To generate or not to generate?

When we hear the words “snow storm” (at least here in the Northeast!), it seems to produce a run on certain items…..bread and milk, shovels and salt/sand at the very least.  But as a homeowner it also seems to get us motivated to looking into alternative power sources, as snow also brings the possibility of power lines down and a loss of electricity!  So if you don’t have a wood stove to help heat things up, which we don’t as of this year, we start to think about generators.

portable-generator

You could go to your local hardware store and pick up a portable generator, but they can be in short supply just like the bread and milk once the storm starts!

A better solution may be a whole house, permanent generator, which will start on it’s own and supply power to the entire house as soon as your “regular” power decides to go out.

Now I could try to explain how that all works, but since I have a Real Estate license not an electrical license, I think it’s best to leave all of that up to a professional.  But I can recommend some really great electricans who would be more than happy to answer your questions, like: What size do I need? Is a permit needed? Are there setbacks to worry about? Do we need to have it inspected? What powers the generator?whole-house-generator

And while it’s already February 1st, there’s lots of time left for our power to go out leaving us cold and dark…so think about what might be best for you and start planning!

Music on the Mall….tonight!

No dinner plans? Wondering what to do this evening? My suggestion, pack a picnic (or get take out from one on the many fabulous restaurants that line our Maine Street) and head to the Mall. Not the shopping mall, but the village green kind of mall. Under the gazebo, Jimmy Junkins and the Big Fat Cadillac Band will be playing from 6:00 to 8:00! Gather your chair or blanket, make yourself comfortable, and get ready to enjoy the band, the food and the weather!

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http://www.bigfatcadillac.com/about_the_band/

National Pie Day!

Today is National Pie Day!!  For all of you (and I’m in this group) cake lovers, you might want to skip this, but know that National Cake Day is November 26th for future reference!

Pie

Apparently, The American Pie Council (who knew there was such a thing right??) set aside January 23rd to celebrate the pie, bake the pie, share the pie and I assume eat the pie! There is also a National Pie Championship where one could win the “American Pie Council’s Best Pie in America” award.

Here’s a link to a “perfect” apple pie…but a word of caution, it starts with a boxed pie crust! http://bit.ly/1RT3Ms6

So are you a pie or a cake person?!

It’s Tax Time. Again. A few ideas to help!

So by now you’ve probably been thinking about your Federal and State taxes, and maybe even preparing just a bit for them.  And you can wait if you want, even for a few more months, but eventually, you’ll need to read this post and get to work filing your taxes.

As a homeowner, there are a few things that you’ll want to consider.  One of the most useful benefits of homeownership, after the right to paint those bedrooms purple, is tax deductions.  If this is your first year of owning a home, then check out this list!

tax return

#1: Property Tax ~ any money paid during the year to your town/city property tax is deductible.

#2: Mortgage Interest ~ any money paid towards mortgage interest on your first or second mortgage and any private mortgage insurance payments are deductible.

#3: Closing Costs ~ some of the costs paid at your closing are tax deductible (ask your accountant which ones to include). Your may even be able to deduct some of your moving costs.

#4: Home Office ~ you may be able to use your home office as a deduction as well.

There may be others (his is when your accountant not me, your real estate agent is the professional!) so save all of your receipts for purchasing (your Closing Statement) as well as receipts for repairs, remodeling, parts etc.  My advice is to save everything for seven years, but again, let your accountant guide you on that!

If your still renting, know that your landlord is getting all these benefits…wouldn’t you rather get them for yourself??

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pantone Colors of the Year….with nothing to do with hair products

So the news is out, and Pantone has chosen Rose Quartz and Serenity as the two colors of the year.  Basically that’s pink and baby blue…neither or them are favorites of mine, but that’s okay as I don’t have anything to paint this year.  But the biggest news is that even though I see the chosen Colors of the Year each and every year, this is the first time I’ve realized that it’s PantOne not PantEne, like the shampoo!!!!  How many times have I just seen what my eyes think I should be seeing, and read what my mind thinks it should be reading.  Wow…have I done this with other things?  Is this a reality check that I need to slow down?  I love to read, and I know that I read fast and tend to speed read if I think it’s not that important, but this may have gone to far…for years I thought that a hair product company had influence over our color choices for decorating!

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To read more about the real company behind our decorating choices click here:   https://www.pantone.com/color-of-the-year-2016

To read more about the hair company, click here:  http://pantene.com/en-us

 

Random Thought….

Sitting outside in a cafe in San Diego (well, Encinitas actually by my son’s office) having coffee and sending emails…..in mid-November…..basking in the sun’s warmth…..I was having those “I need to move south” thoughts once again.  But then I recieved a phone call from a women who is moving back to New England after spending the past 10+ years in South Carolina.  She knows that it’s cold in Maine in January, and we have snow and blizzards and freezing cold temps, but as she said “there’s no place like home”.  

She’s right.  And I will probably always have at least one son living in southern California, so will probably always have a place to visit and escape the cold and snow, so I’m okay now.  I can go back home next week and relish the fact that whiles “there’s no place like home”, there’s also a place for me here as well when I need it!

What about you? Love the cold and snow and wouldn’t leave it, or do you have an escape plan for January/February?  

Working from home?

I love to say “I’m working from home today”. Especially on those snowy winter days. I know, you’re groaning, but they will be back ….! But working from home can be both a luxury and a curse. Yes, there is no traffic or ice to drive through and you may not even need to get dressed! But you do need to be able to separate the work and the home thing, and that’s not always as easy as it sounds.  It’s so easy to get distracted when working from home, especially if you don’t have a dedicated space away from the rest of the household, like from the pets and the kids and the laundry!

Home office

The best way to overcome these distractions is to have a room dedicated to just your office.  With a door that closes.  And a rule that says “door closed~stay out”!

You want your home office to be cozy and comfortable, but not so comfortable that you sneak in there just to take a nap! Remember that this is for work, so treat this space as you would your space at your “real” office. You want it to be welcoming, but not so welcoming that your family comes and sets up camp for the day!   Consider lighting, furniture and functionality all as you would for your “real” office space.  And equipment, although with the options of compact scanners/printers/copiers and iPads and cell phones, there really isn’t that much by way of equipment needed these days!

I do have my own home office space, and a new desk as well, but I can still get distracted so sometimes I think it comes down to mind over matter.  What do you do to stay focused at home?  Any suggestions to share? I’d love to hear them, I’m sure my work at home days can be way more productive!!