Archive | July 2018

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.

Why blogging works for me

I have recently felt a little meh about recording things here.  Who reads?  Who cares? Do you really want to know about my weekend or what got done in the house?  I know there actually are a good bunch of people out there that read and I’m happy to share my life with you all but today I was reminded why I blog for MYSELF.

analysis blackboard board bubble

Photo by Pixabay on

(cue the violin music)

This past week has been hard.  A holiday mid-week, kids hitting the wall of ‘summer fun’ and I’m looking at the pile of things I need to do and buy and make and what I’ve already let slip and my brains are starting to leak out of my ears.  Work is hard on Lars so he helps where he can but he is sometimes part of the problem too (husbands!).  Anyway!  2 feet under water here and suddenly the kitchen light starts to blink like it has decided to its life’s passion is the rave scene.  No kitchen light, no!  You are not a party machine!  However, I seriously don’t want to replace a light in this house….  #1 I just got 38 lights for the other house.  #2 I have gone to the big box home store every day for a week.  #3 I just don’t want to pay another $50 for another fixture that is practically new in a house I’m moving out of in a month (eeek! 1 month!!!)…

Let’s mitigate this – maybe it is under warranty?  ::search store website:: Yes!  it has a 5-year warranty!  Call store; “How do I do a warranty return?”  “with a receipt?  Ok…”.  Thankfully this store actually has a cute machine that will spit out receipts but you have to know the date.  ::Search blog for reference to kitchen light because I remember noting that we did that as a weekend project::  TA DA!!!! post found, Jan 16, 2017, I congratulated us on fixing our light by replacing it.  YES!  Score 1 for my blog 🙂

Nothing like a little validation to make yet one more trip to the store a little bit more ok.

Day 132

Current Situation; Siding is (finally) going up.  Floors at 99%, COUNTERTOPS are in.  Me- 100% of knobs/pulls now ordered and 28 of 35 light fixtures ordered/in the house

Next; (me) buy the last few light fixtures, (them) finish in process things,  get the driveway and patio put up lights and ‘trim’

Status; 900 of 1000 – My toilet mark might actually be the finish line, who knew they were last?

Progress pictures first;


storage room, the future home of our extra fridge and freezer and all my sewing!




Front hall floor, I happened to get a pic before they covered it all up like the other floors.  I like my Navy walls more and more


Shower.  still needs the glass wall but the tile is done

I was good to my word and on Tuesday, after putting in the laundry and telling the kids I had to focus, I hit the list of things to get done for the house hard.  There are so many categories of things but I’m making progress.  Luck was with me because I found a few great deals on knobs on Amazon – tip – look at the 10packs, they were all way less expensive than buying the single of the exact same thing.  For example, I needed 6 for a particular bathroom, 6 single pulls were $20ish and 10 of the same thing was $14.  If you only need one, get one, but I saved about $100 overall carefully over buying.  I know I could have saved more if I was willing to have basically the same thing in every room because the savings were even greater at 25 pack but I like different things in different rooms.

The fun continued with lighting.  We dropped the kids off with friends and went to Menards.  They weren’t really having a sale, but, we loved a few things that were ‘the last’ so we got the floor model.  The poor sales lady was very gracious even though it looked like she was tortured up on the ladder getting the fixtures down.  We kept finding great deals and by the end, we had all but a few on our list.  I needed to pump the breaks because I wanted to do a budget check, and, see some sizes in the house so we brought all the boxes to the house and put them in the rooms they belong for install.  It was a bit of a force of will by the end but I’m happy with our choices.  The last few are being tricky, I need the master bath and 2 outside lights and those ‘matter’ and we also need the laundry room, master closet, and a hallway – I can’t quite decide if I should get the ones that matter first and just make the other 3 work in the budget left, or, the other way around.

I also did a ton of paperwork.  I mentioned this in my vacation post but just in case you are building or moving it is a good idea 1 month out as you pay bills,  call or go online for each thing to update the address.  You might need to stop or start service and you might get a nasty surprise like your internet service isn’t available at your new address!!!  Yup, that’s us.  Well, we have a month to deal with it.  I’m busy now but less busy then I’ll be the week I’m moving so this is a thing I can more easily do in advance.  A mail forward will catch the stragglers but I don’t want that to be the only method.  I’m also planning on doing our Christmas card super early this year as a change of address note to all the family and friends.

Today is the 4th of July but our parade plans got rained out.  Instead, we watched Iron Man 3 and bbq tonight.  (and I might just go get 1 more light I saw at Menards…)