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March 2010

Opinions of things I have recently seen on various screens

We just went to peek again at the new house (tomorrow! it is ours!) and I am indecisive all over again about placement of beds/desks/tables. Let's not think about it, shall we? Let's talk about TV!

Oh, and if you are all, "ISN'T THIS A MOMMYBLOG? WHERE IS MY MOMMYBLOGNESS?" head on over to Parenting sometime tomorrow (Thursday) where I tried very hard to say something I've been trying to figure out how to say, failed miserably (natch) and will try again at some further point in this space. Stay tuned.

I was really excited about this Parenthood show once NBC (is it NBC?) started super hyping it during the Olympics, and by "super hyping" I mean "flashing Lorelai Gilmore's face at me every three seconds". Which is not at all a bad thing. Of course my TiFaux didn't catch the first episode and I sort of forgot about it, but I've been catching up with On Demand and it's official, I love this show. There are a couple of Annoying Characters/Situations - control freak working mom, I'm looking at you - but there are some really genuine moments and I love the actors. I love Peter Krause and I think he fits his role so well and you KNOW I love Lorelai Gilmore whose character is a bit more believable than her last, but still has that cheeky, snarky, un-filtered mouth. People, I even love Dax Shepard. I did not think that was possible. Also, I thought Amber (Lorelai's delinquent daughter) was going to be my favorite teenage girl character, but so far Haddie (Peter Krause's perfect daughter) is winning my heart. When she told her mom that her boyfriend apologized for being totally wrong about 'Love Actually' and now they're back together again, and did this with the Sincerest Swooniest Face In The World, I just about died.

The other show I make a point to watch is The Good Wife. Perhaps you've heard me plug it before? RIGHT? I know Nurse Carol has all the trophies, but it's the supporting parts that make this show shine. Christine Baranski makes anything she's in about ten times more awesome and I've had a crush on Josh Charles since Dead Poets Society. I love the inner workings of the law firm, I love the judges, and even though I would have kicked him to the curb LONG ago, I love Chris Noth as the sneaky Bad Husband. I think Matt Czuchry's character is more of what he should have been on Gilmore Girls. And this is a crime procedural, which I normally hate, but it is all so COMPELLING and also FUNNY. I point you to the episode in which Matt Czuchry's junior associate is high in every scene. 

I've also been watching Veronica Mars. Again. IT INSPIRES ME. 

Phillip and I watch a handful of shows together: The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Lost. The first two are "let's wind down with a show before we trudge on up to bed" and the second is Date Night Television. We watched the most recent episode last night and I almost clocked my husband for talking through the entire thing. Sometimes I cannot stand you Out Loud Processor Types. 

I also record The Biggest Loser and Project Runway, though both of those are boring me lately. They're the kind of show I turn on towards the end of nap time, when I've reached the end of the internet and can't bring myself to do anything useful. Oh, and I started watching bits and pieces of The Real Housewives and this is why my eyes are turning to leaky green goop. And yet! I can't turn away! Aaauugghh!

Phillip really likes 30 Rock, which... I just can't get into it. I KNOW. AM FIRED FROM THE INTERNET. But there's something just sort of SOULLESS about it. They're all these self-interested neurotic head cases and while you'd THINK I'd get along with them JUST FINE, I can't root for any of these characters. Maybe a little bit of Kenneth, but not enough to sustain my viewership.

We've kind of sort of dropped a whole bunch of shows. Grad school homework just sort of does that to you. One of those was The Office. We thought it stopped being funny. I haven't seen the baby episodes. I KNOW. FIRED.

But I also stopped watching Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, House, Scrubs, Gossip Girl and Brothers and Sisters. We'll watch Glee (OBVS) and I'm a devoted Burn Notice and Mad Men fan. But I'm not really interested in anything else out there. Except maybe Castle, because MMM, CAPTAIN MAL, DELICIOUS. 

Think I should change my mind on anything? Relevant info: we are giving up cable when we move. I AM ALREADY GETTING THE SHAKES. More on that later, after the detox. 

This post is an exercise in brain cleansing

I'm trying to write a post for Parenting about the differences between my kids... it's hard. I feel like I have a gazillion examples and things to point out, but my brain feels fuzzy and I'm getting that awful blog feeling, the "oh, I am SO not explaining this right" feeling. I hate that. Time to write something else. 

Thanks for your thoughts about what to throw out. To be honest, I am VERY much a Throw Out kind of person, but I blame the internet for my indecisiveness. I am constantly reading posts about stocking up on the next size of clothing, or saving this or that for the next baby, or Gift Closets and stuff like that. And I am, like, the OPPOSITE of someone who buys the next size up. It just sounds so stressful. Where would I store it! What if I forget what I already have and buy more of the same! What if I don't like it! What if it's the wrong season! What if it never gets worn! GAK! 

I didn't pack at all today. I didn't even think about it. (Much.) My neighbors came over for our second (and last) playdate. And then I took Jack to an emergency doctor visit. (He's fine.) And then they napped while I 1) did my yoga video for the first time in weeks, I will now wait for the applause, and 2) ate chocolate chips. WHAT. And when the kids woke up we raced over to visit our friends who've been (how dare they!) out of the country and too busy to hang out with us. WHATEVER. 

In case you didn't catch it - it was a lovely day. In a frightfully messy house. 

Speaking of the frightful, I've just given up. You know how they say married women Let Themselves Go? Or older women? "Oh, she's just let herself GO!" (This needs to be said with an upturned nose and scandalized tone.) Anyway, that is what I've done with my HOUSE. I went from crazy insane people-could-be-showing-up-any-second! mindset where every toeprint on the floor was reason for Utter Despair, to "Eh! If I leave those noodles on the floor they'll be all dried up and easier to sweep up tomorrow!" BUT THEN I DON'T SWEEP THEM UP TOMORROW. 

The fact that I've decided to hire professional cleaners (even though this was an inspection stipulation about which I fussed big time) makes it all the worse. Why clean the toilet if a PROFESSIONAL is just going to clean it again next week? I mean, really! 

So I SHOULD have been ashamed when my neighbors came over this morning and I hadn't swept the floors let alone replaced the empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom. I just didn't care. "We're moving!" I said, using this to explain and excuse the total devastation that is my living space. I did manage to load the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and find an acceptable blanket for their baby to sit on, but that's about it. I didn't care. I honestly didn't care. And I'm the freak who sterilizes the counters and dusts the flower pots before anyone whose last name isn't Cheung shows up at my house. 


Totally Random Question: what do YOU do with the child who is screeching for a drink of water a full hour after he's supposed to be asleep? When you are EXTREMELY sure that he is not thirsty because you ALREADY gave him a glass of water when you put him to bed? When you know beyond a doubt that he is just being Bloody Minded? 

(My dad uses the phrase "bloody minded" in reference to my two children quite frequently. I think it is APT.)

I suppose I should march up there and dutifully offer the single swallow of water. If I don't there will be no peace in the house. If I do, it is guaranteed that he will do it again tomorrow night. BLEARGH.

Things I can't decide

The giant Nordstrom shopping bag full of cups. Starter sippy cups, straw cups, handles, no handles, cups with nine different pieces, expensive, cheap. Right now Jack and Molly are using those Take and Toss plastic cups from Target (or regular plastic cups if I'm feeling brave), but I feel compelled to save our Sippy Cup History. You just don't KNOW with sippy cups! Molly liked some of the ones Jack flat out rejected. I don't want to buy another sippy cup inventory for Third Baby. On the other hand, THERE ARE A LOT OF SIPPY CUPS. 

I'm saving the bottles, but the pump parts - what to do, what to do. I barely pumped at all with Molly, mainly because she wouldn't take a bottle so why suffer? And I'm just going to stand atop my I Nursed But I Didn't Like It pile of posts and say that I don't WANT to pump again. Nursing was tolerable but I haaaated pumping. My thoughts with Third Baby are 1) I will nurse, if it works out, because it is free and convenient, but I will not knock myself out with the pumping/storing/thawing. So I don't want to keep these. I would throw them out right now except for the fact that 1) I DON'T KNOW and 2) I can't remember if they were expensive and/or hard to find. (Somewhat relevant information: I had to give the pump back to the friend I borrowed it from, who had to give it back to the friend SHE borrowed it from. I think you are not supposed to do that? Oh well! It worked for us!)

Kitchen things I never/rarely use. The ice cream maker. The fancy wine bottle opener that's been sitting in a box for about a year, never opened. Fancy chopstick set. Fancy sushi set. (Wait, I'm keeping that one. It's PRETTY. Also, what if we have another sushi party!?) Random number of Christmas plates I bought at the BX (Air Force holla!) on Christmas break one year, that I only use at our Christmas party, and then only when I've run out of the prettier plates. Immersion blender I bought so I wouldn't have to bust out the blender every time I made butternut squash soup, but takes forabsolutelyever and gets so hot I can't even hold the handle and was a HUGE disappointment. College era mixing bowls. Knife block we don't use. Silicone cake pans. One of those little as-seen-on-TV vegetable chopper things. 

All the teeny tiny syringes and medicine droppers and various supplies we brought home from two hospital births and one lactation consultant visit. Suffice to say we haven't used any of these things in a very very long time, but we still have them lying around. You know. JUST IN CASE.

Satiny pillow covers gifted to me by one of the random Chinese aunties, which I never liked and do not match anything in my house, but were exclaimed upon by a Stylish Friend who pronounced them, "Gorgeous!" I don't think so, but Stylish Friend is stylish enough for me to think maybe I should be displaying these babies front and center. 

The mini crib and bedding. WHAT TO DO. The nice thing about this house is that we have the room to store it. The other thing is that by the time Third Baby comes along, even if we were to have Third Baby NOW (WHICH WE ARE NOT) we would have a full-size crib available. And yet, I'm loathe to get rid of it. It's adorable. It's way cuter than the pack and play. I bought special pink bedding! 

All the itty bitty baby stuff. The bouncy chair, the Bumbo, the mobiles, the bathtub. These things are not hard to find or purchase, and you can always get them on Craigslist and in secondhand stores. So I don't know. We don't have a LOT of this stuff, but we have enough to make me think we don't NEED to keep ALL of it. 

Books. I've already decided on this one, actually. I decided that keeping every book I've ever purchased does not make me a better person. It also does not make everyone who comes to my house think I am Brilliant and Well-Read. So bye bye entire Jeanette Winterson collection! (Except for Written On The Body, that's mine.) So long assigned college reading! Au revoir book about what to do when the zombies invade and where did you come from anyway? I did, however, keep quite a few, including ALL my middle grade novels. Speaking of, I am still mad that Phillip wanted to see Hot Tub Time Machine instead of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. HTTM was... well, I'll just say that just because John Cusack is in something doesn't mean I'll love it. (Which was how Phillip got me to see it in the first place.) 

The treadmill. It's still broken. I thought we were getting rid of it, but Phillip says he just hasn't had enough time to fix it. I call BS, Internet, because he's spent HOURS (and MANY DOLLARS) attempting to fix it. At this point I feel like we should junk it, but we also have a nice garage for it to live in if we get it running. Hmm.

The huuuuge candleholder thing I bought from Crate and Barrel back when I had no children and kept my house looking pristine. I don't like it so much anymore. Well, I KIND of like it. But I don't think we'll be hanging it in the new house, just because it's so heavy and hard to hang. I don't know. Will I like this in another year or two? Will I want to hang it in the new house? Is it horrifyingly ugly, so much so that you cannot comprehend why I bought it in the first place? Sigh. 


Someone please tell my husband about this thing called MOVERS

So, um, you guys, I am sort of FUH-REAKING OUT. We just brought our first [very tiny] load over to the new [very old] house and do you know how much is left? SO MUCH IS LEFT. And I am sitting here on the couch feeling totally weirded out by my naked walls and empty bookshelves and OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING.

And because that is the case I'm going through a lovely little bout of Second Thoughts. Wanna hear them? 

  • The new [old] house smells funny. Kind of a combination of Must, Paint and Feet. I am chalking this smell up to 1) old house 2) getting fixed up for new tenants 3) no fresh air in a long while but what if that's just how it smells? WHAT IF? 
  • The house in which I'm sitting right now is neeeeew. Our new [old] house is oooooooold. Why are we selling again?
  • I have no idea where we're going to put the TV. Which, why this matters I'm not entirely sure, since we are going to GIVE UP CABLE OMGGGGG, but I'm finding it necessary to Obsess Over anyway. 
  • I just scheduled my second playdate with my neighbors. SECOND. A week before we MOVE.
  • I have no idea how we're going to carry that giant Expedit bookcase down two flights of stairs and into a truck. None. Obviously it has to stay and I will have to stay with it. 
  • The new [old] house has no coat closet. Panic!
  • We will be sleeping on a different floor than Jack. This was totally okay with me yesterday and the day before that. Today? PANIC!
  • The house is officially ours on Thursday. Which is great! Except it's Holy Thursday. And the day after that is Good Friday. And those are both days that Grown Ups Go To Work and therefore are unavailable for suckering into helping us move. And the day after that is Phillip's First Day Of Saturday School. And the day after that is Easter. AND HOW IN THE WORLD IS THIS GOING TO WORK?
  • The carpet is blue. Didn't I notice that? BLUE. I can't live in a house with blue carpet. What was I thinking? Obviously this is a ridiculous idea. Let's just call the buyers and say, "Never mind!" and we can be DONE with this insanity!

Yes. Well. Perhaps I am a leeeetle nervous. 

The best part is that the kids are staying with grandparents tonight which means I can freak out all day long tomorrow, completely undisturbed. I AM SO EXCITED.

Seven Quick Things I'll Miss About My House

I've certainly spent enough time COMPLAINING about it, so herewith, the things I'll definitely miss:

1. My neighbors. The originals and the newbies, they're all awesome, all of them. My first neighbor experience was days after we moved in and we locked ourselves out - we had to introduce ourselves in one breath and beg to make a phone call with the next, then she let us hang out while we waited for the locksmith to come and break us in. We've sat in other houses during subsequent lock outs (we're bad at that) and borrowed and lent everything from eggs to paint to ladders to carpet cleaner recommendations. When you live so close that you can see what your neighbors are eating for dinner, it's great to be friends with them. Also, some of them are truly excellent party guests. 

2. I can walk to the lake. I probably won't go to the lake as often when we move, mainly because it will be on the opposite side of the freeway and I tend to have, like, a four block radius of Places I Like To Go. Jack and I spent nearly every day at the lake's wading pool the summer I was pregnant with Molly. We didn't go at all this past summer, mainly because I could not figure out how to manage a toddler and a not-yet-walking baby in a wading pool. I was looking forward to walking down there a lot this summer, but oh well. I'm sure we'll still go, but it won't be a throw-everything-into-the-stroller-and-walk-when-the-mood-strikes kind of deal . 

3. My gas range. I think this is funny, because my first memory of cooking with gas is from our house in The Island In The Middle Of The Atlantic - a VERY old house with MANY problems. (It was also gorgeous and the ocean was in our backyard - you make your concessions.) We kept the gas tanks in the kitchen (apparently you are not supposed to do this?) and the stove never worked correctly so it clicked the entire time you were using it. Therefore I was under the impression that cooking with gas was not what normal people in the United States (read: COOL PEOPLE) used - until all the new townhouses we were looking at came with stainless steel gas ranges. FAHNCY! And I love mine. Our new house has an old electric stove and while I'm not, you know, TEARING MY HAIR or anything, I may be slightly worried about the dinners I intend to serve. 

4. Having a designated Guest Bathroom. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to set up the bedrooms in our new house, but right now I'm leaning towards putting Jack in the upstairs bedroom with the full bathroom. I'm not sure if guests will hang out upstairs and use that bathroom, or if we'll hang out downstairs or if I'll just tell people to use the downstairs bathroom. Not that this is a big deal and not that I even particularly CARE, it's just that I'll have to be a little more on top of things, like the diaper pail stink. Sometimes I am not on top of things. SHOCKER.

5. A garage that's connected to the house. We'll have a detached one car garage with a bit of storage, which will be great. And I never thought I cared about garages. But we've been parking on the street ever since we listed the house (we started storing things in the garage) and WOW is it a pain hauling groceries from the street to the kitchen! 

6. My energy-efficient front loading washer. I checked out the rental house washer: not horrible, but pretty old school. I've just sort of forgotten how to soak and rinse things without all my pretty little buttons. SPOILED.

7. My plants. I've put a LOT of time and effort into my stupid postage stamp yard. It looked TOTALLY different when we moved in - the landscapers planted all these awful bushes and there was this big pointy rock in the corner, like some kind of Stonehengish SPECIAL WORSHIP ROCK and of course that had to go. I seriously dug up and moved/threw out every single plant that came with our house, EVEN THE TREE, and the hydrangea and the clematis vine and the peony and the camellia trees and the daisies - they're all mine. But I'm leaving my garden box and I'm leaving the plants. Except the peony. I'm pretty sure the peony is coming with me.

More quick takes here

What's in it for me? Forty-five minutes, all to myself.

The front door just slammed shut and all is quiet. QUIET. I am alone. 

It wasn't until Phillip came home from work and Molly suddenly decided to start bawling at the dinner table that I realized this was a hard day. I'm not sure HOW, since it was short-sleeves-warm and we'd spent the morning exploring the playground in our two-weeks-from-now neighborhood AND stopped at the doughnut shop for a snack. I mean, that right there is why I wanted to be a stay at home mom. The freedom to arrange my days, to have fun with my kids, to do whatever we feel like doing whenever we feel like doing it. 

But for some reason they are snappy with each other today - snappier than usual. There was much drama in the sandbox, usually a place of refuge in that godawful time between the end of naps and Daddy coming home. They didn't nap very long. I had a hard time deciding what we should do with ourselves, even though a myriad of options were present. I made dinner, they didn't eat it. I've been barked at for more milk, upstairs, downstairs, play a game, play catch, watch a show, snacks, more snacks, don't wanna go night night, don't hafta go pee, Monny won't give me dat, *earsplitting shrieks*, and can I help you Mommy? I wan help you Mommy! 

Molly spent half of dinner in her bed so we at least had a little distance from the yelling. Then Phillip said, "Want me to take one of the kids to go get boxes?" And while it was a nice and useful suggestion: no. I'd still have to entertain one kid by myself. Stay home. Be with me. HELP me entertain them. And then he said, "Why don't I take BOTH of them!" 

Of course I thought this was a splendid idea. 

So here I am on the couch, the dinner mess staring at me but I don't care. I poured myself a glass of wine which I don't do much anymore, simply because you can't enjoy a glass of wine while you're getting up and down nineteen thousand times to refill sippy cups. I am updating my blog, since that's what I do. (No really. Phillip had to create a business for me - A BUSINESS - for all this tax stuff I don't pay attention to. To which I say: thanks a lot, US Government, for taxing the five cents I make from exploiting my children on the internet.)

I take two children everywhere almost every day of my life. It's normal. I know how to do it. And yet, when Phillip offers to take them out somewhere by himself it feels... scandalous! It's not that it's a tremendously hard thing to do, but it's not the easiest, and why should I sit here enjoying my internet and glass of wine while he's out buckling and unbuckling and lifting and shepherding and chasing? It's so much easier with help. He shouldn't have to do that by himself. I shouldn't desperately want him to offer. 

But it's good for him. I know this, somewhere in the not-so-guilty part of my brain. It's good for the kids. It's good for ME. Sometimes I'm even jealous of the time Phillip spends on the bus to and from work - that's how much I want ten minutes to myself. So if what's good for him and the kids also gives me a break, I ACCEPT.

P.S. I am two thousand percent positive that my tiredness of the last few days does not mean Third Baby is on his way. JUST SO WE'RE CLEAR.

Wanted: all-inclusive romantic weekend

I found myself passed out at nap time AGAIN today. And I could barely sit up straight when I heard Molly hollering for early release. I took the kids out on a long walk this morning - something I used to do before The House Business, and it's nice to do normal stuff again - but that can't be what's making me tired. Exercise wakes me UP. And the kids slept fine last night. That can't be it either. 

I was telling Phillip about it when he got home tonight. His diagnosis? The stress has caught up with me. Now that everything is mostly settled - we're done with the inspection process and we're just waiting to close, AND we have found and secured a rental - I have the "time" to be exhausted. The only reason I'm considering this somewhat ridiculous-to-me theory, is it makes me sound rather martyrish. I like it.

That said, I DO feel like my little family has been through the wringer lately. A husband who works full time and goes to school on the weekends is a Cross To Bear in its own right, and that's without selling the house, the business trip and other related bits of unbloggable drama. I AM tired. And I haven't even started packing yet! 

Today my sister left me a message about a girl she used to work with who babysits on the side, who lives in my soon-to-be neighborhood and could use some extra hours. IIIINTERESTING. I'll have you know that I have never left my kids with anyone other than family members. I'm not even sure if I've left them with my mom friends - have I? I'm pretty sure I haven't. And not for any particular reason, like "Only Flesh And Blood Are Good Enough To Prevent My Children From Smacking Each Other Over The Stupid Blue Bucket." I just have a lot of Family Babysitting Options and 99% of the time they work out just fine. 

But there is that 1% when I'd like to go out with Phillip, just the two of us, at night, in our own town and my sister isn't available and we don't want to drag our parents up here just to sit on the couch while the kids are asleep. It'd be so nice to have a Regular Babysitter, or even just a BABYSITTER. I have excellent memories of my own babysitters. I totally need to find someone. For a while I was interested in a few girls at my church, but they're pretty young and not available on school nights and also I have TWO shorties and it just started to feel a little, I don't know, DRAMATIC, what with gauging their babysitting readiness on top of dealing with their mothers. But a college student? Who my sister vouches for? SIGN ME UP. 

I would like some Alone Time with my husband. I would like to go to the movies. I would like to use the snazzy restaurant gift certificate our neighbors gave us way back in October for watching their cat. (I KNOW. How awesome are they?!) I would like to pick him up after work. I would like to have coffee and talk about the frillion things we have to talk about right now. 

I am also toying with a weekend away. I'm feeling a little overboardish on vacation planning lately - our Hawaii trip, the Blathering, a girls' weekend when a friend turns 35 this year - but Former Roommate is getting married in July, in a very sunny vacation-friendly yet close-enough place, and I WANT TO GO. (Both of my favorite and beloved former roommates are getting married this summer and I'm rather over the moon about love and how it is a many splendoured thing, la la la, happy happy. SIGH.) I haven't even talked about it with my parents yet (HI MOM!) but how awesome would it be to take a little sunny weekend away with my husband? And go to a fabulous wedding? And go to a beach? And RELAX? 

Dream dream dream, right? But it's only March. The brain wheels have plenty of time to turn, the money tree still has time to bloom.

When you think you've got something worth holding on to

When my in-laws came over this afternoon I went upstairs and crashed on my bed. Usually I am speeding out the door to Target or a coffee shop, but last night was rough and I seriously could hardly keep my eyes open. But I'm never able to fall asleep during the day and it was so sunny out that my whole bedroom was glowing and I kept thinking: oh, go put on your stupid shoes and go for a run. So I did. 

And I was damn proud of myself, because I don't run that often these days. Between the broken treadmill and the rain and the fact that I 1) do not own a double jogging stroller and 2) would not go for runs with a double jogging stroller if I had one, I now run maybe one to two times a week. Ah well. I do a bit of Exercise TV yoga, a Shred here and there and I finally bought a Wii Fit and I play around with that every once in a while. I justify my marked decrease in exercise with the fact that I am maintaining my weight/fitness just fine (as evidence I give you my Wii Fit age: 31 - WOOT! Validation from a video game!) and I just don't give myself a hard time about it. Whatever. I still fit into my pants. 

What I AM missing are the jolts of creativity I have while running. I don't know if this happens for anyone else (although Jen's mention of it one day is what made me realize it in the first place) but I THINK better after I've gone running. And not necessarily for a long or fast run. It seems just the action of going outside, moving my body in a mindless way and giving my thoughts some free space offers up some excellent writing material. I mean, I've been all househousehousityhouse lately (I'M SORRY) and partly because I can't think of anything else to write about. But a half hour of huffing and puffing and I've got ninety-seven posts brewing. 

And it's not just blog posts. I finally busted out that sorry excuse for a first draft the other day and read through my first chapter. And then I cried. You guys, I will never be a Real Writer. I was so disappointed with myself and my poor writing and my embarrassing style and how I was TELLING and not SHOWING and oh God why am I even trying. But a half hour of huffing and puffing and I feel like I want to try again. Like at least one of those paragraphs might be salvageable. 

When I'm running I think about writing. I don't know what other people think about, I don't know if that's weird. But I think about high school and the high schoolers in my first draft. I think about what I want to say on the Catholic blog. I think about first person vs. third. I think about all the bits and pieces of my life and how I would narrate them. I listen to music - the only time I get to listen to music I like - and let the lyrics filter through my narratives, shaping them, emphasizing them. 

And then I make it to my last block and I realize that even though I hate running I made it through another neighborhood jog and go me and thank goodness the in-laws are still here so I bring the laptop upstairs and write undisturbed. 

In which I am STILL talking about houses I'M SORRY

We did it. The quirky house is ours. 

I went there twice today. Once to fill out the application and chat with the owner (who was waiting for someone to see the house; that someone never showed thereby giving the house to ME) and snoop around the house one more time. Once later in the afternoon with a friend to peek through the windows. 

It's a little strange to me that we went this route. I never really considered it - an older house in a closer-to-the-city neighborhood - simply because they were either 1) crazy expensive or 2) dumps. Most of my options were farther from the city center than my house, which meant less walkability, more driving, fewer bus routes. And bigger houses. I really liked the bigger houses. 

This house is probably the smallest house I looked at, and definitely the oldest. There were a few times today when I wondered if we were doing this all wrong. Sure it has the three bedrooms, the extra space to play, a fenced yard - but the other houses did all of these things better. This is the only house that made me think where will we put the dining room table? Where will we put the TV? Which room would I sleep in? What are we thinking?

What we're thinking is: holy crap we get to live in this neighborhood for a whole year!

Sometimes it feels like all the big things are decided. Know what I mean? Like sometimes we just sit on the couch and go, "Well, yeah, in a year or two maybe we'll have a new baby and a bigger house and then we'll just... DO THAT." 

So when we saw all those houses on Saturday it seemed really obvious. Move to the bigger, normal, kind-of-house-you-have-when-you-have-kids house. Duh. But I was kind of bummed out about moving to That Neighborhood (I am unreasonably biased against it, I have no idea why, I think because there are nine hundred car dealerships along the main drag.) And Phillip was having a hard time figuring out how he would get to work. And we kept thinking about the funny little house in the fantastic neighborhood. 

Maybe it's sad that THAT is what constitutes Fun! and Adventureness! for the Cheung family, but that's the way it is. Who knows if we'll get to live so close to so many things ever again? So let's do it NOW! I keep plugging the address into Google Maps and searching nearby for parks, libraries, preschools, grocery stores, restaurants. It's SO close to school. What will this BE like! That's what I keep thinking about. How many things we have at our fingertips. Oh, and decorating an old but pretty kitchen, a boy room and a girl room, a wide open stairwell. I made sure there's enough room for our patio furniture outside, and was granted permission to plant whatever I wanted to plant in the PERFECT garden space out back. I am so excited.

So yes, I'm giving up appliances from this century, a garage door opener, a dining room and, oh right, a floor plan that makes sense, but I get to live in that neighborhood! 

Well, until my buyers decide to bail the day before closing. SIGH.

For those of you who are sick to death of all this house stuff, I give you the most recent capture of The Molly Cheung Glower. Wardrobe by Elizabeth, Attitude by her mother. 

Wait, this isn't glowery enough for you? 

Check THIS baby out.


If it doesn't turn out, at least we know there's another house with an acceptable bathtub for rent

Per Emily's request, an In Depth Obsessing Over Rental Houses post. 

To celebrate Phillip's first day back on the West Coast, we visited four rental houses in one afternoon. You can bet that's EXACTLY how he wanted to spend his no-school Saturday! Even better, they were four houses in which I could picture us living. ALL OF THEM. After about two weeks of seeing nothing but mismatched ripped up carpet and yellowed sinks and horrifying bathtubs, this was the biggest relief in the world. 

We already crossed two off the list - a huge (HUGE!) 1980s-ish split level in a great location and my original first choice house. We ixnayed the split level because it just FELT like a rental house. It was enormous, but it wasn't in great condition (although the kitchen had been redone and was the best of the four kitchens we saw). And the yard was mostly a very dangerous-for-toddlers deck. What wasn't a deck wasn't fenced. So. The other house was just old. Not awful old, but next to the other houses it felt older and colder and smaller. That said, it had the best yard, by FAR. The yard is/was a big factor for me, but since we only really get to USE the yard three months out of the year, I decided it shouldn't be a dealbreaker. Bye bye awesome yard! 

That leaves the other two. Quirky House in a great location and Perfectly Normal House which is not. (For the locals: behind U Village and between Lake City and Sand Point Way, respectively. Am I right? I AM RIGHT.) 

We saw Quirky House first and WE LOVED IT. Which was a little weird, because my husband? Enjoys things like Extra Super Brand New Shiny Sparkly Everything and while this house was very well maintained and looked very nice, it was NOT NEW. It had new paint and new carpet and all that, but it's an Old Seattle House With Perhaps A Sloping Floor In The Kitchen. But for whatever reason, Phillip really liked it and could see us living there. I was... not as on board at first. You see, the floor plan, it is a little weird. (BEHOLD, A DIAGRAM!) (UNFORTUNATELY FAR FROM SCALE!)


The living room isn't very big. I know my drawing is terrible, so bear with me. Not teeny, but not big. Then there's this hallway/dining area. I can tell it was used as a dining area because there's a dining area-ish light fixture in the ceiling. But my dining table will not fit in that hallway. It's a little weird. And then to get to the bathroom on the first floor you have to go through a bedroom. WEIRD. Especially since I think it's supposed to be the master bedroom (the bathroom being inside it). Whatever. 

The kitchen, though. Oh, I loved the kitchen. This house has amazing windows and TONS of light. (There are two skylights over the open stairwell.) The kitchen was far from fabulous with its old appliances and linoleum floor and cabinets-without-doors and ancient countertops, but kind of in this Old Quirky House way that I didn't mind. And it was CLEAN, which is more important than NEW. My favorite part of the kitchen was the back, where there's room for a very large kitchen table and windows all along the walls. I immediately saw myself eating breakfast with the kids while watching birds in the trees outside. Then there's a door that leads to steps going down to the yard. 

Then there's the ground floor.

Kind of hard to explain... it's not a basement, I don't think. The windows are full size. But maybe the house is sunk into the ground a bit deeper? Because you don't feel like you're going up to a second story when you climb the stairs to the front door. ANYWAY. You go down the stairs and into this huuuuuge empty room. HELLO PLAYROOM! There are two more bedrooms down here, one much bigger than the other (or the bedroom upstairs), laundry and a 1.75 bathroom. Both bathrooms in this house were a frillion times nicer and cleaner than any I've seen in any rental. And then a door that leads to the yard, which I barely remember anything about. I know there are patches of grass in the front and terraced areas in the back, but it's not the "send the kids out to play and watch them through the kitchen window" kind of deal I was hoping for. 

And the NEIGHBORHOOD... well, let's just say it's close to everything. We can walk to a million things, we can drive two minutes to a million other things. It's as close to campus as you can get without living in student housing. It's a neighborhood we'll NEVER be able to afford, but an area we've always thought would be fun to live. 

Okay. NEXT HOUSE. Perfect Layout House Way Out In That Neighborhood I Never Liked Very Much.


We really liked this house. (Again, NOT TO SCALE. I didn't have time to hire out, okay?) Even though a bunch of Young Twenty Somethings were inhabiting it, it was clean, it was large, it was SO easy to see us living there. The only weird thing about it was that the laundry was in the garage, and you had to go through a bedroom (or outside) to get there. Well, that and the giant cathedral ceiling-length wall of fireplace that's sort of intimidating when you walk into the house. But whatever. It has playroom space, two full (clean!) bathrooms, nicer and newer appliances and a big deck. What should have been grass was paved over for a basketball court, but I could see the kids riding their trikes around back there. Perfect. Exactly what we were looking for. 

BUT SO FAR AWAY. I mean, not REALLY far. Not that much farther than where I live right now, but kind of way off to the SIDE, so that it's a little harder to GET there. If that makes sense. Phillip's bus situation would be difficult up there. There are stores, restaurants, a library, all that good stuff not far away, but not necessarily walkable. There are no sidewalks. The houses are farther apart and set back. But we love the house. We really love the landlords. (I don't know what's with running to all these Reminiscent Of My In-Laws people in this house selling business, but these people are lovely and that makes us want to be their tenants all the more!) 

When we drive home we say, "Well OBVIOUSLY we are renting the Farther Away house." 

And then we think some more. 

And then we ask Twitter. 

And then we call my mom. 

And then we go out for Chinese food with my in-laws. 

And then we start to think that this seems like An Opportunity. 

Quirky house is OLD. There is no dining room, an absolute must-have in any house I buy in the future. The yard is not what I was looking for, and we'll have to toddler-proof it big time. I'm not sure whether we should use the upstairs or downstairs for the living room. We'll have to get a smaller table. The kitchen appliances are less than desirable. The closets are small. We're going back at one o'clock tomorrow to fill out an application.