim, and it was even worse than before.  About a week later they came down the road, put something on it and compacted it down so it is now like asphalt.  

The weather was very hot, humid,and dry.  The grandson and I got one pen down, the the house torn down, and thrown on a burn pile.  We took down fencing and rolled it up because my daughter stated they needed it.  We pulled the playhouse down with the truck, and with all that we took down we had created 2 very large burn piles.  The playhouse had been insulated so I had to bag that to dispose of and I discovered that they had taken vinyl siding and roofing out of my barn, but instead of replacing what they didn't use, they just left it laying in the yard.  

In the meantime there was a building that Jeff had moved to our property, but the storm that happened the day he died, the wind had picked it up, flipped it over my barn and it landed facing a completely different direction.  For years I asked the kids to help take it down, it could be fixed.  No go, but it was now full of their belongings.  I had notified Jeff's best friend that I was going to get ready to sell and if he had any belongings in the barn he needed to start retrieving them.  Now here is the sad thing....that building that the wind had picked up and slammed down.  The friend asked what I was going to do with it.  I told him put it on Craigslist free to anyone who wanted to take it.  They could use it scrap it, I didn't care.  He looked at it, asked me to look at it with him.  That building was about 16X 20 and it was made of 4 foot by 20 feet steel panels.  There were approximately 12 panels total.  He asked if he could have the building and I told him sure.  The gentleman who is 70 years old had that building completely disassembled in 2 hours time.  By himself!

All the belongings in that building needed to be moved out of the elements, so we went to get a hand truck, only to discover that the wheels needed to be inflated.  Easy fix, I once owned a couple of air compressors, but when I went to fill the tire, the tire tire inflator is gone.  The grandson mentions oh yeah, John took that.  So off to Harbor Freight to get a new inflator. Then all those belongings move to my back barn. 

By now my mom knows I am very frustrated because I have been cleaning up this property for weeks.  When I need a tool, it is gone, or I can't access it, and I haven't done a whole lot with my belongings, throw in work, daily housework, laundry, and I was about at the end of my rope.  So she decided to send my middle daughter to help from Oregon.  Now Rebecca will not fly, but when they discovered the train was only about $200 each way and it was about  2 1/2 days she was all in.  She would arrive on September 2!

The real estate agent cancelled because she had COVID and wouldn't be out of quarantine until September 4th!  Since it was Labor Day weekend and I wanted to take Rebecca up to visit her sister I scheduled her for the 7th of September.  The glass guy called, he had COVID!  He wouldn't be available until after September 3rd.  

August 29th....The day started we are trying to move all the fencing.  It is all rolled, but it needs to be moved to my side of the property.  It is all loaded on the truck, and the truck will go into gear, but it will not move.  I had blown a transmission line.  I am very frustrated and disgusted and walk away.  But then,  late in the afternoon, I am cooking dinner and talking on the phone to Rebecca when suddenly all of the branches on the trees out of my kitchen window are blowing North.  I got off the phone and watched as this wind tore through with torrential rains.  After the wind died down I went outside, then the tornado sirens went off, and my phone started sending notifications of strong storms.  The wind had taken down parts of 11 trees on both properties, and took one tree completely down into the road.  

 The good thing?  No trees or big branches down on any buildings.  The bad thing was that the whole back yard of the house I wanted to sell was full of tree debris.  The fire brigade came buy and cut the tree out of the road, and made sure I didn't have any downed lines.  But our power was out.  What could be considered a good thing, or a bad thing...branches fell all around the truck I blew the transmission line on, not one hit the darn truck.  Sigh.  

It was 80 + degrees, humid, and the power was out!  I drug small debris for about an hour and called it quits.  I would have to cut the huge limbs, if I could get a chain saw going.  I will say at this time, I was kind of done.  But of course I could not find a tree saw.

The next morning, a friend texted me, her husband would cut the downed tree out of the driveway for me.  While I was trying to figure out what to do about the no electricity, and fighting with one freezer that was melting like crazy for some reason, I remembered I own a generator, or 4!  So I went searching for them in the barn. Yep I own 4 generators, but they were in stalls and the travel trailer was pretty much blocking all access, the one I may be able to get out, has flat tires.  The grandson and I manage to pull it out even with the flat tires, and get it started.  We then hook up a small portable compressor I had hidden in my house for working an air stapler, and inflate the tires, with a bit of help from my friend's husband Jim.  Pull it over to the house and hook up the freezers and refrigerator.  The generator ran for a couple of hours, then I ran it out of gas.  Once I refilled it we just could not get it going once more.  

I pulled debris for a couple of hours but then got on the phone with the insurance company to make claims.  John the daughter's significant other showed up to help.  But soon I realized he wasn't cutting anything small enough for me to handle, and he had created 2 more huge piles of debris, which were way too close to buildings to burn.  When I asked why he put them there, I was told just leave it for the next person to clean up.  At that point in time my best bet is to walk away before I say something which could be misinterpreted.  Soon the grandson and John come popping into the house, they are going home.  They have took the fencing they wanted and left the rest in the truck.  

Due to the electricity being out I lost one whole freezer, and everything in the refrigerator. I also had a building moved off of its foundation, and more siding taken off of my garage.


The next couple of days I caught up on laundry, did some more debris clean up and chatted with Rebecca off and on while she was traveling cross country.  

September 2 Rebecca arrives.  She has never visited my home, and so I give her a tour and also explain what needs to get done.  I have decided since she does not get to travel I am going to make sure she sees the great lakes.  First stop is Lake Erie, and she runs down and dips her tootsies into the lake.  Since it is Labor Day weekend the parks are busy.  

September 3 she hits the ground running and we take a load of stuff to the storage unit and get another load ready to go.  

September 4-6 we head North to go to see her sister.  But since her sister works evenings we went up to Whitefish point in the Upper Peninsula so she can see Lake Superior, and go into the shipwreck museum.  We then head back over the bridge and West so she can dip her toes in Lake Michigan.  Then head toward Lake Huron and her sister's home.  They visited, I took her over to Ocqueoc falls, and she stopped at Bronner's Christmas store.  I tried to fit in as much touristy things as our time would allow.

September 7 the real estate agent arrives, as does the glass guy, in the meantime, Rebecca has been cleaning the house like mad, she has cleaned the floors, washed the walls, windows, and swept down the front porch, and the house after the dust covering from the graveling of the road.  The real estate agent takes the pictures, we sign the paperwork and she is going to try to get the house listed in the MLS by Friday.  Or course true to form the house did not get listed until late Saturday night.  

Friday I am considering calling a tow truck to move the broke down vehicle.  Rebecca asks if I am going to have it fixed.  I told her no, I can't afford it, and it is old.  She suggests calling a u-pull it wrecking yard.  I entered the information in the computer and instantly I have calls and sell the truck.  They are going to pick it up Monday and I am selling it for more than we bought it for.  

Sunday morning I started getting pings on my phone with agents which are going to show the house.  Early Sunday after the first ping, we run down to move things and check a key, since we seem to be missing one.  As we walk back to my house we notice that a raccoon has just been hit in front of the house.  Sheesh!  Seriously?  

Sunday there were 6 showings.  After everyone was gone, Rebecca and I pull a hose down the driveway from my house, I have a hydrant which is a high pressure water line.  I discover that the hose does not reach, so I go into the barn, I have spied some hoses in there.  I open up the big roller door so that I can see to drag the hoses out.  As I go to pull the door down with the rope, it breaks, and the door is 10 feet up in the air.  Rebecca is tall luckily and grabs a ladder, and ends up hanging by the door to get it pulled down and shut.  We took out a couple of lawn chairs and started the fire on the far side of the house.  I get it going, and then it starts to drizzle.  Half the fire is going, I run down to the garage because I know I have more gas for the torch, but after looking for a good 1/2 hour I discover that mysteriously it is now gone.  (Someone borrowed it).  Rebecca keeps pushing branches and brush into the fire, when something jumps out at her.  She squeals and runs to my side of the fire. We can't figure out what poor critter we have subjected to smoke inhalation.  Then the skies open up and there is a deluge.  The bucket chair I was sitting in had about a gallon of water in the seat by the time the rain stopped.  Rebecca keeps moving the big items into the middle of the fire.  Then she stops and realizes her phone is no longer in her "injun purse" (bra--a great aunt used to call it that and told the girls it was the safest place to keep stuff). We look all around the fire, in concentric circles out, but no luck.  As the fire burns down we see it about 2 feet into the fire. We flick it out into the grass, the phone is smouldering, once it cools down the only damage is the phone case which has melted, but it pulls off and the phone is still in service.  

Monday started just like Sunday just with many more showings.  We get lots of things packed, organized, another load of stuff to the storage unit.  The company comes and picks up the truck.  We go out to dinner to Cracker Barrel, and when we get home there are several vehicles sitting on the property and a couple of men talking.  One of the cars leaves, which we think is the real estate agent, but the group of men remain speaking on the driveway.  They finally leave and we start fire 2.

As the fire burns we continue to add from the 2 huge piles near the barns. Rebecca notices a light on in the house and runs over to shut it off.  The last showing they had left ever light on, all the doors opened and unlocked, and the attic stairs down and the attic light on.  I go over to craw the ladder to the attic and discover there are still things in the attic, as well as the barn.  

 Rebecca is suppose to head home on the 14th, but she gets a notification.  Her train has been cancelled due to fires out west and a possible rail strike.  Nothing we can do, and we finally call it after a couple of hours of dragging tree branches over and the fire is burned out. 

Tuesday the morning of the 13th the real estate agent calls we have 4 offers.  There are also several showings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday too!  We go over the offers.  One is for $75,000, another is for $120,000 and two are for more than what the house was listed.  I accepted an offer and so now we are waiting for escrow.  The appraiser was already out here and I was told that it is possible that if it appraises out that the sale could be done within just a few days, but we have a tentative close date of October 14.  

Rebecca moved her return trip out tentatively.  The impending strike is settled, but we keep working on the pile, I am working, and Rebecca has done wonders cleaning my house, organizing, and I am starting to feel less stressed.  

I will say that I have had a weird vibe since my daughter moved, while I always ask if I can visit, I get a feeling I am not very welcome while I am there, even though she says I am.  I wonder what happens if I move up there and I become isolated if I need help?  The thought has been rolling around in my mind, then a to do happened about the travel trailer and belongings left in the attic.  

Rebecca asked what are you doing with the trailer?  Do you have the title?  Can we scrap it?  All via text.  The return text is that they want to keep the trailer.  Rebecca states that we need it out of the barn, she is told well rent a truck and pull it out.  All that was replied was OK.  Then I got a call, they can't afford to come and get the trailer, why is it so important something is done now?  Again leave the stuff for the new owners to deal with, who cares?  I was speechless, then the name calling which I say is uncalled for, and she hangs up.  

Rebecca has continued to cut up the branches that are too big, and I have had to cut down some widow maker limbs which are hanging.  Rebecca tried to burn some more, but it doesn't seem to be working.  Saturday I made arrangements for a neighbor to pull the trailer out of the barn.  Once it is pulled out Rebecca and I clean out the attic, and the barn including a drum set in the rafters of the barn, and put all those things into the trailer, including a refrigerator that had been laying in the yard.  We then tarped and tied it down.  Also during this time I have seen some posts on Facebook and other social media about toxic people, people who are unsupportive and have unrealistic expectations, which I fear are aimed at me since everyone else has now been unfriended. 

Here is where my problem starts.  I don't want to remain on this property, also I have this fear or what happens if I list this house and it sells in 2 days?  I think moving to Northern Michigan may be a bad thing after some of the things I have seen. 

Goodbye to Jeff's Ford Tractor

 I have a lot of stuff to do to try to get moved.  I started looking for real estate in Southern Oregon, or Northern California.  I had looked once before but the property was pretty expensive.  This time I  started to look at properties near southern Oregon, and I saw several homes which would suit.  I then started looking in Northern California, and was surprised at several homes in an area I thought looked promising.   I expanded my search area and saw a home, on my ancestral land!  At one time my family owned all the land on the Salmon River for about 8 miles from the mouth where it joins the Klamath River.  The home has been on the market for several years, it is in pretty good condition.  So I have something to work toward.  There are very few homes in the area any more, and it is 6 miles from my family cemetery where Jeff was buried.  Also it is in an area I always dreamed of living. 

My tentative plan in place if things keep progressing.  I ordered a POD to start packing stuff in, and I priced out movers.  When the papers are signed for the house, I will pay off the mortgage for this house, which will give me some breathing room, and I will make the final arrangements for movers.  I will send most of my big furniture to Oregon to be stored, and finish getting my house to be listed.  Rebecca is returning at the end of October to help pack.  Once everything is packed and hopefully the house listed, I am heading to Oregon for now.  I have had to mentally go through items and decide what I am keeping, what am I getting rid of or selling.  Either we are going to have to do a barn sale, or I will try to hire a company to do an estate sale or auction.  

I own a manhole frame and manhole cover!


  1. So I read your whole post and it reminded me of an old song, "If it Weren't For Bad Luck, I would Have No Luck At All"I don't mean to make light all that you have gone through. I really sorry about the break in the relationship with your daughter, but I do not understand the thinking of leaving the mess for the next person. I am so glad you other daughter was able to come, it sounds like she was a big help.I sure hope things work out and your move goes smoothly. You have had more than enough rough road for a while.

  2. Oh man, you have been through the wringer and more. I'm sorry to hear/read about everything that has been happenng for you - a huge physical and emotional time. I hope your plans come to fruition - it sounds like the property on Salmon River would be ideal. Good luck (better luck) for the rest of your tidying, clearing, cleaning, selling and moving.

  3. Oh Collette, I'm so sorry! Nothing worse than when your kids are behaving like that. I really think the universe is telling you to go back to the your ancestral homeland. The property on Salmon River sounds perfect! Keep us posted as to how you are doing. Keeping you in my thoughts and sending hugs!

  4. Hi dear one. Virtual hugs and fervent prayers, my friend. Prayers for your mental and physical strength as well as a tall helping of patience as you navigate these trials. What a good blessing you have in family and friend helpers but I am saddened to learn of your difficulties with your daughter and her family and pray that they are awakened to the deep pain they are causing and I pray for Him to restore your relationships. It appears that the Lord my be leading you West. If so, I pray that He will make those plans fruitful and grant you His blessings and a peace beyond all understanding. I love you my friend and I am so sorry things have been so difficult for you this summer.

  5. Oh wow. I didn't email you to check on you because I assumed you were frantically working on the house(s). But THIS, oh my goodness. Wish I was close enough to offer a hand. At this point you need to look out for YOU. I think you are moving in the right direction. Be safe and know that there are a lot of us out here sending out positive vibes, even if we can't help physically. Good luck with the sale of the vacant house. That will be one big burden off your shoulders.

  6. You've been going through so much. I don't know what to say. It sounds like things are starting to work out but it's been so tough for you. I hope the house sells soon and you can finally move on. Once it's sold and you land somewhere, please take some time to rest. I think you need it. Thinking of you and hoping everything works out. Saying a few prayers!

  7. Oh, Colette, what a time! I have been thinking about you and wondering how things were going. Thank goodness for Rebecca and offers on your house! I hope it will all be wrapped up soon, and you can move on. Oregon sounds like a plan!

  8. I just read your post while waiting on my frozen pizza cooking in the oven. Wow, I'm a little overhwhelmed...I can't imagine what you must be feeling. This is just too much for one person to have to take on. I'm glad you at least had Rebecca to give you a hand. I can only hope that the rest of this journey is much smoother and things work out the way they should. There is a wonderful new beginning there somewhere when you get all this crap behind you. Take care, hang in there. I'll be thinking of you.

  9. Wow - I thought my summer was tough, but nowhere near like yours. So much to deal with! I am sorry you've gone through all that. How frustrating! I hope your luck turns. Good luck with the house hunt.

  10. My goodness but what a wild adventure you have been on. Hopefully someday in the far off future you might be able to laugh about this pile up of mishaps. I am in awe that you drudged on through thick and thin. It’s sad when family members think nothing of leaving a mess for someone else to clean up. I know that feeling well. You deserve nothing but the best when you get through this trying time.

  11. Ooh Rheema!! What a total nightmare you've been through...;000
    I hope all goes well from now on for you...and I hope you can purchase that home you would like without anymore difficulties...sending prayers and good wishes...hugs, Julierose

  12. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry you've been through so much lately. How neat that you are looking at a house on your ancestral grounds - that is very cool. I hope things take an upswing for you now. Thanks for letting us know what's going on!

  13. It sounds like moving near your daughter and her family isn't a good thing. Sorry, since you were so close with all the grandkids. Their loss. I hope things go well in your move to Oregon. Glad Rebecca has been so helpful. How is Bobbin?


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