Saturday, December 22, 2007

No diving

The kiddie pool is gone. The hum of the dehydrator and air movers (why don't they call them fans?) fill the house 24 hours a day. My tinnitus rings clearly that I've heard enough of that tune. When I empty the bucket there is always a little water, but not much. I will let the equipment run the prescribed amount of time to ensure full recovery from the flood.

Joey says there are now two people interested in the house. I doubt I'll hear anything until the new year.

I love to hunt for bargains. Prowling the thrift shops is an almost daily regimen. I have filled my son's closet with new or nearly new upscale clothes. A North Face jacket, Kevlar lined Draggin' Jeans (specifically made for motorcycle riding), a regulation Navy pea coat, many Halloween costume accoutrement. Sometimes I find a bargain for myself. Yesterday I thought I hit the goldmine - a BOSE Wave radio for only $24.99. I tested it at the store (no return on electronic items), but when I got home - nothing. I guess I'll see if BOSE will help me out even though I didn't pay $300 for it. Got any ideas?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Once more

As the family gathered in the great room of the apartment building in which my Mother lives, I received a phone call from my favorite realtor - Joey. He stated that he was going to show my house at 1 p.m. and wanted to ensure that this was acceptable. I replied that as my son and I were in Everett and wouldn't be home anytime soon, feel free to sell my house.

I did not hear from Joey right away, so I assumed that the prospective buyer was not interested, or unable to accept the fact that basements sometimes flood. A few days later Joey did call to let me know that Zacharia was indeed interested in my house - and maybe my truck as well. Of course Zacharia had already made plans to fly home to the east coast for the holidays, so I won't hear more until the new year arrives. Although financing was arranged before he left town.......

I didn't even bury a St. Joseph icon in my yard.

My son Thom bought a new (to him) motorcycle. It is a red, 2005 Suzuki V-Strom (weestrom) DL650 that previously belonged to the maintenance department manager of Aurora Suzuki in Seattle. As such it is outfitted with lots of bells and whistles like a Givi monokey trunk, Leo Vince exhaust, Givi crash bars, skid plate, high performance disc brakes, hand guards and heated grips. His only complaint is that it goes too fast, too easily.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

December blues

It's that time of year. I don't have a bubbly/perky persona in the best of times and the holiday season brings out the worst. I really dislike the forced friendliness and well wishes, the required gifting and the once a year need to help others. There is no regulated time period for these things.

Ten inches of rain in twelve hours following a couple inches of snow the previous day have left the area a quagmire. My basement is a kiddie pool - no diving allowed. Water from the storm drains was gushing up through the floor drains of my basement. Others had it much worse and I count myself among the lucky. All I lost were some photographs and childhood mementos.

Adding to my sour attitude is the fact that I wasn't supposed to be here for another winter. The housing market is dead and I fear that my house won't get sold until spring and at a substantial discount. Perhaps I am fated to stay put.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

No sale

I guess I really got ahead of myself. I tried to not get overly excited about the pending sale, but...

In the opinion of the inspector hired by the prospective buyers, the roof will need replacement in the near future. As the buyers did not have money for a down payment or closing costs (I had agreed to pay closing costs), they did not have money for a roof and rescinded their offer.

I have another buyer in line, so we'll see what happens.

I guess I'll be in the area for Thanksgiving after all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

More good news

I got ahead of myself. Thom was never comfortable with the real estate agent that he first contacted (neither was I - she was definitely representing the builder rather than Thom). After speaking with a real estate lawyer in Gig Harbor, he has decided to not purchase this house. I must say that I don't know what a Gig Harbor lawyer knows about Ellensburg real estate, but he convinced Thom that it was not a good purchase.

Thom bought a house! He made an offer on a new home yesterday while we were in Ellensburg, but his realtor (who is really working for the builder I believe) told us it would not be accepted. Thom got a call today telling him he was a homeowner.

Oh yeah, I got another offer on my house, so if the first falls thru I have another buyer in line for the house.

Sunshine on the horizon?

Hey there! I have not forgotten about this blog, just haven't had any good news to report and you know what they say - "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

On Monday I got an offer on my house and my son got hired permanently. The purchasers agreed to my counter offer and my son got a raise. I am awaiting the results of the inspection and appraisal and my son is looking in to buying a house in Ellensburg.

It is hard for me to get too excited until everything is approved, but my realtor doesn't think there will be any problems. Of course he is just a salesman and commission salespeople just tell you what you want to hear.

The buyers want to be in the house by the 20th of November, so I'll have to act fast after the last t is crossed and i dotted.

When my son finds a house, he will use my furniture. Until then it will have to go in storage.

Dave and Paige tell me (with a slight slur from happy hour) that it is sunny and warm in Phoenix. Can't wait.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Nineteen days

It rains in Western Washington. There is a rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula. I know all of this. Still, the weather is a bummer. Normally there are 32 days of 100% clear days during the period from June to October. This year there were just 19 such days. The gloomy days of fall are upon me. Some people like this weather and there will be some nice days, but this is why I want to leave the area. I've lived through a lot of these dreary periods, but that doesn't mean I like them. I am bulking up on carbohydrates and sleeping more. Hibernation has begun.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They're off

Dave and Paige are off and running on their way to Phoenix. Dave has meticulously planned out their 3,500 mile circuitous route and Paige has located all of the yarn shops along the way. She has also determined the locations of all of the wool and pulls (or whatever they're called) en route.

I had hoped to go to Oregon with them (or to Arizona with them if the house was sold) but problems with the motorcycle carrier (and my back) kept me here. The combined weight of the bike and carrier were just too much for the suspension of the Minnie Winnie. I was able to sell it for what I paid (except for the cost of building a new hitch) and have started rebuilding a 1961 Continental boat trailer in to a motorcycle trailer. My brother gave me the trailer and I found some rails on craigslist, new lights and fresh paint, maybe some tires...

It just won't matter if the house doesn't sell.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No luck or bad timing

My goodness but the housing market has crashed. There was only one visitor for the open house last Saturday. I don't think my realtor wanted to tell me this, but I drug it out of him. The house next door sold just a few months ago. They had four offers in the first six hours! The house was sold before the sign was up in the yard. I may have to consider becoming a landlord and use the house as a rental - this scares me. I've seen what the wrong tenant can do to a house and I don't want any ties to Kitsap County when I leave.

My niece Ronnie reports that Mom continues to improve. I saw her on Saturday and she really did seem better. I'll ride the Tourer up to see her tomorrow - another ferry ride.

If you should ever visit Washington state and happen to be traveling on a ferry, I hope you are on two wheels. Bicycles and motorcycles load first and at a lower fee than automobiles. Of course they can squeeze four bikes in the same space as a full size pickup so they aren't losing money. A car and driver is about $15 on most runs and a motorcycle and driver is about $6. The views can worth the price at times. My son is getting tired of riding the ferry to and from work in Seattle. I drop him off at the dock at 6 a.m. and pick him up at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, August 31, 2007


"My bags are packed, I'm ready to go"

Not really, but in my mind they are. It normally takes 30 days to close on a house, so I have that month for the final preparations when the time comes. I am ready to run away from home.

Mom is moved in to a very nice assisted living home for the next month. She is in great shape and receiving excellent care and more attention than that to which she is accustomed from my sisters. Many thanks to them for their efforts - even if Mom doesn't show the correct amount of appreciation.

Have a safe Labor Day weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A nice weekend

The weekend started by visiting Mom at the transitional care facility. She is doing so much better. The therapist takes her for walks in the hallway without the walker. She gets out of bed or her chair and heads for the wc without waiting for the nurse. She still needs help, but not the type provided by this facility. She's headed for an assisted living facility this week. They will provide meals and snacks, help her dress and bathe, but she will do more for herself and a nurse will not be available around the clock. This will be a private pay (no medicare or insurance) stay, so she hopes to limit the stay to one month. This will put her at the lower end of the expected healing time for her sternum (they said 8 to 12 weeks for complete healing). Her recovery, while seemingly slow at the start, is amazing. She is stronger and healthier in appearance every time I see her.

As for the house - no news is bad news.

I took my girlfriend (she likes this term much better - I don't get it) Carolyn to Sunrise Lodge on Mt. Rainier for her birthday. She's a cheap date. It's the only thing she said she wanted. We rode the Tourer up Highway 410 to the park and then hiked a few of the trails that start at the lodge. We found out we aren't kids anymore. It was a beautiful day - sunny and 84 degrees. One of those days that convince visitors to move to Washington. If they had been here the day before it was the normal gray, drizzly and 62 degrees.

Sunday was supposed to be spent moving my son's belongings in to storage. Who knew that Ellensburg rolled up the sidewalks at 5 p.m. on Friday? No storage offices open on the weekend! Amazing. Maybe they have their priorities in order for their own lives, but this is not convenient for the public. Since Ellensburg is a college town, it would seem that being open on the weekend would be part of a good business plan. He'll just have to arrange for the unit during the week (maybe with the help of his uncle Ross) and ruin his three day weekend moving his stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2007

As Quick Draw McGraw used to say -

"Hoooooold your horses!"

Seems the buyer has cold feet. We'll wait and see.

A good weekend

With the news that my counter offer on the sale of my house has apparently been accepted, my son starting his first real job since graduating from college and a very enjoyable visit with my Mother - my spirits are high. If I play golf well this afternoon, that will be the icing on the cake.

My son has a degree in psychology and had hoped to be accepted into the master's program at the university. When that did not happen, he had to scramble and look for work. His first choice was NOT to work in Seattle, but that appears to be where most of the mental clinics are located so that is where he will work (for now). He is nervous but I am certain he will do well. His commute will include a one hour ferry ride in the morning and evening for the time being until he finds a home of his own. Until then, I will enjoy his company.

My visit with Mom was uplifting. She seems so much improved. Recovery time from surgery at age 86 is lengthy. I wanted so badly for her to just jump up and return to her pre-surgery life style. There is always more patience required in real life than in dreams.

The realtor said that paperwork was in the works and I had hoped that when I returned home on Sunday that he would have had more information for me, but again I must be patient. I'll start packing anyway. Where did I get so many pens? Do I need to keep my tax return from 1977? I am learning to let go of "things" that I found important at some point in my life.

As for the golf, I've played in the same work based league for many, many years. My partner Steve and I have done fairly well over the years, but in this my last year we have a chance to win it all. Play tonight will decide the winners.

I am looking forward to a motorcycle ride up Mt. Rainier this weekend and a hike with a very special friend (she doesn't like this term). It is her birthday this Friday. Happy birthday cb.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another step taken?

My Mom had a good day today, and....

I got a reasonable offer for my house - hooray! I don't want to celebrate too soon. I could be two steps closer to hitting the open road. Of course I still have to put everything in storage, outfit the Minnie Winnie and develop a real plan on where I want to go and what I want to see first.

I mentioned that I enjoy murder mysteries by J. A. Jance and Tony Hillerman. Both of those authors stage their stories in the southwest - Jance in Bisbee, AZ and Hillerman in the Shiprock/Four Corners area. I'll never become a local (I don't think) and I'm sure that the real locals will treat me as a tourist, I still want to spend time in those locales.

Days like today are going to be hard to leave behind. A summer day in Western Washington can be amazing. As the 6 a.m. ferry pulled away from the dock, I stood in awe of the sunrise behind the skyline of the buildings, hills and trees of Seattle. The sunlight blanketing Mount Rainier in pinks and blues. Just beautiful.

There are so many sunrises and sunsets to see in this country.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Human Heart

A few things have to happen before I hit the road - I have to sell my house, I have to find a home for my cat and my Mother needs to recover from heart surgery.

I wasn't in favor of my 86 year old mother having the double bypass and heart valve replacement surgery. It wasn't that I didn't want her around for a few more years, but I was afraid of the quality of life following the surgery. I hope I'm wrong. She made it thru the operation just fine, her heart is working better than it has for probably 50 years (she had rheumatic fever when she was pregnant with me), all of the nurses and doctors say she is doing fine. I don't think she believes them. After 4 days in the hospital she has been transferred to a transitional care facility. It is a step above a nursing home and the plan is to kick her out in 10 days. She needs to learn to care for herself in those 10 days or she will end up in a nursing home - exactly where she didn't want to be. She has to get out of bed and walk, feed herself, dress herself, bathe herself - but first she has to get out of bed and walk. It is nice to see her family gather to support her - five of her six kids (I'm the youngest), a few of her grandchildren, even some of her great grandchildren have been by to visit. Two of my sisters have been great in caring for her, even before her surgery.

I hope for the best.

As for the cat - I found a great home for him, I just need to transport him to Seattle and hope that he doesn't run away from his new home. He's not really my cat, more like my roommate. I know cb will take good care of him.

There is an "open house" scheduled for Saturday - maybe the house will find a new owner, too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The first step of the journey

It always helps to know something about an author when you read a book, so I suppose a blog is no different.

I am a retired, divorced, 56 year old male. Being able to retire at 55 was a good reason to be a federal government employee for 30 years. Those 30 years spent at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA combined with my 3 years, 9 months and 4 days of service in the Navy provide a decent stipend (even allowing for a third of it to go to my ex-wife).

Now that I live alone (with the exception of my cat "Bogie") and with the kids grown and gone, there is nothing keeping me in Kitsap County. Yes I have lots of good friends in the area, but I don't see much of them since I retired. Most of them have retired and moved on, too.

Kitsap County is a peninsula. Only 18 miles from Seattle but a life style away. Travel off of the peninsula requires a lengthy drive or a ferry ride or use of a toll bridge. It wears on me and I hate to be held to the schedule of others. The feeling is akin to island fever (or cabin fever of those unfamiliar with island life).

So, I am going to leave and not just the county. I am selling the house, putting my treasures in storage and have purchased a 22' Minnie Winnie. My Honda Shadow A.C.E. Tourer will be going with me on a carrier attached to the rear of the RV. This isn't quite the same as the bus in which Jack Kerouac set out to see America in "On the Road", but the urge is the same.

I intend to head south to the sun like so many others. I'll visit my sister and her husband in Tularosa, NM first. Hopefully they'll let me use their home as a base for a little while as I explore the area on my motorcycle.

Through the miracle of wireless technology I hope to stay in touch with friends and family while travelling and "talk" to anyone that stumbles upon this blog as events occur.