Thursday, August 13, 2020

Here we go again

We moved to Tennessee in 2007 after 18 years in one house in Cary Illinois. Since then we gave four houses the chance to be our fave place to retire. They all had their good points and of course bad too, and as Dave's  health changed, our need to adapt continued to change too. 
I loved having a huge garden when I had the time and focus to attend to it, but that has changed as I am spending more time being a caregiver and less time working with a capable partner in our yard. Because Dave can't do as much as he once did, the garden has become overwhelming for just me. I have hired a landscape team who will come at the end of the month and hopefully they can clean up the fallen limbs, kill the weeds and make the yard beautiful again.
But what is the point of having a garden when it becomes someone else's work? Hmmm.

And then inside, I am focusing more and more on just keeping the house clean, battling an ant invasion (conquered I think!) and keeping Dave from hurting himself. The other day I was napping and heard a strange noise. I went upstairs to find Dave had crawled out my studio window onto the roof with the shop vac to try and clear the gutters! This is a man who loses his balance easily on flat ground, and has been falling out of bed on a regular basis. No way should he be on the slanted roof. 

Since we moved our bedroom downstairs to the living room it was only a matter of time before I decided that another move was in the offing. We began looking to see if we could live closer to my sister and her new husband since they moved way over to the east side of town. It didn't occur to me how much we depended on each other when we lived just minutes apart, and now she lives far enough away that I have to get on the busy interstate to get to her house. 

House hunting began last week and we put in a bid on a house with a large in ground swimming pool. No garden at all, but at least a fenced in yard. The housing market is so tight here that a house goes up for sale and is bid on just from the listing pictures, which is what happened with that pool house. We had one of the first appointments and minutes before we got there, a contingent contract was signed by someone who never even visited the house. We offered a cash back up bid, but no, it didn't take. No biggie. It was nice but so unrealistic for our situation, as my friends were quick to advise me.
The more I looked the more I realized that we needed to downsize again, and I hoped for single storey living, which was so difficult to find. But when I changed the search criteria for a town on the far side of where my sister moved, I was able to find a listing for the perfect home for us. Ooltewah! (everyone here says oo-da-wah)

Dave and I immediately took a ride out to see the house and looked in the windows and knew we found the right place. 
I called my fave realtor who has worked with us over the last three moves and we got inside to look at it that very night. Dave and I loved it and we put in an offer and it has been accepted. We close on September 3rd.

Penny round tile backsplash up to the ceiling, a big wide single sink, just like I love, and white carrera marble floors. Across from this view is the big recessed refrigerator with floor to ceiling cabinets, which weren't pictured in the listing and a great surprise. There is an eat in area backed by big windows and then a formal-ish dining room too. A cute screened porch and deck are out that door. On the other side of the room is the laundry room with a big window. The many windows make all the rooms sunny and bright with lovely views. 

The house was built in 1993 and a flipper got his hands on it and brought all the finishes up to date. I just love the master bath, with a bubble tub, separate shower and closeted commode. So fancy. The guest bath is just as nice. 
The house is smaller, 1600 sq. feet, which is just perfect, and has three bedrooms and the two baths and no icky carpet. The living room is huge, with a wood burning fireplace (not gonna ever use it until we change it to gas logs) and high ceilings.

The painted deck is facing east for morning coffee, has a mountain view and is cossetted with mature redbuds, which offer some shade for the pugs to enjoy.
While the yard is large and long, a half acre, it is mostly grass, which will be handled by a yard crew, not me. The really happy surprise is that there are two big healthy fig trees, full of fruit, roses, hydrangeas, buddleias, peonies, crape myrtle, a wisteria (gotta go) lilies and iris, not to mention a couple of bedraggled apple trees and concord grape vines. So I am not too sad to leave my garden since I will have all these to enjoy.
The two car garage and drop down attic will serve to hold my accumulation of art supplies and yarn and I will have a studio and Dave will have his, um, whatever room. Just enough of what we need and nothing extra that goes unused, like our entire current upstairs. 
My bestie Patsy lives in the same town just 10 minutes away and my sister is only 16 minutes away. So perfect! 

Now, to again prepare to put the current house on the market, and unload a bunch of accumulated stuff that has been moved and moved and never used. I still have framed artwork from my undergraduate exhibit (1981) which hasn't been hung since we got to Tennessee. Lots of irrelevant clothing and decor items have to go, so Goodwill will be getting new inventory.

Because the house is so pretty and shiny, I just don't want to be bringing in stuff that has seen better days. I'd rather live skimpy for a time until the right piece shows up. 

So today I am focusing on one closet and making piles to keep and donate and that will feel good. We'll move into the new house first and then clean and fix issues here before putting this house on the market. 

Lots to do, and excitement to motivate. Yay!


  1. I'm glad your going to get to move closer to your sister, but it sounds like a lot of upheaval for now!

  2. Congratulations! Beautiful new home.
    ~Becky from Indiana

  3. After being in the same house for 48 years I can't even imagine what it would be like to move as many times as you have. I would love a house that had new features 1953 bathroom, you might remember it from when you were here, as cute as it is would love an expensive makeover, but not gonna happen. I'll just enjoy all the photos you will show us of how you set up the new house. Small town living will be nice too.

  4. Congratulations on finding the perfect home. I'm sorry that Dave is doing poorly. I've been following you since Indiana and loved your home on the hill and you had two little pugs and loved to read about all that. Some of your later homes I wasn't that excited about, but I did like the current house. This new one looks wonderful and I hope you'll both be very happy there.

  5. New house is beautiful. I know you will put you "stamp" on it bit by bit. Hope your Vit D is way up there.... I have a friend who has moved 4 times in six years and I am tired of boxes and packing etc. You go girl and if I was closer I would come help.....

  6. Happy to read you have found just the nest home for you and Dave, and it looks wonderful! I'm sorry to hear that Dave's situation has progressed, it must be very tough for you both. Your new place seems to have so much light coming in from those windows and I love the kitchen. Good luck with the sale of your existing place Melody.

  7. Wow! That's fast! And you just got your artwork up. That's a lot of work to face in the next few weeks, but the new house looks beautiful and has lovely windows and light--two things my house lacks and I really miss. Great views make it all the better. Good luck with the move and I hope you've found your long-term home. I don't know where you get your energy!

  8. Lovely house - and the single storey will make things much easier for you. You've managed the upheaval of moving before so I'm sure you'll do it well this time - calling in help when you need to. I'm sorry Dave isn't so good, but this new place will make managing his situation easier for you too. I hope there'll be someone waiting to snap your current house up the second it hits the market - that goes on the prayer list!

  9. It looks good in many ways. I hope this can be your house for the rest of your lives! (Enough moving, already)

  10. The house sounds wonderful. I admire your willingness to make changes as you move through the changes in your life. Your candor in sharing your experiences as those changes come along is an encouragement to others facing similar challenges.

  11. Melody,
    I love how each home is the perfect spot for you and Dave. Sometimes when I am in the process of making major changes I think WWMD (What would Melody Do).Your approach reminds of the strategic planning used in Non Profits. You are as always flexible and fluid with change.
    In Peace and Creativity,
    *****There is nothing like being around sisters!

  12. Congratulations. I hope this one works out for you. Gee, seems like you never really unpacked. And you just hung all that artwork. And the garden is doing so well. But being near your sister is important and having a house that works is too. What is the sense of owning a big, two story house if you only live on the bottom floor? My house is only 1,279 sq ft but then it's only me. Detached double garage. But I have a nice lot for the city. 60% of the parcel and it goes from the street sidewalk to the back alley. The only downside if lack of privacy as there are apartments north and south that can see into the yard. And it's noisy.

    I love the white, the marble, the clean-ness of it all. A fireplace was the one thing on my wish-list I had to give up. Also Spanish Revival. But I did get high ceilings, hardwood floors, plaster and a garage. And a pretty big house for the neighborhood. I haven't done much inside aside from installing some tile, painting and repairs/restorations. The yard has undergone major changes.

    I'm not sure what I am going to do when I end up moving back into my parents' home. It's a nicer neighborhood but I love my house and am going to love my yard when I'm through with it. If I moved into their house I would have to renovate the entire bottom floor front bedrooms and one bathroom into a master suite including knocking out walls and installing insulation in the walls and ceiling. The kitchen needs updating and new cabinets. I would love to bring my vintage O'Keefe and Merrit stove but that would entail running a gas line into the kitchen, not a difficult task but none of it could be done while my Mom is still alive. My house is fine for just me as it only has one bath with one sink.

    Figs, Apples and Grapes. Really all you need. Roses, Peonies, Lilies, Iris, Hydrangea. That'll do. Plus you'll have your pots. You've been through the moving drill so often these last few years it will be your easiest move yet, not to mention you've downsized quite a bit.

    Here's to your last move. Congratulations.

  13. Oh my...just seeing this. I SO loved your first place with the fish ponds and HUGE garden...and I understand 100% (having dealt with my dad's Parkinson's) every move you have made. I am SO happy I moved into a single story place just under 2 years ago....even tho my first FL place was over 2000 sq ft SO much of that was the two en suite guest rooms upstairs (and I never went up there....if I had guests I had my cleaning crew change sheets so I didn't have to go up the stairs). I now have 1800 sq feet but it's ALL on one floor. I also have my own courtyard (in the front) and a walled/fenced in yard in back which makes the dog very happy. At the old place I had to walk him but here he can go in and out to the back as he pleases through the doggy door. Now if he'd just leave the poor rat snakes alone. I have a HUGE travertine patio and two planting beds. The larger with 2 avocado trees, a Java Blue banana, one Key Lime and a Meyer Lemon and a pindo palm. The other ¼ circle bed has a lovely gardenia tree and lots of pots. I also have orchids on the center panel (of three) rear fence and pots with a red and a yellow crown of thorns, one with a ruby red grapefruit and one with my Arbequina "tree" (more like a stick but they grow quickly) and good size rosemary and bay laurel shrubs. In the courtyard I have crotons and Bougainvillea, hibiscus and Lantana......Out front another hibiscus, an autumn olive, jasmine, another gardenia, azaleas, a Norfolk Pine that was my 3' tall potted Christmas tree my first year and is now in the ground and well over my head, and a Golden Cape Jasmine (sadly, they have no scent but the star jasmine makes up for it). I think the autumn olive is going to go, the hibiscus and gardenia will be transplanted to the back and I will plant more star jasmine and 3 figs....

    Looking forward to hearing about the adventures in the new home....I'm suspecting that the blogging might slow down....being a full time (literally 24-7) caregiver gets exhausting....

    Love you dear friend!!!

  14. My brothers claim that I move whenever the freezer needs defrosting. You seem to be of the same ilk. But now we've been in 1200 sq ft on two levels for fifteen years. The Mister is reluctant to hire help, but I've almost convinced him that hiring is so much cheaper than getting a place in a senior community.