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One house family

19 Sep

Earlier this week we closed on our other house. The buyers were former neighbors, no less.

When we moved in, they lived two doors down. They (over) downsized and missed all of their friends in the neighborhood. They are both in the music industry and are going to turn the basement into a music studio/venue and hold home concerts there.

They’d always loved the house, and we purchased it from close friends of theirs. Of course, we’ve made lots of changes (which luckily they like). The great thing is they know and love the neighbors and vice versa. They were excited when they saw the house was on the market.

I just wish we’d known we’d know they were interested before we listed it, and we could have saved a real estate commission and given them a better deal. Oh, well.

When they lived in the neighborhood before, we didn’t know them well. We were both working long hours and only saw them in passing. But, we’ve gotten to know them during the buy/sell process and we really like them. We are so happy the house will have their positive energy in it.

We moved most of our belongings to our new house in June, but left enough behind to stage the house. Therefore, since it has sold I’ve been selling things on Craig’s List, and area Buy, Sell, Trade. We have a few pieces of furniture to move and a ton of boxes to move from the basement to the attic–Christmas decorations, family pictures, etc. Even so, it shouldn’t be a big move. I’ve already moved all of our plants and art and pretty much everything I could get in my SUV.

I’m spending this week unpacking the boxes that have been here since June now that I finally have some bookshelves to put things on. (We’d left them for staging). Hubby is out of town (convenient, huh?) — in fact he didn’t even make it to the closing. I had his power of attorney so I had to sign his name, then my name, Attorney in fact, then sign for myself. My hand is still cramping. He’s in Florida on business. If he comes back with a tan he’s in big trouble.

Already, I’m seeing progress. I unpacked several boxes today and plan to work all day tomorrow and Thursday on the house. It probably won’t happen, but I’d love to have everything unpacked and put away when Hubby returns home.

Regardless, the house closed, and we are a one house family! I’ve made the calls to switch the utilities (such a hassle) so I think we’re ready to go. I don’t know how people who move often do it.

~Kay

 
 

New floors

16 Sep

When you walk into the front door of our new house you enter on hardwood floors which continue through the living area, kitchen, dining area, etc. However, there is a small room off to the right with an arched opening (no door) and a bedroom off to the left (with a door) that had carpet. The carpet didn’t make sense to me.

I wasn’t sure what the room on the right was for. It’s small, so maybe a parlor…or piano room. Initially, I thought I’d make it my study and have floor to (10′) ceiling bookshelves built-in and make it look very Dickin’s-ish.

I got quotes on the built-ins and started looking at floors. One of the guys giving me a quote suggested I wouldn’t want hardwood if I planned to use a roller chair or a library ladder. Well, with 10′ ceilings, I did plan to have a ladder (because they are cool), and I was going to have a desk incorporated as part of the built-ins. He said the wheels would “ruin the hardwood” and suggested laminate that looked like hardwood would be a better choice.

I wasn’t thrilled, but looked at the laminate and decided it would do. Then I decided to go ahead and do the floors, but hold off on the builtins. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted that to be a library/office or a sitting room. Well, it seems if I used laminate, the builtins would need to be installed before the floors. If it covered the entire floor, then if something as heavy as builtins were put on it later, the floor could buckle. Huh?

I was in Lowe’s bemoaning my options and learned they make porcelain tile that looks like hardwood. I had my doubts, but I brought a piece home and it looked pretty close. Of course it has grout, but what the heck? It seemed like my best option.

It took a week for two workmen to install the two rooms and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m attaching three shots of the room on the right (no doors) which for now I’m using as a sitting room. I’ll use the other room as my office. There’s no way I’d show you pictures of that room in its current state, but the floor is the same.

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To the dismay of my flooring guys, I put down a rug!

 

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hardwood in the hall and the porcelain tile in the sitting room.

My toe is where the tile meets the hardwood.Tile is in front of my foot; hardwood behind.

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In the photos the tile doesn’t seem to be as high gloss as the hardwood but in reality it is hard to tell a difference. I didn’t do this but this is a floor that could be heated, if desired.

We’re getting there…little by little. I wanted to finish these floors before we did the final move which will be next Monday. Whew!

~ Kay

 
 

Happy Birthday, Mother

13 Sep

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Today would have been my mom’s 79th birthday–well sort of. Birthdays were a big deal in our family, and we always celebrated September 13 as her birthday. But in a conversation with one of my mother’s sisters who lived in California all of my life (so I wasn’t around her much until we connected when I was an adult), my aunt swore she remembered it being cold when Mother was born. Hummm… a mystery.

 

Mother had already already passed–she died way too young at 56 from complications of a stroke–so who did I ask? My dad stuck to the September 13th story as did other relatives. Finally, another of my mother’s sisters, ten years her senior, admitted Mother was actually born on December 13th. But, as the youngest of a house full of children, Mother was precocious and very smart. Both of my mom’s parent’s worked, and apparently my aunt took Mother to school with her and enrolled her, telling them her birthday was three months earlier than it was. She told Mother September 13th was her new birthday, and she could tell no one any different–ever.

 

According to family lore, the court house where the birth certificate was filed (it had been a home birth) burned. When they applied for a new one, they listed the new date. How they got my grandparents to go along with this, I have no idea.

 

I confronted my father with this new information, and he verified it was true, but said Mother got extremely angry if anyone brought up her birthday was in December. Man, I wish my younger sister had taken my directives as seriously as our mom apparently did from her older sister.

 

It baffled me because the September date actually made her older, something as we age most of us would prefer not to be. Me — I probably would have claimed both dates and had two birthdays a year (but only adding a year to my age on one of them.) But what do I know?

 

Anyway, in my mind, today is my mom’s birthday, and I hope she’s eating angel food cake with lots of ice cream in a world filled only with love and happiness.

 

Happy Birthday, Mom! I miss you bunches!

~ Kay

 

 
 

A delightful day

10 Sep

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending an hour or so chatting with Howard Kittell, CEO of the presidential home of Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage.

I’ve been on the property a good bit during the past couple of years doing research for my next cozy mystery MURDER AT THE HERMITAGE. I assured Howard The Hermitage is simply the backdrop for my plot, and that I will make it very clear the book is fiction. However, I hope readers will become intrigued with the setting and want to visit this historical treasure.

But we didn’t just talk about my book. We talked about other authors, and he gave me the name of some I want to check out soon. We also discussed some of the things going on at the property. Let me tell you, it’s a happening place!

I get their e-mail blasts and notes from the curator, so I was aware of some of their programs. If we hadn’t moved, I’d probably have joined their new outside yoga program. There’s always something new–a good reason to be a member and have year-round tickets!

As I’ve met the staff, I’ve been impressed with their education, their level of knowledge, their skills, and most of all, their willingness to share information with me.

I took Howard the first five chapters of my book so he could get an idea of my voice and how a cozy differs from a thriller. He is going to put me in touch with some of his staff members to help me quadruple check my facts. While I’m only using it as a setting, it’s a real setting and I want it to be authentic. The story–that’s where I go off into my imagination.

It’s so refreshing for a CEO to take the time to talk with a writer about her upcoming book, her vision for it, and offer valuable insights. Thanks, Howard. It was the highlight of my day!

~ Kay

 

 

 
 

It’s September

02 Sep

Where did the summer go…or this year for that matter? It has flown by.

September always conjures up memories of the start of the school year for me, college in particular. Then I have to smile as I remember all of the escapades of my college roommate and me. To protect the innocent (and the guilty) I won’t go into them, although the statute of limitations ran out decades ago.

Today is my college roommate’s birthday and I want to take this opportunity to tell her Happy Birthday. We seldom see each other–or even talk or e-mail, but I know she’d be first in line if I needed someone in a  pinch–and vice versa.

Happy birthday Linda Ann. Go out, do something silly and think of me. Love you bunches!

~ Kay

 
 

You Just Never Know

20 Aug

We finalized a contract on our former house earlier this week! Yeah!

We’ve been working with a realtor. He got a commission as our buyer’s agent and agreed to reduce his commission from 6% to 4% if we let him be our seller’s agent. In doing so, he’d give the buyer’s agent their full 3% and only take 1% because he didn’t want to discourage other realtors from showing it.

He got it posted on all the sites, the sign in the yard, took pictures, etc. I asked about info sheets outside and he said people really didn’t do that anymore. (I still see them all over the place). Nor did he print any and put them inside. He also said open houses were a thing of the past, yet I saw a list of open houses every week.

Finally, I told him if he didn’t want to man an open house, I’d do it and just say I was the host. I printed info sheets for inside. He left the signs in the garage. We got balloons. Hubby put signs and balloons out then went to the gym while a friend and I “hosted” the open house two Sundays in a row. For open houses to be out of fashion, we had a lot of traffic and several interested buyers.

Once we started the open houses, the regular showings also picked up. Go figure.

It worked fine, me pretending not to be the owner until I opened the door to a couple that looked very familiar. As it turned out, they’d lived two doors down from us when we moved in. They’d over downsized when they left the neighborhood about eight years ago and still had a lot of friends in the area. We really liked them. They already knew the neighbors, and we all felt they were the right fit–we just had to work out the specifics.

They said if we’d not had the open house, they wouldn’t have dropped by.

I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. We haven’t closed and I know all sorts of things can happen between now and then, but from the time they walked through the door, I felt they were home.

So, since the house was staged with extra furniture, the next few weeks will be filled with culling, selling, and moving AGAIN. I’m not looking forward to that part of it, but I am looking forward to having all of our plants under one roof (it makes watering easier) and to getting everything in this house so I can finally feel settled.

One more thing to check off the list!

~ Kay

 
 

Killer Nashville

18 Aug

It’s mid August in Nashville and that means it’s time for my favorite writing conference: Killer Nashville.

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The conference is Friday through Sunday with a few pre-conference events on Thursday. Sessions and activities are crammed into every minute. This year’s guests of honor are best selling authors Lisa Jackson and William Kent Kruegar.

 

There will be book signings, agent/editor round tables, breakout sessions on all sorts of subjects, a fake crime scene (or is it real?), a wine tasting, and much, much more.

 

I’m going to be sitting on two panels. Joining me to talk about cozy mysteries will be Jenna Bennett/Jennie Bentley, Caroline Fardig, Jackie King, and Nancy Parra. I’ll share the Southern Fiction panel with Cathy Pickens, Heather Haven, Dee Phelps and Rosalyn Ramage.

 

BUT, you have to register to attend, so hop to it. Information is on the KN website.

 

~ Kay

 

 
 

I HATE COMCAST!!!!!

11 Aug

I don’t use my blog as a forum to rant and rave–okay not often–but today, please indulge me.

In case you missed the title: I hate Comcast. But I’ve had the same e-mail address for 12 years. It is tied to so many facets of my life that it would be difficult to switch. I do have gmail accounts, and I even check the one I use for my writing. Maybe I should start transitioning what I have on Comcast to a non-writing g-mail account or to my “me” account on the cloud. It’s something to think about.

We have cable TV, phones and Internet with Comcast. When we moved two months ago, I dropped the TV and phone at the other house, but kept the Internet for the security system. Then I found out the security system didn’t need the Internet so I dropped it too. I took all of the little boxes to the local Comcast store (got receipts) and all was right with the world.

Well, not really, because it was a bitch getting these services installed at the new house. Part of the problem stemmed from the fact that it was the installers second day on the job, and he didn’t have any backup (we live waaaay out of town now). The other part was because the previous home owners had pulled the cable out of the wall. If we’d known they wanted a piece of cable that badly, we’d have bought them one. In ripping it out, they bent the conduit. Hubby couldn’t thread new cable through the opening. New cable guy couldn’t thread it. I finally had to call an electrician who cut five (5) holes in the wall. Then I had to call the painter who had to fix five (5) holes in the wall. Almost $500 later…Yes, I would have gladly bought previous owners a piece of cable. But that wasn’t Comcast’s fault.

What was the Comcast installer’s fault was he was 4 hours late for his appointment, without a call. When he did call, he said he didn’t have the television equipment I’d ordered and asked whether I want to reschedule or wanted him to bring different equipment (not as good as what I’d ordered but would cost the same). If I made another appointment, I asked, could he guarantee they’d have the equipment then? He couldn’t, so I told him I wanted my Internet that day, as promised. I told him not to worry about the TV equipment–to bring what he had. It was obvious he didn’t want to come. He said I’d have to pay an additional installation charge if I changed to the other equipment later.  I knew I could talk to whomever I had to talk to and explain if what I ordered wasn’t available when promised it should be installed when it was available at no charge to me, and of course that’s what happened. Make another appointment, indeed!

Our subdivision is new and our street is even newer, so I had to talk to the installer several times to get him here. When he made it, he was sweating bullets. That’s when I found out it was his second day on the job. I was nice to him — really I was — but frustrated with Comcast for sending someone so inexperienced to do the job. Later, when a different installer came to bring the upgraded box (at no charge) he just shook his head as he neatened up the cabling mess his predecessor had left behind. But I got service at the new house and, for the most part, it has worked fine, so I’m not complaining about that. Well, I guess I am, but that’s not my BIG complaint.

My BIG complaint is when new guy installed new service, I apparently got a new username for the Internet. BUT HE DIDN’T TELL ME!!! My old username–which was my e-mail address worked just fine, so I was none the wiser. However, over the weekend, my e-mail stopped working. I couldn’t log into my account. You can guess where I’m heading, right?

I thought it was probably something simple, so I tried to resolve during an online chat with Comcast. This is when I found I had a different user name. I told him I wanted the old one back. He said it was still tied to the old account. I said the old account had been closed. He said it had a balance, and until I paid the balance they couldn’t transfer the username. WHAT????

Going back two or three weeks ago, when I called to disconnect the account: I was told I had a CREDIT balance which would be put on my new account. This probably would have been a good time for the rep to have told me I had thirty days to transfer the user name to the new account or it’s gone forever. Luckily, I’m still within the thirty day period. Rep Saturday night said no credit balance — past due balance. I said I hadn’t gotten a bill. He said it’d been sent to the new user acct. I reminded him I didn’t know about that account. I asked him the due date. He said Aug. 20. I said my calendar said it was August 9, how could it be past due? He said because the account was closed.

I couldn’t handle that by online chat. I had to talk to someone who could hear the emotion in my voice. By then, it was after midnight. I called and talked with a young man with excellent customer service skills (Jason), or I probably really would have blown a gasket.

So, back to the balance. Where did it come from? Equipment. They think I have equipment from the old house. I don’t. I have receipts from where I turned it in. Jason said it must be their mistake, but they couldn’t rectify until Monday because that department was closed until then. Okay, I tell him, I’ll pay what Comcast says I owe and straighten it out on Monday. They can credit it against future bills. Nada. The billing department was closed too. ARRRRR!!!!!

So, since Saturday, if you e-mailed me, it bounced back as though this 12-year-old account didn’t exist.

This morning, first thing, I called and talked to customer service. I think I reclaimed my e-mail address. I say think because they said it will take 30 hours to transfer from the old address to the new address. They said any e-mails sent wouldn’t bounce back, they’d be held in queue until I could retrieve them. Can you believe I believed them? I’m so gullible. I e-mailed myself from my g-mail account and guess what! It bounced back. I called back and talked to technical support. They said I should have access within 24 hours. (It had been less than 30 minutes since prior call, not 6 hours.) He said they shouldn’t bounce back so I asked him to e-mail my address. Of course it bounced back to him. He assured me once it cut to the new address all would be okay. I used to work in telecommunications. I know it is possible. All I can do is wait 24 hours and see what happens. Funny thing, they did all of this without mentioning a past-due account–the reason given for why it couldn’t be done Saturday.

Regardless, I asked the technician to transfer me to billing. I’m pretty smart, but the billing guy talked in such jargon and double talk that I have no idea what he said. What I think he said was Comcast would investigate (investigate what???), and within two billing cycles, the equipment I turned in should be credited to my bill. He said he’d escalate it to a senior somebody or a manager or a blah blah blah blah blah and someone would call me with a disposition sometime. I’ll just watch the bill and see what happens with that too.

I’m trying to sell a house — that’s the e-mail address I use with my realtor. That e-mail address is tied to some important, time-sensitive non-writing business deals. That is the e-mail address used by most of my friends and family. My primary Facebook page is tied to it. This blog is linked to it. You get the idea. It’s important.

Here’s what’s really gotten my panties in a wad:

  • they gave me a new user name without telling me
  • when they issued the disconnect they didn’t tell me I’d lose my user name (which happened to be my e-mail address of 12 years) or suggest I transfer it to the new address
  • I’ve spent several hours trying to resolve this and I’m not sure whether or not it is resolved

 

I feel like I’m on double secret probation. What’s next?

Anybody out there have Comcast stories to share? Misery loves company!

~ Kay

 
 

A happy godchild

31 Jul

Though I’ve not been blessed with biological children, I have 3 stepsons, a grandson, (another grandchild on the way), 2 nieces, a nephew and a plethora of godchildren.

 

One of my beautiful goddaughters graduated from high school this year. It was a tough year for her. Both her grandfather and great grandfather passed away. Later her grandmother, her aunt and two cousins moved in with her family. Yet, she still finished in the top 10 of over 300 students at her high school. That’s not 10%, that’s top 10!

 

One of the things we share is our love of Dancing with The Stars. When I learned Derek and Juliane Hough were bringing their roadshow to Nashville, there was no question what she was getting as a graduation present. I told her mom, to prevent duplication.

 

Here are a few pictures. First of her reaction when she opened the card and then when we went to the show.

 

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~ Kay

 
 

When Mars and Venus Stage a House

28 Jul

In my last post, I included some photos taken by our realtor of the house my husband and I have on the market.

Being a tad compulsive, I also staged the inside of closets and pantries. Hey, they do it in model homes!

I left a couple of dresses, hung neatly, one of Hubby’s suits, a casual outfit…you get the idea.

As I cleaned out the food, I checked expiration dates. If it had expired, I left it behind. Brilliant, I thought. I did this with the pantry and the freezer. I didn’t have time to do the refrigerator.

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Hubby was at the house one day and asked if I wanted him to clean out the refrigerator. In his defense, I didn’t ask him to “stage” it though I had shown him my handiwork in the other areas.

The next time I dropped by I anxiously opened the fridge to see what he’d done and this is what I found.

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Moral: Mars and Venus stage differently.

 

~ Kay