Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Karen in Texas wanted to know what was going on with the house. Well...we took a gamble. The house had been on the market for over a year. The decision was made that we would put in a bid once the house we'd been working on sold.

A friend noticed that the house was no longer on the market. She messaged right away to see if Tim had talked me into it. "No," I said.

Tim was dead certain that they'd pulled it and listed it with a new realtor, which had happened before, but I called our realtor just to be sure. Someone has put a bid on it. Tim still feels quite strongly about this house. I'm torn. It's a beauty of a house, but instead of the profit from the sold house going into our bank account, it would be going into yet another house. We have talked often about Tim retiring early. This purchase would have kept that plan on the back burner for a couple more years.

So, I'm okay with it. Tim is very disappointed, and is hoping against hope that the deal falls through. It was fun to daydream about it, but I'm happy where we are.

I had a nice moment Sunday night. The moon was glorious, just breath taking, hid within some clouds. I sat visiting with friends as the day turned into night, and I was grateful for friends.

Other than that, just working really hard right now.

Yearly cancer stuff on Monday, and I'm dreading it. I keep telling myself that I'm totally ridiculous that for the past 6 years every report has been good. I'm not sure why I'm being so superstitious.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life and Death

Today, I was sitting at a red light at an intersection. The light changed and the cross traffic stopped. As I prepared to pull out, I noticed a semi truck coming very fast to my right. I hesitated, and watched him apply his brakes hard. The tires were smoking, and the brakes were hissing, and there was this horrifying moment when I realized that he was about to hit the little car waiting at the light.

My horrified gaze met the horrified gaze of the driver of the car and there was nothing to be done. I knew that it would be bad, very bad.

The truck got stopped. I mean, you can not even imagine how close this was. Seriously, the truck was no more than six feet from that little car.

It was over in seconds, really, although it seemed to take forever to unfold.

I finished pulling into the intersection and made my left turn.

I imagine that it was a terrifying moment for both the driver of the car and the truck. I pulled off to drop off a donation of hunting clothes to the Goodwill, and I watched that truck coming. He was flying in a 45 mile an hour zone.

I drove home the rest of the way wondering about that. How can you have such a close call and not be changed, not be filled with such relief and gratitude that you slow that rig down?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cheap entertainment

Tim has been talking about a house.

He's been talking a lot about this house, and yesterday he said, "I've got an appointment to go see this house. Come with me."

I said, "Tim, I don't want another house."

And Tim said, "It doesn't cost anything to look."

I said, "But I know how you work. We've been down this road before."

He pushed. I did go to see it, because I really did want to see what it looked like on the inside.

It is a big house with about 20 rooms on three stories. It has a big front porch, and across the street there is a big house that looks like a castle. The thing is THAT house caught the imagination of a child many years ago, and I imagined what it would be like to live in a castle. Every time that I see that house sitting there in it's quiet dignity, it reminds me of being a little child in the back seat of a car, daydreaming. I wondered what it would be like to remember that memory every single time I looked out my front window.

The house is huge, and it's got a bunch of neat details that appeal to the two of us. Like, for instance, window seats in the big bay windows. A winding staircase to the second level. A servants staircase going up to third floor which is not completely redone, but has the remains of an antique bathroom there that could be renovated. I looked at all the angles and knee walls and windows and that space runs the whole length of that big house.

We agreed that it would make a great bedroom for us, using the southern end of the space for a sitting area for the two of us. The north end could be walled off for his 'mancave'. The space is so huge that even with a bathroom, we could have a bedroom that our bedroom furniture would be lost in.

On the second floor there are six bedrooms, two sitting rooms, another bathroom. The second floor is a split level design which we've never seen before, but is remarkable. On the first floor there is small room that would be a perfect office, a kitchen, a butler's pantry, formal dining room, a half bath, a laundry room, and a living room.

On the plus side, there's lots of parking, something that is a problem right now. A little garage which could be used for a business venture we've been rolling around in our heads for some time now. It has a huge basement, with a walkout, which would make a great workplace for Tim. Plenty of room, exquisite details that neither of us have every seen in a house before: a dutch door for the main entrance, arched doors to the living room, five fireplaces that have been set up for gas. A dumb waiter that was used to ferry the firewood between the 3 stories. A new roof.

It would certainly be a nice investment property.

Downside: lots of renovations. The kitchen needs to be redone completely. One bathroom would have to be redone completely. Carpets ripped out. Some windows replaced.  Way bigger house than we actually need. A bunch of very crappy 'modernizations' that need to be ripped out completely, including huge fricking plate glass mirrors installed everywhere (including one in a fireplace! Who DOES that?)

Long story short, this is a sweet house, but a lot of work, and we can take it or leave it. We're in no rush, because we are happy in our own house now. But we will watch it carefully. Last night, in bed, Tim and I held hands in the dark and dreamed out loud.

That's always fun, and dreaming is still free.

http://www.njshattuckhomes.com/index.php?action=listingview&listingID=1349


Monday, March 30, 2015

Seasons

I've been back from my vacation for a week now. Aside from missing Cara, probably the thing that I miss the most is that there in New Orleans, it was warm and sunny, and we spent most of our time outside. There were birds and blooming jasmine. They were well in the throes of spring there. Here? It's snowing. It's cold.

There are signs of spring everywhere. It's even supposed to get into the fifties this week, and I am looking very forward to that. The grackles are back, and the redwing blackbirds and the robins. You can see buds on the trees, buds waiting for their moment to open. The snow is certainly melting off - there's a lot less of it, and there are patches of grass peaking through. The promise of spring is everywhere, but the promise is not realized yet.

Tim and I went out to buy our meats for the week yesterday. There's a store which has good meat prices, and so we generally go there on Sunday afternoon or evening. We see what is on sale, and that determines what we eat for the week. This week I saw packages of catfish. I saw packages of crawdads. I got an idea. I bought some andouille sausage (not such a bargain, but a necessity). I'll pick up the shrimp at another store today.

I'm making the base for a gumbo.William helped me shuck the crawdads (he played with them, and cried when I 'ope'd' the last one. He was having a good time.) I cut up the sausage, and dumped it in with the catfish, crawdads, onions and celery. I added a can of tomatoes and chiles and let it simmer over night in the crock pot.

I've shut down the crockpot now (I had a cup of broth for breakfast and it was good!) In a few minutes, I'll put the base into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll skim off the grease, and then I'll spend the day putting together gumbo. Invites issued, and I'm looking very forward to it.

I know that the blog has been quiet. It's been a 'withdrawing' time for me. My life has been dreadfully unbalanced. Too much focus on work. I've also lost some friends. Two have died, another dear friend has withdrawn after making it clear that in her mind, I have 'called Jesus a liar', news that came as a dreadful shock to me. After examining my own conscience, I realized that she was hearing a different message. She feels that we have been charged to tell people that without Jesus, they are going to hell. In my thinking, I would never tell anyone that they are going to hell. Judgement is God's job, and it says THAT in the Bible too. I'm not sure why she views it so very differently from me, why it is such an issue in her heart, but I know her. She is my oldest friend, and it is a shock to lose the comfort of that friendship after all these years, but I have spent much of the winter pondering my thoughts on the subject, and I cannot change what I feel (and feel strongly). At the same time, I know that my friend has a good heart. Whatever is happening here is not happening because my friend is a bad person. She says that she cannot talk to me about the things that are most important to her.

There's also been the concern about Tim's shoulder, and the worry about Cara, and concern for William and his safety. Yeah. It's been a long winter.

But, like I said, the promise of spring is everywhere. Yesterday at work, I realized that I was truly enjoying myself, enjoying the interaction with my customers, the busyness of the job. A coworker asked if I'd always lived in Warren, because it seemed like I knew everybody, and that everyone knew me.

I thought of that last night as William and I worked together. The crawdads weren't the only thing coming out of their shell. The season is changing, and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Update

Hi, folks.

All is well here.

Tim is back to work. He has regained full range of motion, and is continuing to strengthen his arm.

William has turned 4, and is still a joy.

I spent last week in New Orleans with Cara, who was home for an educational conference. It was a joyous week and a nice break from bitterly cold weather here in Pennsylvania. It was in the 80s every single day, and we spent most of that time outside, soaking up the beauty of full-on spring. I took a ton of pictures on Cara's Nikon, and I've been well and truly bitten by the photography bug. Will share pictures later. They are on her camera card. Cara is back in Kabul, and I miss her terribly.

We have a house to put on the market in a couple weeks. Tim and our hired man completely renovated our home in the woods, and it is beautiful.

My life is good and sweet and busy.

Although there was that great and glorious moment when I was laying sleepless in bed and pondering things...and it occurred to me, apropos to absolutely nothing that in 12 years I'll be 70. I laid sleepless in bed for quite a while after thinking that think...

Today at work: A fellow is jawjacking in line, and half paying attention. I got his prescription and said, "Your copay today is a hundred dollars.' His eyes got wide, his face got red, and he stuttered around. I burst out laughing and said, "Just seeing if you're paying attention. It's $11.' Hard to tell who was laughing harder, him or the people in line behind him.

It was a funny day, with lots of chances to joke and laugh with the customers. I enjoy that part of my job very much.