Archive | July, 2014

The Magical House Fairy

30 Jul

We pretty much stumbled onto the idea of selling our house. We’ve been happy at our house for the last 6 1/2 years, but earlier this year I saw a house online, and it started this whole chaos. We prepped and prepped and prepped, and now it’s been on the market almost 6 weeks. The first month we had two visitors, one with an appointment and one at the open house we had the first weekend. The way houses of our quality have been selling in our neighborhood this year, I thought we’d be busy and sell in the first couple weeks.

That just wasn’t the case. At least it hasn’t been a hassle to have it listed. I suppose it would be worse to get lots of traffic and no offers. But my excitement at moving out of the city has been slowly dwindling.

Until this weekend. I wished on the magic birthday house fairy, and it turns out, she is real.

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We had six people come by this weekend, three with agents. Maybe people are simply back in town after the summer holidays, but I have hope again!

We did have some excitement re: the house a couple weeks ago. A very nice millionaire from China contacted us through an agent from Keller Williams, offering us 90% of our asking price in all cash. On the extreme off chance that it was real, we countered back. Never heard from them again. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that there are scammers in every industry. None of us, including our agent, knew what the end-game was, until Dave did some Google research. The way these people work is they get a contract on a house, then *oops* send a check for way too much earnest money and ask for the real estate broker to send them a check for the overage, hoping this all clears before their check bounces.

Crazy.

I suppose the only thing to do at this point is to continue to wait and see if any of our showings result in some good news. That or bury a St. Joseph statue near our mailbox and really get this show on the road.

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Old Hickory Lake

29 Jul

Two weekends ago we got to go on one of those really fantastic vacations that takes you by surprise. It is so easy, based on what everyone else is doing on social media, to assume that you have to travel to far and exotic locations to be somewhere amazing. The United States has some pretty spectacular views, and some of them are even within easy driving distance of Atlanta. For instance, my family loves visiting Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, FL. But this time we met up with some friends outside of Nashville. And the lake house we rented from this guy on VRBO was sensational.

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I wasn’t even looking forward to going on vacation to Nashville. Even though I had never been, I thought, what could be so great about it?

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And then we arrived to this view. Walter loved quacking at all the ducks.

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There is something magical about staying this close to a body of water. The world doesn’t seem quite so weary as it does living in the middle of a major city.

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Walter wasted no time relaxing.

We try to meet up with Dave’s Marine friends, who were also his groomsmen, and their spouses every year. Everyone lives in a different state, so Nashville was a relatively central location for us all to get to.

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The guys spent the first day fishing off the dock.

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When I got tired of watching them fish, we went into town to get some frozen yogurt and grab some pizza for dinner. Now that a couple families have kids, it worked out really great to rent out a house instead of four hotel rooms, so once the kids went to bed we could still hang out. Sawyer is almost one, and he adored Walter. Walter was actually terrified of Sawyer, except for one afternoon when he felt like playing. Doesn’t bode well for getting along with younger siblings!

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The second day we rented a pontoon, and it was awesome to get out on the lake.

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Pre-boat ride. I swear Walt is checking to make sure Sawyer isn’t up to no good.

Walter’s first boat ride.

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It was hot out there, and he fell asleep pretty quick.

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Even though Daddy won tubing.

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And Sawyer took us for a ride.
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One of three fish caught that weekend.

That evening we ate at a really good Mexican restaurant, then everyone who wasn’t a mommy went to play The Escape Game. You get locked in a room for an hour with a million clues, and if you solve them all and get out of the room, you win. It sounded like a lot of fun. There’s apparently one in Atlanta, but there’s a zombie in the room with you. No thank you.

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I ended up going to bed super early that night because we stayed up late every night chatting with our friends, and we were also sharing a room with a two-year-old who didn’t realize we were on vacation, and he kept getting up before 6am. He is usually a late sleeper, unless we need to sleep in!

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At least he’s cute early in the morning.

I love our friends. They’re a ridiculous bunch, and some of the best people I know. I wish we all lived closer to each other, but I’m glad we make the effort meet up anyway.

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Before everyone went home, Cassie made us go to the Pancake Pantry in Nashville for lunch. We waited 1 1/2 hours for possibly the best pancakes I’ve ever had. I’m glad we got to go into the city, at least for a little bit. It was an adorable town, and with my new love of the TV show Nashville, I’m absolutely ready to move there.

Thirty, Flirty, and Thriving

28 Jul

I’ve enjoyed the movie 13 Going on 30 for the past ten years, and now here I am: 30 years old. So far it doesn’t feel much different than when I was 29. To be honest, I don’t feel that much different than how I remember feeling when I was 6. Except I’m a bit more knowledgeable and possibly a lot more emotional.

I planned a full weekend to celebrate myself. It kicked off Thursday night with a perfect-weather Braves game and an H&F burger. Friday (my actual birthday) I met my Mom, Grandma, Aunt Joanne, and Cousin Robin for lunch in Dunwoody. It was nice to sit around the table with the ladies from my family. I always enjoy that. And I think Grandma liked leaving her assisted living home to join us and eat some less salty food. I was good and ordered a salmon salad but silently wished I had followed my grandmother’s lead and gotten the yummy margherita flatbread.

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My cousin made me delicious cupcakes with sparkles. I didn’t even make it home before eating one.

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Walter always gets more attention than I do, even on my birthday.

Friday night my mom threw a small dinner party for me, with just a couple friends, my dad, and Dave’s parents too. Walt spent the night with Nini so Dave and I could go tubing the next day. It was a glorious day on the Cartecay River, my 10th year in a row going birthday tubing. I’m a traditional type of gal, and this is definitely my favorite tradition all year.

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Dave has been 6 times, Jen$ 5 times, Sophia 5 times, and Kate 4 times.

We were supposed to go next door to a cookout when we got home, but we got home much later than we thought we would, had to wash the river off of us, and I fell asleep on the car ride home, so I wasn’t in the mood to be social with a lot of people I didn’t know. So I watched Nashville in bed til I fell asleep. I am now completely addicted to that show, and country music has entered my life once again. I had country music playing today when David came home for lunch, and the look on his face when he heard it was so priceless I was crying with laughter.

Sunday morning we got the house ready for another open house (we were going to go look at a dog but it got canceled), and then Jason took us to see Gone with the Wind on the big screen at The Fox. It was amazing. They had Margaret Mitchell introduce the movie with a little posthumous skit, and the crowd was delighted to be there. I’ve never enjoyed watching the movie more. Everyone laughed with Mammy, gasped at Vivien’s looks, and clapped when Clark Gable came on screen. It was awesome. We only stayed for the first half because I was desperate to see Walter at that point and didn’t want to wait another 3 hours after intermission.

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We’ve already decided that the next time they do this we’ll go for the second (more depressing) half of the show.

Last but not least, after we had a glass of wine and some snacks at my mom’s while picking up Walt, we went to Jen and Anton’s for a quite yummy birthday dinner. They couldn’t go tubing with us, so Jen wanted us to come over to their townhouse, which Dave had never seen before. We don’t get to see them often because they have a large extended family and several busy jobs, so it was really great to get that time with them.

It was a great weekend spending lots of time with friends and family. So great, in fact, that I couldn’t bring myself to get me or Walt out of pajamas today until 2pm. Walt didn’t mind though.

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Another decade bites the dust! It was a good one, but I’m expecting this one to be even better!

A reunion 90 years in the making

7 Jul

I am more proud of myself for flying alone with an almost two-year-old (when did airplane seats get so small??) than I am of graduating college. Twice. Some of you may know my previous debilitating fear of flying and would agree with me that it was probably harder for me to get on the plane without dying of panic than it was to go to class every day for six years. Walter had no problem, of course, and spent the entire hour opening and closing the plane window, despite my pleas to leave it open because it makes me feel better.

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Not phased and ready to get on that plane.

The poor lady sitting next to us was sandwiched between us and another woman transporting a rather large Jack Russell Terrier. She informed me that a lesser woman would have had to take some Valium to get through that flight in one piece. I didn’t disagree with her. She also told me that she was a pharmacist, and it is completely safe to give small children Benadryl to tranquilize them for flying. I almost asked her if she had anything good for me.

The reason for our flight was to make it easier on myself and David (and I suppose Walter too) to get down to Bartow, Florida and back in one short three day weekend. Dave’s very sweet Granny turned 90 today, and the whole family traveled from near and far to reunite and celebrate this weekend. To be honest, I was not looking forward to so much traveling, but the weekend far exceeded my expectations and I spent lots of great time getting to know David’s family better. We received open invitations from everyone to come visit, and it made me wish David had more vacation time so we could go see family more often. I think we will find the time to visit either way.

Dave ran the Peachtree Friday morning, and we drove down to Bartow after lunch. Walter took the car ride in stride like a true champion. I was impressed with his ability to entertain himself and not cry the entire time like he used to do when he was younger. He only napped for 30 minutes a couple hours into the ride, and I thought for sure we were in for the worst. But he kept his good humor the whole way.

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He loves his giraffe friend!

I love driving through southern Georgia. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Though cops like to give out tickets down there, knowing everyone on the highway is in between home and vacation, and they were certainly out in full force for the holidays. We drove about three over the speed limit just in case.

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But we finally got to stop at the Lane Peach Farm on the way, which I’ve been wanting to do for the past two years. We browsed the store, saw them pack peaches in the factory, and bought half a bushel, which I can’t wait to eat.

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¬†We arrived a little after 8:30pm, already Walt’s bedtime, and were greeted by numerous family members before we could even go inside. Walt was a bit shy at first, but he warmed up quickly and wasn’t shy the rest of the weekend. He enlisted family to help him reach the light switches, which he is currently obsessed with. He loved Granny’s house. Lots of chairs to climb, light switches to play with, and rooms and hallways to explore. After a bite of dinner, everyone headed out for fireworks. We were going to go straight to the hotel, but Jan rode with us and knew right where to stop to see them over the lake perfectly. Only in Florida with all the one story buildings is that possible. I thought Walter would be terrified, but maybe since “lights” is his favorite word and we kept pointing at the lights, he liked them. When we got to the hotel, he was so wound up that I think I fell asleep before he did.

The next day was easy-going and we napped in the morning, trying to catch up on Walt’s lack of sleep, and ate lunch at Zaxby’s. I ordered a salad and Walt demanded that I share some of it with him. What two-year-old loves lettuce?

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I love the moss on Florida trees. This was on the driveway to Zaxby’s. Certainly don’t see anything pretty like that at a fast food restaurant in Atlanta. Bartow is such a small, quaint town, I immediately imagined myself living there.

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Relaxing, playing with Mama’s purse, and putting on chapstick. I love this boy.

Granny’s party started at five o’clock and of course it was storming, so all our plans for taking awesome family photos outside was reduced to taking awesome family photos in the back of the church hall. But I had fun with it anyway since I love Photoshop.

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Look at this group! Not many folks missing from it.
What a blessing to have such a wonderful family.

The party continued at Granny’s house with an array of desserts, drinks, even more family, and more fireworks. Walt’s older cousin set them off (you could tell he was having fun at it), and we all stood around Granny’s back yard. Watching Walt’s delighted face and hearing his laughter was even more fun than watching the fireworks. Eventually, we finally took a tired little boy back to the hotel. He was such a trooper and a true party boy. He didn’t have a melt-down once until 7pm Sunday, when I attempted to put him to bed early after we got home. He was crying so hard I wasn’t sure he’d be able to fall asleep, but I calmed him down and he went to bed in five minutes. I fell asleep only a few minutes after him, waking when David got home to give him a hug and a kiss and go back to bed.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, and a beautiful celebration of the family that Granny made. Happy birthday, Granny!

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Granny and her older brother Tom.

Flour Sacks

1 Jul

I’ve been really interested in watching Ken Burns’ documentaries lately. I’m lucky enough to have a job that allows me to keep Netflix on in the background so I don’t get bored (think: data entry). So in a sense, when Walter is taking a nap, I’m killing two birds with one stone: me-time and work. So far I’ve watched Prohibition and The Dust Bowl. It’s amazing how he makes history so interesting and coherent. He can get through two decades in six hours and you feel infinitely more knowledgeable.

One of the many things that struck me particularly in The Dust Bowl is the use of flour sacks (that’s far less traumatic than the image of people killing themselves because they can’t get rid of the dirt and dust in their houses). Like so many things in life that pop up more often right after you first hear of them when for the past 30 years you never did, it’s been the same with flour sacks.

My mom has these great dish towels that I wanted to find. She told me she got hers at the Farmer’s Market. So I went looking for dish towels, and the only ones there were – you guessed it – flour sack dish towels. I bought them and my mom later confirmed that those are indeed the type of towels she has.

Then I’m watching about the dust bowl and how moms used to make clothes and masks out of their empty flour sacks. And how the flour sack making companies figured that out and started making the flour sacks with pretty designs on them so little girls in the Midwest could still wear cute dresses. Was that beneficial to the flour sack making companies? Maybe. Maybe the ones with patterns were bought more often. Or maybe during the Depression, companies who still had the ability to give did so.

Fast forward 80 years, and I’m paying a fair amount of money for cute flour sack dish towels. What would the people in the 1930’s think of that? It makes me wish not everything was so compartmentalized and that we made things a little more sustainable. It makes me think how something so small could transport me into that documentary and a little bit of history.