Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thankful Sunday--November 27, 2016

I don't have a picture of Beth.
Instead, here's a picture of a few leaves still hanging on.

I am thankful for Beth.

I spent the morning at church with my special buddy, Sarah. We met in the youth chapel and had breakfast before singing with the praise band (kids playing guitars, drum, piano, etc.). The songs were contemporary and fun to sing. Sarah loves music and she usually has one of the stuffed animals she brings do motions to the songs. We both have fun with this. This morning while she spun her stuffed dog, Riley, I danced with Beanie Baby ostrich, Stretch.

While all of this was enjoyable, that was not the best part for me. It was watching Sarah's friend,
Beth sign the songs. Beth is a young adult with Down's Syndrome who goes to the front and "sings" each song with sign language. She is very expressive and is beautiful to watch. She truly moves me each time I see her. For Beth and this special gift she shares, I am thankful.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful Sunday, November 20, 2016

I am thankful for my new house.

The moving trucks showed up and we've actually moved! We have enough stuff in our new house that this is where we sleep at night. Now to empty the boxes and figure out how to fit things into their different spaces.  I think we have have all of the utilities switched including the internet that we got turned on yesterday.  It was a nice break to not have it for a few days, but I'm happy to be connected again. You may we remember that we are a dinosaur family with no smart phones or devices with internet.

The cats are adjusting better than we had expected, but still need a lot of attention. Both to calm them and to keep them out of places they shouldn't be. They have already figured out how to get around one barrier we set up. So much for the theory that our geriatric cats couldn't jump that high.

The old house now needs some serious painting and other cosmetic fix ups so it can go onto the market. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm really looking forward to concentrating on only one house. Soon enough.

Below are a few pictures from our move.

There are a lot of moving companies out there, some good and some shady. I picked one after selecting three to interview from Angie's List and the BBB. They all seemed good so I chose the one with the cheapest hourly rate since local moves are charged by the hour. We did all of our own packing and had already moved some of the more delicate things ourselves before moving day. They did an excellent job and we will definitely use them for our next move when we move the things we left for staging. 

All of our boxes had both a color code and writing on them to help the movers to know what room things went into. We had the tape on all four sides and the top so they wouldn't have to rotate the box to find the label. If you study the list above, you may notice that we have a Bedroom #2 and a Master Bedroom, but are missing a Bedroom #1. When we were boxing things, we were too tired to go find another color of tape, so they didn't get labeled. However very quickly the movers figured out if the box didn't have a label, it went into Bedroom #1.

Each room also had a sign to identify which room it was.

So far, we have not found one misplaced box. I think the organization also sped things up because the move came in under estimate. All three moving companies estimated approximately the same amount of man-hours for our move and they finished two hours faster than that.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Another step forward

We finally have a moving date scheduled for this Thursday. Hooray! Well, actually, it's the first move date as some of the things will stay in the old house for staging and will move when it sells. We will be stretching some areas a bit during this transition time, but that should be okay. It won't be the first time that we've used moving boxes as furniture.

So you may have surmised that if we're moving the new construction on the new house is done. Almost. The new master bath is done and looks really good. There's nothing like something new and shiny. :) Also, the floors are done. We can walk on them now and they should be cured enough for the heavy traffic of the move by Thursday. There's still a bit of construction going on in the basement and we've found three different leaks last week that need some attention, but those can be dealt with later.

Not surprisingly, we have been packing in earnest this weekend. We are lucky that the houses are only 20 minutes apart so we have been packing delicate and awkward items and taking them over ourselves. This way we don't have to do the extra packing it would take to put them in a moving van. And in some cases, we've been able to put them in their places which is so much the better.

Better get back to packing so I can get another box or two done before I go to work. Below are before and after pictures of the bathroom.

The old toilet and shower were in a separate room and very cramped. This was the main motivation for changing things.

The shower stall was opposite the toilet and you had to sit on the toilet to get out of the way of the door when it was opened.

The other part of the bathroom was not too bad. There was a reach-in closet on one side and vanity on the other. However, we wanted two sinks instead of one. The carpet was also pretty worn.

In the new bathroom, you can see the wall is down between the vanity and the toilet. The toilet is just peeking up on the far side. We took part of the closet away to enlarge the shower. Also, I'm really looking forward to the heated floor.

A look inside the shower. While not huge, we're thrilled because this is a bigger shower than we've ever had. We expect to get a lot of use out of the bench.

Another view of the vanity wall. You may have noticed the walls are very blue. It reminds me of the the color of a bluebird's egg and was chosen to specifically be something cheery in the morning. This is a big departure for us. We're more of the variation on beige people.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Second Look--November 10, 2016

While turning into my driveway yesterday, I noticed an unusual sight--a day lily blooming. Not something you usually see this time of year. Well, all of the work that was waiting for me inside just had to wait a little longer while I went to get my camera. And as long as I was out there, I did a quick Second Look around the yard. Once again, there was nothing like a look at nature to put me in a good frame of mind. 

Here are a few things I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

There were two more little day lily blooms besides this one.

I also found a coneflower blooming in another part of the yard. We have had a couple of hard frosts, so I was surprised to find this.

I have been collecting seeds from plants, including these marigolds, to take to the new house.

The squirrels are beginning to enlarge this hole on the birdhouse for a winter home. We already had to repair a large hole they made another year.


Ailanthus webworm moth on mum

While there is still plenty of color to be found, many trees have now lost most of their leaves.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Card

My grandmother died when I was nine. She lived her last few years with us when she was bedridden and my mother provided round-the-clock nursing care for her. Not an easy job with four young children and a husband working a lot of overtime.

We, kids, all had jobs to help with my grandmother. My older sisters had much more responsibility than I did and helped with some of the nursing care.  Since I was younger, I got more of the comfort care jobs. I would brush my grandmother's hair or crawl in bed with her and rub her back. She said I was better medicine for her than anything the doctors could come up with. I was proud of that and enjoyed spending this close time with her.

Then one day in third grade I came home with a headache and a fever. Soon there were spots all over me. I had the measles. The big measles we called them because they lasted two weeks sometimes, and mine did. During this time, I had to stay upstairs away from my grandmother's room downstairs. She was much too weak to handle something like getting the measles. While I was sick, my mother would deliver messages to me from my grandmother and I would send messages back. One day, my mother brought a card to me from my grandmother. It was a get well card with a rabbit on the front against a blue background. She wrote me a letter inside and told me how much she missed me. I loved getting the card and have treasured it ever since.

However, somewhere along the way, it got lost. I've always been a bit sad about that although I told myself that the memory of it was what was really important. Then a few days ago while going through papers to pack, I found it! I was elated. It was stuck between some other papers in box of mementos from my high school days.

You know, they say that when you move, you will for sure lose something. Well, this time I found something. Something very important to me. And I am very happy about that.

(Unfortunately, I packed the card away before I could take a picture of it.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What I've been up to lately.

While in the old house, I am enjoying the view out the kitchen window.

First let me say , "No, we have not moved." And, "No, we don't have our old house on the market." That's pretty much how every conversation I have these days starts. Sometimes I feel like I'm eight months pregnant and fielding comments like, "You haven't had that baby yet?!" Believe me, no one wanted to have that baby more or no one wants all of this house stuff to be over with more than I do. It's been three months of total focus night and day on practically nothing but houses and it's getting a little old.

However, I realize that this is a good reason to be tired. A short time ago, we were worrying about cancer surgery and before that we were worrying about a fall my mother had and placing her in a nursing home. So making a late night trip to Lowes to get a new shower diverter because the other one didn't work is not too bad.

We are tying the new floors into the existing floors. The new stain will
have more of a brown tinge and a bit lighter than the old.
Where are we in this moving process? Al, the floor guy, is actually working on the floors now in the new house and hopefully they'll be done by the beginning of next week. He is matching and tying into the hardwoods that are already there and doing a great job. He is truly a craftsman. Anyway, the floors are the key to much of this whole process. Obviously, we can't move much until we have a floor to set it on. And we can't pack up a lot of stuff if we're still using it. And we don't want to move it into all of the construction dust. And some of the things can't be fixed on the old house until we move some of things. So the floors are what much of this process is hinging on.

On other fronts, the bathroom remodel is almost done and should be finished by next week also. It is shaping up very nicely and I think we're going to really like it. After the work is done in there, the contractor will move to the basement to install some new duct work and a bathroom fan. We have finished painting the master bedroom, but the rest of the painting that needs to be done will wait for a later date after we've moved in.

Back at the current house, we are continuing to purge things. Today, I have a pickup scheduled for a large load of things we're giving away including furniture. Among other things, we are prepping rooms for painting with removing wallpaper being the most time consuming.

The most interesting part with the current house work has been talking with stagers about how to set up things for showing. Selling a house these days is all about pictures. People do their first shopping online (that's how we did it) and if you don't have a set of appealing pictures, you won't get them in the door. We hired a stager for a small fee who carefully went through the house and made suggestions on what to take, what to leave, what colors to paint, etc. This is all part of getting good pictures. Not surprisingly, our house is old fashioned especially for the demographic that is moving into the neighborhood right now, young families. In case you are wondering, gray and more gray are the colors of the day. However, since we have an older house, taupe is the color for us. Gone are the days of painting everything white or off-white to sell a house. Gray and taupe are the new whites.

After we had the visit from the first stager, our real estate agent brought another agent, who also stages, and she took a look. Her suggestions were similar to the first with a few exceptions. The conclusion is, while our house is in good shape overall, it need a lot of cosmetic fix ups. None of it is hard work, but all of it time consuming especially when we're trying to do the same thing in another house. So now, we're reworking the budget to see how much of this we can afford to hire out. We want the house on the market. The sooner we can get it on, the sooner we can sell it, and the sooner we can recoup money.

Otherwise, we are enjoying the fall weather and I have decided not to take a trip to deliver some door knobs to the new house this morning before work and am having breakfast with a friend I haven't seen for a while. That's my small attempt at balance.

So I'll see you guys out there in cyberland when I see you. I'll try to keep up with your blogs and comment when I can. And I'll post then and again. Especially when I have something else to talk about other than houses. Hope that's soon.