Monday, October 15, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: I Hate The Selling Process

Buying the new house has been exciting, even though the offer acceptance process brought back difficult memories of waiting.

Selling our house? I am pretty much hating it outright. It's MORE waiting, but this time it home is being evaluated. It's disruption, because we have to keep the house spotless and sparse (since Saturday when showings began), and we have to relocate ourselves and the cats while virtual strangers are in our home, deciding if it's what they want. That's been real interesting.

I know this is temporary. Someone will love our home and buy it, and it's only been a few days... But I can't help but think that like so many other processes we've done in our lives, we came in just a bit too late since the interest rates just went up and the market literally changed in the past week or so. It feels oddly like adoption -- our home is lovely and cozy and close to being the right fit, but it just isn't getting chosen. YET.

I mean, I DO have to stop and take deep breaths since it hasn't even been a week yet, but this process is making me feel crazy and displaced and it's sucking up so much of my time. Please, please cross your fingers that we get the right match and someone snaps up our completely adorable home!

So cozy and festive!

What's not to love?

I even have pumpkin pillows galore!

And a lovely reading spot!

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, October 8, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: I Don't Want To Be Invisible

Last weekend I got invited on Facebook by several people to participate in a "blackout" for domestic violence awareness -- basically, you changed your profile picture to a black square to "show men what a world without women would be like" and of course "don't tell anyone but women about this," because THAT's how you spread awareness, with secrecy and profile pictures.

It reminded me of those stupid "breast cancer awareness" meme things where you write a weird, vague post like "I'm 4 weeks and craving pickles" or "Forgot to feed my unicorn" or some other stupid thing that supposedly makes people go "huh? what's that?" and immediately go get a mammogram.

Wait, that's NOT what happens? Huh.

It pissed me off, frankly. Right now, where women are coming out with their stories of abuse and assault and rape and violence, and they are being met with ridicule and disbelief and threats of MORE violence, right now we want to "show men what a world would look like without women?"

FUCK NO.

I just ignored these requests and didn't do it, quietly seething, and then someone I know put up a post basically slamming everyone who responded with "I'm not doing this" by saying that she was disgusted with people who don't believe in awareness for domestic violence. And I couldn't stay quiet anymore.

If you want to do something like that, have at it, and just know that it probably is not creating a safe haven for women escaping abuse, or convincing a controlling, violent man to stop being abusive. BUT DO NOT TELL OTHER PEOPLE THAT THEY SUCK FOR NOT DOING IT.

When you have kept your shoes by the door so you can run out of the house for safety, when you have locked yourself in your office while a swearing, screaming man kicks a hole in the hollow core door, when a magazine leaves Nicole Kidman's face on your white wall because it was thrown with force towards your head and missed, when someone whispers through gritted teeth "I want to just snap your neck" while shaking you by the shoulders... then maybe you can judge me for not making my profile pic a black square in order to "make a difference."

Nope, even then, for the love of all that's holy, respect other people's choices not to participate in this ilk.

Because THAT'S WHAT ABUSERS WANT -- a world where women are invisible, powerless, weak, easy to push around.

That's what all these people who are bullying Christine Blasey Ford and other women coming forward with their personal accounts of sexual assault want. For heaven's sake, the effing president of the United States took in all the accounts of violence and assault and inappropriate behavior and then turned it into IT IS A SCARY TIME FOR YOUNG MEN TODAY.

We don't need to make ourselves invisible by choice, it's already happened. We need to be loud, because apparently it is damn near impossible to get a woman's voice heard. We need a flood of strong, fierce, vocal, VISIBLE women.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy. Some may even be micro! 

Monday, October 1, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: Soooooo Invasive

Our Realtor warned us about the mortgage process.

"It's incredibly invasive, you won't believe it. They need all this paperwork from you, and they inspect every little thing. But you'll get through it. It's just really annoying and can be super stressful." 

Huh. 

We laughed, and laughed, and LAUGHED.

We got the list of paperwork to hand over to the bank guy and discussed it on the way to dinner this weekend.

It seemed...not at all that bad. 2 years of W2 and tax returns, 4 most recent pay stubs, current mortgage statement, current homeowner's insurance info, bank statements.

"Did they need our birth certificates?" I asked Bryce.

"No."

"Fingerprints?"

"No."

"Letters of reference from four people illustrating how we'd make good homeowners?"

"No."

"A signed statement from our doctor stating we'll live until the majority of the mortgage?"

"Mmm-mmmm."

"A visit to our house to see how we take care of this one with a multiple-hour interview?"

"Nope."

"Written autobiographies about our life prior to buying this house?"

"Uh-uh."

"A TB test?"

"Nah."

By this time we were laughing hysterically. I'm not sure if our realtor understands how incredibly low the mortgage attainment process rates in invasiveness when you've gone through the adoption homestudy process (plus a renewal).

Ah, the gift of perspective.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Priorities

This house thing, while very, VERY exciting, is definitely swallowing my life. Add to that a horrific upper respiratory infection that triggered my asthma and knocked me flat this week, and I am feeling super overwhelmed, like I am behind on everything, my to-do list stretching for miles.

Of course, thanks to the treatment for my sad lungs I have BOUNDLESS ENERGY (with a core of exhaustion) because of a short course of steroids (medrol this time, not prednisone, thank the heavens) and nebulizer treatment.

So naturally, in addition to cleaning out rooms of furniture and "stuff" that we don't want to bring to the new house, I've decided on a new project.

I have decided to catalogue every book in the house on index cards.

Not a full Dewey Decimal situation, but author, title, and genre on cards that are (for now) organized into rubber-banded stacks with a cover card that is color coded by room and bookshelf location.

Is this really, REALLY the highest priority task I could be doing right now?

Is it compulsiveness fueled by medrol tablets and albuterol mist?

Procrastination on the less pleasant things that must be done?

Maybe.

But it's also incredibly soothing, and a fun "break" activity in between dusting and moving stuff into storage tubs and deep cleaning baseboards and floors and cabinets.

It's amazing how many books we have, and how many I've forgotten about because in our current cozy home they are hiding behind instrument cases, or tucked into an overstuffed shelf.

This is one of the things I am most looking forward to in the new house -- BOUNDLESS BOOKSHELF SPACE. There are three walls of built-in bookshelves floor-to-ceiling, and one more built in in the hallway upstairs. There will be book space galore! I don't need to cull and purge my books anymore, which is incredible.

But I do want to set it up like a library, and we plan to get a little card catalog for shits and giggles. You can still buy the cabinets. I get a kick out of thinking about a house that's totally wired and wireless, has no landline phone, is all modern and high tech, but has a card catalog in it, albeit a very small one.

I've got the living room done already:

Look at them all! Just about 400 index cards in there...
Also, I love this lamp we found in HomeGoods. 

If only I could organize the other crap in the house this clearly and easily

I figure it will make it easier to set up our shelves and pack for the new house if we have a full reckoning of our inventory so far. It will make it so organized, so easy to group by genre and have the ability to find any book quickly, and even sign them out on the back of the card.

Should I be planning for the week while I'm frantically scribbling book titles and authors in my best handwriting? Probably. But it's a weird sort of grounding activity that's getting me through this bizarrely stressful period of transition, as exciting as it is.

Friday, September 21, 2018

A Fresh Start

Thank you so much for all the crossing of the crossables and good thoughts sent our way during the very interesting process of waiting to see if a house offer is accepted...it's been a really hectic and exhausting time! And yes, we got it...whew! So far so good. BUT, I can tell you, I would have NEVER actively chosen to do this whole process in September. RIGHT AT THE BEGINNING OF SCHOOL.

We are super excited, and all the things are falling into place, but we weren't really expecting to find something so quickly and now we are scrambling to get our house ready to sell as quickly as possible.

This could be a lot more catastrophic if we weren't neat, clean people who keep a decent house that looks cozy and might I say adorable 99% of the time. (It wasn't so adorable when all my binders and books and boxes of stuff that had to go back to my classroom were cluttering up the front door area, but that's over and now I just have stuff in my office to go back to school. School pretty much takes over the house.)

But still, we've lived here a long time. We have 15 years of living from Bryce, and 11 years of living from me, and that adds up to a lot of things that need going through.

As Bryce said, "We do NOT want to move crap!"

And so the seemingly gargantuan process of going through the cabinets and bins and boxes in the basement, in the closets, and in the storage crawlspaces upstairs in the "attic" has to happen, and quickly.

Some boxes are fun to go through.

I found box with my pins from high school for National Honor Society and track. I found an inexplicable trophy labeled "Coach's Award." That one HAS to be for participation, or maybe a good attitude despite limited ability. I was decent by the end of my running days, but I was never trophy-worthy.

I found a boatload of letters and cards from college. I found hand-folded looseleaf notes from high school, signed LYLAFS (love ya like a favorite sister), and once I un-folded them I couldn't for the life me figure out the naughty origami we used to create these compact notes that could be passed behind a teacher's back. Now kids just text, abbreviating everything unnecessarily and leaving no proof.

It made me feel sorry for the kids today, who won't have any of these unexpected treasures. Like finding the original Paula Abdul Concert Quiz and Answer Key that my best friend made for me and my other best friend to do in the car on the way to Jones Beach for our first ever concert -- she was going separately, and she was a FREAK for Paula -- and so we had to bone up on things like what kind of dog she had and what kind of house she lived in and what her first choreography job was on the way. You can't put a value on things like that!



But then again, the kids today will probably have a lot less physical STUFF to sort through when they move from place to place. So that's a positive. For them.

I found a bag filled with cards from my first wedding. I started reading them all again, and then wondered what the fuck I was doing when time is of the essence and I recycled them.

I bit the bullet and recycled all of my notes and materials from grad school -- I hadn't gone back to reference anything in 12 years and honestly, so much has changed in terms of standards and research that I really didn't need to keep it. I kept a few papers, and my Master's thesis, but that was it.

I kept all my photos. I kept letters. I kept the Paula quiz. I kept notebooks of my writing as a child -- one was from 8th grade and included a hilarious and classic tale that I'm pretty sure was written after we read "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury involving ESP, the sun supernova-ing, and a luxury space shuttle. AND LOTS OF CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!

But we also came across errant stuff saved for our possible children. My tooth fairy pillow. Mementos from my childhood that no one is going to feel connected to after I'm gone.

And, my vision board.

Oh man, Bryce came up with it covered with another piece of plain paperboard, and was like, "What do I do with this? I don't even want to show it to you, I don't want to make you upset."

But I did want to see it, all dusty and busted.


And I was okay with throwing it out. Part of me wanted to save all the pretty pushpins that were holding all of those defunct hopes and dreams to the handmade tackboard...but then I realized that to take each individual tack out would be like stabbing me with a tiny knife over and over as I removed each fragment of a dream that wasn't, and so I made the executive decision to just chuck the whole thing. Losing the pushpins was worth not having all those tiny needles stab me in my most tender parts.

And so it's gone. Which is okay, and appropriate.

This move feels like an incredible cleansing, a move away from a home where we'd hoped things would work out one way and instead they went in a totally different direction. The new house has no history, for us. It is a place to start all new memories. It's sad to leave this house behind, with all its coziness and all the things that we did to make it ours.

But it's also leaving behind rooms where I stabbed myself with needles, where Bryce stabbed me with bigger needles, rooms where I miscarried, rooms where we got bad news, and rooms where the contents of our nursery lay piled up and waiting to be picked up from the donation agency. Bryce has more feelings for our current house than I do, as he chose it and did a lot of work before I got there, even though I arrived a scant four years after he did. But for me, I didn't pick this house. I love this house, but it wasn't ours from the beginning--it was Bryce's and his ex-wife's to start. And while I've lived here for far longer and we've made it ours over the decade+ that we've lived here together, it still to me feels a bit like HIS house that I moved into. Ours now, but with that history of not starting out mine.

The new house is OURS. Totally, unequivocally ours, with no sadness, no rooms that bring us back to moments that are heartwrenching. And that is a glorious thing.

We need to finish up all our cleaning and clearing within the next two weeks, so we can get this warm, cozy home up for sale and get things moving. I'm sure there will be a lot of things that trip us up on the way -- I can think of a tub in the attic space that is filled with books and onesies we didn't want to part with -- but I am so, so excited for this fresh start.

Monday, September 10, 2018

#Microblog Mondays:A Little Too Similar

Part of me has been delaying writing about this whole home-buying process because of a very real fear of jinxing, but here goes -- we put an offer on that house. The contemporary, out-in-the-woods, huge-landscaping-project, originally-built-for-childless-recluses house. 

It's all very exciting, but it's also causing me a great deal of anxiety because... the process is a little too similar, a little too close to others that had me waiting by the phone for news. This time it's primarily texts, not phone calls, but still. I'm watching my phone like a hawk, and it doesn't feel good. 

We put the offer in, and then it was countered (reasonably), and it took us a little bit to accept the counteroffer as Bryce was out of town on business. We went to see it again, just to make sure it felt right (and I may have brought a tape measure like a lunatic to check out room sizes against our furniture and whatnot) -- we went straight from picking Bryce up at the airport and then accepted the counteroffer after, at dinner. 

BUT. When we were at the house, we noticed an "OPEN HOUSE" sign for Sunday. 

So of course, I spent all weekend simultaneously planning all kinds of fun things for this new house, while also working myself up into tears over the possibility that someone could go to the open house and swipe this place right out from under us, and we'd be screwed AGAIN. 

Things are at the attorney stage, and the contract is signed by everyone (after agonizing Signature Watch on my phone and through the weird signing software), and hopefully there's no surprises from that open house I hope went dismally, so I'm almost to the point where I can stop being a crazy person...but it really feels awful to be back in that cycle of hope and fear, waiting and partial good news, uncertainty and not knowing. I feel like we have a positive pee stick -- encouraging, but ultimately it means nothing. 

I really want this house to be something that we searched for, and worked towards, and adjusted our vision for, and then HAVE IT WORK OUT. Cross all your crossables, please. Unlike the other process, if this doesn't work out there truly will be another house. But for once I would just like the original plan, the original desire, to come to fruition. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2018

#Microblog Mondays: House Shifts

One of the things that we spent a lot of time on over the summer was trying to figure out our house situation -- do we stay and do an addition, one with a usable garage and a living area overlooking the ravine out back, solving some space issues and definitely solving the parking/swapping cars/neverending scraping of windshields? Or do we move and try to find a house that we love as much as our own, that we can see our furniture in, that we can make as cozy as this place, that has the privacy and proximity and character we love but solves the other issues?

Well, it would appear that as much as we love our home, adding on to it is not going to be the solution. We saw three different contractors, and while one was more than happy to relieve us of an insane amount of money to do it, the other two were much more realistic about the fact that no matter what we did, it wouldn't likely solve our issues and we would STILL have a low, unfinishable basement, STILL have ceilings that smash Bryce's tall head in, and STILL have a single driveway...and it wouldn't be financially logical.

So we started looking for homes, with the thought that we'd do a "Make Me Move" scenario and take it slow and be super thoughtful but not rushed about the process, because we do truly love our home.

We've looked at a couple of homes so far, both houses with a lot of character -- although at polar opposites from each other. One was a renovated farmhouse, the original part built in 1855, that had a location that was super close to everything but also super close to a busy road and the backyard that looked and was advertised as a "private oasis" was lovely...but had the constant thrum of passing traffic and the visible homes nearby ruining the secluded effect we apparently value.

The other one was super modern, not at all our typical style especially on the outside, further out (but close to the highway so easy to commute to things), situated on over an acre of wooded lot in an area that will never be further developed and backs to a pond and marsh, and is in impeccable renovated shape.

The funniest thing about that one is that when we stopped to talk to a neighbor, we were told that this particular group of houses on this dead end road was originally built in the 1980s as a community for "childless couples who wanted to live like recluses out in the woods," but then apparently they had to legally open it up to families (the legality of that idea is definitely interesting -- what happens if you get pregnant? They kick you out? Courts determined it was discrimination). IS THAT NOT HILARIOUS, THOUGH? Only we would find a house that's in a former commune for woodsy childless recluses.

Anyway, we were shocked at how much we loved that one, and are considering our options. Maybe it won't take so long after all, which brings up all kinds of other thoughts and feelings relating to how we got here, what we leave behind, and the enormity (and freedom) of starting a new life in a home that is definitely not meant to have children in it.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!