Showing posts from May, 2017

Quail tractor

Some of you may be aware that a chicken tractor is a movable outdoor coop for chickens. Yesterday, B. whipped up a quail tractor for Q. B. also is thinking that Q. is going to turn out to be a girl, since we aren't seeing the black and white markings on her face which would indicate she was a boy.

We had a great day yesterday, visiting with lots of friends. J. and I also got the garage sorted out and packed up. I'm afraid his weekends from here until the move are booked with fun activities such as this, working on areas of the house where I just don't know what needs to go and what can stay. We keep telling ourselves that at least it's not winter.

I'm also having some significant internet issues. Sometimes it works (such as at this moment), but more often than not, it doesn't. Our motivation for calling AT&T and getting it fixed (again) for just three more weeks is very low. So, if I don't post or return a message or email, it is probably because I can&…

Digging Out, Part 2

(If you missed the first part, head to Part 1, first.)

Are you ready to move on? Is your kitchen cleaned-up? Have you been continuing to put in that load of laundry? (Yes, I know the clean laundry is starting to pile up.) How are you feeling about your relationship with your children? Have you been smiling at them more? If you can feel pretty good about your answers to those questions, then it's time to move on.

Step 1: Let's tackle all that laundry next. A few notes on logistics, for at least how laundry works around here. My older people do their own laundry, so I just do H.'s on down. For those who can fold and put away their own clothes, I pile the clean laundry into baskets and let them deal with it. I fold everything else, though I only put away my own clothes and sheets and towels and things. Even those who have a bit of trouble with folding can put away their own laundry. Think about how your laundry system is or isn't working and delegate where needed. My main…

Friday Bullets, May 26, 2017

It's sounds as though the lawyers have finally come to a verbal agreement, the papers were all sent over, and now we just wait for a signature and earnest money. It all seems too good to be true, huh? Perhaps I'll make that flooring down payment yet. I've been packing, but the younger people are having more fun. We are currently reading Swallows and Amazons for tea time, and as I expected, it has captured their imagination. Here is Y. with the firewood they have collected for their camp, and L. just walked in to ask if they could use the tarp in the garage to make a tent. If you haven't read these books with your children, you really, really should. 

My friend the H-S Family mom has been helping me to figure out how to reconfigure the kitchen in the new house to make it large family friendly. I really love the new plan, but of course, I'm concerned about cost. If I can find things like appliances and cabinets and such at used prices, we might be able to make it work…

Digging Out, Part 1

There was an old sailor my grandfather knew Who had so many things that he wanted to do That, whenever he thought it was time to begin, He couldn't because of the state he was in.      -- A. A. Milne

I often feel like the old sailor in this poem, being surrounded by lists and piles of things to do, wanting to tackle it all, but sometimes sitting down and doing nothing because it all feels so overwhelming. Usually this comes after a particularly stressful or busy time of life, when either things have gotten out of control because of too little time or because of too little emotional margin. I know for a fact that I am not alone in these feelings of despair and helplessness because of the state the house has become. The chaos in the house is often compounded by the corresponding state of family affairs which often seem to mirror the environment one is living in. It can be frustrating and upsetting to find oneself in this position.

Since I have had the experience of digging out from…

It seems like it might be hope

The title of this post is from one of my favorite songs by Sara Groves, It Might Be Hope. There have definitely been moments in this parenting journey when the lines from this song do run through my head. In the past day or two they are there again, this time in regards to R. 
I have been pretty open about how challenging this child is. I'm realizing that the biggest challenge is not from her delays or her seizures (which were pretty bad at first) or even her indiscriminate affection. No, the biggest challenge has been how stuck she has seemed in where she was. With H., we saw right away a child fighting to get out. She was at least aware of when others were doing something and she wasn't, and she would at least try. With R., we seem to have a child who has become so comfortable in her extremely narrow little comfort zone, that for whatever reason (probably fear... all fear) she cannot tolerate being out of it. I have never seen a child who can sit for three to four hours a d…

See how Q. grows

Q. is getting bigger and bigger. He can flutter about with his wings, likes to be held and petted, and particularly likes to walk around on the kitchen table. His adult wings are continuing to grow in on his body, though the down under his wings is not starting to be replaced with real feathers and he looks a little scruffy. Today we also noticed that his head is starting to lose its chick fluffiness. Once the adult feathers all grow in we will be able to tell if Q. is a boy or a girl. Boy bobwhite quail have white patches of feathers on their face. 

You get quail pictures because that involves no thought. STILL no earnest money. I need to pay the down payment on the carpet and flooring so it can be ordered, but it is a lot of money. It is a particularly large sum of money if you are still feeling uneasy about your buyers. I'm just not sure I can pay the down payment with this much uncertainty. Of course, this also means that they cannot order the carpet and flooring. It also mak…

Monday move update, May 22, 2017

All this blogging about moving is sure to get worse before it gets better. I have nothing else inside my head. Please accept my apologizes in advance, with a promise to try to venture into other topics soon. Maybe when the earnest money appears. (It's still not there. Really. How could I make this up? It's like living in a bad novel at this point.)

Instead, I continue to spend money (or promise to spend money) that we don't really have yet. Today it was to finalize the carpet and flooring in the new house. We're all set to go, once we have possession. I will probably more than a little neurotic about the carpeting and what is and is not allowed on it for quite a while. Sticker shock is a real thing... and I think we've even got a pretty good deal.

Why do I have such trouble justifying the expense of the flooring? I'm really having trouble not feeling as though I'm spending money frivolously. I guess I've lived with questionable flooring surfaces for so …

Friday bullets, May 19, 2017

This is much later in the day than I normally write, but I've been home about 1 1/2 hours today. I'm pooped.

One of the day's activities was to go to a local, large appliance store with three friends. Three of the four of us are contemplating differing degrees of kitchen remodeling in the near future, so we went just to scope out the appliances together. And have lunch. And spend time with each other, which we very rarely get to do.About that scoping out... well, I bought a refrigerator. The one in our new house is not as big as we are used to, nor will there be room for the second refrigerator that we also have here. I was a bit concerned about how we were going to make this work. Well, we saw a floor model on sale that was big enough on the inside so that it just might work. So I bought it. It's being delivered at the end of the month and will just have to sit in the garage. I also have to call the moving company to warn them we are adding a refrigerator to the moving…

Welcome to the bug museum

This is what has kept the younger half busy for much of the day. They made a bug museum, with a huge portion of the fun being the digging up of the bugs. They made an entrance.

Followed by two tanks of exhibits. The tanks are some the M. has stored on our back porch, being of the mind that one can never have too many tanks, because you never know when you'll come across an animal in need of one. They also dug out some old fish tank decorations to give the bugs, "Something to play with and look at."

Then there was the touching station, where you could interact with the bugs one-on-one. (Do you think these children have been to their fair share of museums?) When I was visiting, I was shown the petting area, but was told it wasn't open and that I would have to come back.

While they were creating their museum, I was folding laundry, making lists, driving people places, and doing a little grocery shopping. I'm pretty sure they had more fun.

That was a long day

We spent the afternoon at the new house so that architects (aka my good friend H-S Family mom, who conveniently also happens to be an architect), contractors, and flooring measurers could come and do their thing. There was a lot going on. Plus, I brought all the little people so that they could see where we were going to be living. They enjoyed running around and looking at things, but I think it still had a feel of someone else's house, so that heavy-duty investigations will wait until we've actually moved.

The contractor brought up some issues that we will need to think about and how it all fits into the triage list of what to take care of first. Having a HVAC guy come out, it quickly rising to the top. The heating and cooling systems of the house, while there, are all a bit wonky, and possibly expensive to run. But we received some good news, too. The wall I would like taken out before we move in, shouldn't be a problem, and adding a larger dining room onto the back of …

It's time for...

the weekly Monday Move Update. I bet you all can't wait. It would be much more exciting if I had some truly positive news to share. But I don't. It's like this little game we're playing. They pretend they're buying the house, I pretend we're actually going to move, and hopefully somewhere along the line, we can all stop living in our little fantasy world.

In the meantime, I've put done a decidedly not imaginary deposit on the movers, as well as a deposit to the company who is going to get rid of anything else we don't put on the moving truck. I had forgotten exactly how expensive moving can be.

In other fun news, I've spent a good portion of the day up on the third floor where we have a very large pile of boxes already packed and stored. I should add, these boxes were packed and stored before we knew where we were going to be moving. There is something about knowing the space things are going to be going into, to make one reconsider exactly what one…

Our newest college graduate

B. graduated this morning with a B.A. in Environmental Science. We were all there to witness the event. B., we are so proud of you and love you very much!

This is B. receiving his diploma. The one really bummer about J. moving schools is that he missed being able to hand B. his diploma. (It's a perk of working at North Park and having your child attend that you can be the one to present the diploma. J. was able to present M.'s a couple of years ago.)

And then we took a family picture. Family pictures are not really our thing, evidently. Some families end up with these lovely portraits. Us, not so much. Some of us are not so, uh, cooperative, shall we say, so this is the best that we can mange. I'll take it, though.

So here we are all. Looking at it, I'm realizing that K. is growing while H. is not. K. was so little for so long, we never had to think about where he stood. Since you can barely see H. behind him.

Then we realized that K. had been scowling in all the pictur…

Friday bullets, May 12, 2017

The lawyers may be getting closer to an agreement on the final contract, but my stomach still has yet to have cause to unknot. This house buying and selling business is not for wimps, I tell you. There have been other things going on around here... when I stop worrying long enough to notice.

A. is done with the semester and is now back at home. It's really nice having her here.More picture selling happened today, though it didn't seem to be quite as lucrative as yesterday's sale.I have found movers and people to haul away all the stuff we are not moving. I have found flooring guys and a contractor who can all get out to the new house at the same time to measure and give estimates. I have arranged to be able to get into the new house so that the contractor and floor guys can do their thing. Now, all I need to do is confirm with the moving company I chose and tell the ones I didn't choose that we're going with someone else. That's a big thing off the to-do list, h…

It must be spring

I say that because my children have decided that it's warm enough to take their entrepreneurial selves outside and see how much money they can con earn from passersby. Today the sales even was pictures that they drew. And once again, the first few pictures were fairly decent and they took more than a minute to create. Demand was high, evidently, and I'm pretty sure quality went down as the day progressed. Did this stop people from throwing money at my children? No, it did not. I think the total for the day's sale was somewhere around $30. I kid you not.

I guess they are still young enough to get away with this. Of course, every year, I think, that the young and cute factor will play itself out, and every year I am proved wrong. They have big plans to continue the sale tomorrow. My suggestion would be to hit their stand early for best quality, unless like some people, the actual product doesn't matter. There were more than a couple of people who just handed them a few d…

Not so fluffy

Still. No. Earnest. Money.

The stress is roiling around inside of me non-stop, so you get animal pictures. Again.

Q. is getting bigger and is now in that awkward adolescent stage. His fluff is falling out and adult feathers are growing in and, it looks a bit goofy. He still peeps very loudly, still seems to enjoy having the cats sit on top of his box, and likes to walk around and peck at the pan of sod we put in his box for him. I do wish I could provide a birdy-friend, but am not sure that is going to be able to happen. We will need to come up with different accommodations for him as he gets bigger, so we can still keep him safe from the cats and allows him to see the things that are going on around the house. It would also be nice to come up with some outside accommodations for him, too. I'm afraid, though, he is just going to have to deal with the box until we move.

And for reference, he is now about as twice as big as he was a couple of weeks ago.

Moving stories

My head is full of facts about carpeting and measurements and boxes and estimates. So far today, I've driven to and from Aurora to look at (more) carpet samples and get (more) estimates, met with a(nother) moving company representative for a(nother) moving estimate, had teatime and read to the masses, called a(nother) handyman/contractor about a(nother) estimate, set-up some therapy for Y., and am about to start a load of laundry and make dinner. It's hard living such a glamorous life, but someone has to, I guess.

Meeting these moving company reps has been amusing, and perhaps highlights exactly how not normal my life actually is. The first one got his time wrong and called fairly early in the morning to say he was on his way. I panicked only slightly, and asked if we could make it later because I had a houseful of sleeping children. (Our friends, the H-S Family are in town, and we had had a fairly late night the evening previous.) He agreed, and he came later. Since I never v…

Happy 12th Birthday to R.

Today was R.'s 12th birthday. We began the day with our traditional birthday breakfast of donuts, and then the festivities continued. If you weren't aware, today was Free Comic Day, a day my children look forward to all year long. G. and L. had even picked out special clothes to wear for the occasion. (No, I don't know why, other than it was an occasion.) So, after breakfast, while I taught, J. took the younger half on a walk to the local comic book shop. Having arrived early, they all came home with more than a few comic books. R. even got one that could be colored in, which thrilled her to no end.
For her birthday dinner, we decided to get Chinese take-out. She loves Chinese food more than anything, though we have yet to find the food she doesn't like. We knew this would make her happy, and it did. This was followed by cake (store bought, because they are fancy) and presents.
TM holding her birthday candles. (We didn't put the on them cake, because we learned ou…

Friday bullets, May 5, 2017

We're still alive. I thought I'd drop by and see what was happening here on the ol' blog. I can't think the last time I let blogging go by the wayside for so long. I'll start my list and you can see why.

We still have no official contract or significant earnest money in the bank. The lawyers are still in negotiation. I may permanently start to look like Quasimodo, as I carry all my stress in my left shoulder. I also feel more than a little nauseated every time I think about the situation, which would be, oh, every 10 seconds or so.Yet I still have to work as though everything is going to work out. I've been calling movers and such and trying to figure out how to move 12 people, 1 dog, 2 cats, 1 quail and all their belongings, what to leave behind, and what to do with what we leave behind, with the least amount of fuss, money, and homelessness in the interim.I suppose I should also start to pack. My motivation for packing is incredibly low until that money shows …

I may develop an ulcer by the end of all this

I keep not writing, hoping I will have something positive to share, but I don't.

The trouble with selling a house the way we are, before actually going on the market, is that you are then between a rock and hard place, and have very little wiggle room when the potential buyers want to make additional demands.

The short story is that I'm not sure a barn will be built at any time in the near future on the new property.

I wish people could be nice.

And some significant earnest money in the bank would be even nicer.

At least the animals are getting along and the quail is still alive. (The cats lay on top of his box so often now, that we think he thinks that is what happens in the world. He peeps very loudly when they are NOT there.)