Sunday, November 4, 2012

# 368 - City Woes & Tidbits of Life

Well, the house will FINALLY be back on the market this week. We've had so much on our hands following our daughter's wedding. It's been emotionally draining, in a good way. However, over the past two weeks, we've been working on boxes pulled from the attics, junk from the garage and from over-stuffed closets to have a garage sale, make donations of left-overs and to re-organize everything more efficiently.
Now, the closets look better and the attic looks great. The garage is less congested, but will never be big enough to contain everything needed for the house and for the land. A two-car garage just isn't enough space to accommodate everything for two properties.

However, the sifting through things collected over the years has been productive. Once the day comes to move, we will have a much easier time of it because we went through the effort to rid ourselves of so much stuff already.
This task has been easier since the weather is cooler. In the South, you must plan such chores with appropriate weather because organizing a garage in 110 degree temperatures due to the heat index is not pleasant.

At any rate, I am glad to have worked in the house this weekend. I was supposed to go into the hospital this past Friday for testing, but I was running a slight fever, so it was put on hold. I'll be speaking with the doctor and hospital admissions to see if we are going to shoot for next Friday. Regardless, I'm not thrilled about it. Oh well, I stay busy and try to not think about it. Medical tests...Doesn't everyone love them?
As for the house, we are adding a Realtor Bonus to the deal. This is always a good marketing strategy and one that I used as a Broker. It sure helps to draw traffic to a listing. We haven't done this before with our own house, so it will be good to see if the bonus will still draw more potential buyers to the house and if the agents work harder to remember the house with the bonus. That's how it works folks. Agent's the age of incentives, use them well.
Lately, we've been talking about how to make as fluid a move as possible once this house sells. Most likely, we'll get an RV to live on-site while the cabin is being built, and then we'll have the RV at our disposal for when it's time to travel to see our kids and future grandkids, especially the ones that live a five-hour drive away, near Dallas. It will be nice because we'll be able to take the dogs along, but not have to worry about leaving them at my daughter's house for us to go out to dinner. The dogs love being in an's home to them because we've traveled so much.

All of us are dog-lovers. Each family has two dogs and when we have a gathering, that's a lot of dogs to put together. We all try to put considerate thought into our breed selections because we are all so involved with each other and want our dogs to be buddies. Of course, when you get a "pack" of dogs together, there will be a few tense moments, but overall, our dogs are great. The only problem we have is that we each have shepherds and they all want to be the lead dog of the pack; the herding of each other can be ridiculous.

Howdy has the most prevalent herding instinct, but it's because he was born into herding on a ranch. Since he came to us from a ranch, it had been deeply reinforced by the time we came along, which for those who study Aussies, know that a farm/ranch trained dog is not something you can turn off. Howdy is definitely the one you can tell who is around chickens every day, conducting herding activities on a regular basis. When other dogs are around, he remains on high alert and he usually tries to use his body to keep the other dogs from me and my daughters. This can be a problem when Heather's oldest Australian Shepherd, Tux, is clearly dominate and protecting Heather himself. It's bad when both dogs feel possessive.

There's no doubt, it will be wonderful for the kids to come visit us and to have all that land for the dogs to expend their energy. We'll have some fenced-in areas for their protection, but there will be room for them to run and jump and show-off their athleticism. 

And buying another RV sure will be great. The benefits with having an RV again will be ten-fold now that our oldest is married and they are wanting to start a family. Maybe we'll find a good RV buy at another auction.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about an exciting day we had at an auction here in Texas.
We purchased a nice 30 foot RV for a killer low-ball price and even sold it about a year later for double the purchase price.
Four bunks in the back -- two of the bunks were
double capacity, the dining table converted to
sleeping quarters as well as the sofa. The bedroom
had an RV queen, so this RV slept at least 11-12
people comfortably. This time, we just need a
roof over our heads as we build the cabin shell.
I'm hoping that we find a great RV at an auction, even if we have to travel to Louisiana. Otherwise, we're keeping our eyes open for good deals.
Spending half the money for an RV because of an auction hassle is well worth it. Saving thousands of dollars is not something to frown at, especially when every dollar must go into our home-without-wheels.
Since our land is several acres and there aren't any neighbors nearby, we will need to be there throughout construction. We will have a shell cabin built, then have the mechanicals handled. I have an a concrete person and an electrician that everyone adores in the area because they are very experienced and trustworthy with amply examples around the county to show their workmanship, but we'll still need to find an air-conditioning person and a plumber. I'm sure we will come across the best people for the job as we get into the construction phase.

One thing is for sure, I do not want Billy-Bob showing up with his wire that is stapled all over the house, across windows and in zig-zag must be done right or I will hunt down Billy Bob.
The other day, Deputy Dave and I stood in the front yard of our house in the Greater Houston area as we played ball with Howdy. Liyla made herself comfortable in the sun. She's getting older and the heat feels good to her bones and joints.
First of all, this city house is a very nice house, let me make that clear...I am thankful to be here...but it doesn't really fit our lifestyle or current circumstances with grown children and big dogs and chickens and acreage equipment and as avid gardeners.
Anyway, in the front yard on that day, Howdy would go after a ball that had been tossed into the air and if his nose hit it, the ball would launch another direction, a couple of times toward the street, and he naturally dashed after the ball. The 2nd time it happened, play-time was over. I felt like melting into the pavement. That dog is trained to not go into the street, but put a ball in play and his focus is so intense that he would not notice a semi-truck heading his direction. This is why we now stick to throwing the ball toward our garage and he can make the long running trip up and down the driveway.
Regardless, the rogue ball was another moment when I again felt driven to get out of here...I felt tucked in and cramped. I guess I've developed some kind of strange need to get away from city congestion and into open spaces. There's no doubt that the land will offer a massive amount of space to spread out. It'll offer one mighty big front yard! The dogs will be able to play with no worries, plus I'll have a real front porch and a screened-in side porch off to the side of the house. Everyone knows that those two elements in a house are all you need in Southern life!
Most of all, I will savor being in the midst of nature. After all these years of city life, of living in a highly industrialized area that is part of Greater Houston, I'll be so thankful to get out of here and take in a deep breath of air every morning and be thrilled that my lungs are not being filled with stinky, polluted inhaled air.
Sometimes, I wonder...will this EVER happen? Then, I look at how close we are getting. I see the big changes taking place and I do not under-estimate my determination. Besides, this big house is a drain on us, in many ways. It feels like we're taking a bath in a swimming's just not practical.
If I am going to have too much of something, I'd rather it be too much space outdoors!
Most of all, I crave privacy. Yep, that's a biggie for me. I want to be able to step into my backyard or into my front yard and not have other people's windows facing me from every angle.
I'd like to be able to sit in my backyard and read a book without hearing the constant sounds of dogs barking, kids screaming, someone else's chimes that are just that right high-pitch that makes you feel like fingernails are scraping a chalkboard...I just need some solitude! The city is great, but I've had my fill of it. I'm ready to hear birds chirping, the wind moving through the trees, frogs croaking at dusk, and yes, I'll be listening for the big cats who are predators and for the black bears that are supposed to be reintroduced to the area. It's all part of country life; it's wonderful and beautiful and it already owns my spirit.
Everyone needs something different to soothe their soul. I do understand that some people feel an intense need to be close to other people, even if they are strangers. Some people just like to have others nearby because it soothes them for some reason. I love having my huge family gatherings and being with my friends, but I also have reverence for solitude. And, for my personality, it is nice to have a daily life that puts more distance between me and neighbors.
I love my neighbors...we all get along great. I will miss them. I'm the social one in the neighborhood...I know everyone, even the kids. I sit outside and visit with them and remind them to stay out of the street. In the country, I'll still have neighbors! They just won't be able to stand at their window and easily look into my house unless they have highly specialized equipment that can see through a forest of trees.

In my neighborhood, we can all count on each other. But, we also deal with heightened emotions that come with living too close together, especially because the street is too full of vehicles and people back into each other too has caused tensions. You would think that certain neighbors would learn to look behind them when backing out of their driveway or to tell their guests to be watch out for extra street traffic that is rather obvious. Frankly, it proves that high numbers of people do not turn their head or really care very much about looking behind them when pulling out of a driveway. Like my dad says, modern day vehicles spoil people into erasing skilled driving, all the sensors, cameras, computerized systems seem to do a big part of driving and it's seemed to have created as many problems as it's solved.

Lack of driving attention is the reason you can't even let the kids in the family walk down the sidewalk by themselves. Unfortunately, accidents have caused a couple of neighbors to resort to ignoring each other instead of being on the friendly speaking terms they'd enjoyed for years. Once the teenagers of each family got involved with hitting each other's cars and tempers flared, relationships were damaged. It's sad because we have all had such good times together. Now, I'm literally in the middle of these families and refusing to side with either one. Accidents happen. I will say, one of the neighbors took it too far and her mean-streak caused an irreparable situation. But, it stinks.

As for me feeling too congested in the city, it's also frustrating when too many cars means a person parking in front of your house is blocking your mailbox and the mailperson won't deliver your mail if the box is not accessible. Not pleasant when you are eagerly anticipating something to come in the mail.
I won't miss the crowded street, especially the neighbors who have multiple boats and find it acceptable to start flushing the engine at 7am Saturday morning, taking well over two hours to work the two engines into such a roar that I'm sure someone has thought about bringing their thoughtlessness to their attention. My engine revving neighbor once admitted that he takes delight in this task because his next door neighbor has kids who play basketball in the driveway until midnight and the ball bouncing can be clearly heard next door, every single bounce, backboard hit, garage door banged, rim slam...yes, it's a problem for our neighbors with the boat. So, he places his boat engines closest to that neighbor's house, good and early every Saturday morning, and he gets going with letting the engines roar and roar and roar. Problem is...we hear it too. life. I guess those who live in extremely jam-packed city conditions are completely accustomed to city sounds and any peaceful quiet moments would be a deafening issue for them. For us, we're kind of in the middle, we don't have sounds of nature, but we're still somewhat insulated from the harsh sounds of the inner-city.
So, it's always fun around here. Forget Desperate Housewives...which I've never seen...I need to add it to my Netflix schedule. The street in front of my house should be named "Testosterone Trail.". 
I love my neighbors in the suburbs, but please, for my next residence, put me in the woods.


Alicia said...

I totally agree with you! We USED to be more spread out, rural, country life, but the city is seeping in. Neighbors and their windows and dogs everywhere you turn now.
We just bought 20 acres of sagebrush, much like your trees, to start over and get some solitude back.
Good luck on your RV hunting and cabin building journey!

LindaG said...

I'm guessing you feel the zombie apocalypse creeping in. ;o)

Have you thought of maybe renting or buying one of those semi-container things that they often clean up, or not, and put on sale, or for rent for storage?

That could allow you a temporary, or permanent, place to store stuff, or anything else you might want to secure out there.

Then you might even be able to move stuff in increments like we did.

I keep getting the feeling we didn't get here soon enough. I hope that goes away the longer we are here.

Don't know about that bonus thing but I hope you sell quickly, Lana!

*hugs* ♥ said...

Alicia --- I'm so glad to hear from someone who understands! The says it all! I bet your twenty acres is heavenly! I'll keep you posted on the search for an RV.

Linda --- I wonder if you watch the Walking Dead? It TERRIFIES ME! I guess so many are drawn to that show because it gives practical survival tips that would be needed in any kind of disaster. I will probably get a POD delivered to our house, or a couple of PODS, to fill with our household belongings and to have delivered to our land for temporary storage. Our family has used this storage method before and I prefer it over renting a facility. It's highly convenient to have all our things right there on the land, decreasing the need for a long trip to pick it up, load after load. As for you getting to your home at the right time, everyone has their own timing and it seemed to work out for you guys so your husband could retire. It's still a major concern for us too. But, we need to get out from under this big house. Pray for me to find the energy to wrap up some details with the house, so we can sell it. It seems there's always a reason for us to delay the sell, such as THANKSGIVING and having those kids at our house that I am looking forward to sponsoring (fostering). But, life itself makes it hard to keep a home on the market. I guess we just need to plug ahead. It'll be SUCH FUN coaxing kids into making their beds every morning again! Yikes!