Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Relocation is the sincerest form of revenge

My dad is a woodworker and furniture builder.  He's super talented and makes the most beautiful stuff.  He has an impressive workshop in the basement, and D is almost drooling with excitement over the fact that he'll be able to use all my dad's tools for the next year.  

But this perk, like most pros, has a con.  The con is that the workshop takes up a majority of the basement, leaving little room for storage.  There's a very small store room in the corner of the basement, a quarter of which is taken up by the hot water heater.  

So I'm pretty sure my mom squealed with glee when I got married and moved out, since this meant that she could free up some valuable storage real estate in the store room.  D and I left for our honeymoon thinking that most of our stuff was already at our new house, but we were wrong.  

When we got back from Mexico, we came home to our new house, only to find boxes and boxes of "my" stuff (and I put quotations around that "my" because, during the Moving Debacle of 2010, we found 3 Rubbermaid tubs full of my brother's crap) that my parents had brought over from their house.  Sitting in our garage.  

Being the emotional train wreck that I am, I immediately read way too much into those boxes and decided that my parents were glad to see me go.  Of course, that was not the case.  They just really, really needed that storage space.

But now?  Ohhhhhh now.  Now I'm back.  And I brought my husband, my baby, and my little dog, too.  With three times as much stuff, since there's three people instead of just one.  And probably more than three times as much stuff, since any mom or dad can attest to the fact that "stuff" piles up at an alarming rate once a baby enters the picture.  Why a tiny human needs so much stuff is beyond me, but I guess it's just one of the laws of nature.  

And you want to know where most of our stuff is at this moment?  In boxes.  Waiting to find a home.  In their garage.  It wasn't meant to be revenge, but maybe that's what it's shaping up to be.          

Monday, June 28, 2010

Packing is a labor of something or other

Friday and Saturday were two of the most stressful days I've had in a long while. And I know I'm prone to exaggeration, but I'm seriously not exaggerating one iota, here. Not even a smidgen.

And also, a note to The Plan: YOU SUCK. You suck because you lulled me into feeling prepared for this move. You suck because you made me feel like I was working hard. You suck because you lied.

I was NOT prepared for this move. And though I did work hard, it certainly was not hard enough. Because D and I essentially packed and move every single item we own this weekend. And we did all this on two of the hottest days we've seen this summer. I think we could turn the entire Sahara into an oasis from the sweat D and I produced.

Saturday, while I was deep in the trenches, I realized what moving is most akin to: labor. I know that sounds like yet another exaggeration, but everyone (and especially women who have experienced both) hear me out.

Ok, so you're just starting on the moving/packing journey. Much like labor, it's not something you're really looking forward to, but you're excited for the end result. You start off in the morning of day one, and you're in a decent mood. The contractions (or packing, cleaning, etc.) are light and relatively easy, and you're jovial. You are starting to see that you have a long fight ahead of you, but you're feeling ok. Probably laughing, probably cracking a few jokes with your husband.

About half-way through day one, you're starting to show signs of wear. Labor: The work is getting harder and you're starting to wonder when you can get the epidural. You feel like you've been making really good progress, and since you've been at it for like 4 or 5 hours already, you're certain that when the nurse comes in, she'll tell you it won't be long until it's time to push. But she comes in and tells you you're only dilated to 2. Suck.

Translation: You've been packing your rear off for hours and you feel like you should be making a lot of headway, but the house looks like a bigger disaster than when you started and your husband keeps moving boxes out but the melee refuses to subside.

End day one: You are exhausted and irritable. You snap at your husband whenever he speaks to you and if there is a joke made anywhere within a 50 yard radius of your room, you get a possessed look on your face and swear to all that is holy that you will beat the daylights out of the inconsiderate jerk who is daring to laugh while you're working so freakin hard.

Day two: You can't believe you have to continue. Suddenly, the pressure is on. The nurse comes to your room and tells you holy crap you're dilated to 10 and it's time to push. No, there's no time for an epidural, you're going to have to go at it the old-fashioned way.

Translation: Your realtor came to take pictures of the house and suddenly you're being whipped into a frenzy because you realize that you have like 4 hours left to get things done. Any semblance of conversation or joking are long, long gone. Everyone around you knows that it's most conducive to their health to be quiet, keep their heads down, and don't say a word. Except the only person beside you is your husband because everyone with any sense got the heck out of dodge when the going started to get tough. You realize that you're pretty much on your own. Suck.

Day two, pushing: Now is where the hardest work comes. You're starting to feel the worst pain in your life. You wonder why you wanted to ever do this in the first place. Who thought this would be a good idea? Why would anyone ever do this more than once? This is the dumbest idea in the history of all ideas everywhere. I changed my mind, I don't want to do this anymore. Let's just call a truce and we'll go on our separate ways. But you know you can't. You know the only way to end the most awful pain you've ever felt is to push through and get it done.

Translation: Crunch time. You're running out of moving boxes. You skimp and stretch the packing tape because you can't stomach the idea of buying yet another roll. You start throwing crap away simply because you are so tired of thinking that you don't want to be bothered to figure out what to do with it. You just want to curl up and sleep forever but everyone keeps looking at you like they are going to squeeze every last drop of energy/productivity out of you before they carelessly toss your worthless carcass to the side of the road.

End day two, the baby is here: You did it. The baby is here. You lie back and thank God that it's finally over. But why isn't the doctor going away? Wait a minute, what is she doing? Why is she beating the crap out of my stomach? Placenta? WHO CARES ABOUT THE PLACENTA? Just let it hang out in my stomach forever because what you're doing hurts like a mother and I just had a baby for crap's sake. Didn't I do enough already?? And excuse me, what did you just say? You want me to try to feed that baby using my what now? Please just go away and let me take my well-deserved sleep. Did you not just witness what I've been through?

Translation: The packing is finished. Boxes are where they need to go. You get to your new abode and crash into whatever item is closest at hand (hopefully a cushy sofa, but the floor with a wall to lean against will do). You lay your head back, close your eyes and fight sleep. Weariness and fatigue course through your body. You open your eyes and see.....boxes. The boxes you just packed. The boxes that you just hauled booty for two days to pack and move. The boxes that you'd Planned and packed for three weeks. And those stupid, ungrateful boxes want you to unpack them now. Brats! I JUST packed you! Shut up and be content for one freakin minute, will ya? DID YOU NOT JUST WITNESS WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH? Suck.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our first house showing

Showing your house is like going on a first date.  I hope they like me.  I hope I like them.  I hope they're not creepers.  I hope they don't smell.  What if they don't like me?  Nonsense, how could they not like me?  I am spacious, have all-new kitchen appliances and an updated bathroom.

We showed our house for the first time last night, and it was nerve-wracking.  Up to this point, our realtor had been bolstering our confidence, telling us that we had the goods and that he expected our house to go like hot cakes when we put it on the market.  (In case you're new here, my husband D and I are renting out our house for a year and moving in with my parents.  You can read all about the "why the h-e-double-hockey sticks would they do that?" here.)

So we were feeling great about our chances and were turning into the semi-jerks that most people turn into when they feel like they have something everyone wants.  We had many conversations that involved statements such as: "If they think they are going to (bring cats, talk us down on our price, get anything extra), then they've got another thing coming."  We do have to stand firm on the no cats thing, but otherwise, we were getting rather cocky.

Then our realtor calls us Monday and told us he had someone who wanted to see our house that evening.  It was barely on the market and we already had a showing scheduled, which kind of drove home that this is actually happening and maybe our house is cooler than we thought.

Of course, the people wanted to see the house at 7, which is right when we start L's bedtime routine.  I know this might not seem like a huge deal to many, but any mom will attest to the importance of an evening routine.  Not just important, but vital.  Not only is it key to helping L go down early, for me, it's like the last few things you do before you close up the office for the evening.  Feeding L is like turning off the coffee pots.  Giving him his bath is like hearing the da-duh-da-duh when you switch off your computer.  Shutting the door is like turning out the office lights and high-tailing it to your car.  It's the home stretch of the day.

But, our realtor warned us that most showings would be in the evening, so we were prepared for this.  For the few hours between getting home from work and 7 p.m., I was a basket case.  I nervously straightened and did my best to make the boxes and mayhem look orderly.  I wiped the crap out of the kitchen and bathrooms with antibacterial wipes, even though our house was cleaned from top to bottom by D's amazing aunt this past Saturday and it didn't really need it.   I really was almost beside myself because my usual trick is to throw any clutter into drawers, cabinets or closets.  But I couldn't do that this time, since it's a known fact that if you're looking at a house with the view of purchasing or renting it, one of the first things  you do is to look in closets, drawers and cabinets to see if you can uncover some dirty secret of the current owner.  Or at least you hope to uncover something juicy or strange that you can gossip to your husband about after you leave.  

So after doing the best we could, we realized it was only 6:40.  Twenty minutes is a long time to have left over.  Too long.  We had the tv turned off in case they came early.  That's something I find amusing, by the way.  Whenever we're expecting company, we turn the tv off as if it would be the most embarrassing thing ever for us to be discovered watching tv when a guest arrives.  I'm pretty sure just looking at our huge tv would be a dead giveaway that we like watching tv, so I don't know why we do this.

Anyway, we had the dog all ready to go in his leash, and he was freaking out thinking he was going to go for a walk.  But we still had those 20 minutes to kill, so D started just walking the dog around the kitchen and front room to try to kill some of his energy.  And I was holding L and pacing back and forth in the front room, looking out the window literally every 30 seconds.  And I started worrying about whether they would like us, whether they would like our house. 

Finally, they arrived, and immediately D was watching out the window on our door, giving me the play-by-play of his first impressions.  The impressions were all good, and we were relieved to find that they looked clean and upstanding.  Of course, the dog went ballistic and scared the life out of the two poor little girls that the potential tenant had brought with him.  I was so mad at the dog at that minute, because it was crystal clear that their realtor was not a dog person, and she was speaking to us in a tone of like, "I'm being nice but get your damn dog under control."  And she was trying to talk to me over the barking dog, and I just wanted to get out and let them do their thing and we'd answer all questions later.

So I just said, "Sorry about the dog, we're getting out of your way!"  And the realtor was all like, Oh no you don't have to leave!  But I was like, ok we won't leave but we're going outside.  Because it's one thing for me to make fun of my house, but I don't think I could bare to watch someone whisper to the realtor as they walked through our awful paneled kitchen.            

We went outside and sat on the bed of D's truck like teenagers (or rednecks), and we just basically killed time.  And when they finally came out, the guy took his daughters over to the park and the realtor started drilling us with friendly real estate "banter", peppered with hard-nosed questions about our house.  

Were we going to paint the kitchen paneling?  (Heck no, we're not doing all that work only to move out so someone else can enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Unless he's willing to fork over money for paint and a professional painter.  Then we might be willing to talk.)  

Were we interested in a 2 or 3 year lease?  (Um...why don't we ask my parents if they are willing to let us live with them for 2 or 3 years.  Their deafening silence will be answer enough, I think.)

Were we willing to come down on our price?  (How about a big fat no to that one, especially since our house is literally just on the market and we're already $100/month lower than the 2 other houses in our neighborhood that are up for rent, plus a few hundred square feet larger.)

So it was an interesting experience.  Our realtor said that they gave him very positive feedback and that he thought they would go for it.  He seems positive, which is good because I'm starting to freak out at the reality that someone else will be living in my house for a year.  

I guess we'll have to wait and see.  I'll keep you all posted, since I'm sure you're just hanging on the edge of your seat in anticipation. :)   

Monday, June 21, 2010

Belated Father's Day Post

Father's Day is tomorrow, but by the time I post this, it will be Monday.  So to me, I am not tardy to the party.  To you, I missed the boat.  Either way, here's my ode to D.

D, you are:

My best friend and husband.  One of the few non-family members who have seen all my true colors and love me because (and sometimes in spite) of them.

The father of our son, the baby whom everyone calls your clone.  It brings unspeakable joy to my heart to see the way you play with him, talk to him and love him.  Being a daddy has brought out your true colors, and I love every single one of them.

The killer of bugs, even if it means being woken early in the morning by my screams in the shower because an uninvited spider has decided to join me.  And the only complaint I hear from you is, "Could you please tell me when you're yelling for me that it's just a bug and that you're not dying?"

The mower of lawns and the shoveler of snow.  Growing up, I always hated yard work of any sort, and marrying you has saved me from doing a lick of it for the rest of my life.  Although you did seem somewhat disappointed when I told you I didn't want to plant a garden.  So if it really means that much to you, I'll do it.  Just know that I hope you'll be grading on effort rather than production.

The one-man audience to my best and worst jokes.  And I love it that you laugh when I find myself funny, because those are usually my worst jokes and it would really kill my self confidence if you didn't laugh at all.

The person I can tell everything to, even when you and I both know I'm being a catty biotch.

Either blind or a really good liar, because I don't know anyone else who could still tell me with a straight face that I was gorgeous and sexy at 8 months pregnant.  Thank you for knowing that I needed that self-esteem bolstering then more than ever.

The strong, silent type.  Which is good, because I'm the loud, talkative type, and we tend to need good listeners.

One of my favorite people to be goofy with.  No one would ever believe how much we make each other laugh, because, as stated above, you're the strong, silent type.

The person I plan to spend the rest of my life with.  Yeah, those vows we took on February 2, 2008?  I meant them.  So buckle up, bub, cause I'm in this for life.  I love you! 


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lessons From Packing

I am learning lots from packing up the house.  (I am also learning that I like writing posts in list form because I don't have to utilize transitions as much and it saves me a lot of time and effort.  Rock on, lists.)

1.  Packing an entire box full of canned food is a bad idea.  One can: light.  Fifty cans: heavy.

2.  Spices are expensive, yet I have at least 4 half-used containers of parsley, 3 containers of cream of tartar, 3.5 containers of basil, 2 large containers of cumin (although I don't know anyone who would ever need so much cumin) and many others.  I should have saved myself the trouble and money and just bought the darn spice rack off my registry after the wedding.  It would have been a whole lot cheaper in the long haul.

3.  D is Captain Obvious.  Example:  I'm packing up all the kitchen cabinets, including food, so potential tenants can easily look in around the kitchen and get a feel for the space.  I figure it will be a tad bit more irritating for me to have to cook out of moving boxes, but at least it will be one less thing to do when we move out next weekend.  When D saw me doing this he said, "Make sure you don't tape those boxes up or we won't have anything to eat."  I mean, I guess I understand that one.  The guy loves him some parsley. 

4.  And yet, packing is much more fun and goes by way more quickly when Captain Obvious is in the other room, doing his part for the team, instead of at work (still doing his part for the team, but in a more removed sense).  I can't stop myself from constantly saying, "When our powers combine, we are Captain Planet!"  (Re-reading everything I just wrote, it would seem that I have an obsession with captains.)

5.  The more you pack, the less it feels like you accomplish, because you inevitably come across a bunch more crap that you had stashed in the back of some cabinet that you have to figure out what to do with.  Our house looks like a complete disaster area, even though I've been working my tail off for two weeks.  It's ridiculously discouraging.  

6.  I've realized that I'm in a tragic position: I'm going to lose everything on my DV-R.  And I sure don't have enough time to watch everything before we move.  I think tv means too much to me, because when I realized this, I actually felt a twinge of panic, then a surge of grief.  Maybe it's time for a hobby.  


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ways to piss the secretary off

If I'm ever fortunate enough to have a secretary, I'm pretty sure I'll be the most awesome boss ever. For one thing, I'll call her whatever she wants to be called. Secretary? Sure. Assistant? You got it. Queen of the Office Who Always Makes Me Look Good and Saves My Butt at Every Turn? Absolutely. Because every secretary knows that for the most part, it doesn't matter what you're called as long as you're paid on time. But then there are times when you're hanging out with a bunch of people who have important-sounding jobs, and "Executive Assistant" just sounds better.

I tend to go through phases of intense irritation with everything about my job. Predictably, this usually happens when periods of high stress at work and at home collide with going too long without time off. I'm just coming out of one of these funks, and I am now able to write this post without coming off as just a bitter woman who hates everyone and everything. If you have a secretary or assistant, see below for some really good ways to piss her (him?) off.

1. Stand over their desk and stare intently at what they're working on. Bonus points for making some smartass comment about the trivial nature of the work. Triple bonus if you're the boss and you assigned this work to them.

2. Find out 2 weeks in advance about a project that needs to be done, forget about it until the day before deadline and tell them that it's a rush job. Then, when they're almost finished with it and have printed 500 copies of it, find some small error that MUST be fixed and make them fix it immediately.

3. Pry into their personal lives and make inappropriate comments about it. An excellent example: Passive-aggressively insist on knowing what type of doctor appointment they are going to, then, upon finding out that it's an appointment to discuss difficulties in trying to conceive, make some "joke" along the lines of, "Maybe you just need more practice." (Yes this really happened, no it wasn't recently, no I'm not trying to get pregnant.)

4. Act like you are better than them because you make more money. Because clearly, more money makes you a better person.

5. Make them the office maid. Put a ton of food in the fridge that is already packed to the brim and leave it there until it grows mold or feet or both, then pretend like you didn't put it in there and make the secretary clean out the fridge. Alternately, you could also leave all your dirty dishes in the sink and never wash them, even if the secretary leaves them in the sink for a week to try to send you a silent message that this is not her home, you are not her guest, and she should not have to clean up after your grown-up behind.

6. Similarly, always make the secretary re-stock the fridge with pop and water. Even if she just stocked it the night before but you had a humungo meeting and all your people drank everything and now the fridge is empty again.

7. Never make any copies yourself because you "don't know how." You're right, it's much easier to give your originals to the secretary, then stand over her shoulder at the copy machine as she performs the incredibly difficult task of punching in a number and hitting the huge green button.

8. Whenever she's working intently on something, always stop to ask if she's "having fun." It is important to be consistent with this and ask it every time. But the key to this method is to find fault with whatever she says. If she sarcastically implies that she is not, indeed, "having fun", make a joke about how pissy she is and see where that takes you. If she says that she is having fun (in an obvious attempt to get you to shut the crap up and move along), stare at her in mock shock and earnestly dissect how on earth she could be having fun doing whatever it is that she's doing.

9. Sing her legal name as you walk down the hall to her desk. Never mind that she's told you she doesn't prefer to go by this name. Your mission of instilling pure, unadulterated dread at the sound of her own name will be accomplished. And make sure to get dead serious and a little bit angry whenever she jokingly calls you by your legal name in return. What's good for the goose is NOT good for the gander in this instance.

10. Stand at her desk for a long, long time and shoot the sh....breeze, even when it's blatantly obvious that she's got a ton of pots on the stove and the office is essentially going to hell in a hand basket. Deep down, you know she'd rather talk to you than put out one of the hundreds of little fires that are sprouting up before your very eyes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day is almost upon me, and I am somewhat less than prepared.

This is SO unlike me.  I am always thinking about the next gift-giving holiday at least a month in advance.  I love giving presents, especially when it is for a holiday where mushy, sentimental gifts are in order.  

It's not like I haven't been thinking about Father's Day.  Quite the contrary.  I've actually been thinking about it for months.  I even had an idea for D that I was totally sold on - a new coffee maker that can produce coffee faster than the slow-mo machine we currently have.  D always gets so frustrated with our coffee maker.  He takes coffee to work every night, and he always has to start making it half an hour before he is ready to leave so he'll have enough time to add so much creamer and sugar that it barely resembles coffee.  On nights when he forgets to start the coffee maker, he has to go buy yucky coffee from the machine at work(which he calls "crappuccino").  So I thought a speedier coffee maker would make him happy.

So I figured I'd drop a few hints and try to discern how he'd feel about that idea, without giving away that I was planning to get him one.  I don't remember how I did it, but when I dropped the hint, he obliviously replied "I don't need a new coffee maker."  Great.  Scratch that plan.

It seems like this happens a lot.  I try to come up with a good surprise gift for D and it doesn't work out.  It's because D and I come from completely different schools of thought regarding gift giving.  Me, I'm really into surprises.  I love them.  There is nothing that I love better than a genuine surprise.  It's probably because I'm so nosy intuitive that it's very hard to surprise me.  I love a surprise, but I also love sniffing out a surprise.  I kind-of suck that way.  

D, on the other hand, could not care less about surprises.  He is 100% fine with buying something for himself and then just telling the gift giver to pay him back for it.  His worst nightmare is walking into a surprise party in his honor.  

When we were dating, we exchanged gifts for Christmas.  I don't even  remember what we got each other, but I do remember that my gifts to D were a bunch of small, wrapped packages and D's gifts to me were....all thrown into a shopping bag.  Not even a gift bag - a shopping bag.  We had to have a talk about how gifts should be wrapped always, no it doesn't matter if it's a waste of paper, no it doesn't matter if the paper is just going to be thrown out, no you can't just throw it in a gift bag with no tissue paper or anything, and giving a gift in the shopping bag from when you bought it is worse than just giving the gift without wrapping it.  

And the first year we were married, D was indignant that I expected all my presents to be wrapped under the tree.  Which I totally don't get!  I mean, part of the thrill of Christmas is coming downstairs to see the tree all lit up with a bunch of mystery presents underneath it.  And yes, I'm still a little kid and I always put D's gifts under the tree first, then run upstairs while D puts my presents under the tree so I can have the moment of seeing all the gifts on Christmas morning.  

So the point of these stories is that D is not so much with the sentimental.  So here it is, almost Father's Day, and no brilliant idea yet.  He works on a printing press, so any type of picture something for the "office" is out of the question.  He doesn't wear jewelry or anything except his wedding ring (reason #576 why I love him), so....yeah, I guess that doesn't matter because I'm pretty sure that I still wouldn't know what to give him if he did wear jewelry.  Except I did find this awesome leather cuff on Etsy that can be engraved, which would be perfect for my brother but not D.  He's just a guy.  Anything sentimental that he could receive would be sentimental because his child(ren) created it or picked it out, and we're not quite there yet.

So I went out with L and just bought D some summer clothes.  He wants them, he needs them...it's a very practical gift.  But I've made a decision to give D some things that money can't buy.  I'm going to laugh at his jokes.  I'm going to cease nagging him for the entire day, no matter what he does to annoy me.  I might even make him these homemade pretzels that he loves, which is a HUGE deal because I absolutely hate making them.  They are a royal pain in the rear, but he is bananas over them.  (I sincerely hope he isn't reading this because if I change my mind, not only will he not let me forget it, he'll have it in print that I said I'd do it.)      

These things will mean far more to D than anything I can buy.  And really, I just want him to know that I appreciate him, because he's an incredible husband and father.  Maybe one day I'll be able to knock it out of the park and come up with a really great surprise, but until I can afford season tickets to the Wings, I guess I'll stick to acts of kindness.  And t-shirts.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's a big jumbled mess, but you might like it anyway

You guys, The Plan is turning out to be a real a-hole.  It's like a robot or machine or Terminator or something that I created who has now gotten smarter than me and is using me as a slave.  I know The Plan is for my own good, I really do.  And I know it's good that I created The Plan, because every night I've had to spatula my broken body off the couch to satisfy my portion of The Plan.  If it weren't for The Plan, I would be wasting my time, not doing anything productive.

The Plan has revealed an interesting facet of my personality, and an interesting dynamic of my marriage.  I'm sure you've heard the adage, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."  Usually those old cliches are spot on.  In my case, I preach about the goose and the gander getting equal treatment, but I tend to practice "What's good for the goose is good for the goose and the gander can do whatever she wants because she birthed the goose his gosling."  (Ignore the gender inaccuracies in that sentence.  It's my cliche and I can do what I want.)    

So I've been really on D's case about holding up his end of The Plan.  I don't think I'm a super-nagging wife. (D, if you're reading this, stop laughing.)  I do harp on some things, but I find that most issues are not worth the hassle.  However, The Plan directly impacts every piece of my life.  If D doesn't do his half of The Plan, that means I have to do his half of The Plan.  Which means I'm doing all of The Plan.  And people, I do not have the time to do all of The Plan.  There is literally not enough time in my day for me to do all of The Plan.  

And when I get home after a hellish day at work, I don't even want to do my half of The Plan.  Then I go through a battle with myself over whether I should do my one hour for the day or just crash on the couch.  And here's the interesting thing about myself/my marriage: the only thing that gets my mushy tushy off that couch and into my allotted zone for the day is knowing that I had a heated discussion with D about making sure he did his hour for the day.  There's no way I could stomach the massive helping of humble pie I'd have to eat if I didn't do my zone.  How immature is it that the only thing that is keeping me on The Plan is the deep-seated desire to not be wrong?

And while I'm somewhat on the topic, I need to address what a serious pain packing is.  It's never a simple matter of "oh here's this thing that goes into this box over there."  Since we're in a somewhat unique situation, every item we own has to go through a rigorous interview process, which goes something like this:

Item:  Here I am.  Where should I go?
Me:  Hmmm.  Well, do I use you daily?
Item:  No, but I've got sentimental value.
Me:  You've got a point there.  Since you're so sentimental that I haven't seen you in months, should I bring you to my parents' house or store you?
Item Well, whatever you do, don't throw me away.
Me:  Ohhh, now there's an idea....
Me:  (Wavers slightly, then throws away.)

Try having this conversation with everything you have in your posession.  (But don't really have a conversation with it, because then you'll be crazy like me.)  

It hasn't been super hard with the basement.  I've successfully thrown away many things I didn't even know I had.  It's much harder in places like the kitchen.  See, we are still actually living at our house.  We still use plates and cups and silverware and pots and pans.  And it's making me totally bonkers because I know I'm going to be just throwing all those things into boxes all willy-nilly at the last minute since I'm too afraid of packing something we'll need in the next couple of weeks.  

And it has to be mentioned that I've developed an acute case of ADD since this process has started.  Every time I do one thing, I'm bombarded with a deluge of other things I need to do or think about.  Everything is a domino effect. 

I need to pack up the kitchen = I need to pack up the spices = I should do something about the food = How am I going to transport all our food to my parents' house w/o all the cold items getting spoiled = I could borrow a bunch of coolers and fill them with ice and pack all our cold items = I don't want to do that, it's just a 10 minute ride, they should be fine = But wait, will my parents have enough room for our cold goods? = Crap, we have to find some way to transport our garage fridge to my parents w/o laying it on its side and leaking fridge fluid (or whatever it's called) everywhere = We haven't even figured out how we're going to work the food situation over there yet = Maybe we could label our food = That's a huge pain, I don't want to do that = SYSTEM OVERLOAD.

That is a typical train of thought for me these days.  Anxiety compounds with anxiety until I feel so exhausted that I just want to trade lives with someone.  I actually said that to D in all seriousness yesterday.  "You know, I bet someone could make a lot of money by just going around and trading lives with people for short periods of time.  I would hire them to just come in, get me through the next week by doing everything for me and I'd go off some place and chug sip daquiris and wine on the beach." 

I would literally pay someone to do that.  Except I know that I definitely couldn't afford to pay someone enough money to make it worth their time to come into my life and live it for me at this point.  

And here I am, doing it for free.  Who negotiated this contract, anyway?                   

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Plan

I've been such a delinquent blogger these days.  I'm not sure if you know this, but packing up a house is insane amounts of work.  

D and I had it easy when we moved into our house.  We both came from our respective parents' houses, and didn't move in until after our wedding.  Everything was new and in boxes already because they were all wedding and shower gifts.  I didn't know at the time, but I was living the dream - moving into a new house with brand-new everything.  I will never, ever have that again, and I want to go back to my old self and shake her and scream in her face "YOU NEED TO APPRECIATE THIS!"  And while I'm talking to my old self, I'd definitely swing by the day when D and I registered and tell myself that I didn't need to register for so many wine glasses.   

But now we have a house that is full of stuff and we're trying to get everything packed up and organized so we can list it for rent.  And the other part of the problem is that I am selectively OCD about certain things in life.  When I have a huuuuuge project such as the packing project D and I find ourselves embarking on, I get 10 kinds of crazy if it's not planned out in minute detail, organized and written down in at least two different locations.  

This past Monday, I was sitting at work all panicked and in a cold sweat because I realized that we are supposed to be packed up and ready to show our house by next Wednesday.  That's a mere week and a half.  We don't live in a mansion - just a 3-bedroom colonial.  But the state of the basement gives me nightmares and we hadn't seen the left half of the floor in the office since before I was pregnant with L.  And I was starting to develop a little twitch in my eye just thinking about trying to get all this done.

Now I know myself pretty well.  I don't have any delusions that I'm something I'm not.  And I know that if I don't make a plan and force myself to commit 100% that I'll be scrambling at the last minute and crying about how God and the world hate me and cursing myself for wasting all that time watching Real Housewives of NY and NJ.  So I knew I couldn't just set an arbitrary plan to "pack for half an hour or an hour every night" and just "slowly chip away at it".  

It was time to get serious.  So on my lunch on Monday, I got to work on my computer and I made The Plan.  The Plan consists of the following:

- The house is divided up into 8 zones; each room is essentially it's own zone (living room, office, etc.).  However, certain areas of the house require less work, and therefore can be combined into their own zones (L's room and the linen closet, for example).  

- Each day, D and I will be responsible for 1 hour each of packing in an assigned zone.  Some days it's the same zone, other days we're in different zones.  It doesn't matter when the packing takes place during the day, but it MUST TAKE PLACE.  Don't cross me.

- The timer must be set for one hour at the start of packing time.  You may stop or continue once the timer goes off, but there is absolutely no stopping before the timer runs out.

I'm running a tight ship here.  Don't mess with The Plan.  Don't try to get out of The Plan.  The Plan sees all.  The Plan knows all.  The Plan means business.

Just so there could be no confusion, I made a very detailed layout of The Plan and taped it to the wall at home.  Page 1 describes what D and I are responsible for each day.  Page 2 lists what rooms make up each zone.  Page 3 is a sheet with an arrow for each zone that we color in with our progress whenever we do some work in that zone.  And Page 4 (though not expressly connected to the plan) is a to-do list of other things we need to get done around the house (like painting the lime green walls in the bedroom).  

When I brought The Plan home, D started cracking up.  He told me I should have been a teacher.  Then when he saw my serious face, his laughter died and he looked at me in fear because he could see what was coming down the pike.  And really, how could he not see?  It was all laid out in black and white in The Plan.  

Tonight will be Night 3 of The Plan and I have to say, it's going well.  It's amazing what an hour of work can accomplish.  If we stick to The Plan, we should meet our target of next Wednesday.  And believe me, we will be sticking to The Plan.  

Also, it needs to be said that last night, after D got home from hockey, he admitted that The Plan was a good thing.  That's the way The Plan works.  It comes in all big and impressive looking and full of itself and you're like "What?  This is ridiculous.  Who does this Plan think he is?"  And then three days later you're all like, "Oh Plan, I bow down at your Footer.  You are mighty and powerful and I come to do your bidding." 

That's right.  You better respect The Plan.                

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I'm about to drop an a-bomb up in here

Do you remember that time when you were married for 2.5 years, had a 7 month old baby and moved back into your parents' house by choice?  No?  Must just be me then.     

Yes, it's true.  D, L and I are renting out our house and moving in with my parents, hopefully at the end of June.  You may be wondering why in the world we would do this.  

The answer is because D and I have decided to become gazelles.  

If you haven't clicked that red X in the right corner of your screen yet, you might be thinking that my blog is smoking something funny today.  Fear not, I'm not hanging out with Mary Jane.  

D and I are in the middle of a program called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey.  In it, he talks about becoming "gazelle-intense" about paying off debt and working your way to financial security.  The reason he uses a gazelle is because of how focused a gazelle is when they are running from a cheetah in the wild.  In the world of our finances, the cheetah is debt.  

Since starting FPU, D and I have been crunching the numbers over and over.  Oddly enough, they stayed the same every time, and every time, we saw that, like most other people, our biggest financial obligation is our mortgage.   We don't have a ton of debt.  We don't have any credit card debt (which I'm very proud of), but we do have my student loans, which are way bigger than I'd like them to be, especially since I've been paying on them for 3 years now and they haven't really seemed to decrease.  
Anyway, it's a long story but my dad is going to be out of the country for 9ish months starting in October, and my mom will be home "alone".  (Well, not alone anymore, since now we're moving in there, but she was going to be alone.)  So the four of us talked about it, and this crazy plan was hatched.  D and I figured out that if we can rent out our house for a year, we can put our mortgage payment on my student loans for that year and pay off TWO of them during that time.  That's right, two of my three loans will be gone after only a year.  

I'm not at all blind to how hard it's going to be to move back in with mommy and daddy after being out of the house for almost 3 years.  But believe me, as hard a sacrifice as it will be for me, it will be even harder for D and for my parents.  I mean, how would you feel if you've spent your life trying to get your children out of the house, you finally feel like you've done it (for the first time, this year my brother did not move home for the summer) and suddenly you've got your adult daughter and her little family (+ dog) knocking on your door, asking to come back.   

But it's going to be kind-of nice, too.  For one thing, my parents have a cleaning lady.  So heck yes on that note.  Also, it will be nice to have someone around to talk to on the nights that D works.  My mom and I used to have girl's nights when I still lived at home and my dad was still working.  On the nights D was working and my dad was working, we'd get a movie and a bottle of wine and either watch the movie or not watch the movie and gab about life.  I'm looking forward to that.  

And mainly, I'm looking forward to achieving a huge step towards D's and my financial goal: to be debt-free and in a place where we can have the option of me being a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).  Having to take L to day care every day has been a huge motivator for me, although I'm not gonna lie - some mornings he's being a real butt and I'm happy to drop him off and be like "See ya!"  Not so much anymore, but definitely when he was younger.  Which makes me think that maybe I might be more suited to being a part-time SAHM. 

So now, we're on the fast-track to getting things ship-shape over here and ready to show to potential tenants.  Which means packing and moving out.  Ugh, please just shoot me now.

I took a vacation day to get the packing momentum going.  I was hoping I'd get like a fast current going, but I'd say that the "momentum" I've achieved is more like a calm, quiet river than anything.  It doesn't help that D has worked in packing and shipping capacities for much of his adult life and is mental over making sure the boxes are taped up to the point where they'd survive nuclear holocaust.  

Me and the tape "gun" (which I don't get why they're called that, they don't look like guns and they certainly aren't as easy to use....I've heard) are not friends whatsoever.  I never thought I could be such a total and utter failure at taping up boxes, but I am.  They are not pretty.  

But, I feel confident when I say that they will not be breaking open any time soon.  I packed up a box this morning, only to realize a few minutes later that I'd packed something I wanted to bring with me to my parents', so I tried to break into it to get it out, and it took 3 minutes of steady sawing with our fancy knives to break through that tape.  So maybe a little over-zealous with the tape.  D has taught me well.  But he is way better with the gun than I am.  When he's finished taping up a box, I half-expect him to blow on it and put it in a holster.  He's like a tape cowboy. 

So that's the big news on these fronts.  Expect a lot of interesting blog posts starting in July.  

Also, expect my mom to start a blog called "Memos From A Working Mom Of Adult Children Who Don't Know How To Move Out Permanently And Keep Coming Back To Suckle At The Teet Of My Hard Work" where she'll talk about how painful awesome it is to have me back under her roof.     


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My DC Weekend, Part 1

I'm obviously back from D.C., seeing as how it's already Wednesday and everything, but I've yet to make a full recovery.  I'm much better today than I was yesterday, but still, I'm feeling the effects of pretending to be in college again. 

Apparently my body isn't what it used to be.  Or maybe it's my life that isn't what it used to be.  Either way, I can no longer burn the candle at both ends for three days straight and expect to be fully recovered after one day of recuperation.

Friday saw me spending a relatively relaxing morning with L.  I was a hot mess over the thought of leaving him, and had decided to take him to day care late so I could fit in a couple extra hours of snuggles.  I tend to hail from the camp of "Yeah, I get it, you're sad, but get over it" when it comes to things like this, but that was all before I'd actually had a baby.  

Actually, when L was roughly 1 month old, my mom agreed to watch him overnight so D and I could go and enjoy our friends' annual Christmas party and get a little sleep.  I was, to put it mildly, pumped.  I felt a minor twinge of sadness when we dropped him off at my mom's, but mostly I was like "Let's blow this joint and get to the party where I can drink for the first time in over a year!"  (Please keep in mind that I was in the pit of some severe Baby Blues and my body was they eye of a hormone hurricane.)  

But in the months following, I've come to love being a mom, to the point where it was absolutely killing me to think of leaving him for a full weekend.  We're talking physical pain in the cardiac region.  It wasn't even really guilt, either.  I wasn't feeling like I was a bad mom for taking a weekend jaunt to our nation's capitol for a wedding.  I was just feeling intensely sad at the thought of not seeing L during that time.  I was also feeling disappointed because I really wanted to show him off to my friends because, let's face it, he's freakin awesome.  

I'm getting insanely long-winded here, and I haven't even gotten to the actual weekend yet!  So anyway, I managed to keep myself from crying until after I dropped L off at day care, and then I got....slightly emotional.  

Then, I went to get a shampoo and blow-dry at the local beauty school because I wanted my hair to look nice all weekend and I wasn't sure if bringing my flat iron and hot rollers would get me sent back to a scary room and questioned for hours about whether I was a terrorist or not.  So I decided to err on the side of caution and just make sure my hair was nice before I left. 

Except the girl who scheduled my appointment thought that "Can I please get a more senior student?" meant, "Can I please have someone who literally just graduated from Level One 3 days ago" and it took me an hour and a half to get my hair washed and blown dry.  Ok, I know I have thick hair, and I know I shouldn't use my normal hair stylist as a comparison because she's freaking awesome and very experienced, but she normally takes approximately half an hour to give me an amazing blow-out.  So I was like, ok half an hour, it's a beauty school, so double the time.  Guess I should have tripled the time.  The girl (who, granted, was very sweet) literally seemed to be afraid to touch my hair.  When the clock struck 11 and I knew I had to be out by 11:20 max to get to the airport on time, I finally had to be like, Can we please hurry this up a bit?  Magically, I made it out on time.  But, unfortunately, I could have done a better job in half the time, so really it was money and time down the drain. 

So anyway, I flew into Baltimore because it was cheaper, which turned out to be the mistake of the century.  Whatever I saved financially, I lost in lack of convenience.  Turns out, DC is a big city.  Where lots of people live.  And drive.  And a 40 minute drive from DC to Baltimore is actually about 4 hours one-way in Friday afternoon traffic.  So all my friends were like, "We love you, but not enough to pick you up in that traffic" (totally understandable, by the way) and I had to take public transit to my friends' apartment. 

No problem, I've traveled through Europe on my own.  I can figure this out.  Yeah, not so much.  The information desk at the airport was more of a desk than information, so I had to blindly get on a shuttle bus and cross my fingers that I was doing the right thing.  Luckily, I befriended a nice lady from Oklahoma who knew what she was doing and took me under her wing.  I had to take the shuttle bus to the Amtrak station, Amtrak to the Metro, change colors in the middle and then finally make it to the stop near my friends' apartment, where they would pick me up.  

By the time I made it to the Amtrak station, I was really glad I hadn't brought L because, as good a baby as he is, ANY baby at that point would have been like, "What?" if you told them there was still a good two hours left in the trip.  And then they would melt down, making you the pariah of public transit.

So after I made it to the Metro, my Oklahoma Angel and I parted ways and I was on my own.  So stupid me, I just got onto the first train that came into the station.  Turns out, the colors actually mean something, and I was on the blue line instead of the orange line.  Crap.

When I FINALLY got onto the right line, there were only one or two seats free, so I went to sit down in the most convenient one.  I asked the lady in the seat next to it if I could please sit there and she gave me a look of complete shock. 

"Of course," she said, so I sank into it gratefully.  Then she looked at me and said, "You must be from out of town."  

I gave as polite a laugh as I could under the circumstances and said, "What gave me away?" in a tone that let her know that I knew it was blatantly obvious I was not from there.  I figured it was either my suitcases or the fact that I was carrying around a map of the the metro lines and studying it every 5 seconds to make sure I was on the right train.

"If you were from here you would have just sat down," she said.  I mentally made a note to never ask for a metro seat again because the last thing I wanted was a neon sign following me around, screaming "I'M A TOURIST WITH A LOT OF CASH" because though I was a tourist, I certainly didn't have a lot of cash, and really didn't want what cash I did have to be stolen.  

When I finally made it to my stop, I had been en route for over 8 hours.  I was beat.  And I didn't get to bed that evening until midnight.  

Since this post is so long, I think I'll break here for the day.  The rest of the weekend was awesome, and my reunion with L is definitely something I want to write about, so keep your browser tuned here for the follow up post(s)!