Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hello New House

The closings went off without a hitch, and so now I can finally show you where we are living. 

Welcome to the Big Ugly House Barn! (Yes, it really is a converted barn, and while I love it, there are more than a few things about the decorating that allows us to retain the Big Ugly description of our home. Plus, we've become rather attached to it.

This picture was taken a few months ago, so the trees have a lot more leaves on them. I also have been spending every waking moment trying to sort out the mess of what we brought with us, and have not been terribly diligent in taking pictures. That will have to wait for future posts.

Speaking of future posts. I am currently sitting in the Town and Country Library in Elburn (which is very nice, by the way), where I went to make use of the free wi-fi, and get a library card. I'm not sure the librarian took me quite seriously when I said I 'needed' a library card, but it was absolutely true. I now have a happy stack of books sitting next to me, and life already feels a bit more settled. But all of that to say that we still don't have wi-fi sorted out at the house, yet, which makes it difficult to do much of anything these days. If you need me, call my cell phone, and cross your fingers that a) I hear it b) it has money on it, and c) it is charged. (Yes, I'm going to break down and get a smart phone. J. is working on figuring out the best way to take care of phones and internet.)

The littles returned from camp, and all had a spectacular time. They are adjusting to the new house, but I don't think it will take too long, given how much they have already played outside. Now TM and D. are off to boy scout camp. They miss the fun of living in one room of the house while the floors are redone this next week. 

All in all, we are doing well. We have no idea where anything is, and are still figuring out how to use appliances and things. But I think it is all going to work, and that this house is going to fit us very well. I am really quite in love with both the house and land. The land in particular is so beautiful. I keep feeling as though someone has let me live in a vacation house, and then has told me that I don't have to go home. 

One of the best parts so far, is that M. and B. were able to join us at the new house on the first night, so all 14 of us were together in our new home. It just seemed right. And since the P. Family mom was a big piece of making that puzzle work, she was there the next day, too, so got to see it. And take a family picture of all of us in front of our new home.

This is the good one, here is one where only one person is actually looking at the camera.

If you are curious, this is the drive that goes from the road, down the side of our house, to the parking area. There are big maples all along the side of it, and a big garden in front of the house on the other.

So, hello new house! We are so excited to settle in and make new memories together!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Goodbye old house

I'm not sure I would recommend spending one's 26th anniversary doing a final packing of one's home. It was definitely the most stressful part of the week, and even with some amazing packing on J. and TM's part (and an extremely full trailer, van, and two cars), we still had to leave some for the P. Family to bring to us on Saturday. But we did it, and are now settled in our hotel with five children and four animals.

Last night, our older children started out having some fun wrapping siblings up in the leftover packing plastic wrap, which then devolved into a whole family dodge ball game in the empty dining room. I just want to go on record as saying that it is hard to compete against children who have years of dodge ball practice at church and Boy Scouts. (Besides the fact that my husband and children paly a far different version of dodge ball than I grew up playing. I think it is the difference between having gyms verses having PE class on a field all year long.) It was all crazy and fun and an extremely perfect way to spend our last night in our house.

Tomorrow we hang out in the morning while the old house closes (and around 10 am, I will finally start breathing again.) Then at noon, we will get our children and animals settled, and go do our final walk-through for our new house. The closing will follow afterwards, and we will have a new home. This new home currently does not have wi-fi, so I have no idea when I will be able to update with news and pictures. I will do so as soon as I can.

So, good-bye Big Ugly House. You gave us some fantastic memories, and allowed us to bring home five children from Vietnam and China. We will miss you. (Though we won't miss the stress and the taxes.)

It also seems fitting that we are starting a brand-new chapter of our lives on our anniversary. Off to a new adventure.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

No where to sit...

except on the floor or a few folding chairs, which are not so comfy. It's probably a very, very good thing that our little people are not here this week. The past three days have been fairly crazy, and that combined with there being nothing in the house would probably have proved to be too much for them. And for us dealing with them not dealing with things. Last night big people grabbed a sleeping bag and pretty much chose a random spot where ever on the floor. At least two slept in the kitchen because it, at least, had a rug. Not so tonight.

The haulers spent the day here, today, and everything we are not taking with us is gone. Another very good friend came over this morning and helped me pack all the food. It was a good thing she was here. Not only does she have amazing visual spacial skills and is thus very good at packing, but more than once, I found myself just standing and staring with very few thoughts running through my head, except the vague notion that I should be doing something. We then enlisted all the big kids, and while my friend packed, they carried out a van load of stuff to be driven to the storage locker. I think we should be able to get the last things in the cars, van, and trailer tomorrow when it is time to pull out.

TM rode out with me to the storage locker this afternoon, and we got all the stuff stashed inside. I took the opportunity to drive by the house another time. After all the moving and removing, I kind of needed the reassurance that it was still there, and that it was as beautiful as I remembered it being. It was on both counts. It was a bit reassuring as we face another 24 hours of an empty house before we close the door for good.

I'm excited for the new house, but am also feeling more than a little melancholy about leaving this one. I don't like change. Just as I want the go back button on my children to make them small again every so often, I also kind of want to the button that puts us in all the places we have previously lived. Just to visit every so often.

Other than throw the last few things in laundry baskets (we're out of boxes and I refuse to buy any more), we're set. I have crossed off all the items on my massive lists, including taking cuttings of the wisteria and lilacs, and thinning the iris to take with us.

Less than 48 hours, and we start a brand new chapter in our lives.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

7 Hours, 8 Guys, and 3 Trucks Later... or what happens you take all the chairs away

Look carefully, and you'll see D. lying on his back there at the end of the kitchen.

A., who seems to be ready for bed, and R.

Living rooms... these look even bigger without the furniture in them.

Dining Room

The movers were great and fast. Tomorrow the removers (the people taking away all the stuff we are not keeping) show up, and we play this game again, though a slightly different version.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Camp and boxes

Yesterday we took a day off from packing and delivered our five who were going to church camp. 




G., Y., and L. are all in the same cabin.

K. gets to have best friends and a cousin in his cabin. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Today, we slept a little longer than we meant to. Without those five who were dropped off at camp. the house is very quiet for a very long time in the morning. We made up for it though. There are still a few things left to do tonight, but I think we are about 99.9% done. (A huge, huge thanks to the P. Family mom who spent all day here helping out. Without her help, we would be getting a lot less sleep tonight.) Here are a few pictures of what the house is looking like these days.

This is my favorite box tower. That huge box on top is actually very light, and is our big beanbag chair. That is an extra large box, with its flaps still up, that M. constructed a new lid for it.

The tricky thing about all this is that we are not taking everything with us. We have piles in nearly every room of things that are going on the moving truck and things that are not. One thing we did today was to organize those piles a bit more. We also went down to the lawyer's office today and did our portion of the signing of the closing papers. There are a lot of closing costs to pay in this area. City and County all get their pretty significant cut of the proceeds. The good news is that we will be done with this house financially, but I'm not sure how much of our remodeling plans for the new house we will actually be able to do. Everything just adds up so fast. I know I'm currently living on the corner of physically and emotionally exhausted, so will try not to think about that too much at this given moment.

Hey, as a complete aside and distraction, do any of my faithful readers have both a husky and a cat? How is that? Is is working? What did you do to make it work? I'm eager to hear your stories, so don't be afraid to comment.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Birthday celebrations

Last night everyone (!) gathered together and we celebrated the June birthdays. (Have a mentioned that my family, when all together is loud. Very, very loud.) It was perhaps the most low key celebration in all the history of low key family celebrations. We'll do more next year. It was also the last celebration in this house. (Sniff.) Here are some pictures from the evening. (You'll notice the higher quality. M. had the camera and took some pretty good pictures.

L. blowing out her birthday candle

A. and G.

G. blowing out her birthday candle

The whole crew

B., J., and D., who is waiting for his candle

This little series was too fun not to share the whole set. I only had one '2' candle, so they were making due with on to make the age 22.

The cats enjoyed the party. In their own cat-like way.

L. was thrilled with the guide to bugs and slugs.

G. got a panda lamp.

D. received a book he wanted.

B. asked for money for groceries (the joys of being an adult), and Y. made him a birthday card.

And we threw Father's Day into the mix as well. Here's J.'s new t-shirt.

And now off to pack some more. I would like to be 99% done by tonight. I think we can do it. I think....

Friday, June 16, 2017

For your convenience... or feeling easily irritated

I seem to have hit a wall. Actually I hit the wall about 11:30 this morning when I called J. at work and burst into tears. (Lucky man.) I managed to get the bills paid (painful), and a friend came over and together we packed some things I wasn't quite sure what to do with. I am feeling a little better, but am avoiding looking at any boxes at the moment.

I also realized that I had yet to fill out a change of address form at the post office. Now, those of you who have moved recently are laughing at my thinking that I had to actually go to the post office to do this. The last time I moved, you really did have to go fill out the little card at the post office. That was 16 years ago. I discovered you don't have to do that now. Conveniently, this can all be done online.

If my version of Blogger that I use was updated enough, I would italicize the word 'conveniently' in the above paragraph. But I've learned the hard way that if I italicize words, they disappear. So pretend it's in italic. Because it's not all that convenient. I was already at the post office for goodness' sake, and quite willing and ready to fill out the little card. The little card which would cost me no money to drop into the mail slot.

So, discovering that I couldn't do what I went to the post office to do, L. and I went back home, and I pulled up the USPS web page. Well, I pulled it up after I completely had to reboot my wi-fi, because our wireless stinks and no one's devices which use wi-fi can hold a signal with it. So, I'm already at about 8 minutes for this 'fast and easy' method. But I get on and find the form. I fill out the information and click through the pages until I get to the page which asks me for credit card information.


I just want to change my address, I don't want to buy anything. What's up with that? Well, it would seem that by making the change of address form so quick and convenient, they realized that someone might change another person's address who wasn't allowed to. So, to verify someone's identity in this new, quick and easy method, you now get the privilege of paying $1.00. I looked, both at the post office and on the web page, and there are no other options for changing your address. You need computer access and a credit card to do so. (Apparently the only people who get mail have both these things. I don't think I really believe that.)

I realize that $1.00 is really not that much money. People routinely give my children much more than that when they are selling 'drawings' at their art sales. It's the fact that none of us really has a choice about it. We cannot choose another company to deliver our mail for us. We can't look to see who has the better service and better rate. We just get to accept whichever 'convenient' system they come up with which they tout is for our 'benefit.'

As you can probably tell, I wasn't happy. Since I tend to write kvetchy emails to businesses I'm not happy with, I did the same this time. Their response form is another multi-page fun fest. As I was reading through my rather lengthy message, I noticed a typo. Since I was at a page that was not editable, I did what any normal person would do and clicked the edit button.

And it sent me back to the first page, erasing everything that I had filled in and written, so that I could start all over again. Thus, you get a blog post.

I'll go back to my packing now. Since my bills are paid, it's time to pack up desk, filing cabinet, and fireproof safe.
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