Posted in Musings and Mutterings

F. C. C.

A bit ago, I did promise to write about 5 C’s and 2 F’s.

I got through the first 3 C’s about Carnegie Hall, Concerts and the Contract and 1 F, which was Franklin Institute, so that leaves me with Christmas, Cleaning and For Sale, which I think I’ll combine into one post so I don’t drag this on any longer than I have already. (I can hear the applause and sighs of relief already)

Besides, I have other blogs festering in my head that want to come out, but being the silly person I am, I feel I need to stick to my original plan.. even if it was dumb.

Without further ado:

Christmas – Nothing like talking about Christmas when you are almost to Valentine’s day, eh? Let’s just pretend I wrote this about 3 weeks ago. We don’t have to tell anyone otherwise.
This year was a bit different, since we were desperately CLEANING (that’s next) the house to put it up FOR SALE (and then that one), the holidays ended up being condensed into three days or so.

The day I baked – and loved it. I gave my kids the choice of cookies they’d get this year thinking I’d only have to make a batch or two because SURELY out of the 5 options I gave them, they’d all agree on a few. WHAT the hell was I thinking?! Of course they all wanted something different! So, I ended up making all 5 kinds and tasting all 5 kinds of batter and then all 5 kinds when they were fresh out of the oven and then all 5 kinds when they cooled, and then all 5 kinds as I packed them up, ’cause everyone knows that you can’t tell if it’s a GOOD cookie unless you taste them through every step.

The day I decorated – which amounted to minimal lights outside, about 5 figurines that were placed here and there, and our little faux tree. Mind you, I’d already packed the decorations, but I did have some little white lights on the tree. Looking at my sad little Charlie Brown tree, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to the store to find plain balls.

Granted, it was a few days before Christmas, but you can always find balls, right? Wrong. Well, kinda wrong. I went to 3 different stores, but the balls I could find were either huge (We’ve got big balls…lol) or black, (WHO puts black balls on their Christmas tree?) or expensive. I wanted none of these. I was starting to become a bit disenfranchised, when I saw a package of gift tags that looked nice and large and had glitter. (who can resist glitter? certainly not moi!) Hanging next to the sparkly tag were two other packages of large and fairly matching gift tags, so I bought them. Since they were on clearance already, I think I paid about $2.00 for all three packages, each with 12 tags.

Then I found some iridescent do-it-yourself clear Christmas balls and had an idea. I could put a bit of water inside each ball, some glitter, swish it around and voila!- sparkly balls! (the best part is that actually worked!) So for under $10.00, I brought home my goodies and promptly decorated my little tree and I’m glad to report that it looked FANTASTIC!! It was one of the most coordinated and together trees I’d ever decorated and I was really proud of how it turned out.

Then on Christmas day, I had the kids over – the local ones at least – and it was the most chill Christmas morning ever. Maybe that had something to do with the Mimosas and Bloody Marys (is that an ironic drink on Christmas morning to anyone else, or is that just sick and twisted me?) we were partaking of, but either way, everyone was calm and happy and we ate while we opened gifts. It was really just perfect.

So there! I think I can officially say that my 3 days of Christmas were perfect.

Ok – after having lived for 25 years in the same place, and having raised 4 kids in that same place, packing up to leave can be a bit of a chore. Luckily (?) my parents had passed away a while ago and a neighbor had also passed away and both left me their houses and all their possessions to distribute and clear out. Thus, I’ve gotten pretty good at looking at what is necessary and what is cherished and what can just GO!

Hubby isn’t as blessed with this gift. He likes to keep everything and laments at giving any of it up. Packing for him was more like disowning old friends rather than the freeing feeling I was getting. He did a pretty good job of reducing his stockpile of ‘need to haves’, so I’m not complaining. I felt bad for him on most levels and on others I wanted him to understand that most of it is just stuff that you never look at, never use, and collects dust. Knowing where he came from, I understand his reluctance to let some things go, so I was really proud of him for getting as far as he did. The new house has lots of storage and space, so hopefully, while there will be plenty of room for him to keep what he has, he will focus more on the stuff he uses and enjoys.

We put our house up on the market on the last day in December. In fact, on New Years’ Eve, we had the flooring guy finishing the last bit of sealant and poly coat on our freshly refinished floors at 11 pm. We spent our NYE on the couch, in coats, with all the windows and doors open to clear the fumes and let the poly dry. I don’t think we really needed the beer and we were all a bit dozy after spending so much time cleaning and packing.

It didn’t take long for us to get our first showing on Jan 2nd, and our first contract on Jan 5th. We were so grateful that 15 showings later and some negotiating, our house is now under contract. We have home inspections to do at the new house and for this one, but I don’t foresee any issues with either place. Currently, we are set for a late February settlement. How’s that for awesome? On the market and sold in about 3 weeks. I’m really thankful to Hubby and #2 and #4 for all their help in making this place shine the way it does!

That’s it!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Downsizing to a Larger House?

We’ve signed contracts for the new house, signed a contract of sale for the current home, and we have home inspections and appraisals to complete. Once that’s finished and when all goes well, we’ll be moving. Everyone seems very happy and they all want to congratulate us on our move, but I’m still hesitant and not sure why.

Although my house is in tip-top shape and should appraise well, it’s just not done. And if it isn’t done, it isn’t done. So, I’m not all agog with excitement just yet, but honestly it’s all there bubbling just beneath the surface.

When people ask me where I’m moving to and ask about the new house, our common answer is to say we are downsizing to a bigger house, and we are. Our current home has about 1800 finished square feet, while the new house has 4500.

You gasped, didn’t you.. I heard you gasp!! That’s the typical response. It runs through everyone’s head. Why the hell are these two empty-nesters moving to a bigger house?!

We like space? The final frontier? I dunno. I think the difference is that the house we currently own has a bunch of bigger rooms, but not a real good flow for the living space. The new house has smaller bedrooms, but a better amount of open living space. That and there is a lovely loft for my office. I’m liking that part. My work can be upstairs, out of everyone’s hair and view and I can go up there and not worry about it. In some ways, I think my work is too accessible right now. It’s in a bedroom just next to mine and it takes nothing to climb out of bed and drop right into the chair. Maybe climbing the steps to a loft will help me to separate my “life” from my “work”.

We also like a home that brings the outside in. Our new home has lots of windows and sliders and I’m looking forward to opening them all up to the spring breezes.

And finally, we love the people we love and want to be able to have them over and enjoy visits from our children with their spouses and our grandchildren. We are dubbing this house “Camp Nini”. A large enough place to have kidlets come and play, in a safe yard, with a play house and a pool and some tree swings. Heck… I want to swing on the tree swings. In fact, just writing this makes me realize that I’m falling into the normal thought process of aging and what’s “right” for a certain time frame of your life. PHOOEY!! I’ve never been like that and I refuse to be so now.

I’m going to have fun in my new house. I’m going to revel in the open-ness of it. I’m going to enjoy the space. I’m going to run through it playing hide and seek with the kids. With the tile floors, water battles won’t be a problem. I’m going to mold this house into a place that screams “SHARON LIVES HERE”.
(And hubby, too.) I’m going to love this place and enjoy it and when I’m done, I’m going to pass it along to the next person who sees the value in a bit of extra space.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

Jingle Bella Gone

My youngest moved to Pittsburgh today. We had moved her big items to her new apartment back in October so it wouldn’t be a hazard for her to be moving and trying to get bulky beds and such up exterior stairs during a snow storm. It was supposed to be a joke, but last night Pittsburgh ended up getting nearly a foot of snow, so I guess it was a good thing we did it the way we did.

Even with her big items gone, we still stuffed her little Kia full to the brim with clothes, personal items, cookies, holiday gifts and a toy box she saved from a fateful trip to the dump.

Things here have been rather manic, in that we have put our house up for sale, so all manner of things have gone on. For #4, this has been very difficult. Not only was she planning on moving to another state, she realized that when she walked out the door, it might be the last time she was in her childhood home. The other three have been out and on their own for a bit, so while sad to see their “home” sold, they are established elsewhere. She hadn’t set those roots yet. This meant she needed some special attention, which I was all too willing to give. And honestly, I needed special attention just as much as she did. My baby – MY LAST BABY – was leaving the nest.  I guess I can take off my bells now.

When I was a little girl, my mother tied bells to my shoes so she could find me when I wandered away, which I have a tendency to do – look! a sparkly thing OOooooo  This is a behavior that has persisted throughout my lifetime and I still wander off. Hubby is so tall, he can practically spot me aerially, but #4 is a small girl and she would panic when I wasn’t in sight. Thus, during this time when she needed attention, some of which was retail therapy, she brought me home a pair of bells for my shoes so she could find me while we were shopping. I still would hear her calling “MA!”, but she knew I wasn’t too far because she’d hear me jingling.

Now that she’s in another state, I guess I can take of my “training” bells, but maybe not just yet. Somehow they seem to help me know that wherever I wander, someone will come looking for me.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

1st F ~ Franklin Institute

Jenny and I went to Filthydelphia to the Franklin Institute in December. She had some comp time to take and I had just finished concerts, so we were both ready to run off and have some fun.

And yes, two blondes at a museum in the middle of the week is fun for us. Don’t judge!

We walked through the giant heart, watched the skeleton on the elliptical, aged our faces by 30 years, played with fulcrum, learned that windshield wipers were invented by a woman, mastered the art of the crane, solved a crime at the CSI experience, ate cheese steaks, found a book written by Jenny, when surfing, played some soccer and learned how to meditate. It was a full day for both of us.

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

3rd C ~ Contract on House

We did it! We put a contract on a house that we want to buy.

I’m sure that after a good year and a half of helping us look, our realtor was incredibly happy to find something we liked. Granted, we didn’t run him into the ground with thousands of showings, but we did make him look pretty hard for a house we’d like.

Front View


Back View

It’s considered a rancher style of house, but in the center there’s that A frame which makes a loft area that’s perfect for my office.

The real story is that we did this on December 22nd. Who does this right before the biggest holiday season of the year?!  Nutty us, that’s who.

I’ve felt good about this process and felt really good about this house. It’s got a very family friendly atmosphere, even if the interior is still stuck in the 80’s. So why then, did I need a stiff drink as soon as I’d finished signing on the dotted line? As soon as we left the realtors office I was feeling nutty, anxious and emotional so we b-lined it to a friend’s house. As soon as I walked in, I plunked my butt down at her counter and promptly announced that I needed a martini and I needed it NOW! Without questions, she set to shaking me up a Cosmo and then asked what was up. She’d never seen me so shaken. I’m normally the one that everyone comes to for a solution, not the one falling to pieces. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about why I would react that way. Hormones? Possibly. Who knows. In any event, it was nice to know I had a friend to go to that was ready with vodka and a hug!

Posted in Musings and Mutterings

2nd C ~ Concerts and Tetris

Our Winter Concert season finished in mid-December, and I must say I feel it was quite successful. Normally, we have one concert for one campus and two for the other, but this year we did two at both. Logistically, it was a challenge to add that second concert Downtown. Due to the high traffic flow of students on the day of the performance, it required at least 20 parent volunteers.

What I found amazing was that it was practically effortless to have all the help I needed! Our volunteer base has the most dedicated and supportive people, that I realize I’m well and truly blessed. The evening of our dress rehearsal, I had parents popping out of the woodwork – so to speak – to offer their help and support. With their help, everything ran amazingly well the next day and for all subsequent concerts.

In fact, the main office made comment about how well supported our program was by parent involvement and referred someone from another department over to ours to find out our “trade secrets”. I’ve even had a parent offer to do the ticketing process in the Spring for the campus I usually seat. (Can you hear the heavens parting and the angels singing? I can!) I just wanted to jump up and hug the woman right then and there!

Another parent has consented to putting our past programs online in a database so we can keep track of what we perform and when, to help us produce varied concerts. That’s awesome!

The head of the department that was referred to us decided she wanted to meet and discuss how to get her parents as involved as ours. I have two words for her – show gratitude. Assign a small job that can be completed easily and then thank the person profusely. I know it sounds so simple, but gratitude goes a long way.