Monday, October 20, 2008
You may know it by its Short Title, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.
Buried in section 3092 was a little item to upset my Housing Recovery of Ballardia Acts of 2008.
Let's read it, shall we?
(4) EXCLUSION OF GAIN ALLOCATED TO NON QUALIFIED USE.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (a) shall not apply to so much of the gain from the
sale or exchange of property as is allocated to periods of nonqualified use.
(B) GAIN ALLOCATED TO PERIODS OF NONQUALIFIED USE.—For purposes of
subparagraph (A), gain shall be allocated to periods of nonqualified use based on the
(i) the aggregate periods of non qualified use during the period such property
was owned by the taxpayer, bears to
(ii) the period such property was owned by the taxpayer.
(C) PERIOD OF NONQUALIFIED USE.— For purposes of this paragraph—
(i) IN GENERAL.—The term ‘period of nonqualified use’ means any
period (other than the portion of any period preceding January 1, 2009)
during which the property is not used as the principal residence of the
taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse or former spouse.
(ii) EXCEPTIONS.—The term ‘period of nonqualified use’ does not include— (I) any portion of the 5-year period described in subsection (a) which
is after the last date that such property is used as the principal
residence of the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse,
(II) any period (not to exceed an aggregate period of 10 years) during which
the taxpayer or the taxpayer’s spouse is serving on qualified official
extended duty (as defined in subsection (d)(9)(C)) described in clause (i),
(ii), or (iii) of subsection (d)(9)(A), and
(III) any other period of temporary absence (not to exceed an aggregate period
of 2 years) due to change of employment, health conditions, or such other
unforeseen circumstances as may be specified by the Secretary.
So who Knows what this little blurb of legalese means, really. But Martin assures me that it means a change to the Capital Gains Exclusion Rule, which, before the passing of these 694 pages, allowed an individual to keep, tax-free, profits up to $250k ($500k if married filing jointly) for the sale of his or her (their) primary residence provided that person(s) had lived in the home for 2 out of the previous 5 years.
Section 3092 says that starting January 1, 2009, if that home had NOT been a primary residence (say, rented or a vacation home) for any part of those 5 years, then capital gains would ONLY be excluded for the portion of the last 5 years in which the home had been a primary residence.
So....live in it for 2 years, rent it for 3 years, and only 2/5 = 40% of the gains are now tax-free. And that appears to apply to all gains, even if it's been owned for, say, 15 years, only the last 5 count.
This presents a little problem.
You see, back in 1999, Martin rented out his condo and I rented out my house, and we proceeded to shack up together in an apartment in Belltown.
Yes, he kept the condo. And without a little action on our parts ASAP (before 1/1/09), he would be subject to the new rules for a condo he's owned for 15 years. Conveniently for him (inconveniently for me), his tenant of 3 years gave notice on October 9th.
Activity Frenzy. We are moving to the condo.
WHOSE housing recovery act is this, exactly? Certainly isn't mine.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
But not only did I permanently affix the Extender, I have also Completely Eliminated the source of the struggle by removing all grass underneath it.
Rather than leave a naked patch of dirt, I've made a little dry stream bed to handle the water runoff.
New Score - Yard Service: 2, Rebecca: 1
Saturday, August 30, 2008
With my lack of foresight and planning, not to mention my inclination to just pick whatever starter plants were available at the Home Despot, my vegetable section doesn't have the variety and choice that one would hope for in a garden.
Which leads to the inevitable question.
What, exactly, does one do with Kale?
Monday, August 25, 2008
I didn't think "Partly Sunny" meant the rest of the fraction was meant to be "Partly Pouring with Thunder".
And our outdoor thermostat says 55. FIFTY FIVE at FIVE PM IN AUGUST.
Our Ballard Barbecue Index? 5 times. Maybe 6. With quality predictions like these, why not plan on a barbecue?
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I found a little time to do everything but the trim paint last weekend.
Thanks for the action photo sweetie! I particularly like how it makes me look like Quasimoto!
But perhaps none of us are looking our best when doing home improvement tasks. I give you Martin in the Bunny Suit as an example.
Since everything's complete except the trim paint, I've declared the bathroom Done. I don't have that all-important fisheye lens that could capture the entire room in one shot, so I will present the finished product from multiple angles:
What have I been doing with the crop, apart from foisting it off on friends & family?
Raspberry Vinegar and Raspberry Cordials:Berries sprinkled with Granola - adapted from a recipe posted on the Floured Apron - using ground flax seed instead of the wheat germ.
And let's not forget the 5, count 'em, FIVE stuffed gallon bags of raspberries in the ginormous freezer.
Luckily the berry season is almost over. I might even miss it when it's gone.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
We "faced difficult choices" in early 2007, and bit off the pricey conversion cost to natural gas. And in December of 2007, I calculated that the conversion would pay for itself in 4 years. But that was at the now reasonable-seeming cost of 3.65/gallon.
The article points out that oil prices now fluctuate between 4.38 and 4.79/gallon. If I assume $4.50, that would mean $1328 to fill up my old oil tank!! Now, we are saving 75% on fuel bills, and the conversion will take 3.1 years at these rates to pay for itself.
This must be how my friend who bought a Prius 2 years ago feels.
Monday, July 28, 2008
So do we. And it's a good thing we took a picture, as we no longer own it.
Only it wasn't. And as it was a gas smell, I thought to call my friends at Puget Sound Energy to see if this was cause for concern. PSE's Service Tech came, he saw, he smelled. He hooked up a carbon monoxide meter. And then he declared my Shiny New-to-Us Dacor Range 'Dangerous' due to the > 500 PPM carbon monixide being emitted, and capped my gas line.
So....the worst that could happen? Apparently we could die.
And City Discount Appliance offered to replace the range, rather than trying to fix it for the rest of Eternity.
And now we have this.Five Star. 6 Burners. Seriously Cool.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Will I ever, ever, EVER use chair rail again on a wall with an outside corner like this? Why no. No, I won't.
The wall doesn't meet at a 90 degree angle, you see, so my Tiling Toy doesn't work.
I destroyed 3 pieces of chair rail trying to get this aligned correctly, and finally settled for "good enough" rather than perfect.
Next up: towel bars, wall repair, and paint.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Back when we had our flooding incidents, and I first discovered the Mighty Downspout Extender right next to the back drain, I did wonder why it wasn't attached. After I attached it, and a few months later saw another water incident in the basement, I noticed it had myseriously been disconnected again. I didn't detach it, Martin didn't detach it....which left the yard service.
When I moved in, and mowing season started, I grafted on to my neighbor's yard mowing service. It seemed to make sense - our lawns join together, so this meant they would be tidy at the same time, lending a nice, uniform look to our joint properties. So even after I conclusively proved that the yard service was disconnecting the Mighty Downspout Extenderwhile mowing and propping it up against the side of the house rather than reattaching it, I didn't make a big deal of it - Ijust reconnected it myself every time and made a to-do list item for myself to find a permanent, non-detachable solution.
What I did communicate to the yard service - clearly, making sure they understood - was that I was gardening and they were not to mow the "weeds" in my garden. I thought they understood this, as mowing season this year started in April, and they managed to avoid that area from April through June, in accordance with my instructions.
July, though, is another story. When I came back from a business trip to my freshly mowed lawn, I discovered a freshly mowed herb garden as well. I've lost 3 oregano plants, two dill plants, a thyme, a rosemary, and my temper.
I considered losing my yard service as well.
Now that I've had a day to calm down, I've decided to deduct the cost of the plants from their bill, and send them a note explaining why. If that works, they get another chance. If not, I may have to do the unthinkable - mow it myself.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
But in case it wasn't obvious.....here are the newbies.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Sunday, June 8, 2008
First a trek to the Seattle Premium Outlets, which is quite Premium, but not in Seattle. They're not even in King County.
I had my eye on the Restoration Hardware outlet up there, where, sadly, I completely struck out on my goal of acquiring towel bars for my bathroom.
But....lest I have a wasted 30 mile trip (each way), I found something I didn't really need but couldn't pass up - an 8 quart, cabernet-red dutch oven from Calphalon. For $49.99. No, I didn't drop a leading "1" in that number. Apparently the shade of 'Cabernet' didn't come out in the right dye lot, so Calphalon decided to purge the lot. At $49.99. $29.99 for the 5 quart, but I wanted to have something to feed more people that I can seat at my dining table.
I'm feeling like Shopper of the Year. I could turn into one of those people who talks about "how much they Saved" at the end of each shopping trip (to which historically I respond "And how much did you Spend on Crap you Didn't Need?"). What goes around is coming around.
After driving 30 miles back home to my nearest Restoration Hardware store located in Seattle Proper, I found this quite suitable Asbury Collection , which the sales clerk informed me would be going on sale(!!!!) for 20% off during their bath sale, which starts June 23rd. And they allow pre-orders. So, for the slight inconvenience of having to wait until July 1 or so for my towel bars, I get to Save (!!!!) 20%.
I love it. Maybe I'll try Zappos next while my Shopping Luck lasts.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The truth is, there was another purchase. A large, expensive, Ballardia-changing purchase. I just didn’t want to mention it before it actually showed up on my doorstep.
I bought a new-to-me range. Yes, from Craigslist.
Let’s talk about the old range. I feel a little wasteful, getting rid of a
In practice? It had both Functional and Aesthetic issues. On the Functional side, only 3 of the 4 burners actually worked. The oven was so poorly sealed that when I used it, I had to turn the fan on to suck up the steam rising from the burners when the burners weren’t even on (on the plus side, I could generally use the 4th burner if the oven was on). That “warming” space? I’m sure it was oodles of wasted energy. The oven had different climate zones in its interior – no doubt contributing to my Gluten-free vegan baking problems. The timer didn’t work. I was scared to even try the self-cleaning feature. And at 40”, it was too large for the 36” hood above it, which can’t be changed without Cabinet Surgery.
On the Aesthetic side, well, see for yourself.
But once again, Opportunity struck and just wouldn’t be ignored. Opportunity in this case was a 2006 Dacor duel-fuel range, “gently” used, with a rather dented left panel. The gas range can take advantage of the line I drew to the stove location last year. The electric oven will prevent me from turning on the gas and sticking my head in it during periods of excessive remodeling trauma.
Yes, I Know it's a $5000 range! For which, thanks to the miracle that is Craigslist, I paid $1500. Now THAT's a binge!
And now for the problem. I'd planned on replacing the one mismatched cabinet to the right of the stove when I got a right-sized model to replace the 40" Kenmore. I figured I could just stake out Second Use or Re-Store and find something that would work. But....I also should really get a 6" cabinet to go to the left of the range and hide that dented left panel. And there's no way I'll find a 6" cabinet from the 1960s. Which means that maybe, for the sake of consistency, I should buy two New cabinets to flank the range. And if I'm doing that, well, why not an over-the fridge cabinet? And then why not replace the cabinets over the range so everything will look consistent?
And Dorothy's vintage Nutone hood complete with June Cleaver manual? Much as I like it, it looks rather wrong above the stove.
And then there's the floor.....If I'm going to fix some cabinets, I really should replace the linoleum....
What have I done???!!!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I still have a few hardware items left to procure – towel bars, a replacement doorknob, and a heat register. The most pressing item is the heat register, required to complete the cove base on the remaining wall.
What’s wrong with the existing register?
It can’t possibly be original. It’s flimsy, ugly, has suspicious mildew-looking spots on it, and these are its good qualities.
It does not belong in my rapidly improving bathroom. Nor do its equally ugly cousins belong in the rest of my house, but that’s not currently on the to-do list, or in the budget (budget? What Budget? Oh, the one we blew through months ago….).
There aren’t a lot of options in period-appropriate wall registers in the appropriate size. I could get several different models of adequate and inoffensive floor registers and punch screw holes in them with my Makita, such as these registers from the Hardware Hut in the $50 range.
The real question is which is more authentic to a 1930 frame tudor, the baseboard register, or the metal louvered floor-or-wall type ?
My guess is that it’s probably the baseboard type. That’s what was in my last brick Tudor-esque house. You remember that one. It was DONE.
But to be sure, I thought I should do a little research. Google turned up nothing. I suppose there might be a book somewhere with this kind of detail, but I’m in a hurry.
Where else to check? Why Windermere.com, of course! I requested a search of all houses in Seattle built between 1929 and 1935, and scanned the pictures of Tudor style houses listed for sale.
Of those that showed the heating, by far the biggest number appear to have the baseboard style register. Some have the floor registers, and just a few use radiators.
This is a bit of a relief, actually, because it was looking challenging to find a chrome wall register to match my faucets, and we all know that white goes with everything.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
So today's progress photo features a close-up of our Kodak's power cord. Sorry.
What's with the two missing tiles? I hear you ask. Well, as you might recall, there was no possible tile formation that would possibly line up with my walls, and I'm paying the price around the receptacle, since My EE (Martin) informs me that the easiest thing to do is to pull the switches forward and rest them on top of tile. Only....well.....there's no tile to rest the top of the switches on. Nor is there going to be in the current pattern. So the two tiles slots will remain empty until my next Home Depot run, where I will be getting some 6'' x 6'' tiles to cut to size.
Monday, May 26, 2008
But after Martin beheaded the Kohler pedestal sink, I figured, what the hell?
To be clear, we Meant to behead the sink. Just perhaps not this soon, as I don't really have time right now to indulge in lengthy tile-a-thons.
And what do we call this bathroom without the sink? It was clear it was a half bath without the shower. Is it still a half bath without the sink?
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Yummy. Stomach full, tiling may continue.
When last we left the Extreme Chaos Project, I had managed to work my way out of the tub enclosure and resume Hygiene Activities (Insert Thanks Here).
In the process, I left highly visible, unsightly walls, as seen below.
After a little quality time with my tile saw and thinset, view the progress:
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
No. Instead, I'm going to highlight the Quality of the Rest Stops.
I must give the South of Spain great marks for its "aseos", which we determined pretty early on by the funny looks we got that one does not say "banos" there. Not sure why.
Occasionally, one might even get stuck with the dreaded squat toilet. Before you ask, this picture was NOT taken from the Men's room.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
I assume he means the lawn type.
So that's my little project. Topsoil, grass seed, and a little fertilizer later, I'm ready to watch the grass grow.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Well, for starters, I do have a Day Job, with business trips seemingly calculated to cause the maximum amount of chaos, and for that I thank you, American Airlines, for leaving me Stranded at LAX overnight without luggage because you sent it off to Terminal 3 rather than putting it in Bag Claim where the rep said it would be, and after my complaints that an Airline employee should retrieve said bag and deliver it to my hotel, your supervisor could only offer me a complementary Men-centric toiletry kit containing Men-scented deodorant, shave cream, razor, toothbrush & paste, and a comb only suitable for short, straight man-hair. Rant to American - how about putting something useful in there, like a Tampon?
End rant. Back to project.
Now that I've finished the tub enclosure and am able to indulge in Cleanliness in the privacy of my own home with my Woman-centric personal toiletries (and tampons), the Urgency of the tile job has faded.
And in my copious free time, in which I normally spend fixing Ballardia, I now have a new hobby. Feeding myself.
Having had a plethora of rather odd symptoms for ages, which I won't outline here in graphic detail (sharing 'tampons' was quite enough information for one blog entry), I finally decided to Do Something. And "Something" started with doctor visits with rather unhelpful advice of taking More Drugs.
I don't like taking meds for the simple reason that I want my liver to focus on more important things, such as processing my alcohol consumption. So I was left searching for Another Answer, which came in the form of food allergy testing.The food allergy testing required a simple blood test, plus another 3 day Unspeakable Test conducted in the Privacy of my Bathroom Project, which I will also not outline in graphic detail. After waiting 3 weeks, the results came In.
May I have a drumroll, please.
The results showed that I am allergic to probably 50% of my caloric intake - all dairy, eggs, wheat, and sugar cane. Oh, and lest I think I could substitute in something else for these products - I'm allergic to soybeans, almonds, and bananas too. I don't consume these things anyway, but they would be handy Alternatives to things I ate in my Diet of Yore.The simple act of going to the grocery store turned into an Adventure filled with Drama and Intrigue as I read the labels of Everything, hoping to find some miracle food that I could both eat, and would actually want to.
After a week or so of futile searching, I turned to Cooking, thinking perhaps I could make myself something that adheres to my new restrictions. I checked out stacks - STACKS - of library books on wheat free, dairy free, egg free, taste free cooking. Rather than try Risky Subtitution, I used recipes which conformed exactly to my requirements. I chose the recipes which specified 1/2 cup rice flour & 1/4 cup Tapioca starch & 1 tsp Xanthan gum, not simply "1 cup gluten-free flour". And I followed the recipes Exactly.
And this was the result. Imploded muffins with a dense, gelatinous mass at the bottom of the muffin cup. Brownies which Martin called Chocolate Brownie-like food product. Cornbread that went straight from the skillet to the garbage.
I always thought I was a reasonably good cook. I can bake, broil, grill, saute, sear, steam, pan-fry, poach, etc., really I can. Martin is the envy of
So when will the bathroom tiling resume?
After I've successfully made edible baked goods. Or when American retires their aging MD80s, whichever comes first.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
You get Regress instead of Progress.