Friday, April 17, 2015

Creating Home

While picking out flooring yesterday, I received a text from our realtor/friend Ada Williams saying that our "new" house had closed.  Daughter-in-law Ana and Grandson Gabriel had accompanied Dave and myself to the house yesterday morning to meet Ada and get the keys to our new family kingdom.
Dave had measured all the main floor living spaces in both houses and the windows (just in case something turns up at Goodwill) and after biding Ada goodbye we went to a flooring store where the sale items didn't appear to be on sale and the salesman didn't seem to know the price of anything. 
Our next stop was Lumber Liquidators.  We purchased hardwood flooring 20 years ago from them and were pleased to find just what we wanted.  This time we are going for bamboo.  Being, as one friend says, "Old Growth Hippies," we wanted something that is sustainable.  I also wanted something that is prefinished so that we can lay it and get moved in!  If you aren't familiar with Lumber Liquidators they are a no frills flooring outlet.  Enough flooring for our two houses (we all decided on the same floor) can only be got by Dave driving around the Puget Sound Area to all of the outlets collecting it, but our salesman found and claimed enough for the job so we ended our first day of owning Haeck Haven on Ana Alley feeling accomplished.  Now to rent that truck!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Moving On

Today is an exciting day for our big household for we've purchased a new, and probably forever, home after twenty-five years in Gig Harbor.  For twelve years my middle son Frank and his wife Ana have lived with us and eleven years ago their son Gabriel was born.  It was intended to be "temporary" but graduate school, student loans, and raising a baby made it logical to continue and most importantly, I am a mama who loves having her chicks around.  Where many parents are "bummed out" when school lets out, I was always thus when it was time to have them go back to school.  I loved summers with my four children.

We are not always in agreement as to how to do things around our five bedroom house.  We frequently have different schedules for eating.  Dave, my daughter Amy and I like an early dinner and settling in for the evening.  Ana, our daughter-in-law, is Brazilian and accustomed to eating much later than we.  I am sure Ana will agree that it is difficult sharing a kitchen.  I know that because she lamented it once a few years ago and now she shall have her own for the property allows us to stay together, have a bit more space and two kitchens. 

It was listed as a duplex, has been used as triplex at times, but is actually two homes with no common wall.  That last bit I consider to be a downside.  I would have liked to had a common door that our grandson could run through and would make it easy to care for each other's animals.  When Frank and family are in Brazil, their cat McGonagall will just have to come live on our "side" and when we are away without our little dog, Loki will have to go to them.  There are too many upsides to this new property to complain about something so small.  After all, we will only be steps away from each other and Gabriel will be doing homeschool in our basement.

That is an upside to the property.  It has enough space for there to be a room dedicated to Gabriel's homeschooling and violin practice.  Although my son Frank is a public school teacher they chose to homeschool Gabriel because of Ana's frequent extended trips to Brazil. In addition he takes violin lessons and plays in a youth orchestra. Although he's quite good enough after eight years that I do not mind the practicing, it will be nice for him to have a room where he knows his music is.

The new property will put us in Tacoma and on the other side of the Narrows Bridge and its ridiculously high toll.  Frank is the art teacher at Clover Park High School and so has to cross daily to work and Gabriel once or twice a week for lessons. Although we've loved living in Gig Harbor, once all my children were grown and I retired from the school district, there was no particular reason to stay.

Our current house does not serve my special needs adult daughter.  Her declining mobility makes it difficult for her to negotiate stairs and in the new place her bedroom will be on the same floor as family activities.  She will have three steps in the back door and Dave plans to eliminate even that with a ramp.  It will be lovely to feel that she's more a part of what's happening at home although she's always preferred her own company to that of anyone else.  At least if she wants a glass of ice tea there will be no reason for her not to get it herself.

We will also be in the same town as my oldest son and his family which will be a joy.  We have been only about 25 minutes away in Gig Harbor, but now we should be able to be at each other's home in half that.  We will be close for school events which tonight include Granddaughter Linda's performance in the Tacoma School District's Young Ambassadors, a group that demonstrates tumbling and calisthenics to grade school children and performs at high school sporting events.  She and her sister Lydia are also involved in dance and drama and we will be minutes away from those performances.

Both Dave and I are retired and beginning an exciting chapter in life, but mindful of what lies ahead.  We saw my in-laws move from the family home into a smaller more functional home, but didn't stop to think about it being far from public transportation and shopping.  Our home in Gig Harbor is in exactly the same situation.  I do not always want to be dependent on my children for rides to the doctor and shopping.  The new property is on a busline and walking distance to a huge grocery store. Especially happy for my husband is the fact that we will be very close to the Seattle Mariners' farm team, the Tacoma Rainiers!

Today we get the keys to our little kingdom and can measure for flooring and paint.  The work is about to begin!