Saturday, January 10, 2009

The House that Got Away

Here's the story - in October, Craig was waiting for his to-go lunch order at a Cajun restaurant (I don't know why I find those details important) and picked up a real estate magazine. He was amazed how many square feet a person could get in Mesquite and Garland, for not much more than our current house price. I had misgivings (so many rooms and so many square feet sounded too good to be true), but the following weekend we drove by the property he had noticed in the magazine. It had no curb appeal and we didn't like the neighborhood, but he kept talking about I said, let me see what I can find online. Basically, I thought I needed to take the wheel on this project - he was scaring me. I found several houses in a feasible price range and we viewed one the next weekend. We surprised ourselves by falling in love with the house - we soon found a realtor, made a contingent offer, and put our current house on the market. Viewings were slow over the holidays, and this week we learned we had lost the dream house - after months of the house sitting vacant with little buyer interest, someone else made a serious offer that was not contingent on a sale, and we weren't willing to move forward with purchasing before we had sold ours, so...

As soon as we saw the Morning Star house, the one that got away, I realized how strongly I had been wanting a 4th bedroom and a 3rd bathroom. In fact I often have dreams in which I discover an extra room in my house I didn't know I had (behind an unopened door, behind a wallpapered wall, etc.), but until we went to see the Morning Star house, I didn't think I could do anything - afford to do anything - about my craving for more space. This craving, this dream, must come from my childhood trauma of having so many stepsisters move into our modest-sized home...sometimes I retreated to cars parked in the driveway for privacy. (Cars are a good place to read and daydream unless it is hot, which it is most of the year in Tomball.)

The Morning Star house wasn't perfect, but having visualized ourselves there so strongly makes it impossible for us to be content in our current house. So, OK...I talked Craig into viewing 3 other houses today. He liked one and I liked another - I am trying to get him to seriously consider the one I like. Its worst feature is its vivid paint colors - bright moss-green in the master bedroom, deep harvest gold in the kitchen, downstairs and upstairs hallways and great room, and a pukey green-gold in one of the upstairs bedrooms. However the price is decent so I think we could afford to paint. There is lots to consider - the harvest gold house has many cool features but a very different floor plan than the one we had liked at Morning Star.

I'm not someone who has a deep belief of things being "meant to be," but quite a few people have told me they see real estate as working in that mystical way. Even some seasoned realtors apparently see it like that - maybe that's the only explanation that is feasible, with so many nebulous components - when you decide to sell your house, what you decide to charge, who you pick to represent you, the market conditions, the neighborhood conditions, the global economy...and all the same things on houses you look at, magnified exponentially since there are so many variables with so many houses in one city, metroplex or area...OK, it is maybe enough to make me mystical.

For almost 24 hours now I have adhered to my new plan: not to order things online until someone buys our house. Yeah. That is such a big sacrifice for me that it seems it should do some magic - a strong current going from me out into the universe.

Anyway...the main purpose of this blog posting is to show some photos that help explain why Morning Star inspired me to think about buying and framing more art for the walls. Morning Star had been rehabbed by investors who went very neutral - gray carpet, white walls, white cabinets, and pewter fixtures. The place cried out for art, in my opinion.

The curb appeal of Morning Star was great...

And we loved the idea of having a deck outside the master bedroom, and a view of the lake from the deck...

But it was filling the blank walls with colorful art that intrigued me the most. I'll continue this story in another post...too many graphics to attach in one sitting.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Introduction of the Planet Violet

This one needs some paragraphs of back story...a 2008 SarahBowie blog post discussed my theory that I might be from another planet (I called it Mars for convenience), since no earthly clothes fit me properly. My friend Natalia validated the story by making a revision, saying that my planet was likely Venus, not Mars, because men are from Mars and they don't share women's clothing issues.

Many months later, my dad amazed me with the story he sent me to type for his blog:

After typing the story, I asked my dad to clarify whether the pipe was sucking him up - what was the mechanism for his movement from bed? He said no, he was crawling into the pipe, he wanted to go inside. Typical curious boy, and intrigued by the light in the pipe.

I have always been fascinated by the fact(s) that not only did my parents know each other as children, but they were also (distant) cousins. And if that doesn't explain my unusual qualities, my parents being possibly probed by possible space aliens should complete the explanation.

While combating fear of flying on the way to Hawaii at Christmas, I experimented with a variation on out-of-body version was, I'm not from here, I'm just visiting - I'm from another planet. I was trying to convince myself that the turbulence and boredom and claustrophobia I was experiencing on the flight over the Pacific were insignificant in the context of my broader Earth journey - everything was transitory.

Last week I amplified the "not from here" concept with some lines (wine-fueled, I admit) in my journal:

(Let's title this, "On My Planet")

On my planet I hold a high position, but not the topmost one - that would cut too much into my reflection and productivity. [By this I meant my own idea of productivity, which might mean thinking, napping, whatever.] Cookie-cutter looks are not important - I appear strong, serene, powerful, creative? artistic? pragmatic yet artistic? People have a hard time describing my aura? Actually my aura is consistent but has many dimensions, and people see/perceive different ones.

I know men on my planet, but they are not my constant company. My relationships are as committed as I require them to be - I stretch the circumstances to fit my needs - I experience no major loneliness/neediness and have plenty of solo space.

On my planet, shoes and hair stay clean - they don't get marred, itchy,'re not bogged down with attending to personal hygiene. [Clearly, I was losing my lofty tone...] You just wash the in-between body parts and move forward - keep going. Food doesn't bloat and bodies don't puff.

Anxiety distracting from what one wants to do doesn't happen on my planet - How not? Why not? [Not surprisingly, I got bogged down with these questions.]

Next, my journal segued to some happy thoughts about the upcoming trip to Hawaii, then came back to this:

Your body is not disgusting, it's the genetic legacy of wonderful people - cousins [parents] - seeded by aliens, but gifted just the same.


My cousin Amy came up with a great suggestion about cleanliness on my planet - she said the newest science for cleaning, noninvasive style [and/or for lazy people who on some days find bathing/showering too much trouble], is ultraviolet rays. I said, "I love the purple aspect of that!, and I will use a purple font when I type the word "ultraviolet" on my blog."

Later I thought of naming the actual planet Violet. Of course that's not its real name, but in my earthly prison I have only a dim memory of my life in that vastly superior place, and can't be expected to remember the name - not that the name would be in English, anyway.

Cousin Amy said OK, Violet is a good name for a planet, but actually lavender is a better smell. I said I agreed but that Lavender was not a good planet name.

Maybe after ultraviolet cleansing on the planet Violet, beings are scented with a faint essence of lavender. That would be a perfect world.

My Brother's Photos of My Wedding

On a late 2008 visit to my sister-in-law Belinda's house, Craig and I checked out Tim's junk room - Belinda has made a number of very nice changes to the house in the last couple of years but understandably, opening the door to their spare room and going through the piles of Tim stuff has not been her highest or easiest priority since my brother's death in 2005. However, B. has made great strides in the Tim room, and a lot of what's left can be hauled away without much sorting. While we were there Craig took out several piles of magazines and newspapers to the recycle bin. He also moved things around enough that B. could get to the closet in the room. She said that in later years, even Tim had lost access to the closet (he used to have a special pathway he had carved through the room) and he started keeping his clothes in another room. The closet itself seemed organized and mostly held clothes (lots of white tee shirts on hangers), but Craig and I were laughing at the huge stack inside the closet of giveaway drink cups, I guess from baseball games. I yell at Craig when he brings those home because they are ugly, in the dishwasher they turn upside down and fill with water, and our cabinet is already full of (real) glassware. Craig said I can't complain about him anymore, having seen this huge stash of plastic cups.

Tim took lots of photos over the years, but I saw few of them, because he got behind on getting them distributed to people...sometimes didn't even get his film developed. He organized them (in paper grocery bags) according to his own system that wouldn't make sense to other people. Many of the photos seem to be of things that wouldn't be of interest to anyone but Tim - architectural details of hotels he stayed at, etc. They aren't great photos, but Tim enjoyed taking them.

Belinda had mentioned she came across photos of my wedding, and I asked her to save those for me. Then she lost them again in the room, but Craig happened to find them during our visit. Taken in 1997, I don't think I had ever seen them before. There were some wonderful photos in that group - I ended up making a special photo album with them. My wedding was the first time most of us had seen my nephew Adam - my brother Dave and his wife waited to make the trip from Detroit until Adam had started on solid food. About 90% of the shots include Adam, our family's first grandson.

I had forgotten how easily he went to strangers as a baby - it seemed that everyone had a chance to hold him, and he perched calmly in their arms, looking around, with his solemn, curious Adam look. I didn't have much time to spend with Adam (or any relatives) at the wedding so it is special for me to have this behind-the-scenes view of things - lots of candid shots. Craig and I look rather tense, but everyone else looks very happy. I can't overstate our feeling that it honor for us to have had a wedding event that so many wonderful people attended and enjoyed. It is funny to view other young relatives in their very early years, and it is poignant to see relatives now in their late 70s and early 80s looking so mobile and energetic, in 1997.

Here are 2 of my favorite photos from the album - Adam with Tim, and Adam with my sister Rachel, looking especially beautiful.

Beyond the happy glow of finding the photos, I had a fresh shot of grief and loss - I guess it was a feeling of sorrow that things concerning me were being discarded from the Tim room. Of course it's not that I think Belinda should keep the room as-is forever or even that she should keep 100 photos of my wedding (I'd prefer to keep them myself) - but losing Tim also meant losing the family stockpile of childhood artifacts (toys, old books, etc.) and the family stockpiler (Tim himself). More importantly, Tim was the memory repository of our childhood. As the oldest one of us and the one with the least clouded (as in, negative) memories of growing up in Tomball, Tim had a comprehensive recollection of our early years as a family...also Tomball as a town, the Tomball schools, our Tomball church, etc.

It must have been something about Tim's camera lighting - and our wedding venue had light peach walls and faintly yellow lighting - but Tim's photos all have a golden glow. It's more than camera or room lights, though... For example, little Adam glowed with health and intelligence. (His mother reminds me that even as a preteen he has never become shy with strangers - he is curious about people and open to most conversations.) So many photos taken of Tim in years since the wedding show chemo or radiation damage to his hair, face or neck - he remained a handsome man, but the photos remind you of his illness. My sister Rachel had concerns, due to her weight gain, about what to wear for the wedding weekend, but every time I saw her...and when I look at her now...she was beautiful, in hair, makeup, accessories and spirit.

The Tim album also has many shots of my dad holding Adam, charmed and grinning as Adam carefully touches Grandpa's boutonniere. We Scholls don't often show bright emotions like joy on our faces - when we do, it is almost startling to observe, like the vulnerable look we have without our glasses...which always makes me think of a crustacean, unshelled.

P.S. Belinda also found found a cassette tape I had sent Tim with "our song" for the wedding, Elton John's, "The One." Tim, our wedding pianist, wasn't sure he knew the song so Craig and I copied our album for him to practice from. Tim had left my yellow post-it instruction note on the cassette all these years. "Tim - can you please rehearse The One for our wedding? Thanks, S. Hope you guys had a good trip!"

I don't remember where he and Belinda had gone that year. I wish Tim wasn't gone today.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chucks Go to Hawaii...More Stories Coming Soon

I'm planning more blog entries about Hawaii and other topics but have been distracted by writing long letters to my sister...which I really enjoy, but which dilutes my blog juices.


But I can usually find time & energy to blog about Chucks!

Cream-colored Hawaii Chucks go to the luau...yes, Craig thought I was weird for photographing my shoe under the table. Well, I think his plaid shorts are weird - so there.

Look, my white Hawaii Chucks matched my mother-in-law's rug! It's hard to see in this inexpert photo, but the shoes actually say Hawaii on the back and Aloha on the side. And no, I didn't buy them in Hawaii - I bought them online, months before the trip. That's the kind of shopper I am.