Our first winter and spring in Napa was so good.
We rode bikes and played tennis every chance we could. The construction on the house I was managing was coming along nicely, and everything was running smoothly. I was happy and content.
Bella went everywhere with me…and her favorite thing to do: bike rides
In October we helped my oldest son move to Santa Barbara, and while there, we camped at Carpinteria State Beach. The campground is right on the beach and we were both in heaven. Continue reading
The day we arrived in Napa and started unpacking our U-Haul, I tripped over a big rock and hurt my leg pretty badly. I was a bloody mess.
Judd grabbed a lounge chair from the deck, and set it up so I had a place to prop my leg up and get some ice on it. It hurt a lot. But what was almost worse was, I was carrying my little Bella when it happened and she flew out of my arms and landed a few feet away. Continue reading
I was going to start this post by saying, I couldn’t believe I was standing in a multi-million dollar home about to endure my third interview, but that’s not entirely true.
I could believe it.
From the moment I first saw the ad for the position on Craigslist, I knew this was going to be my job. I just needed to convince the impeccably dressed, statuesque woman shaking my hand, of that. Continue reading
The day after our wedding, we packed up the car and drove south to wine country.
Being frugal (read: poor) we decided to camp in Napa Valley before my interview the following day.
As a wine lover, I was elated to see so many familiar names as we drove up Highway 29 towards St. Helena. We drove past Chandon, Cakebread, Turnbull, Beaulieu, Beringer, and so many more. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Continue reading
I moved to Bend, Oregon in 1978 and never dreamed that I’d end up staying for over 30 years. I was just 19 when I first arrived in that little town, and so much had changed over the years.
But by 2009, I couldn’t wait to leave. My kids were grown and off to start their own lives, my friendships had changed so much I could barely recognize them, and my business was no longer paying the bills.
It was time to move on.
It was the week after Christmas and we were in Summer Lake Hot Springs spending time there helping out our friend, the owner. He needed to be away from the place for several days, and asked if we would take over for him.
There were four little one-bedroom cabins and a three-bedroom house on the property and he had rented them out for the holidays. Since there would be some turnover, we were to take care of things. Continue reading
We lived on the river near several walking trails and went out for walks most days. Walking hand in hand we made our way down the trail towards the river and beyond.
The Deschutes River
We hadn’t talked about “that night” and it was eating me up inside.
I should back up a bit. I left out a lot of important details in yesterday’s post. Not sure why I skipped most of 2008 and went right to the end of that year.
Maybe because it was a year of change.
Working from my home office, early 2008
Being a realtor during the housing crisis was definitely challenging.
I got my real estate license in 2002 and quickly worked my way to top producer. But by 2008 I was not only no longer a top producer, it was all I could do to make enough money to cover my costs of being a realtor.
Something had to give.
Surviving a bankruptcy and losing my homes was not easy.
Even though I knew they were just “things” I was losing, it was still painful. But, I had a distraction through it all, which made it so much easier.
I met Judd in November, just before the holiday season, and he took me to one holiday party after another. He sold advertising for a local publishing company, and his job came with a lot of invitations.
We had a lot of fun, and I felt like Cinderella.
For Christmas he gave me a beautiful silver cuff bracelet that he had specially ordered for me. He said it was a Wonder Woman bracelet, because I reminded him of her.
My Wonder Woman bracelet
I will never forget the realtor that worked with my banks to ‘short sale’ my homes. She was a bitch.
Yep, I went there.
She treated me with such disrespect and down right contempt. I was already mortified and embarrassed, but this woman was actually enjoying kicking me while I was down.
And speaking of down, have you ever experienced bankruptcy? It is a life altering decision to make in the first place, but oh once the process starts you’re put into the “undesirable” category.
Which is where you will stay for at least 10 years.
Have you ever cleaned houses for a living? It’s hard work. Really hard. But if you’re good, like I was, it pays pretty decent money. And now.
Only it doesn’t pay enough.
I couldn’t keep my head above water as an independent realtor any longer, so I moved my license from ReMax over to a smaller company that only took a portion of any commission I made.
It was a defeat, but one I had to accept.
2007 was just an all around crappy year for me. Being a realtor who owned two homes during the housing crisis was a double whammy and just about sent me off the deep end.
Not only was I losing my homes, but my income had plummeted. And if you don’t know how it works for a realtor, let me explain.
We pay for everything.
I left you hanging, I know. I’ve actually tried continuing my story several times now. But I keep getting stuck.
I hated that time in my life and honestly it’s hard to look back now, knowing what happens. But the other morning, when I was thinking about it all, I remembered two important things
I got through it and survived. And, I learned an amazing life lesson
So, I’ve decided to just write and go from there. I left off telling you I was neck-deep in bills and my income had plummeted. I had two mortgage payments and was desperately trying to save my homes.
As I sat at my big dining room table, looking at all of the bills that were covering its surface and I made the decision to let my dream house go. The mortgage was twice as much as my old ‘70’s house, so the smart thing to do was to move back into it and try to stop the bleeding. Continue reading
I purchased my dream house in May 2006, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. Every thing about this place spoke to my soul. I truly felt as if I was “home” for the first time in a very long time.
The back yard was quiet and beautiful and I spent most of my summer days out in that yard or on the deck. Inside my house was decorated exactly how I wanted it. Everything was perfect.
I love this picture of my boys laughing and joking in my back yard
many days spent on that little deck
Everything was perfect
Except for the two house payments I had.
I had this stone topped antique table that weighed about 300 pounds that I absolutely loved. I bought it sight unseen from an antique dealer in Eastern Oregon. A friend of mine knew I was looking for an island table for my kitchen at my farm, and when she saw it, she called me right away.
The owner of the shop told me it was an old print set table for a local paper, back in the day. There was a twin to the table, but no others like it, and to this day I don’t know why I didn’t buy both of them.
Of course everyone who has helped me move that table from house to house could tell you why. There was a two-inch solid marble stone that slid into the three-sided wooden top.
And it weighed a ton!
Well, not really a ton, but you get my meaning. It took at least two strong men to move just the top of that table, and they were usually cursing me through the entire move.
But that thing had so much character. I thought it was black when I first got it home, but on closer inspection, realized it was just covered in ink. I used oven cleaner to get the stone clean, and started scrubbing the old wood.
Layer after layer of dark sticky ink came off to reveal a lovely dark walnut color. After several layers of ink were wiped away from the top, a beautiful old pitted stone presented itself.
It was a work of art.
2006 was shaping up to be a good year for me. I met “Tom” in May and by the end of that month I had another wonderful surprise.
My real estate business was going strong and I was making great money. Everything but the kitchen and exterior of my ‘70’s house had been remodeled, and I was feeling confident and accomplished.
I was having fun dating Tom and, because of our polar opposite views on religion, we were having wonderful conversations that would go on for hours and hours. It was stimulating and as someone who is a bit of a debater, I loved every minute of it.
Tom was a charming gentleman who loved a good glass of wine and a lively discussion.
Dating in my 40’s was so very different from dating in my 20’s.
When I first started dating, in my 20’s, I was wide-eyed and innocent. Every date was like a new opportunity to meet an amazing person. Or even to just have a good time. Dating in my late 40’s was so very different.
I was anxious, nervous, and guarded – as were many of the men I met. Most of the guys I dated were divorced, and the few that weren’t, I was suspicious of. What was wrong with them that they hadn’t found a partner yet?
That was the guarded, judgmental side of me.
My husband’s job is in outside sales. Because of that, he is on the road a lot. Most weeks he’s gone three or four days, traveling around southern California, into Nevada and Arizona. It’s a good job for him, because he’s a bit of a wanderer anyway.
It’s good for me too, because I get time to myself to do my own thing. That, and the toilet seat’s down the entire week. But there are times I like to tag along with him. And that’s what we did this week.
It was fun riding shotgun and taking in the views along the drive. Continue reading
The other day I was desperately looking for a specific photo I wanted for one of my blog posts. If you’ve been following along, you know I use my own photos for my posts.
It was written and ready to publish, but I was determined to find that one photo, so I kept digging. I was pretty sure it was on an old hard drive of mine, so I plugged it into my laptop and poked around.
I didn’t find it there, but I did find something else.
It is something I wrote years ago, when I was trying to sort out some emotions I was going through. Wait, let me stop right here and find my courage.
Deep breath in.