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Sunday, May 29, 2011

I won! ....dancing a little jig

When I was little, I never had much use for dolls. But teddies were a whole different matter.
At night, you could snuggle in bed with a teddy, tell him your hopes, dreams or troubles & they never betrayed your trust. I still have my old teddy even though his paws are threadbare & the straw stuffing's poking through.
I've since collected lots of other teddies, softer & better dressed but they'll never outshine my first love. In fact I used to have a really large collection but when we moved to our current house, I downsized somewhat but kept enough teddies to occupy most rooms including my kitchen and every once in a while, I still ask for a teddy as a birthday or Christmas present.
I read several bear makers blogs and each time, they create a new bear I drool. I've never owned a OOAK handmade bear. Maybe some day....

Today I was just about to close my laptop and start my day, when I discovered an email from Joanne of Desertmountainbear. I won her book give-away:
Here's what Joanne wrote on her blog about this book:
"While I was at the Philadelphia bear show I went to a talk given by Joan Greene. She was one of the first bear shop owners in the US in the 1980's. Her shop was in Berkeley California. This book is about the days of her shop. The people she met who's stories she never forgot. I sat in the front row of this talk and listened to her stories of bears lost, of people who never gave up looking for them. I tried so hard not to cry, but I did, her stories were so beautiful. I know I was not the only one.
I purchased this book from her and had it autographed to give away on the blog. I opened it on the plane on the way home to look at it. I ended up reading the whole thing. And I tried so hard again not to cry on the plane, the stories really touched me."

What a fantastic start to another rainy day! Now if only CanadaPost holds off with their strike long enough for me to get my book!!

Joanne, thank you so much!! I will treasure the book. As for the rest of you, if you're a teddy lover, take a look at Joanne's website for some of the most adorable guys ever. I've been reading with interest how she made Marana in her little nest. Teddies sure have come a long way!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Psssst, Don't tell anyone...'s something I don't tell too many people: I love teddy bears. I used to have a huge collection but then I downsized somewhat. I still have them in just about every room of my house, just not as many.
I'm subscribed to a number of bear makers blogs & whenever they show off a new creation, I just salivate. Those type of bears are all OOAK so I could never hope to buy one. But I live in hopes that maybe I can win one.
Keep your fingers crossed for me; I'd love to own/win May-Bee. She's only 6.25 inches tall:
made by Ginger and the latest give-away on her blog

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once upon a time: Part III our last episode, the owners had just gotten their house back. Fortunately the tenants had not only moved out of the house by midnight of the day their eviction called for but had actually taken all the filled garbage bags that were seen by the side of the garage throughout their last month of tenancy.

The owners gave themselves one month to get the house back into a shape where they could put it up for sale & reasonably expect someone to buy it. But before they could start, they had to remove all the original building materials that the tenants had taken down ...all of which was stored in the cold cellar located underneath the front porch. Nowhere did they find any sign of the supposed mold! However, what they did find was a seat from a car and a baggie with some tobacco(?) remnants in it. All of the materials filled a large trailer and off it went to the dump. Now they could get to work.
But wait... during a lunch break taken on the front porch, they spotted a hash pipe on top of the hydro meter. Hmmmmm stranger & stranger....

By the end of the month that they had given themselves, there was still lots to do.
Some of the updates to the house were normal such as having painters come in; parts of the hardwood floor needed stripping. Some were not: walls had to be rebuilt, ceramic floors finished off and everywhere doors along with their frames added. But most of their contractor's time was spent changing electrical wiring so that for instance, the light switch for the walk-in closet was no longer 3 rooms away.
Then there were the surprises such as the electrical outlet located directly below the bathtub....

In the end it took almost 7 weeks before they were done. They'd had to spend much more than what the tenant asked for in his invoice. But finally they could get their lives back instead of spending 7 days/week fixing, cleaning or acting as builder's helpers.

So, as we come to the point in all stories that reads: "and they lived happily ever after", in our story there are still questions to be answered:
1. Will the sales price reflect all their hard work?
2. With the housing market slowing down again, will they get an offer & sell?

Stay tuned.......

I hope you enjoyed my little story! For course, you realize that because of libel laws, all characters in this story were entirely fictional!
I have a bathroom tile reglazer coming in tomorrow but after that, it's back to minis and boy, am I glad!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Once upon a time: Part II....

The owners felt badly for the tenants who had originally wanted to buy the house when they first moved in and so, on advice of the realtor, they gave the tenant a very reasonable, well below market value price for the house. The tenants kept insisting that they almost had financing together and so the owners waited to hear. But when several weeks went by without any word from the tenants, the owners again asked how the financing was coming along.

They were very surprised when an invoice arrived for them from the tenant requesting $9,200 for renovations (including labor) done to their house; now remember that none of these "renovations" were made with owner approval or even city building permits; nor were any store receipts included. The invoice listed costs for such things as:
1. a new deadbolt lock for one of the doors; effectively locking the owners out of entry to their own house.
2. rental of a jack hammer used to cut a hole in the basement concrete floor so a bathtub could be installed.
3. cost of a jacuzzi bathtub ....which unfortunately had non working jets.
4. cost of 32 sheets of drywall (for anyone not familiar with building a house, this would have been enough drywall to redo the entire house) needed to repair a supposed mold problem in the basement. But it only included 2 tubs of drywall compound. Normally that much drywall would need many more tubs of compound.
5. cost to update two basement rooms (+ bathroom), effectively making a new apartment for the adult son to live in. In legal terms, this would be called sub-letting.
6. Cost of one year "every weekend and evenings" labour.
The last paragraph in the invoice read: "We would like this money by money order, bank draft, or certified cheque by ........., at which time we will contact the hydro company to get a final bill and clear your account." You see, the owners had left the account to heat the house in their name.

As you can imagine, it took some time for the owners to digest this. The Brits have the perfect saying for this: gob-smacked! They went from being incredulous, to speechless, and then anger. For a few days they did nothing. Then came another letter which read in part "As yet I have not heard from you regarding the letter sent to you. Either you agree with what was written and are prepared to write us a cheque or you are contesting the letter. Either way I need to know and would respectfully ask for a response by ....... If I haven’t heard from you by that time then I will be sending all relevant documents to the appropriate authorities for arbitration on my behalf. Certainly they will be looking at sub-section 34 of the Landlord tenant act." It also included a letter purporting to be from an out-of-province relative asking that the tenants be reimbursed "for the cost to improve your property . Keeping in mind, the Lord said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and "I will bless those that will bless you and curse those that curse you"."
All this had the owners worried and they immediately looked up sub-section 34 but after reading it carefully, it became obvious that it was only the title that had a some-what relevance, meaning that the tenants hadn't bothered to read past the title. As for the biblical warnings, legally they consituted a threat.

After much discussion, they finally decided that they needed some legal help. The first thing they were advised to do was take their builder and do a thorough home inspection, taking as many photos as they deemed necessary.

Next a letter was hand-delivered to the tenants that told them to cease & desist from any further damages and re-iterating the eviction date.
Not 24 hours later they received an email from the tenant stating that "I am absolutely shocked beyond belief how you have escalated our situation without warning. I am insulted by the memory of my father, a professional plasterer, who worked along side me on this project. Recently passed. Please respond by e-mail. I will not be answering any phone calls."
At this point the owners were well beyond shock! Now not only were they damned by God but also about to be haunted by a dead plasterer. BTW the term "plasterer" has not been used for about 70 years in this country.

It became a battle of wills to keep from responding! One week later, they received another letter: "I have complied with your request to inspect the premises with your contractor, and can only assume all is well. Please respond in a timely manner concerning this."
The final email came just weeks before the tenants were due to leave the house, giving the owners 24 hrs to contact the tenant or face the threat not only of a civil lawsuit but also of having a contractors lien placed on the house.

Then just days before the end of the tenancy, the tenant's employer showed up at the owners door, complaining about having to listen to the tenant's ranting and asking the owners to please put an end to it.
Meanwhile the legal firm had the tenant come in to sign release forms which obviously were not signed and probably will never be signed. In the message to the owners, she mentioned the tenant had asked her a "very inappropriate question" which "gave her the creeps ...not an easy thing to do". The owners very much wanted to be "flies on the wall" & hear what that question was.

Finally on the last Sunday of the month ....but several days before the end of the month... the tenants moved most of their things out. They made sure that they left just enough stuff inside so that the owners couldn't legally re-take possession. However they did leave 2 windows open and the heat held at 19C; at that time the weather was barely above freezing.

By the first of the next month, when the owners walked through the front door, they were greeted by a stack of bills including a $400+ hydro bill straight from collections threatening to cut the heat if not paid within 10 days; another current one came shortly thereafter.

Hooray! The owners had their house back. But that isn't the end of their story......

Just a Teaser.....

All good stories (real life or fantasy) begin with:
Once upon a time, ...a house just like this one was rented out.
For the most part because the owners trusted the tenants and the tenants "usually" paid their rent on time, the owners didn't think to inspect their house. This was their first rental and being trusting people, they were sadly naive!

Until almost three years later, they decided that the time had come to sell the house and so they explained to their tenants that on the following Saturday at 2pm in the afternoon in the middle of January, they wanted to come through the house with a realtor.

However on that Saturday, they had to wade knee deep through the snow left unshovelled in the driveway to get to the front door. On the front porch sat a huge overflowing can of old cigarette butts and when they were admitted to the house, they discovered that the bedrooms were still occupied (and so could not be viewed), every spare inch of kitchen counter space was overflowing with dirty dishes and pots, the furnace room entrance was blocked by an old fridge, the original laundry room had been moved to another part of the house that the bathroom could be enlarged without any one's knowledge or permission and the new "laundry room" could also not be viewed because the floor was deeply awash in dirty, dingy, so-called laundry. This was not the only so-called "renovation" that had been done by the tenant; unfortunately no changes to the house had been finished and so could not be called anything other than damages!

Needless to say the owners were in shock and dismay while the realtor, shaking his head in disgust at the house, announced that this house could not be sold in that state of disrepair.

There was nothing else to do but serve an eviction on the tenant that gave him 60 days to vacate the house.

to be continued.......

Friday, May 13, 2011

Oh my....

Just checking in for a brief moment to see if blogger left my blog be. I've been reading about all the problems everyone's been having.

Bear with me; I should be posting again by next week when I'll explain exactly why I've been absent for so long.

Hello to all my new followers who joined in my absence. Great to have you and hope that you'll find something to interest you. But right now it's way past my bedtime & I have another full and early day tomorrow.

So I'll see you all next week.....