New House!

I write this from my *unpacked and arranged* sofa, in my *new* living room, on the laptop whos chord I *finally found* this morning.  As I’ve said to many people, we are now in the ‘install’ process, we didn’t pack in one day, we are not going to  unpack in 1 day.

Achievements thus far;

Slept in our new house – Last things packed were mattress so they were first out and in my ‘first day’ box I had fresh sheets for all the beds.  If I got nothing else done on day one we could still sleep here.  Fortunately, we got a lot more done on day 1.

The onsite container that we filled with all the stuff we were actually using, and, all the stuff we forgot we had in random hidden spots is EMPTY and we find ourselves in a 70% bigger space with 30% of our stuff so it is still on the sparse side.  I called for the removal of the container a full week earlier than I had to.

Laundry – it was actually the very first thing because  2 weeks of camping results in some fun laundry.  I had a box labeled “wash first” and it nearly walked itself to the machine.  I’m super happy with the washer and dryer.  My brain was out of power so I just asked the appliance guy and took his recommendation.  He is a cool dude and local and knew what I wanted and I will forever recommend Doug’s TV for your appliance needs.

Achieved internet!  This is a saga, I think I’ve documented elsewhere but we found out that this section of the neighborhood does not have real internet.  We found a solution that is ok for now and that was hooked up yesterday by 2pm.  The kids nearly died from lack of netflix and I entertained them with the TV antenna and ‘watching what is on’.  Thanks to Zoe, my social girl, we met the neighbor mid July and found out that the real internet was supposed to be here but got stalled by the people we purchased land from.  A few phone calls to dig deeper and the hopeful result is that we will be back on high speed by Christmas. (fingers crossed).

Next up

Installing our water softener.  Here in the midwest, we have a LOT of iron in our water.  I got a tip from a neighbor NOT to shower until grout was sealed so I did that yesterday but I’m not even risking it based on the look of the kid bath (that is an easier to clean insert) where if I didn’t know better, I would be accusing them of dying their hair red and not cleaning the tub.  We choked at the quote from the ‘water specialist’ did some research, got a unit from a local store and the plumber comes at noon.

A trip to Ace to replace all the little bits that got lost.  Lets just say it’s a good thing we are not using the top bunk because I’m short 8 fasteners.  I also have 3 fairly pressing projects; Swing set, more shelves in the closets, and, a counter area we didn’t want pay an extra 3k for so we will install it soon.

Retrieve and unpack things in offsite storage, and, 3 different friends houses.  I’m looking at getting a trailer for the next week and doing daily runs to get a manageable amount each day to filter into the house.

Curtains!  We have a ton of windows and a ton of sun.  When we sold our house we had to leave all the window treatments.  When you buy a new house it does not come with anything so we need to get on that shortly.  As soon as I find my sewing machine….

Finish the house…. *ahem* it isn’t quite done yet…  So the builders still have a little list and we also have a  year warranty so if anything needs fixing I know who to call.  I left it alone the first 2 days but I think I’ll be calling today to follow up.

Thank Yous; we absolutely could not have done this with as much sanity intact without Vacation Mom who held onto our freezer, Lars’ epic condiment collection, plants, and our electronics and who also expedited packing and cleaning with me over the past YEAR.  KLiz who as a couple watched the kids, gave us a place on our homeless days, and helped with the lifting and moving so much I think the neighbors wonder who actually lives here. Moral support also appreciated from all the friends and family who texted and called and if I missed a call, I’m probably still moving or I lost my phone.  I’m sure I’m forgetting people because my brain is still on the tapped side but I hope by next Wednesday I’ll have all the stuff here and working through the unpacking and new projects.


Ps- internet is annoying for pictures, I’ll do the upload thing soon



Vacation brain (different than stress brain)

We are all here at Pennsic.  Lars arrived and brought a ton of heat with him so now it *really* feels like Pennsic. That first week was just way too temperate, I didn’t sweat nearly at all, how can I lose 10 pounds if I don’t dehydrate myself?

I’m taking fewer pictures than average because my fav three subjects are all running around semi-independently.  We brought Rental Child and she is almost bored because they don’t ‘need’ her as much as last year but they manage to keep her busy going to the park and to stroll the shops and then they disappear to play with friends in camp.  They have not met too many new friends but they are happy enough to play with the ones they already know.  All I know is I have to make sure they have sunblock before I set them free or I may not see them until dinner.  Rental on the other hand, HAS met friends and I’m very glad she has found some people, that will make her want to keep coming back (and I want her to want to!).

Niamh is earning her keep by running errands for a friend and she is even more independent.  She is allowed to make her way around the familiar parts of the camp and it is fun to see her pop up when I wasn’t expecting her, and, she can trot off to help do water on the field and fetch ice and so many useful things.  It is cutting into her free time and she has not done a few things she wanted to, but, learning that balance is part of life.

The rest of the world is in that pleasant vacation haze.  I’ve been here long enough that I’m not thinking of other things.  The magic of vacation really takes over about day 5 and even though this is not a lap of luxury relaxing vacation, I’m not worried about my normal set of worries.  Pulling myself back to the computer to do the things I have to do is hard but necessary, someone has to pay the phone bill on time 🙂  I have no idea how the house is doing either.  Lars did a walkthrough on Friday and there were lots still to get done.  I trust they will get it done, all except possibly the front porch because a bird built a nest there and none of us wants to evict baby birds to put up the final bit of siding there.

This year I’m taking it a bit easier here and to that end, I’m not going out all night to the many many parties so I can keep recharging.  I have gotten to see a bunch of friends and I’m having a good time overall.  It is hard to not try and go non stop but I’m happier being less crazy overall even if I miss out on a few things.  With that, my work hour is over and I’m going to go find some lunch and then more people who just arrived.

the end of the story


I am, as a friend said, ‘Appropriately homeless’.  It happened.  After over a year of the house selling phase; we closed with a whisper, not a bang.   It was a very very hard week both physically and emotionally.  I don’t really have time (nor tissues) now to do it justice but if I know myself by next week I’ll feel like the story is too old to tell so split the difference and here is the short version;

The kids were great. They didn’t fuss or fight the process.  They went to camps, even a camp they turned out to hate, with reasonable grace.  They enjoyed staying with friends on the last days and they each processed it in their own way but nobody was out of line from expectations.

The movers were worth the money.  They came, they moved, they are Tetris masters.  The guys were so nice and sweet we enjoyed having them and Lars really enjoyed the ability to work while the things disappeared around him.

The process.  Well, I’m sure I was not in a unique situation with all the stress but it was unique for me.  The plan did work.  There were minimal monkey wrenches overall and I just kept working, not stopping, and I’m glad because it was done on time but I was falling apart by the end.  On the final day I woke up at 4am  and could not sleep so I went to the house to finish and I am glad I did because I needed all the time.  The final things, the last cleaning, they just take longer.  I was solo the whole last day but I did have phone in support from my sisters and a final visit from vacation mom.

The new people.  We did meet them, they asked to move in some boxes on Thursday (closing was Friday) so I was there with the kids to say goodbye to the house and hello to the people.  I hope they are happy, the wife seems super nice the husband was a ball of stress.  Can’t say I don’t understand but he did not make a great impression on me.  To further it, they came up with a list of petty and odd complaints the next day and our real estate agent earned his money by calmly diffusing the situation and gently telling them to go jump in a lake.  I like him.

The rest of life.  Well, timing is such that we are at Pennsic, the giant SCA camping event that usually takes all the brain power for prep and this year got tossed into the stress soup.  I’m very glad to be here, there is no better place to be displaced to (because new house is not ready yet) because I can’t go 10 feet without seeing someone I know and like.  I also really enjoy the mini-city feel where I can walk everywhere.  I also filed for candidacy for the school board.  Step one on the political ladder.  As an example of my brain is at max capacity; I put my childhood home zip on my form.  While correcting it via email I misspelt my own last name.  I think I’m out of RAM.  So if I look a little dazed or miss something, I think my brain is being flooded with the ‘forget the horror’ hormones that it produces for things like labor/delivery.

I’ll be enjoying what is in front of me and not borrowing trouble about unpacking or all the rest.  I’m glad that project is over, it was a great house and I’ll miss it but I hope our new one will be worth all the trouble.

The long slow process of moving

There have been times in my life where I have moved in a very short timeline.  Like moving to MN.  Did I ever record that?  The short version is that Lars got laid off when the tech bubble burst.  Through connections and networking he talked to his eventual boss in the last week of August.  Early September he was offered a job in MN but he had to be at his desk on Sept 30.  We flew out to find apartments and then he drove our larger car, a 4 door Saturn, to MN with his armor, plates and cooking tools for 1, his new business casual wardrobe purchased that week, a computer, an air mattress and a camp chair.  I packed the remainder and we moved out with 1 large truck.  Done.  1 month.

This move is now over a year old.  Last April we decided we really needed something bigger and the crazy push to put our house on the market last July only to pull it because we couldn’t find a place to buy.  Then the building process that was supposed to be done in April would have put us at a single year but given the delay to mid Aug our move, if a child, would be walking and eating semisolid food.  To say it is getting to us is an understatement.  Zoe is having a breakdown and I sympathise, she just wants it done already and so do I except for needing the time to get everything done!

I’ve lost track of how many boxes.  All the good systems for tracking your things in a move really don’t work on a multi month move.  I’m labelling each box with contents because I’m not even entirely sure where it will go in the new house since we are changing a lot of space around.

Today the movers come and by this afternoon our container should be full.  Tomorrow is the day we move whatever didn’t fit to friends house(s) and our last bedtime in this house.  Wednesday is cleaning day and we go stay with friends. Thursday is finishing anything not yet done and signing papers.  Friday we drive to PA to go on vacation and we come back to close on the new house.  There is still a lot up in the air about final details but we are in that tedious, torturous last 3 miles of the marathon.

In so many ways this would have been easier if it was faster, living months in the slow packing and waiting to do the big things isn’t easy.  However, we have all had time to get used to this, nobody will be surprised and everyone had processing time.

10 minutes to movers so I should finish coffee and be ready to go.  Wish us luck 🙂

weekend update and a step backwards on the house.

According to my schedule, this is the major pack week and we are major packing.  The boxes are accumulating, the stuff in rooms is disappearing and I have a ‘safe space’ for things not to be moved.  I said it before, but, my military sister with 10 moves in her adult life highly recommends emptying a single room and then putting in that room the things that you are personally moving in the car on the last day.  For us, that is Lars’s work, and everything going to pennsic.

What better thing to do the weekend before you move?  Go camping!  A very large part of me didn’t want to go but I’m glad I did.  I enjoy seeing everyone, Niamh and Zoe both won their fighting division, Zoe got a fighting award, and despite the soggy hot weather, it was a nice weekend.  Vacation mom made it 10x better by showing up and puttering with me at the event and then whisking the kids away in the morning so Lars and I could pack in peace.  I took zero pictures the entire weekend but a friend posted this one and I think it captures the beauty of the SCA.  Our social club with a renaissance theme. That is my tent in the bottom right, and, you are looking at the battle field where the kids enjoyed many pool noodle fights, bubble blowing, and general joyous noise.


I was actually not wiped out coming home, we got a load from the house to storage, I grocery shopped for camp week lunch and snack and then we just chilled.  Monday we got up extra early and got kids to camp and by 10 am, a time we are usually just getting motivated, I was already done with room #1 and rolling forward.  I’m so glad we did the camp thing, they are happy, safe, and come home exhausted so I don’t feel bad packing up all their toys.

We took a batch of things to storage yesterday and then went by the house and happened to be there when the builders came in to look at ‘a situation’.   I had noticed a ton of little things in the house but not the giant crack in the wall or the fact that the counters were no longer flush to the wall – the cement truck pouring our patio ran into our back wall…. You can’t make this stuff up!  He was stung by a bee and hit the gas.  The cement company is covering it all and I trust our builders to take down the wall and true up everything again but the worry is this will impact move in.  Given I had planned for *something* to go wrong I put our closing on Aug 13, a full 10 days after they said it could be done because if I had to be homeless, I want to go to Pennsic and that is 2 weeks long.  I don’t however, want to wait longer because then we run into hotel or staying with people and some legal deadlines on closing documents etc.  I am going to hope for the best.

Today my energy is still up, we have a plan and Lars is now working in an empty room on a folding table and I’m back to laptop life.  I hope to get the hall closet, kitchen ‘extra’ and clothing done today.  I think keeping out 2 weeks worth of outfits should work.  I’ll do laundry, it will be fine.  I’m undecided on how many towels to keep out, but, if that is the biggest problem in my life I’m ok with that.  Back to work for me, hope you all enjoy your day.

30 days to move in

I’m starting to count down instead of up because;

  1. we actually do close on Aug 13 and since it is July 13 so it seemed like fate
  2. we finally have toilets (and other plumbing fixtures!)

other countdowns of note;

12 days until we are 100% out of this house

2 full days the kids will have in the house they were born in

Pictures first!  (All photos in this post are taken by Niamh)


sink and light!  and me, looking concerned at the shower door size


Zoe touched it first!  She does the dishes 🙂


I didn’t know this fixture needs 18 lightbulbs.  It will be bright as the sun….


Our final selection for hall light, that was not an easy decision.


a bit blurry, but, kids have faucets too. 


The cute yet ineffective light – read below for the full situation

We have reached the phase of the project where things are getting complicated and annoying.  I’ve never built a house, who knew all the little things?!?  My complaints seem petty overall but this is not going to be an inexpensive venture – I’m compromising in my head by imagining if something would bother me if I walked into an existing house and just saw it that way – would it bother me then?

Yesterday in the middle of trying to pack for a camping trip I got the text that our patio was marked and since it would be made of cement and is of a pretty custom design, would we like to see it first.  Yes, yes we would!  One of the most hard things is figuring out size when out of context.  The patio looks teeny tiny, but, I measured and the 10×10 thing I need to accommodate fits just fine with room to spare on the *half* of the patio that it is intended to go.  Comparing the cement to the giant outside is unfair and makes my head hurt.

The nice surprise was seeing all the plumbing in.  I had actually forgotten what I choose it was so long ago.  The rain head shower is not as we imagined, we have to talk about that to the builders, and there is another odd issue with where they plan to put something in our yard.  With a quarter mile of empty space, I do NOT need our septic field directly behind our house.  “honey, look at our view from our upgraded windows!  It is a septic field!  Ooh la la so fancy”  I was under the impression it would be in the side yard, you know, the place that does not have 11 windows facing it.  It is a part-time job following the builders around, attempting to figure out what they are doing.

It is nice that all the things we were responsible for getting are now in.  More than half the lights are up even.  The appliances are paid for, the knobs and pulls are all labeled and waiting for install, and the lights… well, they are all there.  The 3 I got for the kids’ rooms are incredibly dim, so dim they are not lights, they are ceiling ornaments.  I got a refund yesterday at least but that does not really solve my problem.  I think I can fix it… just need a ladder and some time.  The pendants I ordered look great except somehow they don’t perfectly cover the hole in the ceiling where they electric comes in.  Finally, the kid bath has MASSIVE electric boxes to cover with their lights and the ones I got are normal sized.  Something about code and outside wall…. whatever, they really should have told me this in advance – I dragged the family out to get 2 new ones to cover, it will be fine I’m sure.  They also bounced my choice of light for the closet.  Be warned, you can’t have ‘exposed light bulbs’ in a closet per code.  Code that every designer ever seems to ignore in the pretty pictures.  Fine, the pretty light will be installed right AFTER we move in :).  If I sound a tad frustrated I am because while they seem to make all the decisions they feel like about where to put septic fields without consulting they are calling me constantly about minor things that have easy fixes?

And like I need another thing going on – last week someone reported our car in a hit and run.  The police called, it wasn’t us at all since the car in question was sitting in the driveway, and we thought it was over until yesterday we get a letter about ‘our accident’.  No, I wasn’t packing for a camping trip, and didn’t already detour an hour for cement review, sure I can spend an hour disputing the insurance claim against us.  A hit and run is a big deal, I don’t want that on our record.  I sent pictures of every angle of our car that is perfectly fine.  I hope that does it because I don’t have time for this.

So yeah, it is morning, I did manage to pack but now it is raining.  I’m not keen on rushing out to set up in the rain but we will be on our way soon.  I’ll have fun once I’m there and when we get back it is time for the packing phase.  12 days is not all that long,  send good thoughts that we can get it done with sanity intact.  If you are local and feel like coming to help you will have my perpetual gratitude.