Posts Tagged ‘house’

Why I’m not getting anything done

March 15, 2017

If you’ve seen the last several posts you may have noticed that not much has been happening here. I promised to explain. It’s mostly good.

When I saw the doctor at the end of September, I got my flu shot and the other pneumonia shot. I got overly tired and wasn’t taking my vitamins which spells disaster for me. A week later I caught whatever nasty respiratory virus  was going around, maybe more than one and spent several weeks being sick. I didn’t feel like I was completely over that when, damn, it hit me again a week or two before Thanksgiving. This time it progressed much more quickly. I did manage to make it to Thanksgiving dinner with my friends at the racetrack.

By the time the end of year holidays came around I was finally fully recovered. As usual I traveled to visit family over the holidays. I find it difficult to work there so not much got done while I was away.

As soon as I got home in early January I met with my realtor to start looking for a new house. I currently live in a 3-story townhouse. The configuration of the house just doesn’t work for me any more. A lot of the houses on my court have gone rental. After 30 years here, I knew it was time to leave this neighborhood when I came home one day to find someone banging on the door of a neighboring house, yelling “open the door, show me some ID, I’m here about a bail bond issue”. Yikes!

My main must haves were a garage (I’ve never had one), main floor master suite and lots of space for quilting. The main floor master and my price target pretty much put me in a 55+ villa (otherwise known as a townhouse). Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000.” My realtor got a kick out of that answer.

Before I knew it I had three strong contenders to choose from. This happened much more quickly than I anticipated. I felt like I was on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. Will she choose the large country house with shared well and septic, the cozy charmer next to I-95, or the posh, new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”.

I loved the development where the first house was but was leery of the shared well and septic. The charmer had a lot going for it and a lot of things about it appealed to me but, in the end, I felt cramped in it and there was that traffic noise from I-95 which would be 24/7. There was a large portion of the basement that I would have had to finish for fabric storage. The basement had no bathroom so it was find room to add one or run upstairs every time I had to go. There were some other things that needed work. By the time I did all that it would cost the same as the larger, newly constructed house. The first two were both condos where the fees ran around $450 a month. Kind of rich on top of the mortgage.

So, I went with the new construction which is a fee simple house (i.e., not a condo). The HOA fee is much more reasonable and covers all yard work, snow removal and common areas. This was an already built house that had a contract fall through. So, I didn’t have get to pick anything. At first it seemed a lot bigger than my current house but I’m not sure it’s that much larger. Maybe I’m delusional. It’s bigger where I need bigger and smaller where smaller is OK for me.

Second floor is two bedrooms, a bath and a loft. I’ll use the loft as an office/library. Anyone want to come visit for a sewing sweatshop? I hate to see these rooms sit empty all the time. After I furnish the guest rooms, of course. That will take some time.

First floor is garage, a front door entry way, kitchen, laundry room, dining/living room, master bedroom, bath and walk-in closet, and covered porch. The bath has a me-sized soaking tub and separate shower. Can’t wait to try out the tub – my current one sucks for soaking. The laundry and dining/living room are smaller than I have now but that’s fine. I’ll be spending most of my time downstairs. Everything for daily living is on the main floor if mobility becomes a problem. Could have used this when I broke my ankle. I can always access the lower level by going outside around the group to the back.

Basement is the quilting area. Studio sounds pretentious but sewing room doesn’t do the space justice. I’ve been in quilt shops that were smaller than the space I have in the basement lower level. Basement sounds to me like a black hole where this one is ground level at the back which faces south so there is a lot of natural light coming in the windows and slider. It has a room for my fabric. I’ve always known I had an excessive amount of fabric. I’m afraid it might not fit in the fabric room. An embarrassment of riches. There is also an area the builder calls an optional den that I’m turning into a sitting room. Linda has already staked out her spot for visiting sewing days. I look forward to many happy hours in that room. The main sewing area is something like 12 feet by 32 feet.

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I closed on the house 2/28. Been bleeding money ever since. Lots of new furniture and stuff needed. So far I bought 4 bookcases for the sitting room and a cabinet for my Accuquilt Go and dies. Those were found at Mark Downs which sells used office furniture so saved some money there. I thought I’d go with something from Ikea to fill out the fabric room but ended up ordering Bush bookcases from Walmart to supplement the 3 large bookcases I have in my sewing room now. I’ve got a desk, rocker/recliner and Amish made dining table on order. Not so Next Day Blinds is covering the windows. Blinds were installed last week but the vertical blind for the slider came with the wrong valence and a problem track so they have to be remade. While showing Caren how the top down bottom up blinds worked, I found one that didn’t bottom up for me and found another today while testing the others. Today the shutter tech came to measure for the shutters on the first floor. You’d think that since the house has been on the market since November, the builder would have finished everything, but no, there’s still a punch list of things to be done. As Gilda Radner said, it’s always something.

Attempting to show photos of the empty rooms is futile because everything is beige which makes it difficult to see what’s what. I can show the kitchen. Is this awesome or what?

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I’m standing in front of the pantry closet for this photo. To the right of the frig, out of sight, is what the builder calls a key drop – another section of cabinets and counter just inside the garage entrance. By square footage, I bet this isn’t that much bigger than my current kitchen but, oh, my, how much better this one is. My current kitchen looks big but there’s nothing there but empty space because of the entrance on one side and the slider on the other. Very little cabinet space and no counter work space to speak of. I end up using the stove as my counter work space because that’s where the light is. I’m not much of a cook but I can’t wait to cook in this kitchen. I’m not a big fan of wood floors in a kitchen but I’ll adapt.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have to sell my current house first. I had this plan fantasy about how I was going to move little by little so that I didn’t end up with a mess at the new house. External forces are at work (insurance company, mortgage company, etc.) to mess with my plan so now I’m planning to do the big move in mid-April and deal with the fallout. A friend in guild moved in November and said they now have a Room of Requirement (see Harry Potter) where all the still packed and partially unpacked boxes live. I wanted to avoid having that situation.

Now my goal for packing is to free the furniture that is going to the new house so the movers can get it out. Anything that doesn’t get packed by then I’ll have to deal with on my own afterward. My friend, Caren, moved earlier this month. I helped her pack, so turnabout is fair play. I’m getting her boxes and some help from her.

Can I get everything out in time to get my house on the market by summer? Stay tuned and we’ll see.

I don’t expect to get back to quilting until the end of April. Mustn’t forget to do my taxes.

Mimi’s Grad School: January 2017

February 2, 2017

Our January meeting happened at the end of the month instead of the beginning because of year-end inventory at the store and Mimi’s schedule. We displayed our cardinal blocks and the overachievers showed their tops and finished quilts.

Kay found an innovative way to use one of the Row by Row fabric plates. The block in the top middle with the yellow birds is a quarter the size of the rest of the blocks.

Nechama reduced the blocks to practically nothing, something like 25% of the full-sized blocks.

I had intended to have mine assembled by the meeting day but I was overtaken by events. I started house hunting on 1/4 and found three strong contenders within the first week. I wasn’t expecting things to move so quickly. All of the houses I looked at were villas in 55+ communities. They all have a garage and first floor master suite. They all back onto green space of some kind. Someone asked me what the difference was between a townhouse and a villa. My answer was “about $200,000”. I need to ask my realtor what the real answer is.

I felt like I was on an episode of House Hunters. Will she choose the huge house in the country with shared well and septic? The cozy charmer next to I-95 and the BWI flightpath? Or, the posh new construction? My friend, Linda, dubbed the new construction “the posh house”. I took a friend with me to look at the three contenders and she, as well as Linda, voted for the new construction.

I loved the community out in the western part of the county. Saw four houses there. Didn’t like the floor plan of two of them but the best one was under contract the day after I saw it.  I saw another one with the same floor plan but it wasn’t as nice. I decided I didn’t want to mess with well and septic so discarded the idea of that community.

The 12 year old charmer had a lot going for it. It had columns separating a little sitting area and dining room from the entry, a gas fireplace with a stone surround, sun porch, screened-in patio off the basement; a large workshop that could be finished for the fabric room. But, the rooms felt small to me and by the time I did the things that needed to be done, it would cost as much as the larger newly constructed house. And, there’s the traffic noise from the interstate and airport.

The first time we looked at the posh house my realtor said, “this house is a steal!” She was really impressed and she doesn’t impress easily after 30 years in the business. Whoever made all the choices has similar taste to mine. The first floor has a small covered deck and the lower level has a covered patio. The charmer wins on those points with the sun porch and screened-in patio but the rest of the house makes up for any shortcomings. Huge kitchen, hardwood floor on the first floor except for the master bedroom. The second floor and basement are also carpeted and the carpet is off-white. After having that color in my current house, I’d rather have something closer to dirt color. The only thing I can object to is that the sinks all have two handled faucets. I prefer one. That’s easily changed. I think I’ll probably change one sink in the master bath and the sink in the basement. The basement is ground level in the back so it’s more of a lower level than what I think of when I hear basement. The basement will make a fabulous studio. It was all finished except for what the builder calls the optional exercise room. I looked at it and said it would be perfect as a fabric room but I’d have to have it finished. The sales agent said they would finish it for free. Well, not so much as it turns out. The builder wouldn’t agree to that. I ended up paying a little more than the original asking price in order to get the finished room. They did agree to add an automatic garage door opener. Can you believe it wasn’t standard? In a 55+ community with a two-car garage door?

I still have trouble believing I can afford a house like this, especially in retirement but the numbers don’t lie. Linda has already staked out a spot for her chair in the studio when she visits. We’re aiming for closing at the end of February. I’m waiting for some of the documents I need to submit for the mortgage app. That makes me antsy and the stress eating is on. I look forward to being moved but not to the moving process. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to sell my current house until I’m ready so I can move things thoughtfully. I will not have a mess at the new place!