Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sold and Moved

     So most of the last month was filled with actually preparing ourselves to move because we accepted an offer on our house in 2 weeks. I never expected it to go that fast. Because we didn't expect it going that fast we passed up on the opportunity for 2 apartments that we really wanted, and of course we didn't like what was available when we were looking. Low and behold we found our house. The house across the street from family, on the water, original wood floors, 2 large bedrooms, and maybe best of all a lovely porch that always seems to have a breeze blowing through. Now that we are all moved in and our house was signed away in paperwork, we are getting settled into the rental lifestyle once again.
     Of course renting a house does come with some of the issues we wanted to get away from, like yard work... oddly enough, I've found my husband enjoying the yard work... even coming up with new ideas of things to do in the yard. I've even started planting things and they are growing! I'm not really that bad at growing things, but keeping up with it hasn't always been something I can do, I've also been known to pay too much attention and over water plants, killing them that way as well. So far so good.
      So far it seems that renting is allowing us to live in a nicer house in a nicer area compared to what we were facing with ownership. I can't really say that I've missed the old house a lot since we've left. Last year when we moved out to stay with family and rented it out I missed it a lot, there were a lot of tears all the time. Thinking back on that last night, I was trying to figure out why the tears last year and not this year. I suppose the reasons would be that last year we were crammed into a house with my in laws, and even though my mother in law would give us her entire house if I asked, I didn't want to ask. It was not my own space, that was hard. Also, after going back to the house and being fairly happy in it things started to go south very quickly with repairs that needed to be made but we couldn't afford. In fact, this week was exactly 2 months since we got the news of the insurance wanting to drop us for not being able to replace the roof right away. Everything has happened so fast.
     I do want to add though, because most people make the comment that we are lucky to have sold so quickly. We don't consider it lucky, we actually sold for less than what we purchased for. We accepted $10,000 less than what we were asking. Not a smart financial move, but we were coming down to the wire and really wanted to get out while we had the opportunity. Perhaps because the buyers were rental property investors they may have gone higher, but we weren't in the mood to take that chance. We are much less stressed now without it hanging over our heads. We are quite happy here, and the best part is that when we are no longer happy here, we can find the next place to make us happy... and grow a garden until then.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

sort of sold...

We have accepted an offer on our house, it was listed for 2 1/2 weeks and soon it will no longer be ours.  I am full of emotion right now. 

It's exciting because we decided long ago that we just aren't cut out for house ownership, between the problems with the floors, roof, wear and tear, and regular house things that just need to be fixed we just don't have the money that old houses (or any houses for that matter) require. 

The next emotion is sadness.  The memory of being proud to own our own home, it's the place we've lived the longest together, it's the place we came home to after exciting vacations as a young married couple, and it was the place we brought our baby home to and watched her grow over 2 years. The place has so many memories for me, and always  will, but I think it's done with us. I feel like it will move on to get the facelift it deserves and become home to other families. I also think this is another reason I'm not cut out for ownership. 

I love the idea of dwellings, people take a series of boxes and sometimes oddly shaped walls and turn them into a home. Each one has a different look, a different shape, some are stacked on top of one another, some stand alone, some stand next to twins and triplets who look just like them. What is that thing that takes an empty shell of construction to being an irreplaceable part of your life?   This is the kind of interesting thoughts that come to me as we are thrown into the next phase of the process, finding a rental!

Originally we had agreed on an apartment. My husband is still very much PRO apartment. I was very much PRO apartment 3 weeks ago when we viewed 4 apartments that were in our price range and available for us asap. We passed on those because we were afraid our house would take a long time to sell and we could not afford to pay both rent and mortgage. Little did we know we would be searching the ends of this town, and the next town, looking for a rental in our price range that feels like home.  There is next to nothing. The only option until today was to accept something in a slightly higher price range just because it may be available. However both of those units are contingent on the fact that they have someone in line in front of us. Then I get a call from my Aunt who says there is a house across from her coming up for rent. I should have never gone there,  but of course I was driving by in less than 10 minutes and working on viewing the 3rd room by the time my husband made it out of the car. My demise is that it's old. It's "horizontal bead-board, bead board ceilings, original wood floors" old... my heart was stolen. The great part is that for the most part it's been remodeled. Unlike the old house we've been in, this one feels well insulated, has insulated windows with screens, and central air and heating. It has been incredibly well cared for and updated.  It has a HUGE laundry room, and a porch. Wait, I'm not even emotional yet. This house and it's porch (I'm a sucker for porches) look directly onto the house where all of my childhood memories take place. This house is directly across from my grandma's house. My grandma's house was such a point of pride for her, and my Aunt has certainly carried that on in caring for it. Just the thought that I could sit on the porch of a well cared for old house and have coffee looking onto a place that means so much to me, every morning, is unreal. It makes me really nervous that the lady who owns it has not yet called me back. The current tenants did talk to her about us being interested, and the rent is surely in our original price range. Now all I can do is wait.  

See, one look at nostalgia and I've ruined husband's life and have my heart set on this house that may not even be available. He agreed to it though, which was a tad bit surprising. He rationalized that while it's a house, it's a rental, which means that leaks and roof replacements won't be left up to us. Rental insurance is a lot lower here in the south than homeowners insurance. The updates should also really help with the electric bill.  I'm trying to not get my hopes up however. (Yeah like they aren't already.) There was a very nice apartment in a very nice area that my hopes were already on earlier this afternoon.  I know I have to just let it go and say that we will end up with a home, no matter where it ends up being I'm really just hoping we only have to move once (instead of once into storage and then again into an available place.)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

downsizing for a new reality

       If anyone reads this blog at all (*crickets*) they would know that in February of last year we rented our house out and went to stay with relatives due to my husband's job change.  We were able to move back into our house in November of last year, and while still struggling, we are getting by.  Thankfully he enjoys his new job, and they've sent him to training, and he is working his way up which also involves raising his pay to close to what he was making before the job change. This is all great news for us of course. After moving back into our house we have been left with making evaluations of what we have enjoyed and disliked about living here and living with relatives. We have come to the conclusion that while thankful, we didn't care for living in someone else's house. It was crowded, difficult for everyone, and we were all relieved to get out of that situation. However the relief was short lived after coming back to our house. We had to look at weather we actually love our house or love having our own place. As any family would tell you, your own home is an important part of life, but does it make that much of a difference where that home is? If it's owning your own house or renting an apartment, does the details of the home make a difference? 

       I've been reading a lot about people who have given up owning their home and all the costs and labor that comes along with it, for renting. There is a guy who write a blog about his family's journey after giving up their house for apartment living (http://www.rethinkingthedream.com, great blog, well written, not like this crazy un-organized ranting.) We really see this as something we would be happy per suing. By this point you may be thinking that we are crazy. Almost everyone in our lives thinks this is crazy, (they pretty much think we are crazy anyway, but that could be an entire blog entry on it's own.) What do you do when you don't like your neighborhood (not my neighbors, I love a couple of my neighbors...), you don't like making home repairs, you don't have extra money to repair anything anyway, your husband hates yard work, you hate the outdoors*, etc. It seems awfully logical to us. We could be closer to his job and save on gas, we could be in an area where I'm not afraid to take my daughter on walks down the street (I'm not so much afraid of the people, mostly the neighborhood dogs). It has come to the point where home ownership has caused far more stress than joy in our lives, and that should be the sign of it being time to move on. 

        Of course this whole issue comes with a much larger LARGER problem that is effecting a lot of people right now... we have the wonderful job of selling a house we no longer like to someone in a very down housing market. I'm far too honest of a person and will be the first to tell anyone why buying a house is a foolish thing to do, so that leaves me as the sales person out. We have hired a real estate agent, our poor agent... I really like her personality, she's friendly, I just feel terrible because this is her job. From what I've heard she's good at her job, but it has to be rough right now. I pretty much feel bad for most people who sell things for a living, some people are good at it and do well, I'm just so bad at it that they get sympathy from me. 

       For now I will document our selling, searching, moving, and living journey here. I pray that it doesn't take years. I have a sinking feeling that it will not be at all easy. Hopefully it will be worth it. Maybe one day if anyone ever reads this blog, they can tell me why they think we are crazy also. 

     * We don't hate the outdoors completely, I am terribly afraid of most bugs, dirt, tetanus, snakes, things that fly, things that buzz, the sun, skin cancer, sex offenders, all of our neighbors have large scary dogs that they don't treat very well and attack other neighbors, we don't have a fenced in yard... See why I'm not a good sales person?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Drinking Lunch

     Since I've known my husband (at least the past 11 years) he's always been very health conscious. He's always been one to be fine with trading lunch for a smoothie or something similar and just as healthy. For the last 3-4 years, ever since the "Will It Blend?" videos on YouTube were popular, my husband has been wanting to get a BlendTec blender (http://www.blendtec.com). Then when the $400 for that was out of the question a few years went by and we put some serious thought into getting a Vitamix (www.vitamix.com). Of course, once again by that time being a family on a budget the price of a Vitamix was a large investment. So when he saw the advertisement for the Nutri Bullet (www.nutribullet.com) on TV one night he started talking about it every day and every night for a few weeks straight. When I saw the price at $99 I considered picking one up for him for Christmas, but decided I wanted to read more reviews. Luckily for us, he received one as a birthday gift last month.
     Now we had gotten a juicer a few years ago, and last year when I went through some health issues of my own and couldn't eat for a week, juicing was a great option. However for us, juicing has always been an expense issue. We buy organic where organic needs to be (the dirty dozen and few others),  and the amount of juice that comes out of 3 carrots compared to the waste that comes out of 3 organic carrots, it's bothersome to me. I think about all of the things I could have made using the entire carrot instead of juicing it and tossing half of it away. There are a LOT of people out there with their own opinions about blending vs juicing and which is better for you, etc. The way I've decided to look at it is that if you don't have money to basically throw away and you are on a tight budget like we are, my 3 carrots and hand full of spinach is going to go a lot further blended into a smoothie type juice rather than having to use 2 or 3 times as much to get enough juice to supplement a meal or snack.
     Not only is it my opinion, it's been a little over a month now and having done both, I've witnessed it. Some days we've replaced lunches with a drink made with the Nutri Bullet, and some days it replaces the after dinner ice cream we may have had but no longer buy.  Just like my recent quest of vegetarianism, this is not some big diet sham or quest for weight loss. Am I losing weight? Absolutely! But it's all a part of getting healthier and actually using food for nutrients instead of eating foods void of nutrients for fun. Pizza is good, do I still eat it as a treat now and then? Of course, but I can't eat pizza everyday and then down the road wonder why my body is failing to function the way it is supposed to when I'm not giving it what it needs to function. Most people know that filling up on spinach is better for you than filling up on french fries, to do it is a very different and sometimes difficult choice. No one makes the best choices all the time, but if it takes drinking a smoothie made up half of spinach and kale and the other half bananas, berries, and almonds for you to get nutrients from healthy sources you normally may not have gotten, then it's worth it. It's also true that making one healthy choice leads to more healthy choices, if you don't believe me what will you lose if you try?
     I'll leave with a couple of drink combinations that are our favorites lately. Please, leave opinions, start discussions.

What we call "the chocolate chip milk shake"
    1 banana
    handful of almonds
    handful of cocoa nibs
    1 tsp honey (even better with the organic raw acacia honey that deserves it's own post later on, but   any honey will work.)
    1 tsp of coconut butter (optional, it's good with or without)
    half a cup of almond milk
     2 ice cubes
    water

My usual breakfast drink:

  two handfuls of spinach
  a few leaves of kale (too much kale can make it bitter so it depends on what you like)
 frozen organic peaches
 fresh pineapple slices
 1 tsp honey (once again same as above)
 1 banana
  handful of goji berries
 1 tsp coconut butter (optional, but in this drink it gives a great tropical flavor)
 water
(Also in this drink sometimes I replace the peaches and pineapple with strawberries, or a strawberry, blue berry, raspberry mixture)

Note: One more thing about the drinks made with the Nutri Bullet. Sometimes I use frozen fruit which gives it a "cold" smoothie texture. I include Ice in some drinks (like the milkshake) because some people aren't fond of the texture of the room temperature smoothie. It's a personal preference.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A little bit of this and that... updates and whatnot.

 I'm going to be doing some construction on the blog for a while trying to get it just the way I want it. In the meantime I'll attempt to get someone to read it so that I'm not just  talking to myself. Until then,  here are a few updates that have been going on in life.


  • We've returned to the 617. Yes we have returned to living in the house that was the inspiration to my blog in the first place. We were displaced for almost a year because my husband had to take a lower paying job due to the closing of his family's company. Of course the family company didn't close, and we lived with family members for far too long, but we are slowly but surely getting back on track. It's been difficult, probably one of the most emotionally difficult situations of my life. I really didn't expect it to have such an impact on me, I also didn't expect to end up in therapy with severe anxiety because of it either. Of course these are all subjects to be addressed in upcoming posts. 
  • My tiny princess is 2. She walks, and talks, and forms opinions. She has started playing "mommy" to all her baby dolls, and it's so heart warming to see her talk to them and rock them the way I do to her. She tells me all the time she wants to play the piano, the violin, and go to dance class. According to her she is a princess and learning to be a ballerina.  We are currently in negotiations about potty training, then hopefully the rest will follow soon after. 
  • I've fallen in love with blog reading, and although several of my favorite bloggers don't write too much anymore, I've found a few more that just make me happy to read. I plan to share.
  • I turned 30, in turning 30 I became a vegetarian. I have not had meat since the day I turned 30. It's kind of a deal I've made with myself about becoming healthier before I have health problems I can't turn around.  I've made it easy on myself by being okay with wanting to eat meat again if I decide it's what I want. So far I haven't wanted it. It's also helped with a lot of the health issues I was having before. My husband is a part time vegetarian, and my daughter is not. She likes chicken nuggets and hot dogs. I really try to shield her away from the processed stuff as much as possible, and we don't cook meat at home so as of now it's a once in a while treat for her. Hopefully as her tastes develop she will add more to her menu of acceptable foods and I can take away the not so great stuff as we go. 
So that's the updates for now, hopefully I will have some well thought out blog posts soon and this is not just another empty attempt to keep up with this. I know I have the time for it, I just need the motivation. So if you have read this, please comment with something to motivate me. Until next time. 

Thinking...

I've been thinking about blogging more. I really should write down all of these things that happen and pop into my head. There are several subjects I have thought about writing about, however the thought of writing where no one is reading makes me not want to put in the work. That's probably a bad way to look at it. I should write more, even if no one is reading. So I just may just dust off the old blog, dress her up a little, and get to writing the magazine of my life and all the things that interest me, along with the life and times of my family. Why not give it another go?