Monday, January 30, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, blogging pals. How are you all doing? I hope you all had a great weekend. I did a lot of packing and things are moving along nicely. I can't wait till we're in our new place, even though we have oodles of cleaning and painting to take care of once we're there.


Are you following my blog and I'm not following yours?  Please leave a comment below, so I can visit your site. Or better yet, share the link to it and I'll drop by. It's always fun to meet new bloggers and connect with them.

Now here's some funny stuff for you.







Have a great day!

Friday, January 27, 2017

This Week

I’ve shared with all of you the news that we sold our home right before Christmas and that we’ll be moving to another small city next month. So you’re pretty much up to date with all the house stuff, right?

Wrong!

Tee hee hee...

Okay, enough of teasing you. I’ll get to the point.

Remember when I wrote about us being homeless in this post about a couple of weeks ago? Of course you don’t.

Well...

That afternoon we drove to Cornwall to see a house. We liked the house. We wanted the house. And we only had one condition: that we get the house before the sale of our own home finalized. In less than six weeks. We told their agent that we were willing to make an offer right then and there if the owners would accommodate that request. But if we had to go through the trouble of renting a place when we moved, we wouldn’t make an offer. We’d leave our options open and watch the market. And who knows? Maybe something even better would come along once we settled there. We left that with their agent and drove home.

We found out later that day that the owner wasn’t willing to accommodate our preferred date. Or rather, her kids weren’t. She is an elderly lady who went into a retirement home in the fall and her children and grandchildren would have to empty out the place for her. They couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. They wanted to wait till the spring. So we sighed, shrugged and moved on.

Then...

The next day their agent called again and said that if we were willing to tack on just a little extra to our offer so they can pay to have the place emptied out, we could make a deal. We told the agent we’d call him back. We thought about it, talked about it and came to the conclusion that it was a fair deal.

So...

To make a long story short, we made an offer, hammered out the paperwork, drove down a second time to thoroughly inspect the house and signed off this week on Tuesday! We take possession of our new home on February 21 and I’ll be writing more about that adventure over the next few weeks. Even months.

We are no longer homeless. HOLYMOLY! It’s been a great week. And I hope it's been for you, too.

Happy weekend to all!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

You Had One Job

And failed...


The most amazing man in the world and I spotted this at the mall last week when we walked over to have a coffee.

I see a lot of photos of  "You had one job" screw ups on the internet but this is the first time I've ever seen one in person.

This is another reason why I never leave home without a camera!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Where Is 2017 Taking Us?

So you all know by now that we sold our oversized house two days before Christmas and we’re now packing and purging our stuff. But what are our actual plans?

Some of you asked when we’re actually moving. Well, we finalize this sale on the evening of February 27. That’s when the new owners take possession of this home. That’s when we all (two-legged and four-legged) – along with all our crap stuff – have to be out of here.

We are not planning to move all our crap things out on that day. We’ll likely be doing that for two or three consecutive days prior to that. We’re undecided on the dates because February is such an unpredictable month. So instead of renting a truck too far in advance, we’ll watch the weather forecast around the third week of the month and select the best possible dates. And hope for the best.

Why are we moving? And what will our next home be like? We’re moving to downsize into a smaller place (single home, detached or semi-detached) that will be much more manageable in every which way. Our present home is way too big for us empty nesters. We are actually using only half of our house right now.

All of this most of my longtime blogging pals already know. But what no one knows is that back in late spring last year we decided that once our house sold we would leave our beautiful city of Kingston and settle down in a new area that is much closer to our families and all our longtime friends. We are going to be between the city of Ottawa (where my younger daughter lives and studies) and the city of Montreal (our hometown where everyone else we know lives). How close? It will take us anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes drive (one way) to visit any one of these beloved people. Right now it takes us two hours to go to Ottawa and three hours to go to Montreal (one way). And not only will we be closer to friends and siblings and parents, but we’ll be much closer to the two girls. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this. I’ll be able to see my beautiful daughters any time I want and I’m especially excited about being able to do this with my older one that I hardly see at all now! It is a 40 minute drive to her house from our new city. Can you say coffee and lunch and shopping dates galore? YIPPEE!

Oh, yeah, where are we moving to? We’re moving to Cornwall, Ontario. It’s a small city of about 46, 000 people (in Kingston there are about 123,000), so we’re downsizing in that way, too. But it has everything we need, especially a short distance to family and friends. It is very heartbreaking leaving this area that we adore but you just can’t beat what our new city has to offer, which is being close to the people we love most!

So we’re very excited about this move, which is coming soon!

(Incidentally, if any of you ever visit the city of Ottawa or the city of Montreal, I’ll be able to easily drive there and meet you for coffee. Just thought I'd mention it!)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy new week, everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend. Ours was a quiet one. We did get out and about yesterday to run some errands but other than that we took it easy.

The weather around here has been ridiculously mild. All the snow has melted and it looks and feels more like early spring than January. No complaints from me. I'm not a winter lover.

Now let's get to the funny stuff.







Have a good one!

Friday, January 20, 2017

This Week

I’ve skipped a couple of days of blogging this week. I suspect that this will be a recurring theme for quite some time as we get busier and busier around here with our upcoming move. That is a given.

I have a few things to share with you but I haven’t had the time to sit down and write about them. Whenever I kick back and relax, I read your blogs, catch up on emails and tour the few social media sites I’m a member of to see what everyone is up to. So I’ll be dropping in to say hi whether I’m blogging or not. Well, for as long as I can.


The house is starting to look emptier and emptier as more and more boxes get packed. It’s kind of a sad sight, really. Without all the personal touches, a home looks and feels unloved and neglected. Even a little eerie. An empty shell. It’s like the very soul that’s been lovingly shaped over the years in this space is being removed. In each room there is a ghostly presence of memories.

This chapter in our lives will soon be coming to an end. It's time to start a new one.


You know what I’m really curious about? How our two cats will react to the move. This is the only home both of them have ever known since we adopted them at the age of four months from the local humane society way back in 2010. It’ll be interesting to see their reaction and how long it will take them to settle in to a new place. I’ve never moved with cats before, so it’ll be a new experience for all of us.

Well, that’s about it. I do have some more stuff to share, which I’ll work on for next week. Until then, I wish you all a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Question Of The Day


I stole coins from my mother's purse to go get ice cream at the corner store. I'm 51 years old and I still feel terrible about this. It may not sound like the worst crime but we were a poor family, so taking money like that was tough on my mom who had a really tight budget. But, you know, ice cream.

How about you?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone. How did the weekend treat you? Mine left me with aches and pains. No one said it was going to be easy packing up an entire house. Maybe I need to incorporate a little fun into it.


Okay, maybe not this type.

Anyway, things are moving along. I have boxed up a lot of crap things this month and there are now empty rooms in our house, which is encouraging. There is a light at the end of this tunnel.

And at the end of this blah, blah, blah there is humour. Here it is:







Have a good one!

Friday, January 13, 2017

This Week

So now you all know that we finally sold our home. And that we sold our home by ourselves once we got rid of the agent we’d been with for months. I tell you, it was quite an experience. We’re happy it’s all over. And busy packing. Also, purging. Because no matter how much I don’t like moving, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get rid of stuff.

The new owners are taking possession at the end of February. We’re excited about the sale of our home but not about moving this time of year. It’s hard to predict what kind of weather we’re going to have around that time. But I won’t moan and groan. We are hardy Canadians and we’ve dealt with our fair share of tough winters. When we start moving, we’ll deal with whatever is going on at the time. (If I say this enough times, I’ll start to believe it.)

Some of you have inquired about whether we have another place in mind. As of right now we are homeless. We’re packing up our stuff but we have nowhere to take it. This isn’t the best time of year to be looking for a house. Spring would be better. We’d like to find a small home but if we don’t, we’ll rent a place and park ourselves there short term while we continue to search. It’s anyone’s guess how this will play out. We’ll take it one day at a time. (By the way, do you have a spare couch we can crash on?)

We have another big change coming up that I will write about at another time; hopefully early next week. One that I am so excited about I could burst. Do I enjoy keeping you in suspense? Maybe just a little. But also, this news needs a post of its own, so it has to wait.

In the meantime, I wish you all a beautiful weekend. And I thank you again for all your support, kind words, encouragement...and for being so awesome! You all rock.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 5 - Conclusion)

The story continues from last time...

December, which is usually a very quiet month around here in real estate, for obvious reasons, turned out to be busy. We went through the motions of showing our home to potential buyers but with little to no hope of a positive outcome. Because even though we had successfully brought in two offers, we were still here.

I personally was counting the days till December 20th because that was the day our listing was expiring and our plan was to remove our home from the market for the holidays and keep it off until about the end of January. After an extensive and stressful home selling period in a taxing and wearying year, this was a very welcome and much needed break.

Well...

Five days before our house was set to disappear off the market, we received a call from an agent. He had clients that wanted to see our place. Could they come by tomorrow (Friday, December 16)? We couldn’t accommodate the time because we had another scheduled visit, but agreed on a time for the next day. On Saturday the clients came for a viewing, and according to their agent, were very pleased. They must have been because they set up a second visit for Sunday.

Monday afternoon their agent emailed us a written offer from his clients...with exactly the amount we had hoped for! We had conflicting emotions. On one end we were ecstatic because we had received a price we were very happy with. But on the other, we were prepared for disappointment. After all, we’d been down this road before with two previous offers and both of them had fallen apart.

I told the most amazing man in the world: “2016 is either going to end on the same shitty note and give us a final kick in the head. Or it’s going to feel remorse and atone for its sins by giving us the gift of a sold home before it retires.

Turns out...

We came to an agreement on the offer by 6 PM that evening. An inspection was scheduled and conducted two days later (Wednesday afternoon). And on Friday, December 23 we closed on our home. Two days before Christmas! We have cuts and bruises and scrapes but - doggone it - the most amazing man in the world and I did it! We sold our home all on our own. And we’re still standing.

2016 was a very surprising year. Almost until the very end it was taxing and wearying. But it decided to turn itself around before it handed the reins over to 2017 and make it up to us. Atonement.

All is forgiven, 2016

Thank you, everyone, for following along! We have big changes coming up this year that I’ll be sharing with you. 2017 is going to be a very interesting year.

(P.S – I laughed out loud at the comment Toni left on yesterday's part of this story: "You better have a good excuse for leaving us hanging...like maybe you're packing!" Because that is exactly what I've been doing!)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 4)

The story continues from last time...

Immediately after we took over the selling of our home, cleaned up the mess our real estate agent had made, uploaded new photos, a point by point list of the best features of our house, a link to a 3D map of our neighbourhood and a compelling marketing ad, the requests to see it boomed. There is no denying that good photos and the text to match draws attention. With a market saturated with similar homes as ours, this wasn’t only about selling our place; it was also about selling the idea of how great it would be to live there. Not only in this home but on this street and in this neighbourhood and in this part of the city.

We didn’t know what to expect when we introduced our combined efforts on the market toward the end of June. But we realized we were on the right track when we got an offer in July. Exciting! But short lived. The couple that made the offer not only went lowball, they also asked for everything and the kitchen sink to be included. Plus a whole bunch of personal guarantees on all the stuff they were demanding. We refused the guarantees and offered a fair price in return but they wouldn’t budge. So it was “buh-bye”.

It was disappointing but also encouraging. A real estate agent, someone who does this for a living, had listed our home for eight long and frustrating months, and he wasn’t able to bring in a single offer. And here you have a couple of amateurs flying by the seat of their pants getting one within a short period. And within a month for our type of home in this area is a short period. Especially in July, which is typically dead as a doornail. So we were quite proud of ourselves.

August and the first two weeks of September, another sluggish period, were as expected: slow. Those weeks came and went with little activity, and during that time we relaxed and tried to rejuvenate. I had been dealing with high levels of stress throughout all this wearying and taxing period, and now that it was quiet, I was trying to shed some of it. Regain my sanity. Just ask the most amazing man in the world how many times he took me to the bookstore (my meditative place) as a therapeutic measure.

Around mid September, we got a second offer! This one was better than the last. Unfortunately, we never reached a final agreement. The negotiations were abandoned halfway through but it was not surprising. This couple had been dragging their real estate agent to numerous houses over a very long period of time and seemed quite indecisive. I don’t know if they ever bought a house or not. Or if the agent finally got a commission for all the time he put in.

We continued to have requests for showings throughout the rest of September and October, but no other offers. November was a predictably quiet month and we expected that December would be, too, as it typically is. But it wasn’t. Instead, there was a surprisingly large spike in requests. And although the interest in our home was a very good thing, we were so burnt out and feeling so hopeless (okay, mostly me) that we expected the year would end exactly as it had started.

Did it? I’ll share the conclusion to this story tomorrow.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, my friends. How is everything? Good, I hope. I've noticed some new followers to my blog and if you're one of them, I invite you to leave a comment in one of my posts. That is the only way I can get a link to your blog if you have a blog. So don't be shy, write a few words. We're all friendly here!

I'd also like to thank all of you who have been reading the series of posts about the home selling madness in 2016. Believe it or not, my intention was to write a single post when I began to share the craziness. But it got so long that I had no choice but to split it up. I thought it would involve a couple of posts but as I continued to write, the dam broke loose. I discovered how therapeutic it was unloading the aggravation and stress and frustration of last year, which there was plenty of. I feel like a cat ejecting a bunch of hairballs. And it seems I've got a lot more hairballs than I thought because there are certainly more than a couple of posts. So please bear with me as I work toward the conclusion of the story. I promise it won't be much longer. In any case, I hope you're enjoying the story so far.

Shall we get to the humour? Let's do it.







Have a good one!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 3)

The story continues from last time...

So we got rid of our real estate agent mid June that we should’ve gotten rid of early on in 2016. But what was done was done and we were just going to have to chalk it up to experience and move on.

Where to go from here?

Well, in June, the most amazing man in the world approached me with the idea of selling the house ourselves. I was reluctant. After all, this was a little overwhelming. But he was convinced we can do this. His argument was that no one knew our house, our neighbourhood, our location better than we do. And wasn’t society heading toward self reliance, anyway? Didn’t we pump our own gas, do our own banking, book our vacations without the help of a travel agent, sell our cars and furniture by ourselves, run businesses out of our homes or online, and basically handle most of our affairs autonomously?

But...this is a house...

“So what. It’s just another product. But with a bigger price tag attached to it.”

But...the paperwork...

“Standard forms that we’ll fill in and send off to our lawyer to check.”

I was hesitant. A little nervous. But also intrigued. Still. I needed a little more time. I said I would take a few days to think about it and do some research on the topic. But...in the meantime...perhaps...wouldn’t it be a good idea...maybe...we could select three real estate agents, from three different brokerage firms and interview them. Just...to see.

“Fair enough.”

Trying to narrow the selection down to three agents is quite a feat. For a city of about 150,000 residents, there are over 400, maybe more, licensed agents here. Why are there so many? Who the heck knows. All I know is that it was a headache sorting through them and trying to choose wisely. We sent out emails and made some phone calls. And that list of three was altered over and over again as we crossed paths with pompous, overly busy and condescending agents. The entire process was...taxing.

Finally, we made an appointment with a woman to come by the house one Friday in June to take a look around, evaluate our place, discuss our options and, basically, sell her services to us. Convince us that she was the best person for the job. Instead of doing that, she got on our nerves.

The first annoyance was when she showed up without the CMA report (comparative market analysis) of similar active or recently sold properties in our area that we had requested she prepare for us and bring along. And that she’d agreed to. When we questioned her about it, she shrugged and said she’d return on Monday with it.

The second one was all the hemming and hawing and blah blah blabbity blah from her. But despite all the chatter, she wouldn’t get to the point or answer our questions. A sign of how frustrating it would be working with her.

The third was that she didn’t return on Monday with the CMA report nor did she call or email us – as a courtesy – to let us know. She just ignored the whole thing. And us. So Monday came and went. But so did Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Then on Friday night, an entire week later, we returned home to find a message on our answering machine that had been left at 8 PM by this arrogant agent that simply said “Hi. This is [agent x]. Call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx

Extremely taxing...

I turned to the most amazing man in the world and said “Count me in. Let’s do this ourselves.”

This was music to his ears and he grinned from ear to ear. Because like me, he was fed up to the eyeballs with these #$@&%*!? real estate agents.

And during the next few days...

I got out my tripod and my DSLR and snapped photos of our house inside and out. The most amazing man in the world signed us up on one of those 'sold by the owner' online real estate brokers and did all the written marketing. And on the third week of June in 2016, the sale of our home, which was going to be handled 100% by us, went live.

To be continued...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, in a recent post I asked the question “What five words would you use to describe 2016?” Mine included: taxing, eventful, wearying, surprising and atonement. Eventful was covered yesterday. Taxing and wearying will be covered today.

In the spring of 2015 when we realized that once my younger daughter was off in university in the autumn we’d be empty nesters, the most amazing man in the world and I decided to sell our oversized home with its oversized chores and its oversized responsibilities and its oversized bills. And downsize. So in October of that year, a ‘For Sale’ sign was hammered into our front lawn.

And that’s when the troubles began...

Our biggest mistake was the real estate agent we selected to sell the beast. We should have realized how badly we’d chosen when he took an old listing of our house and simply copied the text over, including room dimensions, selling points, etc, when we put up our listing. Signs of laziness and lack of creativity.

While we were up and running, we found it difficult to get information from him after a showing, we had to mention over and over that this or that photo had to be removed because it was unattractive/outdated/detrimental, we had to remind him again and again to make changes on the listing because x, y or z bit of information about our home was wrong/incomplete/inaccurate. On and on it went. And the worst part? He never corrected or adjusted what needed to be corrected or adjusted.

All of this was taxing

The year ended and 2016 arrived. January and February and March and April came and went, and although we had visits, we had no offers. We kept the house clean and orderly, we prepared it for showings and tiptoed around so we wouldn’t disturb or damage or disrupt anything. We became anxious and frustrated and disillusioned with the whole process, and the relationship with our agent became further strained with his ongoing incompetence and his single sales strategy: price reductions. Sure, if you drop the price low enough, you can sell sand to someone in the Sahara desert.

All of this was wearying...

When May arrived, we thought “this is it”. Kingston has a military base and during the months of May and June, real estate booms as families are relocated. And so we worked on making a great impression. By this time the garden had begun to shine, we purchased beautiful annuals to decorate the front of our home, we reseeded our lawn and polished up our curb appeal. We invited our agent to come take a look, perhaps make some suggestions and to also snap spring photos of the outdoors, which looked colourful and inviting and warm. He never did. Instead, he removed the winter photos of the outdoors and put back the photos he’d taken back in October where our grass looked dead and there were no signs of landscaping and no signs of a garden. And all the beautiful annuals we had planted and all the stunning perennials I had carefully selected and nurtured over the years that were now putting on a show were nowhere to be found. The house looked dull...and unloved.

What happened with this shitty visual presentation of the outdoors? Our showings tanked and the month of May was a bust. We were livid. Looking back, we have no one to blame but ourselves for keeping him on for so long - 8 long, fruitless and exasperating months - to a point where he burnt our listing. Somewhere along the way we became so beaten down that we kind of gave up on the whole thing. Very unusual for two people who typically have very strong characters. But there it was.

In June, we snapped out of our sluggishness, dusted ourselves off, decided to cut our losses and fired him. But now that we'd kicked him to the curb, where would we go from there? Well, an idea began to grow. And the more we thought about it and the more we talked about it, the more and more appealing it became.

And I'll tell you all about that in the next post...

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Our 2016 (Part 1)

The year 2016. Holy crap on a cracker! What a neurotic, unpredictable year. In a recent post I asked the question “What five words would you use to describe 2016?” Mine included: taxing, eventful, wearying, surprising and atonement. All perfectly fitting.

It was certainly an eventful year, mainly because of three changes in our lives, two of which I will share today. One of which some of you already know about. For example, a few of you might remember that I shared about my younger daughter deciding in the early part of 2016 that she would not be returning back home after the school year ended. Instead, she decided to rent an apartment with four other girls and move out permanently on May 1st. She is now living happily in her new city where she is in her second year of university. And she’s holding down a part time job that she loves. She followed in the footsteps of her sister who moved out on her own in 2012, albeit in another city.

So in 2016 we became empty nesters. Much earlier than we expected.


Because both my girls are fiercely independent, responsible and mature, there was no doubt that they’d move out on their own as soon as they could. The only thing that surprised the most amazing man in the world and me was how young they were when they accomplished this. The older one got her own place at 19 while she was in university and holding down two part time jobs. The younger one was 18 when she made the same decision.

We are very proud of both of them.

Another important event is retirement. The most amazing man in the world is officially retired. At the ripe old age of 58. He worked at the same company as a senior project manager for almost 30 years and was contributing to a wonderful pension plan. In August, he reached the level of years where he could start collecting on that pension. And decided to do so. Because “life is too short and we may as well enjoy it while we’re able bodied and healthy”. He is free as a bird to do whatever he wants now. Maybe tackle projects or do volunteer work or enjoy a hobby or take up a part time job that’s fun. Whatever. The sky’s the limit.
These are two out of three important changes in our lives in 2016. Tomorrow, I will share the other one.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Question Of The Day


Did you like school? I was one of those kids that did. Especially my elementary school days. And although it's a little tough to pick a favourite subject, I'm going to go with English class. I used to enjoy any type of assignment that included writing because I liked expressing myself that way. But more than anything else, I used to love that we were given books to read! Many of which were really great stories. Some of which I still have.

How about you? Did you have a favourite subject in school?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Chuckles and Chortles

Happy Monday, everyone! And a happy 2017 to all. I hope you all had a nice holiday weekend. Perhaps some of you are still enjoying some time off today. What are you looking forward to this year? Are you making any resolutions?

The most amazing man in the world and I were discussing while out at dinner Saturday night how incredible it is that we've lived in two different centuries and - even more amazing - two different millenniums (or is it millennia?). Isn't that really cool?

Shall we get to the funny stuff? Let's. Here's the first chuckles and chortles of the year.







Have a good one!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Project 366: Week 51

It’s time to wrap up this project with week 52. I’m guilty of being a lazy photographer in December but no big deal. Every single image I’ve shared in these posts was taken in 2016 and that’s good enough for me. Some of you asked if I will continue this into 2017. The answer is no. It’s very challenging and although I’m happy I participated, once is enough. At least for now. What will I plan for 2017? I’m not sure yet. One thing’s for sure, I will do my best to enjoy every single day.

This week's photo theme: Wrapping Up 2016 In Black And White


Friday, December 23, 2016
The Bird Bath
"Out of operation during the winter.”

Project 366, Day 358: The Bird Bath


Saturday, December 24, 2016
Kitty
“Our beautiful black cat, Nacho.”

Project 366, Day 359: Kitty


Sunday, December 25, 2016
Window Art
“Jack Frost is quite an artist.”

Project 366, Day 360: Jack Frost


Monday, December 26, 2016
Obstructions
“Maneuvering around the patches of ice.”

Project 366, Day 361: Ice


Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Snowy Backyard
"The garden is asleep beneath the blanket of snow."

Project 366, Day 362: Snowy Backyard


Wednesday, December 28, 2016
The Path
"This time in black and white.”

Project 366, Day 363: The Path


Thursday, December 29, 2016
Winter
“No greenery in sight. But at least the days are getting longer.”

Project 366, Day 364: Winter


Friday, December 30, 2016
Blanket Of Snow
“The world around us is black and white this time of year. With shades of grey.”

Project 366, Day 365: Blanket Of Snow


Saturday, December 31, 2016
The Library
“One of the prettiest buildings near our home year round.”

Project 366, Day 366: The Libray


What I've learned this week:
You can’t move forward if you’re facing backwards.
Find something in each day that brings you joy.
Live in the moment. That’s all we are guaranteed.
I am in charge of how I feel and in 2017 I will choose happiness.

I can’t thank you all enough for the support you gave me with this challenging project. It meant the world to me!

I wish you all a very happy 2017. Let's make it a great year.