Thursday, October 23, 2014

72 hour kit

The Ebola scare reminded me that 72 hour kits should be made up for the winter.
Actually, in Kansas, we should have always had a 72 hour kit
between tornados and ice storms,
there are few seasons that a 72 hour kit would not come in handy.
Even so, it just slips my mind and I move forward.

 I taught 72 hour kits to my wayward Home Ec class two years ago.

Off to other things. It slips my mind once again.

While packing up the barn I ran into these:
Yes, dusty and dirty, they are filled
Peeked into the first one.
Hummmm- down sleeping bags, air mattresses, children's clothing
Peeked into the second on.
This doesn't make sense.
Why would I keep a flat iron skillet filled with maxi pads in a tub?

We lived in Monterey many moons ago. 
Our adventure there started two months after the Loma Prieta Earth quake.
We did not go a month without an after shock.
That must have been when I put together these blue boxes.

Checked them out-
matches, stove, bedrolls, water cleaning pills, 
pot, pan, can opener, sanitary supplies…it goes on and on. 
The only things missing are actual water, cash and canned goods.

That saved ME loads of money :)

Do you have your 72 hour kit?
Ours should be more portable, 
but it is almost ready.
In Delaware, we should be able to sustain our family
for a good bit of time
At least enough time to get over the flu!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

If you have $3,600 in savings,

you have more savings then half of the people in the world.

Puts a bit of perspective on money, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Afternoon Chat

Laura on View From the Tree House  moved to Hawaii this summer.
Following her transformation
In personal and household weight loss
Has really inspired me.

Joining her in Sunday Afternoon Chats will be a nice way to round my week.

Reading -
                 The Boleyn Inheritance.
                 This is go to book when things are a bit out of sorts. Comfort read.
                  Several children's books were read today as they were sorted.
Listening to -
                The grandmother clock ticking and the dogs as they scurry outside.
                 nothing now.
                  My daughter knows a way to get Downton Abbey
                   Episode three of the season continues to pull me in.
                   Salads for dinner. It is our bi weekly way treat of seasonal veggie.
                  Tonight we enjoyed the last of my grape tomatoes and baby bells.
                   We will miss summer veggies.
Happy I accomplished this week-
                    The paperwork for the house is almost done.
                    I balanced our books and set out a budget for the move.
                    We also took over 13 more boxes of books to the library!
Looking forward to this week-
               Packing the rest of the books for the move.
               Purging my closet.
               A trip to Kansas City with my daughter in law to IKEA.
               We need curtains for this house so we can sell it.
Thankful for-
               My husband, kids and the spouses my children wisely chose.
                The grandchildren
                My younger sister and her husband, they are amazing people.
Bonus question: How did I meet Scott?
                 I was in the officer's club in Wuerzburg after a long week of school. I had sent my fiancĂ© to New York so he could get on with his life. It was November 6. Scott walked in with a friend of mine. I looked up and saw those blue eyes - on a face that was dirty form the mud outside. What is that line, "He had me at hello." We rode his motorcycle everywhere. We were engage on the 20th (after HE called my fiancĂ© and told him the bad news). We married in June.

Black Pants challenge: ok- I start this week. Mine is a dress for a wedding I am going to in six weeks ( and another in five months).

When school teachers go through their things

My daughter in law giggled when she saw a box
labeled "Excellent Teaching Ideas".
She had no idea that the items in that box
represented hundreds of hours 
of going through materials 
to engage students.
I have purged over forty boxes of items
from the thirty years of working in classrooms.
Teaching every grade from PreK to Eight,
that amounts to loads of "stuff".
Slowly I am getting down to the last few boxes.
They are difficult to give up.

When a person works at a regular job
they cling to their company stapler or tape dispenser.
When they walk out that last day
they may have a box of mementos that hung on their wall.

Teachers, in the past, purchased almost everything in their classrooms.
Posters, children's books, professional books, wall coverings,
even that stapler and tape dispenser.
When I left classrooms I knew that I either took things with me
or they ended up in the trash
because the principal wanted the classroom "clean" for the next teacher.

My husband was very patient with our last move.
Ten years ago he moved it all.
God loves him for it and so do I.

This last two months I have been going through things.
The local Catholic school has received  boxes of
manipulatives  and "leveled reading" books.
Our daughter has taken in several boxes of "stuff" for homeschooling.

The USO took in five boxes, with two ready for them again.
The Library is having a sale soon, they are my largest donation site.

Now I am down to, "What will we really use in the future?"
I wish I could read tea leaves!

Friday, October 10, 2014


Here is the front of my new kitchen.

The problem is the window treatment. 
Currently she has the bead and swag,
those both move with the family.
These are the only windows in the front of the house
without plantation shutters or blinds.
To live there, I will need something up right away. 


Has anyone ever used a dark steel sink?  Wondering how to clean it.

And just in case you are bored Data Mining on children?
Check out this article.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Why Delaware?

Even the real estate agent asked.

Here is our list:

1. Close enough to our children
    without driving each other crazy for the next 15 years.
   All bets are off after that if we need full time care.
  There are some great "old age communities" close,
  when the time comes.
  We will be 90 minutes away for now.

2. Reasonable taxes.
    There are no sales taxes in Delaware.
     "Buying into" Delaware comes with a hefty price
          (1.5% of the house price- not deductible),
       Staying put is inexpensive. ($900 a year for a $250,000 house!)
       Pay up front and then there are few worries.
       Income taxes are reasonable.
       We will have to get used to paying them again.
       Kansas doesn't tax military retirement.

3. By the shore
      We looked at Pennsylvania- better personal tax rate,
       but the trip to the ocean meant going through a big city.
       From my new house I can be at a river beach in 10 minutes
       and an ocean in 30.
       My husband can fish the small lakes (they call them ponds)
       I can walk the shore and retrieve shells.

4. A chance to continue learning
    Venturing into DC for lectures,
    Going to Maine for woodcrafting,
    Enjoying art in large cities.
    Delaware offers a good senior university as well.

5. Live close to those who provide the food.
     Farmers are amazing people.
     Within a few miles there is a poultry farm, huge orchard, and a meat locker.
      The Amish are quite present,
       so buying from stalls on the side of the road will be a pleasure.

6. Good health care
     Moving into Medicare, it is important to be near good care.
     Thanks to Mr Biden, the VA is amazing for my husband.
     Until I am very ill, I plan on using the
     John Hopkins Health near my daughter.
     I don't see myself becoming that ill for the next few years.

7. Much closer to old friends
    Scott and I have friends who have settled
    within a car drive of our new house.
    Kansas is lovely.
    We both have made two or three good friends.
     We miss everyone else.

8. Spiritual life is abundant
   I miss active parish life.

9. Privacy on less land
    We love no curtain living.
     Taking care of lots of acres has gotten old.

10. The most important of all
      Our oldest just turned seven.
      If we want to be a  part of their lives, we need to be there.
     Soccer games, Fishing, Woodworking,  Sewing, School work.
     In three years everyone will be on the same coast!
      Whooo Hoooo!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The house!

We have lived in a ranch with a basement for the last ten years. 
As we age, 
we wanted to make sure that the house we chose fit our choice for one story living.
We looked at many two story houses with a first floor master.
Pretty, not practical for our vision.
Ranch with a basement is hard to find in Delaware. 
Marianne found one for us.
We can use both floors for now 
and later (much later) we can live simply on the main floor.
White house with gray roof. Another Green Gables to me.

 It is on a cul-de-sac.
The grands will be able to ride bikes without worry of traffic.
My walking will increase since the loops of streets are quiet and flat.
For my husband the best part is a 3+ car garage.
I have hoped that his workshop could live within the house
rather then in a second building. Achieved!
My car? I am thinking it will have to be happy outside for the time being.
Maybe later we will build another small garage.
No HOAs in the area. I can even have a close line and a garden.

Screened in porches are a huge part of Delaware living.
Since the house is shaped in an H
the porch is the entire cross length between the bottom legs of the H.
I assure you, this will be my favorite room.
The owner put in an exhaust hood for the bbq.
No more fighting mosquitos for the meat!
Last, it has an amazing outside area.
The family had seven children in this three bedroom, three bath house!
They worked on making great outside areas.
This bridge and firepit are all a part of the property.
After living on 5 acres in Flagstaff and 18 in Kansas, having outside space is very important.
Having outside space that is easy to maintain was even more important.
On 1.3 acres with green space behind,  no curtains needed for the entire back of the house.
LOVE no curtains!

There you have it.
Those were the things that made us both know that this house was a home for us.

The rest of the house looks like a normal house.
Some hardwood floors, split master from other two bedrooms,
close to a military base, in a small town, cute kitchen,
huge, finished, open basement.
You know, good, normal house.

The process is rolling. By Thanksgiving we should in the first stages of moving!

Monday, October 06, 2014

House hunting 101 B

I'd like to tell you that we had certain ideas of what we desired in a house

I'd like to tell you that we had a tight range of price in mind

I'd like to tell you that we knew which part of Delaware we wanted to live in

I can tell you all of those things
But it would be a lie
and I am really working on being truthful

What really happened was that my husband and I really talked about the future.

A sense of reality hit me about three months ago
We have much less time in front of us then we do behind us

My goal was to get us truly settled and enjoying life
before we got any older.

The newest real estate agent was a champ.
Marianne drove us everywhere.
She told us stories about the people, the areas, the life
and just living in Delaware.
The amusing thing was that she had just returned from Florida
to look for a house to retire in.
One of the things she said to us made us chuckle
" I'm not so sold on Florida. We DO have it all in Delaware"
and we agreed.

Nine houses, she was confused on what we were looking for
"Big or small, 1/2 to 5 acres, neighborhood or country,
no one close enough to look in your windows, lots of sun (lots of windows).

We explained we were simply looking for a home
not a house. That did not help much.

We settled on a house that was two doors down from an Amish school house.
I could never work there- but we would enjoy the kids
and the buggies.

I asked if there was anything else she could think of.

She thought a moment and said there was just one
She drove us to a "for sale by owner"
It was a house that I had asked each of the previous real estate agents
to show to me.

It is now pending.
We begin moving our things in December
Yup, she found us our home!

House hunting 101

Three trips to Delaware
Three very different real estate agents

Agent one was young
younger then my 28 year old son, young
His dad built houses
He wanted to sell me one of those houses
or have me buy one in an HOA community
which restricted my dogs from barking.

Moving on

Real estate agent number two
Well rated on Zillow
sold a slew of houses this year
I did all the research and asked to see certain houses
and any others he had in mind
He blocked out four hours
I had flown 1200 miles and rented a car for the three days.

Houses were not as expected
He gave his estimate of what they were worth as we walked out of the door
Then he countered himself
Then he suggested we might start the negotiation at the asking price.

Around lunch he left me waiting at an empty house
Once he got there he commented that he had gone to eat
Hadn't I?
Since we were traveling in separate cars
He planned golf games and softball experiences
While I just tried to find addresses.

We put in a bid on a house
We had been the only lookers in 3 months
The people were at home and obviously loved their house
They were disappointed at how low we started
They countered
We passed.

At least I really got to see the state we
are planning to move to.

Back home again
I saw the perfect house on line
The owner had suddenly passed away
He had been the same age as my husband with many of the same interests
The house was where we wanted
The price we wanted
The size we wanted

I emailed the second real estate guy
Then I called him
Then I did both again
Three days later he got back to me
It took him two days to call the listing agent
She had sold it the night before.

On to a new agent.

This agent I had encountered on my first trip to Delaware
She showed me a house that was way over priced
Three months later she texted me and
asked if we were interested at a lower price.
We weren't
Too much land, too remote
Still, she was nice and aggressive at the same time.

Called her four days before heading out East to see our daughter
She answered- from Florida- and
said she would return home in seven days and could take us out looking.

We scoured the internet
Chose nine houses
With blurry eyes and lots of charts
We met up with her.