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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Birthday


So, I'm sure part of  the reason I'm thinking about my grandmother today is because my sister posted a few days ago that it was her birthday. But the flip side of that is that today is my birthday, which is the day that Grandma Carter passed away.
The resulting phone call from my mother that morning was one of those things that was so - I have no words, it was terrible, but also still makes me smile due to the odd mix of the call. She called in the morning to tell me that grandma had passed peacefully in her sleep very early in the morning and she knew I would be upset, but then she sort of sobbed out "Happy Birthday" and I think I meeped out a thank you. I still have no idea how one should respond to that. The rest of the day was quiet and a little shocked, it's not that I didn't expect it, but as we all know that jarring emptiness comes on fast - expected or not. I probably remember it clearly because it was so disjointed - cake was out of the question of course, I cannot imagine a round of Happy Birthday To You, not to mention what kind of wish you could make. So we had take out, my cousin Tim came over and Jackson insisted on sitting right next to him as he usually did (Tim has very dramatic Black Irish coloring with the black hair and very blue eyes - for some reason it fascinated Jackson to no end. It also made Tim hilariously uncomfortable as Jackson would stare and make all sort of comments as to how amazing he was, then he would be black and blue and red in the face from sheer embarrassment . We had a chocolate pie after dinner since the kids knew it was my birthday and we had to do something. It is still one of the strangest - and saddest days of my life.

But, you know what - every year on my birthday that does cross my mind. But then I start thinking about her - how many afternoons did we pass at her house playing forts in the living room and being Box Turtle Owners til dinner time when we had to let them go? Her teaching me to knit and bake, helping her clean out the closets and finding spice cans that were older than Methuselah - that we put back because you never know when you might need that. The long afternoons over tea gossiping about family members and long ago memories, Grandma correcting me on my family tree which she knew by heart and all the crazy family stories.  She taught us all patience, kindness and that it's ok to listen to gossip (which is fun) but not to spread it. She gave all of us our drive, our work ethic - she ran a lumber yard in an era where other women stayed home - she's the one that gave me my hard core feminist slant and my independence.  And now that I'm a grandmother if I can be the woman she was to me to my own granddaughters, I will be so proud of me.

So it was sad that she died on my birthday, it was sad that she died at all. But every year it guarantees that she will be in my thoughts and she will continue to guide me and the rest of us that knew her - to try to be all that she was.

Monday, April 24, 2017

End Of The Tour

If anyone is interested - and I doubt it - End Of The Tour is the name of one my favorite They Might Be Giants song which is why I occasionally use it. Anyhoo, The vacation went well and we had a great time seeing Jackson, Brandi and the girls. The last day we went to Deception Pass beach - I'm always amazed at the amount of driftwood on the beaches which you are not allowed to take by the way. We went out to a Mexican restaurant and for a pair of one year olds - they do very well. Delilah had me laughing, she does not like to be fed but since they were having rice and beans for dinner Jackson did give it a try. Every time the spoon got near she would open her mouth a pinhole which of course made it impossible. Mission accomplished and beans in her hair. They spent most of the time people watching and grinning at who ever was smiling at them.

We found a shuttle service that picks up ten minutes from their house which makes things much easier. The flight home was not too bad except for when we left Seattle. They had overbooked the flight wildly - by 15 seats - and I love the way they make it the passenger's problem. First they announce 20 times they are looking for volunteers. Then they start calling names and asking those people to "please come see the agents" , etc... it really makes you mad, doesn't it? One of the women in my knitting group worked for the airlines and said years ago overbooking made sense. You used to make your reservation and then paid when you got there. What used to happen was people would make 5 or 6 reservations to make sure they got a flight which would leave tons of empty seats for the no shows.She said one airline would usually double book 50 seats on a regular basis. But now you pay for your flight ahead of time, they are nonrefundable and non transferable with huge penalties - usually if someone misses their flight it's got to be a very good reason. So you would think the days of over booking would be over, wouldn't you?


We were allowed to take the flight we paid for (sigh) - I was also better prepared this time for traveling with David who prides himself on being a Light Traveler - translation - he brought nothing to do on a 8 hour flight with a two hour lay over not to mention the two hour wait prior to the flight. I have an ereader app on my tablet so David read old Robert B. Parker mysteries to and fro which he enjoyed a great deal. We arrived at the airport - along with our luggage on time so not too shabby. We use Globe parking - it's half what the airport charges and they pick you up and drop you off so you don't have to spend time looking for a space - or where you parked your car. When you get there your car is all warmed up and ready to go - I really like them. We got home around 1:30 am and by the time we got unpacked, the first load of wash started, the litter trays emptied, etc.... it was 2:30 so I'm having a little bit of trouble getting out of bed this morning. Back to work tomorrow and real life, but we had a really nice vacation.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wheeling and Dealing.

So, while we have been enjoying the (somewhat) sunny shores of Washington State that does not mean that life back home stopped. We had originally sold the Waynesburg house to a couple that disappeared as quickly as they appeared. We've had that happen in the past -our record for selling one house is 5 times - but it's annoying when people decide to back out and then refuse to answer their phone. If they changed Thieu minds it's annoying but nothing is signed - but in the meantime we had turned two potential buyers away  as this couple assured us they were approved for the loan and would be there Monday.  Jerks. 

So, as this silliness was going on our real estate agent had been showing us foreclosures and we have looked at probably 10 of them, with her and on our own. If we see one a lot of times we'll drive out to look at it first because if you think they lie about market value houses you have no clue what they do to sell a foreclosure. Some of them have trees growing in the living room, some are just so weird and off the grid you wonder how they got built in the first place, others are so water damaged there is no fixing them. And then we came across this house. It's way out of our flip budget but ....... it's perfect. For us. And our house that we live in now has literally doubled in value in the past 5 years. What's a girl to do!

We decided to have Candy sell our Waynesburg house - you know what, if you use a real estate it DOES cut into your profit. But you don't have to handle the contract, the showings, the inspections, etc...not to mention they have a client base looking for houses. So we put her to work and we had so many responses David showed the house too and it is under contract for real - for more money so it worked out. We then put an offer on the other house and it was accepted after a week of back and forth. But this will leave us VERY house poor as we still hold the mortgage on the house in Fairmont and there will be a point where we own four houses. Eek!

SO the game plan is this - we are hoping our little mortgage holder will get on the ball and get her own mortgage by this summer, we will be closing on the house we're selling on the same day that we close on the house we're buying so the only thing we'll feel is the breeze as the money rushes by us, THEN we'll be putting our house on the market as soon as David gets a few rooms live able in our new home.  It's only about 25 minutes from where I'm living now but closer to work is closer to work and I'm really excited about it. The former owner left a picture of the house in it's glory days and we are looking forward to restoring it to it's original condition. It's a little scary and the thought of trucking all of our stuff from Point A to Point B again is not something I even want to think about - but really, this house I hope will be our opus.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Old Friends

One of the perks with Jackson and Brandi living on the west coast is that one of my oldest - and bestest - friends lives in Oregon in a town about 5 hours away. We let them know ahead of time when we will be in town and they do an overnighter at a local hotel so we can visit. When I saw Kim this time she said "do you realize we've seen each other more in the past year than we have in the past 30 or so?" And she was right - we've see  each other 3 times, when she came to my house in August, when we were here in December and again this time. 

Kim and I have know each other since Elementary school and became best friends later on - but she moved away when she was 18. She married Stephen and off they went, they never came back to live in Hampton Bays. I stayed for about 20 (?) more years(against my better judgment I might add) and then off I went. Between the two of us we've leap frogged all over! She's been in Virginia, Maine, I think Vermont, Oregon. We've been ping-ponging back and forth across West Virginia and Pennsylvania for now almost 20 years, I often think it's amazing that not only did our friendship continue but has always remained intact - we've never lost touch with each other. When they were first married it was a bit easier, we saw them all the time as it was driving distance for them to come home on the weekends and of course the summer vacation that all college students have. Then they moved to Virginia - but still came home, just not as frequently. Then we all had children and it became harder, we managed to visit them a few times, they still came up, but not as much. We began to depend more on phone calls and letters, pictures of babies in the mail. Email came and that changed it - no more waiting for a week for letters, instant response. And now - cell phones so no more worrying or limiting calls because of long distance charges. Email has given way to texting and I told Kim we can start video chatting. At some point we will live near each other again, full circle. Ending where we started - near enough to ride our bikes to each other's house I hope. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Washington!

So, Jackson is finally home from deployment and we decided it would be a good time to go visit before everything explodes real estate-wise. At this point we have sold the Waynesburg house(again), we have a contract for the house in Mather which is contingent on the first house selling AND if all that goes through we will be selling our house in Garards Fort and moving to Mather until we can find something else we can annoy our family with. Before any of you start muttering They're Moving AGAIN, please note Mather is only about 25 miles from where we live now - I plan on this house being our opus. We've found a great real estate agent and she is working it back home while we're laying round out here on the West coast. The flight this time, with one minor exception when really well and we shuttled from the airport to here as the drop off is only about 20 minutes from their house.

The babies are really growing fast - part of the problem with living so far away is they are doing all this great stuff and they're doing it without us.  But we got to spend a real holiday with them, we were here for Easter so that was fun. I made lasagna and we sat around doing my favorite thing which is eating Peeps and chocolate for one day. The naval housing here is really amazing, the whole place is clean and the houses are huge. Of course the yards are tiny and you have lots of neighbors, but there's park areas on every block and it's pretty quiet here - and very very safe.  We went to a tulip place on Monday - this is where they grow them so it's miles of them! We did the tourista thing which was very fun, Delilah is now a walker so she insisted on walking so we saw a lot of it at Toddler-speed, but that's OK.

We're seeing Kim and Stephen on Thursday, she lives about 4 hours from here so they make a little trip of it. I love that I get to see her at least once a year now. I know she'd like us to consider moving out here and part of me really does think about it. But we don't know where Jackson and Brandi will end up next and with me, a large part of it is my job. It's hard to find a job where they don't tear you to pieces on a daily basis if you're a nurse - I have a great job with Bayada that not only treats me well, but pays me too! People will say it's not all about money, life is too short,etc... but realistically? I have to work, I have no choice and it's a big part of my day at this time.Even though it's "just a job" I don't want to have to spend 40 hours a week being miserable and overworked - and believe me, having moved multiple times I can tell you there are far more places willing to grind you into the ground than places that respect you. So for now it will be twice a year visits which will have to do for now.