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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Condo - Kitchen

A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it.

The Kitchen

I am not a 'kitchen' person.  I could get along with much less kitchen.  Stunningly, my smaller condo came with a bigger kitchen.  Like twice the size. Sometimes I miss my smaller kitchen because I could work in that space efficiently - with just a turn get what I needed.

Cooking is the main function of this room.  I don't enjoy cooking!  I cook to eat.  There is one exception to this - I enjoy making special dinners - like holidays, birthdays, company meals, etc. But the every day cooking, the several times a day kind of cooking - is pretty much a chore.

Unfortunately eating is a requirement of life ... like breathing!  I do enjoy eating (and breathing) so I do what I have to do to get by.  What to say about the condo kitchen?  


Ha!  I didn't even wash the dishes for this picture.

Surprisingly, I am happy with this kitchen!!

First off ... the kitchen holds every 'kitchen thing' I own.  That might seem like an odd statement - but in the townhouse some kitchen things spilled into the basement (down a flight of stairs) and around a corner - down a hall - not nearby at all.  Some pantry items also were stored in the basement.   This kitchen is big enough to solve that problem.  

Speaking of the pantry, most condos I have seen don't have a pantry.  My condo pantry is bigger than my townhouse pantry.  That feature is pretty sweet!  I tend to be a food hoarder - I know - sounds a bit contradictory - hates cooking / hoards food!  Answer - I am not much on being hungry.

Pull out lower shelves
I do love the white cabinets!  But the real plus is their function.  They have pull out shelves in the lower cabinets.  Wonderful.  I have a pot carousel in the corner cabinet.  Amazing.  In the town house my lower shelves were sort of 'no-man's-land.'  Sometimes pots got just dropped into a heap in the lower cabinets because the space was so un-user friendly.

My corner carousel

The most important appliance in the kitchen for me is a refrigerator.  It hoards stores food.  I could hand wash my dishes, use a hot plate and toaster oven for cooking, but I like a nice refrigerator.  The one in the condo has many problems: too small, exterior casing is damaged, one produce drawer broken, freezer on top rather than bottom.  But this refrigerator has one feature I totally adore - it has an ice maker.  I have never owned an ice maker and I use a lot of ice.   It is also a working unit so we will keep it ... until we have the money to replace it.

There are other minor things that I like about this kitchen, but it has one feature I really really love.

The washer and drier are located in the kitchen.  I totally LOVE the location.  Most condos do not have full size washer and driers - they have stackable units and many are located in hallways to save space.  I most certainly could get along with smaller units, but the luxury of having full size units in the kitchen is a big plus for me.

So the judgement on the kitchen?  I'll keep it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Condo - Deck

A series of posts on my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it.

The Deck

Although the deck is not technically inside the condo, you get to it through my front door.  And it is turning out to be a favorite place to spend quiet morning time.

When we first viewed this condo and I saw the deck, my first thought was ... cute, small, not sure how important it is, won't use it much.  After all I rarely used my townhouse deck and never my brick patio.  I was very aware of the street noise at the condo and the busyness just outside the windows.  Inside was my focus.  The goal was never to find exactly the right external setting - other than a safe and well maintained neighborhood.

I do remember immediately liking the door to the deck.  It was an actual door and storm door off the den.  We will eventually replace the storm door with one that has a screen.  But I was happy to leave the glass slider days behind me.  

I also remember liking the fact this was a covered deck.  My townhouse deck was inviting and a generous size, but it was open to the elements.  If your neighbors stepped onto their deck you immediately had company.  I hardly ever used it.  This deck is different in every way.  A more private sheltered feeling.


View from the deck to the right.

The deck faces the front entrance to the development (picture above.)   Across the street there is a small farm/ranch that boards horses.  That property is probably a throw-back to the original purpose of all the land that surrounds it but is now built up.  The road between our development and that barn in the distance ... is usually a busy road.

View of the community from the deck to the left.

Almost every morning I slip outside to sit on this deck.  Morning coffee on the deck in my pajamas with my book or computer and my fierce wooden cat birdhouse (which no bird in their right mind would use) has become the start of many days.  

My fierce cat bird house - entrance through the mouth.
Definitely less deck but way more use than the larger deck. 

New space, new routines.

So far so good.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Condo - Path to the front door

A major concern was access.  It was simple: avoid steps.   For a time that criteria barred us from some very nice condos.  Second story and third story walk-ups were out. Our future might include a walker or even a wheel chair.  Sales of first floor condos were less common and when they did show up stairs would surprisingly be part of the access.

There is an external foyer and locked hallway door.  People need to be buzzed in.
This is not a feature I wanted particularly,
but it has is uses.  We don't get door-to-door sales anymore.

Then this 55+ community 2nd floor condo showed up.  It had an elevator.  Finally!

The elevator is, of course, a safety feature for my husband.  Yes, all those townhouse stairs kept our legs strong for 31 years.  But in the last year the stairs caused my husband some problems.  Just like my elderly mom before, the positive effect of stair climbing turned on us - they became a risk.  This elevator was the answer to that problem.

Our elevator
... a requirement if we were going to be on an upper floor.

Another unexpected plus to interior hallways are protection from the weather.  From a cleaning perspective, this hallway buffer to our front door is worth its weight in gold.  For years we tracked in the dirt, leaves, water, snow ... you name it ... from the community directly into our house.  Having the luxury of a carpeted hallway - no outside mess in the condo ...  is wonderful.

The community streets and the hallways are well lit.  I spent almost 2 years trying to get improved lighting on the townhouse common area steps near our townhouse with no success.  No amount of reasoning would move the board of directors to improve lighting for anyone - even someone who was disabled.  Go figure.  Now that problem is solved as well.

Our front door.
But we don't live in hallway, so next time we will go beyond the front door.

The condition of the condo was another major consideration.

Next time ...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Condo

A series of posts about my new home.
As I go about my day in this new place I call home
I frequently think ...
"I like this (xyz) so much better."
Maybe I should write about it.

After all the angst I have felt and expressed about leaving my townhouse home, it might have popped into some minds that I am just not happy in my new place.

That is not true.  

The condo has a locked front door.  Guests need to be buzzed in.  
Living on the second floor means that we no longer need an alarm system.
Glad to be free of that expense.
Less is more.
We are happy here.  As time passes many unknown positive qualities of this condo become evident.  And as I visit the empty townhouse to check on stuff and to pick up mail, it confirms that the move was the right decision.  The townhouse is too big, it has too many steps, it costs too much money to maintain - on and on.  Still ... as I stand in my empty townhouse and I let my mind drift to the life events  that occurred there, my eyes still tear up.  But if someone could magically undo everything we did over the last month - if we could somehow still be settled and living in our townhouse as before - I wouldn't do it.

The improved quality of life that continues to be unveiled every day in this condo make this place the right one for our stage of life.

And so with that in mind, I thought I would take you through my new space a section at a time.  The differences between townhouse living and condo living are pretty remarkable.

The overlying theme of condo living is 'less is more.'  I know that phrase is trite, but it has certainly proven true for me.  As I take you from space to space, you probably will agree.

Another personal side benefit of this journey is that in documenting the many many positives of our new life here, it helps me heal the wound of leaving my other life.  I am pretty much tired of feeling down about this and I getting annoyed with myself.   I am pretty sure you are tired of hearing about it as well.  So I am pulling up my big girl panties and moving on.  I think this series might help.

So here we go.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fatigue ...

The month of September is quickly speeding along.

It is hard to believe but this weekend we will have been in this condo for 4 weeks.  Some days (like when I am tired and discouraged) it seems like we are still living in someone else's house for an extended vacation.  Other days my mood is up, I am more rested, the space feels like it could be ours, and I am finally doing a few normal things again.  But mostly it still feels like someone else's condo.

I think fatigue is the culprit.

The main contributor is mental fatigue.  The moving/buy/sell process we started last year and stepped up this spring just never seems to end.  And I am so ready for it all to be over and settled.  The sale of our town home, while under contract, is not a problem free experience.  The actual 'sale' is not a done deal until settlement ... when signatures and money are exchanged ... so much can go wrong.  In fact there has been a hiccup or two with this prospective buyer already so my concern is not without merit.  Our agent is earning his fee as he maneuvers us through the mine field of selling property.

Physical fatigue and stress cannot be minimized either.  Just when I think I am catching up, there are setbacks.  We had one of those setbacks this week.  Our townhouse is protected by a monitored alarm system.  We continue to use the alarm to protect the property since it is vacant.  A few nights ago at 11:15 pm, I got a phone call from the central monitoring desk.  Our alarm was tripped ... basement glass sensor.  They called me.  I was sound asleep.  The monitoring desk asked ... Do you want the police sent? Yes, send the police.  The property is vacant!  Will you meet them at the property?  Yes, we will meet them.  We were 15-20 minutes away.  But off we went in our pajamas on a wet dark stormy night.  When we got there everything looked fine from a distance.  But we were instructed to wait in our car - to not approach the property until the police arrived.  We waited an hour - no police!  I called the alarm company and they called the police again.  Apparently the police did arrived within 5 minutes of the call, checked the property, everything looked fine, and left.  We left as well crawling back into bed at 1:30 am.  And sleep came about an hour later.  As luck would have it, a very big storm went through our old neighborhood with a massive thunder/lightening event close by - setting off the sensor in the basement.  No harm done, except to our peace of mind and rest.

So the effort of this move/buy/sell process continues - until the townhouse belongs to someone else.  Hopefully that will continue as scheduled to its logical end so that I can finally close this chapter and really move on.

I have some blog post ideas in the 'hopper' but no energy or desire to post right now.  Still just putting one foot in front of the other.  But I thought I would stop by for a short update.

Be back ... whenever!!

Friday, September 2, 2016

A forward look

After so long living in one place,
this move feels like a line in the sand of my life.

In the two weeks we have been here I have met a number of very nice neighbors.  Some are at my exact stage of life.  Some are younger and still working.  Some, of course, are struggling with the normal aging process.  But all together they are a very different mix of population than where I was.  It is to be expected in a 55+ community.

It was never our goal to be in a 55+ community, but the accommodations we needed for my husband's disability were found here.  

And, in fact, the pluses are many. 
  • The math isn't complicated.  The condo costs us less to live.  We lived comfortably before, but the cost of inflation can nibble away at retirement.  We saw that disintegration with both mothers who initially retired with money to spare, but in the end struggled to keep ahead of expenses.  Hopefully with this move will have pushed that possibility further into the future for us.
  • Our living space isn't complicated either.  Smaller, yes, but the use of space is so much more efficient that smaller seems just.  The benefits of living "small" are many.  Just a few examples: it takes less time to clean this place, increasing one's stuff is limited, I don't have far to walk to get what I want.  After years of bigger and more, this change now makes me very happy.  I don't regret giving up floor space or stuff.  I am witness to the fact that actually moving all your belongings from one place to another puts a different perspective on stuff ownership.  At times our stuff (including yarn) felt like a ball and chain around my neck.  We will keep shrinking but at a slower rate.  After all, someday I will probably move from here and this load will seem very heavy then too.
  • Once totally settled, my focus must shift to me!  For months the focus was "us" and "husband."  The "me" focus was ignored.  No time.  Back to my knitting crafts, and exercising and maybe some volunteering 
Yes, the line in the sand ...
I guess it is never too late to build another life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The House Gets Listed

The house was listed on Wednesday of last week.  The sign appeared on the post.  The waiting game began.

Agents have an electronic appointment system that alerts you by email when an appointment is scheduled for a property showing.  Handy.  But unexpectedly emotional (of course!)

The first email I got was exciting - gosh, someone wants to see my house - and then the reality of that sunk in - because they might want to buy it away from me.

I know, I know.  That is the whole point of this exhausting exercise.

The email announcement of the first appointment brought tears to my eyes.  I was weepy for a few hours.  I felt like I had to be somehow part of the process making sure the new prospective owners were worthy of this property - people do that right??  NOT!

By the time 9 appointments were scheduled in a 3 day period I was getting better as accepting this.

An open house was held on Sunday.  Apparently another 18 prospective buyers came through.  Two of them made appointments for this week to view the property a second time.  Nice.

Then on Monday morning an offer came to us - a third person from the open house.  The offer was over our asking price.  That news was stunning to us ... of course the townhouse has to appraise at what was offered.  But still is was very welcomed.

So now chapter two of our real-estate odyssey begins.  This chapter should not be as exhausting and in early October ... if the gods are with us ... we will be down to owning just one property.  The condo.