My Solo Thanksgiving

Friends, I spent Thanksgiving alone this year.

Ok, the dog was here with me, but otherwise Fancy Pants Ranch was deserted.

Spouse – who is such a wonderful person – took the kids to his parent’s to celebrate and spend a few days with them.

Was I sad that we weren’t together? Yes and no.

Yes, because I felt like I was missing out when Spouse texted me a picture of the kids.

No, because I spend almost all my time overextending myself, and having a day alone to exhale was heaven.

I stayed behind because I’m leaving bright and early Friday morning for a weekend in Las Vegas with my dear friends J. and B.

The three of us have a history of epic girls’ weekends. We haven’t done one since 2017, and we were all feeling overdue.

When we compared schedules earlier this year, we were out of luck until B. suggested Thanksgiving weekend, and we were all able to make it work.

How I spent my Thanksgiving:

  • Exercising at the gym
  • Coffee, coffee, coffee
  • Perusing the Black Friday ads in the newspaper
  • Watching the Macy’s parade on TV
  • Packing, under Penny’s watchful eye
  • Watching one of the best “Friends” episodes ever, the one where Rachel makes an English trifle with a layer of meat and sautéed onions
  • Folding a mountain of laundry (Before and After, below)
  • Catching up on “Below Deck” and various other Bravo mind escapes
  • Overall feeling beyond grateful for a day like this.

Holiday Prep – Part 1

Let’s face it: We will forever be the family buying the sad Charlie Brown tree on December 23rd, but this year I’m trying.

Winter comes early here and lasts forever, so I wanted something pieces that could bridge November to March, not just the unofficial holiday season.

I went with two themes: cozy and buffalo plaid.

I share this perfectly imperfect shot to showcase the overall effect, but wow! Painful reality. Two kids and a dog seem to continuously rearrange my pillow fort, push apart the sofa sections and make the blinds quite janky.

These cuties are from Crate and Barrel:

The plaid pillow covers are straight off of Amazon. I slipped them over pillows we already had.

Ditto the plaid throw; it’s Amazon:

We have six fireplaces but I don’t decorate all of them. Here’s the start of the mantle in the main floor family room:

Please excuse the tape. This was a trial. That failed. Re-taping subsequently commenced.

I found these two cute garlands at Michael’s, a craft store that overwhelms me and I try to avoid. There was some weird promotion going on and they gave me the nutcracker for free at the checkout.

The candle is from Crate and Barrel and smells wonderfully like winter. I bought several to (hopefully) last until spring.

The last thing I did, for now:

I bought two faux boxwood wreaths at Target last year and I swap out the bows depending on the season. For someone who is generally lazy, this has been a great decorating hack.

But I’m not done! There is more coming. Will keep posting the updates.

Happy Halloween, 2019

Confession: I’m not a big Halloween person.

I haven’t worn a costume since my freshman year of college, and that was only to be able to use a fake I.D. to get into a bar.

But others around here do not share my indifference to October 31.

Even the dog gets into the game:

And a wig on a pumpkin, why not?

Spouse still swears by his regimen of offering Fireball shots to weary parents.

And this flashback is just ALL THE FEELS. Sniff.

The One That Got Away

Last week I posted about house hunting.

Spoiler: the search goes on.

Spouse and I have been going back and forth about putting in an offer on a groovy 70s house.

Not this one. Possibly worse looking.

It’s so intimidating, though.

The 70s house needs A LOT of work. The punch list starts with:

  • New master bath
  • Convert an upstairs bedroom into a master closet
  • Re-configure an upstairs hallway bathroom to an en suite with one of the bedrooms
  • New lighting fixtures in the dining room, kitchen and entry
  • New front doors
  • New garage doors
  • De-popcorn ceilings EVERYWHERE

Plus we are without sufficient furniture for at least nine rooms. The 70s house is huge.

Gulp.

We asked our realtor to write an offer on Thursday night, and then like magic! I found a brand new house in our neighborhood that called my name.

We asked him to set up a showing at the new property. This was Friday after work and he had an event to attend. He showed up in a tuxedo.

While the house wasn’t 100% to my taste, it came really close.

The inside was light and bright. The lines were clean.

There were two master bedrooms. The bathrooms were free of popcorn ceilings, tacky gold fixtures and wallpaper.

It smelled NEW.

I even loved the doorknobs.

It had price and location going for it. I loved the design of the interior, not to mention the sound system, energy efficiency and other high tech features.

But the tiny garage – with zero room on the lot to expand – made it a non-starter.

We had to immediately cross it off the list.

I wanted to sob.

Our realtor had brought all of the paperwork for the offer on the 70s house, but I was too sad about losing my dream of a modern house to sign at the moment. The realtor was gracious but I am sure he was not impressed by how wishy washy we (ok, me) were.

Spouse and I spun round and round on Friday night and Saturday morning, trying to decide what to do.

I think I am over-thinking at this point.

Historically, I have viewed the inability to make a decision (a non-decision, if you will) as a decision in itself. Having to hem and haw, and then talk myself into the 70s house probably isn’t the best case scenario.

The search continues.

 

 

 

 

 

House Hunting Update

We’re still looking for a permanent place to live.

The four of us are ready to shed our temporary digs, especially now that we’re squarely stuck in mid-winter and figuratively on top of each other in our tiny rental house.

Weekend days are long.

We dipped our toes into the real estate market about a month ago. We initially planned to start looking for a place to buy in early spring, but an open house in mid-December caught our eye.

I don’t want to post pictures of the house we looked at, but it’s a funky 1970s gem, replete with popcorn ceilings and un-retro-cool brass chandeliers.

It needs some work.

On the other hand, the proximity to work and the school district are perfect. The garage is huge, which is a major deal considering a lot of properties we’ve seen have two or even one car garages. Three is a relative anomaly, but this garage is even bigger. This is a major selling point for Spouse.

The kitchen appears to have been remodeled about ten years ago. It’s definitely not to my style but too nice to rip out.

This house is also spacious, probably to the point of being too big for the four of us. We wouldn’t have enough furniture to fill half of it at this point.

And then there is the pool. While I wouldn’t build a house with a pool (this is Minnesota, after all, and a pool is useful for about ten minutes per year), I have to admit I am intrigued about the possibility of buying a house with one already in place.

We’ve been going around and around about this property, and I’ve been scouring real estate websites for anything and everything that comes on the market. Nothing’s been right so far, even when I dream and stretch our budget beyond what is realistic.

Fortunately, we’ve got 4 1/2 more months on our lease. This sounds like a lot of time but when I do the math, it could easily take a month or two to get an offer accepted and take possession of a house.

And if the house we buy needs some work, that cuts our timeline closer to have it done by the time we need to move in.

Final thought: at least buying a house seems easier than selling a house. Spending money has always been much easier for me than making it.

Fingers crossed to find something that feels like Home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye, Fancy Pants Ranch

We said goodbye to Fancy Pants Ranch today.

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Two years ago, I would have thought this to be impossible.

A year ago, I would have given anything to blink my eyes once and transport us away from here to the next chapter.

But it didn’t happen like that.

And let’s face it: the process of moving is terrible. 

Even with professional movers doing most (ok, all) of the heavy lifting, it’s painful.

Yesterday our pantry was packed and I am quite sure even half-eaten bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were wrapped in paper and stowed away.

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Given the uncertainty surrounding the move, we decided to rent a place for the upcoming year.

I’m calling it the Pop-Up Fancy Pants Ranch, due to its temporary nature.

Our new place is approximately 1/3 the size of the Ranch. I’m sure I will change my tune about this, but right now I’m oddly excited to live with less.

Much of our stuff is going into storage. Maybe we’ll bring it back. Maybe we won’t.

The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is having us all under one roof again. I think that will go a long way toward Happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend

A few scenes from the past couple of days:

Spouse and I had a fun night on Thursday, where we went to this show  in Minneapolis.

Dubbed “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives,” this show was a mix of comedy and music. The crowd skewed a bit older than we are, but then again, Steve Martin is 71 and Martin Short is 67, so that’s about the right demographic. We loved it.

I dressed casually but was happy with the outfit I wore, a faux suede jacket from Stitch Fix and a graphic tee with jeans:

We ate dinner before the show, which was unbelievably early for us (5:30 PM, yikes, that’s practically a late lunch), but it worked out well since it was a school night and the show didn’t let out until nearly 10 PM. We had sushi that was mostly forgettable, although it did not poison us.

Not exactly a four star review.

The weekend weather is not cooperating at all (temps in the 40s and a steady drizzle), but I was able to score the last treadmill at the gym and get in nearly 5 miles on Saturday morning.

I also picked up this book from the little free library in our neighborhood and hope to dig into it before the weekend’s over:

Hope you’re having a great weekend.