Sunday, April 26, 2015

I like the way you move...

I have lived at SEVEN different addresses in the last TEN years. I have to admit, I kinda like that.
When I moved this last time (almost four years ago now) I thought it would be the last time...well, I knew it would be the last time for a while.
Then Dave moved in.
Not that we need more room for the two of us. We would just LIKE a little more space. He has cousins who live in St. Louis and it's been disappointing to not be able to offer them a place to stay when they come visit. And...we both love gardening. Flowers, vegetables...we MISS growing things.
I got the ('time to move') bug about a month ago and looked up how much my home was worth.
I was shocked. It has gone up in value nearly $200,000 since August of 2011.
I talked with Dave a bit and decided to call my Realtor.
So...we went out and looked at houses today.
We know what we're looking for--three bedrooms and a yard. Nothing too fancy...nothing too big.
I realized that Dave and I, though both in our 50s and both having bought and sold many homes--had never purchased one together. It was fun to look at the houses and SEE us there. And our kids. And our family. And our FRIENDS!
As we looked at each one we said, "Oh good, plenty of parking!"
We have looked about a dozen at this point and have narrowed it down to one that we both really like. In our neighborhood--distance wise and finance wise as well! 
Trick is, we have to sell ours to buy anything else.
That's ok too. Cause I love cleaning up, throwing things out and getting a house on the market!
Tonight our house is CLEAN and bright and ready for photographers to come in tomorrow.
As this will be the EIGHTH place I've lived in 10 years, I don't stress about it too much.
If this house that we like doesn't work out, there are many more out there.
Do you know anyone in the market for a two bedroom two full baths 1078 square foot condo?!
Let me know.
I love starting over.
I have a feeling this next move will be the last one.
Oh, heck. Who am I kidding.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Empty Nest Celebration...

A re-post of an oldie but goodie...
My kids are grown and gone. Have been for a while. Because I got married at 12 (ok, 18) and had 9 kids before I was 21 (ok, 2) I've always been quite a bit ahead of my friends in the raising children department. I've been waiting many years for them to catch up with me.
And the time has arrived.
This last week,  two of my high school girlfriends had their youngest child leave the nest. They flew the coop! One went to finish her senior year in college and one went to begin a new life in Australia!
And though neither had a "don't let the door hit you in the butt" attitude about seeing their child leave, they are certainly not sitting home crying tonight wondering what to do now.

On the contrary! A better question might be what WON'T we do now?!  
In a few days these two friends and I will embark on a California Coast Celebration Cruise! Well, we're getting in the car with a small suitcase, a big ice chest and we're headed out on a Road Trip!

Our destination: FUN! LAUGHTER! HAPPINESS! BLISS!
OH and Bakeries, Beaches and Baseball games! Fruit stands, Flea markets and lots of checking in on Facebook!
We're heading toward a ton of Kodak moments and a whole lot of amazing living...
(And hopefully we'll end up in San Francisco at some point too!)
There will be no Empty Nest Syndrome Sufferers on this trip.

I've written about this a few times before and talk about it quite often as my friends are in the midst of this season. Honestly, I'm not sure there's many suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome anymore. The majority of my friends have worked outside the home throughout their child rearing years, and long ago mastered (and enjoyed!) the balance of career and family. We have also always had outside interests and hobbies and plan only to broaden and expand those activities now that the kids are grown.
Most of all, we have amazing, genuine friendships that we are trule EXCITED about being able to deepen at this point.

I've always believed that having your OWN life enables and encourages your adult children to have their own life too. The three women embarking on this trip have a combined SIX children with college degrees--with all EIGHT of our kids are living happy, successful, interesting, independent lives of their own!

What is there to be sad or depressed about?! 
If I may say so myself, "WE DONE GOOD!"
And there is so much to celebrate!

 And CELEBRATE WE WILL with a toast at every single stop along the way--"To Life!" And with every minute in between.
There will come a time when you think everything is finished, 
that will be the beginning.


Nothing new for New Years...

I started 2011 with my home in foreclosure and spent the first several months of the year digging out from under. From under tremendous pressure, from under unmanageable debt and MOSTLY from under years and years of clutter--and way too much STUFF.
There had been nearly a year of stress and frustration before that as I tried desperately to refinance my home. Hundreds of thousands of dollars had literally disappeared into a mortgage that was so top heavy, it made me physically ache. But a HUGE part of my burden was 1500 square feet of STUFF--47 years worth of THINGS that, along with the house, were going to have to go. Closets full of clothes and dressers full of more clothes. A two car garage that held but one car--and half a dozen rhino racks of MORE 'stuff', albeit highly organized...it was just SO MUCH!

Gratefully, I was able to get rid of the mortgage, along with half a million dollars worth of debt. Sure, $300,000 was gone too, but so was the stress and frustration. And, I began three months of total clean up, selling, giving and THROWING away at LEAST two thirds of my STUFF. Every trip to the Goodwill made me feel better, lighter, freer! And I stopped BUYING more stuff! I had a new perspective on life and what I really NEEDED in my world! And to this day--I promise you--there is NOTHING that I miss. NOTHING that I wish I still had. I honestly couldn't even tell you what I gave away. It was just so much STUFF.

And today, I feel like a new woman.
One year later, I live in an incredibly clutter-free world. Honestly, in no way does my home look sparse or empty...nope, just clean and bright and light!
And it feels good here. Always!
Believe me, I have everything in the world I could possibly need.

So when it comes to thinking of New Year's Resolutions...I have only one.
One big one.
I want to go a year--all of 2012--without buying anything.
Obviously, this does not mean creamer or coffee or toilet paper or soap. I will have to purchase groceries and gasoline and toiletries, as necessary, of course.
What it DOES mean is that I do not need one more thing--I don't need any more stuff. Not one more item of clothing. Not another purse. Not another pair of shoes or even a pair of socks. I do not need another book, another DVD, or any more furniture. I certainly don't need another decoration, kitchen item or knick knack.
It comes back to me asking, What do I really NEED?!
Honestly, at my age and stage of life, I'm SO content and OH so happy with everything-- it's still FAR more than I will ever need.

So that's my resolution.
Nothing new for 2012.
I'll be able to pay off my debt (i.e. pay for the things I already HAVE) and relax and be grateful in my calm, clutter FREE, beauty-FULL home.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

He liked it so he...

 put a ring on it!

I've been wearing a ring on my left hand for the last couple of years. I had purchased several different ones--none of them cost very much--and they truly didn't really 'mean' anything.
But today, Dave bought me a ring. A REAL ring...a REAL diamond...a REALLY beautiful symbol of OUR love and of our commitment to one other. And I LOVE it. (And him!)
I think it's STUNNING! And VERY meaningful...
It's been a VERY long time since I wore a symbolic ring.
I am PROUD  and OH SO happy to be wearing this one.