Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Why I'm Thankful

How great is it that we have a non-political, non-religious holiday focused on gratitude? And that we are free to celebrate it as we choose.  Just the day is a lot to be thankful for! 

My personal list would fill the page and overflow, so I looked back for something in my past that most influenced my overall happiness - what might have been the first thing? Certainly most of us are grateful for where, and to whom, we were born. Most of us enjoyed a good education, a safe environment for growing up, some good friends who enriched our lives. We are all the product of our pasts, and if we are happy today most likely it is because of gifts or challenges, or probably both, we were given over the years. But was there one thing, one event, one person, one value, one lesson - that most contributed to my living this happy/grateful life?

It's funny how the mind and heart work. I was truly thinking in an analytical way, just to see where my memory would go. Yet my emotions were not having it! My mind would settle on one thing, and my heart would be all "But what about ______ ? You'll hurt their feelings, dishonor their memory, etc, etc, if you don't "pick" them." Geez heart, it's not a competition! The mind also has its interfering moments known as "the reality check". You know, those things you really want to remember going a certain way, but you have to admit they didn't :-( Since I'm an only child I need an internal reality-checker. I know that those with siblings (like my sons) have their reality checked on a regular basis!

So with mind and heart making a simple stroll down memory lane into a much more complicated expedition with maps and a sound track, I did eventually settle on something that felt (the heart usually wins) right.

Not surprising given that I went back as far as possible, it is something from my mother. I believe I am so happy today because I am responsible for that happiness. I don't get to assign blame to any one or any thing else. Ultimately I am responsible for choosing a path, an action, a response, a person to be in my life. My earliest memories include my mother saying "I'm telling you that if you pick up the cat she will scratch you. If you get scratched, you don't get to be mad at the cat." 

Every time I would say something like "He/she/they/it makes me feel so ______ !", Mom would correct me. It always came back to me. She didn't discount the hurtfulness of words and deeds, but she instead focused on my response to them. Did I want to keep that person or thing in my life when they were the source of pain, or did I want to remove them? It was my choice and therefore I was responsible for the results. Of course I usually chose the pain, and blamed the other party, and ignored my mother's sage advice.

But the lesson was still there, repeated by my mother, and building some momentum in the back of my mind. I was probably in my late 20's before I really gave it a serious try. Damn if Mom wasn't right! The more I took responsibility, the more I made conscious choices for my own happiness, the less I gave others the power over my well-being - the happier I was. I didn't "give it up" to a higher power, I didn't get to blame it on a demon. I had to live with the decisions I made about me.

Today I don't watch the news, I accept that others don't share my opinions and beliefs, I scroll past those Facebook posts I know I won't agree with, I don't take someone else's bad day personally,  I believe that most people are good, I expect my dreams to come true, I know the consequences of being unkind and dishonest are of my own making. 

I don't always get it right. I fall off the no-blame wagon. I get depressed and angry over the actions of others. I become fearful over the "what ifs". I openly question the sanity of Raiders' fans..... 

Still, I come back to what my mother gave me all those years ago, and am a blessed and happy person. I am a grateful person. 

It was a good exercise for me to look back at what most influenced my happy/grateful life.

You know what you're grateful for - but do you know why?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Escrow - Coming Soon to an Amusement Park Near You!

Sign the contract (buy the ticket), buyers make a change that saves you hundreds in fees (move to the VIP line), wait for "those" people to schedule appointments (click, click, click, click), pest inspection takes 15 minutes and house is cleared (weeeee-haaaaaaa), buyers' inspector cites a potential ginormously expensive problem with the electrical (scary fast turn, stomach sinking, heart racing), electrician finds nothing - NOTHING - wrong in that area (weeee-haaaaa), counter buyers' repair request (click, click, click, click), they accept (woooo-hoo), electrician comes to complete repairs, could still be expensive (blind turn ahead, hold tight), electrician and his crew are really angels in brown uniforms {and have known Bill for years} and charge us zero - ZERO - for their work (pass by gate and take a free turn)........

We still have the appraiser coming tomorrow with buyers' loan approval due on Wednesday - and a four-day holiday to wait through - before we can safely step out of the little cart hurtling down the track. 

Anticipation!  Exhilaration!  Terror!  Excitement! - yep, I could totally sell tickets to this ride!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sometimes Just Believing Isn't Enough


Optimistic Home Depot Customer of the Month

I always encourage positive thinking, however this guy was clearly picturing larger trunk space (the tree was back on the cart and headed back to the store as I pulled out).

Makes me smile :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At the Risk of Jinxing It......

.....we're under contract!!

Maybe you've heard of the St Joseph statue and prayer for selling a house.  This is one busy saint - his little likeness is sold by several dozen providers just on Amazon :-)  Although I am a strong believer in bringing positive energy to your goals in multiple ways, I hadn't thought about getting our own St Joseph.  Until Saturday. 

Clearly I'm anxious to have the house selling behind us, so after just six days on the market I decided to invite St Joseph to get buried upside down in our front yard (that's how it works).  Saturday afternoon I ordered him from Amazon for a Tuesday delivery.  Monday morning I got the text message that the package would be delivered that day.  The realtor called at 2:30 with an offer.

When I got the package about 4:30 I was very surprised at how small he is!  That is a lot of power in a very tiny package!!  While he was out there riding around in the delivery truck I was already working on a counter offer.

The picture is the size of a playing card

Okay, we have a great realtor with 35 years experience in this zip code, the house shows beautifully, this is a desirable neighborhood, we got a lot of traffic in a short period of time, we have worked on seeing our dreams coming true, and all of those things certainly work together to bring offers.  But you can bet that little saint is in the front yard, the appropriate (provided) prayer has been said, and he is buried in the correct direction! Not taking any chances :-)

Our counter offer was accepted this afternoon, and we are so excited!! We all know it's not sold until escrow closes, but we're feeling pretty positive this early into it. With a 30 day escrow things will be hopping around here! My plan is to let the realtors do the worrying and all the last minute scrambling ...... it's a good plan.

In addition to St Joseph, all you "commenters" were right as well :-)  Many of you saw it happening quickly, and all of you were wonderfully supportive.  It is so appreciated, and I'm sending virtual hugs to all of you for the great mojo you sent our way.  Not that I'm letting it go until we have a check in hand, and turned over all the keys!!!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dog Selfies in the Park

One of the best things we did to reach our debt-free goal was to sell the second car. Even though it means I'm home without transportation unless I take Bill to work, after several months I continue to be happy that we did it.

Right now it means that when the house is being shown, Tessa and I head to the park to "kill a little time". Our weather has warmed up again - hopefully for the last time this year - so it's especially nice that we live close to a lovely park with big trees. We can watch people play tennis, or the little ones on the swings and slides. The squirrels and ravens are very busy, and very verbal, and make for good entertainment. Tessa gets all waggy, whiny and wiggly when other dogs go by, but she's good about staying beside me, so I can lie on the grass and read without worrying about her.

So there's lots of things to do for the short periods of time that the house is shown each day. So far, our favorite has been practicing selfies. Tessa still needs a bit of work....

Silly dog
Five days since we listed and we've had seven showings. Obviously no offers - that would have been the title of the post! I feel good about the one last night (they stayed for about 45 minutes), but no offer yet. If it were anybody else I'd be saying "Relax, it's only been a few days. Geez, be patience!" It's not somebody else......

Temps are headed back down again next week, we'll see what mischief Tessa and I can get into :-)


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MLS, Merriment, Medicine and a Marathon

Monday the house went on the MLS. Seems like a really big deal :-) Our agent attached the lock box (feels real now) on the front door and removed the "Coming Soon" sign out front. A few minutes later the RV salesman we talked with at the Pomona Show called "to check on our progress" - does he have a satellite??

The photographer came a little later and spent 45 minutes taking pictures of what used to be our private space, and is now "out there" for all to see. It's a very good thing, but still sort of weird with us living here. His video turned out great, although the colors are really saturated (the laundry room is a muted-mustard, not the vibrant yellow in the picture. I'm mostly saving it here so we always have it, but do check it out - we like it :-) 

Most encouraging was the phone call from another agent about an hour after it went live, scheduling a showing for the afternoon (clients loved the house, but not that it backs to a large street :-( ). Also got a call from another agent to do a preview, and a third call to show it today. So, activity is starting strong and we're optimistic. We know that backing to the street will be our biggest hurdle, but it only takes one.

Friday night we had some witches over to celebrate the holiday. And we had rain!! We sat out on the patio with some adult beverages, a fire in the pit, and watched and listened and smelled that wonderful stuff come down. It ended up lasting several hours, a perfect steady rain that gave us a much needed soaking. At the end of the evening everyone went home with armloads of Halloween decor - a wonderful way to purge all but two small items I'll take with us :-) 

It's all about the socks

Some of the "adoptees"

Saturday morning I created one of my very favorite things - a completed To Do List! 

Always love crossing out that last item!

Apparently my body didn't trust that I would really "chill out" now that everything was done, so by the afternoon I was down with a sour stomach. It lasted all of Sunday, where I spent most of the day in bed. I probably needed the rest, but I was very bummed to miss seeing our son Nick finish his first marathon. A year after losing 130#, he ran a full marathon - we're so proud of him!

New and improved Nick w/his former-self photo

Bill came home early Monday afternoon to take me to the doctor for my aching arm. Tendonitis again - rest and pain meds and physical therapy at home - I know the routine. It's funny (not really) that the only work-related injuries I've ever had have been since I retired! Getting older is definitely not for sissies :-)

So our new routine of showing and waiting and hoping and "resting" begins in ernest. Tessa continues her "just chill" lessons - it's all homework :-)

You're interrupting my resting Mom