Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Promotional Pie Pickup

When we decided to sell our house, we chose a very large brokerage firm that uses a 'team' approach. We actually are working with two agents--one for the selling process and another one for the buying part. And then after a contract is signed on either end, the paperwork gets handed off to people who do nothing but concentrate on the closing details. The firm has their own website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel.

Out of the dozens of people who work at the agency we had only met two. So when Hubby Tony got an email inviting us to come to their office to pick up a complimentary pie, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

When Tony got home from work he changed clothes, then we got organized and left the house. Thanks to Google it was easy to find the office in a building about a half hour from our house. Just inside the front door of the building an associate was sitting at a folding table. She asked if we were there to pick up a pie, and when we said we were escorted us down a couple of halls to a room that looked like it would normally be a conference room. However, today it had morphed into Pie Central. One long table held Costco-sized apple and pumpkin pies. The associate handed us the apple one we had requested, then got the attention of one of the firm's owners.

The owner came over and talked to us for a couple of minutes, then thanked us for coming by. On the way out of the room we briefly talked to the other owner. I grabbed a cookie from a table that held a selection of snacks before we wound our way back out to the entrance.

Five years ago today: Time To Scale Back

Sunday, November 24, 2019

On The Road Again

Now that our house is back on the market, Hubby Tony and I asked our agent if it would be a good idea to have another Open House this weekend to try to bring in potential buyers. She did, and scheduled it for this afternoon.

It was six weeks ago that we had the first open house (and then another one three weeks after that), so we know the drill. Straighten every inch of the house, clean every surface, then do another walk through to take care of the things you missed the first time. Hope for no cat mishaps. Just before the agent arrives, turn on every light in the house, then get in the car and leave for a couple of hours.

This time we only had one cat to get in the car, but Jackson made the job interesting. Five minutes before it was time to go he disappeared behind a bed. Tony offered kibbles, but Jackson wouldn't come out until Tony removed the drawer in the front of the frame, exposing the hiding place and grabbing the cat before he could run. Because Tony's hands were full I put the bed back together and neatened the bedspread.

Once downstairs, Tony decided not to try to put Jackson into his carrier. Instead he just carried him out to the car. Its back section was all set up for our adventure with a litter box and a bowl for water. I added the empty carrier to the setup, and we were off. 

Jackson wanted no part of the back, preferring to sit on Tony's lap. He alternated between looking out the window at the new-to-him sights and burying his head in the crook of Tony's arm.

After running a couple of quick errands we ended up at a new-to-us park. I made sure the door of Jackson's carrier was open so he could go in if he wanted, then grabbed some reading material and my lunch and got comfortable.  The weather was sunny but brisk, and unlike our other open house getaways there was no need to open any windows to make the temperature comfortable. Jackson decided to pass the time in his carrier, but when Tony got out to take a walk the cat climbed up onto his seat.

Eventually we drove to McDonald's for coffee and free wi-fi, and Jackson took his place on Tony's lap in the passenger seat. Once the car was parked in the lot, Jackson retreated to the back again. However, when I turned the car on for the trip home Jackson let us know that he would be happy to come up in front.

As we pulled around the corner to our street Jackson got excited...even though he's never seen the house from the outside.

Five years ago today: Lending A Hand

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

RIP Pepper (2002-2019)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends, so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown
Pepper in happier days
Five years ago today:"Why Can't We Live Together"

Monday, November 18, 2019

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

This morning I had a tooth-cleaning appointment at the dentist. When I came out I had a text from our house-selling agent asking for me to call her.

On that call I learned that one half of the couple that had contracted to buy our house was self-employed, had lost two clients on Friday, and based on that they no longer had the necessary income to complete the sale. Our contract was being cancelled, and the house would have to go back on the market. OY!

The agent told me that after Hubby Tony and I signed the cancellation paperwork she was going to reach out to a couple of people that had shown interest in the past. The property's online listings would change back to For Sale, but carry a note that the house was back on the market through no fault of sellers.

I ended the call, but before I drove home I called Tony to discuss what this means for the condo we were going to purchase. (We're still mulling over the answer to that question.) However, I knew that my first job was to whip the house back into showing shape. Even though in theory we still could have had potential buyers come though the house, once we had a signed contract I had gotten a little lax about cleaning. I came home and dusted, polished, and de-cluttered for a couple of hours while pondering the possible next steps.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And as if that news wasn't bad enough, later in the afternoon Tony and I took Pepper the cat to the vet. Over the weekend he stopped eating and had trouble walking. After the vet took a look at him, she told us that more than likely he had "thrown a clot" which was cutting off the main blood supply to the back legs. She said that since Pepper had already had one blood clot there would more than likely be additional ones. Based on her diagnosis we made the difficult decision to put Pepper to sleep, but we needed time to say goodbye. We left the vet's office with a supply of painkilling medicine and instructions to love on him and call when we were ready.

Five years ago today: Just A Little Is Enough

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Cat's Bedtime Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice,
And some cushions, soft and nice.
For grocery bags where I can hide,
Just like a tiger, crouched inside!

I pray for gourmet kitty snacks,
And someone nice to scratch my back.
For window sills all warm and bright,
And shadows to explore at night.

I pray I'll always stay real cool,
And keep the secret feline rule.
To NEVER tell the humans that,
This world is really ruled by cats!

Author Unknown

Five years ago today: Scrub-A-Dub-Dub

Friday, November 15, 2019

TOO Close!

Today it was the day to do my middle of the month Aldi grocery run. A lot of other people must have had the same idea, because the parking lot was busier than usual for a Friday. Eventually I slid my CR-V into a spot on the side of the store pretty far down from the door.

I was inside the store for about 20 minutes. When I came out I noticed that some inconsiderate jerk had impinged on my parking space:

It was difficult, but I sucked everything in and was able to slide through the small gap between the vehicles, open my car door halfway, and squeeze into my seat. However, the truck was pretty grimy and I had to brush streaks of dirt off of my coat before I carefully pulled out of the space so I wouldn't hit the space hog.

Five years ago today: Party Time!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Installation Is Free

The process of selling our house inches along. One of our requirements was to have a municipal safety inspection. The city sent two employees from the Code Enforcement office who checked all three levels of the house, then gave me a short list of items that needed to be fixed before the new owners can take possession.

One of the things I learned was that even though we have a hard-wired smoke detector system in the house, the current code states that we also need to have a unit inside each bedroom. The next day I went to the hardware store and bought four battery operated models, then came home, fired up the computer, and researched exactly where on the bedroom ceiling they should go. Surprisingly, I couldn't find a clear answer.

However, during my surfing I came across the website of our local fire department, which indicated they would come out and install the smoke detectors for no charge.That sounded too good to be true, but I called the station and talked with the Public Relations department, which assured me their offer had no strings attached. The only possible hitch would be that if the crew got an emergency call it would take priority. That sounded reasonable, so I made an appointment for them to come out.

On the appointed day I was in the kitchen when I heard a loud diesel engine idling out on the street, and realized there was a fire truck in front of the house. However, as soon as I saw it the truck drove away, turning on its flashing lights as it left the street. It was back ten minutes later, and I watched as a crew of three firefighters got out and walked up to the front porch. One was carrying a portable ladder and another had a cordless drill.

When they got inside I gave them the detectors I had purchased and showed them were the bedrooms were. It took them ten minutes to install the four alarms. The job would have taken me hours.

Five years ago today: Errands And Evaluations

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ready or Not, Here We Snow

Yesterday I was outside in shirtsleeves raking leaves. I even turned off the furnace for a couple of hours and opened the windows a tad to air the house out.  I knew the lovely weather wasn't going to last long, though.

Early this morning a cold front came through. When I woke up the wind was whipping the remaining leaves off the trees. After breakfast it started raining; as the temperature fell the precipitation turned into snow. The storm kept up through most of the afternoon, and when it moved off, there was approximately two inches of white stuff on the grass (but very little on the roads).

Hubby Tony's office was closed for Veteran's Day. We had planned on running errands together and going out to lunch. However, I had no desire to drive around in winter weather so those plans got changed. Right after breakfast I ran to the office supply store to pick up some supplies for a paperwork project that I had been putting off. When I got home, Tony left to make a couple of stops at stores that opened later in the morning. One of his errands was at the grocery store, so I asked him to bring home something frozen or processed that we could heat up for lunch so I didn't have to cook.

This is very early in the year for us to have significant winter weather. Other years the cold comes more gradually, and I have time to get used to it. Soon after the snow started it covered the skylight in the kitchen, which gave the room an eerie glow. I hunkered down in the house and drank hot tea all afternoon to try to stay warm. Thankfully, the leftover vegetable bean soup we had for dinner was warm and substantial.

After dinner I decided to scrape off the light layer of white stuff from the driveway and sidewalks. I put on my heavy coat, a scarf, hat, and gloves. The job only took 15 minutes, but by the time I was done I was more than ready to come in. It sounds like things will be better in a couple of days, but the National Weather Service says that the record low for tomorrow is 12° (set in 1911), and according to the weather guy on the TV news I watched before I went to bed we could break that record.

Five years ago today: Change In The Weather

Friday, November 8, 2019

Virtual Sand Art

I have a folder in my email where I store random websites that I come across and want to go back to. Tonight I was looking through that folder and came across Thisissand, which calls itself "a unique playground for creating and sharing amazing sandscapes on your computer or mobile device."

The program is easy to navigate. There's a color picker button that brings up a full-screen spectrum to choose from, and you can save colors to go back to them later.  There are options for single color, multi-color, or random color sand. You control the thickness of the sand piles by how fast or slow you drag your mouse, or double clicking starts an automatic flow. Watching the falling sand is mesmerizing.

There are some crazy good works of art that have been shared on the website. Mine isn't one of them, but I had a lot of fun doing it.
My sample
Five years ago today: The Finished Product

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Adventures In Selling And Buying

It's been a little over four weeks since our for-sale house went officially on the market. Since then, every morning I primped and polished it before I left for the day in case someone wanted to come look at it. The extra work added about 45 minutes to my morning routine, and quickly got old.

We had one open house, which brought in some interested potential buyers, but when none of them followed through with a contract we decided to lower our price a bit. After a second open house the next weekend someone was interested enough to come back for a second look, and a couple of days after that our agent called to say they were submitting a contract!

Unfortunately that contract had some terms Hubby Tony and I didn't care for. We countered, and the people had their agent counter back verbally to our agent. Our agent suggested we ask them to put something in writing. We did, but they declined. However, in the meantime she heard that there was a second family who might be interested.  They were, and over the weekend gave us a contract. It was contingent on the sale of their house, but our agent talked to theirs and said she thought the house would sell quickly. Based on her recommendation we accepted the offer.

I was out of town at a meeting this weekend. The business sessions and speakers were fascinating, but instead of giving them my undivided attention I spent a lot of time peeking at my phone emails and texts for house updates. At Saturday's lunch break I rushed up to my hotel room to sign the acceptance contract so our agent could send it on.

Of course once you sell a house you better figure out a new place to live. Tony and I had a short list of the places we had looked at that were still available for purchase. We emailed back and forth and talked on the phone multiple, coming to a decision about which place we wanted to submit a contract for. Tony took the lead in communicating with our buying agent, and before the meeting finished up at noon I had once again used my computer to sign the necessary documents.

Our contract gave the current owners until 5:00 yesterday to accept or counter our offer. It didn't take quite that long. After a little back and forth they formally accepted our offer, which is contingent on our house's closing.

It's exciting and terrifying to know that after 25 years we will be uprooting ourselves and moving to a new home. I think I'm up to the challenge, though.

Five years ago today: Punnies

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Fall Back Fun

In the middle of last night the clocks reverted from Daylight Saving Time back to Standard Time, which means that the hour of daylight that was transferred to the end of the day back in the spring is now back in its normal spot. I usually don't have a problem with the change, but today it really threw me for a loop.

My issues started first thing in the morning when I woke up in a panic. Because it was bright earlier that I'm used to, I thought I had overslept. However, once I figured out I was on the correct schedule it was nice to do my morning tasks without needing to turn on so many lights.

Most of the clocks in the house automatically change themselves now, but the microwave doesn't. Somehow it got overlooked, and in the afternoon I looked at it and panicked again, thinking I had lost an hour. (I was really happy when I figured out that I hadn't.)

This was my first chance to change in the time in my new-to-me vehicle. I was pleased to figure out the process was intuitive, and the whole thing only took me a couple of minutes.

Hubby Tony and I went to Mass at 5:00 pm. The temperature was almost balmy, so we decided to walk. By the time we got out of the church at 6:00 it was completely dark. Thank goodness there were street lamps along the road to light the way.

Five years ago today: A Tale Of Two Routes