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.