Yippeee! My daughter is officially a licensed Cosmetologist! She Passed her state board Exam today! Im so very happy for her and of course , more proud than anyone can possibly imagine! When she called to tell me the good news she burst into tears! I wish I could have been there to hug her! She is soooooo awesome! Time to celebrate!! Cheers!
Wow! Today,(Wednesday) I work at 12:00. So I got up at 6:00 and started boxing up the last remaining miscellaneous stuff that needed to be gotten out of the house so that the painters can do their job with as little in the way as possible. We also scheduled a Salvation Army pick up . The last remaining furniture that we couldn’t give to friends or family is sitting out on the curb waiting for a ride. The house is empty except for the few pieces of our furniture the stagers want to use. And the painters should be able to do their job without much in the way. At 10:00 we have yet another meeting with potential realtors, deep sigh. This is the first time I’ve been through the selling of a house and I must admit, it is not for the faint of heart. Especially given the fact that we have so much invested in this house, not only financially but emotionally as well.
45 minutes later…
We just finished our meeting with the realtors and I imagine I looked like a deer in headlights to them! At one point, I must admit I was holding back tears. I can’t really explain why I had this sudden burst of emotion talking about the best strategy to sell this house with two practical strangers who really only care about making money. ( well, I’m probably being a bit harsh, they are very nice people.) Don’t worry, I’m certain no one sitting at the table could even tell I was experiencing an internal burst of emotional upheaval! Well, It’s all part of the process and I am marching along , maybe a tiny bit weepy but it will pass. I have been expecting the unexpected and I must admit I feel a bit surprised by this sudden burst of emotion about the house, Darn it! Yet another part of the Adventure!
Mariah is in Fairfield today taking her Cosmetology State Board Exam. She has been studying like Crazy so I have a feeling she is very prepared and all will go smoothly. But we’ve all experienced these types of tests or exams that are the culmination of a lot of hard work and time invested in something that is very important to us. Please send her good thoughts and prayers . I know she’s gonna be fine!
The next step in our diabolical plan is to have the house staged beautifully for selling. We have hired a staging company called Fresh Accents. The designer we are working with is named Valerie Rebesque. She and her partner are both very creative and professional women who I have a lot of faith in . They will surely make our house a show-piece . I must say that I really enjoy decorating and consider myself pretty good at it (some may disagree, too bad!) , at least good at making my home look how” I” like it to look. I have my own particular style and I really enjoy creating an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming as well as expressing myself in my home. When someone comes into my house it is an invitation to know me better. I really get a lot of joy out of making my home an expression of me. So, having someone else come in and decorate my home will be a tiny bit strange, to put it mildly. I think it will be really important for the decor of our home to appeal to the masses and not just to me. We want as many potential buyers as possible to walk into our home and be able to envision themselves living in the space. I know how to decorate for myself but It will be best for a neutral person to get in here and set the stage that will appeal to lots of people. Read the rest of this entry
With the exception of the front yard, we have quite a bit of cleanup to do around the yard before the house will be ready for public consumption. The backyard is especially horrifying! So today Scott has rented a little Bobcat tractor and the big push to clean up the back yard is on it’s way. We have a detached one car garage in the back that was once converted into a little cottage. It has a bathroom and a tiny little kitchen area. When I was a single mom I used to rent it out to help with my mortgage. It was so good to have it. Before we did our remodel the original house had a garage attached but we used up that space for another bedroom. So the cottage became the garage. We have made good use of that back area through the years . First living in it while we built our house then it became Scotts workshop for all his tools. All around the garage there is ugly concrete and we are removing all of it so we can landscape all the way back. Our backyard is quite large so it will be so pretty to have sod, trees and flowerbeds to see from the house rather than the huge mound of junk I’ve gazed upon for so long! Grrrrr!
The house is nearly empty
I remember when Scott and Mariah and me were living in our 500 square foot cottage in the back of our property while we built our house. How could I forget, right? The three of us and two indoor cats stuffed into 500 square feet for 2 years, yikes! By the time the house was at the very least , air tight and water tight, I was itchin’ to get back in there ASAP! I didn’t care that most of the house was only plywood subfloor , and there were no cabinets ( boy, was that a mistake to let him get side tracked before our project was completed! ) I just wanted to move in soooooo badly. Now, fast forward about 8 or 9 years later and I just can’t wait to get moved OUT! My this is a very familiar feeling , indeed.
I think I may have reported that Mariah recently moved out of my house into a rental house with three other young women her age. The house is in downtown San Jose in a really nice neighborhood. Two of the gals who share the house are sisters and they both work as nanny’s . One of the sisters is just starting cosmetology school , it’s so great that she has that in common with her. She found this great rental situation on Craigslist . One really nice thing about it is that they all moved in on the same day so it didn’t feel like she was moving into someone else’s place. They all contributed to the household with furniture and accessories for the common areas and I was, of course, thrilled because she was able to take many of the items from my house that I was getting rid of. No one had dishes so , yippee, she took a set from me as well as plenty of glasses . It’s just so nice to see her getting so comfortably settled in a very nice place.
After finishing cosmetology school she has been studying while waiting for the state board to send her a date for her exam. The exam is pretty grueling and she is a nervous wreck about it. It is an all day test , part written and part practical. Any kind of big final exam is so nerve wracking and I hate seeing her so stressed. She’s been bringing a mannequin head to the salon to practice her haircutting for the practical portion of the test. The date for her test arrived last week so it’s official, February 27 is the big day! They administer the test in Fairfield which is a couple hours drive away from here so I think she’s planning to go a day early to get acclimated and have a good nights sleep. I know she will do great!
We are in the home stretch ( there’s a pun in there, but I’m too tired to see it) with all the house preparations. This next Monday we will interview the last two realtors. I really dislike this part of our Adventure! I have never been involved in the selling of a house and there are so many intricacies involved in the whole process, it makes my head spin! The other thing I really hate about the house selling process is deciding on a realtor. For me it’s especially awful because I am acquainted with so many very successful realtors from my salon. There’s just no way to consider every one of them. We would be interviewing realtors forever! I’m choosing to take a backseat on this decision. Scott’s mother was a realtor for nearly forty years and she owned and ran a very successful real estate office for much of her career , so he grew up around the business and is very familiar with the whole process. We will have interviewed six realtors after next monday and from those six we will decide which person we will feel most comfortable working with. It’s a hard decision because they are all so good, although they all seem to have varying opinions as to how to price our particular property. Pricing is yet another part of the process that causes a knot to form in my stomach. This house is our nest egg and we need to get as much money as possible to fund our big Adventure so we need to be smart about our decisions. This is why we are attempting to make certain that the house is finished perfectly and that it is staged to show its maximum potentials.
Today is a Milestone. Today is the day I will stop asking Scott so many questions ! ( “whatcha doin’ today? When will that be done? what time is the painter coming? where does that go?) He’s got a lot on his plate and my normally calm, cool and collected man seems to be showing a bit of wear and tear on his calmness. Just A little. While I’m at the salon cutting and coloring hair and blissfully chatting away with all my clients, Scott is here at the house making cabinetry and trying to get as much of our things from inside the house moved to the storage unit as possible. He’s also clearing out the backyard and around the cottage in the back so that the painters can paint the exterior next week. On the weekends the two of us bust our buts to get as much done together as possible and the weekends fly by so fast. We are pretty productive together but the busting buts here at the house continues on for him each and every day, without a break. So He isn’t getting much down time to recharge right now. Our evenings are the time when we both unwind and have a nice dinner and a bottle of wine together in front of the tv. Every morning while we are having our breakfast I like to ask, ” So what’s on your agenda for the day?” He’s normally very happy to list what he has planned to accomplish each day. But last night I mentioned that I thought It might be a good idea to get a few more hands to help him, some laborers, and whew, he just snapped at me. Not a common occurrence at our house ( totally understandable this time.). Apparently he has it all under control, Sheesh. This is a sign that we are nearing the time of the project when I need to be mindful not to add more stress to my sweet man. Nerves are high at the moment , on both sides, not just Scott. We have so much on our minds and our to-do list is pretty overwhelming. Not to worry, we are getting plenty of sleep, for the most part. The list is beginning to get many things checked off so the good news is it wont be long now and we can take a deep breath, AHHHHH! Having momentary Grumpy moments are to be expected right now and don’t let me mislead you into thinking it’s only Scott who is exhibiting this lapse of normality. I too am feeling the effects of the whirlwind that is our life at the moment. Boy oh boy , The coordination it takes to make a move of this magnitude is pretty amazing! You really have to WANT to do a move such as this really bad to make the many and varied life changes and sacrifices that are required . If your asking yourself “why” we are so determined to put ourselves through such a move, well, I have a long and detailed list of reasons for our relocation but the first one that comes to mind is, Change. In a nutshell, we are in a place in our lives where we are craving a change of lifestyle and this is our solution. All this craziness we are putting ourselves through will pay off in a big way in just a few more months. Our eyes are on the prize and our minds are focused , we may be experiencing temporary moments of grumpiness and we may snap at one another on occasion but we carry on hand in hand and forgive and forget ! This is our life right now, we have chosen it and we are solid in our resolve to continue marching together towards this goal , Smiling, frowning, laughing, crying, but never wavering in our devotion to the path we have chosen. We are each a “Rock” for the other, (even if we may occasionally like to whack each other over the head with a “Rock”! hee!hee!) The Adventure Is Upon Us!
As I’ve talked about many times in the past, selling my salon is another bittersweet part of our preparations for our new life. The first person I wanted to offer the opportunity to buy my salon was, of course, my dear colleague Natalie. She has worked along side me in my business for ten years and I would never have even considered offering it to anyone else before she had the opportunity to consider if it was something she wanted to undertake. Owning a business and being responsible for all it takes to make sure it runs smoothly is not a dream everyone has. There is much backstage work that goes into running a successful business, even one as small as mine. Many of the maintenance and the daily worries that go along with owning a business are not something every person considers worthwhile . There is much to be said for just being responsible for yourself and for your own personal business on a day to day basis, and being a successful stylist has its own challenges, believe me, it’s not easy work. So When Natalie and I talked this last weekend about her feelings about taking over the salon I was very supportive of her decision not to take it on. She spent a good deal of time struggling with what was best for her and for her future and decided that for her , the thought of owning a business on top of being a busy stylist was going to add too much stress to her already very comfortable life. In the end what is best for my dear friend is most important to me. Plan B will reveal itself and life will go on .( Big Smile!) Everyone is happy and there are absolutely no hard feelings between myself and Natalie. I have many other options and will do my best to find the person who is the best fit to continue running the salon. It’s a very desirable business in our little community of hair salons and I already have a great candidate who I am talking to at the moment. This Adventure of ours is proving to be an Adventure for many people around us as well as for us! I have very optimistic outlook on the future of One Eighty Four Plaza South and I just know that change is good, hard , but good. I’m really proud of Natalie and the courage it took for her to do what is best for herself! She’s an amazing woman and will always be one of my best friends!
Scott was very productive the other day. His workers didn’t show up yesterday so he decided to be productive in a different way. He decided to post a few things for sale on Craigslist. His motorcycle, an old car stereo, and a handgun. All three items sold the very day he placed the adds! Amazing! The people who bought them came that day and picked them up. With the exception of the handgun which we learned is illegal to sell in the state of California , he was able to find a gun store in another state and mailed it off already. Whew! Im really impressed with how fast he was able to sell his junk. ( I would never call it Junk In front of Scott !) One persons junk is another persons treasure, that’s true. Hurray! For Craigslist!!!
I know you all most likely think we are nuts for dismantling and shipping our pool table all the way to Panama. And you would probably be absolutely correct in your assumption! We are totally nuts! ( We have long ago embraced our nuttiness!) But Our pool table has a history that is very sentimental to us. Way back in about 2003-4 when we were in the very beginning stages of designing and planning our remodel, we went to Reno for a long weekend. Mind you, in the process of dreaming about and planning the design of our house, we knew early on that we would incorporate a game room. While we were in Reno we learned that there was an art fair going on . We both enjoy walking through festivals and just checking it all out so off we went. Now let me give you some background on Scott and Me for those of you who dont know us. One of our greatest pleasures is entertaining our friends at our house. We love nothing more than preparing some good food, opening up a bottle of good wine ( or two, or three) having a group of friends over and having a good time. At our house a good time often includes playing a board game, a fun Wii game , darts, and Yes, you guessed it , a friendly game of pool. We love playing games together as well. Its hard to stop us when we get a good cribbage game goin’! Some of my fondest memories ( aside from Hollyween parties!) is sitting around our dining room table drinking and laughing while playing Apples To Apples, one of my personal favorite group games. I also have some great memories of playing Balderdash with our friends Mike and Maria. I’ll never forget laughing so hard with them as they kicked our butts with their knowledge of different languages , which I still think was an unfair advantage! Ha! Ha! Our pool table has seen some fun nights with lots of friends and it’s always been a focal point , especially at our Hollyween Parties.
Well, it looks like Midnight and Copper will be joining us on this Big Adventure! I put the word out to see if I might be able to find someone to adopt them but to no avail. So onward we go with our two little fur balls. Given the fact that I have not taken them anywhere in the car since they were about 2 years old, I’m expecting any type of transportation at this point is going to be pretty terrifying for them. In order to attempt to minimize the trauma, we are putting them in their shiny new crates and taking them on short drives with us. I have been trying to desensitize them to the carriers by spraying cat nip in the carriers at night . Both cats seem to really fall for this little trick , I’ve seen them sniffing around and rubbing themselves on the crates. I think thats a good sign? The crates I bought have these nifty little food and water receptacles built into the doors. Not that you want an animal who will be trapped in the crate for upwards of 12-13 hours drinking and eating much as they have no way to go to the bathroom. Sunday we took Midnight with us while we took another load of household belongings to our storage unit. Aside from a bit of pathetic meowing in the beginning, he seemed to do pretty well. Success! Copper is next for a little outing! Each evening we are still putting harnesses on them to see if we might eventually be able to use a leash down the road. I don’t really see them putting up with being on a leash but, what the heck , It’s worth a try! I thought it might be possible to give them a break from the carriers when we arrive in Panama City but I’m most likely delusional. The reality is that they will most likely be stuck in the safety of the crates until we get to a pet friendly hotel in Panama City. Cats on leashes?? I think Not! Ha! Ha!
When Scott and I made the decision to retire abroad it was impossible for us to really grasp the reality of what that was going to actually involve. Oh, we knew that we would have many many decisions to make, financial decisions, logistical decisions, business decisions, just to name a few. We had a pretty good vision, of course, of all the physical labor it was going to take to get the house ready to sell ( we had a pretty accurate vision on that count! ) . Retirement of course would mean I would no longer own my salon, consequently I would either sell it, or close it down (Sigh!) and if I had to close it down then getting rid of all the furniture and equipment would be what I would face down the road. When we decided we wanted to pursue a completely new and different life in an entirely different country we , of course, were aware of what a monumental change it would be for us, in so many countless ways. I think one of the many aspects of making this move that I didn’t fully and realistically anticipate is how our moving would affect those around us and then how that would in turn, affect us. How could we have known just how much our leaving would sadden those who care about us?
Valentines happens to also be our Anniversary so, Valenversary it is! Scott managed to cook up a delightful lobster taco dinner with shrimp cocktail and of course I made my famous guacamole ! Topped off with a good bottle of wine and served up on the coffee table in front of the almost finished entertainment center and we were two happy customers! 13 years for us and boy do we have many many more adventurous years to look forward to. Cheers!
The last big piece of the woodworking projects in our house is the entertainment center in our family room. Here’s some pictures of the progress! I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed with my carpenter , his design and workmanship never ceases to amaze me! That last huge piece of the entertainment center was too big to fit under our arbor leading from his workshop into our house so he had to put it into his truck and drive around the block to bring it through the front door! I found that kinda humorous ! I’m also including a couple shots of the Kitchen ,its soooo close to being done. I really hope whoever buys this house has an appreciation for all the quality workmanship that Scott has so lovingly contributed to it. I’m glad we are taking all his tools and equipment with us to Panama cuz’ I’m gonna need another pretty closet ! Read the rest of this entry
FAST FOOD! I realize there will be plenty of opportunity to be bad in Panama but since we are throwing caution to the wind… What the Hay!!! It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve eaten at a fast food restaurant and I must admit, it was pretty yummy!! I know “Bad Holly!!!” I just Love being Bad, don’t you? Just once in awhile! Ok…. I just realized, in this picture you can see that Scott is eating a SALAD!! Lol! What a trader! I chose fries for my side and he ordered a SALAD!!! What??? I thought we were both BAD!! Well, the truth is out! …. Whatever ! Ha!Ha!
This is a Post published by one of my favorite Panama bloggers. She moved from Canada to a beautiful coastal town in Panama called Pedasi. I believe she and her husband have been living there for about a year and are truly loving the new life they are creating for themselves. I wanted to show you the beautiful pictures she took of the Carnival celebration taking place in her town. It looks so great, although maybe a bit crazy-crowded for me! Gotta love they way Latina communities embrace a celebration!
And so Carnaval 2013 continues. The floats get bigger and better each day. Today I bring you only daytime pictures. I was too tired to stay up to see the nighttime activities. In fact I escaped the burg to go to Dusty’s place for some fishin’ and floatin’ con mi amiga. Enjoy!
I just counted how many more weeks of work I have! Oh My! Fifteen weeks to go! I know, some of you don’t want to think about it, and I’m sorry to make you sad. But I can’t help but be super excited! Scott and I are working so hard to make this all happen and all our hard work, planning, and strategizing is coming to a completion. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel! I have most of our essential belongings that we want to take with us packed up and stored in the storage unit. I have a couple more truck loads to take to the donation place and I’ve made a list of things that I need to find a home for like big planters and garden things that I think friends or family may like to take. Soon Scott will be ready to start loading up his tools and clearing out his workshop. The biggest pieces of the puzzle are very close to being done. Landscaping the backyard will be the last big push at the house then we can begin , in earnest, to work on all the documentation for residency in Panama and importing the cats and the transfer of the salon to Natalie. I know she is giving me a generous gift of patience , I have been so caught up in my own transition and as a result her transition to a business owner has been very much neglected by me . I’m about to have room in my head to change my focus to working on the salon and walking Natalie through the process of becoming an independent business owner. She’s gonna be Great! When I think of her running the salon, I feel so glad. There are so many pieces to this puzzle and as organized as I’m attempting to be, some things just have to be addressed first before I can move on to the next piece. Counting the number of weeks I have to work is just one more measure of time for me and I hope those of you who are sad about our move can let me be excited , cuz’ I’m really , really beginning to feel my feet getting eager to do a “Happy Dance!” . Not to worry, I’ll hold off for a bit longer before I let loose with some killer, happy moves! Giggle! Giggle!
I mean “literally”, we are movin’ along with all the necessary steps needed to take to get this boat sailing ! Today, (Sunday, 2/10/13) was a very productive day. We decided to divide and conquer! After we managed to drag down a truck load of more donation things from the attic and loaded the truck ( load number 5, one or two more to go! ), I took off to our local Goodwill while Scott took off for his workshop in the backyard to Finish off the last coat of poly on the carcasses for the entertainment center. I then returned to the house and continued packing up clothes and odds and ends like artwork, and other various things that are still laying around the pool table area. We really need to clear out the area around the pool table so Scott can disassemble it and we can get it packed up in our storage unit. The stagers have decided that we will transform that area into a formal living room for the sale of the house. Im also getting ready to call my friend Charleen who owns a carpet cleaning business and get her to send her guys over to take away our four area rugs to clean them and pack them for shipping. But first the pool table needs to go in order to get to the rug below the table. So, as I was saying, after I got through packing more boxes, we loaded the truck again and made yet another trip to our storage unit to drop off all the boxes I got packed up today. whew!
Last night was another ‘last’ for us, our last San Jose Sharks Hockey game . Our friend Marie has always very generously shared her season tickets with us when she can’t go. I just love going to the games! I love all the music and the hype, and the general camaraderie of cheering on your local team, its good fun. I also really enjoy the fact that when Marie shares her tickets she always gives us four tickets so we can invite friends to come along. Last night our good friends Jim and Cathy came with us , it was great to spend an evening with them. They can really relate to the transition we are about to dive into because they made a very similar move from Pennsylvania to California not too many years ago. Even though they didn’t leave the country it was still a huge life change . They sold nearly all their possessions , packed up their young son and drove out to California for a fresh new adventure. Sounds a little bit like the Beverley Hillbillies ! Only I don’t think they drove out here in a truck with Granny sitting on top,! Noooo Granny would have been strapped to the Viking stove on top of the BMW!! They wish they had found Oil in their yard but no such luck, at least not yet, maybe they should start digging just in case! Lol! Chances are all they would find in the dirt around here is an old iPhone or some kids discarded old ( last years version) iPod . No, I’m just kidding, There’s gotta be a PC somewhere in the yard! Ha!Ha! I really admire the courage and adventurous spirit it took for them to make such an enormous life altering change. They were lucky to have Cathy’s sister, Sandy ( also my very dear friend) already living here. I know it was helpful to have a family member to help acclimate during the early transition. I don’t have any family in Panama but I have connected with a few really friendly and supportive bloggers and other expats through this blog and from our past visits. Its great to know that once we get to Panama and get settled we have people we can contact who will share their experiences with us and help us acclimate to our new life. I seriously doubt we will ever see an ice hockey game in Panama but Im sure we will discover some other way to gather and enjoy a common interest with those in our new community. I know they have a fantastic Blues and Jazz festival in Boquete every year and plenty of parades and festivals to go to . As far as spectator sports, I’ll have to get back to you on that one, there;s probably no shortage of soccer games! For every ‘last’ we experience on this end of our adventure there will be a ‘first’ on the other side! I hold onto that knowledge and it softens the melancholy that comes along once in awhile. Sigh. But for now “Go Sharks!!”
Here we go…. It’s “Crunch” time! I’m Beginning to feel the pressure of all the many and varied aspects of organizing such an enormous move . At the same time I’m getting really excited to just be there! But first before the adventure can begin,we must soldier through and carefully choreograph each part of our preparations . Lets not forget , Scott and I are also working 8 to 12 hour days while simultaneously organizing so many things. We must try to remember that this is part of the Adventure! Are we having fun yet?? Humph! :0 Read the rest of this entry
If you just can’t stand hearing a mother bragging about her child, then you should stop reading right about now…. Im feeling rather gushy about my daughter at the moment. She has been living with us for the last six months and the other day, ( Friday,2/1/13) she moved out. Sigh! I never thought I would feel the pangs of an ,’Empty Nester’, but here I am feeling kinda weepy about my baby moving out on her own. After suffering through an extremely trying ( to put it mildly ) adolescence, I have found that I was actually ENJOYING her presence here in my house! I keep mentioning how much she has morphed into a beautiful, responsible, ambitious, smart, caring, generous, young women, and ,Wow, I gotta say ,” I really like being around her”! Im not surprised, I’m Just sayin’!
We spent five nights with our good friends, Jason & Caroline. They live in Santa Cruz but have a beautiful home in the mountains above Calistoga. The area is called Lake County and its a great place to have a relaxing getaway . It just happened to be my Birthday weekend but we really just wanted to spend time with our friends before we leave for Panama. The weekend was a very productive one , we spent plenty of time not doing much at all, reading, lounging in front of a roaring fire, watching movies, chatting , laughing, ample wine and beer drinking (of course!) with a little hike thrown in just so we weren’t compete and utter slugs. We can check off yet another ‘Last’ on our list of last times. We will not likely make it back up to Lake County again before our move.
Wednesday morning, as we were packing up to drive back home I couldn’t help realizing that although we had completely enjoyed our time , I was looking forward to going home. There’s always something so good about getting back home. I began to think about this, going ‘Home’ thing. There is a time, (fast approaching for us), when we will not be,’Going Home’. Hmmmmmm….. That’s interesting. Of course it’s not an epiphany or a sudden realization! I really do realize that moving to Panama means I won’t have a home to come back to here in California. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before we have established a place in our new location where we feel ‘at home ‘. I have to believe that our home will be wherever we are. As long as we have a cozy bed and a kitchen where Scott can cook, (let’s not forget a place where I can charge my iPad !), we will feel at home.
I am really looking forward to discovering our new life. I’m certain we will have an enormous amount of adjusting to do and lots of work , but I’m ready for it. And a time will come when I have a home to look forward to going to!