Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017: getting ready

I've been preparing for my move to Portland for almost a year now.  Most of my stuff has either been given away, donated or packed up.

To get ready I made my dog, Sweetsie, a harness so she can sit in her carseat during our trip across country.  Then I made her a raincoat for Portland's rains.

She doesn't have the proportions for ready made dog clothes.  I could never find a harness to fit her.  The smalls are too small around her chest.  The mediums are way too large.  So I used her long and thin measurements to make her one.

I tried a doggy raincoat from Amazon.  It fit her but she wouldn't move.  The hood smooshed down her ears.  So I made her one from what fabrics I had on hand (not packed yet).   I used turquoise oilcloth from Mexico lined with fleece for the body of the coat.  The coat is made from one of those heavy plastic bags that pillowcases or napkins are sold in.

The secret to making a doggy raincoat is to make the hood detachable.  It's easier to construct and fits over the ears better.

Sweetsie will wear it but she's not too happy about it.  But she hates the rain so I think she will learn to appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

↓↓April 5, 2017: Doing the Limbo Rock!↓↓

LIMBO # 1:
"How low can I go?"  I just reduced my house another $20,000.  It is now priced $100,000 less than what the county appraised it for and I pay taxes on.  But, if I want to move to Portland before the extreme heat of a Houston summer, I have to make it more enticing to buyers.

Portland is beautiful in the summer time.  I don't want to miss it.  And I want to be with my family there.

LIMBO # 2:
I made my house a blank slate so buyers can imagine themselves living in it.  All my dolls and poodles have been stored away.  I even removed my pink quilt and put a gray bedspread on my bed.  It doesn't feel like my home anymore.

Plus, I have to keep the house super neat.  It's hard to sew without creating a mess.  I miss making things.  It's a big part of who I am and what makes me happy.  I did make my dog a raincoat over the weekend.  I had to clean up continually during the process.  Most of my things are packed up so I spent a lot of time looking for the fabrics, snaps, thread, etc. 

𝄞All around the limbo clock
Hey, let's do the limbo rock

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

Yesterday I turned in my resignation letter to Nia Georges, the chair of the Anthropology Department at Rice University.  She said they needed it so the process of finding my replacement could begin.  I put June 30th as my last work day.  I'll leave earlier if my house sells.  If it doesn't sell by June 30th,  I'm out of luck and a job.  I really do want to get out of Houston before the heat of the summer.

I've been working in this department since December 2004. It's the best job I've ever had.  The people are great.  The work I do is varied and new projects are added to my to-do list frequently.  Over the years I've supervised painting offices, copied textbooks, updated the department website and facebook page, processed graduate student applications and even babysat a dog, .  The list goes on and on.

My job was an island of normalcy when my life had such an abrupt change in 2010.  My then husband fell and became quadriplegic.  I went from a happy home life to one of service to 2 invalids - my Mom and my husband.  Life changed again when Mom went into a private care home and my husband left me.  I was alone at home but surrounded by friendly faces when I was at the office.

Leaving my job will be the hardest part of moving for me.  Already friends that I made on campus have retired or taken other jobs.  Rice is always changing - new people, new buildings, new software, etc.  I won't be able to go "home" again.  Even my parking spot will be gone as a new parking garage is currently being built.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5, 2017: My house is being shown today for the first time.

My house has been stripped bare of personality.  It is a blank slate so potential buyers can imagine themselves living in it.  Today at 3 a realtor will be showing it to her clients.

Here is a link to my house's listing.  The pictures look really good.  They don't show my huge laundry room though.  I have to take more boxes out to the garage so it will photograph better.

The house has been a good investment.  It's close to the Medical Center and freeway access.  If only it could be "beamed" to Portland where it would sell for over a million dollars!  I hope to find someplace I can afford there.

Monday, January 30, 2017

January 31, 2017

I finished!  I've packed up all non-essentials in the house.  It took me a month of sorting, organizing, donating, packing to get to this point.  Tonight was my first evening "off."

It's been a painful process.  I bought my house with loads of promise.  I didn't have to do all the work. I had a partner.  Now, I'm selling the house - alone.

 It is no blessing to have a good memory.  I remember who gave me the various gifts for my first wedding or my second wedding-  for marriages that were supposed to last a lifetime.  I've found cards swearing eternal love from both of my ex-husbands.  No point in holding on to them so I threw those notes away.

I'm so envious of people who have had long and mostly happy marriages.  Where did I go wrong?  I guess I made bad choices.  I know I have my shortcomings.  Things became difficult but I always remained loyal to my husbands.  Unfortunately I did not inspire their loyalty to me.

I'll move to Portland soon and get a fresh start on a new life.  I won't be alone there.  My son and his family will be my support system.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18, 2017

Another torrential rainstorm in Houston today!  These storms always scare me.  At least today I'm at home and not trying to go to work or get back home.  The rains started during the night.  I decided to not go into the office today.  I only work 4 hours on Wednesdays.  It didn't seem worth the risk of driving in.

So, I'm back at my manual labor job at home.  Still packing and sorting.  This weekend I found all my drawing supplies in my laundry room.  So, I haven't drawn in a few years.  Does that mean I should give all my supplies to Goodwill?  But-- when I'm in Portland, I will be retired and have time to draw again.

What about all my jewelry making supplies?  Keep some and donate the rest?

Knitting needles, yarns and instruction books- In Portland I'll finally be able to wear the hats and scarves that I knit.  I'm trying to use up all my wool yarn to knit a multicolored blanket.  After it's finished I plan to wash it in hot water and make the fibers dense (fulling).  I gave a bunch of whole skeins to my sewing group, partial skeins to Goodwill and I still had to pack a big box of yarn.

Not to mention my sewing supplies!  The realtor said I could keep the sewing machine and fabrics up.  She said people would realize that it's a workspace.  Wait until I have to sort through all that stuff!

I had a picture in my mind of the apartment that I was moving into - a 2 bedroom in the Heights at Columbia Knoll.  It is a low income senior apartment complex.  But, then, I got denied admittance.  The compliance officer said that I make too much money.  It's hard for me to imagine some poor person struggling to survive on my part time job salary.  The officer took my current income and added in my potential social security income and decided I would earn over the low income max.  But, I may not work after I move.  My social security has not started yet.  She said I can reapply next year.

That just sucks.  She also said they check income yearly.  If a tenant earns too much, she is booted out.  Imagine being 85 and getting an inheritance and forced to move out.  So, maybe it's for the best.

Now I will have to go back to Portland and find an apartment.  Then I return home, hire movers and Andy and I will drive my car to Portland.  I don't plan on unpacking a bunch of my stuff.  I'll probably have to move again after a year.  I'm going to spend the year getting to know Portland and deciding where I will finally settle.  Maybe I'll be willing to buy a small house then.  Right now I'm weary of all the stress and costs that come with home ownership.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28, 2016 - "the biggest holiday of the year!"

As a close to Christmas baby, I make a big deal out of my birthday. I used to tell my kids that it was the biggest holiday of the year.

But, here it is my birthday and I've been working and working all day. I signed with a realtor and am getting my house all fixed up to sell. I called a painter on the day after Christmas and he started yesterday. He was available and I am off for the week so I thought why not let him start?  

His crew is working in every room at the same time. I am struggling to move things out of their way and pack the stuff that I want to take with me to Portland. I have SO much stuff. It is a huge task. Hopefully, next year my birthday will be more fun. I will be with my grandchildren and be settled in an apartment.