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Next Phase

Things happened fast this fall. After the contract on my Roanoke house fell through in May, the house kept showing well, but no offers. Since I had the mortgage paid off, I could just sit on it until I got a decent price. I slipped at the end of the summer and hurt my left shoulder as I caught myself from falling. I chipped a bone and tore the rotator cuff. Unfortunately the nearest orthopedic center is always too busy, and it has taken me a long time to get it fixed (still not done yet). At the end of September, I got an offer on the house with a requested closing of October 31, pretty fast. This one came through, and I was there the last week in October to empty the house. Frustrating that I could not use my left arm for much, still painful when I try to lift much. So a wonderful friend came over and helped me pack down the small stuff and I hired a local moving crew to pack the trailer.

Furniture Delivery to SC

Furniture Delivery to SC

Although I had a 28 foot trailer, they packed only 10 linear feet of it, and surprisingly, no other stops were made to use the rest of the space. The next week the trailer was delivered here in Seneca, and I had another crew unload it into a shed I had purchased for this purpose. It is stuffed and we had to put a couple of items elsewhere. My current house is so packed with stuff I’ve been bringing back for the past few years, am planning for and looking forward to storage space. And I really did get rid of a lot of things.

Closing was Monday, but the check was too late to file the deed that afternoon, so I got my money on Tuesday. That means I can afford to seriously plan and build the addition. First I need to attend to a couple of health issues, mostly the surgery on the torn rotator cuff. It’s scheduled for month from now, and I know it’ll take a while to recover, with lots of physical therapy, but I will be so glad to get back to normal movement.

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Activity

You know, it’s really boring to put together a blog post without any pictures. And not enough stuff has been happening to be photographed or very interesting. Until now! I have a contract on the house in Roanoke, after only one month on the market, for a decent price. With the help of some very good friends, I made the final push to stage the house and hire a realtor in April. Now I have to hire movers and get moving a bit faster on addition plans for the Seneca house.

My realtor, Jackie Boyd, hires a professional photographer for her home listings and posts to a number of online realty sites. Here’s lots of pictures from Zillow. Since it is under contract, it is not showing in the regular for sale search, but can be seen here. PICTURES IN LINK!
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1229-Howbert-Ave-SW-Roanoke-VA-24015/49645306_zpid/?fromHowMuchMyHomeWorth=true

I plan to attach a slightly larger dome to about double the space. I do not plan to have any loft storage, as it is too difficult for me to climb a ladder. I am looking at a lot of safety issues for ageing in place. I also hope to put in a few luxury items, like a whirlpool tub with a separate shower. The furniture in Roanoke will all be moved here. I already have a laundry room and kitchen, so less expense there.

It’s fun to plan and search for the products I want, but I am honestly not looking forward to the construction period, right outside my door. There’s nowhere to move, and I feel like apologizing to my cats when I think of the noise and people they will have inflicted on them. They’ll hide under the bed and sleep the days away. But it’ll be over in a few months and a great new space will be ours. I expect I’ll be posting more regularly when things are active.

Visits and generally busy

I’ve been neglecting my blog, but I have been busy – as all retirees seem to be. I was back to Roanoke to work on the house and see friends. I learned just before I left that I’d be there for another retirement lunch, so I got to see a lot of old friends then. I saw other friends at various times while I was there. I did finish clearing closets, except for my bedroom, which I plan to leave with some items in it. Since I took one cat with me, I did not get the basement stairs painted. Last time I did it, I ended up with a couple of cat foot prints on the basement floor. It will be easier without an animal around.

I got back to Seneca and started cleaning and getting ready for my family visit. All siblings and spouses gathered in Seneca for our annual reunion – they were curious about what pulled me away from Roanoke after all these years. We had a good time, and even got a trip to visit our aunt and uncle in TN and one to the other aunt and uncle who were packing to leave N GA for FL. I had collected lots of brochures from the welcome center, and four of them discovered a nearby zipline tour and spent a day there. The other sister and I had an afternoon to chat on the porch. The weather changed the day after they arrived, to Fall temperatures, especially at night, making for good porch-sitting time. They were all used to much less humidity, in spite of it feeling dry to me. One evening we visited the campground where Alice and Rich stayed, to see their new camping trailer. It is very nice, more luxury than either of the travel trailers I lived in for a few years. Talked a lot, ate a lot, and just had a pleasant week. All safely home again.

zipline sibs

I just switched to Medicare. Wow, the number of companies who flood you with mail about the supplemental plans – I have a stack over 6 inches high. Thankfully my former employer hired a consulting firm to help us through the confusion, and I have selected a plan that should work best for me. Best part is that this plan handles the Medicare side, so I only worry about submitting to them. I remember what a mess my mother had with 2 insurances submissions, especially after they switched to have her secondary handle Medicare. I wonder how medical providers keep any of it straight. Of course, they don’t always. I remember it taking me nearly a year after my mother passed away before I got things straightened out.

I am still working on getting a business together online, but one day before long I will be selling my jewelry. It has surprised me how much really needs to be decided and started before I even order business cards. I am trying to be very methodical about it, and to follow advice about what has worked well for others, even if I only want an outlet for my hobby, not full-time. That makes it easier when the government gets involved at tax time. I want to earn enough to pay for my supplies, maybe a small travel fund. I have a lot of photography to work through my completed pieces, and I am trying to learn the best way to shoot without glare. This is another whole hobby to pick up. I am working on a website, a Facebook page, and will have an Etsy store.

header pic

Jewelry Weaves by Donna

I am soon to trek back to Roanoke for a final cleaning, staging, paint touch-ups. I hope I find a realtor to list it for what I want to ask, as I think I have enough upgrades and it will present itself really well, that I should be at the high end for this size house.

June 2014 Busyness

First a picture I forgot to post when I took it. This is a waterfall viewed from the side of Hwy 11 a bit north of Seneca. South Carolina has a lot of pretty waterfalls in the upstate.

waterfall

waterfall

Well, I have had good and bad in the past few weeks. The good was seeing friends I do not see often, and going to my brother’s wedding. The not good was all the driving I did, making me very tired and sore from gripping the wheel and sitting too much. The bad was not getting the old house on the market.

I had not heard (email) from the realtor I had planned to use, so I called the office when I was in Roanoke – found she had retired. I went to another company whose signs were frequent in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, her market analysis of 6 nearby homes that sold over the past year gave an average of less than the city even evaluated the house. I have put quite a bit more in upgrades (not maintenance) and want more out of the house. I will talk to 2 or 3 more realtors next month when I’m in town. I may end up waiting until next spring to see what increase there has been. With so many houses for sale again, the prices surely are increasing. I may be biased, but I have been looking online at homes for sale in the neighborhood and do not see any with both bath and kitchen upgrades and a number of other things my house offers. I do worry that I may have made it nicer than the market will handle now. I can’t stress over it, and I know I can handle the second mortgage right now. (But, I was hoping to buy a new car soon, with my old one having over 100,000 miles and 12 years.)

A couple of days resting and not making any jewelry, and my hands are no longer sore from the steering wheel. My back has eased off its tightness – which I am really sure was from anxiety over the house.

The wedding was very nice, held in a restaurant (Spiaggia) in downtown Chicago, with a great view over the lake, beautiful room, great food, and wonderfully efficient staff. Dale and Jim have been together for almost 28 years, with the last 2 in a civil union, and now finally legally married, one week after the date the state of Illinois allowed it. They have a stable, longer-term relationship than anyone else in the family, and I am very happy for them. Especially as we age, they have already had to worry about legalities when one was in the hospital, and this eliminates so many problems or complicated work-arounds. Since Jim’s family is mostly from Illinois, and there are quite a few nieces and nephews, they made up most of the guest list. I had enjoyed meeting them at the 25th anniversary party, and again at the wedding. Both families have welcomed the partner, and rightly so, as these are two generous and kind men. I am so glad they are family.

wedding ceremony

Dale and Jim wedding ceremony

Ready to Stage House

Just back from a big trip to Roanoke – I took a handyman with me to take care of a number of chores and some heavy lifting. Since I had a second driver, I rented a truck from Penske and cleared a lot of stuff. First was a load to the dump, then hauling back some of the big stuff I don’t need around for staging the house. Sharon’s washer had recently died, so I brought one back for her, also a freezer for us to share, and lots of boxes of my stuff.

cleared attic stairs

cleared attic stairs

cleared attic 1

cleared attic 2

I now have a totally empty and clean attic, just have to scrub and stage the living floor, and a little more clearing and cleaning in the basement. I do have a basement room where I can store more boxes of stuff until another trip or until the house sells. No, I have not put it on the market yet, but I expect to do so within a month. I was happy to see a house three over from mine sold since the last time I was there.

bedroom without boxes

bedroom without boxes

I had a scary deja vu, was at a store (Lowe’s Garden Center this time), and as I took a step back from the register, a woman had pulled up too close behind me and I almost fell over her cart. I was able to grab a pole and catch myself, but considering how similar that was to ten years ago when I broke my leg without falling down, it did shake me up. Other than wrenching my shoulder, I did not injure myself. It has now been adjusted and I feel okay. I have been trying to take things easy since I got back, knowing I don’t have the stamina I did twenty years ago when I made my last move.

We are so pleased with Jimmy (the handyman who went with me)’s mechanical ability. He helped start lawnmowers for two people in Roanoke, then yesterday he got Sharon’s mower started and surprisingly, the chipper we brought back. I had only used it three times because I could not pull start it. It has not run since 1999 when my father last started it. I figured the engine might have locked up, but it now runs. We can shred the brush pile instead of burning it, and have free mulch. Of course we will have to have someone run it for us.

dining room with only a box of painting supplies and cluttered table

dining room with only a box of painting supplies and cluttered table

I guess it is about time for the two city commute to end, as my cats were worse than ever about my being gone, and I was only gone five nights. I do have a couple of more long trips planned, though. They will be like velcro and worse, leave hair all over me when I return.

Basement Cleanup

Well, I’ve been in Roanoke for yet another snowstorm, but this wasn’t as bad as Seneca had a couple of weeks ago. I still would not want to be on the highway between the two cities. I have mostly worked on the basement this trip – unfortunately had to cut short my hours each day as I stirred up so many allergens. I have been doing a lot of tossing things out – still finding a lot of debris from the bathroom construction, besides junk that I have accumulated, like most people do, in out-of-the-way places. I have had Habitat for Humanity pick up some big furniture items, so I do have more space to work.

office or guest room before clearing

office or guest room before clearing

office or guest room partly staged

office or guest room partly staged

 

I have cleared almost half of the basement, and have started to move around the things I have for staging a den and an office/guest room. It is just too chilly to scrub the floor this trip, so I have to be satisfied with a good sweeping. I have one corner swept and various boxes collecting items for either myself (in specific categories) or Goodwill. There are a lot of large trash bags, too. Very satisfying to get rid of stuff.

den space before cleanup

den space before cleanup

den space during sorting, lots now in trash

den space during sorting, lots now in trash

On a sad note, I lost a friend yesterday. She was in hospice care for the past 6 or 7 months, so it was not unexpected, and she said she was ready and at peace. At least Sharon and I got to see her briefly the day before I came back to Roanoke. It is still sad to lose someone dear.

This morning was the first day I heard a lot of bird calls in the early morning. I usually take that as a good sign of spring finally being near. To me it is still awfully cold and I will be happy to get back to Seneca with low 70s this weekend.

When I was here in January right after the extreme cold spell, I thought my
camellia had survived, but this trip I do not see any buds left. It is a gamble
in this climate, even in a protected location. The shrub itself looks very
good.

Decluttering

Back in Roanoke this week. It has not snowed, but it is really cold. When I
left SC, it was 70 degrees and I arrived to mid 30s in Roanoke, but it was
after dark. It is supposed to get into teens tonight. I am more than ever
happy with chosing to move to Seneca.

spring in Seneca

spring in Seneca

meanwhile back in Roanoke

meanwhile back in Roanoke

 

I attended a retirement party for someone I worked with on a system for about 10 years. He had a big grin, as did a couple of us retirees who attended, and the next couple of folks who plan retirement are practically counting down the days. They decided those of us who retired all look so much better because we are getting more sleep and less stress. True.

My goal this trip is to clear out the basement. Between stuff to throw out,
donate, and as little as possible to haul back to Seneca, I have a lot to do.
The upstairs is in decent shape, but still needs completion of cleaning and
staging – next trip. I hope to talk to the realtor then, too.

I am really activating my allergies with all the dust I am stirring up – just
sweeping usually does this. I lose my voice, frustrating, and working in the garden often does this too. At least I feel like I am making progress, lots in trash bags and fewer things in boxes to take with me.

I brought Kinsey, my girl cat, with me, although she hates the trip, she does enjoy a vacation with just me in her old familiar house, away from the tormenting boys. They are as bad as children sometimes. You can see how relaxed she is in her favorite sleeping spot on the couch cushion. I am enjoying having a companion with me.

Kinsey

Kinsey