Thursday, February 27

Little Boxes

Little boxes, little boxes, there's a green one and a yellow one...

We are almost done. We will cook here until Monday and then I'll pack up the last of the kitchenware. After that it's frozen dinners or dinners out. 

Behold, the studio, all boxed up. We're actually a little ahead of schedule. But we have other stuff to do (like playing in a golf tournament and going to the new digs for a design session), and we need to rest. We're tired. I tried some of that 5-Hour Energy--it works great! It gives you more stamina to go the distance and finish the job. But when you finally sit down you don't ever want to get up. It bears mentioning we're sleeping great. Because we're exhausted. I was so tired Tuesday I quit playing golf after nine holes. I have never done that before, but I just didn't have it in me.

The movers come Saturday, March 8. The new owners want to come Friday, the day before the movers and three days before escrow closes, to check things out. We are very disturbed about this--it's just one more jab by the wicked witch buyer's agent. We are selling the place partially furnished (we will have no room for the pieces anyway) and the agent said they want to make sure we don't take the furniture that we promised to leave. Oh for crying out loud. When we balked at this insult the agent backpedaled and said, "They just want you to show them how to use the pool equipment." Yeah, right--the pool boy could show them that. I guess there is nothing we can do to stop them. But it really leaves a bad taste in our mouths. I've never heard of such a thing. I can't wait to get all this behind us. Twelve more days. 

I hope they don't notice where the touch-up paint doesn't exactly match. It matches perfectly color-wise, but it's a teensy bit more matte, and when you look at it from an angle it's obvious. The sheen is different. The touch-up paint dried up in the 120-degree hot garage years ago, and it was difficult to match. Different paint companies have their own sheen range and I don't know what brand of paint is on the walls. Oh well--I did my best. I got the color right.

That's all the news. We're doing fine, and we're really looking forward to living at the beach for five months--it will be like a long holiday. We keep saying we think this way is easier, because when you move once, you're already exhausted from packing when the moving van arrives at the new house. In this case we'll be well rested. And I have to say, I am so glad I will not have to endure another summer in the desert. I never got used to it. But the climate helped J get over his mysterious illness, so it was worth it. 

Thursday, February 20

Taking a Break

We have been packing every day--it's our main job now. I am doing the lion's share of the packing because J has all the paperwork and business ends to take care of. He does it so much better--we operate from our strong points, yaknow.  

It's amazing how much stuff we need in order to live life in the modern world. Furniture notwithstanding, we need to have all the kitchen necessities including fancy serving plates, plus towels, bedding, SEWING supplies, office supplies, computers, books, files... 

I can't help but think of the women in Africa who may only have a few meager possessions. One or two treasures in a lifetime.

We've moved several times in the last decade and we keep getting rid of stuff each time, but still we have so much. This time we are downsizing, so we have to be ruthless about letting go of it. I can't imagine what it would be like had we lived in one place for 30 or 40 years and raised kids there. We are running lean and mean now, and it feels good. My motto is, if I don't use it, I don't need it. And if I didn't use it in the four years we lived here, out it goes. Well, except for the fabric of course. 

This is only the stuff that is going to Martha's Village--we are leaving some furniture behind as well. I only used the pasta machine once, not very successfully, and I have moved it three times. It's not going with me this time. I made salmon ravioli and I put them in the corner of the kitchen and covered them with a towel to dry. J took the four-inch-thick Los Angeles area phone book out from the drawer and plopped it on top of the towel, unaware that the raviolis were there. That was the first and last time I made ravioli. 

I used the potato ricer once for Thanksgiving because Martha Stewart told me I needed one. It is going to a new home, also. The kids do Thanksgiving now and we get to be guests. Believe it or not, I have only made Thanksgiving dinner two times in my life. 

Moving day is March 8. Our stuff will go into storage and we will take clothes and personal effects to a vacation condo in Encinitas. This is so much more simple than renting an apartment and having to outfit and furnish it. The condo is turnkey. 

Since our belongings are going into storage for five months, I can't take my houseplants, Charlie and Spike. Spike (above) has survived my neglect, plus lengthy absences and arid desert summers, for nearly thirty years. Charlie (who looks just like Spike), is younger but the person who gave it to us has since passed on and every time I water Charlie I think of our friend. I'm a little sad about leaving them behind. They could handle riding in the moving van but they wouldn't survive the five months in storage. 

Break is over, it's time to get back to work. 

Saturday, February 15

In the Eye of the Storm

That’s where we are. It’s as if our house just dropped out of the sky and landed on the wicked witch of the west. I wish it would land on the wicked witch…the buyer’s agent is a pit bull with lipstick and is causing all kinds of trouble for us. More on that later.

I went golfing with Janice, of throws-clubs-in-anger fame (she did not disappoint), at the Palmer Private at PGA West. That is one tough course! We wanted to get in a practice round before we play in a member-guest tournament there in March. At least I think so—she’s tough to play with. The back nine is nestled up against rocky mountains and the Bighorn sheep who live there come down for a fresh green snack from time to time.

The two females aren’t quite as brave and scampered up on the rocks when we got close.DSCF1247
Let’s see, what has transpired since my last post. Well, we are in escrow, and as I said up top, the buyer’s agent is a real corker—she is steamrolling through our world and making our lives unnecessarily difficult. I told Agent Joan, one more transgression and I am calling it quits. We’ll call her broker and file a complaint and put the house back on the market.

It’s not the buyers themselves, I think they’re probably oblivious, but their agent oversteps her boundaries and tells lie after lie to get what she wants (and more than she deserves). She's awful! I could strangle her. The complaint list is long, but, for example, she’s insisting we have our swimming pool converted from chlorine to salt-water. At great expense, I might add.

Obviously we are not going to do it, but we have spent so much of the precious little time (30 days) we have left dealing with it, it’s criminal. But she’s persisting! I finally said she can go to hell, I’m not doing another thing, which, at the end of the day, holds absolutely no water because she holds the trump cards. I knew with Retrograde Mercury there would be problems!

images We went out for Valentine’s Day—had we known we would be in such a state we might have stayed in and watched House of Cards, but we had bought tickets. We went to an early dinner at 3rd Corner Bistro (actually happy hour—we’re not doing early birds just yet) and then to see a Spanish guitarist.
He was good. Not brilliant, but good. He’s not Spanish, but from Southern California. Looks a little like Keith Urban. He played contemporary music (e.g. Hotel California, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC) with his own twist. None of the music he played was his own. And I found the ersatz flamenco dancers to be annoying distractions. Other than that, he was good. 
I finally got a new phone (yay!) and I took my very first selfie while waiting for the show to start. Debra, you are right—I need practice! It was the 30th anniversary of our engagement. I’m saying, “how’s this damn thing work” when it clicked. Good enough.

On to other things. In addition to jumping at the whims of the Agent from Hell we have been interviewing moving companies, finding a place to rent for five months while our new house is being built, signing more documents than you can imagine—on both houses, finalizing some of the options on the new house, and trying to pack. As luck would have it, both our vehicles are acting up. J’s leaks oil, and the tail lights don’t work on my SUV since I had a flat tire last week (!) and we don’t have a minute to spare to take them in for service. Thank you, retrograde Mercury. Mercury goes forward on February 28, but until then it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Poor J is stressed to the max. Life is NOT BORING! We do not regret making the choice to chase our dream. Not for a minute. We remain quite steadfast in our pursuit. 

Well I’ve enjoyed prattling on with my second cup of coffee, but there is a lot of work to do.

Saturday, February 8

Mission Accomplished


We got a buyer for our house! Woot! J is a little stunned because …well, because it’s a buyer’s market and they made a “take it or leave it” offer. As luck would have it, a house had just come on the market that was larger for much less, and they used that as leverage.

You never know if you’ll get another offer—our house had been on the market 120 days without a nibble, and some houses on our street have been on the market over a year. Agents and buyers alike know this.

Miffed tho we are, we consider ourselves lucky because the market here is cooling and people are bargain-hunting. A large percentage of potential buyers are Canadian, and Canada’s dollar has lost something like 10% of its value against the US dollar in the last month, which pretty much sucked the life out of our target market. The US economy is a little shaky right now, too.


The good news is, we are pretty sure (knock on wood) these buyers will not back out. They asked for a 30 day escrow and they spent taking pictures and getting quotes to have the cabinets painted.

Which means we only have 30 days to get out of here! Yikes! I’d better get busy, I have a gazillion things to do! Life just kicked into high gear. But it’s all good!

Thanks for all your good thoughts, prayers, and crossed fingers. It worked! The night before we got the offer our agent at the coast emailed to say that he had an in with the real estate gods and would put in a good word.

Wednesday, February 5

Life Just Clicks Along

I don’t really have anything important to say—we’re still in a holding pattern—but I start missing writing to the blog after a couple weeks.

It has been ages since I’ve spent time in the studio and I am dying to sew something and make some art, but I don’t want to mess up the studio. I spend a good amount of my time every day spiffing up the surfaces—it gets dusty in one day—and I’m getting tired of it. Last week I polished the kitchen cabinets and shampooed the carpets. Again. We get a lot of traffic tromping through here and the carpets get dingy quickly.

We have been on the market 118 days. Interest and activity has been higher lately, so we remain optimistic. I still believe that an offer won’t come in until the season starts to wind down. The truth is, the longer it goes the more likely we won’t have to move twice. And we do have the time, we don’t have to freak out until mid-April, but I’d sure love to exhale already.

On the other side of this adventure, this week we had the second of three sessions with the design center at the new digs, which is a whole lot of creative fun. Something is amiss with the color in this photo—everything looks grayish purple and when I try to balance it it goes yellowish purple. I give up.


But we see the wood floor, which will be in most of the house, the tile that will be in the bathrooms and laundry, the carpet that will be in the two bedrooms, the cabinets and countertops, shower, and that square in the middle of the wood is the granite for the kitchen. It’s a stunner. We have to go to the yard to select the particular slabs, and if we don’t love it we’ll go with something more conventional. We still have one more session before our choices are set in stone, so everything is subject to change according to our whims.

Meanwhile, I have been enjoying golf. I have been playing well lately and golf is more fun when that is the case. I still loathe getting up at 5 AM to play with my club on Thursdays, I’ll never acclimate to it. At least the days are starting to get longer and the sun is above the horizon when the ball goes on the first tee.

We have been watching Breaking Bad on streaming Netflix. I never watched that show in real time, but I am sure enjoying it now. It’s terrific. We also love House of Cards, which is a Netflix exclusive, and season 2 begins next week.