It was a coin flip to either talk about our epic journey back to MN, or, check in on the house. For the record, we arrived on Sunday around 6 and after dinner, we went to go check the house because I could not wait longer!
Current Status; We have PAINT. The painful decisions of paint color and location made with consults both near and far turned out great. The stairs are also in! Trim and cabinets continue to get installed/finished. Flooring prep work underway. (me) 15 of 27 lights procured, chosen exterior stone, doors, and siding finally confirmed for the 4th time
Next; (me) buy more light fixtures, knobs for all the things (81 total). (them) floors, cabinet install finish, get the driveway and patio soon and all the fixtures come soon.
Status; 775 of 1000 – still no toilets! paint and stairs make a big impact but the fun finishes are coming soon.
We got 3 colors included in our quote, that is actually a decent number when you think about a more monochrome and cohesive design style. We choose Agreeable Gray, Dover White, and Navy for our main floor and public spaces upstairs and each of us choose a bedroom color. It was $100 per color but it was also a way for the kids to really love the move and be ‘ok’ with all the chaos coming in their near future. My designer friend advised taking their choice and subtracting 2 numbers to get a lighter tone and I only had to do that for Niamh – she went for a really really strong pink but it looks much better two shades lighter.
Fiona actually really liked the color I choose for my room ‘secure blue’ so in her opinion she picked our room color and I’m ok with her thinking that since it saved $100, and, I obviously like the color.
Somehow I didn’t get a picture of the front hall in navy but it came out very sharp with the white trim. I also neglected to take pictures of the vast spaces now painted gray or white but I did get a close up of the stain color “Koa” chosen half because we wanted it to stand out against our medium dark floors and half because it reminds me of Hawaii.
We also got back on track with selections and trecked up to the stone showroom to choose our exterior stone and address stone. It was an easy decision because thanks to my designer friend I actually have a good idea of what to do with the exterior. In brief; pick one color and one accent and stick to it – do not go crazy with all the color options of siding.
Finally, it is hard to take pictures of stairs but here is what I could do. Imagine them without protective paper.
I’m getting a little tired of the process, the builders work is great but their system is very scattered and I’m constantly following up or reconfirming something I thought was set. The story of the siding is annoying and long and I hope ends well, we will see… There is one vendor I just don’t like at this point because she is so disorganized but small price to pay for the amount of custom work we are getting. I’ll be on top of them again since I’m back and other than parenting, a 1-weekend camping trip and packing this house up, I’ve got nothing else to focus on.
The post-Lars part of our time in NY is nearly over but we have made the most of it. My family and friends in NY have been great and I’ve enjoyed seeing who we can see. The kids have not been to bed near bedtime in days and there has been tons of visiting and driving. We haven’t done anything ‘grand’ and vacation like other than the trip to the cloisters, however, I love our playground time with friends and backyard bbq and just being around people.
Last weekend we did adventure out to NJ to a family birthday for my great aunt’s 90’th birthday and informal family reunion. I’m reminded I actually do have relatives in MN and also MI and it is on me that I have not seen more of them. Well, can only go forward and do better when we get back. The funny part of the party was seeing how tall I am compared to my ethnically Maltese family, as island people they just top out at 5ft tall, so I tower above them.
Sunday, fathers day, we face timed with Lars and went sailing with dad and in between hung out and brunched with high school friends who have all become great parents in their own rights. Monday we had to wait for kids to actually wake up and then we went to my sister Josie’s house where we generally hung out and started to build the most annoying shed ever. I told Lars about it that night and he reminded me of when a friend got so frustrated at a shed he was building that he destroyed it in a fit of rage Hulk style and now I understand why. It was still fun to just have a day with my sister doing normal stuff. Our Monday evening plans were 20 min away at Miss Math’s house where we ate dinner and kids played and we talked and her husband hid to avoid the girl talk. Another late night but worth it!
Yesterday I tried to find hardware for the house but the place we went was more disorganized showroom than a place to find a deal but Miss Math joined me so it was worth the trip. Then to make sure there was fun in the day, we went to find the ice cream truck. Note I say “go find” because in NY they roam the streets and if you EVER come out of your house you get a permanent star on his route map and that truck will come back 5x a day all summer. Unless you want a daily discussion about ice cream and its relation to dinner/lunch/cash/diet never let the truck know where you live. The park was lovely and there was shade and a breeze and #3 godfather made an appearance and the kids got icecream sticky and we were just walking home when we met up with Aunt Josie (I had her kids) and home we went to meet more friends for games and eat dinner.
Today was a grand day where things just fell into place. Our original plans fell through so we were gifted use of a state park pass and a 75 degree and sunny day to use it. Niamh was the late sleeper today so we were just about ready to go when my dad had a break in his day so we kidnapped him to go walk a couple miles on the beach. We did the boardwalk and then up the lighthouse and back along the beach splashing in the Atlantic. It was just the perfect size outing for the beach and we got home just in time to get Chase from school and for Miss Math to pop in for a quick visit. We went over to my aunts for a general garden tour and play time and ended up doing dinner and seeing my cousin who usually works far later. Josie met up with us (I had her kids again) and back to grandma’s for our first quiet evening in ages. I plan on going out to see another friend tonight and starting the packing process because after tomorrow we hit the road again for vacation part 3; the road trip home.
Tomorrow should be a good one, our plans include seeing friends one more time, dinner on the big boat, and a cousin sleepover so get every last moment together. Somewhere in that time I need to find all our stuff and get it back in a car shaped package and point my brain back at the things that need doing to get us home again.
Yesterday we went off to the noted museum in new york; The Cloisters. I have never been there because it is in a very hard part of the city to get to, and, it is a very niche collection so when given a choice of how to spend time we always choose to be more downtown and get to see more in the day. This time we decided we were going and set out on the 1.5h drive (that took 2.5) and lucked out with a great parking spot and also a very pretty day.
The cloisters is basically a 14th and 15th-century European collection so I had told the kids that “everything you see in this museum we can do in the SCA” (the history group we do). Convincing kids museums are fun isn’t ever easy unless there is a dinosaur involved but they are getting better at appreciating. Anyway, the big surprise when we walked in was that they are doing a modern art exhibit for closing inspired by the collection.
Yup… that was a weird mix of awesome and fail at the same time.
The dresses were outstanding, showing that high-end designers, when asked to make wearable art, can absolutely do it 110%. They were also displayed perfectly in the spaces, truly showing that someone in charge was both artistic and skilled.
I didn’t go crazy with pictures because I know I can get better detail from the online catalogs but seeing them in person is something special. The unicorn tapestries were all they are ever hyped to be and recently reading a book they featured in made them more real to the kids. Overall, having the kids do math about the items impressed them that they were inches away from things created 900 years ago. To my European readers, I know, your post office is probably 900 years old but for us that is pretty impressive.
The other excellent thing about this museum is that the building IS part of the exhibit. Every door and window and most of the stones are from 14th and 15th-century monasteries. I wish I had more time to look at everything but the impressive part that I’ll carry forward in my life is the walled garden. I always thought the walls would make too much shade but this shows that plants in the center do very well and there is nice shade around the edges for sitting and looking at the garden. Given I will be in a place with lots of land I may be experimenting with the concept since it will be a good way to keep out the wildlife and also create an interesting structure on our flat rectangle of land.
We left the pocket universe of the Cloisters and headed back and as if we needed more reasons not to live in the crazy land of long island we took nearly 4 hours to get back. To give perspective, we can drive to the close part of Canada from our house in the same amount of time. It did give me an opportunity to get a nice landscape picture while stopped on the bridge so that’s good at least.
The day was not lost at all. One of the very very best things about visiting family is that there are more adults in the system so things get handled. My sister turned up at parents house and created dinner that was 10 min from done when we walked int. Way better than facing dinner decisions after 4 road fried hours. We topped off the night with a visit to the big boat with friends and floated at dock while the kids played and generally had fun.
Today Lars when home and now we enter into phase 2 of vacation – the solo mom adventure.
Last week Friday we packed up the minivan and hit the road after work. The kids are getting pretty well trained and I have to say this was one of the best trips for travel behaviors yet. The combo of learning to read, and, lifelong training meant that while it was still a loooong trip, nobody wanted to abandon anyone on the side of the road at any time.
We spent Friday night in a Chicago hotel, and Saturday in an eastern PA one. We made good enough time that the kids got some pool time in PA and the next morning we visited with family in the area and then back on the road to my parents’ house. Traffic was not perfect, it never is, but, only added on a little over an hour so all in all it was a 20 driving hour trip.
Once we got here my only plan was to be here. We have been making plans as we go but given that we are on vacation and nobody else is, we have plenty of chill time. There is a big 90th birthday reunion style party this weekend that since we are here we will go to. I’ve learned from being away that where there is a chance to see everyone, take it. You never know when the next one will come and for some of the people who are in their late 80’s I way prefer to visit them now then regret the loss when it is too late. I’m lucky that I enjoy 90% of my family and even the crazy 10% are not offensive, just not my preferred brand of crazy.
On the vacation bucket list we have gotten out on the big boat, had a cousin sleep over party, gone out for ice cream, and played in the parks. Its a bit cold for the beach but maybe next week. Just like most times you visit family, it isn’t truly a ‘vacation’ it is just living life in a different place with fewer responsibilities. I am glad we are here now, it is a great break from house packing at the very least 🙂
We have cabinets!
I also picked colors and fingers crossed they will look good.
I’m going to ny so no pictures for a week but by the time I’m back I expect siding and maybe even flooring. There was a pile of wood that will become stairs so fingers crossed! 9 weeks to move in, the list is still long but working through it.
I’ve been posting a bunch about the new house. I’ve been posting about the summer. I didn’t know people were actually interested in my packing progress but I got a few questions so why not! Here is a packing post.
Lets set the scene; This house has 5 people in it full time and a small dog. 3 children who require feeding and activities and a husband who is working full time so while his body is in the building, he is not available for help in general. He does take them to Jujitsu for 2 hours 2x a week so that is ‘my time’ and I’m using it to pack these days.
We also have the VERY good fortune of being able to live here until late July and our new house will be done in early Aug so we are going to go live in a tent for a week. That means that I can’t quite put the packing machine if full swing or we will be 5 people in an empty house for longer than necessary.
Since we have 3 weeks between needing to be out of this house and can be in the new one, we are getting a storage container that will live on our new land until we can unpack. Not the traditional ‘put it in a truck’ but more in line with how cross country/military movers take your stuff and you follow, but, you are without your household goods for a week or 2 while it is in transit.
My military sister had great tips.
- clear out a room 100%. In that room put what you DO NOT want packed. For us that is the stuff we need for about 2 weeks on vacation.
- Zone/type pack. I did shoes yesterday as a ‘type pack’ and the day before I did ‘guest room’ as zone pack.
Who’s helping? I am involving the kids rather than trying to do it around them. They have a 1 box a day goal and they are surprising me by what they are willing to put away for 2 months.
Keep/donate/toss; I’m sure you can guess, not everything is making the move, every packing project starts with a trash bag and a donate bag.
Tools; Packing would be 2x faster if my tape gun and sharpie had locator tags, I lose them constantly… I’m trying to be better by using a plastic bin as my ‘toolbox’ and it holds the labels, marker and tape gun. Even if I just put them there at the end of a packing session I’m better off then if they get left ‘somewhere’.
June; In order to not pack everyone up too early, we are going to visit my family in NY for 10 days – leaving this Friday and coming back the last week of June. We have started though….
Week 1 and 2 – more general packing and enjoying the holiday etc
Week 3 – disassembly of things that can disassemble – container arrives on July 20
Week 4 – Monday; movers for all the big things Tuesday; we finish what is left. Wednesday beds and last bits into the container and it goes away via big truck, we move in with friends for 2 nights. Thursday clean the empty house. Friday close/go on vacation.
I tried to make the timeline to suit our life and keeping it as ‘normal’ as possible and we actually have a really long time to get the work done. That can be a positive or a negative because I can’t just wholesale pack until the very end. For the last 2 weeks the kids will be in all day camps so we can focus. I need to build in a few nice things for a date night but the fine details can happen as they happen.
I probably won’t bore the world with another ‘how I’m packing’ post but who knows what will pop up on Instagram on the subject. There is something satisfying about a totally empty closet or the box wall growing.