Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Adventures

We had our first official homeschool outing today: to The Big E, which apparently is a Big Deal up here. It is like a county fair on steroids, and I was able to secure free tickets to the event for the kids. We had a good time. It was pouring down rain when we got there, so we had a very early lunch in the car, and during our brunch, the downpour subsided. It was still a little soggy throughout the day, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

We toured the Avenue of States which offers a replica of each of the New England states earliest capital buildings. The replicas are large enough to walk through, and vendors from the states offer their wares and business information. I scored a ton of information on our new home state and those surrounding so we are better prepared to explore.

There were several venues with live animals to see, pet, and feed. Our favorite animals, though, were probably the gorgeous white tigers that performed for us at the Big E circus. A pretty impressive little Big Top, especially considering it was included in the price of entry to the fair.

What was not included were the carnival rides which cost a fortune. I let the kids choose one. The boys did a roller coaster, Alex a spinning swing, and Audrey and I enjoyed a few rounds on the ferris wheel.

While we were at the fair, I ran into someone I know. Not something I would expect to say after being here only 2 weeks. In all fairness, it was a fellow homeschooler I met just last night at a girls' night out. I have met several homeschoolers in the area already, and they are all so very nice. Everyone, really, is nice here. I think New Englanders get a bad rap. At least I can speak for New Englanders in Connecticut.

Honestly, I really am enjoying our new life here. It is absolutely beautiful here for one thing. For some reason, I can't get the photography blood flowing again, but it'll come. There WILL be pictures at some point in the near future!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A New Chapter

Well, we are officially Connecticutians Connecticutans Connecticutters people who live in Connecticut. It's hard to believe we've only been here a week. I bounce from feeling a million years away from "home" to feeling like we must just be on vacation, and we'll be returning "home" any day now. I've been OK, though; I haven't lost it like I did during several especially difficult good-byes.

Of course I am always reminded of the fact that we are strangers in this state when I leave the house. I know my way well enough to each of the 3 grocery stores in town that I could probably almost give you directions, but to go anywhere else? Thank goodness for the GPS on one hand. On the other, I completely believe there is some evil GPS puppeteer somewhere in Satellite Land who amuses himself with directing people like me. "Hmmm...I'll send her down Maple Ave. to get there, but just so she doesn't learn her way around, I'll bring her back home down Elm St. [insert maniacal laughter]." What we need is a map. What we forget every time we go to the store is a map.

And we have gone to the store. As cheap as this move was supposed to be, there are always those acquisitions that become necessary when trying to transfer your stuff from your house where they had their exact right place to a new house where there isn't just the right place. There are rugs to buy, storage helps, etc.

For as big as this house is, there is little storage. For example, the master bathroom has a pedestal sink. It looks lovely, it really does, but since there are no cabinets, no shelves, no nothin', a cabinet under the sink would have been so helpful. But things are finding their spot. I am down to about 6 boxes left in the house. I thought about photographing the pile of broken down boxes I have sitting on the porch because the pile is pretty impressive; however, I am just too tired to get up, find the camera, and obtain the picture. And if I get back my energy and feel like unpacking more boxes, there are about 100 of them in the garage. Things we don't really need in the house. Of course, since we don't need them, I find myself asking why we have them. Where did all this stuff come from? And why did it all come to CT with us? I thought we purged before we left!

So slowly but surely we are getting settled. We started school this week which has gone well. I'm sure there will be more fun details to come when I'm not so tired!

PS - I am a part of Swagbucks. And I like SB, I really do--I just got $10 worth of Amazon gift cards for doing nothing really. BUT, I just published this post and noticed SB has linked to some of my words, like pedestal sink, for example. This is very annoying to me. Why must everything online be so invasive? When I'm not so tired, I shall investigate this and get rid of the obnoxious links. For now, sorry--don't click on the links with double underlines; they do not link to any profound information from moi.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

PADD (Packing Attention Deficit Disorder)

I've moved a lot in my life. Our rental in Connecticut will be my 22nd address in 37 years, and that does not account for the fact that during all of my school years I spent a rotating 3 months at one address and anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months at home, thus dividing my time at school into trimesters. That was the nature of boarding school. It was always nice, though, because every three months there was a new roommate, a new room, and sometimes even a new dorm. I like moving. It's in my blood now. What I do NOT like about moving, however, is packing. Unpacking is fun because I love to be in a new place, and I love to organize. But the packing? My general feeling is...GROAN!!

Packing takes a long time for me because I have Packing ADD. It goes something like this: I decide to tackle my scrapbooking stuff. It has been a sweet forever since I've scrapped anything. Hmm...it's been a long time since I've looked at these scrapbooks. Awww...look at my sweet babies! Oh, and look! Photo albums from high school. Well, that's an embarrassing picture of her. I wonder if I uploaded that one to Facebook. I should go check. Oh look, 3 new messages on Facebook. Let me just respond to these. Oh, and emails too. And a reminder here. Looks like I have some bills to pay. I'll just go to my desk for the bills. Wow! I have a few things to pack here on my desk. But first I really should sort through some of these homeschool files. Ooohh, homeschool plans. Wow! I've got some great things here for reading. But I bet if I looked hard enough I could find a fun project online for Mr. Popper's Penguins...

What was I doing again?

Yeah, at that rate, I'd have our house packed by 2013. Thankfully, this time we have movers. I have never been spoiled with movers, and, really, it is spoiling me; I'm not sure I will ever be able to do it the old-fashioned way again. Since the Big News about a month ago, I have done a lot of work sorting through things, and I've even packed a few boxes, but otherwise, life has just continued on with as much normalcy as sitting around waiting for the Big Move can offer.

This morning the packers arrived. Five of them. We took them on a quick tour of the house, pointing out the area where we have piled the things we need for living until we are reunited with our stuff. Everything else was fair game. And they attacked, literally it seemed. They got things packed so quickly, if there was something that got left out of the Pile of Stuff for Living, forget it. I did manage to rescue one soap pump so we can wash our hands for the next two days. Unfortunately, Mark will be without a bath towel, and the boys will have to find an alternate to pillows for the next couple of days because those items are packed and sealed.

My house went from Home to big, echoey rooms in a matter of a couple of hours. And really the only sound bouncing off of the empty walls is that of the packing tape sealing each one of a couple hundred boxes. The kids have been surprisingly silent considering there is nothing left to play with. This is because the couple hundred boxes have provided much amusement for them. Suddenly the house has been transformed into a castle, a clubhouse, a maze.

So thankfully my PADD has been rendered irrelevant for this move. If only I could bring my Tasks-That-Still-Need-to-be-Done ADD under check.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Garage Sale

It's amazing, really, that we can get anyone to come to a garage sale at our house. There are a lot of obstacles that stand in the way. First, we live on a private, one-lane street. Secondly, our driveway is so long and narrow, it takes a college degree to figure out how to get off of the driveway once you are on the driveway. But you put up the signs, and the garage salers come out of the woodwork. And a couple of weekends ago, come they did.

We practically gave stuff away, which was fine with us; we just wanted the Stuff gone. We had two star shoppers. One was a lady who seemed to be in as much need of a friend as our junk because she stuck around for about 3 hours talking and browsing. She took most of our backyard furniture. I hope the listening ear I gave her for those 3 hours was a treasure for her as much as our junk.

Another shopper bought our outside swing and then inquired about our playground. It's a big playground, one that took Mark and a friend a week to assemble. Mark said, "Sure you can take it so long as you disassemble it." She brought in reinforcements, and cleared it out of our yard. During the disassembly, she asked about our storage shed that sits in the corner of our lot, the big storage shed which Mark painted the same color as our house so it would, you know, look like it belonged to our house. It's not for sale. I hope we don't come back to Atlanta for a visit to find our house has been disassembled brick by brick by her and her crew and carted off to who-knows-where.

Of course there was also the shopper with whom I refused to deal. We had our pack & play out for sale. $5.00 is all I was asking. This shopper asked me what my final price was. I'm sure I looked at him like he was crazy. Least I hope that's the look I gave him. "Ummm...it's a crib. It's $5.00." He wanted to give me $3.00 for it. It ended up not selling, and we ended up giving it to the playground lady for free, but I'm happy with that. You see, it's the principle of the matter.

So 20 years of junk is gone. What didn't go out in the trunk of someone else's car has gone to Goodwill or to the dump. Here's hoping we don't accumulate that much junk in the next 20 years of our lives. A futile hope I'm sure.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Smell

A couple weeks ago, we took a family trip to Connecticut to check out the area and to secure a rental home. The kids were so excited to fly! Audrey had never flown, and Jacob does not remember the time he flew. As we were lifting off, a big smile spread over Michael's face, and he exclaimed, "Awesome!"

Connecticut really is beautiful. I know fall is going to be extraordinary. And I'm sure winter will be gorgeous as well. I plan to look upon its gorgeousness from a window in my new rental home.

Our realtor set aside her whole Friday for us even though we thought we had already made our decision just based on our online searches. I'm thankful she did. We were excited as we pulled up to our first pick and had all but decided this was the one. It was the one closest to Mark's work, and it was a great size for our family.

We hopped out of the car, armed with a camera because pictures would make planning easier. The realtor opened the door, and we all crowded in. And that's when it hit us: Dog Smell. It was overwhelming, so much so that I forgot to take any pictures. We failed to take note of any of the details of the house. We only noticed Dog.

So we didn't make the decision right then on that house like we thought we would and proceeded on to the next. The next house looked like a newer home, almost like a regular ol' Georgia home in a regular ol' subdivision. It did have a gravel driveway, though. Which I thought I could deal with until Mark had the sense to ask the realtor what happens to the gravel driveway in the winter. "Oh, well as you plow the snow, the gravel gets pushed to the end of the driveway, and you have to re-spread it in the spring."


That seems like an awful lot of work because of precipitation.

The gravel driveway turned out not to be the worst part about the house, though. There was no walkway to the front door. Nope. Just lawn. And not a very nice one at that.


Who would build a house and not take the time to pave a little walkway to the front door?

So we moved on to the next house, which was a nice one. Very private. The kids would have had a WONDERFUL time exploring this property. There was a little stream running through, lots of woods. The current tenants happened to be there and said they saw a lot of wildlife. They also told us they were being transferred to Atlanta. I may have said, "Oh, I'm SO jealous!!"

We were close to choosing this house, but it was quite a trek from Mark's work, plus the windy, hilly roads, coupled with the fact that I have absolutely no idea how to drive in snow only conjured up pictures of me and the kids in a crumpled van at the bottom of a ravine. So we nixed that one.

Then came the house of my dreams. It smelled old when we walked in. Not old like mothballs and old granny shawls, but old like History. It was a magnificent house. Huge. Storage everywhere. And it had a kind of heating system that is through the floors. I think maybe it's called radiant heating. So that in the middle of winter when it's a thousand below outside, you and your toes are nice and toasty because the flooring is hot! That would be awesome.

And so much better than the heating at the other homes. They all use oil heating. With oil heating you have to remember to get a tank in the basement filled. Which means if you forget to keep an eye on it, you could run out of hot water and heat when it's a thousand degrees below outside. Plus, instead of having nice, out-of-the-way vents set in the ceiling out of which blows the hot air, there are these little box things that run along the baseboards of most walls. Which means--where do you put things? Like a desk or a dresser or a bookcase? I guess you just put it there, thus blocking the much needed heat, plus looking stupid because it's halfway out in the room instead of flush against the wall.

Anyway. This house seemed perfect. Yes, it was the farthest from Mark's house, but the rent was cheaper, plus they would cover landscaping and snow removal. BUT their 6 month to a year lease was very strict. And we have no idea if we will be ready to buy a house in a year.

So we passed on that house. The main reason we passed was because of the time restriction. What we certainly don't want to do is to have to move into another rental in a year. Another almost as valid reason is because I don't think we'll be able to afford to buy a house like that, and I sure would much rather feel like I'm movin' up from the rental rather than down.

In the end, after weighing all the pros and cons, we decided to go with the house with the Smell. A smell, after all, can be eradicated. I hope. It's in our contract. The Smell must be gone by next week. We're sending our realtor in to make sure it is. And for cryin' out loud, can't you just wash your dog every once in awhile? But we decided on this house because it is most convenient to work, and I'd rather be close to Mark's work during our transition than living with toasty toes.

So we move in end of next week. I plan to bathe our dog shortly after the move. But, please...if you come to visit and our house smells like Dog, be honest and let me know so I can take care of it. Thank you.