Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The New Dollard Manor

It's been a month since we moved to our new digs in Clifton, VA, and I'm just now past the middle of a mess. We've been living with boxes strewn about, tons of laundry to wash and glassware and china to dust off (I wanted to make sure everything was clean before putting it away). There are continuous piles of trash, donations, and recyclables to be disposed of properly. Our pictures and mirrors are currently hung wherever a nail already existed (and believe me, the locations make no sense, so when you visit, keep in mind it's not my decorating strategy). The bathrooms all needed sanitizing, and the carpets are more stained than anything I've ever seen in my 20 years as a Realtor. We steam-cleaned them for now, but they need to be replaced. And did I mention the paint colors? You have to see it to believe it. Again, we're living with it for the time being, but repainting is at the top of the list of things to do alongside replacing the carpeting.

We haven't even begun to tackle the outside of the house. I'm amazed by the amount of debris and abandoned garden "chachka" (or tchotchke?) we keep finding all over the place. But a comprehensive walk through and clean-up of the property will have to wait until Spring now that the leaves are down.

Don't get me wrong! I'm not complaining...really. I'm just re-living out loud how enormous the task of moving turned out to be. It's been worth it. I love my new house. We feel right at home here with 6 bedrooms and 6 acres for a family of three. What in the world possessed us to buy such a property, you ask? Well, because (a) we have a large extended family that we want to accommodate; (b) we like to party (as everyone knows) and the house lends itself to that; (c) after two episodes of cancer, I deserve it; (d) it was a good deal; (e) I wanted room for my dog boarding and training business; and (f) Mike needed to experience what a commute is like so that he can relate to 90% of the people who live in Northern VA. Okay, granted we didn't move for the latter reason, but nonetheless, Mike has to drive a little further these days in order to enjoy the peacefulness and outdoor space that he wanted, which we now have. So far everything seems to be working out.

Stay tuned for our open house details. You may actually be invited.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saddle Up for Breast Cancer

I've lost track of the weeks. It's easy to do when you have the rest of your life ahead of you, and thankfully, I do.

I recently attended the horseback "Ride for the Cure," a breast cancer fundraising event, in Middleburg, VA. Middleburg is located in one of the prettiest areas of Virginia. The beautiful Piedmont. Rolling hills, meadows, vineyards, and expensive horse farms. The town of Middleburg is a quaint, historic, pedestrian-friendly enclave of antique shops, galleries, pubs and fine dining establishments. It was a beautiful day, and to add to the scenery, the leaves were starting to glow in shades of yellow, orange and red.

The Middleburg Ride for the Cure was the first equestrian event of its kind, at least in these parts. There were a reported two hundred horses and riders, including my good friend Deidre and her horse Pippin. Our day started off when Deidre ceremoniously pinned a ribbon on me and we (me, Stephanie, Deidre and Pippin) shared a "survivors walk" tribute around one of the sand riding rings. I was wearing sandals so I took them off to walk barefoot. Apparently that was a first, too - which the announcer pointed out over the loudspeaker, trying to be funny. We also had our picture taken by local reporters. Oh well. So what if I wasn't dressed appropriately? It didn't bother me. It's not like I walked in horse manure or anything.

The horses were decked-out in pink ribbons, braided manes and tails, flowers, pink polo wraps and saddle blankets, and the riders sported pink baseball caps, hats, pins and ribbons, pink hairdo's and t-shirts printed with the names and pictures of women they were honoring. It was really something special to behold.

Stephanie and I went into town for a little lunch and window shopping while the actual ride took place. We (people without horses) weren't allowed to walk. Afterwards, we stood at the start/finish line of the route thanking and welcoming back the riders as they returned from the ride. We were a two-person cheering section. It was fun. Goofy, but fun.

Although Stephanie and I didn't stay, the event continued into the evening with a silent auction, dinner and entertainment. Next year we'll make sure we sign-up for the whole thing. I enjoyed myself so much that I think this will be my top choice when it comes to attendiing an annual "breast cancer" event. Who knows...maybe I'll have a horse to ride in the future. I'm pretty sure I could get used to an equestrian lifestyle. With or without my sandals.