Game plan

We closed on our new property loan Tuesday, and I am anxious to begin the next phase of our transition. Our path forward may be building a garage on the new property to live in while we sell our current home, as that will allow us to free up some money before we begin building a new house.

So, basically, we might be kind of “roughing” it for awhile, which I am completely fine with. In fact, there is a part of me that is looking forward to stripping down to the bare essentials by getting rid of things we no longer need. A big garage sale will probably be in our near future.

Our home needs some updates before we list it, so we are shooting for putting it on the market this coming spring. I figure the blooming trees and shrubs will add some excellent curb appeal.

So, for now, we are getting quotes on repairs and new construction projects. I expect this process to take longer than expected, since it seems that’s just the way these things work, but hopefully we will be at the new place before too much time goes by.

I am currently about to die to get started on whipping the new place into shape. There are a few trees that need to come down, limbs to pick up, and mowing/trimming to be done. There are also some plants that I want to move with me, and autumn is the perfect time to transplant things. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating as it has rained every day for a week.

They say good things come to those who wait, so I am doing my best to be patient.

Out of sight and mind

I don’t like neighbors. At least not the ones I currently have. They are nosy and intrusive and encamped around me like an invading army.

I firmly believe the best kind of neighbor is one who is out of sight and out of mind. That may sound silly to those of you who live in subdivisions and apartment buildings, but when I discovered this place its main appeal was the privacy. I loved that the nearest house was almost out of sight, and I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to worry about how I looked when I went out to work in the yard or who would see me if I peed off the back porch.

Things have certainly changed.

Over the past year, a new house has sprung up just across the field beside us, and because our house sits at an angle to the road, the front of our house faces the back porch of the new house. And the neighbor seems to spend more time on the porch than she does inside her home. And the chair she sits in conveniently points in our direction.

Last week, another couple started getting things ready to put a home practically in our backyard. Even though they own several acres, they have chosen to place their new house as close to our property line as possible, with a 600 ft. driveway leading from the main road.

Because of where they are placing their home, we are losing pretty much all of our remaining privacy. Our back patio will now be plainly visible from their front windows, and it feels like I am back in the same situation I was in when we lived in a subdivision.

As if adding insult to injury, they had the gall to ask if we would mind cutting down five mature pine trees so they could have their new electric line run across our property instead of on theirs. (We said we minded.)

All of this is why I am so relieved we were able to find a very gorgeous, very private piece of property. The lot is much larger than the one we have now, and it is almost completely surrounded by mature woods. We intend to place our home in the center of the acreage so that we never have to worry about neighbors being anywhere close to us.

And I’ll be able to pee off the back porch as often as I want.

Paradise is here

We placed an offer on the property I mentioned in my last post, and after a bit of back-and-forth with the seller, we settled on a price that we were very comfortable with. We hope to sell our current home and start building here next year, but we want to take things nice and slow to ensure we are making the best decisions.

Here are a few photos I took last week while walking around the 7.5 acres. It is going to require some work to get it whipped into shape, but I can hardly wait to begin!

Little piece of paradise

I discovered the most amazing piece of property today. It has hills and valleys, a gorgeous pond, lots of mature oaks and other native trees, tons of privacy, and is easily accessible to the highway. And at a price I can afford.

I immediately took Honey to see it, all the while hoping he would love it as much as me. After getting his approval, I called an agent to get more details, and we will hear back from her tomorrow or the next day.

I am excited, nervous, and apprehensive about everything, but I know it will work out if it’s meant to be. In the meantime, we are going through house plans to find the perfect Craftsman-style home.

This may go nowhere, but I can’t help but feel hopeful. I’ll post more when I know more…

Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.
Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.

Luna

In April, Honey and I stopped by a local Honda dealer and purchased our first new car – a 2016 Civic. We went knowing which color we preferred (Cosmic Blue), but the dealership didn’t have one in stock with the package we wanted. After driving an identical car of a different color and settling on a price, they placed an order for one and told us it would be built the first week of May.

I received a call on my birthday telling me the car had arrived, but since we were out of town on vacation, it was a few days later before we were able to pick her up.

She is exquisite. We chose the upgraded package which included aluminum wheels, a large touchscreen control panel, a sunroof, better sound, and an advanced safety system called Honda Sensing that utilizes multiple cameras to avoid rear-end collisions, prevent lane and road departures, and keeps our car at a safe distance from others when we are using cruise control.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new ride, and the fact that she is getting around 37 mpg is an added bonus.

We named her Luna.

Luna

A moment in time

I just spent a couple of hours scanning some old photos, and looking at pictures of myself from 20+ years ago always leaves me feeling a little depressed.

PhotoScan (94)I look at that young, innocent face and I feel a mixture of jealousy and remorse because he has his whole life in front of him and doesn’t even grasp the significance of it. He doesn’t understand how beautiful he is, and how much his life will change over the next few years.

He has no idea that twenty years later he will be staring at his own photo thinking about how fast the time goes. Or how quickly looks fade and bodies fail. Or how he might have done this thing differently or that one the same.

He is just thinking about how the photo will turn out, or some boy he likes, or what he’s going to do tomorrow.

If I’m fortunate enough to get another twenty years, I’m sure I will look back on this time in my life with the same envy and the same feelings of melancholy.

I guess I’d better start posing for more pictures.

 

Meeting Hillary Clinton

Sunday evening, while watching our local news channel, I learned that Secretary Hillary Clinton would be visiting a restaurant the next morning that was only about 20 minutes from my home. I turned to Honey and suggested he stop by on his way to work, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go myself.

I saw Mrs. Clinton in my area in 2008 when she was competing with Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. We stood in line forever before going through intense security, then stood for an even longer period as we listened to introductory speeches from local politicians before finally getting to see Hillary give her stump speech. After she finished and made her way along the front of the crowd, I got close to her, but not close enough to shake her hand or do much more than call her name along with the throng of people around me.

Monday morning’s experience proved to be much more personal.

Honey and I arrived at the restaurant about an hour before she was scheduled to appear, and the parking lot was already filled to capacity, with cars beginning to park in the lots of neighboring businesses. We entered the restaurant to find it was already standing room only, and decided to hang out near the main entrance so we would be guaranteed close proximity to her when she arrived.

Secret Service agents soon appeared and announced that this last-minute stop hadn’t provided them with the time to make proper security preparations, so they would be checking people with metal detectors in order to keep Mrs. Clinton safe. After putting officers in front of the exits to block anyone else from entering, they began wanding the inside occupants.

Several minutes later, we were instructed to move away from the door and stand in the aisles between the restaurant tables. We grumbled aloud, thinking we were going to miss our chance at getting a handshake. Around 45 minutes after her scheduled appearance, Mrs. Clinton walked into the building.

After greeting the restaurant owner and posing for a photo with him, she greeted the crowd and gave a very short speech. She then said she would be greeting everyone. We were ecstatic!

She worked her way through the crowd, laughing and posing for photos, all the while surrounded by national press and security. She was extremely personable, and also much shorter than one would think. She was wearing a pink pantsuit with a scarf tucked into the neckline, and I would describe her as downright grandmotherly. In a cute way, of course.

When she finally got close enough for us to talk to her, Honey introduced himself and then me as his partner of 11 years. She was delighted. He asked if she would pose for a photo with both of us, and as we positioned ourselves, she said she loved the Hillary signature pin I had attached to my jacket. I handed my camera to Alison Grimes (!) who had accompanied Mrs. Clinton on her visit, and we posed for a couple of photos.

Hillary was beginning to move to the next guests when Honey stuck his phone into the air to get a selfie with her in the background, and she unexpectedly leaned in for a few more photos. After he told her he was honored to meet her, and I told her to stay strong, we moved out of the way to make room for other people.

It was only when we got into the car to drive away that it sort of sunk in how incredible the whole thing was. I know a lot of people despise Hillary Clinton, but regardless of what you think of her political views or personal history, this is a woman who was the wife of a very popular governor, First Lady of the United States for two terms, senator from New York for 8 years, and Secretary of State under President Obama. She is one of the most recognizable and powerful women in the world, and I feel very fortunate to have had the pleasure of meeting the person I hope will become the next President of the United States.

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