Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Friday, May 6, 2016

One step back ...

This week we decided to change real-estate agents!  Not that we had signed agreement yet with anyone, but we had been working off and on with one man from last fall  ...  more off than on!!

We met with another agent from a different real-estate company who was recommended by my son.  During our first meeting I felt more at ease about our decision to sell and move than I had during the last 10 months.  I can't tell you what made the actual difference between the two agents, except to say that this new agent is focused on the general real-estate market - which we are stepping into with trepidation - and the other guy was focus on the 55+ senior market which we had decided against.

Maybe all the stars just aligned in the sky at the right time. Whatever the reason, we changed agents this week.

I will tell you this ... doing this whole process without an agent would make my head explode!  I can't believe all the little twists and turns you go through to make a move like this. It is always making trade offs, deal making, massaging the numbers, exploring different options ... it is exhausting and stress filled stuff.  

Why can't selling and buying real-estate be like buy a bathing suit.  You go into the store, look at all the bathing suites on the rack, pick a size and color, try one on, you pick a bigger size (nuts), try on another one, you look for something that covers more of you, (decide you really must lose weight sometime soon - or stop using mirrors), you take it to the check out and pay for it.  Then you can walk out of the store and put it on right away (ok, you find a private place to put it on right away so you don't get arrested.)  Woo hoo!  Done!

Ok, buying a bathing suit is almost as hard as buying real-estate.

*Sigh*  This is bringing the crazy out in me!

Best to have the right agent so I won't go crazy.

Or should I say ...  go more crazy than I already am!  :-)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Life goes on ...

Our family are devoted pet owners.  

And "devoted" may be interpreted as obsessed.
We are truly obsessed with loving and sharing our lives with our furry family members.

Recently one family member, my Pug grand dog, Grimace, passed away.  
We are still in mourning for that dear soul. 
If we could somehow get him back whole and happy,
we would do it.

But life goes on ... each moment moves us in a different direction. 

And there are so many sweet little fur faces out there.

Here is my son's next sweet little guy.

Meet my new grand dog baby!

He is an English Bull Dog who is about 8 weeks old.  Right now his name is Sampson - the name the breeder gave him, but by Friday, the day my son picks him up, the name will be something else.

This little guy has wrinkles to spare and he has that wrinkly frowny face so typical of English Bull Dogs down pat already.  No need to wait until he is 5 or 6 years old to see it evolve!  We do love our smoosh face dogs.  Ha!

My heart still breaks for my dear Grimace, but there is room for this little guy to find a place there and start setting down roots.

So meet my next heart break - 8 to 10 years out into the future.
They just don't live long enough!

How can you not love that face!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The day after ...

 When a pet gives you his heart ... it is hard to not return the affection.

This is Grimace.  

He is my son's dog and Grimace loves his "papa" very very much.

He came into our lives as a rescue at the age of 3.  He made such a difference in our lives.

Such unqualified love and devotion he shared with all his family.

At some point he discovered he had a grandma.  

That discovery led to 11 years of a loving relationship that grew and grew and grew.

There was nothing I wouldn't do for my soul mate.

Towards the end of his life we became so close.

Yesterday, at the age of 14 1/2 my dear Grimmy's life came to an end.

 I was at his side.

He struggled and struggled until the very end.

I kissed his dear face, rubbed his floppy ears and gave him a last hug.

It was my last loving gift to him - letting go!

Today is the day after.

I am lost without him.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Progress ... to a brick wall?

The moving saga continues.  

It progresses to a point that may hit a brick wall.

The last few days I took a break from all this effort.  I was too tired to continue. I really need to pace myself now.  My energy levels are not inexhaustible.  Such a sad observation of an older body.  But it confirms the need to make some life adjustments during this year.

The real problem so far has been the lack of properties that fit our needs.  Oh yes, there are bunches out there, more and more every day.  And that is encouraging.  But I know we cannot move into a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo that has only 800 to 950 square feet.  I have seen a few.  We need about 1,000 square feet.  And many condos use that limited space very poorly.  They are filled with walls and hallways - instead of maximizing the limited space with an open style floor plan.  It is amazing how many advertise an "open floor" plan and when you see it, the walls seem to close you in.

Then there is the problem of condition.  Neither my husband or I are handy.  We won't move from a townhouse that really is "move in ready" and start over in a condo that was listed as "move in ready" and isn't.  One property needed all new appliances and painting throughout.  All the closet doors would need to be replaced.  And, of course, the biggest hinderance, no access by wheel chair or walker should we need it in the future.  I could not face repeating all the work we did here - to make another place right for us.  If it was a hobby or a talent of mine, maybe, but it isn't.  And that kind of updating requires money when you hire someone to do it for you.

No matter ... something may show up.  It is only April.  We have searched for only a month.  We are early in this process.  But it sure is tiring and challenging.

The downsizing and cleaning continues.  Collection of packing materials continues.  A few boxes have been packed.  The house continues to feel less and less filled - even if only to our eyes.  It has been a freeing process.  One I wish I had done earlier.

But the condo market in our area just isn't cooperating yet.

Although my husband cannot help with any of these efforts ... we have settled together on a plan of action.

Our plan looks something like this ...

  • Continue the clean out and downsize efforts until we reach the point that the remaining stuff is what we use all the time and love.  
  • Continue to look at condos with the eye to move in 2016.
  • When we find a property we are interested in, then put our townhouse on the market to sell.  This approach is chancy because it assumes that the condo seller will wait while we sell our townhouse.  It is possible.  We both agree, however, we don't want to be pushed into buying something else quick (maybe making a bad decision) because we have a buyer for our place waiting in the wings. 
  • Come October, if we have not moved, we may wind up settling in place making adjustments to this property to make it almost do-able.  Those adjustments include things like stair lifts and hiring cleaning help.  Certainly this is a fall back position - and not ideal on many levels.  But re-settling in a condo that doesn't fit our needs either is not ideal.  
  • On the upside the townhouse and our contents would be in total move-ready condition should something change unexpectedly.
Right now, I think that is the best we can do.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Moving away from the moving theme for a bit, lets talk food.


Yes, that is my breakfast.  

I love breakfast.  And not just any breakfast.  I need something that will hold me until lunch time.  I have repeated this breakfast menu almost every single morning for more than a year.

  • One egg and one egg white, sprinkled a little cheese, 
  • 2 pieces of low fat sandwich ham fried in butter :-)
  • fresh veggies cut up with a tablespoon of humus,
  • a wassa cracker, a tablespoon of humus
  • and if available ... massaged kale.  
  • Oh, and my second cup of coffee.  The first cup of coffee must be ingested about an hour before starting to cook so that I am safe working over hot surfaces.  Ha.

Every.Single.Morning.  Over and over again.

When I go to bed at night I think about breakfast, I love it that much.  I think, maybe I will eat something different in the morning.  Maybe oatmeal with dry fruit and nuts.  Maybe some pancakes.  Maybe waffles.  Maybe a bagel with cream cheese.  Choices, choices.

But in the morning, my body seems to crave everything in that picture and I begin the ritual breakfast meal prep.  And when everything is ready, I sit at the table with my Kindle and read while I eat.  It is amazing I don't get tired of it.

There is only one exception to this breakfast.

Left over Chinese carry out!
That is AMAZING at breakfast.

So what does your breakfast look like?  And please, someone say they love Chinese carry out for breakfast.  :-)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Good Morning World ...

... at 5:30 am, sometimes 4:00 am, and even 3:00 am.

Sleep does not seem to be my friend all that much of recent months.

I know the problem probably lies in change.  Moving may be the culprit.  We are probably only 10% into this whole process ... and I am tired - like all the time tired.

Packing up everything you own and moving it somewhere else unsettling at any age, but more so when you get older.  Add to that all the details required to selling and buying property, changing all your services and getting resettled somewhere else is enough to rob anyone of sleep.

My brain seems to have trouble shutting off and taking a break to sleep.

Of course sleep and I haven't been all that fast friends since I entered my 60s.  And I regularly use non prescription sleep aids to get my eyes to close at bedtime.  The problem is keeping them closed.  Hence the 'joyful' welcome of the morning.  Truly, if I open my eyes and the clock says 5:30 am ... I count that as a full night sleep even if I closed my eyes at midnight.  If the clock says 2:00 am, I have a serious talk with my wide awake brain as I lay there in bed willing sleep to come.  Usually by 4:00 am I win the war and sleep comes.

And yet, around 2:00 in the afternoon, I can't seem to keep my eyes open.  If I sit, the body takes that as a signal to relax and the eyes quickly follow.  Seldom do I actually sleep then either.  I rest.

My mom used to call this position 'just resting her eyes.'  I get it now mom, I get it!  Too bad she is not here in person to see that I get it.

And maybe this all has nothing to do with the stress of moving.  Maybe this has more to do with facing my 70s.

Maybe that aging brain I talked about a few posts back is just the tip of the iceberg of everything slowing down.

Well ... so much for wool gathering!  
No time to dither.
  Need to keep moving and packing and pitching!
  The clock is ticking.
  Too much to do to sit and watch it tick.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Oven Conveys with the House.

Today I cleaned the oven.

Ok, ok, I have a self-cleaning oven, and it cleaned it self ... but when you clean your oven only every 4 or 5 years, it is a big frick'en deal.  So I take credit for hitting the self clean button and thinking, "Oh good, it still works."

It was a lovely day today, so I had all the windows open.  Why is that important?  You will understand shortly.

I am getting ready to sell this house and the oven conveys with the sale of the house, so it was time to clean the oven.  I mean, after all, when I start looking at other properties to buy I will certainly open the oven to see if it is clean!  :-)   You would do that right?? So my oven needed to be clean in case someone like me looks!

But I am so much better at this than I used to be.

Several years ago - well, maybe more than several years - like maybe 25 years ago, I remember deciding to clean my dirty oven.  It was a self-cleaning model then too.   The oven was very dirty.  Not just stained with cooked on stuff on the sides, but bunches of clumps of crusty whatever clustered on the bottom of the oven.  Yes, that bad. Time to do the deed.  I locked the oven door and hit the self clean button.  I smugly enjoyed the ease of this 20th century feature while my oven started its clean cycle.  I remember thinking that I was a modern 20th century wife and mother.  I didn't need to do this distasteful task myself.  With the flick of a finger, I was cleaning my oven.

Oh, did I mention it was January?  Did I mention is was about 35 degrees outside?  Well, it was. That's important to know.

Anyway, now the oven was cleaning.

Then the oven began to smoke.  Smoke started to creep out of the stove vents.  Not a lot but enough to be alarming.  The smoke detector sensed the smoke and it began to chirp ... ok, scream.  Yikes!  I tried to turn the oven off.  The oven ignored my efforts.   It was locked in its clean cycle, the heat was at hellish levels, and it was doing what I was asked it to do.  No stopping it now.  Crap!

I tried to turn the smoke detector off and realized I didn't know how to turn it off.  Great!  My eyes began to burn a bit, and although the smoke level was minimal ... (how do you judge "minimal" smoke in your house?) ... the smell was getting intense.  I started to cough.  I decided to turn off the house heat and open all the windows.  I had young children in the house, after all.  We needed to breath!!

Oh, and did I mention it was January and it was 35 degrees outside?  Well, it was.

So then the house began to get cold (but the air quality got better ... I am a "glass is half full kind of person.")  But we were getting really cold.  So we all put on our coats and sat at the kitchen table huddled together waiting for the oven to do its thing.  For 3 hours!!

Oh, and I also stepped down off my 20th Century modern woman pedestal long enough to figured out how to stop the blaring smoke alarm.

It was not my finest hour.

So this week (mid April) when I pushed the self cleaning button of my oven, the day was beautiful,  the temp was about 65 degrees, my windows were open AND I cleaned out the crust at the bottom of my oven in advance (Very.Very.Important)

We still had some odor.  My husband complained about the smell in the house and I cautioned him that things could be worse ... it could be 30 degrees outside, the smoke alarm could be screaming and he would need to wear his coat.

He had NO IDEA what I was talking about.  See 25 years ago he was at work when I last covered myself in glory with my skillful oven cleaning efforts.  I am so much improved now! :-)

Don't go looking for the 'before' picture.  There isn't one.
I have no intention of leaving proof behind of my house keeping  short comings.

Anyway, the oven is now sparkling clean.  

Now we can move.