Did I say that things would get more quite in September? School has been in for nearly 3 weeks, I should be eating bonbons by now.
First, it took a little to get into the school routine. For anyone who thinks you have ‘tons’ of time while the kids are at school, it is actually 9am drop off, 3:40 pickup – a nominal 6h and 40min. So while I’m technically child-free for 6h and 40m lets chop off 10m for the amount of time you need to dwell in the parking lot so you have a spot. This is a *me* thing, I’m more happy and calm with a few min in the car waiting then rushing or getting there late and worrying about running over a kid in the parking lot. Then take out 45min for commutes and you end up with around 5.5hours to get everything done. Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while that feels like an epic stretch of time. Compared to the time I have in the summer or what time I had with 3 at home it is an amazing gift of minutes and seconds to use as I see fit. BUT. They fill up fast especially because everyone thinks you have tons of time since your kids are in school!
Mini rant finished, I used that first week to actually get out from under the laundry and housekeeping backlog, the storage room is no longer a pit of shame, and the garage isn’t exactly clean but it also isn’t a disaster. In the middle of August, I decided that our renter really didn’t need another year of mutual stress – she is really great but the house was a struggle for her and I was along for the ride like it or not. I’m glad I’ve met her, I wish her well, but I also curse her love of double-sided tape that I’ve been scrubbing off the walls. On the plus side, I already have a painter hired, carpets selected, new (to us) dishwasher waiting on an install and more or less the place was ok. This is a project I’m equipped to handle but it is a ton of non-routine work that I’m bumping any fun projects to get done on the timeline.
Fortune (and a good market) is smiling on us because within a day of listing the place (Tuesday) I had 50 people interested, 10 filled in an application, 3 were fantastic and I’ve offered it to the top already with #2 and #3 informed. If anyone is in the position to be listing a place, and, for my future self here is my method this time;
- List on Facebook Market place, Zillow, and Craigs list
- I would note Craigs list is NOT on future lists, 3 inquiries only and nobody followed up by actually filling in a form
- Zillow yielded 3 however, they have a vetting process for renters where they do a background and credit check and keep on file, very nice perk
- Facebook was the majority for sure and ate my time replying to each and every inquiry
- Once they started pouring in I created a Google Form asking for all the info I felt I needed. Key points for me are monthly income and number of people in the house but I also asked all the reference questions etc. I just googled ‘application form’ and typed up a combo of the questions I felt worked for us
- As with any form, do what you can to add a free answer “other” or “anything else” because you would be truly surprised with the great info that comes from asking an open-ended question. My current #1 bumped someone because of their answer to one of those.
- I answered every inquiry with a copy/paste sentence and link about getting lots of interest, please fill in this form (link). This simplified the process because I basically deleted the 50 conversations and relied on the people who cared enough to fill in a form.
- 2 days post I have modified my reply with ‘we have a list of applicants but if you would like to still be considered (form link)’. I’m still getting requests but this makes me feel better just in case my 3 tops fall through.
Even with my streamlined method, I’ve used an hour or so a day working on the computer to manage it all. The process of choosing contractors was straightforward, for me it was a combo of price and timeline, I filled 2 days with research and interviews and got it done. I’ve been going non stop on this since Monday night and I’m taking a break today because I need it but plan to bring it home this weekend as primary prospect is viewing on Wednesday and I want it to be move-in ready.
For my sanity, even though I should have been doing something more productive for my own house, I did this project that has been on the list for 2 months.
Right now it looks pretty normal, framed print, good size, generic frame.
HOWEVER it is actually an Ikea frame that I flipped so the deeper back is facing out and I filled the entire area with cork so I can pin up kid art more easily, and, change with the seasons.
The frame fell in the spring and broke the front glass but the frame was ok. When I got it I intended to change the art frequently, but, the metal pins holding in the back were fragile enough that they started to wear just changing the print once so I don’t feel bad gluing them in place by putting cork on top of the tabs. It cost $12 in cork tiles because I needed two-pack but I like the way it looks and I hope it will function like I want. Making changing art easy will make me actually do it! Prying apart the frame was certainly not easy.
Other than home stuff, #1 has joined a running club 2x a week and likes it. #2 and #3 are in a new gymnastics gym that is really working them hard, both were put up a level and the coach is teaching them a ton already – 90min class and I get 2 sweaty, happy kids. We went to an event 6h away from home so we made a weekend of it and the weather was perfect fall. School Board stuff is back in full swing with committee meetings and obligations that are fun but do eat up the evening. I need to get on the planning of Halloween and all my favorite fall outings, fingers crossed that the house gets rented easily and I can move on to the next thing that may or may not consist of me building something big, the biggest thing I’ve ever contemplated attempting. I’m getting help but it is still a big one!
And now we are up to date in my world of running around. Hope you all are having a productive fall too.
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.
Fiona drew her first person today, followed closely by for second two people, and then, three babies. From the ” draw a person test” she did really well she included arms and legs and mouth and on Lars those squiggles are beard.
Fiona says the person on the left is her, the person in the middle is daddy, and, the person on the right is me. We are all holding babies. The lines on our faces are teeth. She says that her sisters are invisible and so is the house and our eyes.
Fiona is three years and seven months old.
Nothing against my iPhone but I got the pictures from the last few outings off the good camera and they are so nice! Pixels to spare all over. This is only a small selection…
So a friend emailed me with a virtual kick in the butt about photography. He declares that I have talent now go “do something”. I know I have artistic talent… I was impressed early on that false modesty was a sin so I know I have a good eye but what does one do with that when I have no desire to do it professionally?
Same with lots of things I do reasonably well but I’m not quite sure how to, or if I should, go to the next level. Today I did 150lb on the squat rack and it was hard but I know I can do more but should I? I can write a blog more or less daily and I’m glad for the record of my life and for the vague internet kudos I occasionally get but should I focus more and write something of note? I run fairly well but should I train for something?
Up until now I’ve used all my time to either move through daily life, or, dabble in things but there is a possibility that I might have slightly more time to focus on something with all the spare time I have now that they all spoon food into their own mouths and put their own poop in the potty. Sometimes they even clean!
I think I just need to keep my eyes open for a local gallery or whatever opportunity comes my way. That’s worked so far (just not all that fast).
While flying kites with the kids today this was on my mind so of course the kite becomes an object lesson – you need talent, luck and wind to do something that looks simple but is really hard. It also isn’t all that fun unless it happens to work.
I have been thinking of P things all week, it is one popular letter in my life.
P – “Painting in a private collection” – that is how this painting is labeled on the artist’s site. It is in MY collection! This piece of art was created by a friends father, I’ve been collecting and sending him landscapes, barns, interesting clouds for a couple years and so he Presented me with a Painting. Ironically, no part of this particular painting is from material I sent him.
P – Plated – this was actually a surprise add for today, we finally broke down after all the target marketing and got a box. It is Pre-Portioned ingredients for higher end meals. That appeals to us since we don’t get to go out much and Lars is much more into cooking. We do live within range of very good markets so we can get most odd ingredients but not having to treasure hunt, or, deal with the leftover bit or whatever seems like a good idea. I actually like the look of Blue Apron a bit more but they are not in our area yet. When they are I’ll give it a look.
P – poison and Play – as in I accidently poisoned myself yesterday at a play! I am intolerant/allergic to cranberries and boy do I sympathise with all the allergy moms out there because the all natural dried fruitbit gummies have zero mention of cran but I ate one single gummy and had an instant piercing puking migraine. I happened to be out with the girls at a Play, put on by the facility of the district, and Niamh’s teachers act was last. Overall it was a good show, really not a play but a collection of short pieces so good for short attention spans. A few were painful, a few were really good, the other in the middle. It was cool to sit up front and Fiona really get into the dancing
P – projects – A never ending string in my world but right now I finally got my ‘custom’ curtain rod up and the curtains are on deck to be sewn. Yes, that is electrical conduit – For $8 I got a 12f long bay window rod – just had a little DIY time. I actually don’t have many big Party projects cooking but I still have a week. I’m also eyeing the garage and yard for projects that had to wait for decent weather. I’m going to hold back until after the parties but I have plans~
P – Pantry – I don’t know if I ever put a decent picture up, it is really hard to take a decent picture of the inside of a 7×14 room… This is what I can do 🙂
P – Party! 2 for 1 party weekend is in 7 days and I need to get the house in party order. I really really wish that RSVP etiquette was a bit more on people mind – I have no idea if I have 4 or 20 kids coming to Niamh’s or 2 or 10 to Zoe’s. Bright side is that their best friends already replied yes so I’m sure they will be happy. PS. Pray for good weather Please
P – Potty – checking in on the status of my littlest. She is getting there but I would say just needs to mentally get on board 100%. Being sick every other week isn’t helping but it is a positive that she tells me when she has to go (sometimes).
That is Plenty of P things. I am sure I’m forgetting a few that were on my mind, I should probably make a list for things like this. Hope you have a fun weekend and see you Monday with Q (a letter I need to give some thought to…).