House hunting

As I mentioned a while back, I’ve been haunting Zillow lately, looking for our next house. This afternoon, I went to look at one with Natalie, our real estate agent.

It was not the house we planned to see. That adorable house had been listed yesterday, inconceivably, at $419,000, and I wondered if the sellers were trying to start a bidding war. When Natalie finally reached them the next day, they admitted that they’d listed it for the wrong price: It was actually $729,000. Don’t even ask me how they could have made such a massive error. Needless to say, we moved on.

The house we did see was great. They’d completely remodeled the kitchen, taking down a wall to form a great room. They did an excellent job.

It was a perfect one-level, with bedrooms at one end and a huge family room at the other which reminded me of our basement. It had A/C, newer roof, windows, furnace, carpet, wood floors — the whole kit and kaboodle. It was well-priced, too.

But it was too far out for where we want to be as long as we are still working. Well, David, really. He’s got such a short commute that more than doubling it probably seems onerous, though it’s probably under 20 minutes each way. (‘m 🚊 to a* g Fell asleep writing this, sorry! Thought I’d leave the ghost typing, just for fun.)

I don’t think we’ll be moving there, sadly.  We need to get our financial ducks in a row. We really need to purge our things down to a reasonable number. But seeing the “perfect” house made that process more real, somehow. Now, as I sort through things, I can picture the hypothetical rooms they will be destined for. And if I can’t find a space for them in the little home in my mind, then they obviously need to go.

Which means I’ve got a ton of scrapbooking to do in my immediate future.

Puzzled

I’ve been trying to make more time in my life for things I enjoy. Way too often, I “punish” myself (for not doing the things I think I have to do) by not letting myself have any fun. As a motivating technique, it is pretty useless; all it does is make me sad and make me resent my life.

This week, I took the huge step of taking the shrink wrap off a couple of things I got at Goodwill eons ago: a roll-up puzzle mat and a cool puzzle of London. This is a multi-purpose activity. Working on puzzles is fun; it’s almost like meditating, because you are focused so completely on the task; and, in this particular case, it’s a lesson in London geography that I really need.

Over the years, I’ve probably spent six or eight weeks in and around London, but because of the Underground, I never know exactly where anything is in relation to anything else. I just magically pop up from below ground into a mini-land around that Tube stop, then go back down and pop up again somewhere else. (Not to mention that the Thames is so curvy that you can go from being north of the river to east of it, without crossing it at all. That’s how they get you.)

Yep, this puzzle map is gonna change everything. I’ll be having fun in the short term, and I’ll be impressive as heck the next time I’m in London.

Céad míle fáilte

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!

In real life, it looks like the Irish flag, but the green and orange chalk didn’t show up well in the photo.

I have no good excuse for not getting this posted in a timely manner; I took the picture, I wrote the title, I got ready to write the post, and then . . . nothing. Oh, well! You guys probably needed a break from me, anyway

But I digress!

For those of you who do not know any Irish words, the title of this post is “A hundred thousand welcomes.” (I don’t think Irish people actually say this, but you read it everywhere when you are there. In fact, the Irish Tourist Board used to be called “Bord Fáilte” – the Board of Welcome.)

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about being welcoming. I struggle with this. Not because I don’t love people. Not because I don’t want to spend time with them. I do, on both counts! I want to open my house to people, invite them in, cook for them, laugh with them. Welcome them!

So, what’s my deal? I think it’s multi-faceted. There was a long time that I felt my house was too out of control to have people over. For years, I felt self-conscious about the fact that I didn’t really know how to cook. More recently, I’ve been afraid to make plans because my health was so unpredictable. I didn’t want to end up being flaky and canceling at the last minute.

This may be why I don’t stress about having the fry over. They don’t care if my house is a mess; they’ll eat whatever I put in front of them; if I don’t feel well, they’ll actually come up to my room and hang out on the bed with me and the dog. Even if I’m a mess, they don’t care.

I think with adults I feel more intimidated. I want to . . . not impress, actually, but just appear like a competent adult. Don’t worry: I know that’s silly. I know that the people who love me will love me regardless. It is kind of ridiculous, too, because my “issues” really aren’t even issues anymore! My house is basically company-ready most of the time (or 15-minutes-from-ready). Thanks to Blue Apron (my personal cooking school), I now know how to cook all kinds of tasty things. And, knowing my wonderful friends, even if I were truly feeling horrible, they would either a) understand, or b) be willing to come over and hang out with me anyway!

This is the point at which I want to make a pledge, start a new scheme, say I will have x number of people over in the next x number of weeks. But I’m not going to. I have been thinking that scheme-making is just setting myself up for failure. (I know, I know; you all realized this long ago.) But I am going to try to reach out more. The people in my life are so much more important to me than anything else, and I want to start living my life in a way that makes that real.