Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Catching You Up On What You've Missed

Our Labor Day weekend was so peaceful that Tom and I (again) spoke about early retirement, but (again) couldn't figure out a way to wing it yet. So he drove away to work this morning and life goes on.

Yesterday he and I drove to Salvation Army for their holiday half-off-of-everything sale and I found the coolest book for my Scholastic collection:

                                 Loved every page of this book. Seriously.

Obviously Debra doesn't collect mint-only-condition books.  No, not even. Just give me a cool Scholastic in readable shape and I'm thrilled.

Also, I found black slacks (all I ever wear. Yep, I'm in a rut.) which fit like a dream, plus, another pair which are not dream-like, but I'll take 'em.

And something else we squeezed into our little house? This, for only $2.50:

Doesn't scream 1970's, exactly, yet neither does it yell modern. But we both liked the look so it stays, plus, anything which will help keep Tom a bit more organized is a literal God-send.

Usually Naomi goes with us on these holiday trips, but she didn't come home till 3:00 a.m. She did, though, get up a few minutes to make us her World's Best coffee (forget Seattle's Best) which she does every weekend because she's sweet that way. I get just one-half cup of this heavenly brew lest my head ache/pop/explode. I think finally I've become content with that, but it took forever awhile.

Speaking of contentment (or the lack thereof, actually),10 days ago we drove past a house for sale in my favorite nearby/safe/awesome neighborhood:

It's a colonial, has a deck, a balcony, 4 bedrooms, a sunroom, coat closet, fireplace and full attic and is only $69,000. But I can't have it. Darn. Darn. Darn. There's one major deal breaker --getting from the garage to the house: we'd have to tear out the deck (!!), chop down a huge tree (sigh) and build a pass-through extension/room ($$$$$). There is no way around doing that. Trust me--I've spent hours and hours trying to come up with one.

But other than that, (and replacing the windows, buying a stair climber chair, adding more cabinets to the kitchen and switching from oil heat to natural gas...) hey, it was perfect.  

Clearly I have masochistic tendencies. I still, daily, check out real estate online--for ideas, you understand. Only for ideas. 


A good prescription for yours truly right about now? This, which I shared at Facebook this morning:

Go keeping the main thing, the main thing, and it's amazing how suddenly contented one becomes--and stays--on the way to where she's going.

I know this. I do. I just need to keep it closer to my heart.


Anyway, I'm rereading Betty MacDonald's incredible Anybody Can Do Anything (get this book if you can) and I'll leave you with an awesome passage, one which makes me, ok, really really want that colonial house or--if I can't have it--then to relax a bit more here at Hobbit Cottage and not always need to have things just so. (But that's a personality thing so uh-oh! But hey. All things are possible---).

----Betty's speaking about her mother's house (which she shared with Betty's 4 siblings during the Depression), the place where Betty returned with her tiny girls after living 4 dark, lonely years on a farm:

"To me that night, and always, that shabby house with its broad welcoming porch, dark woodwork, cluttered dining room plate rail, large fragrant kitchen, easy book-filled fire-lit living room, four elastic bedrooms--one of  them always ice-cold----roomy old-fashioned bathrooms and huge cluttered basement, represents the ultimate in charm, warmth and luxury. It's something about Mother, who with one folding chair and a plumber's candle, could make the North Pole homey, and it's something about the warmth and loyalty and laughter of a big family. 

It's a wonderful thing to know that you can come home anytime from anywhere and just open the door and belong. That everybody will shift until you fit and that from that day on its a matter of sharing everything."

Can't you just see all that? Lovely.

(A very in-depth biography about Betty MacDonald is coming out this month. It's something all of us crazy fans have looked forward to for years--hooray!)


"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need."  ... Philippians 4:11-12


Here's the colonial I can't have:

I'm not a huge fan of paneling (who is?), but I find this type, 'beachy'. I could easily live with it. And a coat closet! I've been known to walk around here saying, "My kingdom for a coat closet!"  :)


Have you seen this yet about the 100-year-old school chalkboards? Awesome stuff.


And P. S. for Nan----thanks for your questions! I love that you're interested in my 'dilemma'.  :)

Here's a better photo of the side entry. There's currently a wheelchair ramp there blocking one of the garage doors. If we took the ramp out, we'd still need stairs to the deck--and Tom can't do snowy stairs nor could I salt the wooden deck without ruining it. 

If we took out the deck (sigh) and the huge tree, we could build a room between the garage and side entry, but that would cost a lot (and I'd hate to cut down another tree and not have the deck). 

Another idea is for Tom to pull up to the front of the house and I'd just have to keep the sidewalk to the front door clear for him, then I would always park the car in the garage for him in winter (and move it back out on snowy mornings). But I might grow tired of that. (Though with the way I feel right now, I'd like to risk it. heh. *And* I did this out at the farm over the two winters that he had a job and didn't mind it much.) 

Though again, Tom's not in the mood to move. Boo hoo.   :)


Betsy said...

Dennis and I have those the same conversation almost daily of how we can get him to be able to retire early. Alas, he still goes to work too. I can't believe the price for that house! Here you wouldn't find a dump for that price. I enjoyed the paragraph about the family home. I can just picture it in my mind.

Pam said...

My hubby and I have been having the retirement conversation for a loooong time. In one year and 6 weeks, he's going to retire. In many ways, we can scarcely believe it. We've tried to do the math (finances), yet it's going to be a big step of faith when the time comes. He's worked so hard, for so long, and if we have to tighten our belts, we will. Still a little bit scary, tho.

Debra, I love the way you continue to check out real estate, because I do too!! Girls gotta dream!! Hey, you never know what might turn up.

Debra said...

Betsy--yep, we're blessed to live in an area where housing is still sane (that's one of the reasons, though, why it makes me crazy sometimes to look at these houses online--there are so many cheap ones that we could afford.) So glad you enjoyed Betty MacDonald's remembrance about her home!

Pam--It's exciting that your husband will be able to retire soon! I know you will be fine--both you and I have had lots of experience with 'tightening our belts' and have become good at it and made it enjoyable. It won't be a burden. And yes, we've gotta dream! :)

Thanks, Ladies! Blessings, Debra

Nan said...

I'm trying to figure out why a house wouldn't have better access to the garage. I can't quite picture it. And I can't believe the price. Loved hearing about the Betty M biography. I went to amazon and the price is almost $30 even on the kindle. I'd rather have the print edition, but that is a steep price.

Nan said...

Thanks! That makes it much clearer to me, and I agree with not wanting to cut down that great tree. It probably is way too much work and money to buy that place. I'll bet there is something comparable without the problems that maybe he will fall in love with!

Barbara Fisher said...

I came over here after reading a comment you left at Nan's blog, and I'm so glad I did! I just know I'm going to enjoy getting to know you. Can you really buy a beautiful house like that for only $69,000 that wouldn't even buy a one bed flat in the UK - well not in a nice area.