Sunday, September 15, 2013

...No Place Like Home!

Floor install not finished, but starting to look like home!
Finally! After all the heartbreak of divorce, selling a house, finding a place to live, and then the awful chore of moving...I am home! It was almost this time last year when my life crashed into a wall at full speed. Everything I knew was about to change and after accepting that there was no way to stop it, I gathered up the pieces and set the journey compass to forward! (That sounds easier than it actually was.)

Initially, I felt the smartest thing to do would be to find an apartment, settle in and ride out the emotional storm I was going through. Unfortunately, the transition from a large Colonial house to a small (and relatively expensive) apartment was a much harder transition then I expected. Nothing seemed appealing. Each afternoon I would set my sights on a different complex full of hope, only to come out dejected and depressed. One final search broke a standing resolve I made to myself to never to shed tears during the daytime, when I rested my head on the steering wheel and cried, "I can't do this."

I need a real home. I need a place that is the central homestead for my family. A place to entertain my friends. A place I can do what I want, when I want. It became apparent that an apartment, no matter how large or modern, wasn't going to do it for me. Step in, my sister Betty, the Realtor!

She is by definition, a woman's advocate. She promotes the cause and beliefs that, given the opportunity, we can do anything. At first I was skeptical. I had been my father's daughter for the first 19 years of life and my husband's wife for the next 39. Buy a house on my own? Be responsible for the mortgage on my own? Make repairs? Plunge a toilet? (Okay, I have plunged a toilet before...but only because someone else made sure that a plunger was available.)

Bring in South Africa! After several attempts to find something in my price range and likability, a condo unit less than a mile from where I lived came online at more than $20,000 under market value and well within my budget. Betty immediately set up an appointment and that afternoon we set out to change my life When we pulled into the community, it was apparent that it was a well kept 55+ development, with manicured landscape and flowers in hanging baskets . When we walked into the unit, it was apparent why it was selling under market value.

A lovely, elderly Brazilian couple had spent a great deal of time in South Africa and when they moved to America, they attempted to bring the motif with them. Jungle green walls were decorated with masks and spears. Large paintings of tribal dancers in full regale lined the walls (even in the bathrooms). The large living room lamps were carved replicas of a lion on one side of three couches and a tiger on the other.

A second floor unit, I stopped when I got to the top of the stairs in total wonderment. My sister, came up behind me and whispered "we will paint it" as she went around and extended her hand to the owners. As she was making the introductions, I was standing still so not to be in the way when Tarzan swung through the room. I was actually about to start back down the steps when I heard Betty say "yes, please show us the rest of the house."

I will admit to not having a designers eye. The price and location were perfect but the decor scared the hell out of me. Quite frankly, I didn't know if I had the energy for what this house needed. But Betty and others convinced me that with $20,000 in instant equity, a little money, sweat and paint was all that was needed to make this a sound investment...and a place of my own! So I bought it.

When final walk through occurred before settlement, I was relived to see that with the jungle decor and furniture gone, all it really did need was new flooring, paint and some cosmetic updates. This could be the perfect place for me after all! A nice neighborhood close to my sons, my girls, my sisters and my friends, all who have been so could I not make every effort to bring it all home!

At this post, most of the wood flooring is down and most of the paint it up. Still much to do but already loving it. One glitch has been some internet issues that are being worked on. Once resolved, many pictures will follow. And now, after re-reading this, I'm off to the local improvement store for more paint...and a plunger. Check back!


  1. Thanks Jess! It has been one hell of a journey!

  2. You captured me to perfection...I will be there pushing you every time you need it. Most of all relieved to see you happy again.

  3. Thanks Bet! It's a comfort knowing that!

  4. Happy this transition, this new step has showed itself in such a positive light. So proud of you and your accomplishment!

    Told you, you could do it... And you did.

    Onward to great happiness!


  5. I just followed the path of those before me Shelley! Thanks for support and a shoulder when needed!

  6. They say the hero comes when they are needed.... So you found the diamond in the rough .... thanks to your sister, Betty (who, I'm getting the impression, flies around without a cape). Count your blessings. You can't beat the home team (family). And your instincts were right. You do need a home, not an apartment. As a semi-retired real estate broker, I was thrilled to read how Betty saw the true potential of the situation and talked you through it. And from the photo, it looks charming already. I'm sure your kitchen is going to get a workout. Love the stories of your grandmother, by the way. Keep us posted, keep calm, and carry on. It sounds as if you have great support, All good wishes Anne H.

  7. Thank you Anne! Betty, sons and friends were true blessings in helping me find my way! Kitchen will get a work out this fall! I really appreciate you taking the time to comment!

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