Our city is hosting a giant (American) Football game this weekend and that is great news for the travel industry. There was a short tense moment when it looked like in a crazy twist, the home team would win their way into the Super Bowl, meaning great things for local fans but cutting the possible earnings by 50% because we would only be attracting one team’s worth of out of town visitors. The Vikings didn’t let me down (like their true fans) when they did not win and thus economic goals did. The team that beat them is actually one I have a soft spot for. Can’t go so far as to say fan because I know next to nothing about them but they are beloved by many people I like from my college days so I’m happy they are happy.
Anway! What does this mean for us? Well, first the once in a lifetime opportunity to go see the spectacle that is a Superbowl village. MN transformed our downtown prediction street into an open-air festival. Tons of inside space was transformed into venue area and we spent a very nice half-day playing tourist and seeing all the fun.
(can’t caption the video but look how fun! Like a pro he is)
The real adventure in capitalism is that we took the leap into Air B&B land to rent out our guest room. I have toyed with the idea over the years, we do have a nice guest room that is dedicated to guests. I started the listing and then stopped, full of the nagging doubts that trying anything new has swirled around it. Then a person from Air B&B actually called me to ask if I needed help or had questions. That is a real mark of both service and anticipated demand in the area so I held my breath and just did it.
In for a penny, in for a pound, we also listed Niamh’s room since it is next to the guest room and both are on a different level so easy to have a ‘guest floor’ with a living room and bathroom and 2 bedrooms. Upon the advice of Air B&B man, I listed each room separately and within 3 hours my first room was booked. A day later the other was too. Today our first guests arrive and I’m excited!
I’m going to focus on the exciting part but yes, I’m nervous too. I’m letting strangers into the house with my family and all our stuff. I need to arrange my week to accommodate being here when needed. I’m kicking my kids out of a quarter of the house. I have to push away the media fed fears of crazy people and rely on the goodness of the general person.
I’ve learned fast about how the system worked and after a mistake on the first round, I priced things so that it is worth my trouble. In an odd way, I’m getting paid to clean my own house because cash is an incentive to actually get the rooms in order. Niamh is getting her share, I’m giving her $30 to vacate her room and sleep in ours. Good thing we have a big closet and she is pretty excited to camp out in it. The other girls’ opportunity up the opportunity to earn. There is $2 each per day on the line for being good and helpful, Zoe is taking it quite seriously.
The only thing I have not totally worked out is what do we do with our earnings from this side venture? Should I be a great parent and split it into the kid’s savings accounts? Should we use it to go out to a really nice dinner? Do we save it for a fun vacation fund? I have no idea if post Superbowl there will be much demand for our guest room so this might just be a small windfall but hey, money is money.
Now I need to get back to the hostess game and make sure our house is visitor ready. Let me know what you would do with a little windfall you don’t actually have to use for bills.
Today we GO!
(lets not talk about when we get there…)
I have spent the past few days chipping away at the pile of things that need to be done as well as getting in a few things that would be harder to do later. My NOT procrastination totally paid off because Lars and I were in HomeDepot, the 6th shop for the day, on a fact-finding mission about suites of appliances and we happened to see a fridge-sized box with a price tag of $160. I dismissed it, figuring it was some odd special thing or something that needed to be part of a larger, much more expensive, system. The sales lady just mentioned to us “hey, you guys need a fridge?” and we are like “um… yes?” Apparently, the warehouse missed this one and now it had to GO because they couldn’t inventory it anymore (or some such inventory reason) so we got a fridge originally priced $860 for $160. We have been working with our tiny fridge in the garage for extra milk but this will be way better. I see it as our reward for #1 checking out appliance prices for the house months in advance and #2 already have a clean car ready for travel that all we had to do was move car seats. #3 I just happened to have organized my ‘car bin’ of useful things including tie-down straps AND put it back in the car that day so we were able to fit the fridge in, and, tie the back gate down since it was just a little longer than our cargo area.
Don’t you just love a deal?!?
At this point, I have lists about my lists but we are near the end of them all. All trip stuff and clothing is assembled and job #1 today is to pack. People talk about ‘packing’ like putting things into a bag is hard, that is the easy bit – finding all the things you want for 5 people and a dog is the hard part. There is one load of laundry to do, final dishwasher load to run for today’s things. I need to make up the guest room for the house sitter but since we have guests often that is an easy thing. Books reserved at the library for pickup, food ready for prep for the trip. Lots to do but I’m in the last bit and positioned well. Thank you yesterday self for NOT falling into the new book you just downloaded and have waited for a year, You can read that tomorrow as a reward.
Teacher and friend gifts are ready for delivery, already delivered, or ready for when we get back.
I think I’ve completed all the things I NEED for Christmas and I packed supplies for cooking and final projects at my parents. Driving may mean 2x travel time but it also means I can bring more ‘stuff’. The kids are so used to a second Christmas when we return that they asked about it so we made the decision that all the things that the kids picked for each other and us can stay for mini Christmas.
I’m writing this at 7:30 in the morning and our go time is 3:30 so I have time to do what I need to do as well as go to my birthday massage appointment. I’m getting in the spirit here, things are looking good. This is the first year in YEARS my sisters will both be at my parents so I’m excited to see everyone. I hope to avoid the panic of leaving last minute and so far so good. Time to get breakfast, school lunch, kids to school. T-7h to takeoff.
This is totally not a guide to what-to-do in NY, like I said yesterday visiting my parents is not your normal visit to a person or place. For the sake of completeness I do want to write what we did so I don’t forget.
This is not in order… it is in the order they uploaded and I don’t have time to mess with them so without further Adu;
Muddy Puddle days at a local farm we go visit most visits. This is a really cool event where for $4 kids get to dive, slide and generally romp in mud puddles. We nearly didn’t go because the morning was rainy and cool but our friends really did and so we wanted to spend time with them more than avoid hypothermia and fortunately for all it turned around and it was gorgeous and sunny and perfect. Miss Math has a much better picture when they were all head to toe mud, this is a post mud one after we hosed them down.
Many trips to the beach and we learned that Prima loves to dig in the sand. She loves to dig in anything but sand makes the most gratifying hole when you are a 2lb dog.
We had a morning brunch in the park with my friend Pete and Will and Greta and their various spouses and children. Again, awesome weather and the kids all click and play so well they were begging to see each other again. (Good thing we visit for Christmas too). Pete gets the boy scout award by being the most prepared friend I have. He makes me feel disorganized by comparison because while I can fish out a band-aid from my mom-bag, he had a full on med kit with 19 sizes of band-aids and none of them were covered in cookie crumbs or sand (like what is at the bottom of my bag)
Another yearly stop to the Holtsville Science Center where they have a rescue zoo. All the animals are rescues one way or another. This time the peacocks were in full bloom and chasing around the hens who were ignoring them. We also saw some pretty active bears and the normal crew of other animals.
An absolutely unique opportunity happened this year – we happened to be in town for the PROM! so 20 years after my prom, I’m taking a picture of my 2nd youngest cousin get ready for hers. Sayville does something pretty cool. Part 1 – they do a mass picture event at the local pretty picture park (where I also did my wedding pictures). This is so fun because parents are invited and you see all the kids and it saves figuring out where else to do pictures. They did the same for my prom and I loved it then too. Cool thing 2; now they REQUIRE you to go to the prom in a giant party bus. The buses leave from the picture spot and I think this does three great things; takes out the cost of limo (and the pressure to have a limo), limits pre-prom drinking risks, and keeps the schedule rolling better because you don’t have various traffic jams coming and going to the prom. This is a newish thing and I like it but, I still love my prom limo experience… The kids were entranced with all the dresses and they were like cheerleaders LOUDLY commenting on how much they loved this dress or that one. I think they brightened quite a few teens day but none more than their A#1 cousin who was most pretty overall.
On our very last day we met up with Pete and his girls and my nephews and we ran all over a nature trail. We scared away most of the nature but had a great time. Pete brought the good camera so I may get better than my 2 random snapshots.
One of the unplanned great coincidences was that my cousin Antonia and her 3 kids were visiting the same time we were! We hung out a few times including the twins first active beach experience. Twin 1-year-olds are a challenge but Antonia is young and quick so running in separate directions was a fun test for her. They are the sweetest little people who are at that mobile but ‘idiot’ stage and as an aunt, I found it nothing short of adorable.
I have to say Miss Math is the ABSOLUTE best friend about making time for me and I am forever happy for all the time she creates for me. This trip 2 other friends made really awesome efforts to come see me. I missed getting a picture of one who drove 4 hours in traffic to see me for 3 hours, but here is my other. She left as soon as work ended down south and drove the night to get to Sayville the morning I was leaving and texted at 6am that she was there and needed a nap and to call repeatedly until I woke her up. We spent an hour or so catching up and seeing her pregnant belly and she saw all the productions of my pregnant belly plus the puppy (she has been a superb pup mom forever)
I put this on Instagram too, this is my trio solo. We went on plenty of beach and playground trip just us while the rest of NY was still in school. They may fight, they may drive me crazy sometimes but if you think about it, who can you spend 24/7 with all the time? We did do something every day but it was not a rush-rush vacation so there was plenty of time just us or just us and my parents. I am not quite at the read a book stage of parenting, I still need to have eyes on them too frequently but it is nice that there are times I can just sit and relax. 2 weeks is a pretty long time to be gone but not long enough to feel like we fit in quite yet. I end up missing my stuff, my car, my routine and to all the busy people who found time for me I know how hard it can be since usually, I have a really really full routine. The break was nice but I’m glad to be back here even if I have zero family, all my friends are from the past few years so no ‘remember when we were’ conversations or history and my network is 1/12 of what it could be if I had stayed in my hohometown. Moving here was a good decision but not an easy one but as always, I’m more glad for what I got to do and who I did get to see then sad about what I missed or leaving it behind again after 2 weeks.
Bye bye guys, so glad we had this trip and everyone has an open invite to visit us!
Yes, yes, yes… we made it back. Reasonably easily even!
Last I posted we were in the vacation land of NY where I had made nearly no plans but managed to fill the days with friends and family. The trend continued, I am super lucky to have friends that will twist their week or weekend to work me in and my sister even scheduled her house warming for when I was there so not only could I help warm her new cute house, but, see a ton of family and mutual friends all in one spot. Above is one picture, I’ll do a post with more pictures and the ‘what we did’ list for posterity, but, the nature of travel and visiting is on my mind and I have a few thoughts ~
When one visits a place like a tourist they never expect to see friends, maybe some old friend is local and you do a lunch or something to catch up but usually, you are there to visit the PLACE.
When one goes to visit a specific person you see a TON of that person and the I must say, people who you spend 24/7 with on a visit like that are like ‘next level’ friends. However, while you are visiting that person/family you do some tourist things but somehow even if you have 10 other friends in the area, unless they are mutual to the person you are officially visiting you don’t see much of those other friends.
What we do is a hybrid because we go ‘home’ the people we officially visit are my parents because we stay there. The hybrid part is that there is a mix of people I see quite frequently while I’m there almost as much as if I was there to spend the week with them, and, people that I see once or twice – more like the standard visit a place model. Balancing the two styles plus also wanting to cram a little culture and adventure like visiting a place and time to see all my giant family ends up getting hard but I would not trade it for anything. I hate when I have to miss something or a timing just won’t work but I also choose to focus on all the positives possible. If I see an old friend for 20 min, that is 20min more than nothing!
I also told myself this is my only break all summer because the rest is all about house market, possible move, camping trips, and full-time parenting. I got dumped directly back into the soup because the dream of the house selling on day 1 didn’t happen and so when we got home it was not the recovery day and luggage explosion it was scrub and clean and get ready for more showings. We are in the low season of the summer for sales since it is prime graduation and holiday season the spring rush is over and the end of summer rush before school is yet to begin. I’ll consider this week a practice and time to get a routine down that keep the house clean and kids happy (good wishes welcome!)
The timing of our return was also because of a very special day. Today, June 29, is a milestone birthday for Lars and we had to be home! We had to compromise a bit on the day because I had an afternoon work meeting that I had to go to but we spent a nice morning together seeing the house we might buy again, then he took the girls to the zoo and I did the work thing, and now the kids are playing and Lars gets a nap and we have a baby sitter coming in an hour so we can go out together. I also scored on the birthday gift. We did the normal t-shirt and little things but I got an instant pot, something he has never really heard of but given his cooking hobby I took the gamble and I won. The best gifts are things you don’t know you want and/or something you would not just buy yourself. The girls and I found it and my sleep deprived, travel tired brain recognized that this was IT and we got it.
So now you are all up on what I’m doing. I hope to get back on a routine soon but who knows, that might change tomorrow. The stay at home life is never dull if you’re doing it right.
Yesterday I did not get everything done because I ended up going to the Dr and found that it is not allergies or a cold but strep. You know how low the chances of strep are for an adult? Well, I’m glad to live in a time of antibiotics and today they need to work overtime. I need to get myself, 3 other humans and 1 canine through a pair of airports in less than 9 hours. I have told all the girls that once we get to NY all my attention can be for them – not the house, no meetings, just my family, and NY friends.
In the next 9 hours, I need to pack (yesterday I got all the laundry done, your favorite things are always the ones you just wore). To save time I don’t plan on putting away any of the clothing we are not bringing – it is all going directly into totes in the garage so our house looks even tidier for 1/4 empty closets. I need to get everything back to ‘show ready’ and that includes spiriting away many stuffed animals and swapping bed spreads etc. I’ve saved my sanity by booking an awesome cleaning service for tomorrow who will do the floors and windows so I don’t have to worry about cleaning while we are still here.
I’m totally not the first person to move. It is, however, the first time I have tried to do this sell a house thing and I wish I had more time to make it even better. We have had just over a month from deciding this is what we are doing to hitting the market. I’ve done nearly nothing in the yard but that is on today’s list so maybe!
If anyone is wondering what my house looks like, here is the presale link
We truly have taken good care of the house and I hate to leave behind the house we know for a new bag of tricks, but, we are also tripping over each other and need more space so we look and look for the next place to make our own. Everyone think good thoughts for us! We are actually in the great place that we don’t have to move, we don’t have to take a low offer, it is a seller’s market and I’m doing my best to not go crazy over this.
This time tomorrow I will be typing something (or maybe sleeping) from my parents in NY enjoying a well-earned vacation.