Crazy day today

Happy Monday morning you ya!

Today is my sons first day of school. Pushed back 2 weeks because of hurricane Harvey. He said he is waking up at 5:45am which means I had to wake up before him so I can have my quiet time. At first he asked for eggs this morning but then changed his mind and said he doesn’t have time. We don’t leave until 7am so why doesn’t he have time? He showered last night!

I will take him to school at 7 and then I have a fun morning going to fight my house taxes in court. I have a 680 sq ft condo. I am charged over $2000 a year for my place. My argument is this:

  • My name was just put on this place in November so why do I owe 12 months of taxes? Yes, technically I lived here all of 2016 BUT my name was not on the place until November!
  • This place has foundation issues and window issues. The management company said I don’t have foundation issues and the window leaking from the outside is not their problem. Yes it is! You guys installed the windows and it is leaking from outside and outside my 4 walls is your problem not mine!
  • The surrounding apartment complexes are not nice, not very safe, and looks bad. Not saying my street is in bad shape, it’s just the people and crime all around this area. I have gone to walk my dog and there will be a homeless person asleep in my laundry room. I walk outside the gates here and someone asks me for money. Just not what you would think for the area I live in.

Do I have a chance? I really don’t know.

I took pictures of the foundation issues and will take pictures of the crappy surrounding apartments as we leave today. We shall see what happens. I am a bit nervous about that.

Then I have to pick up my guy at work at 2pm. Then pick up my child from school at 3:15. Then go change my moms air filter. Whew! It’s going to be a long day.

My caregiver finally made it home from Africa so I want to go over to my clients home and say hello and see pictures. She’s from Tanzania 🇹🇿 and she said she would take pictures. Today is her first day back. I’m just happy she made it home!

Foundation pictures.

  1. My floor in the middle of my unit along a wall between my bedroom door and a closet door.
  2. The ceiling that was just fixed in January 2016 has already cracked. Shoddy workmanship or foundation?
  3. The crack in my patio. The concrete slab is like an inch or two away from the sliding glass door!

Update:

They sided with me!!! Yay!!! I met with the Harris county appraisal district and I guess you could say it went well! The value of the property is now lower where it should be and I can still make a profit when I sell. Yay!!!

Day 3 of Harvey

We are still here, safe and sound. Last night a couple of my neighbors invited me to a hurricane party and I got a bit drunk and probably said too much (I tend to do that when drinking). I had some awesome Louisiana boudain too so it was a good time. We watched crazy people try to drive through the water and watched the rain bands as they rolled through, all while under the carport sitting at a table with the grill going.

My man decided to drive to his place yesterday to check on it. He only took Westheimer. It took him over an hour to get there (20 minute normal drive time) but he did not go through any high water and stayed safe. I was going crazy while he was gone with worry. He finally made it back after 3 hours and told me basically his house is ruined by water. It did not flood in his neighborhood, the ceiling just started caving in as a result of all the rain.

Houston is definitely devastated. Some freeways are completely under water. The news even called one of our main thoroughfares Lake 288. It is that bad in places here. No, we did not evacuate. We were told to stay at home. Nobody could predict how bad the water would be. Harvey did not hit us but it has caused chaos in this city. We have had more rain here than Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 which devastated the city too.

I have checked on my friends, family, and clients. Everyone is safe. That’s the main thing for me. Everyone needs to stay safe. I am worried for anyone that has water in their home or surrounding their home. One of my friends had to be boated out of her neighborhood because the water was up to a foot inside their house. Thankfully they were able to get out and get to safety. I feel for the thousands of people here that have now lost everything. I hope people will open their hearts and wallets to donate and help the victims here. Our convention center opened for victims of Harvey and they are completely packed. Thankfully our city always comes together like no other to help each other. It’s one of the good things about being here.

Everyone else please stay safe and if you can, there are tons of places to donate to help everyone here that needs it.

Red Cross

Salvation Army

United Way

Pet shelters too! Can you imagine how many people have lost pets right now??? I don’t know what I would do if Amber got out in all this!

Day 1 of Harvey

I’m in the Galleria area of Houston, about 9 miles from downtown. It started raining sporadically yesterday. The storm hit down south really hard as a category 4 hurricane. It’s really bad down south according to the news and I feel for those people.

My man and his cat are here with us. My dog and his cat have barely smelled each other and are staying away from each other. My allergies are going nuts with his cat but I am dealing just fine. The cat is in bed with me and my dog is freaking out from the floor. It’s actually pretty funny to watch them get near each other, sniff, then run away.

We have gotten some rain and NO flooding near here. It has flooded in other parts of Houston. Our mayor was on the news this morning telling us to stay at home because this thing keeps coming in waves and will get bad in the next few days. We are staying here.

I have text my friends and neighbors and everyone seems to be fine so far, even in flood prone areas. We are bored because it seems that xfinity decided to shut everyone down last night as a precaution so we have no cable or internet so no Netflix! Thank goodness for cell phones. And of course we still have power since it’s just rain so far.

Last night my man and I went into a neighbors home to check on it since he passed away last year and I haven’t been in that place since I found him dead on his floor (not a good day). The ceiling is covered in mold, it’s black and everywhere in the living room! There are dead roaches everywhere (kitchen and bathroom) and his children that came to clean it out left a desk and the bed in the apartment. At this point, they will have to have all of the drywall removed from the ceiling. I’m even wondering if it will affect his upstairs neighbor since it’s on the ceiling. I feel bad for that guy! The furniture will probably have to go too, even the nice bed. So that’s what’s happened during this storm so far. I will check in later or tomorrow depending on what we get up to today.

Great day

First job, somebody on the tollway tried to come in my lane and we were NOT in his blind spot. I was driving the clients car too! Her doctor appointment went well, we went by her bank, and I got her back home.

Next to my first ever client. Her son contacted me because he's worried she's not eating. I go over there and ask her about eating more and she replies, "I will eat when I damn well want to!" Well, I'm not going to argue with that! Her son happened to call while I was there so I told him what she said and he laughed.

I then got to go home and relax for a bit. I started watching The Great British Bakeoff. They are pretty harsh to the contestants! Made me want to bake a cake too. Yummy foods on there.

Now I am on my last job. I am sitting outside this restaurant and for the first time ever, I had to go in and ask if I could use their restroom. The manager is actually who I spoke with (eek!) and he said "Me casa es su casa." (For non Spanish speakers that means my house is your house) Wow! That was very nice! So I looked online at their menu prices and have decided to come for Sunday brunch over here. Only $20 for 3 courses and it's all healthy foods. So I asked my new dating buddy to come with me. I'm still waiting to hear back from him.

Have a great Friday night!

My career

The beginning:

I actually started doing this in June 2015 after being laid off in the travel industry in December 2014 after 20 years in that industry. I have a Bachelors degree from University of Houston in Psychology and use it all the time in my daily life.

What I do:

I drive the elderly that can't or don't drive anymore. I also listen to them and get to know them and sometimes just be a friend. I can take an established client to the grocery store and know what they are forgetting which is a good thing when they forget their list! I help some people get their papers in order and help them at home (not caregiving!).

I am based in Houston TX. Eventually I would rather move to a cooler climate but my family is in Houston so I will be here for a long time. They come first with me.

What's going on with my career now:

2 years in, I have a total of 7 clients and a "new to me" car which my clients seem to love. I am always looking to expand and take care of more people as there are still times I'm just sitting at home when I'd rather be working. I charge $15 per hour in my immediate area (Galleria) and $18 per hour if you live in another part of town for driving (like Pearland, WestOaks, Spring, etc). I have a flat Galveston one way rate of $75 and a flat one way airport (either one) rate of $50. I never work on Sunday's unless it's just an emergency. We attend church and have family time on Sunday's.

A lot of people seem to compare me with Uber. I am nothing like Uber, I promise! I drive a person where they are going, (whether it be a doctor, the grocery store, or to dinner), WAIT FOR THEM (or go with them), and then drive them back home. To book me can be difficult sometimes because I cannot do last minute rides as my schedule will not usually allow it. Most people book their doctor appointments based on my calendar because they want me to drive them (which is so sweet) so I save the dates for whomever requests it first.

Employees?

I also have a list of 15 caregivers that are available to me if and when I need them. I charge $15 an hour for them payable to me and I pay them $12 per hour and send them 1099's at the end of the year since they work for themselves. I prefer to give them at least 8 hour shifts and even have people available to live in if needed. All of my caregivers are well trained and have worked in retirement homes under assisted living or skilled nursing units. I always check their references and know most of the assisted living places around this area and know the managers so I know exactly how they are as a worker. Most of my caregivers still work at a facility but need extra money so they work for me on their days off. I do have those people that would prefer to just live in and take care of someone too.

About me:

When I am not working, I take care of my 12 year old son and help my 73 year old mother. I am hard working, independent, and busy most of the time. I am not afraid to talk to my clients about my life as I have nothing to hide. My son goes with me every once in a while and the people I drive seem to enjoy it when he does. I watch Netflix, play board games, and like to take one or two day trips to drive around Texas with my son. Last summer, we drove to Paris, TX. The year before that, we took a 3 day trip to San Antonio. This year, our vacation was a drive up to the Texas panhandle to attend a graduation ceremony and the next day drove to Dallas to go to dinner with friends before coming home again.

I also enjoy doing things around my home to make it better. Right now, I am making things white instead of the pinkish off white it was to try and make it seem bigger.

I am very into the Houston Astros and will listen to the games when working (not while anyone is in the car unless they ask) since I am obviously not able to watch while driving!

I have some interesting stories from some of the people I drive. I get phone calls when they need someone to talk to. I have gotten to know and be friends with their kids. I love what I do and can't wait to build this business up more.

This is my business called JulieHartCares.