The Chihuahua Bites Again

Sunday evening we went to St. Petersburg hooked up with friends Doug and Charki. We went to dinner at the Old Northeast Tavern, followed by an absolutely hilarious political romp at the Palladium Theater titled Orange is the New Barack.

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Doug and Charki live in a darling old home that they have been fixing up for the past two years. It’s so cute it was made House of the Month for October.

Their home is like TJ Maxx, never the same place twice.

Charki’s wheels never stop turning. Doug is a master woodworker and any idea she tosses him he can build.
And she rearranges furniture constantly. If you were blind in their house your life would be at risk on a weekly basis.

Not us. Jim and I plop our furniture down the day we move into a place, and there it stays until the day we move out. However, Monday I started to think maybe shuffling some furniture around might be a good idea.

I suggested to Jim that we tackle our back patio. Shove the long dining table down to the other end of the screened in porch. Drag the seating area to the center of the space.

He hated the idea, stating every item is ideally placed to take advantage of the four spinning ceiling fans. He mostly didn’t want to do it because he was deep into his morning chores. Sudoku and the daily crossword puzzle. But as he knows, I’m a dog with a bone once I get a notion. His nickname for me is “the chihuahua.”

So he hauled his honey-buns outta’ the chair and helped me. However, when I suggested we put the rectangular dining table on an angle, he refused. Then he left for golf whereupon I angled it by myself.

When he got home, he suggested we call the police because someone had broken into our backyard and moved the table. Now he has to admit he likes it.

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Our next big dinner party will be Thanksgiving on the porch. Dinner for fourteen. Eating Thanksgiving outdoors still strikes us as strange, but it’s strange in a terrific way.  So far I’ve purchased tablecloths and salt and pepper shakers.  Next stop Walmart for a six-foot-long folding table to put at the end of the rectangular one.   Which will require shoving furniture around once more.  I’ll wait until November to drop that bit of information.

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Somewhat related blog posts:

Moving. You can’t always get what you want. But we got what we needed.

Our Impulsive Move to Florida

Our Impulsive Move to Florida

In the summer of 2013, Jim and I moved from the Chicago suburb of Barrington, Illinois to Florida.  We left my dream house….but that was good because other dreams came true.

Prior to marrying in 2005, we decided neither of us wanted to live in the houses we’d occupied previously.  I hated his townhouse.  Sure, it had a great view overlooking a lake.  But every house in the neighborhood looked the same– tan. If you were daydreaming while driving you could easily end up half a mile past his place before realizing your mistake.  I called his neighborhood “Brown Town”.

Moreover, it was in a gated community.  I’d had enough gated community living to last a lifetime.  I wanted a home where friends could come knock on my door anytime they chose to.  Furthermore, nothing was within walking distance.

The home I lived in was south of his, in the darling village of Barrington.  Locals simply call it “The Village.”   Restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, churches, the train to Chicago were all within blocks.

My house was a 1920s Sears Bungalow.  It had a big front porch. Somewhere along the way, someone had enclosed it with cantilever windows.  No, they weren’t pretty, but I could lock the porch door and spend hot summer nights sleeping on the daybed I created.  It was camping without the icky parts.

The kitchen needed updating, as did a bunch of other stuff.  Yet it was mine!  For the first time in my life I’d been able to make each and every decision regarding my home.

Jim and I compromised, agreeing to sell our houses and buy one we both loved.

Shortly thereafter, while headed back to Brown Town, Jim passed an 1880’s farmhouse two blocks from mine.  It had come on the market, “For Sale by Owner,” that morning.  We made an offer the same afternoon.   A month or so later, before closing, we took our “walk-through”.  The house was nothing like we remembered.  We grimaced, looked at each other and asked, “What were we smoking?”

Charmed by location we overlooked the many dreadful design flaws.  It took us nearly a year to remodel.  I hand-painted and fired ceramic sinks for two bathrooms and painted a tile mural for a back-splash. Everything but one exterior door was scrapped and replaced, including the landscaping.  Our Village home became a little jewel box.  I swore the only way Jim would EVER get me to leave 502 South Grove Avenue was in a pine box. (Believe me, as I was making never-ending remodeling suggestions, that pine box may have entered his mind!)

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I painted the sink in the powder room.  Loved those cool light fixtures.
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Unable to find our photos, I lifted these photos from Zillow.  The woman who purchased our home moved on.  We left the Daniel Boone School sign with the house.  I just seemed to fit in on the corner of Russell and Grove.  Isn’t that twisty tree enchanting?  It dropped dreadful, purple, driveway-staining berries.  But I saved it from Jim’s threatened ax.

Prior to our move, we’d been spending a large part of frigid Chicago winters on Floridian Anna Maria Island.  We drove back and forth.  Driving home in early spring of 2013, I turned to Jim and nearly shocked him into swerving off the road when I declared, “You know what? It’s time move to Florida!”

He gave me twenty-four hours to change my mind, then he called a realtor.  We got home on Tuesday, listed on Friday and sold that darling little old lady for cash, a bit over full price, the next day!

Now here we are—Floridians!

There is a positive thinking/manifestation story in all of this.

  1. I always wanted my own crooked old house.  I got it in my Sears Bungalow.
  2. I’d  long dreamed of living in a porch swing house. 502 South Grove had a sweet front porch. We hung a swing.
  3. For years I fantasized about someday having a big screened in patio.  Yup, we’ve got that here! The natives call their pool screens “cages.”  We have a cage.  It’s a dandy, mosquito free space with a large overhang providing much-needed shade in the heat and cover from the summer downpours.
  4.  I’m working on manifesting our next dwelling. Someday, when we no further want to take care of yard and pool, and no longer have Bronson, our wonder dog, we might just relocate to St. Petersburg.  Perhaps a condo within walking distance of the many activities St. Pete has to offer.  For now, though, we love it right here.   Life is very good!  Very good indeed.