Monday, August 15, 2016

the happenings over the past year...

I have written down everything of note that has happened over the past year, and they fall under a few specific (main) categories; Milestones, Rentals, Relations, Creativity, Volunteering.

I’ll start with milestones.
Jerome turned 40!! (October 10, 2015).  We had a party with friends, family and co-workers.  You could call it our Annual Pot Luck with a twist.

I turned 50!! (April 18, 2016).  In March we went to Hawaii (5-0) for my big 5-0!  Jerome and my sisters threw me a 50th birthday party in May.  So, I pretty much had a 3 month long birthday J

I guess the next big thing that happened this year is that while in Hawaii, on Maui, we bought a condo!  We are already using it as an investment, vacation rental property on Airbnb (and other websites too, such as VRBO/HomeAway, Flipkey/TripAdvisor).  More on this in a different post.

In other Airbnb news, in 2015 we hosted 2 students.  One was from Ireland and was working as an intern at an engineering facility in Romeo and the other was from Canada and she was a third year medical student working at Crittenton Hospital.

We also have had 28 other bookings in our home since this time last year.  It seems that the biggest reasons bringing people to Romeo are weddings, visiting family and central stop between Canada and Chicago.  It’s nice to have people come and visit us, getting to know people from all over and it’s also nice to have the extra money.  Airbnb brings money into the area as the people that come and stay with us typically ask us where they can eat and shop.  Support local businesses.

Since we’ve started (July 2013), we’ve had 58 bookings which included hosting 4 international students.  Other than the students, we’ve had 6 return guests.  Mom says that we must be doing something right otherwise they wouldn’t come back.  We have also finally convinced my sister to list her place in Sagamore Beach, MA on Airbnb.  She started in February and the last time I looked, she’s had 10 reviews.

We still have our three rental properties that come with their own little dramas…maybe I’ll elaborate in a different post.

Family and relations; we’ve had the French invasion since November of last year starting with cousin Noemie.  Then Jerome’s brother, SIL and kids, finally last month it was Jerome’s sister, BIL and daughter.  We’ve also had my sisters at different times this year, including my birthday party.

Mom’s been in and out of the hospital and re-hab.  After putting a down-payment on a place at a luxury senior living unit, she decided she’d rather stay in her home.  We have cashed in her Long Term Care Insurance and so she now has aides that come twice a day, seven days a week – except the evenings that my brother comes and cooks her dinner (3x a week).  The LTCI will likely last her the rest of her life – smart investment (note to self).  I still take her to her doctor appointments and have been taking care of her finances/bills for nearly a year.

My favorite cousin/niece has decided that she wanted to end her long distance relationship with a boy she met while visiting family in Belgium.  She moved to Belgium last month and I’m afraid I’ll rarely see her again.  Makes me sad.  But as long as she’s happy.  Our kitties are sad as well since she was becoming our primary cat-sitter.

Speaking of cats, (I’m sure you were on the edge of your seat, waiting to hear) we found all the kittens homes.  Two went to one home and two went to another.  It was a little harder to find a home for Bubbles but we finally did.  I have no guarantee that she is still with the person who adopted her.  I can only hope she’s happy.  We loved Bubbles…Smokey, not so much and eventually Bubbles didn’t want to put up with Smokey’s sh!t, so there was trouble.

Creativity was another category and I have a few entries to talk about.
I had entered 15 photos into the art competition at work and 3 were chosen!  I can’t say that they were my most fantastic pics but someone liked them.  FCA had a dinner, honoring the winners where I got to meet Tyree Guyton, founder of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.  I was gushing all over him.  He didn’t even notice, I’m sure.  The art pieces will now go on tour for the next 2 years.  They will be displayed at different FCA (Chrysler) facilities.  Right now they are here, at CTC.

At the end of the year last year, our suite at work had a pot luck.  I suggested a “decorate your door” competition which got totally upgraded to “decorate a conference room”.  I got a large conference room to decorate.  As much as I thought I would win with my “Winter Wonderland”, I was totally “upset” by the “Grinch that stole Christmas” room.  It was a bummer to say the least but I guess ‘Kitsch’ wins over ‘Class’ these days…which hopefully won’t be repeated in November (elections).

My wreath making workshops were a big hit last year, completely due to my husband who apparently is my Agent.  We went to an open house of a local landscaping/gift shop/event barn and when we were talking with the event coordinator, my husband really sold her on my wreath classes.  They were so popular; we ended up having 3 at the #eventsinthebarn which also spun off another in-home workshop + one at my own home.  I made so much money that I had to pay employment taxes as though I worked for Heritage Oaks.  We are starting to shop for old bulbs right now so we will have enough to have another workshop at Heritage Oaks this year.

Finally, Volunteering.  FCA (Chrysler) allows each employee; contract or direct to volunteer 18 work hours to charity.  I have been the key person in my group to schedule team volunteer activities for the past two years.  This year my hours went mostly to Meals on Wheels for Auburn Hills.  I volunteered during lunchtime, twice a month to deliver to 8-10 senior citizens or shut-ins.  I only had enough hours to do this for the first few months.  I wanted to keep some of my hours so that I could also attend the team activities.  This year our team activities included the Flint Water Crisis, where we passed out bottled water, water test kits, filters and recycling bags.  Our team also stopped to have lunch in Flint, so as to boost the local economy.
Another activity close to my heart is the lake clean-ups.  As a team, we cleaned Lake 16 at Orion Oaks and we also cleaned Buhl Lake at Addison Oaks.

A sort of ironic thing happened this year regarding the whole volunteer activities and had to do with our PLM (Performance & Leadership Management) a.k.a. Goals (which I hate…I think I’ve talked about this before).  One of the Vice Presidents of Powertrain made it his goal this year to have 100% Powertrain participation in a volunteer activity.  He even made it into a Scorecard metric.  Forced volunteerism.  Blows my mind.

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