Monday 29 April 2019

Best laid plans...oft go astray

Well the last few days didn't turn out as I had planned.  If you recall, on Friday I had intended to take the old paint and other items to the hazardous waste event at the city yard.  In fact, I got nothing done that day....instead I spent from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. mostly waiting.  First was at the doctor's office, as I had been experiencing pain in my back and abdomen since Wednesday evening.  It had kept me awake for a few hours both of the previous nights and it was even worse when I woke up on Friday morning.  I arrived as the office opened at 9 a.m., only to be told Dr. O wouldn't be in until 10. Arrrgghh!

When my doctor saw me, shortly after 10, he did a cursory exam and decided it was my gall bladder.  He contacted the ER at a local hospital and advised them he was sending me in, getting assurance that I would be seen.  Of course, they didn't commit to exactly when that might be.  So off I went to the ER, where I sat and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited some more.  I was eventually seen by a doctor shortly before 4 p.m.  He sent me for an ultrasound, and when the results were read, it was determined there was nothing wrong with me and I was sent home.  There was no indication of what might be causing the pain which began in my right mid back area and wrapped around my side and across my belly, nor did the ER doc have any other suggestions for it.  He'd done what my doctor asked and he was done with me.

My son is the one who came up with what I believe is the correct diagnosis.  He had suffered a pinched nerve in his back a couple of years ago and the description of my symptoms were similar.  After another night of tossing and turning I went to the drugstore on Saturday morning and picked up some Robaxacet.  It seems to relieve the pain, at least temporarily so I can actually get something accomplished.  So I delivered the waste to the city yard by lunch time on Saturday.  One more item off the list of things to do.

In the meantime, Friday afternoon, my daughter decided she hadn't heard from me for some time and decided to drive into the city to check on me.  She and Eli didn't stay at the house, but stayed with friends which was appreciated as I was still in a lot of pain and really didn't feel the need to have company.  I did have Eli for a couple of hours on Saturday while she took some outgrown clothing to a consignment shop.  Then it was off back to Melville as there was snow in the forecast.

And snow it did through Saturday evening and Sunday as well. The wind was howling and driving the snow sideways.  At least it wasn't sticking to the street.

We fared much better though than D.  She woke to a foot of snow on top of her car!  It should melt over the next day or so as temperatures are to improve.  

Oh, and I had a call from my real estate agent on Saturday evening.  He was on his way back from Costa Rica, had a flight cancelled on Saturday from Toronto to Calgary, but had made a later flight.  Now he was waiting in Calgary for a flight to Regina.  (Remember how I say you can't get anywhere from here...there are also times you can't get here either).  We had a brief chat on the phone about our meeting and he mentioned he would provide some advice on getting the house ready for sale.  I didn't tell him I've spent the last two months doing just that.  He has been in my home previously when D was still living here so I suspect he's remembering what it was like with a make a mess toddler and his make and even bigger mess mommy.  I pretty sure he'll be surprised but we'll see what he has to say.  Our meeting was pushed back to Monday since he had an open house to attend to on Sunday.  I can only imagine how tired he felt!

He touched base on Sunday afternoon and we set our meeting time for 3:30 Monday afternoon.  In advance of the meeting I transferred several photos I've taken of the various rooms to a USB key, and prepared a list of the improvements and replacements I've had done over the past almost 9 years.  I know I'll never recoup what I've spent but at least it shows I've attempted to maintain the house over the years.  

We met this afternoon and spent quite a bit of time going over what makes a house sale-able, which includes decluttering and cleaning (done), setting the right price to bring buyers in, allowing access to buyers to view the property, and holding an open house for realtors and the general public.  I indicated I'd need a bit of advance notice to allow me to get the cats out of the house, to set out clean towels, and tuck away a few things....maybe 30-60 minutes.  He assured me he would provide at least 3-4 hours, that works!  An open house is expected and I expect that will occur within the next 10 days or so.

Curtis will be sending a professional photographer to the house to take photos. He did take the USB key as I had provided some outdoor photos from last summer.  It's too early yet to set out flowers as we're still getting freezing temps at night though I notice one of the box stores has set up their garden center.  I'll probably see if I can get a container or hanging basket to put out during the day. 

We also talked numbers of course and I was pleased to hear the commission is reasonable.  We looked at the current competition and the houses that have sold in the last 180 days in the neighbourhood.  There were 4 sold and 3 on the market.  The one most comparable to mine is overpriced and the listing photos are horrid.  You can see them for yourself via the link.  What they call a sun room definitely doesn't compare to mine.  (I do have new towels to cover the furniture for a showing...these are badly snagged by the cats).  

We did a walk through and I pointed out some of the features of the house, along with indicating where I'd made improvements.  Initially Curtis said he thought the house would attract a young family with small children but when he saw the basement he said it opened it up to those with teenagers as well.  The more buyers we can attract the better.  I was quite happy to hear that he doesn't think I need to replace the carpet or repaint the entire house. 

We've arranged our next meeting for Thursday, when we'll complete the paperwork that needs to be done.  I expect the sign will be up by early next week at the latest.  And then the real fun begins. We can start looking at condos!  There are four currently in the area that have the features C and I are looking for, though there is a glut of others on the market that are missing a key item.  I'm excited about this next phase, can you tell?  

Now I just have to wait and see if all my plans come to fruition.  Fingers crossed, there are no major hiccups!

Wednesday 24 April 2019

In a good place

The rest of the Easter weekend (including Monday as my son did not have to work) was very quiet.  Other than regular housework, I did pretty much nothing besides reading and enjoying the sunshine outdoors.  I really will miss this yard, especially the front patio and back deck, as I enjoy being out in the fresh air listening to the birds sing.

Speaking of which, I went for another walk this morning and spotted that damn hawk again.  I'm not sure if it is a Merlin or a Kestral but either way I wish it would leave the neighbourhood.  Last year by early July all of the small songbirds were gone.  I assume they moved to more friendly territory but suspect several of them were prey to the hawk.  While it is a beautiful bird and that's nature at work, I still wish it wasn't so effective at disposing of the smaller birds.

I didn't take my camera with me as I walk a little more briskly without it and don't stop quite as often.  I did my circuit again, but walked a little further up to the small bridge in the park.  There I did stop to see if there were any ducks or geese in the water...there were none but I did listen to the blackbirds sing for a bit before I turned back to finish the walk by the pond.  There the geese were making a racket.  I'm not sure if there was romance in the air, but there were several, what I assume were males, extending their necks and flapping their wings and making moves toward smaller birds.  It seemed to be happening without malice so I'm thinking it was amorous rather than arguments. 

After my walk I sat out on the back deck with a cup of tea.  It was still a bit cool about 5C/41F but nice in the sun.  I finished my book Lace by Shirley Conran.  I'd picked it up last summer at a used book sale and it had sat unread in a pile until I returned from my cruise in January.  I was tired of reading on the Kobo (the Canadian version of the Kindle) and ready to hold a real book.  It was an interesting story but dragged on far too long, with over the top drama.  Some of it I could have seen happen but there were parts that were implausible.  But I guess it is a function of the writer's imagination.  I was more relieved than anything else when the story line was finally tied into a neat (though rather disturbing) package.  I felt slightly let done as if the story wasn't finished.

Yesterday's finish was much better.  I had contacted a junk removal company on Monday to pick up the load of items I'd gathered up in the house and yard.  They were busy and so I booked an appointment for Tuesday at 1 p.m.  A young man (the son of the owner) showed up and in a very short time he had his trailer loaded up with my garbage and was on his way.  While he was loading, he told he and his Dad have been doing this full-time for two years, and they are booked solid.  I admire the entrepreneurial spirit but it makes me wonder how much garbage is being sent to the dump.  Yikes and I just added to it!

Before he had even left the driveway I was tackling the floor with a broom.  I used the broom to sweep off the shelves as well, then brought out a bucket of water to clean off the shelves of the remaining dust.  It took several buckets to get rid of the dirt from the past (and I'm ashamed to admit it) nearly 9 years.  I cleaned off the work bench, sorted items to remain with house, things to go to D, and items that I plan to keep.  The items that will stay with the house are the leftover tiles, grout, and casings that may be of use in the future.  This was where I found the door panel that I used to fix the front closet so hopefully the new owners won't be annoyed that I leave these behind.  Below the work bench is the stuff D will take will take back with her when she comes for doctor's appointments next week.  The tall box beside the green chair contain the makings of two 4X4 raised garden beds.  Costco was selling these for a reasonable price, and a check of the reviews indicate although made of vinyl they'll hold up in our prairie winters.  

Next to that box are two televisions and an old computer monitor.  My friend K had mentioned that she knew someone who would take them.  I contacted this person on Monday as well, and she thought she might pick them up on Tuesday but that didn't happen.  I told her I'd like them gone by the end of the week so hopefully I hear from her in the next few days.  I'll call again, if not.

I also gathered up the many, many paint cans (most left over from the previous owner), and an old battery.  The city is having the first of its hazardous waste days on Friday, and I plan to be in the line up at 4 p.m. to drop these items off.  

On the other side of the garage in the wooden shelves are the items that I'm keeping.  There is camping equipment, my son's kitchen gear, electrical cords, and tool boxes and various tools.  The rest is paper towel and toilet paper.  I have decided, I may need to rent a small storage unit for a period of time as I anticipate the new space (whenever that might happen) won't be big enough.  I know I've significantly downsized, but my spreadsheet would indicate the space we'll be moving into will be about a 1/3 of the space we currently have.  I'm not sure I've downsized quite that much!  However, when I do find the perfect place on the island, I'll take some things with me so I don't to purchase everything once I get there.  

Of course, this is all predicated on the sale of the house.  I reached out to the realtor on Monday and had an e-mail back that he is in Costa Rico for a family vacation. 37C/99F temperatures there!  He'll be in touch on Saturday so that we can meet and discuss next steps.  I must admit there was a tinge of sadness when I made that contact.  This house has been a great home for us, but I realize it no longer fits the life I want to lead...more time outdoors, a more walk-able neighbourhood or at least closer to public transportation, and less of a house and yard to maintain.  So while I will miss so much about this property, I'm excited about is yet to come.

In my world, that's a great feeling.

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday 21 April 2019

Happy Easter

Wishing you all a very happy Easter, hope you are enjoying the weekend.

*comments off

Saturday 20 April 2019

Happy days

More work was accomplished over the past few days, but I also took some time to rest, relax and enjoy the sunshine.  Since every day now is Friday (at least that is how it feels), I'll start with a recap of Thursday.  The day started off cool but by lunchtime it was a lovely 11C (52F) so I headed outdoors to do some clean up.  I started with the front yard clearing up the debris from the large evergreen tree.  I raked, swept and picked up pine needs and pine cones from under tree, the driveway, and the patio.  That was the easy job.  

Next up I tackled the sheds in the back yard.  I pulled everything out of the larger of the two, sorting through containers, plant food, tools, and other garden paraphernalia including ornaments and solar lights.  D will be here in a couple of weeks and I set aside some of the gardening tools, containers, and ornaments she can take back with her.  There was a bit of garbage - any idea why I kept the plastic containers hanging baskets come in?  I certainly don't know.  I also came across a box of seeds, carrots, chives, spinach, and I can't recall what else.  Since I don't have a garden, nor have I had one in many years, the only thing I can think of is I brought these back when I cleaned out my Dad's house...back in 2007.  Not sure why I held onto them and then promptly forgot. 

After a good sweep out, I replaced the items to be retained and took a load out to the garage (too bulky for the bin) and threw the rest in the bin.  The second shed is much smaller, and I think it may have been used as a playhouse for the former owners.  There wasn't much in there, a stack of old plastic chairs, two stacking tables, a couple of folding lounge chairs and Eli's outdoor pool and other plastic toys.  One of the lounge chairs is past it's prime so I tossed that, and cleared out the rest, swept it out and put the toys back in for now.  I'll bag those next week so she can take them back with her.

I'd gathered up quite a bit of garbage and items for recycling and I carried them around to the front of the house.  The larger items went in the pile to be sent to the dump this week, while the garbage and recycling went into their separate bins.  It just happened to be garbage day and shortly I tossed the last items in the bin the truck passed by and took it away.  

The last thing I did was gather up the various solar lights and put them out on the deck.  Later that evening, after dinner I went out to check which ones were working.  There weren't a whole lot but I had not thought to turn them so they were facing the I changed the position and left them out one more day.

Friday was even nicer!  By 10 a.m. I was outdoors to work some more in the back yard.  I raked the grass to gather up the winter's debris and left it to dry for a bit before I picked it up.  Next up was cleaning the plastic furniture.  I had given my deck furniture to D when she moved in October, and the bistro chairs that I had out front are doing double duty as kitchen chairs right now.  So the old plastic chairs and tables will have to do for now.  They were filthy as they've sat in the shed for years.  I hosed them down, then used a cloth to clean off the residue.  Since I was cleaning things I decided to clean out the garbage bin using an old broom to scrub the inside along with the water I'd brought out to clean the chairs and tables with. 

When these were done so was I.  I gathered my book, a cup of tea, and headed to the deck to sit and relax for a bit.  I think I sat and read in the sun for nearly 2 hours!  I did get up a couple of times, to make some lunch and get a cold drink.  It was soooo nice, with a little bit of a breeze and the sounds of the birds in the back ground.

This is where I spent my time, in one of the newer plastic chairs - it stays out all winter and needed just a quick wipe.  The "potting shed" is just opposite and holds the gardening supplies and the lawnmower.  There isn't much grass, just the strip between the building and the sun room, up to the fence just beyond the end of the sun room.  This is definitely a low maintenance yard.

This is the smaller of the two sheds, it sits on the lower of the two decks.  You can see the old green plastic chair and the brown table that I pulled from the shed.  The deck looks a little bare, but I'm sure any buyer will be able to imagine the enjoyment they will get out of both decks.

After sitting for such a long period, it was time to get busy again.  I took out my small vacuum and cleaned up the deck. The large evergreen drops needles and cones as well, and though I sweep it frequently, they get between the cracks.  Finally I tackled the table (not pictured) where my small BBQ sits, cleaning off the grease and winter grime.  I took the BBQ apart and cleaned the grill as well as the burner plate and scraped out all the crud.  

It is so nice to have everything cleaned up, at least temporarily.  I have to keep on top of things now both inside and out.  Good thing I'm retired!  

Saturday has been another absolutely gorgeous day.  I decided I deserved to take some time and go for a walk.  The temperature was around 8C (46F) as I headed out the door...with my camera. 
 I'm sad to say this is only the second time I've gone walking in the park this spring.  Sad, isn't it especially as it is only a 5-10 minute walk from the house.  My only excuse is that I've been getting my exercise cleaning house and yard.

The pond was welcoming to ducks, geese, and gulls.  The cacophony of sound was something else.   

 Mr. Robin was in a tree as I was passing by.  He seemed to be interested in my taking photos of him, as he flew down from the tree and strutted across the grass towards me. 

Handsome fellow!

 These guys were not nearly as happy to see me.  Every time I took a photo they'd dash away only to stop a few feet away and look at me again.

There was a man and his dog on the path and I thought they might run from them but they stuck around, likely because the dog didn't even make a sound as it walked by.  

This guy was curled up in the grass as I approached but took off like a shot when he saw me.  Silly rabbit, he dashed down the hill and I was able to get this shot of him as I went around the curve.  I like the way the light and shadows play on the fence; I think he thought he blended into it....not quite!

Back at home I cleared up some debris from the front flower bed.  I even have a couple of plants that are starting to push up and show some new green. One is a dianthus (carnation) and the other a Veronica (Speedwell).  Yippee!  I love spring.  

The rest of the day was mostly relaxing.  I spent some time reading out on the front patio, watched a bit of afternoon hockey, filed some paperwork, and made a list of the improvements and replacements I've done to the house in the past 9 years.  I put this together for my real estate agent as my memory isn't that great, but I've kept all of the paperwork from the work that was completed over the years.  Oh, and I did get to the gas station for a fill-up and a wash.  It so desperately needed it.  That reminds me, I need to make an appointment to changeover to summer tires.  There's always something needing to be done.

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  I did pick up a small treat for my son, but the Easter decorations have been cleared up in anticipation of next week's discussion with the real estate agent*.  We won't have a big dinner, in fact if the weather forecast is accurate I'll probably throw something on the BBQ.  

Take care everyone and have Happy Easter!

*By the way - I moved to ottomans to the front window.  It's always called out to me as needing a window seat, the cats can use them to watch out the window and it clears the space in front of the sofa.  AND since they hold my knitting projects and supplies they're still handy. 

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Getting close to the finish line

I am getting very tired of cleaning and clearing...and I think I'm reaching end of it.  I vacuumed the entire house yesterday (thinking of you Carole), replaced the fixture in the spare bedroom (on my own and it worked), and took the last batch of stuff to Value Village.  Today I washed walls in the living room and windows in the kitchen and living room.   Here are a few photos of the "finished product".  

 According to staging info I should remove the ottomans so that the room appears larger.  I'm of mixed feelings about that...I think the room is plenty big even with these here.

The now nearly empty spare room.  When we moved in just under 9 years ago, it looked like this!  Bit of a difference,

The main bathroom - the cabinets were refaced last year and the new counter top, sink and taps put in. It's a similar counter to the kitchen but with a shiny surface.  My bathroom had a similar treatment but I'm not sure how to take a photo of it, without putting myself in the picture.  It's a small bathroom!

The master bedroom with new curtains.  It is a large room as well.
The basement is pretty much empty, though at the other end of the room is my son's computer.  That area needs to be tied, and his bedroom too.  He's promised to spend part of the long weekend cleaning, so I can clean carpets next week.
 This is the area of the basement that I had insulated and drywalled several years ago.  The ceiling is quite low in this part, about 7 feet so it's not really usable space, except for storage.  My son does use the weight bench occasionally, but my daughter's elliptical hasn't.  So it is going out with the pile of rubbish in the garage as we've tried giving it away for free.  I suspect whoever picks it up, may keep it.

 The basement bathroom was redone a few years ago, with the addition of a shower, and replacement of the shower and sink cabinet.  It's so much nicer than it was when we moved photos from that time but I assure you, it wasn't very pretty!
Finally the laundry room with the chest freezer and water softener.  I wish I had a couple of shelves to put the cleaning supplies on but I don't.  I'll leave that to the next owner.

I can continue to work on the garage and yard after it is listed though I'm hoping to get to do some work this weekend.  We're forecast to have lovely temperatures (up to 18C/66F), perfect for being outdoors.  The pine cones and needles on the front patio need to be swept up and put in the bin.  In the back yard, I need to go through the sheds and clear these out. There are some things that need to go to D; she can pick these up when she comes at the beginning of May.  Near to the end of May, regardless of whether the house is sold, I'll plant a few containers for some color.  This year though, I plan to keep it to no more than eight...or maybe nine or ten. :)

I'll call the real estate agent next week as I had forgotten this weekend is Easter. I'm sure he'll have some ideas for me as well...hopefully they won't cost me too much!  I do know the carpet in the master bedroom needs to be replaced but I'd be more willing to provide a credit to the purchaser.  It relieves of the need to move all the furniture out and they can put in what they would like.  We'll see where that gets me. 

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Saturday 13 April 2019

Keeping busy

Goodness, another busy week is nearly in the books.  How the heck did I get anything done before I retired?  From the state of the house I would tell you I didn't.  At least not more than cursory clean and dusting.

This week, however, was more about spending time with others, rather than house cleaning.  Wednesday I met a couple of former co-workers for coffee/tea at a nearby coffee shop.  The one individual is still working, so a good deal of our conversation revolved around work and people we worked with through the years, as well as catching up on our personal lives.

Before heading to the cafe, I'd spent a good 90 minutes doing a quick clear of the garage, sorting items for donation, removal, and retention.  I also gathered up items my daughter had left behind in the move last fall.  Between these, an outdoor water table, and some items from the latest house purge I had set aside for her, the trunk and backseat of my car were packed full!  The removal pile isn't as large as I thought it might be but I know there are still things in the house to go out there so I'll wait before I touch base with a removal company.  The donation box was brought into the house and added to that pile.  

I have several cans of paint, some from the previous owner, to get rid of too.  I checked on our city website and the next hazardous waste drop-off is on April 26.  I'll put a reminder in my calendar to load the car with these items the day prior so I can get there when they open.  They do several events each spring, you load your car, drive onto the lot, open the trunk and the city workers unload.  No getting out one's vehicle at all!  I think it's a great idea and diverts these items from the landfill.

After my visit with C and R, it was off to Melville to visit D and Eli.  I spent the night there and drove back on Thursday.  We celebrated Easter a little early, with Eli searching for a dozen plastic Easter eggs his mother had hidden in the living room.  Each egg contained two small chocolate eggs....once he found one he was off in a hurry to find more.  When I left Thursday afternoon there were still three in hiding.  

Here he's putting the basket I made on his head.  What a silly goose!  We had a lot of fun, he and I, we read books, watched Paw Patrol cartoons, danced, ran around in the yard where he slid down his slide, hit the T ball with his bat, and enjoyed the sunshine.  It was chilly, just a few degrees above freezing, but he didn't mind being outdoors at all. 

Eli also enjoyed climbing on me for cuddles and/or tickles.  He makes me laugh with his giggles.  He likes to play with the cat Stanley with a toy tied to a string. Stanley chases him and Eli laughs and laughs.  The floor plan is fairly open, so he can run between the living room, kitchen and front hall easily.  Just watching him play is so joyful.

His vocabulary continues to increase including a couple of sentences, "where is it?" and "here it is".  I suspect his mother says this to him frequently.  He knows and can vocalize the sounds a lion, wolf, cat, dog, bird, cow, horse, and dinosaur says.  Do we really know the sound a dinosaur would have made?  Eli can pick out items in the books we read.  He asks for ap-ple, 'nana, cheese (but only smoked cheddar or Gouda), cook-ahs (cookies), and sometimes even says please.  He'll let you know when he's "all done", wants up or down, and has an attitude when he doesn't get what he wants.   He's beginning to recognize when he's tired and will ask for his bi-bi (blanket) and bub-ba (bottle) and take himself off to bed.  All in all, he's a two year old. He drives his mother batty at times, but he's a loving, sweet child most of the time.  It was a wonderful visit and we're planning the next for the end of May.

It may need to be postponed but that will depend how the house selling process is going.  I'm aiming to have it listed by the beginning of May, though will ask the agent to do a walk through perhaps as early as next week.  I'd like to get a sense of how much more I need to do before the listing is put up.  There are a few items on my own to-do list but I'm close to being ready.  

On Friday, I crossed a couple of these off the list. First though, I met K and J and our travel agent L at a lovely little cafe for a visit. We've been trying to get together since January and it just hasn't come together until now!  We talked about various travels both past and upcoming (for K and J, not me...yet).  L is just a lovely person, she puts a lot of work into assisting her clients, and worries when things don't work quite as expected.  For example, when I got back from this last cruise, I let her know the cabin had drop down bunks, just for future reference.  She was so apologetic, and I kept telling her it wasn't a big deal and I'd liked the location very much.  I know, if I book another cruise with her, she'll check and double check the style of the room. 

In the parking lot I transferred three boxes of books to K and J's car as they will be volunteering at a book sale this summer.  They can pick through the books and read what they like before hand if they choose.  I did mention one of the boxes was just cookbooks and another was mostly business and self-help books.  So happy to be rid of these items.  I have one small shelf left of favorites that I'll pack away.  Next up, I headed to SarCan to drop of old electronics, all computer equipment.  K mentioned she has a friend who will take old televisions, so I'll get the phone number as I have two of these sitting around as well.  They are the old tube televisions, so very heavy.  But K says this person will pick up as well, so I won't have to try to get them into the car.  

The de-cluttering continues.  I packed away the extra bedding from the spare room and tucked the bags into the closet.  The only thing left to do in that room is to replace the light fixture.  I've read up on it, and watched a couple of videos but I think I'll wait until my brother comes for visit before I tackle.  He can help with it or watch me electrocute myself and call for help. :)  In my bedroom, I've finished clearing the closet of non-essentials and have hung new curtains.  The craft room still has a few items I may decide to get rid of, but for the past part it is done.  I did a little more clearing of the counters in the kitchen, took all the magnets (except looked so bare) off the refrigerator.  I pulled everything off the pantry shelves, cleaned the shelves and replaced the contents.  I still have to finish the lazy susans and give the refrigerator and freezer a quick scrub.  The latter are not horrid but when I'm in the mood I need to take advantage.

Next up is to tackle my desk.  I went through it in early February, but I've come to realize that I rarely go into it and retrieve any items. So why am I keeping all of it?  I have no that's one of this weekend's projects.  Back to my original comment, I'm finding there is always something that needs to be done and the more I clean and repair and de-clutter the more I realize this house is just too big.  I don't want to spend days of my retirement being a maid to this house.  So it is definitely time to let it go.

I was asked where I'll move to once the house has been sold.  To a certain extent, that decision is still up in the air.  C and I recently had a conversation; I asked him how he felt about living with his mother.  It turns out, he's okay with that.  He was planning on buying a condo this year and will do so, but now I'll pay half the down payment and we'll find a two bedroom.  Since I'll need the proceeds from the sale of the house, the search will have to wait a bit.  

In any event, this way I'll have a home base which will allow me to be flexible in my future plans.  We've agreed I'll pay half the costs while I'm here in Saskatchewan and he'll manage on his own when I'm not.  I still would like to be on Vancouver Island for the winter months, though I may try to rent for the first year or two, and put the rest of the proceeds from the house in an investment account for a bit.  Or maybe I'll head further south to the States, to Arizona perhaps.  That is less likely simply because of the additional costs due to the exchange rate.  But it is worth exploring. To be honest I've even considered, very briefly, buying a Class C motorhome to spend the winters away from the cold.  I say briefly, because I'm not certain I'd be prepared to deal with the emptying of tanks or any mechanical issues that might come up.  At this point, it's all a bit hazy and predicated on the house selling.  The market is slow here, in my neighbourhood it seems to be taking nearly 6 months for most to sell, usually with a price reduction. I plan to list the house slightly below market value as I think the odds of selling quickly will be better.  

In the meantime I'll keep busy cleaning, de-cluttering and crafting.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday 8 April 2019

Continued preparations

In between curling matches, reading and posting blogs, chats with D and Eli (FB Messenger is great for this), and regular housework, I've been busy with more de-cluttering and minor repairs in the house.  I'm finding there is a lot of work to getting the house ready for sale.  I made the mistake of searching for "top tips for selling a house" yesterday.  Phew, there are a lot of ideas out there.

One of the top tips is to clean surfaces.  In the kitchen it's meant to show how much counter space is available.

Here's my kitchen....I tried, I really did but there are just too many things I need out. The coffee pot, kettle, toaster, and breadbox are going nowhere.  Though looking at the photo, I'll make sure the broom is put away in the closet. 

My living room is much better, with the exception of the table beside my chair.  I keep my remotes, address book, telephone, cat brush, pens, etc.  in a container.  It's is really cluttered but the drawer in the side table is full too.  So, I'll have to do something else with it.  

In my de-cluttering I've managed to fill another large box and started a second one with items to donate.  A lot of this came from a second round of going through Christmas and other seasonal decorations.  In addition, I'm taking a tub of assorted items to my daughter at her request.  I cleaned out three tubs but must admit I filled two of them with items that used to sit out on the shelves in the storage room, mostly stuffed animals and Santas.  I did get one empty tub that I'll use for the stuff that I need to hide during showings.  

The paint touch ups are complete.  When Eli was little we had installed a gate at the top of the basement stairs, when it was removed, there were holes that needed to be patched and the walls repainted.  Luckily I had the paint from the bathroom renovations and was able to use that.  I did pick up a small tester of white paint for touching up baseboards and the railing on the steps up to the kitchen. Some time ago, my nephew for some reason known only to him, scratched up the railing with a sharp object.  I'd ignored it until now, but with a bit of wood filler and paint it looks fine.  

One afternoon last week it was warm enough to open up the sun room, so I took the opportunity to clean it thoroughly.  All the toys have been put away, the floor was swept and then vacuumed, and I pulled down some of the curtains and washed them.  I'll continue that process until they've all been cleaned. (Why I haven't done this in the years I've lived here is beyond me).  

Tucked away in the coffee table are a set of towels, teal and white striped, that I'll use to cover the furniture.  The cat's claws have done a number on the existing towels but I won't replace them until necessary.  For showings yes!  One of the curtains was torn by Sheldon, I think he was trying to chase a bird.  It's the second on the left in the picture; I took it down and patched it, then moved it to a corner where it isn't likely to be closed.  I could try to replace them but there are 12 curtains and at an average of $40-50 each I'm not prepared to spend that much money, and it's not likely I could find one that would match the current ones.

Another repair made was the front hall closet door.  The one on the left had split at the top when I was trying to open it one day.  I probably yanked on it too hard.  For the longest time (a year or more) I lived without a closet door.  It certainly ensure I kept the closet tidy. :)

I had been looking on line for replacement doors but was trying to figure out how I'd get them home.  I sure didn't want to pay the $75 delivery charge! As I was getting out of my car the other day, I noticed a couple of panels on top of the shelving unit.  There were a number of pieces of wood left behind by the previous owners.  I checked, and sure enough the panels were the right size.  One of the panels matched, almost to a T the broken one so this weekend I took them all down to basement where I could lay them out on the floor and replaced the broken panel.  My son gave me a hand re-installing it. It's not entirely level but as my dad would have said, "a blind man riding by wouldn't notice the difference." Hooray, another fix with no additional cost!

I did go out the other day and spent a few dollars on towels.  I bought new white tea towels for the kitchen and patterned hand towels for the bathroom.  These will only be used for ratty old stuff is for everyday.  That plastic tub I mentioned earlier can be used to hide the ratty old stuff while the showing is happening.  I'll just toss it in the car to take with me while the showing is going on.

I'm still about a month away from listing, partly because D and Eli will be here in early May. AND I know the house will need some serious cleaning after they leave.  As well I want to get the garage and yard in tip-top shape and that can't happen until we have some nicer weather.  Sunday was another lovely day with temperatures reaching 15C(70F), but it won't be that warm every day for quite awhile.  My theory is, I'll get as much done in the house as I can now, then will be able to focus my attention on simply keeping it up, and working on the outside.

In the meantime, I've done a little bit of crocheting.  I started an Easter basket for Eli before I left on my cruise and took it with me to work on while I was away.  When I returned home, I realized I didn't like what I'd done so I unraveled it and started again! 

Here's the final product with a few goodies tucked into it (he's only 2 so that's all he's getting).  The basket itself is made using two strands of yarn, all of it scraps I had from other projects.  I knew I didn't have enough blue so used the green and yellow to make the stripes.  The handle is also made with double strands but for additional stability I used three pipe cleaners, side by each, crocheting around them.  I sewed the handle onto the basket, and used the little foam pieces I got at the dollar store to decorate it.  With a bit of paper, and the goodies, I think it turned out pretty well.  

I'll deliver the basket and other items I've gathered up around the house to D and Eli on Wednesday when I drive out to visit.  D wanted me to come for Easter weekend, but I'd rather not deal with the holiday traffic.  Eli has no idea yet, what Easter is or when it is so he'll care less. Though I do know he'll be happy to see me as I will be to see him too.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday 5 April 2019

Fun in Fort Lauderdale

Warning - another photo heavy post!

I've been to Fort Lauderdale many times, always the day prior to boarding a cruise ship.  I've generally stayed in one particular hotel that has both an airport and cruiseport shuttle.  Nearby is a shopping mall and a Moonlight diner (which I enjoy immensely).  However, I've always left on the disembarkation day so really haven't any time.  My bucket list item for this trip was to be on the beach to wave goodbye to the cruise ships as they sailed out.  Hotels on or near the beach tend to be expensive but I used my Airmiles points to book two nights at the Best Western Plus Oceanside and it cost me only $84 Canadian.  Hooray for points!

As the name implies the hotel is near the beach but not ocean view.  My room was actually on the ground floor and overlooked the pool.  The beach was less than a five minute walk away.  I was pleased with the room and hotel amenities.  They offered a free breakfast, with a wide variety of items to choose from, and also had a lunch and dinner menu.

I had to wait a couple of hours to check-in, but then I was there at 10:30 a.m.  I spent my time by the pool, reading and just enjoying the weather.  Shopping and restaurants were about a 20 minute walk away.  After I settled at the hotel I took a walk on the beach promenade to see what I could find as an option for lunch.  After a bit of back and forth, I chose the restaurant Ocean Bleau for a burger and fries.    

Both were delicious and I couldn't finish it all as the burger was huge!  While I ate indoors, this was the view from my seat in the restaurant.  Lovely!

After lunch it was back to the hotel to relax by the pool before heading back out to the beach for my walk down to the end where the cruise ships sail.  Unfortunately by 4 p.m. the nice weather didn't hold and according to the weather channel a "rare Nor'Easter" was blowing in.  It was a tough walk with the wind blowing towards me, and the sand swirling around  As a result I didn't get as far down the beach as I had wanted...but it still worked out okay.

These are the Point of America's apartments at the side of the channel.  This is what casts a large shadow on the beach (when the sun is shining).

I think you can see how windy it was by the trees and the haze in the air is the sand.

I waited for about 20 minutes, all while being sandblasted, and then there she was!  It is the Crown Princess appearing from behind the apartment block.  

It was such a different perspective and despite the weather I was so excited to be there. 

This photo makes me think the ship is parked on the beach.  You can see I wasn't the only one out to watch her sail-away.  Hardy souls all of us. 

It was bittersweet to watch her sail away.  I had such a marvelous cruise, and hope that those who are on her for the next ten days (they'll have disembarked today I believe) did too.  Though I suspect the waters were a bit rougher at least at the beginning.

I turned around after the ship was further out to see and headed back to the hotel.
My hotel was back of the buildings in the gap between the ones in the foreground and the ones further back.  It was a lot further down the beach than I expected, but walking back was easier then the walk out because the wind blew me that way! There were still people on the beach but it was mostly hotel staff picking up the chairs, beach towels and any other debris.

I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and reading in my room.

The following morning after a great breakfast, I headed back out towards the shopping area.  It was raining off and on, though still warm, but the promenade was closed.  I was disappointed as I would have liked to have walked along the beach.  However, that disappointed turned to surprise when I came across this:
Who knew there were river boats in Fort Lauderdale?  Not me!  I walked for about 45 minutes before I turned back (with a stop at a CVS for a bottle of water and snacks for the plane).  As I came up to the pier, I noticed there were people getting on board so I stopped at the ticket office to find out about the cruise.  The ticket taker told me this was a river cruise, the cost was $25, but they had a later cruise at 1:30 that was 3 hours in length and would visit their private island with a wildlife sanctuary with a cost of $33US.  She mentioned there were options to buy lunch on the island as well.  I was sold!

I went back to the hotel, dropped off my bag and read by the pool for a bit.  I would note, I chose to do so because there was a sign reading "No outside food or drink allowed".  That turned out not to be true but what did I know?  As I was walking back to the pier, I was drenched in a brief downpour.  I was glad to have my rain jacket but even it was soggy.  It was okay though because after purchasing my ticket and while standing in line the sun came out again and I was dry by the time we boarded.  
Along the way one of the crew kept us informed as to the history of the houses we were seeing.  I can't recall what we were told about any of them.  In any event, it was interesting, and the stories were often funny.

I'll let the photos tell most of my story.

I thought this might be a fun way to do a river cruise.  Maybe next time.

There were several bridges that opened as we sailed through.

Check out the fruit on this tree.  I should mention every house we passed had a least one boat in front of it.

We arrived at the island after about an hour of cruising down the river.  The feature exhibit was the alligators. There were three of them chilling out in the pit. 

(The third one is behind the one that is peeping out of the water).  

The handler climbed into the pit, dragged the one that was laying in the sun over and began his show.  I lost interest at that point. I'll be honest I don't like seeing any animals man-handled.  I just don't understand how that can be entertaining.

Besides there were enough other creatures and beautiful flowers to keep me moving.

 The sign reads "Caution, I bite!"

Later the alligator handler came out of the pit to show off this baby alligator.  One could, if so inclined, have a photo taken with it for $5.  the proceeds go to the sanctuary.

I chose not to do so, instead I purchased my lunch, a simple hot dog and drink and sat watching people feed the peacocks.  Unfortunately they were givings bits of their hamburger or hotdog buns - not likely an appropriate food.

As you likely tell, the weather was sunny while we were on the island.  That held true for most of the return cruise. 

I particularly liked the look of this property.  What a lovely spot to sit and watch the marine traffic!

We were told this tower has 24 carat gold on it...I would doubt that as I suspect someone would find a way to steal it.  

It was owned (or perhaps is) by an extremely wealthy long time resident of Fort Lauderdale whose name escapes me.  If memory serves, it was part of a large compound containing two large guest houses, a huge shed that purportedly held the lawn mower, and the main house...which was humongous!

Just as we reached the channel where we would turn towards the pier, it began to rain again.  The bridge you see in this photo, I believe is the one at I had pictured in the shots from the cruise ship...just the opposite side.

When we reached the pier it was pouring rain, so I got drenched once again as I walked back to the hotel.  After changing clothes, I hung the wet items to dry in front of the a/c unit.  It was still raining so I read for a hour or so before I went to dinner in the hotel.  I didn't want to walk the 20 minutes in the weather again.

As I was waiting for my dinner, a couple were looking for a table, and as I was at a four top, I offered to share.  We had a wonderful chat (though I've forgotten their names already) as they were sailing the following day.  They had driven from Galveston, Texas, a few days prior and had spent some time with family in another part of Florida before making their way to Fort Lauderdale for their cruise.  

The rest of the evening I spent repacking the suitcase and carry-on.  I needed an early night because I had to head to the airport by 4:30 in the morning for my 7 a.m. flight to Toronto.  After a 3 1/2 layover in TO, I was on my home to Regina arriving at 3:30 p.m. local time.  It felt good to be home, and best of all there was very little snow left!

So ends my final journey for this year (at least at this point I have nothing else planned).  It was another wonderful trip, filled with fun experiences and great people. 

Hope you've enjoyed the photos and stories.  I'll be back soon with an update on the preparations underway to get the house ready for sale...and all the other boring stuff that happens in my average life.  Have a great day everyone!