Thursday, September 13, 2012

Devising plans and goals.
I realized not long ago that I am devoid of having any goals.
Well, let's restate that: I am devoid of goals that can be accomplished any time soon.

Long term goals are wonderful, but I think it always encouraging and a bit of satisfaction comes from coming up with goals that can be accomplished, say, in the next 6 months to a year.

First off, I have finally resolved to just stick it out in this house.  I have spent too much time, energy and money in to the property to just walk away from it.  It is upside down regarding amount owed versus market value, so beit.  I have nowhere else to go that would be much of anything acceptable to be able to do anything else, besides possibly finding an owner-carry lot with an old mobile home on it.  Which, actually, isn't that far-fetched of an idea - I can always fix up an old home to my liking, renovate it and make it very nice.

With that in mind, I started re-visiting some ideas that I had put on the shelf.  One, to build a casita.  That would still be a relatively long-term goal, though, since it would cost more money than I have.  I mean, you have to have a set of plans to carry into the Planning and Development office at the City to have it approved.  That can be expensive in itself - plus the permits.  Then you face the cost of having a foundation poured; buying the lumber/windows/doors/electrical/plumbing/roofing/interior such as bathroom and small kitchen.  I'm looking at around 5 thousand to do it myself.  I can probably fetch at least 2 grand out of the RV trailer parked on the side of my house of which I have no further use for since Mark and Lynnette are not living in it, but that's not enough obviously.

I also was just outside and looked at the amount of space I have on the east side of the house and musing how nice it would be to have a 1,500 to 2,000 gallon pond out there.  That would be awesome, actually.

That is one I am definitely kicking around in my head.  About $300 for the liner and sub-liner; digging out the ground and a good filtering/pump system will cost at least another $300 if not more.  Not cheap by my standards, but perhaps in the next 6 months, doable.

Selling the RV trailer is turning into a priority, though. If I don't build a casita, well, I just want that thing out of here.  It is taking up space.  Get the money out of it, put it into the savings account and figure out what's next.

Umm, the other thing I really need to get done - I have been waiting for cooler weather - is to spend serious time on the east side of my house and get it spruced up.  Lots of gardening type of work to do out there and to that end I have that kid coming over on Saturday, I think, to spend a day out there helping me with that situation.  He's been over here about 5 times and always does good work, motivated, energetic, gets whatever I ask him to get done, done.  Much of the fiolage needs trimmed and lots of grass to pull.  I am going to look into ground covering plants that might be able to edge out the grass.

Almost everything I came up with in terms of goals - costs money.  Reality check.

As for my newest tree, I'm afraid it may be doomed.  I checked average winter temps in Madagascar, where the tree is native, it doesn't seem to get down below the low 60's there at any time of the year.  This tree will experience temps down into the low 30's this coming winter if planted outside.  Well, at least not a lot of money lost if it doesn't survive.  But then again, that's what they say about the Norfolk Pine - Norfolk island gets down to the low 60's in "winter" and yet, mine Norfolk has now survived 3 winters going down to half that in temp.  But, one plant surviving doesn't not guarantee that another kind of plant will also.  Well, as far as the experts are concerned, my Norfolk pine should definitely have never survived the first summer here, much less a winter.  It's doing quite well out there : )  I think what may be helping it?  It's situated right next to the condensation drain for my central AC unit.  It pretty much stays swamped over there, which I would have thought would have killed the root system, but - it's really doing quite well albeit it doesn't grow very fast.  Beautiful little tree.

REALLY short terms goals: get rid of the trailer and get the east side of the house spruced up.

Mid range goal - not settled on it yet, but possibly a much larger pond.
Save for an RV trailer that has at least 2 slide-outs for more room.  No, I don't live in an RV trailer, this is for recreational purposes only.

Between mid range and long: somewhere around 2 years or less left to pay off the car.
Front loading, energy and water efficient washing machine.  That is really something of a priority because I will see significant savings on electrical use right off the bat considering the amount of laundry being done around here. At least 12 loads per week, probably more.

Long range goal: save for substantial down payment on property up north.
Save for pickup truck.

Definitely undecided goal: Casita for another money-earning rental unit.

Budget: Go through entire budget on money spent on everything and see if there are any savings to be had.  Do another month-long, written journal of every penny spent, no matter how small, every day.  Tally up the costs and see what kind of savings can be had in either eliminating things altogether or substituting with something cheaper.

I upped my 401k plan 2 days ago to 7% being taken out.  Goal: 15%.

I also have spiritual goals, but I will keep those to myself for the time being.  Well, not all of it has to be kept to myself, it am just looking at financials in this goal driver and what I can do, what I can save and how I am going to go about doing it.  If I cannot come up with a definitive plan for each item listed, then I need to discard that goal and focus on the others.

Oh, the physical goals: simply to get back into a regular work out routine.  Work provides ample amounts of physical exertion, but as far as sustained cardio workouts, that isn't necessarily true on a daily basis.  That isn't really for losing weight, it's for feeling good, sleeping well, things like that.

My seeming obsession with trees.  I am not a tree hugger.  Cut the thing down if you need to build a house, make furniture and the myriad of seemingly unlimited uses for it.  I'm more about the beauty effect they provide, not to mention the shade and wildlife.  I'm not against lumber companies cutting down portions of forests.  I AM for them reforesting and responsibly managing forests.  Of course they are going to plant more trees, that is their livelihood.  We aren't going to somehow run out of the need for wood any time - in the next 1,000 centuries, but who am I to look that far in advance.



So, we jumped through their hoops - the State of Arizona that is - took the car back to the repair shop, they installed the "new" hose, took it across the street and he it checked.  They passed the car for the emissions test and that was that, right?  While all of this was going on, Caleb had to do all of that as I simply am dumping responsibility for that car onto him, I was at Discount Tire attempting to get the warranty on the tires honored.

85,000 mile warranty on the tires.  Well, that car doesn't even have 85,000 miles on it and 3 of those tires were either very low on tread or bad - one of them had the cords separating.
I was offered replacements at half price, which I jumped on, but the "new" warranty for the same tire is now 25,000 miles.

I went over to Garcia's mexican food across the street, had dinner (it was going to be at least an hour wait for the tires and I had no inclination, whatsoever, to sit around in that waiting area) and was talking with Caleb about the car as he was going through the "process".  The emissions facility is going to pay for the damages to the car.  So, the car passed emissions and all is good in the world, right?  NOT.  I tried to register the thing and it came up with: "Needs emission tested".  Yeah, whatever.  Once you pass emissions it automatically goes into the system as passed.  I have the PASS paper in my hand!

Fortunately, the car has another 3-day permit on it so it's legal to drive for 2 more days while I call the state of Arizona again and ask them why they are so incompetent.  This is not the first, or 5th, or 10th time I've had problems with either the vehicle registration or the driver's license department.  It's just unbelievable that we've had to to through all of this crap.  

Yup, just tried again in case there might be some lag time in it getting into their system for whatever reason, no go Joe, it's coming up with "needs vehicle emission testing", blah blah blah.

A nice thing that occurred yesterday, though, was coming home and finding my new tree sitting on the kitchen counter.  Took it out, very healthy specimen.  Not sure if it will survive the winter, I need to do more research on that.

Well so much for my peaceful pre-work rituals.  Not going into that, but it's time to leave for work anyway.  I am going to do a search for temps in Madagascar, though, during their version  of winter and see what it gets down to.  That's where this tree originates from and it's natural habitat.



Well it's almost 3 pm and I haven't heard from the manager about a run for tomorrow, so I'm going to assume that it isn't go...