Tag Archives: house

15 years



The other day, the little house I bought when I was a single 29-year-old popped into my mind. It wasn’t anything extravagant;  a little 3-bedroom ranch, in an ok part of town. But it was mine. Where it was didn’t  seem too important. I never expected to be in it all that long. “The long drive to work will be ok,” I thought to myself,  “I don’t need to go out so much anyway. I will  be fine for a few years.” Just seemed like the thing to do.  I ended up being there for 15 years.

A lot happened during those 15 years in that little house; tons of miles on my car, new job, lots of dates, marriage, baby showers for friends, weddings. There were Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings, going away parties, new friendships, and then separation, divorce and losing my dad … Yes .. A lot happened. Made me think about my recent townhouse purchase. This time, if I stay for 15 years, I will be 63.  63 … I have repeated that number in my head now for a few days. Does not sound possible.

Those 15 years in my little house felt so short, yet a lifetime seemed to happen there. Staying here in my townhouse isn’t mandatory, but if I do, what will these walls witness?  Will I be happy here? Things are so very different now.  Twelve years ago, a life with someone and having a family was a possibility; that, or at least part of that, has slipped away.  What else and who else will slip away? Who might enter my life?  Will the years fly by so quickly again?  Will I spend them alone? These are things I never put much thought into in the past, but time has become more insistent; it’s telling me it waits for no one or anything.

I have no real plan on how to proceed with my future.  I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  Plans can go terribly wrong and leave you disappointed or worse yet, heartbroken.  No plan, and I may drift aimlessly about or become a hermit and binge watch Netflix.  Neither sounds appealing. So for now, I’m going to plan to at least not let either happen.  I may need some company on this journey so please leave any comments or thoughts you have on dealing with the inevitable process of aging.

***Note – this little 63 moment I had freaked me out so much, I spent an hour in a half on the phone with a financial advisor. I must at least have a plan to support my cats ….


Weekend with Mom


me and mom

I spent Saturday and Sunday with my mom. For those who know me through Facebook, you are familiar with the typical conversations mom and I have: I don’t wear enough makeup, I need to brush my hair and something about whatever I’m wearing. Somewhere along the line, she’s become a very negative person.  I love my mom to pieces and I try to accept that this is just how she is. She’s not meaning to hurt feelings; she’s just from another time when things weren’t so casual. And she says she’s earned the right to say what she wants.  She will be 84 at the end of November, and I am thankful that she is still with me, but… WOW she just wears me out.

The itinerary for the weekend was to go on the annual October Tour of Historic Homes in Salisbury, NC where I’m from and mom still lives. Well, Saturday it rained…again. Thank goodness I had Plan B: a movie, but I knew I could be opening a can of worms with this.

Here’s mom’s take on today’s movies:

“They’re all just about these special effects; no story.”
“Why does every other word have to be a curse word?”
“I don’t want to see all these disaster movies. The world’s depressing enough.”
“I like suspense, not all this gore and blood and stuff.”
“What happened to nice looking leading men? I’m tired of looking at ugly people.”
“Where do they get all of these ugly people?”

You get my point. I was hoping I had a chance with the new movie The Intern, with Robert DeNiro. At least she knows who he is. To my surprise, she laughed out loud several times. She did make sure to point out that Anne Hathaway was not wearing jeans with tears in them, “Look how nice and neat she looks; no holes her jeans”… Sometimes, I have to remind her to keep it down in the movies…and church. “Other people can hear you mom.” I get the stink eye. When it was over, she actually said, “I enjoyed that.” My mouth about hit the floor. I asked her if she could say that again so I could record it. Again with the stink eye.  “Well, it didn’t have all the bad language and sex,” she comments.  Glad you liked it mom.

That evening, we settled in with the TV. Now TV is another big sore spot with her. She has cable with tons of channels, but basically only watches PBS, so she limits herself to about 3 channels. She complains there’s just nothing on. She watches these old British sitcoms and mysteries I know she’s seen a million times. “Well, I like Judy Dench,” she says. In the next breath, she says she can’t understand half of what they say. She falls asleep half way through them, wakes up and gets irritated because she doesn’t know what’s going on.  If you try to get her to watch one of the network channels, she vehemently says, “I’m not watching those channels. There are too many damn commercials.” When she did switch to one, and a commercial was on, she quickly muted it and said “oh drop dead.” Ok then…

My brother calls mom Joe LeVan. He was mom’s dad and lived with us for a few years. Well, I should say he lived with me, mom and dad; my brother and sister where pretty much already out of the house. Grandfather, which is what we called him, was quite the character: spoke his mind -loudly, and also did not like commercials. I actually saw him spit at and kick the TV one time. I suppose there is something to it when they say we become our parents. Wonderful…

Yep, they were lined up...

Yep, they were lined up…

Sunday rolls around. Mom is supposed to be a greeter at church. She decides to go do that, and come straight home. Mom’s having some issues with church too. The old traditional ways are changing. They are trying some more “modern elements,” which she is not the least bit happy with… but that’s an entire different story. ..

She gets home. I thought we would have some lunch before we go. I got the quick reply, “No, we don’t have time. They are already lining up at some of the houses.” The woman wouldn’t even let me eat lunch! This is another issue… she really doesn’t like to eat or drink anything…especially water. Eating is just something she has to do. I definitely didn’t get this trait. The doctor has gotten on to her about the water, which I think almost makes her more stubborn about it. I tell her to drink her water and she sticks her tongue out at me.

So out we go for the day. I did manage to get her to smile for a selfie. I think the only reason she complied was because people were standing around us. She doesn’t like to have her picture taken either.  Imagine that.  It was a rather long tour and we did ok for most of it. I could tell she was getting tired. These past few years, mom has lost what little patience she had and has gotten really bad about questioning everything.

“I want to catch the trolley to the next house,” she says.
“Ok mom,” I replied, “but we have to walk back down to the corner.”
“How do you know?” she asked.
“Because it’s marked with a “T” on the tour guide map,” I said.
“Are you sure?”

At the last stop, there is a pastry shop next store. Now about the eating, she does like her sweets. When I come home, we have to eat out, unless I want cookies and ice cream for dinner. She decides she wants to get something. I happily comply because I’m starving at this point, and probably getting grumpy myself. She enjoys a freshly made cinnamon roll. I tell her to drink some water. With a grudge, she did. With her sugar fix, we completed the last stop.

It wasn’t five minutes after we got home, she was stretched out on the couch.  She was done.  I told her if we do the tour again next year, we would split it into two days.  “Yeah, yeah,” she says. We’ll see about next year.”

Roof Over My Head or Travel?


There are only two things I’ve been able to think about since I’ve been back: where can I go next year and how can I buy a home next year AND still take a trip?

I just signed a year lease on my apartment, which I love. Really enjoy the area. I can walk to shops and restaurants however, traffic is getting worse every year and rent is just getting ridiculous. I read an article several weeks ago regarding apartment rent in Charlotte. It stated that Charlotte renters pay nearly 27% or more of their monthly income on housing. That’s hard to sustain, especially with the potential of it going up every lease renewal. And another article said Charlotte rent prices are among the fastest growing in the US. Yeah for me. And let me tell you, they are building apartment complexes left and right around here.

When I sold my house three years ago, I broke even – after 15 years of ownership – and that was doing well after the previous years. I was unhappy where I was and just decided to bite the bullet. My original intent was to buy a condo or townhouse. But, after several deals on my house went south, and ones I liked not appraising, I decided to just rent for a while. I soon discovered though, I would be paying almost twice as much in rent a month as I was paying in mortgage, especially if I stayed right in Charlotte. Reluctantly, once my house sold, I moved up the road about 15 miles to Huntersville . Rent is cheaper (not by much…) and as I said, love the area…… but I HATE the traffic. With no traffic, it would take me about 20 minutes Traffic-jamto get to work, with traffic, 40 minutes and that’s if there are no accidents HAHAHA…. I realize compared to some places this might not be much. The problem is traffic is multiplying quickly and our roads can’t handle it. I read in the Charlotte Business Journal that data suggests Charlotte’s 2010 population of nearly 1.87 million will grow to 2.74 million by 2030. And they think a toll road is the answer…. But that’s a subject for an entirely different post…..

So, if I want to continue traveling, something has to give. Luckily, my car is paid for but it’s a vicious cycle of paying rent while trying to save up for a 20% down payment on a home. Not easy. I jokingly asked my mom if I could move in with her. She looked at me like I had ten heads and said NO! That really wouldn’t work anyway. Love my mother dearly, but we would drive each other crazy. You know what they say about older people having no filter when they talk? Well, that holds true for her… Again… a subject for an entirely different post…

I have until after the first of the year to figure this out… Crazy apartment complex requires a 60 day notice… or was it 90.. Anyway, it’s plenty of time for deals to fall through! Then there’s the “where do I want to move” question? Do I want a townhouse or a one-level? Would I be ok with downsizing again? (I went from a 3 bedroom, 2 baths with garage house to a 2 bedroom, 2 baths apartment – no garage). Would the money saved be worth it or would I go nutz with two cats in a smaller place? Will I be able to do another Europe trip if I buy or will I have to scale it down…maybe a cruise? They’re pretty affordable…or nothing at all – that would be a real bummer. I’ve been poking around on realtor.com. Of course one I love is up for sale…but can’t do anything about it now… Just have to hope there’s something I love when the time comes and that interest rates are still low. Too bad I can’t lock in now. HA