Thursday, June 29, 2006

To be fair

Husband asked me this morning, very tentatively indeed, whether it would be o.k. for him to go out for a beer with a good friend of his Friday or Saturday night. "Sure," I said. "That's alright." I suppressed a big, self-pitying sigh and a comment to the effect that "I wish I could go out with my friends and have a beer." Pats on the back for me, right?

Husband surprised me the other night during one of our rare, uninterrupted conversations by telling me that he was feeling pretty...occupied these days. Like he has no free time anymore, never gets to just hang around the house reading the paper or doing yardwork if he wants or going to a show or whatever. He's just too busy, he told me. I guess I was surprised because I hadn't figured that it works both ways, y'know? I mean, he actually gets to leave the house 5 days a week which I envy most sharply some days, but sometimes I forget he's going to work. And as much as I feel like I've been over-the-top busy with both childcare and the hundreds of small tasks related to getting ready to move lately, he's been doing a lot, too. And feeling stressed about it apparently. Who'da thunk it?

My response to him was comforting, I hope. I told him that we were in the throes of the busiest time of our lives as the parents of young children. It wouldn't always be this crazy and this loud and this busy. I try to tell myself that sometimes, too. That I'll have time to lay around with the paper and a bottomless cup of coffee again one of these days, but now is not that time. And here's where a better woman than me would end with a platitude about how I'll miss it when it's over, but I can't bring myself to say that. It could be true, but that leisure time looks like paradise from where we're sitting right now.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This sucky week in review

I've been in such a bilious mood for the last 48 hours. I'm just a little too short on sleep lately, and there's too much going on. Like what, you ask? I'll tell you.

  • You already know about the house-selling and house-buying going on. I should be packing, but haven't begun a single box.
  • I've scheduled various appointments and deliveries every single day this week, and this sucks. It doesn't feel like summer at all.
  • Everyone in my household clearly knows much more than me. Sister is constantly correcting me, and don't get me started on my Husband. Every.fucking.thing. is cause for endless picky discussion and it's exhausting me.
  • Oh, and even the rug cleaning guy knows more than me! This guy we hired to clean a couple of dirty rugs comes over yesterday and begins lecturing me about how I shouldn't have tried to shampoo a hand-made rug. (This was a big jute rug that we'd spent all of $100 on--not much considering it's 7X10', so big damn deal!) Anyways, I didn't really know that, so I'm not arguing, but then he proceeds to tell me I really shouldn't have it anywhere it's going to be walked on either. What the hell point is there in having a rug if it's not supposed to be walked on?! He just wouldn't shut up and at one point I even rolled my eyes and stomped my foot in impatience before I could stop myself. He totally saw me, too.
  • And the guy who delivered a portable storage unit yesterday that I'm supposed to be filling with packed boxes--HE TOO knows more than me! He really thought I should face the door in a different direction than I wanted it, because really it would be better to wheel the trash can behind the unit rather than in front of the unit. And the door when it was opened might hit a couple of plants nearby. And most people like to prop the door open with a rock or something else heavy so that opening it is just a one-time thing, and then you put boxes in it and move the rock and then closing the door is also just a one-time thing, and also it wouldn't hit the plants there. Guy, would you just shut the fuck up and get in your little forklift and put the unit where I want it?! Jesus H. Christ!
  • Bean is still going through this phase of screaming at me and clinging to my legs while I'm trying to cook dinner. I found myself saying to her, "Bean, I am going to rip my own eyelashes out if you don't stop screaming at me." Which then made me laugh hilariously at my own humor and I picked her up and everything was suddenly o.k.
  • But I did have to order an emergency evacuation of the bath tub last night when Bean perpetrated a gigantic baby poop explosion on her Sister. Bean's been eating a whole lotta blueberries and raisins lately. Can you picture it? Bet you can.
  • Husband and I are hauling Bean and the frickin' dog in the car to Tennessee next week on an 8-hour drive to his family's cabin in the mountains to attend a family reunion on the 4th, plus a cousin's wedding on the 8th. Now, I've been considering confessing my feelings about this trip in case any of Husband's stupid, gossipy running buddies are still reading my blog and teasing him about things they read here. But they can all go fuck themselves if they want. I'm dreading going to this cabin again. I know that time spent in this cabin was very special to Husband's dear mother, but now it's really filthy. Like, ancient clothes moldering in rotting dressers, and ants everywhere, and thick dirt on the floors filthy. And the river it's next to where you'd think it might look fun to swim and go tubing and stuff is fucking freezing cold, even in July. And the rednecks? Damn it, I grew up with these people and never went back to the town where I spent my formative years! I do not now want to vacation with them! They piss me off when they wake me up at night whooping it up on the damn swinging bridge everyone visits at all hours that just so happens to be located right next to this venerated cabin. Sigh. But we'll go again and I'll keep my damn mouth shut and know that at least Bean will have a blast with her Papa. I love my Husband and so I'll never tell him how I feel about this cabin. Don't you fuckers go telling him either.
  • I've had a period for 9 days straight now, and am at the bottom of a second box of O.B. What the hell? Am I making up for not having had one for a year after having Bean or something?

And that's all the time I have to bitch, folks. My baby is waking up again, and just for once I wish she didn't wake up screaming every.single.time. Don't some people's babies wake up all cheerful and chatty? Not mine, dammit.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Bonus kid love note

Sister is apparently old enough to be writing secret love notes and stashing them in her jewelry box. Unfortunately for her, she is NOT yet old enough for me to stay out of her room when just the daily tidying isn't enough anymore. While cleaning out a drawer positively crammed with tiny pieces of written-on paper, I ran across this missive to a Costa Rican classmate with whom Sister kept getting in trouble for the last 4 months of school:
Dear Jerome,
If we get married we should stay in Amarieca and go too Costirica for vacations and I will cook. We can go too the Crubutre for our honeymoon and we'll look like this. (And there are 2 pictures of smiling faces labelled "you" and "me.")

It's pretty innocent as far as love notes go, but Husband says that I should really tell Sister she's too young to be writing this kind of thing. I'm still not sure. I certainly remember having crushes at her age, and certainly don't remember my mom talking to me about them. I seem to have turned out o.k. I mean, if going through a slutty, druggy, drunky era for about 7 years doesn't count. Hey, I grew out of it eventually, right?

The freaky thing to me is that Sister clearly already has a thing for the Latin type. Like, to the point where I think I better start working on my Spanish before too much longer. In the meantime, I wonder where the hell Crubutre is. Mabye Husband and I should go this year? Something to look into...


I've made at least a dozen phone calls this morning, seeking quotes from movers and mobile storage unit providers and the like. Our move begins now, even though we're not technically moving out of our house for another month. Why the rush? Because we have scheduled not one but TWO vacations during the month of July. Husband and I are leaving town for all of next week to attend a family reunion on July 4th as well as a cousin's wedding a few days later. We'll be back home for a week and then leave town again for my family's annual week-long beach trip. (I mean my entire family, by the way. There will be eleven children there. Some vacation, huh?) Then we'll return home again and there'll be just a few days to finish packing up and get the hell out.

Husband and I did manage to squeeze in some down time over this weekend, though I suppose that "squeezing in" down time makes it sound like just another chore. We hired our ebullient college student babysitter extraordinaire to sit around in case Bean woke up from her night's sleep while we went to see The Proposition. The movie was super-violent, visually filthy, and stark, which I should have expected from a screenplay written by Nick Cave. Not exactly date-night material, especially because all we had time to do beforehand was grab a tank of gas and then a cheap beer at the pool hall next to the theater, but whatever. That's married life, right? And anyway there appear to be ZERO good movies out at the moment. (The DaVinci Code is not my idea of a must-see flick.)

But I wander here. And Bean wakes up. And there is lunch to make and packing to do, so off I go.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Done deal

I just woke up from a most delightful little power nap while Bean slept and Sister and her friend zoned out on Nickelodeon. 'Cause I can do that again. 'Cause my house is under contract. Aw, yeah! As of last night, Husband and I signed a contract and the house is officially going to be sold. No more real estate agents tromping through giving me attitude about trying to sell without an agent, their picky clients judging my house-cleaning skills, decrying the lack of a dryer, sniffing about it being "too small." Someone loved it as much as we do. In fact, three couples loved it as much as we do and our visions of a bidding war came true! We ended up getting $2K more than we were asking for, and that was actually the lowest of the three offers. The winning couple had a kid, too, though--unlike the next highest bid--and they were also in a solid financial position--unlike the highest bid of all. Breathe a sigh of relief with me, everyone. (That is, if I still even have any readers left after my week's absence from the blogosphere.)

Husband and I are heading to some friends' house tonight on a dinner invitation. It's beginning to storm outside, but I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to cocktails, food that isn't take-out, and hearing someone talk about something other than selling houses! I'll catch up with y'all tomorrow.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Bidding begins

We received an offer on our house from a young, hipster couple this morning, handed to us by their smarmy real estate agent in a sealed envelope. We requested the sealing because we're still leaving town tonight to drive down to Atlanta. We're expecting those other 2 offers to come in on Tuesday when we return and want to look at them all together. So far, 2 couples out of the 3 want to know if someone has outbid them so they can consider offering a second time. I hate that we're leaving town because even though this is an ideal situation to be in as the seller of a house, it's still stressful as hell. I never was good with unknown situations, even if the tension works to my advantage in this case.

I'll let y'all know what happens when we get back. With 3 offers likely to be on the table, I expect that we'll at least get our asking price. But I've bitten all my nails down til they're sore in the meantime.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Offer to offer

Good news on the house-selling front! The agent-less couple called last night and want to make an offer on the house. They're unsure whether they should hire an agent, though, to help them navigate the paperwork, and then there are their finances to consider. Husband and I are going out of town and told them to take their time and talk to us when we get back on Tuesday. So basically they've offered to make an offer and it hasn't happened yet, but it is heartening to think that this may all be over soon.

Husband emailed the Boston couple last night to let them know the situation, and they're all in a panic now. They're going to try to fly down on Saturday so they can see it and determine whether it really is the house of their dreams, as they seem to believe it is from the photos. They want the chance to put in an offer before the couple on Tuesday. Competition is very, very good in this case. I'm beginning to have visions of getting more than our asking price if these two get into a little bidding war--something that has happened a couple of times in our neighborhood recently.

I'm feeling like I can idle today with the pressure off a little. Maybe it's premature to kick back, but dammit, this house is immaculate! I've got a novel to read during Bean's naptime, and after she wakes up and has lunch it's off to the pool with us. There's another showing scheduled during our dinner time, so Husband and I have already decided to eat out tonight. It's going to be a good, relaxing day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Party all the time!

This house-selling business feels a little familiar. Getting the house ready for potential showings is a lot like getting ready for a party, and God knows I've thrown my share of those. I spend my days making sure the house is spotless and that the "stage" is set. I put fresh fruit in the pottery bowl on our kitchen island. I pick fresh flowers from the garden and put them in vases throughout the house. I make sure all the coffee and tea spots that we slosh on the floors every damn morning are wiped up. I cover the piles of laundry in their baskets with attractive--though dirty--tea towels so no potentially fastidious house-shopping stranger has to gaze on our dirty socks and napkins. The clutter gets stashed, even if it's clutter we use everyday--contact lens cases, toothpaste, eyeglasses, water glasses, tea pots, coffee grinders, slippers, notebooks, all of it gets hidden. The house has never been so clean, even before the cleaning service arrived this morning to really scrub it down.

A lot like preparing for a party. Except that I have to do this

It's tiring, and I'm driving myself nuts trying to keep the baby from trashing the whole house on the off chance that some agent will call and ask to come over RIGHT NOW to show the place. But at least I don't have to cook for all these people! And no one's expecting cocktails except me--earlier each evening than usual--and Husband--perhaps one more each evening than usual.

I just hope that we can get it under contract soon so I don't have to keep up with this cleaning charade. We've had 2 showings so far, another scheduled for this afternoon, and that couple in Boston still wants to see it next week when they're down, if it's still on the market. (An aside: for some reason I think this couple expected that we would keep it off the market for them until they could make it down here. We've never even met them! But their emails got all chilly suddenly once they found out we were trying to--gasp!--sell our house as soon as we could. These people were friends of friends of a neighbor. What were they thinking?!) Both showings have gone well. The first couple to see it took their time, and then spent 15 minutes right out front talking with their agent. The showing last night was to a young, agent-less couple who spent an hour going around with Husband, even going so far as to check the attic and wiggle around in the crawlspace in the evening dark. They want to see the inspection report we had done when we first bought the house, so it appears that they are seriously contemplating it.

Anyhow, once again I go into detail that is only going to interest those who know me well and haven't talked to me on the phone recently. Sorry to the rest of you. There's not much going on here otherwise. Hopefully the rest of you are having a nicer and more interesting summer than I am! Once I drop Sister off at overnight Brownie camp this afternoon, I might actually have time to catch up on my blog reading and find out for myself.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

An evening to relish

It's the afternoon lull here on the Sugar Ranch. Bean is sleeping and I had thought that I, too, would take a little power nap today. But I began obsessing over the disgustingly mildewed shower stall in the so-called "master" bathroom of our house. I doused the tiles with mildew remover--singeing my nose smell pores or whatever into oblivion in the process--then began scrubbing. My heart rate got all revved up, my brain is still in a whirl with all the house-selling chores, and so there will be no nap for this busy mama.

BUT. I am having 2 good friends over for a dinner party planned weeks before I knew we'd be moving. They're bringing gin and sour mix so that we can get likkered up on gin fizzes, and I'm doing the cooking. Wanna know the menu? Sure you do.

  • Devilled eggs and small sour pickles will be our little hors-d'oeuvres.
  • Fried chicken, and I won't spare the bacon grease for frying it in. Vegetable oil is for sissies.
  • Mashed potatoes (But you can forget about the gravy--it's just not going to happen this evening.)
  • Corn on the cob with plenty of kosher salt and hot, melty butter dripping off it.
  • Cucumber and onion salad with some tasty cherry tomatoes thrown in.
  • Fresh buttermilk biscuits with butter and maybe some strawberry freezer jam I made Mother's Day weekend. My Gran always had jam on the table when she served biscuits, at any meal any time of day.
  • And for dessert, get this--hot fudge brownie sundaes! I made the brownies this morning, plus some homemade hot fudge sauce I happen to have on hand 'cause Husband likes it, squirty whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, choppped, toasted pecans...awww yeah!
I warned my friends in advance so they could avoid eating all day and save their day's calorie intake for this evening. Wish y'all could come, too!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Mama alone

Here's what a supportive wife I am. Husband was getting in his car this morning, heading to the Tennessee mountains to scatter his parents' ashes, along with his brother who flew in to Knoxville earlier this week from Colorado. Husband was giving me some last minute instruction about the listing-service-that-is-not-a-Realtor and I said to him, "My head is about to explode. Could we just stop talking and have you go?" Nice.

I'm on my second glass of wine now, trying to come down from another hellishly busy day. Bean has mostly settled down after 20 minutes of struggling against sleep in her crib. The weaning isn't going well for Bean. She misses me, even though during what used to be nursing time, we cuddle together and I let her drink some diluted juice while we read a story in the comfy, overstuffed nursing chair in her room. It's just not the same for her.

Sister's last day of 2nd grade was today, and she brought home another lovely report card. I say "another" as if it was some beautifully consistent habit of hers to do this. In fact, it's her 2nd one ever, and I'm very grateful to her teacher this year for understanding her in a way that her 1st grade teacher didn't. Those two just could not make it work, and what a revelation it was to me that teacher antagonism could start that early in a kid's schooling. It can! Even the littlest kids are full-fledged, personality-laden little entities who sometimes just don't get along with certain other bitchy, personality-laden entities. I'm just saying this in case any of you are under the impression that early childhood education is all sweetness and light and teddy bear tea parties and wear your pajamas to school day and stuff.

But anyhow, this blog entry is taking the tone of a journal entry, which is to say that it has no appeal to those of you who don't know me very well at all. So I'll shut up now. And go have a third glass of wine.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

House business

Jesus God, have I been busy! This house-selling business requires an ass-load of hard work, even though I consider our house to be cute and in damn good shape. I'm glad I'm not a slob or more of a slovenly housekeeper than I already am.

The good news is that we talked to a realtor whose opinion we trust, and when we told her our idea of a fair asking price for our current house she assured us that we were way UNDERpricing it. Given our beautiful gardens, new fence, and general cuteness and good condition she thought we could get almost $15K more for it. We haven't signed a contract with her because Husband wants very much to sell the house on his own with the help of one of those cheap-o companies that you pay a small fee to for an MLS listing. But she gave us advice anyway, even without us promising her a commission. Thanks for the recommendation, Mommygoth! If we end up not selling it on our own in the next 2 weeks we'll use her, but I hope we won't have to wait that long for a contract. We do already have some prospective buyers in Boston, an academic couple with a 2-year old who love the house pictures and have good friends living just around the corner...

So I'm eating, breathing, and sleeping house-selling these days. And this on top of Sister's 2nd-grade class party yesterday, Bean continuing with her molar-growing woes, and weaning that sweet baby on top of it all. She was down to just one evening feeding as part of her bedtime routine, and even then wasn't really nursing much because she's so riled up just before bed. I was going to a PTA meeting slash wine-soaked patting-ourselves-on-the-back fest last night and thought, well, I might as well just let it go now. So I did. And I was kinda sad. But truthfully, there's so much going on right now that I don't have time to mope about it. Tonight I'll just turn that nursing time into cuddle with mama and a book time, and I'll bet we'll both be o.k.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Blogroll? I crazy, or has my entire blogroll disappeared? Can any of you tell me if you can see it in its usual spot, on the left side of my blog? If it really is gone and I have to reconstruct it, please give me a comment here and I'll add you back on. I promise that this isn't a pathetic ploy for comments. I just really appear to have somehow lost my blogroll! Very strange...

Getting ready to sell

Please to forgive. I'm going to be a bit of a one-trick pony for the next little while as I work through this monster of a to-do list we've drawn up enumerating the many, MANY things we have to do to get our house ready for sale. Thankfully, there are professionals who can do things like power-wash little girls' chalk pictures off of brick houses and who can easily fix the two-fold problem of moss growing on concrete porches because of leaking gutters. The bad side of it is that there will be many, MANY checks to write over the next couple of weeks. I only hope that we'll make up our outlay when we sell the house for our full asking price--whatever that ends up being--within hours of our actually listing it--whenever we can manage it. I wake up nights now trying to think of what items I'll have time to do in between keeping Bean entertained and fed. I discovered today that she very much enjoys UNpacking boxes. Not helpful, baby girl. Not helpful.

Whoops! There goes Bean now, waking up from her nap. My poor baby has been trying to get some molars for a few days now and hates her own mouth at the moment. One big tooth is half-way through, but the other is stubbornly refusing to surface. We've all got a lot going on just now.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

New house

It's done. We're buying a new house as of July 14th. WE'RE BUYING A NEW HOUSE. It still hasn't quite sunk in yet.

We met with the wife of the neighbor couple last night at the house. Her husband had already left town, so it was just us 3 at the table with all the kids running and yelling around us. Negotiations were short and easy, and it was all very painless. We signed a contract. We wrote a check for earnest money.

And then we walked around the block to our own house and I suddenly felt very freaked out and sad. "What are we thinking?" I demanded of Husband. "I love this house! This is a great house! It's been good to us! What has it ever done to us? We're hurting its feelings!" I went on stupidly. Sigh. Of course it will eventually be fine, but this IS a wonderful house. It will be hard to leave it, even if we are just moving around the corner.

In the meantime, there is so much for us to do in the 6 weeks that we have before closing! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment, and I suspect that starting a list of what we need to do after I post this is just going to make it worse rather than better.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Husband is home again from Atlanta, and I've never been so glad to see him. He wasn't gone that long--only 3 days and 3 nights this time--but the evenings without him, with just me and the girls here at home, yawned open and empty like a bottomless pit. I love both my girls dearly, don't get me wrong! But the 3-1/2 hour gap of time between Bean waking from her afternoon nap and bedtime for both girls was SO dismaying.

My dear Husband, though. Bless him. He got home late yesterday afternoon, and we both immediately sat down together to talk over speaker phone with our mortgage company loan officer. Bean woke up in the middle of it, but after the phone call Husband scooped her up in a big papa-love-hug and she was his for the rest of the evening. The darling man even took her and Sister to the pool for the hour and a half before dinner, while I stayed at home, quietly cooking and having a little cocktail. It was a heavenly hour and a half and just the little break that I needed. And I didn't even have to ask!

No big news to report on the home-buying front yet. We're talking to an attorney today about drawing up a simple contract for us, and then we're going to invite those neighbors over to talk tomorrow or Saturday. Husband wants to ask them what they honestly think is a fair price for the house. Then we can fill in the contract with them right there at the table so that we don't have to waste time going back and forth over price. These neighbors strike us both as trustworthy folks, so we don't expect them to get all greedy on us. Again, crossed fingers. I'll keep y'all posted, and thanks for your good wishes and advice so far.