Thursday, April 28, 2011

Legal Necessities

Now that Tom and I are a few months into renovations we decided the legal bits and pieces couldn't be ignored any more. In our world things like partnership agreements and financial documents aren't important but since the Cauldron is reality we had some missing i's that needed dotted and t's to cross. This week we had our first and surely not the last meeting with our accountant and attorney. I've worked with Randy Lishawa, the accountant, for years but this was Tom's first time meeting him; also both of us were meeting the recommended attorney, Scott Basinger, for the first time. The condensed version of the experience is that confusion ran rampant LOL While I've run a home business for several years it was small and didn't fall under many government or tax regulations. Not so the Cauldron. Expenses have to be categorized and some are a bit slippery. Take all the work Tom did on the gas lines and furnaces. That falls under the labels of 'repairs' and 'improvements' with the furnace parts going into the repairs column and the bits and pieces of line under improvements. Guess who will be having a ton of fun sorting through those receipts? The system seems a bit illogical to me based on common sense and daily living. Unless you purchase items by category such as all furnace parts separate from all gas line parts you've got a terrible task ahead in separating your purchase into the different parts. And what about the sales tax? LOL Do I divide it up based upon the dollar cost or what? Since the accountant has repeatedly reminded me of his rate per hour and how much it would cost for him to figure all that out I made an investment in Quicken this week and added Bookkeeping 101 to my summer schedule.

Meeting with the attorney was interesting since we were also pretty clueless there. I'd investigated tax ID numbers, apparently called an EIN for us, but found multiple answers. Some sources said we needed one while others said since we didn't have income we weren't eligible. Guess what, income or not the government still wants it's share and we need one LOL We also apparently need protection from each other or at least to quiet those who think we do so we're having a formal partnership agreement drawn up. Then we're forming a LLC which I think stands for Limited Liability Company which seems to be a fancy title for something that keeps our personal stuff safe from our business risks. If something bad happens at the Cauldron only the company is responsible and Tom and I can't loose our personal possessions. I'm thinking that's a pretty good idea LOL It's a bit like knocking over a line of dominoes though as 'progress' in the legal area means lots of changes elsewhere. Once the LLC is formed, filed or whatever we'll need to have changes made to our insurance where btw, we're already having trouble. The insurance company intends to raise our rates since they consider the building vacant and therefore more at risk. That's also lacking a bit on the common sense and logic end LOL I work from 9-ish in the morning to 4 or so at least 5 days a week, usually a half day on the 6th day. Tom is there from 3 or 4'o'clock to 9 or 10 at night every night but two. The dang building is hardly ever alone so how can it be vacant? LOL Luckily that's a battle for Tom to fight. I have enough to deal with setting up the books and dealing with the changes the LLC will bring. One of which, getting a completely separate bank account, will be cause for definite celebration.

The good news in all this is that we are making progress being safe and financially smart, the attorney turned out to be a good choice and - big woo hoo here - my office is set up! While Mr. Basinger seemed a bit too serious for us at first he had the good taste to fall in love with the Cauldron. Remember though, him being too serious for us isn't necessarily bad on his part but more a reflection on us. I've been watching too many Jurassic Park reruns as upon entering the office and greeting Randy Lishawa my first instinct was to turn to the attorney and say 'oh, this must be the blood-sucking attorney' ROFL Luckily my brain was faster than my mouth on this occasion. We also received a great tip from Mr. Basinger regarding our search for the history of the Cauldron. He's on board with our hoping for some historical grants and suggested a specific person here in Findlay who could likely advise us of much of the building's history. We might even find a few surprises but I'll save those for a later post if it's confirmed.

Even with the dull task of bookkeeping ahead of me I'm looking forward to spending warm summer afternoons in the office adding up figures. While the new desk wasn't what I wanted it turned out to be what was needed and it fits perfectly in the space and goes well with the design of the building. I moved a few comfort items in - crystals, a few gifts from bff Amy - set up a bit of an altar and stock one shelf with a basic selection of witch craft books. Just like home! The large windows will let in plenty of air and light and once the walls are painted (a very pale pink) it will look wonderful and even professional. Heck, there's a business card holder even!

Renovations also progressed well this week. The east kitchen walls are primed and Tom is working on replacing the windows there and in the east bath. Once that's done, and if Ohio ever dries out, I can do the needed repairs to the outside of the building where leaks caused the stucco to rot. We got a bit more work done in the back but mostly were hampered by the constant rain this week. Paint stripping started out great and I'd hoped to finish up by the middle of the week but again the rain caused a delay due to the roof leaks there. There's just no space for a ladder among all the buckets catching drips and I'm not thrilled about being soaked while I work. And then, there's my visitor. Some of you know I'm terrified of spiders and given how long the building was empty it was only a matter of time before a few would appear. It did NOT have to be the grand daddy of all spiders though! Here I am, up on the ladder scraping the second coat of goo off and right along the top edge of the wall comes the largest, blackest spider I've seen in my life outside of a pet store! It's a wonder I didn't jump off the ladder and run screaming for the door LOL With a bad case of the shivers I kept one eye on the spider and one eye on the task and dutifully kept working and the spider stomped off. Yes, I mean stomped. This thing was so big it didn't even walk like a normal spider! Unfortunately it came back just as I was trying to finish the last bit near the floor. From that position I couldn't watch the spider and so I'd take a quick swipe with the scraper and then jump back to check on his position. Can't say as I did a very good job of that last bit but at least I tried LOL Of course the spider was gone by the time Tom arrived and hasn't been seen since but that's worse than if he was still about. When last seen he was crouched in the corner directly above the commode so now I either have to wait to pee until I get home or crouch on the potty craning my neck to keep an eye above me in case he jumps out. Guess who bought bug bombs on her last trip to the store?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Catch Up

Gosh, I've been nagging myself to get an update posted but I didn't realize how fast time was passing! Tom and I have had our respective noses to the grindstone and I don't think either of us has come up for air in weeks LOL In many ways it seems there hasn't been a great deal to report on but in other ways so very much has changed. We're actually beginning to see some results of our efforts in the way the east apartment is shaping up. Not like we don't have miles to go yet but somehow having the kitchen re-walled and the bathroom painted is encouraging. Tom is doing his usual perfectionist job on the walls but even with bare wallboard and drywall mud it looks 500% better than when we started. Next week I'll likely be working priming and painting in there getting ready for window replacement and cabinetry.

With the walls coming along and paint going on I can see the color scheme I chose for the apartment coming together. Tom not so much but he's a tolerant man and since he doesn't have to live there he doesn't complain. Lucky for me, huh? For those curious the scheme is a neutral-ish pale green for the bath and kitchen, terracotta accents in the tile and sink back splashes and then a very soft and pale terracotta color for the living area walls. Think semi-Mexican color scheme LOL Did you notice also that I actually painted? As opposed to stripping walls? No, they're not done, not quite yet, but darn close. Another two or three days will finally see me done with chemicals and after a quick sanding I'll be free of the west bath for a bit. Trust me, you'll likely hear the celebration when I take that last scraper full of paint off LOL It's been a long haul and everyone has worked on the project. Even Brandie tried her hand at it last week and my brother called with great advice.

We were also treated to a few nice, sunny days in Ohio, a very few, and I used them to get the front bushes cleaned of trash and the backyard cleaned up from a few years of neglect. Our huge tree back there is wonderful but it's obviously been very busy this past winter shedding small limbs as well as leaves. The existing plants have begun to leaf out and I've identified peony and wild roses as well as a few bulbs in the future herb garden. Thanks to a sale on outdoor chairs we now have seating too = ) The seeds I started have sprouted and grown to the point where today I put a few into larger peat pots. Now on breaks I can sit in the new yard chairs and imagine the herbs and flowers growing around me in a few months.

Likely the biggest news, at least for me, is the beginnings of an office. Finally! Both Tom and I had hunted for a desk with no success. I'm thinking either my wish list or my budget was a bit off LOL I knew we needed two file drawers and I wanted at least two drawers for supplies, preferable a center drawer also. And I wanted it cheap and neither of those were going to happen at the same time. I could find lovely pedestal or executive desks but none for less than $500 which I termed a ridiculous price. Desks in our price range either didn't have the needed file drawers or were set up for computers with a drop down keyboard rest and CPU cabinet which we couldn't use. We haunted craigslist, EBay, the local newspaper and trading sites and came up empty handed or a day late on anything remotely workable. With paperwork piling up I gave up the search and bought a small desk which will work although is far from my dream desk. And I had to put it together! LOL THAT could serve as the subject of an entire post! To be honest though it wasn't too bad with careful reading of directions. I had one part break during assembly and one part arrive damaged so I'm waiting on replacements to assemble the final drawer but for the most part it's together and works. Just in time too! Next week we have an appointment with the accountant and attorney to begin our education on the business end of things. I've been reading some great books on landlording but we'll need a good team behind us to avoid trouble with regulations and paperwork.

I also need to report on Tom's water project although I still need to get the pictures uploaded for you to see. Our main waterline enters the building from the front and runs under one of the front display window with the main valve just in front of the window box. The access hole in the floor is maybe 2' x 2', maybe a bit more, not large though. And the main leaked, somewhere LOL With the weather thawing Tom got started repairing the leak and that required him to dig down several feet and then tunnel underneath the window towards the street. I didn't want to know the entire details but I believe he spent most of his time laying on his tummy using a shovel to dig the hole and then vacuuming the dirt out with the shop vac LOL It was a huge undertaking though and from the looks of it on a par with stripping paint for misery. It's too bad neither of us thought to have him do a tour with the video camera, it would have been great LOL No more leak though and tonight Tom hauled a load of stone in to fill up the hole in the front sidewalk. The water pressure is greatly improved and lots of gunk was flushed out of the pipes. With a lot of luck that will take care of any water issues = )

Doesn't seem like much for three weeks but based on simple tiredness and how sore we are I'm thinking we're working about as hard as we can LOL Between Tom's shoulder, my back and the general everyday aches and bruises I'm thinking the next update will come from a nice hot tub somewhere!