Monday, May 24, 2010

A Moving Experience (couldn't resist the pun)

Things have been busy. I'm packing boxes. My sons are renting a truck Thursday and moving me. This week a man from my church is painting the inside--tan walls, white woodwork, to go with the hardwood floors. He may have to suspend a day to let our hustle and bustle take over.

I wonder how long it will take to UNpack? But it's coming along. I'm disappointed that the temperature is predicted to be mid-90s, but then, it IS almost Memorial Day. It only goes up from here, which is why family is planning to blow in more insulation in the attic ASAP.

So much to do. It really is a nice little house, and I am happy to have all these things to do.

I won't be online until after. Maybe a week or two. Huh. and my computer has Microsoft XP which needs to be updated before July 13. There's always something, isn't there?

When we are happy, that fact is security.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A day to remember

Yesterday was a memorable day.

I bought a house. And my car is NOT totaled. A great deal to do.
I went to a meeting last night with a lot of folks older and much younger than I, and the common trait of all seemed to be awareness of others, and an eager air of curiosity and looking forward. Or maybe I am projecting, but I am too comfortable with these folks not to share a lot of common ground.

My car will be ready in a couple of weeks, and I will begin a new life. There is something to be said for taking out a 30-year loan in my sixties. I most certainly did not encounter age discrimination, gender discrimination, or any other kind.

As I signed my name over and over yesterday, I thought of my dad, considered so liberal and forward thinking because he made a loan to two sisters widowed in WWII without requiring a male relative's signature. In 1948, he let them sign their very own selves to buy their candy shop, Ma-Lee's, and set up in Ruidosa. New Mexico. They did smashingly. Best divinity and fudge I have ever tasted. (sigh) It was a great business.

Yesterday three women--me, the bank officer and the title company representative, sat down to do a little business ourselves. It was a sweet taste of the present and the possibilities for women today.

Friday, May 14, 2010

There I was, just minding my own business...

To be honest, I am procrastinating. But I do have a story to tell.

The most excitement I've had in years occurred at 4:10 p.m. May 12. I sometimes get teased because in a line of traffic, I usually stop 3-4 feet behind the car in front. It paid off bigtime.

Traffic was barely crawling along. The street is only two lanes and needs widening. Texas, like most states in the USA, doesn't have money to build more roads for the increasing population, so congestion is usual. The speed limit is 50 mph, which means you can probably go the limit about 2 a.m.

The teenager pulling out of the nearest side street behind me didn't realize how slow we were moving, just that he had a space of clear street, and he began accelerating. Being an inexperienced driver, when he realized he couldn't stop in time, he thought to pull left, realized he had oncoming traffic, and pulled right. He must have been standing on the brakes.

I heard the screech, glanced into the mirror for a nanosecond before he hit--hard.
And without thinking, I jerked the steering wheel into a hard right and hit the gas, even as the crash propelled me forward. I stopped on the side of the road, about even with the front doors of the car in front. I missed it entirely. Granny still has some reflexes!

He got out and ran forward. "ma'am! ma'am! Are you hurt?" I told him I thought not. I was aware I had banged my knee and the seat belt had burned my neck. I got out my cell phone. I was trembling all over...I had just released mass quantities of adrenaline. I called my oldest son, the policeman. And my voice was teary. He ascertained where I was and said he was on his way. He told me to call 911. I was composed when I called them.

I knew it had been a significant fender bender. Debris was all over the highway.
My bumper was completely dislodged on the ground, barely attached on the right side. Trunk floor crunched, lid as well, but operational, lights and left quarter panel damaged.

The boy was driving a 5- or 6-year-old BMW. It was crumpled back to the engine block. He and his two friends seemed unharmed. We exchanged names and shook hands, and I haven't a clue what his name is. A chance sheriff's deputy passing by stopped and helped with traffic till the dispatched police officer arrived. It looked pretty spectacular, and for awhile, traffic couldn't move. Several people stopped, including a a couple of adults who looked like teachers from the nearby high school.

The police officer gave me the report number and said it would be on file the next day. He also gave me the driver's insurance info. I remember saying at least with the vehicle being a BMW, I didn't have to worry about the insurance.

Both cars were towed. I rented a car and went home. Two mugs of hot tea and a couple of glasses of wine later, I was relaxed. Slept well. Woke up without a twinge.
Found out in late morning that the insurance on the BMW was not in effect.

So there actually is a reason I've been paying car insurance for years, including uninsured motorist. I'm covered. And since I haven't had an accident in forever, my rates won't rise.

Now to cross my fingers that my car won't be totalled, because while a nice car, it is six years old. (Totalled means the price of repairs are higher than the agreed commercial value of the car, meaning the insurance company pays the current value, not the cost of repairs or replacement value.) I have a good chance, though. With care, I expected it to last 20 years. It has 14 to go.

And me, I'm counting on at least another 14 years as well.

Back to packing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When You Get So Much More Than You Pay For

I have had a new job this last month, and yes, I'm paying for the privilege.

It's called Buying a House, something I never expected to do again. This week we should close. I'm starting to pack. Arranged the electric today. Have to nail down the house insurance.

It's been so long since I was an owner, I qualify for firsttime buyer bonus.

It's a little house, perfect for one or two, although I am sure a whole family could be fitted in comfortably should someone wish. Hardwood floors. A large, screened front porch. A big deck, which faces west and won't get much use until fall, when I hope I have a table and chairs for outdoor eating after summer heat gets below 90 degrees--around October.

A large backyard. Small front yard with some nice plantings and trees. The neighbor who is selling it has promised to continue mowing.

I asked my son for a gate in the backyard fence, because that fence separates his larger home from my new home. The gate will facilitate passage back and forth for all of us.

I do not have a big fortune, but I have some savings. I also haven't had a credit card in seven years and haven't had a time payment in more than ten. And yes, I have had to work hard for this. I have considered this my job. What the banker has wanted, I dropped everything else and got it. Twice, I was sure I wouldn't get it. Each time the glitch resolved. And they were big glitches. Actually, they were problems I couldn't do anything about but pray. So I did. Each time I was at peace with whatever the outcome would be. And we have gone forward.

I'm nervous about talking now, before we close, but you know, I'm going to (or as we say here in Texas, "I'm fixing to") be really really busy, and when I move, I'm going to be offline a week or more while I change service.

I look at the future and I see so much I'm going to have to do. And I'm joyous.

My paternal grandmother was really mean to my mother, so much so that Mother told me once to make sure I lived across town from my inlaws. And yet, when my mother was a widow and slipping into illness herself, she went over every evening to pick up my grandmother and brought her home for the night when my grandmother became afraid to stay alone at night. My grandmother looked at me with wonder when I came home from college to visit. She told me how kind my mother had been, when she had been so mean to her. She asked God, and my mother, to forgive her, and she cried a little. She was at peace.

I was thinking about that yesterday. Wasn't I lucky? Maybe my mother's legacy has made me someone who my daughter-in-law actually wants to live next door. I am very honored. My son is delighted. My granddaughters already refer to it as "grandma's house." My younger son anticipates the happiness with which my granddog will explore the fenced lawn.

I know it is doable to grow up without security and support and become an adult who can be kind and supportive to others. It is easier if one has grown up with a good role model, or two, or three. But I have friends who grew up with the bad example and turned away from it to find a more satisfying, happier way to live.

Multi generations are important. While not the majority, many families choose to live together with three or even four generations together. I know a good half dozen with side by side homes like we will have, many others with a suite or outbuilding on property for the grandparents. I knew a family where the woman had her adult daughter and granddaughter living with her and her husband, and also her mother, who was quite active. The toddler was taught to call the oldest family member GiGi, or really, GG for Great Grandmother. I thought that was charming.

The grandparents died off early for my sons, and I always thought they missed out. My granddaughters have three grandmothers, a grandfather, three uncles and an aunt. Whew. They have a richness of love and connections.

Soon, one of those will live next door. I promise to do my best in the years to come to contribute as much as possible to the happiness we all feel today.

I can't wait to find out what comes next.