Tag Archives: Downton Abbey

We’re living like it’s Downton Abbey

4 Mar

This is multi-family household living at its best, just without Nanny. Or Carson & Mrs. Hughes.

Here’s what happened: my husband bought an expensive house during the real estate bubble of ’07/’08, right before he graduated college in 2009, during the recession. A + B = C, and C hasn’t been good for us financially.

College had delayed his transition from the Marine Corps to his career in his late twenties. I graduated college at the same time as him (but mid twenties) with my second degree, didn’t find a full-time job, didn’t get in to graduate school, and then became a stay-at-home-mama, which was my dream anyway. Meanwhile, my husband worked hard to pay the mortgage, while we watched many others get rewarded by buying foreclosed or cheap houses because of the recession and at one point getting huge checks from the government for being first-time homeowners. We have been the definition of “house poor” for the last 7 years, even though we lead really, really good lives. No denying that fact.

So in order to sell our house, we have moved in with my in-laws near Chastain Park. Oh how terrible! No, not really. It’s pretty awesome.

At our house, the floor needed a good sand and refinish. Our realtor recommended it. Our cousin, who’s the best real estate agent in Birmingham, said to do it before it goes on market. It’s not the most expensive reno job, it must be done by a professional, and it can totally change the look of the house.

I’ve been wanting to change the color for years anyway.

So I finally spent the last of our savings, touched up the paint (again), cleaned it up real nice, positioned the furniture just right… and now we pray we get some money back from the money pit that has been home ownership for us so far.

We moved in with parents so we can stage the house — and not live in the poly smell immediately post-floor refinish. I won’t have to battle the dog hair, kitty litter box, Walter messes, and my type-A cleaning personality all while keeping a house show-ready. We can also take our time to find the right house for us when it comes time to do that.

I have never been more excited to go shopping in my life. I’ve never had the opportunity to pick a house before. My husband bought our current one a year before we met.

So we’re in our thirties acting a bit like we’re in our twenties… but hey, we’re Millennials, so we’re allowed to do that, right?

IMG_20160224_192426Perks: Pop reading bedtime stories to his grandboy in what used to be The Serious Business Room for twenty years but has recently been changed by Walt to The Crossword Room (note WSJ crossword on end table).

Ladies Night Out 2-2016Perks: Ladies Night Out with the Sistas of the Pour at Terra Terroir



A note on the news… and kudzu bugs.

18 Feb

A couple weeks ago I succumbed to a door-to-door salesman. Unfortunately it wasn’t a Girl Scout selling delicious cookies but was actually a kid trying to earn some scholarship money for college. Commendable. He had sold 300+ newspaper subscriptions so far and his goal was 500. I’m not sure I’d like to even go up to 300 houses and knock on the door let alone try to sell that many people something. I hope he was figuring out some good sales techniques. I imagine he had his work cut out for him selling newspapers. They can barely give those away these days. The AJC really should be offering more money to the poor guy. At least I already wanted what he was offering.

He was selling 3 months worth of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and an accompanying coupon booklet for stuff around Atlanta. The coupon book had several Braves tickets buy one get one free (up to $35 each) so I figured that alone was worth it. And I had been thinking how it would be nice to have a paper delivered to our house. It would only be the Thursday and Sunday paper, which is better because a daily paper would mean lots and lots of trash and not much reading.

There are two differences between reading the news in the paper and scrolling through my phone’s news apps.

One: my phone doesn’t make my fingers dirty with ink. I need a Downton Abbey footman to iron the paper for me before I put my delicate hands on it. But it does give me a sense of nostalgia for my childhood when I would spend summers filling out the crossword puzzles every day and looking at the headlines in bold to see what was going on in the world. You could leave the news on the kitchen counter and go about your day, rather than have the world’s news send instant pings to your phone so you’re never ignorant of any catastrophe for long.

Second: the AJC is clearly not as well funded as the other news sources (even though I’m sure it costs more to make and distribute). One section’s front page said “Payphones on the decline” as if we, as a society, forgot to notice that it’s actually hard to find a payphone anymore. And that maybe this change happened ten years ago and not this week.

But I did really like the article I read on Kudzu bugs. Kudzu bugs are the bane of my existence. They are ugly little bugs that make you think you’re looking at a lady bug until you look closer and see no spots just brown. They’re easily squished (on accident or not) and emit this sickly sweet smell that stains your fingers and whatever else touched the bug. I will accidentally vacuum them up in the house and pop that smell is in the air. They are attracted to white, so don’t go outside in a white t-shirt during mating season or god forbid have white washed porch railings — oops. They eat kudzu and other ivies like soy (currently they’re destroying the state’s crops, yay). The little monsters showed up here unknown four years ago and apparently had hopped an international flight from Japan to Hartsfield Jackson. Wanted to take in a bit of new scenery?

They look so harmless, don’t they? Apparently they procreate like crazy.

Look at that epidemic distribution (this was just 2009-2011). Next think you know the AJC’s last article will be about the kudzu bug apocalypse. Except no one will be around to read it. Was that my phone chiming in the other room? I’ll go check.