I was up early this morning, enjoying the fresh cold air and watching the clouds being painted with a soft baby pink with soft baby blue sky behind it, something only the very best of Victorian painters could only hope to capture. And the wonderful sense of stillness before anyone had to scurry off to work today. I enjoy moments like that.
And it surprised me to be up early after such a busy weekend.
To start we had a bit of a surprise Saturday night and a good one as well.
My brother and his family came over Saturday to help decorate the Black Christmas tree in the Entrance hall and decorate the house for Christmas and we had a pot luck supper afterwards as we relaxed with coffee (for adults) hot cider (for the children) and dessert, when my brother made an announcement, they are in the process of selling their old house and buying a "fixer-upper" much closer to me and Sis.
It's near the house of my sister-in-law's aunt (Trisha you know what city) and what they did was make a deal with the remaining family member who does not want it at all and wants to get it off of his hands quickly and not go through all the bidding wars.
My brother and his wife had been considering for sometime a larger house anyway, the boys are jammed into one small bedroom and the oldest is needing his space, so they knew they would need a 4 bedroom house and also figure out a way for 3 bathrooms or 3 1/2 bathrooms.
Well Monica's aunt was friends with the elderly couple who lived in this very large house, but when the husband died, the wife did not want to live in the house anymore, so their oldest son was happy to have her move in with him, but also didn't want to go through the hassle of the sale of his parents home, Monica's aunt put the man in touch with my brother and her niece, and through the assistance of a real estate agent that my brother knows, they are hammering out the deal.
It will mean that the children are going to be changing schools, but my brother said that he will have them finish out the school year at their current schools and do the change during the Summer break, moving will be enough of a change for them, even though it means commuting to get them to school and making arrangements with their soon to be former neighbors to pick the children up and watch them after school lets out, but they and the neighbors children are good friends, it will mean that any after school events are out unless the neighbors children are also involved.
And instead of them taking nearly an hour to come to my place or to go to work, it will only be 15 minutes, much closer to where my brother and sister in law work and her aunt is close by to pick up the children from school and monitor them (mostly the two younger ones)
Coralline was just bursting with this news "It's a Victorian Auntie!!! A Victorian!!!"
And my brother said "And it needs work that is why we got it at such a very good price", the good thing he said is that the foundation is earthquake resistant, because nothing is proof. But the first thing it will need is a new roof "it has a leak or two, but the whole roof will have to be replaced"
Monica asked if I could be of some help "I want to keep it as original as possible but we'll need a few modern things--like central heating, but I don't want things ripped out" But she did stress that a "Man Cave" to watch their sports programs was going to be down in the Basement. "I want that Dickens' feel" she said of the main part of the house, it seems that my home has inspired her.
But I was surprised to hear my oldest nephew say "it be nice if the 'man-cave' was like one of those Victorian men's clubs" to the moans of the twins, but surprisingly my brother was all for that, "all in keeping with the theme" he said, then he told the twins when they can each afford a home of their own they can decorate it any way they want.
Of course I am all for it!
The sale of their current house will cover the purchase of the new one, pay off the RV and still give them funds for some of the major work that needs to be done on the house.
When is the move going to happen they don't exactly know, but it will be as soon as the elderly owner moves into her son's home, but it could be at least a month possibly more.
In the mean time bids are coming in fast and furious on my brother's house, "We're going to have to store stuff for a while until we can move in" he said and I said "You can always stay with me" Sis chimed in and said that if it was too much for my house they could also split staying at her house with my brother and the boys with her and Monica and Coralline at my house.
We'll see how this all works out, but I was amused at how Coralline was dancing around with a dreamy look on her face and humming the Snowflake waltz, and also with some serious questions from my oldest nephew.
He asked if he could come with Sis, his Mom, Coralline and me to the Dickens' fair, we were planning to do it yesterday and next weekend. I said that was fine and his face brightened up as he said "Auntie said its O.K. Mom!"
My brother gave me the evil eye and said "So I'm stuck with the twins while we watch the Battle of the Bay?" I said "teach them how hard it is to catch a football in the rain or cheer for one Bay Area team or the other."
But it puzzled me why my oldest nephew is now so interested in Victorian things, after all Sunday was the 49'ers/Raiders game, he'd never miss that, so as Monica and I were in the kitchen cleaning up things she told me that after last year Coralline could not stop talking about the Dickens Fair and Dunsmuir House, and at a Library book sale he found a copy of "The Boys' Sherlock Holmes" which had selected short stories, he read it voraciously and then found the complete Sherlock Holmes stories on the family book shelf, started reading it and became interested in the history of the Victorian period.
It happened slowly with him asking Coralline about Victorian things, Monica told me that Coralline has been helping him and they research it together.
"And the Twins?" I asked, "Still sports nuts, rooting for the 49'ers, Raiders, A's and Giants, they still bounce off the walls, of course your brother doesn't help." but she told me he also encourages my nephews' new interest.
"Do you know your brother took him to the "Skulls" exhibit without the Twins and they had a fantastic time?" she told me.
I was surprised at that news because earlier when the exhibit opened we all had gone together to see it earlier in the year, of course the twins were like well like any young group of boys "Gross and neat".
"Now he wants to go to see the History section over at the Museum but without the Twins to bug them" I said I'd be happy to take him and Coralline to see the exhibits there. Monica was grateful for that, it would take pressure off of her.
After they left I talked this over with my sister and she said "He's growing up, finding his interest, who knows where it will take him"
Sunday we went to the Dickens Fair and he got hooked! It was amusing to see his head just turning this way and that, trying to take it all in, but the presentations in Mr. Dickens' Parlor where we saw a magic show, the Adventures Club and the one that does Jules Vern type things grabbed his attention.
I think Archie the Sea Monster tickled his fancy, he was studying the displays and asking very serious questions from one of the gentlemen there who very kindly answered each and every one, he was so intrigued that at the Book Shop I found a copy of "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", and surprised him with it, much to his delight.
As we ate Fish and Chips I told him that in reading Vern, Doyle and Dickens he'll get an idea of how they spoke back then, but Coralline was not left out, I bought her a cape and gloves for her as well as a purse, my nephew didn't know how, for his age he should dress, but we did get some suggestions from the clothier, how he could build up his own costume for next weekend.
Of course they had to play the children's games and saw the characters from Dickens' novels come to life, so I decided that I would go to Barnes and Nobel and get them each a copy of "A Christmas Carol", they have reproductions in beautiful bindings.
But by 7 p.m. it was getting late for them and with one last meal for their dinner and some roasted Chestnuts to eat on their way home, the two of them could not stop talking about what they saw.
We arrived at my home where my brother, Doyle and the Twins had watched the football game, the twins talked about the game but their older brother told them about the giant squid!
Monica asked about other Victorian houses in the area where during the year they could take tours, and I mentioned a few such as the Pardee Mansion, Ardenwood Farm, and a few others and said I'd be happy to gather up the information and we could make plans.
Who had it better, the Twins with their football games or Coralline and Chris at the Dickens Faire with a Giant Squid? I don't know but the hugs my Sister and I received from Coralline and Chris told us that they had a wonderful Dickens of a time.