Greenville’s Euphoria 2013

Everyone was hurrying to downtown Greenville over the weekend to attend the 2013 Euphoria food and music events.

Geese on the ReedyIt’s a show that’s all about food and music and helping local charities, with events for several days all over the city. We bought tickets for the Tasting Showcase on Saturday. There was too much to do and way too much to eat and drink! We went to several demos and the one I found most interesting was by Lionel Vatinet, French master bread maker. Though I have been baking bread for a very long time, I learned some interesting tips. The best part was watching his hands as he shaped all the traditional French breads….not a wasted motion.

Lionel Vatinet

There was a whole lamb roasting outside the demonstration tent. What yummy smells! Peter got a bite but it was bones by the time I got there.

Lamb roast

Across the street was a large parking lot with three huge tents set up. Inside was the tasting area filled with representatives from breweries, wineries, restaurants and caterers as well as spirit vendors! Inside our totes were a wine glass and a beer glass and when you approached a vendor, they gave a sample. Some people spent all day in the tasting tents and by 4, they were really gone. We stayed away from the distillery tables. I wouldn’t know a good bourbon from a great one, and I would have had to have a nap! There were local restaurants cooking up yummy treats.

Euphoria tasting tent

We went to a beer and food pairing event, which was very fun. There was a panel of brewers who talked about their beers and then the chef created dishes to go with the various beers. There are several new breweries in Greenville, with more to open. Apparently South Carolina passed new laws that make it easier to open breweries and gastropubs. There are some interesting laws in the area. In Greenville, you can drink beer and wine on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant (with food!) but not mixed drinks. And beer and wine is sold separately from spirits….. And evidently there are some areas around Greenville that are dry.

Beer and quesadilla

I was pinching my self all weekend. This time last year, I was on my second where-to-live-next trip, checking out Hendersonville, Charlotte and Greenville. The morning I left, I wandered around downtown wondering what Euphoria was and thinking that I loved Greenville… And here we are, celebrating one month in our new house.

Dreams can come true!

A Very Happy Week!

We have been home owners for about a week now. Looks like we have chosen a place that we will both love. It’s been lots of work – appointments with the cable guy, the dishwasher installer, getting a garbage service and changing our address yet again. Lots of manuals to read and things to figure out how to use. The usual.

It was fun to move in on a holiday weekend as we would work awhile and then we felt like we could play for a while! Our neighbors on one side invited us to their house for drinks one night….so nice! We actually sat on their dock, overlooking Lake Robinson! It was lovely and cool and they told us all sorts of things about themselves and the neighborhood. Then, into the cove motored a pontoon boat (they have just recently been approved for use on the lake) and it was a neighbor. He docked and chatted for a bit and then drove off. Wow. Lake living is sure different. We did some boating of our own. We bought the homeowners boat and after Peter read up on how to start the motor, we tooled around the lake. I haven’t been in a boat since Summer camp in the Poconos! It is very fun to check out everyone’s homes and docks.

Peter reading

There are still loads of boxes to unpack and the labeling is always interesting. I was curious to see what exactly was in the box marked “slow cooker” since we don’t have one. Turned out to be the ice cream maker. I understand we have a lot of odd stuff, but could things like pillows and computer supplies be marked? And I have unpacked three lamp shades……. No boxes have lamp bases written on them…. I have been working hard to get enough put away that we can relax In the eat in area of the kitchen. It’s important to have a calm area in the caoss, i think. I was glad that I moved the Flor tiles. This set was in the dining room, but looks just fine in the new kitchen. Isn’t this a great space?

Eat in area

We had some visitors. Hard to see, I know, but this was the Goodyear blimp flying overhead! We think it might have been covering the Clemson game, which is an enormous deal around here.

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And a flock of geese honked by our dock on the lake.

20130906-151041.jpgWe are so enjoying settling in……

A Sloppy Move…….

Finally moving out of The Residence Inn was so exciting and it was so easy since we didn’t have to carefully pack everything so that it fit perfectly in the two cars.
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Jasmine waited patiently for her turn to move.

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Gizmo, the cowardly cat, hunkered down in a closet hoping that nothing awful would happen to him!

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The cats in their carriers and a suitcase was all that was left when we drove to the new house last Thursday to meet the truck. We were delighted to see it!!!

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We have moved a lot. I count at least 10 “professional” moves, which include 4 International ones. We know what to expect…….we thought. The packers and movers in Illinois were great; they were really professional and such nice men. Obviously we expected the same level of service on this end……The driver and his helper were good but we couldn’t figure out why the four men who arrived were so unprofessional and sloppy. What has happened in past moves is that the driver (the company?) contracts with a local moving company and uses their men to unload. These men were from a local temp agency and who knows how they were chosen! They didn’t know how to lift boxes or carry them up the staircase or how to stack them in the rooms so that everything fit.

I was not happy! I have never worked so hard during a move. While Peter was supervising garage and outdoor things as well as putting together beds (which the movers are supposed to do……), I was in the house directing. The youngest man was shot by noon and after lunch he refused to do anything but push the cart from the truck to the house and dump it. The others selectively ignored me; if they chose to do what I asked, they did it! The heaviest item in our house inventory is the loom and I was frightened that the men were going to drop it down the stairs.

I could go on and on! Thankfully they didn’t damage our things or injure themselves because of their lack of experience, but suffice it to say that the moving company will be hearing from us! Had it been a company paid move, I wouldn’t be quite so annoyed, but we paid for this!!!
The good news is that we’re here and happily settling in….finally!

(Please excuse anything funky with this post. As usual, I am having trouble with WordPress on my iPad…..)

House Found!

We didn’t know what we wanted in a house, but we knew it when we found it!

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The widened search took the realtor and I to a development on Lake Robinson, much further north of Greenville than I had been originally looking at online. We viewed two houses which I liked a good bit. But the neighbors, were they too close? Would a lake view with a large back yard make up for being in a development with an e on the end of its name? (Pointe…….a spelling which I find seriously annoying!)

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The next day we took Peter to see three houses for sale that backed onto the lake and had docks and views…..and that was that! I was delighted to see the happiness in his eyes. He grew up across the street from the Delaware River and spent hours upon hours exploring the river with his boat and has always talked about how much he loves water and boats. A lake wasn’t something we’d really discussed, so it was serendipitous for sure! Though we won’t have a Greenville address, I think we’ll be close enough to enjoy all that the downtown offers.

OMG, pinch me.

We are really excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

;-D

Moving is a Do Over!

We’ve been in Greenville for about a week now. Settlement for our house was Friday morning and all went well! It’s an odd feeling to be house-less. The last time we were in this situation was when we were moving to Singapore, but our rental apartment was waiting for us. It’s a free sort of feeling – like high school graduation or our wedding day – times when we felt anything was possible.

People seem quite interested in our little adventure and I finally realized why. Peter has been telling his colleagues what we’re up to and they have expressed envy at our freedom. Most people our age move to be closer to their kids and grandkids, which we don’t have. But what I had forgotten is that many adults move closer to their parents to care for them! My parents have been gone for a long time and Peter’s amazing mother was in perfect health until the week she died, so we haven’t been in parental care giving mode for some time. So we really, truly can live anywhere.

I was trying to explain to a friend, who would love to move but is too frightened to, how liberating moving is. Whether you are happy with yourself or your life or not, moving where no one knows you and you are unfamiliar with things gets my juices going. Barbara Corcoran puts it this way in her interesting book entitled Nextville:

And so I truly believe in the transforming power of place. I believe that when you go to a new place – when it’s the right place – you have permission to start over, to do things you couldn’t or wouldn’t do before. In short, you have an opportunity to meet the better you. It’s never a cure-all, of course, because we often bring our emotional baggage with us when we move. But the new place at least lets you make a clean break with your old patterns of day-in, day-out living. It gives you a chance to shake your life up and reopen your eyes to see the world afresh.

In her book, Corcoran tries to help you find out what you want to do or be next. Peter is still working, so he has his work persona, but he is delighted to be changing the scenery! He is an avid biker and was quickly bored with the flat, flat countryside around Chicagoland. There are mountains and parks winding through three or four states and we will enjoy exploring them. Nextville is a great resource.

I subscribed to Where to Retire magazine for a year. Though Peter is not retiring, it made sense that they would feature wonderful spots to live. We do not want to live in any sort of “adult” community or a neighborhood with homeowners associations, and the magazine features those most often. But they do offer alternatives. (I’m sure that the developers and communities pay their bills!)

Findyourspot.com is a really fun website that I discovered many years ago. You take a test and it gives you destinations at the end, with lots and lots of information about them. What’s really fun about it is that you can go back and change everything and see what locale comes up next. On my first try, my number one destination turned out to be Harrisburg, PA, a place we’d lived for 4 years! As Peter would say “been there, done that!”.

I won’t be lonely this move, for sure. A dear high school friend is about an hour and a half away. My brother and his family and some friends from long ago are about a three-hour trip. All these people live closer to me than they have in years so it will be fun to visit more often.

The house hunt is starting in earnest now and we’ve been driving around getting the feel for Greenville and environs. Hopefully we will drive up to some house or land and it will sing a song to us….

5 Days & Counting…

Each state is different so previous experience doesn’t help in the matter of selling the house or the settlement. Ours is June 21, but in Illinois, the buyers don’t have to attend. Though I like the idea of not having to sit through the endless paper shuffling, signatures and issues to resolve, it does make me a bit nervous. Both Peter and I have been fretting over all the things we need to do for that, but the lawyer has assured us that everything is in good order and that we have completed our part. {Can’t wait to get her bill.}

It’s funny how getting the house ready to sell has nothing to do with the moving part! All that time spent making the house look empty and tidy and appealing is now being undone. We are pulling things out and looking critically at them. We are paying for this move and have the estimate {ouch!} so we have been tossing things liberally. The house is looking like this. The storage unit is empty and we’re going through all the closets and cupboards one more time. The packing has been scheduled for one day – it’s always been two before – but the company assures me they are sending a big crew. I hope they eat their Wheaties on Tuesday.

Livingroom junk

I have also been packing up a good bit of the studio so that I can find things on the other end, hopefully! All the china and breakables we leave for the packers – it’s what they do best.

Blue & white to go

We have areas where we are collecting what to take with us to our temporary residence. Clothes, cat necessities, Peter’s business thing are going in boxes. And I’m sure you can imagine how carefully I am selecting projects to keep me busy. ;-D I had forgotten all the little things that need to be done when you close up a house. The pantry and the refrigerator need to be cleaned out and most everything tossed. The movers don’t move food or liquor. Since we will be in an extended stay motel, we can take some of those things, but the issue is – how much room will there be in the cars? Though I’m not a frugal person, I do dislike throwing away all the partially used condiments and baking items. We are taking some of them with us, but we can’t spare the room for the ketchup bottle with that precious 1/2″ of goodness left…

The cats are really wound up by the unfamiliar routines, rugs rolled up and boxes everywhere. Gizmo’s new routine is gulping down breakfast and retreating under our bed for the day – no matter what. Jasmine is braver, but she anxiously yowls now and then and needs lots of attention. They are both sleeping with us and lying on top of us as if to hold us in place……Wait until they spend two days in the car, a night at a motel and then move to a new place!

When we’re tired, as we are every day now, we look at all our stuff and think, is anything worth taking???

More stuff!

Five Weeks & Counting…

It was quite strange to come “home” after our 10 day trip. The house is so neat and tidy and so much is put away; it frankly doesn’t seem like it’s ours. And it almost isn’t.

What has happened, which is so surprising, is that our house went under contract before it was even listed!!! After we signed the contract with our realtor, she started getting the word out. As we were making the final preparations for being on the market and going away, she was scheduling the sign installation and the photographer. She put the word out with her network of realtors and the next thing we knew, people were asking for showings! The upshot was that the first people who saw the house made an offer and we are moving ahead with them. That’s why the vacation to Hendersonville ended up being more of a where-to-live-next search for Peter.

We picked up the cats from their little vacation. We take them to a wonderful boarding place – they let them out several times a day in the office so they can play and get some exercise. Before we left, Gizmo was traumatized. He is the poster boy for a scaredy cat. He either hides in the basement squeezed beside the freezer, or behind the coffee maker. I can’t decide if he thinks he is hidden there…

Frightened Gizmo

Our plan was to sell the house and then rent a place in our target area and start seriously feeling what the area is like and looking at houses. Settlement is June 21st (!!!) and so we are moving ahead with alacrity. We looked at houses in Hendersonville and spent a day in Greenville doing the same. Happily Peter and I are in agreement that Greenville is the area we want to live next! One decision down and many more to come.

Reedy River

We took a lovely drive there on another day of our trip, meandering through Southern North Carolina and towards the east side of Greenville. Artisphere was going on and so we parked and joined in the fun downtown. It’s a fabulous city with so much going on and the surrounding area, where we will be living, looks great too. Wow. I’m still stunned by how fast everything is happening….

Hello from Hendersonville

Whew – what a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! We chose a realtor and signed a contract with her on Saturday the 27th of April. The unpredictable Chicagoland weather decided to cooperate and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were in the 80’s and so the front door and porch area were finally painted! By midweek, as she spread the word about our house coming on the market, we started having showings. The sign went up on Friday and we were officially On The Market!

For sale!

On Saturday we started the drive to Hendersonville. We had chatted about getting away after the house was listed and Peter decided he’d like to see Hendersonville and start his part of the where-to-live-next work. So I quickly found this fun cabin in the mountains. And here we are! It’s what people call a staycation for Peter because he is only taking a few vacation days off. But we are away and not having to polish the sinks or vacuum or close the cats up in a closet!

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Hendersonville has has a cool, wet Spring too, but there’s lots blooming. We have been enjoying the azaleas – they are few and far between in Chicagoland.

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Peter was working hard yesterday, so I decided to amuse myself by heading to an antique mall that I discovered on my last trip here. I found this funhouse mirror that I thought would be great in our new bedroom!

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And this life sized pair of carved lions made me laugh out loud! I am sure that this is what Peter and I looked like about two weeks ago! We were exhausted and so stressed out about getting the house ready. I most certainly am the one snarling at him and he is trying to be polite and turning his face away as he snarls too. ;-D

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I discovered several quilts tucked away in the booths but I pulled this one out for a closer look. The workmanship is exquisite!!! And what an unusual pattern and pretty fabrics. There are pieced 8 pointed stars and some appliqued heart shaped flowers. Teeny, tiny grandmother’s flower garden shapes are also appliqued on the backing fabric with such teeny, tiny stitches.I wish the photograph was better. I don’t let myself buy old quilts but I was sorely tempted by this beauty. Sadly for me, the dealer knew what an amazing quilt this is and priced it accordingly….

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There’s lots more news to share with you, but for now, we are enjoying the lovely mountains of North Carolina.

P.S. as usual, I am having trouble with WordPress on my iPad! I thought I published this yesterday ….. I’m trying again.

Re-visiting a “ville”

If you follow along with me, you know that on my last trip to the Asheville/Hendersonville area, my realtor dumped me! I have always liked Asheville and wanted to know more about Hendersonville, so I made a date with a new realtor. But on Sunday I enjoyed a craft fair at The Southern Highland Craft Guild’s venue on the Blue Ridge Parkway with my friend Molly. There were folks demonstrating traditional crafts and music and dance and a beautiful black & white show. I did not realize that photography was not allowed until I was yelled at. Here are some illegal pictures of the lovely work! Isn’t this sgraffito ceramic piece amazing?

Photography is not allowed in the gallery area either, but oh well, here is another illegal shot! There are lots of items for sale.

Once again, it rained! When I was in the area in June, it rained off and on and was misty and humid. This time there was torrential rain. Buckets and buckets of it. Consequently, I don’t have a lot of pictures and it was nasty to be in and out of the car all day.

But house hunting is house hunting! This realtor took me to many houses over a two-day period and I liked so many of them. There’s a mountain – Craftsman – bungalow style to so many houses that appeals to me. The properties are perched on both sides of the mountains, meaning that even if a house looks ordinary on the front, it likely has a drop dead gorgeous view in the back. I saw several little ponds with koi. I would love that!

Our Colorado house had enormous windows full of sky and mountain views, so here is a Flat Rock place that I liked.

And another in Hendersonville. I love how the builders built the fireplace into the window. I imagine sitting there on a cool winter day, enjoying the warmth and the view. The poor realtor was really distressed about the weather and the lack of views in all the places she took me to. But I have a good imagination and I like rainy, foggy days.

This bathroom was super! Though I am not a fan of tubs, I like the shape of this one. And showering “in the open” – I haven’t seen that since a trip to Bali. Might be a tad cold in the winter months…

On my time off, I looked for quilt stores and indoor things to do. It was just too dismal to drive around and try to look at houses with all the trees, rain and fog. I found an enormous antique mall and enjoyed poking around. There were huge statues all over the place – I really was curious about where they’d been in their previous life. Of course I liked the antler chandelier as well. We had one in Colorado which I sold before we moved. Huh. Who knew I might need it again?!?

And I found a treasure for myself! I love old tins and sewing related items and I discovered this Putnam dye holder. It was a lot less expensive than any I’d seen elsewhere and even with shipping, it was a deal. The post office really squashed the box so I’ll ask Peter to try to straighten it a bit. And I know…I should be getting rid of things, not acquiring them…{sigh}

It was a great visit and I saw so may wonderful places. There’s a lot to think about.