Friday, May 28, 2010

A Great Evening Walk

Yesterday evening was the first pleasant one in about five days. Rain Rain Go Away has been our theme song for about two weeks now! After work I had every intention of finishing the job of sorting in my studio, but it was just too nice and hadn’t been for so long that I decided to take the dog for an extra long walk.

I’m in a new neighborhood and don’t know all the routes yet, but decided I didn’t want to do the “evening circle” that we have been doing. My husband had already fallen asleep in his chair after eating dinner, and I just thought some fresh air would be more satisfying than listening to him breathing heavily (he insists he doesn’t snore)! I’m sure anybody who might be reading this knows exactly the feeling I’m describing!

So off I go. Put on my great walking shoes purchased in NYC last year (which are unfortunately wearing out and need replacing), and I headed off to see how long it would take to walk to the beach. Now you have to understand how spoiled this dog is. This is HIS walk and my husband expects him to be allowed to stop and sniff and leave pee-mail every chance he gets. So it’s not a quick walk, it’s downright dawdling. Somewhat like it was when I walked down the sidewalk with a baby doing his first big walk!

We got to the beach in TWENTY minutes! The walk took us down a residential street that is across from a farm field all planted in very tidy rows, through a park which rivals Cathedral Grove in its beauty of big, tall, standing and fallen trees, and moss covered stumps.
I foolishly had left my camera behind.

The beach was stunning with water lapping just strongly enough to make that rhythmic noise, the sky with beautiful clouds in it and the mountains glistening in the background. I couldn’t resist taking this picture with my phone and sending it to my son in the prairies!! Slightly sadistic since it was snowing in Calgary at the time!

But the best was yet to come! Here is the view down our street as I ambled back home. And this photo does NOT do it justice at all. All in all, a great evening!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Purging "Stuff" - Studio to Studio

It would appear that moving has flustered me more than I thought. I see on rearranging my blog that I have repeated myself……or do I do that a lot?  Please don't answer that!

But more of this adventure….While clearing out your old belongings can be very therapeutic in a 'life-laundry' sort of way, it can also be strange in a “letting go” sort of a way. Plus the stress of getting your husband (or in this case myself) to actually admit I’m never really going to use this precious bit of fabric, or this pattern, or even be able to find this little bit of wool when I get re-settled,  is truly difficult for me!  But moving to a new house – especially a smaller one - is a chance to start afresh, get rid of the clutter and NOT qualify as a candidate for “Hoarders” on TV! I tried, I really tried, and I thought I was successful.

I gave two trailer loads of “stuff” to the high school fundraising garage sale. Dishes, my reclining cycle, picture frames and vases. I sent loads of fabric to a representative of Doctors Without Borders. Her group makes simple drawstring bags designed to hold the things needed after surgery for women in third world countries. A good home for the fabrics I had to admit I wasn’t going to use in the foreseeable future.

I sent a garbage bag of clothing to the thrift shop and boxes of magazines to the walk-in clinic. We even sold some furniture we knew would be excess in a smaller home. After all we were going from 2200 sq ft to 1100 sq ft!

My husband donated some of the things from his work shop to the local church youth group. They were grateful as it allows the kids to learn new things in their environment. See This photo is copied from their site and I just love its design, the shapes of the negative spaces, the colors, and of course it’s message. But I digress.

And all this purging DID feel good. The current theory that de-cluttering your home helps de-clutter your mind is totally true! The old house looked empty…I felt downright saintly! Not only did I have the reward of gifting all these different groups, but I felt I had substantially downsized.

Here’s a picture of my studio as it looked when people viewed the home we had

And here’s some photos of what I am dealing with now. Suddenly I feel less successful! But I will persevere and re-do the exercise. Wish me luck!

The sewing table and wall storage by the patio door, exiting onto the deck.

The far end of the room showing more storage and my china cabinet holding wool and decorative yarns!  Design walls leaning to the right hand side.  Haven't decided for sure where they will be mounted when I get the surfaces cleared off.  Each day is a little more progress!

And this was the closet in the "master bedroom"  I took off the bifold doors and inserted my storage shelves from the previous laundry room.  The shelf unit on the right hand side in this picture is ENTIRELY filled with UFO's (UnFinished Objects).  I think there's a message in there somewhere!  I think this winter will be geared towards clearing off that shelf!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Moving House....Yet Again

Not that I think this is a new revelation to anyone, but I must say, moving has a tremendous psychological impact on a couple. Imagine a person in their seventies selling their home of 30 years and moving to a retirement home. I’ll never be that person. We moved 2 ½ years ago, and here we are, completing yet again another move! (That’s where I’ve been instead of blogging since about mid-April.)

Last fall, my husband and I finally had a conversation over a glass of wine, which led to tremendous honesty with each other. We both disliked where we were living!! (Other than my spectacular studio of course). We both would like to downsize and thereby downsize our expenses. We had discovered an amazing concept: the ratio of the house size and the heating bill coordinate with each other!

So, now we are into the discussion “when shall we do this?” (neither one of us is known for patience or waiting easily!). We have to make an effort now to communicate with each other exactly what it is we do not like about where we are, what we don’t want to do again, what we’ve liked best about homes past and what we would like to accomplish with this move. This discussion went on for several weeks actually. We discussed things like stairs/ranchers; being visible by all the neighbors; size of yard; size of house; detached workshop; water source; heat source; on and on and on it went. Much wine was consumed!

It is commonly said that moving from one house to another is one of the most stressful life events, right up there with divorce and bereavement. I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a lot of bereavement in my life, but I have experienced divorce, so I feel qualified to say that statement is very true!

There’s the idea of moving, the indecision of whether it’s the correct thing to do….will it make life better, the same or worse? When the decision is made, there’s the de-cluttering and the de-personalizing, living in that newly de-characterized space, the constant cleaning and the life interruptions created by the viewings! I tell you, half way into this one, I was sorely tempted to give up on the idea. He was too….just at different times….which equaled more stress!

Our plan was to get totally out of debt. Sell the big two storey house in town and get a little one. Thus allowing me to retire from my job and focus on my next career as a textile artist, teacher and writer of books related to that! Well, the big house sold but what a search there was for the little one that would suit both of us! Buying a new house seems like a happy and exciting occasion… at first. But we couldn’t find anything that fit all our pre-requisites in town! Did we have too many expectations? Had we made a mistake? Was it possible to achieve what we hoped for? Panic began to set in.

How do you find your “new dream” home? Not the expensive perfectly located one on the beach with all the amenities, that is paid for by the lottery, and is your dream home, but the one fitting this “new dream” goal of retiring early and having peace and quiet with room for your hobbies? This involved many hours cruising the internet and believe me I surfed for hours and hours. After viewing many unsatisfactory places with the local real estate agent, we were blessed by our daughter-in-law, who was beginning to worry about us. Now why do you think she would worry?   

She is an accomplished real estate agent as well as a very special daughter-in-law. We’ve considered Monica to be a saint with wings and a halo for years, but this time she really scored. She went on-line and came up with several listings that she emailed to me, branching out the search area and checking into foreclosures to get more for our dollar. Lo and behold….she found us the house that fits….and it’s a foreclosure….and it’s not in town! Should we get involved in this even tho it will answer all our requirements with some extra work? Does living out of town again look good because we are panicked about finding a home or do we really like that better? Or should we keep looking for a home that won’t involve a court date and the possibility of being outbid or arriving on possession day to nothing looking the same as it did when viewed. We decided to go for it…..and were successful. Thank heavens for that! And we’ve moved in with no rude surprises and the budget worked out exactly as planned so far. Phew! And yes, we both really do prefer to live out of town. So in the end, after all this up and down emotion, we are settling happily. Exhausted and physically sore, but happy. When I emailed pictures to our son working in Alberta, his reply was “Wow….it just screams ‘DAD’!” And he’s right, it does. But it fits me too and with the renovations that are included in the plans, it’s going to be perfect for these two people! We can walk to the beach, walk to the river, walk to a pub, walk to a little grocery store, walk to the walk-in clinic, and walk to the liquor store. What more would we need as retired people who aren’t in town every day? Ahhhhh, the very thought is soothing!

"PRIVATE SETTING - Warm and cozy 3 bedroom, 1 bath rancher with a large deck that can be accessed from either the master bedroom or the living room. This home also boasts a beautiful river rock gas fireplace. Large workshop/garage at back of property. The property can be accessed from Croydon Road or Wimbledon. For the young family, Oyster River Elementary is within walking distance. "