Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Little House with Hopefully No Water in Its Basement

It's house hunting time!  Derek and I are about to embark on a house hunting trip in Connecticut, because searching for a home online is extremely helpful and I am thankful for that capability, but what that online picture doesn't show is that that charming house is placed cheek by jowl with the friendly neighborhood crack den until you go see it in person.  Photoshop and photo cropping are powerful tools. 
Do not read this book while house hunting unless you enjoy crying. 

Our Iowa people keep asking what town we're going to live in, because they are thinking in midwestern terms.  The best way I can think to explain CT is to compare it to the Des Moines Metro area:  much (although not all) of Connecticut is covered by towns that bleed together, so you never really know when you've left one town and have entered another, except perhaps that the name of the road has changed (so confusing).  We will live in a specific town, of course, once we find a house, but the name of whichever town we choose is really only important because there is no open enrollment in CT, a privilege that we enjoy here in Iowa. 

Open enrollment, at least here, means that even if you live in Ballard school district, you can still choose to send your kids to school in Ames.  There are exceptions to this, of course; certain districts choose to close themselves off because they're already at capacity, or for other reasons.  What reasons?  I don't know.  I just assume there are others. 

Where we're headed, however, where you live is where you go to school.  The population density is so high that even though Derek is working in Bristol, we have, I don't know, dozens, I guess, of towns and school districts to choose from, and when we're looking online we might see lots of houses in a certain town that look so charming!  And reasonably priced!  Oh, but it turns out the school district is extremely poorly rated and hey, ho, the Connecticut legislature has actually stepped in because so many millions of dollars were stolen from the district and it's now failing.  Guess we don't want to live there. 

Because of this, however, the towns with the good school districts have fewer homes for sale within our price range because the market is more competitive there.  Or the property taxes are insane.  (Iowa friends:  think double what we pay in our town.  Yes.  That insane.) 

Even so far, it's been a lot of ups and downs, just searching online.  Look at this house, it looks so nice!  Oh, wait, the schools are crap.  Here's a house, and the commute looks reasonable!  No, no, it's in a flood plain.  Here!  Here is THE HOUSE.  Look at these pictures!  Now this is a Crisler house!  Nope- it's on a street so busy we'd have trouble pulling out of the driveway and we'd likely never be able to resell the place.

What I keep telling myself is that God already has a house in mind for us.  He already knows where we're going to live, and we just have to trust His timing. 

Doesn't that sound nice?  Don't I sound like a good little Christian?  The truth is that although I am great at saying this (on repeat in my head), it's way harder for me to actually walk through.  So if you see me and I seem to be FREAKING OUT, well, you're missing the ten minutes a day that I'm actually resting in His promises.  Better luck tomorrow.


1.  Free Wifi at the airport, even if it's only for an hour.  A deadline!  Deadlines can be helpful, right?

2.  My mom, who didn't murder my sisters and I when we were growing up, and is considerate enough to not murder us each time she sees us.  She also does her best to muffle her laughter when I call and say things like, "Exactly how am I supposed to get our daughter through middle school?  Without gnawing off my own arms in frustration and rage, I mean?"

3.  Caramel lattes.  Lattes of almost any kind, in fact.

4.  People who take care to shower before they get on planes.

5.  My mother-in-law, who was kind enough to take me to the airport today so that I don't have to park our vehicle in short-term parking, keep track of an extra piece of paper, etc.  Such luxury!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Existential Crises Caused by Moving

With this new job of Derek's comes a relocation package, which is doled out in the form of a points system.  There are all kinds of services available to meet your moving needs within this package, each worth a specific number of points.  Some are a better deal than others; staying in corporate housing, for instance, is worth a whole lotta points, so we've done everything we can to avoid that one.  The point value of storing your stuff in a storage facility seems slightly more reasonable, but we're still hoping not to have to rely on that- it all depends on how soon we find a house out there.

By far the biggest chunk of our points are being eaten up by moving our stuff; we're fortunate in that a company will come pack up all our goods, put them in a truck, and haul them cross-country.   It's to be expected, then, that most of our points will go toward this, but it's still been a learning experience in and of itself, because the points are allocated by weight.  Do you know what the total weight of all your crap is?  Material crap, I mean, not emotional.  That's an entirely different metric.

As it turns out, there's a system for finding out how much your stuff weighs.  Not just a system, in fact, but a person whose job it is to come to your house, follow you around as you say, "This is going, but not that, and not that, but this and this are."  She says, "Great, okay, sounds good,"-and is by the way a very friendly person- and then she wanders through your house with her phone, scrolling and poking at things on the screen, which could normally mean anything, but this is a purposeful scrolling and poking, and you soon find out that she's scrolling to "beds, queen-size," and "couches, 6-foot" and checking off all of your things in under 10 minutes.

This all seems a little odd but makes a strange sort of sense, but really all you want is for your crap not to amount to much more than 3,000 pounds, because 3,000 pounds or less and you're not paying too much in points, but after that, you're charged every 500 pounds.

So that's what we did.  We waited for her results, and kept in mind that they always over-estimate the poundage of your stuff, which is understandable- and hey, we'll eventually be reimbursed whatever points we don't use.  And we don't have that much stuff anyway!  I'm a major house purger, and we have a bunch of built-ins (including dressers) in this old house of ours, so we really don't even have that much furniture.

Well.  As it turns out we do have a lot of stuff, to the tune of 10,000 pounds, at least by the Professional Crap Estimator's calculations.

So.  That came as a bit of a shock.

Do I feel a little sick knowing we have around 10,000 pounds worth of stuff?  Yes.  I keep thinking about all the extra things pioneers tried to bring with them on the Oregon Trail that they had to abandon somewhere along the way.  Do we really need all this stuff?  Of course not!  But conversely do I want our family to sit on bamboo mats on the floor and eat our supper with our fingers?

Actually that sounds kind of fun, but only for, like, two meals, tops, and then I know I'd be too grossed out by everyone's crusty food fingers.  Related:  WHY do I have to clean the handle of the refrigerator every other day?  I feel like I am constantly telling our offspring to wash their hands, and yet somehow the door to the fridge is perpetually nasty.

At this point I'm trying to determine just what it is of ours that weighs so freaking much.  We're not bringing a mower, or a snow blower.  We do have one big saw, and our dining table is pretty good-sized.  But our couch isn't particularly big or heavy, and we have a single recliner.  We do have five beds, and as much as I read about how good it is for you to sleep on low-to-the-floor bedding, trying to sell my family on that would be a waste of precious effort that I could be spending convincing them that a 0% grass/100% flower and vegetable yard is the way to go.

I'm not completely obtuse, of course.  One look around our house and you know what weighs so much:  the books.  So many books.  I wish I could say, "Well, each member of the family will simply have to pare down on their book inventory by 20%," but first of all I am not a monster and second of all just looking at the shelves in our living room, Derek's books occupy the space of one shelf, while mine spread across seven others.

Then there are the shelves throughout the rest of the house:  all my books.  Well, mine and the kids'.  To conclude:  we have many books.  Books are heavy.  I searched for a gif, hoping to find something soothing and book-centric and instead found a bunch of Marie Kondo gifs.  I'm feeling both targeted and offended.  The end.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Dry Needling

A friend of mine recently went through a... training, I guess?  A workshop?  A certification?  Something magical and clandestine that only physical therapists (and I think a couple chiropractors) can take part in where they lock themselves into a room and poke each other with needles until all their various aches and pains have abated and they have unlocked the secrets to a reliably good night's sleep.

That's how I imagine it went, anyway, based on the details she shared and my natural gift for confabulation. 

Anyhow, I asked this friend if she'd bring her magic needles with her when she and another friend came over last weekend.  She kindly agreed and even made us feel necessary by saying she needed plenty of dry needling practice. Then she stabbed us until we begged for mercy!

Okay, so not really.  She was very precise and professional about the whole thing- she even brought her own wee sharps container- calmly talking us through every step of the process and answering my questions with the utmost patience.  While I laid on my front, peppered her with questions, and tried to take a picture without moving any of the muscles in my posterior chain- the section she was needling- I soon realized that I wasn't feeling much of anything. 

Excuse the dead fish look on my face- I really really wanted to see what she was doing back there.

As a matter of fact, the only real sensation I felt was when she needled a certain spot in my right hamstring and elicited a twitch response.  I kept asking if the needles were in, if she'd already put one in, etc.  I couldn't feel much of anything, excepting that one spot, throughout the whole thing.  Somehow this feels like it must be connected to the fact that I can only be massaged by those with impressive upper body strength; my response to the question, "How's the pressure?" is almost invariably "MOOOOOOORE!"

The freaky part to the whole "I am an unfeeling robot" revelation was when I watched Anne dry needle our other friend, Mindy.  Not only was Mindy's response different than mine- nothing crazy, she just clearly could feel bunches of needles penetrating her flesh- but I could see how long the needles were going into her calves.  They had to be at least two inches long (currently holding my index finger and thumb up to try and gauge how long those needles looked), and most of that length went into her calf muscles.  I had to ask because it seemed so implausible, but sure enough, it was those big mamas that I wasn't feeling.  Google searches asking what the opposite of a highly sensitive person might be have so far only told me that I am a pitiless turd. 

I'm not even going to pretend to be able to explain what the proposed benefits to dry needling are.  I'll just tell you what I told Anne:  my range of motion was better for around 48 hours post-needling, especially in my right hip, where I usually suffer from limited range of motion and almost daily pain. 
Example:  normally I have no problem executing this stretch on my left leg, while my right takes a few minutes to relax into place.  It's one of my very favorite hip opening-type stretches, a kind of standing pigeon for you yoga types. 
That knee is usually floating several inches above the counter, at least at first.  After the dry needling, however, it slid right down onto the counter, parallel with my foot.  Amazing.  Also I don't know what that means.  Ask a PT.  Of additional note:  this picture was taken in the back room at work.  I take regular stretch breaks, and you should, too.

It was all a welcome break from the we're-moving-life-as-we-know-it-is-over chaos. 


1.  Not having to pay to call people long-distance anymore.  Or use those ridiculous pre-pay phone cards for the same. 

2.  Roasted pine nut hummus.

3.  The fact that corsets or stays or girdles are no longer required as part of women's daily attire.

4.  Adelaide, and not just because is even now telling me to type this.  She is a marvel.

5.  My youngest sister, Stephanie, who I can always use as a sounding board to determine what the kindest course of action is.  I don't know if it's a function of being the youngest child, or an inborn trait, or what, but she reliably points me in the nicer direction.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Things Remembered

It's been interesting to discuss selling our house with the public at large.  Reactions run the gamut, from "Oh, that's exciting!" to people who have actually sold a home within the past few years; those poor souls have a haunted look that steals over their faces- unless you're one of sick few who actually enjoy this kind of thing.  The one friend of mine who doesn't bear permanent damage from selling her house should be a realtor, though, I swear; she has the right skill set, from relentless encouragement in the face of my dour attitude of late to weirdly specific knowledge of things like earnest money and appraisals.  If you're looking to move into central Iowa, let me know and I'll pressure Marsha some more into making a career change.

We're now at the point where we're actively looking at houses in CT.  We began doing this online months ago, but found ourselves getting emotionally attached to homes that quickly sold, as the housing market out there seems to move as quickly as our market here.  

The problem I'm grappling with now, or at least a part of it?  

I am not a good house hunter.  

Not in the same way as the people on that show, which I have seen all of three, maybe four times; I like people in general, but a handful of episodes was enough to make me believe that perhaps I should be praying for a humanity-cleansing asteroid rather than world peace.  No, those people all seem to live in a fantasy world where you can ask for five bedrooms and a fireplace and a pool and a three car garage and a boat dock and at least ten acres for your specialty-bred tortoise.  

I'm a gigantic pain to house hunt with because I seem to have house amnesia.  Derek can recall minute details about nearly all the houses we toured ten years ago, when moving to Iowa, and will sometimes point out a house in Ames, saying, "Remember when we went through that house?" and I'm swiveling my head in all directions in bewilderment because as far as my brain is concerned, this is all new territory.

And now it's all happening again.  We've been viewing a lot of houses online, and Derek will frequently ask about the house in Wethersfield or the house in Burlington, you know, the one with three bedrooms and a garage?  While I will have indeed viewed these houses, looked at all their pictures, and read their descriptions in full, after all of two houses they start to run together in my head, and I feel like I'm operating with the mentality of a preschooler:  "What about that one house?  You know, the one I liked?  Well, I don't know where it was, I just know I liked it!"

Thankfully Derek is used to translating my gibberish into English, as evidenced by my texts to him from the mechanic's place today, where he didn't bat an eye when I couldn't remember what the guy had said to me thirty seconds prior:

Next week's house hunting trip should be interesting, to say the least.

Tuesday's Gratitudinals:  

1.  Lemons and lemon-flavored anything.  Lemon bars, lemon basil pasta, my favorite cookie from my young childhood, Lemon Coolers, that were discontinued long ago.  Not to worry, I have a new favorite:  Ginger Lemon Cremes.

2.  Hydrogen bonds.

3.  The Wailin' Jennys.

4.  Weird books at the library book sale.

5.  My middle sister Kelli, who is celebrating her birthday today!  When she was born I wanted to name her Amy.  My grandma instead gave me a Cabbage Patch Kid preemie doll and I was instructed to name her Amy.  Although I wouldn't have had the language for it at the time, at the age of three I remember feeling disgruntled and a little patronized that I was supposed to believe naming a doll was the same as naming a sister, but did as I was told.  I still have both Amy and Kelli.  

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Selling the House

It would appear I have left out some teeny, tiny details surrounding this move.  Things like why we're moving, when, etc.

So!  Once upon a time, a young lad met a young lass.  Said young lad graduated from their shared institute of higher learning (in Kansas) and found work at a magical place called ESPN (in Connecticut).  Said lass finished her education at the previously mentioned institute, married the lad, and went to join him in Connecticut.  A few years and one baby later they left Connecticut, lived in Kansas for a year (enter baby #2) then decided they wanted those brutal winters back and went to live in Iowa, where the lad grew up.  They lived in Iowa for ten years (baby #3 added somewhere in there) before the lad and ESPN decided they must be reunited, so the now-five of them will all be embarking on a grand adventure this summer.

I left a bunch of stuff out of that, including much of anything about me in that space of time, which I'm finding annoying as I read it over again, but not annoying enough to go back and change it.  Onward!

Yes, we will be venturing out to Connecticut because Derek was once again offered a job at the big ol' sports tv place, as I call it in my head.  But before we do that, we needed to sell our house.

The last time we sold property was when we previously moved from CT, in 2008, when we hired a realtor, she took a bunch of poorly lit pictures of our 600- square foot condo and got around saying the place was miniscule by using words like "cozy" and "homey" in the online description.  Still, it sold within a few weeks and the whole procedure was relatively painless.

Let me tell you, things have changed.

First, allow me to say that we like our realtor.  He has done a wonderful job, and we have felt ourselves to be in more than capable hands.  Even without being first-time home sellers, however, we've had a lot to learn.  There was an interior decorator that toured the house with Derek, the latter of whom was instructed to take copious notes.  She had instructed me via email not to pack any decorative items, but instead to set them aside for her to use at will.  When I got home from work that day I found that she had used most of the things I'd pulled out, and in ways I never would have expected, because I do not have the decorator gene.  I can give you book recommendations until you beg for mercy and claim illiteracy, but decorating?  The most help I can be is to say things like, "Um, I really like old stuff.  Especially if it's just a little bit weird."  Which is no help at all and borderline off-topic.

She also pointed out all the places we needed to de-clutter, which was helpful to me because Derek and I had already been purging and deep cleaning for a couple weeks at that point and I felt I was becoming a bit blind to what the house actually looked like.  The rest of her instructions she seemed to sum up in two words: "Think hotel," repeated many times on the tour with Derek.  My version of this order was "Make it look like no human actually lives here," which is basically the same thing, I guess, unless you're Eloise.  No laundry anywhere, no laundry baskets, no trash cans, only the two approved towels hanging in the bathroom, no shampoo, soap, or person-cleaning product of any kind in the shower, etc.

The house looked amazing after I followed her instructions to the letter, although I only finished executing her marching orders maybe four minutes before the professional photographer arrived- another new part of the process to me.  He, too, did an amazing job.  I should add that both these professionals' services were part of the realtor's commission, so we weren't paying extra for this stuff.

Next is one of the crazier parts, at least to me.  Most of the communications surrounding the showings of our house were done via app.  We downloaded the ShowingTime app, and shortly thereafter we started getting requests for showings- local realtors wanting to book times to take their clients through the house.  I had determined early on that I would say yes to any showing, orienting our family schedule around these in order to get as many potential buyers through this place as possible.  I still say this was a good strategy, but it made for a couple of hairy days.

To be more specific:  Friday I was at a library conference all day.  Because there was so much interest in our home (yay!), throughout the day we got notifications on our phones that a showing was requested for x:xx time.  We then had the option of confirming that appointment, denying it, or requesting an alternate time, all via the app.  I confirmed every one, which was hurray, exciting! while I was at the conference, but once I'd picked up four kids from school (we had a spare that day), it got a little interesting, sounding something like, "Okay, kids, we'll be at this park for an hour, then we can go home at 5:00, okay?  Oh, wait, now it's 5:30.  Hang on, there are two more- 6:30, kids, we just gotta get to 6:30 and then we can go home!"

Thankfully it was beautiful out that day, so we turned the afternoon into a tour of our local parks.  And then we did the same thing most of the day Saturday as showings kept ding-dinging my phone; those then ran right into the open house.  Again, all good things!  But I did get tired of driving by the house to see if anyone was there, then dashing in to vacuum all the floors between showings because evidently it is no longer considered rude to track mud through a stranger's house.

All of those things felt as if they had been worth it when we had multiple offers by Saturday afternoon.  Our house is pending!  Another hurdle cleared!  Hurray and huzzah!

I will confess I'm still kind of waiting for the bottom to fall out on this offer, for something to go wrong.  I don't know if this means I'm a determined pessimist, I have a stress hangover from getting the house ready to sell, or what.

A strange/fun detail about all of this:  the buyers are our neighbors.  She stopped Derek outside the day after the sign went up in our yard and told him she wanted to buy our house, that she'd loved it since they moved to the neighborhood a few years ago.  I figured this was just talk, but evidently some people actually do the things they say they're going to do.  Strangely, this gives me hope for our society.  I have a new level of self-consciousness when I'm in our front yard now, though, making sure they can see I'm plucking out every errant weed and not slacking on maintaining the house in our final weeks here.  It was also interesting to open up the back of the van and pull out all the laundry and junk I'd stashed back there because it wasn't allowed in the house for the showings and open house.  If they were watching out their windows, they could absolutely have seen just how much I had to haul out there to fool the world into thinking no one currently lives here.
Not the gif I was looking for, I admit, but absolutely the gif I needed.

Sunday's Gratitudinals

1. Biographies and Memoirs.  Recent favorites include Becoming by Michelle Obama (the former first lady describes politics as "nasty" at one point.  How much more relatable can you get?)  Inheritance by Dani Shapiro (la di da, I think I'll do one of those DNA tests you mail off, it will be fun!  Wait, is this right?  Is this test saying one of my beloved parents isn't biologically related to me?  And this means I'm not a full Jew when that's a huge part of my identity?  WHAT?), and of course, the current favorite the world over, Educated by Tara Westover, which absolutely lives up to the hype.

2. Bosu Balls.  Last week I was excited that our gym finally got one, and this week I'm excited because I realized I was using it upside down, so now I'm fixing that, and let me tell you, it is way easier to stand on those things right-side up.  Look, figuring out little things like which way is up is hard sometimes, okay?  And doesn't this just mean I'll be able to say I know Bosu balls backwards and forwards?

3.  Indoor plumbing.  Forever and always.

4.  Friends and needles, especially together, as it turns out.  No, I'm not a recreational drug user.  Someone remind me to post about dry needling sometime this week.

5.  Having a daughter who is borderline obsessed with the periodic table of elements.  If you have a similar loved one, this book (shown below) is a fantastic gift, and will quickly become a comfort book for them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Feelings in the Morning, Feelings in the Evening

We told our kids that we were moving about a month ago.  Let me tell you, it was a day.  Actually, it was a weekend because we intentionally told them on a Friday after school so they'd have the whole weekend to process the information.

Here is the internet's and several "family experts" general consensus on how to support your kids in an emotionally healthy way when making a big move:

  • Keep a positive attitude!  Your kids take their cues from you!  If you are happy then they will be happy!
  • But wait, don't be too happy.  Your kids need to know that it's okay to be sad, and they'll see that by watching you.
  • But not too sad!
  • This event will build a deep-seated sense of empathy and resilience in your children.
  • Don't do it.  Just don't move.  It's too hard and your kids will be wrecked forever. 

What I'm saying is the advice I read was, for the most part, somewhat less than helpful, although I still wasn't afraid to read it to Derek in an increasingly panicked voice.  When we did actually break the news, I like to think we hit somewhere in the middle of all that advice, with Derek remaining calm but also reassuring the kids that they were going to feel many different emotions over a long period of time, and that they were all okay.  He told them that it was okay to be mad at him, it was okay to be sad, okay to be excited, or some mixture of all three of those and more.  I mostly just cried, as did Adelaide.  Caedmon was, ahem, demonstrably upset for around three minutes before he calmed right down and started asking questions about Connecticut.  Atticus took it all in stride after we reassured him that there are sports in CT and that yes, we would be bring the Nintendo Switch.  

Since then there has been a lot of talk about feelings.  So so much.  We talk about how we're feeling on this day and on that day, and how we felt when breaking the news to this person and to that person, and how sick we are of feeling so many feelings.  For a while Caedmon reported feeling sick to his stomach most evenings because he had such a mixture of feelings inside him.  It's been super fun.  

Derek and I are grateful that the kids still want to share these feelings with us, however.  I had feared that at least one of the kids would shut themselves away from the family, and while this still may happen at some point, for now they're still being quite open with us.  We try to encourage this by keeping time open (even when we don't feel like it, or maybe especially when we don't feel like it), and by keeping our reactions to their "feelings" statements very even and validating.  I don't blame you for being mad at us, I would be, too.  I feel sad at weird times, too.  I don't like it when people respond to our news in that way, either.  Yes, we will find a soccer team for you to join out there.  No, you are not automatically getting a phone because we are moving.  No, I will not let you audition for American Ninja Warrior Junior because we are moving.  Uuuh, you want to change your name to Casey when we move and have us all call you that from now on?  Huh.  Let me talk to your Dad about that one.

Sometimes our discussions on feelings devolve a bit.

Tomorrow:  selling a house in the age of smart phones, and why it's amazing! and simultaneously bizarre!

Today's Gratitudinals

1.  FaceTime.  Also I need to know what Tina Fey would call FaceTime because her not-so-subtle name for Facebook on the show 30 Rock- "YouFace"- is so perfect that I feel she is the only person for this task.

2.  Being able to be outside without putting on a million layers just so you don't die.

3.  Middle school track meets. No, Daughter is not in track, but we went last night to cheer on her friends, and MY GOODNESS was it fun.  The pressure is relatively low; (although perhaps it felt that way because none of my kids were actually participating) this is so obviously new to 90% of the kids there.  They're just trying to do weird things like jump over poles backwards and leap around in the sand (can you tell I never did track?).  There is a lot of tripping over hurdles, but also a lot of cheering for a bunch of brave girls willing to go outside of their comfort zones, so much so that I almost lost my voice.

4.  Pinch of Yum's Queso Chicken Chili.  Fast, easy, delicious.

5.  The Popcast.  Particularly the "No's" episodes (the No's of weddings, the No's of Halloween, etc) and the Flavor Town episodes.  Hilarious.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Up and Down and Down Some More and Then Up Again

If you're wondering what preparing to move a family of five 1200 miles away is like, here's the best gif I can find to approximate that feeling:

And the soundtrack is something like, "YaaaaAAAAaaaay!" immediately followed by "NoOoOoOoo!"

Repeat ad infinitum.

"Ad infinitum" is the problem with this whole process, really, at least at this point.  We're past the initial excitement, and the weeping while you break the news to your local loved ones (well, mostly), and the brainstorming about what the future could look like.  We're solidly in the middle, where for every one task you complete, eight more pop up in its place.  

For instance:  Be sure to get everyone to all the various doctors before you go.  Congratulations, you got all your people to the doctor/dentist/eye doc- more or less.  Oh, but wait, now you need to cancel any appointments more than two months in the future.  Make sure you sign any release forms because someday very soon you really will live in CT and some future doctor will need access to your records. What about insurance?  What about when you're trying to clean the inner glass on the oven door because oh yeah you're also getting your house ready to sell and you insist on taking the oven door off yourself because hello you watched, like, two YouTube videos on this and are therefore an expert, but then the door made a scary sound amongst your fiddling so now you need Husband to come help, and he obliges but then the door makes the scary sound again but this time the sound is accompanied by lots of blood everywhere and now it's time to hustle the family out to the car to take Derek to Urgent Care because that door dang near near sliced his right thumb off.  And now you get to add changing the dressing on his thumb daily, plus multiple daily doses of antibiotic, plus finding a doc in CT to take those stitches out in ten days.  

You know- like that.

What I'm saying is, it's stressful.  It's insanely stressful.  And so I've found myself to be just the teeniest bit cranky and out of sorts lately, and feel like it's even infecting the tone of these posts.  So while I've told myself that I want to post close to daily throughout this process so that someday I have something to look back on- half of my memories of our kids' young childhood is thanks to this blog- I don't want it to be a daily whine-fest.  To help battle that back, my thought is to finish each post with a list of five things I'm thankful for on that day.  I'm hoping this will change my mindset, but also reserve the right to abandon the idea pretty much whenever I want, because changing my mind at will is one of the things I exercise with wild abandon in my life.  

Today's Gratitudinals  (Is that a word?  Probably not.  Does it matter?  Definitely not.)

1.  My vacuum.  It's a Shark that we bought maybe a year ago, and we have become extremely well acquainted whilst getting this house ready to sell/ cleaning up after all the nasty people that live here.  I include myself in that round-up.
Picture less hula-ing, heels, and happiness and you'll get the idea.  But also more vacuum attachments!

2.  The Notes and Reminder apps on my phone.  I swear I would remember nothing and everything would be late without those.  
Shopping lists, book recommendations, things I want to remember to tell Derek or do that evening, e v e r y t h i n g.

3.  This book, which I swear isn't just good because it's somewhat pertinent to our family's current situation:
Yes, it's YA, and yes, it's a graphic novel, but that just means you're not going to spend the next six weeks trying to slog through it like this month's Classics Book Club you're already regretting joining.  It's funny, and insightful, and thoughtful.  

4.  Cadbury mini eggs.  Not the cream eggs, mind you, which are positively revolting, but these small, delectable candies filled with Cadbury chocolate that is somehow superior to other, sad, American-born chocolate.  And okay, I know that Cadbury chocolate is made in Hershey, PA, but it's still so much better.  My taste buds neither care nor know why.
5.  The precious minutes it took to write this post.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

News of Two Sorts

First off, I feel I should deliver an update on Daughter's performance of Lumiere, given my last post.

Sorry for scribbling out your face, girl over Adelaide's shoulder

She did so well!  She sang, she danced, she spoke in a French accent that was still understandable- a real worry of mine weeks before the performance, when I tried to gently remind her that yes, she was supposed to be French, but the audience still needed to be able to understand the words coming out of her mouth.

As for those candlesticks:  she made around 80% of them herself.  Did the hot glue drippings, the painting, glued toilet paper tubes inside so she'd have something to grip- nearly everything.  The only thing I helped with were creating the papier mache flames.  That and tailoring that blasted men's suit jacket from Goodwill.  It hung on her like a garbage bag when we first got it, and silly me thought it would be a relatively straightforward matter to extract the oversize shoulder pads, amend the lines of the opening and way it hangs, add gold filigree, and so on, and so on.  

After copious seam ripping and repeated plunges into the bowels of the jacket, however, I realized that men evidently require a lot of padding in their clothing.  Then I got mad thinking about how you would never find this in women's clothing; our fabric instead trends toward the uncomfortably sheer.
One of many fistfuls of shoulder padding

As for the musical itself, well, we listened to Adelaide wail about how poorly practices were going and about how this person kept storming off stage and how that person couldn't even be bothered to show up for the (hours long) practices- etc, etc.  Our expectations for the outcome of the show lowered accordingly each time she uttered such a critique, so said expectations were subterranean by the time we arrived at opening night.  But somehow, through seventh grade magic or possibly just lots and lots of hard work, those kids pulled it off.  It was so entertaining.  Adelaide and her friends acquitted themselves admirably, and we were so proud.

Also of note:  my sister Kelli and her family braved predictions of a winter storm, car problems, and the reality of sticking three tiny children in a car for hours and hours to make the drive up and surprise Adelaide that weekend.  I got almost no pictures while they were here, possibly because I'm a terrible sister/aunt, but mostly because I was trying to soak up every second of their presence. 

That is our giant daughter carrying all the toys Kate felt she needed from the second floor down to the first while also making sure she made it safely downstairs.  Please also see that the shirt Kate is wearing is one that Adelaide wore when she was that little.  Which was forever ago, but simultaneously three seconds ago.

Just two other details pertinent to the story of that weekend:  

One: people approached me after both performances multiple times to tell me that they didn't at first believe that Adelaide was a girl.  She was so convincing as a boy, they claimed, from the sound of her voice as she sang to her mannerisms as Lumiere!  My response to this the first couple times was to laugh, but after that I wasn't sure what the appropriate response was.  "No, please, you're too kind"?  "I bet you get that all the time, too"?  

Two:  Adelaide's dear friends got friendship necklaces, which they presented to her that weekend.  They look like matching puzzle pieces that, when fitted together, read "Always together, never apart, maybe in distance, but never in heart."  (Commas added by yours truly because why on earth wouldn't I?)  The girls gave her this because she's been struggling with the fact that our family is moving.

To Connecticut.

More on this tomorrow.