Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 28, 2020

My House is Up for Sale!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to hang two pairs of drapes all by yourself? It took me forever and an hour of working with a flashlight, a pair of twisters, tiny O-rings, toothpicks and the best outdoor glue on the planet. Did I mention the drapes were in the bedroom and parlor of my childhood dollhouse? On the spur of the moment I decided if I have half a chance of selling that house it was the ideal time to get it listed on Facebook’s Market Place---just before Christmas and when parents of a little girl might be looking for ways to entertain her during a pandemic and the long winter ahead. The house was built from plans that appeared in a magazine the year Gone with the Wind was a box office success. The porch looks vaguely like Tara from the movie but that’s where the similarity ended. Evidentially that movie inspired a lot dollhouse companies to put out southern style plantation houses. My mom bought my house used at The Salvation Army Store and I got it for Christmas circa 1947. I found the magazine article with the plans on a serendipitous trip to an antique mall in the '90s while looking for gas station advertisements in a magazine vendor's booth. Can you believe that!

Back in the ‘70s when every female over the age of 30 who was also an aficionado of all things Hobby Lobby were building dollhouses and shadowbox rooms, I did some extensive redecorating in my childhood dollhouse. I wallpapered, put down new flooring and built a ton of furniture from kits, made draperies and linens. My mom crocheted tiny bonnets for a coat rack and throw rugs for the floors and doilies for the living room. I also bought a lighting kit and woodwork to cover up the wiring but it never got installed because, well, that was about the time when I got distracted by more grown up things. (Use your imagination.) I also never got the outside siding hung and I’m glad I didn’t because over the years I’ve gotten sentimental over seeing the original stenciled shrubbery and shutters and I'm glad they didn't get covered over because they were exactly like the stencils in the magazine to help date the house. All but one stained glass window panes are still waiting to be installed. The brick that I did manage to put on the chimney and front porch got so sun faded since the remodel that they’ll have to be done over. Yes, I had to list my dollhouse as fixer upper.

I have lots of little great-grand nieces---three living in the same house---and I'd love to give the dollhouse to them but they are still toddlers and this is not a toddler kind of house. It’s still an option if I can’t sell the house on Facebook’s Market Place but it would be a pain to get it out to the boondocks two counties away where my great-grand nieces live because the dollhouse won’t fit in my car. (I think I just coined a new phrase---great-grand nieces. What do you call the children of your nephew’s son?) Whatever I end up doing with house, it was fun playing with it again as I sorted through all the accessories and supplies that go with it. I fell in love with the tiny light fixtures all over again, and it reminded me of a conversation where I tried to talk my brother into wiring the dollhouse since he was an electrician. If I wasn’t in a serious downsizing mode I could easily be inspired to do another makeover, the 2020 edition. But I am downsizing and I don't have the finger dexterity that I had back before time and my aging body left a lot of hobbies I used to enjoy behind in the dust. I even found a kit to make a wicker chair and table for the porch when I unpacked all the stuff. No way could my old fingers weave that furniture together!

On my real house I’m poking along on my ‘To Do’ list of things to do before I sell it. I just picked up two window screens from the window repair place. $52 spent because the dog loves to use those screens like a doorbell when he’s out on the deck. They were replaced twice before since the little bugger was adopted nearly 13 years ago. The newly replaced screens are not going up on the windows any time soon, just sayin. Back in the day when I had a house full of wooden framed screens I replaced the screens on fourteen windows all by myself and I’ll bet I didn’t pay $52 total. It was easy work with the right tool, not sure I could do my own screen replacements today.

Writing about Levi costing me money reminded me of a dog I had back when my husband was alive and first started plowing snow in the winters---this was before I learned how to plow and had my own truck. Don would often beg me and Jason the Macho Poodle to ride along to help keep him awake. Those two had a real bromance going on and Don didn’t like going anyway without that dog tagging along. For some crazy reason Don started a piggybank for Jason and would pay him a quarter every time he rode along when Don was, himself, earning money with his truck. And the dog would give quarters back to Don, taped in greeting cards on Father’s Day and his birthday. Me? Did he pay me to ride along? No…but Don did buy me breakfast in the mornings when we’d finish getting all the snow off the parking lots. My love for the Guy-Land Cafeteria goes way back to that era of my life in the ‘70s and I’m glad the local chain has a branch down near where I’ll be living this time next year. I'm hoping it will be my happy place to write like the one near-by as been for the past decade plus. ©  










Edit to add: The house sold with only a half day listing. And like real houses in today's market I could have had a bidding war if I had been smarter about it. Interest was very high---12 people wanted it in the first two hours---and I didn't know people made offers on Market Place listings. After I accepted the first offer of $125 someone else offered $150 but a deal is a deal so I turned down the latter offer in lieu of keeping my word. Two girls ages 8 and 12 will be getting it for Christmas and they are at a good age for it. Not so young that they'll break the fragile, tiny stuff. The couple who picked it up were excited, and full of ideas to redo the outside including adding brick pavers and real shutters. I was excited just listening to them. Woman said she was honored to have the house and will take good care of it and will send me photos when they get it done. It was surprisingly easy to let go of because I worried about it going to the right home and I think it did. The parents are going to order all the stuff needed for the renovations so after Christmas they can all work on shingling the roof, brick pavers and siding. I gave them a miniature miter saw to make their job easier. How coo is that!

43 comments:

  1. What a cute dollhouse! My mom and dad built one years ago and I owned it for few years. It needed its own room it was so large. I don't have it any longer but it was a beauty -

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    1. We had a friend who built a huge one too for their daughter....took it a trailer to move. They sold it long after she was grown and married and the little girl who got it was chronically sick with something that kept her isolated at home most of the time. I know they felt really good about that sale. They had a lot time and emotion wrapped up in that house.

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  2. Aww... so happy that the house went to a good home. You couldn't ask for anything more than that!

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    1. I know! The mom was so excited she's going to have a hard time waiting until after Christmas to work on it. I advertised it as a good parent/daughter project for the pandemic and long winter ahead and that couple was taking that idea to heart.

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  3. That is such a lovely outcome.

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    1. I know and I was really dreading selling it because I wasn't sure girls even played with dollhouses anymore, there were so many listed on Facebook that weren't selling. Mine was the oldest, though, but I wrote a cuter advertisement and I think that helped attract the right kind of buyer for an antique house.

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  4. Congratulations on the sale of your dollhouse. I hope the sale of your full-sized house goes just as well. On that one, however, do encourage the bidding war!

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    1. I will not be listing this one on the spur of the moment like I did the dollhouse and I sure hope the housing market is strong enough for a bidding war next years, but seeing that big hole in my garage put a big smile on my face.

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  5. My first thought after reading the title was - where will Jean go if the house sells? As for you great grand nieces, what do they call you? My great grand nephew calls me the cousin grandma and his logic goes as follows - Well, you're the girls' (my granddaughters) grandma and they're my cousins; that makes you the cousin grandma!

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    1. I've been encouraging that generation of kids (my niece's and nephews grandchildren)to call me Great-Aunt Jean but they don't see me often enough to really know me. I know them best through Facebook but their parents have introduced me to them as Aunt Jean, and I jokingly add the GREAT-aunt Jean.

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  6. That's one fancy doll house. Mine was much smaller, and made of metal, but I loved that thing. I have no idea why we got rid of it, or where it went, and I certainly didn't know that doll houses still are a thing. There's something about tiny toys that's just so appealing; if it were today, and if I still had mine, I'd be hard pressed to get rid of it. I guess it's a good thing that it's gone.

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    1. Before I listed it I asked my youngest niece if she thought her granddaughters would like it---she has three. One is too young for it, but the other two sisters had houses already that their mother, said they'd outgrown their and she sold it on Market Place the same day I did mine. So, I guess dollhouses ARE still a thing. You can still buy dollhouse furniture and building supplies online. The furniture like mine goes pretty high on e-Bay, I had thought to sell it off piece by piece and I'm so glad I didn't.

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  7. What an amazingly realistic little house. The details are so surprising. I had no doubts it would go quickly and glad it went to a home where children would once again stretch their imaginations playing with that great house. Also sounds like being a "fixer upper" might have been a plus.

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    1. I agree,, still having things to do on the house will get them invested in it. When I shows them the tiny hardware for the front door the parents squealed. The tiny hinges, doorknob and knocker are just so cute! And I had more Christmas decorations to use on the outside of the house which the parents will have fun putting up when the girls aren't around.

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  8. Glad your Childhood Home found a good Home. My Brother and I had Tonka Mobile Homes that had magnet wands that moved the people around the rooms of it, they had magnets on their feet and were hard plastic like Game Pieces. I have never, ever seen those Tonka Mobile Homes anywhere again, not even Today Online with Google searches, so they must be Rare. I still think about the hours we spent playing with those, dragging them along with his other Tonka Trucks with hitches, they were pretty big Toys and sturdy enough, as all Tonka pieces, for hard playing by Boys and Girls. I also once had a Liddle Kiddles Playhouse, plastic... and bought one a few years ago in a fit of Nostalgia, along with the plastic Troll Playhouse... I think I may be entering my 2nd Childhood?

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    1. I think a lot of those toys that had wands and tiny people are rare because they got recalled for choking hazards so they didn't get passed down to younger children to eventually end up in antique malls. But they are out there.

      And who cares if you're entering a second childhood. You're in good company because antique toys will always be a hot collectible. The make us feel young and silly again just looking at them. My husband lost all his childhood toys on his 15th birthday and a tornado too them away. He spent the rest of his life trying to buy them back. Me, I still had/have all mine having bought my childhood home where they were stored in the attic. The house is actually the second childhood thing I've sold, the first was my Campfire Girl beads.

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  9. PS: As a lark I just googled the 1960's Mobile Home by Tonka and images finally popped up... ah, Nostalgia!

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  10. Every girl's dream house! We didn't have room while I was growing up (1,000 sq ft, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom ... 8 people).(and a dog). Santa got my daughter a plastic versions ... which she promptly put in tiny stuffed animals, plastic bugs and all manner of outdoor tomboy sort of stuff. Sigh

    Your title scared me to death!

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    1. I knew that title would shock a few frequent readers. LOL

      Your daughter's idea of what goes in a dollhouse was a preview of her adult interests, wasn't it.

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  11. Congrats on selling it so quickly! It feels so great when things work out like that! Happiness on both sides of the sale!

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    1. I know! I'm still glowing from the high I got when I saw that couple so excited about my house.

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  12. I'm happy about the buyers. Much more heartwarming than a bidding war. Seeing what they do is something to look forward to.

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    1. I know. But people are funny...all those people interested and one woman write, "I'll take it if you'd like to donate it to me." Ah, no!

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  13. Your dollhouse is charming, and those girls are going to be just thrilled.

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    1. I hope so. If not, their parents will have fun redoing the outside. You could just see it in their eyes and hear it in their voices.

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  14. Very, very cool! I initially thought it was your actual house that got listed and I started worrying that it was a tad premature! What a beautiful doll house, Jean šŸ˜

    Deb

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    1. I'm so bad at writing titles for my posts, but this time I got an eye-catcher. I'm so proud. LOL

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  15. That's a beautiful doll house. I have to admit you caught my attention with your title! I was wondering where you were going to go until your new place is finished. LOL. Clever girl...

    My MIL was a doll house and miniature maker. She had some real beauties. The details in this type of dollhouse always amaze me. I think some went to her daughter but I'm wondering if the other daughter sold some of them to pay for her housing. Not sure. But she's 96 now and has dementia, so whatever happened is over. :) Glad you got some nice money for it and someone bought it who was really happy to get it. (Oh, and the woman who said she would take if you want to donate it. LOL. Big of her...)

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    1. That's what I'm worry about...getting dementia and being taken advantage of like the woman who asked for the dollhouse as a donation to her. I'd rather have the stuff I really care about go now while I can enjoy the selling and giving (to people I know and care about).

      Dollhouse building was a huge hobby back in the day. There used to be a great dollhouse convention/show here in town every year just before Thanksgiving with 75-100 people setting up their dollhouses at a hall and vendors would come, too, to sell supplies. It drew hundreds of people and we had to wait in line a long time to get in.

      And a surprising number of men were into it too. I had a miniature machine for turning out wooden candle sticks, chair legs, posts and such...that worked just like the full sized one my Dad had. Killed me to get rid of it when I moved here but I gave it to my brother so who knows what happened to it then, probably still has it if I know him.

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  16. Now that's what we should call that "a winner" - you are happy to have a sale, quickly and the parents obviously want it to become a family heirloom for them.

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    1. I know, I only wish I would have signed my name and dates of ownership on the bottom but I didn't really think of it until after it was gone. Would have been hard to do without help, though.

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  17. My mother-in-law sent my daughter (then 4 years old) a doll house kit. The finished product was over 2 ft x 3 ft. My daughter was absolutely fascinated watching and helping her father go through the assembly process - and completely ignored it once it was assembled.

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    1. But it was a great bonding experience while they were building it. Four seems pretty young for a dollhouse, but I've never had kids so what to I know.

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    1. I always thought so. I had it set up in my art room so I saw it often.

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  19. I love the look of the doll house and it's good itwent to a good home

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    1. It touches my heart that so many others could see the beauty that I saw.

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  20. Well, you had me going at that headline! The dollhouse is amazing and I'm so happy to hear the story of the family who bought it. What a delightful gift and one that will be treasured!

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    1. It's so nice when that happens, when things we treasure are treasured by others.

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  21. What a wonderful doll house. I'm certain that it will bring joy to the two young girls that will be receiving it. Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you! I checked out your blog and thing I gained two pounds looking at your Mac and Cheese.

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  22. Jean,
    Glad your dollhouse found a good home, you got some cash and the buyers got a treasure and a bargain.
    I was VERY happy when my favorite sister-in-law, who has three young granddaughters (so far) agreed to take our daughter’s dollhouse, when we downsized and moved this past summer. She keeps it at here home and the little girls play with it (under her watchful eye, as they are still quite young) when they come to visit. The granddaughters are from two different nieces, so but having the dollhouse at their ‘Mimi’s’ house, they can all play with it rather than choosing one family.

    Our daughter’s, daughter will soon be 9, but is not and never has been a ‘doll girl’. She and her brother are both CRAZY for stuffed animals, but not dolls of any size, or kind. šŸ™

    I knew we had hundreds of dollars worth of furniture etc. in the dollhouse which had been accumulated over our daughter’s childhood, so I was much happier to have it stay in the family and see it enjoyed than to try to sell it. My dear sister-in-law periodically sends photos when her Grands are there having fun with the house.

    I Have been following your blog for a little more than a year, and have especially enjoyed your descriptions of sorting and selling your many collections, in preparation for your upcoming move.

    We bought a condo 6 years ago with plans to sell our family home and downsize to the condo eventually....we had a lot of downsizing to do first and with a reliable tenant in our condo, it was easy to keep putting the move off. We had a lot of stuff to get rid of, but most of it was not collectible, nor were we as diligent as you about sorting, organizing, selling etc. However, with nothing else to do during the pandemic, we decided it was finally time to follow thru on our plan to downsize, sell our house and move to the condo. Fortunately, the housing market didn’t mind the pandemic at all. We got an offer on our house, without even having to list it and moved over the summer. I’m sure we didn’t get the very top dollar that we could have gotten, but we preferred not having the hassle of listing and being ready to have buyers on a moments notice. Also our home went to the daughter of a neighbor, who was the sister of one of our daughter’s very best friends. We hope it brings much joy to this young family and their parents who live nearby, and that is worth more than a few more bucks in the bank.

    I really thought you would be through your move before we got around to moving, but everything fell into place and we moved in August. So far, all us good and we are enjoying some time in Florida(as planned) with less concern about the big house and yard at home in Indiana.

    I will still follow your move and hope it continues to go well.

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  23. Our state has gotten closed down because of the virus a few times which really effected the time-line on the building of the CC Campus I'm moving to. I just hope it doesn't happen again. The uncertainty is hard on my nerves.

    I'm glad your house sold fast. Sounds like a win-win all around (and on your dollhouse as well). The housing market has been hot here too, during the pandemic. I'm worried it will be a buyers market by the time mine gets listed.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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