Rental House Woes

Rental House Tour

So. For those of you that don’t know – we bought the house across the street from us.

The previous tenant passed away and her house and belongings went to auction in late October of last year. Kevin and I went to the auction. Kevin hinted he wanted the house, but I didn’t take him too seriously. As soon as I walked into the house, I knew it would be a money pit. It was run down, dated and simply OLD. It would take quite a bit of money and elbow grease to bring it up-to-date.

I felt sad as I walked through the house and saw other people pawing through her stuff. I feel this way when I go to garage sales too … people judge and barter for other people’s junk, or in this case, this woman’s entire life.

The auctioneer was doing his thing and bit by bit, the woman’s belongings left the premises. I couldn’t watch anymore and I walked back home. Kevin said he would let me know when the house went up for auction because he planned on bidding on it. Part of me was terrified, but most of me didn’t think he would actually do it.

He not only bid on it, it came down to just him and one other guy. Luckily, he DIDN’T get it. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

The morning of my birthday, I saw a “FOR SALE” sign in the yard. I groaned and knew, KNEW, Kevin would jump on that. He did. He went over and talked the guy into a reasonable price and, well, wenow have a rental home to fix up. I’m still not sure why the guy wanted to sell the property so quickly after buying it. I was very suspicious (and still a little am, if you want the truth), but it’s a done deal now. The guy who originally bought it had his guys go in and tear up all the floors – ripped out the carpet and the linoleum in the kitchen. That alone probably saved us about $5,000. The bathrooms were the worst – blue tub, blue toilet, blue walls, blue/white tile … and the master bath even had some sort of funky bathroom wallpaper, complete with naked people – classy.

The first “we” (henceforth also known as Kevin) did was demo the bathrooms. The bathrooms were impossibly small and ill conceived, so Kevin reconfigured them so that both bathrooms would have a tub and a shower (as opposed to the master bath only having a shower) and set to work with his sledge hammer and demo’d the crap out of the bathroom walls and floors.

Here’s a video of the aftermath …

Kevin put an ad in Craig’s list for a contractor and we lucked out with a father/son combo that set to work on the house. They put in new tubs, toilets, tile, vanity (just one – you’ll see in the video) and tiled the showers. They did a really nice job and they look 110% better than they did.

Then they put new tile in the kitchen. Which again, looks pretty awesome.

However, if there was one thing (okay, one of the things) that bugged me most about this house? The cabinets. They’re solid oak cabinets and Kevin swears he would have sanded them down and re-stained them, and I’m sure he would have done a great job, but they’re butt ugly. I hated them on sight. And thinking as a women, I think they would have turned away potential renters because everything else in the house will be new, and then you have these gawd ugly, 50-year old cabinet eyesores.

So I talked Kevin into going to Lowe’s and just looking at cabinets. Then, when we found one we really liked, I talked him into just seeing how much they would cost. No frills, just straight cabinets. And then we found out they were having a 10% off their cabinets sale, and then we found out we could get an additional 5% off if we used the Lowe’s credit card and what if we knocked another $800 dollars off if Kevin took the cabinets out instead of the cabinet guy?

NOW the price is looking a little more attractive.

And we went for it. And I CAN’T WAIT to get those puppies in there – it is going to look soooo good! We (I) picked a dark cherry cabinet and with the creamy whitish tile and a creamy whitish backsplash with brand new black (because they’re cheaper) appliances, it’s going to look AWESOME to a potential renter.

Our contractor guys haven’t been by in several weeks. We couldn’t decide on the type of wood floor we wanted so we encouraged the contractor guys to take another job they had lined up and told them we would call them when we were ready for them to put the wood floors in.

We looked for about three week(end)s for something and finally, FINALLY, a saleswoman at Color Tile found this rich pecan wood that we both fell in love with immediately. We thought at first we wanted lighter wood in the house, but again, I finally wore Kevin down and we settled for a darker wood. (Kevin was worried the darker wood would look too dark in the room with fireplace, but I think (hope) it’ll look okay together). I know it’s going to look good with the kitchen tile …

So Kevin spent yesterday taking out the old cabinets. He put another ad on Craigslist and practically gave the cabinets away to the second person who came to look at them. But it worked out great because the guy is a pastor at a church and they will shine them up and put them in a little old lady’s home who was with the pastor when he came to look at them and acted like a kid on Christmas morning (according to Kevin – I was at work). We feel good they will have a good home, we saved money by not having the cabinet guy take them out and we made a little money on the side as well as helped out a woman.

We did good.

Here’s a video of the house as it stands now …

I’ll post more as we make more progress …

Book Corner

Book Review: The Do-Over

Amazon Kindle link

My Grade: B-

Author’s Website

Plot / Premise

Just before her fortieth birthday, Mara Jane Mulligan, devoted wife and mother, runs out of bubble bath, and the ensuing panic attack drives her to Canada for more. She realizes that one foamy soak probably won’t cure what ails her, so she takes a 30 day vacation from her life. (What woman doesn’t need one of those?)

Surely her family will understand. Her son’s visiting Grandma, and maybe her husband won’t even miss her. Unfortunately, her husband doesn’t miss much and tracks her to Abundance, a Vancouver bubble bath company.

As her 30 days sail by, Mara Jane Mulligan discovers she has a decision to make that even Dorothy couldn’t avoid… Will she click her heels for home or kick them up for good?

My Thoughts

I liked this story – I was scared to really like this story.

I’m pushing 50, half my life is over. (Because I fully intend to live until I’m 100, with mind and body intact, thank you very much). So this story really resonated with me. It’s human nature to sit back and wonder .. what if? What if I had made different choices? What if I make a change now? What if I choose door B instead of stepping through door A. And what lies behind door C? I think we can all relate to the age-old question – is there more??

I confess, I almost stopped reading a few times. The character’s thoughts were all over the place and it was hard to stay in this character’s head, let alone try and empathize with her, for very long – there were times she wouldn’t finish a thought before another, even less rational thought, would pop into her head.

But that’s what happens when we’re confused. Nothing makes sense. When our normal day-to-day life changes, whether with, or without, our conscience consent, it’s hard to find a firm hold on an alternate reality. So … the character’s messy thoughts somehow … seemed appropriate, given what she was going through.

But here’s what I really liked about this story – the character didn’t just give up and walk away from her responsibilities or her life. She didn’t simply focus on her selfish motivations – she bathed in the sweet-smelling fragrance, liked it, didn’t want to give up her new-found happiness, but then made the decision to go back anyway. She gave her husband a chance to change WITH HER. She didn’t just write him off and decide she didn’t love him anymore, she made her wishes for change known, granted, she went about it in an overly drastic fashion (one would have to be completely dense to miss the furniture out on the lawn and the entire house painted yellow not to GET THE HINT), but she was not only brave enough to take the first step for change, she was even more brave to ask her husband if he would make the journey with her.

How many women would have simply written off the old in favor of the new?


It was refreshing to follow a character who made a responsible choice for a change. I get so sick of selfish characters, whether fictional or real, who think of nothing but, “I want a change and screw everyone else” mentality. (This of course, does not apply to women who decide to leave an abusive, or unhealthy, relationship – then one MUST be selfish in those instances to maintain one’s health, or even life).

I’ve been married for almost 24 years. Life DOES get stale after a while and change can be good. If there is one thing everyone can count one in life, its change. The beautiful part about this philosophy is when you have a partner who is willing to change right alongside with you.


Work Stuff

Staying One Step Ahead of My Stress Level

When I get stressed, my back goes out. There’s a direct correlation between my having anxiety attacks (and when I say that, I don’t have attacks where I’m feeling like I’m having a heart attack, but I get so overwhelmed I just shudder and cry. And I’m not a crier – so if I get to that stage, BACK OFF) and my back going out.

I have no idea if this is normal for other people, but it’s normal for me.

I’ve been so stressed out these past three weeks that I’ve barely made it past 8:00 o’clock at night before my brain simply shuts down. I simply cease to think or feel anything.

It’s kind of scary, if you want the truth.

We lost a girl at work. Which means we are short handed. I’ve been responsible for taking care of three doctors these past three weeks and I’m nearly to my breaking point. In addition to the extra work load, we’ve been trying to figure out how we can schedule diagnostic testing in the exam rooms without disrupting the clinic flow for the doctors. We’ve trialed this before and it was successful, not to mention patients really seemed to like it, too. But that was when we trialed it with one MA, (medical assistant), and one scheduler. Now we’re trialing it with one MA doing both jobs because they are eliminating the scheduling position.

The problem is the time factor. If one person, the MA rooms the patient, goes over the medical history with the patient and then schedules the patient, other exam rooms become available while we’re busy with a patient and that delays the doctors – who have more important things to do than wait on us.

So. We’ve been trialing some things to see one, if it’s possible, and two, to make it as efficient as possible.

I’m not saying these experiments don’t need to be done, they’re necessary, in fact, to try and offer better patient care, but when it causes me to end up being four days behind and I start having patients calling me back, not necessarily angry (though there are those), wondering why they haven’t been scheduled for their tests, it stresses me out. And management, for whatever reason, looks to me to sort of spear head the experiment, which puts additional pressure on me.

I snapped on Friday.

I had just gotten to my desk, was putting my purse down, when reception allowed a patient through to my desk. He wanted to know why he hadn’t been scheduled for a procedure and well, I told him the truth, we were short handed and I hadn’t been available to call the hospital and set it up for him. He was surprisingly understanding and I promised to call him later in the day (which I did), but for whatever reason, my co-worker went completely berserk on me. She expressed her … disagreement with my decision to be honest with the patient. In fact, she got our boss involved. Which was really the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. My co-worker sensed I was angry and confronted me.


So I vented. And when I say I vented, I got in her face and started yelling. And she responded by yelling back. And I finally had to say, “If you don’t get out of my space right now, I’m going to say something I regret.”

I think we were both surprised.

But that’s an example of how stressed we ALL are. We have resorted to yelling at each other.

When another one of my co-workers asked me what happened and I tried to explain to her the series of unfortunate events and that I was losing my mind because I was being buried by an unreasonable work load, my voice shook and before I even knew what happened, I started crying. My co-worker hugged me and advised me to hole up in an exam room until I could get myself together.

I did just that.

I don’t get paid enough to have this much stress. I just don’t. And yet, I’m not ready to wave the white flag yet, either. It’s a matter of pride, I guess, to stick this out and MAKE this work, damn it.

We had a meeting later in the day. The head nurse (who is now my boss), called all of the schedulers (soon to be MA’s) and the current MA’s together for lunch. She bought us pizza and we had a pow-wow. My old supervisor was there and I’m glad she came – she was our advocate and after we finished the meeting, I started to feel better. I think management FINALLY understands where we’re coming from. It’s like a light bulb went off in their heads and they realized that the world doesn’t stop for us when we’re working the clinics with the doctors – we’re still getting flags from the nurses and we’re still getting voicemails. In fact, when I checked my voice mails on Friday, the mechanical voice simply said, “you have over 20 voicemails.” I didn’t even get a number, that’s how many I had.

It’s all so overwhelming.

I cooled off. The girl who yelled at me cooled off and we apologized to each other. In addition to work stress, she has a lot of personal stuff going on and we both just sort of lost it. But I’ll admit, it sort of felt good to clear the air.

I’ve been losing sleep over this work situation. And I told my bosses that yesterday at our meeting. This has gotten to the point where it’s just ridiculous now. There are four MA’s who are being severely underutilized (their words, by the way), and three schedulers who are being WORKED TO DEATH. This has got to stop. In fact, one of my co-workers threatened to quit. She’s working Monday’s clinic and she said that if she got back to her desk on Tuesday only to find 15 voicemails and 20 flags waiting for her, she was gone. She couldn’t take it anymore.

I think management finally gets it. We worked it out so that her voicemails and flags would be worked by someone else while she was in the clinic.

It won’t always be this way. When we’re assigned our doctor, we’ll be responsible for one doctor. Not three, like I’m responsible for now. And I’m going to ROCK this new MA gig.

Anyhoo – I woke up this morning with the tell-tale back pain. I knew what that meant. So I did a bunch of squats, took some ibuprofen, and I think I have a handle on it.

I’ve also discovered how to keep my back from going out – squats. Which also produces tight buns – BONUS.

So yeah. Just when I got a handle on my job, felt comfortable with it and didn’t feel quite so stressed, the rules completely changed and now I’m trying to juggle my regular work while trying to learn another job AND collect data for management so they can figure out how we’re going to do our jobs. Though I appreciate management giving us the opportunity to come with our own work model, as opposed to just stnading there and saying, “this is how it’s going to be done,” it’s all too much too fast.

Honestly, I can handle stress. I even thrive on it. But it’s hard to stomach this much stress when I’m being paid pennies on the dollar to find ways to cope with it.

It could be worse, I could have lost my job. Then my family would be without health insurance and though at any other time this wouldn’t have bothered me overly much because I could have gotten another job fairly quickly? That’s not the case is today’s socialist society.

So yes. I will put up with the stress, find ways to combat it and keep my mind and body healthy while coping with it and be thankful that I still have a job and health insurance at the end of the day.

Abundant Life

Teaching: Reasons Why the Resurrection is Believable

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

Let’s get started:

Thanks for watching.

Check out Truth or Tradition teachings on:

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Abundant Life

Teaching: Whiter Than Snow, dressed in white, clean vs unclean, pride vs humility

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

Let’s get started:

Thanks for watching.

Check out Truth or Tradition teachings on:

Online Store

More from Write From Karen