My Year

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
My Year
11
Sat, 12-14-2013 - 9:16pm

As you all know-this has been a horrible year for me, for us. The holidays are bringing back all the pain & anguish for both Mike & I. But onward & upward-we're getting on with things, determined to survive all this somehow. Last Christmas we knew it probably be Adam's last-nobody could live without lungs...though he did it for 5months! I can remember telling Mike that in my nursing experience, the loss of a child either brought a couple together or tore them apart. Of course-he scoffed at me-but I think he did listen because we're trying hard to enjoy one another again.

So now we're working to make this house look it's best & trying to rid ourselves of stuff (junk?)so that when we downsize, we aren't drowned in it. Mind when I say "we're working" I'm speaking rather loosely-I come up with the ideas, Mike does 99.9% of the labour! And when he's done-I cross that item off the list-it's called division of labour! We're hoping to move in the Spring. Wise people say to wait a year after a death-so that is what we are doing, but also because there is a year's worth of work. For so long our energy & time went into giving Adam as good a life as was possible.

I guess, like Kathy, I have a new career too-but only because I lost my old one as "Adam'smom". Now I'm just "Nora"-anything else is an add-on, not as time consuming. Not a voluntary choice, for sure, but really different! I'm learning to enjoy the empty nest-just Mike & I, 2 Pugs & 3 cats! Not totally empty-but emptier than it was a year ago. (& so are our hearts-but we won't go there. You all know that)

Nora

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
In reply to: nora_mcl
Sun, 12-15-2013 - 9:36am

I know you've had the worst year any parent can imagine.  Praying that you & Mike will get thru this holiday season (as miserable as it will be for you) and hoping that 2014 will be a little brighter.  I read an article from one of the Newtown parents that Joe Biden had told them (remember the VP lost his wife and a son in a car accident decades ago).  He told these parents to count to 10 every day.  You won't get to 10, but if you can get to 3 or 4, it's a good sign.

Anyway, on the real estate front, since you have pets, realtors frown on pet smells, because buyers don't want to smell it.  So a tip from me is make sure your house doesn't smell of cat litter or the dogs.  2) Make sure you're closets look fairly empty.  Buyers will open most of the closets to see if there's enough storage space.  So if closets look stuffed with clothes, household items, etc., it's a bad sign.  3.  Commission fees are negotiable.  Brokers will insist on 6%.  If you're going with a national company that has all the latest technology and available resources and marketing, I would go with 6%.  If you're signing with a local broker who does not have a national presence, etc., lower the commission.  Why pay more if the exposure won't be as great.  4.  About Zillow Premier Agents.  The way it works is the national companies i.e. Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Better Homes and Gardents will advertise their listings on Zillow with their agent's pictures.  The smaller brokers will have their listings on Zillow BUT Zillow uses their Premier Agents pictures instead of the actual listing agent's pictures.  Meaning, Zillow combs thru all the Multiple Listing Services, bank foreclosures, for sale by owners, etc. and if a listing from a multiple service from a local broker is listed with a particular agent, Zillow will delete that agent's photo and replace it with mine.  So the listing will appear on Zillow with my picture and it will appear to buyers as if that listing is mine when it's not.  By the way, Trulia, AOL Real Estate, Yahoo, etc. all do the same thing.  And I just got a call from Google for me to sign with them for the same thing.  Premier Agents pay a fee to Zillow, Trulia, Google, etc. to have them advertise & in a sense replace the actual agent's photo with theirs.

I know - in my mother's words, she said it's blackmail.  I agree, but what's an agent to do?  Agents actually hate Zillow, Trulia, etc. for this reason.  We're basically buying leads.  Zillow, Trulia, etc. will tell you they are making shopping for a home easier for the consumer.  Shopping for a home is not the same as buying on Amazon, but if you ask Zillow's CEO, he will disagree & he's a Harvard grad.

Well, that's it for now.  Any questions - call me at 914-844-2006 or email at kathy.lakowitz@cbmoves.com  My cell# is now for business so it's all over the internet anyways.  I do answer my cell "Thank you for calling Coldwell Banker, Kathy speaking, how can I help you."  No more "hello" unless I recognize the number.

Kathy

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
In reply to: nora_mcl
Sun, 12-15-2013 - 12:31pm

Nora, you already have another career, but you just didn't have the opportunity to pursue it fully.  That's your career as Grandma.  Mike has one also--Grandpa.   I know it's sooo hard to think about this now, but moving closer to the kids will fill up more than just your time.  It truly will be a new page for the both of you. 

Yesterday, Lolo came over to borrow our floor+upholstery cleaner.  Bree ran into the house buried in her snow clothes, with only her eyes showing, and threw herself on Poppa & I, like she hadn't seen us in a month.  Lolo said she sometimes worries that Bree loves us more than her & Will.  She said, "I already accept that she will love you more once she turns 12.  That's inevitable!  But I was hoping for a few more years of Mama-love now! "  I assured her it was only that we were new faces, after a morning of NO, NO, NO!!!! from her mother.  My point is tho, that the older your grandkids get, instead of wanting Grandma and Grandpa LESS, they want you MORE, as an antidote to their parents.  You being closer to them, and having time to spend with them, will be just what the doctor ordered for you, and for THEM, too!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
In reply to: nora_mcl
Sun, 12-15-2013 - 1:37pm

Thanks Kathy-I've been going through closets & cupboards & pitching, pitching, pitching. Nothing will happen until Spring-there is no way we can sell our house in Winter. It's on a hill-the driveway is plowed, but even I go "gulp" before driving up it in Winter. So when the snow is gone-& bulbs are coming out-by then the painting & floors will be done. Mike & our neighbour/friend were discussing having a cleaning company in to do the walls-we'll see how it's going by then.

Several neighbours have expressed interest for their family/friends because of the waterfront we have & the land (almost 5acres)-so it is appealing. Curb appeal I think it's called?

I have Febreeze for the couch where the Pugs sit, I know about changing the litter box daily or more-we already pitched out 1.6tonnes of junk-stay tuned, more to follow! We have no close neighbours-the view's the thing-so any curtains or blinds will be open, any lights will be on & the house is naturally bright with big (clean)windows. Mike is going to put the game cam pictures on continuous feed showing the deer etc down the property-he even has some pictures showing the lake before the trees grew in that he thought he'd just leave around. I'll put the paddle boat into the water, & the canoe too.

Our dil is a lawyer & has told us to get 3 estimates of the value, so we'll do that. And while we want lots-we will be realistic too. Ideally the Lilacs & other blooming bushes will do well this year-as will the Daffodils & Tulips.

I'll be glad when this part is done. Too bad you can't come up here to work for us, Kathy!

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
In reply to: nora_mcl
Sun, 12-15-2013 - 1:48pm

Yes, Sabr-we do have that, we thoroughly enjoy that role. But we cannot move as geographically close to our grandchildren as you are to Bree. Karen lives in a very large city-& unless we would be content in a very small, rundown condo-we cannot live too close. We have set an hour as the furthest we'll go-& in fact think we may be about 45min away. Close enough to be able to get to hockey games, softball tournaments & school concerts for sure. I did suggest that they buy the house in the lot immediately behind them & have 3 more children-Rob said it wasn't for sale & Karen said "MOTHER-I'm 41 years old-get real"-so that ended that dream.<sigh> But an hour away (or less) is much nicer than 3-4hours away, which is what we are now.

We do enjoy being grandparents, just as we enjoyed being parents. Our role as parents lasted longer than most-our oldest DD is now 43-she was well past 42 when Adam died, so it was a long-time gig! But we are adapting I think. It just takes us awhile to become accustomed to the whole idea of empty nest.

Nora

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
In reply to: nora_mcl
Wed, 12-18-2013 - 9:12pm

Waterfront???  Just to let you know - there is a home for sale with 4 acres of land + complete waterfront along the back perimeter AND it's a short 35 min. train commute to New York City (Manhattan - Grand Central Station).  Want to guess the price?  Try $13 MILLION DOLLARS.  Yep, $12,950,000.  I will say this fact.  The further north and east you are from New York City, the prices drop dramatically.  So you can have a 5 acre property with waterfront access for $1 million or less.  Just be prepared to live 1 hour or more from the city.

Kathy

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
In reply to: sabrtooth
Thu, 12-19-2013 - 1:01am

Gimme land, lotsa land... just not waterfront.  Not even on a river.  Wouldn't live on the Atlantic if you paid me.  And even tho I LOVE the Gulf,  I wouldn't want to live there, either.  NYC is ridiculously overpriced, and the upscale parts of Chicago aren't much better.  I cannot see spending a fortune to live in a shoebox, cheek to jowl with your neighbor, with outdoor parking down the block, if you are lucky.  Here in a decent 'burb, you can get 2000 sq ft, on a 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot, for 300K.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-30-2011
In reply to: nora_mcl
Thu, 12-19-2013 - 10:44am

Well-living in Eastern Ontario-we aren't apt to get anywhere near 13million!

Relax Sabr-our waterfront (200ft)is on what they call "drowned land"-meaning it was created when they built the Rideau Canal system, well over 175yrs ago. (The British built it when there were fears that those big bad Americans were trying to invade our country-you can go up to Ottawa from here). And the water is actually 1000ft from the house-so its safe to have with kids, not just because of the distance but because we don't have danger from flooding during Spring high waters. Our kids used to go swimming in the lake-but only when one of us went down with them. Mike built them a raft-& to their eternal embarrassment put on a pole & labelled it "The Good Ship Lollipop". We have a dock down there-good to tie up our canoe & paddleboat. Our neighbours have power boats or pontoon boats-we are more laid-back.

The house is on a hill-overlooks the lake, high & away from the road as well. And the 4.76acres is primarily from the road to the lake. So when it is Spring, the windows will be sparkling clean, walls will be scrubbed & hopefully the price right to sell quickly. If Kathy lived in Canada-I'd hire her in a flash, pick her professional mind. But I shall have to put my trust in someone I don't know. Hopefully someone will come who values what we value will be here quickly to buy it. Nothing we can do to hide the fact that it is a 30 year old house-but it has "Good Bones" & has been lovingly cared for-new roof, new furnace & painted throughout. I shall go ahead & begin my gardening-for one thing-I have my greenhouse frame out there that looks dumb without the plastic!

Nora

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
In reply to: nora_mcl
Thu, 12-19-2013 - 12:27pm
Nora, sending hugs your way & prayers that 2014 will bring some peace to you and a wonderful new home. When our best friends were in their 60s they decided to move close to their son & his family. The kids were in their tweens & teens but the stronger bonds they built during those years are very much in evidence now that these same kids are in their 20s. I'm sure there is lots of hard work being done by both you & Mike as you work to remove a lifetime of living from your home. I don't envy you. It's been 2 yrs since we did this & it's not something I want to do soon again. Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Thu, 12-19-2013 - 5:22pm

"2000 sq ft, on a 1/4 to 1/2 acre lot, for 300K."

That's cheap. New 3 bedroom townhomes are going for $300K And I live in the burbs.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
In reply to: sabrtooth
Thu, 12-19-2013 - 9:57pm

Check these out...

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08455253-8001-West-127th-Street-PALOS-PARK-IL-60464/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08469835-13405-South-Stephen-Drive-PALOS-PARK-IL-60464/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08450471-14013-South-King-Road-HOMER-GLEN-IL-60491/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08340586-14829-Innisbrook-Lane-HOMER-GLEN-IL-60491/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08461058-9001-West-140-Street-Orland-Park-IL-60462/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08472318-12000-West-DERBY-Lane-ORLAND-PARK-IL-60467//

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08419229-14557-West-Avenue-ORLAND-PARK-IL-60462/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08468195-8242-Wheeler-Drive-ORLAND-PARK-IL-60462/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08502378-18331-67th-Court-TINLEY-PARK-IL-60477/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08428536-8642-Glenshire-Street-TINLEY-PARK-IL-60487/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08441336-9025-Linden-Drive-TINLEY-PARK-IL-60487/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08458444-12954-South-Sycamore-Lane-PALOS-HEIGHTS-IL-60463/

http://www.realestate.com/detail/153-08327702-6018-West-123rd-Street-PALOS-HEIGHTS-IL-60463/  And this one has an in-ground pool for UNDER 300K.

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