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.


Theme for Year 2018: Big Changes

When Life pitches an opportunity your way, have your mitt ready.

Well, here We GO!  Date: August 14th, 2018, Tuesday 6:30pm.  Roughly 24 hours ago, we hadn’t yet agreed that we were going to take the plunge. This morning we made an offer for the Kenyon house, and remarkably, it was accepted!  That seems like days ago to me now. This afternoon the listing agent came by our house to get a look at his assignment and left with homework for tomorrow. The next pertinent question is: what City restrictions there are for sub-division? Personally, I’d love to have a developer write us a check “as-is” with the intention of making two lots, selling the one with this house to KC and building on the south lot.  That could be a good way for her to afford this house that she loves and hopefully fetch us more than the minimum required to make it feasible, and finally, netting a nice profit for the developer. While I am fully aware that it’s asking a LOT of the universe, why not ask anyway? Even if only some of it happens, at least the possibility is considered.  Fingers crossed.

Tomorrow, we go to work to make this thing happen. I am confident that it will all work out yet nervous about being confident. Ever since we made the first walk-through I have been sure in my gut, bones and heart, and yet, I have also been suspicious of my instincts since the two great betrayals of 2016. That’s another story, not worth dredging up here, but does effect my perspective.

The whole thing about moving unexpectedly is both exhilarating and exhausting in equal measure.  Rooting for the best possible outcome for us and for all involved.   I’ll do my bit, but CALLING ALL ANGELS, it’s time to ring a bell.

Cheers to whatever comes next!  kb.xo

bokeh shot of white and gold ceramic angel
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com



Off the rails or grabbing the reins?

I choose to believe it’s the latter. If 3 lefts make a right, then this could be the third left to get us back on course.  A little back story: in the year 2000, we made a critical financial mistake that snowballed us into a deep hole of debt from which we’ve never recovered.  My gut is screaming to me “Cash out the equity in our current home, resolve the outstanding debt and buy the home you plan to retire in now, while you’re still young enough to sink some roots.  We’ll both feel a lot better about our future while throwing off the shackles with which we are so burdened.

I have successfully managed to alert the entire block to our intentions. Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get aggressive about making it all come to fruition. Matt may be right about investing some money into a quick beautification project. To that end, I plan to ask our next door neighbor if he’d like to be our general contractor to lead the charge and hammer a grand slam for us over the next 30 days.  I could do a walk about with him to set a punch list and set him loose to make the arrangements. He is a go-getter with many skills and resources.  Ideally, a $20,000 dunk would net us a funds to pay him for the effort + a sweet pay back with which to make some debt disappear and ultimately sink into my Kenyon dream house. Ultimate goal:  reduce our mortgage payments to the point of allowing us to pay it off in under 10 years. That sounds like the best plan I’ve ever had in my entire life.

Let’s do this! That is, after I get some much needed some sleep.  I’m a walking adrenaline zombie.

Side note: had a 100% full day with plans to eat, flop, watch and hit the hay by 10pm. Instead, the evening was spent with my folks in the ER after Dad fell and injured his right foot.  Nothing  more serious than a sprained toe, stitches in the web between his first & second toe and a slightly twisted knee.  He claimed to have no pain, so they patched him up and sent him home at 3:30 am.  Haven’t slept a wink since crawling into bed at 4.  It’s all about The House for me now.  Repeat of 1998.

Initial Checklist:

  • Choose realtor
  • Submit offer + earnest money
  • Hire a general contractor (Abe?)
  • Install roof vents & replace fascia
  • Clean gutters & sweep roof
  • Install trim as needed inside & out
  • Paint 3 structures
  • Install shutters & flower boxes
  • Landscaper: clean out gardens, plant around house perimeter
  • Rebuild ramp to shed
  • Tree trimming
  • Rent storage locker
  • Weed out, store or sell
  • Garage sale, OfferUp, craigslist

Target date for move:  November 1st


On your marks…Get set…..GO!   kb.xo