Sunday, September 20, 2009

Austin or Bust

Its happened! I've signed a contract for the sale of my home and I'm Austin bound. The first people to see the house after the refinished floors and new staging furniture put in a contract. So HGTV viewers, its not just all hype, it actually works. Or maybe it was just coincidence. Who knows. What I do know is, I've got a contract and I'm a happy girl.

This home sale business has been an interesting exercise in sanity. Its not easy to have people traipsing through your house, quite invited I might add, to judge and determine if they might deign to live here. Its not a perfect house by any means. I'm sure it was quite hastily build in 1954 as most of the houses in that era were. Its got its good points and its bad points. Its been neglected here and there and spruced up in other places. Its colorful at least. Perhaps like lipstick on a pig but she's my pig dagnabit. (Which I will quite happily part with for the right price...sign on the dotted line, sir.)

So inspections are this week sometime and that will be the telltale sign. Some guy, or gal lest I be sexist, will come here and check out my lipsticked pig with a fine tooth comb and surely unearth any number of things that could be wrong. That's their job. They need to point out all of the negatives or what is the buyer paying $400 for. I'm prepared to make some fixes. I want this sale to close.

So wish me luck and tell me my pig is pretty and you'll have a place to stay in Austin anytime.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My New Career Choice

I've decided I want to be a gypsy fortune teller when I grow up. Please don't tell me its a silly dream.

St. Joseph Seems Too Comfy

Well, its day 35 of the house being on the market and no sale. I'm thinking perhaps St. Joseph is too comfy in his little burrow in the ground.

I have decided though that perhaps I should do some sprucing up and get the floors refinished. Once I do that I may just want to stay. I'll post the "before and after" shot. Does St. Joseph know something I don't know? Am I destined to stay in Kansas City.

After.... (Oh, I got rid of the ratty sofa and scratched up chair too)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Eclectic Finds in Austin

But hot as Austin is (see post below) it offers eclectic places like this one East Side Showroom. Listen to the song. It says it all.

Austin is HOT!

Oh boy, Austin is boiling away down there. Its been over 100 degrees for at least the past month with no relief in sight. So why do I want to move there? Normally I'd be able to say, "Kansas City is just as hot with nothing to do to boot" but its been unseasonably cool this summer with temps in the mid 70's-80's for a good long time. Last night it got down to 58 degrees. This is unheard of for late July. Is Mother Nature testing me?

I read where Lake Travis is so low that they are discovering cars that have been missing since 1988. There was even a prehistoric skeleton discovered that dates to almost 2000 years old. I kid you not. I'm waiting for the breaking news story, "Jimmy Hoffa Discovered at the Bottom of Lake Travis!"

Oh well, test away all ye of little faith. I DO want to move to Austin. God awful heat waves can't keep me away. After all, they have AC there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

St. Joseph-- Sell My House!

As a "recovering Catholic" and the great-grand-niece of a nun, I thought it only appropriate that I follow an ancient Catholic ritual (since at least 1950) and beseech St. Joseph to help me in selling my house. I'm sure this ritual isn't sanctioned by the Pope and its probably one that the local priest would roll his eyes at and try to lure me into the confessional booth for absolution from worshiping false gods and engaging in pagan rituals. "Forgive me father, for I have sinned....its been oh....25 years since my last confession. You got a minute? This could be a lonnnnnnng day."

If you're not familiar with the Catholic religion then you may not be aware that the Catholics have patron saints for just about every cause, occupation, illness and wishes you can think of. Headache? Hairstylist? Accountant? Hoarse Voice? Stubbed toe? Yep, they got you covered. You can get little medals of the patron saints and wear them or carry them in your pocket. St. Joseph happens to be the patron saint of the home among other things.

Apparently, if you want your house to sell fast, you're to bury a statue of St. Joseph in your yard upside down on his head, and voila! Your house will sell fast! Then you are to dig the little guy up and bring him with you to your next home where you offer him a place of honor in thanks for the quick sale. Perhaps all of the blood is rushing to his head so he's anxious to get the heck out of the ground and onto your mantle and that is why the house sells. Whatever the reason, I don't mind making the poor Saint suffer a bit. After all, saints are well versed in martyrdom.

Lucky for me, the Catholic supply store has a handy little kit you can buy complete with the statue and prayer for intercession and detailed burial directions. These Catholics, they think of everything.

Also, being the good little fallen Catholic that I am, I decided to cover all bases and visit the New Age store to see what they might have to offer in the way of pagan rituals for a quick home sale. Unfortunately, and rather ironically, they didn't have a handy kit like the Catholics but I did pick up a few candles and some sage sticks and incense.

Hmmm...I wonder if there's a Muslim supply store around here, then perhaps I'll look for the Hindi supply and ohh, why not beseach the Buddha too. Can someone point the way to Mecca please?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Life, the Universe and Everything In Between

Life has a funny way of exerting its own control. Just when you think you've got it figured out, you'll be thrown another curve ball. If you have your eye on the ball, you'll be able to see it coming. If not, it might just hit you flat in the face.

I've been on sabbatical from my blog for awhile with some regret. I miss writing but I think I needed some time to figure things out and let life happen without categorizing it in an interesting manner.

I was laid off from my very comfortable day job on May 1st and since then I've been doing some remodeling in my head. Not home remodeling, god forbid, life remodeling. I've been moving along in my life at a steady pace but not really reaching happiness or utter contentment. I've been complacently accepting what life has been offering without really finding out what feeds my soul and taking a chance on "going for it."

I think its time for a change. This past year has really made me open my eyes. I should have seen the curve balls coming but frankly, I was in denial, believing I had no control over them and just dealing with them as they came instead of carefully laying out game strategies which might lead to victory. But, I was practicing living in the "now" and setting little goals as life took its turns. Its not a bad way to live.

Since I lost my job I've been looking diligently for a new one but have had very few bites. It seems the economy (which I had placed in my denial category prior to this event) IS as bad as they say it is or people are buying into the hype and are hunkering down and waiting for the storm to pass.

But in thinking about my life and my daughter's life and happiness, I've determined that maybe this is my wake up call. Maybe its time for me to make some changes. Changes which before seemed too difficult or too unconventional even. I've been trying to fit my life into the Johnson County cookie cutter lifestyle where conformity is rewarded and individuality shunned. I've been trying to raise my daughter to be an individual and be proud of it but at the same time sending her to affluent schools which only reinforce that she is a little too much of an individual for "society" standards. We're square pegs. We are living in a mound of Swiss cheese with only round holes and carefully sculpted, perfectly matching round pegs.

Last year about this time we went to Austin for vacation. I had lived in Austin before. It had called me after I graduated college and I followed the call back then with little fear and great excitement. I announced my move to my friends and family, packed my tiny pink hatchback (hey, it was the late 80's) popped in my George Jones cassette and drove down with little more than a few clothes and essentials. I loved it. The buzz of adventure carried me a long way until I entered into the conventional and tried to settle down and get married with a man who was not at all good enough for me and I shunned my bohemian soul and tried to be a cookie cutter wife.

Then things happened which brought me back to Kansas City. But now having visited Austin again 3 times since last year, I have an itch to move back. Austin is a siren calling me with her hauntingly beautiful honky tonk twang. The interesting thing is, she's not only calling me but she's calling my daughter as well. Perhaps even more strongly than me for she begs me to move us to Austin. Donning her UT shirt and her Texas necklace, she cajoles me on a regular basis about moving. She doesn't need to. I feel it too. Austin is calling.

So, in the middle of this mid-life-job-loss crisis, I have cleaned out about half the contents of my house, giving away items to charity that I have no idea why I've kept for so long. I've spruced up my house, declared her seaworthy and set her sail on the house market. I'm picking up sticks and moving to Austin where there are square pegs galore and plenty of square holes to boot. Its a bold move. In fact my mother has declared it crazy. But I need to do it. I feel it in my soul. I need to make a new life for myself and my daughter. So...buckle up kids, its gonna be an interesting ride!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Diary of a Single Mom

Check out this new internet series, Diary of a Single Mom. The show chronicles the lives of three single mothers and their families trying to get ahead in a world that is trying to hold them under. Robert Townsend produces this series and it looks like an interesting website.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Re-living Jr. High

Its my biggest nightmare. I recall with vivid accuracy many aspects of my girlhood adolescence. I remember the name of the "Queen Bee" of our school who reigned supreme over all of the terrorized girls in our class. She wasn't the prettiest girl nor was she the richest. So how was she crowned queen? She was queen of the mean. She did it in subtle ways all the while escaping attention of the nuns and teachers at my small Catholic school. She was sweet on the outside and cold and calculating on the inside. Unlike the male bullying that my brother endured (mainly because he was quiet and unassuming and wore "hip" shoes that my mom bought him not realizing she was making him a target for "unhip" boys everywhere) which was overt and consisted of hitting or stealing his books, girls had a more subversive form of control.

It wasn't considered "bullying" back then for girls, it was considered a right of passage. That's just how girls are and you must be doing something wrong or you aren't being nice enough to fit in with the "popular girls." I coped by not caring and by finding friends who were, like me, a bit quirky, a bit different. I coped by being a clown and by smashing the lunch of a red headed girl in school. Yes, I guess I was affected and stood in line in the pecking order that had been covertly established in girl-world. I did my fair share. But when I smashed her lunch, it was in a playful way and it was funny (or so I thought.) Ironically this girl remains one of my best friends to this day. She just sat there with me, eating her smashed sandwich and came to expect it from me everyday.

While I wasn't directly targeted by the Queen Bee, I had friends who were and I was certainly affected by it. It wasn't just the Queen Bee, it was girl groups in general. The cliques. Like the saying on Project Runway, "One day you're in, and the next day you're out." There were times when we were invited into the realm of the Queen Bees only to be banished for no reason. There were times when rumors were spread, or when others endured the ostracizing, the public shunning which served only to remind us others to keep our heads down lest we experience the wrath of the Queen Bee and her court. I was so relieved to move on to high school where the problems were still there but it was a new Queen. And by the time high school rolled around, I was into art and theater and didn't really care what the others thought. In fact, I was a rebel and made it my mission to be different and NOT fit in. Thus snubbing my nose at the Queen Bees and their intricate world of betrayal. I found friends who were similar. I stopped smashing my red-headed friend's lunch. I found who I was, as an individual as part of a group of other individuals all of whom had their own quirks. Moving onto college, I had my share of friendship issues but always had a few close friends around me so it wasn't so much of a problem. I thought those days were far behind me.

And then I had a daughter.

And now this daughter is turning 12.

And now I'm re-living every moment as if the wounds were fresh.

Why? Because I'm experiencing all of the painful hardships that my daughter is now going through. She's had a rough couple of years but has always managed to keep her head up. Unfortunately, its not getting any better and the school that she loved has now turned into a dreaded place ruled by various Queen Bees and other minions who follow them. Unfortunately, the minions are just as heartless as the Queens, if not more so. So my heart bleeds for my daughter who is experiencing her first betrayal of "good friends" whom she had thought were loyal and true is finding herself "friendless." I can only be here to hold her up and encourage her to be true to herself and things will get better.

Thankfully, the treacheries of the girl-world is becoming more defined and the silent treatment, the exclusion and shunning, the mean looks, the rumor spreading, the ganging up on a girl, the two faced turning your back and the manipulating of relationships is now all seen as silent bullying. The bully is no longer the big muscled jock who pummels the 50 lb weakling.

Now...dealing with it effectively and keeping my daughter's spirits up in the meantime, that is the dilemma. I've found some resources that may be helpful. I hope so.