Help wanted to find cane, raise money, close house for winter

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DEAR SUN SPOTS: We have lost a beloved walking cane. It was left on our car’s trunk and fell off somewhere in Turner on the North Parish Hill Road/Route 117 somewhere between No. 200 and No. 100 heading toward the bridge that’s being rebuilt. You can reach me at 515-2802. Thank you for your help! — Karen, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Busy Bees and the Excelsior Grange of Poland are planning a bean supper to benefit the two organizations on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Excelsior Grange, 446 Harris Hill Road in Poland. We’ll have baked beans, hot dogs, casseroles, salads, rolls, beverages, pies and other luscious desserts on the menu. There will be a raffle and we’re asking for donations of $7 for adults and $3.50 for children under age 12.— Claire, no town

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I need advice from all awesome Sun Spots readers. What are safe ways to close up the house for six months? Is it wise to have a professional close the house, including draining water pipes and whatever else would need to be done so I wouldn’t have to heat the house all winter and pay for snow removal for oil deliveries? Who would do this work and how much would it cost? We could let the snow pile up around the house and not have snow removal. If I don’t have heat in the house, would it cause damage?

At what temperature would I have to keep the heat to keep the water pipes from freezing? What is fair compensation to have someone come in to keep an eye on the oil gauge?

There are so many decisions to make, I need some sound recommendations. I know many people leave for the winter and I want to hear what they do. I’m in a residential area and not concerned with break-ins.

Readers, please share your experiences and email [email protected] or call 376-7603. Leave a message and I will return your call. — No name, no town

ANSWER: OK, Sun Spots readers! If you are a snowbird, let’s hear from you! Here are some options to get everyone started with discussion points:

Just because you live in a “residential neighborhood” doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about someone breaking in. You should always make sure the house looks like people are coming and going. Have you considered renting your home while you’re away? The renter could keep an eye on everything and be responsible for paying utilities. I have done this in the past with great success. Of course, you would want to check references and have a written lease.

Another option is to hire a housesitter or have a barter situation where the person lives in your home for just the cost of the utilities and promises (in writing) to care for the home.

You can hire a property manager or caretaker to keep an eye on everything and who will close up the house and open it again for you upon your return. This service can include everything from draining pipes to plowing to checking on the property for ice jams, etc. Leaving the house with absolutely no heat could cause damage to the home and to your belongings. Be sure to check in with your homeowner’s insurance carrier.

All our trusty followers, please weigh in!

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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