Fences, Electronics and LESS Debt!

Just look at that fine fence!

I’m so looking forward to having our back fence done. We have made significant progress in the past two weeks – nearly all of the 4×4 posts, as well as most of the pickets, are in place.

The opening as seen from the alley side. We will put in a gate on the left and custom cut the boards and add pickets to cover the right side.

Today we rented a jackhammer from Home Depot and Dave used it to open up two holes – one was the remains of an old driveway to a long-gone garage, the other appeared to be the brick wall of another long-gone structure (probably another garage). This allowed us to dig down far enough to set the 4×4 posts in.

Taken from the alley side, this is the portion of fence we built last weekend. It’s directly behind Cottage West. We will leave these tree stumps in place, they provide protection from folks slipping and sliding in the snow while backing up out of the apartment building parking lot (out of sight on the left)

We have one post left to set in – it’s down at the very end of the line, directly behind Cottage West. We will have a gate there, as well as one about 20 feet from the Airstream – these will both open onto the back alley. And then there will be the double gate at the back parking area.

“Is the cement still wet?” Em asked.
“Yep, it’s perfect for putting your initials in!”

So three gates to build next weekend and one post to set in place.

As we worked today, a woman came running through our yard and the fence. “You are really making this impossible, you know.”

Dave yelled after her, “That’s kind of the point!”

The gates will be padlocked and once they are in place the entire run will be sealed, making it impossible for folks to cut through our yard. They will still be able to come in from the front, but that is a task for 2019. Just one more year until our entire property, including Cottage East and Cottage West, is enclosed.

Next year or the year after I hope to build a pergola here directly outside the Airstream. I’ll also lay in a gravel and flagstone path from the firepit to the Airstream now that I’m running out of bricks.

And that makes me pretty darned excited. I look forward to the day when I can open the front door and let our dogs run out into the bigger yard and hang out with us.

Just stopping folks from using our yard as a road from 10th Street to the alley or 11th Street beyond that will be huge. We have seen/experienced the following in our yard since moving here…

  • Various people stop and pee (or take a dump)
  • Illegal dumping of trash
  • Vandalism
  • Theft (they stole our wheelbarrow and other equipment)
  • Junkies off their rocker, shouting and walking through
  • Found baggies of drugs in our garden
  • Had a woman high as a kite sit down on a stump and proceed to talk to our chickens for half an hour while she clucked like a chicken
  • Had kids throw rocks at our beehive when we still had bees

Is it any wonder we are more than ready for a nice tall fence?!

It looks oddly small in this picture but that is a full sized dresser beneath it.

A Deal I Couldn’t Pass Up

Two weeks before I got the call in December 2016, we had purchased a 55″ television as a Christmas gift to ourselves. I was so excited to have a big tv there in the living room!

And two weeks after the phone call and I was back from Panama with my dad. The television, conveniently located in the living room, was immediately taken over by him.

His dementia, caused by poor diet and improperly medicated diabetes has affected him significantly. He basically spends all day watching daytime tv.

There’s nothing quite as off-putting to me as Jerry Springer or Paternity Court. At lunch I can hear the judge bellowing, “Mustafa Antone, the tests show that YOU are the father!”

Ugh. As a result, we tend to stay upstairs, leaving the living room television in the hands of my dad.

And with just a little television upstairs in our bedroom, I’ll admit, I felt like I’d had my Christmas gift taken away from me!

Our smaller tv didn’t have Roku and we couldn’t watch anything from our Plex server on it, and that bummed me out enough that, after 18 months of this, I decided to start looking for a nice tv for our room.

We ended up choosing a 55-inch Roku 4G and it came in yesterday. Dave could see how excited I was, and was kind enough to install it on the wall right away. We have an extra-long power cord coming in today that will make it less cord congested, and I love that it can tilt out, allowing it to be viewed from the other room.

I used it today to practice some yoga I found on YouTube. So cool!

Debt Reduction Too!

I was surprised and delighted to add it all up and discover that, even with our purchases like the upright freezer, fencing materials, and a big television, we have managed to remove over $15,500 worth of debt in the past seven months and we are well on our way to an overall debt reduction of around $28,000 for 2018.

That’s huge!

I’ll admit, I checked it and double-checked it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. But my Current Debt worksheet in Excel is updated once a month with all of our current debts. After so many years of struggling, it is beyond exciting to see this happen.

Our savings might be small (most of our savings is going into a pot earmarked for home renovation) but it continues to grow steadily.

Our goals remain to renovate Cottage East and Cottage West over the next 4 1/2 years, all while maintaining a steady reduction in debt and building our savings. It takes mindfulness and planning, but it is worth it. I can clearly see a day when we are debt free and have several property income streams in place that are near us and well-monitored and maintained.

Things are looking up and progress is being made!

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