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As birthdays go, some say 50 is a big one. (And, today is mine.) My MUCH younger sister, Susan, sent me a beautiful and stylish gray sweater (to match my gray hair perhaps) with a lovely card and a reminder to count the memories, not the years.
So to start things off, here is a memory – it’s not mine but my Mom’s. She shared it with me in an email last night.
…. Can’t believe it’s been 50 years ago that I called mother, your grandmother, and told her that I wouldn’t be able to go to Grandma Gleason’s birthday party that was at the Pemberton house. It was a big deal that we had been planning for a long time and I had been at the house the night before helping with preparations and dancing with Uncle Bob. Mom said don’t worry about getting there, Bob would pick me up. When I hesitated she figured it out.
Much later that night we celebrated you! The next day you were the proud recipient of everything pink that Grosse Pointe had to offer – we were all so thrilled and excited.
Lots of beautiful memories!!!!!!
Love you very much – have a wonderful birthday. Remember, 50 is the new 35!!!!!!!!!
Last year on my birthday, I shared some thoughts on getting older, Turning 50 minus One . I can’t say that I turned over a new leaf to clean up my act and get super fit before 50. (But I did trade my office chair in for a big blue exercise ball – and I’ve had the bruises from falling off to prove it. Just don’t expect pictures of those to show up here on the blog.)
Then in May I started to wonder yet again when my AARP card arrived – OMG am I old? It got me thinking or pondering you might say. (My 7th grade English teacher used to say that a thesaurus is a writers best friend. Although, if that was true, why was she always correcting my spelling? (The rumor mill at Hanby Jr. High had it that when SHE was YOUNG – before she was an English teacher – Mrs. X was a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall – but since these were the dark days before Google – we never did confirm it.) For me a close second must be a dictionary or a really good editor – thank goodness I have friends like Francine Hardaway that check my work!)
Today, it was on Facebook and Twitter that the messages and memories were delivered across. Along with cards and notes that the postman has been delivering all week. They came from new friends and through friendships that stretch all the way back to elementary school. (Thank you, Dr. Craft.) Others were from people I have met along the the way or worked with in different places around the world. They came from friends I had made via email, Skype, or a tweet and from the neighbor across the street. Plus, there was a very special one from my husband Chris – he’s one in almost seven billion and I am so blessed by the memories we have made together over the last 30 years.
Once the “boys” were out for the day, I took some quiet time to open and savor the postman’s bounty. There were wonderful notes and gifts from some of my best mentors… my mom, my aunts and Chris’ Mom Sandy. A hand made card decorated with marker and glitter from my goddaughter Kassidy brought a special smile. Next came a beautiful bracelet and note that had arrived from Tiffany’s. Inside was a birthday surprise from a business partner and friend that was color coordinated to match one of the first projects we worked on together. (Thank you, Amilya that was incredibly creative and thoughtful!) I was storing up new memories before the clock had chimed noon. (I also got a “Mom! Shame on you” from my oldest son for opening them up before our family dinner tonight. Whoops, sorry Christopher. I guess I had forgotten the memory of always making my kids wait until dinner time to open their gifts.)
When it comes to counting my memories, I have more than I could ever tally. Some of my favorites can be found here on the Little Life Stories blog – there are close to 100 of them now and I am sure to remember and share more in the years to come BEFORE old age sets in and I begin to forget them.
So, as I ponder on what I want to do with my NEXT 50 years, I am reminded that the greatest gifts ARE the memories and the wishes from the people you touch and who touch you. Not just on your birthday but every day of the year and every minute you have – past, present and future. I guess in the end, it’s what you do with those minutes that counts more than anything.
Thanks for stopping by for a little life story…
Twenty-five years ago, on June 8, 1985 I got married. Now twenty-five years later, I guess that makes me a “silver” ball and chain.
Here’s a flash back from that long ago day.
We’ve come a long way from those two kids in Connecticut. Since that day, we have crossed the country to California and then later settled in Arizona. We made two beautiful babies who have grown up to become two fine young men. We made a home and wonderful friends along the way but most of all we’ve made a life together.
People have asked “What’s the secret?” You’ll have to look to yourself for that answer. Here’s some things that I have thought about …
Last summer I wrote a post about our parents. Both my Mom and Dad and Chris’s Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversaries last August. Maybe the example they set and the commitments THEY made rubbed off on us – at least a bit.
We’re very different people, but we share similar values. We know what really matters to us – each other, our families, our friends. But most of all we respect each other for who we are and what we can do. And, we support each other in reaching our personal goals as well as our shared ones.
The video might also give you a few extra insights if you look closely. You can see that we care about each other, but that does not mean we let the other person push us around. Even in tux and tails or satin and lace, with hundreds of people looking on, we don’t take ourselves too seriously – and we give as good as we get.
Now, these are OLD videos and the audio is starting to fade. But if you did not catch what the Married Ladies wished for me at the end, here is what they said:
Joan Bates: “Joan I wish for you to have success in training your husband WELL so that when you come home from YOUR job, the beds will be made and the dinner will be on the table …
Susan Ryan: “There is no way I can top that. Ditto Joan.”
Patti DeVito: “Ditto Three Joan”
Phyllis Flynn: “Ditto FOUR Joan.”
Well ladies – it’s now a quarter of a century later and most days the beds are not made – unless I make them. But, many a night I have come home to find that dinner is indeed on the table. Perhaps that compromise is the true secret. Understanding that you don’t always get EVERYTHING. But if you have what’s really important, it’s enough.
Thanks for stopping by for a little life story. Stay tuned…
P.S. Happy Anniversary Chris! Tonight, let’s turn off the cell phones, the laptops, and the TV to go OUT to dinner – that way no one has to cook OR clean up.
One of my favorite books for graduation day or any day is the classic poem from
Dr. Seuss – Oh, the places you’ll go.
Today is your day,
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
This Thursday my youngest son, Nicholas graduates from Desert Vista High School. That day is his day!
But, as I look forward, he’ll have many days. He’s smart and he’s funny. He’s kind and he makes a great friend. The choices he’ll make will be good ones – at least a mother can hope. :-)
Graduation’s are bitter sweet – for Mom and Dad – the days of nagging about homework and setting week night curfews are over.
For the Graduate – it’s a day of celebration – and perhaps some trepidation too. Never again will life be so ordered or structured – as much as our kids may complain – there is a safety in the structure of our school days that once it is gone does not come back again.
Our kids have so many choices today. They have many challenges too. As parents we can set boundaries and examples, but eventually the ultimate choices are theirs.
Success – however we define it, or they do, comes from trial and error and a bit of luck. As adults we’ve learned those lessons. And as graduates, so will they.
But at the end of the day, just as at the end of the classic poem, a positive outlook and attitude makes all the difference. So, to again quote Dr. Seuss…
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed!)
KID YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Alenn O’Shea
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So… get on your way!
We’re Proud of you Nicholas!
Congratulations on your High School Graduation
It started the week of May 9th when I headed out to NYC for the launch of Amilya Antonetti’s new book, The Recipe: A fable for leaders and teams. As publisher, it was my job to host the festivities, coordinate with the book stores (the team at Barnes and Noble Lincoln Triangle were terrific to work with thank goodness), and keep everyone moving from place to place and meeting to meeting as we jaunted around the Big Apple. By the time I dragged my suitcases back to JFK Friday and settled into my seat on USAIR Flight 17 to Phoenix, all I wanted to do was sleep!
My loving husband picked me up at the airport, brought my tired body home, and there on the counter was a HUGE pile of mail. Sitting right on top, was the next sign – a welcome envelope from the AARP.
Hey Mom – look – they think you are OLD!
Hmmm. Could it be true? I have been noticing that I drive closer to the speed limit these days. Pulling all nighters when working on a deadline are not quite as easy as they used to be. My youngest child graduates from high school next week and next month on my 25th wedding anniversary I will have been a Mrs. longer than I was a Miss. OMG – I am old!
As I sat bemoaning my fate, I got a call from my friend Francine Hardaway. Perfect timing. She has a few more years than I have – she’ll know what to do!
As I poured out my tale of woe, she started to laugh.
“Welcome to freedom” she exclaimed. “You are not old, you are free. This is the best time of your life – enjoy the freedom!”
As I turned back to my laptop, to tackle the next thing on my to do list, I smiled. I will have to share THAT with my kids. I have been officially granted my freedom – not to mention discounted travel rates from the AARP. I guess being young is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Thanks for stopping by for a little life story…stay tuned.
It’s almost Mother’s Day and here we go again. After all, what DO you get for the Mom who already has everything? Take my Mom for instance. She has a lovely home that is already filled with stuff, NO ROOM in her closet for more clothes (at least that’s what Dad said), the respect of her peers, a place in her community, a husband who adores her, five fabulous kids (wink), oodles of grand kids, and ….
I have this same challenge EVERY year. What do you get for someone who gives you every thing, rarely asks for anything, and has lots of STUFF.
Last year, out of desperation, I decided to get creative and with the talented help from my friends at Metro Studios I made my Mom a video thanking her for all she had done for me over the years and finally admitting that the things she taught me so many years ago were the things that really mattered. (It took me a while to figure it all out – but she knew all along.)
She liked it, so I’ve left it up on My YouTube Page for all the world to see – or at least the folks that go there to see my videos on life, leadership, and innovation. So here you go… this is last year’s Mother’s Day message.
But oh my goodness, it’s that time again. Now what can I do?
I started to think about something unique something that was for her and only her and then it came to me. I’d get her a “Kolbe A” for Mother’s Day! You are probably thinking, a WHAT? Well, if you read the post from my CorePurpose Business Blog at the beginning of the year about Kathy Kolbe, you might remember that the Kolbe is a great set of tools that help people identify and and make the most of their unique talents and instincts. Kathy pioneered the work in conation (the science of why we do what what we do) that has grown to be known as the Kolbe Concept and helped thousands to be the best people they can be by embracing who the truly are and making the most of it. What better gift for my Mom.
So that’s what I’m doing this year. I’m sending my Mom a Kolbe A for Mother’s Day. After she takes it, we can compare notes. My Kolbe Score is a 4-2-9-3. I wonder what she will be?
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned….
Want to get your Mom a Kolbe A for Mother’s Day? Here’s a link to the site where you can get them. Purchase Kolbe Index Coupons (You can get a Kolbe Coupon for $49.95, email it to your Mom, and then give her a call to compare notes too.) Want to treat yourself? Just click here to get started.
What do you do when snow bound on the coast of Maine? Sit by the fire? Break out the shovels? Call in the reserves? Settle down for a long Winter’s nap?
In the case of my friend Roy Atkinson, he was chatting with friends on Twitter. And so the story unfolds…in a string of tweets.
RoyAtkinson Look–there are 2 snow sculptures out in the driveway that are vaguely the shape of Saabs! Oh, wait…
Whoopie – my plow guy’s gigantic GMC dual-wheel 4WD truck is completely stuck in my driveway. #blizzard
JudiCogen (Cincinnati, Ohio) chimed in…
Hot chocolate w marshmallows cures just abt everything. For the rest, use chicken soup & wait for thaw :) #blizzard
RoyAtkinson Judi–funny you should say that–I’m enjoying a lovely hot chocolate!
JudiCogen Great minds and all that!
Then it was my turn to join the conversation from Phoenix, AZ…
I have hot chocolate too – with whipped cream – but I’m sipping it by the pool – no snow here in Phoenix. ;0P
royatkinson - Joan’s not playing fair, Judi!
JudiCogen – Pool? POOL? Is it legal to have hot choc by the pool? (I am so jealous! About lost my toes 2 frostbite at hockey today)…
UR right. Not fair at all. But she’s too wonderful to wish her to gain weight from drinking hot choc in good weather!…
Perhaps we should send the hot choc police! Joan–are there marshmallows involved here?
I prefer beverages by the pool to come equipped with little paper umbrellas!
royatkinson – So here’s my real POV: It’s January. I live in Maine. It snows here. I have gr8 winter clothes & boots & shovels & gloves, and heat. I’m OK
On the other hand, a beverage by the pool sounds mighty good. … I’d love to fly out, but there’s this GMC in the way. LOL!!
joankw- we’ll have to send you some Bailey’s for the hot chocolate via St. Bernard.
Trying to figure out which sounds better: being warm or teasing you…such a hard decision!
It was a COLD rink today followed by a frigid walk to the car. But the whole brandy thing never occurred to me……and all their warm beverages were highly caffeinated! I may never sleep again!
joankw- They say laughter warms the heart – not so sure about frozen toes.
Hockey Moms are tough – eyes in the back of their head and they never need sleep. http://twitpic.com/wgejw
We’ve been watching the Jr Hockey World Championships – US is up 3 to 1 in the Quarter FInals against Finland
My guess is that it’s pretty cold at the Tourney in Saskatoon – I think I’ll stay here http://bit.ly/8fOzNo (Phoenix weather Report)
JudiCogen woo hoo for the USA! ….
(weather forecast) Ok –now you’re just rubbing it in! Meanwhile, how are we going to bust @royatkinson out of his snowed in abode?
And the story takes shape...
JudiCogen There’s a book in here somewhere:
How I Singlehandedly Rescued @royatkinson and His Hot Chocolate from the Blizzard –thoughts?
From Across North America – Friends chime in…
RickRake: Don’t forget about the part where you found him in a snowbank.
RobertMcTaggart I can borrow a little something from Balloon Boy, maybe?
JudiCogen – Rescue Chpt 2. In Which J&J Sample the Bailey’s 2 Be Sure It Isn’t Poisonous and Have To Start The Rescue Over Again
Sounds like the “rescue” has a hidden agenda. :) …
Can’t think of better way to be rescued! @JudiCogen
Nah, no hidden agenda. Won’t speak for@joankw , but on my end there’s just lots of bumbling when it comes to rescuing and snow.
joankw- Chapter 3 –
Beau the wonder dog
brings more Baileys for Roy. http://twitpic.com/wgl3v
Bravo Beau the Wonder Dog! meet Mr Dusty http://twitpic.com/myojr
RickRake – Nice wonder dog!
Yes: You think Dusty has a brain, but then you just wonder.
(He’s a great dog.)
I like it. And the sled of Bailey’s will magically become lighter as it goes. Somehow. :) @JudiCogen
Roy, Mr Dusty is soooo adorable! How old?
Can’t really offer Puppy for this excursion. He’d just get buried in the snow (short legs) & run around looking for luv.
Who needs McGyver – we have @RobertMcTaggart plus Beau the wonder dog of course.
Love it! Don’t forget 2 bring bin so we can recycle the bottles (although in Maine we might be able 2 get deposit back)
$.15 deposit each! And I suspect they’ll be -ahem- empty.
JudiCogen: Hilarious! Puppy is in and promises to eat anything not scientifically proven inedible!
I’m thinking Beau the W D needs his own spin off show…
RoyAtkinson: I’m thinking my friend Kenny is across the water watching the whole thing and laughing. I’ll hear about it Monday when I get my java.
JudiCogen: Across the water? Which water? Do we have to do this with accents? Not sure how to type in British…
RoyAtkinson: The small neck of bay upon which I dwell. And the accent is “unique” heah dahlin. Poah plow stuck in the doahyahd.
JudiCogen: In print, Maine accents look remarkably like southern accents!
JudiCogen: Sounds almost like the Car Talk Guys!
JKWleadership: I’m Back – had 2 take time out to see the end of the Game – US over Finland 6-2. Next-US v Sweden in semis.
RoyAtkinson: The driveway is plowed, the snow has let up a bit, everyone is safe, and we had fun. All’s well that ends well.
RoyAtkinson: Moral of the story: When in Maine, it pays 2 have good friends, BIG snowplows + lots of Bailey’s
JudiCogen: Moral of the story: not to mention a couple of wonder pups
RoyAtkinson: Well said. Accent on the *good friends* part. (and dogs)
JKWleadership: Who knew four people in four states could write entire book in 1 hr. World record maybe?
Epilogue – Beau the Wonder Dog and the Great Bailey’s Adventure
JudiCogen Do we get to vacation in someplace warm during the epilogue?
JKWleadership: #Epilogue: They all go back to Joan’s house,drink cocoa w/ Bailey’s in the hot tub under the stars.
@JudiCogen: #Epilogue–don’t forget the doggy treats–carrots all around!
JKWleadership:: Who’s in charge of contacting Bailey’s for our advertising fee?
RoyAtkinson: @Epilogue Rewrite – I think Beau the Wonder Dog and his Human Team deserve Maine Lobsters for treats
JudiCogen: I like the Maine Lobsters for treats idea!
How does Bailey’s go with lobster?
@joankw I’ll buzz over to Kenny’s and get some lobsters that were caught right there <points out back door>.
RoyAtkinson: Bailey’s after the lobster, I think. No dipping.
RoyAtkinson: P.S. New gourmet faire – Maine Lobster in Bailey’s cream sauce.
@joankw: Hmmm have to try that.
@JudiCogen: YUM! Now I am six kinds of happy!
Far in the Future – April 2011 –
Beau the Wonder Dog and the Great Bailey’s Adventure
@JudiCogen: Standing O
@joankw:: Thanks for allowing us so much fun with a less than wonderful event.
As the conversation drifts… into reality…
RoyAtkinson Look–there are 2 snow sculptures out in the driveway that are vaguely the shape of Saabs! Oh, wait…
Whoopie – my plow guy’s gigantic GMC dual-wheel 4WD truck is completely stuck in my driveway. #blizzard
mousleyki – (outside Philly)
Are you getting the drift?
@mousleyki – Exactly a whole lot of inches. :) Depends on which side of the drift you’re on!
Oh, yeah. I got the drift! Ha!
Kirk, you know me–I’m always on “the deep side of the drift.”
eschreyer: Does the drift look like Marshmallow Fluff?!!! LOL!!
Exactly like it http://bit.ly/8TmiBC >>
RoyAtkinson: Thank you, Erin!!!
@Kate_Saunders Yup. Still stuck. Has son bring Trailblazer to pull. So far, no go.
Victory! A very very large plow/sand truck came to the rescue! Dragged the poor GMC like a toy up the drive.
@mousleyki As the big plow pulled the GMC out, I thought in that low-key movie voice “Oo. That’ll leave a mark.”
Yeah it was a BIG truck. My driveway is ummmm wider now. :-\
They missed the telephone pole. The rest is “landscaping” for spring. :-}
@RickRake Neat! I was a gearhead (was?) so I’ll bet I gauged the tire for accuracy. :) Neat stuff!
Oh, yes! The Famous Plow Rescue of 2010!
TaraGotwalt: (Oklahoma, USA)
@royatkinson I’m sure it will be on YouTube soon!!! Lol!!
Who says twitter is just about a bunch of one way conversations. It does not have to be, See….
This entire story came from the Saturday Evening Tweets.
Thanks for stopping by for a SNOWY Little Life Story.
We are surrounded by the traditional scents that come to mind, homemade breads baking in the oven, pumpkin and apple pies cooling on the counter, and on the big day – the scent of a huge turkey roasting to perfection.
But, not discounting the insatiable appetites of my house full of men, Thanksgiving is about more than just food. You can learn more about the history of Thanksgiving here courtesy of History.com.
Thanksgiving is the day we thank our creator, our family, and our friends for the life that we have and the gifts we have received. It’s about giving thanks to those that have helped us, have shared with us, and have worked with us throughout the year.
That first Thanksgiving, as the legend goes, was a day of giving thanks by the Pilgrims for not only the harvest but also each other and to the Native Americans who had helped them survive through harsh and dangerous times. It was a time of celebrating what they have, not bemoaning what they did not. It was a celebration of plenty in conditions that many of us today would never see as cause for celebration. Yet celebrate they did and gave thanks for their faith, their friends, and their neighbors showing appreciation to the people who had labored beside them and sharing in the the fruits of their labors.
The year 2009 will not go down in the record books for many as a year of plenty. Many can point to things that went wrong from the financial system failures, to job losses, home losses, Federal deficits, healthcare battles, and other challenges that this year has brought. But perhaps, for just one day, we can put those things aside and focus on the wonderful things, the gifts we have received, and the people we have worked with to help make our world better and who have helped us to survive a challenging year.
Here’s my list. I already know it is incomplete – but at least it’s a start… I’m thankful
- for my husband Chris – he loves me when I am at my most unlovable, believes in me always, celebrates my triumphs, dries my tears, and shares a life that we have worked together to build. After all, what would life be without someone special to share it with?
- for my sons – they always make me proud of the the men they have become (even though I still nag them for leaving their stuff around the house and other little things. After all, I’m their Mom – I’m entitled!)
- to my parents – for teaching me about faith, for sharing their values, for always being there with love, a shoulder and an ear, and for being a living example I can follow.
- to friends that live in my own back yard and that are scattered across the country and around the world – for sharing ideas, for collaborating to make my sometimes crazy ideas and projects turn into wonderful realities, for offering to lend a hand whether it’s on for a quest, a business venture, a community project, a offer of help when my son was sick and far from home, or just something fun – like #BeOriginal on Twitter.
- to you, for taking a minute out of your day to read a bit of what I have to say.
You see Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings, no matter what they may be, and to tell people that they matter, that we appreciate them, that who they are and what they do matters.
So this Thanksgiving week, for my husband and my sons, the house will be filled with the scents of Thanksgiving. I’ve even thought of a way that you can share some too. Each year, at Thanksgiving time, I bake loaves of Pumpkin Bread. And, when I do, Thanksgiving scents fill the air. So, if you would like to share in that, here is the recipe. It’s not much to show my appreciation, but it’s a little gift from me to you that will fill your home with wonderful aromas – guaranteed.
Thanks for stopping by – and to all a very happy Thanksgiving!
But today, October 7th is that day for my son Nicholas. I will never forget waking up early that morning and saying – “Chris – it’s time…”
Or how excited a two-year old, Christopher, was to have a baby brother to play with.
Little did we know that that little 7 pound 6 ounce bundle would grow to a GIANT of 6 foot 6, or that he would be such an awesome guy.
He top’s me by a foot!
Nick was always a standout among his friends. By second grade he has as tall as his teacher – she was a petite 5 foot. By fifth grade, he was the tallest person- not student – in his elementary school. In Junior High, he played basketball for the team and by high school the coaches were drooling over his 6’6 300+ frame, but being a ‘gentle giant’ football was not for him. He would rather tackle and roll around with his golden retriever Beau.
Now, as a senior at Desert Vista High School, he is loving Senior Life and is looking forward to college where he wants to study mechanical engineering. He’s one of the lucky kids who aces all his tests – he even aced his reasoning tests on the SATs. Now, if I could ONLY get him to do his HOMEWORK on the computer instead of playing World of Warcraft! ;0)
When he was little, the kids at camp called him “Louie” after comedian Louie Anderson, because he was always making them laugh. He is often the guy goofing around and people are attracted to his happy ways and open smile. At last year’s Mr. Thunder Competition, his rendition of I’m a Lumberjack had the crowd rolling on the floor laughing!
He’s a friend to all
Whether he’s hanging out with the gang, helping the cheerleaders raise money by hamming it up on stage at Mr. Thunder, playing on his Dad’s softball team and bowling teams over at Keller Williams, or sitting down to chat with Mom, everyone loves Big Nick.
He’s extra special and he is 18 today.
Happy Birthday Nicholas – we are very proud of YOU!
Love, Mom and Dad
One of the things that helps as a pick-me-up is to remember the times when – it wasn’t funny then – but now looking back at it from a safe distance can bring a smile…
Times like when I CRASHED on the day of a BIG important speech at a new job. I was rehearsed and dressed in my best, only to hit the one thing I was NOT prepared for – a broken step going up to the stage. It was my one and only live acrobatics act act, and what I must of looked like as I went flying – with no safety net.
Or when I overheard the guys in the office taking bets on how long I would last and calling me a Cream Puff …
Or, when as an adult, my Parish Priest sent ME to Time Out!
But with each of these stories and hundreds of others, I can look back on them and laugh. These experiences taught me good lessons and when I stopped taking my self so seriously – and had the luxury of a little time and distance – they really were not so bad. As they say –
That which does not kill us makes us stronger…
and maybe in the future we might even be able to laugh about it!
Thanks for stopping by for a little life story. Stay Tuned…
One early morning this week, I saw a tweet from a Twitter friend (@JDHenry09) it read:
I’m buying a house today!!!!!!!!!!
Can’t wait for this to be over.
That reminded me of the day, many years ago, when I bought my very first house or in my case, a condo on a little private pond in South Windsor, Connecticut. I remember touring all the properties with my real estate agent, picking it out, and then bringing my parents back to see it. Then came the experience of getting my first mortgage, waiting and worrying, and then hearing the magic words… congratulations, we are ready to close.
When the big day arrived my Dad and I drove up to the office where we would sign all the papers. I was sooo scared. I was about to borrow $50,000 from the bank! My Dad, a home buying veteran (inside GM employees all knew GM stood for Gonna Move rather that General Motors) was there to help me understand the process and to make sure I understood it, but he was not co-signing – this was my house – and the bank’s too! But soon I was handed the keys to my own home. It was not very big, only two bedrooms and one bath – but it was mine.
A few years later I got transferred to Fremont, California and having heard horror stories of what it was like to find an affordable home in the Bay Area, I was pretty worried. Could I find a new home? Well with help from a wonderful realtor – and my boss who pointed us towards neighborhoods that might work, we did. Not only that but the new house was even bigger – almost twice the size – with three bedrooms AND two baths – something every married couple should have. ;o)
The next 6 years were spent in a wonderful neighborhood with wonderful people who became more family then friends. We planted roses, and harvested bushels of oranges and tangerines from our OWN back yard. When I was pregnant, our wonderful neighbors were there to stand in for parents and grandparents since our folks were far away on the East Coast. My two little boys were the favorites on the block – OK they were the ONLY kids on the block. Even in the late 1980’s it was pretty hard for a young family to afford a house in the Bay.
It was a lot more affordable to buy houses in 1992 in Phoenix, and we found the perfect house on a quiet cul-de-sac with a big front yard, a pool, a garden park across the street, and a view of the foothills of South Mountain. Lots of room for toys for all the boys in the three car garage – and best of all lots of kids to play with. Even though we actually paid less for the Arizona house than we got for the California house, it had doubled in size – again! We moved in on my birthday, and our realtor brought me a bucket of chicken and a cupcake to enjoy as I unpacked boxes, while Patty our faithful nanny rode herd on the boys then age one and three.
We’ve lived in our house now for 17 years and I have always loved it. But, our boys are grown and the need for play rooms, swimming pools, and storage room for bicycles and hockey gear is coming to an end. I don’t think our next house will be as big as this one. We might be ready soon to go back to a simpler time and about HALF the space. Just the rooms we actually use – a nice big kitchen – a Great Room to live in. Three bedrooms are more than enough. But Chris is firm – ONLY if it has a three car garage – and more than ONE bathroom.
So, Miss Jessica Henry – @jdhenry09 – I hope you will be as happy in your new home as we have been in ours. As you can see, buying a home is the first step in a journey. Have fun, and Congratulations!
Thanks for stopping by for a little life story. Stay Tuned…
Author’s Note: For all you real estate professionals who are scrambling to find our number, my husband Chris is our Realtor® these days. He works at Keller Williams here in Phoenix.