Wow. It’s been awhile. Truth is, I haven’t felt like writing. Not a single word.
So, let’s catch up.
I spent the first two months of 2017 living and working from a rented home in Key West. Well, actually, Rockland Key, near mile marker 9. Because I can work from anywhere I have wifi, I did my job from the backside of paradise. Instead of freezing my ass off in New Hampshire during winter, my husband and I were kayaking the Key West flats at 4PM nearly every day. I loved everything about living in the Keys. We became the go to destination for family members who wanted to experience the Keys. The only drawback was that while everyone else was on vacation, I was working. Yes, I took time off but it would have been nicer to not have to worry about work while we were down there.
While we were living in the Keys, my husband and I made a big ginormous decision: sell the house. Neither of us missed our stuff and we agreed that selling our home and “right” sizing was the right move.
We came back to New Hampshire in time for 2 more snowstorms, a family issue, and a round of layoffs where I work. I was not on the list to be laid off…this time. The family issue sorted itself out and I really dislike snow. My husband tackled the “get the house ready to sell” list with gusto. We had a self-imposed deadline to have the house ready to list before Memorial Day Weekend.
Baked into our half-baked plan, were two trips. We spent 10 days in Ireland in early April visiting our oldest daughter, son-in-law, and year old grand boy, Pearse. After all my trips to Ireland, this time I finally got to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. We saw Lindsey Sterling in concert at the Vicar, spent time in our favorite spots in Dublin, and of course, I loved all over that grand boy of mine. And I should mention that I was able to get my yarn fix at my favorite yarn shop, The Constant Knitter, where I discovered some of the finest hand-dyed artisan yarn by The Fibre Kitchen.
Our second trip was a week in southern Utah with my mom, her husband, my dad, and my youngest brother and his family. My husband and I went to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and we visited Dinosaur Tracks in St. George.
In between our two trips, we hired a dumpster and got rid of loads and loads of stuff. Even when we got rid of stuff, we felt we still had too much stuff. My husband fixed things we knew needed fixing but never fixed because we got used to things in an unfixed state. Holes got patched. Walls got painted. Two wooden ties on the front steps got replaced. I donated over 1,000 books. I sold nearly all my Polish Pottery (I kept a few pieces for myself). We sold some furniture. We both donated clothes the 80’s desperately wanted back.
On May 26, with our house sparkling and ready for sale, we put it on the market. Our agent, Chip Sutton, was amazing. Two and half days later, on Memorial Day, we received an offer for full price and no contingencies.
Because where we live is a hot seller’s market, we knew our home would sell quickly. We took a deep breath and created two new lists. The first list was a list of all the things that were non-negotiable in our next home. The second list was a list of all the things we had to do to be out of our home before July 31, 2017.
To make things a bit less stressful, we had already made arrangements to stay at my dad’s until we found our next place. There’s nothing worse than having to make a decision under pressure. Especially when it comes to where you live.
Within 48 hours of making the list for our next home, my dad sent me a link to a “coming soon” blog post from his agent. Based on the 4 or 5 photos in the blog post and the features of the property, my husband and I knew we had to be the first to see the place. Before it came on the market, we drove by it and checked out the neighborhood. Outer appearances were fine. A few days earlier, we had driven by another property and the neighborhood was a total turn-off. We had our agent call the seller’s agent and we go the first available time to walk-through the inside.
On June 24, 2017, we saw the inside of the home we now live in. It met every item we listed off that was non-negotiable. The only thing I asked my husband was if he could remodel the kitchen, re-do the floors, and pretty much update the inside to our liking. He said he could and because he remodeled our last home, I believe him. Richard does amazing work. We made our offer. Oh, and I should mention that I figured out how to pay cash for our new place.
(The gorgeous kitchen Richard remodeled in our "old" house.)
24 hours after we submitted our cash offer with no contingencies other than home inspection, the seller accepted our offer.
We spent the next 4 weeks moving our stuff into storage, donating more stuff, selling a few more things, and making more than a few dump runs. We spent 3 nights at my dad’s, closed on both houses on July 31, and moved in on August 1.
We right sized from a 1600 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house in a condo association to a 1400 square foot manufactured home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in a mobile home “garden community.” We got rid of a mortgage in favor of zero and I mean zero debt. And because we no longer pay a mortgage, we’re banking an extra $1,300 every single month. Our return on investment calculation is 6 years. Not too shabby. You’ll hear more about how we got to zero debt in a future blog post.
In light of all the purging of stuff, I also decided to purge and release unwanted poundage from my 5’3” frame. I started going to hot yoga classes in late April and started Weight Watchers on May 10 (right before I went on vacation…of course…naturally.) Since May 10, I’ve shed 18 pounds and almost 2 sizes. I can’t say enough about how Weight Watchers has been a game changer for me. I’ll share my a-ha’s and insights in another post.
I don’t want to forget to mention my return to yoga. I never really left but it wasn’t this core, central thing anymore. I discovered there was a hot yoga studio 8 miles (now 12) from where I live and that’s where you can find me 4-5 times a week. My days of martial arts and Muay Thai Kickboxing are over due to a repetitive injury and a knee issue. Getting older means I need to change what I’m doing to do my body. Yoga has always been my passion and it’s been rekindled exactly in a time in my life when I need it. More on yoga in future posts.
Oh…and I also made a huge decision to open my own Etsy shop for my crocheted things. And I’m going to be a vendor at this year’s Derryfest in September. I’ve been busy creating and crocheting. Last Christmas I nearly got run over by the Messy Bun hat craze – demand was through the roof. This year, I won’t be caught behind the 8 ball. I have inventory…hats, scarves, shawls, baby clothes, doll clothes, and now I’m making sweaters. I can’t wait to share with you my love of yarn and crochet.
(My sister-in-law is modeling my most recent completed cocoon sweater, which I sold within minutes of posting on Facebook. Have no fear, you can place your order through my Etsy Shop!)
In light of everything that’s transpired in my life since January, there’s bound to be changes about what I write about and when I write. I used to think I could help and inspire people with my words and I traveled that path for a few years only to be constantly frustrated. Most likely because I was following the paths of others and not forging my own.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure we’re all caught up now. What’s new with you?
all photos taken by Peggy Nolan.