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It has been a little while since I’ve visited what is technically my third job, being a landlord. Being a landlord and owning even a little bit of property isn’t easy. The process is just like any other business and you make mistakes. You take a chance on someone and your safeguards fail. I won’t get into all the details, but my last tenants didn’t work out. Between a lack of communication and caring on their end, I was left with an unoccupied apartment filled with their possessions. Thanks to a state law, I had to go to court to get rid of said possessions and change the locks for the unit. However, I could not recover lost money because I wasn’t diligent enough in my research and was missing a certificate and a handbook I was supposed to give them while they were tenants.  I got to keep the security deposit. Live and learn.

The bright side was being able to legally remove their possessions from my property after getting a private agreement in court, and beginning the process of cleaning the unit up. The goal was to get it ready to rent out again. My confidence as a landlord was somewhat damaged, but I was heartened by interest in my unit as neighbors noticed me cleaning it out. I received two unsolicited offers from people looking to rent. In the end, I made a deal with a family member who was in need of a place to stay, willing to pay me, and willing to work with me as repairs were made to the unit. The deadline to get the apartment ready to move into was March 1st and the process was involved. Thankfully, a full renovation wasn’t needed—unlike two years ago. This time I simply needed to remove the trash left behind, clean, and treat for pests.

While slightly more work still needs to be done, my new tenants are satisfied. This time I made sure I had all of my certificates, notices, and handbooks ready to go at the lease signing. I also found good sources of information to keep on top of Philadelphia’s changing landlord-tenant laws. Starting over wasn’t easy, but I’m grateful for a second chance after a failed venture.


Have you ever had a project or venture fail? Did you give up or start over?

Paperwork 2 by Isaac Bowen of Flickr

Paperwork 2 by Isaac Bowen of Flickr


I apologize for my post being a day late. Thanks to a tight March 1st deadline regarding my work as a landlord, I don’t have much free time outside of my full-time job. That said, I’m taking a break from work-related topics to discuss an epic event that occurred a little less than two weeks ago. (It has a happy ending.)

On a cold and rainy Saturday night I noticed a wandering poodle puppy in the parking lot. The dog was completely alone so I called out to it. The poodle came to me. Upon closer inspection I noticed that she was well-behaved and was obviously someone’s pet. Unfortunately, she wasn’t wearing a collar. I couldn’t leave her alone in the rain and so close to a major intersection—I didn’t want to risk her being hit by a car. I took her home and decided to search for her owners in the morning by calling local shelters.

The next day I started with PAWS, the animal shelter closest to where I found her. They didn’t accept dogs from the public, but they could take down her information in case the owners called, and they could also check her for a microchip. I then asked them to make a note that I would be taking her to ACCT Philly (another shelter) if she wasn’t chipped. If we couldn’t find her owners, someone would be willing to adopt a well-behaved puppy. Right after I hung up with PAWS, I took her picture and posted it to a service called Pawboost, which uses Facebook to send out missing dog alerts. I detailed my plans to have her scanned at PAWS for a chip and to take her to ACCT Philly if there was no chip.

Not long after I sent the alert out, PAWS called me back. They had father and son who were searching for a dog that matched the description of the poodle puppy in my possession. They told me her name was Lana. I drove Lana to PAWS and she was indeed their dog. The father offered to buy me a gift card as thanks, but I declined. Knowing the pain of having my own dog run away on several occasions and the joy that came with strangers taking the time to return her, I was happy to do the same for someone else. In short, I was more than glad to pay it forward by simply seeing Lana go home. Both of our epic weekends had a good outcome.


Have you ever had your weekend derailed by unexpected plans? Did those plans work out favorably?

Star and Lana- 02112018

Lana waiting in a cage, and Star, my own dog– who was insanely jealous.

I’m finally taking my first vacation since August 2017. Unlike August, this vacation isn’t attached to any conventions or traveling plans. I’m just at home relaxing and reinvigorating my mind. For the past two days (Monday and Tuesday) I’ve been using the time off from work to catch up on one of my favorite hobbies, video games.  However, I’ve been using my vacation to leisurely catch up on errands and other tasks. It has been nice completing chores and needed tasks without having to worry about getting everything done before work or jamming said tasks into the weekend.


During the first half of my week I’ve been able to:

  • Finally take my car in for its PA state inspection. My inspection tags expired at the end of October and I had been driving around with expired tags for three months. No need to worry about my tags for another year.
  • Repair and organize a few things around the house.
  • Get laundry done. Including taking larger items to the laundromat.


For the second half of my week I plan to:

  • Finally cleanup email inboxes and unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer interest me.
  • Do my federal, state, and city income taxes. Since I’ve become a landlord the process has become complicated and time-consuming, but not impossible to do on my own.
  • Start the process of revamping my personal fan site. Unfortunately, because a few important tasks have been packed into my week off, I won’t be able to exclusively work on the site. At the very least, I do want to start the process.
  • Update a few of my social media profiles.


I fully plan to achieve most of, if not all of the goals I set for myself during the week. At the same time, I plan to take a few hours here and there to enjoy hobbies without feeling guilt or worrying about work.

How do you spend your time when taking a vacation from work? Do you fill it with chores, errands, and side tasks? Or do you take a break from everything?

The Beach is Calling by Eyesplash of Flickr

The Beach is Calling by Eyesplash of Flickr. Being on the beach is what comes to mind when many people think about vacations.

I’m going to start with a full confession. I was struck with writer’s block when it came to this week’s article. I had no idea what I was going to write and the list of topics I had outlined seemed unappealing to me—so I deleted them. (I have yet to brainstorm anything new.) It was then I realized I’d fallen into a slight slump. I also realized that such feelings are okay. Not every day is going to be a winner. One can’t be happy and feel productive all of the time. Life simply doesn’t work like that and occasionally you have to pull yourself through the day. Ironically, these feelings gave me a topic to write about.

So what do you do when you realize you’ve reached a slump and you’re close to feeling burnout? Everyone is different, but there are some key techniques that can help address the problem:

  • Take a break or a vacation. Even if you’re at a job you absolutely love and it doesn’t feel like work, a break is still needed to refresh the mind and body.
  • Take care of yourself. When things become stressful, good habits such as plenty of sleep, a good diet, and exercise become more important than ever. These are needed fuel to keep your body strong and healthy in addition to easing stress.
  • Learn to say “no” when possible. You cannot be everything to everyone. Sometimes it is important to say no and not to take on more responsibilities until you’ve recovered from a slump.

Personally, I can say that while work is going decently, I realize I do need a proper vacation. I just finished navigating one of the busiest times of the year. While work in the new year has been a lot slower, I haven’t had a proper vacation. Normally, I take vacations three to four times a year. However, since becoming full-time my vacations have been reset and I won’t be able to properly take one again until June. The last time I actually took a vacation was in August. For the time being, I’ve set up a series of upcoming back-to-back personal days that should function as a vacation as well as a few strategically placed days off.

Life at home has been quite stressful at times. The latest was dealing with clogged pipes and having to get them unclogged, which included purchasing a new toilet. Additionally, my car needs a new bumper cover and a motor for the windshield wipers. All of the above are not fun or cheap. While there’s nothing I can do about these problems except to deal with them as they occur, learn, and move forward. Dealing with that stress also means practicing the techniques I outlined.


What techniques do you use to mitigate burnout when you feel it approaching?

Fire by Robbie Shade of Flickr

Fire by Robbie Shade of Flickr

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