Monthly Archives: May 2013

Six Words

I am playing with a prompt I saw yesterday.  In an effort to go beyond the first idea that comes to mind, I have done three of these so far. May add more as the day progresses.  





























 Go ahead! Give it a try. It’s only six words! Please share either with your comment or link back.  


Savvy Tenant – Lease Tips

There is one question I would ask after every lease-in  (I don’t get to because my hubby does the lease-ins):

Where are you going to KEEP YOUR LEASE?  

I find it perplexing that so many tenants seem to think their lease is something they sign (or with us, sit in our living room with a glass of water or tea, read page by page initialing each of them, then sign. Twice!) to obtain a key.  


After that they seem to think it doesn’t matter any more. 

It does matter.  Very much.

Keep your lease in a safe place like you would any other legal document.  Then give a copy to your mother, your brother, your boss and/or your safety deposit box,  somewhere you can get your hands on it if you can’t find yours.   As a last resort, your landlord will have a copy.

Do NOT File-13 your lease!

Do NOT File-13 your lease!

Please understand that we rent our privately-owned duplexes and single family homes; the rules and regulations we have as part of our lease have been accumulated through experience.  An apartment complex is different; the management is probably not going to quibble much about whether or not the washer in the bathroom sink will be replaced by the tenant or the complex: the complex generally hires maintenance people to do that type of work.

Still, know what you can and cannot do in the way of maintenance, decor, or general upkeep.  It will be spelled out in your lease. One apartment complex I lived in charged $1.50 for every light bulb in the apartment that was burned out  when we moved out.  They were very serious about what that lease said, down to the light in the refrigerator.  Guess how I learned that one.

When issues arise, refer to the lease!  Your landlord will.  It’s not wrong or unfair or mean of him to do so.  You both signed the document.  The only thing that can legally change it must be in writing.  Don’t rely on verbal mish-mash because if you ever watch Judge Judy, or Joe Brown, or Alex, or whomever else is out there doing “justice” for entertainment, this part is true: a verbal agreement will not supercede a written agreement.  It’s the stuff in writing that counts.

So say your faucet leaks after you’ve been there three months.  What should you do?  What happens if you start to see bugs?  Who is responsible?

First we’re assuming you’ve read the Landlord/Tenant Act for your state and know what is spelled out there in regards to your rights and responsibilities.  After that:

1) READ THE LEASE. Ours says that after the first month any drips are your responsibility to have repaired.   Same with pests. Under some circumstances we have waived this so next you should,

2) ASK QUESTIONS.  If the lease is unclear then ask what the landlord wants you to do.  If you want to try to negotiate something other than what is in the lease, it never hurts to ask.  Nicely.  Some landlords like tenants who care for a property as if it were their own.  Others prefer to make sure the job is done right by a professional.  It is within a landlord’s right, provided it was agreed in the lease document, to have the job done and charge you for it.  This is why reading and understanding the lease is so very important.

3) PUT IT IN WRITING.  If there is no clear-cut answer to your question in the lease and you call your landlord to find out what to do, record the conversation in writing. Keep it brief and to the point and keep a copy of the correspondence. (Preferably in the file with your lease.) This is also true if you have negotiated a change from your rental agreement.  In that case, your landlord should provide the letter, but if he doesn’t, write it yourself.

Here’s an example of how such a letter might read:

Dear Mr. Landlord,

Pursuant to our conversation of May 32, 2020, as I understand it, I have been authorized by you to hire a plumber to fix the hot water faucet at the bathroom sink which has recently started to leak.  The cost of the repair will then be deducted from my rent payment for the month of July, and I will provide you  with the receipt for the work that was done.

Should you have question, comment or concern regarding this letter, please contact me before (the date the plumber is coming).

Savvy Tenant

If there is any future memory lapse regarding your incident and what you were given permission to do, you have the documentation to fall back on.

Lastly, your lease becomes all-important when you decide it’s time to move. Before you look for the next place or pack a single box, READ THE LEASE to find out such important things as:

  • WHEN DOES MY LEASE END? (It is probably a good idea to mark that date on your calendar when you sign in!)
  • Does my lease renew?  For how long?
  • How much notice am I required to give before vacating?
  • For what will I be responsible if I am leaving before my lease term is finished?
  • Where do I return the keys?
  • When is the exit inspection done?
  • What must I do to get my security deposit back? (Our tenants must request the return of the security deposit in writing and provide a forwarding address where we can mail the deposit and/or deduction list within 30 days of vacating the unit, as per the Landlord/Tenant Act.)
  • When can I have the utilities turned off?

Yes, the home is not yours; you have more freedom to come and go than a homeowner does.  Still, you SIGNED A LEASE, which means you can’t just pick up and go any time you like without consequences.

If you want to leave on good terms with your landlord (and get a good reference in the process) it is crucial to refer to your lease and live up to your agreement.

Keep your lease. Know what it says.  You’ll save yourself a headache, and perhaps even some money.



Any “advice” that is offered here is not legal advice.  It is more of the common sense variety that your grandmother might offer and therefore should not be relied upon as qualified legalese.

Next up, next week: when should you read your lease?

Something New

I love to try to start my week with something new–something I stumbled upon in weekend reading, or found in the past week doing research.  It helps me remember that Monday is what we make of it.  I like thinking it’s the beginning of an enjoyable and productive week.

So do the folks at Magnificent Monday (@magmonday), BTW

Confession: my new tidbit for Monday came today, not over the weekend. I got a wave from a friend who for some reason I hope to hear about soon, is up by the Barents Sea in Norway.  Now I know 1) that there is Barents Sea and 2) where it is.

No fear, I already knew where Norway was.  I thankfully was in a generation that was still taught geography in school.  At least continents and countries and such, if not the names of the seas other than the Atlantic and the Pacific. And the North Sea. Indian Ocean. I learned the names of a few more of the smaller seas teaching my children. I obviously have more to go!

I have also been doing some research on the power of touch. My interest in the subject dates back many years; I was not able to breast feed my boys, yet they grew up healthy, smart and well-adjusted–all those things I was petrified couldn’t happen with a “second-rate” start in life. (So while I will never quibble about the benefits of breast feeding, there is no reason for a new mom to agonize over whether or not she can rear a healthy child if she cannot!)

My experience left me wondering if there are other factors inherent in the act of breast feeding, other than the mother’s milk itself, that promote good health and well-being in infants. One thing my midwives encouraged was skin-to-skin contact during feeding, a valid suggestion which I took to heart. Recently I read a short clip about how touch can encourage a healthy immune system, among other things, which got me thinking, and reading, and it’s been quite interesting. I’ll likely share some of it here once I have time to digest and organize the information.

So I am kicking off a week of learning and curiosity wondering just how cold your toe gets if you stick it in the Barents Sea. (The North Sea was bad enough for me!)

Did you learn something new and interesting lately?

It Stinks!

being sick on family reunion weekend.  Just hope I didn’t share more than I should have before this hit like a brick.  

I do have to learn to listen to my body when it’s warning me that it needs a break.  I haven’t felt 100% for days now, but there was too much to do and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Silly me.  

You really can’t have it all–it makes you sick!

Family Friday

I love family. In a time when it seems difficult to keep a family together and functioning as a unit, I feel grateful to have so many in my life who feel it is important to work at staying united and supportive.

At the core is my immediate family. I have loved every minute of being a mom, and I am grateful to my husband for making it possible for me to be with my two sons for each and every milestone, large and small.  My parents are incredible people, and my siblings are also near and dear friends.

As if that wasn’t enough, I have also been blessed with magnificent in-laws. Parents, more siblings, nieces, nephews–I couldn’t ask for better.

Then there is my united spiritual family, local and world-wide.

So in honor of all these people who make my life safe, secure and so very happy, here are a few quotes about family that top my list:

“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.” ― Trenton Lee Stewart, The Mysterious Benedict Society

This is part of what a family is about, not just love. It’s knowing that your family will be there watching out for you. Nothing else will give you that. Not money. Not fame. Not work.”― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie

“It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.”― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven 

“A bolt of warmth, fierce with joy and pride and gratitude, flashed through me like sudden lightning. I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching—they are your family. And they were my heroes.”― Jim Butcher, Proven Guilty 

Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family.”― Anthony Brandt
 “There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more . . . secure.” ― Jim Butcher, Vignette 
“Being a family means being a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what.” 
I don’t know to whom to attribute the last quote.  If someone does, please let me know. 
And finally:
“Writers will happen in the best of families.”― Rita Mae Brown 
Maybe they’re nice to me so they don’t end up in a novel? 🙂
Do you have a favorite quote about family?

Home Again!

I am sure everyone understands what it’s like to feel as though life is coming at you like those summer bugs on a windshield at night.  Loud splat, followed by surprised jolt. Can’t say for sure what just hit because it’s unidentifiable. Squirt a little windshield cleaning fluid; trigger a swipe of the wipers–barely recovered before the next round hits and you soon realize that unless vision is seriously hampered, it’s best to just let the mess accumulate and clean it all off in the morning.  

This morning I am busy cleaning off my windshield of life and being extremely grateful that it’s all I have to cope with because I have friends and fellow Oklahomans who are dealing with so much more in the way of cleanup and loss. There is no comparison.  

This morning I shared a Calvin & Hobbes contest on my Facebook page, because Calvin & Hobbes never fails to make me smile, if not laugh out loud.  I hope no one was offended by something so mundane and trivial compared with all serious concerns.  I have been in crisis mode since early in the month, though, and I’m ready for a laugh. 

I’m ready for the beautiful side of spring folding into summer.  Greenery and flowers are thriving and blooming where they used to be parched and shriveled from a lack of rain. Plus, my very dear and patient and understanding hubby got me the most beautiful flowers (and chocolate!) to welcome me home.  


Best Bouquet Ever!


There is sunshine after darkness, rainbows after storms.  

Wishing sunshine and rainbows for all those everywhere who need it.  

Where Do I Start?

My aim, when I started this blog, was to start fresh.

Once upon a time I did write every day.  Whether it was a blog post, or a journal entry or plugging away at a work in progress I made time. I didn’t even think about it, really. It was as much a part of my day as cooking dinner or breathing. 

Somewhere, somehow that tapered off.  I wish I could remember when or why or how.  But in the end I guess it really doesn’t matter because the only thing I can have an impact on is now and future. Energies are probably better spent focusing there.

I have faithfully set aside November, however, since I first did National Novel Writing Month–oh, when was it–8 years ago, I think, to put together a 50,000+ word skeleton of a novel. I accidentally erased one (the horror!) which means I have several manuscripts that need completing and/or revision.

I have files and files of short stories.

I have picture book manuscripts, including one I worked with an editor on for two yearsShe was ready to take it to acquisitions; we were both so excited! Then she got very sick, I heard, ended up having to leave her job and the editor who took her place wasn’t interested.  

I also have a few articles I wrote when I took a class on writing non-fiction for children’s magazines.

So now I have this voice in my head saying why are you so eager to generate more material, when you have done absolutely nothing with what you’ve already written?

I honestly think I don’t know where to start. Re-do the file system–paper and electronic–so I know where the latest draft of everything is? Right now there are manuscripts scattered all over creation.

Or do I start marketing some of the shorter stuff so I gain some forward momentum?

Is it time to dust off the one YA manuscript that is complete and update it? It is my first NaNo win.  Do you have any idea how fast things change? It will need a complete overhaul because it is seriously outdated.

Or do I pick out one of the other 50,000 word jumbles to get serious about completing? Next November I hope to rough draft the third in a series that I’ve been working on.  Perhaps NaNo would be a breeze if I spent the next several months immersed in that world and story.

Maybe I need to schedule specific work time to do all of the above…

Here’s where I do Charlie Brown’s ARG! Instead of Snoopy’s happy dance. 

What do you think?