Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gypsy - Gone

The morning after the sale we had the opportunity to sit and relish our coffee. We didn't have to take the dogs to camp. We didn't have to move things. We didn't have to do a gosh darned thing. I have forgotten what mornings like that could be like. However, after some time that instinctual thing that sometimes happens kicked in. For some reason my mind picked up on the fact that only one dog had wandered by recently.  I called out for Gypsy and heard nothing. I had fed the dogs in the morning, and let them out, but I didn't recall seeing her afterwards. I stepped onto the back porch and called. I neither heard, nor saw, a dog. Then I noticed that the gate to the paddock had been left open. We never leave any gates open. The dogs could get into the paddock and from there, into neighboring pastures, since all of that fencing is simply 4-strand wire. Uh, oh. Gypsy was being a gypsy and had evidently wandered away. Very unusual for her, but perhaps the turmoil surrounding her little world was too much. She does tend to be a bit shy and there have been lots of people in and out and her house has been in upheaval for weeks. Perhaps she crept away for some quiet, or, she has also been known to squeeze through the gate to forage for food. We Dreamers went out into the back and began calling her. (However, since it was a Sunday morning around 6 AM we hesitated to call too loudly!) Regardless, we didn't see any movement of a white-tipped tail in the prairie grass. There was no dog running up to greet us. We came back to the house and continued with our coffee, but to be honest, our minds couldn't settle. We Dreamers had terrible thoughts. There are coyotes around here. What if she wandered upon a kill near their den? Since we did have some rain there is a pool below our barn, and maybe she was stuck in the mud. Maybe she fell into the ravine by our neighbor's barn while chasing a bunny or a deer, and couldn't get out. What if she had gotten caught in stickers. She is "the princess" and if she gets one little sticker in her foot, she won't move. We decided to drive around the streets surrounding us to see if we could find her.

Mr. Dreamy pulled the car around from where it had been parked, down by the barn, out of the way of the sale. We climbed in and headed out to the road.

We saw some cows. They were quietly eating. Gypsy wasn't there. She was not trying to herd them.
We saw a dog sitting quietly in his driveway. Gypsy wasn't there. She was not playing with him.
We saw some deer here, and some deer there. They wouldn't be standing there staring as we drove by if Gypsy happened to be around.

We were more than a bit discouraged. My heart was pounding. All we could do is return home and wait....
and worry,
and imagine every kind of terrible thing that could happen to a dog,
and worry that she might be in pain,
and wonder what could have happened to her...

Our address and phone number was on her collar. I peered into the few cars that drove by us, looking to see if there was a dog in the back seat. We hadn't gotten a call... but, as Mr. Dreamy pointed out, it was still earlier than 7 AM on a Sunday morning. We'd have to wait.... and worry....

I was already stressed. The taut string around my gut was being pulled just a bit tighter.

After driving the streets closest to our house we returned home. Defeated. Mr. Dreamy pushed the button to open the garage, out trotted Gypsy! Evidently she had followed one of us out into the garage earlier, and we hadn't noticed that she wasn't with us when we came back into the house. We certainly felt a bit foolish having "lost" a dog, and imagined every awful, terrible, no good thing that could have happened to her, only to find that she had wandered into the garage and had been locked out of the house. Yeah, we felt a bit foolish, but a whole lot relieved!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Countdown - Week 2

It has been a busy week with everything focused on the Estate Sale. There isn't a lot we have done besides shuffling items for sale, moving them from here to there and back again, cleaning things, fixing things, hiding things, pricing things....

So, here's a list of this week's accomplishments:
  • I put in a few extra hours on the long arm machine to finish a king-size quilt. The machine had to come down before the sale. I will use the backing to bind the edges until I find my sewing machines and my fabric, and have time and energy for sewing on a real binding. 

  • We interviewed realtors. Back in May we "hired" a realtor. We never signed her contract, and she never pushed for us to sign it. She never did much of anything. We were disappointed. Mr. Dreamy stopped in her office and felt she was very unprofessional. He was uncomfortable and he struggled for 2 weeks about what to do. Finally he decided he couldn't work with her and he called her to tell her so.  We talked with 4 realtors. 
  • We received an unsolicited bid on the house. However, because of the situation with the Realtor, we felt we might be painting targets on our backs for a lawsuit, so that is why we began the interview process again. It's a nice feeling to know we have one bid on the house and can turn around and sell it immediately! (Additionally, should his second bid be high enough, we might not have to pay the full 3.2% that selling realtors normally receive.) After 5 interviews, a few that were excruciating, we hit upon what we hope will be a fabulous Realtor. 
  • Our house-sitter extraordinaire came to take her horses off our property. What a circus! She came with two horses in her trailer. She offloaded one, and loaded sweet Zoe. Off she went to one location. Then she came back to get the two that were here, destined for another location. One that she had just offloaded and the other, Lady Bug, who has been living here for the best part of a year. Everything went well until Lady Bug decided, uh, uh... I'm not getting on the trailer! Ugh. Poor house-sitter spent almost 2 hours working with LB to get her to load. Meanwhile, her other horse, who had loaded on the trailer like a champ, was getting anxious and was pawing and kicking. Crazy times! I was able to help for about 30 minutes, but then we had a realtor come by to meet us so I had to leave. My mind was on the horses, not the realtor's presentation, if you want to know the truth! Finally, I heard a truck engine, heard a whinny, and knew our house-sitter was heading out. I wasn't sure if she had Lady Bug on the trailer, or whether I'd find a dead horse in the paddock. (Just kidding. I know that our house sitter would never hurt a horse.)
  • Ready or not, the dates for the Estate Sale came. We had three long days dealing with lots of people. The first day cars were at our gate by 6 AM. The sale didn't begin until 10!
6:12 AM

9:40 AM
It was funny to see the hoard practically race into the house to find treasures they had seen online. We had a pretty good first day, according to the company. The second day was quieter, but we had people coming through all day. It was very strange to see people wandering around holding my things. Plenty of people inquired as to whether this was an emotional issue for me. "No", I replied, until a woman began to collect some of the Boyd's Bears figurines. She asked me about them, I explained that my sons used to give me those pieces as gifts... then my eyes welled up. What a surprise to find I reacted this way and had no control over my emotions. After she left with her new collection I pulled two figurines off of the shelf that had a special emotional attachment, and I felt better. 
  • During the sale days the dogs experienced day care at Club Pet, which is less than a mile from our home. Tucker used to go to doggie day care for socialization. I don't know if Gypsy has ever been. They reported that both dogs played independent of each other, and would occasionally check up on each other. Tucker was so tuckered out the first day that he turned around one time and slumped down in the car seat, before I could even back out of the parking spot! Gypsy didn't show a whole lot of excitement about returning. Playing with other dogs isn't really her "thing". As I type this, on Sunday morning, Tucker has come over to inquire about going to camp! Poor guy will be disappointed today; No camp!
  • I delivered my funky western/English/Australian saddle to a delightful young lady from South Dakota. She was in town for a wedding and was thrilled to get the saddle. She was particularly interested in the saddle because her mother, an American Indian, rode English and her dad was a rancher, who rode western. She thought the saddle was symbolic of her parents and their marriage. I loved her explanation.

  • After the sale we sorted through the left-overs, piling things we decided to keep in selected corners of the house and marking them with flagging tape. We hired a service to deliver items of value to a charitable organization, chemicals and electronics to appropriate facilities for disposal and to toss everything else in the dumpster. 

They were absolutely amazing. Sean, LaDonna and Michelle worked practically non-stop for over 9 hours. They worked miracles. 

 Basement on Friday morning - day 2 of sale
(Photo from security camera)

Basement on Sunday

One benefit of the estate sale is that we had realtors come by to "shop". Perhaps they weren't all that interested in our things, but they were very interested in the house. What a great way for them to get a foot in the door, literally! I had a small deck of business cards in my back pocket by the end of each day. A few of the realtors came back to shop... with clients in tow. We were told by one of the realtors to expect a bid from her clients; they have just sold their larger home about a mile from us and are ready to move forward with a cash offer and a two-week move-in. OMG! Could life get anymore stressful?!! So, we continue to work on sorting and packing and we wait to see what the offer might be. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

California Dreaming

This week's theme song is sung to the tune of "California Dreaming", but of course, I had to change the words! Sing along...

All the grass is brown, and the sky is blue.
We have lots of flies, and mosquitoes too!
Things would be much better if I was in El Sobrante,
California dreamin’ on a burning summer’s day...

Packed another box, put some things out for the sale,
Began to think of moving, then it began to hail.
California sounds much better,
She began to wail,
California dreamin’ what would this move entail?

All the grass is brown, and the sky is blue.
We have lots of flies, and mosquitoes too!
Moving to El Sobronte seems the thing to do,
California dreamin’ I can’t wait to move...
California dreamin’ I can’t wait to move...
California dreamin’ I can’t wait to move!

In last week's countdown I mentioned that Mr. Dreamy had flown to California. We are living another example of "Never say Never". After getting caught in the 2007-08 downturn in real estate we didn't sell our SC home for 3 years. We said we'd never buy another home without having sold the home we live in first.  On Saturday our son went to a home we saw online and gave us a FaceTime tour. The house had several features we liked, including the possibility of parking the RV next to the house, and the house would be about 35 minutes from the grand child(ren).  But it didn't totally float our boats. When our son returned home he poked around on Redfin and he sent us some links to other homes that might work for us. We fell in love with one of the houses. As they say on TV, the house "ticks all our boxes!" 

It has RV parking. It has a 3-car garage so Mr. Dreamy can have a workshop. It has an extra bedroom for me to use as a sewing room (and it has a few more, so friends can come sew with me!) It's 25 minutes from our son's house, and shopping is convenient. 

After looking at it online in pictures and in a virtual walk through, we thought that it might be worthwhile for Mr. Dreamy to see the house himself to determine if it is as perfect as it looks online. So... he went online, got tickets, arranged for a car rental, arranged for parking at the airport... and off he went. In addition to the dream house Mr Dreamy looked at 5 other houses we had explored online. None of those would work for us... but the dream house was/is perfect.But then reason prevailed. What would make us think that a 5-bedroom house was reasonable? Why would we want a living room, a dining room, an eat-in kitchen, a family room and an office? 

Who would take care of the property while we were off traveling, or living on our lot in Florida. Nah. It didn't add up. So, we gave up our opportunity. 
But, dreaming about living in that house and location was a nice diversion from the pre-sale insanity in which we are living!