Thursday, January 18, 2018

Picture Day for the House

The lead up to picture day for our house felt stressful and exhausting, but wow! this house has never looked better.  I'm glad that's behind us.

I've been getting rid of clutter for probably about 2 years now, and I've been boxing stuff up for storage for the last 6 months or so.  So last week, when the "stager" came out, there wasn't much left to do.  She didn't need to tell us to clear off the counters or declutter anything, because that's already been done.

She did make some suggestions- a few we agreed to, and a few others we ended up overruling.

  • She suggested we move our kitchen table and chairs out of our kitchen nook.  But it looked so stupid when we tried it.  She thought it would make it appear bigger, but in the end, it just made it look lonesome and weird. 

  • She also suggested we get rid of a flower arrangement my friend Kelly made us that we have in our den.  She thought that arrangement, along with the framed artwork was too much.  We tried just moving the artwork- But, meh.  It didn't make it look better.  Just sort of more drab.  So the art AND the flower arrangement stayed.

  • She tried to get me to take down the shower curtain and my tub exposed.  But although I love soaking in my tub, it's not that pretty- Certainly not a selling point.  And it felt so, I don't know... private and naked.  So although I removed my shower curtain that had a theme of hearts and opted for a stark white one instead (to make it more boring, because in staging a home to sell, apparently boring is the thing) we did not opt to go shower curtain-free.  

Our house is generally tidy and clean, but knowing someone is coming out to photograph it, I was scrubbing like I've never scrubbed before.  And planting flowers in pots outdoors on a day that never got above freezing.  And all these little last minute touches... that by the time our realtor and the photographer arrived, there was really nothing left to do but sit there, and hope for the best.

We got to see a sneak peek of the photos on his iPad before the photographer left and they looked pretty good.  Today we get the final edits.  Fingers crossed.  I know how important pictures are to draw people in to look at a house.  I know, because I'm on the buyer's end of searching for a home at the same time as being on the seller's end.  I hope the photos give a great representation of how sweet this house is, and I think they will! (I'll post some of them here soon.)

And I am so glad picture day is over.

Next up: packing for Monday!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

My Week in Books

As of the middle of last week, I was down to just two books I had checked out from the Dallas library, that are due and obviously need to be turned in before we leave for Colorado.  As I am with everything these days, I'm very aware that THESE will be my last books to check out from the Dallas library! 
Whoa.  This moving thing is getting real.

A couple of days ago, I finished Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

It seemed a very appropriate read.  The main character of the story has OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I could so relate to these compulsive behaviors.  My mind is currently like a little hamster wheel, thinking and thinking and thinking more about little things I need to do, or that I'm worried about- when it comes to this move.

For example:  I have spent WAY more time worrying about WTF to do with our mail than could possibly be necessary.  Forward it?.. but to where?  Our VRBO property we'll be staying in for a few months?  I don't trust USPS to stop sending it to that address when I need to move on to wherever the next place will be.  I considered a PO box, but you have to have a local address in order to get one.  I could have a neighbor collect my mail and send the important stuff on to me, but ugh, I hate to put that burden on someone for an indefinite period of time.  My thoughts about just the stupid mail go on and on and on like that.

Another compulsion:  Which guitar (or guitars) am I taking with me?  I went back and forth about 100 times.  I worried so much about the guitars I wouldn't be taking with me for now (what if someone broke in to the house and stole them?!?!) that I've now found them a babysitter.  My friend Darren will be the keeper of my guitars until we have an official home (rather than our rental) to move them to.

And yet another thing I've spent countless hours ruminating about- Should Lucy and Ricky both ride in Fermin's car as we caravan up to CO, or should I take one of them in my car, and he take the other in his car? Which one of us should Ricky ride with? And who would Lucy feel more at east with- since she's such a Nervous Ninny traveler?  Should they ride in the back seat? Or the front seat? Should I have them wear seat belts?

So many little things that all lead to so many thoughts and decisions to make.  My mind is busy 24/7.

Back to the book, Turtles All the Way Down- I liked it.  But didn't love it.  I was mainly interested in how similar my thoughts have been lately to the OCD character.  Beyond that, I had trouble focusing and paying attention, so I wasn't that in to the story itself.

After I finished it I thought maybe I wouldn't read the other book, The First Time She Drowned.  I've been so distracted with my hamster wheel thoughts that reading has been a not-so-fun challenge each night.  Besides that, did I really have time to finish it before we leave anyway?  I mean, we're busting out of Dallas on Monday, which only gives me about 5 days to read it.  (Another thing my monkey mind went a little crazy with for at least 10 minutes)

I decided to read a few pages of the book this morning, before I started my busy day getting ready for the house to be photographed.  (That will be my next blog post)  I'm now about 60 pages in and GOD! this book is so good!  So good that I actually didn't worry about all the stupid shit I typically let occupy my mind lately.  I LOVE the voice of the narrator, and I love the premise, and the bit of mystery to it.

The First Time She Drowned is about a girl who was put in a mental institution by her mother when she was 15.  She's just turned 18, and since she is now the age considered an adult, she can leave the institution on her own free will.  We aren't sure why her mom put her in there, but we know it wasn't fair, according to our narrator.  How did the mother convince the rest of the family this was the right and fair thing to do?  Will she have any relationship with her mom now?

This girl's problems are way bigger than mine about which guitars to take on this first drive out to Colorado. And most of the other thoughts I let consume me. So maybe it's good to focus on her a good half hour or so each day.  So yes!  I'll be reading this book, and it will be

Thursday, January 11, 2018

so many unknowns! (this is both exciting and scary)

It's weird.  We're now about a week and a half away from driving out to Colorado, but since it's not yet the official MOVE, it doesn't feel totally legit.  And although I lay wide awake in bed in the middle of the night wondering about what needs to be done, I'm not quite sure WHEN exactly this or that needs to be done.  And I'm not even totally sure WHAT needs to be done.  At least, not at this point.

What I do know, is that a lot of this "move to Colorado" is still unknown. Let me list just a few of the many examples.

What We Don't Yet Know:
1. When Fermin will get his new job
2. (So, therefore...) Where Fermin will work 
3. How often Fermin will travel-- will we need to be close to airport?  Is that even a big deal to us? (probably not)
4. How we'll like our rental house (we actually haven't seen it yet, other than online)  So, will we stay there beyond a month, or will we find another house to stay in?
5.When exactly our Dallas house will actually go on the market to be sold. (Soon, but we're waiting on a few other houses to list first- Timing could really be advantage on our selling price.)
6.  How long will it take for our house to sell?  (and for how much?)
6. When will we come back to Dallas to pack ALL of our stuff up.
7.  How much of our furniture do we even want to move anyway?  (probably not much.  we love the idea of a clean slate.)
8. Where specifically do we want to live in CO?  (the Denver AREA is pretty big and spread out.  we have some ideas, but we definitely need to learn a lot more before making such a big decision)

Like I said, just a FEW of the unknowns. 

So, this makes packing up a little tricky for now.  I believe in packing light, but this isn't just a vacation.  I want to feel like I'm in a "home" no matter where we stay over the next 6 months or so. Having just the right of my most important things with me seems like a good idea.  But ack-- there's so much I just have to box up and leave behind for now. 

Last week, I made Fermin get down all of the boxes of my packed up jewelry supplies.  I thought I could pick out just SOME stuff to take with me, and then I could get the remainder later, once we are more settled.  But I just couldn't take some of it, without wanting to take all of it. And there's just not room.  So I taped those boxes back up after about a solid hour of mental anguish. Now, I'm just going to let that GO, and try to not think about my jewelry and my Etsy shop until we've sold the house and moved EVERYTHING. I will live, and my jewelry will be waiting patiently.

And by the way, I realize that most likely, when we move all our our things, much of it will go into a storage facility for a certain amount of time.  The Dallas house selling market seems to still be pretty hot. The Denver buying market sounds pretty competitive.  And that's once you actually know where you want to live!  And have a job! ;)

So yes- this shit is pretty complicated. 

Fermin, being Fermin doesn't seem worried about any of the details- Thank GOD.  Because the day he is worried is the day I have a complete nervous breakdown. I don't think he wastes his mental energy on the unknowns or the things that we can't control. 

And that's the thing:  We can't control exactly how things unfold.  And that is a statement that isn't just about our current situation with the move, but really, life in general.

I know from experience that staying positive definitely feels better when I can swing it.  Most days I can, but some days... Not so much.  But I'm doing my best.  In the end I know things always work out as they should.  And, as my Dad says, "Every days' a good day- as long as you're alive."

When I can embrace the positive spin on this, I realize it's one of the most exciting times I've had in a long time, if not ever.  Right now, it's a huge world of possibility.  There is currently total freedom.

And so many unknowns.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

First Mission Accomplished. (plus a few bonuses!)

Fermin and I, along with Lucy and Ricky, have spent the last couple of weeks in Colorado.  Phase 1 of "The Big Move". For this trip, our main goal was to find our longer term rental house that we could come back to in January.

We have only one full day left before heading back to Dallas, and it's just now that we've finalized where we'll be living in January. And I'm SO EFFING EXCITED.

That is not to say it hasn't been an emotional roller coaster ride tho.  I've had plenty of meltdowns along the way.  The market here in Denver, and all it's surrounding suburbs, is hot.  So hot that there just isn't that much available, whether you're buying or renting.

Fortunately for us, VRBO and AirBnB exist, which created another avenue for a longer term rental for us.  We are so glad not to be locked into a 12-month lease.  Instead, the deal we worked out is that we are staying in a house for up to 6 months, and just renewing on a monthly basis.  So, if we decide we don't like the area we have chosen to stay in, no big deal- we can hop along to a new spot the very next month.  Or, if in a few months, we find a house we love and decide to buy it (and that would be a perfect world!) we can, without being penalized for breaking a rental agreement.

I did run across one "landlord" that was only willing to offer us a discounted monthly rate (which is pretty standard for VRBO properties) if we would use she and her husband as our realtors.  She was still going to require we pay the full amount, but they would "credit" us a daily $20 that would roll into one big payback once we close on our house that they would be the brokers for.  I was so disappointed, because for a few days, I had my heart set on their property.  But I realize now how grateful I am to have learned about their shadiness now vs. later.  I don't want to rent from someone like that, and I for sure don't want a realtor that has to coerce me into using them by offering me a discounted rental property.  That all seemed shady and gross.

Oh!  But speaking of real estate agents: We found the best ones! A friend from Dallas that had moved to Denver several years ago put me in touch with a married couple that have their own real estate brokerage.  The second Fermin and I met Molly and Sean, I knew these were the people for us.  Funny, enthusiastic, not pushy at all, and just so helpful.

So maybe I didn't get my #1 pick for the rental house, but that's just a temporary thing anyway.  We found a house with a nice owner who is being so nice and flexible in working with us.  It's in a good, central location and has everything we need.  AND, most importantly, we found a team of great real estate brokers that I know will help us find a great home here in Colorado.

Things are feeling really good.

So, Phase 1: Mission Accomplished.  We accomplished all that we set out to do on this trip.  We found our rent house and we got a little familiar with some of the areas around here.  As a huge bonus, we've already found our realtors.  And the added icing on the cake- we had such a great time each day.  Like I said, moments of meltdowns? Yes.  But I'm all about the ups and downs and yins and yangs of living.  And all's well that ends well.

Onward and upward! Colorado here we come. ❤️
that ONE snowy morning

Monday, December 4, 2017


A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with our friend Kelly, talking about our plans to move to Colorado.  As we spoke, we both realized how much there is to do to make it happen as soon.  And by soon, I mean lickity split.  January.

Fermin and I have lived in our house for the past 17 years, and although I've been Konmarie-ing my ass off the last couple of years, there's still a lot to do as far as packing up.  Let alone, to get it ready to sell.  I admitted to her I was a little overwhelmed and didn't even quite know my next step, but knew that I wanted to get as much done in advance of our trip to Colorado in early December as possible.

She said, "Hey! I could fly into Dallas and help you.  We could organize and pack up so that when you come back, you can be ready to list your house and then move soon after."  Of course, I said that sounded like a great offer.  I mean really, who even gets that kind of offer?  For a friend to give their time like that to help you clean and pack up your house?!

The next thing I knew, even before I mentioned the idea to Fermin, Kelly texted me with her travel internary. As a bonus, her daughter Abby was also going to fly in for the last two days of Kelly's time here.

I got the feeling, when I told Fermin the plan Kelly and I came up with, he thought we were getting a little ahead of ourselves.  He always has the attitude of just going with the flow- a little too loosely sometimes, in my opinion.  At some point a few months ago, he said something like "Once it's time to move, we can pack this house up in just a couple of days- tops!" (Um.  No.)  So to do something a whole month in advance seemed unneccesary to him.

I think he thought we'd mainly just be laughing and having fun, but not necessarily getting any "work" done. And I figured letting him think that initially was fine. He had no idea of the the transformation that was about to happen to our house.

Kelly got in on Friday so that she could go to my gig at Four Bullets Brewery.  It was to be my last gig of the year possibly, and probably my last gig while living in Dallas.  Having Kelly there made it extra special. I was so happy some of our favorite friends here in Dallas got to meet her, and vice versa.
the Four Bullets Brewery after party.  i LOVE everyone in this picture. ❤️
So Fermin was right- we had loads of fun while Kelly was here.
one night, out at dinner 
another night out, another great meal and fun
BUT, we also got tons done.  In fact, Kelly and I made a list of things we hoped to accomplish, and we not only did all of that, but we did a few extra things too!

We boxed up stuff we won't need until after we move (and labeled them well!), we dropped off lots of things to Goodwill, I sold a few things, and I trashed a lot of things.
sorting my office "before" it's transformation

sorting through things to throw out on the blow up mattress Kelly slept on

Abby cleaned our shutters and blinds
We moved every single thing out of each room, cleaned it thoroughly and then moved (some) things back in.  Kelly had great vision of moving some of our things around that made our rooms look bigger.  We pulled up all the area rugs to expose our beautiful hardwood floors.  I feel mad at myself that we ever covered them up in the first place.  They're just beautiful!!! I love the sound of the rooms now that there are no carpets.  It sounds like an "older" house, which it is, and I LOVE that.

We worked hard each day, and even though Ricky and Lucy weren't actually given any jobs to do, they were just exhausted watching all we did, evidently.
watching our hard work was exhausting
On our last night to have Kelly and Abby here, we decided to go to a nearby Foot Spa for some well deserved R&R.  I was told I snored.  But I don't even care.  It was so awesome.

everything's zen
The sprucing up of the house was happening up until final minutes of Kelly's visit.  I'm not kidding- 20 minutes before she left for the airport, she made this gorgeous arrangement for my living room.  My favorite thing about it is that she used pecan shells from our yard in the vase.  I will take this to Colorado with us after we sell our house.  It will be a great memory of this fun and productive weekend we had together.
this arrangement alone will probably sell our house!
I'll post some before and after photos eventually, although we often forgot to do the before pictures~ we were just so busy!  But it's impressive, all that we accomplished.  Fermin and I (and Lucy and Ricky) are so thankful to Kelly, and Abby- I don't think we could have pulled this off without them, and I am SURE it wouldn't have been nearly as fun.

17 years of living in one house- I realize it's the longest I've ever lived in one house.  And although I loved this house and this neighborhood, I have no reservations that we are ready for the change of scene.  And now, our house looks ready too!