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Posts Tagged ‘Home’

I am spoiled. For almost thirty-seven years I’ve enjoyed a bucolic view from my large living room window. Behind my solid wood, vine covered fence another home has for that time either been occupied by quiet people or vacant and crumbling. No more. Now it hums with chain saws, thuds with hammers, vibrates with rap music.

Did I mention the Vegas light show? Okay, they aren’t neon and don’t flash, but new ones seem to go up each day, as do out buildings. Another new roof is taking shape today. Soon, there won’t be an inch of lawn in that plot of almost an acre. The trees are long gone.

The first construction was an eight foot solid wood fence for all but a small strip right behind my house. Next a screened pool enclosure. Some time in there the private dirt road leading to the house was paved. The road dead ends at the fence in my side yard.

I gave their landscaper permission to cut the limbs on my trees that hung over the fence. It’s the law, so I get no points here. I did allow him to come in my yard and cut the errant limbs back to the trunk. He kindly offered to pull potato vines and take down a little bamboo. That sounded fine until I see about a fifteen or twenty foot swath of cleared land this side of the fence. But this is bamboo. That won’t last long. I’ve always hated the invasive stuff, but now am happy for a buffer.

I know they got the house for a song, but somebody has money to burn. It needed a new septic tank and water supply for starters.
Who are these people? I don’t know. I see people on the roofs a lot, but don’t know if they are workers or live there. Property records show it owned by an LLC, which owns property all over the U.S. and the Cayman Islands. So no name to call, no way to discuss things unless I climb an eight foot fence or scale the solid electric gate that blocks their drive. This is a compound.

A cop early on stopped them from throwing trash over the fence. Then a couple of weeks ago I called again. I refused to be run out of my house a second time because of a loud party. That day the music was loud enough for to hear over the leaf blower a guy was using on the roof. Guess he never heard of earphones. My house was vibrating so badly with the rap beat my cats hunkered in the hallway as they do for a thunderstorm. Earlier neighbors two blocks away told me they were hearing the music. I don’t think the sound lowered when he finished with the leaf blower. It stopped abruptly, though, about 9:15 p.m. when the cops arrived and I haven’t heard it again, but who knows.

I should be happy they have fixed up the abandoned property, and cleaned up the mosquito breeding pool, but I long for the day I looked over the fence and saw only trees, heard only birds and the rustling of leaves on the trees.

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rug20014There really are magic carpets. Believe it. I am sitting secure in a modest home on over an acre thanks to one magic carpet.

 The family room in our rented home in Virginia was huge, long and wide, and the floor was tile.  The wonderful, wool, Karastan Oriental rug we added to warm it up was about 15’ x 30’ and left little tile exposed. The babies could crawl and play and spill and drop crumbs – or pacifiers – and they all disappeared.  Our family did a lot of living in six year on that rug, so we were in a dilemma when we went to move and were offered $1,000 by the prospective purchaser of the house. As a matter of fact, he told the owners he would buy the house only if we sold him the rug.  It hurt to let it go, but I had visions of another rug, one belonging to my mother-in-law.  She unrolled it from behind her sofa after years of storing it there. Moths filled the air and holes filled her precious rug.  We knew we were not likely to soon have room the size of that one, so we did what was prudent. And it was prudent. $1,000 was exactly what we needed to purchase our own home in South Carolina and break the rental cycle.

 We sold that home four years later for a move to Florida and with the increased value, were able to “buy up” in the home we have lived in now for almost thirty-three years. So I have a fractured motto: If you love something let it go; if it is yours, it will return a hefty profit. Our beautiful rug has returned its investment 200 times over.

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christmas08-008 Barely a footnote after that rug tale, but special to me is a small, wool, Bokara Oriental rug from Pakistan. My husband crafted furniture and hand hooked rugs (tangible pieces of him to hand down to the children). My talents produced nothing worthy of inheritance, so I am thrilled to have one small rug to hand down. They will have to draw straws for it, though. This rug has increased in value, too, no doubt, but more important is the story that accompanies it.

 A radio station in Roanoke, Virginia was giving away one rug worth $275 in the sixties to the person with the most convincing reason for wanting to win it – in twenty-five words or less. I worked so hard and was the single winner out of over 500 entries. This is the winning statement.

 With wrinkling face and doubling chin my current stage,

I’d like to own just one rare thing that grows more beautiful with age.

 That’s it. I tried to zero in on a salient point, and Oriental rugs had a claim to fame rarely matched — that “more beautiful with age” thing. I can only hope that holds true after the rug survived soot from a house fire and more hairballs and drink spills than I can count. It is still a favorite of mine. Not quite magic, but magical when I remember the odds against it gracing my living room for so many years.

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It felt a little freaky finding our street and our house in living color on a Google map. I was simply mapping the route to a new restaurant from our home and clicked on the little green blob indicating our address. Suddenly the green blob was standing in the middle of our street and looking with my eyes to the intersection. I clicked the curved arrow to the left again and again, until the green blob was looking at our front door! There was our car, the firebush plants, the Roman baptismal fount (don’t ask). Spinning on to neighbors’ homes, it was possible to set the time somewhere in the last six months to a year. During that time a neighbor built a sandbox, another started bringing home a work van. But it was before we painted the house and trimmed the trees.

 

 

Where were we while someone stood in the middle of the street and videoed a 360 degree shot of our homes? No privacy was breeched, no secrets given up that I know of, but now I kinda know how the woman felt who discovered a view of her home so clear one could almost hear the cat purr from the window sill inside her living room.

 

 

If you haven’t checked your address out, you might be in for a surprise. Some homes I searched for were there, others not—YET. Just a warning if you’re not on Candid Camera as yet: careful how you bend over, keep your stomach sucked in, and for heaven’s sake, don’t have any visitors you wouldn’t want the world to know about. Just in case.

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BeforeAfter

I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. There are still things to do, like backsplash, new window treatment, etc., but the big job is done. We stuck to local products as much as we could, and of course the labor was local. The biggest chunk of money we put in circulation was for cabinets, and they were made in Ocala, Florida. I’ll update when final touches have been done.

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Here is our contribution to the local economy, not to mention my enjoyment. The upgrade wasn’t done in an “HGTV hour” but ran pretty smoothly over about ten days. We are talking ALL new–except for the shower curtain I am very attached to. There is a learning curve as with anything new. I still feel like I’m fighting a spitting anaconda when trying to adjust the Water Pik, but I’ll learn. It’s so nice to be in the new millennium.  Now on to the kitchen.

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You may have noticed fewer words coming from this site lately. We are in the throws of upgrading our thirty-three year old house. We put a new roof, double-paned windows, remodeled the master bath, carpeted and did interior painting a few years ago. This time we are remodeling the other bath and kitchen, as well as painting the exterior. Let’s hope that does it for a while.

In the past few weeks we have had to decide “our style” as they say on HGTV. Good thing our style had some leeway because we switched from white kitchen cabinets to maple because the white ones available were not real wood. We did not want to be breathing the fumes from whatever they were. We’ll also use low VOC paint. I was told it is so pure we could eat it. Yummy. That will be nice to know when our stove is out. Our original white appliances became stainless since the cabinets would not be white. I was clinging to the twenty-something dishwasher until it graciously began to gasp and ask to be relived at the opportune time. In one day the cabinet maker tells me the cabinets will be gone and new ones in, along with new countertop. Amazing. Everything has fallen in place so well – after an initial fist a cuff with FEMA. Don’t ask.

My bath will be gutted tomorrow morning, the one I’ve used for thirty-two years. It feels kind of sad, but I’m sure that feeling will go away when the stylish new tile, vanity, toilet and tub go in. The good thing about a) being older and b) watching a lot of HGTV, you get a pretty good idea of what you like in the way of tiles, colors, cabinet styles. I don’t know if I could have done this at twenty. Actually I kinda did ,and the bathroom looked like a green stamp catalog and the kitchen cabinets were orange. It’s good to be old and not quite so daring. After all, this is probably what our children will inherit. No doubt they will gut it and start all over. Orange cabinets maybe?

 

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