Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grace in unusual places

I am sitting at my table, with a teething 11 month old close at hand (er...my hind end really) who wants to be on my hip at the same time I need to be working busily to get things done. This would be one example of God telling me to "slow down, it'll get done." The new house is almost completely painted, and what isn't painted can be done later. The master bedroom has been primed and that's the one room left to paint that needs to be done before we move in that room. The carpet in the kids' rooms will be installed Friday. So that leaves me back at the dinky rental to once again focus on getting things done there. I've been so focused at the new house and then when we get back to the rental my brain is in "get kids to bed" mode, that I did not notice that there were lots of messes that weren't here last week. Or if they were, they were contained enough that it didn't assault my senses. So this morning as I waited on my sister to get here to sit on the baby for me so I can work a couple hours, I found myself starting to get cranky and sniping about my family. Then for some reason one of the ladies in the MOMS group I facilitated came to mind. Thinking about MOMS sent my brain to the week we covered finding every day graces - including in your laundry. That Grace is hidden somewhere amid piles of papers for the shredder that got kicked around when the shredder overheated and the task abandoned. It's buried under the clothes and socks my loved ones removed and cast aside where they stopped moving. It's hidden by empty plastic bottles that were set on the side table and knocked over by the rambunctious monkey baby.
I'm just thankful I bit my tongue the other day when my oldest made comments about how he hopes the new house doesn't get messy etc. I just leered at him and waited for him to walk away. There's some grace for you - knowing which brick wall on which you should avoid smashing your head.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

painting is work

I know it's work, but with a baby underfoot, it's an adventure too. We have a lot of painting to do, and it's mostly because I don't want to have to paint after we move into it. I want to get it done and over with and move in and enjoy the house. Sadly I am not an octopus, nor am I Superwoman. Progress is slow, but if it were not for the help of my Father-in-Law, it would be even slower. Teenagers are only so helpful. We (I) want to have a housewarming party before the next round of birthdays at the end of September and beginning of October. After that you've got Devildog and my anniversary, a major rivalry football weekend that takes place here, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, another household rivalry football game, and Christmas, New Year's, and my birthday. So the timing is key. We are excited, our friends are excited for us, and we just want to get this work done so we can live in the house before the baby finishes her doctoral thesis.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eyeballs and Elbows

That's where Devildog and I are in debt - albeit secured debt, it's debt nonetheless. We signed our lives away Monday morning.

On this:

And my wrist and hand still hurt from the closing. Then you add the first day of school and the million forms (asking for duplicate info on all of them ::eyeroll::), and I think my hand will fall off before I can start painting the new place.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Eleventh Hour

I'm notorious for eleventh hour things. But in just under eleven hours, Devildog and I will be signing our lives away on a mortgage for a house. None of those usual "we are buying a house" emotions are striking my chords. There's not a lot of squee. It's more of a "it's about time" feeling.
Right now there's a lot of tension in the house since the two teen boys are a bit at odds at the moment, yes at 11:44 pm. School starts tomorrow. One is going to a different school and displeased about it. The other can't find his ID and is packing things in a box in an attempt to find it. It's not where he left it, and he didn't think to look for it earlier in the day before his brother was trying to sleep. There are a couple slammed doors, a slinging of a trash bag into the yard, and I'm sure words exchanged. I'm trying to stay out of it, but I also need to keep them from waking their sister in the next room, or Devildog at the other end of the house. Add to this, the baby has now been kick-started and wound back up with the excitement, at a point when I am usually laying her in the bed for the night. Those two polar-opposite boys are long overdue for their own rooms. Now that they're almost grown, we're finally getting a house with separate rooms for them. Talk about an eleventh hour move right?

Ugh. It's all I have to say on the subject at this point. I'm tired but unable to go to sleep. Tomorrow should be interesting.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Greetings and Gallon

Today is the last weekday before school starts. Clone and I went to greet her teacher who "ramped up" with my daughter this year. Last year there were 2 teachers, then they ramped up, taking half the class with each of them. This eliminates the get-to-know-you stuff going on the first couple weeks, and the teachers can jump right into teaching because they know most everyone's learning style. Everyone was excited to see each other and Clone was met with some quizzical looks of "I know you somehow". She cut her hair off a couple weeks ago when she was in Charleston with the relatives, so she looks rather different from the last day of school. From there, I went to the blood bank to donate blood, but had to go back home because I forgot my ID. Mind you, I forgot it 2 days ago, and it was in THAT pair of shorts, not the ones I wore yesterday. Back again, those vampires were happy to see me. Why? Because I'm the universal donor.

However, not only did I come away with a snack and a soda, but I got a nifty flower made out of the bandage material. I've not encountered this particular guy at the blood bank before. But one of the other girls that works there is in treatment for breast cancer, working with exposed peach fuzz and all, determined that she was going to get up and live her life, because sitting around the house watching traffic gets old quickly. She said she normally wears a scarf, but it's just been too dang HOTTTT for that. You could fry some chicken on the sidewalk around here, forget just the egg.

Since we're moving, I may not be visiting that location for the vampires to get me. Sis tells me the location out at the beach is closer to the new house. I didn't have the heart to tell them. I also know the staff rotate locations, so it's entirely possible we'll see each other at the other donor center. AND, to top it all off, today was a bit of a milestone for me too. I donated what amounted to the top of my first gallon of blood!

So, I got a license plate with a 1 gallon sticker.I'm not sure where it's getting installed, or if it will be indoors or on the mom-bus.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sunny Beaudelaire

She's a character in the Lemony Snicket movie. The baby sister, who my own baby daughter resembles in some ways. Mini-Human is teething at a constant daily rate and has bouts of misery every. single. day. She occasionally chews on the furniture too. Tonight, she climbed up in the chair next to where I sit at the table, and as she stood in that chair, began to chew on the back of mine. It looked a bit like Kilroy, but it makes me shudder a bit. I would not be surprised to enter the room and find my MiniHuman hanging from the table like Sunny Beaudelaire, leaving teeth marks in the wood, babbling incoherently.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dead Roses

I am sitting here, trying to process some things, so bear with me a moment or few. I've been in this small 1100 square foot house for a little more than 6 years. We've grown to have a love/hate relationship with this house. There is always new hope in moving to a new place, and dread of schlepping your worldly belongings somewhere. Today's adventures took me to the laundry room, which equates to the "dungeon" of this house. It serves as a closet of sorts for Devildog and me, because our bedroom has no closet. It serves as extra storage for the stuff most people house in their garage. Well technically it IS the garage, except it's been enclosed and we now sleep in part of it. Anyway, I came across some roses from my mom's funeral, that had been wrapped in newspaper. I know I need to part with them. They're dead flowers. Dead flowers carry negative chi, according to the tenets of feng shui. Dead flowers kill a mood too. I was in what I call 'mission mode' pecking away at sorting through things on the shelf over the machines when I found them. I knew they were up there, but ignored them.

As I unwrapped them, with the intention of rewrapping them for some reason, I looked at them and knew I had to release them. They're dead flowers for pete's sake. They serve no purpose for me, they don't make me smile, they have no home here or will they in the new house. No problem right? Well for some reason I started getting emotional over some dead roses from my mother's funeral. Five year old dead flowers wrapped in newspaper shouldn't strum heartstrings. But they did just that to me. I looked at them a minute, and then took them outside and laid them under the loquat tree by the road. I couldn't just throw them in the trash, and we don't have a yard waste bin since the trash guys took our other garbage can (if they didn't leave it in the road it wouldn't get hit by cars). It was a logical step for me.

Except, doing that just did not feel right. I keep thinking I should take them to the new house and set them under a tree there. It keeps feeling like I'm leaving part of my mother at a house where I have no roots, nor ever intended to plant roots. And it just feels wrong. I sat down here and started blathering about it in my cleaning chat room (yes, question me later on that one), and in an IM to another person.

Then I had a bit of a revelation. When Mom died, she did not want Dad in the room with her. After 35 years together, you know a person, and Mom knew Dad would not handle watching her die very well, despite his iron-stomached stint at Walter Reed as an orderly tending the sickest of sick. She figured there would be the puddle of Dad goo that we would have to clean up and take home to the house they shared in all that. But it felt so very wrong for me to leave my mother alone, septic, smelling of horrid infection that is the "smell of death", but still present enough to know Dad was out of the room and actually try to leave before he and my brother got back. As soon as he returned, she perked back up. I think if they'd stayed downstairs five more minutes she would have accomplished her mission to leave without him there to see it. In my gut I knew I should stay, but I was driving Dad home. I could have sent him with my sister, but didn't. When I got home, I sat down and the phone rang. I knew it was the hospital calling. "Your mother has expired. I'm sorry for your loss." Perfunctory but polite. I asked what time she died. "11:16." She knew when Dad was safely at home again and held out long enough till she let go. They both were "home" at the same time, one last time.

Somehow I equated leaving those flowers from my mother's funeral to leaving my mother. Logically I know those flowers are not my mother. It still feels so very wrong to leave those dead roses by the tree at the roadside, like I felt it was wrong to leave her in the hospital alone to die. So, I've decided to take them to the new house and leave them by a tree there. I ultimately will release them, but it won't feel like I'm abandoning them - or my mother by the side of the road here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Updates and progress

Well here we sit, still in the rental, but the loan package is knocking on the door to the underwriter's desk. I need to get some things together and sent to the lender (preferably before it gets in the underwriter's hands so it will expedite things), and lack the energy and MoJo right now. I should be doing some form of packing, cleaning and decluttering. I'm blogging instead. If things move along, we could close on the house next week. The little 5x10 storage unit I got to stash things temporarily is filled - and not as much of stuff I intended to store in there, but things that were given to us for the new place. Blessings nonetheless and I'm just going to smile and keep going. We could feasibly be able to move out of the storage unit before the end of the month, and put that money elsewhere.
I told the landlord we are moving, and actually advised them back in July when we put in an offer. They'll need to budget for carrying costs and repairs from 6 years of us living here. It's not rode hard and put up wet, but it's not pretty either. My goal is to clean and paint the new place, and correct a couple things ("amateur workmanship" as the inspector called it) the first week, move the next week, and then once we're in the new house, come back here and help get this placed squared away so the landlords can rent it back out as soon as possible.
I'm tossing a bunch, but could still stand to toss more. I've offered stuff on freecycle, and there's going to be a big bunch going to the thrift shop.
And then there's the whole school starting in a week and and a couple days and I have not really done any supply shopping. We're going to need notebook paper for sure. Three kids (two in high school) use a lot of it. I think I have the other basics covered so if nothing else, they won't show up empty-handed come first day of school.
Ever have a day where you feel like you've made no progress, even though you probably have?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Progress on several fronts

Well it's been like a month since my last blog, mostly because I feel like I'm chasing my head as it rolls down my street.
In any case, we put in an offer on the 2nd, we got word the sellers' bank approved the short sale contract on the 23rd - the day we started our vacation. Devildog's friend called the next day saying "hey, I'm moving to Denver, come tell me bye". Devildog said "dude we're in Charleston visiting family", asked when friend was leaving, and then hung up to talk to me about our departure date. We cut the trip short by 2 days, the first day so Devildog could visit the friend before they left, the 2nd day was just so we'd have some quiet at home before kicking back into gear at work. I did get some packing done last week, but not as much as I wanted to do. I got some packing done this week, but not as much as I wanted to do. Last week, we did the inspection on the house and the VA appraiser was there. We are still waiting on the appraiser's report to go to our lender. I've been keeping everything in a binder and each set of paperwork has its own sheet protector. This makes fast turn-around from me to the lender and realtor and closing attorneys. Plus if Devildog needs information, it's all right there. He can answer a question just as easily. In terms of VA loans and short sales (individually, much less combined), this transaction is progressing at an amazing rate of speed. However, at this very moment, we are currently awaiting the appraiser's report before we can proceed to getting in line at the underwriter's desk. The lender sent us the other documents a little early because we are confident the appraisal is on par with the asking price. I decided to get a storage unit temporarily so we could make some elbow room in this house while we wait on the new one. As I type, there is a stack waiting by the door to get loaded in the mom-bus and taken over there.

The older 3 kids are still on vacation. The boys are hanging with Father in Law, Sister in Law and future Brother in Law. The Clone is at camp. The pictures they post online show some very happy girls enjoying themselves immensely. Next week the two boys have orientation at their respective schools. We are hoping to be closed on the new house by the time school starts so we can just fill out forms once with the new address and not have to redo them after the move. Plus, 8 miles difference means a different high school for at least one of them. If Beast doesn't get his summer credit recovery work done with a quickness, he can not return to the magnet school, and has to go to the neighborhood school.

Mini-Human is up and running (literally), climbing and eating most everything you put in front of her. There's the language development, and stuff like patty-cake, waving, and other means of communicating - mostly shrieks and grunts and other caveman noises. She does make sounds resembling words like "up", what sounds like a deaf person saying pattycake, pattycake etc.

Me? I'm trying to cull as much as I possibly can before schlepping it to a new place. I keep reminding myself that the clutter costs $1 per pound to move it. I've tossed a LOT already and I could certainly stand to cull a LOT more. I keep thinking about the people on Clean House being asked to put something in a yard sale, and seeing a co-host sidebar saying "well if she isn't going to part with X, then I'm not going to give her Y in the redo" or "If she's not going to part with the entire collection of A, then I'll be forced to include it in the redesign and it simply won't be as nice as it could be". I am having a difficult time wrapping my brain around that concept. I somehow have difficulty releasing the clutter into the wild. I strongly suspect it's that side effect of being raised by a parent raised during the 30s and the Depression. While my cheapskate tendencies come in handy plenty of times, I need to trust the process and know that it will be ok if I don't have half the stuff I currently possess. Talking it, typing it, and reading it do not always translate into automatically accepting it. I kept thinking about the prime example: pre-baby clothes. I still kept a lot of them because I have myself somewhat convinced that I will be able to wear them again. I have told myself that if I don't fit into them next summer, they have to leave my house. In addition, the size I was before had fewer options for me because the manufacturers figure females that size apparently have no curves.
Now if you'll pardon me, a little person is at my feet demanding my attention, and boxes at the door await transport. I'd so rather be shopping for a bridesmaid dress at the moment.