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Decisions, Decisions

Nida Spalding loves to read, travel, and spend time with family and friends. She believes that curiosity and persistence are key to happiness and success.

Here we are at the start of another decade. I am trying to catch my breath. The year 2019, by far, was the busiest since I retired five years ago; a year of big decisions.

Deciding to put our rental home on the market was major, one that needed to be made. Once the decision to sell was reached, the floodgates were opened.

Decisions, big and small, needed to be made. Five months was how long it took to renovate then sell the house. More decisions needed to be made afterwards; what to do with the proceeds to make the best financial decision—pay down the mortgage on our current house?

My husband didn't think it was a good idea to put more money in our current house. "It's too late," he said, which made my head spin and my heart skip. What did he mean it's too late?

The house is not paid off, we are still paying every month. Trying to pin down the rationale for his thinking was futile. Instead, I researched and gave him the advantages of doing a mortgage recast. He was persuaded and we agreed to put some of the money into our home sweet home. Next, we had to figure out how to reduce the big capital gains tax bill.

With all that busyness, I didn't have our Christmas tree decorated by Christmas Day. We had gone to Monterey on December 23 and 24, a continuation of my husband's birthday celebration. We had accepted the invitation for Christmas lunch at my cousin's house in Daly City on December 25, something we look forward to each year.


I normally bring my pork roast. This time, I couldn't because we were on the road. I offered to bring drinks and dessert instead. I am the one who prepares the roast, buys the presents, and does the planning. My husband does the driving, my son handles the lifting and carrying.

My decision to go along with my husband's plan to go to Monterey before December 25, created a minor inconvenience. We drove to Monterey with drinks and presents then searched for dessert at Costco. But we survived.

We spent December 26 through December 31 going through our closets and donating stuff to charity. On December 30, I carved out time to decorate my two table top Christmas trees.

There are 12 days of Christmas starting December 25 and ending January 6. I wasn't late. My husband treated us to dinner at Paesano's in Elk Grove on New Year's Eve. I entertained the idea of preparing dinner at home but went along with my husband's plan. Going out meant less things for me to do or decide.

On New Year's afternoon, I decided to invite Denise, my friend, neighbor, and walking buddy to our home for dessert, at 6:30 p.m.

I had a Claim Jumper blackberry pie and chocolate chip cookie dough in my freezer. I also had a bottle of Witching Hour red blend wine. I just wanted to have company and Denise was the perfect choice. Denise said, "Yes," and brought a tub of Trader Joe's French Vanilla ice cream.

Without my prodding, my 18-year-old son lingered at the dinner table listening to the conversation. Denise texted me the following day to say she felt my son's joy and that she "was greeted with many smiles across the dinner table." Having Denise over made the evening fun.

The decision didn't involve a lot of work but yielded warm, happy feelings. I look forward to making decisions like this one in 2020.

~ Nida Spalding
























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