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    Wednesday
    May062015

    Distractions and Decisions

    Things are going … smoothly.

    Is it weird that that makes me nervous?

    Probably.  I’m trying to just roll with it though.  The only issues are with the moving company but I hear it’s quite common to have issues with moving companies so I can deal with that.

    Right now we have a number of belongings in storage so that our house looks like people don’t really live here.  Reagan has assisted that illusion by making off with a number of things for her apartment.  Hayden and I helped her move from one apartment to another over the weekend and it took THREE trips with the U-Haul.  Three.  For a 19 year old.  19 year olds should be able to fit everything they own in the back of a pick up truck, not own three couches and an entire set of solid cherry antique bedroom furniture.

    Reagan has benefited from generous hand me-downs which is nice, but I told her she needs to stay put until graduation.

    My last day of work is Friday which is something I decided a month ago when I was eyeball deep in decision making and feeling overwhelmed.  Now I feel a little silly, and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself next week but it’s all said and done so I guess I’ll figure something out.

    Like maybe planning Hayden’s graduation?

    Not that there’s much to plan.  Two years ago as the final guests were leaving Reagan’s graduation party, I flopped down into a chair, looked Hayden in the eye and said, “I will pay you what you would make in gifts, to NOT have a party when you graduate.”

    He smiled a greedy, gleeful grin and has held me to it.  We will attend his ceremony and then go out to dinner and call it good.  It feels a little sad and anti-climactic but he is thrilled with not having to make small talk with people for hours and, given everything that’s going on, it’s probably all for the best.

    So Reagan is moved, Hayden is graduating and Faith is getting ready for her last dance recital.

    Which I don’t actually want to talk about just yet because last year when her best friend had her last recital I sobbed.  Little did I know that we’d be in the same spot a year later.  It’s not going to be pretty folks.  Well, it will be pretty because it’s a recital full of costumes and make up and lovely dancers, but I’m guessing that my reaction won’t be pretty.

    True fact:  I am un ugly crier.  Of which there will be much evidence in upcoming weeks.  For today though, I’m avoiding that line of thinking.  Here is a fun distraction:  our new house needs to be painted because I’m not a big fan of the faded blue it currently is.  Yesterday I used a “paint visualizer” to try out some new colors.

    Here’s the original shot of the back of the house which I used because the front is mostly brick.

    Here it is in “Plantation Moss”:

    In “Incognito”:

    “Light Sage”:

    And finally, “Steeple Gray”:

    What do you think?  Keep in mind that this is the long view of it, which can be seen from the homes across the river.I sure do wish that actual painting were as easy as virtual painting!

    Friday
    May012015

    Bought and Sold

    Although it’s been a long while since I’ve dabbled in real estate, I do know this:  No deal is complete until closing.  Between the bid and the closing date, any number of things can go awry.  Finances can fall through, appraisals can be low, people can change their minds … there are quite a few possible scenarios to keep you up at night.

    So I am saying the following with fingers crossed while knocking on wood:

    Yesterday we bought a house.

    And then a few hours later?

    We sold a house.

    It was crazy.  For the past three weeks, every waking hour I haven’t been at work, I have been consumed with getting our house ready to sell.  Making repairs, packing things to take to storage, painting, cleaning … it’s been exhausting.  Even with the help of paid professionals and my expert cleaner friend Christine, I feel like I’ve been going non-stop.  So I was super excited when, at 3:30 yesterday, the realtor showed up to take pictures because I was finally DONE.  And I was all set to share those pictures with you today, but then at 4:30 she showed the house to a couple who insisted on seeing it before it went on the market.

    I guess they liked it, because they made a great offer which we accepted.

    Isn’t that the craziest thing?  The market around here is an optimal sellers’ market, but still!  We didn’t even put a sign in the yard.

    Meanwhile, in Minnesota, Rich finally came to terms with the seller of the property we wanted.  It is also a sellers’ market there so that was a tricky but both sides gave a little and we have the ball rolling.

    If you’re thinking that this is all going just a little bit too smoothly, I am in agreement with you.  It’s making me nervous.  But for today I’m just going to revel in having nothing to do. 

    Because tomorrow I get to help Reagan move into a new apartment.

    Sigh.

    It was nice while it lasted.

    I’ll leave you with some shots of the property in Minnesota.  The inside of the house will need some revising to suit us (I’m sure the people who are buying our house are saying the same thing) but the outside of this place? It’s just about perfect.

    Monday
    Apr272015

    My Weekend On Craigslist

    It would have been a good idea to have a garage sale this month.  However, I have neither the time or inclination to do so so we’ve been bagging up clothing and small items and donating them and then, this weekend, I put some of the bigger items on Craigslist.

    Craigslist never fails to entertain.

    I posted nine items, priced to sell, on Saturday morning and got the first call 11 minutes later on this belt sander.  Within the hour, a nice older guy showed up to get it.  We had a little chat about his retirement hobbies and he also took 3 collapsible saw horses I was going to throw out.

    Score one for me and one for our overworked trash collectors.

    These speakers elicited a texts from three different people who didn’t speak English very well and two calls from pubescent sounding males.  If I had known they’d be that popular I would have priced them higher.  Who would have guessed that in this age of teensy sound systems that people would want large, old school speakers?

    Not me, obviously.

    The first guy to actually show up to claim them was too old for the saggy style pants he was sporting.  He spoke with a middle-eastern accent and peeled off the $20 from a large roll of high dollar bills.  He then gestured to the pile of trash I had set out and asked if it was garbage.  I shrugged and gave him permission to go through it.  

    Then I went inside and laid on the floor beneath the living room window to spy on him.

    He took all of the deflated soccer balls, the rusted Razor scooters with the wheels that don’t work, a bead set and enough other stuff to empty a trash can.

    Another score for my trash collectors.

    I also sold one of Hayden’s old bikes to an older Asian gentleman who doesn’t like to buy new bikes for kids who will just outgrow them (smart man.) I sold our picnic table to a guy my age in a Pink Floyd t-shirt and one of the girls’ old bikes to a man missing a couple of teeth.  He buys old bikes and fixes them up and re-sells them.  I gave him another bike that I was just going to throw out and he was glad to have it.

    The best sale of the weekend though, was these boards.  I don’t even know how long they’ve been in our garage but they’re big and heavy and I just wanted them gone, so I priced the whole lot at $30.  I only got one email about them.  The guy who showed up was tall with a long, fuzzy red beard and ear gauges bigger than quarters.  He explained that he’s a sculptor who mostly works in metal and he is going to use the boards to build pedestals.  He was genuinely pleased with his find.

    I was genuinely pleased that he took them away - along with every other scrap of wood and metal in our garage and from the trash cans.

    Also?

    I’m now an official supporter of fine art.

    Our trash men had it pretty bad this morning - a toilet, rolls of carpet and padding, four full cans plus many bags and boxes.  It was bad enough that I ran out and handed them some cash when they picked it up.  But, were it not for Craigslist, it could have been so much worse.

    Friday
    Apr242015

    Predominant Thoughts

    Now that I’ve typed the word “predominant” I’m not entirely sure that I know what it means and that I’m using it correctly but I’m too tired to truly care so I’m going to run with it.  Here are the thoughts at the forefront of my brain this week:

    1) Ouch

    Moving furniture and pulling up carpet and yanking what seems like 2,000 staples from the floor isn’t really what my 45 year old body is meant to do.  Of course, I don’t think it was meant to do that at 35 or 25 for that matter, but I’m pretty sure it hurts more now than it would have then.  I’m oh so grateful to have strong, able bodied teenagers living in the house to help with it all.

    2) Just Get Rid Of It

    When faced with the choice of packing, hauling and finding a new spot for any number of items currently in my house, this tends to be my go-to answer.  The mismatched sheets that we haven’t used in 10 years? Get rid of them.  The 15 year old leather couch that has been well abused by kids and pets? Take it away.  A stack of board games we don’t play?  Let’s find a new home for them.

    Baking pans I use once every three years and other specialty kitchen items?

    Box ‘em up.  I’m taking every last one of them.

    3) I Don’t Know Where I’m Living In June

    I know the movers are coming in June and they are taking all of our stuff and putting it in a truck and heading to Minnesota.  I just don’t know where they’re going to unload it.  This is causing me some anxiety.  I’m a nester and lean toward introversion.  I need to know where I’m going to lay my head and bake my cakes and take care of my people and avoid everyone else. 

    We are moving into a very tight housing market.  There is exactly one house there that I want to buy and it’s not even my dream house by a long shot, but this is the back yard:

    So if we can come to an agreement with the sellers on what they think it’s worth vs. what we think it’s worth, I may be living there in June. (Which will mean a list of renovation projects that makes me shudder.) If not, and if nothing else comes on the market, I will be living in some sort of rental.

    Not sure if that will be an apartment or a house or in what condition it will be.  Scary.  I just keep telling myself, “God knows where I’ll be living in June.”

    Thankfully these three predominant thoughts are able to keep this thought at bay most of the time:

    4) I’m Abandoning My Babies

    Hands down, the hardest part of this move is leaving Reagan and Hayden here.  Yes, I know that many kids their ages leave home for college or whatever and that it’s perfectly normal to live in a different city than your young adult offspring. 

    But.

    In the typical scenario, children leave and the parents stay put to provide a home base.  The fledgling adults know that no matter where they go, home and family are waiting for them.  In this case, we are selling off “home” and leaving the kids to fend for themselves.

    I know - they’ll be fine.  Home is where the heart is. They’re only a day’s drive away. It’s not a big deal. It will probably even be good for them.

    But I kind of like them.  I like knowing they’re nearby and that we can help if they want it. And … ok, well now I’ve got myself crying again so I’m going to quit.

    I’ll go find some furniture to move around and go back to thought number one.

    Tuesday
    Apr212015

    No Reasons To Whine - And Yet I Shall

    Right after I bragged the other day about the cleanliness and organization of my kitchen, I had to empty the contents of my china cabinet.  I don’t want to pack the contents, because I am sure the movers will do a much better job than I could, so I had to put all those delicate items somewhere where they would be out of the way of the people coming to lay carpet.

    The only room not being recarpeted?

    My kitchen.  Where the counters now look like this:

    Which is to say that my kitchen is no longer clean or organized.

    So it fits right in with the rest of my house which is in varying states of dishevelement and disarray as we shift furniture around so we can rip out the old carpet and get staples pulled.  This, by the way, is not a fun job because 8 year old carpet in a house filled with 5 messy people and all of their pets is not the cleanest stuff in the world.  However, the company installing the new carpet wanted $900 for removal and I am way too cheap to pay for that when I can do it myself.

    Doing it ourselves though requires that we do it ahead of time, so most of my floors now look like this:

    Hayden is limping today because he has a splinter in his foot and all of us are feeling discombobulated due to not knowing where anything is.

    So I’m whiny.  And yelling.  And generally unpleasant to live with.

    My parents moved out of their home of 30+ years last fall so I called them last night to complain and commiserate.  My dad answered the phone.  He listened to my tale of woe involving workmen who don’t show up when they say they will and the carpet story and the painting stories.

    He wasn’t impressed.

    “Well, you have a bed don’t you? And your refrigerator is running? Then you’re fine.  It’s not a big deal.”

    And he’s right.  It’s not.  I even have flushing toilets.  So really? I can just shut up.

    Which I shall do.

    As soon as the new carpet is in.

    Probably.