Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making our Home Earth Friendly

I've been inspired by a couple post from favorite blogs like Beauty that Moves to do a list of things we've changed to help the environment. Alas many of these things we will leave with this house, but we'll take our motivation to keep doing better along with us.

1. Changed most of the lights in the house to CFLs.
2. Plugged TVs, DVD players etc. into power strips.
3. Programmed thermostat keeps house below 60 when we're out of the house, 60 at night, 68 during the day when we're home.
4. New double pane windows now throughout the house. We used to get ice forming on the inside of the windows in the winter.
5. No more plastic wrap.
6. Using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning.
7. Grew vegetables organically in the yard. (Most got eaten by groundhogs).
8. Grew pounds of raspberries on the vines we've nurtured for a decade.
9. Belonged to a CSA for the past 2 years and shared the pickups with a local friend.
10. Carpooled to school with local friends for the last 5 years.
11. Used the library extensively (almost always walked there).
12. Invited many friends with daughters older than mine to share their used clothes. They are happy to find someone eager to use all the gently-worn clothes, and we don't have to buy new.
13. Reducing our waste by buying in bulk, cutting out almost all convenience foods, cooking from scratch, carrying my own bags to the grocery store (actually every store), composting food waste, bringing my own containers for leftovers if we eat out.
14. Home made lunches for everyone in reusable lunchboxes with reusable food containers, thermoses and water bottles.
15. Buying less and less.

The move is generating lots of items for good will/ Red Cross etc., books to the library, clothes to younger cousins and soon a huge garage sale. And unfortunately lots of waste. It is an eye opener about how many things we own. I doubt many new items will enter our new home.

Where Is Everyone?

The house has been on the market for a week now. No one has come to see it yet. But I'm already getting weary of making sure everything is spotless and put away before we leave. Beds made and the warm extra blankets on the beds must be put away. The table cleared: away with the spices, napkin stack and even placemats. Bathrooms checked and straightened up. Not that we were total slobs before, but I didn't usually worry if my son left the toilet seat up or my daughter didn't wash the toothpaste out of the sink. And all this while we're trying hard to do the usual: get out of the house in time for school.

Last Saturday evening we were set to have friends over for dinner. Two hours before, a real estate agent called to ask if he could bring someone to see the house. I wouldn't turn that down. So quickly we changed our plans, straightened up, and left the house. We're supposed to leave the heat on and almost all the lights on (this is the hardest part for me!). A couple hours later we came back home, and there was a message on the machine from the realtor that they weren't coming after all.

Tomorrow is a broker open house, and Sunday is our first open house for the public. I hope someone shows up.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I get a number of sections of The New York Times Sunday paper delivered on Saturday. Today's headline on the Jersey section is "Trapped in their Own Homes" about people in the area who can not sell their homes. Some bought for a lot more than they now have their homes on the market for, others are stuck in small homes with too many children, others now own 2 homes. I feel strangely lucky not to be in those positions. The worst outcome for us is that Doug will go to Boston without us and come home on weekends.

Here's a link to the article:

and my home with the real estate sign.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

House on the Market

The house is on the market. The for sale sign is outside. The dates for the first few open houses are set. I'm feeling very anxious.

We found a house in Sudbury, MA that we love online. Now the stars need to align for this house to sell and that one not to until we can make an offer. Have us in your wishes.

To lighten my spirits I've been watching magical old musical sequences. Check this one out:

Fred Astaire- Puttin' on the Ritz

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stressed Out Roller Coaster

This experience so far seems to drive me from motivated and excited to busy and stressed to anxious. This is an anxious day. We must decide on a selling price and sign the real estate papers in a few days.

We have a list of about 20 places to look at around Boston in April, but none of the houses seem as nice as ours. (Not ones with good commutes and good schools) We're into a phase where we must maintain the house, and wait for buyers. Uggh.

Anyone reading this blog, please send me some nice comments to soothe my frazzled nerves. I'd also love to know how you're enjoying the blog and about your experiences moving.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Styled House Ready for the Market

Yesterday the real estate agents came to take photos for the online house listing. They moved furniture and styled. Gosh, I wish they had come 5 years ago, so I could have enjoyed our family room the way they styled it.

Here's our bedroom looking very clean. Where are all the books?

And for those of you who wondered. Here is Jack's whole clean room. No I hadn't just moved the mess to the unseen corners.

To relax from all the change and stress, I dragged Doug on a date last night to the Korean spa my mom goes to. We went swimming then relaxed in the saunas, heating rooms and baths. Relief for my back pain for a while. Then back home to chocolate covered strawberries and champagne. Hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day. It's our 16th anniversary weekend as well.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This was such a busy weekend. Lots of painting and washing. We're exhausted. I can't believe the weekend is over. There was not much rest.

Porch looking lovely. I didn't take a picture of the before. But this space was filled with bikes, scooters, a red wagon filled with bubbles and chalk, buckets full of shells and beach toys, and a giant bucket full of baseballs, tennis balls, bouncy balls, baseball bats, hockey sticks, skateboards, rollerblades, hoola hoops and more. About half went into the garbage and a quarter each will go to our garage sale or Boston. My sister had left this furniture at her old house when she moved to an apartment in Florida:

Doug painting the window seat:

Doug painting the bathroom:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Big Job Done

Lots of progress today. Jack's room is done. Here's a scary before and and dark but lovely after. I swear the before picture is for real. No one messed it up to make the before and after contrast greater.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Ready for the Weekend

Ahhhhh... Friday. Over the weekend I'll have help getting the house ready for sale. For the past two days I've been working on Jack's room. He has so many projects and collections that he's built in his 12 years in that room. It was a hard job and still not done. But he's promised to vacuum even the dusty corners of the room once we finish his desk tomorrow morning.

Then I took a nice break today to have lunch out with my mom. We go to this nice bar/restaurant where my mom sits and I stand at the bar. I can't actually sit in a restaurant yet although my back is getting better. I had french onion soup, then a cafe mocha. Yum.

Although I think the house looks great in the snow, I'm ready for better weather. We NEED to have a garage sale.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

I don't know how it got to be February already. For those of you who don't know, I work as a librarian for the 3 to 6 year olds in my kids' school. It's lots of fun. Since the end of holiday break we've been reading books with snow themes. Today was groundhog day (is winter going to be over soon?) and the last of the snowy books, The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, a classic. The kids laughed at the snow falling on Peter's head and knew that you couldn't put a snow ball in your pocket for tomorrow. So cute.

Snow is melting around our house too. It's been a beautiful winter. The snow makes the yard look lovely, and we love being able to follow animal tracks. Usually winter is much more drab. Once the snow is gone we'll be waiting anxiously for the crocuses, then daffodils, poppies, irises, DOGWOOD trees, and last but not least pounds of raspberries at the end of June and early July. Will we still be here? Will the raspberries be a welcome gift for the new owners of the house?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend Work

Here are before and after pictures of Renee's room. The before is from her birthday party in late December. I know all the girls reading is super cute, but check out the overwhelming mess of books, dolls, figurines, crafts and mess on that dresser/desk furniture.

Ah, the after (after many hours and many boxes, and much recycling). Fewer books, cleaned off desk (she might even be able to do her homework there. Less clutter. Will it stay this way without my help? Unlikely.

Other work this weekend. A big box of books and clothes ready to send to my sister's kids, 5 bags of books to Boys and Girls club in Paterson, Doug painted the downstairs bathroom. Two boxes of garage sale stuff out of the toy/game closet.

And we even had a little fun. We went to dinner at a friends house last night. Delicious Indian food, yum. And I brought homemade chocolate crackle cookies. Jack and I played in the bell choir at church this morning. Then my mom brought over lox and bagels for brunch. I'm exhausted and ready to sleep through the Super Bowl.