Project Sell The House

As promised, the good stuff

So, the first thing I want to say is that the very best "result", I guess, of moving to the house is written out in gory detail over at Parenting. Or it will be on Thursday. So go read that, will you? Because I think I have even more to say about it (you: shocked!) and you will already know what I'm talking about. 

One of the other good things about the house is that the bus route downtown is different, meaning Phillip has to walk a bit farther to catch the bus home, which means he stopped by this shop tonight and brought me some truffles. Not a bad perk, eh?

Seriously, though, and three-year-old antics aside, I've been doing nothing but clapping myself on the back for having the excellent idea to unload the other house and snap up this one. WAY TO GO, ME! And it's really weird, you know? I'm all, "Really, Self? Are you SURE?" Because Phillip and I would often sit in our old living room and say, "This is the nicest house we'll ever live in. It's all downhill from here." And we MEANT it. We had a brand new upgraded everything fancypants townhouse and we knew you could never really be happy if you didn't have granite counter tops. 

WHAT A JOKE. Just the other day we were sitting in our new living room and saying, "Um, I don't miss the old house. Is that okay? Is that WRONG?"

Probably my favorite thing about the new house is the fully fenced yard AND the kitchen with plenty of windows and a door I can prop open to hear if anyone is screaming. There are two doors to the backyard - one from the kitchen (up a flight of stairs) and one from the laundry room (no stairs) and if the kids are playing outside I usually leave them both open so I can just... NOT BE OUTSIDE. And there's a million ways to destroy the backyard - throw gravel! pick the flowers! run through the plants! ride trikes through the puddles! - that the kids are happy out there for much longer than I expect. So I get dinner ready in the kitchen without a Mollymonster hanging off my leg, or I fold some clothes or go through the mail without hollering at Jack to stop throwing balls in the house every five minutes. It's kind of amazing. Kind of life-changing. My favorite days have been the sunny ones, where the kids are running around outside and I'm in the kitchen getting dinner ready and listening to The Moth podcast. (I've had an iPod Touch for, like, a YEAR and I'm only really using it NOW. Yay podcasts!) 

The other great thing is, of course, the separate rooms. It's an adjustment though. They don't seem to miss each other (and really, why would they) but Jack sleeps WAY later in the mornings now and it throws off my whole Coordinated Schedule thing. (Perhaps you've read my other posts this week. Cough.) Not a bad thing, just not something I've figured out yet. But we love love LOVE not having to race out of bed in the mornings to retrieve The First One Who Wakes Up. There were a couple of posts in blogland recently about how great it is to have kids sharing a room and I felt bad - for about ten seconds. I mean, I DID hope for all that sweet bonding crap, but sleep is more important. Can I get an amen? 

Other good stuff: 

For a while I was really worried that all the fun stuff-to-walk-to would mean throwing my entire body weight behind the double stroller for ten blocks straight. Not that that would be so horrible and not that I couldn't do it, I just wouldn't WANT to do it. I'm LAZY. So I fretted about this for a bit, but then I realized that just down the street is Seattle's Biking Trail, which I used to spend a lot of time on in college, late at night, fretting about the guy in my dorm who never paid attention to me, and I didn't remember fretting while SWEATING. I mean, I didn't remember any HILLS. So the other day I packed the kids in the stroller, walked down the hill to the trail and you GUYS! Flatness! It's paved and friendly and takes me to a snooty grocery store (five minutes) or a huge playground (15 minutes) or another snooty store (20 minutes) and I haven't even figured out the walking times for all the things I know are in the opposite direction. This also means I might keep up my (flagging) running habit, since you KNOW I was not going to go running HILLS. As if. 

The mailbox. This is going to sound stupid BUT. The old house had one of those group mailboxes out on the sidewalk (and NO outgoing mail slot, WTH) and I couldn't go get the mail during nap time when I FELT like getting the mail because I didn't want to leave the kids alone in the house. The new house has an old timey mail box attached to the outside wall by the front door AND it works for outgoing mail. This is a HUGE DEAL. (My life is small.)

The living room that has turned into our joint office/library. It's weird, having a teeny couch, a rocking chair and two desks crammed into your Official Living Room, but it's working well for us. I don't feel like Phillip is locked up in some Man Cave when he does his homework - usually I'm right next to him doing my own "work". I knew having three floors in the old house really separated everyone, but in the new house I'm realizing just how much. 

That the kids can play in places where I am not. They play in the playroom or Jack's room. I'm not one of those moms who insists that the toys stay in their respective places - I extricate a lot of toys from our living room at the end of the day - but I just love that they aren't constantly under my feet all day long. I wonder if this makes me sound bad, like I'm not supervising them well enough, but my kids are happy to run around doing their own things and I'm happy to let them. They fight, of course, and I don't get to be in my own space for long, but just not having to be in the same room all morning on a rainy grumpy day is really great for my (our?) disposition. 

There's a huge area for a garden and I will get around to planting my seedlings when it stops raining. The landlord just installed a garage door opener. We're getting a new fridge soon. I love the 'character' of older houses. And we took your advice and switched out the shower head in the downstairs shower and lo, there was water pressure. 

It's not perfect. I really don't like the laundry room. The kitchen floor, while not as panic-inducing as my old floor, will never look clean no matter how hard I scrub. The kitchen gets really hot when it's just sunny, not even warm, outside. The carpet has tears and ugly spots. I hate the paint color. Our table is too big and heavy for its spot in the kitchen, and there isn't enough storage for food and linens and coats. 

BUT WHO CARES. I thought I lived pretty close to things in the old house, but this house is even closer and Phillip and I are realizing that wait, maybe THIS is the nicest house we'll ever live in, because there's no way on earth we can afford to BUY a house in this neighborhood and that's so much of what we love about it. And I just love - LOVE LOVE LOVE - knowing that if and when we decide to buy again we are free. Free! No will-it-sell townhouse hanging over our heads and all that drama. I know I was complainy about it, but I hope you know I'm still sort of shocked we are in our rental house already, when I was thinking MAYBE by June or July. I feel SO blessed. 

As a side note, I hung the REST of the pictures today and a certain someone STILL has not said anything about it. I guess I can't have everything. 

Your standard photo cop out post

It turns out I am not ready for my All The Great Things About The House Post. Mostly because when my in-laws delivered the kids tonight they were horrible and I just... I just don't know what to do about that. Wait, the kids, not the in-laws. THE KIDS. THEY ARE KILLING ME. ALSO. I busted my jaw at my volleyball game today and I'm oscillating between "Oh, it'll be fine, I'll just take some Advil and it'll feel better tomorrow" and "OMG I NEED TO HAVE RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGERY." 

This is why I'm just going to post some pictures. OKAY?

Cute, huh?


I do need to record, for posterity and honesty's sake, that he was a total rockstar at his first dentist appointment. Polishing and flouride and everything. 

Rocking the paper bib. 

So we had to celebrate at the lake. 



The kids stayed Saturday night with grandparents, which meant an easy Sunday morning for Phillip and me, plus grown up lunch with Holly and her man! It was a mini Blathering! SO FUN. If I haven't mentioned it before, I highly recommend meeting your blogging buddies. 

Dim sum virgins no longer. 

See how happy I look? Halfway SANE? IT'S ALL AN ACT, INTERNET. SEND WINE.

Wait, I HAVE wine. Also: Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches, the no-longer-eating-her-feelings girl's Coca Cola cake. (Sob.) I think I'm gonna get me some. In the meantime you can check out my Flickr stream where I have posted a you know what ton of New House pictures, all awaiting your decorating brilliance. 

P.S. I did not clean up for these pictures at ALL. Hopefully someday soon I'll be able to post a second batch where things are 1) set up 2) put away 3) on the wall and 4) LOOK DECENT.

Dangerously close to the edge

I worried about the kids adjusting to the move (and with good reason, my God they are cranky, antagonistic, disobedient little suckers) but I didn't worry about ME adjusting to the move. I am, after all, a grown up. I was the one who instigated the entire thing. I don't need bribes or naps or one more drink of water to put me in a better mood. 

But maybe I should have worried a little bit. Not that it would have gotten me anywhere, but I might have thought to be prepared. And it's not that I don't want to live here or think we made a mistake. The first two days were extraordinarily difficult with the kids, but every day since we keep figuring out how to live here and I can tell, a week and a half into our residence, that our options for Living have expanded exponentially. The different rooms, the different areas to play, the fact that there is no television anywhere near our eating space, the BACK YARD. The back yard is worth its square footage in gold, people. But I want to write about all of that later, all the awesome stuff and the places we've walked to and the things we've discovered. 

Right now I just want to whine, because there are still boxes in almost every room. I still don't know where to put so many things. And there are so many things I feel like we NEED. A TV stand. A coat rack or four. A filing cabinet. Right now I'm sitting in the living room, where I like to sit because there are two big windows and a view of the street, but it's such an ODD room. At least the way we've set it up. We have both desks in here - there's nowhere else, really, to put them - and one little couch and one rocking chair and I keep thinking, "What happens when my friends come over here to drink wine? Where will we sit? I need some kind of fabulous accent chair! (Like the one I'm coveting on Style Lush!)" And I sit here and wantwantwant even though this is sort of ridiculous, coveting a $350 ACCENT chair with a pattern I don't even really LIKE for my one to two year RENTAL HOUSE. 

And downstairs... SIGH. Because of the windows and the doorways and the stairs, there aren't a lot of ways to arrange the furniture and everything we have seems oversized and I have this playroom with nowhere to put toys. There are small issues, like the toy storage tubs I bought for our built in bookshelves in the other house don't fit as well in the Expedit bookcase. Not the end of the world. But then I've left bins of toys on TOP of the Expedit since day one, since there's nowhere to put them but the floor and this makes me upset. We had to cut the room in half with a couch - I don't want to use up more floor space for toy bins. You know? I'm just... frustrated. 

I'm not one of those people who can't stand clutter. (OBVS.) I mean, I don't LIKE clutter and I spend a lot of time organizing and arranging and figuring out Systems and all that, but it's not like I'm going to have a breakdown or something because I can't find a place to put the mail. But I can't find a place for SO MANY THINGS. This house, I feel compelled to say again, is probably exactly as big as our last house, there IS enough space. It's just... different. And I don't know where things go yet. I don't know how we work in this house yet. I HATE THAT.

Making everything even MORE difficult to handle are the children, who are driving me around the bend. Jack is either tormenting his sister or pretending he doesn't speak and/or understand English, and there is pretty much nothing that brings out the Rage more than Not Listening To Mommy. And Molly is just clingy as heck. She's a mama's girl anyway, but GEE WHIZ, KID I can't make dinner/fold the clothes/unpack/sweep/ANYTHING if I'm holding YOU. And then I blame Jack, of course, because half the time she wants to be held because he's being awful to her. 

They are sleeping through the night and sleeping later in the mornings. It's awesome. It's amazing. It's so so wonderful. But Molly still wants to take her nap at twelve-thirty and Jack is uninterested in naps altogether. So we've started doing the Quiet Time thing (books and a toy or two in his crib) and now that we're more settled in the house, he usually falls asleep. Eventually. Like an hour (or more) later. I survive by Coordinated Naps, folks, so this single hour or so of nap overlap is kind of getting to me. I'm trying to learn to relax during Quiet Time, but I'm not used to hearing an hour of singing to oneself or reciting the alphabet or doing all the dinosaur roars while he reads Paper Bag Princess. I know that's silly. I know it's fine if he's in his room, the door closed, Quiet Time in effect. I'm just unclear on how to dial back the Mom Brain, a necessity if one is to survive the hours of 4 to 6pm later that day.

ESPECIALLY when it's interspersed with calls for MAAAAWWWWWMEEEEEEE over and over and over until I cannot stand it any longer and I go into his room and he cheerfully produces a sock, or shows me the booger on his finger and I want to slam every door in the house because SERIOUSLY? All that whining and carrying on for THAT? Can't you just SAY, "Mommy! Come admire my booger!" 

So... YEAH. I will write about all the GREAT stuff later, promise. And this week looks to be a good one - we have tickets for Team Coco (PHILLIP'S IDEA!) on Monday and I'm trying to get up the nerve to call an Actual Real Live Babysitter so we can go on a little neighborhood restaurant date Saturday night. But then Phillip leaves for another week starting Sunday afternoon and thank God he has agreed to take me to Ikea tonight because a whole week of Nowhere To Put Things plus No Husband To Fulfill My Wishes for an entire week might very well send me over the edge. 

What happened with the house

I have to say, I'm sort of losing steam on this topic, if only because it is OVER and we are MOVING ON and I have nine thousand things to put away. But, you know, this is where I remember things and also I know you love the angst. AAAAANGST!

The first thing that happened was that I fell in love with and lobbied hard for a real estate agent who, once he scored our listing, promptly disappeared behind a cell phone and, dare I say it, oftentimes seemed to be representing the buyer. Good one, Me!

The second thing that happened was that we got an offer. Certainly not our best case scenario offer, but probably the best we could hope for and we deemed, and still deem, ourselves pretty damn lucky considering. We did not have to, say, pull our house off the market after a year without any takers. So, let's keep that in mind as I rant and whine my way through the rest of this post.

The THIRD thing that happened was the inspection report and this was, BY FAR, the most difficult part. For me. Because my agent was in California and my husband was in Georgia and I was at home trying to talk on the phone while my kids were clobbering each other in the background. This is also where I started to get suspicious of my agent, because while Twitter, my family, my friends, and the agent's ASSISTANT were thinking that the List Of Demands (as they came to be known) were a bit... persnickety at the very least, HE thought they were typical, normal, no big deal, we can handle it, blah blah blah. HRRMMM.

Eventually we agreed to certain items on the List of Demands and threw money at the rest. We also asked our agent to clarify a few of the items since, after careful and meticulous Poking Around, we could not figure out what the inspection report was talking about. I still have no idea which sink required caulking. And we weren't big fans of the final two items on the list, but our agent said, for the zillionth time, that they were commonplace requests and no big deal. Those things were "professional cleaning" and "final walk through". I had a very frustrating conversation with our agent in which he refused to directly answer my very simple question: "What happens if they don't like our repairs/cleaning at the final walk through?" The most I could ever get out of him was that "there might be tension" but he basically treated me like a neurotic 50s housewife who just needed to be calmed down. In a very smooth and suave way, of course, so that I didn't even notice I was being talked to like a neurotic 50s housewife until after we'd hung up. "They just want to see the house again," he said. "They just want to take measurements."

And we had our own crap to do. Like finding a new place to live. So we made our list of things we had to fix and moved on. We found a house. We scheduled moving dates. We made babysitting arrangements and took off work. We wrangled eight other people into helping us move and oh, we love those people, thank you thank you thank you. We slowly crossed items off the list and since we never really did receive clarification on the confusing items, we just planned to do our best. "There's a language barrier," our agent would say, whenever we asked him if he'd talked to the buyers' agent. (Remember, my assumption that our buyers were recent international student grads, most likely from China, using their honorary uncle as a real estate agent was proved correct.)

SO ANYWAY. We moved. We're looking forward to our closing date and never answering another agent call ever again. I'm sitting in our car in a parking lot waiting for Phillip to outlast the idiots at the U-Haul rental (he did and NEVER AGAIN, U-Haul) when the phone rings and it says "Agent" and because I'm so tired and I don't have all my wits about me, I answer. It's the buyer's agent. (We were using a Google Voice number (I don't know, ask Phillip) for all house-related phone calls and it shows up on my phone as 'Agent' no matter who it is.)

And oh, we have a cheery little conversation. How are things going! How is the move! Are we taking care of the inspection items? Anything a problem? Professional cleaners? Oh good! Lovely! Maybe we can set up a time to meet with the buyers and share our "secrets" about the house! Wouldn't that be cute! Sure! We'll call him back! And OMG YOU GUYS isn't this why I hired a real estate agent in the first place? A full service one? From a giant real estate company? SO I DON'T HAVE TO TALK TO A BUYER'S AGENT?

Later Phillip calls him back and it's not so cheery. He's using his Polite But Firm voice which is never good. He's telling the agent to meet him at the house to specifically point out what is supposed to be fixed, because we're STILL unclear on certain things. Then he's telling him that we're having it professionally cleaned - even though we struck 'professionally' - but we're not having it professionally CARPET cleaned. We did that before we listed. We aren't doing it again. Yes we did too strike it out. We don't even HAVE to have itprofessionally cleaned. We are doing that out of the GOODNESS OF OUR HEARTS. (Actually we are doing it because I am too exhausted to care enough to do it well. And I want to do it well. This is an important point.)

He waits while the buyers' agent reads the inspection contract thing and is duly informed that while we DID strike the 'professionally' we did not INITIAL it. Therefore. We are supposed to have the carpets professionally cleaned. And again I say: isn't this why I hired a "full service" real estate agent? To make sure I initialed things?

The buyers' agent then informs us that the buyers are waiting to sign the papers until after the final walk through. Phillip goes to the house (and does not come home for many many hours) to paint and spot clean and fix up. I stay home and stew. I call my mother. I call Liz. I write blog post after blog post in my head. I skewer my agent in imaginary Tweets. I am livid, frightened and hurt.

HURT! Because, and this should be no surprise, I am taking this VERY PERSONALLY. It has never once occured to me to stick our buyers with a dirty banged up house. I mean, you know how embarrassed I was/am about the patch in the orange wall. I just... I am NOT THAT KIND OF PERSON. I have even given large amounts of thought to the bottle of champagne I plan to leave on the counter, and what I will write in a little note: we hope you love this house as much as we did. I mean, BARF, right? But I'm BARFY not SNEAKY. I am not out to con the buyers and I hate having to be on the defensive about this.

And this is when I mentally/emotionally/physically check out of my house. I'd hoped to go back and have a Last Moment, but I know if I do, I'll just take note of everything Phillip hasn't fixed and obsess over what the buyers will think during the walk through. It's best if I don't even think about it. So I don't. And my rockstar husband handles absolutely everything - the repairs, the phone calls, the potential fall out. I am busy unpacking my kitchen la la la.

Phillip does his last trip to the house late Wednesday night - after the professional cleaning, after the walk through. He says it looks amazing. I feel sad. Overwhelmed. Bummed out.

And the next day we get the call: we've closed. They accepted our dirty carpets. We are done with this whole process. Phillip even agrees to meet with them on Friday morning and I contemplate going with him, but ultimately I have to stay with the kids. And he says it's a good thing I don't go. They're not friendly, they've got a long list of questions and Phillip comes home rolling his eyes.

So I've been thinking about this a lot and part of me is like: GOOD! Perhaps you won't walk into your next Very Big Transaction trying to make friends with everyone. Perhaps you will have a brain and realize everyone is in it for themselves, that no one is on your side, and you need to be aggressive and speak up. You're not 18 anymore, you're a grown up with two kids and a tweaked shoulder from your volleyball game. YOU ARE GETTING OLD. It's ABOUT TIME, is what you are saying to yourself.

But another part of me is like: but I had a strong feeling about these people when I saw them with my own eyes, and then they DID make the offer and they DID buy the house. Maybe it didn't work out exactly the way I imagined it in my sunshiney rainbowed brain. Maybe they didn't have that feeling about ME, that they were supposed to buy this house, from us. I mean, that much is obvious, I think. And I can't blame them. Some of this is cultural, some of it is just plain common sense. It's free to ask! It's a buyer's market! Why not?! So why do I feel sad for them?

Anyway, I have absolutely no intention of falling in love with another real estate agent ever again. On the other hand, I still want to be someone who has bizarro and unfounded Strong Feelings about certain things and gets inadvisably and often regrettably emotionally involved (see: hiring our agent!) I think that is just ME. I think that's okay. I hope to deal with the fall out a little better than I did this time, but I have time to work on that. Right?

We drove back to the house on Sunday to pick up our old neighbor for church. The kids were confused. "We going home, Mama?" And I was confused. There was a big van parked in front of my old garage, and someone else's stuff was being hauled inside. I'm not sure I was ready to see that.

Then again, this house? This new old house with three bedrooms and a fun yard and a kitchen full of windows? It already feels like ours, like this is where we are supposed to be. I have Strong Feelings about this too.

Quirks and Complaints

Last night I wrote this long meandering essay on Selling Your House: Lessons Learned, and then the internet went out. And instead of marching around yelling, "Suckcast!" at various intervals, I've decided to take it as a Sign. At least for now. Perhaps I should wait a few more days until I've decided what I've learned. At LEAST.

In the meantime, the internet went out and the wireless only works in a two-step radius of the router and Phillip was so angry and so up against a deadline he drove to WORK so he could do his homework last night. And while crappy wireless isn't truthfully a characteristic of living in an Old House (it's actually a characteristic of SUCKCAST), I think it's a half decent segue into a segment I'll call: Living In An Old House: Quirks and Complaints.

On the Quirks side we have things like sloping uneven floors and the utter lack of a linen closet. (A'Dell! Your advice please!) What we've gained in a third usable bedroom is the loss of an entry way and office, so I'm having a hard time figuring out where to put things like Phillip's computer stuff and all our coats and scarves and hats. This house is not bigger, just laid out VERY differently. Each room is its own space, as opposed to my old house which was as open as you could be. And the space, while awesome and flexible, is just generally sort of Un-Intuitive. It's taken us a long time to decide what goes where, and we're still not sure. The upstairs smaller living room currently holds the smaller of the couches, both of our desks, my rocking chair and the bookshelves. The downstairs just-slightly-bigger living room/playroom has the bigger couch, the giant Expedit bookcase, the wardrobe (holding the coats and scarves), the TV, the little bathroom cabinet (which is the TV stand for now) and all the kids' toys (except for what we left in Jack's room when he doesn't feel like napping.) But because of the layout down there, there's really only one way to arrange the furniture and it was totally bugging me until yesterday when I pushed the couch about five inches closer to the wall and suddenly all was well in the world again.

On the Complaints side...

The laundry area has an uneven concrete floor which I planned to cover with a big carpet scrap from my old house. Except that the door going outside practically scrapes against the floor as it closes, so I can't put ANY carpet down. This annoys me.

The water pressure in the downstairs shower is nonexistent. I forgot what this was like. (SPOILED!) Also, we ran out of hot water the other day. I can't remember the last time that happened to me. (SHUT UP! SO SPOILED!)

And that's it. I mean, for now. I reserve the right to discover other things to complain about. But everything else either feels like one of those Oh, It's An Old House, Of Course It's Near Impossible To Control The Temperature or isn't really an issue, like the appliances. I think that dishwasher is as old as I am, yet it appears to work better than my previous fancy one. I KNOW. The washer and dryer are REALLY loud, but there's a door to close and it doesn't really bother me. The oven is spectacularly clean inside and works just great, if the carrot cupcakes and Coca Cola cake I made over the weekend are any evidence. (Various people going on airplane trips brought me their perishables and what ELSE was I supposed to do with carrots (ugh) and buttermilk?) (Also, remind me to give you the coke cake recipe because OMGHEAVENLY.) (And I HATE Coke.)

We still have boxes lying around and I'm still unsure about a few things. We need a different TV stand, if only because the bathroom cabinet seems a little wobbly (see: uneven floors). We did get Jack a Craigslist dresser and Phillip gallantly agreed to work with plastic storage drawers in the closet so I could have the big dresser. I'm doing my usual terrified-to-hang-anything-on-the-walls thing. Oh, and we need a little filing cabinet and I haven't even started on the garden and I want to spend our entire tax return on decorating a house we don't plan to live in for very long. WHAT OF IT.

Oh, I forgot to put on the Complaints side: yes, I'm within walking distance of nine thousand things but UNFORTUNATELY, everything is UPHILL. Or downhill, but that just means walking uphill on the way home. And we're not talking little hills. We're talking scary Seattle hills with a double not-jogging stroller. But I figured out that if I just go down the block I hit a Popular Running/Biking trail which I THINK is mostly flat, as it skirts a lot of the hillishness, and that's possibly our plan for today. We'll see. I have about six pounds of house selling stress-eating pounds to work off. SIGH.

The gory details will just have to wait

OH INTERNET. How I've missed you. I'm in a coffee shop just down the hill from my house. Phillip said, "Do you want to get out by yourself for a bit?" and I was all, "OH GOD YES WHERE ARE MY KEYS?"

Okay, so I know LOTS of people do not update their personal websites every day, but I am not one of those people. When I don't post, something is going on. I mean, I have to be REALLY tired. And for me to not post two days in a row? THREE? People, I have the shakes. Strangely enough I was okay without email, but I was rendered physically ill at the number of 140 character thoughts I was unable to insta-publish, made miserable by my inability to tell you about the many injustices done to me this week. I had to resort to the actual TELEPHONE. I KNOW. The finger waggy internet addiction people will tsk about this, but GOSH it was lonely. I MISS YOU!

Our house officially closed today. There is absolutely nothing left inside, except the binder full of manuals and paint chips and phone numbers, the house and mailbox keys, the garage door openers and a bottle of nice champagne. Which I left for our buyers despite the contentiousness of the last several days. I thought I would escape to this coffee shop and sit down and immediately tell you the entire story, but it turns out I'm sort of exhausted and fearful I won't do it justice. I mean, I'm lacking in the self-righteous snark department at the moment (I KNOW, is it even POSSIBLE?) and I think this story will need an awful lot of self-righteous snark. I just don't have the energy. Plus, I think a lot of it is ME and that's never a fun thing to write about. "Dear Blog, Turns out I'm not as smart and awesome as I thought I was! Lame!"

Oh, and don't let me forget about the U-Haul part. I'll give you a quick summary: U-Haul sux.

And now I am in a snooty university area coffee shop with two hipster dude baristas, one of whom needed his smelling salts when I requested decaf. Suck it, Buddy Holly Glasses. 

Our new house is as awesome as it can be. Every time I think I've made a lot of progress with the unpacking and setting up, I realize I have another ninety-seven boxes to go and I get a little bit Despairing. But the kitchen is done done done and I love it. Love it love it love. Then again, some things already feel small, some things already feel hard, but most of it feels like just where we are supposed to be. I'm not sure how to DO things - like, I'm used to getting two kids ready in the same room with all their stuff in that same room, and I'm not sure how to do it with two kids who live on two different floors. Stuff like that, that you would seriously never think about if you weren't a parent, or even the parent who does 95% of the morning routine. Speaking of things you would never think about, our new bathtub may be a horrid peach color, but it does not have sliding glass doors getting in the way of bath time ANDILOVEITSOMUCH.

Perhaps you want to know how the kids are sleeping? Since that was the whole rationale for the move anyway? They are sleeping AWESOME. They are even sleeping later in the morning, which, THANK YOU JESUS. Of course, this might be because a certain someone rejected his nap two days in a row, unprecedented in the Cheung household, and his mother was nearing institutionalization. However! He napped for freaking ever this afternoon and who knows how bedtime is going tonight. Who cares! I'm not there! Whee!

Yeah, things have actually been pretty hard with the kids. And you know I was not dealt an extra batch of patience during this entire process either. So poor kids. But poor me too! Molly is so horribly annoyingly frustratingly clingy and Jack is... well, the last time I remember Jack being so consistently difficult to deal with was when Molly was born. Which should give me a clue, right? But it's taken me three days to consider the fact that maybe he's adjusting. I'm such an idiot. But honestly, it's not like refusing to listen to a word I say correlates with moving. I mean, I would understand, "I miss sleeping in the same room with Molly!" or "I really preferred the hardwood floors!" or "THIS carpet isn't as much fun to pee on as our OLD carpet!" but no, my boy is not that articulate. He just resorts to plain old Little Sister Bullying and Mommy Crazymaking. Remember that post I wrote a while back about feeling guilty when I leave the kids with Phillip? NOT TONIGHT! 

That said, every once in a while you get an isolated moment when they're the definition of adorable. Our new kitchen has a back wall of windows and while the kids eat I am constantly updated on "Hair Pane!" and "Doggie!" and "Cah!" and "Look, Mommy, everything's WET!" 

So anyway. The sale is official. We're all good. We're very tired. I miss the internet. My husband, by the grace of God, does not have to go to class this weekend. I have amazing friends and family, without whom this move and the preservation of sanity during said move would not have been possible. Also, I now live within walking distance of Crate and Barrel. How can I go wrong? 


At least there is plenty of candy

Internet, I love you. You know I do. Even though I haven't been READING your posts let alone COMMENTING. And then Phillip just informed me that we will be without internet access from Tuesday till Friday, which does not bode well for the Reading and Commenting OR my general wellbeing. Sob.

Why stand next to each other and smile for the camera when we can stuff these marshmallows into our mouths?

Seriously, Mom. You are clearly not getting it. 

Just admit it. Easter is a bust this year. SAY IT. 

And while I'm posting pictures...

Looking down at Molly from the top floor of the house, through the stairwell, to the bottom. Hello blue carpet!

Living room, glimpse of Wide Hallway and Indoor Kitchen Window.

Kitchen. We're hoping our table doesn't completely swallow the eating space. The little roof you see out the window is the top of the detached garage. 

Jack, having just been caught hiding in the closet. There are many places to hide in this house. I'm afraid.

Label on one of the boxes my MIL scored from her hospital workplace. I'm hopeful one of the boys helping us move tomorrow night notices. Because I am twelve. 

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.