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Archive for June, 2011

Why hello!  So nice of you to stop by.  Don’t you just love my little elephant?  Isn’t he the cutest little thing that you ever did see!  I especially love his little tail. Please don’t mind the door knob.  I know it’s rather dented and squished and looks as if a troll tried to pry it off.  We have a new door knob that we haven’t installed yet.  It’s sitting with all of the other Home Depot purchases which haven’t yet been installed.  Eventually we’d also like to get new front doors to, but alas, like every other home improvement project, my vision and Dave’s are completely different.  I’d like to get doors that are complete glass.

Me:  It would be like extra windows.  Then we can have more light and see more of our beautiful view!

Dave:  Then anyone could see right into the house!

Me:  Just another reason to keep the house clean.

Dave:  What about strangers or burglars?  What if the kids are home alone? 

Me:  That’s a good point.

Dave:  What if we decide to walk around naked and the neighbors pop over to borrow some sugar?

Me:  I don’t think that’s a very likely scenario.

Anyways, come in! For some reason the state of Washington seems to love split level homes.  Almost every home we looked at in our price range was a split level.  They have some kind of sick fascination with stairs.  Walk up a dozen stairs to get to the front door, and then walk up a dozen stairs to get to the main floor, or walk down a dozen stairs to get to the lower level.  I think I walk up more stairs in our new house than I did in the old house.  This is how I justify those chocolate chip cookies.  I’m constantly walking up or down some stairs.

I know, you’d like to come upstairs because you’re probably hungry and parched, but the upstairs is messy and Dave is sick.  Some kind of tree is trying to pollinate the whole Eastside and it’s causing dave to sneeze like crazy.  Come downstairs!  I’ll show you around.

We could go left and follow McKayla to her room, but it’s really not company ready.  She’s been attempting to clean it all morning and it still looks as if she was either a)burgled in the middle of the night or b)the FBI came in searching for something and left nothing unturned, no clothes left in any dresser or closet or c)the Tasmanian devil was let loose and destruction and mayhem ensued.

So instead we shall press on.  The laundry room is straight ahead.  Normally I’d leave the door shut because you’re company, and the laundry room isn’t the prettiest room.  Alas, the rotto rooter plumber has me all concerned about BTU’s and explosions so I make sure to leave the door open for the maximum amount of oxygenation while I’m doing laundry.

Yes, that is a hose inside our house.  I’m not quite sure why, but something leaks and we have one.  Thank goodness for the drain in the middle of the floor.  That unsightly yellow hose: the gas line.  And even though it’s ugly and unsightly, I love it.  It means dry clothes.  I tried line drying here in the pacific northwest, I’m pretty sure it’s near impossible.  I started telling the kids that they had to reuse their clothes.  Pants were good for a week.  Shirts, heck, we don’t go anywhere, they are good for a week too!  I will let you change your undies and socks daily though. I think everyone was thankful for that gas line.

I am very excited that my canning supplies get a whole bank of cupboards. It makes me feel very domestic and self-sufficient.

I especially love the cupboards themselves.  They are from the sixties.  They are metal and have the niftiest latches.  Michael said that every time he opens the cupboard he feels like he should put on his seat belt because he should be in a car.

What is that on the window ledge?  It’s a decapitated vampire.  What else?  I’m making sure that the vampires know they aren’t welcome here.  or maybe Mr. Vampire fell apart in the wash because we had a case of the stomach flu and a four-year-old threw up all over him.  Either way,  it’s not pretty.

But the view, it’s gorgeous!

This laundry room was definitely not designed by a woman though.  I am thankful that they didn’t stick a toilet in the corner like many of the houses we looked at.  I don’t know about the rest of the population, but I don’t want a kid pooing while I have to get into the laundry room to add the fabric softener.  Our bathroom is down the hall towards McKayla’s room

Yes, that’s the garage at the end of the hall.  It’s not very fun.  I’ll save that one for another day.  Please ignore the carpet.  We’d like to replace it, but we’ve decided that all trades must be at full employment here.  We can’t get a carpet guy to call us back, let alone come out to the house.  No, I’m not sure what those stains are on the hall carpet.  McKayla has deduced blood.  I’m really at a loss with that one.

This bathroom is right next door to McKayla’s room and she thinks we should move the door and make it a master bathroom.  I think she’s crazy. Her room still isn’t clean.  Let’s go to the game room.  Wait!  Let me show you the game closet first!

These games have seen a lot of use lately.  The kids drag them outside and play an intense game of stratego in the garage waiting for the sun to shine.

Dave:  What is your favorite part of our new house?

Jacob:  The game closet!  I like how I can see all of my games!  I also like how there is a lightbulb up high and a string from the ceiling.  You pull the string and the light goes on.  There is also a little bell at the end of the string.  I don’t know why there is a bell, but I like it.  The only thing I don’t like is that a spider lives in that closet.

On to the game room. Please excuse the boxes underneath everything.   We have no book shelves in our new home and the only thing left unpacked are all of the books.  Probably close to 20 boxes of books.  I see a trip to ikea in our future.


Isn’t that a nice pool table?  Dave made that.  We can play pool or air hockey or darts. The boys spend lots of time playing pool.  I think Marshall is considering how much time he would need to invest to go pro.

No that’s not an alien in the corner, it’s the fireplace. It’s a good thing there is a fireplace down here because it’s chilly!

 

What is that in the corner?  It’s a pew.  In case we decide to start holding church at our house.  Church, immediately followed by bar activities. The pew also works as great seating. Next to the pew is the wet bar.  Thank goodness we have one, because it stores things like the ice cream maker and the slushie maker and the blender.  All of those frozen product appliances which I’m not quite sure if it will be warm enough here for.

Next to the game room is Mike’s room.  We let the kids choose the colors for their rooms and the only thing Mike wanted was army green and a star.  I guess he’s a one star general.

Last year for Christmas Dave and I made Mike a GI Joe army command center.  Complete with a camouflage paint job and boarded up windows.  There are even gun holes in the windows in case they are attacked by enemy fire.  It has found the perfect spot in Mike’s new room.

And we can’t forget the legos.  Yes, I spent a whole afternoon sorting legos by color.  Also, note that Mike doesn’t have a real door.  It’s an accordion file thing that doesn’t actually fit the door frame.  Eventually he’ll get a door.  Eventually all of the furniture will be painted the same color too.  Right now though, I’m rather sick of painting.

Also note the small shelf which surrounds the perimeter of our house.  I’m not sure why there is a shelf around the house.  I guess in case we were the kind of people who loved knick knacks, which we are not.  Mike loves the shelf.  It holds his trophies.  I can’t tell you how proud I am of that small star trophy.  Mike was awarded clubber of the year for Awanas. He finished three books, memorizing more than 100 bible verses this year.  He came to meetings with a good attitude, he encouraged his friends, was nice to everyone, and was a good sport even when he didn’t win.   Basically it means that he’s awesome!

Sometimes the small shelf is used to wage a full battle on small-scale proportions.

Next to Mike’s room is Marshall’s. Little by little, his room is turning more and more into a teenagers.  Most of the toys were put into Mike’s room.  The first thing he set up was his stereo,

shortly followed by his trophies.

Marshall: “I think every one of my trophies was damaged in the move.  None of Mike’s were even scratched”

Me:  “Yours are all much larger than Mike’s.  I guess that’s one of the perils of being so amazing.  Your trophy might get broken.”

This room has also been categorized as the scariest.  I’m not sure exactly why though.

Mike:  At our old house we had street lights.  Here we just have dark.

Me:  I know but your room has more windows than Marshall’s.  Why is his scarier?  You even have a door.

Mike:  I know. 

We are on the hunt for something that is not a night-light.  Maybe a neon bar sign which is not actually a bar sign might do it.

I’d show you McKayla’s room, but it’s still not clean.  Maybe next time.

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I don’t actually know if they offer dial-up internet any more, maybe that’s gone by the way side with things like cassette tapes and rotary telephones.  Regardless, this is the picture post. The one with all the photos of my house.

I’ve told Dave that my winter project, (the project I’ll work on while the sun disappears and the days are short and it rains endlessly.  The project that will be in the garage under UV Vitamin B lights.)  will be to make a new mail box, something garishly tacky and obnoxious.  Something that I can tell people, “We’re the house with the bright neon mermaid mailbox.”  or maybe “You can’t miss our house, Our mailbox is shaped like Pinocchio being eaten by the whale”.  or maybe “Our house has a mailbox shaped like the Last Supper.”  I haven’t really settled on the exact one yet.  All I know is it will be amazing!

We need some kind of landmark to point our house out. Otherwise the small driveway is rather easy to miss.

McKayla:  You can hardly see our driveway.  If those trees grew a bit more our driveway might disappear forever.

Me:  There is some cement preventing some growth. 

McKayla:  I feel like this is the beginning of a scary movie.  Dave could rip up the drieveway and plant a tree and no one would even know there was a house here.  One day he could come home and kill us all with a chainsaw. 

Me:  Okay, well if your dad decides to rip up the driveway, we now know to be scared.

We have found salmon berries. Which I think taste like dirt.  Yay,dirt berry , I mean salmon berry  jam for everyone this year!  Our neighbor told us that salmon berries have a taste that only kids can taste, something about Peter Pan’s magical fruit. He also said that it was a little early in the season, I’m hoping that as they ripen they taste better.

We have also discovered tons of strawberries with lots of little strawberries on them.  I’ve promised ice cream for the discovery of any edible fruit or berry on our property.

We have an amazing slope to our drive way that is just big enough to make for some exciting biking but not quite big enough to detour those with training wheels.  We also have some resident bats which will soon be getting new bat boxes.  Anything to make those mosquito eaters happy. Both options to the drievway lead to our house.  It just depends if you want to come the regular way, or if you are feeling a little bit feisty and want to sneak up on us.

And there is our new home. Technically, I can park in the garage, but we don’t have a garage clicker yet.  I don’t have the patience to wait for a kid to run up the stairs, unlock the front door, run through the house and then open the garage door.  I tried once, but the kid sent on the mission decided to go to the bathroom and then completely forgot we were waiting in the car, in the rain.  and he went off and played in his room.

The view from the front porch.

I don’t know why there is only one solar light on the porch. I’m not sure if he’ll get 7 more friends or he’ll find his way to a treehouse.  So far we don’t know what kind of lighting we need because it doesn’t get dark until nearly 10 pm and we haven’t arrived home in the dark yet.  Something about spending every waking moment painting and fixing stuff around the house, have us homebound.

Barely visible under the trees is a picnic table.  That’s where the kids are forced to eat lunch at during the summer.  I have instituted an “outside and playing or an inside and napping”  rule.  The best part about that picnic table is that it’s under the tree cover, it doesn’t get very wet.  The kids don’t know it yet, but they might be playing outside in the rain.  I will turn these city kids into forest kids sooner or later.  I think the addition of a tree house will really help me.

and the back side.

Please note the absence of patio furniture.  I didn’t move any patio furniture  and Dave and I can’t agree on which kind to buy.  All I know is that I needed a chair outside of our room so that I have somewhere to escape and talk on the phone.  A sports chair is getting the job done for now.

Also, please note the large BBQ.  The BBQ didn’t move with us either.  Dave could totally decide on which bbq he wanted though.

Also note the two dead trees in the back of the photo.  Dave is convinced he is a lumber jack and wants to cut them down.  It turns out that all of his engineer friends also think they are lumber jacks too.  They are organizing a tree cutting party.  I am organizing a spa trip.

I took a picture from the house looking out into the back yard, but it’s just green.  An acre of green trees.

 

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Homesick…

I never imagined I would be this homesick.  Honestly,  I was looking forward to this move with lots of excitement.  It is absolutely gorgeous here in the pacific northwest.  Our home is gorgeous. I was excited to see dave more often, not sporadically between commuting and international travel, but predictably at six every night.  I was excited to send McKayla to a terrific school.  I was plain excited. I had really pumped myself up.

But somewhere this weekend, I became homesick.  I mean really homesick.  Homesick like a nine-year-old away at summer camp for the whole long summer.   I missed everyone and everything.  I  became all leaky.  I would stop what I was doing and realize that I was crying.  These weren’t big racking sobs that scare the kids but they were silent tears.  They were like ninja tears, they were stealthy and sneaky.  I had no idea it was even going to happen, all of a sudden, I was teary, crying big crocodile tears.

I cried because I made Tanya’s absolutely perfect chocolate chip cookies and I missed her.

I cried because we had our first party and none of my friends were there and I’m pretty sure that my new best friend wasn’t here either.  I’m not quit sure who she is, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t here.

I cried because the movers were coming to Tanya’s house on Monday.  The next time we see each other might be across the continent.  It might involve an entirely different ocean.  Hopefully it will involve an airplane and not my minivan.

I cried because it was Father’s Day and I was so far away from my Dad and Grandpa.

I cried because my sister was with my Dad.

I cried because we went to church and they sang all the songs that we always sing at our church back in Manteca.  I cried because there wasn’t anyone dancing over on the right side of the sanctuary. Yes, right in the middle of “My God is an Awesome God”  I realized my eye balls were leaking again.

I cried because Dave had homework.

I cried because I had been painting for days and still had 3 bathrooms, a large game room and a kitchen left to paint.

I cried because I missed all of my in-laws and I knew they were probably all together, doing something fun.

I cried because my jeans are a little too tight because I tried to soothe myself with Tanya’s chocolate chip cookies.

At this point, I decided to just go back to bed.

I woke up hours later feeling a little bit better.  I thought about getting out of bed.  Then Frank The Cat came and laid next to me.  I  started to pet him.   In Manteca, Frank had a little harem of cat’s that followed him around.  They’d wait at the door for him to come out and play.  He’d eat at their houses and sometimes he’d invite them all in for a cup of tea.  I kid you not, Dave and I looked up one evening and he walked in and was followed by some friends.  Poor Frank, he didn’t have any friends either, and he probably never would because I wont let him outside.  And then I started to cry for Frank.  Big heaping sobs.

A few phone calls, a bottle of wine, and a some video games made me feel a little bit better.

A day of moping about and doing nothing made me feel well rested and completely worthless.  When Dave came home from work yesterday he asked me what I did.  “Um, I got dressed and took the kids to the library so that I wouldn’t have to pay a late fee for Avatar: Season 2.  But I’m in my pajamas again and I’m going to serve quesadillas for dinner, and I might make the kids eat them outside, and I might lock the door.”

But today, before I opened my eyes.   I prayed.  I thought of Psalm 118:24, “For this is the day the LORD has made, let us be glad and rejoice”.  I decided to be productive.  I decided to stop moping.  I decided to stop leaking.   I know that I will have new friends, eventually.  I know that I will see my family, soon.  I know that things will get better.

And I opened my eyes.  It was beautiful.  There was sunshine.  It was warm.  Today, the first day of summer, in my new home, was absolutely gorgeous.

And tonight, as I looked up Psalm 118, I realize how incredibly blessed I am.  How I am infinitely cared for and loved.

Psalm 118

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
 his love endures forever.

2 Let Israel say:
His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the LORD say:
His love endures forever.

5 When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD;
he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper.
I look in triumph on my enemies.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
   but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my defense[a];
   he has become my salvation.

15 Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
 16 The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
   the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
   you have become my salvation.

22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The LORD has done it this very day;
   let us rejoice today and be glad.

25 LORD, save us!
LORD, grant us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.[b]
27 The LORD is God,
   and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up[c] to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
   you are my God, and I will exalt you.

29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
   his love endures forever.

Thank you.

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Last month I had to shop around for homeowners insurance.  I wish that everything had a simple web page.  I wish that you could fill in all of your pertinent information and then wait for the email offers from different companies start filtering into your inbox.  Instead, I had to call around to every insurance company I could think.  Each agent had different questions that they were required to ask.

Do you have a trampoline?  no, but the kids really want one.

Do you plan to run a business out of your home.  I hope not. 

What is the foundation like?  Good?  I don’t know.  Big? What are you looking for here?

What kind of roof do you have?  shake. 

How old is your roof?  I have no idea.  It’s in good shape though.  No leaks!  I heard it’s not as old as the house though.

How old is the house?  I don’t know late 70’s

Do you know anything?  No.

Are there any upgrades?  Unfortunately no.

Is there a smoke detector?  I don’t know.  There will be one when we live there.

How far are you from the closest fire hydrant?  I don’t know, but seriously we are moving to Washington, do things ever dry out enough to catch fire?

Do you want earthquake insurance?  No, I’m pretty sure that my California earthquakes are going to trump your Washington earthquakes.  When was the last time you had a big one?

Is there copper piping?  seriously?  I have no idea.

Would you like flood insurance?  Does it flood there? 

My personal favorite though:

Her:  “Are there any animals?”

Me:   ” I don’t know.  I guess there could be wild animals.  We live in the middle of the forest.  We own 2 acres of forest.  But it’s within a city block, so I’m not really sure.  Do animals cross the street?  We are only 5 miles from the closest Target and Jamba Juice, so I don’t think we are really in the animal danger zone.  I think it would be cool if we had some deer.  I’ve never actually seen any at the house though.  I did see some squirrels.  Do you know if the squirrels in Washington carry the Bubonic Plague.  Really, what are you looking for?”

Her:  I just wanted to know if you had any pets? 

Me:  Oh, we have a cat.

Her:  Is it a predatory cat?

Me:  I guess, all cats are kinda predatory. He’s cought a few dragonflies.

Her:  I mean is it a tiger?

Me:  No.  felina domestica.

and I hung up from that conversation feeling like a moron.  A moron, but safe, no predatory animals in my neighborhood.

And then I met George, our neighbor.

As I toured his acreage we talked about gardening and chickens and the possiblity of a minicow.  I have decided that George and I will become great friends.  In exchange for my 5 slave labor,  weed pickers, rock diggers, chicken poop shovelers children, I plan to have the farm I’ve always wanted, just at his house not mine.  I have all of the shade, while he has all of the sunlight.  I have the trees and he has the meadow.  He is an avid gardener, and I can’t wait to learn how to garden in the pacific northwest from him. Plus he works on the Xbox team and what could be more cooler than a gardening engineer?

George showed me his chickens, garden, compost pile, broken down tractor, green house and gave me a tour of the property.   After 10 or 15 minutes I told him I really had to go, I hadn’t even told the kids I was going to be coming over.

Him:  Don’t worry it’s a friendly forest.  Unless if your a cat.  My cat only has three legs and is missing a tail. 

Me:  Wow!  Did he get run over.

Him:  Well, yes.  But he also got in a tangle with some kind of wild animal.

Me:  Really?  Are there any wild animals?  Was it a rabid squirrel?

Him:  Oh yes there are wild animals!  Did you see the electric fence around the chicken coop?  We have coyotes, land beavers, garden snakes, a resident cougar and there was a bear spotting about a mile up the road.

Me:  What?  A bear spotting?  Have you seen the cougar?

Him:  Yea, he likes to frolick in the field.

Me:  Does he like to cross the street? 

So far, my kids are a little bit frightened of the forest.  Okay, terrified.  They haven’t ventured very far in the tree line.  Well, Mikey has, but that was because he was on a reconnaissance mission.  He went into the forest wearing an army helmet and armed with a nerf gun.  He was trailing the sound of kids.  He found a toddler.

I haven’t told them about the animals.  I did tell them about the snakes.  I told them if they found a garden snake and brought it to me I’d give them a dollar.  I should probably find a picture of a garden snake and show them before they come back with a rattlesnake.  Or maybe they don’t even have rattle snakes here…

 

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It’s been a long week.

Friday

We signed the large stack of paperwork that is required to buy a new house.  I was so sick that at one point I think I laid my head down on the table and actually hacked up my lung between signing my life away on one page and promising my first born on the next.

On the way to the title company our mover, Curt, called to let us know that he was almost to new house.

 Dave:  Umm, we’re on our way to the title company.  We don’t even own the house yet.

Curt:  Awesome!  I’m about 45 minutes away.  This should work out great!  Talk about timing!

Dave:  Umm, they don’t have our keys yet.

Curt:  So do you want me to wait at the house?

Dave:  How about Monday?

Curt:  How about tomorrow?

I wish we weren’t so nice.  I wish we would have insisted they put our stuff in storage.  So we could have done things like clean the carpets and paint without the mess and the stuff.  Now we are living among dirty carpets and Navajo white dirty walls, not to mention 283 boxes.

Around 12, Dave met our realtor and got our keys.

Dave:  Do you want to meet me at the house?

Me:  I do, but I’m so sick.

Dave:  I could pick you up if you’d like.

Me:  I think I’d rather just lay here in bed.  And die.

Dave:  It’s okay, you don’t have to come, I just thought I should offer.

Me:  But I should.  We should drink champagne and fornicate or something.  But I’m so sick.

Dave:  Another day.  I promise.

 

Saturday

Saturday the movers came.  Our driveway was too long and narrow and the tree overhangs too low to fit Curt’s 58’ trailer with all of our worldly possessions.  They had to park 2 blocks away and rent a uhaul.  They then shuttled all our stuff from the semi to the uhaul to our house.  It was really rather amazing.

Me:  I think if these guys needed a new job they are totally qualified to be a Sherpa.  Look at him just heft 3 boxes of books on his back like it was nothing.

Dave:  “forget Sherpa, they could be ants!” As Andre single handedly hefts the fridge ond his back and walks it up a flight of stairs.

And as soon as they came, they were gone.  They unloaded all of our stuff, assembled my bed and were gone by 4.  Thank goodness we didn’t have to do that ourselves.

 

Sunday

I’d like to say we went to church but at this point Mike was now sick and I didn’t want our new church family to pin us as the family that spreads sickness throughout the congregation.  Might as well save that until we are a little more settled.

We made the long trek from corporate housing to our new house.  45 minutes around the lake and through the woods.

We reorganized boxes because though our little Sherpa ants where amazing, they did make some mistakes.

I started to unpack the kitchen.  Though my new pantry is about twice the size of my old one, the new kitchen is about half the size of the old one.  You can do the math.

Around box 27, I raised a white flag and gave up.

 Me:  Another box!  For the love of Paula Deen!  How many more boxes are there?!?

Dave:  it looks like we are down to the end.  Two or three more. 

Me:  Forget it!  I can’t fit another thing in this kitchen or on these counters!  I quit!

Dave:  You can’t quit!  If you leave it like this imagine the mess.

Me:  What do you think this is?

Dave:  This is staging. 

Me:  Well, this stuff might find itself staged to salavation army.

Dave:  I know you can do it.

Me:  What I need is your mom!  I need a tetris master.

Dave:  Move over, I’ll use my amazing packing ninja skills.

I decided to organize the game closet.  I’ve found my happy place.

Around 10 pm, when daylight ceased because apparently Washington is part of the North Pole, we trekked back to the corporate housing.

 

Monday

Dave went off to work.  The kids and I trekked back to the house to meet the uncraters.  These are the guys that put things together, our shelves, the kid’s beds,  the pool table, hook up my appliances.

Him:  Ma’am. We had a few problems.

Me:  Sure.

Him:  So, you don’t have a water hook up for your fridge.

Me:  That sucks.

Him:  And your house doesn’t have gas hookups in the laundry room.

Me:  That really sucks.

And this is the night that we decided to start living in our new house.

 

Tuesday

I had a small break down.

Dave:  How’s it going?

Me:  Not really well.  (as my voice cracks because I’m going to cry)

Dave:  Oh no, what’s wrong?

Me:  I took a cold shower and the water pressure was so high that I had to stand with my back to the nozzle because I thought it might actually knock some of my girly parts off.  And I’m rather fond of those parts.

And then I’m overwhelmed in the kitchen because there are dirty dishes everywhere because the sink is broken.

And the laundry room is piled high with dirty laundry and I can’t wash anything because I can’t dry it. 

And I can’t put anything away because the house needs to be painted and that will just make it harder to paint.

And I’m rather overwhelmed! 

Dave:  Oh.  Why don’t you call a plumber and see if they can run a gas line and fix the water pressure. 

And then after trying to call the plumber I had another little break.  We don’t have Internet and phone at our house yet. Trying to use a phone book instead of google makes me wonder what people did before the Internet.  I settled on Roter Rooter because they had a big 4-page ad in color.  Except, like every other national chain that I tried to call instead of putting me through to the local number I called, decided to route me to the northern California branch because I’m calling from a bay area cell phone.

At this point I thought about just giving up and going back to bed.

Eventually I got ahold of the plumber, they were able to come out the same day.

Plumber:  Yeah, so I can’t hook up a gas line in your laundry room.

Me:  Why?

Plumber:  Because you have a gas furnace and a gas water heater and this room is too small for a gas dryer.

Me:  But the dryer is already in here.  It’s right here.

Plumber:  BTU  blah blah blah  not safe.  Blah blah blah.  BTUs blah blha blah.

Me:  But do you see all this laundry?!?

Plumber:  Should we go look at your water pressure?

Me:  Sure. 

Plumber:  Okay, blah blah blah $500. 

Me:  Why don’t you just run over my cat while you’re at all this dream dashing and wallet gouging.

 

Dave:  How’s my beautiful wife?

Me:  I’ve decided to go back to bed.

Dave:  maybe I’ll bring home some wine.

Me:  Vodka sounds better. 

 

Wednesday

Dave fixed the kitchen sink.

I found everything a home in the kitchen.

I found and unpacked all of the boxes in the bathrooms.

The water heater decided to put out hot water.  High water pressure is more tolerable when hot.  FYI.

I decided to unpack the garage.

Dave came home from work sick

The kids and I went to the library.  The library is amazing!

We found the grocery store and home depot and picked paint colors.

 

Thursday

Dave wallowed in bed all day.  I finally started to feel more like myself.  Why is it that you never really start to feel better until someone else gets sick?

The boys and I conquered the garage.  I can park in the garage!

Victory is mine!

I bought drying racks because I will not admit defeat yet on the dryer.

We got a quote for new floors.  When he gave me the price I wondered if maybe he was going to lay down a gold subfloor.  Let’s just say that the whole stained concrete is starting to sound really nice, especially if we can stain it ourselves.

 

Friday

The kids and I spackled all of the walls downstairs.  We moved furniture and boxes, hundreds of boxes, to the middle of the rooms.

And the phone company came.  I met Ralph at the door, my knight in a white cargo van!  How long I have been waiting for you.  And after a mere hour, I have Internet!  I’m back!

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morbidly funny

When my grandma was healthy and mobile she went on every senior citizen tour that my home town offered.  She went to Olivera Street, many museums, Branson, MO, the tulip festival, China, and the list goes on and on.  When the new season catalog for parks and rec would come out, my grandma would plan her life around those trips.

One of the tours she went on was a cemetary tour.  The seniors visited all of the mortuaries and cemetaries in the greater los Angeles area.  Morbid, I know.  While on the tour she bought herself a little burial package for her cremated remains in the rose garden at Hollywood Forever.  Which was very fitting because she loved roses.  I can only guess she also wanted to be buried among good company like Cecil B. DeMille, and a few of the rascal kids, Joey Ramone from the Ramones, and Victor Flemming.

It was a very nice ceremony.

I have a simple parenting philosophy: prepare in advance and tell them nothing that isn’t necessary.  This philosophy only works when both parts are used together.  I didn’t prepare my kids very well for the funeral.

Mike:   Where is GG?

Me:  She’s in that box.

Mike:  WHAT??!!!  How did she fit in their??

Me:  She was cremated.

Mike:  Awesome!  Why didn’t we get to see that part?

At this point I should have tried to fill in the other kids, but I didn’t have the wherewithal to think about it.

After the remembrance we buried her ashes and then planted a beautiful rose over her.

Jacob:  What are they doing?

Me:  Burying GG.

Jacob:  That’s a little tiny hole.

Me:  I know, but remember she’s with Jesus, she doesn’t need her body now.

Jacob:  Why can’t I see her legs?  WHERE ARE GG’s LEGS???

at this point he tries to maneuver closer, to get a better look.

Jacob:  Where are her arms then?

And then I give up, and hand him over to Dave.

Me:  I would never chose to have my ashes placed under anything living.

My sister:  Why?

Me:  What if that rose dies,  you know what everyone will think.

My sister:  I should come water it and fertilize it, you know, make sure it grows and all.

*******

My grandma has this photograph hanging in her hallway right when you walk in the house.  It’s a large picture, maybe an 11″x13” in a large gaudy Victorian frame. It’s hung rather low on the wall to make room for some world war II propaganda that she has hanging on the wall, in case anyone might forget to conserve tin foil or pray for our nation before bed.   I’m not quite sure who is in the photograph, but I’m drawn to it every time I walk in the door.

It’s  a photograph of someone dead, in a casket, laid out in the living room with all their kids standing around them.  It’s a little bit like this:

I always wonder who decided to organize the taking of the picture.  Was it something planned beforehand?  “Well grandpa’s dead and everyone will be here, we should take a family picture.  Might as well include grandpa in it.”  Or was it a spur of the moment thing?  “Everyone looks so nice in their Sunday best, we should take a picture.  Hurry! Gather around grandpa!”

I haven’t really thought about that picture in a long time, because really, who thinks about taking pictures of dead people.

That is until the funeral.  I wished I had brought my camera so that I could have taken a nice photo of the rose, while it is still beautiful and blooming.  And that must be how it starts. We are all just one shot away from a morbidly funny photo.  And then yesterday I logged onto facebook and my mom had posted this:

Why just take a picture of the rose.  “Hurry Grandpa, come get in the picture too!”

And I couldn’t stop laughing.

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And then

(internet, a little brief because I’m a terrible blogger.  Dave got a new job, we are/have moved out-of-state)

Sometimes you think your handling life rather well.  If there was a blue ribbon, you’d be first in line for it.  And then, you wonder what the heck happened, if there was a rock, you’d crawl under it and hide for at least a week.

My grandma died last week. Two days before the movers were coming to pack up my house.

Boy, is that hard to say.

On a cognitive level, I have so much peace with her death.  I was able to visit her only a few weeks ago.  I was able to tell her how much I loved her.  I got to hear how much she loved me.  I was able to pray with her.  I know she is in heaven.  I know she is with Jesus, happy and without the pain and restrictions of her body.  I know she was ready.

And because of that, I thought I was ready.  My heart ached for my grandpa, but I was okay.  I know if Dave died, I would probably cease to function.  I don’t think I would get out of bed.  The kids would call my mom and say, “Mom, hasn’t left her room in a week, but I’m not sure where all the alcohol bottles are coming from.  Every time we go in there, there seems to be more empty vodka bottles.  Does amazon deliver hooch?”  So my grief was aimed towards my grandpa.  I was sad that I would be 1000 miles away when he needs me most.  I was sad that I couldn’t bring him some tator tot casserole.

And then, when I called my best friend on my iphone, my fat clumsy fingers pressed the name above her.  Grandma.  And my grandma’s picture came up.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’ll never get to talk to my grandma again. Imagine some big heaping sobs.

****

The day before we left our home to start a new adventure I went to lunch with my best friends.  The girls that I have hung out with almost every day for the last two years.  It wasn’t a big deal.  It had been weeks of joking, “This might be the last time we’ll eat at Del Taco together”  “This might be the last girl’s night”, “give me a hug, I may never see you again.”  But then this was it.

But one is visiting me in July, so that’s not really a goodbye, that was just a see you later.  And I had promised to come over that evening to my other friend, so that wasn’t a goodbye.  And then that evening I borrowed something, so that wasn’t a goodbye, I was going to see her in the morning.

And then, the next day in the car on the way there, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

This would be the last time I drove to her house, because she was moving too.  This would be the last time I would see her for at least a year because of logistical things like vacation hours and school terms and life.  And the next time I saw her, her baby wouldn’t be a baby.  He’d be a big boy.

Imagine big heaping sobs that didn’t pass for almost 300 miles.  That’s a lot of tears.  At some point I wondered if you could die of dehydration from crying.  Which made me cry even harder.

******

And the actual move, it’s an adventure!  One adventure after another.  We rented out our old house.  Yay, we are now real estate moguls!  The movers packed all of our stuff.  Yay! Aren’t I lucky that I don’t have to do any real work!  Yay!  The movers moved all our stuff including our dog house and van!  The most productive day when I never worked, my house was all put on a truck, I had a new fence installed!  A quick trip to southern California to see my family and a plane ride to Washington!  What an adventure!

And then once we’re here it hits me like a ton of bricks.

I have absolutely no idea where I am.  I am in a constant state of lost.  I have no idea where I am. The trees and the absence of street names, only numbers, constantly have me confused. I don’t know where my GPS is.  If my cell phone where to die, I might actually be lost forever.

I don’t know anyone.  It will be a long time before I find my circle of friends.

I miss my inlaws.

I have decided that though the idea of corporate housing sounds great, it isn’t.

********

I’ve been constantly talking about the future.  When we get to Washington, I’m going to sleep for a week.  I might never get out of bed, well at least not until the house closes.  But I have five little people who need me.

Once the moving truck pulls out of our driveway I can finally relax.

And then it hits me like a ton of bricks.

That’s when all the real work starts.  The finding of friends.  The placing of furniture.  The unpacking of boxes.  The painting.  The new floors (I will become a master of laying laminate flooring).  The parenting, trying to fix two months of late nights and too much tv and video games.

And then, Dave came home from work last night at 5:30, the earliest he’s been home in 3 years.

And then, as I drove to my new house, I live in the forest. I own some forest, I know that Pocahontas is probably rolling over in her grave over that, but, I *own* 1.5 acres of forest, well in 30 years, I’ll own it.

And then, after a day of dreary skies, the sun peaked from the clouds and everything glittered and it was beautiful.

I will choose to bloom where I am planted.

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