Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The future looks bright.....

It's been a minute, how is everyone? I've been dealing with some new directions and changes in my path so blogging has taken quite a backseat these days.

Before the holidays, I was offered more responsibilities at work but there was no mention of more pay. So I wrote a proposal including a raise and the answer was "we will revisit this after the holidays". Then after the holidays a manager left and again I was offered even more to do, and a brief mention of pay increase. The increase wasn't much.... $1, I was sort of insulted. I was sort of pissed off.  So I went online to see just what a visual merchandise manager gets paid these days and the first thing that popped up was an ad for a job in a location Gerry and I have been considering for retirement one day, where my dad was raised, near where my grandmother is buried, a place Gerry and I used to go to all the time. And if I would have sat down and written a description of my skill set, this would have been the job I would have described for myself.

On a whim, I filled out the online application, and an hour later they called me! The HR person I spoke with was great, I was at ease, it went well. He set up an interview with other management people. I liked them, we were all on the same page, the job sounded great! Last Thursday I accepted the position and said goodbye to 5th Season.

Saturday was my last day there. It was a bittersweet day. I had a lump in my throat all day. I loved that job, loved the people I worked with. But honestly they were getting a bargain and the owners are just not  that into their employees. I worked my ass off, because that's what I do. I can't help it, my work ethic is over the top sometimes.... even when I am not being compensated fairly. It was a great job for easing back into the workplace though. I had not worked for anyone else since Wes was born. Working for myself was a lot easier while raising a kid. But 5th Season showed me that I do still have a lot to offer, my experience and skills are worth something. And now I have a new job paying me what I deserve for all that time spent working for the past 30+ years. The best part is I get to work out of my house and don't have to relocate.

My new job will involve traveling around North and South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee merchandising 57 stores and helping to set up and open new stores as we roll them out. I am getting a car, an amazing salary, great benefits, and the tools and support I need to do a good job. I even get to hire a staff to help me. Its a real big girl job!

This has been very surreal. The job just dropped in my lap out of the blue, I wasn't even looking for a job. But this one seems designed for me and it all fell into place so easily, it felt like a higher power had control of it all, I just floated along and accepted what came my way. Sometimes when you least expect it, the Universe drops in and says, "Hey, let me handle this, I got you". And you just have to go along with what comes your way..... you know when its happening, it just feels different from when you are trying hard to make something you want happen and it is just not going the way you want it to.

I start this weekend with a vendor show and sales meeting then I hit the road. This was my pre Wesley lifestyle, so here I go again. I had a moment last night thinking about all that I have been through this past year. I feel like I am not a mom anymore, there is so much empty space where Wesley used to be. But this will fill up a lot of that space and things will be a lot like they were before Wesley came along. Full circle. This will be an interesting year of learning. It feels good to know that a 55 year old woman can stop her career to raise a child, work for herself while doing so, then get back into the workplace and still earn a great salary and have something to offer. I don't think this would have been the case in my mom's day. We have come so far!

I have no idea what I will blog about now. This blog was started to explore my journey making pottery and it has evolved into a personal journal of life after child leaves home. Now I don't know. We'll see...... stay tuned. Life is a great big adventure isn't it?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Keep looking.....

 Our search continues. If the Universe is trying to teach me patience, I wish the lessons would end now, I got it, thanks! I have never been through such a futile process in all my life. We have been looking for a house for three years now. 99% of the houses in our price range are not being kept up  properly and by the time they go on the market there are so many repairs, it is beyond my realm of possibility.

We have seen houses with rotting wood, decks falling apart, gutters so full of leaves and debris they are bending, leaky plumbing, holes in walls, houses smelling of cigarettes and overpowering cleaning solutions, filthy carpets, rooms that are architectural nightmares when trying to place furniture, tiny bathrooms, dirty bathrooms. Honestly, the way people live.....  clean your damn house!

We just looked at this place. Kudos to the photographer that posted pics on the realty site. The photos made the house look inviting and a definite possibility. The reality was, the horses were beautiful and friendly, and the barn they lived in was nicer than the house the owners were living in. I could have arranged my furniture in the barn easier than in the house of many angles.

The house was wood, wood and more wood. None of it cared for. You gotta do some maintenance on a house made of wood, I'm sorry, you just do. Wood rots. House fall down.

There was not an easy way to get from here to there in the house either. Nearly every room was on a different level. The stairs going to these levels were intended I feel sure for Hobbits. Winding and narrow and how the hell do you get furniture up them?  Stairs also at every entry so getting the twelve bags of groceries I usually bring home every other week would save me a gym membership for sure. The worst thing for me was the overwhelming smell of cleaning solution. I hate going in these houses that people clean real quick and leave this smell behind. It burns my eyes, makes my head hurt and the smell lingered in my hair on the ride back home reminding me of the house I really did not like.

Staging a house is very important when trying to sell it. Gerry and I worked for weeks and weeks getting our house ready to go on the market. We painted, we cleaned the carpets, we replaced toilet seats, light fixtures, packed away art and clutter, and when we have a showing I simmer cloves and cinnamon on the stove right before we leave. We have had tremendous feedback on the look of our house. The only negatives for us are the master bedroom not being on the first floor, the small size of the bedrooms, the laundry space is dumb, mostly all the things I also don't like about this house. But at least it's clean and presents well. I don't get these people that live in filth and show it off for others.
That farm we went to see a while back was ridiculous and the farmer said "I cleaned up for you", HA! Really?!?!  OMG!

I am convinced that people designing and building houses have never cooked or tried to arrange furniture in a room. When I stand in a kitchen I want to be able to get to my sink while someone else is at the stove and have room to move. I want cabinets that are deep enough that my larger plates fit in them. I don't really want to look at a home improvement showroom of cabinets in a kitchen either. These walls of cabinets are killing me. Then there are the rooms with windows in the oddest places, room configured where the is no space to center a bed, a dresser, a TV..... I gotta have some symmetry and some balance. Builders, what are you thinking !?! And the most frustrating thing is the path you take from car to kitchen with groceries. Does anyone ever give this a thought? I have yet to live in a house where I could get out of my car and walk into my kitchen with heavy bags and not have to sit a rest a bit after unloading my car or change clothes from getting soaked in the rain.

I'm not looking for a palace here. I just need a house that is well cared for, rooms that will hold my great grandmothers furniture, display some prized artwork, a kitchen that is functional, and an entrance that doesn't require good cardiovascular health. I would also like a nice laundry room. The other day my realtor said I should just find a piece of land, put all of my furniture out on it, and build up a house around it all. She might be right!

So, the search continues........ bleh.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Strike Three

Loan origination fee $500
Due Diligence           $400
Contractor                 $200
Inspection                 $420
We put a halt on the septic inspection and pumping, the pest inspection and water testing...

Money spent so far just to get to the place where we have discovered there are more issues with this house than we care to take on, so we are withdrawing our offer. Here we go again.....

The first two houses we made an offer on and lost were out of our hands. This is our decision and one we have spent three days deciding on. Our poor realtor. I know we are making her nuts. But it is what it is. We just don't have the money to throw at this house to make it what we want it to be. So we are passing, moving on.

This has got to be one of the worst house searches I have ever been through. Gone are the days when you could roll your costs in at closing. We have been four hundred dollared to death. Competing in the Chapel Hill market is a nightmare. There are too many people moving here. We are really struggling to find something decent and affordable.  If we find something, we have to get in line to make an offer, or we have to write a letter offering our first born child as earnest monies.

Thank God Gerry and I are on the same page and not arguing over all the details, that would make it all the worse. It seems when we are in house search/purchase mode, we really come together and agree. We like the same style houses and both agree on price negotiation, so things go much smoother. I can't imagine going through this and having constant disagreement. It is such a stressful process.

So here we go, onward and upward. I have reached an age where I just sigh and accept loss, change, disappointment, pick myself up and face another day. Going through Wesley's move to California has  really changed my perception of loss and pain. I got through that, I can get through anything.

Good news is, my arm has reached a very tolerable level of pain, I can tell my physical therapy is working. I don't cry anymore when I think about Wesley, I have been promoted in my job and got a raise, and giving up this house is not the end of the world. It was a fine house, not my first choice, not my favorite place, it would have been good enough, but I'm not heartbroken over giving it up. Just tired of the search, want to unpack boxes and get on with my life.

Looking forward to Spring......