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One Month Later…

One Month Later…

Let’s see. When we last chatted, I was shacked up at a local hotel waiting for my condo to finish drying out and getting the repairs started. After exactly one month, I was finally able to come home. Is my house completed? No. Are all the repairs done? No. But I do have a new hot water tank (my expense) and a shower. At the time I came home last Friday, no repairs had yet to be started other than the drywall and paint in the half bath.

So what happened? Why is this taking so long?

Long story short, and because I think the story’s a bit tedious and tiresome, I fired the first contractors because they were essentially no-call no-shows all the way around from the general contractor to the sub-sub-contractors and they left me hanging without care or concern to how this all had traumatized me. I won’t go into all the minutiae of how the insurance adjuster was an ass and pulled the rug out from under me complicating matters. I won’t go into how I had a major meltdown and cried for nearly a day straight. But now I am home and starting to feel more centered and more me.

IMG_7996This picture is how the master bath looked for about two weeks. I have to walk through that bath to get to my bedroom.

Yesterday, the new contractors laid the floor in my half bath, hung the door, reframed the ceiling in my master bath, and scraped off the cement board on the floor of the master bath. Today, they moved a drain pipe into the studs of the wall, allowing me to have a flat wall for my new bathtub and tile. They framed the tub seat and the shower niche that I want, and started hanging the right type of backer-board and sheetrock. They painted the trim around the half-bath doors. Now we’re just waiting for the tub to be delivered.

Many of my friends think I’m going to end up with a new house out of all this, and no, not really. My half bath, which is on the main level of the house, will be returned to precisely how it was before the water catastrophe, with the exception of a new five-panel door (very inexpensive) because the one there was junk. My master bath, on the lower level, was where the majority of the damage occurred. It had a cabinet that was removed and destroyed as it was covered in mold. Once the mitigation crew pulled off the walls, I had the plumber remove the entire tub and surround – one of those plastic four-piece kits – so I could be assured that there was no further water or mold damage behind the bathtub. The insurance is only responsible for restoring a place to how it was before the event. This means, the new tub, tile, and floor is all my responsibility. The sheetrock, insulation, and painting, is the insurance’s responsibility.

Things are coming together so much faster in the last two days that I’m actually quite emotional about it. The relief I feel is overwhelming and at the same time exhausting. I can barely move because I’m so tired. The excitement for a pretty new bathroom that meets my (high) standards is mounting. Soon this nightmare – and it was a nightmare – will be only a memory.

IMG_8195The picture (left) shows the master now framed in and waiting for the tub. There will be a “bench” at the end of the tub that will hold shampoos, baskets, candles, whatever. The niche on the back wall will have mosaic tiles inset into it, and there will be a decorative grab bar just below it for safety.

In Hindsight–Some Moving Tips

In Hindsight–Some Moving Tips

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This picture sums up how we feel about moving here. That is my daughter’s dog, Trixie. Who said dogs don’t smile?

We just love our new homes. There have been so many coincidences and serendipitous moments that prove to us that we definitely made the right decision to move here. It’s been a long, hard move with too much stuff to deal with and very little physical labor help. It’s been a slow process opening boxes and unpacking and wondering just why in Hades I packed that thing. As I unpack, I have boxes quickly filling up that will go to the local Goodwill donation center. Some things still up in a storage locker in Seattle will also get donated before bringing the rest of the stuff down here. Most of what’s left is memorabilia and things that were my mom’s. I have to sort through that stuff still and that takes time. I can’t make snap decisions about that stuff like I can my own stuff.

In hindsight, there are a few things I would do differently next time, particularly when moving from one state to another. (My thoughts have to do with the DIY move, not where you have professionals come in and pack and move you, as you might have with a job relocation where the company pays for your move.)

  • Sell everything. Seriously. Sell everything except clothes and personal items that you really must keep. Even the large furniture, unless it’s a family heirloom or something, can be sold, if you have the time to do it. The money spent to hire movers to move the stuff could be better spent purchasing new items in your new location. And shopping is way more fun. I had just purchased a brand new bedroom set, so I wasn’t about to sell that. However, pretty much everything else except for a couple antique tables could have been sold and I would have been happy sitting on the floor while shopping for new sofas.
  • IMG_7075Don’t ask friends to help you move, even if you’re willing to pay them. I did and was disappointed and hurt. One said he had to work the whole weekend, and the other who was a professional driver didn’t respond until the day before we were scheduled to move (I’d given him several days notice when I asked.) People are human and they will disappoint you. It’s a sad lesson to learn. On the other hand, I did have some willing helpers in my oldest daughter and step-daughter and for them I am eternally grateful – even if one box they packed was labeled “Kitchen Crap.” Ouch.
  • Hire professional laborers. Yes, you can hire muscle only. With the exception of some really stupid loading mistakes, the workers I hired worked really hard and were very conscientious about my items. The stupid loading mistakes were mostly from the workers not working “smart” and paying attention to the word “fragile” written on the boxes.
  • Pack your own items. If you can, pack IMG_7234your own boxes. You know better than anyone else the value of your items, and stuff that is really irreplaceable should be hand-carried by you to the new location, if at all possible. If not hand-carried, then make sure it’s packed safely in boxes surrounded with your sofa pillows, plenty of bubble wrap, and/or towels and linens. That’s the only way my mother’s heirloom lamps survived the move.
  • Sort and purge as you pack, not as you unpack. This sounds like a no-brainer, but honestly, it kind of goes back to my first point. There is so much less that you need in your new place than you think. I needed to remember that I was downsizing and would not have room for half the stuff I packed and moved. The rule of thumb I always like to remember is that if I haven’t used it in a year, I probably don’t need to bring it with me.
  • Slow down. This applies mostly to the loading and unloading. I hired muscle (laborers) who were paid by the hour. They were hard workers and worked quickly and steadily. However, in hindsight, I wish I had urged them to slow down a bit – even if I had to pay for an additional hour or two – and let me think as things were being loaded and unloaded. I could have supervised the loading a bit better and helped to ensure that the hardware to the bed made it along with the bed (it didn’t), and I could have directed the unloading a bit better so that the boxes and furniture made it to the right rooms (they didn’t.) My daughter’s apartment looked like a hoarder’s apartment because they stacked all the furniture and boxes in the living room. At my house, most of the stuff landed in the garage or in the wrong rooms. We had to pay for additional help to get the stuff moved to all the right places.
  • Remember to rest and eat right. I forgot this one a IMG_7003lot. Mostly because I just don’t stop. I become driven and machine-like. By forgetting to eat and rest, I ended up being beyond exhausted. My inner doctor (self) figured I was severely exhausted, suffering from dizziness and extreme fatigue. It was like a mega-flare of fibro combined with lightheadedness and heat exhaustion. I’m better now.
  • Enjoy the journey. This is probably the most important tip I have. One chapter closes, another opens. Remember to stop and acknowledge that everything in life changes and be grateful for the blessings received in both locations. I consciously made time in the process to stop for a few moments and acknowledge the home (not just a house) that I sold and left behind and all the memories I had (good and not-so-good) about where I was. I was then able to enjoy the process of hope and excitement about where I am headed.
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    All that said, I’m happy the move is behind me. Now comes all the unpacking, painting, and decorating. That’s kind of the fun part. Oh, and exploring my new town. More about all that in future posts.

    Do you have any additional tips for moving? What was the biggest lesson for moving that you learned in hindsight?

    Reasons Why I Moved Here

    Reasons Why I Moved Here

    I am a nature girl at heart. I am not a city girl at all. Give me trees, rivers, oceans, and even cow farms and I am happy. I particularly love water in all forms- lake, river, pond, fountain, ocean. I like to be in the water or on it, but even just gazing at it is rejuvenating.

    Every day in my new town brings new opportunities to explore, and so far I have not been disappointed.

    Today we found a new park near a river. The park had ample picnic tables, a pebble beach for the kids, a spray pad and giant jungle gym. (Probably the new word for them these days is playground structure. Who knows.) I had all three grandkids with me and they all loved it. We are ending the day with the two boys (who are spending a week with me before school starts) at the local skate park. They love this skate park and if they could would be here 24/7.

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    The Longest Road Paved With Too Much Stuff

    The Longest Road Paved With Too Much Stuff

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    We only moved about 200 miles away, but one would think we were moving to the opposite side of the country. It’s been a long haul and seemingly never ending. It’s been a huge burden, but one I’ve carried willingly because the goal outweighs the process.

    I’ve moved too many people and belongings over the last two years. This last move, however, has been the most eye opening. I thought my mom had a lot of stuff. I knew my daughter had a lot of stuff. The real eye opener was learning that *I* had a lot of stuff. Too much stuff.

    How does this happen? The collection of stuff… My friend and I were discussing this yesterday. It happens slowly and gradually, and no one ever goes out and consciously says, “I’m going to accumulate way more than my house can hold or than I truly need.” We gather belongings because they’re pretty, they may be priced cheaply, or they make us feel good in some way.

    IMG_7073At some point, however, all those things become a burden. A huge heavy burden and an expensive one when it comes time to move. The expense of all the stuff that my daughter and I have accumulated now exceeds the cost of purchasing all those items – particularly all the stuff purchased because it was “on sale”. 

    The original plan for our move was to rent one truck, pack our belongings, and tow her car, tow a cargo trailer behind my car for my large potted plants and fragile items, and move everything on down the road. However, during the loading process, we realized we had way more stuff than a single 26’ U-haul truck could accommodate. So we took the essentials and moved. We left behind the excess stuff contained in half a garage (hers), two storage lockers (mine but includes some of hers and excess furniture I haven’t yet sold), and some items at my old home (garden stuff, patio chairs, beautiful potted flowers).

    The first trip went fairly smoothly, although it took forever (10+ hours to load, 6+ hours to unload), and some of the hardware to furniture got lost. We had to hire helpers at quite a cost because all those “friends” who said they would help suddenly disappeared. (Yes, I have a resentment about that but whatever… I digress…) We finally moved into our respective homes, but the burden of how to get the rest of our stuff has still landed squarely on my shoulders.

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    The result is that we have to do the whole trip a second time. The difference is that this time everything goes straight to storage where we can then start a serious attack of purging stuff. Do we really need 10 bins of Halloween decorations? Do we have room for that cute little pink desk that I got for free from a friend? Yes, we need to keep the memorabilia, but I surely don’t need half the crap I stored.

    Today, my daughter has headed north to gather up all this stuff while I stay behind and secure a storage unit and watch (play) with little Laila. Again, we are hiring muscle to load and unload our stuff, and she is driving the truck and towing her car. The burden is about to be lifted, or eased at least. Once I have all our crap stuff here, I can exhale and start releasing the burden and the stuff. It’s time to downsize not only my physical surroundings but everything I pack into those surroundings. This will free up my soul and my mind for more lightweight and fun activities and experiences. Much needed!

    Hot Diggity Dog Digs

    Hot Diggity Dog Digs

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    Let’s go on a little tour of the new digs, shall we?

    I’m so excited to be here. The prior owner had completely different taste in decorating than I have so there are several things I’m changing or will eventually change as time and money permits.

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    This condo is a multi-level condo. You enter up the stairs on the middle level. The kitchen and dining room are the two windows above the double garage. The lower level is the master suite. The upper level is the guest suite. In total, there are 26 steps between the top level and the bottom. The condo is built on a hillside and backs up to a greenbelt where, I’m told, deer have been seen to come right up to the bedroom window. I love that!

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    This view is standing in the living room looking back at the entry. The light fixture on the wall is hideous. Eventually, I’ll find the right replacement light. In this picture, I am quickly covering up the peach and terra cotta colors that the prior owner seemed to love.  (The furnished picture is from the listing photos.)

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    Here you can see the slider that goes out to the deck

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    And the deck, decorated by me.

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    The very first thing I did was get rid of the orange wall. I do have my calming, favorite colors, don’t I?

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    These are the stairs that lead up half a flight to the kitchen and dining room. Oh, by the way, the floor is a mahogany wood laminate. Not hardwood, but laminate. I guess I’ll have to deal for now. At least it cleans easily.

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    This is the dining room with a wicked cool ceiling fan. It needs the ceiling fan because those windows get a lot of sun – and heat.

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    And the piece de resistance:  The 1979 kitchen. I swear these are the original fake wood formica countertops. They will be gone within the year, I hope. The prior owner painted only the cabinet fronts. Weird.

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    There is this cool little desk area, however. I am using it as my mini-office. It overlooks the family room and gets a lot of light. You can see the 12-foot ceilings and extra set of windows, which open, by the way. How you get that high to open them is a mystery. Actually, you have to have a very tall ladder.

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    Looking back into the living area from the dining room. (Photo taken when we toured.)

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    Here’s looking back at the front door. You can see the improvement in the wall color.

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    Looking up at the stairs. See in the back behind the rails? There is another half flight of stairs that leads up to a guest suite and washer/dryer. It came with a lovely super-capacity stackable washer and dryer. The guest suite includes a full bath. I call it a guest suite because there will be a place for my grandsons to sleep or for friends when they come visit, but in all reality, it will be my sewing room. Woohoo!

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    Windows looking out to the green belt. I seriously love this view. I think this is what sold me.

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    Guest half bath on the main level before and after paint color.

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    These are the stairs leading down to the lower level. Halfway down is the door to the garage. The stairs turn and lead down to the master suite. I will eventually be changing out all those handrails and bannisters. They are weird.

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    Don’t you love the racing stripes? And the carpet is an olive green. I want a sandy color carpet. Eventually.

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    Neither do I so they are going, going…

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    GONE.

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    This bedroom is the size of my prior bedroom and bath combined.

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    And here’s the master bath. This condo has a TON of storage and places for linen – just the opposite of my prior home.

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    So, there you have it, more or less. I’m happy here. I’m getting used to the climate change as well. Even though I’m only about 200 miles south from where I was, the climate is warmer. It’s more humid, too. I’m acclimating. In more ways than one. I honestly know I’m going to be very happy here and good things will result.

    Epic Changes–Moving on Down the Road

    Epic Changes–Moving on Down the Road

    IMG_7124Hello friends. Miss me? It’s been almost three months since I’ve blogged. I’m really tired of writing about epic changes, but indeed, that’s how my life has been lately.

    A while back, I had an epiphany.  I had a dream where my parents both came and spoke to me, along with my grandmother, and another woman I knew who has passed on. My parents told me to let go and move on so that THEY could move on. This dream made me literally wake up, but also to take notice, and move forward out of my grief.  I needed to stop deciding what to do with my life based on a motive that it would make my parents proud. In the dream, my parents made it clear that they were already proud of me and that I needed to start to live my life for myself, and not for others.

    A while after having that dream, I suddenly had the thought that it was time to move. Time to sell the too-large house and downsize. Actually, I had been thinking about it for some time – years, even. Back when my mom was alive, I had admitted to myself that my house, even though I loved it, was too much for me and that I was overextended. The poor housing market made it a bad time to sell, as well as being too busy caring for my mom and the rest of my family. The house took up all my time and there was no time for socializing, even sewing. It seemed that all I did was take care of the yard and interior. Some of that was fun, yes, but some of it was just a burden.

    Now, in Seattle, the housing market is bubbling up. I estimate that it’s nearly where it was pre-bust 2008. I recall saying then, “Just wait five years, it will come back.” And it certainly has. As a result, it seemed to be the most opportune time for me to sell my lovely home and make the most from it that I possibly could. And sell it I did –and fast. It was on the market for eight days and I got a full price offer. I sold it for just a bit less than the price my neighbor got in 2008.

    The funny thing is that in my life when I make a decision, or am inspired to make a change, if it is meant to be, things usually move rapidly and smoothly. And boy, did everything happen quickly. The house sold, I found a sweet little condo, and moved myself as well as my youngest daughter and my granddaughter. We are now in Portland, Oregon, here is where my story started. I hope you hang in there with me. I have so much to share with you. Time to continue this story – for me.

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