Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wisdom from the Beehive Lady on Moving

Last night we were in bed and I sighed,"I don't know why I make the bed every day, it just gets messy again." (This was one of my stellar thought-processes)....Lou said teasingly,"Well, I guess what the Beehive Lady said just doesn't work, huh?" (Me confused.) "Beehive Lady?" Lou said,"Yes, remember how you told me (at 6am, of course one morning) that she said if you made the bed as soon as you jumped out in the morning, you would have no urge to climb back in and take a nap?" Finally a light dawns, as I'm lying there still focused on "Beehive Lady". "Ooooh, you mean the FLY Lady?" He's like,"Yep, oh....... FLY/BEEHIVE, I knew it had something to do with flying/buzzing" Lots of laughter from me.....followed by him tickling me for my insolent dis-respectful un-wifelike behavior! :) Whew, sometimes having a moment like this at the end of a busy day makes it all wonderful! And what does the FLY Lady have to do with packing? She's a great motivational organizing coach! And this I need during packing for the move!
We are packing! We are leaving for Kentucky on Thursday, September 30th, Lord willing. We are doing a DITY move, moving ourselves. This last month has been full of collecting boxes from the ABC store (yes, our house is full of liquor store boxes- closet alcoholics that we are.) For all the un-movers who are thinking ?? about the liquor store boxes, they have many benefits.
  1. They are designed for glass bottles and are re-inforced cardboard, so they hold books and glass without falling through-yay!
  2. They are typically uniform in size which appeals greatly to the OCD personality of the packer (ie me). Can you imagine the pure joy in having boxes that are stacked evenly with all the same labels? 
  3. If you're really nuts, you can categorize based on various brands.."Hmm, how about the Jack Daniels for the encyclopedias and the "Jose Cuervo for the mystery novels?" And yes, I even pack my Calvin's Commentaries and Concordances in them.
  4. They are free free free! And some nice ABC store employees will give them out still whole, unbroken down. That way you don't have to put the box together and tape before you even begin putting stuff in it.
So, enough about boxes. In addition to packing, I am trying to get the last of Ebay clothing listed online and sold there's not quite so much to pack. Right now I have 100 listings. I have a pile of 15 skirts and tops waiting to be measured and descripted (not a word, except in Kim's vocabulary) I am motivated by pure greed and dislike of packing to get rid of this pile ASAP. In the meantime, I have gotten over a dozen letters from friends in the last week who are interested in selling on Ebay and need just a little help to get started. This has gotten me thinking about writing a short "blurb" about Ebay selling, or perhaps starting a group/blog to just address Ebay Selling for the Post Recession World. (since we've been informed that the recession is now a thing of the past, this title seems highly appropriate) It can be a very rewarding way for a stay at home mom/wife to help supplement an income with "furniture fun(d) money", as Mom Crist does. She can excitedly show off her new/old set of 8 Windsor kitchen chairs that were purchased with "bag sale clothes" turned to profit!
It can help out with saving for a house fund, as I do. It does take time and effort and research, but in the last two years since I started I've learned so much. Selling on Ebay our first year of marriage, along with all the jobs we picked up on the weekends painting,plus not eating out,plus not taking vacations- helped us to pay off our $24,000 worth of car/student loans in a little over 14 months. All while Lou was still in school so it was such an encouragement for him to graduate and us to be debt-free the month before! Anyway, all this to encourage you out there, if you want to try, you can do it! You can start small-and then work your way up, a little at a time. Some of my most exciting moments are the ones when I find something as ugly as:
This parrot-adorned wonder from Michael Simon NYC at a little rescue thrift store in Panama City Beach, FL. Cost: $3
Sold: $50!
Or this dress that popped up at the local Goodwill here in Columbus, GA. The brand Diane Von Furstenberg looked familiar, but I just couldn't justify paying $6 for an ugly wrap dress in a size 14 without really remembering whether the brand was good or not. I went home and listed some clothing, and in the middle of listing looked up "Diane Von Furstenberg Vintage" and found dresses selling for as much as $300! Imagine my chagrin and then immediate want to rush back to north Columbus (a 30 minute drive) before it was snatched up by another savvy Ebayer! Lou took me that evening and it was still hanging there, so we had pizza to celebrate! I cleaned, ironed and listed it and within 2 days, it sold for $199!
These are obviously not my normal everyday sales, but I wanted to highlight them because they are so exciting to be able to share with you all! Found at a local thrift or Goodwill, and just a few dollars but yet someone out there is willing to pay much more to be able to purchase them with a click of the mouse. 
Most of what I sell is more in the $20-30 range. It adds up though throughout the month. And this helps. It helps us out when we have unexpected expenses, its encouraging to be able to give more to missionaries/Christian ministries, its just all in all a rewarding thing for me. Its not for everyone, I know.
A normal post-thrifting/rummage sale livingroom sight! (the dvd is Lou's sole purchase)
The "digging through old clothes looking at labels" and researching and visiting "thrift stores" on every vacation/trip I take are not what everyone wants to be doing. :) But, its a big part of my life right now and that's why I'm telling you about it. And for those of you who have contacted me with questions about it, I want to be to help you get started and begin to be able to save a little/make a little money without having to march out to an 8-5 job. You can do it on a smaller scale with your kids in tow-except for my wonder sister, who has 4 kids and has twice as many clothes listed as me! :) But she's just that awesomely organized!
Anyway, enough about Ebay and packing boxes.......we are long as we can get signed out of housing on Thursday. We will hopefully be staying for the weekend in Bowling Green, KY for a little siesta-during-moving process and visiting the Corvette Museum, maybe some parks/caves as well. Bowling Green looks like a lovely little place to spend some time relaxing-any hotel/cabin suggestions?
And then closing on our house in Vine Grove, KY on Monday, October 4th. This will happen as long as the title company has all the paperwork in order by that date. They have guaranteed closing by the 6th, but they think they will be able to have in on the 4th. This would work out so well for us!
We are going to unpack the moving van that day-and maybe on Tuesday if necessary. We plan to just "throw everything in the garage" as Lou poetically puts it! 
Then perhaps Wednesday or Thursday we're heading up to Mom and Dad Crist's house in New Jersey for a longer vacation....that is, as long as the Army grants us the leave. We won't actually know until we arrive to Fort Knox on Monday, just as we won't actually know until this Thursday if the main man who signs us out will do that/be in residence that morning TO sign us out! :) This is Army life, but its becoming more of a normal procedure around our house-planning based on last minute information! :) And if we can't leave Thursday, we'll head out Friday and camp out in a hotel somewhere for a while! And if we can't go to Jersey to see the family again, we'll just have to work it in sometime before Lou deploys!
Anyway, in the midst of packing and planning I wanted to give you all an update on life here and that I might not be updating for the next couple of weeks! Much love and appreciate all the thoughts and prayers for us as we transition from Georgia to Kentucky! We will be living here: (at the green star)
for those of you who are passing through the area we would love to see you and we have extra rooms at our house for sleepover parties, weary travelers, budding Ebay sellers and devoted fans. :)
Kim for the Touring Crists~

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Furstenbergs, Bradleys, and Critters...

 Last week was a "wait and see"game, and then towards the end of it we got the word that not only had our offer on the house been accepted, the other buyers who were dragging their feet about quitting the battle (due to issues with their loan approval) had finally signed the release form making it official! How exciting! We launched into the loan process immediately, printing and scanning into our computer multiple "required" documents certifying that we were sane, wealthy, and employed....or somewhere in that general vicinity. Today the septic inspection and home inspection were completed, we mailed the last remaining documents to our loan officer, and were set up with a title company for closing. I'm still laughing about the section of the home inspection report that stated,"Vent pipes appear with nothing to keep out little critters." 
This was taken during our weekend to Kentucky, before we knew that it was to be ours! (I added the text later, lol
Lou's orders for Knox are still backdated for September 6th, so when I went by the housing office here I got the "you have two heads and one of them is purple" look from the woman in charge. I explained the situation with the mech leader's course and got a stern admonition to "bring them revised orders in as soon as he gets them" or else........we'll have to pay 6 months' rent, our BAH (basic allowance for housing) will be eternally revoked, we will be used as guinea pigs in the NIH's next round of medical experiments? Your guess is as good as mine! :) Now, if you've never had to "get orders" in the military, it sounds like a simple process. Go to some office, say,"Can I have a large order of orders and a small drink?" Nope. Its a painful process, similar to the DMV, only a tad slower. It could take weeks, nay months, to get this handy piece of unintelligible acronyms/dates/and most importantly-something in the mix that states,"Assigned to: 0001 IN 03 BDE FWD (WACVFD) FT KNOX KY 40121
Reporting date: October ___2010." I relayed this to Lou when he got home tonight and now he's on a mission to get these orders! 

Lou started Mech Leaders' Course Tuesday and has spent most of his time so far playing around in the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV). He has a whole book of PowerPoint slides for this 3 week course and last night on our way to north Columbus I learned some interesting facts about the BFV. Namely, that it weighs 63,000 lbs. and has a speed of 38 MPH. (that's 12 miles faster than the WW2 German Panzer) Recent improvements made to it include: bench seat, storage lockers for gear on the outside of the vehicle, 3 "hotboxes" for 50 rounds of 25mm shells each, and other interesting and random facts. :) Its a "Tank Killer" and "Armored Personnel Carrier" (APC) all rolled into one. And THAT is probably more than you needed or wanted to know! 
I am keeping busy with listing clothing on Ebay to sell, in fact our unplanned trip to Columbus last night resulted from this mini-business of mine. I was in the middle of listing a dress and decided to search "Diane Von Furstenberg", as I had seen a hideous dress at the Goodwill 2 days ago and the name rang a bell. I couldn't in good conscience buy it at the time (since when did Goodwill start charging $6 a dress!) but when I found them on Ebay, the prices ranged from $40-$300 for used dresses. Ahhhhh, the anticipation built until I ran back into Goodwill and saw it hanging on the rack still. And why wouldn't it, after all, it is a terribly ugly teal with black spatter print wrap dress-resembles a poorly designed bathrobe. 
This is the same design, in another horrifying pattern.
Still, if it fetches $70 on Ebay, it will more than cover its costs! Plus, Lou stopped on the way home and bought some delicious pizza for dinner! So, it was a win-win situation!
In addition to Ebaying, I started doing some babysitting using the Sittercity website to advertise. Apparently, sitters from large-enormous families are in high demand, no worrying about them having difficulty making suppers of mac-n-cheese and putting kids to bed on a schedule. :) I have been contacted by over a dozen moms, but since we're leaving at the end of the month, I've only taken a few jobs temporarily. One is this Friday and I'm really excited about it, its going to be great to spend time with 4 little ones! The oldest is 7 and then there are 4 yr old twins and a 3 year old. Plenty of kid time, since Mommy and Daddy are going to a military ball and those last ad infinitum, like our Colonial Balls in Virginia. I've missed babies since our time at the beach with all the little nieces and nephews!

With all the "going to and fro, and walking up and down"as Rachel Lynde calls traveling, for the past few weekends, this Labor Day 4 day break was just that, a break. It was a good time for thinking about and discussing our goals for the future, our plans (Lord willing) and reflecting on our blessings-sort of a Thanksgiving/New Years minus the turkey and champagne. There are so many things we are thankful for, but sometimes I think that I just don't take time to slow down and see them. The weekend in Kentucky God dropped them into my lap, where I couldn't miss them! Below are two of them.
  • The house. We were driving down a little country road, with nothing in mind other than sightseeing. We were going to rent. Our house was on that road! It was under contract, so even if we had been LOOKING for a house to buy, we wouldn't have found the listing online. The realtor was at a wedding and unavailable, but another realtor (who normally leaves town on the weekends) just "happened" to be in town that day to show it to us. The financing wasn't approved for the buyers, so we were able to purchase it. Its 10-15 minutes from post so Lou can have an easy drive and yet its still 20 minutes from Elizabethtown, where I'll most likely work while he's deployed. Its in the country yet unsecluded, with neighbors an acre away. 
  • Sunday on post at Fort Knox we sat two rows behind the general and his wife. That also was worked in such a providential way. We had originally planned to go to a Baptist church in Shepherdsville with our friends, but they had decided Saturday night to go to the chapel instead for the first time. When worship was ended, we all headed out the door....but of course I had to use the restroom...again. (For those who know me well, and especially my husband, this is perfectly normal :)) When I walked back into the foyer, who should be talking to our friends and Lou but General F___ and his wife! It was an honor, but more importantly the general gave us the date for Lou's deployment, which is something else I had been worrying about. Rumors in the Army are like rabbits, they multiply and hop in all different directions. We had heard he was leaving: October, November,December,January,February......well, you can see how precise rumors can be. Just knowing now-per the general-the month he'll leave has helped me tremendously. I'm certain that the Lord knew (in spite of my trying so hard to not worry) that I would be giving myself a stomach ulcer long before the day came for him to leave, with all these options available. 
This afternoon I read an interview Time magazine did with Joni Erickson Tada and was saddened to read that she was diagnosed with cancer this summer. The interviewer was very pointed in her questions, yet Joni took them on boldly. What a testimony she is to us, and an encouragement to me. Sometimes my problems in life look so big, because I'm the center of my own universe. That should never be and she hit on my problem,"If we can come up with a simple explanation, 'You did something wrong,' then it's something we think we can control." That's it for me, I feel so often the need to "know" everything in my life: When will Lou deploy? Will we ever be able to have a baby? When will I stop committing the same sins over and over again? What if something happens to Lou overseas? What does the future hold? What if I lose all my hair? (yes, this is a real fear :)) etc. etc. etc. So, I'm praying that God will help me to let go of my (perceived) need to know it all, in future. And finding contentment in blessings he has given me this far in my trip through life! Here's the link to the article.,8599,2016484,00.html 

Many things about tomorrow,
I don't seem to understand;
But I know Who holds tomorrow,
And I know Who holds my hand.
 Yes, I do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ol' Kentucky Home Question-Buy or Rent?

Now I know what the song is talking about. We drove up to Louisville, Kentucky area this weekend to go house-hunting and were treated to the area's specialities!
Positives: beautiful mountains, beautiful valleys, friendly people, less humidity/heat than Georgia, White Castle food, time spent with friends!
Negatives: trailers. lots of trailers. lots of 30 year old trailers. lots of "older than grandma's grandma" trailers in large overgrown parks.
Now I'm not biased against trailers, really. I lived in one as a kid. Some can be cute, when the yards are taken care of and the interior walls are still intact. But these Kentucky trailers are not "those" ones. I should have taken some pictures. I felt a little like I did driving through parts of Pakistan and seeing the gypsy camps made entirely of rags, poles and piles of trash. "People live here?" is what went through my mind. And then Lou pointed out that starting life in a trailer is a perfectly acceptable thing, its just not necessarily where you want to end your days. People in parts of the valley don't throw away their trash, I'm convinced they stack it around the outside of their houses to use it for insulation,fire starting material, or for when the "American Pickers" happen to drop by their place searching for antiques.
We set off towards Fort Knox country-which is located about an hour south of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday. We were fortunate enough to catch Daniel (my brother) in between ROTC classes in Murfreesboro, TN on our way north and got to eat a wonderful lunch at O'Charleys in the middle of our 8 hour trip. We finally made it to Shepherdsville, and dragged our luggage and selves into Ryan and Carrie's apt. for some sleep! They live about 35 minutes from the fort, in a cute little apartment block that borders a "prettyish kind of wilderness" in the front. There is some speculatation about their neighbors in the tiny house at the street's end, who appear to either run a 24 hour food pantry, or sell drugs. The jury is still out. In spite of the drug/food pantry dealers, we had a great time!
Saturday we started out looking at housing in the area. We spent some time in Brandenburg which is a lovely little town on the Ohio River. Views are amazing. River and bridges and train tracks and trees, ah! Drive to both Fort Knox and Lousville- 30-40 minutes easily. Not so good. Plus, the only nice rental we found was 700 sq. feet.
We did find this wonder along the road-duplex converted to an office and now "ready to rent" prior to being converted back to the duplex. The owner was unsure exactly just how it would turn out, since none of the interior construction had been started. We were more than welcome though to plunk down some money to save a place in the new "1-2 bedroom, now as unfinished and unsure of what to do with it" design! :)
Next door (20 feet away)-the Irish pub. Quaint and very convenient for evenings I didn't feel like cooking, lol.  So, we continued on our way to Radcliff, which is right outside the fort. I've been told its the "Victory Drive" of Fort Knox, but I had to believe it for myself. We were scheduled to see rentals at 1, but it was just 11 so I suggested Lou that maybe we could drive down this "adorable country side road" that reminded me of home..and he, being the beneficent husband that he is, indulged me. Poor Lou is always the victim of my imagination and "great ideas" and he usually humors me in them, even if there is a little sighing first! I love this man of mine! So, we started down the country road and were in the process of deciding "left or right" at a crossroads when we decided to follow the two "for sale" signs and go right. We saw the first house, a little brick ranch, nice but no different from the other thousands of ranch homes in Meade Co. KY. Then, we saw the house after it. And it spoke to us.
So loudly that we had to get out of the car and go snoop. We looked inside the windows and it looked good...which usually means that there was no shag carpet, less than 10 layers of paint, and all the floor tile was intact. But, in this case it meant more. Sure, the place was dated-way too much wallpaper and 90s Americana theme.
But the wonderfully level floors, smooth ceilings and well trimmed rooms sang "potential" to us. And this floor? Who wouldn't love this floor?
We called the realtor and she said,"Its under contract" and "I'm at my sister's wedding" but followed up with "The contract is falling through" and "I'll see if I can get another realtor to show you the place". And she did! And we went inside and fell in love with it.....and are still in love with it.
And after we went on looking at rentals in southern Louisville, Radcliff, and Valley Station....we were even more in love with it. Its a wonderful place, and we are waiting to hear if the contract has fallen through so we can make it ours! Its 15 minutes from post and 35 from Louisville.
 Its in a beautiful farmy-land place that reminds me of Riner, Virginia. Its on 7/10 acre of land with trees and grass. It has so much to offer and I have to stop talking about it now before you all get nauseous!
 The master bath clinched it: Who wouldn't want a totally rubber ducky master bath? :) It needs a little wallpaper demolition, doors replaced and painting... but I still am hoping its meant to be. Update coming soon!