Sunday Stills: #Sweet Deals Ahead

Valentine's Day Goodies

Before we begin with this week’s photo challenge, last week our theme was “shadows” and there were many fine examples of shadows. There was also debate and suggestions that some images were really reflections or better yet, projections, rather than a true shadow as the absence of light. As an amateur photographer, I am still learning and appreciate everyone’s feedback. A fun challenge, nonetheless.

This week’s theme is sweet, just in time for Valentine’s Day on Friday.

Sweet Early Spring Blooms
Magnolia Tree Blooms

What’s sweet is that our gray winter is showing the promise of spring. Various trees are already boasting their tender blossoms. Although it has been cold here, it has been sunny which seems to encourage these blooms to emerge mid-February. Fine with me!

A Sweet Deal?

I am still working on my book, but I have been a bit distracted of late. Here’s why.

Some of you have heard that we plan to move out of state once my husband retires early next year in 2021. Spokane, Washington to be exact, on the eastern side of the state near the Idaho border.

Last weekend I flew there to meet a real-estate agent and visit the properties we had our eyes on. Sadly, the properties that seemed so promising online were a bust. So much for good real estate photography!

But, Friday, the day I arrived, my sis-in-law and I toured some manufactured homes, of which my hubby and I are intending to eventually buy once we have some land. Now before you ask or scoff, today’s manufactured homes are “not your granny’s double-wide.” Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Could you see yourself enjoying this kitchen and dining room?

Kitchen and Dining Room Manufactured Home
We like this model. Image Courtesy of Home Boys, Inc

Or this master bath?

Master Bath in Manufactured Home
Example of a BIG Master Bath

Prices? The LOW $100,00s for 1500-1700 square feet. Yes, please.

(A sidebar here: photographing rooms in model homes or getting proper scale for land views is an art unto itself, so I don’t pretend to think these are great photos!)

Upon learning my plans, the GM told me of a deal that might interest me. As one of the premier Clayton manufactured home dealers in Spokane, he has opportunities to buy land and sell package deals. For a ridiculously low price (under $60K), he showed me a totally usable, flat ½ acre parcel with electric, city water, and high-speed fiber internet (a concern for rural folks). We will have to add a septic system, but it is ready to build! The parcel is part of a brand-new subdivision, just released in January.

Here is a look at the land.

Our new backyard
Our new front and backyard?

We negotiated the price with the intent to purchase and build one of their homes in early 2021. We just need to touch up the current home I’ve lived in for 32 years and sell it.

This is life-changing for hubby and I. Not just another chapter but a whole new book! Not only will we be close to hubby’s extended family, but our 15-unit subdivision will offer a sense of community while enjoying rural living.

A sweet deal indeed!

And you thought I would be talking about love, candy and all the sweetness associated with Valentine’s Day.

You might be asking why we would move from sunny Northern California to the cold north? The two main reasons are we want to be close to family, yet live in a city where retirement is attainable. Although we have adult children living in San Diego, I refuse to move to be close to them since they are still mobile, and well, Southern California real estate is ridiculous, along with the traffic. Even staying in Northern California is expensive and we would have had to continue to work until we can draw social security in 7 years.

I never thought I would move away from my current home, but I do love an adventure and rural living. This property is situated 25 miles north of Spokane near the Spokane River. We will be a mile from a marina area and park where we can enjoy water sports, hiking and bike trails, and the great outdoors!

Perhaps this is all somewhat bittersweet, but it gets sweeter, and I daresay, definitely sweeter than this:

Valentine's Day Goodies

Chocolates anyone? Lot’s of sweet deals at the grocery stores!

The magnolia blooms are shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

For this week’s SWEET challenge, share your creative ideas and photos. You don’t have to show us actual sweets unless you choose to, but do share what is sweet to you!

Enjoy your week and your Valentine’s Day!

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Facebook, Second Chances, and Love


Dancing at the Delta!

For Valentine’s Day, I want to share this story that I guest posted on A Momma’s View .

After living in San Diego my whole life, I married young at age 20 to a young man who was from Northern California and ended up moving there. After 17 years we divorced and a few years later I got into another long-term relationship. Some men aren’t the marrying kind, especially in mid-life, so the relationship fizzled out since it was not going to become permanent. I was single again, now aged 48 and figured I was destined to be alone. I was interested in a couple of men but nothing happened.

At my 30-year high school reunion in San Diego, I thought I could meet someone who might be single…geez, I sound like a prowler (not cougar…). So yes, I met someone, but…naaaa! I had hoped to see a couple of men there but they did not attend the event.

Soon after the reunion, someone invited me to Facebook, so I joined, and connected with a large group of high school alumni. Fast forward a few months later, I noticed the photo of a particular man on Facebook who happened to be single (and amazingly still looking for his soul mate!). He was always someone I thought highly of in school (handsome, amazing athlete, you know…). He was still as handsome as ever and had posted pictures of himself windsurfing and was now living in Northern California.

Somehow between a friend request and a couple of e-mails back and forth, we started communicating. Every evening for a week, I would open Facebook hoping for another message, but alas, nothing for several days. So I did what any red-blooded, albeit slightly desperate woman would do, and I e-mailed him my phone number.

Right before Easter, my daughter, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, had broken her arm, so I had to drive there to help her (she had to have surgery, etc). As I was driving, my phone rang and I saw a number I did not recognize. I answered and it was HIM!! His first question was “How are you,” and his second question was, “How is your daughter?”

Wow, handsome AND caring!! He had seen my post. So we yacked for 90 minutes as if we had just spoken the day before. We had not seen each other since our 20-year reunion in 1998. We obviously hit it off and he liked talking on the phone (unusual for most men). He had just gotten back into town and of course I was two hours away helping my daughter; oh the irony!

In between surgery and doctors’ visits with my daughter, we talked on the phone over a four-day period. We made a date for a few days later. Our first date was dinner at Olive Garden. When I drove in to the apartment complex where he was staying with his friend, and as I got out of the car and walked up to him, he put his big arms around me and flat-out just picked me up (I’m not a small gal—5’8’’). In person, his sparkly green eyes and incredible personality was enough to make me swoon (hmm, maybe I should write romance novels…)

Of course dinner went great and we went back to his friend’s place and chatted. They showed me these windsurfing movies and I could see how passionate they were about this sport. So (being a pretty good swimmer and water enthusiast), I looked him in the eye and said, “That looks like fun, maybe you can teach me how to windsurf.” I’m pretty sure it was his turn to swoon!

We're Married
Something he said was funny! Image edited by TWSchrandt

Four and a half years later, we tied the knot at a small church wedding and we are still newlyweds in our mid-50s. I told him just today that I smile every time I think to myself “I’m married and I have a husband.” I consider myself blessed and lucky and I thank God every day for bringing him into my life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!