Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Update on our Selling our house

Our house has now been on the market just over a week.  During that time we've had four prospective buyers tour the house and two more are scheduled for Thursday and Friday.  So far, only one has expressed a strong interest, mostly because she entertains a lot and likes the private patio in back with no houses overlooking the back yard.  I don't blame her at all.  It's the very reason we chose this lot.

And if she is looking for a place to entertain friends, well this was what we've been doing for 29 years for as few as two and as many as sixty.  We've even held a couple of 'mini Eggfests' here.  It was fun and never once did it get so crowded that guests were uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, we've taken apart the Coop and removed anything and everything that made it 'Ours.' We truly want the new owners to make it 'theirs' as they get settled in here.  Oddly, as bare of a lot of Coop artifacts as it is, it still looks like a fun place to hang out.  Someone is going to be very happy they bought this house.

As we stack box after box of our accumulated items in the garage for later transport to Covington, Louisiana, we can't help but wonder how this place held so much 'stuff.'  It's absolutely amazing!

Our latest professional moving service was a nice gentleman named Paco.  He came highly recommended by some Egghead friends.  He certainly seemed sincere while also being very business like as he went around looking at what all would need to be carried to Covington, whether to a temporary apartment or to a storage facility until our house is finished.  We fully expect a fair price, but we know it will be well into the thousands of dollars.  It's just one of those expenses that must be incurred if you want to move all of your 'sacred' belongings to your next home.  I often wonder how it would be to just sell everything and buy new on the other end with the money we would save by not paying a mover.  Well, that's certainly not going to happen this time.  We've got some pretty comfortable things that we have grown attached to during the past 29 years of living here.

Although things seem to be going slow, at least when we're in a hurry, it's all part of the process. We'll live through it and adapt to our new adventure with little thought given to the journey getting there.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Space City Eggfest 2017

It took a long time for Houston to get its own Eggfest.  The first one was held last year.  It was held in Old Town Spring , just a couple of miles from our house.  And it was good enough that the sponsoring company, Alspaugh's Ace Hardware, wanted to do it again, only better and bigger.

Here's the video I put together for last year's Eggfest: Space City Eggfest 2016

Judy and I will be there for this one too, but this will likely be our last Eggfest.  As noted below, we have decided that it is time for us to make some major changes to our lives.  Not only are we cutting back on our involvement in Big Green Egg related events, we are selling our home of 29 years and moving to Covington, Louisiana to live out our remaining years closer to family.

But on this day, May 20, 2017, we will try to perform at our best while serving samples of Egg-cooked food and having fun introducing the Big Green Egg to curious attendees.  If my count is complete, this will be the 78th Eggfest or Big Green Egg related event we have been a part of since 2003.

And it has been a lot of fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

First Showing

We had our first showing today.  They asked for an hour from Noon to 1:00 pm.  So we went to lunch and ran some errands, arriving back home at about 1:20.  They were still here.  So we drove up to our nearby shopping center and parked for about 15 minutes and returned home.  They were still here.  So we parked on the street and waited about 10 to 15 minutes before they left.  That's almost 2 hours.

I take that as a good sign.

We hope they aren't the only ones to take an interest.  Time will tell.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Our House Just Went Live on the Market

Today started out hectic and got hecticer.  I think 'hecticer' is a word.  If not, it is now.

We wanted our house looking its best when the photographer came to get those all-important photos that entice potential buyers to say, "Wow!  Save that one to go see."

And here's what will make them say that:

510 Moggy Ct

Or if you prefer the video version:

Our Home

Our Agent said we went with the right price at the right time.  It should sell fast.

We certainly hope so.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

As I sit here having my first cup of coffee and pondering the virtues of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, I am, possibly for the first time in my life, realizing what those words actually mean and why they are so important.

“Life” is something you have or you don’t.  You’re either alive or dead.  Or perhaps never existed in the first place.  Life could even be an illusion in a cosmos of nothing but illusions.  But, Life as we humans interpret it, is the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

I believe the sequence of the words, Life, Liberty and Happiness, is equally important.  Happiness is a progressive result of Life and Liberty toward the Pursuit of and achieving Happiness – the ultimate goal.

As such, all living things are likely seeking Liberty to Happiness in their own way. 

It is within the realm of consideration that without the Liberty to pursue the ultimate pleasure, Happiness, then there is no point in continuing to live.  

So what is Liberty and Happiness?  It’s nothing without Life to give it purpose.

I am, by any definition, alive.  I possess Life, and I do not need a Declaration of Independence or Constitutional Law to tell me that I should expect, demand and protect my Liberty in order to pursue Happiness.  It is implanted in my DNA.  I am bound by Life for Life to pursue Happiness.

So where does Liberty fit into the scheme of things? 

I think Liberty is the catalyst that connects Life and Happiness.  It gives all life forms the freedom and the time to pursue Happiness any way they wish, and at any time they wish.  And to interpret Happiness as whatever makes all life forms happy. 

We humans are not alone in this pursuit, but we may be the only species that has to occasionally remind ourselves that Happiness is the goal.

The road to Happiness
can be daunting and formidable
 but it is my choice as to how to travel it
 no matter where it takes me
 as long as I am Happy  

Judy and I have lived as wife and husband for 15,870 days.  Throughout all of them, we’ve managed to achieve various levels of Happiness, sometimes punctuated with challenges typical to all humans, but nonetheless, happy.  As some would say, We are “Blessed” with happiness.

Now, once again, our Happiness is challenged, this time by time itself.  We are growing older, which we appreciate very much, but with the aging process comes the realization that we cannot continue to live where we are most happy.  It is a growing struggle to maintain our lifestyle here, both physically and emotionally. 

In addition, our happy place has seen an increase in criminal activity, something that stresses us even more.  Our home is being encroached upon by other life forms that we cannot accept and will never accept. 

After 29 wonderful years we have found ourselves at odds with our surroundings and its inhabitants.  It is time to pursue Happiness elsewhere.

Our home, our Happy Place, goes on sale tomorrow.  Ironically, the person or persons who purchases it, will also be seeking their own Happiness.  And we sincerely hope they too feel the love and magic of this special place as we did for over 29 years.

And once again we continue to seek the ultimate goal in life worth seeking: just to be happy.

We believe we have found our new Happy Place in Covington, Louisiana.

I sure hope we don’t have to move again.  It’s a real pain in the ‘everywhere.’

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Major Lifestyle Change In The Works

A lot has been happening in our lives lately, so we took a hard look and decided to make a substantial change in every area of our life that needs attention.

For one thing, we have decided to step back from our participation in Eggfests.  Ultimately, that means cutting them out altogether. The last one we will be attending is in two weeks here in Spring, Texas.  It’s just three miles from our house and it will give us a chance to say our goodbyes to a lot of friends.

The burdens of physical work and expense has become too great for us now that Eggfests have grown substantially in number and in size.  And that translates into non reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses for us that averages well into the thousands of dollars each year.  We are on a fixed income and can no longer afford it without sacrifice to ourselves.  We feel we’ve done our share.  It’s time for others to have fun.

Then there’s the age thing.  I turned 76 on May 8th.  And although the calendar says 76, my brain says I’m 56 while my body says I’m 86, and some days even 96.  There’s nothing seriously wrong or life threatening with me, but I’m starting to feel ‘old.’  

That being said, we also can no longer ‘keep up’ the Chicken Ranch.  The constant need to repair or improve something has literally surpassed my capacity or my desire to do it.  I can no longer climb or crawl or even see well enough to tackle some jobs.  And with me liking to stay busy, I'm often without a project to tackle, at least not one that I can complete well.

Add to that, a considerably increased crime presence in our neighborhood has made us very uncomfortable in our own home.  We’ve already had one incident where someone went into our garage and stole some power tools.  I’m certain they would have stolen more had it not been for the vehicles in their way. 

But other nearby homes and vehicles have been broken into in spite of an increased police presence.  Add to that, armed robberies at nearby businesses, and even a murder just outside one of them.  Prostitution is so bad that the police opened an office and assigned a large number of police officers to ‘get it under control,’ whatever the hell ‘under control’ means.

So we decided to sell our house and move away from here while we can. 

The decision to move was made much easier by the fact that Judy’s sister in New Orleans retired last year and her husband will be retiring in a couple of months.  They too wanted out and away from the big city and decided to build a home in Covington, Louisiana, a small town about 25 miles away from New Orleans.  Its population is shown as 9,686 but it is fast growing as ‘the place to live’ for those wishing to get to high ground from flooding, and to safety from crime. 

Along with the increased population is a fast growing economy that has brought in new shopping malls, excellent medical facilities, and the infrastructure to support them.  At most, we will be about twenty minutes away from all of them.

So, we decided to seriously look around in Covington ourselves.  And we found what we were looking for.  We instantly knew where it had to be:  Terra Maraie.  See 'Covington, Louisiana' post below).

We had already fallen in love with Terra Mariae, so we didn't have to search, just decided whether to buy an existing home or build a new one.  After looking at one for sale, we decided to build.

And this is the lot we decided on.

Terra Mariae Phase I and II consists of about 70 homes that are limited to people 55 years old and older.  The homes are all individually designed but French influenced ‘garden homes’ with zero lot-lines.  That means the right windowless brick wall on my house will be precisely on my lot line, and will also serve as a garden wall to the house to my right.  Yes, they will have a private professionally landscaped 'garden' between their house and my wall.  Entrances on most of the homes are on the garden side through a beautiful brick and gateway and down a pathway to the 'front entrance.'  

Being the last house on the street, we won’t have a house to our left, just a small unobtrusive wrought iron fence to help keep out deer and small animals.  Beyond that will be green-space and trees.  The view looks much like a golf course.

With a garden home, we just take care of our garden area.  The homeowner’s association has a crew to maintain all the ‘green-space’ areas outside our property, including our front yard.  And there is a substantial amount of green-space making for some comfortable views from our home.

If we wish, we can pay the crew to mow any grass we have inside our fence.  The charge is $10 per cut.  We're not likely to have much grass by the time we get through adding our touches to the garden's collection of plants, fountains, and shady seating areas, but $10 sure sounds better than me doing it.

We have already set in motion to buy the only lot we want, a larger than average lot that is the last lot on the dead-end/cul-de-sac street.  We will have green-space beyond our garden side and back, with a substantial over size driveway that leads directly into our garage.  Our front view will be of a similar garden home on the other side of a huge cul-de-sac turnaround.  So we will be ‘the last house on the right.’  I’ve always liked that description of where we live.

We’ve also selected our builder and made minor changes to the architectural drawings to get the necessary approvals from the homeowners association and county housing commission.

We’ve met with the bank to obtain the construction loan, which will convert to a small mortgage once we sell our house and apply the proceeds to the down payment.

So, as you can imagine, we’re anxious to get our house here sold as quickly as possible.  And we’re already actively removing any and all ‘personal’ items to box and place into a rental storage facility so that we can show the house to prospective buyers.  We’ve been told by a top real estate agent that it will sell quickly at a premium price once it hits the market.  I would hope so.

Selling quickly means we will have to move out fairly quickly and into a rental home or apartment in Covington while our house is being built.  We’re fine with that because we will be close to family and new friends, and we will be able to see the construction as it is being built.  Yes, I will document every step of it and make it into a video.

I will keep everyone up to date here as things progress.

We can't wait to move into our new home...