Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Party Idea For Bored Kids

My house is small.  Really small... three bedrooms, two baths, a living room, kitchen and dining room all in 1320 sq ft.  We moved here from a big big house and we are loving small home living!  Because it is our first Christmas back in Jacksonville where most of my family lives (sans our two sons and their wives), I decided to host the family Christmas Party this year.  We will have five children from ages 3-10 and sixteen adults.  It's going to be a tight squeeze in our living room, but we are family and everything will work.  I've been thinking of what the children could do to not be bored and considered placing my laptop with kid DVDs to watch in a guest bedroom that happens to have a book shelf of children's books (leftovers from my adult sons), Start a Santa puzzle on the table and that still may be a reality, but I can imagine unsupervised bed jumping and bonked noggins.

We live in Florida and have a nice fenced in back yard.  I was thinking, it's too bad it isn't Easter so we could have an egg hunt.  OH GENIUS IDEA!  I am going to put up a lighted tree on the back deck and buy a bunch of plastic ornaments to hide around the back yard.  Who finds the star for the top wins a prize! They can decorate the tree with their findings.

I went to Big Lots and bought a 4' fake tree for $10, a box of 48 red plastic ornaments for $8 and recycled a gold star for the top.  The kids LOVED it and after they found all the ornaments and decorated, the re-hid ornaments for another round.  Success!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bath and Vanity Renovations

Here is our new master vanity light.  It is actually brushed nickel (silver), but the picture makes it look bronze. The light we used to have was a long fluorescent, like the sort that belongs in a garage.  (What were they thinking??)
Mark is super tall, 6-1/2 feet to be exact, and the dropped ceiling above the shower crowded him.  I can't imagine taking a shower with only a few inches to spare above my head!  The ceiling is going UP. The old light fixture reminded me of the schoolhouse type that is on a ceiling fan.  Out it goes!  After the ceiling is raised and green mold resistant wallboard is in, they'll install a flush can light fixture that is specifically for damp places.  This little room contains the toilet and a huge garden tub. (What were they thinking??) Eventually the tub and tile will be removed and a nice shower and more updated tile walls and glass enclosure will go up - but not this week.  See the gawdawful fluorescent lights behind our contractor?  OUT they go! The weak exhaust fan is coming out and a lighted fan is going in.  Along with the can light in the shower, this should provide enough light for this small bathroom.
Contractor is Chuck Porter is younger brother to a friend from high school.
The guest bath renovations include removing the crappy exhaust fan, replacing it with a lighted fan, and they'll be changing out the icky fluorescent ceiling lighting with this pretty vanity light:
You can see pictures of the house before we moved in here.

The rain keeps raining and somehow a huge crop of Wandering Jew weed has made its home in my backyard, totally covering the ground.  The lawn spray service came yesterday and sprayed some sort of KILL that will murder everything green back there, leaving sand.  We plan to plug St. Augustine grass and make some pretty garden areas and also figure out a good spot for the fire pit my sister Patty gave us last week.  It looks like this one.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Juvenile Dermatomyositis

My  22-year old daughter in law has a chronic auto-immune disorder, juvenile dermatomyositis.  Amanda's started in middle school after getting a  required vaccine.  She has not had a remission that I am aware of.
I've been researching and the link I gave above pretty much sums it up.   Here are some other links:
Cure JM Foundation
Life In The Autoimmune Lane blog
Online Study Get paid for it having dermatomyositis.
The Spoon Theory - what it's like to have a chronic illness
Myositis is a blanket name for a bunch of neuro muscular disorders
You can just type in dermatomyositis in FaceBook and come up with a few groups.

Anticipating The Holidays

I came across this cute musical invitation to enjoy Hanukkah.  It's sort of early to be thinking of the Holidays, but I didn't want to lose this link.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jax Home Repairs and Upgrades

UPDATE:  I found a man that will do some of the repairs!  It turns out that I knew his sister in high school, Maureen Porter (she died several years ago from cancer).  He begins work this Tuesday to: 
  • Replace fluorescent light fixtures in both bathroom vanity areas with more attractive lights above the mirror, then patch ceiling where fluorescents hung.
  • Remove fluorescent light from master bath above toilet and replace with can light.
  • Replace old bathroom vent fans with new lighted vent fans.
  • Raise ceiling over master bathtub and replace old light fixture with a can light.
  • Patch master bath walls where Mark removed old drop ceiling above toilet area.
  • Patch roof over garage where a large tree limb dropped and poked a 3" hole an inch deep.

This is what we need to find time and money to do -

Major renovations:
  • Replace master garden bathtub with a shower 
  • Raise dropped bath ceiling
  • Add a bathroom window
  • Change light fixtures in both bathrooms and master vanity
  • Replace carpeting in all 3 bedrooms
  • Replace great room and dining room carpet with wooden flooring
  • Replace kitchen cabinets/counter top
  • Re-tile kitchen and foyer
  • Get the lawn up to par; weed and seed, plug more grass in bare spots -HIRED A LAWN SPRAYING SERVICE!!
  • Remove those damn pygmy palms
  • Move the two baby crepe myrtles to a better location to thrive
  • Clear out front gardens and plant a hedge of azaleas, mulch
  • Eliminate evil bougainvillea, replace with plumbago 
  • Plant some gardenias and camellias and knock out roses
  • Get a satsuma tree and a lemon tree
  • Replace stockade fence
  • Repair boards on back deck, pressure wash and seal
  • Purchase a storage shed for back yard to store lawn equipment
  • Add fill dirt in back yard low spots, plant some roses and other foliage in back
  • Move both hibiscus plants to back yard
  • Start a 4x4 raised veggie garden
  • Get some mosquito repelling potted plants for front and back porch
  • Buy a bug zapper - DONE!! FOUND ONE AT THE COSTCO OUTLET STORE $30.
When we get time we will:
  • Take down family room vertical blinds, hang drapes
  • Change light fixture in kitchen - DONE!  MARK SURPRISED ME!
  • Remove awful bathroom lights
  • Install new lighted exhaust fans in both bathrooms
  • Remove kitchen wallpaper, paint walls solid color
  • Fill hole behind recliner
  • Spot paint walls where Mark filled holes
  • Sew room darkening/noise cancelling liner to master bedroom drapes
  • Unpack guest rooms
  • Hang drapes in back bedroom
  • Buy full sized bed for front bedroom 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Make A Baby Quilt

Busy taking care of things at my parents' home, I totally forgot a baby shower this weekend!  I have the material for a special rag quilt.  Can I do it in one day?  You betcha!  I found the top fabric at a little fabric shop, all cotton and cute for a little girl, packaged together in a perfect little set.  The back is made from nice soft flannels I found at Joann's.  I made the quilt first and the bib was an afterthought.  The more you wash and dry a rag quilt, the more intense the raggedy exposed seams become - a good thing!  The new mommy, Laurel, loved it.  Her baby will be named Lyla.  I love that's my niece Robin's baby's name too.

Bib made with scraps leftover after I made the quilt.
The colors are more true here, but it's hard to tell it is a bib with the neck closed.
I am holding it up showing the flannel backing.
The front, a zillion little 1/4" scissor clips make the curly exposed seams.
closeup of back
closeup of part of the front

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I'll Take Mine Medium-Rare!

We had to put our old humongous gas grill out of its misery.  It was getting rusty and slow.
Check out the new one we just got for $199!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marty, Mark, Mountains, Momma, Daddy

Mark closed his business on July 26.  He came home that night.  He and I did laundry and packed on Saturday, then that night we enjoyed my sister Kathie's 60th birthday party at Clark's Fish Camp.  Lots of people, lots of fun!

Sunday morning, we were off for the mountains!  A ten hour trip, we got about six hours in, taking I-285, a road that takes you around the busy traffic in Columbia, SC, and the car stopped going.  Our car limped to the curb of this very busy highway, big trucks and cars whizzing past only feet away.  We were thirty miles from Columbia and had a broken fuel pump.  AAA towed us to nearby Newberry, SC, dropped our car at a repair shop and we grabbed a few belongings, said a prayer that the rest of our very full car would be safe, and we were dropped off 1/2 mile away at an Econo-Lodge.  The town was small, a Dollar General, Walmart, Hardees, and CVS were nearby.  Just past the repair shop was a nice little restaurant that had a good following.  We had dinner there the second night of our stay.  After they fixed the in-tank fuel pump, a bunch of wires were noticed to be burned from heat of our clogged catalytic converter.  They wrapped each wire, removed the CC and put in a "test pipe", basically a bypass.  The car, an automatic transmission, wouldn't go into 2nd gear.  We got frustrated, learned there was a GMC dealership three miles away, and Mark drove slowly, shifting into 2nd gear, and we were at the nicest dealership we ever encountered!  They followed each wire, finding nothing wrong, so they replaced the whole set of wires with a new.  Newberry was an expensive stop!  Mark sure didn't expect to spend all day Monday and Tuesday in a car repair shop after closing his Snap-On Tool business just days before!

We finally arrived at our house on Beech Mountain on Tuesday night for what remained of our two week vacation.  The weather in the mountains was shockingly cool.  I think that summer had peaked and we were beginning to feel the beginnings of fall.  Although there was a lot of rain, the most in years, we enjoyed our time, riding on the parkway, doing things around the house. We picked blueberries at a U-pick farm, canned a couple of dozen half-pints of jams, baked a big pie. We bought a large basket of peaches, which I made into 7 pints of pickled spiced peaches. We even saw a play at Lees MacRae college, Singing in the Rain. Our time there seemed cut short when it was time to go home.  We need to get that house painted.

We arrived home on Sunday, August 11th.  Monday was spent getting unpacked and washing, then to my parent's house, where I was surprised at how well my mother was doing, but daddy's back is agonizing for him, which breaks my heart.  Tuesday morning Mark left for Orlando, where he fixed, then sold his big Snap-On Truck for much less than it was worth (Hard finding a buyer.) and had the catalytic converter tube worked on so it would be quiet once again (it sounded like a motor boat!).  That same morning, momma had surgery at Baptist Hospital Beaches (LOVED that hospital and all the staff!).  The silicone breast implants that were placed after mastectomy 26 years ago had to be removed.  They were possibly ruptured, encapsulated in scar tissue and there were hematomas beneath both.  Her doctor was pleased at how well the surgery went.

All last week was spent taking care of both parents, getting momma back to health and helping daddy cope with his back. He finally consented to use a walker, which made me feel better, as I feared he would fall, so he took mom's.  That night I layed in bed and worried that momma would need her walker in the middle of the night and fall.  Mom has an appointment Monday afternoon at the surgeon's to remove drain tubes.  Daddy has an appointment at the spine clinic on Thursday, the 22nd for shots that are supposed to give some relief.  I'd like to go with him and make an appointment for myself, as I have bulging disks in my neck causing pretty intense shoulder (and neck) pain.  It's worst when I lay down and I have found that using a cervical collar in bed is the trick, but not a cure.  I've begun having pain in my left leg as well; It's the nerve that makes pain that begins my fanny muscle and goes all the way down my leg and into the arch and bottom of my foot.  I would compare it to having my skin taken off like a sock and put back on inside out.  I am thankful it isn't a constant pain, but when it hits, it is always a surprise at how intense it is.  I guess I have some other complications in my lower back as well, as this couldn't be from the neck problem.  I wonder if it is from rheumatoid arthritis, or normal wear and tear? It really doesn't matter what the source is as I have no time to deal with this and am frustrated at my own failing health.

Mark got home Friday night and we spent Saturday at my parents' house, taking care of things as Patty did her weekend chores.  It was nice to be with Patty and Jon and the four of us went for a late lunch at Rose and George Sarkee's sports bar/restaurant in Miramar.  Patty and I are so much alike - we both had grilled tuna steak and roasted vegetables.  Yummy.  Back to the parents' house to wrap up things, then we all went to my house to watch a rented video, Parental Guidance with Bette Midler, Billy Crystal and Marisa Tormei. It was a really enjoyable movie and I'd like to buy it to watch again and again (rare for me).  I made Pineapple Banana Smoothies for everyone from our Ninja Blender recipe book.  Next time we should use a much riper banana, but other than that, it was pretty tasty.

Ready for next week!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jacksonville Living

Since moving to Jacksonville in April, my mother has been hospitalized four times - heart, heart, pneumonia/heart, and C-Dif (a horrible and potentially deadly hospital borne intestinal infection).  Her 5'6" frame has gone from a slender 127 to 113.  Hugging my mother is like hugging a chicken bone.  She needs meat, but doesn't care for the taste or texture.  Her appetite is minimal at best, and her energy comes in tiny spurts followed by exhaustion.

My two sisters and I met at Village Inn, calendars and opinions and ideas ready to share, to work out a care plan.  I don't work and Kathie and Patty do.  While Patty is on school vacation (she is a teacher), she will go daily to momma and daddy's house to do four or five hours of cooking, laundry, and doctor appointments.  Kathie is the Sunday girl, and once school starts, Patty will take over on Saturdays.  Momma loves the new calendar, knowing who will do what when and the comfort of knowing there will always be someone there to help keep their daily routine constant.

Mark and I have a two-week vacation planned for later this month, a celebration of leaving the job he has done since he was 28 years old, Snap-On Tools, which he closes out his inventory later this week.  It has been a year since we last visited our mountain home together and he feels this break is needed before he begins the daunting task of finding another job.  At almost 57, he is concerned about finding anything.  Once home, I go back to my Monday through Friday daily visits to my parents' home.  It's very pleasant to see Momma and Daddy regularly and I am so very thankful to share the same city now after being away for 26 years.

Parenting the Fearful Pooch

Storms have always been a welcome daily summer occurrence in Florida, leaving behind steaming asphalt, perkier flowers, happy little birds bathing in puddles, and cooler nights.  My mother used to say, "Sunshine and shower, won't last half an hour!"  And it's true.  Try telling that to my dog!

Juliet became fearful after four brave puppy years of Florida weather, which includes tropical storms, tons of thunder, enough lightening to power the whole city for a year, buckets of rain, and all of this always results in mosquitoes galore.  What happened?  Who knows?  Our once brave Juliet became five pounds of fear about a year ago. She starts pacing with she first whiff of a storm cloud. A rumble sends her wide eyed, shivering and panting to the closest human for safety.  She shakes like a vibrating toy at my side.  I never had much use for a miniature shivering dog and thought them to be wimps, and so for an entire year I have ignored her begs for protection, hoping it was just a passing thing.  No.  Hers is a deep seated problem.  

My new mode of dog parenting now includes a kind lap to burrow into when thunder claps and rain pounds on the skylights.  I don't say anything, don't pamper or encourage, but if she needs a safe haven, I will allow my dog the comfort of my lap.  I'm not to the point of purchasing a thunder coat or doggie zanex...YET.

Monday, March 25, 2013

SOLD! Now let's move...

How perfect is it that we close on the Jacksonville house on April 1 and then close on the Apopka house on April 12?  IT IS MORE THAN PERFECT!!!

We are buying our new Jacksonville house was a great price, $35,000 below appraisal.  It is a short sale, which typically takes 3-6 months to complete.  I have a friend who has been waiting 9 months!  They should really call this a long sale!  "Short Sale" means the seller is in a financial dilemma and in order to avoid foreclosure, they ask the bank to intervene by reducing the principle they owe, allowing them to sell for less than they owe - they will be short of funds. Sometimes the bank makes the seller pay them back some of the difference, sometimes not.  It all depends on their financial situation.  Like us, most buyers rarely find out the whole story.

So this darling little house in an established neighborhood (nice mature trees, clean streets, no ratty houses...) went up for sale for the ridiculously low price of $86,000, and this attracted a lot of buyers, including us.  We bid, and there was a bidding war with two other buyers, but we won our little trophy home with $96,000, gave a deposit and signed the contract with the seller to buy the Jax house in early February.  Although our bid was accepted with the sellers, the bank has the power to request more money from us or the sellers.  We would have paid more, but were hoping not to. We were delighted to find out only a month later that the bank had accepted our bid and the paperwork was starting.  We were even more astounded to find out that the closing would be April 1, only two months* from the day we placed the winning bid. Unheard of!

Our Apopka house went onto the market on a Saturday.  We had a lot of lookers (10 appointments in 7 days) and a contract was accepted on day 12 for 97% of our asking price**.  That's a really good offer and we were happy to accept it.

So the buyers could imagine their own stuff in our home, I boxed up most of the "extras" in our house, which we stacked in a storage unit.  I culled a lot of stuff from overflowing closets, but now realize that I don't miss most of the stuff, so when I unpack, I plan to get rid of at least half of what I thought was oh so important.

We close on the Jax house next Monday.  Mark and I will tow a rental trailer filled with the contents of the storage unit on Saturday when we head up to stay with my parents to celebrate Easter and to close on the Jax house the next day.  We will go straight to our new house, unpack the boxes, drop the trailer off at a UHaul place in Jax and then head back to Apopka to face the overwhelming task of moving away from the place we have called home for over 25 years.

How lucky are we that we can move our belongings straight from our current house to our new house without having to deal with storage worries?  We originally thought we'd have to go the POD rental route, but now we can back the big moving van up to the garage, shove everything in, drive it to Jax, back up to the new garage and shove it all out.  Gosh, that sounds so easy!

*Update: Probably because we paid cash for our short sale house - less paperwork for the bank.
**Update: We actually got our entire 100% asking price due to a buyer's agent faux pas on wording in their contract.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Decorating Styles

I suffer from total style confusion.  

Country white and blues with that worn look?  Love it. It is easy on the eyes.
Pristine white glossy and glass and stark?  Amazing and makes me feel clean.
Bold colors?  Cool!  Bring it on.
Black and white?  By all means, yes!
Modern?  Groovy!
Overstuffed with lots of pillows?  Let's fall in.

What is in my house?  A mishmash of variety.  I don't have a favorite anything, be it color or style.  I know what I don't and white frilly French Racoco, busy black Oriental, and big dark clunky rustic Mediterranean.  I don't like cutesy hat boxes, clutter and fluff, and I don't like dead leaves.  I'm not fond of Colonial either.  Aunt Alice calls the collection of furnishings we get without considering what the flow should be, Early Halloween Style.  Oh no...I suffer from Octoberitis!

Surprise surprise, our dining room furniture is Colonial, but I am fond of it.  Purchased when we bought our first house back in the early 1980's, this was da bomb!  The table and chairs were a belated wedding gift from my father-in-law, who passed away shortly after.  The china cabinet followed because, well we had china and it matched.  Down the road I came across the server cabinet (basically a smaller china cabinet without the hutch) and picked that up.  I like the carmelly colored wood, but wish it didn't have a flower carved into the cabinet doors and chair backs.  I like that I can change the fabric on the cushioned seats and plan to find something that will tie our outdated dining furniture into the rest of my odd collection of furniture that we call home.

Mark likes to furniture shop.  Unfortunately, he is attracted only to a variety of colors that could be mistaken for a pile of dead leaves.  We have a tannish colored microfiber sofa.  It was a great price and it was "comfortable".  I swear that man would wear slippers and pajamas in public if it were socially acceptable.  Mark bought himself a wide leather recliner that suits his big and tall frame.  It is in a different hue of tan, maybe more grayish.  He bought it because it fit him and, well, that was the only color it came in.  Because I love to read and rock, I ended up spending a lot of time in his recliner.  Mark made the royal decree that I needed my own so he wouldn't have to share.  I thought maybe blue, burgundy or dark green might tie in the two tans.  I wanted a smaller recliner that would fit ME, the one my Big Sweetie Mark teasingly calls homunculus. (A homunculus is a perfectly proportioned little person.)    Instead, we ended up with a giant brown recliner that hurts my neck and lower back.  It rocks, and there is enough room for me, my dog, a blanket, a stack of books, and a laptop - OR one big Mark. I wanted a printed area rug to pull in all colors of our furniture.  Our new rug is beige, and it sits atop creamed-coffee colored carpeting.  I shop for throw pillows without Mark.  The current fall/winter pillows need to be replaced with something summery.  The only shade similar to a leaf's will be green and alive!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

This healthy plant was started from a tiny wood twig off my mother's Yesterday Today and Tomorrow bush many years ago.  The flowers bloom from a woody little ball, starting off deep purple.  Day two they turn lilac, and day three they fade to white.  They bloom most of the year in Central Florida.  The fragrance is intoxicating - from a distance.  It's a good thing ours isn't planted right outside a window, as its strong scent would be overwhelming!  (click on pictures to see full size)

And finally, my poor poor Amaryllis!  Several amaryllis bulbs were given to me by my mother, who has a nice garden full of these red flowering plants.  As the plants age, the bulbs split and make "babies".  Mine have matured, split, and split again giving us many beautiful spring flowers.  This is the first year the deer have noticed them and they won't allow a flower to bloom fully.  They have been feasting on the leaves too.
I love the deer, but I loved my flowers. Sigh...
Amaryllis bloom from 2011

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Sons, Twenty Years Later

When our boys were in grade school, each child had to have a poster about themselves when it was their turn to be Student of the Week.  Parents were instructed to write something about their child and help them create a collage of photos, plus any decorations that reflect his personality.  Cleaning out closets, I came across both posters and just wanted to share, twenty years later, how very accurately I pinned my sons.

Mark Robert Watson, Jr. - 3rd Grade
(will be 29 in May)
Robert wants more,
Be it food or a favor,
He never can get enough.

He wants information,
Challenging confrontation.

He's smart and he's quick
Never misses a trick.

He's demanding, delightful.
His manners are frightful.

He's tiring and taxing
He's loving, relaxing.

He's gentle and kind
I'm glad that he's mine.

His blue eyes light up
When he learns something new.
He can't wait to share it
With someone - - - 
YOU'LL do!

David Patrick Watson - Kindergarten
(will be 26 in April)
When David laughs, 
it sounds like little bells 
jingling in the breeze.
He touches our hearts
with his sensitive, giving personality.
is very important to David.
He is quiet, thoughtful and calculating.
David knows karate
and when he is out 
with his mother at night, he says, 
"Don't worry Mom, I'll protect you."
And he means it.
Although he tries to hide it,
David's emotions run high with 
tremendous love and allegiance
to the special ones around him.
These people 
fortunate enough to know David
get to enjoy the pleasure of his 
hidden wit and sideways glances.
 We are proud and we love him very much.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dear Future Home Owners

I wrote a letter to tell potential buyers that come to look at our house how very wonderful it is to live here.  This was easy to write, but very hard to read to my father.  I started to cry when I began reading the paragraph about how special my neighbors are, and Daddy said, "Baby, maybe you should stay there!"  He loves the nature and wildlife that we are offered on a daily basis here and wishes he could have all of this.

My letter sits on the kitchen counter and is exactly (including picture) as follows:

Dear Future Home Owners,

Our community is woodsy and far enough away to have a country feel, but with the convenience of a good variety of stores, restaurants and new expressways nearby.  Our roof and air conditioner are both new.  Our home is quiet and offers total privacy.  ALL of the neighbors are wonderful and ours is a happy street!

Next door (on the pool side of the house) lives Kyle and her two big teenage sons.  The boys are quiet and polite.  I sometimes hire them to help with heavy moving.  They get their sweetness from their mother.  I will miss my conversations with Kyle through the fence in the mornings.  You will rarely see or hear their dog, Scooby Do, who is a giant chicken.

The house on the street side of us belongs to Chris, Leslie and their four very polite and well-behaved children that vary in age from first grade to middle school.  Leslie is a doll, patient and kind.  She teaches summer swimming lessons and, if you are outside, you may hear her praising a toddler for “kick-kick-kicking”.  Chris is a model father, a total gentleman.  He coaches his children’s baseball teams and you will regularly see him playing with the kids.  They have a small white dog named Tebow who, with one deep “woof” invites our little dog out to play.  (He potties in his own yard – not ours.)

Every morning I wake up before daybreak, grab a cup of coffee, and make a bee-line for the back porch.  Birds are chirping their morning song and a soft breeze blows through the woods.  Sometimes I can hear the far off whistle of a train or a rooster crowing.  This morning I heard turkeys, clucking as they woke from their roost in the top of an oak out front near the pond.  It is not uncommon to see 7-8 deer parade past, just beyond the state park fence line, stopping to munch a leaf or two before moseying on their way.  One neighborhood doe, affectionately named Tripod, has a bent front leg that has been this way since birth.  She is healthy, is able to run and leap, and has a new fawn every year.  Three squirrels frequent the Queen Ann Palms, feasting on its tiny coconut fruit.  Stumpy, the short tailed boy, frantically buries nuts all over the back yard, but never has one sprouted into a plant.

The pond out front is spring-fed, but with the (current) lack of rain, the water level does drop, but never empties.  In warmer months you will enjoy a pond-side frog symphony that starts at dusk.  They’re especially happy after a good drenching storm.  You will sometimes see deer (especially Tripod) and turkeys in the front yard.

Our sons had a wonderful childhood growing up in the security of Wekiva Glen and, like my husband and me, they have made lifelong friends here that will be cherished forever.  It breaks our hearts to leave our paradise, but with aging parents and the rest of our family in Jacksonville, we feel the need to be near during their twilight years.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Marty Watson

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Apopka Home 1987-2013

These are photos of our Apopka home. We were excited that it sold in one week for our asking price.

Front porch and front yard

this was a long driveway 

surprise guest named Indigo

a bear in our front yard 
a deer just beyond our driveway
turkeys on our driveway

Monday, February 18, 2013

We LOVE this house...Let's change it!

Mark and I decided to sell our Snap-On dealership and move to Jacksonville.  We are in the process of clearing our Apopka home to put it on the market (probably will be listed this week!) and have already found a home in Jacksonville to buy.  The home we bid on in Jacksonville is being sold on a short sale which really should be called a long sale because it takes 3-4 months to be accepted by the bank as the buyer.

On Saturday I was in Jax and was able to view the house more thoroughly, take photos and three videos.  I meant to say that the wall would increase the VALUE of this house, not the price of it.  Please forgive gulpy southern accent!  I never really noticed how awful it is until I watched this video.

We really LOVE this little house.  It is exactly what we were looking for in size (1328 sq ft) and floor plan and location. (It's a house away from the cul-de-sac.)  It was built in 1987 and there are some upgrades and changes that Mark and I both agree would make this house our home.  Yes, we could live in it as it is.  It is not in disrepair...With the exception of required total home scrub down cleaning, it is move in ready, but we want to make some changes to make it our own.  Isn't it sweet?  You can see it in Trulia too.

The photos are: 1) house front, 2) closer shot of front, 3) back of house, 4) foyer and living room, 5) from lr, looking at dining, kitchen on left, guest bed rooms and bath on right, and front door in the middle, 6) kitchen from doorway, 7) kitchen, looking to the right of the doorway which also shows pantry and door to garage.  The people on the back deck are my Realtor, who is talking to my sister Patty.  We all went to school together.  In addition to the rooms you see here, there is a master suite.

There are things we will change to make this house our home.  You can hear my awful southern accent in the videos, noting the things we will change.
  • The yard needs a good raking, sand to buildup topsoil and fertilizer for the sparse grass. Foliage should be more suited to north Florida (azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas and in the back yard, fruit trees).  The current owner planted things too tropical, invasive, and just completely haphazard.  What were they thinking??
  • The side fences in the back yard are falling apart and we have a tiny dog about the size of a large rat.  She will escape!
  • The master bedroom walls are navy blue. No. I prefer a neutral color.
  • Replace fall-apart cheap plastic mini blinds with cheap plastic plantation blinds throughout.  ;-)
  • Replace fall-apart verticals on sliding glass door in living room.  Add drapes.
  • Most walls need patching for multiple nail holes and all walls need fresh paint.
  • House has popcorn ceilings throughout. Needs minor repair in dining room. Do we live with that or get it replaced with knock down ceilings?  Doesn't really bother me.
  • Bathroom light fixtures - oh that has to happen really soon.  There are florescent bars on the ceilings!
  • Master bathroom will have garden tub removed and a tiled shower installed.  The current tile in the tub area is a religious experience (a cross) that I don't want to face each morning.  We hope to match the same tile around that is already in the toilet area.
  • The kitchen has antiquated wallpaper, mismatched appliances, and needs new cabinetry down the road.  I would prefer a larger tile with lighter grout.
  • Carpeting is in okay condition.  We can live with it, but our plan is to remove all the living area carpeting and replace it with wood.  We plan to put fresh neutral color carpeting in the bedrooms.  Currently our bedroom and living areas are all cream and the guest wing has icky mauve.
  • I'm short, and a cement step outside of the side garage door would be nice.
  • Mark needs to pressure wash the entire house (it is covered in vinyl siding) and driveway and walkway.
  • Mark needs to pressure wash the wooden back deck and replace some boards, then seal it.
  • I'd like a smaller light fixture in the dining room with dark metal.  Current one is huge and white.
  • An even smaller pendant fixture that compliments the dining room one would be nice in the breakfast nook.  We will need a cafe table set for two in there.  Yank down the ugly valance drapery in kitch.
  • The ruffled clear glass lights on the LR ceiling fan need to be changed out for something less 80's.
  • One day, renovate kitchen cabinetry and get matching appliances.
  • One day, replace fireplace faux stone wall with brick.  We don't have fireplace tools.
I am sure there are a lot more items that will need our attention and we will wear a path to the local hardware store.  We WILL get a home inspection before closing to guard against any structural problems.  I really love this house and am super excited to think that we can do the weekly cleaning in probably less than two hours!