Sunday, May 9, 2010

Catching Up

Larry is a little frustrated that the security cameras he installed at the lakehouse don't work right now. Our brother-in-law rebooted it, but it still doesn't work. We'll have to ask our nephew to go there with a laptop and reset it. He thinks there was a power outage that reset the IP address. What a pain in the butt. We miss looking at the lake.

Life is pretty chaotic these days. Getting houses in MA ready to sell and move into, so we can get money to upgrade the lakehouse is stressful and exhausting. We're essentially living out of a suitcase these days, and I'm getting really sick of it. But, we expect everything will be complete in June, so we can head back down to SC and get our Lexington house on the market. We'll see how the timing works on this plan.

Our house in Upton now has a new floating "honey oak" hardwood floor and is just beautiful. The character of the house has already changed with its installation. On Tuesday, two of the bedrooms will get new Berber carpet. We've contracted with a painter, and chosen colors inside and out. My sister's neighbor gave her photographs of the house in the 1950's when it was a doctor's office. It was a lovely Colonial grey-blue color. Instead of the light yellow we planned to paint it, we are going to restore it to its original color. The white trim and doors will make the white azaleas in front just pop. They are in full bloom now and disappear against the white body. I can't wait for this project to be done.

Once the Upton house is done, we'll move all the furniture we plan to keep from Lexington into it. We'll buy a new shed, put it in "the lower 40", and move all the other stuff we can't part with and don't have room for in Tiverton, RI in there. We also plan to purchase an over-under washer-dryer that will stay with the house if/when we sell. Sistah Joanne will probably move out on June 1st. Let's hope she gets that lovely one-bedroom down the street. I've already told her she has a standing dinner invitation anytime she wants. She said I may regret that. I hope not.

Once we empty out the lower floor of the Lexington house, we can hire the same painter to paint the four rooms down there. Then Larry can install a floating floor or cork flooring to cover the original asphault tile, currently broken and stained. We purchased a new replacement electric cooktop and oven from Sears. Larry still has to resurface the original deck, and add ballasters that will bring the railings "up to code". He also has to replace the glass in a sliding door, and we have to replace at least one custom window from Deck House. Phew!

Once all this work is done, we'll hire landscapers to weed the yard; regrade and stone the driveway. The entire driveway has huge ravines throughout from all the gushing rain this spring. We hope the money we're investing in these houses will reap financial rewards for us once we sell them (so we can stop dipping into our retirement to pay for everything), even in this market, especially Lexington. We'll hang onto Upton for a while longer, or until the market changes.

Who knows? Upton could end up being our primary residence. After all, it is closer to our son's new home in Medway, and our first Grandbaby due in November! Tiverton and the CRMC (Coastal Resources Management Commission, a RI state agency) have too many rules and restrictions. We can't breathe, even with the exquisite "million-dollar view". The view is being taken away from us as is half our yard because of rules they say protect the environment, but we know have nothing to do with that. We are doing nothing, nor is our new house, to hurt the environment. And, we have a substantial buffer at the "top of bank" now! This doesn't matter. It's about power and oppression.

The rules have more to do with protecting the environment from selfish, greedy "land-rapers" like our neighbor to the south. People like him spoil happy living for all of us. The rabbits, chipmunks and Robins can't find bugs they crave for the tall weeds. They're not happy, but CRMC doesn't live here, do they? Ticks rule right now. It's a nightmare for us with our little dogs who can't resist charging through it after possum, rabbits and their favorite treat: rabbit poop.

There is no "case-by-case" review at the CRMC. Like most government regulations, they are reactionary and general. And, if we do not comply, we can be fined up to $5,000 per occurrence and three months in jail for a misdemeanor. I want to fight them, but we don't have the money. My pioneer spirit is being awakened and I imagine myself sitting on the porch with my shotgun to protect my land that the government controls but we pay for. Who said life was fair? It truly feels like taxation without representation, because we have zero voting rights. Even when we make this our "primary residence", we have no rights with the CRMC. I hate government right now.

The town restricts our building a 64-square-foot or greater shed or garage without a permit and variance, which means involving our neighbors on either side who are now friends. Yikes! Our neighbor to the south is obsessed with making our lives miserable because of misplaced revenge, and is beginning to influence our neighbor to the north. Both neighbors have more money than God. The town doesn't want to look at a garage or shed in front of any house on our street, even though we are one of a very few homes who maintain woods on the road.

Our lots are long and narrow, so nothing can be built on the side of our new house either. It is possible to have both, but we would have to endure a neighborhood meeting that would invite our north and south unpleasant neighbors to try and thwart our plans. The town decides ultimately, but we all know how money talks. Our neighbor to the south is a bully, and gets away with breaking many rules. He epitomizes the adage: "It's easier to get forgiveness than permission." And, it is for him because he can afford to pay the fines. We cannot.

Then the CRMC controls what happens on the water side, and are currently in the process of "land-taking" half our yard there. We pay the "lions share" of property taxes for the town with its inequitable tax base, and cannot do what we want with our land without choking on all the restrictions. We have to make this house our primary residence for two years. Then, if we do sell it, we can get the $500,000 exclusion from Capital Gains. If not, we lose 20% to the Feds and up to 10% from the state. We also plan to prepare this house to rent in the summer to try and recoup some of the property tax money. Hopefully, we can get a few weeks rented this year. Either way, we'll definitely have it ready for next summer. There is just too much to do simultaneously right now. I need a nap.

But, the "silver lining" is that we at least have options and possibilities in life. I may complain about its inequities, but we are not homeless, starving or terminally ill. We are happy and truly blessed. And, we are very grateful for our blessings. I thank God and The Universe every moment of every day for my blessings. And, the sun is shining today. Happy Mother's Day to me and every woman out there. "God bless us, every one."