carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

First Round of Moving

The plan was the condo would be completed on 5/15.  When booking our temporary place I allowed a few days ‘just in case’.  Good thing I did.

DSCF3005

This is how it looked on 5/15.

I whined.  Everyone pulled together and on Thursday, May 18 our very kind friends Debby and Pat came over from Pittsboro to help us move out of the condo.  They came again on Friday with Pat’s very cool VW truck

DSCF3001 (2)

It was great for moving mattresses and the large trunks out of storage.

 

Ben was even put to work

DSCF3003 (1)

Pat and Debby helped us move, hang the TV, put together our table and organize things.  They were a big help.  We spent our first night there on the 19th and we woke up there on the 20th for my birthday.

DSCF3025

Jim and BK stopped by to help me celebrate but I think I was more than a little worn out from cleaning our temporary place and trying to get us unpacked enough to be able to live comfortably.

The next week with the help of our neighbor, Denis, we emptied our storage unit in Raleigh.  The week after that we rented a van and made a pass at the storage unit in Oxford.  It was great fun to open some of those boxes which have been packed for almost 10 years.

DSCF3041

In the next few weeks we will be going back to the building on Oxford and finally moving everything here.  This will be a lot to absorb in this small space.  I will need to channel my inner Marie Kondo.  And I know that we are so lucky to have all these resources and friends to help us get settled again.  Even though I don’t see the immigrant situation every night on TV I still think of it and realize how fortunate we are.

1 Comment »

Just a teaser

We have been in our condo for 4 weeks now.  Still have not moved everything out of storage so I am not ready (or have the time) for a complete post about all that has been done so this is a tease.  Things that I like and think really work.

 

DSCF3008

Kitchen cabinets.  See that cool hardware

 

DSCF3009

I really wanted these fancy Asian looking pulls.  Somehow $20 or $30 a drawer seemed like too much.  I found these pulls at a big box store for under $2 each and had black rubber washers installed outside to add a little bit of definition.

I picked the cabinets online (that means I didn’t see them before I bought them) so I am really pleased that they turned out so well.  And this was the first time I have ever picked out kitchen cabinets.

 

Ben’s bathroom is the biggest success.

DSCF3008

It may look like a showroom for a handicapped bar sales room but they all turned out to be in the right place.  Now that the glass by the shower

DSCF3010

has been installed Ben is able to shower all by himself again.  Hooray!

DSCF3006

The table I found on Craig’s List along with two chairs.  I found the base (a fire pit stand) in a trash pile.  It is just right to support a few pots of flowers.

Busy summer still ahead of us.

 

 

Leave a comment »

Moving along

Now that the inspections are done, work is moving along at a rapid pace.

DSCF3003 (1)

DSCF3021

Kitchen cabinets being delivered

Saturday, 4/22 there was a stack of sheetrock.  Sunday, 4/23 the sheetrock was up!  So last week they finished sheetrocking and installed the kitchen cabinets.

DSCF3025

This week the tile was laid which includes the floors.  Today 5/5, the carpenter is installing Ben’s bathroom vanity and trim.  Painting starts next week.  That leaves lights and appliances.  It will be close but we have to be out of our temporary place by 5/20.  So no time to fool around.

What won’t be done is my bathroom, the vanity is on back order and I don’t want to pick another one.  The stove will be in place but probably not hooked up to the gas.  It might take the gas company until June to get to it.  Wayyyyy back in 2016 I was told by someone from the home owners’ group that there was no gas in the building.  And since I was in Italy and had no way to check and no reason to doubt this person I planned for an electric stove.  Then in early April I discovered that the condos on either side of me had gas, so why couldn’t I have it?   Fortunately, this was before insulation or walls went in.  So the gas line was installed which meant more inspections and caused a bit of delay.  And we had to get on the gas company’s schedule. Who knew it took five to six weeks to set a gas meter?   And we went over budget because a gas stove costs more than an electric one.

We are also still waiting on Ben’s motorized wheel chair.  (That is a whole other post)  which means we are waiting to see where a curb cut needs to be cut in the sidewalk.  And waiting to buy a vehicle to accommodate the wheel chair.  In our current ‘big ride’ the power window on the driver’s side has stopped working.  Our friend, Cathy helped me get it up and so far it has stayed.  And the air conditioner is working, thank goodness, so I am not going to worry about that right now.

All this is to say that I’ll be really busy for a few weeks so maybe no posts for a while.  But I’ll be back.  I am sure there will be lots of fun happenings during the move.

 

 

Leave a comment »

What have we learned by renting?

When we were considering coming back, where we were going to live was one of the questions that we needed to settle.  We considered different cities.  We settled on Raleigh and then considered housing.  I can remember that two and a half years ago we were eating Thai food with our friends Debby and Pat when we had a discussion.

In that conversation we batted around lots of choices to consider.  Selling the condo we owned and using that money to buy:

into a retirement village.  Too expensive. We never could have afforded that.

a giant Winnebago and tour around.  Yeah, right, would we have gotten out of the dealership parking lot before we had a huge argument and killed each other?

a one level house.  Probably would have to do some remodeling to make it accessible.  And then I would have all the outside maintenance.  And we couldn’t begin to afford anything in walking distance of Cameron Village.

a condo in one of the many high-rise buildings that are sprouting up around Cameron Village like mushrooms after a spring rain.  A consideration, until you think about day-to-day living.  Parking in an underground structure.   Getting Ben and his wheel chair in and out of the car.  Getting on an elevator to ride up.  Possibly having to get off at lobby level.  Going through a lobby.  Maybe fighting with a set of doors.  Up another elevator.  A set of fire doors.  Down a carpeted hall to our front door.  Tee tiny balcony.  No thank you.

Then it became clear to me that we should just remodel/adapt the condo in Cameron Village that we already owned.  From there we picked a designer/contractor and started drawing up plans.  We could have started work before we came back so it was ready when we arrived but I wanted to see work every day and wanted to see and touch the choices for appliances and finishes not just buy online.  (turns out that brick and mortar stores don’t carry everything now.  We have actually touched the flooring and tile that we picked out.  The appliances, well, I have seen similar in person but exact models, no.  Cabinets all ordered online.  Still have not seen them yet.)

Once this decision was made we needed a place to stay while work was being done.  Through Air BandB we found a short-term rental 4 blocks from our condo.  It is from this place that we  have learned a lot!

Let me just say, that the man renting to us is very nice and accommodating.  Our little nit picky things in no way reflect on the quality of this place.  It is very sophisticated, up town decor and colors, designed for a busy, young city dweller who probably eats out a lot.  Not really designed for two semi old folks who are here all most all the time.  Eat 20 our of 21 meals a week at home.  Need at least 6 feet of desk area to keep every piece of paper that comes their way (not me).  And so on.

I learned the most from the kitchen

DSCF3006 (2)

The kitchen in my condo before work started.

DSCF3001 (2)

The kitchen in the place we are renting.  Notice the similarities.   Almost no counter space.  Over head cabinets that I can barely reach.

When we came here I was firmly set on getting a smooth cooktop like the one above.  Well after using this one and I am sure glad that I did use it, I have figured out that it would be the ultimate punishment to have one of these.  I can go on and on about how much I dislike this.  I am sure there are folks who really like theirs.  I am just glad I figured out that they are not for me.

I knew I did not want over head cabinets.  That has not changed.  I did figure out that I need more counter space so our dining table will be extra counter space and an eating space.  I am looking into a large sweeper arm/disposal system that I can lower after we finish eating to sweep off any items that Ben tries to leave on the table to colonize the space.   He will have to be watched very closely.  Maybe some type of alarm system that registers the weight on the surface of the table and when things sit there and don’t move…

This rental kitchen has a wall separating it from the main room and the heating/ac unit.  Air does not move in there.  I am so glad that we will have an open plan.  I will be able to see and hear the TV and Ben and have air moving too.

This group of condos has trash stations that you have to carry the trash to.  There are two trash dumpsters and three small recycling bins for 40 units.  The recycling bins fill up within one day of being emptied and then recycling is piled around for the next 13 days.  The big dumpsters never fill up but someone closes the door and I can just barely slide it open.  Our condo has a wheeli trash can and another for recycling.  I just have to figure out where they will live and once a week/every two weeks push them out to the street.

DSCF3003 (1)

So work is progressing (as of 4/16).    Insulation is going up on every wall that has been stripped all the way to studs.  That will help with noise as well as drafts.  Inspections have been passed.  Drywall will probably start next week.  Things will move very fast now.   Even though we have changed some things the contractor says we are still on track to be finished by 5/15.   Still enough time for anyone who wants to plan to help us move.  Ha ha.

1 Comment »

What have we been up to, part 2

DSCF3002

 

Continuing on the deck theme, the planter.  On one side of the deck instead of a regular rail that would have looked right into our neighbor’s deck rail and deck, our contractor suggested a large planter box that acted as the rail and gave some privacy.  It is over six feet long, about two feet wide and the height of a regular deck rail.

February and March were very mild here and we were out looking at a lot of plant nurseries.  It nearly killed me not to buy plants.  But I couldn’t until I had a place to put them.  I might have written and whined about not being able to fill the deck planter until wires were run and inspections were done.  In the mean time I dreamed and planned, shopped and checked out garden books from the library.  Took lots of pictures of existing planters which were commercially planted and maintained.

DSCF3004 (3)

Finally, everything was inspected.  With help, I added drainage rock and soil and then I did what I was trying to avoid; went plant shopping and bought plants not on my carefully crafted list!  But they were there.  And needed a home.  (that is why we don’t go to animal shelters or to look at baby chicks)

DSCF3004

DSCF3007

neighbor’s planter box in the upper left

DSCF3005

I really like this dwarf  blue ‘mouse ears’ hosta.

I have really jammed plants in there.  Lambs Ear, Sweet Grass, Creeping Jenny, Sweet Potato Vine, Asparagus Fern, Bee Balm, Rudbeckia Daisy, Holly Fern to name a few.  I hope they all make it.  Most will winter over.

DSCF3003

Some things at the back should grow taller and will give more privacy.  And some plants will bloom and hopefully attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  I don’t have the year round height that small evergreens would have given me.  I don’t have the miniature Buddleia (butterfly bush) that I wanted.  Don’t have a miniature hydrangea.  Don’t have a dwarf crape myrtle.   Whine whine whine (I will have that (wine that is) when I get a chair to sit and enjoy the deck)  I do have, thanks to a smart contractor/designer,  the nicest deck in our courtyard.  (And a view of the Broughton High School baseball field)

2 Comments »

Condo Work

How is it progressing?  Well it has gone from this

dscf3001-1

to this

DSCF3005 (3)

Actually it is more ripped out than this now.  Most of the side walls and the ceiling are gone now too.  The plumber has roughed in for the new fixtures as has the electrician.  The deck is done.

DSCF3015 (3)

The deck, ramp and  planter (big box at far left)

DSCF3017 (3)

The planter, almost 6′ long and 2′ wide.  Last week I was out there happily filling it with drainage rock when the electrician walked out and reminded me that he needed to run wiring through there and it would need to be inspected, so maybe I didn’t want to fill it up with rocks and soil just yet.  So I stopped.  But waiting is not a bad thing.   There are two big trees back there that still need to leaf out.  I need to see how much sun I will have.  I don’t think a lot.    Plant searching has started.

I am also waiting to see if I can stain a ‘rug’ on the deck.  I need permission from the home owners association.  We’ll see.

Anyway, 2 months from today (3/15) we should be ready to move in.  Who wants to come help us move, yet again?

 

2 Comments »

Lawd, Have Mercy! Marie Kondo help me now!

When we were in Italy, I had a vague idea of who Marie Kondo was.  For those who don’t know, she is a Japanese woman (definitely OCD) who wrote the book,  ” the life changing magic of tidying up”.  Any way, when we were in Ocean City, NJ I bought her book from a charity shop and began to read it.  It has some valid points and is motivational.  And I know that we need to get rid of more than we already have gotten rid of.  And that I need to become a curator, “a keeper or custodian of a museum or other collection”.  When we finally unpack; our lives, what we inherited from our parents, grand parents will all be housed in about 800 square feet.  If anyone needs Marie Kondo it is us.  And I will need to get it down to a manageable amount.

So what have we done this week.  Our first full week in Raleigh.  Monday was still icy and I was still unpacking.  Fortunately this rental has a large closet that was completely empty with hangers too.

dscf3033

dscf3034

I have completely and totally filled it.  Most of Ben’s clothes are unpacked.  Only my winter clothes are unpacked.  (MARIE!!!!!!!)

Tuesday  we had a visit from Ben’s physical therapist.  To assess  him.  Ben had a doctor’s appointment scheduled but I had to cancel it because I couldn’t be sure that I would be able to get him safely to the car. It warmed up nicely on Tuesday and by late afternoon we were able to venture out.   We managed to make it to Bed Bath & Beyond and found a ‘wedge’ pillow  to raise Ben’s legs at night and a ‘boyfriend’ pillow for me to use on the whoop dee doo Italian leather couch which is so large that I could sleep on it, but sitting on it is sooo uncomfortable.  And to Walmart to finally buy a printer.  Then we met our friend Cathy for Asian food.  Back home, trying to watch a basketball game and trying to set up the printer was most difficult.  Finally, Ben figured it out and got it working but he has no idea how he did it.  A backlog of printing followed.

Wednesday was a trip to Oxford to see our friends Jim and BK.  Ben had seen them briefly last week while I was confabbing with the credit union lady about financing the remodel of our condo. So this was the first time I had seen them.  We had a nice long visit at the BoJangles in Oxford.  Can’t go  wrong meetin’ at the Bo!

Thursday was another meeting with the credit union and Ben’s first session with his physical therapist.  And we managed to squeeze in a trip to Raleigh’s Farmers’ Market for lunch and a little bit of shopping at Imports at the Market.  There is only one garbage can in our rental place so I thought a few nice flower pots (on sale because it is winter) would work as trash cans for now and nice flower pots for later.

Friday came along, another glorious day.   After the first of the week when a bottle of water in the car froze completely solid, we were back to 70 degrees (21 C).  Go figure.  We hustled over to Pullen Park so that Ben could take a shower in the family, handicapped bathroom and then back to meet our contractor, Reid from Original Space .  http://www.originalspace.com/.   We had a good talk with him and looking forward to working with him.

And now today, a visit to the medical supply store to order some of the things the physical therapist thinks will make it easier for Ben and me too.  We rented a storage space so that we were able to empty all the empty suitcases out of the rental car and we will have some place to store all the suitcases which are hanging out in a storage space in NJ once we collect them.  And a visit to Pier One where I found melamine plates on sale.  I am not complaining, but the four large square plates that we have to use here each weight about 16 ounces before any food gets on them.  I can barely pick them up.  I am terrified of chipping them when using or washing them (no dishwasher).  Something needed to be done.  The news ones were greatly reduced in price and weight.  We’ll see how well they hold up.

So that was this week.  I made it through the whole week without crying.  And I have a list of things I like

  • Therapists that come to the house
  • Grocery stores that are open 24 hours.  Other stores that are open everyday all day long
  • A CVS Pharmacy that is more of a 7-11 for students and has so little drug dispensing business that the pharmacist is able to take all the time in the world and chat with me
  • Meal Deals at grocery stores… The Fresh Market offered for $15, a 2 lb meat loaf, a box of risotto mix, a bunch of asparagus tips and a pound cake.  There is no way I could have bought the raw ingredients and made all that for $15
  • Apple TV,  now that we have figured it out (and gotten the EVIL little remote to work) and gotten a cable logon from our friends we are watching all kinds of things
  • Folks who come and chip the ice off of the walks and clear away the snow
  • Being so close to shopping that I really should walk instead of driving
  • seeing so many folks walking around all the time
  • living in Cameron Village

Things I don’t like

  • Oh my, the ads, the consumerism, “BUY THIS”  “EAT HERE”  “DO YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?  TRY THIS DRUG BUT DON’T TAKE IT IF YOU HAVE EVER SNEEZED OR LOOKED CROSSEYED AT YOUR MOMMA”
  • The big cars.  I saw one today that had a vanity plate that said ‘family of 4’ but could have easily carried around 8 people
  • The crappy local newspaper.  The Raleigh News and Observer used to be a good paper.  To me it now seems as if it is very locavore.  The local nightly news is that way too.  It is no wonder that no one here seems to care about folks in Syria or any where else in the world.  If a bomb didn’t go off since the last news cycle no one seems to know about anything else unless they make a real effort to be informed.  We miss the BBC.  We miss knowing what is going on elsewhere in the world
  • Packaging!  I can not believe how hard it is to get some of these packages open.  Really!  And the Tide  (laundry soap) package where you had to fit some little bit back in before it would zip shut.  Get over that.  Fair Warning!  If you bring a child in to this condo there is a package of laundry soap that is not sealed up tighter than Ft Knox sitting on a shelf behind a closed door that your child might sniff out like a bloodhound and chomp down on.
  • The total obsession with fame and stardom and who are some of these people…what have they ever done?  Why should I care?  And why are there so many programs on TV  reporting their every move…

 

So I almost forgot the best part.  I told my cousin that I was reading Marie Kondo.  Now my cousin has a lot of things.  All very neatly kept.  All very clean.  All rotated by season.  I am not criticizing.  She has a lot, but she uses and enjoys these things.  She is also one of the nicest, sweetest people you would ever want to meet.  Truly nice.  When she heard I was reading Marie, the remark was “Yeah. I follow her blog.  She has gotten married.  She has a child now.  Let’s see how ‘tidy’ she keeps things now”  And there was just the tiniest little hint of malevolent glee.  Too bad there isn’t an Access Tokyo that would tell us when Marie Kondo looses it because her child did not put a toy back in its place.

 

I’ll end with a picture of flowers I bought in the grocery the first week we were here that still look great and the going away card from Howard and Margaret and a Christmas card or two.

dscf3028

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment »