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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The House is Sold!

The first showing of our house was Sunday at 4:30.  The potential buyers were there already at 4:20 so Jim and I hurried out as they waited in the cul de sac.   We walked at Notre Dame and then headed back at 5:20 but the realtor and his clients were still talking in the driveway.  So we hung out at the parking lot of the neighborhood pool until Wendell, our neighbor,  texted us to say they were gone.

We felt that it was a good sign that someone stayed more than an hour and it was.  Monday night we got word that the couple was waiting for pre-approval of their mortgage and hoped we would let them know if we got another offer. 

We had one more showing on Monday--this time we hung out at the library.  And Tuesday morning we had an offer from the first clients for the full price.  Faith said she'd present it to us Wednesday morning.  We had one more showing Tuesday evening.

Faith was here this morning at 8:45 with the contract ready to go.  There were no problems with it--and the closing was set for June 3.  We signed with our Iphones again and that was it!  Only three showings which was disappointing, but we needed just one.

Faith said the family had six boys and so our big house was ideal for them.  They asked for beds--and the table tennis table.  Great.  They can have more if they want it!

There could still be complications with the mortgage and the inspections but that is unlikely--we hope! 

Now we need a place lest we be homeless.  I contacted AvalonPrinceton again and am on notification lists for 2 bedroom apartments with lofts.  That would be a great location and more space--and more expensive too of course. 

We will move up our plans to go to Princeton from late April to early April and check out a few more places across Route 1. 

This evening I felt free to leave my cookbooks on the counter and to take my library books out of hiding in the closet.  However, we did enjoy the uncluttered look and may try to keep that up somewhat. 

Hooray!  The house is sold and I am happy to think of a big family living here. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Contract is Signed

Faith Fleming spent some time with us yesterday morning going over the contract for selling our house--which we signed electronically on our iPhones.  She walked through the house and thought we had done a great job of "staging" or in other words, "purging." 

A table looking unusually clear!
Tomorrow the photographer will come and Saturday the house will go on the market.  The lock box is on the door.

I emailed the family yesterday afternoon and got responses from Susan and Michael immediately and Alex shortly after.  I was amused that it was the spouses and friend who were the first to give us positive feedback on this move!  But then Laura also emailed and eventually Jeff and Dan as well.  I am grateful that we can feel welcomed by them.  I am sure we won't be helicopter parents and grandparents!

Once again I checked apartments in Princeton.  The Avalon which would be the most convenient but has only 2 bedroom apartments actually has nothing available right now.    The Copperwood which is close to Jeff and Susan's has only 2 bedroom apartments also and is in a lovely wooded setting.  However, in Princeton Junction across Route 1 and congested traffic, there are several complexes with 3 bedroom apartments for less money.  It will be a decision between space and location.  Space would mean keeping the piano and lots more books.  But it would also mean giving up a goal of being able to walk to stores, church, libraries, and the university.

I felt quite emotional about the whole decision last night.  It means a big change;  I am trying to think of it as an adventure.  I know I want to be closer to our children and grandchildren.  The time will come when we will not just want but need to be closer to them.

And it occurred to me that every move we have made in the last 51 years has been because of Jim's education or career.  This was a move I instigated and he has agreed to but with some reluctance.  We both feel that we are ready to rent and no longer be responsible for home ownership.

 I know we can be happy elsewhere.  I envision being more a part of our grandchildren's lives.  I can see more train trips to New York City to see Dan and Alex.  We already have good friends in Princeton, the Moorheads,  who will welcome us.  Jim has colleagues at Princeton--one of whom is coming here for a colloquium honoring him later this month.  We are certainly familiar with the town and environs.  We will need to find a good place to worship--and good doctors.  It may take a year or so.  It took a year to adjust to our life in Raleigh and in South Bend as well.

We won't lose touch with family and friends here thanks to texting, emailing, and Facebook.

  I hope someone will really want our house and would be happy in it--and that this is all settled very soon.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Second Book Give-away

I wish I had counted the books that we brought to church yesterday.  We estimate that there were 100 or more.  We also brought vintage Golden books--some from my childhood--and music, including songs from the 30s and 40s from my parents.  I set aside a book of poetry for Jake Schepers, himself a poet,  and gave David Banga two Dutch psalters and my cherished split page Scottish hymnal that Jim gave me during our year there in 1971.

I sent out an email on Friday and know that several books were selected even before the church service.  I made an announcement at the end of the service referring to Maria Kando's mantra saying that many of the books "sparked joy" for Jim and me but that it would spark even more joy if people took them home with them.  There was laughter!

It did spark joy to see "Fire, Fire" and "The Monster at the End of This Book" in the pew ahead of us going home with a little three year old new to our church.  And my own old "Miss Frances--Ding Dong School" books chosen by Mary Brown who liked the old illustrations.  And the Snite Museum volume that was a "Godsend" to Wendy Baxter Banga because she was teaching a class at Trinity on works at the Snite.  And the Updike volume of short stories that Jeff Snapper said was a treasure.  The Lincicum daughters each had a volume in hand--the older one wanted a study Bible--but I'm not sure if she left with it or not.  Scott DeVries followed up on my announcement by saying her dad was trying to convince her to take Harry Potter instead! No concern about witchcraft there!  Leah Hanstra was looking through the piano music and took some with her.

I'll clear the table at church temporarily tomorrow and then put them out one more week.  What is left can be donated to Better World Books.  I am curious to see what did not seem of value to anyone else.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

It's Not Trash--It's a Treasure

I have been feeling burdened by all our belongings accumulated over the years. When I think of the cupboards and drawers and chests full of photo albums, dishes,  music, and just assorted stuff, I feel overwhelmed.  And sometimes I feel sad as I look at the mementos that bring back memories from the years of our lives--and also of our parents' lives.  Because there are also journals from Jim's father and photos from my parents and music and books from both sides of the families.  It's three generations of stuff, including stuff our kids left behind--everything from toys to prom souvenirs to graduation robes.

But there has also been great joy in realizing that what we must discard can bring joy to others.  The first book give-away at church was great; I loved seeing our friends leave with our books in their hands.  Another one will take place soon with even more books.  Notre Dame graduate students have taken bags of commentaries and dictionaries from Jim's collection.  The foosball game, the electric typewriter, the 50 year old Singer sewing machine, and the barbells have found new homes.  My friends in our women's Bible study "shopped" from the back seat of our car and left with items ranging from a Dutch oven to a small cooler to a espresso machine. 

Tonight the photo a friend sent of her three little girls delighting in our old typewriter made me smile.  I am so grateful that our things can be used and enjoyed by others.

Saturday, February 16, 2019


We are making progress in our decision to downsize and sell our house.  Faith Fleming, our realtor, was here yesterday and had worked up an estimate.  We talked about what needs to be done in the house (not much!) and a timetable for selling.

Faith suggested putting the house on the market in mid-March with the stipulation that we would not move out until early June.  It is early for Notre Dame hires coming in but she said that there are folks who came in last year and are renting while looking for the right house.  A house down the road sold in three days!  May we be so blessed!

Laura's artwork
I felt overwhelmed again after she left.  But I went through the kitchen and our bedroom and took her suggestion to get everything off the floor and counters-or at least 2/3 of what was there.  It was not an impossible task!  The dining room is already pretty uncluttered and so is the living room except for my music which can be easily put away.

Jeff's favorite puzzle
The family room will need work because that is where we spend most of our time.  Faith suggested keeping an empty bin and when showings are scheduled, dump everything it it for the time being.  The upstairs bedrooms should not be too difficult to "stage."  The basement rooms are another story--no pun intended.  Faith has listed the "train room" as a potential fifth bedroom but it sure doesn't look like it now with golf bags, Jim's dad's diaries, an old kitchen cabinet, and even a dresser left by the last owners--let alone Jim's train set filling every bit of space.

I have started a box of books for our second book give-away at church.  I have another box of household stuff that I can offer to my friends at Bible Study and then send the rest with Mary Brown who donates to a thrift shop in Niles.  And what really makes me happy is that Cyn Haas asked if her daughter who is moving from a one bedroom apartment to a five bedroom house could have first dibs on buying furniture.  We have no need to sell things but would love to have them take the bunk beds and the canopy bedroom suite and several chairs and a desk.  I love the idea of another little girl, Cyn's grand-daughter, enjoying the sturdy yellow furniture we bought used years ago--and is good for a lifetime ahead I think.

I'm happy to write that Jim cleared off one desk downstairs and has begun working on another one.  He gave away some books this week and is making plans to give away others.  There are many many more to go but he is making progress!

I was surprised at how definite Jim was about deciding to go with Faith's suggestions.  We agreed however that we are finished with being home owners and ready to rent--probably in Princeton.  But that will be the next big decision.  I hope our house sells quickly so we have time to get rid of more stuff and look for places to live at our leisure.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reflecting on Last Sunday

 Bible Study was cancelled because of icy roads and thus a school delay.  My new student Christopher at Hope Ministries left over the weekend so that is the sad end of what looked promising after last week's initial session. My long time student Malissa postponed her lesson because she has to work late.  Jim took the car-now our only car- to Notre Dame and will go to Martin's for a few items.

So it is a good time to reflect on last Sunday and why it is so hard to leave our church--probably the hardest part about leaving this area for me at least.

Adult church school was led by John Dendiu and focused on ways of reading Scripture.  We practiced breath prayers and "lectio divina."  I used "he restoreth my soul" as my breath prayer and "that the boat was already filling up"  from Mark 4 in the story of Jesus calming the wind and the waves as my phrase for lectio divina.  I took it as a metaphor for my brain which fills up with too much stuff when I lie awake! I have done both of these methods on my own but there was something quite moving and profound about a room of my friends all meditating and praying at the same time.

Pastor Chris Rea led the liturgy with words about the importance of confession.  We sang great songs with organ and with band with enthusiasm--we are a singing congregation and we have good leaders.  Chris's  sermon was based on the lectionary for this Sunday and challenged us to surrender ourselves to Christ as did Isaiah and Peter.

We almost always socialize for quite a while after church.  This week I was able to give Kelly two disk sleds for her boys and an aquatint to Anita who admired it--all part of my purging the house.

The evening service Mosaic is held once a month.  It was an open mike night--probably our first.  I am always a bit apprehensive about that kind of thing but was ready to contribute if others did not.  However, plenty of others did--from little N who brought tears to my eyes when she said, "I always have trouble with multiplication.  I prayed about it and I got a 58."  I assume that is a good score!  Others were thankful for our church, for family, for a good weekend with youth at Winter Blast.  The requests came from worshipers ages 6 to 70 and were examples of vulnerability and needs.  We sang favorite songs "In Christ Alone" and "To Him Who is Able to Keep You."

 We participated in the Lord's Supper and I took the bread from a first time deacon Steve who I heard was apprehensive about doing so but I am sure he was touched--as I always was when it was my time to serve.  I couldn't sing the last acapella Amens because of my tears especially as I noticed Pastor Chris with one arm around someone who was probably feeling very emotional about that particular song and the other arm lifted in praise--not a typical gesture in our more reserved congregation.

And then there was the chili cook off with lots to try and more friends to talk to--and a chance to give away soup bowls and lids to Lisa and Mardi Gras beads to Julia's children.  Good homes for the stuff we need to pass on!

So how can we find another church like this one?  We can't.  We have always found churches in which we can worship and serve and I assume we will again but Church of the Savior in South Bend is one of a kind and we will miss it greatly.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

What Will I Do All Day? A Week Later

It was -17 when we got up this morning.  It is -15 now at 7 pm and it will be -22 at 8 am tomorrow.  Schools were closed.  Newspaper and mail delivery was cancelled.  We were asked to stay off the roads unless it was an emergency or we had to get to work.  We dressed very warmly and set the furnace at 65 degrees, three degrees lower than usual and we felt plenty warm because it was running often.

Jim took the car out for a few rounds in our neighborhood  to keep the battery charged.  I walked around the cul-de-sac twice to experience -17 degrees for a few minutes.  The sun was shining brightly and at dusk, the purplish glow was breathtaking.   How could it be so beautiful outside and yet so deadly?

We had nothing on the schedule for today.   So in many ways it was like a week ago and yet so different.  And being home, there is always plenty to do especially because we are trying to get rid of things in this house.

I sorted through boxes in Dan's room and after going through three of them, decided I'd had enough.  I did find a $50 bill however--and lots of change--and a lovely essay he wrote on the topic of "Covenant" in which Jim and I came out looking pretty good in our encouraging him and loving and accepting him as he was.  Maybe not so good however when he wrote about how his part of the covenant was needing to respect us even though we were hopeless (in his opinion!) when he tried to help us with our computer concerns.

I sorted through old toys and dumped a box of very little Playmobile odds and ends.  I looked through my organ books and will copy a few  isolated numbers and then give several books away.  I posted a photo of some silverplated items from my mother and found homes for them.

I read through another chapter of Jim's work on RH Charles and read several chapters of a very enjoyable The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, a bookstore owner in Wigtown, Scotland.

We did a Friday NYT puzzle while drinking wine before supper. Now once again, it's probably sports on TV and time for reading.