I am at it again. Another project. That is what keeps me going. This one is a project I would rather not have. I am repainting our deck. “Normally” . . . if one had a “normal” deck—as you see, I am trying to emphasize that word “normal” so you realize our deck is not normal. It is the mother of all decks. It goes across the back of the whole house and along one side. It’s a lot of wood!
There are several reasons I am painting. Our home has not sold yet. The deck is looking sad. The wood is in great shape, and the construction is still very solid, but the paint is wearing. I don’t like the way it looks. Yes, we could wait and let the new owner do it, but what if we don’t have a new owner soon? I want my home to look good and be in good condition for me. I also don’t want any future buyer coming and saying the deck needs to be done. If they want to change it because they don’t like the color, that’s one thing, but I don’t want them to have to paint it because it’s in bad condition.
Having our home on the market is so frustrating. I know things happen in God’s timing, and not mine. Two years ago, none of this was on our agenda anyway. We were talking about finding a home in Florida to spend the winter. We wanted just a little cheap place near the beach. I think we could find little, but I am not sure about cheap! In early September of 2017, Dennis, as he was looking online at the price of real estate in Florida, asked if I had ever thought about living in Arizona instead of Florida.
It was like a huge light went on in my head. I have one first cousin in Florida, and a few casual friends scattered through the state. In Arizona, I have twelve first cousins in the Phoenix area. Not only that, I have a small grandchild in Los Angeles. I realized if we wintered in Florida, I would never get to know Luke, and he would never get to know me. Living in Arizona, I’m only a 5 hour drive, or a 1 hour flight, to see my youngest grandchild. Not only are Luke’s parents in Los Angeles, I have another son and daughter-in-law in San Francisco. It’s a much easier flight from Phoenix to San Francisco than from Missouri or Florida. Thus, the search for a winter home changed to looking in Arizona.
In December of 2017, we spent a week in Arizona looking for our winter home. We wanted something small and cheap. Our agent found us several to look at that were small and cheap. You know, they say, “You get what you pay for.” Well, cheap is cheap. The places were disasters. They were in not so lovely neighborhoods, or they needed a lot of work. We have enough work at our home in Missouri. Dennis didn’t want to add to his list of things to do at home. He is also an engineer by education, and he thinks like an engineer, so he is looking for good systems running the house that are energy efficiency. None of that is available in cheap housing, which means in the long run, it’s not so cheap after all.
We told our realtor that we raised the price, and Dennis told him that he wanted to see new builds. I was rather shocked by that, and I stayed quiet, because the thought of a new build, was, well, just a dream. We finally settled on the neighborhood and builder who we thought would be the best for us. We found the lot with a mountain view without a premium. Everything for this new home just fell into place. We felt really good about it. We wrote a contract and went back to Missouri. We did have to fly back a couple times to meet with the builder to select our interior finishes, and to do walk-throughs.
We came home from our initial trip of home selection, and it hit me upside the head—why do we need to own two homes? We are only in Mid-Missouri because Dennis’s mom is in a nursing home in Mid-Missouri. Once she passes, we can live anywhere, and travel back to Missouri and other points of interest anytime we like. We don’t need a second home for that. We just need a place to stay. We could rent if necessary. I just couldn’t see Dennis still doing all the home maintenance at our current home. We are on three acres, with about 1/2 of it woods. There is a lot of grass cutting in the summer, and leaf blowing in the fall and spring. There’s a swimming pool to upkeep, although Dennis has it down to automatically taking care of itself. It’s pretty much maintenance free. There are six bathrooms to clean—who needs six bathrooms? As our grandkids in St. Louis got older, we see a lot less of them and their families, as they all have jobs and busy lives.
It just makes sense to sell and move. Dennis’s mom will be 101 this November, but she is fading. He spends a lot of time with her now, and who knows — she could be here for a long time yet, or her time may be soon. I just want to take away the burden of a second house, especially for him. I kind of feel like we are living in limbo. I know I have a beautiful home in Arizona, with great neighbors, friends and family nearby, and yet I’m not there.
Dennis is still recovering from his shoulder replacement surgery, and I have to say that his recovery is amazing. He went to St. Louis with me last week to celebrate a high school friend’s 50th wedding anniversary. It was only 8 days out from surgery, and our friends were so surprised to see him there, and other than his arm in a sling to keep it protected, he was good with the trip, and socializing with everyone. I will be having some minor surgery in September, so staying put in Missouri is necessary for now.
I am getting itchy though. I would like to see a contract on the house, so I can start packing boxes. We have the plan made on how to move even if we are recovering. Dennis and I love logistics, so we love making plans, and contingent plans, on how to make the move. But, I try not to make too many of these plans because I don’t know God’s timing on this house. Actually, if someone came up to me and said they had cash and could close on the house in a week, I have a contingent plan to pack and be out in a week! Fat chance of that, but I can be ready when the time comes.
So, I’m painting. It’s better than baking (another thing I do when looking for something to do). Painting is not fattening. This week has been hard, though, because, on the whole, I am housebound doing the painting. I am kind of glad to be doing this without Dennis. He cannot do this kind of work while he is recuperating, and since I enjoy painting, and he doesn’t, I feel like I am doing something for him. He does so much for me, and I never feel like I do enough for him.
Maybe I should just start packing boxes. There are things that I could pack. Dennis and I actually talked about that today, that we need to do a second round of downsizing and packing. I don’t want to get over optimistic like we did last year. We had a garage sale and sold furniture and some of Dennis’s stuff like tools and fishing poles, etc. Then about a month later he needed some electrical tape and realized it was sold in one of the tool boxes. I don’t want to donate anything that I might still need at this house that I won’t need at the Arizona home. I could pack things that I don’t use often, but then, my luck would be I would need it one more time and have to find the box where it was packed.
Here’s a question you all could answer for me . . . what do I do with all the photographs that I have scanned into my computer? I have thousands. It seems sinful to dispose of them, but then, I do have them all digitized. What do you think? What should one do with all those old photographs?