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Friday, December 19, 2014

Our First Christmas Tree in Our New Home!

Today is my 3 year anniversary writing this blog. So I found it fitting that I make sure to write a post on my blog today. We are settling into life here in Big Canoe, GA and having a ball here. It's been 4 months of firsts for us. The most exciting "first" for me was putting up the Christmas tree together. Chuck has always had a real Christmas tree, and I did too, until about 3 years after my divorce. Then dragging in the tree and trying to set it up with the help of my 3 kids got to be a pain. I waited till after Christmas one year and bought an artificial tree. Each year I suggested the same to Chuck, but he repeated that we needed to have a real tree. This year I was finally successful in convincing him to get an artificial tree. This was the easiest artificial tree to set up that I have ever seen. We didn't have to insert any branches into any holes on the stem of the tree. They are already attached. We just had to pull them up and out and spread the branches out. When you get married again, you as a couple have to figure out and compromise on holiday traditions. This could mean anything from what to serve for Christmas dinner to what color lights to put on the Christmas tree. Chuck likes colored lights but from my college days on, I have always had clear lights on my tree. So when it came time to decorate our first Christmas tree, I didn't want colored lights, but just went along with it. In the long run, it wasn't worth a fight. But each year I was secretly disappointed that we didn't have clear lights. Our tree this year came with pre-lit branches. And guess what: it has clear lights! After the tree was up and decorated, I asked Chuck if he minded that the lights are clear. He said that he did not and in fact thought the tree looked nice! I was shocked but very happy. So, until the lights burn out on our new Christmas tree, we will be having clear lights at Christmas. I am including a picture of our tree this year, the first Christmas tree for us in the mountains. It sits in front of the big glass doors that lead to our deck.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Finally We Have "Our" Home

One of the problems couples often encounter with a second marriage is that someone will probably have to move into a house that was previously occupied by the new spouse and their ex. That can make for a lot of tension in a new marriage, especially if the person who originally lived in the home is reluctant to change anything. The new spouse may feel as though he or she is living in a shadow of an old marriage. They may wonder about the history of certain pieces of furniture, or decorating styles, etc.

If possible, I highly recommend a new home for the newly married couple so they can start their lives together fresh with no bad memories, or aggravation about not being able to change anything to their decorating style.

Chuck and I recently moved out of a home that he shared with his previous wife. I hadn't realized how much better I would feel once we got here and made this house OUR home. Although we brought most of the furniture with us, this home is 994 miles away and is much more my style. Plus it's in the mountains which is where I have always wanted to live. Even though we brought most of the furniture with us, it feels different because this is a home we chose together and decided together where all the furniture will go. There is a lot to be said for a fresh start in a second marriage. If that's not possible, I highly recommend that the spouse who previously lived in the house allow some changes to be made that both can live with. Fresh paint and a few new pieces of furniture may not be a whole fresh start, but it can make a difference and allow the new spouse to have a say about the home they now live in too.

Here are some pictures of our before and after home, in Connecticut and Georgia. The home on the top is the original house in Connecticut and on the bottom is the new house in Georgia.

I don't actually have any pictures of the furniture in the new house but when I do I will add them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Been A Month Since We Left Connecticut

It has been a month and a few days since we left Connecticut. We have actually been in our new home for three weeks now. And except for missing my kids and parents, and a few friends, I have never been happier to leave someplace. I have a lot of bad memories associated with that state and am glad to put them behind me. Chuck is having a harder time because he had more friends that he saw on a regular basis. But as time goes by, we are adjusting and having fun exploring our new community, town and state. We found a vet for the dog, and are getting used to the grocery stores. But we are in the process of finding a new church, doctor and dentist. The one thing about moving far away is that a couple relies on each other more. That can be good or bad. For us, for the most part it's been very good. We have gone through this experience together and feel good about our new home and how we have it arranged. It took a lot of work and compromise on both parts, but when we get up in the mornings and see the mountain view from our bedroom window, it has all been worth it.

Of course there has been some stress too. But for the most part, things have gone well. Now if we can only sell our house in Connecticut...If you know of anyone who wants to buy a beautiful house in a nice neighborhood in Connecticut, send them our way please!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 6 of Our Move To Big Canoe: We Saw The House!

Today we got up early and headed right over to Big Canoe to meet our real estate agent who had the keys to our new home. We went to the house and I was beside myself with excitement. Here's a better picture of the house and the garage than I was able to get before:

Apparently Reeses was excited too because she poked her nose in the door first and was the very first one in. We had so much fun looking around and discovering things that we hadn't noticed before, some good, some bad, but mostly good. These pictures are of the main living room of the house, and is the first room you see when you walk in the front door.

We spent a couple of hours here at the house. I used the broom on the beautiful hardwood floors and Chuck found a hose and watered the drooping Black Eyed Susan's which were growing in the front and back of the house. Although it was hot today, about 84 degrees, it felt cool on the back deck because it is all shaded. I was also excited because we have two rain barrels that collect water from the roof when it rains and have spiggots for us to get the water out and water the plants. It's very environmentally friendly and I like that.

We picked up our mail today and it was exciting to see that the post office is already forwarding our mail from Connecticut. We got a wonderful new home card from my niece (thanks Halley!), and Chuck got one from his wife...yes that does mean me! His HAPPY wife I might add! After going to the post office, we became members of the workout center that includes the indoor pool and we will start using it tomorrow.

I had forgotten what a beautiful view we have. In the far distance off of the deck, you can see about 4 or 5 high mountains. I can't wait to sit out there with Chuck and have a glass of wine to celebrate our new home.I think we will have a very peaceful life here in the mountains. Tomorrow we will be at the house because the Cable guy and the telephone guy are coming to set things up between 10 and 5. The following day the furniture will be arriving and we will spend who knows how many days setting everything up and unpacking.But we made it here safely and are embarking on a new chapter in our lives with excitement and enthusiasm!

Days 4 and 5 of Our Move to Georgia

Sorry I haven't updated this blog in a couple days. My Dad asked me why I hadn't been updating it, so at least I know someone's been reading it! On Monday morning we left Virginia for Tennessee. The mountains here were more beautiful than in Virginia. I saw a lot of horse farms on the way. We stopped for gas at one point and I was amazed to see it was only $3.11. When we left Connecticut it was anywhere from $3.77 to $3.85! What a difference a few hundred miles makes!

Each time we stop at a rest area or for gas we walk the dog. I did my best at this rest area to get the Tennessee mountains on the picture behind the dog! She has been wonderful on this trip, but she has been with either one of us or both of us for the past 5 days. She is clearly enjoying that and I hope she can adjust to staying alone in the new house sometimes once we get settled so we can go out for a romantic dinner without her now and then. Here's also a picture of my two traveling buddies. She looks so cute when she has her head out Chuck's car window as we drive down the road. Now I know why everyone on the highway smiles at her as they go by.

We stayed in Knoxville, Tennessee on Monday night at a very nice Red Roof in that had a suite. Tuesday we headed down into our new state of Georgia. We stopped at a Burger King for lunch and during our meal, Chuck got a call from the moving van driver that due to circumstances beyond his control (whatever that means) he can't get to Big Canoe till Friday now. That means one more night in the hotel in Jasper. We drove over the Georgia line and I soon saw the gorgeous mountains we were heading to. I let out a yell and got all excited and said to Reeses, "Look there are our mountains. We are going there. " Poor baby had no idea what was going on and was looking all around the car to see what I was talking about! The mountains are even more beautiful than I had remembered. We got into Jasper at the Microtel Inn around 3:00 p.m. We are staying right near the Jasper Walmart so it will be convenient to go there for house supplies. There is a Subway inside Walmart so we had that for dinner last night.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 3 of Our Move: Virginia/West Virginia

We left Newark, Delaware at 10:00 a.m. We drove for a bit and then once again hit traffic. Fortunately it wasn't as bad as yesterday. We finally hit the mountains of Virginia and they sure are beautiful. It's so nice to see something beautiful instead of just traffic on Interstate 95.

We stopped at a rest area just over the West Virginia line in a town called Charles Town. It was right after we crossed the Potomac River,and Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. That was exciting because we had heard about Harper's Ferry in history class, but neither of us had ever been there before. The place that we stopped for lunch was called, "Sheetz" and it was a rest stop. They seem to be all over the South. You can use the rest room and buy ready made sandwiches, drinks, chips, etc. or order a made to order sandwich, salad or pizza. You can of course also buy coffee here. We sat outside under and umbrella and it was the perfect place to sit with the dog.

An hour after that stop, we arrived at our destination for the night: a Red Roof Inn that was in Staunton, Virginia. This one had an indoor pool but I was too tired to use it. Chuck is SO disciplined that he did use the workout center and I took a nap. For dinner, we found a KFC with outdoor seating so we could sit with the dog. We discovered that KFC has buffets down here. You pay $7.99 for all you can eat and it includes a drink. Of course Chuck noticed that for seniors, the cost is $6.99! Tomorrow we are headed to Tennessee which is great because that's a state I have never been to before. I LOVE adventure.

Day Number 2 of Our Move To Georgia

On Saturday we had coffee and orange juice in the room and headed out on the road. The dog started in the car with me, and as we drove down the highway, stuck in a traffic jam, people were smiling at her as she stuck her head out the window and enjoyed the sights and the cool gentle breeze as we were only driving 5 to 15 miles and hour for a 60 minute period. It was quite frustrating, but it was better for me since she was with me making people laugh and smile. We stopped for lunch at a rest area and found a picnic table outside that we could keep the dog at as well.

Once we got back on the road, the traffic jam had cleared and we were able to make better time on the way to Philadelphia to visit Michaela. Before we actually met her after she got out of work, we had some extra time so went to the cemetery where Chuck's parents and other relatives are buried. It was bitter sweet to be there. We cleaned up a lot of the grass around the graves before heading into the part of Philadelphia that Chuck grew up in.

We had talked about going to Philly for years and Chuck was going to show me where he grew up. This trip seemed like the perfect time to do this. When we had talked about it, we were going to be in the same car, but me following him in my car with our cell phones on but on our legs, not in our hands, worked pretty well. It was really an eye opener for me to see where Chuck lived as a child. The streets were so narrow, and not in a very good section of Philadelphia. I am so proud of him for getting out of there and doing so much with his life. We made it there and it was raining so we were fortunate to find a wonderful Italian restaurant that had an awning out front with tables under it so we could sit there again with the dog. The restaurant was right around the corner from where Michaela works, so I walked there to meet her, and we had a wonderful meal together. I was so happy that we were able to see her on the way to Georgia because honestly I am not sure when I will be able to see her again since at this point we don't have any plans to be in Connecticut at the same time.

After dinner, Michaela treated us to chocolates from the oldest candy store in America, "Shane" and also ice cream from The Franklin Fountain, the ice cream parlor where she works. According to USA today, they have the absolute best milk shakes in the U.S. so we split a coffee milkshake. It was yummy but I am not convinced that it was the very best milkshake in the U.S. Here is Michaela's ice cream store!

After dropping Michaela off at her apartment, we headed south and drove about 90 minutes to Newark, Delaware. We stayed in a fantastic Red Roof Inn Plus there and although I had never stayed in a Red Roof Inn before, it was wonderfully surprising. There was even a goody box in our fridge that had a bottle of water, a bottle of orange juice, trail mix, and a granola bar in it. That was a nice surprise.

We have decided to shoot for 250 miles per day as that is about four hours of driving, with a break in between for lunch and switching the dog between cars which is a good change for all of us. The dog is doing amazingly well during this whole trip and that makes things easier for us.