Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wrapping up 2015, Welcoming 2016

It's that time again...putting the finishing touches on 2015 and looking ahead to 2016. This year went by the blink of an eye, it seems!

Christmas is all wrapped up (pun intended?!), and Cam and I have been enjoying a quiet week at home. Unfortunately, much to his chagrin, Mark had to work Monday-Wednesday, this week, and Annalisse is enjoying the mid-80s temps of Orlando with Alex's family (stinker!). Christmas was nice, but pretty low-key overall, with the realization that our family keeps getting smaller and smaller - a far cry from the cast of thousands when I was growing up. On Christmas day, in fact, there was only four of us for dinner - me, Mark, Cam, and Grandma Pat - as Annalisse flew out on Christmas day (her flight was supposed to leave at 1pm but was delayed because of technical difficulties until 6pm - not pretty). So, since we were such an intimate group we celebrated with lobster tails....yummmmm!!!

Christmas morning we hosted with the Nara, Lena and Ken or breakfast (Jim was sick - blah!), but we certainly missed Mom Shiao being with us. We also had the pleasure of seeing our Versprille relatives on Christmas Eve at Aunt Mary/Uncle Peter's, and the Boston Versprilles on Sunday night. On Saturday, we headed up north for our Greco family celebration, with just us girls, husbands, and kids (but no Drew (working), Tony (North Carolina) or Annalisse (Florida). We had a rousing game of BINGO, which was tons of fun with the high stakes of 50 cents a game. It's so much fun to spend time with both sides of our family!!

So, this week finds us relaxing, catching up on TV shows and reading, and eating well.

Theme for 2015? Looking back it was another year of connecting with old friends. I kept expectedly and unexpectedly running into former MCHS Class of '81 classmates. It was fun and freaky. Maybe it's a preview for our 35th reunion coming up in the summer of '16.

What do I hope for 2016? TO SELL MY SON-OF-A-PUPPIN' MOTHER'S HOUSE. I suppose I should go up north and plant St. Joseph in the front yard. Seriously.

At the end of May, Cam will complete his Master's degree (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE), and 2016 will also hopefully (if all goes well) find us traveling to Ireland the first week of June to meet Annalisse after her stint in Italy. We are soooo looking forward to that, it should be tons of fun.

Heading into January I'm looking forward to the usual low-key winter hibernation activities: reading and sitting by the fire (oh yeah, and working). Blessings upon you and your family for a wonderful, healthy, and happy 2016!!

Getting ready for Christmas breakfast
Quiet on Christmas morning
Puppy and Poppy
Annalisse and Lena 
New Toy 
Festive apps at Mary's 
Mary has a flair
My son, so proud
Fun with our Versprille cousins!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Almost There!

Seven more days of work and I am HOME FREE and off until 2016. Hurray!! 

This morning I am enjoying a very chill day at home as Mark is raking and mowing the lawn at the church ON DECEMBER 12. I'm loving this mild weather, I'm not going to lie, and trying not to think of any possible payback like snow in May. ERASE! ERASE! ERASE! that thought from my mind. The tree is beautiful, everything is decorated, and we it's wonderful to bask in the soft evening lights.

After a very intense week, the kids are on the downslide of the semester. Annalisse was particularly stressed (we heard about it) and Cam could have been equally stressed (but we did not hear about it), and next week they are finishing up projects and Annalisse has several finals. By Friday afternoon both will be nestled back at home, and Jasper will be ONE HAPPY DOG. 

I also spent this week feeling annoyed and disappointed that the Massena house sale fell through. Unfortunately, I had mentally come to depend on that influx of cash to finally finish off the inside house projects and put a little dent on the credit card balances. The day after the sale went south our realtor called to let us know she had left the realty company that had listed the house, and gave some very disturbing news about how the company is run, and the fact that there was no plan to have another realtor rep our house (because there was only one other person in the firm and she was located 1/2 hour away). As a result, I wrote an email to the owner of the company and was able to get us out of our contract, which was scheduled to expire on January 17. The realtor we were working with was going to another firm in Massena, so we decided to re-list with her. She seems very sincere about selling the house and believes her ability to sell it will be enhanced with a company that is more sophisticated and has a larger network. I HOPE SO. So discouraging. Send good vibes for a quick sale.

In the meantime, I am chipping away at the Christmas list, and truthfully not feeling any stress about it. I've got plenty of time, right?!

Monday, December 7, 2015

34 Roosevelt Street - SOLD!

We were surprised and happy to sell our parent's house on Friday. After being vacant for 5ish years, and on the market since July, it all ended up happening very quickly. Apparently the buyer (a man) was interested in the house a couple of months ago, then came the Alcoa announcement, so he put his plans on hold, then came the other Alcoa announcement, and he decided to go ahead with it. The selling price was lower than we had hoped, but we are just relieved to have it sold. We will all get a little $$ out of it once all the bills (including my mother's funeral) are paid off, so now we wait (holding our breath a little) hoping all goes through without a hitch.

This week the home inspection will be done. We let the realtor know the property is "as is" - we are not willing to make any improvements which my be identified in the inspection, since the house was priced so low.  The buyer will surely have to put a chunk of money into it, bringing it up to date and probably doing some much-needed maintenance.

My sisters expressed a certain sadness at the finality of having sold the house. I do not really feel that. If anything, I feel bad about the loss of the house that my parents loved so much - more for them, but not really myself. I remember the major renovations they did in the late 70s: new kitchen, siding, paneling, carpeting, all new furniture, wallpaper in all the bedrooms. Today, in 2015, most of those renovations remain the main things they did to modernize the house. With the exception of updating the kelly green carpeting in the living room to a light blue, and getting new crushed blue velvet furniture, the house is a bit of a late 70s time capsule.

It's kind of weird but early this morning, as far as I can remember, I had the first dream about both of my parents, and they were in the house, but the house was already being cleaned out for sale. It wasn't the exact house - a bit distorted as dreams tend to do - but they were both there, and both "themselves" - healthy and interacting the way they always had. Usually when I dream about my dad he is sick and nearing the end, and this is the first time my mother had appeared in a dream since she passed away in August 2014. The timing was very odd, but it was very comforting.

I look forward to driving past 34 in the coming years, and am hoping the new owner gives it a bit of a freshening up. It's a great little house, just waiting to be loved by another generation.

Update 2:44pm: I spoke too soon. The buyer backed out...(sad face)