Tag Archives: house

Ch ch ch Changes….

12 Oct

Throughout the course of my 61 years I’ve fancied myself to be flexible and adaptable. I enjoy changing things up. I don’t really like routines.  I can barely stand brushing my teeth in the same place every day…I like varying driving routes.  Apparently, however, that flexibility does not apply to the changes inherent in moving. I’ve posted more than a few rants about selling my house of 32 years this summer. I think ranting is the operative word here. Apparently I’m not one to keep my anxieties contained. They have managed to spill out into my blog posts for all to share. (I obviously believe writing is a mutual endeavor. We become partners in the words).

So..yes, I’m experiencing a bit of angst about moving.  I’ve heard it said moving is one of the top five stress inducers.  I’m surprised to say I can understand why. All of the changes we’ve made to make our house marketable have eradicated the soul and spirit of my home.  The beige walls, carpet and dining room chandelier do nothing to nourish my spirit, which thrives on color and warmth.  (The name of this blog, after all is Be Brave. Lose the Beige.  Beigifying my house is a virtual assault to my eyes and being.

Anyone who has listed a house remembers the endless hours spent scouring and scrubbing to ensure remnants of family meals don’t inhabit the inside door of the dishwasher.  Not a single solitary squirt of toothpaste can remain in the bathroom sink; the disemboweled squeaker dog toys (or not so squeaky since they are disemboweled) are hidden from view from prospective buyers (what pets?  Who us?) Everyone goes through this when they decide to move.  As much as I value variety, the disruption of routines is rather seismic.  I have to say, a warm, stable, nurturing nest trumps change and variety any day for me. A home is a place where the collective sighs of the day escape your lips like air escaping an errant balloon as your key unlocks the door. Your potentially clenched stomach relaxes at least a bit. I’ll admit it…except for my children, I’m not a fan of long or even short term visitors in my house.  My home is a place where I unpack my emotions- joyous or otherwise.  That vulnerability is not something I necessarily want to share with non-immediate family members until I’m good and ready.  So I, and perhaps my co-enablers (readers) of this blog, will be happy with this change actually occurs. The music from David Bowie’s refrain, “Ch ch ch ch Changes” replays itself over and over in my head, as like him, I turn and face the strain.

Ch, ch ch Changes

Ch, ch ch Changes


Does God Really Care If I Move to Baldwin Park?

21 Aug

So, my husband and I are happily enjoying our vacation in 70 degree Chicago for the past 2 weeks when I receive a late night phone call from a neighbor.  With hesitancy and dread in her voice, Sarah tells me there are 25 firefighters in our front yard and are in the process of breaking down my front door.  Apparently a smoldering dryer was the culprit setting off our alarm and summoning the Maitland Fire Department.


Dryer Fire

Dryer Fire

My hands shake and my heart-beat quickens as I write this post thinking back to the shock we felt and the efforts expended to get home.  Three days hence, as 2 giant ozone generators and multiple air scrubbers inhabit our home instead of us, I’m feeling incredibly grateful.  The damage could have been far worse than a bad smell, battered door, and incinerated dryer.  My sweet dogs were vacationing elsewhere; all the remodeling we had completed does not have to be re-done; we are safe; we have a beach place to which we are able to escape smells, sounds, and inconveniences.

We put our house of 31 years on the real estate market over a month ago with the intention of moving to Baldwin Park, a kind of live, work and play community.  I think we have good intentions for moving.  My husband is tired of crawling on his belly fussing with pool cleaners and hoses.  For the first time in our tenure there, my home no longer shelters kids, adult or otherwise, and our neighborhood with its great schools, has become younger, filled with the sound of squealing young ones cannon balling into pools and playing on swing sets. Our house should be owned by a family. The reason we bought it so many years ago is that I had a 3 year old and a baby to be.

So why, I ask, have people been saying, “Your house catching fire is a sign from God you shouldn’t move.” “Really?!” I want to say. “Do you really think God actually cares whether I sell my house in Dommerich Estates and move to Baldwin Park?” If God really paid attention to human happenings, wouldn’t God be more focused on the Ebola virus or genocide in Iraq? Me moving from one neighborhood to another can’t be high on God’s priority list. At least I hope not. The religious tenants I believe suggest God is presents when people attempt to find the goodness in potentially bad situations. That is my plan. I’m not quite there yet. I’m still a little shell shocked. But, please, no more finding omens among the ashes. It feels a little raw yet.

To visit the new Be Brave. Lose the Brave website click here.

I Forgot My Underware

1 Aug

I turned 61 last month so discussing my underwear is not intended in anyway to resemble sex talk.  Rather, it’s a reflection of the kind of stress I’m undergoing as we list our house on the real estate market.

I mentioned our House “editor” in a previous post who counseled us on “staging” (gosh I hate that word) our house to present it in the most favorable light.  Well that staging has resulted in a considerable amount of work…replacing light fixtures with recessed lighting, painting every wall and door, re-carpeting, new faucets and door knobs, and storing funky artwork in a newly rented storage facility.

In the midst of readying our home for sale, I had arthroscopic knee surgery and my husband and I were in the throws of a busy time in our work-life.  Escaping to the beach with our two noisy dogs seemed like the logical move.  Anyone who might want to see the house (and there have been only a few) could do so unimpeded.  In a distracted mood, I through a few items in an overnight case and literally crawled into the car (more than a little accurate considering my recent knee surgery) to head to our beach place.

Unpacking a few hours later I realized I had forgotten my underwear.  Forgetting fundamentals, like underwear, seemed illustrative of the craziness of the past few weeks.  Thank goodness for the Bealls Department store in New Smyrna Beach.

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Beige-i-fying My House

18 Jul

The name of this blogsite is called Be Brave. Lose the Beige.  While BBLB is not just about color, I’m absolutely crazy about color, all colors, the more the better.  With that in mind it might not come as a surprise my house is filled with color.  A crimson red kitchen, lemon drop yellow living room, and funky art adorning virtually every living space.  I’m simply, utterly, and completely not a beige fan. Has anyone really ever taken stock of how much beige there is in the world? Beige houses and buildings, beige sofas, beige walls, beige purses, beige clothing. Can you honestly say you actually like the “color” beige? Sure it “goes” with a lot of things, but does that fact alone deem it worthy to occupy such a vaulted place in this society? (Vaulted by virtue of the fact it is everywhere!) There are so many words representing beige– cream, tan, ecru, biscuit, fawn, camel, mushroom, taupe, sand, and oatmeal—a testament to its prevalence in our society, but at the end of the day—it’s still beige!

When we decided to put our house on the market, our realtor suggested we hire a “House Editor” for guidance in neutralizing and de-cluttering our home.  While I would not be described as a hoarder (I love throwing things away), I do love collecting funky artwork- a fiberglass Hand chair; a foot stool (literally a shoe jutting out from beneath the ottoman); melon head ceramic sculpture; Dr. Seuss-like teapots, and much more.  Probably most offending is a court jester-like chandelier in our dining room.  Six colorful “jester hats” sit atop flexible metal arms.

jester chandelier The editor only had to glance at this piece to know  “that definitely has to go”.  She and our realtor have said, “this is not a judgment on your taste” (hard not to believe since all my favorites have been locked away in a storage unit).  We don’t want potential buyers to be distracted by the art work.  It is bad enough you have a 7 color mosaic back-splash in the kitchen.

Following a month of remodeling, every wall in my house now plays host to beige paint; our red carpet has been replaced with- you guessed it- beige; half of our art collection now lives at a friend’s house, but worst of all is the new chandelier-  everything about this chandelier is beige- it’s color and its lack of character.

New Beige Chandelier

New Beige Chandelier

The irony is not lost on me. I’m starting to wonder if the universe is trying to teach me a lesson-  this has been such a color transformation for me.  How could someone who has written a blog since 2009 entitled Be Brave, Lose the Beige end up with a beige-i-fied house?  If anyone has any ideas as to the lesson I should learn, please let me know.


“Our House Is a Very Very Fine House”

19 Nov

My husband and I have been running like crazy people the past two weeks.  Aside from work and family activities, we have been moving our office into our home.  I underestimated what a transition this would be.  My husband confessed to some anxiety about this transition, since for the past 40 years he has arisen each morning, dressed and headed to an office.  Now, considering Jim is 63, its apparent “going to the office” has been the thing he has done more of in his life than literally anything else.

While my husband and I are under going this transition in our lives, a thought popped into my head-  So is my house!  I have lived in my house for 30 years this fall.  I say this with a tad bit of chagrin as I fear being regarded as “old lady” on my street, much as I viewed a few of my neighbors the day I moved on to Choctaw Trail.  I was pregnant with my son, who is now in his final year of a Ph.D. program and engaged to be married.

Perhaps I’m feeling a bit nostalgic, even sentimental as I ponder my home and all it has housed in the last 30 years.  It has…

-Welcomed home a new baby

-Cared for my dying mother

-Welcomed my husband and his son, absorbing their belongings and all the emotions accompanying the blending of families

-Endured the joys and tribulations of teenagers transitioning into adults

-Transformed into a kind of commune last year during a sabbatical taken my grad student son, his fiancé, and Labradoodle

And now it is absorbing the relics of yet another transition (desks, awards, office supplies…) as we move toward working “virtually” in our new home offices.  As I approach this Thanksgiving, I’m realizing one of the things I feel grateful for is my home.  My home, its roof and walls, has provided shelter and sanctuary to my family and me.  People often tell me my house looks like a folk art museum with all the color and funky art adorning its walls.  But a quality I think I value the most is my home’s elasticity, as it has expanded and contracted welcoming and saying farewell to the various stages of our lives.

Knock down more Walls

21 Sep

Our HouseOur lives often become compartmentalized. Rooms for family, compartments for a career, a section for exercise and dieting. What’s inside each of your rooms?  Any chance of knocking out walls and integrating some of these activities?