Friday, October 24, 2014

6 months later . . .

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes I feel like we should have WAY more done by now (truthfully, this is how I feel most of the time), and other times I am amazed at how much we've accomplished in the past 6 months.

Moving a house AND a business, all while carrying on with regular work and day-to-day activities? That's a lot. Every other move we've ever done has been between jobs, so that moving was the focus and full-time activity. This time has been different. Not only have we been working the whole time, but Mark picks up any extra moonlighting shifts he can. I've worked some extra summer stints at our new location and have been doing a ton with the business marketing stuff. During that time, we also got our new tenant settled into our townhouse rental and that is going well. He will live there for 3 years. There was a bit of work involved in getting that going, too - some repairs, some advertising, negotiations, showings, paperwork, etc. Add to that the kids' summer camps (writing for her, science/invention for him). And, of course, there's the regular dentist/mechanic/doctor/school/lessons/activities/errands stuff the entire time. It's busy, to say the least. Plus, you always have something hanging over your head to do, so relaxing is a challenge. Not complaining, though. Life is full and good.

We feel pretty settled in our new business location and that is going well overall. Some bumps and adjustments, but a good change for sure. Having two patient rooms is fantastic. It's much more efficient and the patient feedback has been extremely positive. And we're feeling pretty settled in our new home, too. There is a lot to do with the business. And there is much more to do at our new house, in terms of unpacking and purging (have I mentioned that I wish I had a sister?!?). And the farmhouse has been a ton of work, too. We've done a lot there - upkeep, landscaping, painting, fixing, repairs, cleaning out, researching, etc. And that doesn't even count all the packing and organizing and moving. It's been a very busy past 6 months for sure. We're grateful for the help our friends have given us with moving and with some meals, too. I can't imagine what we would've done without their help and, really, that's a pretty lonesome thought for us. 

We continued to see clients at our old house for a while after moving and during the business transition. Now that all the farmhouse repairs are done (as of this past week), Mark is over there right now cleaning out the few things that remain. He's also meeting with several house cleaners to get bids from them to give it a good top-to-bottom clean before our next step. We've gone back and forth on whether or not to rent it or sell it. We're doing all the work no matter what we do. We're also meeting with a listing agent to explore options.

At this point, we lean very heavily toward selling it. We haven't ever been on that side of the table - getting a check. Renting it could work (and it's 2 units, too!), but it's a bit more unnerving with an older home like that (as opposed to a newer townhouse). We'd like to sell it and refinance our new house, plus we have some big expenses coming up and money would be, you know, helpful. In the meantime, maintaining multiple properties while moving and transitioning a business is a lot of work, not to mention expensive.

We don't feel right about moving forward on some of those expenses until things are more settled for us financially, though I hate putting them off as they're things that are necessary/helpful to us - a fence for Scout, possible braces for Max, etc. along with the regular expensive costs of things like malpractice insurance and student loans. Student loans. We used to think we'd wait for those student loans to be all-the-way paid off before allowing ourselves to Have Nice Things, but you know, we entered our 40s and got sick of waiting. Our kids are growing up, life is passing us by, and there needs to be a balance of being smart financially and also enjoying ourselves. I tend to lean toward denying ourselves in the name of extreme prudence and have been doing that for years really. And while I do think that's wise overall, at what point do we allow ourselves things like central heat, closets, and a nice neighborhood for our kids? Now. That's when. They're growing up fast and college is around the corner (yes, that means student loans for us AND them at the same time - see?) - life is expensive!!

We're not the types to take big, fancy, expensive trips. We go to the beach every year for less than a week off-season and on the cheap. That's about it. And we love it. We've been to Disney once and that was much thanks to Jim. It was a wonderful trip. We're homebodies with simple pleasures - games, books, food. So it makes sense to us to allow ourselves a nice living situation since that is where we like to be the most. And I can't tell you how nice it is to have so much sunshine and light shining in on us. I think it's a natural anti-depressant.

And while we're also not the types to drive newer cars (we've been driving the same cars for 16 and over 10 years, respectively), Mark's car is getting really old and beat up (in fact, I drove it today and it didn't start for me!). We're starting our 17th year with that car. It's the car we got back in college. It's the car that moved us to medical school. It's the car in which we brought home our babies from the hospital. It's helped us through Utah winters, very hot Arizona summers, a cross-country move, tons of school and job commuting, and more than 11 years in Pennsylvania. That's on the list of upgrades when we sell our farmhouse, too. So: car, braces, fence. Those are the big ones. And extras that we'd like but aren't as pressing - a bigger deck (our table doesn't fit on it) and a fridge that fits our food and has a functioning ice-maker. But those are all big things and, really, they're first world problems. During all this, we're mostly busy buying the kids books, food, and clothes. They're outgrowing clothes and shoes left and right. And growth spurts? They make people hungry! Again, life is good. We're happy and healthy and grateful.

Anyway! As we finish up these odds-and-ends duties related to our moves, we should have our house listed by the end of the month. Go us! We even took pictures of it before we packed it up so that people can see how lovely it can be when it's all lived-in and stuff! But yeah. Busy, busy, and lots to think about and do. I don't know why my sleep has been disrupted. It's a mystery. :P


LMW said...

Wow! What kind of car do you have? I'm guessing a Toyota or Honda? We have a Toyota Corola and besides new tires, we've rarely have to get anything fixed on it for the last 7 years.

Boquinha said...

LMW, it's a Saturn. It's been very good, overall, but it really is falling apart. Mark doesn't complain at all, mind you. He works so hard. I think he deserves something nicer.

Emily Foley said...

I keep wondering when Dave's car is going to die, it has 170k miles and mine has 137k...but who wants a car payment?! Yuck. But seriously I don't trust his car to drive to Albuquerque and when I have to move there in a few weeks I'll need to leave the van with him and the kids....should be interesting.

I hope you have good luck selling the house! Wouldn't that be something, to get a check instead of sending one?!

Jimmy said...

Sounds to me like you have a balanced perspective on things. I just don't see you guys going overboard and suddenly finding yourselves swimming in more debt than you can handle. You're being smart about it.

I've bought three houses and never sold one. (None of them have been dream homes by any means). I've ended up renting the other two and sometimes I get tempted to sell and enjoy the windfall. Just to see what it's like.

Don't know what it is about me, but new cars aren't that exciting to me. Wait, I do know what it is about me. I'm cheap. Or responsible. Take your pick.

Boquinha said...

Emily, glad it worked out! And thanks - that would be great!

Jimmy, renting is an option on the table, though with it being an older house and in the name of simplifying, we do hope it sells.

I think it's responsible. I'm with you. HATE car shopping and don't find it that exciting. Buying a book or board game? THAT is exciting!

seventytwofishes said...

Totally with you on the older car thing. It's so hard to get rid of a car that is paid for! We bit the bullet and sold our 2001 Saturn in January. It was really tough for me. It was my first new car. Everything worked on it. It was still in good shape. However, the clutch was about to go and the brakes were going to need replacing. Decisions. Anyway, it's funny how, even though we are in our forties, we still have the mindset of grad students: save money, scrimp when you can, don't spend on yourself. Old habits die hard, I guess.

Boquinha said...

YES! Those habits are engrained!