Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘house’

We did not decorate much this year.  After grandson/son #2 (Army Guy) went off to the Army, the boys moved bedrooms and I am left with the extra bedroom on the main floor.  It will eventually be my workroom, but right now is just a mess.  The first thing I did though, was move grandson/sons #3 (JCountry) piano out to the dining room. 

We have an L shaped main floor, with 1/4 of that square (that’s not an L) being that bedroom, now workroom.  The other parts of the L are the kitchen, the dining area, a tv, a couch collection (my mother likes to replace her furniture and we have inherited quite a few extra pieces), and a computer area.  Trust me, this is NOT a big house.

Which I really realized when it was time to put up the tree.  There just isn’t anywhere to put a Christmas tree.  Heck, there’s a comfy rocking love seat in the middle of the floor.  I did consider hanging it (the tree, not the couch) but there was no room for that either. 

I took my trusty Menard’s rebate and got a 24″ tree and a can of spray snow (Any tree I have is having snow on it.) and I went to Hobby Lobby, and for 50% off, I bought a fake garland (which also now has snow on it) and a cloth runner to protect the ancient piano from the fake snow.

In our first house we had a fireplace and I did this every year on the mantle, only with real boughs and fake snow and shiny ornaments and (when we were in the room) lit candles.  Now, I have two plastic battery candles.

It’s in a pinch.  The guys are older now and not so excited about going into the attic for decorations.  I just wanted something up.   I used to decorate every square inch but this house put a stop to that.  I really need to declutter more; which I have been doing for the last seven years actually and still have more to go.

I have another reason for decorating.  On my facebook (http://SAVanVleck.Wordpress.com) a couple of people have mentioned not enjoying Christmas because they have lost a loved one. 

I know the feeling.  When my brother died, I just wasn’t sure I would ever enjoy the holidays again.  Then, Dad died and I was left with this horrible guilt because we thought we were doing him a favor by taking down the tree before we left their house after Christmas.  He got up and was not happy.  He wanted to look at it for more time.  That was his last Christmas.

So, what I tell people and firmly believe now, is do not deprive yourself because you feel lonely, or sad, or guilty or whatever.  My brother and father were both big on Christmas and, by decorating, it is more a reminder of that joy and a tribute to the ones you love who loved the holidays.

Happy Holidays to everyone.

Read Full Post »

There are days when I just avoid life. I should go out and walk around the yard or go to the park or something, but “noooo.” What do I do? I decide to waste a precious hour of my life on an idiot program like Bridezillas. On those days, I worry about my own sanity.

It’s like watching a train wreck. You just cannot look away. How anyone can behave like that is beyond belief. And, I sit there and wait for someone to shake some sense into them, or slap them in the face, or, at the very least walk out on them. But, that is not going to happen. If it did the show would have twenty minutes of dead air time.

What also amazes me is that anyone, who behaves that bad, would allow cameras to record it for posterity. Well, that is not the only thing that amazes me. It amazes me that any man has so little self respect that he would marry a woman like that. Even if he did not realize it before, he should know it by two weeks before that wedding and dump her sorry “you know what.”

I never knew that a wedding was “All about me” either. I always thought it was a celebration of marriage and a commitment to each other. You know, it takes two to make a wedding/marriage. One day you meet the person with whom you want to share all the trials and tribulations and joys of life. Hopefully, you meet someone who makes you a better person and feels the same about you. Unfortunately, all too often, that does not work, but that is not the discussion here, although, maybe it should be because all the grooms of Bridezilla’s would then get smart and walk out.

Is it possible that the “wedding money making machine” has created this? Is “having things so lavish that everyone who walks in the room knows you have more money than…” Well, Bernie Madoff comes to mind. Is that all a wedding is about now?

Come on people, take that $20,000, or more, and put it down on a house. Or, Take $18,000 of it and spend $2,000 on a trip somewhere. Otherwise, it’s over the next day and statistics seem to be that you are divorced in a few years and what was the point after all?

Hey, could it be that if the goal of the whole day is to cement your love into a marriage, and you just had this little ceremony, with a few close friends, could it maybe mean you have your priorities straight and you will not add to those divorce statistics?

Read Full Post »

Both of my parents had a spot, or more, of Obsessive Compulsiveness in them.  My dad once took the effort to get up from his lounger, and perhaps miss a few minutes of television, to move a nick-nack, ½ inch over.  I had dusted and not gotten it exactly the same distance from the center nick-nack as the one on the other end, of equal height. 

 

 

Mind you, this is the man who built a house to line up with the road and came home from WWII, raised his house up on jacks to dig a basement and spent the time and effort to move the house like two inches so that it would line up with east and west.  My mother was not happy as we were the only people with a house crooked to the road. 

 

 

And, to think, I lived there seventeen years and never once noticed that our house did or did not line up with the sun, the directions or the road.  

 

Read Full Post »

After much hassle and more money than I ever dreamt any move should cost, we closed on our house November 7, 2003.  I promise this will be the last house post for a while.

As rumor has it, the first owner lived in a trailer, while he built the basement and then moved into that. It had a low sloped peaked roof on it, and a bucket affair for a septic system.

The second owner then built the upstairs, without removing the original roof or replacing the bucket.  We have twelve inches of ceiling, roofing and flooring between the first and second floors.  It is very soundproof, except for the central stairway, and, there is no sneaking around in our house as it has the squeakiest floor on the planet.

We did, when spring broke, get a real septic system, paid for by escrow money.

When, the foundation was put in, there was no gravel added, so the side that is underground, is having wall seepage problems. Mom used to get little rivulets of water down the wall. We got a repair estimate and, ever since, I have been threatening to buy more shovels for our four strapping boy. They are strong and limber and I would not have to take the porch off if they got under there and dug it out.

We had twenty-two separate propane leaks to fix. After the fifth propane leak was found, I called the propane company out. They declared we were leak free.  That was sixteen leaks ago. One set of leaks was because the previous owner built a box around the propane line and then used a nail gun, not on the edges, but right on the middle, to nail the cover on; thus, nailing through the propane line; not once, but twice.  You never saw a disabled man move so fast in your life as when my husband pulled that cover off to check.

The plumbing is another constant battle.  Husband recently fixed the kitchen drain leak for the third time. And, the downstairs bathroom has so many leaks that our water bill has doubled and the bathroom is looking like a permanent site of remodeling.  As the last repair left a square cut out of the bathroom wall and the cut-out piece leans in place.

One leak that has been repaired previously, and he tells me it has “healed itself,” is by the water heater.  I go check and report that the bucket is overflowing again.  And, he says he thought it was fixed. Apparently, he is holding an invisible plumber hostage down there.

Then there is the infamous leak in EMT boy’s bedroom from an original leak that, when husband repaired it, it flooded my mother’s room, right above her computer.  Gaffer and I grabbed empty Rubbermaids and tried to catch the waterfall flowing above mom’s computer station. It was “Abbot and Costello meets Niagra Falls.”  I recently discovered, the hard way, that it is still leaking.  EMT boy’s room had to be dried out, yet again.

 
 

 

The house did not just come with problems either, some were created after we moved in. 
Husband had a good mind, at one time; I think that twenty years of COPD has caused oxygen deprivation, as most intelligent people do not check for propane leaks with a match.

I now have soot on the wall and a large hole from a fire he started in the wall behind the kitchen stove. He has also, when putting shrink wrap on a package (he shrinks my drawings) melted the carpet in one room.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it back home in Indiana. We have four acres and a pond (30 feet deep x 30 feet x 100 feet) and the boys ( we have four living with us now instead of one) use it all summer. Recently, they built a fire pit and use that constantly too. 

The wooded property is beautiful and, each morning I take a walk with Chihuahua, weed, pick vegetables and take pictures. The last thing I do at night is let Chihuahua out, and step outside to listen to the crickets and frogs, and spend a few minutes just staring at the stars and watching the tree tops sway.  

I think, if I lived in a tent, I would be very happy; colder maybe but dryer.

Read Full Post »

THE MOST EXPENSE MOVE ON EARTH!

 

PICTURE THIS:

1.     House sells and you aren’t sure you want to but you are now stuck.

2.     Two weeks pass and you refuse inspections, thus begging out of the whole thing. Whew!

3.     And, way too good realtor hands you next offer. Shit!

4.     Not knowing why you accept it, you do and find that you have two weeks to move a 2,100 square foot house, of two households, with:

a.     Disabled husband

b.     Elderly mother (who has moved like three times in her life and wants to dust everything off before she packs it.)

c.      Gaffer (whose claim to strength is his PS2 thumbs)

d.     And me

5.     THEN, two days before closing, you rent the largest truck and the largest trailer they will rent.

6.     You begin to pack up way earlier than you think you need to (after all you have had a huge yard sale already and you are short on help).

7.     It is the end of October and THEN IT SNOWS. It just doesn’t send down some lazy flakes, it is an icy, dense, two and a half feet of snow, that:

a.     Makes the metal floor of the truck, which sits on a slope, like skating on ice

b.     Strands the trailer loaded with mom’s stuff in the middle of the yard

c.      Disables town, but never fearless realtor’s offices, and keeps even the day laborers at home.

8.     Thus causing:

a.     You to pay for an extra truck and a storage unit ‘cause it ain’t all gonna fit.

b.     You to purchase a new dolly, as the other one fell out the open door of the extra truck.

c.      You pay for two days of house rental because it just isn’t enough time

d.     You pay loan shark bribery rates to shut up the new owner’s mother-in-law who does not see this as an act of God, as she watches disabled husband and Gaffer trying to move a refrigerator through two and a half feet of heavy snow, when the moving truck would not come closer than one hundred feet to the house.

e.      Well, actually the money was also to shut her up because we left stuff. Not much inside, just some in a closet but a lot in my studio. A LOT!

9.     Finally, closing is over, our stuff is packed –Oh!, and the truck already broke down in the yard once, but, we are on the road, with the help of new home owner who pulled the trailer out of the yard and also came running after us to give us a photo left on the wall. We drive to a motel because we are all beat and need a place to collapse and cry.

10.                        We leave in the morning and:

a.     Disabled husband loses the $1,000 he has for gasoline.  After much searching and panic, he finds it laying in the muck of the parking lot (One for us, Ten for the evil ones)

b.     The motor home will not start and besides that problem, disabled husband burns up the starter trying to start it.  We transfer everything around. I now will drive the van and pull a trailer. We pay to have the motor home towed. 

c.      We leave everything that we needed first in the motor home, at the repair shop, in Casper, Wyoming, so that we will then have to replace all of Gaffer’s wardrobe, so he can go to school when we arrive in Indiana.  But, we are on our way back home to Indiana.

 

Then, the phone rings. We had been approved for our loan but, unbeknownst to us, the house was not approved for the loan and that call was our realtor telling us that our home was not approved by the mortgage company because:  are you ready??

 

IT DID NOT HAVE A SEPTIC SYSTEM.  It had something like a bucket buried in the ground. 

 

MY QUESTION: Shouldn’t somebody have noticed this a lot earlier in the story?

 

Continued tomorrow:

Read Full Post »

Master’s daughter and I were at it again, the dippers of Margarita that is. She reminded me of the old “list serve” my brilliant nephew, in Wisconsin, had set up for the family before Blogs or subscriptions to groups were the rage. With one click, you could send your email out to everyone and, as long as everyone was being nice and friendly, it was a blast. Of course, that was also a time when only your family knew how weird your family was and not everyone in the universe, who can now read it when you spill your guts on your Blog.

 

My “Mother of eleven” daughter, was looking for a house about seven children ago, when she happened upon a piece of rural property with bonus lawn decorations. Homes in Wyoming come with lots of perks; sagebrush, rattlesnakes, sagebrush, windmills to bring up water, sagebrush, jackrabbits, and more sagebrush. This had an added bonus.

 

The bonus: Loose cattle rubbing against the house, looking in windows, eating the flowers, or just relaxing in a decorative manner and pooping on the lawn. The by-product of which is heaps of flies. It would be enough to know my mother’s reaction to poop in the yard, you should have heard her when said daughter had loose chickens, then you would understand that this was really enough to get a good conversation going.

 

However, as a poop de grâce, there was a dead cow in the front yard. Not surprisingly, not if you know my family at any rate, this became the topic of a contest on our family list serve.

 

 Answers to the problem ranged from:

1. Wait 20 years and sell the cow skull to mom. (Okay, so I was a re-enactor then. So, shoot me. My daughters often fought over who would HAVE to take Mom’s stuff if I died)

 2. Give it to the realtor as a thank you gift.

3. Start a new farming trend: dead cows, low feed bills, fewer ranch hands.

4. Advertise it as low maintenance pets.

5. Tie it to a stick and use it for a scare-cow.

6. Tie to the front of your truck and use it as a cattle guard.

7. Sell it to Hollywood as a prop.

8. Build a catapult and make it your neighbor’s problem.

9. Put its picture on cartons of spoiled milk.

10. Point all 4 feet upward and put a flower box on its belly.

11. Get a big box and ups it to the previous owners.

12. Get a large magnet and place it on the fridge.

13. Feet up, sheet of glass, cowfee table table.

14. Use it to start your very own road kill restaurant.

15. Use it as a pull toy for your growing family.

16. Save it for Halloween and put on someone’s roof

17. Get a large tank of piranha, as you have plenty of feed now.

18. Inflate it with helium and enter it in the unusual kites contest

19. Use it as a very smelly piñata.

 

 

 Daughter and I were wondering, however, just what would “Designed to Sell” do with a dead cow. How about it? Any ideas how they would give it curb appeal? You can’t say have it hauled away. It has to be decorative.

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »