Wednesday, February 20, 2008

House For Sale

Well, we decided to give it all a try. Today we put our townhouse up for sale with the hope that it will sell quickly and relatively well, despite falling housing prices. Our relator said from all their projections, indications are the housing market will continue to decline for at least another year, if not longer. She also said that here in central NJ, townhouses are the only thing that are even selling. Single family homes, particularly the higher end market, all are in severe decline. Townhouse prices are also collapsing, but at least they are still moving and we'd still make a profit on the sale - if we get one!

My studio has become an office space, sad to say. Having fiber art out all over the place is not conducive for buyers to envision their furniture in our space! With my desk hiding the family room fireplace, it was time to rearrange furniture with new goals in mind. So the new sewing table & cabinets have moved upstairs to the guest room. The huge lateral file cabinets have moved out to the garage. Comfy chairs now rest on either side of the fireplace while my office desk is moved to where the sewing table had been.
The way it was:

And the way it now is - slightly different view:

Here's another view of the desk where the sewing table was:

Meanwhile, I've been having some camera trouble. Since I have a 5 year warranty, I'll probably be mailing it out for repairs this week. What will I do without my camera? without my art?

Pack, I suppose...

And we haven't even made an offer yet on the PA house!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Navigating Change...

What an emotional roller coaster ride this has been so far! Neither one of us had expected to find "our" house this soon in the house-hunting expeditions. Neither of us was prepared for the snow-ball-rolling-down-the-hill effect this feels like is occuring in our lives. There is both fear and happy anticipation, almost in equal measures, and often taking turns with one another. Fortunately, when one of us is down on the house/move, the other is up!

It is important to acknowledge our fears and to face them, ask questions about them, collect relevant information that might set our minds at rest. I, however, often have my fears settle somewhere in my body. Depending upon where my physical symptoms reside, I can determine what potential fear might be lurking behind the physical pain. That way I will work through both the physical and the emotional dilemmas and come out all the better for it.

This time the fear settled in my mid to lower back - major back pain after 16+ years of being relatively pain free in that area. Lower back pain indicates fear of security - money issues. And that is a very understandable fear, given we are selling/buying/moving and we are changing our life style dramatically as we move into retirement. One major drawback on the new house is that it is heated by oil, and oil prices have risen astronomically in the past few years. Since it's a 9 room house - all rooms good sized - the heating bill will be substantial. A second major drawback is the lack of air conditioning. In the mountains of central Pennsylvania, it's not so much the cooling one needs as the dehumidifying! Air is often trapped between mountain ranges and dampness is a big issue. Since I'm severely allergic to mold and mildew, air conditioning is a must. And this is a big house! And they have radiator (hot water) heating - thus no air ducts and no easy AC addition is possible.

Journaling about my fears in my private hand-written journal has been very helpful. Back exercises have been equally helpful. Today is a new day, full of sunshine and crispy fresh air. I'm ready to move forward, ask more questions, seek out the answers, and continue hunting for our retirement house. Maybe we've found it and maybe not. Only time and information will tell.

But wouldn't' this be a FANTASTIC studio space? Or relaxing space? Or breakfast room????

Stay tuned for updates - if you're interested!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Our Potential New Home in PA

Well, we found a house we both really, really like - and it's within 10 minutes of our daughter & son-in-law's home. It's also about 10-15 minutes from all the major shopping areas in State College, yet it's in a small, residential neighborhood on a very private cul de sac.
The House

The Front - up close

Inside the front door

The Living/Dining Rooms

The Garden/Meditation Room

The Kitchen - all new

The opposite wall - with a pass-through to the studio

The all important STUDIO

The studio has two walls of windows! It's south facing, the living room faces north. There are 4 bedrooms - a MBR, two smaller bedrooms and one large one that will be Frank's office.

The big IF. First we must sell our NJ town house... and be able to afford the new house. It's a dreadful housing market to want to sell anything, but condo's and town houses are doing better than single family dwellings, or so says our realtor...

We'll know more tomorrow, after we work up all the numbers and figure out if we can really afford to retire now and make the move.

Meanwhile, we had a wonderful time in State College - and we got to meet our new Grand-dog, Keegan, a Sheltie puppy who is 3 months of age.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

PA House-Hunting in the COLD...

The forecast was NOT for snow this weekend, maybe a few flurries. However, since there was no snow on the ground when we arrived, it was rather fun to have snow the next morning as a surprise. Thankfully, we didn't have to shovel, our son-in-law did that.

Today it is quite blustery - as the photos below do show! It's also gotten quite cold - it's now 14 on it's way down to 5 or so. The wind chill is well below zero.

This is the view from our daughter's dining room windows. An ever changing scenic view of country life, even though she lives in town. Obviously, she lives at the very EDGE of town!

The Crows were everywhere after the snow - if you can look closely at this photo, the sky is full of them as are the telephone wires.

As for house-hunting, we saw 5-6 on Saturday, found one we like. Will go back and see it again tomorrow and then try to figure out what, if anything, to do about it!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Birthdate Quiz...

Your Birthdate: July 20

You are a virtual roller coaster of emotions, and most people enjoy the ride.
Your mood tends to set the tone of the room, and when you're happy, this is a good thing.
When you get in a dark mood, watch out - it's very hard to get you out of it.
It's sometimes hard for you to cheer up, and your gloom can be contagious.

Your strength: Your warm heart

Your weakness: Trouble controlling your emotions

Your power color: Black

Your power symbol: Musical note

Your power month: February

Well, this is a somewhat different way of seeing myself! Black, of all things! I've always thought I looked washed out when wearing Black, but recently I've found that I can wear Black, as long as I have a warm color close to my face. Black - the symbolism is all about mystery, the unknown, the dark night...

I do love music!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bird Sightings

These have been my morning visitors on this warm, humid, spring-like day in February.

This is a Carolina Wren - who regularly comes visiting. Last spring we found them nesting inside our grill! They are generally bug eaters, but this one even goes to our hanging feeder for seeds when the ground is frozen. Wrens are on the small side, with the Carolina Wren measuring 5 1/2 inches in length.

Below is the photo without the black background - I find the grill less lovely than the black/brown background. What do you think?

This is a female Common Eastern Flicker. I see her much less frequently. These birds are also bug-eaters. Here she is digging in the soft soil for worms and/or bugs. As you can see, she has a long, stout bill for digging in trees as well as soil. They are rather large, being of the woodpecker family. She's about 11 0r 12 inches long.

Here, she's looking skyward, just in case the Red Tail Hawk is in the vicinity...