Thursday 30 May 2019

Up and down and all around

It's already Thursday!  What happened to this week?  I'm trying to recall but it obviously couldn't have been very special.  It's been a whirlwind of continual housecleaning - it never seems to end because I never know when I'll get a call for a showing.  Tuesday we had a showing at lunch time, so the morning was spent making sure the house was tidy.  Odds and ends were tucked away, the good towels were set out, the bed spreads smoothed out to eliminate the kitty foot prints and I even ironed the pillow cases.  I cleaned the cat litter (done at least daily) and before I left the house I put the lids on the tubs.  The cats and I piled into the car and went for a drive.  Saku wasn't thrilled to get into the carrier and both sang a bit when we left but they soon settled down.  We were only out of the house for a half hour so it wasn't too long.  I had hoped these might be the ones  We got feedback from the realtor, the house showed well (hence I can assume no discernible cat smell) but the deck on the back of the house was too big making the yard too small.  

Yesterday I got out of the house for much of day, doing grocery shopping, meeting a friend for coffee, attending to my nail appointment, and buying a few more annuals for the yard. I went to a few different garden centers to find impatience as I've decided the front flower bed needs a bit of color.  Walmart and Rona were a bust - everything looked nearly dead (frost advisory on Sunday and Monday nights) but Superstore surprisingly had really nice product.  It must have come in early that week.  Home Depot was my last stop and I picked up a couple of sweet potato vine to put in my front containers.  I like the look of a trailing plant in a tall container.

The weather is crazy, we had the frost advisories both Sunday and Monday night but by Wednesday afternoon it was 31C (88F) and the air conditioner was running.  Another old saying, if you don't like the weather in Saskatchewan, wait 15 minutes.  We sure could use some rain but there is none in the forecast.  Today I mowed and watered the back bit of lawn and gave it a real good soaking.  SaskTel was here this week to trench in the conduit for the InfiNet line and dug up a chunk of it so it needs some repairs.  I've got some grass seed that I'll put out after Sask Energy shows up on July 14 to move the gas line...before that it will just look a bit of a mess.

Today I had company, D and Eli came this morning about 10 a.m. We went for walk along the local pond, where Eli pointed out the the doose and the duck.  (the letter d seems to be easier for him to say than other letters)  Later we had lunch together, went shopping at the local Salvation Army store for summer clothing (great deal, kids clothes 50% off), and then they headed to her friend L for the rest of the day.  They'll be back tomorrow as D has lunch plans and I'll watch Eli.  He's so much fun but boy can he make a mess in nanoseconds.  Even though I took him outside to eat his frozen yogurt I still found drips on the floor in the kitchen.

Sunday we'll have another open house, and I'm not entirely looking forward to it.  The cats and I will need to spend just over two hours in the car, with the a/c running continuously as our temps will continue to be near 30C (85F).  I have reduced the price based on the prices of houses that have sold in the neighbourhood recently and am hopeful the right buyer/buyers show up for this open house.  My son C and I went out looking at condo open houses last weekend and found one he really, really liked.  Unfortunately he does need my help to afford it so that has to wait until this house sells as I don't have the cash to split the down payment.  It is a really nice unit but if it sells there are currently two others in the same compound that are listed.  If it is meant to be, it will happen.

No new photos to share so I'll post a photo my brother sent to me this morning.  It was taken from his breakfast table on the verandah looking out towards the valley.  Nice view though I wouldn't the work to keep up the yard and house!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday 24 May 2019

My new toy

No news to share regarding the house, other than I did go ahead with a price reduction with the hope it might spur some interest.  But I've gone as far as I'll go - if it sells, it sells, if not I'll stay here a while longer.

What is new, is my recent acquisition... a Fitbit, an Alta HR to be I'd know the difference between it and another.  What convinced me to purchase this new toy was a friend who showed me the data on her recent sleep patterns.  I was intrigued as I've wondered what my sleep is like.  I usually go to bed about 10 p.m., watch the news for 10-15 minutes and usually fall asleep relatively soon after lights are out.  Typically I sleep until around 6 or 6:30 though can be up a couple of times during the night and the cats will wake me earlier.  

What I have learned is that I spend most of the night in light sleep.  Most nights I'm awake more often than I recall, and I spend very little time in deep sleep.  Most information I've read indicates 20% of a night's sleep should be deep sleep, I rarely get more than 10-15% a night.  An article I read indicates, "deep sleep is crucial for physical renewal, hormonal regulation, and growth.  Without deep sleep, you're more likely to get sick, feel depressed, and gain and unhealthy amount of weight."  Ah ha, now I can blame lack of sleep for my weight gain...or not.  I suspect it has a lot more about what goes in than how  much or how little sleep I get.  

When I told my daughter that I've learned I'm a light sleeper, her response was, "that explains why I couldn't move at night without you hearing me".  Hmmm, perhaps being a single mom all those years caused this pattern.  

In any event, I'm finding other benefits to the Fitbit.  For example, on a normal day of doing housework and yard work, I can easily reach 7-8 thousand steps.  However, housework is rarely recognized by the app as "active minutes", with the exception of vacuuming.  Gardening, on the other hand does count.  I believe it determines the activity level by heart rate.  I'm still not at 10,000 steps a day every day but my average for the last two weeks is over that number.  All it takes to reach the target is a walk around the neighbourhood.  I just have to get more regular with these walks.

There is also an option to track what one eats and drinks, calculate the calories and pointing when one has over eaten (only once in 14 days).  What I have learned is I have far too much sodium in my diet.  This is a concern because of my family history of heart and stroke so I'll definitely need to work on that.  For example, for dinner this evening I had chicken strips with a side salad at the local Denny's restaurant.  According to the app that meal contained almost 1200 mg of sodium!  The daily recommendation is 2300 mg.  Once I added in the cheese and salad dressing I had in my salad at lunch (nearly 600 mg), and the sausage with cheese on an English muffin for breakfast (760 mg) and I'm well over the daily limit.  I understand sodium is used as a preservative, hence there are high amounts of it in salad dressing, in processed meats, and cheese.  I do take some of the numbers less seriously as, for example, grilled chicken is shown as high sodium.  I don't salt my meat that I grill but rather use a Mrs. Dash, a non-salt added spice mixture, however I usually marinate the meat in a oil based salad dressing.  I'm definitely going to have to start reading labels more closely and try to find options that will be a little more heart healthy.

Do you have a Fitbit (or some other tracking device)?  It's relatively new to me so I'm quite fascinated, is there something you've learned with the device that you can share?  

Speaking of sleep, it's time to head to bed.  Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Sunshine...makes me happy!

A happier post for a change!  No the house hasn't sold but I've put that aside for now because I think I can safely say that spring is finally here to stay.  We've had temps in range of 17-20C (60's F) for the last few days and the forecast suggests this trend will continue.  While overnight temps are down, it's still staying above freezing and no frost in the forecast.  Hooray for warmer weather!

I picked up my plants a week or ten days ago (I can't keep track of time without some reference point) and I've been dragging them in and out of the garage at night ever since.  Last night I left them out and everything looked great this morning so I spent

Out in front I planted petunias in the taller containers; these were in containers at Walmart for less than $10 so I grabbed two.  Initially I thought I might be able to split them but they were so root bound in the original containers that I just plunked them into these. 

They give an instant hit of color and fill most of the container.  I like to have something that appears like it's been there for awhile.  

The front container has the leftovers. :)  There is an osteospermum (purple), a pansy, a lobelia, and a coleus.  I know the latter prefer part sun, and this area tends to get sun morning and late afternoon/evening because of the evergreen so hopefully it will do well there.

The front flower bed is primarily perennials.  I added the hanging plant a couple of weeks ago.  It's a fuschia that I got at Costco for $15 and one of my favorite plants.  

In the silver container back by the thermometer are pansies.  I normally put impatiens in this spot but no one seems to have them this year.  It doesn't get a lot of sun (which pansies prefer) but I'll try them here and if I need to move the container I will.  

In the garden the columbine is beginning to grow, the hostas and ferns are just starting to poke through the ground, the dianthus and bell flower are up and have lots of new growth.  And then there is the perennial I bought last year, the name of which I can't recall.  It's doing fabulously and if I ever figure out what it is I'll show you.  The heartleaf bergenia is pushing stalks of flowers.  This is another favorite as it blooms early in the spring.

This the front patio and flower bed from the perspective of the neighbour's path to the rear of the house.

In the containers are osteospermum, along with coleous and lobelia.  I've stayed with just a few varieties and few containers this year because I won't be able to take everything with me (assuming the house sells).  

Out on the back deck, I've got just three containers! Normally there would be a dozen or more.  These have white and pink geraniums, a lobelia and a trailing ivy.

I'm so happy to finally be able to get my hands in the dirt (though my esthetician may not be so happy when she sees my nails next week).  Getting a bit of color in my world is uplifting too!

Thanks for the comments on my previous post.  I got rid of the old cat litter boxes, bought new tubs and got a new brand of cat litter, "Fresh for Life" that seems to be working really well.  It's dark in color, clumps well, and is truly dust free.  Keeping these clean, with a diffuser in the room, seems to be keeping any odor down...though I haven't had the opportunity to test it out with any new viewers or company.  

Have a great week everyone!

Friday 17 May 2019

Another bump or two in the road

I'm beginning to think that selling the house isn't a good idea.  There is nothing that can't be rectified but I think I'm at the point where my commitment has waned and I'm ready to move on.  I know, I know, it's only been a couple of weeks and I need to be patient.  Not my strong suit!

This week we got the report back from the energy company and learned my sun room has a gas line running under it.  In the time since I purchased the house there have a been a couple of homes that were destroyed due to a gas line explosion so now all houses that are listed for sale must get a clear report.  (I guess it doesn't matter if you're living's only a safety hazard when selling.)  So the following morning a technician came out and verified where the line is - the sunroom is 16X16 feet and the gas line is about 18 inches in from the far corner.  For that, the sidewalk has to be cut and the line moved at a cost of $900.  I don't know whether they'll repair the sidewalk or if that will be my responsibility, but I'll also have a whole in the lawn that will need to be filled in and new sod laid. Thankfully I was prepared for a bit of unexpected issues and had some money aside for this sort of thing.  However, the line move won't happen until June 14.  Again, is it really that big of safety issue?  

The same morning, the realtors caravan came through with seven agents in attendance.  In the words of my realtor, "Nice floor plan, some thought the yard was small but some liked the sun room.  Consensus on price was it's a touch high. Everyone said they could smell the cats."  This latter point seems to be consistent theme, so I went out and bought two new cat boxes (I use Rubbermaid tubs) and new litter.  This morning, I emptied the old tubs, swept, vacuumed, and washed the floor, sprayed the wall behind, and put in the new boxes.  I've been cleaning the tubs everyday, sometimes twice a day (which maybe isn't enough?), and will continue to do so.  There is a diffuser in the room as well.  When we have a showing I'll put the lids on the tubs and hopefully, fingers crossed that will be enough to keep their noses happy.  

We did have a showing last evening.  I've not gotten any feedback from the visit and certainly no offer has come in.  I suspect a decision will need to be made next week, do I lower the price in order to get a sale or do I stick to my original price and take the house off the market in three months (when the contract ends) and wait until next year.  My heart and my head are arguing over this decision.  There are pros and cons to both alternatives and while I'm practical enough to realize this, I'm ready to move on.

Again, back to being patient.  What is meant to be will happen, not necessarily according to my timing.

In the meantime I'm learning to be patient with my camera as the birds are flocking to my yard.  I guess the word is out the feeder is available.  I'll end this post with a few favorites photos from this afternoon.

My brother told me to put a rock in the center of the bird bath because the smaller birds couldn't reach the water when it wasn't completely full.  I'm pleased to see them using it now.  

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday 13 May 2019

This, that and and what the heck?

A few days ago my younger brother stopped by to take down an old dead tree in my yard.  This was an old evergreen that died the year we moved in, so nearly 9 years ago.  I left it for the birds as it attracted bugs.  The neighbour across the back complained about it a few times (they just moved in a couple of years ago) though none of the other neighbours had a problem with it.  But I didn't know if buyers would be put off so it was time to remove it.

R started off by removing most of the limbs until it got rather rocky on the extension ladder.  He then sawed it into about 4-5 foot pieces, ensuring they fell into my yard, rather than on the fence or into the neighbour's yard.  But he left a stump about 4 feet high.

We picked up all larger pieces and limbs and put them in the back of his truck.  He took them back to the farm and will use these in his firepit.  

He brought with him, a bird feeder he had built out of old wood from the farm, a container of birdseed, a suet feeder and the holder.  What a nice guy!

R screwed the bird feeder to the top of the post.  Then we filled it with seed and cleaned up a bit more before heading in for tea in the sun room.

The birds have been making good use of it.  Sparrows, robins, and grackles have been seen picking at the seeds and this morning I refilled (though it was not empty).  The cats now have more television to watch.  Saku has been quite interested in the goings on out there.  No squirrels yet, though I saw one being chased by some black birds across the street earlier today.

 I bought myself a new toy this week, a Fitbit.  My friend C has one and was showing me the sleep tracking it does. I'll been curious about my sleep patterns because I can wake up in the morning exhausted though with no recall of having been awake.  Other mornings I feel like I've hardly slept at all though don't feel tired.  I must say, though, since retiring I've slept better than I did when I was working.  

Anyway today is day 3 and the darn thing reminds me if I haven't moved for a period of time.  Yesterday I didn't make 10,000 steps, but Saturday and today I was well over.  If it means I'll get and go for a walk everyday it's a good thing.  I've learned that I'm a predominately light sleeper and I'm awake more often in the night that I recall.  It's early days to I'll keep track for a few months to see whether that continues to hold true.

The app also has the ability to track food input, weight, and activities (I input the data).  I'm not sure how useful these nor keeping up with the input...sometimes I just don't want to know.

Now on to the open house update and the WTH moment.  You may want to make sure you're not eating for the latter.  Just sayin'.

We had nine groups through which the real estate agent says is good.  There were two younger couples, a woman "looking for her adult children", a woman on her own, two retired couples, and a weird couple.  I know that's not nine but these are the ones Curtis mentioned to me.  The one young couple have a house to sell so were just out looking, the other young couple thought the house was nice but the yard too small.  He says the woman house hunting for her kids was typical...nothing better to do and nothing nice to say because nothing is good enough for her kids.  The other woman on her own wandered through while he was talking to another couple so no feedback.  The retired couples are both looking to downsize - all I could think was how big are your homes now.  They were both most vocal about the things that need to be done (all the flooring needs to be replaced - yeah, I'm not doing that), one mentioned price and it is just around my bottom line.  This tells me that I'm not that far off.  Everyone liked the sun room and double tier deck and the kitchen, but noticed little things like a missing light fixture in the basement (I hadn't even notice it), and the missing drywall to access the furnace ducting.  I'll take care of both of those in the next week or so.

AND then there were the weird couple.  Curtis said they showed up minutes before the showing ended and stood outside looking up under the eaves for the house for a bit before coming in.  He said they walked through the upstairs trying every light switch before heading down to the basement.  He stood at the top of the stairs to see if he could hear what they were saying.  They were in the laundry room and were quite confused that the water softener was in that room rather than next to the furnace.  Really?  Anyway, this is when the really weird stuff happened.  He said it got quiet, so he walked down the stairs to find that she was using the bathroom.  

I arrived home shortly after they left, and hearing this story I went down to check the bathroom.  OMfreakingG....she had flushed but had left a bit of a mess.....I'll leave it to your imagination.  It took me awhile to get things cleaned and sanitized.  told my son about it, and for the rest of that day he used the bathroom upstairs.  

Let's go back to the birds, okay?  

I get a chuckle out of these photos.  My neighbour has this decorative owl on the top of her tree stumps.  Apparently, it doesn't frighten any of the other birds.  

Have a great week everyone!

Friday 10 May 2019

Not much of an update

Days on the market - 8
Showings - 0  

There was an open house for realtors yesterday, with only one showing up in the 2 hour period.  The feedback we received included that at the price we've set the house should have hardwood floors and new flooring throughout.  He liked the yard but felt it wasn't a family home because there is little grass.  As I said to Curtis, this was formerly a foster home, the smaller shed is a play house, so obviously children can live here.  Plus we have two parks within a 5 minute walk.  The other agent also noted the one minor fix I hadn't thought to do so yesterday afternoon I peeled the linoleum off the base of the island (it was loose), took off the residue glue and painted it.  It looks neat and tidy now so hopefully it won't dissuade anyone from purchasing the house.  Bah!  

On the other hand, as of Tuesday there had been 334 views of the MLS listing, 133 had viewed the photos, and 11 had marked it as a favourite.  There is a public open house on Saturday and Curtis believes that those last folks are likely to show up.  

We're already talking a price reduction. It seems far too early to me and we'll wait until this weekend's open house is over and decide on the basis of the feedback we receive then.  I've been playing with my spreadsheet, inputting various scenarios and making a decision about my bottom line.  I did some research on pricing here in Regina, and did some comparisons to properties currently listed.  I truly believe I'm not that far off so for the time being I'm sticking to my guns.  At least until I'm convinced otherwise. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday 6 May 2019

For the birds

I went for a short walk this morning, taking my camera with me.  I was glad I did!  The birds are out in full force, chattering amongst themselves, feeding, and gathering for their nests.  I probably didn't get as much aerobic exercise as I would have liked because I kept stopping to take more photos!

The robins are everywhere.  I think I have a pair nesting in my evergreen.  (Not these, as I saw this pair on the path in the park).  

They appeared to be feeding, though neither seemed to be having much luck.

Sorry for the quality of this photo.  I was just about to snap the photo when the magpie started to fly off.  

It's the first one I've spotted this year. He was squawking like a banshee which was what alerted me to his presence.  They are such noisy birds and not very nice to other birds either.

The Hungarian partridge were out and about as well.  These two headed for the shade when I came by so although I tried to get a number of shots, this was the best I could do.

It's nice to see them - I always get a chuckle out of their way of marching about.

All along the creek were the red winged blackbirds.  I love their song and stood to listen for a bit before moving on.

On the other side of the creek a man was walking.  I thought nothing of it, until I saw something moving in the grass just ahead of him.  He was walking his cat!  the photo I took was just too blurry to share but I could tell the cat was black and wearing a red leash.

Another robin with a mouthful.  I'm assuming this was material for a nest as it immediately flew off.  

This duck seemed to be sleeping in the water.  It was completely still and though there was lots of noise from the geese on and around the pond it didn't move.

After I'd walked past though, when I turned around to look back, it was swimming.

A couple of geese coming in for a landing.  They were definitely announcing their arrival early as they came over the pond.  

Is that their way of letting the rest of the birds know so they'll have a clear runway?  Impossible to know but one has to wonder.

 The crow let me get quite close to me, and didn't fly off even as I walked path.  I have to assume it was too focused on what it was doing!

Up top on the building under construction were two more very noisy geese.  They seemed to hollering at goose on the other side of the pond, who was hollering right back.  Funny birds!

Last but not least was this little brown bird in the tree just a block from the house.  There were several of them flitting around, though with the exception of this little guy, they wouldn't settle long enough to allow a picture.

I'm assuming it is a nuthatch but not entirely certain.  It's definitely not a chickadee but about that size.

Along the way I noticed lost of trees budding out and this one is actually beginning to leaf out.  Hooray!  It's been quite cold here at night, well below freezing, and I'm so ready for warmer weather.  The sight of the leaves makes me optimistic it is coming soon.

On the home front I have nothing much to report as yet.  My agent called on Saturday to tell me that since listing (2 days) we'd had 236 views on the MLS listing, with 84 looking at the photos and 8 people marking it as a favorite.  The latter is good news/bad news.  It would appear they are interested, but may be waiting for a price drop.  I did have a couple of vehicles stop in front of the house on Saturday morning for several minutes at a time but who knows...maybe they were lost.  In any event, Curtis hasn't yet had a call for a showing.  We'll do a real estate agent's open house on Thursday, and a public open house on Saturday.  

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday 2 May 2019

Fun times

It's really happening!  The for sale sign is out front and the listing is up on the internet.  When Curtis put up the sign and dropped off the lock box, I told him I want a showing the following day.  

We'll see if I get my wish. 

Meanwhile I had a visitor on Thursday afternoon as well.  D had an optometrist appointment so dropped Eli off with me for an hour or so.  After she returned the three of us headed down to the park.  Eli had a blast!  He's big enough now to climb he stairs and knows how to turn himself on the slide.  (I wish I had half his energy level).

He must have climbed up and slid down a dozen times or more.  He ran around the playground area, checking out the other equipment as well and he and his mom slid down the biggest slide together.

The funniest thing was when he lay down on the sand and sifted it through his fingers.  When he got back up he was covered in sand, silly kid!

I had fun this afternoon with him. We read a book together (a couple of times).  He can say apple, ball, car, whale, tree, and corn.  He points out those things as well as the dog, the umbrella, glasses, and the elephant.  I love when he makes the sound that the various animals make.  He loves to be read to, and D has been making a real effort to read every day to him.

When we got back to the house, he played some more outside in the back yard.  He ran around with the ball, took everything out of the small shed, and when his mother tried packing it up in a box, he helpfully unpacked the box.  He's a stinker all right!

They stayed until about 4:30 so that Uncle C could have a short visit, and then they were off to a friend's house for the night.  After dinner, I went into each room and tidied up the things he'd disturbed.  There wasn't a lot, since we spent a good portion of his visit outdoors.  He'll get a second chance tomorrow, when they are back after her doctor's appointment in the morning.  We'll likely do a Costco run, and then I'll have him with me in the afternoon while she has her second appointment in the afternoon.  

I know we'll have lots of fun again...and I'll have some cleaning up to do when he leaves.  But I wouldn't have it any other way!