Have you ever called the I.R.S.?

My advice to you would be: Don’t.

I’ve been on hold for 13:25, 15:30, 18:41,  … the spectrum of irritation runs the gamut between pre-recorded “teaching moments” interspersed with looped “music” of the blandest sort possible (think Schroeder trying to appease Lucy with his little red Baby’s First Piano accompanied by some goofball fumbling with a bongo while banging on a wood block) and the brain-numbing exercise of searching for a form on the IRS.gov website.  The forms are not organized alphabetically, numerically, by the Dewey decimal system, nor any other method recognizable to literate Americans. 28:51, so far…

Why on earth is the IRS so goddam busy on a random Thursday in September?  Meanwhile, my ass is now numb too as we approach the half-hour mark of waiting.  Today is ALL about waiting….30:56, 35:37

“Our representatives are still helping other customers. Please continue to hold”. 38:04

“If you hang up now and call back, please be advised: Your wait times may increase. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.  Please be patient”

The trouble is, when someone finally DOES answer, I will have to remember my question and be able to articulate it. Politely. 40:22  You don’t want to anger the IRS people; same goes for a tattoo artist. They have the means to mess.you.up.   42:28

Will I never achieve a check mark on my Icky To-Do List?!!?  I need a check mark!


clear glass with red sand grainer
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

…and now, a car has pulled up and stopped out front of the window where I sit…

Potential buyer?  Real estate agent?  49:03

54:11.  that’s it.  Uncle.

I gotta get outta this place

It’s a figurative place, more of a condition really, and I dislike everything about it.


After weeks of constantly going hard and “doing” to the point of exhaustion, it’s now become a waiting game. The sudden hard stop is a form of out-of-body experience: sort of like when you are cruising along at speed in a boat when the captain suddenly pulls back hard on the throttle and the boat ceases forward motion quickly, but the water keeps on rushing by and gives the vessel a stern forward shove. Except, we’re not moving forward. Or backward. Or sideways. We’re adrift.  Are we moving?  Are we staying? What can I tell our dog Leroy & cat Chester?  They are very confused by all the strange traffic, the daily relocation of their food bowls and sleeping places and sometimes even leaving home to drive around in the car.  All very unusual and frankly, a little worrisome. These activities run counter to the established rhythm of their animal days of quiet naps, occasional barking, a nibble from the bowl and back to napping until Mom & Dad return home.

The whole situation has the voice in my head (known as “Blanche”) whispering evil things to me such as:

“You’re never leaving this place”  “You’ll die here”  “Why would you leave this place”? “What’s so great about that other house”?   “Do you really want to move away from this lovely little cottage in the woods”?  “…to leave all the neighbors who have started to become friends”?  “It’s going to be difficult”   “You’ll be alone most of the time”  “There’s no good place to walk Leroy unless you load him in the car and drive somewhere”   “Chester may get lost and die alone in the bean field”  “Matt’s drive is going to be  really  l o n g”   “It is all your fault”   “You are being selfish”  “You are not in charge”  “You have driven your poor hub to the brink of insanity” “You will still be Kb., no matter where you live”  “You should have thought this through better before kicking the ball into motion”  “What if the internet is worse than here”?!? “Is that even possible”??  “Why couldn’t you leave well-enough alone”?

yada yada yada… in perpetuity….

SHUT UP BLANCHE!!                           Who asked you anyway?                  kb.xo


Lessons from Nerstrand Big Woods

  1. When you find yourself lost on the trail, let your dog lead. (Your ego certainly isn’t going to find a way back to the car)
  2. Always bring a wad of paper towels.  Useful in the extreme.
  3. If the first restroom you encounter is locked, before you embark on your hike, find one that ISN’T.
  4. As mentioned in a previous post: polyester = JUST NOnerstrand-stone-bridge.  Especially for hiking.
  5. Carry a compass & 2 flashlights.
  6. Wear hiking boots.  They are aptly named.
  7. Mosquitoes.  You can’t join ’em, so you’ll have to find a way to beat them.
  8. Hat.  Wear a hat.  Just do.
  9. Walking sticks are useful.
  10. Have water ready in the car.

10a.  When you arrive home, let your dog lead.  He will nap. You should too.

What is the cause?

Today I suddenly feel melancholy.

Here’s a question with no single answer: What exactly changes your mood from positive to negative? In my case, I can hazard a few guesses:

  • Poor food choices
  • Physical weariness & backache
  • Worry over outcomes
  • Questioning my decisions
  • Polyester clothing (sounds like I’m kidding, right?  I’m not)
  • Hormonal rollercoaster
  • Shorter days and weaker daylight
  • Never-ending humidity and heat into September

For the last 6 weeks I have been certain that we are meant to relocate to Kenyon, to build the last quarter of our lives in a smaller, slower town. Everything has seemed to line up in our favor to make it happen. Then last Friday afternoon, our buyer fell through. No, it’s not the end of the world. No, that doesn’t mean we won’t find another, possibly better offer in time to fulfill our obligation to purchase that house. It simply means we need to continue living here as though we don’t live here.  Ideally, we would be the sort of people with few “things” and the habit of putting them away immediately after use.  Ha.

[You! I know you’re out there, doing exactly that. Living a fastidious life of no clutter.] Much as it sounds freeing, that is not US.  Don’t draw the wrong conclusion. This is not a trash house and we are not hoarders, but we DO have a LOT of STUFF. It happens when members of your family “go away” (endless scenarios). Their “Stuff” becomes your “stuff”. Much as you want to make their Stuff “go away”, you cannot bring yourself to do it. Emotional baggage makes it impossible. Eventually, you get accustomed to working around it. Soon, all that extra “stuff” becomes invisible.

Invisible, that is, until strangers begin walking through your home. Suddenly, you see all that “stuff” unveiled. It becomes “CRAP YOU DON’T NEED”. This is when you’ve reached the Point of Burden. This is where you dump all that “CYDN”.

ship beside dock
Photo by Saya Kimura on Pexels.com

Unload it all at the Point of Burden and sail away. Empty cargo hold. Let the hoarders root through it all and drag it to their homes, never to be Swiffered again. The End.

I feel better now.  Thanks.  ~kb.xo

Square 1

asphalt game hopscotch numbers
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I could swear that we already sold this house, last Sunday. Here we are again this Sunday, ZERO showings. You see, our buyer’s investor group queered the deal. So that leaves us looking for a NEW buyer. One problem: no one came. I sorta thought it would be like the movie Field of Dreams. You remember:  “If you build it, they will come”.  But no. They didn’t. I rationalized this in two ways.

  1. The Lazy Kb. in me whispered, “It’s okay. You both need a sabbath day anyway. Take it and be grateful.” So I did.  After a nice brunch of huevos rancheros at OPH, a 2 hour nap devoured me. After which, the NYT & local crosswords consumed me for another couple of hours.
  2. The Rational Kb. periodically wondered if the Vikings vs. Packers game was the reason for no showings (because the rest of MN & WI cares about football, especially when they play each other). Further, it could explain why our listing agent has not yet called me back from this morning when I inquired about contacting the leads we declined last week. His text response at 10:30 am: “Can we talk this afternoon”?  It is now 6:10 PM.  Technically, you could say it’s after noon. Maybe I’m just new to the whole real estate agent duty roster thing.

Here’s where it gets fuzzy for me.  His 6% commission will work out to be roughly $20,000 of OUR proceeds. TWENTY.THOUSAND.USD. That’s a LOT of dollars. It would pay off a lot of bills. In MY mind, I feel that a person should be involved with the transaction that pays a lot of THEIR bills, rather than mine. I don’t know. Help a girl out here. Am I being too needy? Asking for more attention than I deserve? I mean, he showed up to our house twice – both times prior to the MLS listing.  He hasn’t shown up since. All the showings have been done by other realtors. There’s been no open house. Yesterday we had ONE showing at 5:30 pm. Now, in fairness, I learned through the grapevine that our listing is visible at the New York Times online. So, we’ve got THAT going for us. What I’d prefer is that he CALL ME BACK as promised 8 hours ago….

Rant over.  He just called.  Marketing will go into full-court press tomorrow. They hadn’t had a chance to do it the first week, and then, Day One – an offer.  He did contact all those I declined a showing. One came yesterday, but the rooms are too small. The others were salivating over the possibility of a subdivide. Yeah. Tried that folks. No can do. If there’s any way we can help those original buyers make the deal fly, that would be best for all. They have several pets and an autistic son. I can scarcely imagine the logistical nightmare they face to clean up for showings. Here’s where I get creative, for us and for them.

Time for Kb. to strap on her thinking cap.  Return tomorrow for another episode of:

Kb. & Matt Invade Kenyon (Ya, that’s in MinneSOta)!   ~kb.xo

Year 2018 A.D.

Yep, it’s one for the record books.

On top of all the other changes, today we sold our home of 20 years. It’s been 3 weeks of hard scrambling to get it ready for market. Our retirement home awaits us in Kenyon, MN.

If I weren’t so exhausted, I’d be elated.  (Under this zombie exterior, I really am elated)

Blink once if you’re exhausted too

A short break to put down what’s been going on.  Because I will definitely forget.

But first, Who needs coffee?

“Maelstrom” would be the best way to describe it.  Between Matt’s crazy work schedule of day and overnight shifts lasting 12-17 hours, and prepping our house for listing, we haven’t had much sleep for 3 weeks. Last Saturday, while Matt re-assembled the trailer, I sent out an Email blast to family and friends in hopes of getting some help with our first punch list. To our grateful amazement, 5 people showed within hours. Lots of yard work got done and lots of clutter got moved to storage. Sunday, “The Builders” arrived and made shutters. During the week, a parade of contractors came through. Shutters & fascia were painted, basement floor imperfections were corrected, deep clean completed. Realtor came through Friday to assess our progress and make some suggestions. We fell short of listing it yesterday, so we now have 4 more work days to complete the new punch list. Today’s big improvement: hang the shutters. We’ve planned to do it for 7 years. Now at last, we’ll get to see how they look. Even though we won’t live here to enjoy the result, it’s so exciting. The rest of the list is more utilitarian and not worth mentioning, other than that many hours will be devoted to doing the work.  We are both in a slow-moving, but still-moving daze.