First, a picture I meant to put up earlier in the week. My SIL C. made this cake for me and presented it to me at the family dinner last Sunday. (It was yummy too!) Here's what they got me: a Nightmare Before Christmas candy dish. John got me Dr. Who series one (the new series) and we watched it together. Yeah, already done and ready for series two. There were several other lovely gifts, from John and from friends, that I'm still enjoying.
Why I've not been around
This has been a, shall we say, interesting week. Too much drama on a Ravelry group that I moderate. It made my heart a little sick, my stomach a little queasy and kept me from thinking about reading blogs or writing entries here. The situation appears to have resolved, at least on our end (I hope). I moderate eight groups on Ravelry and not one, in the year I've been a member, has ever had this kind of activity. (There's plenty of drama, just not in my groups.) A few months ago, I became a mod for the group in question, and it's been so low-key that I frequently forget to check it. Then, I took a couple of weeks off Ravelry and when I returned, all hell had broken loose. My poor co-mod had to manage it all alone. The week that I was involved was the nastiest period, as far as I can tell, and I wanted to quit on day two. Yikes! To give you an idea: there is a system for people to flag problematic or objectionable posts (they show up in a tab for the moderators). It's been up for a couple of months, I think. Every single flag (20 or so) in my tab right now are for the one group, for a two-week period.
On the flip side, as the trouble was caused by only 2-4 people, the remaining couple dozen involved just rocked my world. Fabulous people, and I'm glad to know them, even if it's virtually.
I think it's safe to announce that we sold my dad's house. It's passed inspection, been appraised for the amount the buyer needed, and he's been introducing himself to the neighbors. We close next Friday. This means we had to - finally - completely empty the basement and the garage, and today was the day. It was quite an emotional day. I found the family albums that I was afraid had been lost somehow (if I'd only asked SIL C, I would have alleviated that concern). I lost it when I was putting a coat into a bag to donate and felt something in a pocket, which turned out to be two pairs of reading glasses in two different pockets.
See, my dad was forever losing his glasses, so he finally gave up getting prescriptions and buying them by the handful at the Dollar store. They were everywhere. We buried him with several pair (his friends added lottery tickets and other inside joke items). Finding those just made something snap inside. (I kept the glasses.)
Because we were out of time and - to be honest - space, we had agreed to pack up what we wanted and give away everything that was left (with the exception of a couple items). A couple of friends dropped by and took what they wanted, then we put out a sign for a couple of hours. The hardest part was not just taking everything. But there is just no way. We still wanted some things to go to good homes, and we were lucky in some ways. A little girl my niece's age, who adored my dad (he dated her great aunt), came by and wanted something to remember him by. She took the ceramic fire hydrant that's been in his front yard for years, that none of us really wanted but couldn't bear to throw away. A totally random guy came and asked for some of the years-of-service plaques for his town's historical museum. (They have a firefighter's month every year and lack relevant exhibits.) The buyer of the house wanted my antique bed frame and the newish mattress.
One guy came almost immediately after the sign went out and stayed for two hours, going through everything and talking to himself the entire time. Still, what he took, we didn't have to take to a donation center. Plus, he found a box of books I'd meant to pack up in our car, including my mom's high school year books. All that remains is the rocking chair my dad got for my mom when my brother was born (John's getting that during the week).
Finally selling the house means that John and I can actually house hunt. We tried it last summer/fall, but it was too nerve-wracking to find a house we liked but know we couldn't do anything about it.
A couple of weeks ago, we went on a little road trip and looked at the outsides of some houses, one of which I liked very much. It had less land than I wanted (just shy of an acre, I wanted at least 2 or 3), but I have not been able to get it out of my mind since. John called the agent yesterday to arrange a tour for tomorrow. Good thing she was available last night, because I don't think either of us will be able to walk tomorrow!
We saw four houses. One was entertaining but badly built and kind of scary (I have pictures, which I'll post on Flickr soon). One was listed as being 10 years old, but there is no way this is true. One was a complete dung heap. The one I've not been able to get out of my mind is the one we're going to bid on. It needs some work, but big parts of it were already renovated. It looks like someone ran out of money in the middle. Of a wall. Seriously! There is one wall that is 2/3 - 3/4 painted, and they just quit in the middle. It has a first floor laundry room and a HUGE back porch -- the two things at the top of my list. We're trying not to get our hopes up, and this is all I'll say about it until we know the status. (If they accept our bid, the house has to be inspected, and we have no idea what that will bring.)
After we finished with the last house, we stopped for supper at a charming little steak and seafood restaurant in Waltz, MI. (I've never heard of it either.) I took it as a sign when I read on the menu that it's supposed to be haunted. How cool is that? (I don't want to upset anyone, but I don't actually believe in ghosts. However, I love Halloween, and ghost stories and cemeteries, and a haunted restaurant is entirely my cup of tea.) Bonus: at the table next to us? One of the waitresses, on her night off, bringing her mother and some friends for dinner, raving about the food.
There. I think that brings us up-to-date. I don't kid myself as to quantity of readers, but I like to think that the few of you who do read are interested in all this stuff.