Friday, August 24, 2012

Rental Property MOJO?

So, this very strange phenomenon occurs each time Tim and I go out of town... something at one of our rental houses breaks or something else goes wrong with a tenant. Seriously, it seems like every. single. time. I am trying to enjoy my gluttony meal at Golden Corral - my cell phone rings. I say, "Hello?" Then there is a tenant on other end saying something like, "Blah, blah, blah, broken fridge, blah, blah, blah, my wife left me and we are moving out early, blah, blah, blah." Then my gluttony meal somehow loses its appeal and I begin putting out whatever fire needs tending to. Tonight, I am ready to leave on a family vacation in the morning to Washington DC. Somewhere in the back of my mind - I am thinking - what can go wrong this week - while we are away. Maybe we can sneak this one trip in without our appliances or tenants being none the wiser. Then it happened. I was scanning the channels and I saw the weather channel with the "hurricane cone" and you guessed it... it could go right to Tampa Bay. I guess I have been under a rock because I didn't even know this storm was out there. Now it is *only* a tropical storm at the moment. But I have to wonder... if I am going out of town will some cosmic energy churn that tropical storm into a hurricane and send it right towards my Florida rental property? Let's hope not... I don't have any immediate plans to go to Golden Corral at any time during this trip. Maybe if I expand my dining horizons - it will break the curse - and this storm will fall apart long before it gets near Florida. I can hope right? Or, maybe, I should just leave my cell phone in my van when we head into a restaurant.

Birthday parties

Since 1990, I have had a birthday party in some form or fashion for one of my kids. Some were elaborate and others a little more low key. It started with Timmy's 1st which just so happened to by my mom's 50th. It was family and my mom and dad's friends. I made a teddy bear cake - the same cake I made for each of my kids on their first birthdays. I was proud of my first birthday party considering I was only 17 at the time. I pulled it off and we all had fun. The funny thing is I can close my eyes and I can feel that party in my soul.  I remember so many of the details of it. I also remember Timmy's pirate party and treasure hunt. We had just moved to our starter house and it was by the lake and park. My mom made this awesome treasure chest and they followed the clues. There was a party for Savannah - a Cinderella party. I loved that one. I had so much fun making the favors and planning the games. A friend found me a Cinderella dress the DAY of her birthday party at a garage sale. I ran to her house to get it and I was literally on beaming because of a silly Cinderella dress. With Sebastian - I remember his Jack's Big Music Show party. I blogged about it here Sebastian's 2nd birthday. I was going to give him that party come hell or high water. People STILL come to my blog when they search Jack's Big Music Show party supplies. They never did market them - in the words of Julia Robert's from Pretty Woman... "BIG, BIG MISTAKE!" Where was I going with this? Savannah and Sebastian's birthdays are coming up soon. Savannah has grown out of the themed party much to my dismay. She still wants a party, just not one with games, themes, etc. And then I was thinking I would just have Sebastian's friends over to the pool and call it a day. I wasn't thinking about a big and fun party for him. I was like - swim, cake, ice cream, presents - done. I asked him about this and he gave me this look like, "What do you mean??? No pinata, no theme cake, no games that go with the theme?" I stuck the thought away and then today I asked him what kind of party he wanted. Blank stare. I was rolling through my head his likes at the moment. I settled on Mine Craft and sat down to google (where all good birthday parties begin). I found SO MUCH STUFF and he came over and he just lit up! Like - YES - MOM - THIS IS WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT!!! I felt myself get excited - a party to plan! WOOHOO!!! How did I almost let a birthday party go by? Yes, I am tired. Yes, I have a lot going on. Yes, a pool party would be easy. You know what though? Timmy's last birthday was his 21st. He was in Alaska, had plenty of money to buy whatever he wanted and kept telling me it was no big deal. Well, I listened to him. I didn't really make it a big deal. My budget was super tight. I had no idea what to get him and well... I was busy, tired, you name it... I was it. So, I mailed him a very practical gift of kitchen items I knew he would not buy for himself. I did mail him a package of cupcakes and candles. It got there late - several days late (yes, I am always late on packages.) My mom, on the other hand, ordered him a very special cherry cheese cake from a local bakery and even had an amazing personal card included. She surprised him when it was delivered. He was really, really happy about this. When I think back about regrets (I have a few), I think about how I didn't do as much as I could have for that birthday. Now, I know he knew I loved him and I know he remembered all the other birthday parties. I just wish if I had a do over - I would have done something a bit more special. Sometimes it takes losing someone or something to realize what you should have or could have done. Whew!!! I am glad that I realized this BEFORE I wrote off Sebastian's birthday plans this year. And with that - the Mine Craft party planning begins!