In March 2008 I began Finding Pennies. In December 2008 I began sharing these "Penny Tales" with a few close friends. They encouraged me to blog the Penny Tales such that more people could enjoy the Adventures with Penny Angels.

Please visit the website:

Joyfully, Tina

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day #1,107 - Goodbye 2011

It seems we were just experiencing the panic of Y2K and now eleven years have already passed. This year has been very busy and there have been so many wonderful “COINcidences” along the way.

The morning began by writing and mailing checks for Federal and State income taxes. Not the funnest thing to do. After that Doc needed a coffee so we stopped at Starbucks where he found a penny next to the van. (Coin #1)

We spent a few hours working at the Penny Palace. Doc steadied the ladder for me so I could paint the ceiling over the garden bathtub. He was really tired after that, so he found a large piece of cardboard for a mattress and a roll of paper towels for a pillow and took a nap. While he snored, I tried to figure out how the heck to produce the Aussie stream from broken tiles.

On the way home we stopped at a grocery store. Very busy tonight. I found 6 pennies and one dime. (Coins #2-8) As we were driving away Doc asked if I had two dimes. I replied, “No, just one. But you are driving past one right now!” So he pulled aside while I ran back and fetched that dime. (Coin #9)

We stopped for a quick Mexican counter meal. Doc found another dime - in the men’s restroom. (Coin #10)

Once at home, I unpacked the groceries and started the laundry while Doc took Sparky for a drive. They went to CVS Pharmacy where Doc got some decongestant, a penny and a nickel. (Coins #11-12).

Now it’s time to pay the subcontractors and put our Penny Palace December receipts in order. Then we will log in the December Penny Finds. After that, Doc wants to begin 2011 tax preparations. He is already getting nervous about how much we will need to pay in 3.5 months.

Total: 12 Coins P (8), N (1), D (3), Q (0) = $0.43

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day #1,106 - Wound Up

Doc and I began the day with getting routine blood tests at our Doctor’s office. Since we had fasted for 12 hours prior, Doc insisted upon going to breakfast. He has been wanting to try a new restaurant which opened earlier this year. He was happy to get his way and I was happy to find today’s penny as we left the diner.

By 9:45 a.m. we were at the Penny Palace. We were delighted to have guests Laura and Cos visit this morning. They even brought us lunch from their deli. They built their home ten years ago and could appreciate the construction process. They have been encouraging us over the past ten years and were thrilled to see our dream becoming a reality.

Today the Landscaping crew again were the only ones working at the Penny Palace. Two pallets of sandstone were delivered early this morning as well as a truckload of decomposed granite for the trails and dirt for the planter areas. The crew mortared stones in the stream, began laying the stone on the stairs, hauled and compacted the D.G. in the walkways and continued making progress.

At 1 p.m. Realtor Adrie came to take us property shopping again. We signed documents two weeks ago for Replacement Property #2. It seems the bank asset manager has been on holiday and has not processed our papers so we can proceed into escrow. We have a deadline of Jan 4th to have our exchange properties identified and are getting nervous. Thus, today we went out touring and investigating again. We looked at six homes and felt that three of them had potential. We collected ten pennies and three dimes during that four-hour tour.

The year may be winding down, but our activities certainly are not. We are Wound Up!

Total: 14 Coins P (11), N (0), D (3), Q (0) = $0.41

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day #1,105 - Course Corrections

Today the Landscaping crew were the only ones working at the Penny Palace. They were putting mortar around some of the waterfall stones and creating the berm on the south side of the property. As I walked around the yard I realized the main pathway was headed toward the wrong destination. It was leading straight to the door of the tool shed! If that were a guest house, a pool house, or something similar, then it would be OK to have the path lead there. But I don’t want to lead people to fertilizers and lawn equipment. Time for Course Corrections. I pulled up the edging material and used some paint to redefine the path.

Thought: New Years is a good time to stand back and see if the path we are currently traveling needs any adjustments? What is our destination? Are we on the right path to get there?

Doc woke up this morning with a “hangover” (congestion and a sore throat). He stayed home all day and rested with the doggies.

This afternoon Doc and I drove out to Replacement Property #1 to check on this week’s progress; doors and windows in, progress in kitchen, bathrooms, garage. Next week concrete work. Looking good.

We stopped for dinner and groceries. Found a dime and a penny.

Total: 2 Coins P (1), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.11

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day #1,104 - Concrete Kissing

The day began by wakening my mom to get her moving. She didn’t appreciate that. Doc and I took her home at 7 a.m. and were ready to tackle a very ambitious agenda for today.

Of course Doc had to get his Starbucks coffee. I got a quarter and he found a penny. (Coins #1&2)

At 8:15 a.m. we met at the Penny Palace with the vinyl flooring installer. He took photos and will file the necessary documents for our claim of defective material.

At 9:15 we ventured forth. Two pennies at the gas station where we stopped for petrol. (Coins #3&4). At 9:30 we were at the paint store. I waited for the paint to be mixed while Doc went to McDonalds for a snack and a penny. (Coin #5).

At 10 a.m. we met with the Realtor, Home Inspector, and a contractor to conduct an inspection of Replacement Property #2. Looks like that one is going to need a new roof, kitchen, and bathroom remodeling.

At noon we visited a possible Replacement Property #3. That one looks like it might not need much fix up at all. Found a penny upstairs in a closet. (Coin #6)

Next we stopped at a soils yard to pay for the materials which the landscaper has been purchasing. Doc wanted lunch and was proposing Jack in the Box, Del Taco, Carl’s etc. Then we spotted the Avocado House, a quaint little café and had a very enjoyable meal there. Would recommend that to anyone living or visiting the Chino area.

We were headed to a stone yard just down the street from the café. Doc and I told the sales rep what we were seeking. He showed us several possibilities. Doc and I Both liked the same one! Wonders never cease. That meant we did not need to drive 30-40 miles to go see the additional stone yards on our agenda for today. We took home some sample pieces of the stone to see how they will look on the patio next to the house.

We then stopped at a cabinetry shop to see their products. They provide pieces to assemble your own cabinets. Somewhat like IKEA furniture with more options.

Back to the Penny Palace to drop off the paint and stone samples. By 5:00 p.m. we were off to the lighting store to pick up our most recent order; interior fixtures. Doc stopped for a coffee at a 7-11 store. I found a dime there. (Coin #7).

In the parking lot I tripped on a concrete block and ended up Kissing the Concrete. I don’t recommend it. The dirt is low-calorie but doesn’t taste or feel very good. I spent much of this evening on the sofa with ice packs rotated between numerous bruised, scraped, and punctured areas.

At 9 p.m. Doc made sure I was set with my ice packs and one Canine Caretaker. Then he and Sparky headed out for dinner. He asked what I wanted. I told him nothing - including no more coins to write about. They returned with their California burrito and one dime. Now they are in bed while I am still writing!

Total: 8 Coins P (5), N (0), D (2), Q (1) = $0.50

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day #1,103 - Staying Home

Construction Manager / General Contractor is a tough role sometimes, but that is easier than the role of Caregiver. Sincere Appreciation goes to all those people who provide such services. One day in this role and I am ready to get my boots on and get back out to the construction site.

Today my mom needed some medical procedures performed, so that took priority over the Penny Palace. (Not too many other things do). I am not a morning person and would rather go to bed at 4 a.m. than wake up at that hour. By 5 a.m. Mom and I were on the road. By 5:30 we were at the hospital. By 7:30 a.m. the procedure was successfully completed and she was in the recovery room. While she was still under anesthesia, the doctor came in to give me the assessment. He concluded with, “I met your mother briefly one time. I have the feeling she will not be a very cooperative patient. Thus I suggest ….” Now just how did he discern that after only one brief encounter with her? LOL

On the way home from the hospital Mom and I made a stop for some groceries (some chicken noodle soup, grapes, etc.) Upon entering the store I said. “Penny Angels, I am not likely to leave my house for the remainder of the day. If I am to have a coin today, it’s got to be here.” During checkout at the self service station there were two pennies underfoot! (Coins #1&2)

The remainder of the day was spent in tending to my patient.


Son Brian came over this morning to ‘deliver’ my Christmas present. New sparkplug wires for Pippy have been sitting by my front door for a month. Not a job I am confident in undertaking. So today Brian installed the wires as well as new sparkplugs for Pippy. That is much better than getting any more doodads.

Then Brian and Doc headed to the Penny Palace to give Brian a chance to try out the new spiral staircase. Doc collected one penny at Starbucks. While on site, Doc coerced Brian into fixing the front fence. Doc reported that both the electrical team and the landscaping crew were working today.


One of the reasons for building the Penny Palace is to have sound deadening doors between the family room (Doc’s Turf) and the main area of the house (Tina’s turf). For Doc, TV is a relaxing device; for me it is an irritant and feels like torture to hear the offensive commercials and shows. It’s the equivalent of breathing second-hand smoke.

Tonight Doc has the TV going in one room and my mom has one going in the main area of the house. There is no escape! Penny Palace take me away ….

Total: 3 Pennies

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day #1,102 - Pole Climbing

A spiral staircase always seemed like a neat thing to have. It’s been on my wish list for 20 years. Today it went from dream to reality.

This morning I was planning to stop at Home Depot for some lag screws and other supplies. Instead I was ‘nudged’ to go to Lowe’s. I thought the fast food diner next door was closed, so I walked over to the drive up window. Found one penny under the window, one drowned one in a puddle and one in a crack. I thought, “that will do for today”. So I turned and headed back. The sun gleaned on something in the dirt planter. A shiny penny! I picked it up and spotted another, and another, and there was another, and another… I kept ‘mining’ for pennies until a car drove up and ended the magic. I returned to my truck, grabbed a little bag, and counted the coins. There were 24 coins in my hand. I said, “WOW Angels! A coin mine! Too bad it wasn’t 25 coins since that is my favorite number. Hey, I bet you can get me one more special coin to make the 25. After that car pulls away, I’ll go back over there if you will provide one more coin”. I walked around to the driver’s side of my truck in order to lock my door. There in front of me was a penny! The 25th one as requested. Plus it was a Wheat Penny dated 1946! I had asked for a special coin.


I spent 45 minutes in Lowe’s trying to get everything on the shopping list. And one penny as I was leaving the store. (Coin #26)

Meanwhile Doc went to McDonalds for breakfast and four pennies. (Coins #27-30)

At the Penny Palace the landscaping team was mixing and pouring concrete all day. They formed the base level for the stone pathway and steps.

The plumbers spent the day installing the hot water tank, a pressure regulator for the house, and all the shut off valves under the sinks.


The spiral staircase came with an installation manual plus an instructional DVD. Doc and I carefully reviewed both - several times. The manual sketches show a man and a woman methodically (and seemingly easily) assembling the staircase. The video shows two guys doing it in a matter of hours. All I can say is “BULL!” It took Doc, Daryl, HVAC Brian, his father Ed, me, plus 3 of the landscaping guys pulled in to help. That center pole was long and heavy. At a critical moment, one of the guys said, “We just need to keep the pole straight and guide it gently into the hole.” To which someone else quipped, “That is the goal of most Guys!” Which had us all laughing.

By 5:30 p.m. we at least had the treads in place and a temporary plastic handrail. I was excitedly climbing around the center pole. The rest of the spindles will take another day of work at a later time.


I was exhausted and went straight home to start cleaning house and dealing with incoming emails. Doc stopped at a grocery store for dinner, a dime, and a penny. (Coins #31&32).

Thought: Sometimes dreams take a lonnnnnnnnng time to become reality.

Total: 32 Coins P (30), N (0), D (2), Q (0) = $0.50 (which is 25 x 2)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day #1,101 - Christmas at the PP

This morning we went out for Christmas breakfast. Doc collected a median find penny as we exited the freeway. I found two dirt pennies in parking lot planters at the restaurant. (Coins #1-3)

At the Penny Palace we cleaned and prepared things for the upcoming week. There was much debris from the electrical guys and finish carpenters. The particles were getting ground into the sheet vinyl flooring, so I cleaned and put down sheets of cardboard for protection. Doc and I sorted and prepared all the pieces for assembly of the spiral staircase.

HVAC Brian was passing the Penny Palace and noticed the open gate. So he, along with his sister and daughter came in for a visit. They brought a Santa for décor plus lots of hugs and good wishes. A very nice surprise.

On the way home Doc and I were going to stop at the grocery store for dinner, but it was closed. Thus we went to McDonalds at the other side of the same shopping center. Two dimes collected there. (Coins #4&5)

Doc and I don’t get Christmas gifts for each other or really for anyone else. But earlier today Doc said we should have at least gotten gifts for our three ‘canine kids’. I told him to keep quiet and they would not know it was Christmas. Tonight when we arrived home from the Penny Palace there was a bag of gifts on our doorstep -- a squeaky toy for each of the doggies! Talk about manifesting!

Total: 5 Coins P (3), N (0), D (2), Q (0) = $0.23

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day #1,100 - Lit Up

My Christmas wish was to have the Penny Palace Lit Up. It was tonight!

Yesterday I logged in the daily coin finds for December. I noted to Doc that we had zero Hits for the Cycle this month. How unusual. I told him we should make it a goal to find one. Today we did!

This morning a quick stop at the bank yielded the paper currency we needed as well as a penny and a nickel. (Coins #1&2) Our next stop was a Contractor’s supply store where we spent quite a bit of time looking at various cabinetry options for the two garages. Don’t want to spend too much on those cabinets, but also don’t like the cheap quality ones we have been finding elsewhere.

By late morning Doc was hungry so we made a stop at Jack in the Box. I found a penny there. (Coin #3).

Our major objective today at the Penny Palace was to paint the staircase pieces. It took longer to prepare the work area and clean the pieces than it did to paint them.

At 4:30 I told Doc we needed to wrap up because it was getting too dark to work. He replied, "Well then flip a light switch!" Oh Yeah. I forgot! So he and I ran around the house lighting up one room after another. It was pretty funny. Like kids in a candy shop having a blast! It was fun to have the Penny Palace Lit Up for Christmas Eve.

On the way home before getting to the freeway, Doc needed a coffee. I spotted three coins, but another customer got to one of the coins before I did. I think it was a nickel. I collected a dime and a quarter. (Coins #4&5 which made a Hit for the Cycle today!)

Total: 5 Coins P (2), N (1), D (1), Q (1) = $0.42

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day #1,099 - New Wheels

Today we got a new set of wheels! And Pippy helped me transport them to the Penny Palace.

A year ago when I was investigating windows for the new house, I discovered a load of teak wagon wheels in a warehouse. They were each of different sizes, hubs, spokes, etc. I’ll bet they have some fascinating stories of their travels through Thailand. I wanted one of those wheels for the front yard of the Penny Palace and vowed I would be back to the store at a later date. When Shirlee (from Australia) was visiting us in July, I took her to see the wheels. Turns out she has always had a fondness for wagon wheels! Perfect. She helped me choose a special one to put on hold until we were ready for it at the Penny Palace. Shirlee also left a Christmas note for Doc when she left.

This morning Doc and I decided to go get my wagon wheel. Just before leaving, we opened the Christmas note from Shirlee. It contained instructions and the funds for Doc to also get a wagon wheel. We had such fun obtaining our wheels. When we arrived at the Penny Palace and offloaded the wheels, we found a Penny in the bed of the pickup truck! A symbol that the Angels were assisting in that transport?


On the way to the Penny Palace we stopped at the Plumbing supply store to get a 50 gal. hot water heater. Plumber Bryan informed me last night that he wants to work Monday. I should have supplies ready for him. Does he realize that not only is it a weekend in the next two days, it is also Christmas? Does he realize most businesses are closed those two days?

At the Penny Palace Doc and I off loaded things, then prepared to paint the staircase pieces. After laying a few treads down, we realized the loft area was too dusty and dirty to paint. So we chiseled, swept and vacuumed. We will let the dust settle tonight and then try again tomorrow to do the painting.

Realizing that stores may be closed tomorrow, Doc and I headed for a stone yard to look for flagstone or quartzite for the back yard bridges. The yard was so large, we were taken from spot to spot with an electric cart! It is so difficult when the pieces are in crates to tell what will look good in our back yard.

Doc wanted to stop in at the new rental property and check on today’s progress. We were in two separate vehicles, so I told him I would meet him there after I made a small detour. I stopped at a 7-11 store for a piece of beef jerky plus two pennies and a dime. (Coins #1-3).


At 7 p.m. we met with our Realtor and signed more paperwork for the purchase of Replacement Property #2. That one needs considerable repair work. When we toured it a few weeks ago, the realtor said, “It looks like the occupants used leftover paints from elsewhere and randomly painted the rooms.” Thus I have nicknamed it “Paint Bucket”.

Total: 3 Coins P (2), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.12

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day #1,098 - Gusting

The Santa Ana winds were very strong and gusting again today. Glad our roof was designed for 100 mph winds.

Yesterday we called the City and requested an electrical inspection. I wanted to have power between Christmas and New Years. By noon there was no sign of an inspector, so I called. The outgoing message said the City offices are closed from today thru January 3. Bummer.

The landscape crew arrived early this morning, but decided it was too windy to work. Two electricians were working today. Although I had the exterior light fixtures ready for installation, for some reason the guys chose to stay indoors and work today. The Slagle brothers came in to complete a few items. In two hours they installed 5 medicine cabinets, all the door stops I had purchased, some doors locks, and the rest of the pantry shelving! Those two guys are awesome. Tile George dropped in to say goodbye. He is headed to Mexico for 10 days. He thoughtfully set up his tile saw for me to use while he is gone.

I did the usual stuff like cleaning, trash hauling, kibitzing, decision making, etc. By 1 p.m. all the subs had gone. Doc headed to help son Stephen acquire and install some new bookcases. I headed home for laundry and other household chores. At 7 p.m. I realized I had not been to a home improvement store yet today! I grabbed my shopping list as well as return items, and headed forth. One penny found (using a business card to unwedge it) at the checkout stand.

Doc collected one penny during his morning Starbucks run and then a dime at his McDonald’s lunch stop.

Total: 3 Coins P (2), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.12

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day #1,097 - Pippy Performs

Pippy performed admirably all day today. For being 19 years old, she is still good-looking, a hard worker and sought after by many men.

This morning the first stop was at the Fixture Shop to obtain our order of 5 medicine cabinets and the kitchen sink. That was a full load for Pippy.

Doc headed in the opposite direction to get a crown put on his tooth.

I arrived at the jobsite at 10 a.m. to find a full Landscaping crew at work. Two guys were working on the installation of electrical fixtures. One guy was caulking the edge of the wall tiles. One guy was hauling and moving more dirt! It was a busy place again.

At 2:30 I left to meet a concrete subcontractor at the new rental house. We are considering pouring a concrete patio and driveway.

After that I was hungry for lunch. Made a quick stop at a different 7-11 store for a piece of jerky -- plus 3 dimes and two pennies. (Coins #1-5). One penny at the gas station while fuelling. (Coin #6)

Doc headed to the City Building Department to get the needed permits for the replacement windows and garage door being installed.

My next stops were at Home Depot for light bulbs and then the Lighting Shop to pick up the 33 exterior light fixtures. Pippy was again loaded to full capacity.

The guy at the lighting shop suggested I take surface streets versus the freeway. I ended up traveling through a construction zone and took a wrong turn which got me off-roading for a while. There was heavy oncoming traffic. There was no way to go in reverse to get back on course due to the barriers and the traffic behind me. Thus I asked Pippy and the Angels for assistance in getting out of that predicament. I finally found a spot where the dirt berms were navigable and there was a break in the oncoming traffic. Hit the accelerator and asked Pippy to ‘haul her backside’. She did.

In the past few weeks I have had at least 4 guys ask if I would sell Pippy to them. Not a chance.

Total: 6 Coins P (3), N (0), D (3), Q (0) = $0.33

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day #1,096 - Santa Visits PP

Today the tile crew was grouting the majority of the Penny Palace floor tile and had taped off access to many areas. Imagine my surprise when I came inside from the back yard to find Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus standing in front of the fireplace! Did they come down the chimney?

Today the ‘ants’ were busy again.

The tile crew was grouting the floors.

The finish carpenters built the shelving for the walk-in Pantry. Those will be sooo functional.

The grading guy moved rocks, stones, boulders, gravel, and sand. Then he brought in another load of dirt!

The landscaping crew carried rocks, and moved rocks, and placed rocks and probably even cursed rocks.

The electrical crew hung wall sconces, and pulled the wire from the main house panel to the two sub-panels.

The stucco guy came by to assess the water penetration issue.

The roofing guy added diversionary measures so the water runs off further from the house.


This morning I stopped at Home Depot on the way to the jobsite. Got eight light fixtures and one penny. This evening on my way home, I stopped at Home Depot to exchange one faulty fixture and collect a dime.

Doc retrieved a penny and a quarter while getting Mexican food on his way home.

Total: 4 Coins P (2), N (0), D (1), Q (1) = $0.37

Special Day - 3 Year Anniversary

Take a moment and reflect … WHAT have you done EVERY SINGLE day for the past three years? (Other than the automatic bodily functions such as breathing, blinking, swallowing, etc.) Food intake (and outtake) is a choice which most people choose to make daily. What else have you done?

It’s pretty incredible that for three years (1095 consecutive days) the Penny Angels have provided a coin of some sort in my day. To me it’s symbolic of a few things:

There is a force which we can’t always ‘see’ or ‘hear’, but it is there

Spirit is with us EVERY day - even on the days when we don’t care or want it

Small things add up

Little things can bring JOY in people’s day

A penny is worth 1¢ no matter if it is polished and ‘pretty’, drowned or mud-clad

No two coins (or people) have traveled the same path to get where they are; each one has a story

Believe in COINcidences

Here’s a 30-second video to show you the Penny Palace as it looks today.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day #1,095 - Busy Ants

When you were a kid did you ever have one of those ant farms? You could watch the worker ants carry loads, create tunnels, and work all day long. That is how it felt at the Penny Palace today. Workers were going back and forth in every direction and creating something wonderful.

The tiles guys were grouting the brown and grey edge tiles.

The finish guys were installing locks, adjusting sliders, and placing hardware on doors.

The cabinetry guys finished their installations.

The garage doors were installed.

One electrical guy was installing ceiling cans and lights.

The roofers came to reinforce the troublesome valley area.

One landscaper roughly laid some stones on the steps to see if I like them.

It was non-stop activity until 5 p.m. when we locked the gate.

I stopped at a tile store for some grout, then Doc and I took some of the leftover tile from the Penny Palace and left it at the new rental house. One bathroom currently has 1”x1” pink tile and the other has lavender tile. That is not going to rent very well in today’s market. The contractor was working there today and said someone has already inquired about renting the unit. Yipee!


Next we stopped at Home Depot for more door hardware and some lighting fixtures. I found a penny just within the entrance door.

Doc found his coin (a dime) this morning when he went for coffee. He said it was right in front of him on the condiment counter where he was mixing his morning concoction.

This evening we signed a counter offer for Replacement Property #2. We don’t go to shopping malls to do our Christmas shopping, we go to the Real Estate office!

Total: 2 Coins P (1), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.11

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day #1,094 - Maintenance

Our current house has been somewhat ignored while Doc has been teaching this quarter and I have been passionate about the Penny Palace. Thus, today we did some maintenance and TLC on the Pomona house.

Of course we had normal household chores such as laundry, mail sorting, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. to do this weekend, but we also managed to do a few additional things. For instance: the baking soda package in the freezer is supposed to be changed every 3 months. The last time I changed it was November -- of 2006. Five years ago! The furnace filter is supposed to be changed every month. That one was only 4 months overdue. Doc adjusted the front door lock. Now I can actually unlock the door without having to set down everything I am carrying and then put full shoulder force on it. Nice!

At 4:30 p.m. we ventured out of the house. Our first stop was at the storage unit to fetch the three ceiling fans to be installed in the Grand Room of the Penny Palace. Next we visited our three usual grocery stores: Penny at Store #1, Penny at Store #2, 3 Pennies at Store #3. (Coins #1-5) A quick stop at the Office Supply store yielded a notebook (to set up my file on the new Rental House), one dime, and one penny. (Coins #6&7)

Tomorrow will mark three years of daily consecutive penny finding.

Total: 7 Coins P (6), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.16

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day #1,093 - Wedding Pennies

The first appointment this morning was with a contractor at the new Rental Property. We closed escrow yesterday and today he was tearing out the windows and doors.

I made a quick stop at Home Depot to get bungee straps to wrap the wedding gift. I found two pennies and a dime in various places. (Coins #1-3). Then, I went next door to the office supply store for a roll of packaging paper (gift wrap). One penny there. (Coin #4)

I was planning on ordering the 33 exterior light fixtures for the Penny Palace on-line. Our electrician suggested I ask the local lighting store if they could match or beat the on-line prices. As I drove to the store, I asked the Angels to assist with this aspect of the project. I found a penny as I walked into the store - good omen. (Coin #5). The sales rep took my shopping list and was able to beat the on-line prices, plus I had a merchandise credit there from 4 years ago when I had paid for some design services.

While I was running those errands, Doc headed to the Penny Palace. He was surprised to find my floor medallion made from tile pieces of the various other tile projects.

This is the view Doc captured from the window in the Master toilet. It almost looks fake!

Cabinet Frank finishing the decorative molding around the cabinetry. Two guys were working on electrical items. Grading Rick stopped in to assess conditions for continued work on the patio and yard.


At 1:30 Doc and I headed out to attend a wedding ceremony for Hui, a former student and Engineering Council Officer. The church service was followed by an 8? Course Chinese dinner at a restaurant in Orange. Since there was some time between the ceremony and reception, Doc sought out a Starbucks -a coffee for him and some planning time for me. I collected a penny outside in a planter bed and two pennies inside the store. (Coins #6-8). Hui is an avid Penny Finder and Jesse proposed to her using a trail of Pennies. At the reception, I slipped a penny on the chair of the bride and groom before they arrived. Hui had fun with that when they went to be seated. Hui included a penny, crystal and chocolates in her bag of favors for each guest.

Total: 8 Coins P (7), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.17

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day #1,092 - Crazy Weather

Yesterday there was rain, snow, hail and freezing temperatures. Today I was using the air conditioner and trying to stay balanced in 60-70 mph winds! Crazy weather.

We had two semi-deep ponds in the yard due to runoff and melted snow.

Roofer Bill arrived promptly at 9 a.m. to review the Dining Room Puddle issue. Monday he will install some diverter metal on the roof to see if that will eliminate the problem. Stucco Tommy will also come out Monday to investigate stucco integrity.

There was plenty of activity at the Penny Palace. The tile team was laying the medallion and entryway tiles. We decided to switch to 16” tiles vs. 12” tiles so that meant a mid-morning run to Home Depot for more tiles. Before I left, I painted the medallion ‘pennies’ so they could dry while I was gone.

The cabinetry guys were working all day. They asked if I had knobs or pulls? Yes. And several styles of each of those! I placed the appropriate hardware in each drawer or cabinet before I left. Hope our doggies will like their new feeding station.

Electrical Stan dropped in to deliver some of the garage light fixtures. We did a walk through of the house to update my “shopping list”. I compiled it in January before we even broke ground!


I left the jobsite at 4 p.m. Stopped at the store for duct tape. I just KNEW I would find a coin in that store. I felt it when walking in. Four pennies and a dime in various places before leaving the store (Coins #1-5).


Doc spent the morning at Cal Poly Pomona working with Dad Watson regarding the solar car project. They compiled artifacts to take to the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Museum to go along with the solar car, Intrepid II, which was taken there last week.

This afternoon Doc dealt with utility and insurance activation for the new rental property. We closed escrow today and repair work began this afternoon. Those are activities I would typically handle. It’s nice to have a partner who can ‘sub’ for you.

This evening we made a quick trip the hardware store (to fix a broken shower handle), then to the grocery store where Doc claimed a dime (Coin #6). Next we met son Brian and his fiancee, Celeste for Brian’s birthday dinner. Nice meal and one penny in the waiting area. (Coin #7)

We all went back to Brian’s place where Brian and Doc spent 1.5 hours with flashlights underneath the house. They were devising ways to shore up the flooring, move dirt, and possibly add a concrete slab under there. Doc’s hates spiders so I was surprised he stayed down there in the dirt so long.

Total: 7 Coins P (5), N (0), D (2), Q (0) = $0.25

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day #1,091 - SNOW!

A neighbor said it had been 13 years since the last snow in our new neighborhood. Today the snow line fell to approximately 10 houses south of us. There was no snow just down the street, but it was a different story at the Penny Palace!

This morning when I arrived on site, HVAC Brian and his friend were ‘modifying’ that protrusion of vent pipe. That way the cabinet installers won’t need to cut a notch in the molding.

It was a gorgeous morning and the Landscaping guys were busy preparing the patio steps.

The tile crew was laying more tile - including the Penny Rug.

The power company (SCE) engineer dropped in. He had not seen the house since the first month when we merely had concrete forms. He enjoyed seeing the blueprints come to life.

At noon I left to get tile grout, caulking and the tile medallion. I stopped at a craft store to get glitter paint for the backsides of the glass medallion pieces. Found 3 pennies there (Coins #1-3). I then went to the tile store and picked up the grout and the medallion. It is comprised of various tile pieces from other parts of the house. The tile store did not have caulking, so it was suggested that I go to Home Depot or Lowe’s. But I was told not to leave the medallion unattended in the back of the pickup truck. Someone might just decide they would like it for a Christmas present.

I called Doc to “Medallion Sit”. He rushed over and met me at Lowe’s. While waiting in the parking lot for his arrival, I found a Penny. (Coin #4). Doc called me en route to tell me he was on his way. Just after calling me he collected a Median Find Coin. A quarter! (Reward for coming to my rescue?) (Coin #5). Doc stayed in the parking lot while I went into the store. He found two pennies while wandering around. (Coins #6&7).

As we drove toward the Penny Palace, the skies got darker and darker. Rain, lightning and thunder began. I pulled over and transferred the bags of grout into Doc’s van. We proceeded. When heading North up the main street toward the mountains, the rushing water was scary. I began wondering if the water was deep enough to sweep Pippy’s tires off the street.

As I turned the corner into our Deer Creek development, I noticed a little bit of white stuff on the street. Being from Southern California, it took me a few moments to realize what that was. As I kept driving it got deeper and deeper. I’m not sure Pippy has ever seen snow before. We took it slowly and carefully the rest of the way to the Penny Palace. I parked, but did not dare get out and wade in the ankle-deep freezing, rushing water. Parked on the other side of the street and wondered what to do. There was a 3” blanket of snow all around!

Finally I got up the gumption to forge across the streams and snow. I wanted to get to those cameras inside the house so that I could capture this scene for you.

Doc and I checked out the interior of the house. We found significant water seeping across the floor of the dining room. Not good at all. We ventured out into the freezing rain to try and divert the water cascading off the roof in that area.

I was so cold and miserable! I was wondering how to get the heavy medallion from across the street, through the ice and snow, and safely into the house. HVAC Brian appeared again! He just dropped in on his way home from work! Why? “Because the Penny Palace makes him feel good and brings him good luck!” He and Doc carried the medallion inside.

After a few hours of numbing coldness, I told Doc I was heading home with or without him. My icicled toes were ready to crack off. I asked the cabinet installers to lock up and I left!


Tomorrow we close escrow with our Exchange Property #1. Thus we are scrambling to get insurance and other last-minute details. A contractor is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and begin the necessary repairs to get that unit rent-ready.

We are also working on counter offers for Property #2 and a few other issues.

Life is exciting!

Total: 7 Coins P (6), N (0), D (0), Q (1) = $0.31

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Day #1,090 - Pleasant Company

This morning I visited the Fixture Shop to place the order for the finish plumbing items. That included items such faucets, toilets, some of the sinks and more. Thank goodness I had my “Shopping List” 95% complete due to several previous visits with the sales rep and plenty of on-line research. Finalizing the order still took 1.5 hours!

I arrived at the jobsite around 11:30 and found two homemade tamales waiting for me. (Compliments of Tile George). Nice welcome. Then at lunchtime his wife brought homemade burritos. Pretty nice to have subs spoiling me! Plus we have such fun working together.

My objectives today at the Penny Palace included working on tile details and cleaning the door tracks for the patio doors so they would slide better.

Jeff, the solar installer said we passed the City Solar Panel Inspection this morning. That is good news.

The tile layers, cabinet installers, and landscapers continued doing what they are supposed to be doing.

There is a minor glitch with an exhaust pipe being in the way of the cabinets. I called HVAC Brian to ask if he could drop by in the next few days and take a look at it. Within the hour he arrived and said by tomorrow morning the issue will be resolved. Nice.

Grader Rick arrived at 4 p.m. and shoved more dirt around.

Doc visited the site after being away for several days. He was pleasantly surprised. The cabinets sure change the feel in the heart of the house.


After work, Doc and I parked Pippy at the nearby 7-11 store. Doc bought a coffee, while I dove under the counter for 3 pennies, a nickel and a dime. (Coins #1-5) Next we drove out to the area where we are considering buying those investment properties. Wanted to get a feeling for the area after dark. We had dinner out there at a local grocery store. Tasty meal.

In reflecting upon today, what stands out is the Fantastic people who were at the Penny Palace. There were three great guys and one gal working on the tile, 5 guys on landscaping, 2 guys installing cabinets, the solar installer, the City inspector, the HVAC guy and his friend, the grading guy, and Doc! Nice to be in such Pleasant Company.

Total: 5 Coins P (3), N (1), D (1), Q (0) = $0.18

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day #1089 - Rainbow

I once again left Doc, Dundee and the other Dogs home to grade Final Exams while I headed for the jobsite. I have a feeling they were all “Working like a Dog” today. (Which translates to: eat, poop, nap, stretch, nibble, watch TV, sleep, watch birds, fluff blanket, pee, sleep, greet Tina when she comes home). LOL

The first order of business for me was to rake those prickly balls which have fallen from the Liquidambar trees. It has been like walking on a layer of marbles each time we walk to and from our vehicles parked at the street - very annoying and dangerous.

Then it was time to get to work

The tiles guys were doing more of the detail work

The landscapers were moving rocks, pressure testing the supply lines and filling dirt areas.

The cabinet guys (father and son team) were installing cabinets

Painter Jr. was painting interior closets and other small items

The solar panel guy dropped in to say he had requested City Inspection

Neighbor Craig came over to check on things.

Numerous phone calls regarding the floor medallion, construction insurance, appliances and more.

Project Manager Daryl called in this morning. He was very frustrated because he had spent much of the morning looking for a wayward document. I immediately sent a quiet request to the Angels: “Please open Daryl’s eyes and let him ‘see’ what he is searching for”. Within one minute Daryl said, “The document is right here in front of me! I have looked here several times!” COINcidence?

Mid-morning I headed to the paint store for supplies. While waiting for the paint colors to be mixed, I took Pippy next door to the gas station for some fuel. There was a shiny penny as I stepped out of the truck. (Coin #1) I was satisfied with that, but ‘nudged’ to look in a nearby planter bed. My reply, “No thanks Angels. That area is full of trash, mud, chewed gum, cigarette butts, etc.” If there was a coin in there, I certainly wouldn’t want to touch it. There were four coins - so dirt coated I couldn’t positively determine their denominations. (3 pennies and one dime after Doc washed them). Two more shiny pennies as I returned to the truck.

There was much progress (CPP) at the Penny Palace today. As I was leaving this afternoon, there was a spectacular rainbow overhead. Nice.


Doc claimed one dime when he and Sparky went for their morning coffee.

This evening we have received counteroffers on two of the properties we are interested in. We are not prepared to accept either of those offers.

Total: 8 Coins P (6), N (0), D (2), Q (0) = $0.26

Monday, December 12, 2011

Day #1,088 - Streams

When I left the house very early this morning, Doc said he would meet me at the jobsite after he woke up, ate, showered, and got ready. I returned home at 6 p.m. and he still was not ‘ready’.

The tile guys put in a very full day. It was dark when I finally made them stop! They cut and placed the dark border tile, and started filling in some of the specialty areas.

The cabinet guys unboxed half the items and moved them into appropriate rooms. As Frank and Jacob toured the house, Frank ‘pettted’ the picket fence tub walls. I just had to laugh. Everyone pets that wall!

No landscaping work today. Too wet outside. Rainwater did collect in the stream bed and did look pretty impressive - a peek at what lies ahead.

Today we had streams of water. However, I really didn’t want them this soon. There was a stream from the driveway area down the backyard pathway. There was rain water streaming from the roof into the gutters as planned. However, there are no downspouts yet, so the water was staying close to the house and creating almost quicksand conditions. (Which I verified by stepping ankle-deep in some of it). Thus, I was out in the rain trying to create makeshift water troughs using a combination of plywood, broken roof tiles, rain-gutter remnants and stones.

The recycled countertop planking material was delivered today. I am soooo anxious to open that crate! The delivery driver was not used to driving such a large truck and just missed hitting the roof by 2 inches! Whew! Then the pallet jack got stuck in the mud, so we were out in the rain trying to get 506 lbs. of material unstuck.

I climbed up onto the scaffolding to finally remove the Star Template from the ceiling of the Aussie guest room. I was thinking “if something happened while I was up here, no one would know”. Just then I got a leg cramp and wanted to scream in pain. Made me wonder how I was going to safely get back off the scaffold.


By 5 p.m. it was dark and I was tired and cold. Stopped at the grocery store for a can of soup. Two pennies when I walked in, three pennies and a dime while checking out, and a penny under the bench outside the store when leaving. (Coins #1-7).

Doc found a penny when he and Sparky went for coffee and cash this morning. (Coin #8)

This evening I am supposed to be working on the final order lists for sinks, faucets, and exterior light fixtures. Also insurance, termite report, fix ups, etc. for the new rental property which is in escrow.

Total: 8 Coins P (7), N (0), D (1), Q (0) = $0.17