The last time I posted was November 2014. I lost interest when there were so many things going on in my life. This is “another” catch up blog.
In January 2015, I decided my home was going to be my “forever” home. Some friends thought it was a good idea for me to move back to Virginia and I made the final choice to stay where I am since I do love my home and village. Now it was time for a home renovation (house 9 years old). Previous posts show me getting rid of all my collectible “stuff” but I kept going. I’ll just list the items for simplicity.
- Master Bathroom – removed the “garden” tub and shower stall and rebuilt the room to include a 7 foot walk in shower. New tiles installed, new floor, granite counter top, mirrors, lights – everything except the counter taken out and redone.
- Master Bedroom – carpet replaced with hardwood. Chair rail installed and all repainted. Old furniture out – new furniture in “minimalist style”.
- Kitchen – granite counter tops replaced Formica, black splash added, and black appliances replaced with stainless. Large table and other furniture removed and replaced with more simple small table and couple of chairs for sitting. Chair rail added to portion of the kitchen. New ceiling fan replaced light. Plantation shutters added to replace blinds.
- Living Room – Mantle replaced with floor to ceiling tiles, all furniture replaced with new simple items, TV added to room.
- Dining Room – Furniture removed and replaced with only a few simple items. Chair rail added and new light.
- Guest Bathroom – Shower and tub combo replaced with new tub and subway tile surround. Granite counter top replaced “manufactured marble” which had cracked.
- Study – took out some furniture and added treadmill and desk.
- Entry – new entry light and furniture.
- Hall – new lights.
- Paint – the entire house was repainted on the inside – all of it.
The renovation started in February and was not quite finished when I learned I had breast cancer. Damn! Surgery followed and recovery. Chemo not considered since cancer was small and had not spread to lymph glands.
I started radiation in January 2016 and had 26 treatments. These wiped me out. I had little energy and no inclination to do much of anything. I basically kept working and not much else since I came home after work and crashed. I ate too much, drank too much chardonnay and gained weight which I definitely did not need. I found out breast cancer has a high risk of coming back with alcohol so I stopped drinking. I’m still clean and sober!! It took most of 2016 to recover.
Now 2017 is coming to a close….my, my time flies!! I have a CT scan annually to check on the dissection from 2012 and on the “Patient Portal” entry, which I normally do not read, it said “emphysema changes” – now what the hell does that mean. In July, I took this to my annual physical appointment and my doctor thought at first it was just some changes in my lungs but sent me for a pulmonary test. It came back with emphysema and I only have 80% lung function. Smoking in my earlier years had caused it and getting older progressed the disease (now known as COPD). I quit smoking 37 years ago. This was a total shock. About the same time, I had a colonoscopy and the doctor said he could not get a large, flat polyp and recommended seeing a surgeon and just having it cut out – meaning part of my colon cut out. I didn’t much like that idea and searched until I found a doctor at UNC that specializes in removing large, flat polyps endoscopically. It has to come out as the flat one’s usually result in cancer. So, I’m scheduled for another colonoscopy next month with the specialist.
In August, I decided it was time to take care of “ME” so I announced my retirement from my job (second retirement). I have learned that Yoga and Tai Chi are good if you have COPD and I will have pulmonary rehab scheduled later. Exercise is a key to maintaining my current lung function. My “official” last day is the end of October but I will be taking earned vacation in October so only have couple of weeks of actual work left. And I feel great about the whole thing!! I had a previous post about retiring when my boss asked What would you do anyway?
I’m about to find out!!
The good news is that I continue to get good check ups about my dissection and the breast cancer has not reappeared. I think I can manage the COPD with breath work and exercise. The last thing is to have the polyp removed and I feel confident I’ll get it done in a couple of weeks. I am exercising more, loosing some weight and feel really good! I am excited for the next chapter.
It has been over a month since I last posted. I certainly hope my followers have not given up on me. I may have to take two posts to catch up….it has been very, very busy!!
First, I sold all the antique hat pins on Ebay as well as a few other things that were collectibles and small. I made over $1,000 which was very good I thought. I put some items on that did not sell so then began the work of cleaning out closets and donating. My church had it’s annual tag sale so I donated a van full of items. They were pleased since my stuff is “good stuff”. They said you would not believe what some people donated that was not possible to sell for any amount. I think this was the first pass. Afterwards, I made another pass and donated another truck (really, my brother’s truck) full to our local Mission to use in their resale store. I gave all the old bowls I had sitting on top of my kitchen counters as well as many other items. I don’t miss a thing. Looking back the majority of it I had not used since moving into this house in 2006. Now that’s sad!! The more I give away the better I feel! This is really becoming a freeing experience.
I made trip to see a friend I had not seen in a while. She lives in wine country Virginia so we went to a few for tastings. I did have some wine but not much. It was great seeing her and spending quality time together. She has a dog, 5 cats (all rescue) and takes care of 2 feral cats as well. I did not take my dogs. My dogs have never known a cat so I didn’t want to take any chances and her cats are bigger than my dogs. I took the rest of the week off and had some work done on the house. Cleaned on the outside, washed windows, cleaned out gutters and fixed some areas in the garage where I had my foot slip from the brake and pushed the freezer into the wall. Two big holes! Probably need a big “STOP” sign.
I had my six month CT scan and visit with doctor that did the surgery for my aortic dissection. These visits always make me nervous weeks before I go. He said all is very good. The stent is still in place and is not leaking. I still have an issue with the right kidney but he can’t do anything about it. For now, it’s the same. I asked what would happen if the stent did start leaking and he said he would just put in another one. Good grief. I was nuts thinking about the first one – I certainly don’t want a repeat!!
I had contemplated retiring again next year but I am rethinking it. I really need to have the house painted inside so can use the money. For now, it’s on hold. Maybe when I’m 70!!
I live in North Carolina! Yesterday there was snow in South Carolina. Too funny!! South Carolina!! Today is cold but sunny and beautiful Carolina blue sky!! Picture is from my back deck!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S.Lewis
Yesterday was my birthday. I am 69 years old. After the aortic dissection two years ago, I am in “love” with birthdays. I love the good wishes from everyone, the cards, the calls, the meals, the presents…..I just love it all!! This is “probably” because I was close to not seeing my 67th birthday….let alone the 69th! Happy days! It was also a day to count my many, many blessings. I am relatively healthy now, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home, happy pets, nice job and nothing to complain about!! I have really had this all along, I just did not appreciate it as I do now. Nothing like a little “kick in the butt” to realize that life is absolutely perfect just the way we make it!! We can make it crappy (and I have in the past) and we can make it great…it’s all up to us…every bit of it!! Material things will make us happy for about a nano-second and then it’s forgotten only to be tossed or set aside at some point. I am happy every time I empty a closet full of “stuff” or clean out a drawer of accumulated “stuff”. My simple life!! I love it!! More to come…….
My morning walk today!!
Yesterday I spent most of the day sorting through photographs. I thought it would be emotional but it wasn’t. I first sorted all of them into categories: husband, parents, pets, siblings, nieces and nephews, houses, cars, travel, hobbies and junk. I immediately tossed pictures of people I did not know, places I could not remember where they were, multiples, scenes of something (i.e. various parades, gatherings, etc.). I then went through what was left in each category and kept a variety that are really important and the best of the bunch. For instance, there is no need to keep 92 pictures of my niece (I only have one). I did not need to keep pictures of a wedding when the bride and groom have been divorced for years and moved on to who knows where or places I worked that I really need to forget!!
This is how I started!
And this is how I ended! All in a pretty little box!!
I have sold items on eBay before and had good luck. A few days ago, I listed my antique hat pin collection which included 6 sets of hat pins in porcelain hat pin holders. I listed them rather cheaply because if the cost is too high, people will just not pay attention. If the price is attractive, I get more views. Anyway, I listed the hat pin holders as “Limoges China” which is what is written on the bottom and signifies these are a reproduction of the original Haviland Limoges from France (I Googled all this before I listed them). If they had been the real French Limoges, they certainly would have been more than the $10.00 (including pins). They would have been more like $100.00. I have a number of people watching the bidding and even have bids on two of them.
Then I get a message from some lady in Wyoming that says they are all fake and not legal to sell on eBay because they are not authentic. This person has not bought or sold anything on eBay (the number of items traded is always listed after the sellers name). She continues to tell me she is an expert on Limoges and these are illegal. I wrote back that they were from China which was in the description and nothing was said they were original but listed as reproductions from China. She wrote again they were “illegal” and against eBay rules. I asked her nicely to not send any more messages and my description was exactly what they were. Also, there are a whole bunch of the others listed on eBay identical to mine. So, then she writes back that she will turn me over to the fraud department at eBay and “let them handle you.” Just to make sure there was no misunderstanding, I wrote the two people that had bid and told them what happened and they both said they did not care where the holders were from. They wanted the pins and were not particularly interested in the holders. Just to make everything really clear, I changed the description to say “Hat Pins and Holders” only – no mention of Limoges China. I also filed a complaint with eBay.
This left a bad taste about trying to sell more items on eBay. I don’t know what her problem is with me and she is probably contacting all the other people selling the same thing listed as “Limoges China”. I guess we will just wait and see what happens. I can understand eBay being careful with people selling true “knock offs” like advertising a Chanel bag and it being fake. I advertised mine as being a reproduction from China and it’s listed that way. And the price! One of them includes the holder and 10 very long antique hat pins for $25.00. Just one of the hat pins would sell for that. Trust me, if it was the real Limoges, the price would be more like $250.00.
My “Rules” for selling on eBay:
- Don’t sell anything under $10.00. It is just not worth the pictures, the listing, answering questions, packaging and shipping if it’s under $10.00 even with shipping charges extra.
- Do not use “Buy it Now”. It seems lately that most of the items are “Buy It Now” meaning there is no bidding. The buyer pays what the seller is asking. These prices are usually incredibly high. I have put a number of them on my “watch list” just to check out the traffic, and the majority don’t sell. The seller will just list it again and sometimes under another name.
- List for only 7 days. If it doesn’t sell in 7 days, it goes to charity. Listing for weeks will not help sell it.
- Have one picture, maybe two if the manufacturer name is a selling feature. I see no need in posting a whole bunch of pictures for a little item. If a buyer has questions, they ask!
- Short description. I have found eBay buyers look through hundreds and thousands of items. They usually look at the picture and the description line. Most don’t take the time to read a long description.
- Ship as quickly after being paid as possible. Your customers will comment and give better feedback for quick shipments. Package well.
- Always leave feedback!!
I am going to see how the next round of items sell. If I have more “grief” than “luck”, I will just donate all the rest of it. I only wanted to make enough for a new camera!!
Conversation with my boss today:
- Boss: “How are you feeling these days?”
- Me: “Good. I go back for my six month check-up in October but I’m not having any problems.
- Boss:”You still doing OK working full time?”
- Me: “Yes. I usually start part-time in November but I told the Office Manager I could work full time if needed with the move to the new building and all.”
- Boss:”Thanks for being flexible. But if you didn’t work, “what would you do anyway?“
I will do exactly what I want to do and not what someone tells me to do!! I do have a life outside of work….what was he thinking?
I am not sure I can remember the diffferent types of things I have “collected” during my life. I guess I enjoyed the fun of finding items during the collection period but honestly, I don’t remember so it could not have been that memorable. My list…..ugh!!
- Decorative bird houses – I had them sitting everywhere!! Why? Bird houses are for birds “outside” not collecting dust on the coffee table. I sold what I could, for hardly nothing, and donated the remaining to the Rescue Squad Garage Sale when I downsized from a large home to a townhouse. They were “decorative” meaning the birds would not build in them when I tried putting them outside plus, the weather ruined them in no time. Learn from the birds……simple!!
- Fenton glass bells – This was an expensive hobby and when I was collecting, they were pricey. I started when a friend, who was a collector of numerous items, invited me on one of her “hunts” and decided that I should collect “something”. We found a “Madeline” Fenton glass bell and this was the beginning. At one time, I had about 300 bells. Again, collecting dust!! I suppose it was fun at the time but, again, I don’t remember. What I remember is trying to get rid of the damn things! I sold about half when I moved to my current home and the remaining I sold at a yard sale for $2.00 each. One lady bought 10 and came back later for more. I gave her all that I had left and she was thrilled. I guess she was a “collector”. I have a few remaining but from the research on eBay they are not worth the time to list.
- Copper pots and pans and other copper things – My husband was a Chef and loved to cook in copper pans. The irony of this being he never cooked in “our” copper pots and pans. I don’t know if Chef’s still use copper pans but “back in the day” (the 70’s and 80’s) it was all the go so they were easily available to collect. When we built our mountain home in the 70’s, we had a wooden beam across the kitchen and the pans hung all across it. After my husband died, I moved to another house, and in redecorating, I had a beam placed on the top of two sides of the kitchen for…you guessed it – the copper collection! I must say it looked nice and was the topic of conversation for guests. I was still collecting by then and had many stuffed into a cabinet. Talk about a pain to clean!! I would take two days about every other month, clean and then polish to a shine. I look back now and think….why? When I left this house to move to a townhouse, I sold “everything” except personal items like clothes and my dogs. The copper pans went with the birdhouses. I only kept a few miniatures and really old items. I think they are still packed away in a box from my move 6 years ago.
- Longaberger Baskets – I had been invited to many Longaberger Basket parties and never went. I just don’t do parties and I thought they were too expensive anyway. I visited my sister and she and her boyfriend at the time were collecting them but buying at auctions which made it a lot cheaper. I had a “stupid moment” and went to an auction with them and bought a bunch – I can’t remember but it was probably 15 or so, maybe more. “Stupid moment” is right!!! I kept collecting. I found eBay!! I probably had over 100 of these baskets when I finally stopped. When I moved from the townhouse, I had a tag sale and sold many of them for a lot less than I paid. I brought about half with the last move and have since given away some, sold some at my last garage sale, and have a few more to list on eBay to try and sell. If they don’t sell, they will go to charity.
- Old Nesting Bowls – I call this a collection but I bought these for the sole purpose of putting on top of my kitchen cabinets. There is a space between the cabinet and ceiling that I thought “needed” something. Huh!!! For a while I really enjoyed them in my “country kitchen” but now I am ready to be rid of all the stuff that serves absolutely no purpose except to collect dirt and dead bugs!!
- Golf Visors – I am a golfer and I wear visors when playing – keeps the sweat and hair out of my eyes!! When I started playing golf, I collected a personalized visor from every golf course I played. Over the years, it was many! I have since gotten rid of about two-thirds of them. I do use them so will keep what I have left for my golfing days!!
- Antique Hat Pins – My sister-in-law showed me a few antique hat pins she had found at an auction house. I did not realize they existed. Years ago, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, women’s bodies were totally covered. They wore dresses all the way up to their neck, long sleeves, and skirts long enough to touch the ground. They grew their hair long, put it up into a knot, and put a hat over their hair. There was no place on their body for “bling” like today with jewelry so they had long hat pins that would go through the hats and into the hair underneath to keep the hat secured. These were their “bling”. I was absolutely fascinated and completely “stupid” again. I began collecting. At my “I’m done” point, I had over 200. They are beautiful and I am still fascinated but not enough to keep hanging on to them. I listed all the remaining hat pins on eBay yesterday.
Like being addicted to alcohol, I believe I am “addicted to collecting”. When I stopped drinking wine, I stopped collecting!!