My Novels

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Busy, Busy...

The sale of the farm went off without a hitch, and forgive me if I say I am sooo relieved. Perhaps now the "curse" is over for me, and maybe the new owners will never have it on them. Time will tell, and I do plan to keep an eye on what happens here in the future.

In the meantime, I have been so busy with moving preparations, I've not had time to update this journal. Never-ending tasks, lots of hard work, sweat and, hopefully, some signs of progress.

Today my sister helped me; Saturday she and my brother-in-law and nephew helped a great deal. I am truly grateful I have them, otherwise I WOULD be lost! My other sister, who had surgery, continues to improve, but of course, is unable to do the kind of physical work involved in moving.

Here's the progress so far:

The screen porch is finished for the cats.

All but two small rooms (laundry & storage rooms) have been painted.

Tomorrow the new tile in the bathroom should be finished.

All the carpet has been ripped out, awaiting the laminate flooring (soon to be installed.)

I doubt I'll get to move this Friday, but perhaps Monday I can. The sooner, the better.

I DID find GREAT homes for Ginger and Festus. A middle-age couple heard about them being for sale, and dropped by Sunday afternoon. They have four acres with a pond, and only want the ponies for pets, have no large horses now but have in the past. They fell in love with Festus and Ginger, and will get them as soon as they have their fencing done (about two weeks.) This means I can sleep at night KNOWING they little devils will have a wonderful home. The lady said I can visit anytime, or she'll send pictures to keep me updated. What more could I ask for?

I've been gradually moving various things, such as extra stuff in the closets, cabinets, etc and in a few more days, should have the bulk of my clothing moved. Tonight as I drove home though, the "Service Engine Soon," light came on in my car. I have no idea what that means, but will find out tomorrow. That's all I need: car trouble. More expense.

In addition to the first work I had planned, I ended up having a plumber do some extensive work to change all the drains to PVC pipes and add vents. That helped drainage, but it was somewhat expensive. Still, since I'll probably be in this house the rest of my life, I may as well get it all done now. I also decided to have ALL the rooms where the carpet had been changed to laminate; at first I'd planned to leave carpet in the two bedrooms. But I hate carpet so badly, just decided to get it all done in laminate.

Oh well, when it comes to money, "You can't take it with you." I'm not trying to create a million-dollar mansion, just a clean, durable, MODEST home for comfortable, inexpensive living. Because as soon as I am settled (and have taken care of the last details here) I don't want to be involved in on-going remodeling house projects, just live in peace and quiet.

More when I have time.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Weird Day

So far, the closing on this farm is set for tomorrow...however, I got a phone call from the bank loan agent today saying that the attorney's computer system would be down around 4:00 tomorrow (the scheduled time of the closing) and had been set for 3:00 instead.


Um, isn't that a bit strange? I mean, considering everything else that has been happening lately in regards to the sale of this farm and my move?

Maybe I'm just stupidstitious, but nevertheless, I DO hope I get the closing over with, whether I can move soon or not. If it were not for my cats, I'd just tell the painter to finish quickly and move this coming weekend. Or maybe I should consider letting the cats live inside the house until I can find a carpenter to work on their special quarters?

I did go to the house in town today, looked at the samples of paint on the wall. I don't like a couple of colors, so I'll have to tell the painter to change those. All the closets and shelves are almost finished, and I could move stuff into those soon. I also went on a long, enjoyable bike ride; it helps somewhat, since I DO need my regular rides to feel healthy.

It's rather comical in a way, this year turning out to be a worse train-wreck than last year. I had titled last year the "Year from Hell," so what is this one? Maybe the "Year in Purgatory?"

A Setback...or worse?

If I hadn't been a part of this, I wouldn't believe it...but just when I thought everything was going great with the move, I got some disturbing news.

Earlier today I called the contractor/carpenter about the small renovations for my cats at the house in town. He said that he was ready to start in the morning, which was great news because he's been putting it off for over a week now, making excuses for why he hasn't started on it. I was also glad he would get started because my closing on this farm is Tuesday afternoon and I was hoping to move in a couple weeks. The painter has been making progress, but it is slow; however, he DOES work regularly.

After I talked with the carpenter, I managed to wedge my bike into the back of my car, tie down the half-shut trunk-lid and take it to the house in town. I was determined to ride my bike in town today, or die trying. NO ONE was available to help, and in fact, I'm beginning to believe that (other than family, who are beginning to grow weary of my predicament) all those gracious offers of "call if you need anything" from friends after DH died were just gratuitous offerings, not sincere.

At any rate, I did get the bike to the house, went on a long ride in town...BLISS! No SUVs trying to run me over, hardly any noise, no strange looks at the biking lady! I was in my element! Quiet small town streets, sunset, wonderful ride.

I got home, and around 9:00 the carpenter's wife calls and tells me (between sniffles) that his mother has died and he can't do the job. I offered my condolences, and she said the carpenter said for me to "just do what I needed to do to get the job done." In other words, he won't do it. seems to me either this is one lying basta*d because he found a more lucrative job in place of my small one, or his mother DID die. If the latter is true, then I fear I am NEVER going to get out of this house alive. Just like DH I'll be trapped here and die.

Take your pick.

I am sooo disgusted with all this, I just want to take my check from the sale of this place (providing I live long enough to get it or something mysteriously weird doesn't interfere to keep me here) and disappear forever.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Priceless Quote

Just a brief post, with a quote too good to pass up for widows/widowers:

Widower: "When someone dies, people invariably ask a list of questions about the causes of the death, length of the illness, was there suffering involved, etc."

Response: "Just what would you like to know in order to confirm, for your own comfort, that Justice has been served, that there is Order in the Universe, God's goodness is confirmed, Karma is balanced, etc?"

Sure have "been there, done that" during the past months since DH died. People can be sooo rude, and sooo in denial that DEATH itself comes to ALL human beings, no matter how hard they try to avoid it. The Grim Reaper always gets us, sooner or later. (As a creative writer/poet, I've ALWAYS dealt with death and it should NEVER be a shock or surprise that it happens.)

Closing on this farm will be Tuesday afternoon at 4:00. Whoopee, I'll be "free" of chores here once I'm gone. It will probably be at least two weeks before I move, due to improvements at the house in town, but I'm anxious to move. Sure, I'll be sad in some ways to leave here, but frankly, I am not a "farm" person and cannot wait to get back to city life. Hopefully I will eventually have more time to actually write, instead of work every day doing farm chores!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Progress...or not?

I have closed on the brick house in town. Yes, I'm glad that ONE closing is over. The couple buying this farm told me they should know their closing date tomorrow, Monday. I can't move until the minor improvements are made on the house in town, which may take a couple weeks.

I AM looking forward to that move though, since I can once again ride my bike without fear of a speeding SUV running me over (like on the rural highways here). Plus, not having to spend a small fortune on gas every time I want to shop, go to the library, or do anything in town.

Today I went on a long bike ride, enjoying the brilliant sunshine and windswept day. It felt like climbing a mountain instead of the small hills on my bike, since I was riding against the wind. Perhaps that is a metaphor for my life these days: Riding against the wind, going against the norm. For what is a widow if not an abnormal half of what was once a whole?

I don't have much to write about, but will conclude with the following quotes and poem, which summarize my thoughts lately:

"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ...'holy sh!t...what a ride!'" --Anonymous Biker

"Think this way about it - what if you've been a caterpillar up until now? Imagine that you are. What kind of butterfly could you be? Think big. Now, make a chrysalis and transform yourself. Learn everything you need to know to be a butterfly. Think about it and try it out in your mind. Start to live your new life everyday, as much as you can. Soon, it will feel normal." -CR Blogger

"Read about all religions, believe none." --Anon

"Have you ever actually visited a rest home--it's not a pretty sight. I'm sure all of them aren't like the one my mother was in and some take really good care of their residences but I still don't want to end up in one. If I have to be placed anywhere, take me to a motel and check me in. For about the same price you get your room cleaned every day, can make free local calls, have your own TV, someone will check up on you. You have access to maybe a pool, a workout room, continental breakfast -- a lot of nice things and your family will even probably want to come visit you so they can use the facilities too." --Anonymous


I am alone, in spite of love,
In spite of all I take and give—
In spite of all your tenderness,
Sometimes I am not glad to live.

I am alone, as though I stood
On the highest peak of the tired gray world,
About me only swirling snow,
Above me, endless space unfurled;

With earth hidden and heaven hidden,
And only my own spirit's pride
To keep me from the peace of those
Who are not lonely, having died.
--Sara Teasdale

Arthur Miller -- “When life disappointed me, I always had my writing.”

Hope I can eventually restore my faith in writing; all will be well then, for it has saved me more than anything else -- including family, love, relationships, friendships, you-name-it. Writing has been, and always will be, My Savior.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Becoming a B-tch?

Either I'm growing a backbone, or becoming an outright b-tch! Surely though, I am undergoing some radical change -- from being a quiet, shy 'sweet' lady to an outspoken, blunt woman. Perhaps this happens to all widows at some point? It's been gradual, born out of frustration, waiting, being taken advantage of by everyone except family (watch out for this widows!) and learning that I, and I alone, am responsible for getting what I want done. This may be my first lesson, but it is a good one.

No longer do I sit by the phone and "wait" for someone to call -- whether friends or family or someone I'm hiring to do work. I found there is a miraculous cure to "sitting and waiting" by simply picking up the phone and CALLING whoever it is you're wondering about. It works just about every time: presto!, no more waiting!

Today I even called a young guy who bought one of DH's horses, and still owes $200.00. I simply told him I expected full payment before I moved from here, possibly within a couple of weeks. He got the horse on payments, and at first paid every month after DH's death; then all at once, he didn't show up anymore. I DID have his name and phone number, as well as a record of every payment and how much he owed -- DH kept good written records. At any rate, the boy said he'd bring the payment soon. He'd better, or I'll have my nephew confiscate the horse.

One of my sisters had surgery last Thursday, and it was an exhausting time at the hospital. I spent the better part of three days with her. So I was in no mood to deal with more hassles regarding the sell of this place. I was led to believe the appraiser who came here three weeks ago was from the bank, and he did a thorough inspection. I'd spent several days cleaning, scrubbing, even touch-up painting, getting the lawn mown, etc. for his visit. I never knew the exact estimate, but accepted the young couple's offer (which was a bit lower than I wanted, but I thought 'a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.') Anyhow, when I got home from the hospital Friday night, there was a message from the bank where the couple has been pre-approved for the loan saying they needed to send an appraiser out here. After a few phone calls, I think I got it straightened out, but I was upset -- because I don't want to have to do all the scrubbing/preparation again. I keep a tidy house, but lately I've been sorting through drawers, closets, etc. trying to discard stuff I don't want to carry in my move. I guess time will tell whether there will be another appraisal. The couple are anxious to get the closing over with, but I'm no longer in any hurry.

I have decided to move some money from my money market into my checking, and just go ahead and buy the brick house in town, get the work done and move. IF this sale here goes through before then, fine. If not, or if there's complications, I'll simply put this place in real estate and let them deal with the hassles. Of one thing I'm certain: It WILL sell, just a matter of time.

Last week I got in touch with a lawyer who will handle my closing on the brick house in town. They are doing a title search now, and if luck is on my side, my closing will be next week! The following week I have lined up a carpenter to do some minor work for creating a place for the cats, and a professional painter to paint the entire interior. I don't know how long that will take, but as soon as it's finished, I'll move. After I'm settled in there, I'll come back here and prepare for a huge estate/moving sale and let my brother-in-law (who can pinch a penny till Lincoln's eyes cross!) handle the selling of all DH's stuff -- tractor, flat bed trailer, horse trailer, tack, saddles, etc. I also will have quite a lot of furniture left to sell here, since I'm downsizing. Maybe I'll make more than enough to cover all the improvements I'd having done on the house in town.

My sister came through the surgery fine, but she's having to deal with the aftermath, pain, etc. so we're all helping out. It wasn't a serious problem, just something she chose to do at this time to improve the quality of her life.

Cats are fat and sassy, and so are my miniatures. I'm thinking of offering Festus and Ginger to a friend of DH's who already has one little registered stud. He and his wife have a very large farm, and said they'd like to breed Ginger with their little stud. I am sure they'll buy my two, and I KNOW they'll have a GREAT home for life. This couple buying this place, I'm not sure they will take good care of my ponies. And I'll miss them, but as long as I know they are taken care of, I can deal with it.

I'll end with a few pictures of the ponies, cats and this place: