Find a need, fill it (and try to love what you have)

Having so much free time this week, I’ve had fun with this blog-a-ma-thingie.  It’s kind of like thinking outloud, getting answers in and out of my head.  Being able to reread my thoughts, have them edited and commented on, helps in the whole life process.  If our power would go out, I may finally read more than a few pages in my books.  For now, my attention is placed on various computer sites.  I wish I could say I bury myself in the websites that Lance does (A popular Lance page)  or Some Real News.  He subscribes to youtube for financial videos.  I browse it for songs or cute kid videos My ALL TIME FAVE.  Can you tell I learned a new blogger trick (inserting urls and changing the name)?

I’m addicted to Facebook, not so much in a stalker way, but to check on what my kids are up to, some favorite people and some annoying ones.  Look for cute kid photos.  I don’t stay long, just flip through some pics, comment when compelled and move on with my day (and check back in 20 minutes or so…, nah, not addicted at all).  It’s actually an excellent selling tool.  I publish stuff on Mt Laurel all the time.  We THINK we found our house buyer via FB (don’t want to jinx it, so I’ll thank ‘Melissa Lee’, later).  I was expressing my woes in finding a decent bra on FB.  This has been my life’s work, it seems.  I can’t be the only unhappy shopper.  So I had this thought; it would be cool to design and make a decent bra.  Decent bra= comfortable + pretty + supportive + reasonably priced. I’ve asked many women to recommend a bra.  I’ve had zero luck with any: VS, Spanx, Glamorise (my drawer WAS full of them all).

Check out my recent purchase, There’s GOLD in them there hills!  I better love it.  I realize 1/2 the population isn’t concerned about this problem.  You never hear men complaining of uncomfortable jocks straps.  In fact, you never hear them mentioned at all.  Maybe I am just missing the modesty gene.  Lance asked me how I could get more views on my blog.  Well, I could post photos of my before and after implant extraction & lift :-D, THAT would generate some traffic honey!  Not to worry, I’m afraid to look.  I wouldn’t dare subject anyone else to it.

And now, finally, I get to the title of this blog.  It’s two-fold.  After I’m settled in Idaho, if I had any sewing sense, I’d create a bra for the big, small and saggy.  I have one friend who I tried to donate some of my old gear.  I asked her what size she is.  She said 38Long (you’ve got to be a woman over 40 to appreciate that).  But the most important thing is to love yourself how you are, not how movie stars and magazines tell us we should want to look.  Unless you plan to be a porn star or model for Fredricks, love what God gave you, maybe lift em if gravity is weighing you down.  I wish Lance was around when I decided to get implants.  He would have had me ask myself, “What am I trying to achieve?”  That would have led to a healthy conversation.  Lesson learned, the hard (expensive) way.

No matter what size we are, a comfortable bra is HEAVENLY.  Heck, even the internet is wireless.  Let’s take a cue from that.  OR, I could open a cupcake shop.  It’s all the rage and every man, woman and child needs one.

Thank you for reading my ramblings.  It’s kept me sane and not online shopping…this week, anyway.

Ahhh, I can’t wait to see it in person

Oh, IdahoThis is another image shared by our Realtor in Idaho.  We’re waiting, impatiently, for Kirk to get internet so he can send photos with the views near us.  The neighbors have ‘dial-up’, Lance is investigating other options.  We can live without alot of things, but if we lose communication with the outside world, we may have to fix that house really FAST and sell it even faster.  A bump in the journey.  It’ll get figured out.

In the meantime, Kirk has landed in Saint Maries, ID!  He’s already met some neighbors and they’ve taken him under their wing (thankfully, since his cell phone doesn’t have service in that neck of the woods).  Lance has fixed up many houses, but never from 2400 miles away.  It’s frustrating for both Knoechel men.  Needless to say, the elder brother is VERY anxious to get out there (the minor details of closing on this one, packing up, then heading west).

Aside from the internet and phone issues, there were a few more undesirable discoveries.  Not unexpected, when you buy a house via the internet.  It’s more remote than we thought, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Apparently it’s 5 miles down a narrow gravel road that you don’t want to 1st navigate at night, or else.  There is a shed off the deck, which we plan to use to store firewood.  Seems it’s missing 2 sides (clever camera angle hid this).  No biggie.  You should’ve seen the Sylacauga barn before Lance used his magic wand (and elbow grease) on it.  The foundation isn’t quite what we thought, but also, something the Knoechel men can address with finesse.  The yard is, as expected, a jungle.

Thankfully, there are more unexpected plusses.  The pole barn is bigger and newer than we anticipated.  That excites Lance.  Our Realtor got a quote for another client to build a pole barn that size and it was close to $30,000.  My dad use to always say, “You can tell who wears the pants in the family when you compare the house with the  barn”.  Well, Dad, I am very happy to report, Lance is wearing da pants!  The house has a tin roof, I’ve always wanted one (I may change my tune after the first night of rain pecking down on it).  The roof appears to be in great shape, reports the Knoechel IN Idaho.  The interior needs expected updating, but the walls have fresh paint and the good news is, the upstairs is alot bigger than it looks, plus the ceilings are as high as 9ft and drop to 7ft on the sides.  I’m glad Lance and I called dibs on that space.  There is even a pantry near the tiny kitchen (you’d be surprised at how many homes don’t have a pantry).  That’s a huge plus in my book.

Kirk is LOVING the weather.  He’s from Cincinnati, so his 1.5 months in Alabama were even more grueling during June/July. Apparently, Idaho is where to be in the summer months!   My local weather shows it’s going to be 95 here in Bama, with a real feel of 103.  In Saint Maries, its getting up to 83, with a real feel of 85.  I’m sure you will all be anxiously awaiting my winter words here.  Let’s see if I remember how to drive in the snow.  Heck, I grew up in Iowa so it shouldn’t be too much of a shock.  I even wore skirts to school (uniforms) and rode the bus in below freezing weather.  I’ll be fine, I hope.

Life IS dandy, better than good most days.  Thank You, Lord.

On the move, again

I sometimes wonder if we really will ever settle down.  Stop moving.  Quit buying and selling.  That’s the plan anyway.  I wasn’t an army brat, nor married to someone in the military.  It just seems I like to move.  Never once did I stick my heels in the ground and say ‘nope, not movin, you can just forget it’.  Quite the opposite, actually. Anytime an opportunity arose, I’d be all over it.  It’s not that I didn’t put down roots each place I lived.  It’s just that a move always sounded more fun than staying put. My son use to say each move was like a new chapter in a book, adventures awaiting on the next page.  My daughter used the opportunity to change her name each place we moved (First she was Kristen, Kris, Kristy and we’ve been in AL so long, she’s still Kristie)

We didn’t move too much when I was growing up.  I was born in Marion, Iowa.  Since I was the 6th kid, I think we needed a bigger house, so as a baby we moved a few blocks to a nice big white house.  Everyone asked if I grew up on a farm (apparently Iowa=Farm).  Nope, a golf course.  Not some highfalutin country club, just a quant 9 hole course that just about everyone in Marion belonged to.  I think my dad lost his job and he found a great new opportunity in a suburb of Dallas, TX.  I say I think he lost his job.  It just wasn’t talked about.  My parents didn’t want to worry us.  Woe, I’m getting way too detail oriented.  My idealic childhood doesn’t really fit in with the topic of this post.  Ok, after living a few years in Texas, his old company wanted him back, so Dad packed up and moved those of us still in school, back to Iowa (my mother was NOT happy.  She liked Texas, alot).  After a year of college in Ames, Iowa, I moved down to south Florida with my sister.  I’ll skip the details and hit on the cities I’ve lived since then.  The Florida Keys, Homestead, FL, back to Marion, IA, down to Kennesaw, GA, married and moved to Columbus, SC, then took a transfer to: Chattanooga, TN (important detail- the kids were born there, yay! Chattaboogie town).  Then we moved to Cooper City, FL, Plantation, FL, Conroe, TX, Fairhope, AL, Chelsea, AL, Sterrett, AL, Mt Laurel AL (where I proceeded to have 5 different addresses).  Vernon, the mailman, was about the only one that could keep up with my location ;-).  Then Lance and I moved out to Sylacauga and we’re currently in Vandiver, AL.  Next stop, IDAHO!

I didn’t bother counting all the cities, houses, apartments, etc…  I’ve never sat around thinking ‘oh, it would be nice to live in ______,’  but when an opportunity arises, I’m usually gung-ho.  I THINK, tho I’ll believe it when it happens, that after this next house, there will be just one more move, to our Retreat.  Butcha never know.  I do know that you get a 10% discount coupon from Lowes every time you change your address.  It probably would have been easier to be a military family.  The ‘company’ moves you, provides housing AND you get an automatic discount at Lowes, no coupon needed.

ps. my editor is in the shower, so if you read this near the time of posting, you’ll have to endure my bad comma placement choices.

I’ll be seeking employment

Free time, I have gobs.  Along with a stack of magazines that are knee high to a toddler, I have a few books I keep meaning to crack open.  No, I didn’t put the Bible in the pile to impress anyone.  If anything, I’m ashamed at how little I do read it.  Lance has so many different translations, I had a hard time deciding which one to pull off the shelf.  Growing up Catholic, we weren’t Bible toting people.  Reading it now, I find all sorts of things I need to consider.  The version in my stack promises to be translated from the language Jesus spoke while on earth.  I may even start at the end, since it feels like the world is headed in that direction.

Well, I won’t be getting a job preaching, at least not yet anyway.  I can see Lance in front of a crowd of seekers, but this article is about ME.  On to the other books in my stack.  Lance had gotten my son and I a copy of Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow. Maybe that will get me headed in a direction.

I probably need to wait on getting my job search started, at least wait till I land in Idaho.  I will know more about my surroundings.  It’s doubtful I’ll be able to walk to work as I did in Mt Laurel for 6+ years.   That was pretty cool, not to mention, economical on the car & gas budget.  I tell my kids often that they just need to do what they enjoy and making alot of money isn’t important.  Be happy with less ‘stuff’.  It will make your life less complicated, less cluttered and a whole lot easier to move on to your next adventure.

The next book in the stack is Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth Awakening to your Life’s Purpose.  Oprah recommended it.  That makes me instantly leery.  I went to college to be a teacher.  When I got to the end of the courses, doing the student teaching part, I bailed.  I sucked at discipline.  So, I used my years of learning to teach my own kids.  I had zero problems with discipline (neither kid was spanked or grounded, really).  I think I managed to add 2 good people to society.

Well, there are no answers, yet.   Cracking open any of these books may get me headed in a direction, hopefully a fun one.  I may even enjoy working at Lowes, think of the discount we’d get.  Maybe Lance and I will see a need in the area and do our best to fill it.  Call me old fashioned, but I believe that being his helper in what he chooses to do, will translate into being a blessing for many.

WHY Idaho?

We get that question, ALOT (yes, I know, that is sposta be 2 words – or is it?).  I usually begin by explaining that we were looking seriously into moving to South America.  Got our passports, saved my vacation time, searched properties in Argentina, Chile’, even met with a man that offered up a stay at his house in Uruguay (also learned how to spell that country).  Internet searching of properties in SA was less productive.  We were certain what we were seeing was ‘gringo pricing’.  Oh, did I mention that we undestood muy poco español.  Getting out of Dodge had great appeal, along with much work involved.  I won’t begin to pretend to know what all would have been involved in moving way down south.  Not to mention being way too far away from my future grandkids.

We went to visit our friends in Ohio over Memorial Day weekend.  James & Krista are recently married attorneys with a new baby.  Other than those details, we consider them like minded individuals: smart, thrifty, low-key and well versed in the language of TEOTWAWKI (<–a whole ‘nother blog on that, my friends).  Lance said to James (and I quasiquote here) “JAMES (insert emphaticness here, cause that’s just what Lance does when he’s riled up), convince me to stay in this country!  It’s too much of a hassle to try to leave.”  [Hmmm, maybe I should change James’ name, for privacy purposes.  He’s funny that way.  How ’bout Guido & Krista?]  Ok, where was I?  Oh, not wanting the hassle of moving to South America.  So, we searched Krista’s home state of KY – such pretty places and reasonably priced.  We made plans to visit a few properties on our way home.  Boy, there were some doozies!  Since Guido & Krista really weren’t sure if they could leave their important lawyery jobs, we decided to resume our search around Birmingham.  Still, nothing popped up.

While we were visiting Ohio, Guido mentioned a book to Lance called Patriots.  Poorly written fiction, but excellent ideas for becoming self sufficient.  It was based in Moscow, Idaho.  After he read the book, and seemingly out of the blue, Lance says, “what about Idaho” I said “IDAHO? I don’t think I even know where that is”.  I happened to notice a bag of potatoes which, of course, had a map of Idaho on it, so at least now, I knew the shape of the state.  Lance also showed me a ‘google earth’ type map from above and how sparsley populated things got west of the Missouri River.  Ah, less crowds, less busy cities, more wide open spaces.  I googled the state and it’s surroundings.  I revved up my search in hotpads.com and instantly fell in love with the hills, trees and many lakes.  Guido was also doing much soul searching about where to live.  He shared this link with us.  Among many other things, this helped ‘sell’ Idaho to us.

Fresh new territory to discover in Idaho.  Sadly, no real deals to be found, BUT, I was shocked at how a multitude of the listings offered many of the things on our wish list: creeks, south facing walk-out basements, generators installed, solar panels.  They ‘get it’ up there and we wanted to be amongst like minded individuals.  It really boiled down to culture.  Heck, could it be true, there are no professional sports teams in ID?  It just keeps getting better!

I sent out a dozen emails to local Realtors seeking help in finding properties.  I got 2 lame offers to help if /when we got to ID.  However, one guy not only responded within the hour, he connected with us both with such zeal and enthusiasm (not the car salesman type, but truly helpful), we were thrilled. The doors continued to open for us.  We don’t label ourselves as ‘religious people’, but it was obvious to see God’s hand, every step of the way.  Next thing ya know, ol Lance & Mare are homeowners in Idaho.

Why Idaho?  Surely not because of the weather.  We don’t particularly look forward to the snow.  But we both are from the midwest.  We’ll manage.  It is also far from many of our loved ones, yet closer to my dad, Lance’s favorite Aunt and my favorite cousin.  We  get the sense folks are different out thar – our kind of different.  Someone remarked to me upon hearing our destination, “you never hear anyone say, we’re going to Idaho ”  I said, “good”.

Next quest, possible bloggity idea, JOBS???  I’ll need one, thank you.

Black Lake

A block away from our recent home purchase.

Word has it, the fishin’ is mighty good in this here lake (a block from our house).

FRESH SEAFOOD
45 minutes = 1/2 cooler full

Step right up and buy a house (online) – We did

Sure, why not?  We buy everything else from the comfort of our couch.  That’s how Lance and I bought our next dwelling.  Would you like to hear the story?  No?  Well, that’s ok.  Resume your internet browsing.  Maybe even look for your next house, online.

For almost 4 years now, Lance and I have made it our hobby to search for places to ‘settle down’.  We’d often say ‘when we get settled, we’ll get this’ or ‘do that’ or most often ‘it sure would be nice, just to be settled’.  Each evening I’d scour the internet for potential properties.

~http://www.bhammls.com/ is a public site that lets you see all the new listings for each day (in Birmingham).

~http://www.craigslist.org/ is a good place to find for sale by owners.

~http://www.hotpads.com/ is a fun site to navigate (choose ‘buy’ rather than ‘rent’ on the top labels).

~The Traders Helper (weekly classified print ads) if we felt like splurging, we’d buy the booklet (.90 cents).  I’d often take out ads in it, asking if anyone had property for sale that met our criteria.

Instead of going to the movies or taking trips to the beach, we would set out on the weekends with our list of potential properties in hand and our trusty GPS mounted on the windshield.  On special occasions, we’d line up our Realtor, Rockey, to show us a listing.  Lance would drive us for hours to different locations, some not on a map.   Many required a 4-wheel drive to get to and out of (thankful for the trusty Explorer). We’d get ‘close’ on some properties, but eventually God shut the door on them, sending us to search elsewhere.  God was very patient with us, gently closing doors, for which we are most grateful.

After expanding our search to include 3 states (AL, TN & KY), doubling the amount we’d pay, we still found NADA, nothing, zilch.  I may have put the cart before the horse on this post.  “Why, Idaho?” would make a good blurb on this blog (stay tuned for that).  After reading about how we found Realtor, Chris (in said future blog post), we figured if he were to find the ideal spot for us, we’d have to act FAST.  Alas, being so far away, it wasn’t likely that we’d be willing to drop everything just to see if he found our place (we’ve named our future settledom house ‘our Retreat’).  After 2 hours on the phone w/Chris, Lance says something to the effect (he hates to be misquoted, so I’m quasiquoting* here),  Maybe what we need is a dinky house with a big arse pole barn (see future story on pole barns).  While on the phone with Lance, Chris got an email from one of his clients, telling Chris to drop the price of his lake house.  He just wanted to get rid of it.  Said lake house has a big arse pole barn!  Once I got home from work that evening, Lance and I reviewed the online photos and made an offer that night.  After a little back and forth, we had a contract.  BAM, by the following week, we owned property in Idaho.  The closing was all done via phone/fax/email and FedEx.  Check it out on the links to the upper right       –>Next House Project.

SO, what shall we do for weekend fun, now??

*patent pending on the word quasiquote

Getting rid of excess baggage

How do we accumulate so much STUFF?  Since Lance and I have been together, we’ve moved 4 times, about to embark on #5, and it’s a doozie (hence the creation of this blog).  Some of the stuff was borrowed to help stage this ginormous house (big for us, anyway. The last house was 12oo sq ft).  Some of the stuff was given to us and we even bought a few things… but we still have a ton of stuff.  Lance’s brother, Kirk, is enroute (as I type) to Idaho with 25,000 pounds (he weighed in at a weigh station in Oklahoma) of tools et. al.  Our house is still furnished and full (in case this contract falls through, we’ll have to keep it looking pretty).

We talked about what all we can do without (especially since the next project house is only 860 sq ft).  So, odds and ends will be left for the new buyer.  Some treasured, unneeded pieces will be given to family and friends and, possibly, a truckload will go to God’s Outreach Center, for Della’s charity.  Taking ‘getting rid of excess baggage’ one step further… I’m leaving my implants in Birmingham… notice how I insert this bit of very personal information deep into paragraph 2, hoping only those of you that love me will bother with reading this far into this post ;-).  I have an appointment tomorrow to get these blasted, heavy, huge, annoying bags of saline OUT!  If you or anyone you know plans on getting implants, please talk to me first.  I will tell you all the ‘cons’.  I assume you think you know the ‘pros’ already.  Stay tuned to see how it goes… (and say a little prayer for Mare, about 11am Monday).

Hello World. Did you know, they’ll let just anyone have a blog?

I plan on looking back and cringing at this first post to my first ever blog.  While I hone my craft, please bear with me… there WILL be grammatical errors, stupid posts, and probably boring stuff all along the way…. But hey, I’m 50, about to pack up and move 2400 miles away from ‘home’ so, cut me a little slack (at first, please).

My goal with this blog-thingie is to lure you all those I like, to consider a visit and or move to the wild, wild, west.