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!