10/20/13

Greetings from an overcast fall day in Iowa..

The weather has become very fall-like this past week.  We are getting highs in the 60’s and low’s in the 30’s.  This is probably my favorite time of the year, especially for camping…  We are in the middle of fall color here – about half of the trees are a bright yellow or orange.  The big oak trees in our yard are just starting – it seems like they are usually late to loose their leaves – usually dealing with leaves well into November.

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My new job is to sweep up leaves that fall in the back stairwell.  If I keep them cleaned up then they do not blow into the hallway as much.

This past week we have been dealing with getting the refurbished apartment rented out.  We have a local phone number through Google Voice that is connected to both of our cell phones – so people interested in the apartment call the number and it rings both of our phones.  Seemed to work well – John would answer if he could, or I would.  Dealing with the phone calls, and the public in general, got a bit “interesting”.  Most would ask normal questions like which utilities were included and if we allow dogs and cats.  Some would ask if they would have to mow the lawn or shovel snow in the winter themselves.

I had one guy on the phone for an hour explaining that he is interested in the apartment but can’t pay his rent on time, has really bad credit, steam cleans the carpeting monthly because of grease on his shoes (was a mechanic), and only cooks with cast iron skillets (did not know how our glass top range would work out for him).  Then John had to deal with “the crazy cat lady” who came and checked out the apartment and cornered him.  She appeared to be off of her medication and just kept talking in circles – her mom, her cats, her mom’s dog, her cats, her mom, her mom’s dogs, can’t afford to pay rent/deposit together, her cats, her mom, can I make payments for the deposit and on and on… I ended up leaving and calling John’s cell phone to rescue him.

Then we had people submit applications who had multiple felonies on their background check, or credit scores in the 400’s.  We require a credit score of 600, which it appears few renters have.  Running the background/credit reports is doing a good job of weeding problem tenants out.

Some people would call and be in a state of emergency and need to move in immediately.  Believe they hope their since of urgency would rub off on us so we would neglect to do our due diligence.  John would tell them “moving in tomorrow is just not going to happen”.  After that we would not hear back from them.

We finally rented the place to a nice family of three.  They came and checked out the apartment one last time on Friday and signed a lease.  Will be moving in at the end of the month.  Appears to be a happy ending for the apartment.  Is never that easy, but think we did well.

This morning we went and had a nice breakfast at Denny’s – still enjoy their bacon avocado breakfast burrito.  So yummy!  Afterwards we went to Lowe’s to purchase a new aluminum threshold for the refurbished apartment.  The old one had a torn gasket on it.  Of course we could not find a replacement gasket that would fit, so ended up having to get a new one.  I still have store credit on a Lowe’s card from some returned merchandise so was no big deal.

Next John wanted to head over to the Costco Wholesale club (next door to Lowe’s) and obtain a membership for the both of us.  The place was very busy but we did not have to wait in line at the membership desk at all.  Paid $55.00, had our photo’s taken and were handed cards – no big deal.  We then wandered around checking the place out.  We ended up purchasing around $100.00 worth of toilet paper, fresh meat, pulled pork,  blue jeans, jug of laundry detergent and etc.  I have mixed feeling about our needing to purchase items in bulk, but it will come in handy and they carry lots of specialty foods that the local grocery stores do not.  Will definitely avoid going to Costco on a Sunday morning – Wednesday evening at 7:00pm is more my speed.

When we returned home, John worked on replacing the aluminum hallway door threshold to the empty apartment.  This was the last task we needed to take care of.  Earlier this week I had Smith Sewer Service come in and clean out all of the drains.  The shower drain was running slow so wanted to make sure they were in good shape for new tenants.

Then I headed out to get cat and grocery shopping done.  First stopped at K-Mart for cat food and litter.  Also picked up an XBox video game for John – an adventure game called Skyrim.  The game has been out for a year and was not too expensive.  Plus was able to use my K-Mart rewards to lower the price another 20%.  Spent more on the cats then I did on the video game.  I hear him starting to play it in the living room – yelling at Ethan the cat to get down from in front of the TV.. 🙂

Speaking of Ethan the cat, we are trying to decide if we want to keep him or not. We like him and he gets along well with Prince.  The ARL sent an email out letting the “Foster Parents” know they could take ownership of our foster cats for free.  Downside is that two cats in the apartment is twice the mess, cat hair, litter box stink and so on.  Plus we don’t know how well he would travel in the RV.  So we are leaning towards not keeping him, but return him to the animal rescue when they have room.

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Not much else going on – we have the apartment windows cracked open ( is 63 out), but can tell it is starting to get cooler – will need to go around and close them soon.  Heading off to fold one final basket of laundry and watch TV for a bit. See one of my favorite shows Rehab Addict on the DIY network is starting it’s new season.

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