Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cross your i's and dot your t's

These two are no dummies! Yesterday, I woke up to an email from our realtor saying we had lost the house, that another offer had come in and the seller had accepted it. Oh hell no! Not after what we have been through with the other two farms we lost to absurd circumstances.

It seems that due to a ministerial mistake (I learned that word yesterday from our attorney), the greedy seller's realtor tried to slip in a better offer after we had signed a legally binding contract. She thought she was being clever. What are the odds on the day we docu-sign our contract another buyer is looking at our house and presents a better offer.

I couldn't call the realtor because she wouldn't have heard me over Gerry's screaming and the stream of profanities that was pouring from my mouth.  I might have set the record for saying Mo.. Fu..
(you know)

I set the caps lock on my email and sent our reply. The note started with WE ARE FURIOUS! We checked our contract, thank God for time/date stamps on email. The  other offer came in AFTER we had signed an agreement with the seller. Guess what? you can't take another offer and call the first one off once you sign a contract,  idiot. Do you think we are stupid? Call the lawyer.

We got in touch with a real estate attorney. Explained the situation. His reply back to us:
"this is bullshit". He wrote a very assertive letter with the words  Specific Performance and I strongly urge you, etc.  The seller's agent quickly responded, "we will honor your contract". Damn straight you will! Don't mess with us, we are tired of looking!

So, who knows what today will bring. Never in my life has it been so difficult to buy a property. If we ever get in this place we are inclined to hunker down and never leave. It used to be so easy. What happened?! Like they say, you gotta have a ticket to get into Chapel Hill..... bleh.

At least justice won out. I'm just glad Gerry and I were on top of it, and pushed our realtor to fight back. You gotta fight back, we don't just lie down and accept defeat that easy.

Onward and upward.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Here we go.....

We are feeling good about this new direction. Once we gave up the idea that a pasture and a barn and an organic farm were our future, everything fell into place and became so easy. Funny how you can think you want one thing and the Universe has a completely different plan for you!

Our offer has been accepted, we have a contract underway, loan approval is done, a green builder is going to meet with us to discuss affordable renovations and we are seeing a light at the end of this long damn tunnel we have been traveling through for the past three or so years.

The house is smaller than what we live in now, there is zero storage, no attic, no garage, no outbuilding, so we have to get creative. More purging to come. We are going to lose one room, mostly the room I kept all of my "stuff" in, so I have some goodbyes to say to things that I have kept for a rainy day. 2015 was a year of letting go and saying goodbye, 2016 will be our year of moving forward and new beginnings. 

Looking forward to the road ahead!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Stay tuned, we might be moving..... Yikes!

We made an offer. Not a farm, but a forest. We will be gardeners, not farmers.....
I keep forgetting to show the newest Anna Branner cups in the house. One is Wesley's but she forgot to pack it, so I am using it for now. She will be back for it......  we will probably be in a new house by then.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Animal spirit guides

When Gerry and I were first married, we bought a Mohawk flat water canoe, then we were hooked on paddling and we bought a Mohawk whitewater boat. We paddled all the time. Once we drove to Wyoming and Montana with our Mohawk boat on top of our Izuzu Trooper., paddled across String Lake at the base of Mt. Moran in the Tetons and camped at a canoe in campsite. Paradise. Then we had Wesley and felt like her drowning in the river due to our foolhardy paddling episodes would suck. So we sold the boats.... I still miss those green boats.

Sometimes we would play in the rapids, surfing and trying our best to paddle upstream, just because....
It was hard, challenging, sometimes fun, but completely futile. I had kick ass biceps back in those days though. And I wonder why I have this shoulder impingement....

We could get only so far upstream then the current would shoot us back down the river.  Our search for a new property this past three years has been very much like our paddling upstream. I was driving over Jordan Lake this evening and this came to me.  We have looked and looked, found two places we loved, lost them to cash offers, we found another farm that was a disaster, we couldn't get in the car and drive away from that place fast enough.  There is nothing new listing and if it is, we can't afford it. Like they say, you gotta have a ticket to get into Chapel Hill. It is so expensive around here.

Today, we went and looked at a fixer upper in a very beautiful wooded neighborhood. Its not on a farm, in fact there is very little sun so who knows if vegetables can grow here at all. But its on 6 acres, very private, land can be cleared for a garden, and chickens are allowed.  It is a weird passive solar home with concrete floors, huge windows in every room and the bedrooms have lofts, very odd but somehow sort of cool....

Light pours in this house from every room. I love this, I live in a very dark house, and while I love my cozy darkness it is hard to get motivated to crawl out of my pajamas on cloudy days.  I need some light.

The kitchen is a mess and needs some serious TLC, but what a dream, to gut a kitchen and make it what you want it to be. This would be a very easy renovation. I would love to buy from a restaurant supply place and have a restaurant kitchen. Industrial stainless steel with wood fired pottery. I'm loving the thought of that!

The driveway is long and winding through the woods, very private, but it's not a farm.....

HOWEVER:  It IS across the street from Jordan Lake, which is a very huge water basin between Pittsboro and Raleigh. A wildlife extravaganza. Its where Gerry is photographing the eagles.

The eagles...... I believe as the Native Americans do, in animal spirit medicine. I have had profound experiences with animal symbolism and always look to the Native American explanations of animal medicine whenever something is going on and there is an animal noticeably around.

Like, the day Wesley graduated high school, three vultures flew directly over my car, then Wesley came up to me at the door and said on her way there three vultures fled right over her car. The vultures were my totem all through her college years, coming to me every time there was a dilemma and giving me answers. There were always three of them. Three of us, three of them....

The week that Wes was to move to California a family of deer came one day and laid down in our yard all morning, I have never seen them do that. Then, the morning she was to leave, the mom came into the yard, alone, and stood there watching us, as if she was telling us we would all be ok. It was incredibly symbolic and comforting as I said goodbye to Wesley. There was also an episode once with a dolphin when Wesley was searching for some much needed answers....  it's really weird and powerful and I believe that shit!

So, my point is, the other day when I was down at the river with Gerry, it was a mystical kind of day. The eagles flying and calling to each other, the weather gray and cold and I wondered if the eagles were sending me their medicine. Today as I crossed the lake I wondered about them again and I came home and read about eagle spirit medicine. There was a lot that related to where Gerry and I are right now, but the thing that gave me some chills was a sentence that said if an eagle comes to you as a spirit guide it will lead you to water, because that is where the eagle is happiest and gets it's strength. Interesting that this house is pulling us because it is across the street from this beautiful lake. Maybe the eagles are bringing us to this house and we were never intended to live on a farm.

Maybe instead of having goats, I'll get a canoe!

Saturday, January 9, 2016


Quiet Jaunary. The rain continues to fall, the temperature has dropped. Our house is dark with soft gray light filtered through the shades and draperies. I left the white twinkly lights from Christmas, they make everything feel so cozy.

I look forward to crawling in my bed at night, under the quilts, the soft worn sheets are a comfort. I wake up in the morning to cloudy skies, skeleton shapes of the bare trees. Soft light. Dormant state of mind. Hibernation.

I'm reading, listening to music, making pots of soup with warm cornbread, drinking good roasted coffee from California. It is a slow month. It's good to slow down and breathe deeply. Reflect.....

Writing in new journal pages, keeping the words positive and more joyful. I filled enough pages with complaints last year to last me for awhile.

Gerry and I looked at another farm last week. These barns were the best thing on the property. There were too many negatives, although the old farmer was just about ready to give us the place or pay us to take it. I can walk in most any house and instantly visualize the renovation. I walked in the house on this farm and my mind went completely blank. I could see no way, except to tear it down. We continue to look...... but oh these barns, just what I would love to have. Can't you just see a weaving studio? A guest cottage?

We have a large nesting sight of bald eagles near our house. Gerry got up before sunrise the other day and spent the day at the river photographing them. Later in the day he came and got me and took me down there. I think we counted eight of them. Young ones and moms. We are so fortunate to have them near us, even more fortunate that people with good sense saw the need to save this species. They are magnificent.

It was nice to sit by the river and be still. Everything is so dead, so dormant. But the river was alive. There were seagulls and herons and ducks. And the eagles. Why is water so healing I wonder? It soothes my restless soul.....

It is a good new year

Friday, January 8, 2016

Be Happy.....

You can take almost any road heading east from my house and it will get you to the coast eventually. One route will take you through South of the Border. If you live around here, you most likely have seen or heard of this insanely ridiculous place. It is a tourist stop on I-95, once designed I suppose, for travelers going from NY to Florida. I won't bore you with details, you can google it and see plenty. Gerry and I go this way sometimes, and you pretty much have to stop and take pictures if you have a camera. It just beckons you to point at something and photograph it.

I took a bunch of photos, Gerry wandered around shooting instagrams. He has shot some really incredible pics here in the past. Its fun for about a minute and then you start to wonder what is wrong with human beings anyway!

I took a photo of one family that was sitting at a picnic table behind two enormous chicken sculptures having a picnic, and it was kinda cold. They seemed perfectly happy as if it was the most normal thing in the world to be eating behind two big chickens asses on a cold New Year's Day.  Gerry made a great instagram of a tiny Asian woman standing under a giant gorilla and growling at her friend who was also making her picture. They smiled and wished us a Happy New Year as we took their pictures. It all started to get a bit surreal..... but we had a good laugh.

Instead of a romantic walk on the beach, we were lost in our own camera world making photos, shooting instagrams, which one of us (and its not me) is obsessed with. I mostly practiced manual shooting, taking underexposed frames with my new camera. We must have been a sight on the beach with our phones and camera pointing at each other, the ocean, and most everything else around us.

We found a pub near my mom's house (heaven must have arranged it!). Wesley lives near this brewing company in Petaluma, Ca. and suggested this beer to me when she was here. The pub had it, so Gerry and I both got one and toasted to our girl, and the new year.

My father in law gave Wesley one of her grandmother's journals for Christmas this year. It was a journal I gave her years ago for a birthday present. A prompt journal that encouraged a grandmother to tell her grandchild about herself. It is amazing, a treasured gift for sure. So many words of wisdom. He had copies made for each of his children as well. I would give anything to have a journal like that from my grandmother.

One of the best pages asked what advise she would give to someone. Her advise: to always be happy and content with whatever comes your way. I can't say I could ever live up to this advise. Content doesn't come my way that often. Happiness, yes. My mother in law is always one of the happiest people I know and I am going to try and use her wisdom this year to make it a great year.

I bought new pages for my leather journal. Last years journal was full of pain and sadness. I did not have the best year. This year I started off the first pages with these words:

Be Happy
Be Kind
Be Tolerant
Eat well
most of all though

Be Happy.......

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bring It On!

Gerry and I celebrated the New Year of 2016 in Myrtle Beach this year. I can't visit my mom the week of Christmas and keep my sanity, but I seem to do ok with New Year's, so that's what we do.
This was the first time in 22 years that Gerry and I have been to MB together without Wesley. It was really weird, but we had a great time. The weather was chilly but not too bad and the sun was out, which I haven't seen in a month. We ate a lot of good food, walked on the beach, played in the arcades, went for long drives and laughed a lot.

If all goes as well as this trip, the New Year is going to be a fine one!

I am always so sad when I go down to the boardwalk and see the empty lot where the Myrtle Beach Pavilion used to be. For years, it was the iconic spot where memories were made for families, teenagers falling in love, old folks people watching. It was full of sounds and smells and sensory overload. There was not another place like it on Earth. I miss it every time I visit. 

When I go with Gerry, we have to make the pilgrimage to the arcades and play baseball on these ancient machines. I love the sound of the bell as a runner crosses home plate. Love the sound of the ball flicker thingy, I'm not sure there are any of these games anywhere but in this arcade. I have never seen any like them, except here.

I believe every meal I ate was either sugar or fried. I seem to lose all sense of diet control around the ocean. I ate fried shrimp, fried scallops, fried flounder, french fries, fried cheese sticks, pie, chocolate, pizza, bleh...... I should start a juicing fast today!

Apparently we missed the redneck olympics here at the Bowery. Dang.
Do you know the Bowery? Do you know the band Alabama? When I was in high school this was forbidden land for me with my mom. She called it "Sin City". And of course I went. I saw Alabama play here when they were just getting started. We thought they were pretty good and might be a success one day. Who knew?!

Fun Plaza was the first job I had at the age of 13. I worked in their gift shop selling Myrtle Beach
 t-shirts, shot glasses, back scratchers, snow globes, postcards, etc. People can find the dumbest ways to spend their money.

It was a great job and the owner was very kind to me. He gave a lot of local kids jobs and took good care of all of us. This is where Gerry's favorite baseball games are. Its fun to see the beach through his eyes. His memories are of once a year visits with his family when he was growing up. Families that saved and came to Myrtle Beach in the 60's saw this place as bigger than life, it left life long memories. For me, it was where I grew up. I see it in a whole different way, its a surreal experience, either way though.

On my breaks from work at Fun Plaza, I would play skeeball. I played every day and got really good at it. I played this week and I sucked. Its still fun to put quarters in, hear those wooden balls roll down the track and try to win a stuffed animal, which everyone needs more of.

I shot a lot of pics with my new camera, trying to learn to shoot manually. I forgot how much I love having a real camera in my hands and getting a decent shot every now and then.
I have a good teacher :)

The boardwalk is new and doesn't hold the memories for me like the old one did. Still, beach music pours out of the bars, bells ring from the arcades, the smell of cotton candy, popcorn, corn dogs, pizza and beer waft out of the food stalls, all those healthy choices, you know....  the ocean and sandy beach are below, in the summer crowded with people inviting skin cancer to attack their cells, all lathered up with coconut smelling oils and baking in the hot sun.

Winter is the time for me at the beach. It is the time there I love the best. Not many tourists, its usually cool but not freezing and you can look around at all the incredible detail of a tourist town full of silly trivial bullshit. So great!

Gerry made a fine effort to keep me laughing, make the trip fun and help me survive the mental angst I get every time I am with my mom. It worked out well and we had one of the most fun trips to Myrtle Beach I have had in a long while.  Thanks pal!

2016..... Bring it on!