Friday, July 15, 2011

So many doors have opened.

Yes, I know it has been months, since I last posted anything.  There are several reasons why.

*Business is picking up and I am so grateful for that. You have no idea how worried I was about the lack of work. 
* On top of work picking up, Chris was offered a job out of state and he would have been a fool not to take it. The money is good and we are rapidly clawing our way out of poorville. Although this job is only temporary, we both have a feeling that this will lead to other jobs in the near future.  He may put off finishing school for a year or two or he may just finish online.
* We are finally moving from this hell hole. I can not stress enough how elated I am to being mold free and in a home that actually feels like a home and not a thrown together jumble of walls and decay.  We will be moving to another city but will stay in the same county so we will not need the assistance of Branson real estate at the moment unless we decide to move their permanently.
* My oldest has decided to join the military. I am very proud and very scared for him but he is 20 years old and is adamant about his decision. I will support him all the way!
* We have decided to home school our youngest. She has not been getting the education that she needs and it is up to us, her parents, to make sure she excels in the best possible way that she can. This was not an easy decision but it is the right one.

Although my life is one big chaotic mess at the moment.  It is all proving to be the most positive direction we have had to take in a very long time.  I am relishing the packing (believe me that is something that I have never liked).  I am embraced by the madness of having to have everything ready so that when Chris comes home to help with the actual move, that is all we have to do and then we can enjoy his short stay with us until he goes back.  This is going to be a turning point and it is one that has been too long in coming.  Wish us luck.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

If you see the city dump, I live right next door to it!

Our next door neighbors are proving to be pack rats.  Within in a few weeks of moving in, their backyard looks like a city dump.  The back lanai has three sets of mattresses and a filthy run down sofa.  Honestly, who likes living like that?  If you have no use for it then throw the garbage away.  Why hoard it?

They remind me of a family that used to live next door to me when I was a small child.  Their name was Dirtack. Pronounced Dirt Ak. They lived up to their name.  The parents headboard was solely made of empty beer cans.  They had a coffee table that was a semi tire.  Their pool was a cess pool. The water was black! They never cut the grass in the backyard and the grass was almost as tall as my dad's waist.  I don't know how they could find anything back there.  Their front yard looked like a mechanics shop with all the torn apart cars. 

We lived next door to this family for five years.  The city took their house away for non payment of taxes and when the city came in to clean everything up, they were all dressed in hazmat suites.  They found three dead dogs in the backyard along with car parts and lawn equipment that had rusted during the winters. Oh, I am sure there was more but that is all that I remembered.  Even a five year old child like myself knew that wasn't a way to live.

I have now officially named our new neighbors the  "new" Dirtack's.  Yesterday, the man of the house, brought home a rv.  This rv looks like it has been sitting in a backyard for decades with no maintenance done to it at all.  Chris talked to him about what he was going to do with it.  Apparently he is going to restore it and have the rv repair guy over tomorrow to look at the mechanics of it.  Meanwhile, it will sit in the backyard like it looks like it has always done.  The guy was telling Chris that he and his family would like to start camping and the rv is big enough to accommodate his entire family.  I am guessing that the rv will sit until they move again.  I don't see that rv going anywhere anytime soon.

This morning, while Katie and I were leaving, I saw the guy bring home and park in the front yard a food trailer.  The kind that you see at carnivals and get elephant ears from.  I can't wait to find out what he plans to do with that.  Chris will have a fit if the guy tries to feed people from his front yard.  Our yard will look like a parking lot and Chris will not tolerate that one bit.

Out with the old, In with the new (sort of)

Chris has sold the truck that we were given by my parents.Well, not really given to us, I have exchanged car payments for cleaning their home twice a month for three years. Still, that isn't a bad thing. We might not have the truck anymore but my parents still have another year on their cleaning contract. Which is all good. People are starting to take heed of my services in the mobile home park that my parents live in.

It was important that Chris had the truck earlier because he was working.  Now that he is unemployed and going back to school, the truck wasn't an economically sound vehicle to have. We are not down to one vehicle, we were given Chris' parents Exterra.  Chris' mom bought a new vehicle ( I can't remember the name of it right now) and they had no need for the Exterra so it was passed onto us. 

Exactly like the one we now have

It is a lot better on gas than the F250 and I will be the one driving it mostly since all my cleaning supplies will fit much better in it than my Malibu, which was also given to us by Chris' parents 4 years ago. The Malibu is a 2001 and only has 82,000 miles on it.  The Exterra has less than 53,000 and it is a 2004.

Surprisingly the Malibu's trunk is deep enough to store most of my equipment in but it made unpacking and repacking the equipment a time consuming chore.  Not that I wouldn't keep doing it if I didn't have the Exterra. The Malibu will be the car that Chris drives back and forth to school in.  A lot less money wasted in gas, that is for sure.

I am extremely grateful to have the kind of parents that we do.  They have saved us from the headache of having car payments and/or allowing us to barter other services so that we could have safe and sound running vehicles.  That is what family should do for each other.  That is what we have always been taught and learned by example.  If our kids ever need that kind of help, I am hoping that we will be financially sound to be able to do help just as our parents have helped us.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I love her but she is driving me insane.

My grandmother has been on a paranoia trip lately. She keeps insisting that people are breaking into her home at least once a week.  She has called the cops on every one of those paranoia occasions.  The police force know her well now.  Yet, every time she calls, they are required to respond. Nothing like wasting tax payers dollars right?  I am really hoping that the visit with the psychiatrist pans out and that they officially diagnose her with Alzheimer's, otherwise the police are only going to get busier with her constantly calling about men dressed in ninja costumes threatening her life.

She is now insisting that my grandfather buy and install home security cameras for her well being. She is very adamant about it. She told my grandfather that unless he wants to find another place to live, he will do as she asked.  Her demands are getting increasingly over the top and when she doesn't get her way she pouts and throws tantrums like a toddler.  Her emotional state is so high, that she will cry at a memory of her older sister dying over 80 years ago.  She remembers those details so vividly like it just happened, but she can't remember what she ate five minutes ago. 

I just can't understand why it is taking so long to get the ball rolling on her behalf.  Diagnose her already so we can make the arrangements of putting her in a facility equipped to handle her.  My grandfather, mom, aunt, me and the rest of the family can not provide what she needs, no matter how much we want to be able to.

Talk about having your own pharmacy..

I cleaned for my grandmother (the one with Alzheimer's) recently, and I could not get over the fact that she has so many pill bottles in her medicine cabinet, and it has overflowed to her cabinet under the bathroom sink.  Very few are prescribed medications.  Most of the bottles she has are supplements of one kind or another. She has five different kinds of daily vitamins, vitamin b complex, black kohash (used mainly for women in menopause, which she is well over it by now), ephedrine pills (seriously) and the list just goes on and on. 

The thing with my grandmother, is that she doesn't take any of it anymore.  She just doesn't like to throw things away.  She grew up in the depression and most people that lived in that era, do not let go of anything. She has clothes from when she was first married that she still wears. Fortunately for her it never went out of style either that or old people can wear what they want and no one notices. She has bed sheets so thin you can see right through them. Yet, she still washes and irons them and puts them on her bed. Her freezer, up until a few days ago, contained food that had been in there for years. When my mom decided to clean out the fridge, my grandmother actually argued with her that the frozen food was still good. Never mind the fact that pork chops from 2000 were grey, it was still good because it had been frozen.  My grandmother at times can be quite comical in her thinking. Not necessarily funny, just odd in the way that she perceive things.

While I was cleaning her bathroom, I somehow kneeled wrong and my knee was killing me the rest of the time I was there.  She lovingly went into her cabinet and took out a bottle of pain killers and she attempted to hand me one.  The bottle had an expiration date of 1989. I graciously took the pill from her but never consumed it.  I nonchalantly threw it in the waste basket.  Nothing like your own grandmother trying to kill you with outdated narcotics.

Enough already with this stupid economy!

Generating new business is proving to be a difficult goal right now.  Everyone is wanting you to come down on your prices. However, my prices reflect not only me as your house cleaner but also the products and the equipment that I use. I own a Green cleaning company and all my cleaning supplies follow that mantra as well as my equipment. So giving a discount just to give a discount is not going to happen.  My prices are lower than most larger companies to begin with. However, I have given my customers an incentive to save on their own house cleaning bill by giving them coupons to pass out to their friends.  If their friends use my service just once, they receive a $20.00 discount off their next cleaning.  I think that is a pretty good deal. It is a way to market/advertise without me having to spend the money to do so and in return my prices do not increase. I also customize a cleaning plan to fit any budget.  Although if your budget is so tight, then hiring a cleaning service should probably be the last thing on your mind. Not everyone can afford to have their house cleaned professionally.  I understand that.  However, there is still a  need for this service and as long as the need is still there, I am going to fight for that business.

What I think would benefit people the most would be a price reduction in the basic staples of food. The food in most of the grocery stores that I have shopped at are steadily rising. Pretty soon no one will be able to afford the necessities, however, I am seeing a lot of cigarettes and black and mild cigars discount signs popping up in most gas stations and convenience stores. Hmmm.. such priorities we have right?

With all the disasters of this year so far, our food prices are going to jump.  The hard winter up north will ensure that.  Many farmers will have a total loss on their crops and we the people will suffer greatly for it.  Bananas are at an all time high, can't wait to see how tomatoes and potatoes will fair.  Bread is ridiculous and meats are inching up in price. 

Food pantries and soup kitchens are going to be very busy in the next several months and I am sure that most of them will run out of supplies a lot faster than usual.  People receiving food stamps are going to have to do a better job budgeting and making meals stretch farther than they already do, because their food stamps won't be increased just because the cost of food has risen.  This is crazy.

Another MM Warrior has fallen

Geraldine Ferraro died a few days ago from complications of Multiple Myeloma.  She battled this cancer for twelve years.  It breaks my heart every time I hear of someone succumbing to this awful disease, and I have a very dear friend fighting it right now.  I have mentioned Phil before, and because of him, I have taken up the cause to start a non profit for all MM(Multiple Myeloma) Warriors in need. We call them Warriors because they are fighting a battle of their lives.
Starting a non profit is no easy feat.  To raise money you need money.  Same old, same old.  I have entered a contest in hopes of winning a $2,000 dollar grant in order to get this non profit off the ground.  The contest is via facebook and offered by MomCentral.  If you have a facebook account, I urge you to seek this contest out and vote for my submission: Starting a Multiple Myeloma non profit.  There are so many people suffering with this cancer that would benefit greatly from a non profit like this. 
Also, I am accepting donations for this cause. If you have ever wanted to be apart of something great, this is it. This non profit foundation would strictly be utilized for helping victims of MM and their families that are struggling financially. 
Phil and his wife are the perfect example.  He gets $1400/month in disability benefits because the disease has rendered him incapable of working.  His wife, Jen, is a nurse but their combined wages do not cover all the necessities.  Phil's disability covers his medication and services that their insurance doesn't cover.
You see how important a non profit is here?  Imagine struggling with a disease so debilitating and relentless. Now imagine trying to battle this disease, while trying to make ends meet every month, not knowing if you will even have enough gas to make it to your next Chemo appointment, that is so detrimental in your fighting this cancer.  I want to alleviate that stress and allow the Warriors to concentrate on their battle.

Please take a few moments to either vote (you can vote daily on a 24 hour cycle until April 15th) or donate.  Your time and/or money will be the key to someones life that is struggling just to be able to live.

You may donate via paypal though the donation button located to the top left of the side bar. Located under the Vote for Me badge.

Anticipating the Day

I just realized that it has been six years since my family and I actually took a vacation. SIX years! When I say vacation, I don't mean a week off from work to do stay home and get the things that I have been neglecting done. 
The last place that we went was to Walt Disney World.  Heck, we didn't even leave the state, just went two hours northeast. I wish we would have made the effort to plan trips outside the state.  We could have saved our money to make it possible, but life got in the way and of course the economy has made it very difficult.

 I would love to travel to different states and see what makes them so great.  I wouldn't mind visiting the Outer Banks or Las Vegas ( I have heard that it is more family friendly now) or I wouldn't mind going back to my birth state, Ohio, to see friends. 

The next really big thing that I am so looking forward to is my friends coming down to Orlando for a few days.  It will only be one day that we will get to spend some time together but I am really, really anticipating their arrival.  I have been hoarding money to be able to afford gas, food and whatever it is we decide to do for the day.  Chris and I have thought of spending the day with them at the Old Town park in Kissimmee.  We took the kids there on our last vacation and we had a great time. 

I am waiting patiently for that day to arrive, for now I will just mark off the days on my calendar like a school kid waiting for her big field trip day to hurry up and get here already!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What is your name again?

This is what my grandmother keeps asking me everytime I go to visit her.
Family issues with my grandmother are getting relatively serious.  She did go in for her memory test and now she will have to meet with a psychologist to evaluate her before they will diagnose her with Alzeihmers.  She has it, she has all but a few signs of it and it is only getting worse. 
What bothers me is that my mom and her sister are not on the same page.  My mom took my grandmother's car keys to keep her from driving.  My mom has been reading a book that was given to her by the Alzeihmer's Foundation which highlights some key points.  Like, if you would not want your children and grandchildren riding in the car of a loved one suspected of Alzheimers than take away the keys.  My aunt thinks that her mom is faking it.  That she is intentionally putting on an act to get attention.  It is really starting to wear thin with me. 
The last doctors appointment that my grandfather had, the doctor got in his face and told him that if he wants to live longer, than he needs to move out of the house.  My grandfather was taking up to 4 nitro pills for his heart a day. He moved in with my aunt and that lasted all of two weeks.  My grandmother was visiting my grandfather one day.  She got upset and said she was going for a walk.  Two hours later, my mom found her at her home.  My aunt lives 17 miles from my grandmother.  We have no clue how she got home. Futhermore, my aunt never looked for her after an hour had passed.  She just assumed she was pouting and she would return after she calmed down.  
The whole thing with my grandparents is that we know that my grandfather does not have much more time with us.  I will be surprised if he is still here this Christmas.  Once he is gone, my grandmother will have to put into an assisted living facility.  My mom doesn't think that there will be any money left to pay for the kind of care she needs.  I think my grandmother will qualify for a Medicare plan that will pay her arrangements.  I am trying to help my mom work out the details and research the next plan of action.
My grandfather just recently changed his will so that when he does pass, my mom will have power of attorney and control so that my grandmother can't spend all the money or sign away the title to the house.  This happens more than people think. 
Not to long ago, my grandmother opened up her own bank account and withdrew a thousand dollars but does not remember doing it and/or where she put or spent the money.  This is not typical of a person with a sound mind.  Yet my aunt thinks she may have hidden it in a shoebox or something and actually wanted my mom and I to go through her things when we cleaned her house last week. 
My grandmother's memory are from her childhood.  That is all she talks about but if you ask her what she did five minutes ago, she will just give you a blank stare and tell you she doesn't remember.  It is heartbreaking to see her decline like this. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Surviving... at least it is better than the alternative.

It's been a whirlwind week for me.  Since last weekend, I have not been feeling like myself and seriously thinking that something was really wrong.  I would feel so weighted, like a ton of bricks were on top of me, plus compound that with no energy and constantly being dizzy.  I don't know how, but I managed to work despite feeling like this.  It took me longer but I still did it. 

My mood has been up and down like a insane roller coaster.  There were times when I didn't like my own attitude and I would go into my bedroom and pout until I could calm down.  I hate when I get like that.  It is usually when I feel so stressed out that I can't bottle my emotions any longer and they explode right out of me. Needless to say, that I have learned to realize when I am about to lose it and I just walk away so to avoid any hurt feelings or pissing Chris off with my extreme bitchiness. 

I know that I may suffer from a little depression.  I am so trying to snap myself out of it, but geez, it is tough.  I am a worrier.  I worry about everything, even things that I have absolutely no fricking control over, I worry.
Financially, we are struggling.  Not desperate but still struggling.  If it weren't for Chris' unemployment and the help of our son Jeff, we would most likely be staying with family.  Yes, I bring money in with the cleaning business but after all the expenses that get paid out monthly, there is not much left to live on.  It hurt drastically when I lost the condo account due to them going in house for the cleaning. The business is surviving by a thread and so are we.  I am feverishly marketing myself out to generate more business. It does take time.. A LOT of time to pitch to people why you are better than all the rest out there.  But, I still do it. In hopes that at least a few of them will give me a chance to prove that I am the best.

Chris got a call yesterday from some stupid telemarketer wanting him to take out a personal loan.  Even when Chris explained that he was not working and in fact was going to school, the man on the other line said that he could still hook Chris up with a loan.  No income verification needed just a steady checking account.  It got me to thinking how many unfortunate people out there would get sucked into this?  Sink deeper into debt just to be able to survive.  Isn't that what most of us are doing? Surviving?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vote For Me Please!

Ok, I didn't have all the information yesterday, therefore I could not post it.  Voting for my submission to the MoMCentral Contest begins today at Noon (EST).  One catch though, it is through MomCentral's Facebook page.  You must have a facebook account to be able to vote. Sorry if this is an inconvenience.
Each person can vote once a day up until April 15th. 

I can't express in words how truly important the $2000.00 grant money awarded in this contest would be.  Other than so many people suffering with Multiple Myeloma would have a helping hand with necessities.

If you haven't read the background story of why I want to start a non profit organization for Multiple Myeloma there are a few entries that explain it all.

Spread the word like wild fire and let's make this happen folks! There are many out there that are counting on it!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Landlords beware, you just might be the next recipient for Section 8.

There a lot of pros and cons to Section 8. For those of you that are not familiar with this housing program, it is basically a government subsidised rental assistance.  If you qualify for Section 8 than all or a portion of your rent is covered.  There are way more people on this program than you may realize and it is heart breaking.

It used to be that there was at least a two year waiting program. However, since there are too many people out of work things have heated up very quickly and most of the renters have to rely on this assistance. Some have been lucky with their landlords to allow for section 8 because when the program is accepted the landlords have to make very sure that the dwelling is within their standards. So if a landlord keeps up with maintaining the home, then Section 8 is likely to be given.  Yes, sometimes it will cost the landlord a sizable amount to get it government issued ready, but you know what? Landlords should be taking care of their homes anyway.  It really is a no brainer, wouldn't you think?

The houses on either side of us are participants of Section 8.  That is why the slumlord worked so hard on getting house repairs that he neglected done, so he could allow tenants to live there that already had the assistance.  Otherwise, I think he would have had a heck of time renting out his home.  Chris and I are fortunate enough that we are not needing that assistance.  There may come a time in the future that we may need to have this,but hopefully not.  Our landlord made a comment to us before we made February's rent payment that if we ever had to go on Section 8 that we should consider getting cash advances rather than go on Section 8 assistance.  Chris made the comment that should we ever have to go on that program we could no longer live in his house anyway because there would be no way that Section 8 would deem this house safe.  I am not kidding.  Our landlord is under the assumption that his tenants should invest their own money to improve the home.  He is a frickin' idiot. Chris told him that under no circumstances are we responsible for the things that should have been done before we moved in.  We have documented everything and taken pictures and for the most part the landlord has not said one word more to us.  We will have certainly left this house in better condition and that is all the landlord will get from us.

I just don't get how these people will buy up all these properties and not do a thing to improve upon them but they will expect the tenants to put their own hard earned money into something that is not theirs.  What really boggles my mind is that there are some tenants that are so afraid of being evicted if they don't do repairs or improvements.  Tenants, wise up and read the tenant/landlord laws in your state.  Educate yourselves and know your rights. You will be surprised at what you could demand from your landlord. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't ignore the girl with the cookies.

 It is Girl Scout Cookie time once again and please show your support for the girls that work so hard standing in front of store fronts selling their hearts out.

My daughter, Katie, is a real saleswoman, she always has a big smile on her face and is very polite when people tell her no thank you.  She always responds to that by saying "Thank you and have a great day". More times than not, just her polite response has changed the peoples minds and they will come back to buy a box or two. However, if you ignore her completely she will call you out on it.  Although she is still very polite she will tell them that "it is rude to ignore someone that is talking to you and how could the youth of America learn politeness and manners by such rude people?  She said that the other day to an older man and he was so dumb founded that he came over to her and gave her a twenty dollar bill.  He apologized and told her she was correct and that the twenty dollars was for her and not the cookies.  In turn she told him that she would donate the twenty dollars to the Mints for Military to provide our soldiers with cookies for their dedication to our country. I kid you not, my girl is something else. 

Any other girl besides a select few would have pocketed that twenty dollars as a reward to themselves.  I am more proud of the fact that Katie is always thinking of others before herself.  So dear readers, remember when you encounter the cute little girl asking you if you want to buy some girl scout cookies that you may in fact be seeing the face of my Katie and please do not ignore her, she doesn't like that.

Spelling like a two year old is a major pet peeve...

I mean really? Anus Burger? WTF?  Where do these companies get these uneducated idiots? Never mind I don't want to know. 

WalMart is a big offender, especially with their display signs.  Chris, Katie and I had to go there today to do some light grocery shopping.   While browsing through the isles, Chris pointed out the diet section where apparently they were trying to let you know that they had certain diet pills on sale.  However, that is not exactly how the display add read.  It read "Diet Spills Sale" and I just about lost it.  You would think a manager with brains would catch this.  It was written by someone and the happy smiley face was drawn on it. There is hardly a day when shopping there, that I find something spelled correctly.  I have seen cookies spelled coookies. Ok. so somebody got a little too excited with the o's. I have seen Shampoo spelled Shampou. I don't know why, but I thought of Shamu when I saw that. Anyway, it's just mind boggling to see how many people can't spell, or maybe, its just that one person in charge of the display signs. No telling.

I think that I may just dedicate a blog from the misspellings of Wal-Mart ads.  Y'know it would fit right in with the People of WalMart.

Hey Fatty... work harder, you still have ass back there.

Although this cartoon may be funny it is so true.  However, what about people that do exercise an hour a day with little or no results? I know that just because you exercise, it does not mean that you can go right out afterwards and eat for four people.  I know some people actually do that and I have to stifle a laugh because of how ridiculous that is. 

I have many pounds to lose and I am embarrassed by how I look, but I do know that I have not done a single thing to contribute to this.  I work hard cleaning houses every dang day, to the point where my customers will turn their a/c down when I come  to clean, because I sweat like a damn pig.  Which to me should be a good sign that I am raising my heart rate. That is supposed to imply that my cardio is kicking into overdrive and my metabolism should be working like it is supposed to.  My customers do not have to turn down their a/c's, I am not sweating because I am hot.  I have told them that, but I think they are afraid that I will faint or something.  I feel bad that many of them are that concerned or maybe they feel like others do about me. I am too fat and chances are I could have a heart attack if I proceed to sweat like that.

There are a lot of diets out there, but I am getting to the point where I don't think a single one will help me.  I mean, how does one discern which diet is going to work for them if they have no clue on how their bodies react?   I more interested in finding things that are natural and work with the body to promote metabolism health rather than trying the next fad.  How many times have you come across alli reviews or "actual true statements" from people that have done this diet or that diet?  To me it's not about dieting anyway, it's about balancing particular foods and exercise that promotes healthy weight.  Fast food is called that because well... it's fast.  It is also so unhealthy that it makes me cringe to know the calorie and fat that is inside a simple cheeseburger and fries. 

 I am lumped into the category of "I must be fat because I do not take care of myself". I find that so stinking demeaning.  You have no idea what caused me to gain weight so I don't need your snide remarks and criticism. I was loading my cleaning equipment into the trunk of my car the other day and some smart ass shouted out to me "Hey Fatty, work harder, you still have ass back there".  Wow... I was speechless because although I am sure people would think things like that of me, I just never heard anyone actually say that to me.  I felt defeated and hurt.  My cleaning has nothing to do with my weight.  My weight should say nothing about me as a person.  I am me no matter what size I may be. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

His Bliss...

It's amazing what a little thing like a lift chair can do to keep you in close proximity to your family.  Jen, his wife, took this picture while Phil took one of his daily naps.  The pups are his protectors when Phil does not feel well and today happened to be one of those days.  Whether you believe it or not, canines are extremely sensitive to their humans when they are not feeling well.  Rocky and Moose are no exception. 

Just seeing Phil snooze in his new awesome chair makes me want one for myself.  Although, I think I could do without the heavy sweatshirt and lap blanket, but then again I am in Florida and he is up in the nosebleed and snow belt area of Ohio.  But, I am hoping to change that too.  After all, who wouldn't want to be here in Florida, with the warm breeze, sunshine and beaches?

This is why I want the non profit in the worse way.  Just look how content he is.  This brings a huge smile to my face.

Always misjudging a book by its cover... unfortunately

While I was cleaning for a fairly new client today, she introduced me to her neighbor, hoping to get them to hire my services.  Typically, I am somewhat reserved when meeting new people.  I was terribly shy as a kid and some of that lingers in me, even today.  However, if you happen to know me well enough you don't get that shyness, unfortunately you get the complete unedited version of Mindy, who is mostly sarcastic with a hint of dark humor.  Some of my clients bring me out of my shell and let me be myself and there others that I keep strictly on a professional level.

My new client is one of those people that bring me out of my shell.  It doesn't hurt that she and her partner live in the same Mobile Home park as my parents and they socialize regularly.  So I am more comfortable around them.  However, the neighbor she introduced me to was a little off.  Something about him just oozed abnormal.  It could have been his enzyte smile (you know the commercial where they are smiling like it hurts) or maybe it was the fact that for whatever reason, eye contact was taboo with him.  He made me a little self conscious, like I might be to hideous to look at.  He was pleasant enough and well mannered but I just got this uneasy feeling about him.  Like maybe he isn't at all what he appears to be. Of course my imagination could be working overtime, after all I do indulge in Dean Koontz and Stephen King books.  This guy could very well pass as one of their characters in their books.  I kid you not.

 I have to admit that more times than not I am a bad judge of character.  Its a fault of mine that I have been trying to work on, but fail miserably at often. Chris makes fun of me for it, but in a loving way, or at least that what he tells me.  Here's hoping that I totally misjudged this man and he turns out to be a very normal human after all, otherwise I am in deep doo doo.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

May I Have Your Attention Please?

If you have been reading up on my friend, Phil, who happens to be battling Multiple Myeloma. Then you know that I am committed to helping him and I am also making a commitment to help others like him.  For several months now, I have been contemplating whether or not to start a foundation, that will help people diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and their families by making it easier on them with day to day struggles.

We all know that there are dozen of foundations for just about every type of cancer that is strictly set up for funding research to not only find the cure, but to also find new treatments that are proven to help fight the disease. These foundations are vital and are very important.  However,  there are little to no resources for people who have a need because of the disease they have been dealt with leaves them financially broken or destitute.

As I have mentioned previously, Phil was in desperate need of a lift chair. I am happy to say that he does in fact have his chair, and from what I have been told it is being put to good use. Let me just give you a run down on how he spent his days prior to receiving this chair. Due to the fact that the disease attacks bone marrow, his hips and shoulders are now plagued with dead bone.  Which is extremely painful and makes it very difficult to stand, sit, and walk for very long periods of time. Most days he would just lay in bed because the sofa was too hard and painful to get in and out of.  He will eventually have surgery for hip and shoulder replacements and the chair will indeed be useful to him.  For now it makes it easier for him to spend time with his family instead of just laying in bed all the time.  I had the privilege to see him enjoying the comfort of his chair while chatting with his wife, Jen, via skype. You have no idea how seeing him enjoying his chair made me realize that the money that was raised for this purpose was instrumental in solidifying my decision.

There are others that need this very thing.  Insurances do not cover such necessities even with a doctors order, which Phil did have.  There are others that also need help with making a mortgage payment, utility payment, gas for going back and forth to the doctors, groceries, etc... A non profit organization would open so many doors for these people. Give them breathing room and all around make it easier to cope.

I have entered a contest sponsored by MomCentral that will be open for the public to vote for the top five contestants to be able to receive $2000.00 in grant money to use for whatever they want.  My submission was based on my non profit organization.  The voting will start on March 1st.  I am hoping that anyone that reads this will take the time and visit the site and vote for me.  I will post a reminder on February 28th with the link. 
Let me just say that with or without the grant, I will do whatever it takes to make The Phil Kenderes Multiple Myeloma Legacy Foundation  a reality.  If you want to contribute to this need, please feel free to donate here and rest assured that it will go to a much needed cause.

Getting new neighbors.

Well the slumlords have finally rented the house next door. They have actually been working over there the last few days getting the place ready for the new tenants.  My guess is that they realized that they were not going to get away with renting the house as it was.  They even planted some nice plants around the front of the house, which in my opinion made the front of the house look 100 times better. They also got rid of the rotting stick tree that Chris and I made fun of all the time because it just looked so darn pitiful leaning in one direction with not a leaf on it. 

They planted two crape myrtle trees  to replace the one that they dug up and I have never seen such vibrant colors. One of them is a real deep purple. Just gorgeous.  But I have a feeling that those things are going to make Chris miserable.  He is allergic to anything that pollinates. Hence the reason why we don't really landscape our yard. I am not sure I could even get away with planting a small vegetable garden in the backyard without aggravating his allergies.  I think Chris may need a mask just to walk outside our house LOL!

One of the guys came over while I was working today and asked Chris how much I would charge to clean the place so the tenants could just move right in this weekend.  Let me just say that their idea of cleaning is taking out all the furniture that was left behind plus all the trash(which isn't even in trash bags or put in a pile yet, I am assuming they would want me to do that too) and then give it a good scrub down.  Keep in mind that today is Wednesday and I have a booked Thursday and Friday and the tenants are expecting to move in Friday night through the weekend.  No way can I do this, but Chris told them $500.00 and the guys is actually considering it.  To me $500 is not enough for everything. I have a feeling that I will go through a lot of my cleaning products to get it really clean. Besides, the placed is trashed, it would take me most of the time to just get the garbage and furniture out of the house. If that guy agrees then Chris will be my bitch helper.  I am not kidding.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

There has to be an off switch to my brain.

I have been contemplating about a lot of things lately.  So much so that I have been getting migraines consistently for a week now.  It is stressed induced, that I am sure of.
I have been thinking about whether or not to restructure my cleaning business.  Should I really concentrate on the commercial side of it or just stick with my extremely loyal customers on the residential side?  I have a lot of seasonal customers, but that is just it, they are SEASONAL.  They aren't here year round. I have just a few here that are.  It's going to be an extremely slow off season for me (which will not be good for me financially) and I am probably going to have to consider spending money on advertising which I really do not want to do.  It is so dang expensive.  Some people may say that this is a no brainer.  Not really the case though.  Commercial cleaning is extremely non lucrative.  Unless that is what your business is based on, you won't make a great living at.  Smaller pay scale on a larger employee scale.  Really doesn't make sense.  Unless you don't mind paying your employees scraps for wages.  I believe that this kind of work demands quality performance but you are not going to get that from your employees if you pay them next to nothing for it.
My weight is driving me crazy.  I can not lose for the life of me.  I have been forcing myself to take walks with the dogs, keeping track of what I eat, getting at least 8 hours of sleep, the whole nine yards.  It just will not come off.  I don't want to have to do a full on fat burner review by trying all those pills and energy drinks that are on the market.  I just don't think they work. The ones that may work are extremely expensive and I probably would spend just as much as being on nutrisystem or the equivalent and that really is not what I need right now.  I may just need my thyroid checked but I lack the funds to have those tests done.  Although I have noticed in the last several months that something is not right in my throat.  It is getting extremely hard to swallow minimal amounts of food.  Hence the reason that I do not eat much in the first place.  I gag on water here people.  There must be something else going on here.  I think a trip to the county health department will be the best thing to do. If I can't qualify for free health care then I may be able to pay on a sliding scale.  I will have to call on Monday to find out what their procedures are.  It's time I get the throat checked out.
I have been thinking of starting a non profit organization to help people with Multiple Myeloma financially. It's not something that I am weighing lightly in my mind.  I will do this, it will just depend on how fast I can get it going.  I know that there is a need for this.  Just seeing my close friend dealing with the financial struggles is enough for me to understand that many others might be struggling too.  There are many organizations that raise money strictly for the research side of things, but hardly anyone is helping the actual people themselves dealing with this cancer.  How can you effectively concentrate on winning the battle, if you are so stressed out as to where the money is coming from to help pay for the basic necessities, like the mortgage, car payments, utilities bills, groceries or for medical needs that are not all covered under your health care insurance?  People typically diagnosed with this cancer can not work anymore. Of course trying to get disability is a joke.  It can take years to win your case.  Even if you do have disability, it doesn't mean that it will pay for everything. I know quite a few people that are on this program and I could just spit nails as to how little they do receive. It's ridiculous.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

She's earned this... you have no idea.

Katie has always had a very hard time remembering things.  It has made school very difficult for her. She was held back in Kindergarten because of her memory retaining issue.  She has been wanting a computer of her own in the worst way. 

While we were browsing Walmart yesterday, Katie was looking at hp desktops in the electronics section.  She was reading the labels and comparing several computers.  She was READING! We have always gotten a hard time from her to get her to read labels, signs, books whatever but she was doing this on her own.

She is independently reading. She is finally figuring things out on her own and I think it's time she gets her own computer.  She has worked hard for it.  I am very proud of her.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Slumlords Beware!

The house next door to us has been for rent three times since we have been here.  That is not saying much because we have been here maybe seven months. 

The problem?  The company (which is just two men) that owns that miserable looking house doesn't want to have to fix anything that goes wrong. The man that just left with his wife, two daughters and a grand baby left when the roof started to leak for the third time in a third spot.  There is no heat (which by Florida tenant/landlord law, the landlord must provide heat) the tenant had to go out and purchase space heaters to keep his family warm and the landlord refused to reimburse him or let him take it off the rent, Also, the front door was coming off of its hinges, plus numerous other problems that he could not fix himself because he is disabled.  Chris took a look at the door for the tenant and there was no way that it could be repaired.  It needed a new door period.  The screws were stripped and the door itself was cracked and warped. The company refused to put any money into their house and told the tenant to fix it or live with it. How safe and secure is that?  There were numerous complaints from the tenant about the house and he did document everything and sent more than three certified letters to the company to either fix it or they would be terminating the lease since it would be deemed inhabitable. Knowing that the company would lose if it were taken to court they allowed the tenants to leave without any repercussions.

One of the landlords had the gall to toss out a bunny (that the first tenants left behind) into the backyard without any regard to the bunny's well being. Luckily we spotted it when we were out with our pups and brought the little one in. It had been raining and he was soaked and shivering. Needless to say both Chris and I were beyond livid. Sure the tenants were morons for leaving it behind, but the landlord should have taken it to a shelter. Two wrongs do not make a right. There was no excuse for what he did and Chris let him have it the next day when he saw him preparing the house to be rented. The landlord didn't seem to think what he did was wrong and ignored us from that day on, until... he came to our house today wanting to know if he could set up some kind of bullet security cameras surveillance thingy onto our house so it could look directly onto their house for surveillance purposes. Chris told him no and he did warn the jerk that setting up spy equipment without the knowledge of his tenants is against the law. The man told Chris that what they didn't know would not hurt them. Really?! 

I looked up the advertisement on Craigslist for the house next door and about rolled off my chair laughing.  They have it listed as a large affordable home with 4 bedrooms (I looked at the property info online and it is listed as a 2 bedroom, the other two rooms used to be a utility room and a walk in closet, they are not bedrooms by any stretch of the imagination) it also states it has new kitchen counter tops and so many upgrades.  They are so full of it.  The house is less than 1100 square feet.  Not large by any means and they want $865.oo for it but the for rent sign on the front lawn says $850.  For that amount of many is in not an affordable house for the house they are getting.  The "new" kitchen counter tops are not new.  They came from a salvage yard that the previous tenants had put in because the old counter tops were falling apart. The balls that these two men have are humongous.  Their screened in lanai has no screen at all.  It has posts and the door is hanging by one hinge.  You would think that they would at least do something about that but nope.

So for the last two weeks we have watched families look at the house. We tried to make ourselves visible by being outside with the dogs or just hanging around the front yard, in case the prospective tenants wanted to ask us questions about the house and so forth. We did not hold anything back. We filled them in on why the previous tenants left, the problems that the house currently has and what kind of landlords they would be dealing with.  Chris actually talked with one family while one of the landlords was there.  The landlord could not deny problems and when the people told them that they would want all the problems fixed before they would consider renting the house, the landlord actually told them to leave.  That gentlemen that actually considered renting it then told the landlord that he would be publishing an advertisement of his own rebuking the landlords advertisement as a scam.  And he would be right to do so.  They are scammers but more importantly they are the epitome of slumlords.  We don't need that kind of filth in our community and more of us should look out for one another.  That's my goal at least.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Helping Phil Battle Multiple Myeloma

Back at the end of December I wrote an important post on my friend, Phil. 
I am reattempting to spread the word in hopes that it gains some much needed attention.  You see, he is struggling not only with this stupid cancer but he is in desperate financial need.  His wife, Jen, is a RN and works limited shifts to help support their family.  She is Phil's caretaker first and foremost, so when he is struggling she stays home to care for him.  

I can not find the words that express how important it is to be able to raise the money in an effort to help him and his family. I see the need, but apparently many do not. 

I know the economy plays a part for some people not being able to help, I understand their situation.  However, there are people out there that can help and that is what I am striving for.  If you can not personally help them with a donation, then please spread the word.  I have started this small snowball in hopes that others will help it roll along to get bigger and bigger. 

Even a simple one dollar donation will help.  That is one dollar more towards the goal.  I have a donation button (Helping Phil Battle with Multiple Myeloma) already in place and there is also a donation button on Jen's blog.  Both buttons are linked to her paypal account. 

If you are moved by their need, please post this on your blog and most definitely link the first post so that people can get an idea with what he struggles with. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Still choosing to be my own boss.

I know, I have been MIA for a while.  Been extremely busy, which I am in no way complaining because me being busy is a great thing.   I have been sending several letters to various real estate and property management companies to try and get my foot in the door for their cleaning of rentals and foreclosures.  Surprisingly there are not many companies that are competing for that business.  On the other hand, the money is not like cleaning for residential customers.  Banks are hesitant to pay to have a home presentable for viewing and property management companies try and have their own crew.  Although I have been told by several property managers that it may change here soon.  It all boils down to good pay for good work or you get what you pay for. So we shall see how this pans out.

I have toyed with the idea of maybe looking for a second job.  However, seeing the classifieds recently, I have to come to a conclusion that unless you are scouting through the health care job listings, you are not going to find employment anytime soon. I actually laughed out loud when I opened up the classifieds and literally just looked through not even half of page for general labor or administrative and that was in Sunday's paper. 

Now if you have any type of medical experience, there was a slew of those.  I don't have the patience for nursing. I would be an awful nurse.  Yes, I am a compassionate person but I have many buttons that many people have pushed and well.... nope I would make a terrible nurse.  Now I could be a billing code specialist but realistically how well does that pay? I have heard horror stories in that field.  Same with a medical transcriptions.  Besides, I don't have the time nor money to go back to school right now for a career change.  There is already two in this household that is working on  furthering their education in hopes of securing some kind of job in the future. 

Nope, I will just stay the course and persevere in my business.  I like being my own boss and interacting with the customers and I like the freedom to schedule or not to schedule on certain days, its liberating.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cleaning for my own Oscar and Felix.

I cleaned today for a long time customer.  The renter's are actually the ones responsible in me securing this twice a month gig.  The owner pays me monthly since she lives out of state and if the renter's want something additionally done than they pay me the extra.  It has worked out very well over the past year. 

Today, I did a spring clean for the two bachelors.  They had me clean out all their cabinets and cupboards.  They wanted everything wiped down and all the expired products thrown away.  No problem, I actually like things out of my normal routine.  It makes the day go by faster really.  Although I was there for five hours. Made more money but boy was my back sore.

Cleaning for the two bachelors is sometimes amusing.  They remind me of the Odd Couple.  One is older, just for giggles I will call him Oscar, and he could be the other's father but they click in a very amusing way.  They complete each other but not in a romantic way, just in a live together way.  The older gentleman works for himself.  His company is more of a management company for other companies.  He comes in and tells you what to do differently to make your own company prosper.  More like an advisor. 

The younger gentleman, just for giggles again, I will call him Felix,  is my age, but he is very successful.  He is a professor at the nearest university.  He teaches classes online. He also helps the older bachelor with the financials of his business.  Felix has a son a few years younger than my Katie.  The little boy spends every other weekend with his dad and his dad's room is busting at the seams with all the little boys toys and video games.  Sometimes just walking into his room is like walking through a landmine field.  I normally just put the son's toys into the closet so at least you can see the floor.  They are both clean but Felix is by far the most cluttered.  His desk is the epitome of organized chaos.  It is very difficult to get to everything but I do it.

They both have amazingly beautiful girlfriends.  I sometimes wonder if they are in the relationship just because the men have more money than they know what to do with.  Seriously... these guys are not hurting for anything.  They may live together when they could easily afford places of their own but I think they also like living together.  Oscar if more serious and Felix has his quirks but when they are both home there is always humor. 

While I was cleaning out Felix's medicine cabinet I could not believe all the acne products he had stuffed in there.  None of it was beyond it's expiration date but I had to be able to organize it differently so I made room under the bathroom sink for all of it.  Felix actually likes that arrangement better.  None of it was actually his but his girlfriend's and seeing her plenty of times, I am a firm believer that the stuff she uses works because I have never seen a blemish on her.  She is one of the socialite types.  Always looks pristine but she is also very down to earth and sweet.  When I cleaned for them a few days before Christmas, on top of getting a bonus from the guys ( money) she also gave me a basket of chocolates and Bath and Body Works lotions and pampering goodies.  I remember she told me that although money is always nice, getting things to make you feel more like a woman is better.  I have to admit that I did enjoy the basket. 

Oscar's girlfriend is a little different.  Maybe it's because she is Norwegian and not all that familiar with our culture in the states.  She is used to being pampered and taken care of.  Apparently her ex husband bought her a house on the Keys so that she would be as far away from him as possible.  Her statement exactly.  She kids about needing a man to take care of her but she has never demanded anything like that from Oscar.  In fact when she has been there in the mornings that I have cleaned, she has always made him breakfast and laid out his clothes and then has taken him shopping.  She bought me a Coach purse with wallet and money inside for Christmas.  I still don't have a clue as to what I will use it for.  It's not an every day type purse.  I still thought it was sweet but she seems to be the type that gives people things in order to win your friendship over.  Not that she is a mean person but maybe she thinks she has to. 

Oscar and Felix are one of my favorite customers to clean for.  They treat me with respect and are always going out of their way to make me comfortable.  They may have money but they do not fit the "I am far better than you are" mold.  I wish I could have taken a picture of their Christmas tree.  It was a white one with huge themed ornaments.  Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, Roger Rabbit. I have never seen anything like it.  It was definitly a bachelor Christmas Tree.

In the shadow of Alzheimer's.

When I was a young girl, about 10 years old or so, my great grandmother on my mother's side of the family was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  My great grandmother, Bubba, the name is a Czech term meaning old woman, who was my grandfather's mother was always a busy woman.  The most vivid memories I have of her, were of when she had to move in with my great aunt and her daughter.  My cousin, Theresa, mainly took care of her while my great aunt worked.  And then my great aunt would take over so so that my cousin could go to school.  One Christmas they had given her a My Buddy doll.  Bubba treated that doll like a real baby.  She never went anywhere without it.  When she could no longer walk on her own was the day they had to put her into a nursing home.  She died less than six months later.  Her My Buddy doll laid next to her in her casket.  I was 16.

Fast forward to today.  My mom's mother has Alzheimer's.  She denies it.  She throws out any prescriptions she thinks she doesn't need.  Doesn't help that she is a retired R.N. because she will go through her medical dictionary for drugs to look up her newly acquired prescription.  If she sees that it is for depression she will throw the prescription out. It is common for anti depressants to be prescribed for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She won't take what she needs to and she is always missing her medications but you can't stop her from her vitamins and supplements.  She has more bottles of l-carnitine fumarate then she knows what to do with and it's not like she needs the protein and fat burning qualities of it.  She has hypothyroidism and even though having that makes it difficult for you to lose weight, she is not overweight by any means.  And on top of that she has been screwing up my grandfather's medications. 

 My grandfather has heart disease and he also keeps his nitro necklace on him at all times. Ever since my grandmother has been descending the depths of reality, he has been taking at least one everyday.  We found out shortly after he was admitted to the hospital that she was overdosing my grandfather.  He has gotten so bad that no surgery will help and it's all about borrowed time.  The meds are just prolonging his life.  He is very frail and I will bet that he doesn't weigh more than 120 pounds soaking wet. Every time I see him I am reminded of how little time he has left.  He will probably not see this Christmas.  I try and spend as much time as I can with them and cleaning for them every two weeks gives me some alone time with them.  They are just a fraction of the grandparents that I remember in my youth. 

My mom and her two siblings have been talking a lot lately about what to do with my grandmother when my grandfather passes away.  It is very clear that she will need to go into some type of retirement home.  They don't really want to put her in a nursing home and the appeals of a ALF (assisted living facility) is far too independent for her.  She needs her privacy but also needs the structure of getting the meds she requires at the proper time.  My aunt and uncle have tossed around the idea of having her move in with them, but they know that it is going to be a living hell while she is there.  You can only be in the room with her for a short period of time before your patience runs out.  It's devastating to say that but 100% true. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keeping a cork on Mt. Vesuvius.

It has been a long while since I have had to deal with an ulcer of any type.  Decades really... then all of a sudden... WHAM! Right out of left field it hit! 

It was so bad this afternoon that while we were out shopping, I had Chris go to CVS to get some Gaviscon.  As soon as we came out of the store I was ripping into the bottle like a crack fiend looking for their next hit. After popping four of those puppies into my mouth and chewing like there was not tomorrow the burning pain stopped.  Oh how I love Gaviscon.  Nothing else can stop the pain. Not Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta...nothing! I won't be needing any appetite suppressants since I won't be eating much for the next few days.  When my ulcer is aggravated there is only so much I can eat that will not set off Mt. Vesuvius.  I have stress to blame this episode on.  When I get severely stressed the production of acid in my stomach grows by leaps and bounds.  I just have to reset my mind into letting things go and stop worrying and stressing on things that I can not control.  I have to remember that God has this and leave it in his hands. 

The first time I was diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, I was fed intravenously for over a week.  Nothing was allowed to enter my stomach .  The ulcer was the size of a half dollar and it was almost through my stomach lining. If it had been any bigger, surgery would have been needed. When I was allowed to eat, the only diet I could go on, consisted of foods that wouldn't take much acid to break down.  I was on nothing but baby food for two months.  Then gradually I could eat soft palate foods, like mashed potatoes and cottage cheese.  Once it completely healed I found out that I could no longer tolerate spicy foods.  Even mild salsa will bring a twinge of discomfort, so, I eat all that in moderation and limit it to a few times a year.

I have eaten cottage cheese with a few pears today to keep the acid from eating away at my stomach and  I have been chewing Gaviscon on and off to help settle the too much acid that has already invaded my stomach. I may just be able to sleep tonight without too much discomfort and the Gaviscon will be on my nightstand in case I need it. I sure hope not.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fresh Start and Fresh House.

Although I may not have the Condo Complex anymore, I am still staying active.  I cleaned today for a long time customer.  Jeannie and her husband, Bob, have been so instrumental in passing out my cards to just about everyone they know.  I have cleaned for some of their friends and do get repeat calls for cleaning but several of them, like Jeannie and Bob, are snowbirds.  My business has been profitable during the busy season which typically starts in November and runs until June.  So I am searching different avenues to keep the business thriving during the off season.

I was approached yesterday by a real estate agent that deals with rental properties.  I gave her my card and she is calling me next week to meet with her to discuss pricing and availability.  This weekend I will have to sit down and really think about how to price this out.  I just wouldn't be cleaning a house but going through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is ready for the next renters.  I have also been asked to look into new construction clean outs.  That is a hefty job but if I can get my foot into that door, well I would have to hire help.  Which I think would be a positive step in helping out in employing desperate individuals in dire need of  a job.  So, I am open to that. 

Also, Chris has been asked to replace a kitchen/hallway tile floor.  So that is more money in our pockets.  He would have to do the job on the weekend since he has school during the week but they know that and they would prefer that anyway.  The only thing holding them back is whether to replace tile with tile or have a wood floor instead.  Chris is pricing the difference as I type this and will visit them tomorrow to show them their options.  Chris's dad has had several neighbors inquire about Chris' painting prices.  Last summer, Chris painted their neighbors house.  So now everyone in their neighborhood is aware that Chris paints.  Funny thing is that Chris really doesn't want to be a painter.  He is a good handy man but painting is not one of his favorite things to do.  So maybe while I figure out which direction my company goes, Chris may be the one bringing in the money on the weekends.  Which is fine with the both of us, just in case it takes awhile for mine to push forward. Not that I am going to slack off in pushing mine forward, but it will take that stress of having to have something yesterday anxiety looming over my head.

Besides cleaning today, I have also started to organize the house.  I figure since it is a new year and everything is going to get overhauled. I might as well include my house in that too.  Katie and I went through all her clothes and I just could not believe how much stuff she has outgrown.  We had two kitchen bags full of clothes for the Salvation Army.  I have also found a half dozen of those skinny ties  that were on the top shelf of her closet.  I know they don't belong to her so I assume that they were here when we moved in.  However, I am positive that we got rid of most of the previous tenants belongings when moved here.  In any case, they went into the bag for the Salvation Army, because neither Chris nor Jeff would wear them.  Tomorrow we will finish Katie's room and then tackle my office.  I don't have a lot of space but I have a ton of  stuff that I can not get rid of so, my next project is going to be putting up more shelves to accommodate everything.  Good thing Chris is handy, because I can't be trusted with a drill or a hammer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fool me once.. shame on you.

I am glad that yesterday is done.   Today is a new day, one with many opportunities and decisions. 
From now on I will make the rules and if you do not like it then, Hats Off to you! As in nice seeing ya, Adios and Sayounara!

For too long I have been a people pleaser. I have done whatever it takes, to make other people happy,  especially in my business.  I don't mean that I don't like what I do anymore, but there is a line that people should not cross.  I am NOT a maid.  I AM a house cleaner.  There is absolutely a difference and it's about time people figure that out.  Most of my long time customers knows this.  They treat me wonderfully and with respect.  Others that have not lasted, due to my choice, had this air about them that stank so bad I had to cut them off.  The entitlement syndrome is what I like to call it.  They may have money so they think they are ENTITLED to special treatment.  Special Treatment is not free!  My service is not expensive to begin with, even with providing all my own equipment and cleaning supplies, I am fairly priced.  However, there are services that are not included in a standard cleaning and if you want additional services then there is an extra fee period!

Which leads me to the subject of what happened yesterday.  For six months I have bent over backwards to make the people in the condominium complex happy with my work, to insure that I kept the contract going. After all, it was the bread and butter that held my family together.  For four of those months, I did not get one single complaint.  I went above and beyond to make them happy and even did things that a normal cleaner does not do.  Granted commercial cleaning is a whole different ball of wax but, I prided myself by going two steps beyond any hum drum commercial cleaning company.  I really don't think it was the people so much as the managing office of the complex. In fact the people always complented me and thanked me for doing a wonderul job.

 The general manager was ok but his assistant?  We have found a new wicked witch of the west in her.  She was never in a good mood and never smiled.  I always thought that she must have been born with a frown or a scowl.  I avoided having any contact with her because it reminded me of nails running down a chalkboard.  There were times though that I had to speak to her because the general manager was off on vacations or personal days.  I now understand why he was rarely in the office. 

She tried so hard to get me to do things above and beyond what was stated in the agreement.  I told her I would have no problem doing it but I would have to charge them extra for it.  My perogative and your choice.  Although when the invoice was done and turned over they would always manage to not pay the extra, stating that things that were included in the agreement were not done to their standards.  Which I would reply,  "No they weren't done to YOUR standards but ABOVE your standards". I also told her flat out that she must not have read the agreement because it clearly states that anything performed above and beyond the agreement would be subject to additional charges. If she chose not to pay it would just keep racking up interest and eventually going to collections. That was her choice.

 It got to the point that they went and hired a supervisor for the maintenance staff specifically to try and boss me around.  Instead of her coming to me with the extra stuff that they wanted done, she sent him.  After the first week of him being on the job, I brang in my copy of the agreement, I wasn't going to have some drone try and tell me what I have to be doing without him knowing any better.  So I educated the man on my responsibilities as a vendor and not an employee.  I told him if he wanted to be personally responsible for the extra charges than I would be happy to comply.  I told  him that I would need a credit card on file to be able to charge accordingly.  I was kidding of course, but I really think he thought I was serious.

I think the light bulb went on with him and he backed down. The maintenance staff in general were very nice people. I have been told often by all of them how much they hated working there and if they could get another job some place else they would leave in a heartbeat. I finally got fed up with the association not paying what was due and went into the office. When I  inquired about unpaid balances on their account the witch told me that they no longer required my services, becasuse the board of directors have decided to have the cleaning go in-house. Which meant that they would be hiring people on their payroll to clean.  She then told me to track down the supervisor to get my last months check. My mother was with me and I know it took everything in her to not go off on this woman. I felt bad for my mom because the general manager is actually a friend of my parents. He knew I cleaned for a living, and he wasn't happy with the company that they have had for two years, and he was the one that came to me and asked me to put a bid in. I even went and obtained general liability insurance because without it I could not clean for the complex.  He was there when the confrontation took place and he was the one that broke it up.  My mother and I went to his office and we talked behind closed doors.  I think that pissed off the witch even more and intensified her hatred of me when she was told the conversation was private.

Apparenlty, this year will be his last year with the company.  He is retiring. The witch has put in a bid for his position and to prove to the board how valuable she can be she has taken some of the general managers duties. That includes the budget for the entire complex.  She was the one that instructed the board to go with in house cleaning, stating that she could save them more than half of what they were paying to outsource the cleaning. Yes, she can do that but only by under paying the employees.  Which of course is what they will do.  The one person that they will be hiring will make about $300.00 before taxes a week. She will be part time which means she will not be entitled to benefits.   He was not aware that the board had voted on it so soon because he was in the middle of doing a rebuttal to show the board that in house cleaning is not going to be beneficial for them in the end. The meeting was supposed to take place this past Monday.  He left early last Friday as he always does and the board met and voted on Friday afternoon.  By the time he came into the office on Monday, the witch had already cut my last check and typed up a letter to explain their decision to cut ties with me.  Instead of needing his signarture the witch and the board president had already signed it.  He felt betrayed and was angry but he could do nothing. His hands were tied and that was that.  He apologized to me and he asked my mother to forgive him.  He did not want to this come between their friendship. He attempted to pay the outstanding balance out of his own pocket.  I told him no.  I have legal recourse and I am choosing to use it. He understood.  I felt bad for him but the respect has dwindled.  I think he could have least warned me of what was about to happen.  I wouldn't have been so blinded otherwise. 

Now with this behind me, I will NOT let another soul try and swindle me again.  My contracts have been revised and clearly worded so that something like this will never, ever happen to me again.  Even if they try, the contracts are so binding that the only way of termintating my service for any reason will come with financial consequences.  I am done being a door mat.

Now I am off to start a whole new campaign and to drum up more business so that my family will have roof over thier heads and food in the tummies.  I am a firm believer in one door closing many more will open!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meme Time....

I haven't participated in Memes for a while now.. but this looked fun.  Stole it from Amy.
If you are wanting to do this too, here are the rules.. no cheating!

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.



Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen I can’t even begin to describe how eerie this was LOL!


Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash


Until The Whole World Hears – Casting Crowns


Prince’s Of The Universe - Queen


Pictures Of You – The Cure


One Thing Leads To Another – The Fixx


Puttin’ On The Ritz - Taco


What If I Stumble – DC Talk


Opportunities – The Pet Shop Boys


Roxanne – The Police - LOL... Chris liked this one!


Say It Isn’t So – The Outfield


Come Sail Away - Styx


I Wanna Be With You Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac


All I Ever Wanted – Depeche Mode


I Am On The Rock - Petra


What I Like About You – The Ramons

Answered Prayer...

For a long time, I have been denied myself from the truth.  A truth that has both hindered me and made me one of the most negative thinking person that I have known in my life.

For over twenty years, I have harbored resentment and mistrust.  I not only built a wall around myself, but a barricade upon barricade, upon barricade. Refusing, even the people that I care about, entry into my safe place.  Right up until two weeks ago.

Chris and I have been together for over 12 years.   A rocky relationship, at its best, from the start.  I can't even begin to understand how we lasted so long.  Until two weeks ago. 

Besides our daughter, Katie, there really wasn't anything that connected us to each other.  Going through the motions, day by day ruts, and wondering really how long our "relationship" was going to last.  I was always looking for the "other shoe to drop" and anticipating that day for a very long time. Until two weeks ago.

I have never fully given my heart to a man.  Some were able to penetrate into the thick, overgrown thorn patches that I considered the entry to my fortress of solitude. They, however, have never earned my trust nor my heart but, there were some that I wanted so badly to work out.  In the end, it was never meant to be and even though I would always get hurt, I bounced back faster each time.

When I met Chris, I was actually running away from a roller coaster of a relationship.  A relationship so toxic and clearly unhealthy, that I had to move 1200 miles to break free of him. A relationship that had me so distraught and unstable, that for the first and only time in my life, I was given anti depressants to cope.  That man wasn't a bad person. We just weren't compatible for one another.  We were the very reason why oil and water do not mix. 

When I met Chris it was months after I moved to Florida the first time.  In fact when I first met him, I thought he was a jerk to the nth degree.  So cocky and arrogant.  But, he was also very manipulative and smooth... two things that at the time were my weaknesses.  He never lied to me about who he was.  A player like no other.  Never deceitful, just full of himself. He embodied a confidence of epic proportions.  And I fell hard.  I got pregnant and then I left Florida during my third trimester.  I left because I figured he was like all the rest.  And up until two weeks ago, I still felt that way. 

I am not sure how it happened but even after I moved to Ohio, we still kept in contact.  He even called me at the hospital the day after I gave birth to our daughter.  We became friends, and then parents, that shared an interest in our daughters welfare together.  The first year of our daughters life, he visited us twice.  Then a short time after Katie turned a year old, he moved to Ohio.  Looking back at the first years, I can't explain how we stayed together.  They were very hard years that were full of resentment and based on no trust. At the beginning, Chris stayed for our daughter.  He wanted to make sure that this time, he was involved in her life, that this time she had both of her parents living under the same roof. We played happy but deep down we knew we were on borrowed time. Chris made the decision to move back to Florida after living in Ohio for three years.  He was miserable and hated every aspect of Ohio and its weather. I remember the night he broke the news to me. Whether I wished to follow or not, he was going back to his home. I made the choice to follow him four months later.  

Chris and I have both done things to hurt one another.  Maybe not intentionally but hurtful all the same.  I lied to him constantly about what really affected me and he...well... it doesn't really need to be said.  Up until two weeks ago, I felt as if we were just coexisting.  And the truth of the matter is that is exactly what we were doing.  We were affectionate towards one another but affectionate or not, without trust, it just doesn't matter.  I will say that the three years in Ohio changed Chris. He became a different person.  One with more tolerance, patience and a new understanding of what true love is.  I on the other hand, wallowed in misery.  I loathed the very idea of love.  I just did not have any room in my heart and life for it.  I refused to let another man hurt me.  And I blocked Chris out. 

Over the years, Chris had tried repeatedly to get me to confide in him on why I was the way I was.  It always failed because I didn't see that I had a problem.  I was stubborn and obstinate and there was no way I was going to tear down my walls.  But, I did try on several occasions. I was not honest with myself and therefore it always failed. 

Then, two weeks ago, exactly two days before Chris' 40th birthday, I snapped, and as always something so trivial and stupid started the avalanche of hurt feelings.  Then the truth came out.  I did not trust him.  Even after years of telling him that trust had nothing to do with it, it finally burst through my wall.  For hours we talked, cried, screamed and cried some more. I don't know if it was the possibility of losing him or if I just was too tired of lying to myself, but I finally poured out my heart to him.  We brought up past issues and like a big magic eraser all the hurt feelings, hatred, and resentment went away.  I can't even describe how in one night, everything that I held on so tightly to, just disappeared.  For the first time I looked into Chris eyes and I saw his love.  He loved me even though I did not deserve it, he stuck around because he believed that this was not how it was going to end.  He loved me because he wanted to. He loves me today because I finally told the truth. He and I both know that our prayers were answered two weeks ago. We may not fully understand why it took over twelve years but it is never in our time, but Gods time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Own Little World - Matthew West

Very moving song isn't it?  Speaks volumes and whether you like it or not.. it reaches inside your heart and tugs more than a little. 

God has been pulling on my heart for many, many years.  Sometimes I would stop and listen and other times I would pretend I didn't feel a thing.  I won't pretend anymore. 

I started a campaign to raise awareness and donations for a dear friend that is battling with cancer, known as Multiple Myeloma.  If you are able to, please donate whatever you can. Just click the donation button under the heading: Help Phil Battle Multiple Myeloma in the top right hand side of the tool bar.
If you are among the many who are struggling financially yourself, You can still help by spreading the word.

And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My parents memorable trip to Germany.

My parents had a good time in Germany.  I won't say great, because as my mom put it, "It was a comedy of errors." Nothing went as planned, but that doesn't make it a bad trip, just a more memorable one.

My dad became ill the first two days of the trip as well as a handful of others.  He spent the first two days sleeping in the hotel room. Others in the performance started to come down with the sickness as the days progressed.  My mom on the other hand didn't get sick until Christmas evening. 

Out of the 1,800 troops that were supposed to be entertained by the Singing Christmas Tree performances, there were only 15 soldiers and their families. Apparently the other 1785 were transplanted elsewhere. The biggest recipient of the Churches generosity and kindness turned out to be the locals of Weisbaden, Germany.  Many of them came to more than one performance.  It wasn't a total loss.  They had fun with the locals and my parents enjoyed mingling with the kind and generous locals.

One of the women in the choir, fell and broke her shoulder bone.  She was immediately sent back home to have surgery.  While the crew was in Weisbaden, they were treated to the worst snow storms in over 100 years.  This made coming back home a nightmare.  My parents flight was due in Detroit on the Tuesday before Christmas, they never left Germany until Wednesday evening.  They finally made it home on Thursday.  Twelve people were stranded until Christmas eve.  They finally got home Christmas night.  My parents and 160 others flew Delta.  The 12? They flew American.  Goes to show ya who really took care of their passengers. 

My dad told me about a gentleman there that came to all five performances.  Always with what looked to be a one of those nikon spotting scopes, turns out he was legally blind and used it to see the people in the performance.  The man was so grateful to be able to see the performance for free, all five times, that he treated the whole crew to dinner on their last night.  Turns out he owned one of the most prominent restaurants in the village.  Go figure.

My parents really enjoyed shopping in the open Christmas market, which is a tradition through out Germany.  My mom, bought my sisters and I, an ornament that says Frohe Weihnachten, wish is Merry Christmas in German and my dad bragged about tasting every local brewed beer and loving it.  He would since he is of German nationality. He brought back several beer steins, one for my grandfather and the rest for himself.  He now has over 100 steins.  Who needs that many steins? And who, I wonder, will be the lucky one to inherited them?