Posted by: chlost | February 21, 2018

Back to It

All right. Now I’m back. Guess that means that I should write a few words. Maybe more.

What’s been  happening?

Since I last wrote here over a year ago, we have added a new granddaughter to the family. She will be 2 in September. Even though she lives just an hour from us, we don’t see her very often. She and her parents are some of the busiest people I know, and the schedules just don’t mesh easily. But this weekend, we will be babysitting on Saturday morning. I am so looking forward to that. She has been sick a lot since she was born, but just recently had ear tubes put in both ears. From what I can tell, her development has now fast-tracked, and she is talking, happy and healthy. Finally.

One of the reasons our schedules are so crazy is that our youngest son and his wife, three daughters, dog, cat (and three hamsters) have been living here since last June. They have lived here in the past when times were tough. But this time, it is for a great reason. They are teaching in a local school, and are waiting to buy a home. The housing market here is tough, but they want to buy in the school district where they are working, so they are here until a house they can afford comes on the market. So far, nothing.

Our home is full, to say the least. It is crazy, for sure. The three girls are 6, 8 and 10. They have piano lessons, after school care, friends’ birthday party sleepovers, neighbor kids to play with, and just the normal hustle and bustle of three very active, intelligent, and happy girls. I feel so lucky to be able to watch this time of their lives. It is an age that I think is by far the best for kids. They are soaking up everything around them. They love to have real conversations. They are becoming aware of the world. And I am a witness to all of it.

Our oldest granddaughter has become especially close to Merle. She has started to help him with the cows and calves. We now have a herd of 13, and a few of them will be of an age that she might be able to show them at a county fair. She is waiting desperately to start the process of teaching them to be on a halter, and to learn how to groom them for a show. She loves to do anything possible with Grandpa (Bop) in order to spend time with him.

This past spring, my sister, niece, and my daughter-in-law (the one now living here, although she wasn’t at that time) took a trip together to France. Oh, we had a grand time! My daughter-in-law had never traveled abroad. We spent time in Paris, then took the bullet train to Provence, stayed in Avignon, St.-Remy, and then went to Nice. We had spectacular weather. We all got along fairly well, and saw some gorgeous sites. Four ladies in France. We never felt unsafe or bored. I will write more about it later, with some of the amazing photos. As this is a journal for me, I want to have those here, even if they might be boring to anyone else.

During the past summer, my sister (I guess I spent a lot of time with her this past year!), her husband, another couple who are their friends, and Merle and I rented travel trailers and went to Montana to “camp”. We were at Glacier National Park when the fires started. We smelled smoke and could see the light from the flames across the mountain range. There were record numbers of visitors to the Park, so it was also very crowded in the most popular areas. Our trailer was out of commission for most of the time, but overall, the trailer was a nice option vs. a tent for camping. I would have preferred a hotel or cabin, but reservations were impossible. We drove home, and within a few weeks the truck that pulled the trailer broke down. The engine was totally gone. The trailer must have been pretty tough on it.

I am still working, still not enjoying it. I got a pretty decent raise, so now I feel as though I have to stick it out for a bit longer. But the retirement talk is getting more serious. I expect that I will last until next year right around this time. Next decision is the house, but with it so full right now, it isn’t likely that we will need to do anything soon.

That’s it for now. I will have to fill in and catch up a bit more at a later time.

It’s amazing that what fills life on a day-to-day basis often seems so routine and boring. But looking back at the last year or so that I was not blogging, it seems that we were doing some fun things.

Maybe that’s why time seems to have gone by so fast.

 

 

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Posted by: chlost | February 18, 2018

Why Blog?

This past weekend, Merle and I had lunch with friends he’s known since high school. We have only recently reconnected with them after about 15 years of no contact. That’s what Facebook can do for you, I guess.

One of our conversations was about traveling. We shared our past trips, and those that we are hoping to enjoy after retirement. One of the trips I told them about was a trip to Zambia that I hope to share with a friend who lives abroad. Their first question was “How do you know her?”

The fact of the matter is that I know her through blogging. I read her comments on a blog. I went to her blog, and followed it. We exchanged comments, then emails. We have now met in person, and she stayed with us for a few days when she was in the U.S.

Our friends were stunned. “You read blogs? Meet people through blogs? You had someone you’d never met stay at your house? How did you do that?”

Well, of course if you compare the date of my last post to the date of this post, I think it would not be accurate to say that I am writing (or reading) blogs. I have let that part of my routine go over the past couple of years. I have been on facebook-a lot-and have filled my time watching movies and posting photos to Instagram. Even with all of the time that I spend online, I have not been to the wordpress site. I wasn’t sure my password was even still active.

Our conversation started me thinking about my blog. I realized how many people I got to know through blogs. Not only my future travel companion, but several others who I think of as friends, and whom I may or may not have met in real life.

There is Yael, who lives relatively nearby, and who accompanied me to the Women’s March last January. We still have lunch every few month. And Jocelyn, who teaches in a city just a few hours away. Jono also lives just several hours north of my home. Then there is Mark, the Idiot (his term, not mine), who had dinner with us when he visited here with his son on a trip to various Major League Baseball stadiums.  I originally met all of these folks through their blogs. We stay connected through facebook now. I think only Jocelyn regularly blogs now.

I also met Rusted Granny in real life when she flew here and stayed with us for a few days. And by flying here, I mean she flew her plane to a small airport just a few miles from our home. I haven’t kept in touch with her for a while now. She was fighting cancer then, and I think she focused on that rather than blogs.

There were many others who I connected with through blogs, but have never met. When I followed their blogs, I felt as though I knew them. A Canadian citizen living in Ukraine with his Ukrainian wife, as the Russians threatened the country.  A blog for “elders” who, despite being deemed old or out of touch, were still very active in the world’s events. A woman from San Diego whose photos showed her amazing eye for colors.  A gardener/musician from Pennsylvania who paired those two hobbies with amazing photos of her flowers and music. The list goes on.

As I have thought about this after our lunch conversation with friends, I realized that I miss this. I miss the community of blogging. I miss meeting people by reading their stories. I miss the exchange of comments, the online cocktail party atmosphere of getting to know each other.

As I write this, I realize that many of the people I met through blogging are no longer here. I have not checked their sites today, but the last time I looked, many of them are like me, and have not posted in many months.

That’s sad. I feel as though I have lost friends. But I’ve decided that I am going to get back into the party. I am sure that there are many others who may have come to the party a bit later, or will be arriving soon. I am looking forward to making the rounds once more. If we haven’t connected in a while and you are still out there, please leave a comment. We need to catch up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: chlost | August 20, 2016

Summer wraps up

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The last month of summer is nearly at its end, and the weather here has turned cool. Today is a long-sleeve shirt day. There is a bit of autumn in the air. We certainly will have more summer before the season actually changes, but it is clear that fall is catching up fast and will soon take over.

It’s been a very hot, wet summer for the most part. Our daughter-in-law is expecting their first baby within the next few days. I have felt so bad for her over the past several weeks. She is getting quite uncomfortable in the heat and humidity. Their home was built at the turn of the twentieth century, and does not have central air. They have a small window unit for their bedroom, but otherwise, the place is very warm. It has been a difficult year to be expecting a baby at the end of August.

We are excitedly awaiting the arrival of this newest granddaughter. They have not shared the “short list” of names that they are considering. The rest of the family has agreed that their choice of name will likely be a very traditional one. Our older granddaughters have pretty unique first names. Their parents’ goal was to avoid names which would result in several kids with the same name in their class. They did a great job. But the son  who is soon to be a parent will keep the name relatively plain and simple, I think. We are looking forward to finding out their choice. I’m betting on something like Abby. We’ll see.

It is the end of August and we are still in the midst of a renovation. Our contractor is “fitting us in” as he can between jobs. It is getting old. We have had a plastic (like the one-sided sticky Saran wrap) over our upstairs carpet for nearly 3 months now. We took it off once, but it is back (to protect the carpet, I’ve been told). Our bathroom is still in process, so we are using the guest bath down the hall. We have no closet, so our clothing is distributed between the laundry room, office, and grandkids’ bedroom. The porch/deck is almost completed, but not screened yet.  We have had a dumpster parked alongside the driveway for nearly 3 months now. Part of it has to do with orders that haven’t arrived (somehow I didn’t realize that bathroom tile was so challenging to pick/order correctly) or that we had not realized we were responsible to order (a shower door) and bad choices that had to be modified (I was way off on the paint color).

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I still do not understand how the bottom right circled color here….

 

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…ended up looking like this on the wall. I’ve decided I am color handicapped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom line is that our summer seems to have been spent in a disaster zone.

 

 

I have almost gotten used to the crackling sound of the dog’s feet on the plastic carpeted floor. The dog, however, has still not gotten used to using the front door to go outside rather than the back. Three months, and he still waits at the back door to be let out.

I feel for him.

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Lesson: Choose the “start later but have it all done in one shot”option over the”start soon and fit the job in around other jobs” option when it comes to home renovation.

Last weekend the three granddaughters were here, so I took all of them shopping for school clothes. What an adventure! I picked one store. Sears, of all places, because they had seen a Lands End catalog with clothes that they liked. We made a sweep and took about 20 items into a dressing room. I had all three in the same room, peeling clothing off and on, asking for different sizes, going in and out of the room to choose more options, and sharing opinions with each other as to the items they tried on. It was so much fun! The look on their faces as they tried on something they loved was wonderful to see. They had a very good sense of what was appropriate for their age and their personal style. I was scooping things up to put back on hangers, scoping out additional sizes and items, and giving my opinions when requested.

I had given them a dollar amount that I would spend, equally divided between them. When they had made their choices, we took the items to the cashier and I explained what we were doing. She was amazingly helpful, as she scanned each girl’s items and we got totals. They then had to choose which of the items they would give up to stay within their budgeted amount. It was hardest for the youngest one, as she LOVED everything she had chosen, and didn’t want to give up anything. But we did it together, with help from the cashier, and everyone went home happy. They learned a bit about budgeting, fashion, sizing, and sister support that day. I think it will be an annual outing. We stopped for a treat on our way home, as I was worn out!

In the midst of everything else, we had our trip to Portland, a quick day trip to our North Shore of Lake Superior, two calves were born, a few flowers survived the neglect imposed upon them, and we had several dinners out with friends, family gatherings, and even a couple of quiet do-nothing days like today.

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Summer. Disaster zone, baby watch, kid shopping spree.

 

It’s been pretty good, over all. Just messy.

Posted by: chlost | July 24, 2016

Sunday evening roundup

This past week was a horrible, terrible one at work.  I had to deal with a very bad incident, in which I and a colleague were made to look very foolish by some very inept technical people in the state office. I am still furious. I feel as though my own reputation was damaged, as well as the quality of the state office.

But no one else seems to care about it as much as I do. That makes the incident all the more frustrating.

And I just have to get over it, or it will drive me crazy.

Playing in the background of life as I was dealing with all of that, was the Republican National Convention. What a depressing state of affairs that was. My fear quotient is on HIGH. The possibility of a President Trump makes me physically ill.

On the family side of things, my sister-in-law hosted a baby shower for our daughter-in-law as well as Merle’ cousin’s daughter. The babies are due within a couple of weeks of each other. This shower was for that side of the family-Merle’s mother’s side. Those cousins get together at least once a year, as well as for special life events like weddings and showers.

This group of ladies is quite sweet, overall. But there is some special crazy within the bunch. One of his cousins is completely “bonkers” as they used to say. I have no idea what she would come up with on the DSMV, but the list would be long. My daughter-in-law was a good sport to brave it.

At one point, the cousin blurted out in the middle of dinner, (and in the middle of a conversation about a totally unrelated issue) “I have cancer. I have this thing on my eye-pulls down her eyelid to show everyone whatever it is— I know it is cancer. If I go to a doctor, they will say it is.”

The conversation stopped for just one beat, then continued on as though she had never said a thing. And she did not bring it up again the rest of the evening. She has never married or had children of her own, but apparently her sisters and their children all feel she is very good with babies. They have her babysit for them quite often. Not  something I would do, that’s for sure.

In any event, the shower was the evening after work when I had been dealing with the very embarrassing incident. It truly was a crazy day from beginning to end.

This weekend I was in recovery mode. I did nothing on Saturday. Nothing….  Well, I did escape and binge-watched “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” on Netflix, but I don’t think that counts. Cute show. The cast is very talented. A very feminist story line, which is refreshing.  It is pretty unique in that it also includes lots of original music and lyrics as well as choreography. I finished the entire season around 4 am.

Today Merle wanted to visit the newly-opened professional football stadium. He’s a big supporter of the project and the team. I am not. But we met our son, daughter-in-law and her parents for an open house. It’s a big place. Lots of glass. hundreds of big -screen TVs. A huge waste of millions of dollars on a bunch of millionaires’ egos from my perspective. It has 73,000 seats that will very rarely, if ever, be filled for a football game.

I gave it a chance. I looked at it up close before I passed a final judgment on it. But as we rode up to it on the light rail, and stood outside on the plaza, the only word that kept coming to mind was “huge”. I suppose to many, that is a good thing. But to me, it was monstrous. It made me think of a gigantic iceberg that has crashed into the downtown’s southeast side.

Now I have to get my mind back into work mode for Monday morning. I hope this week goes better than last.

If we survive the upcoming Democratic National Convention, that is.

 

Posted by: chlost | July 16, 2016

The Grand trip (as in grandparents/grandchild)

Getting back into a regular writing schedule is harder than I thought it would be. I am still filling my time with nonsense, writing a post in my head, but not sitting down to actually put it into the computer. Finally, this weekend I have some time and have no excuse for not writing.

Last weekend we took our middle granddaughter on a trip with us to Portland, OR. She had never been away from home for more than two nights by herself. She had never flown on a plane. She had never seen the ocean, or mountains.

We changed all of those things in one four-day weekend.

She is the sweetest kid. At age 7, she is the peace-maker between her 9 and 5 year-old sisters. Even she recognizes that. Her parents were a bit concerned about how the house would be without her there to calm the waters. She deserved some major on-her-own time.

The plane ride seen from her eyes was wonderful. She breezed through security (one of my concerns) and was very patient waiting at the gate. It was very exciting to see the planes outside the windows as we waited for our plane to load.

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Merle usually takes the window seat, as I need the aisle for my knees and legs. But he relented to allow her to have the window seat. She felt quite special. She turned to us during the flight and told us “This is the best day of my life!”

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The weather was pretty miserable the entire weekend. Cold, wet and windy. But we went to the beach anyway. I loved this sign on the side of a building:

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The weather meant nothing to a seven-year-old girl at the beach for the first time. She wore her swimsuit under her clothes. A short time after this photo, she was in the waves in her swimsuit, and had a blast. She was not shivering or showing any signs of being cold, unlike me. I sat quite a distance from the water, with a jacket on, shivering as I watched her play in the surf. The other adults there probably considered reporting us to the authorities for allowing her to play like that.

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We also visited a huge aquarium. It’s quite a place. There are indoor and outdoor exhibits, featuring things like giant crabs, octopus, sea otters, puffins and sea lions. But the major draw is this aquarium, which contains all sorts of sea life, including some sharks.

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Notice the glass floor. You can see fish underneath you, as well. That freaked me out. I didn’t like walking on the glass. But it is really pretty cool as long as you walk to the side of them. There is an aquarium like this at the Mall of America, but she had never been there. She had a little camera and was running from one thing to another to take pictures for her family. These were small polaroid photos. She did a good job photographing, she has an eye for it.

The next day we drove up to Mr. Hood. It was another cold, cloudy and wet day, so we couldn’t see much. It would be hard to tell you were on a mountain except for the fact that your car went up a steep incline. But the lodge is great. The two-story central area has a huge fireplace, and there is a bar/restaurant on the second floor with a loft overlooking the lower level.  We sat by the fireplace, and enjoyed some hot chocolate and a sweet treat. She also loved the gift shop. That’s my girl.

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The whole reason we were in Portland was to visit Merle’s aunt and cousin. His aunt was turning 96 years old. She is an amazing person, we love spending time with her. She still lives in her own home, alone. She drives, although limits the distance. She has slowed down a bit, but overall gets around like someone several decades younger. Merle’s cousin, her daughter, helps her out quite a bit. Our granddaughter and they had never met. Within a short time, though, they were enjoying each other’s company. It was fun to see the generations meet. We stayed in his aunt’s home. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see their neighbor, Sam Elliot or his wife, although they were expecting him to stop in sometime in the next week. Their adjoining backyards share some pretty amazing Douglas Firs.

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It really as a wonderful trip. In two years, we will be taking our youngest (as of now) granddaughter on a trip. She has been seriously considering where she wants to go with us. It’s been a very special way to bond with them, and hopefully it is something that they will all remember long after we are gone.

In just about a month, we are expecting another granddaughter. So we will have seven years to decide where we will go with her. I can only hope that we are still up for another fun trip.

I can’t wait.

 

 

 

Posted by: chlost | July 5, 2016

Life flows

The last  real post I had here was in March. Since then things have been busy around here. This blog is really just for my own personal journaling, so filling in a few blank months will keep it on track.

A good portion of my time has been spent on Facebook. I don’t know why the short little blips on Facebook have replaced the writing here, as it seems so much easier to just plop in  a comment and leave. I just don’t seem to have the energy to write more than a few lines. As Facebook goes, I am wordy. Here, maybe not so much.

Big news for us—a new granddaughter is due to arrive in late August. We are excited. Cautiously excited. My son and daughter-in-law went through a miscarriage with the first pregnancy, so even though they are very happy and excited about this baby, I think in the back of their minds they are not letting themselves be too optimistic. They haven’t told us the short list for names. I think they will choose something very classic, just because that is their style. Our other granddaughters have very unique names, and that is their parents’ style.

We have had two new bovine members of the family this spring, a female and a male, not yet named, but very cute little Herefords. Merle is quite proud and happy about adding them to his herd. That makes an even dozen that he has now.

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This little heifer (girl) calf needed some encouragement to nurse. The granddaughters were very willing to help.

Read More…

Posted by: chlost | July 4, 2016

Hello, anyone there? It’s me. I’m still here

A blogger friend recently sent a note to me, wondering about the status of this blog. I suspect she was also just checking to make sure I am still of this world.

Well, I am still alive and kicking, but I have terribly neglected my writing habit. It seems that I have allowed other mundane activities creep into my life, leaving me little time or energy to write here.

It has been months since I even logged on to WordPress. I apologize for not keeping up with the blogs I have enjoyed for years. It will take me a while, but I will get around to say hello. It may take me a while to readjust my habits to include this blogging world that I have enjoyed. It is a bit like going back to visit a favorite spot, but it will take a while to bring it back into my daily life. That’s my goal.

I am working out a few posts in my head, but it will take me a little while to pull them out of my fingers and onto a computer screen. In the meantime, I just wanted to say hello and see if there may be anyone left out there who may still be interested in continuing our blogging friendship.

It is the Fourth of July holiday here in the US today, so Merle and I may take in some fireworks tonight. Unfortunately, he has to be off to work by 4 am tomorrow, so being up for them would be quite difficult. But my mom will spend the afternoon here, and we’ll probably grill some burgers and just relax. It is an absolutely perfect summer day, and I plan to be outside to enjoy it.

But, I will be back. Promise.

 

Posted by: chlost | March 14, 2016

Kidstuff

There is a toy store around here that is named “Creative Kidstuff“. I am not sure whether or not it is a national chain, but there are several locations in the area. It is a great store, with lots of fun toys, activities and playthings for kids.

Nothing in that store can compare with the vivid imagination of a kid, though.

My granddaughters visited this past weekend, and we had an absolutely gorgeous day on Saturday. After a long winter of heavy coats, snowpants and boots, we took advantage of the chance to be outside in sunshine and warmth, no coats, and the girls even took off their shoes and socks. It was glorious.

But how do three girls, soon to be ages 9, 7, and 5 spend an entire day outdoors with their grandparents?  We have a very limited supply of outdoor toys.  They did bring their bikes and helmets, so there was a pretty good stint of bike racing.

After numerous speedy treks down the driveway and around the cul-de-sac, usually timed with my cell phone stopwatch, their attention began to wander. They looked up the street, around the yard, in the garage for things to do.

What can you do with a hammer, a large flathead screw driver and a deteriorating blacktop driveway?

Chisel out the precious “agates” embedded in the blacktop, of course! (We will be replacing the driveway this summer, so no harm there). They had a blast.

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That activity kept them busy for nearly an hour. The youngest took a break from riding her bike in order to “help”. The older two were definitely in charge, and made a good team.

After watching them for a while, I was feeling guilty just sitting in the sun doing nothing.  So I trimmed back the tall grasses that I’d left behind last fall. It’s not a big job, but it felt good to clear the dried grass away to allow the new growth to start. Hopefully it will start very soon.

When she saw the cut dried grass, our oldest granddaughter came up with an entirely new activity. She told her sisters to gather the grass into bunches. She ran into the house and came out with a roll of painters’ tape. As one girl took an armload of grass from me, the other two worked and taped the bunch together, like a shock of grain.

In fact, that was the idea. The oldest has become fascinated by the lives of the late 19th century Native American tribes. She has a doll that is Native American accompanied by stories about life for a girl and her family during that timeframe. Suddenly, my granddaughters were part of a Native American tribe preparing for winter.

As she explained to the two younger girls, they would need some of the grass shocks for food, and some to make their bedding in a sheltered area. They found a place between two large evergreens along the side of our driveway and made it into a “reservation”. The area of the reservation was marked with utility marker flags (left behind from past yard projects). The grass bundles then were used to lay out their bedding, and the remaining bundles placed near the opening to provide their food.

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It is spring, of course, so there was mud. Three barefoot girls + mud = muddy girls. They coated the bottoms of their feet with mud. Because, of course that is what a Native American girl would have done in that situation. The youngest girl broke away here and there and used the mud for other things, including this:

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She also made a good, old-fashion mudpie which she left in the sun to dry.

I remember playing like this when I was a kid. They were completely immersed in their make-believe world. They wrote the story as they played, each of them adding a line or two at a time. “When we were making the straw bed, then we needed more so we had to go back to get it, right?” The others would either agree, or modify the story with their own suggestion.

It was magical to hear and watch them.

Somewhere along the line, the play shifted again, and they began running races. The other girls ran up and down our 200 ft. front lawn as fast as they could while the oldest became a play-by-play radio announcer. Where she got this idea, I don’t know. But she knew how to do a sound only recording on my phone. She had the lingo down “She’s coming around the track now as fast as she can, and here she comes! She’s almost to the end!” She signed off on each of these races as “H___ L____, the Native American announcer”.

This brought us to 4:30 pm, and time for baths (those mud-caked feet) and dinner. They had spent an entire afternoon with a hammer, a screwdriver, a two buckets, some discarded grass, painters’ tape, a cell phone recorder, their bicycles, each other and gobs of imagination.

Creative kidstuff indeed.

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Merle enjoyed the sunny day, too.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: chlost | January 16, 2016

Home Sweet Home

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Child’s outdoor playhouse near Memphis, TN

 

Almost exactly fifteen years ago, we bought our current home and moved into it in the middle of a January snowstorm. At that time, we had two children still in high school. We had moved from a one-story 1950’s era rambler which was in a neighborhood of small ramblers and almost unbelievably smaller split-entry homes. It was filled with young families, children and dogs ran freely along and across the streets and yards.

Our new two-story home, set on the edge of a river and surrounded by a small woods, was a dream come true. We didn’t have enough furniture to fill more than about 1/2 of the rooms. The dining room and family room were empty once the movers left us that day. The storage space was amazing-closets, cupboards, and a huge unfinished area above the garage was more than we had ever imagined.

Fifteen years later, we have no children living here. There was a year when our youngest son and his family came back to live here, but they have moved to a home of their own. All three of our children visit as often as possible. Our grandchildren stay with us about once a month. The furniture which we bought soon after we moved into the house fills the rooms, but has become shabby and outdated. The storage space has, unbelievably, become full to overflowing.

The house has become a home. We find it comfortable, even if it is big for our current needs. We love the woods, the river, and the quiet neighborhood. Right now, the snow cover shows the myriad of trails through our yard used by deer and other wildlife. There are swans and geese which stay through the winter months on the river below our backyard.

Even with all of that, we have come to the realization that we will have to downsize. We may live here for another 2 to 5 years before we trade this home in, returning to single- level living. That’s just how the circle of life works, I suppose.

Over the fifteen years that we’ve been here, though, we have not done much in the way of redecorating or renovation. Now we need to get this place in shape for making a sale in the next couple of years. When my dad died several years ago, I used some of my inheritance and redecorated the kitchen. That is still in pretty good shape. But the rest of the house looks every bit its thirty years of age.

So we are dipping our toes into the very scary process of a home renovation. We know ourselves well enough to know that we are not DIY’ers. We also are not able to agree on things such as color, furnishings, or fixtures. When we can’t agree, we just end up not doing anything. So the light fixture that I have hated since we moved in fifteen years ago still is hanging askew from the entryway ceiling, and I look at it nearly daily with the thought “God, I hate that thing”.

We have talked to two professionals so far. One, a young woman who is a decorator/general contractor. She is the daughter-in-law of a friend, but I didn’t know that at the time I received a recommendation for her. She walked in, took a look at our upstairs and came up with a fabulously creative idea to completely change the entire layout. She also had two less extensive ideas to choose from. She felt that the house was , for the most part in need of an update-some areas more than others. She was positive, energetic, and enthusiastic. She will help with picking out tile, counters and such, and will get everything put together so that it is ready to go before starting the project.

The second person was a man who is the son-in-law of our cleaning person. He has done many projects on several HGTV shows. He was referred to us by our cleaning person, because our bathroom needs a renovation so badly that they have had trouble cleaning it well. This guy was very practical, down-to-earth and not at all flashy.  Nothing out-of-the-box from him. We would be picking out tile, etc, He will do what we want, but will put together a blueprint and plan for the overall project. He didn’t see that we needed to do much other than some wallpaper removal, painting and some light fixture replacement in the rest of the house.

We also know that the HGTV effect means that many of the demographic who will be in the market for a house like this will expect that it will wow them. It needs to be turnkey. They all think they will live in the houses they see on television.

So. How do we choose? How do we know what to do? How much to do? What is needed? We want to increase the chances of a sale at a good price. We want to enjoy the improvements a bit before we move. We don’t want to spend money and then not end up with a benefit for a sale. Although we know we won’t get a big return for these improvements, we don’t want to just throw the money away.

I asked some friends and family who know our house. Our daughter had a laundry list of suggestions. All very good. Others had nothing.

This is going to be a grand adventure.

Or a nightmare.

Posted by: chlost | December 20, 2015

Another unexpected hiatus and now it’s Christmas

It seems as though I start and stop this site in fitful bits. There seems to be very limited energy on my part to keep it going. I just haven’t had the ideas, energy or time to write posts.

Okay, that last part is not completely true. I have time. We all have the same amount of time every day. I just seem to use my time for other things. Really important things. Like Facebook posts and comments. And watching Netflix. And playing solitaire.

I’m getting pretty darn good at solitaire, folks.

My thoughts seem to come primarily in little bits lately. Quips. Jokes. Smart-ass comments.

For some reason, my brain is not working in blog-post bits. No essays here any more.

I did have one idea for a blog post recently. It had something to do with acronyms. It may take me a while to put it together into something logical. When I do, you will be the first to know.

I still dream of being a writer. I wish I could write. I want to write. I just don’t write. It never seems to get from wish to work. Shouldn’t it just magically happen?

Oh, I also started a little story for my granddaughters. I wrote a story for them and put it into a book a few years ago. I used some of their drawings as illustrations and gave each of them a copy for Christmas. Just recently, their parents told me how much they like it, and that it is one of their favorite books. I hadn’t known that. I hadn’t heard much about it after I gave it to them. But now I feel a little more encouraged to write a new story. I wish I could be a children’s book author.

I will try to work on that.

In the meantime, I am doing some holiday preparations. I am not good at it. I am not a craft-y person. I don’t do decorating well. I have some old, pretty shabby ornaments and decorations. Merle and I got a tree a week ago. It is in the house. We water it each day. It isn’t decorated yet. The outdoor lights didn’t get up this year, even though it has been very warm. No excuse, except we just didn’t use our time to do that.

I told Merle that I wasn’t going to send cards this year. I have always written the holiday cards, and for the past several years, I wrote a little update with a collage of family photos from the year. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t send cards. I told him that with Facebook, and all of the other social media, it just isn’t the same. It’s a lot of work for something that is thrown away. He has decided to do the cards this year. It has now been two days and he has the one-page letter finished, Now he is starting the task of choosing the photos to put into the collage.

Last year, we had a huge fight over the holiday cards. He didn’t like the photos or the way they were in the collage. Apparently, he didn’t believe they were balanced enough between the family members who were in the photos. After all of the time I spent putting it together, trying very hard to get a good balance of family represented in the photos, I was not in the mood for his complaint. I told him if he didn’t like it, he could do it himself.

So he changed it himself.

Oh, it is so tempting to complain about the photos he puts together this year.

But I won’t

Ok, I’ll try not to.

Well, I’ll limit my complaints only if absolutely necessary.

I really wish the holidays were over.

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