Friday, September 27, 2013

Buying a House is like Dating

I was reading through my old DRAMA!ACTION!DRAMA! journals last Saturday, while I was supposed to be organizing my files and packing to move. It was so hilarious, I trucked it upstairs to read to Mike about when we first met. Keeping a journal is totally worth it, just so you can laugh maniacally at yourself and how wise and wonderful you were in your earlier years.

There was a lot of drama and angst in those journals about my dating years. And I swear selling and buying a house is just like being in the dating world. Except in the dating world, you don't get an agent. (Maybe people should consider getting agents while they date. Just to smooth the whole transaction. That would be a fun job. Or not.)

Here's how our "Dating the House of Our Dreams" is going. When we first started looking around there were tons of possibilities. So many houses to see! So many wonderful qualities in them-- beautiful kitchens, nice bathrooms, craft rooms, landscaped property, ginormous garages. So we had a great time going out.

Then we narrowed it down to what we really wanted in a house. And we started to get anxious. Maybe nothing like that existed! Our ideals were perhaps too high. We expected too much. And we were doomed to live destitute and despairing, in a rental forever. FOREVER.

We'd start to get serious with a house and then we'd find some horrible flaw--like a cramped laundry room, or a cabinet shop with toxic fumes in the backyard, or it was located on a busy road. And we'd start all over again.

Finally after much hand-wringing and over-analyzing (I never did that while dating. Never.), we decided on the house of our dreams (ok. It was the house closest to our dreams we could find. This is unlike how my dating ended. I totally found the man of my dreams.) We were so excited!

And now we're possibly in the heartbreak stage. They might not sell it to us, because it appraised far below its value. (I'm not sure how this particular aspect transfers over in my analogy. Maybe it's like your mom, or your best friend doesn't approve of your choice or something.)

I should probably hold the phone, dial it back a little and just wait. Because maybe it's like the time Mike told me on our second date that I was a "fun girl." (The previous death sentence of many a relationship.) Maybe it will still work out.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Back-to-School Jig

I am almost staggering under the amount of free time around here these days. I get almost two hours a day of quiet time. TWO! HOURS! And did I say "free"? I meant child-free in the sense of "children are sleeping or pretending to sleep in their bedrooms." But let's be clear that these "free" hours are being used productively.  This productivity will probably return to unabashed wastefulness when the new Downton Abbey comes out, but until then I am doing laundry and packing boxes and other productive things.

This summer was an exercise in self-effacement. I am happy to report that it was much better than last summer. Not so much better that I cried heartily when my two oldest returned to school, but better enough that I felt a moment of wistfulness as #1 and #2 headed into the halls of learning. Thought process: "They are growing up?" Thoughtful, sad pause. "They are growing up!" Begin dancing.

Now that summer is over, I want to review what worked for us and what didn't so next summer I'll be crying hysterically when they return to school. (Because our summer together will just be that awesome.)

Our routines this summer were a good way to keep some semblance of normalcy and control and I think they contributed to our overall happiness. We did pretty well at sticking to them until our week-long vaction in mid-july and then we kind of just hung on until school started. Here's is what worked and what didn't work and why or why not.

In review, biking 100 miles did not happen. But we did make it 30! It just got too hot mid-July and we never got back into the swing of it. So maybe next year we'll have to try doing 50 miles all in June.

Also, I feel like it was a good call to only have one major chore and incorporate more cleanliness into our lives with the routines. For instance, having dinner clean-up be part of our routine instead of a "chore" worked well. We still don't always clean up after ourselves, but we're a little better.

The Pass of all Passes was a good thing, we used it almost weekly. We need one of those for activities up North. Honestly, will someone get on that please? The gas was killing me. Our pass is still good for June of next year, so we'll do it through June, but after that I'm not sure. 

Summer School did not occur as regularly as planned. We did make it through Road Dahl's "The BFG" and Betty Brock's "No Flying in the House" and then somehow we devolved into watching movies.  I think we'll have to be better about this next summer. I had the girls do a drawing book report of their favorite part of "The BFG" and put it in a special notebook and planned to do that for our other books, but that just didn't happen. I found a nice website about family theme days and would like to have Thursday Theme Days or something like that next year. I like this everyday theme idea too.

Hiring a babysitter in the mornings to exercise and grocery shop once a week was a fantastic thing I will do until I feel comfortable leaving the chilies to fend for themselves. I'm guessing that's in about two years, when my youngest can get her own cereal in the morning and my oldest is 10. Or maybe when my youngest has learned enough karate to defend herself from the often ill-intentioned advances of her sisters. I guess we'll see.

If I can find enough spare change I think I will hire a babysitter during the day so I can finally write a novel and become a rich and famous writer. :)

So now I've developed a whole new series of routines for school. They seem to be going pretty well so far. More about those some other time. I have to go gargle salt water. I have strep throat and my throat is on fire.