Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A card for Allyson and info on our new condo and town

Hi friends,

So I made a birthday card for my new neighbor Allyson.  I used a fun Taylored Expression stamp and since my inspiration was from Pinterest this is now eligible for the TE birthday challenge.

First, let me show you my card that I made for Allyson.

Next I will show you Tammie's card which was my pinterest inspiration.

I loved how Tammie did that blue speckling behind her image.  I'm not quite that skilled but did add a blue background to the edge of my image to try to match it.

Since this card is for my new neighbor I thought today would be a good time to give everyone an update on our new place.

So, we've been in our condo for 2 months now and the novelty has worn off, the boxes mostly unpacked and we are on to living our new 'downsized' life.  It's mostly been very positive but now that the newness has worn off I'm ready to admit that not everything about the downsized life is perfect.  Did anyone expect it to be?  I didn't. So let's start with the positive.

I love the fact that my husbands alarm goes off at 5:45am and not 4:45am.  In our old house he had to leave for work at 5:30am to make the 1 1/2 hour drive.  And he wouldn't get home till 6:30pm.  I love the fact that he now eats breakfast at home with me and goes to the gym a few nights a week after work.  He doesn't look quite so tired and that is a really good thing.  I also love that it only takes me 30 minutes to get to work.  In the past it would take anywhere between 50 minutes to 90 minutes for me to make the drive.  Not only do I like the extra time but there was a huge emotional stress that came along with the 'unknown' of the drive.  If I had a 9:00am meeting I would have to leave my house by 7;15 because I never knew what kind of day it would be driving.   Here in our new place, it's never more than 45 minutes unless something really unexpected is going on (which hasn't happened to me yet.)

I love all the restaurants that are all around us now.  We have so many restaurants within a 10 minute drive of our house it is crazy.  And if we drive an extra 10 minutes we have all the restaurants in Cambridge, Brookline and Boston at our fingertips.  As new empty nesters we now eat out about once a week and there are so many great options it is super fun to try them.   And here in this area there is rarely a wait for a table for 2.  In our old house we would have to drive 30 minutes to find any restaurants (besides pizza or fast food) and then we'd often wait 30-60 minutes to get a table.  Very nice.

I love the first floor and the third floor of our condo.  The first floor is a front to back open concept room that includes a very large kitchen, a dining area and a living area.  It's very nice and comfortable. Below are some photo's I took so you can see what a nice space it is.  It is open and bright with lots of light coming in the windows.  Love it!

On the third floor we also have a front to back room that is a mixed use space.  In one corner is a nice double bed that works perfectly for overnight guests.  In the other corner is a 'man cave' type of TV viewing area.  A nice leather loveseat and a big screen TV.  This is a perfect spot for Bob to watch a game by himself or for me to watch a Downton Abbey episode (or two - yes I'm addicted) or for the two of us to watch a movie together.  And in the middle is my craft desk that doubles as a desk area for making phone calls (either work conference calls or just other calls where you want to place to sit and write.)  Note:  I like to 'keep it real' on my blog so notice the super messy craft desk area.  Yes, I'm a sloppy crafter (I had just made this beautiful birthday card at the top of the blog) and no I'm terrible about picking up after myself.  Sorry it's not 'pinterest' beautiful but I wanted to show you the space.  Refer to a previous post if you want to see my craft area in pristine condition.

So I'm sure you are wondering 'what's wrong with the second floor?'  Well, it's not awful but I don't love it.  The second floor has two bedrooms and two bathrooms.  The rooms are small, the air doesn't flow very well between the space and I have a not so great teeny, tiny laundry area.  The second floor is also where I notice the traffic the most.  In the front bedroom during rush hour it is pretty loud.  Cars, trucks, buses all going by, horns honking, trucks shifting gears.  Not especially pleasant.  And the laundry.  Somehow the washing machine will only wash in either very hot water or warm water.  There is no way (that I have found and trust me I've tried every setting) to get a cold cycle.  I have already ruined several items of clothing (sob - lululemon cute green yoga top) with a lack of cold.  My dear husband Bob has agreed to look at it and possible replace it soon.  But in the mean-time, I'm not loving it.  We are still working on the master bedroom and it's cute, but small.  I have added a fan and we ran the A/C a lot this summer (another plus for the condo - our old house had no A/C) and I'm adjusting to the lack of nice breezes in the sleeping areas.

The other thing I don't love about our new downsized life is Waltham drivers and Waltham traffic intersections.   Oh my word - are they obnoxious.  First, if you drive down the main street (Rte 20) and you want to go through several lights to get to the other side of town you have to constantly move from the left lane to the right lane and then back again.  Each light has a 'right turn only' or a 'left turn only' lane and it switches all the time. When we first drove it we were always in the wrong lane and the drivers in this town are not forgiving.  They honked (all of them) and cut you off and made you afraid for your life!  Second there are a number of intersections that are beyond confusing.  In one intersection, Gore Street, Warren Street and Rte 20 all come together.  If you are trying to cross over Rte 20 on Gore Street, it is impossible to really know if you have the right of way.  The light shows you an arrow pointing right, but you need to go left.  If you go left you never know if someone coming from the other direction will side swipe you.  If you stop and wait, the light NEVER GIVES YOU ANYTHING BUT a right arrow and everyone around you honks drives past you and gives you the finger.  So we go left and hold our breath. Don't worry I wasn't driving when I took these pictures.  I was a passenger in my husbands car!  I've learned that when the right arrow is green, no other cars have green so I'm a little more confident crossing, but the other thing about Waltham drivers is that they all run red lights - especially at weird intersections like this one.  So basically I hold my breath as I cross any intersection in town.

And if I thought Waltham drivers were bad, they are MUCH worse in Cambridge and Somerville.  I drove Bob into Somerville one Saturday and I've never heard so many horns honking in my life!  And it was a Saturday at 10:00am.  And I wasn't doing anything wrong!  Crazy.

So the red light below may mean stop or it may mean go.... you never know.  I just do what the car in front of me does and if I'm the lead car and I'm stopped, if the cars behind me beep, I crawl into the intersection slowly and run the light like everyone else.
So the right arrow below means you can go straight or turn left.  Go figure!
So, that's basically the love/hate relationship with the new downsized life.  Thankfully the positives outweigh the negatives and I think we'll get used to most of these things over time.  My friend says that very soon I'll be giving other drivers the finger too.  I really hope that I don't deal with the traffic and drivers by turning into them but ask me again in a few years!

Thanks for visiting my blog today.  Stop back later this week for a cute Denami baby card!


Regina Mangum said...

What a cute card, Linda! I love how you were inspired. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Hi. Found your blog quite by accident and really enjoyed reading about your new place. I'm originally from UK but have lived in Spain for 15 years and also love Downton Abbey. The thing is, no place is perfect.You've made me laugh about the bad driving.
Love your cards and I'll keep looking.
Take care Val x

Shannon White said...

Beautiful Card Linda!! Love the pretty Fall image and your take on Tammies card too! Just Super! So glad you could join in the fun at Taylored Expressions! 8-)

Karen said...

Oh my, you made me laugh about driving in Waltham - just too funny! I have to say, I can't imagine you flipping the bird - maybe the Queen's wave...

I love your new place! It looks so handsome and cozy. I can't wait to visit (someday, before you move out!) Your craft/cave/guest room looks bright and inviting; I hope you find lots of inspiration there. I noticed you didn't include any photos of the second floor... hope you find something to like about it. (Hey, did you check to make sure the cold water valve is turned on??)