One House Down...

These past two weeks have been basically consumed by Mother's moving sale and preparation to turn the home over to the buyer. The first week marked the remaining setup days and the first four days of the sale. We called in some extra troops on Monday and Tuesday and stayed overtime on Wednesday but were able to get it all prepared. Because of our flight delay and other commitments, I was not able to thoroughly go through the home to make sure we truly wanted to sell everything that was put out for sale and that all of the personal items were removed. I saw quite a few items that we did not intend to sell go out the door and I will need to repurchase them, such as the card stock I use for my jewelry cards. Thankfully I saved the like-new Sans air purifier from the garage, it was supposed to go home for my bedroom. A customer let us know that there were wills in Mother's desk drawer in the garage. I also rescued the beautiful set of heart-shaped measuring spoons I had purchased on Etsy for Mother's Day one year. But so many gifts I had given her over the years went bye-bye.

The attendance was good, the customers were gracious. I spent the entire weekend answering the statement "sorry for your loss." I said a few times (in a nice way) that if I had this loss, I would not be able to be here. People did buy a lot over the first four days but not as many larger items sold at full price, 25% off or 50% off as I had hoped. The crowd was definitely more price conscious than I expected, except for the neighbors who purchased on the first day.

I spent most of the time in the sunroom, garage and outside and it was HOT every day! The sunroom is not climate controlled and I had a little fan on the table to try and keep cool. Also, the air conditioning in the home was not up to par with all of the sunroom doors open. On Friday of the sale weekend, the main air conditioning of my home went out. I know I was living on borrowed time because I last replaced the system 18 years ago. It is never a good time for a financial setback like this but it is a part of home ownership. I had switched to AA Service for both HVAC and plumbing and have been really happy with them. They called me one day thinking they were calling Mother and I just happened to need plumbing help. AA Service was able to send their salesperson out Friday evening but because we were heading into the weekend the system could not be replaced until Monday. All is well now but it will be 18 no-interest payments of about $600 per month. Ugh, I am so looking forward to paying off the Mount Prospect mortgage next year and now I have another payment! A few days later, AA Service kindly sent us a tin of cookies - white chocolate macadamia nut, chocolate chip and chocolate brownie. How did they know I was a cookie monster?

The second week marked the final two days of the sale as well as the cleanup and house closing. It was not easy due to the quality of everything being so high but I decided to let most of the remaining items go. I could have gotten a lot more for the items had I put them online but it would probably have taken me a couple of years to post everything, not to mention the storage, answering customer questions, packing and shipping etc. I have so much jewelry and really need to focus on getting all of the worthwhile jewelry pieces out there. The 90% off day was the most difficult - people were grabbing all of the remaining smalls and carrying up Eileen Fisher clothing by the armload from the basement. We would have done way better if I turned it all in to Eileen Fisher as they have a recycling program called "Renew" where they pay $5.00 each for their pre-owned items in any condition. There were about a dozen items remaining, our plan is to take them to the Schaumburg outlet store. I thought they paid cash but it looks like the reward is in the form of a gift card. Kuochun will be disappointed because he thought we were headed for a nice dinner!

I saw quite a few customers from the "old days", including the client for which we did our first amazing sale about 15 years ago. It was a home on a corner lot in Chicago absolutely loaded with the coolest antique to vintage items in every room. When I went on the meeting and took a tour, I kept saying "oh my God" to myself over and over again. I nicknamed the home the "OMG house" and the name has stuck ever since. The homeowner left the home as well as the contents to her granddaughter who was about 20 at the time. She is now 35! This sale still holds up as one of our top three vintage sales of all time. All three of the sales have been in Chicago - the other two are the epic two-flat sale where the two sisters made everything by hand and tried to outdo each other and the sale of a minister's home with so many interesting collectibles.

On Saturday afternoon, one of my jewelry contacts happened to visit the sale and they came back later to show me some jewelry they had with them. I have another more in-depth appointment next Wednesday evening to see more of the collections. Not that I need more but I feel like I can keep up with it this time.

The new buyer showed up with another woman (possibly her realtor, she did not seem old enough to be her mother, nor did she introduce her) with two hours left to go for the sale. I think they were there to see what the condition of the house was and they made a snarky comment which rubbed me the wrong way - "we didn't know what we were going to be getting into here" - referring to how much of a mess she was going to be left with. I just said well you can see things are in good shape already. She kind of shrugged and said this is what I agreed to... She only came to me to ask if she purchased anything, could she leave it in the home or did she have to take it away. This was before the snarkiness so I was very nice and said yes, of course you can leave your items here. We will just mark them sold. She ended up buying the two wrought iron table and chair sets for only $32 per set as well as the fireplace screen, green desk and green floral dresser from a bedroom and the armoire and corner cabinet from the basement. She appears to be very young, if she is over 25 I would be surprised. 

The two days after the sale were backbreaking. I could have just walked away as the broom sweeping and cleanout provisions were waived but I wanted to respect Mother and her possessions. I put aside better items to donate and also packed up the remaining clothing for both she and Dad. Especially after five years, it was time to let Dad's clothes go. I was able to leave the first floor clear except for the items the buyer purchased. I left a few items in the shed and an unsold wood planter and square wrought iron table on the patio. The bulk of the items were in the garage. A lot of tools and baking items were remaining. I cleaned out all of the areas of the basement, picking up pieces of broken glass by hand and trying to avoid dead bugs. Maureen kindly came over on Thursday afternoon and between she and Kuochun, they took away two car loads of items for donation. Maureen brought her load to Wings and Kuochun's went to Goodwill as he did not want to wait until the next day for Wings to open. All of the remaining items could have been donated but we did the best we could.

There was a lot of confusion with the U-Box pickup, I thought I was speaking with the Chicago mover and it turned out to be the Phoenix mover. He had neither a Chicago or Phoenix phone number and never said a thing out of place when I was asking him to confirm he would be there that day. Initially he said he is not responsible for the truck and I said there will be no truck, it is a U-Box. Then he said I do not know where to get it and I said Des Plaines is the closest to me. So long story short, the Chicago mover had no idea I wanted him to pick up a dresser from my house on the way from Des Plaines. Thankfully I got him to do it and they did get everything we wanted into the U-Box. However they said it took them 2.5 hours to go from Des Plaines to Arlington Heights because Des Plaines was out of boxes. I said he should take that up with U-Haul, even though that sure did not sound right to me. At any rate, they refused to do anything else after I paid for 2 hours and only got about 45 minutes. I was having internet problems and it took about 10 minutes for me to find the code to release the job. They could have easily have put the Italian patio table and chairs in my van while they were waiting.

Kuochun and I had to do the move and it was a difficult job. The top is so heavy and we had to walk it around the house upright with a dolly, stopping every so often to rest. There was no way we could get it up a stair and through two narrow doorways to get it out through the garage. Somehow we got it in the van in one piece. The only other major item I did not let go to 75% off was the Heywood-Wakefield rattan furniture set. It is so cute with fabulous cushions professionally upholstered through our interior designer either with designer fabric or vintage barkcloth. I received a last-minute offer of $300 but that was what I had marked only the sofa down to so I declined. I moved the rattan back to the sunroom so I could take photos for online selling. We just need help getting the table top out of my van and we will be good to go. Next Thursday is supposed to be a lot cooler so I will clean up and photograph the table and chairs and then place both sets online. Sadly because of the movers crapping out on me, I had to leave several pieces of furniture behind - the metal top dining table which Rachel wanted, the antique hutch I sent from Arizona which did not sell and the green worktable. I would imagine though that the buyer will like those pieces and not trash them, especially since she purchased the matching desk.

Kuochun and I were moving the heavy tabletop back to the van and the neighbor across the street asked if we were the new owners. I wanted to say "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?" I have burned a hole down Central Rd these past 6 years I have been there so often (it has to be at least 1,000 times) and Kuochun has probably been there a good 100 times. Once she came barreling out of her driveway and nearly hit me in my van. And they are the people Maureen caught dumping their old refrigerator on Mother's driveway thinking we would never know. I just said no, I'm Annamarie's daughter and she just said oh...

After a 14-hour day on Thursday I thought I had done all I could. However during our last trip back to the home the realtor texted me and asked where the toilet seat was in the basement bathroom. I had noticed it was gone that morning but my focus was on getting the rest of the house looking decent and removing as much of value as I could. I realized what happened - when Rachel visited, they took the Toto bidet she had given Mother as a gift. The problem is you cannot take attached items from a home which is under contract! For the moving sale setup, a table was placed over the toilet to display items for sale so I did not notice it was gone until I emptied the room. Instead of getting a new toilet seat for upstairs, they moved the basement toilet seat upstairs. It did not fit and therefore did not look good. It was a good thing that we had some extra time in the morning with the walkthrough at 1:00 PM and the closing at 2:00 PM. We ran to Menards to get a new toilet seat. I picked up a plastic one and it felt so lightweight. Then I spotted a price sign for $5.51! It was for a really nice wood toilet seat in the right size and about four times the weight of the plastic one. Kuochun is not handy but he was able to do the switch, I sent the photos to the realtor and no news was good news as the closing went through. I think it was on our side that the buyer was so young, she probably does not know what a bidet even is. After going to Menards, we stopped at home and grabbed the girls so we could all say goodbye to the home together. Unfortunately their barking stressed Kuochun out while he was trying to switch the toilet seats so the goodbye was not as poignant as I hoped.

Mother's computer is so old, I recommended that she purchase a new one once she receives the proceeds from the moving sale. She has an Apple MacBook which has got to be at least 15 years old. The cord has practically fallen apart and she mentioned recently that it is not working well. She does not need any file storage and prefers a larger screen so I think the most economical MacBook Pro with the 16" screen will be perfect. She can also trade in her existing computer by mail so there is no need to wait until we return in the fall.

Reflecting on the moving sale experience, if I had to do things over again, I would have not worried so much about Mother's doctor's appointments and come home sooner, so I would have had time to go through the home and pull everything we wanted before the setup. I also would have had just scheduled a cleanout even though one was not required. Although I did yeoman's work in two days to have remaining items look presentable, it was a strange feeling to not leave the home cleared out and broom swept. I would not have had to leave expensive furniture behind which would have paid for the cleanout. But all in all, the job was completed and the closing proceeded without incident. It still has not fully sunken in that the home is truly gone. I will try to be positive in that this is one less thing to worry about. I had to switch right to my other job the minute this was over and I am still in recovery mode.

Now that the Arlington Heights home is out of the picture I need to focus on loving my own home again. This summer I will do my best to have every room lean, mean and organized and hopefully next summer I will have the funds to tackle some of the larger jobs like the back deck which after 23 years is falling apart, the landscaping which needs updating and water damage on the baseboards in the basement. And there are the annual problems of so many birds living in the awning and whatever (skunks?) is living under the shed. I am an animal lover and do not want to kill anything but they need to live somewhere else. Our plan is to stay here a few weeks longer so possibly at least the birds will move on and I can find someone to clear out the nests and remove the awning hood. Dad never sold awning hoods to customers because birds love to nest in them but then sells one to me!

Next week the plan is to get on a "normal" schedule with time for exercise, three meals a day and a better balance between my two jobs. The number one jewelry goal for the summer is to tackle the huge backlog of over 300 draft items in my Vendoo account. I brought plenty of amazing jewelry back from Arizona, mostly from the 2024 Gem Show that has not seen the light of day yet. I also found that I still have some sterling jewelry at home which needs to be polished and priced. The July 4 weekend should be a good time to work on that.

I decided to dabble a bit in boutique clothing to enhance my online store and the items I bought for myself that I have never worn and want to sell. I purchased these really cute pullovers, each with a Western theme. I thought it would be fun to try some multiple quantity items as opposed to everything being one of a kind. They were supposed to arrive in Scottsdale mid-May and they still have not arrived. I reached out to the sellers through their website and on Facebook and did not receive a response. Since I am not in Scottsdale anymore I wanted to change the shipping address. Not a good look, especially with me being a first-time customer. I still want them and hope I will not have to file a dispute with my credit card company. They are such great quality - I purchased a different one for myself to be sure they were nice and they are amazing.

I do plan on ordering from some other companies as well. I have my eye on a company with totally cute styles with a boho chic theme and will try ordering from them next once things settle down. I learned a lot shopping from these online boutiques over the past three years and have tons of experience selling clothing when I was full-time on eBay. The difference here is that instead of customer returns, these will be new items. I used to have a big mailing list and I would publish a gallery of new clothing auctions every week. It worked because after I would send the e-mail the bids would start coming in. I purchased a gadget called the Reseller Ruler which allows the underarm measurement and the length to be measured at the same time. Most boutiques do not provide the underarm measurement for the various sizes and I think this is so important as sizes between brands do vary. The one I always used to buy from rarely even provides the fabric content. This is also very important to me because I try to stick with natural fabrics like cotton. I cannot dispute though that she is extremely successful but if she took a little time and care with the information it would really cut down on returns. I do not care for the direction she has gone with her clothing styles and emphasis on shoes. I have a store credit I need to use and once I use it I will not be a customer again. An interesting trend I have noticed with several people I follow online is that they all purchased second homes as their success grew. Very smart of them!

So far, Mother has been doing amazingly well without me being local. She feels better and is actually doing some things for herself without asking me first. I found an offer on Amazon with a trial period and then unlimited deliveries from Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh for $9.95 per month. I placed the first order for myself as a trial. I found that rather than going to the store and dealing with the crowds, etc. I was able to order the ingredients to plan simple meals without forgetting anything or purchasing unnecessary items. This was a great help when things were so hectic with the moving sale. The only drawback is having the extra expense of a 20% tip. I hate going to the grocery store, especially specialty stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's because the customers are so entitled. They hate it if I get in their way to pause a moment and look at anything! Overall it is worth it to me not having to take the time out to go there and deal with that so I will order again. I then placed a trial order for Mother and it went great. They actually deliver the groceries right to her door. She has ordered several times since then. We switched prescriptions to delivery by Walgreens which is right down the street. I think I will keep it that way, even when I am there.

Things clicked socially as well - Mother is making a lot of friends, attending the events and learning the local card and other games. One of the members of the '60s girl group The Shirelles lives in the building and she gave a concert! She personally invited Mother to the next one. There is something going on every day with the exception of Sunday. I said that is a good chance to rest and gear up for the next week! I hope this positive trend keeps up because it provides me so much relief. I belong to the Scottsdale Living Facebook group and lately some folks have been looking for affordable 55+ rental options. I wholeheartedly recommend Overture Arcadia each time because it has changed Mother's life. The value is incredible for the price, I think it is worth twice what they are charging. With the arrival of the final U-Box at around July 4, the move will be officially complete.

Until next time!