Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Art of Selling a House and Not Losing Your Mind Completely

I know the "Keep Calm" signs are totally overused, but I JUST SOLD MY HOUSE!

After 32 showings and 50+ days on the market, I accepted an offer on my house yesterday afternoon.  I have never enjoyed electronically signing anything as much as that offer.  Tap. Tap. Tapitty-Tap-Tap.  Done. 

I don't know if we have met.  I am Prairie Eydie.

This morning all I could manage was sitting on the couch feeling like a wrung out dishrag.  Limp.  But a good kind of limp.

For the past 65 days I have focused on nothing other than selling my house.  (I also had to work, parent my children, orchestrate the holidays, and sporadically go to the gym.) 
  • I savagely decluttered the house. 
  • I made regular trips to St. Vincent's with piles of Trivial Pursuit  games and gently worn snow pants. 
  • I staged the entire house. 
  • I got up at 4:30 every morning to make sure the house would be left "Showing Ready." 
  • I sent the elderly cats off to live with friends. 
  • I badgered my kids to not mess anything up - especially the kitchen floor and toothpaste free bathroom counters. 
  • I had my windows repaired.
  • I brightened up woodwork with stain and polyurethane.  (NOTE:  Don't do this minutes before an Open House because a stink will linger the rest of the day.) 
Did I do this all on my own?  Nope - sure didn't.  I had a hard working, cheering section of family and friends who patiently listened to my ill-based fears while packing up photo albums in the guest room.  Without them, I would have quit.  Because I wanted to quit every other second.  Last Sunday, I had brilliantly decided to take my house off the market and get a weekend job at Starbucks to make ends meet.  It didn't seem like a big deal to have my kids raise themselves if it meant a stop to the endless parade of showings.

I am no longer charged up on adrenaline and a laundry list of "What ifs . . ."  Today I had a perfect day.  No cleaning.  No packing.  No searching for missing chargers and cell phone bills.

I am off to pack up my "staging props" for Prairie Sherry.  Soon her house will be on the market.  She can have all the white towels, white shower curtains, wooden hangers, coffee table books, battery operated pillar candles, etc.  Luckily she got a new Kitchen Aid for Christmas from her daughter because I couldn't help her with that one.  Tomorrow I will deliver the props and help her bury St. Joseph, upside down, in her backyard.

Prairie Eydie

Prairie Pa on the Art of Cutting Food Costs

Our very own guest blogger, Prairie Pa, has been musing about saving money in the new year.   This blog has inspired me to take another look at my food budget.  Thanks Prairie Pa for the innovative ways to be cheap . . . um. . . I mean frugal.  -Prairie Eydie

Food bills are a hardship for those of us on fixed incomes.  Here are ten ways for retirees (or college students) to reduce food costs without reducing flavor.

How does the tired and harassed desk clerk know if you are a paying guest or not?  I have stayed in hundreds of motels and never saw anyone get kicked out.  I did hear a story about a local professor who for weeks went to the same motel for a free breakfast and was finally confronted and thrown out.  HINT:  Do not go to the same hotel every day for your free breakfast. 

Volunteer for Meals on Wheels and eat a little from each meal.  Your clients will never know.  Better yet, hobble into the Meals on Wheels office and have the meals delivered right to you!

No one does food samples like Costco.  Saturdays and Sundays will offer the most samples variety per aisle.  Graze on Italian meatballs, Skinny Pop, Muscle Milk, and quinoa.  Bring the grandkids and do the loop.  If the grandkids are still hungry, circle around again. 

I visited my wife in the hospital at mealtime and was offered a free meal.  I bet they charged the insurance company $500.

Give the impression (and hopefully it is just an impression) that you are financially strapped and abandoned by your thankless children.  Hopefully someone will feel sorry for you and invite you over for dinner.  This strategy works especially well around the holidays.  Be selective and only look "abandoned" around interesting conversationalists and good cooks.
Hey!  They owe you!  Time to even the score.  Though you may have to settle for what they feed the grandkids:  mac and cheese and watery apply juice. 

Churches offer a plethora of opportunities for free meals.  Consider showing up after a church dinner, wandering into the kitchen and scarfing up the leftovers.

The answer is A LOT!  Especially if you are eating off of someone else's garden.

Gardeners always grow more veggies than they need.  Be bold and ask for those extra zucchini.  Be careful because they might expect you to start weeding their garden.

Go to a farmer's market just before take down.  Do they really want to haul all those unsold vegetables back to the farm?

Why yes, Julia.  Thursday at 7 sounds find.

Accept all those dinner invitations and use the month of December to really bulk up for the lean months of March and April.  Who knows?  You might meet some very interesting people as well.

Prairie "The Rocket" Pa

Prairie Pa and the Art of Change

Our very own guest blogger, Prairie Pa, has been musing about change.   This blog has inspired me to think of ways to change my schedule so it will include more time for creativity.  Read on to find out how it will inspire you into some "binge believing".  -Prairie Eydie


I recently visited a friend in the hospital. Although she was not overweight, she was placed in a bariatric room. The surgery that removes fat is called bariatric surgery (love those medical euphemisms). The bariatric room was a room for giants. The doors were four feet wide and the chair looked like Lilly Tomlin’s. A forklift could easily maneuver in the room. People who have bariatric surgery (or is it a procedure?) will not change their eating habits, even if it means horrific surgery.

Or consider my friend’s son. He started drinking in his early teens and never looked back. He is now in his late 30’s, a raging alcoholic. A doctor told him if he did not stop drinking right now, he will die. I’m sure he would like to stop drinking, but does not. He will die soon

My sister, Lucy, spent years as a RN working in alcohol and drug clinics. She said only about 30% of those who receive treatment were able to break free. One man was at her clinic over 50 times before he was able to stop drinking. FIFTY TIMES!

I believe everyone wants to do well—to live abundant, meaningful lives. Who sets out to obtain a brain the size of a baseball, or ride around Walmart in a motorized cart or spend years in prison?” They’re living nightmare lives, but do not change.

And who am I? For years I have tried to lose 25 pound. Do I change my eating habits? No! My doctor says I am a tub (Well, he didn't exactly use those words.) and the extra weight will make me diabetic and kill my knees. But I have not lost much weight.

Change is difficult, but not impossible. Many people change for the better. It involves discipline and pain. It involves setting and meeting goals. It involves showing up and working.

So how do I end this depressing blog? Well, I am going to pick myself up, (all 220 pounds of me) and change. I am going to lose that 25 pounds. I want to do it! I can do it! Just think how great I will look!

Prairie “The Rocket” Pa

Update from Prairie Eydie:  At Prairie Pa's last doctor's appointment, he was at his lowest weight in years!  Yippee!