Saturday, May 28, 2011

Good things DO NOT come easily

I knew this, but i'ts easy to forget.  It’s not like those three amazing little people that I share the house with just appeared one day. It was hard work getting them here.

Thankfully they were 7,6 and 5lbs when I brought them here.

So this week was a reminder to have faith, and good things – they don’t come easy.

On Sunday, in the middle of packing and purging, I discovered that my cat has anxiety. I discovered this after I did research on the internet on why my perfectly normal cat otherwise, decided to relieve himself on the bags and boxes I have packed, in the basement.
I had a major temper tantrum when I discovered this, threatened his life and well being in our home and then wondered what I did to deserve him. Apparently you can give your cat who thinks you are abandoning him when he sees bags, boxes, suitcases, PROZAC.  I’m NOT doing that, but what I will now have to do is hire the little people in the house as cat sitters AND find places he can’t get to, to store the packed stuff.
THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!! I would love to give him away, but since no one gave me away, I am obligated to keep him. (Feel free to talk me out of THAT!)


On Monday we received our paint quote. What were WE thinking? It’s pretty expensive to have everything painted exactly how you want it. We’ve since compromised and picked the one room we think would be the hardest to paint that will look better when done. The rest of the rooms, well the hubby spent an entire day studying how to paint. (pure novices here)

Going for this Look

On Tuesday, we had a mortgage/appraisal snafu. Big enough to have me figuring out where to put the things we’ve bought and then panic about where we would live in a month. Let’s just say I didn’t sleep for two days, worried and had major anxiety. But in the middle of all that, our son was inducted into the National Honor Society. This is the kid who barely speaks, seems completely uninterested in ANYTHING, especially school, who applied on his own and made it. The hubby and I spent a morning in the school gym being proud parents. (Internally we were panicking/obsessing about the house - well I was anyway.)

On the way to the school that day I passed a boy on a riding lawn mower on a major road. I noticed he was wearing a backpack and then the kids excitedly told me today was Senior Drive Your Tractor to School Day. Yes, I live in a SMALL town. The parking lot was full of all kinds of tractors, heavy equipment, quads, and kids in overalls and cowboy hats. I love that the school lets them do that. It was hysterical.

Thursday, in the middle of having our son make his 6th meal from scratch for his family consumer science class (aka Home Ec) (THAT was fun- 6 meals with more than 5 ingredients from scratch), we got the good news that the snafu was over and all worked out. I stopped doing chest compressions on myself and took a very deep breath.

By Friday, I was daydreaming about where I would put my Christmas tree (s) in the new house and if I could have all of this:

Right down to the dog!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Craigslist Adventures

I know I promised you a post about a log cabin and a deer head, but that will have to wait. Stay tuned!

This week we explored the world of buying things from Craigslist. Let me clarify this post by saying that I think everyone should buy stuff from other people when they can’t or shouldn’t be spending or paying full price. With the upcoming move we have found ourselves in need of a few things. (I should really state that the list was quite long but we moved a lot of it to a dream list and are focusing on the must have’s) We even got to see our new house one last time before the move. This visit we saw more of the things that need fixing, but we also saw all the potential our new house has. The two kids that had not seen it yet agreed our new home is exciting. They loved their rooms and are excitedly making plans.

The first Craigslist posting promised us like-new stainless steel appliances for cheap prices among a long list of other things including their granite countertops which made us wonder exactly what was going on. We managed to get them to agree to show us the goods ahead of the crowds on the sale date. The evening that we drove to the house we found ourselves getting more and more excited as we passed large well maintained homes. Until we got to their driveway at the end of the cul-de-sac. The house was tucked into the trees and not visible from the road. The driveway was solid mud. We have had a lot of rain, but the mud was mostly due to the fact that the driveway was in pieces in a pile in the yard. We started to get the feeling we knew what was going on: House in foreclosure, they have to get out and they aren’t going to leave anything in the house, not even the driveway.

As we got to the top we parked between a brand new Mustang, an older Mustang and several Junker cars and trucks. We saw old furniture scattered in piles all over the yard and we were about to make a run for it when a lady (a rather intimidating one) came out of the house and waved us in.

Here’s the skinny: The house was massive, a fairly new build and left in mid-construction. The house was filled to the brim with stuff – oriental rugs, clothing, furniture, jewelry, authentic African pieces from their travels, and kitchen appliances that Martha Stewart would own. My current bathroom could fit in one the refrigerators.

Most of the stuff was not for sale, yet the owner told us a tale of woe that goes like this: She and her long time husband up until a year ago were living the high life. They owned five houses, many, many cars,(their Hummer was for sale for a mere $25k) travelled and bought the best of absolutely everything. He made his money working 3-4 jobs, sleeping no more than 3 hours a night. She made her money cleaning for his clients and took care of their four kids (all with Mustangs of their own) and a menagerie of pets. (we saw one rather scary cat and heard the deep barks of what sounded like super sized dogs somewhere deep in this massive house).

The economy, bad planning and lack of luck caught up to them and they were begrudgingly liquidating everything so they could come up with enough cash to buy a small house in a not so great neighborhood.

I am pretty sure the neighbors are counting the seconds until they leave. I could just sense this from the plume of smoke that followed this lady out of her house and the way her loud voice traveled throughout the streets.

We ended up with a table (we pretty much stole a $4500 table that has made our basement where we set it up to admire, smell like sweetest wood smell ever)

As we left, we wished this lady luck. You could tell this new adventure she was on was hard on her. Whether they were smart or not in their decisions prior, they had been thrown for a loop and it was like watching someone sitting atop all of their treasures and purchases and asking people to take from the bottom, carefully so she didn’t fall too hard or soon.

Because we didn’t get what we intended to (the fridge, because she sold it to someone else) we searched the ads again. I found a local ad promising a fridge in new condition, barely used with a stove to match. (One of the things we discovered at the new house was just how old the appliances were – gotta love buyer blinders!)

When I called, I spoke to  Captain Irons.  He was the sweetest man and told me a tale of when he came home three years ago to none of his electrical appliances working due to a botched electricity repair across the street causing a power surge in his home. Because he is the kind of guy who holds onto everything until the bitter end, he was a little put out to now have to buy all new appliances with the City’s money. Being a retired fireman, living alone in the house his parents had died in; he found little use for fancy appliances. He was moving to the beach in a week and had to get rid of everything. (30 minutes later) I agreed to come and take a look at the Fridge.

The hubby and I arrived to a ramshackle house that had an original kitchen straight out of the 1940’s. But in the kitchen stood the most immaculate three year old refrigerator you ever saw. Doug, dressed in over the belly jeans, and a cut off t-shirt, talked to us for three straight hours. Clearly this was a man who needed to talk to someone. I could hear the news channel on in a distant room and after hearing that his beloved German Shepard had passed and his wife had left him many years ago and his kids lived far away, I knew he hadn’t told the stories we heard for a long time to someone who had never heard them before.

We learned that Doug had two bought’s of extreme bad luck. The first time after he retired from fire fighting and was told they had no record of the money he had been putting into a special savings account. The second when he received a letter a month ago that stated his mortgage had been sold to an off-shore company and he now owed double of what he thought (which was well over the amount the house was worth) . He filed for bankruptcy and was walking away. Walking away but back to his ex-wife who would take care of him while he had major surgery. He excitedly threw in the stove that had been used once in three years to cook Texas toast when he made himself spaghetti.

He told us story after story and I realized just how lucky I am buying a house right now. How lucky I am to be in my life right now. While he talked about the various side jobs he did, I couldn’t help but notice the navy fireman’s jacket hanging on a hook, and the two soap box derby cars on his desk, and the fireman training books lovingly worn. He asked us if we could pick up the appliances on Wednesday so he could make himself a nice brunch on Sunday before his big trip and he promised to clean the already immaculate appliances before we came back. He even promised to include the cleaning supplies.

We decided to drop the money off today, rather than wait, in case he really needed it. When we arrived (with an escape story at the ready if needed) we found him in the barn practically giving away his snap-on tool chest, Harley Davidson, and lawn mowers. It’s hard to imagine someone of his character and work ethic having to just walk away from it all. He told us what he didn’t sell, he would burn.

Finally, today we were after a twin mattress and box spring. The ad promised one that had never been used. We travelled out of town to a neighborhood full of little salt box houses with a garage sale on every corner. (This is the first nice weekend since last fall). Everyone was out mowing lawns, riding bikes and garage sailing. We ended up with a slightly used mattress and box spring that will work well for our needs. The Harley driving, smoky voiced owner loaded it into our van and excitedly told his family the sale was a wrap.

I feel so grateful to have family and friends give us the things we need when we need them. This week I feel even better knowing I bought things we needed and paid money to people who needed it the most.

And that’s my adventures for the week. Next week, I really need to get serious about the packing, sorting, and giving away of my own. We even put some of our stuff on Craigslist. Maybe our story will be as interesting to someone as the stories this week were to us.

Friday, May 13, 2011

What do you do with the Stuffed Animals and other Dilemma’s?

I am stressing about a lot of things but one of those things is my blogging. For awhile, I was a dedicated daily blogger. In light of recent events -BUYING A HOUSE- ( I love to scream that) I am afraid that my blogging is going to become a weekly event. Not that anyone was worried I am sure. I’m still here, and wanting to write all the time, but it’s taking a bit of a backseat to the craziness that is now my current life.

I wish I could just record my blogs for you. I could do that while I am driving to and from work and save some time, except I am not that technically savvy. Instead, do you know what I do at night in my bed until I fall asleep, (get it outta the gutter) in the car, in the bathroom and any spare moment while I am not talking or working?? I am organizing the move, imagining where everything will go, picturing how everything will look and planning it all out. I’m slightly obsessive compulsive so wanting to put sticky notes on everything in our current house so it knows where it is going in the new house is not out of the ordinary for me. I’m just afraid that one of the kids will go to school with a note on their butt that says: Living Room.

My girls made fun of me the other day because every time I talk about the new house I put my hands out and spread my arms to demonstrate how everything will be organized and perfect. (it truly is a sickness)

I know, I've moved 13 times, I should be a pro -but it has been five years since the last move and the kids aren't babies so I have more brain use to focus on the most minute and ridiculous of things. CONSTANTLY.

In between the obsessive compulsive planning here is what I have been up to:

Shaving my daughter’s legs. Yep, I was caught off guard that we have hit this milestone. One minute I am discovering the box of baby blankets from the last move and then next, I am giving shaving lessons. The best part was when my younger daughter watched more intently than her sister and then asked what we could do about the hair on her arms?

Showing off my “borrowed” wedding ring that looks like its 2 carats at least. As timing will have it, while we are in the NO SPENDING because we are buying a house zone, my real wedding ring lost a tiny side diamond and a prong broke. Shortly before our vacation, the hubby sold his gold wedding band and the stainless steel ring he ordered didn’t fit, so we were starting to get a complex. My sister in law who has a jewelry cure for everything came up with an eye popping solution. I have been wearing this looks-so-much-like-the-real-thing I may not ever get the original one fixed, and it’s kind of fun to see other women eyeballing it. Eat your hearts out!
But seriously, I love my original ring that is currently wrapped securely in paper towels awaiting its repair. But I ask, should I be worried the hubby hasn’t found something for his finger??

Sorting through toys/books/games/craft supplies in what now seems like the biggest basement ever. During all of this the biggest dilemma is: What do you do with the stuffed animals??
First of all, there were WAY TOO MANY. They HAD to be filtered. Thanks to the Toy Story series, I have been carrying around an immense and unnecessary amount of guilt. I don’t think you can donate stuffed animals and if you can, what if they get mis-treated? The hubby wasn’t too hip on burning them and I wasn’t either – what if they make a strange noise? (I seriously had this thought) I can’t just toss them in the garbage amongst the spaghetti sauce. So, what do I do? I told the kids- One huge storage bin full of stuffed animals is PLENTY and they seemed to agree, so NOW WHAT? It’s really weighing on me and they currently reside in wait in the middle of the basement staring at me everytime I walk past them.  FOR GOD'S SAKE STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT!

Finally, the following thoughts have run through my head in the last week:

What if the cat’s hate the house and do bad things and then in turn hate me and then the kids start to dislike me? Should I buy walkie talkies for the kids because my new bedroom is going to be father away from their rooms than it ever has been? (a baby monitor would be too much wouldn’t it?) Where am I going to put pretty much everything I touch in the house when I do anything. Am I going to make it to the move date or will I spontaneously combust from excitement, stress, anxiety and internal organizing?

Next post is a good one: Our first night in the Cabin, a thunderstorm and a Deer Head.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cloud Nine

Located between Elation and Disbelief, I have been here before but not often. Each time as good if not better than the last.

On the Sunday back from vacation (because we never sit still for long) we toured a home built in the 1800’s that needed some major TLC. We liked it enough for a second opinion and then promptly ruled it out. The next day we looked at another house, got our second opinion and fell in love.
In the middle of the school carnival, the hubby who was manning the bouncy house (fulfilling every man’s dreams –watching a bunch of sweaty kids hurl themselves onto germ infested inflated stinky feet smelling plastic) called me from his cell phone. I was across the gym manning the SHOCKER game (Unfortunately, it didn’t really shock the kids and it was very popular) when he called and gave me the news that there was a counter offer, but I could tell from his voice it was in our favor even over the din of screaming kids, air machines and static.

After 39 years, 13 houses I never owned, 252 rent checks, 8 lease agreements, and 6 different cities –


And I am ON Cloud Nine.

I never thought I would see this day. I told myself that renting was better than owning, even though I knew better.

We move in 8 weeks. 15 minutes away. To the house I hope to live in forever.

I feel like I have won the lottery. Which explains the loss of appetite, the ability to say YES to every single thing my kids ask me (including the craziest of requests) and not being able to sleep because I am organizing the move and where the furniture will go and what color I am going to paint the walls - in my head.

I’m wearing a crazy grin and some of my clothes from yesterday. My house is a mess (trust me, that is a major off/balance sign for me) and I have a strong desire to put sticky notes on every single item in my house so it knows where it is going in its new place. (I wish it was that easy)

I keep wondering what I did to deserve this. The excitement, love and support all of my family has shown me is overwhelming. I’m starting a list of IOU’s that is intimidating.

I can’t wait to fill you in over the next two months as I am CERTAIN there will be interesting things happening and I can barely wait!

The house was built in 1888 but has more of a 1940’s 50’s feel which I love. Restoration Vintage . Right up my alley.

ASneak Peak (with before and after's down the road)

The Hubby and I will live here

I think the kids will live here?

 So far only one of the kids got to see the house and she was rolling around on the carpet like a puppy - I think she likes it. 

I own this tree! WOW.

It's the little things that thrill me


I wrote this between daydreaming, pinching myself, running to the bathroom with stomach pain attacks and after long periods of staring off into space.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

85 and Sunny to 49 and Rainy in 24 Hours

3am til 1am = Drive time from Home to Florida with 3 breaks to eat and 3 other stops for overpriced gas and under-cleaned restrooms. EXCEPT for the rest stop right inside West Virginia - #1 rest stop I have ever been to with a view of the Blue RidgeMountains to die for.
(I just might open a chain of BATHROOMS for travelers only….)
Normally Cracker Barrel provides a good place to eat, walk around and utilize a cleaner restroom than most. Unfortunately our first try was marred by a very car sick girl from a tour bus who seemed to be competing in the puking Olympics. We tried a Chik-fil-A in North Carolina along with the rest of the state and three surrounding states. I have never seen so much traffic in one small area in my life. Not sure what was going on there but we had poor timing and more than one of us was crossing our legs for an hour of the dead stop traffic.

The dollar game was a success, the alphabet game beat one child who refused to go past the letter V, ( why don't farmers put random letters out in their fields - like Q and Z)and when we stopped at the Savannah National forest to see alligators in piles, I thought I might leave without an intact husband who insisted on getting out of the car to point out the obvious.

On the very last mile of our trip while both the hubby and I held our eyelids open we saw a small (person?) dart across the road dressed all in black with some kind cape or with wings. We still haven’t figured that one out. Yes we were tired and we might have been listening to Coast to Coast on the radio for lack of anything else, but still – it was definitely some kind of caped THING.

The weather was amazing, the company just as good, we left with sunburns, a newly learned card game (Wizard), sunburns and a bag of sea shells like any good lily white northerner would.

We saw Dolphins, visited Boca Grande, and Venice, went out to “the gulf” (I mistakenly was calling it the ocean) saw sea turtles, crab traps, pelicans, storks and funny little birds.

Lessons learned: A family of five sharing a bathroom goes through a roll of toilet paper a day (three girls – go figure). “I ready” in South Carolina is the equivalent of saying “How may I help you?” We weren’t the only tourists; apparently the Love Bug National Convention was taking place the same week we were in town. They don’t bite but they are annoying.

And MOST IMPORTANTLY – Check your car insurance coverage and make sure it includes a rental car plan, and if you have AllState Insurance you are NOT in good hands.

On the same day we arrived at 2am- a mere 5 hours later, the hubby was diligently going to wash and vacuum the car when a car pulled out in front of him causing $3100 in damages. Despite not being cited, it clearly not being our fault, we were left with NO car for the ENTIRE vacation. We picked up the car hours before we had to head home and it was five times daily phone calls that even got us that close. We drove home with a wheel in the trunk and a missing mud flap that they forgot to put on because of the hurry. The only reason the dealership had to hurry is because AllState refused to accept responsibility, return phone calls or help us in any way. Needless to say, the vacation was marred by this but trust me, in the grand scheme of things (tornado’s, & deadly weather) I’m not complaining. Just be prepared and ASK your insurance company how they would handle your claim if you were in an accident while on vacation that was not your fault. Would they do everything they could to help you?

Although coming back from vacation to dust, angry kitty’s, lots of junk mail, mounds of laundry, sand in your suitcase, and an empty fridge can be a pain, I am glad to be home safe with wonderful memories. – Even if it’s remembering your hubby and father ranting about politics, and insurance companies. Even if remembering the waitress who hit on your son, then realizing he was too young moved on to your hubby. Even if your Mom beat you at every single hand of cards with that cute innocent smile on her face. Even if you spent every night sleeping on an air mattress between your two girls who wiggle so much it felt like a water bed and you got sea sick.

We even watched the Royal Wedding in our finery

Vacation is over.  Back to reality, see you soon Blog world, - I even missed you.

Thank you Dad!

Thank you Mom!!