My Novels

Friday, March 31, 2006

Trying week

It's been a real difficult week, mostly due to some of DH's past horse buddies. I am SURE they meant well, but one dropped by a couple days ago and got me so upset I cried for hours afterward. I am uncertain if the guy was just lacking in sensitivity, or simply trying to make a buck (he was mostly a "trading/selling/buying buddy), but by the time he left (after 3 hours) I was in tears.

Lots of drama ensued, some of it concerning the last, favorite horse DH had (Harley) and several buddies wanting that horse. I had allowed my nephew to take Harley out to a friend's pasture, and he was still training him. At any rate, before it was all said and done, Harley ended up at my brother-in-law's house (Daniel's dad) and will stay there till the feud over who gets him ends. It boggles the mind, but the LAST thing on earth DH would have wanted was for all his horse buddies to get into a fight. I asked them, while crying, if they couldn't simply get along for the sake of DH's memory and myself.

Like I said, it's been a emotionally trying week.

On the upside, today there was a yard sale/open house at the old historic home in the photo below. I went, and so did my sister who was here visiting. I still really, really love that old house -- and I truly believe the contractor who gave me estimates, could bring it back to life. The price of it keeps dropping, and it's astounding what I can buy it for now. I am fairly sure I WILL buy it and have it renovated.

I also talked to the owners today at the open house, and learned that one of the original German business people who settled the town once owned that house. Definitely, I will have an abstract done for the deed, to learn the history. And the 80-year-old woman who lives next door (in a beautiful two-story historic house) can also provide some of that house history.

The guy who is renting my barn/pasture said today he'll have an appraiser out here this next week to take a look at this place. And IF I am still willing to sell, he wants to buy the place. Yes, I DO want to sell and get away from here...simply because there is no end to the assortment of people dropping by to ask this or that, want this or that of DH's stuff. The renter will also keep my little ponies here, and take care of them. So it looks like a win-win situation to me. He will have to agree to let me live here UNTIL the historic house in town is renovated and ready to move into, but I'm sure he'll have no problem with that.

He and his wife have been riding their horses each afternoon in the pasture, and I can see they really love that. So either they, or their son, will probably move into this house after the sell goes through.

One of my sister's, her husband and son visited today. Their son, my nephew, is in college, plans to be an architect. He looked at the old historic house in town, and said it had distinct possibilities. He gave me some tips, and I will use those in the renovation.

Tired tonight, so I'll stop now. I've been working on the time capsule to put in the attic of this house...since I want that to remain here. I am planning to write a special feature on the "bad luck" that has befallen some of the men who owned this place, but the capsule is NOT to be opened for 50 years. If other owners wish to make their own capsules to put in the attic, it would surely prove interesting to any future owners 50 years from now.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Onward, not backward

My new motto: Look onward, not backward. If I let myself linger too long on the past, how (as usual for human behavior) I never quite fully appreciated DH or our life, I will fall into the endless pit of I must try to focus on the future.

I have rented the big barn/pasture to a friend of DH's who is also very interested in buying this place. He, his wife and one son (20-something) have their three horses in the barn, and he said he wants me to consider them FIRST if I decide to sell. Which I certainly will do, before I'd put this place in real estate.

One day this past week I met with a financial planner at my bank, and may invest some of the life insurance money in an annuity -- which will give me a small monthly income. I haven't actually committed to it yet, but will probably do that soon. I'm still considering various investment options.

There is another house in the city I like very much, not the historic house pictured below, but it is somewhat pricey. IF I can get enough out of this place I might be able to buy that one, but right now, it's all undecided. At least I don't have to worry about the barn, since the renter will take care of it AND even fertilize the pasture, plant grass. The renter also provides feed and stops by twice daily to check on the horses.

My nephew built a fence today creating a smaller pasture space near the front for the miniatures. They will use the small stable and barn near the house, and still have plenty of pasture to get exercise, etc.

There's more to write, but I just haven't been in the mood lately for writing. Monday morning there's another small gathering honoring DH's service to the community, so I must attend it. I'll be given a plaque I can keep also.

I guess I'm just having a sad night...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Saturday Thoughts

Next Tuesday will mark a month since DH passed away. I don't know if I'm adapting, or simply acting crazy. It seems every day I have a new idea, and the next day it seems like a crazy idea! However, this is par for the course during the first year of losing a spouse.

This past week my sister stayed three days with me, due to her husband being out of town. We shopped in all the nearby thrift shops, and found some great bargains. We also looked at houses in town, which has become an increasing obsession since DH died. I've always been interested in real estate, but now I'm serious about finding a place to move.

To that end, I found one possible prospect: an historic house built in 1900 -- one block from the historic district on the northeast of town. It is in a first-class neighborhood, wonderful homes/neighbors, and the only drawback is the tremendous amount of work to be done on the inside. However, the pricing is right: it's obscenely cheap, since an older lady's family is selling it to move her into the nursing home.

I had a contractor look at the interior/exterior and give me an estimate on repairs...and it was very reasonable. Then I had a real estate agent come out and give me a price range for listing this house/land: $129,000.00 to $139,000.00. If I buy the old historic house in town, have it updated/renovated, and sell this place I'll end up with about $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 profit!

The major problem is juggling the sell of this house/land with buying/renovating the old historic house in town. Here's a picture of that house:

Is this a crazy idea? Or a smart move? I don't know, and haven't committed to either buying/selling just yet, but I AM seriously considering it. For one thing, DH was insistent that I move from here when he learned how ill he was; he was worried I couldn't take care of this place, particularly the barn/pasture/outbuildings. And while I love my mini-horses, I know I could find them good homes too. At any rate, I'm thinking about taking on this project. I LOVE old houses, and have always wanted to live in an historic house in that particular neighborhood.

I have read a book, "The Year of Magical Thinking," by Joan Didion, about her first year of being a widow. Highly recommended!

In the meantime, I have my ups and downs. I'm not eating well, because food doesn't seem important; I've lost down to 100 lbs. Some nights I cry, some nights I do okay. Some days I am restless, cannot sit still (hence, my lack of blogging); some days I am paralyzed with indecision, stare blankly into space. Most of the time I'm still confused, and just wish I could talk everything over with DH, like we always did. I'll miss him to the day I die, of that I am certain.

Cherish your loved ones, for you never know when your hug or kiss will be the last one forever.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ups and Downs and Indecision

I guess all new widows (can't believe that word actually means ME) go through this process, but it seems every day I change my mind about something. One day I am ready to sell this place; the next, I want to keep it. One day I start looking for a job (even just part-time to keep me busy and out of the house); then the next, I think I could not go to work this quickly.

Yesterday I went to DH's office, and cleared out his belongings. It was tough, but at least I had wonderful comments from all his co-workers. I also turned in his uniforms, and other departmental related stuff. Again, not a happy time...but I knew others might need me to do that, so the equipment could be provided for other workers.

I am about halfway through all the paperwork, in that I have the death certificates, and have distributed some to the most urgent needed places. First I had to set-up Cobra medical insurance so I'll have it for three years, though it's a steep price -- but at least I will have the same excellent health care policy. Retirement issues next, getting a monthly income check started; then life insurance policy settled. Tomorrow I see a lawyer (the same friend who did our house closing two years ago)to probate DH's will and then the life insurance agent. I have enough savings, plus DH's last huge vacation/sick/comp time check, and various amounts for what I'm selling off slowly around here -- so I'm doing okay financially. Luckily the rental house in town will more than pay for my medical insurance coverage. Still, I do hope the retirement check doesn't get bogged down in red tape.

My little ponies are truly getting spoiled silly! Now when I call Ginger and Festus for their sweet feed, and yell: "Run! Run!" they do! They are soooo cute galloping across the pasture for their treat. Today I actually shoveled horse s*hit out of the big barn, since they stay in there at night and have a huge round bale of hay inside to munch on. I sure do love them, even if I do eventually sell them to a good home. For now, I'm enjoying them greatly!

I miss DH more than words can ever express. But I'm surviving. I even went on a bike ride this afternoon, which was nice just to feel the breeze, enjoy the sunshine. I think of him all the time, but I am coping...and that is all I can expect for now. And of course, my family sticks close to me, and I'm so grateful to them all.

If you've written to me, I promise to reply as soon as I have time and feel up to writing.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Still alive...

Just a few lines to let everyone know I'm still alive...but struggling. Fortunately for me my doctor prescribed some antidepressants as well as something to calm my nerves or I doubt I could have made it through all the turmoil/pain of the past week.

The service was special, and the turnout of the community in praise of my DH's lifetime service was especially gratifying. Seeing so many people whose lives he'd touched helped me get through the viewing and funeral.

I miss him awfully; life will NEVER be the same. Sudden death has its own dictates and I'm just going through the motions right now. There's a MOUNTAIN of paperwork to muddle through, and that is taking a lot of time/concentration.

Additionally, my sisters/family/friends haven't left me alone very much. I've managed to spend the last couple of nights at home alone -- and frankly, it was good to relax and BE ALONE. I love my family and I KNOW I couldn't have managed without them, but sometimes one just needs a little alone time.

Tomorrow my sister is coming to spend another night; she spent the whole weekend with me too. We have a few plans, plus I'm still hoping to get the death certificate sometimes this week and start procedures for various legal issues related to death of a spouse.

One problem is that people DH did horse/trailer business with (as a hobby) keep stopping by asking if they can buy this or that; we have a LOT of valuable equipment, etc. around here, and I just am NOT in the mood to explain to them I'm NOT ready to sell ANYTHING. Family is urging me to move back to the city, but I don't know if I really want to or not. Mainly right now I'm CONFUSED and don't want to do anything impulsive I might regret later.

Today I finally managed to buy Ginger; I gave a little more than her owner wanted, but at least she's MINE now! Taking care of my two miniatures and the cats is one of my lifesavers during this time.

Here's a couple pictures I took late this afternoon -- the first time I picked up a camera since DH died.

Heading in to get their sweet feed

Wandering tomcat takes a break on my barn ledge

Thanks to all who have made caring comments, and I appreciate so much the sentiments. I hope to write more here when time permits, but in the meantime, please know I'm coping -- albeit sometimes with much difficulty.