Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The sale sign is up and we are ready to go...Literally Ready to GO!

Almost up North

It’s just days away from putting the house on the market.  The last 6 months have been a whirlwind for me.  Getting the house ready was only one aspect.  The other was that my plans for a 62 retirement age were thwarted by new management who has so graciously let me keep my job even if I move out of state.  I do work entirely from home with the occasional visit to the office for a meeting.  I also feel more in touch with this new management even though they are interim.  And the team of nurses that remains is steadfast, secure and patient oriented.  I find some of the things that I missed creeping back into our practice.  It’s a kinder gentler management.  Now don’t get me wrong the old managers had many, many good things that they brought to the table.  I believe that we are going to keep most of those policies but I also feel that we are going to be building on them as well. As always in the world of medicine everything is always evolving. Only the future will tell.

 But retirement is on the backburner for now.  I have too many things to pay for in the new home. If there is one thing that I learned about homes, from the ones that I have sold, it’s that fixing them the way you want them to be should not happen 6 months before you are selling your home.  In the last 4 years we updated our kitchen, got new floors and carpet for the first floor, updated our powder room and completely redid both our bathrooms.  Someone else is going to enjoy all my work!  

Not so with the up north house!  We have four things that are definitely on my wish list of things to do.  One is The lower level kitchenette.  I want a Hot tub and a Dock.  And a little repair/enlarging of the Deck would suit me just fine.  I think I will get all these wishes granted…I hope!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Memory from Mueller's Lake

Will I ever see another shooting star?  I follow NASA on Facebook and they always announce the meteor showers.  NASA tells you the dates, the times, where in the country they are best viewed.  I have, in the past, put those dates on my calendar only to notice them a few days after the meteors have landed.  Now I have alerts sent to my email on the days that yield those elusive fallen stars.  I am always disappointed by cloud cover or the fact that our area produces too much light to ever see a star.  Or worse yet, my sightings are hampered by the fact that I can’t stay awake to see them.

But I will never forget that magical night back in the late 60’s when a group of kids from Polar, Wisconsin took me to the top of the hill that overhangs Mueller’s lake. The night was warm and clear so I would guess that the month was July or August, because as any of you know, who are familiar with northern Wisconsin, June nights are not usually warm. I am also guessing that it was the end of summer because there was a certain camaraderie that had developed.  Every summer when I would head up north I would start all over.   I spent a lot of time up there that summer.  I found it all so romantic compared to the routine of my Chicago life.
Summer would begin with a visit to Laurie who lived in one of those “don’t  blink or you’ll miss it” Wisconsin towns.  She was the older sister of the boy who stole my heart the first summer I was visiting.  I was such a dreamer and romantic.  He gave me my first kiss.   Ahhh.. so long ago. The winter would cool all summer affections but in that moment love would last forever. Enough with the loves as my sons used to say when I would get mushy. On each first day up north I would trek to Elton and Laurie would pour me a cup of coffee (I hated coffee but it seemed so grown up) and tell me everything I missed during the winter months, who was going steady, who had broken up, and everything in between.  I loved visiting with Laurie.

That  one amazing night in particular sticks out so much in my memory because of the sight of a falling star raining down over the concession stand at that little beach.  I don’t remember who exactly I was with, Carol, Sam, Tom,  maybe others whose names I don’t recall. Who I was with eludes me.  But that indigo sky painted with that single streak of light is imprinted on my mind like a tintype photograph.  I remember asking “what is that…that streak of light”.  And someone laughed "it’s a shooting star, haven’t you ever seen a shooting star before?"  I hadn’t and I haven’t really seen a vivid one since then.

Some people have trips to exotic places on their bucket list.  I have a few of those, but the things  I really want to experience before I die are those gifts that nature sent, that are elusive but well within my reach, I want to visit Yosemite falls, view an aurora borealis and most of all experience showers of lights from the heavens.  I am ready to have my breath taken away from me once more.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Part Three The Final Search or Up North and Then Some

A month or 2 later I arranged visits to homes for sale in the Green Bay, Door County area.  We saw some really beautiful homes.  One especially looked good.  It was built recently  and it sat right on Lake Michigan .  Gorgeous views from every window.  The problem was that it sat on a cliff. There was a 75 foot straight drop to the lake.  We decided to keep looking.
Then there was a 1990 built home on a lake northeast of Green Bay.  It was beautiful but not much of a view from the house and everything needed to be replaced, needed new furnace, new roof.  We wanted to start fresh.  I won’t go into the ones we laughed at and shook our heads about.  There was one that was full of guns and trophy heads.  Yikes, gave me nightmares!

We had a couple of days left on our vacation and decided to look at homes around the lakes area north of where my parents farm was.  We had vacationed there on a number of occasions and even though it is far away from the Chicago area we thought we would give it a go. That night I arranged to meet with a realtor the next day.  I love the internet.  Found a house I liked, called the realtor, set up an appointment.  In the morning we drove to meet this realtor, Tom, at a showing in the three lakes area.
All day we looked at homes near three lakes and eagle river, maybe even Minoqua too, I don't recall the specifics.  They were too old, too far away from the lake, too big, too small.  Our list of must haves was getting longer and longer. By this time we were thinking that we should wait another year.  I thought  this year was not good for finding a home. 

We stayed in Eagle River that night and went to eat dinner.  During our meal I received a call from the realtor.  “I may have a house you would be interested in seeing”   I remember Gary and I both rolling our eyes.  “The house was for sale by the owners last spring, I called them and it is still avaiable.  I think this is what you are looking for. “  I told him that we were driving back in the morning.  He asked if we could see the house at 8am.  He could check with the owners. (We would later find out from the owners that they went crazy cleaning the home and getting it ready long into the night.) We agreed.

In the morning we met the realtor at his office and we followed him to the showing.  We learned it was only 4 years old.  We could check that off our list. We passed a Walmart, a ShopKo, and what looked to be a brand new Hospital.  Being close to civilization, another one of our criteria was met.  Shortly past the hospital we turned onto a gravel road. Immediately, I felt Gary tense, gravel roads are not his thing. On the other hand the road was lined with Birches and pine and was beautiful.  Not more than a quarter mile up we turned into the drive of what looked like a brand new but very ordinary house.
Then we walked through the front Door…….
The View from my Windows

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! Part 2

On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin!!
Then we moved on.  So we thought what state next? We were familiar with western Michigan because of the occasional vacation there and of course our son lived there for a little bit.  Grand Rapids was actually a potential. But it wasn’t on the shores of Lake Michigan and I was not ready to head further east .  And so our journey for the perfect house moved north to the familiar land of Wisconsin.
My close family and friends know the following but I will give you some history on why I feel more comfortable in Wisconsin.  It all started when I was 12 years old and my Mom and Dad began a similar quest to find a “hobby” farm.  We were all working in the kitchen making corn relish one day and the conversation started something like this, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could grow our own corn to make corn relish.” Shortly thereafter the search began. After beginning their search in Illinois and moving north, Mom and Dad did eventually buy a place in Antigo Wi and I spent a lot of my summer days up there.  After my children were born, and we were in our money scrounging days, we vacationed at the farm often.  When my parents died, we sold the farm but I always knew in my heart that I would someday come home to the land of hills and lakes and potatoes and cheese. 

Southeastern Wisconsin is beautiful .  When we started out we were still looking at builders.  We thought perhaps we could find something within our means in that area but no luck.  The only  new build areas that seemed to be within our means were set in a more subdivision- like area.  We then looked north to the Milwaukee suburbs.  There are some really  nice areas around there. We learned more and more about what goes into building your own home. At this point we had a change of heart.  We decided not to build.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

By thy Rivers Gently Flowing Illinois, Illinois Part 1

 2 years ago Gary and I set out on a quest to find a home in which to retire someday. Looking only in the on line realty sites I realized three things.  The first was that we could not afford to live close to home.  The second was that I wanted somewhere different. And lastly no fixer uppers! It must be move in ready. And so began our house hunting adventure into the land of the new homes.

We made a list of what we wanted and did not want in our future home/home site.  First and foremost we wanted familiarity.  We are Midwesterners. Although we love the beauty of Montana and Wyoming, we are not Westerners. I am the perpetual flatlander. There is something to be said for seeing the horizon line without having to tilt your head back. I also wanted to be able to hop in my car and drive a few hours to my sons should they need me. I would find it hard to live without Lake Michigan or Lake Superior being in close proximity. It was decided. Our search would cover Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and maybe Indiana or Minnesota.  We began our hunt in Illinois.

We traveled first to the areas just beyond the suburbs of Chicago both west and north. Looking to downsize, we had no interest in the the new home builds which consisted mainly of 2 stories. Most of the one floor homes were in  55 and older neighborhoods. That does not appeal to me. We continued to look further and further west. Lordy, when God passed out the natural beauty sprinkles the wind must have blown them right through Illinois without allowing them touch land. Don’t get me wrong. I grew up here and I really am drawn to the beauty of the flat lands, the unending sky, the fields of corn and soy, the plowed tilled earth are all in my blood.  However,when I wake up in the morning and sit with coffee in hand, I want to look out the window and smile at the beauty spread before me. There are a few beautiful places in Illinois, such as the river valleys, but  one of our taboos was to not live on a river. As we continued our search we decided to include newer construction as well. Building from scratch is a lot of work! After a long exhaustive search there were many reasons we did not find Illinois appealing. The quest for the final home continued.