Suddenly Widowed
June 16, 2012 5:08 PM   Subscribe

My husband died recently. We were together for decades and have school-age children. His passing involved severe trauma, and we have social support and frequent therapy appointments to get us through the turmoil. Emotionally, we're holding up. My question is about getting our affairs in order.

My husband had done most of the household bill-paying, home repair, housekeeping, etc. I have been the primary wage earner and am able to take time off, with pay, this summer. I have spent the last few weeks getting the household expenses, and the house itself, in order. Please tell me how I'm doing:

BILLS: I am making the calls as the household bills come in, taking his death certificate to customer service counters to get accounts changed to my name and e-mail address, etc. (Some accounts were in his name, others in my name, some in both.) We shared the banking account. By changing the account ownership and contact info when the bills come in, I think I'm catching everything, with the following exception:

E-MAIL: I don't know the passwords to his email accounts, but his email is, for the time being, open on his laptop. I check it occasionally and have caught a few e-statements from credit card companies that I didn't know about. I worry that I'm going to lose access to the email. Will an e-mail provider allow a spouse formal access to the account?

SOCIAL SECURITY: I have contacted the Social Security office, and they have started the application for the children's survivor benefits.

MEDICAL: The numerous bills from his brief stay in the ICU are rolling in. They should all be in-network and, therefore, covered. The HR person told me to keep a spreadsheet to keep track and check off the expenses as the insurance company pays them.

HOUSEKEEPING: I've been considering what household work I should do myself and which I should budget to pay someone once work and school start up again. (I don't have much disposable income, but I'd budget it in if it would ease stress.) I feel like I can clean house, mow the lawn, and walk the dogs. I can do some household repairs, but will likely need to hire a handyman. If I go with a handyman, how often should I expect to call him? The house is about 40 years old. Do How-to-Use-Tools courses exist? I feel like taking one.

QUESTIONS: My employer has a helpline with 30 minutes free time to talk to a financial and/or legal advisor. The HR person suggested that I save up my questions before making that call. What questions should I ask?

I can get 2 or 3 of these tasks done each day before crumbling in a heap. What else should I be doing, apart from the tasks I've listed above? Is there someplace else I am supposed to report his death?
posted by Fichereader to Home & Garden (29 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
How old are your children? If they are school age, they should be able to help you out with some of the housework and yardwork.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:15 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Did he save password in his browser? If you use Firefox and he had Gmail, Yahoo, etc. you might taje a look in tools. Or set up a forwarding filter so all his incoming go to another email address.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:19 PM on June 16, 2012 [12 favorites]

I'm very sorry to hear of the loss of your husband.

I recommend talking to an attorney to make sure that you aren't missing anything legal. I also think budgeting for cleaning help may conserve your energy right now for the important things, like grieving, sorting out the practical stuff, and being with your children. Lastly, I recommend that you take time every day to set aside this very efficient list and do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself, whether that's watching a mindless brain-candy movie in your pajamas, taking a long bath, or calling a friend or family member just to talk. It's okay if you can't keep every ball in the air every day right now. It's important to give yourself permission to let some small stuff slide while you deal with the big things. Hugs to you and yours.
posted by anonnymoose at 5:34 PM on June 16, 2012 [17 favorites]

Best answer: The email issue depends on the provider. If it's Gmail, they have a pretty elaborate process that's going to take a good deal of time and effort on your part. Yahoo won't give you access at all. Immediately setting up a forwarding filter as Ideefixe suggests is a very good idea.

Check the password manager in the web browser. If you tell us what browser he used, we can tell you where to look. If he used the same password for multiple sites, as most people do, you'll be able to access most of his online accounts. Furthermore, if you maintain access to his email, you'll be able to use the password recovery system on most websites to get access to accounts.

For ebills, look through the bank statements and the bill pay section of online banking. That should give a record of who he's paid in the past. You can then look for missing bills (make a list) and contact those companies to inform them of the situation and take care of things. Also, if you contact the three credit bureaus with a death certificate, you can get a free copy of his credit report, which will give you a list of outstanding accounts to look out for. Note that this list will likely include credit cards, loans, and similar accounts but won't usually have things like cable or cell phone bills unless they have been sent to collections.

If he had a Facebook account, you can ask them to memorialize his profile.

Except for ensuring continuing access to his email if that's something you want/need, there isn't a huge rush with most of these things. Do what you're able to deal with, but you can always take care of opening the medical bills tomorrow if you can't handle it right now.

I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by zachlipton at 5:40 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you have access to his email you may be able to request a password reset, which would be sent to his email account, and then use that to reset the password to whatever you want.

If you could tell us who the email provider is and how you are accessing the email (via the web or a standalone program? If a standalone program, what is it?) someone might be able to give more specific instructions.
posted by flug at 5:45 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm so sorry for your loss. I can only speak to this part of your question:

Do How-to-Use-Tools courses exist?

As a single lady who's not afraid to get out a hammer and wrench when the occasion calls for it, the answer is YouTube! Before you call a handyman, google for a how-to video. Chances are that someone will have made a great step by step walkthrough. I've been able to open and clean my XBox and completely change out my kitchen faucet thanks to YouTube. Once you can see it step by step, almost no home repair is difficult!
posted by MsMolly at 5:51 PM on June 16, 2012 [14 favorites]

Yes, get your kids to pull together and help. My kids were doing laundry and folding their own clothes, washing dishes, feeding the dog, vacuuming, dusting, easy cooking, and other things (mostly unsupervised) by ten years old. They started when they were much younger. Scrubbing the toilet once a week and wiping down the sink with windex every other day may not be fun, but it's easy enough to do. Sometimes it's a bit tough at first because it feels easier to do it yourself, but drop your standards a bit if you have to and have them buckle down and do it. Explain to them that this is what you have to do as a family. These are not chores, they are something that is just part of living, and they might as well learn now so that they're prepared when they're grown. That should help with the day-to-day stuff, which can really grind you down. If you're really house-proud, you could save up and hire someone to come in and deep clean 3-4 times a year. If you're just stretched too thin right now, and you and the kids need some help, perhaps you could ask some friends (or the kids' friends) to pick up a room or vacuum.

Check out Home Depot and the other big box stores for how-to classes. It wouldn't hurt to check out owner maintenance schedules online for reminders on changing furnace filters and cleaning out gutters. Something like this spreadsheet, perhaps Eventually having reminders in place to change the batteries on the fire alarms, etc will be useful. Don't forget about property taxes, house insurance and HOA fees, if you have them and/or they're not covered in your mortgage. Do you have a mortgage? Do you have mortgage insurance that will pay it off?

Don't most email accounts have somewhere to change the password in the profile? If you have a password, there's no reason why you can't continue access, unless it's a work email.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:53 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Great answer, MsMolly!

Fichereader, I am so sorry for your sudden loss. Don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.

I can get 2 or 3 of these tasks done each day before crumbling in a heap.

You're doing fine. It will take a while, but it will gradually get easier. Meanwhile, be kind to yourself.
posted by BlueHorse at 5:57 PM on June 16, 2012

For house stuff, find a resource for what things need regular maintenance - furnace, chimneys, septic (if you have one), gutters, various filters (water, air) - and schedule it as needed. It's hard to know how often you'll need help from a handyman, and what might go wrong.

I'm sorry for your loss.
posted by Sukey Says at 5:59 PM on June 16, 2012

I'm deeply sorry for the loss you and your children are grappling with. The most important thing for you to do is to continue reaching out for help in this process.

As far as e-mail goes, when my son passed away not long ago, I didn't know his passwords and I stalled for a few weeks on tackling the daunting task of launching a formal request with Google to gain access to his e-mail accounts. That formal channel would have been a lengthy process, and there is mention of possibly even needing to go through the courts.

However, when I got his phone returned to me and was able to access his email on his phone, I decided to make an attempt at resetting his password first, figuring that if I correctly guessed his secret question, a reset link would get sent to his email app on the phone, which I could then access.

Turns out it was even easier than that--he didn't even have 2-step authentication set up and so it didn't even involve having to reply to a reset email. All it took was guessing the answer to his secret question, which was trivially easy. So I would suggestion you take a stab at resetting his password from a different computer. Hopefully you'll be able to guess his secret question, and if it does issue a "reset password" e-mail you need to click through, you'll be able to do so from the laptop. Once you have access to the mail e-mail, at least I found it fairly simple to reset passwords/gain access to a lot of other Web accounts such as Facebook, etc.
posted by drlith at 6:00 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm so very sorry for your loss -- you are doing great.

My father had a permanently disabling stroke at 47, and another round of strokes that killed him a few years later. My mother learned, among other things:

1. KEEP MULTIPLE COPIES of the big stuff. It was astonishing how many months and years later my mom needed to come up with copy of the death certificate (or his discharge papers -- my dad was a veteran). If you have a batch of these old-school photocopies handy, it will help.

2. There was a "billing coordinator" person at the hospital who was immensely helpful in sorting out what exactly was happening when we would get a random bill months later from some specialist who supposedly saw my dad in the ICU. If there is someone like that who you can get to know - it could be handy.

3. Do you own a home or cars? How are they titled? I think a lot of them have "transfer on death" clauses to the remaining spouse, but maybe check this out.

4. You can probably do a lot of home stuff yourself - but a good handyman is priceless. When a well-meaning friend asks "What can I do to help?" -- tell them you need a reference for a handyman. You may call him a lot in the beginning, then maybe not so much. Watch him (or her) as they install the light fixture/fix your sink/patch your drywall. Maybe next time you can do it yourself. I myself think that stuff is kind of fun - you might too.

5. You will get through this. Hang in there.
posted by pantarei70 at 6:15 PM on June 16, 2012

If you have online bill pay from your bank, set up as many recurring bills to pay automatically as you can. I have all but two of mine set to to pay that way and it is such a relief not to have to worry about them.
posted by tamitang at 6:29 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Get a contract for HVAC. Mine is $200 annually and they come twice a year to fool with it. I have a gutter guy come do the gutters three times a year at $100. What's great about this is that he checks the roof and takes care of the small stuff up there for a nominal, additional fee. Once a year I have a tree guy come and "canopy" an alley of Bradford Pear trees. this trims them off the driveway and away from the powerlines. I have a list of tradespeople and I know who to call when stuff goes wrong.

Let your friends know that you need help. People want to support you and help, let them.

If your husband had credit cards in his name only, you may not be responsible for the balances. Check with a n
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:29 PM on June 16, 2012

Best answer: Do How-to-Use-Tools courses exist?

Check your library! Sometimes they have tool lending libraries and, if they do, those people would probably know what classes exist. The community college or school district's continuing ed programs might offer something as well. But all decent libraries have lots of home repair and maintenance handbooks with loads of pictures in.

Did your husband have an IRA or some other retirement account where you name a beneficiary in case of death? At some point, if you don't know already, you'll want to figure out who the beneficiary is (presumably whether it's you or your children) and see what needs to be done. I assume the accounts will just keep doing their thing, so it's probably a low priority. But maybe add 'What do I need to do about any retirement accounts in his name?' to the list of questions to ask the advice line when you call.
posted by hoyland at 6:31 PM on June 16, 2012

I am so sorry for your loss. My heart goes out to you.

You should be able to find a big, thick reference book on home repair either at a bookstore or one of the big box places. My copy is over a decade old and I still refer to it often.

Check the Better Business Bureau before hiring handymen. I have found that companies run by individuals are much better than the franchises (like Mr. Handyman -- they show up to give their "free estimate" and then pressure you to have them get to work right then and now). I pay my handyman $40/hour plus materials for stuff I can't do myself.

Ask for help. Accept help. Take time to take care of yourself and don't feel guilty about it. Take your kids out for FroYo or go hiking.

Consider getting one of those home warranties. They're usually quite reasonable. Although they're mainly used by people trying to sell real estate, it might be good peace of mind to have one in place in case anything big comes up on your house in the next year. You don't need extra stress.

I wish you and your family peace and healing and I'm so sorry.
posted by Ostara at 6:37 PM on June 16, 2012

You are probably getting condolences with open-ended offers such as, "Let me know if there's anything I can do." There is a lot they can do. People who are not good at providing emotional support will be relieved to be able to provide some boots on the ground as you manage logistics.

Absolutely set up auto forwarding while the laptop is still on.

The hospital will help navigate the bills. They want to get paid, obviously, and will make it as easy as possible to see that it happens.

And, ask metafilter. Once a week.
posted by moammargaret at 6:42 PM on June 16, 2012 [5 favorites]

I am so sorry for your loss.

For handyman stuff, I often use YouTube "how to" videos. Some are great.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:58 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm very, very sorry for your loss.

You may be able to get some help from a local United Way type agency for the household maintenance questions - that is to say, they sometimes have classes/help in cases where the local community doesn't have anything. Depending on where you live, the "who" varies tremendously. It might be a city function, a university extension office, a library... if nothing else, the social services type places usually know the right answer. Home Depot and Lowes have classes, and Home Depot has a website where you can ask questions.

On the off chance that your husband ever used the library or rented videos, you should double-check with all of those kinds of places to be sure they're not expecting something to be returned already. My local library doesn't send out mailed notices until like, three months out.

Make sure that you get your grocery "frequent customer" tags registered in your name - especially if it's likely he used his cell number as the alternate number for getting points/whatever. When you get a spare few minutes, look over your cell phone contract & recent bills and figure out what your usage is really like; death of the account holder is quite probably a thing that can get you out of paying early termination fees.

For housekeeping, in the short term, consider something like FlyLady, where they tell you each day one reasonably small thing to take care of.

If your husband did most of the cooking, consider the possibility of using something like once-a-month cooking for when you go back to work. You may also want to take a learning-to-cook class with your kids (after about 8 years old most kids can do most normal cooking safely.)

Get a credit report so you can identify open accounts. Make sure to get a report from all three major agencies - not everyone reports to all three.

Your husband may have had long-term or "lifetime" memberships to things like alumni societies, museums, etc. Some of these may have resulted in insurance discounts (I get quite a bit off of my insurance because of an honor society I'm in.) Not right now, but in a month or two, you'll want to review your options with a broker who can sell you insurance from many different companies.

If your husband did the stay-at-home-dad routine a bit, there may be traditions he had with the kids that you'll want to ask them about. My dad took my little brother to a particular restaurant a lot when my brother was younger - these kinds of little social situations can be kind of awful to deal with if you aren't prepared (walk into this random diner, they recognize the kid, and say something.) Try to sort out the stuff they did together, without you, both so you can help them deal with not having that in their life/maybe help keep the tradition alive, and so you know what will happen if you happen to go to a place where your kids will be recognized but you won't be.

Your taxes for this year are going to be hard and complicated (medical bills, deceased spouse, etc.) - save up so you can talk to an accountant.

You are probably not responsible for some of his bills (especially federal student loans.) You'll want to ask that financial helper line, or an attorney, about how to figure out which ones you are and are not liable for. The credit card bills are another one that I suspect you may not need to pay.

The hospital may have a social worker who deals explicitly with the families of the deceased. Ask to talk to them if anything wonky happens. Hospital billing departments have varying levels of emotional sensitivity (my father got a single-item bill in the mail, for the blood thinner that killed my grandmother, a few weeks after her funeral.)

Tell the Postal Service and the Direct Marketing Association about your husband's death. We got mail addressed to my grandmother for so long (and to our brand-new house, which she had never even seen) that there was never a transition moment between the date of her death in 1989 and the date my little sister, who was named after her, was born in 1994. It took a bit of sleuthing sometimes to figure out whether someone had added the baby or not deleted Grandma (the DNC mailings were easy, the coupons and credit cards were harder to figure out.) Be sure to let people you KNOW your husband was getting mail from that he has passed away. The DNC and Sierra Club were still sending stuff to Grandma during the new Bush administration.
posted by SMPA at 7:02 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: You are probably getting condolences with open-ended offers such as, "Let me know if there's anything I can do." There is a lot they can do. People who are not good at providing emotional support will be relieved to be able to provide some boots on the ground as you manage logistics.

This is important. When my father suddenly died about a year ago I tried to have a short list of "things people can do" to give to people who maybe weren't good at the hand-holdy stuff but were good at maybe dealing with paperwork or house stuff or notifying people stuff. Give people little jobs even if it's something that seems small to you like "could you do a load of laundry and clean my bathroom?" I had my boyfriend cancel all of his magazine subscriptions which sometimes took a phone call or an email which seemed unmanageable at the time and was so nice to have it done with.

Agree with drlith, my dad was pretty nerdy and we had the passwords to most of his things but it was just super annoying managing changing all the services and bills in some cases. This may be easier if you are the surviving ppouse, but I often found that I got farther talking to the customer service people over IM/chat than I did via the phone or anything else. Once they've authenticated you [again using the sekrit questions that you probably know the answer to] you can basically do whatever if you don't mind pretending to be the account owner.

I am very sorry for your loss. make sure you take time to eat and sleep even if you feel that you don't have time to eat and sleep. Even though there is a lot of value in keeping busy, your organism still needs to be able to repair itself and heal just as your heart and brain do. The grieving thing is separate and takes however long it takes (standard advice is don't let anyone tell you differently) but making sure you're at least doing what you can to stay healthy sometimes helps you not have MORE other issues than what you're already grappling with. Let me know if there are specific things I can give advice on.
posted by jessamyn at 7:08 PM on June 16, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I'm so sorry. Another thought on the house - it may give you some peace of mind to have a really good home inspector (ask friends for recommendations) walk through the interior and exterior with you and point out things that need regular maintenance, are fine and don't need work, or you should keep your eye on because they'll probably need work in the future. If no one you know can recommend one, try calling up a realtor in your area; they refer to these people all the time.
posted by lakeroon at 7:48 PM on June 16, 2012

You can learn how to do virtually anything via Youtube videos.

Angie's List is a fantastic resource for finding reliable tradespeople. You might start with a 3month or 6month subscription. Once you find reliable vendors, you won't need to continue the subscription.

I personally would hire a gardener for the regular lawn maintenance, and have the kids walk the dog. Then decide which chores they can help with. Or get a housekeeper for 3 months or 6 months or so, until the other more pressing details are off your plate and you feel like you can make the time now and again for that work. It's also okay if the household goes to pot for a while.

For me, when things are not good in my life, I don't make time to cook or even shop and therefore don't eat healthfully. Which in turn I'm sure is bad for my psyche. If that's the case, can you ask someone to organize a couple of meals or at least shopping trips a week?
posted by vignettist at 10:30 PM on June 16, 2012

There are lots of good ideas here, but remember that you don't have to get them rolling them all at once. Prioritizing and delegating are two things to remember. Allow yourself time. Sometimes a 20 minute rest will help you more than a frantic rush-around spinning wheels.

Another thought: do you have a will and a designation of guardianship for your kids should anything happen to you? If not, that may be one of the things you need to discuss with the lawyer during your conference.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:04 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: It worked. He had all his email accounts in one place in Mozilla Thunderbird. I checked the browser and his email passwords are all available, and for all of his different accounts. It was such a big problem with such a simple solution. Resetting, forwarding, e-paying etc., will be done another day, but the passwords themselves were the big worry that I can now let go of. Wow, thank you.

The big type home repair book (I can picture it exactly), You Tube videos, and learning from any handyman are such helpful suggestions. My daughter and I can research together. I've already nearly been defeated by a broken doorknob and a couple of clogged toilets. Next time, we'll be ready.

IRA, credit reports, home inspector, facebook memorial, etc. never occurred to me. I will print out this entire page and add it to my file. It is a resource that I can use in the coming months as I get a handle on things. Once I get a home inspector in, e.g., I'll have more knowledge and I can draw up a maintenance schedule and know what specific tasks I need to budget for. I know I don't have to do that now, but the resources and organizational tips here make the future seem less daunting. That assurance helps me right now.

I am so glad I asked! We are getting so much social support from the community. People feed us, drive my kids (and, sometimes, me), listen to me, take me for walks in the woods. But some of this work--finding and paying the bills--is imminent, and other work-- the housekeeping and minor home repair--is healing. I have enlisted friends (for emergency weedwhacking, hauling away junk, fixing said doorknob), but I need to take ownership of these jobs, whether I do them myself or farm them out to kids or professionals. Household management is providing a small space of relative predictability in the midst of upheaval. That, in turn, allows me to fall asleep, be attentive to the kids, etc. I always set aside these tasks if I feel the big cry coming on, and I never hesitate to just set the bills or laundry aside and lay prone for awhile. Thank you for all of this, and for responding to me in ways I can understand--breaking problems down into simple steps. You have my gratitude.
posted by Fichereader at 5:25 AM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Please remember too, that there are "emergency" household repairs, and there are things that can wait for another day, week or month.

1. Know where your circuit breakers are, and learn how to reset them correctly. This solves about 90% of power problems. especially with air conditioners.

2. Keep an eye on the toilets. One little drip can be 300 gallons of water a month.

3. Know how water supply lines work, and how to turn them off at the cutoffs and on the street at the meter. Familiarize yourself with how the washing machine and dishwasher are connected. Once you've stopped the water running, you have time to work on the solution.

4. If you use natural gas or propane, familiarize yourself with the smell and know how to cut off the supply lines if necessary. Learn what concentrations mean get out of the house now.

5. Check your fire extinguishers and make sure the inspection tags are up to date. If they're old, replace or call the company that maintains them. Have them do all the smoke detectors, too.

Try to get familiar with these when you are relaxed, and can take it all in. Otherwise, most everything else can wait.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 6:32 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm so sorry for your loss, and am glad to hear your community has pulled together.

For routine home maintenance schedules and reminders, I use BrightNest - it emails me once a week or so with a digest of tasks and tips, and only takes about 5 minutes to set up.
posted by bookdragoness at 6:47 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Things I hadn't thought of: check all the batteries in your smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, and other battery-needing things (I always do the alarm clocks at the same time) at the next time change, in November (it's on my calendar, alongside cleaning out filters.) And set up this list of stuff on your calendar (your home inspector will probably have more to add to the list.)

Also, ask someone to compile a list of necessary phone numbers for you - the kind of list you'd give to a babysitter (poison control, ER, etc.,) but for your house. Like, you need the maintenance/emergency lines for your water service, your gas service, etc. Who do you call if there's a tree that's fallen in your yard? Who do you call if you have to get rid of a dead animal on your property? You might want to spend an AskMe question on brainstorming for the numbers you might need.

To keep track of your food supplies, every time you buy something that doesn't expire/run out quickly, take a Sharpie and write the date you bought it on the container (kids can help with this.) There's nothing so disheartening as making hot dogs and realizing the mustard is two years old.
posted by SMPA at 10:00 AM on June 17, 2012

Check to make sure you know the law in your area for transferring real estate to a surviving spouse. A friend's mom (in Minnesota) didn't find out until five years after her husband died that the property should have reverted solely to her and the state owed her taxes on it. There may be some things that are automatic and some that require a little paperwork, but most people don't know the difference until -- surprise! -- something completely unexpected happens and they're left in the dust.

I don't know where you are in the probate process. You don't always need a lawyer, but if you can afford it I would strongly urge you to do so. The money you spend now can save you a lot of worry now and a lot of money down the road.

My best wishes to you and your family. You sound like you're doing all the right things, especially taking advantage of the support of friends and family. This is a great time to build stronger connections with those people; even in such tough times, there are good things happening that will make you smile when you remember them years from now.
posted by Madamina at 10:27 AM on June 17, 2012

I'm sorry for your loss & celebrate your commitment to manage without your partner. Congrats on the small victories.

Your home inspector might also be able to give you a list of recurring maintenance items going forward.

Best wishes, and come back anytime.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 1:18 PM on June 17, 2012

Best answer: I am sorry for your loss.

I have and use a bunch of home repair manuals, but the one I recommend if you get only one is the Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of Home How-To. It's a 928 page 8" x 11" paperback. It has crystal clear color drawings and instructions for everything - it is written more clearly than some others since it is directed at new homeowners with no previous handyman experience. As a paperback, it could get banged up a little, so a used copy is fine, and Amazon has cheap used copies under four dollars. I always start with this book before others, and usually don't need any others.

On the housekeeping side, Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook has helped me with tons of things that I never knew or thought about. It has everything including the kitchen sink - and some smaller handyman type things inside the home and outside. I could never watch her for more than 2 minutes (just me, I am not knocking her) but this book is excellent. It was a somewhat humorous gift to me that turned out to be valuable to me.

2nd Angie's List, and they have been running discount deals, coupon codes, for memberships. Smiling that you have those passwords. Best wishes.
posted by caclwmr4 at 12:30 AM on June 18, 2012

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