About Me

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Western North Carolina, United States
I am a 62 year old wife and mother of two grown sons, happily living with my darling husband, two dogs and a cat in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I have moved a lot in my life and, in the process, had more than a few professional incarnations. I have been a midwife with a home-birth practice, waitress, classroom teacher, computer programmer, secretary, bookkeeper, and even a car sales person. I have always loved sewing and managed to use my skills in that area to put a little money in my pocket since I was seven and started making doll clothes for friends in the neighborhood. A little over eleven years ago, a friend drug me to my first bear show to get my mind off a health crisis in the life of my younger son, Seth. I made Mickey with his lady bug, took him to a show and the rest, as they say, is history. Now I am hooked on bears and happily designing and making the furry critters as fast as my little fingers can stitch them up.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

18 May 2009

As many of you who know me personally may know, I have a grandson who lived with us while his father was stationed over seas. Since our son came home and got out of the Army, we have been struggling with several issues. Number one on that list is how to maintain our relationship with the little guy without standing in the way of the big guy as he tries to re-establish a relationship with his son. Trust me, such a thing is definitely NOT easy to do. The current economic situation has complicated this thorny problem, so has the fact that our son's marriage did not survive leaving grandparents with a conundrum.

How do two people with very busy professional lives and very limited funds manage to afford frequent week-end field trips of 500 miles or so? We can't afford hotel or even motel stays, but if we leave on Saturday morning, we don't get there till late afternoon. Then we have just the evening to visit and then must turn around to leave just after breakfast on Sunday. It's not much of a visit. On top of that, it's impossible for us to stay in our son's apartment when we visit. He's recently remarried and his new wife comes to the marriage with a daughter. The apartment was small before he remarried. Adding two more people, no matter how wonderful, to the mix has made it nearly impossible to make room for guests, leaving us very clearly behind the financial 8 ball.

As if the issues surrounding our grandson were not enough, we have others. My husband is a school principal working a full hour, one way, from our home. We live in the mountains where winters can make travel after dark dicey. Add to that the requirement of a principal to attend school events that sometimes keep him at work as late as 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. With a full hour required to drive home and an equal time to return to a job that requires his presence at or before 7:00 a.m., sleep, getting fed and taking care of personal hygiene must be squeezed into a time frame far too small to accommodate them.

Another issue for us is one of aging parents. My father and both my husband's parents live more than a hard two days drive from us. We need to be able to visit but cannot stay with either when we are visiting. Once again, that leaves us with the cost of getting there and back plus the cost of finding accommodations while we are there. Of late, we have been tearing our hair out attempting to find one answer that addresses all these issues. Up until a several weeks ago, we were making no headway. Then our bank made us an offer we just could not refuse. They agreed to refinance our home at a significantly lower interest rate for a much shorter term and manage to lower our monthly payment in the bargain. To add frosting on this cake, they offered to do it with no closing costs beyond an appraisal of our home. In the current economic situation, we worried that our house might have dropped in value. It was a huge and very welcome surprise to learn that just the opposite had occurred. Our house had appreciated in value giving us an opportunity to cash out a small amount in equity.

Our windfall was nowhere near what we needed to put so much as a band-aide on our travel and accommodation costs for any of the three issues mentioned above. It was, however, just exactly enough to put a down payment on a used motor home. The motor home is being sold at a huge loss as a part of an estate sale with the heir agreeing to hold a zero percent loan in return for a down payment that just happens to be exactly the amount of our windfall. The RV has been thoroughly checked out by our mechanic and deemed in exceptionally good condition. We have gotten permission to park the RV for free at a business near my husband's school. Even considering the cost of gas, we figure we will be able to afford to visit our son & grandson, both our parents and have my husband able to stay near his school several nights a week without the $700+ we would have to spend renting even the most humble of abodes. So. . .I'm off to Texas next month to pick it up and drive it back here. I am not looking forward to that long trip but a dear friend has agreed to come along and share the driving. We'll have several days to visit while we make our way back home.
Shelley, the NCTeddyBearLady

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