Monday, May 27, 2013

Packing My House

My Dad's goal was to leave something for my sister and me. I plan to make him proud by fixing up my house and at the same time, making it worth more than it is currently. I've lived in my house since Memorial Day 1980, and it suffered from deferred maintenance for about 20 years because I was so busy raising the kids, working 2 jobs, and going to school. I could barely make ends meet. In 2004, I pulled up the carpet in the living room and hallway. My friends and I painted the concrete with cute multicolored splotches. Everyone who sees it likes it.

I got a sizeable income tax return, so I was able to have the outside of the house painted, replace the attic vents with galvanized steel louvered vents (one in and 2 ordered). And I replaced my garage door because I broke it - not in my plans. Now I'm working to pull out the rest of the carpet and linoleum and paint the concrete in the whole house.

You know what has to happen to do that - everything must be packed up and moved out. EVERYTHING! Once we start sanding, everything in the house will be covered in dust, so cabinets, closets, everything has to be cleared out. I ordered a POD to be delivered May 30. In the meantime, I'm packing and stacking.

I had already gone through the pantry to get rid of food that I can't eat - first it was allergies, then my new lifestyle. Then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed weavils, so all the flour, corn meal, cereals, and other susceptible products (that I don't eat but hadn't given away) were thrown out. I had cleared my kitchen of all old plastic products so I'm down to a few Rubbermaid containers and a couple of large salad bowls. I have to go through the lids to make sure I only have lids for bowls I kept. In December I got some dishes from a friend, so my son and I went through my dishes and packed the ironstone I got as a wedding present for him to take when he moved out. I don't even think there's anything on the top shelves of the cabinets anymore. One thing I did after he moved out was put the large ones that I don't use on the higher shelf and the ones I use - the dessert plates - on the bottom so I can reach them more easily. I'm so glad I did. We got rid of all the extra coffee cups I'd collected over the years, keeping only the ones that mean something to me. No more jelly glasses or 25-cent Walmart glasses (which was all I could afford at one time). They were given away months ago.

I've already packed up the linen closet (lots to be given away), the entertainment center in my bedroom, half my dresser (I couldn't believe all the old makeup I saved. I found a cap and bib for my grandson's baptism next Sunday that my ex-mother-in-law gave me when my daughter was born), half the china cabinet, and almost all the kitchen - at least the lower cabinets and drawers except the silverware and pots & pans.

My daughter came by Saturday and packed the other half of the china cabinet while I played with my grandson. He is so freakin' cute! He's a mimic. If he hears a noise, he'll imitate it. It's so cute. I gave him a bright orange flower pen I made. I kept repeating flower, and he eventually said fower. I was so proud! If you cough, he'll make a coughing sound. If you clear your throat, he'll make a similar noise. I always say he'll be a sound effects man one day. He makes some strange noises, and he has for at least 4 months. He's very vocal. Sorry, I digressed.

I have a junk drawer in the kitchen that had accumulated so much stuff, that I was almost afraid to tackle it. I finally cleared off the coffee table, put the drawer on it, and went through it piece by piece until I was down to glitter, beads, paperclips and dust. I started making piles - give away, office supplies, crafts, tools, pennies, screws/nails, marbles and jacks, United Way pins (?) and Christmas twinkle light bulbs and fuses - 1-1/2 hours later. There were several things that I couldn't identify anymore. I guess they seemed important enough to save, but I can't for the life of me remember what they are now. Anyway, that drawer is done. One large box and about 15 minutes should take care of packing the pantry.

I found all sorts of cleaning products that I didn't know I had. Putting them in the cabinet so I could keep them out of baby's reach wasn't a good idea. I'll have to find somewhere else to put them - in the pantry? I don't like mixing food and chemicals. I might be able to install a drawer for the cabinet to make it easier to get to the things in the back. I may not need the large storage unit in the kitchen anymore. I won't have the huge 31-year-old Montgomery Ward microwave anymore. I ordered an above-the-range microwave. I'll actually have more storage because I'll have a new cabinet (which I still need to get) to replace the huge vent-a-hood that I have.

I guess I should mention that I bought new appliances. They'll be delivered June 15 (unless I'm not ready by then). I bought a new refrigerator with the freezer below, a solid-surface range, above-the-range microwave, and a dishwasher - all stainless steel. My range and dishwasher are 33 years old, my microwave is 31, and my refrigerator is 16. They all work - it's just time.

Once the house is empty, I want to remove the wallpaper in the kitchen and dining room; sand, stain, and polish the floors; paint the walls; paint the kitchen cabinets (a little darker on the bottom and antique white on top), add granite counter tops, and a large one-tub composite sink. I want to be able to clean large pots, pans, and cookie sheets.

I already have 1 large box of give away stuff, and I'm sure there'll be much more. I'll be at it all day tomorrow. I think I'll finish the kitchen, the dresser the TV is on, and the exercise room. I don't know what to do with the beads and beading supplies. I may just box them up for later, sell the whole lot for $100, or give it all away.

I want to move my library to the front room with new bookcases and the sleeper sofa that's in my current library. I have a small desk and a rescued chair (both need work) to put in there so I could write, plan, study and dream.

The room that currently has the library will be a guest room. I have my Dad's blow up bed and a small dresser to put in there. My PC and office stuff will be in the room across the hall from mine, and I'll put my exercise equipment in the room next to mine.

All my bedroom furniture (except mattress and entertainment center) will go, to be replaced with my Dad's dresser and night stands. They're smaller and much more functional. I just need to get new hardware for them - although I am thinking about refinishing them. My current dresser, night stands, and drawer unit under the bed have never fit my taste, and I've had them for 31 years!!!

Once everything is packed and moved out, the inside of the house is refinished, replaced, or updated, I have to move everything back in. That's why I'm taking my time packing so I can go through and purge before it's packed. Now is the time to get rid of the old. If I don't love it, I'm not keeping it. I've even packed up some butterflies to give away!!! I know, you don't believe it, but it's true. I've loved everything in my house at one time, but it's time to let someone else enjoy some of it now and to make room for something new.

The inside of the house is not the end. The roof still needs to be repaired and the patio cover needs to be replaced, and the landscaping still needs work. I'm hoping that by October, everything will be done and I can relax. I'm planning to do all the packing, removing, staining, and some of the painting myself so it doesn't cost a fortune. I painted most of the house when my knees could barely get me down the hall, so there's no excuse for not getting 'er done myself. I'll leave the cutting in, repair, and difficult stuff to the professionals.

I want my Dad to be proud, and I can do that by building my future with what he left.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Don't Miss Your Life!

I picked up a book at Garden Ridge on sale that's called "Don't Miss Your Life! An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laughter, and Grace" by Charlene Ann Baumbich. She talks about writing a Memory Portfolio (MP) that is my invisible, utterly personal, wholly accessible, always-ready-for-new-entries, combination dairy and scrapbook of sensory-loaded captured moments. I've thought about writing this MP here in my blog. But now that I've reviewed the concept, its probably a better idea to do it in a private format. As I read this book, I'll comment in this blog about what I think.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Such a Day I Had

I finally got a pickup and some muscle to move my Dad's dresser and night stands to my house this morning. I woke up at 4:29 and couldn't get back to sleep. I decided that I could make up for the sleep after we moved the furniture, so I got up and did the laundry and made a large pot of coffee.

I was just about finished with the pot when the truck arrived. There were 4 of us, so I drove the 2 other crew members to Selma. I was hyper from all the coffee.

Once we put the furiture into my garage, the moving crew became the home improvement crew, and they got to work replacing the attic vent with the louvered one we special ordered. While they were working on that, I decided to close up everything and take a nap. I hit the button to close the garage door, and that's when I noticed the board that was leaning against the track. I found out garage doors don't stop when a board is leaning against the track. It just tries to close and bends in half. DANG!

I backed the car out and tried my best to close the bent door, but it wouldn't budge. DANG!

Luckily, I had the number of the people who had fixed my garage door in the past, so I called them. They were out in an hour with a new door, and then $900 (with my 10% senior discount) and 1-1/2 hours later, it was replaced.

In the meantime, after the vent was replaced, I talked to my crew about painting the exterior of the house. They agreed to do it today. All I had to do was get 5-gallons of paint and caulk. Awesome! They took down the basketball backboard that had graced the front of my house for the past 25 years. I was shocked at the volume of bird nests that was behind the backboard. By 6:00, my house was transformed! They prepped, caulked, and painted the entire exterior of my house. They are a hardworking crew. I wasn't up to going to Home Depot again to get more trim paint, so they'll finish Tuesday night. I was so disappointed that I had to spend such a large chunk of money on something that wasn't on my list of things to do, and it could have been prevented. I'll definitely be more vigilant. The garage door guy suggested I move all the boards and tools that I have stored at that end of the garage. He said he's fixed hundreds of doors for the same reason. So, I'm not the only one!

Thursday, May 9, 2013


This past weekend was the Toastmasters District 55 Spring Conference in San Antonio at the Airport Hilton. I didn't get a room, but I did sign up for the whole conference.

The Evaluation contest was held Friday night after dinner and the Parade of Banners. I like to meet people at conferences, so I usually ask to join strangers during the meals. I saw a table with an older couple and found 2 seats next to them were being saved, so I sat next to one of those seats. As it turned out, it was a contestant and her dad who was there to cheer her on. Then another contestant and his wife sat next on the other side of me. Across the table was the conference photographer, a judge and another contestant. Out of 10 people, 3 were contestants. Three out of 7 were at my table. I was freaking out because I was a judge, and I certainly didn't plan to get to know the people I was to judge. It makes it difficult to be objective. I wanted to leave, but I didn't want to be rude. Then I saw a club mate and told her that if she could find 2 seats, I'd join her. Unfortunately by then, only singles were left and very few of them. So, I stayed put. The Evaluation contest consists of a test speech, and the competitors evaluate the speaker and offer suggestions for improvement. The speaker was outstanding, so finding ways to improve were very difficult. Several of the evaluators were outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the dad seated to my right. He and I chatted, and I actually developed quite a crush. I couldn't sleep that night I was so excited about meeting him. But, because I'm new at this, I didn't think to share contact info. I just knew they'd return the next evening for the International Speech Contest, but they didn't.

The Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) ceremony was after the banquet on Saturday night. I was escorted by my friend Dan Jackson, DTM, whom I've known since we started Slick Talkers in 1992. We bump into each other practically every time I go to a function outside my club. He told me I was beautiful Saturday night and gave me a big hug on stage after putting the medal on me.  Here are some photos of us at the ceremony.


I have such an incredible feeling of accomplishment. Earning DTM is not easy. It takes 42 speeches, plus leadership modules, a year commitment as a district officer, mentoring, training others. It's an awesome experience. Many do it in 3-4 years; I was a little slower. The year commitment stopped me cold. Many stop at the High-Performance Leadership project, which entails deciding on a project, setting up a committee, having meetings, and completing the project. Mine was our 20th Anniversary Fiesta! that we had last June. That was a blast!