Friday, January 29, 2010

update on the spokane house

Holy moly. This whole sale thing might actually happen! I'm one of those "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" kind of girls, so I've just assumed something would fall through (and something still can, so I'm not done holding my breath)... but so far, everything is falling into place instead!

Our realtor is a gracious and generous man, helping us get the price just right to where the buyer agreed to pay what we absolutely HAVE to ask. The buyer wants to close by February 16th, which would mean HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! We are not going to argue with that in the least and are doing everything within our pitifully measly power to speed it up to even sooner. February 15th, even. The home inspection was finalized this week, and when we got the results, we were nervous to see what they found, because you never know. We improved a TON in that place, but there are still known issues that we assumed would be pointed out. Not dangerous issues, but head-scratchers...
  • like the siding that covers half a window, but does not cover the side of the house below the window (where siding typically goes)...
  • or the silicone caulk (that is not paintable) that was used for everything from filling nail holes to lining the corners of the rooms to attaching the shower-head coverplate to the wall to securing cord to walls...
  • or the garage roof that offers dappled sunlight to the concrete floor below...
  • and I could go on, and this doesn't cover the unknowns that a conscientious inspector might find.
I figured there would be a laundry list of expensive changes that we'd have to firmly refuse to make, and the buyer would decide it was too big a project to follow through. I would then have to beg on bended knee, showing him the inspection that didn't deter Rob a few years back, and demonstrate how much we had fixed since then, including things we didn't even know about, like the door frame covering up a pierced electrical main, and isn't the fresh paint PRETTY?! BUY THIS PLACE, MISTER! PLEASE? PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE?!

And yet I refuse to acknowledge desperation.

The inspector found a damaged knee joint in the attic and some uncovered electrical boxes in the basement. Total fix will be about thirty minutes and a few bucks, according to our dear friend, a contractor, who accepts payment in plum jam and beer and is married to the prettiest gal around. We heard the results with disbelief, which I am glad the buyer was not around to witness:

"Really? That's IT?!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

birthdays all around!

I got beautiful pearl earrings for my birthday (it's a big birthday - THREE-ZERO) from my folks this last weekend! Rob and I spent a great few days in Billings where we got to catch up with the friends at whose wedding we met, I didn't just end that tricky sentence with a preposition, and we had a group birthday party for me, B, and R. All our birthdays are within eleven days of each other, and it's Blake's golden birthday - five on the fifth - and my transition into a new decade that starts with three. Kind of a big deal, so I think the pearls are perfectly appropriate and just the right touch of grown-up.

But who are we kidding? I am SO not grown up. I still giggle at toots (well, depends on who and where and how much they offend my poor sensitive schnoz), I refuse to act my age except when feeling prim, and I can cavort with a sparkler JUST like a fairy princess.

Of course, I complain about my poor aching back afterward, so while I am not grown up per se, I am starting to realize that I am OLD. Blerg. Also, I am kind of grown up (case in point: I could write a sonnet about my label maker and how I love it so). How disappointing.

Off to organize my photos so I can get caught up with my scrapbooks. And then I'll get some cats and crochet a doily slipcover for the couch.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

weights, cardio, and abs and i'm tough

I did a light workout today, for the first time since last week. Blake's tonsillitis coupled with my massive head cold and pink-eye made the very idea untenable. I actually got as far as the jumping jacks on Monday and thought my head was going to explode, so I quit.

I've been unable to sleep well this week, and I wonder if the lack of exercise is contributing to it. I also wonder at the change in my heart to where I was actually anxious to work out again, because that is SO NOT ME. I prefer the heavy lifting of my eyelids and bringing my hand to my face, conveniently full of cinnamon bears. Maybe the fact that I've lost ten of the twenty pounds I'm working on is motivating me, maybe what Joy-Joy always said is right: once you get past the hurdle, you get a little addicted.

Pretty sure I'm not addicted, but I do enjoy whittling off my muffin top, even if it takes so much LONGER at almost-thirty than it did at almost-twenty (my sophomore year of college saw a summer of working at Baskin-Robbins whipped off within a month of starting a taekwondo class).

Getting a rah-rah phone call from Kerripants worked wonders too. I got her started on the 30-Day Shred based on my enthusiasm for the results I got with only 30 minutes a day, and she called to tell me how wobbly her body was after moving up to the second level. I HEAR YOU, FRIEND! Now, off to shower (because I'm gross) and have another quiet time (because I like the results I've seen from the first one - my patience abounds with that little towhead I hang out with, which is a miracle!).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

because it's not all about me

After a morning begun at 6:00 and unable to get back to sleep, I had the most unusual start to my day: a quiet time. They have gone by the wayside in recent... I want to say weeks, but if I am being honest, it has been months. I reached a point of frustrated and discouraged tears again last night and was filled with irritation at myself for letting my circumstances dictate my attitude and response to life.

Six in the morning found me lying on my back, mentally confessing my preoccupation with... myself. In all the various forms that takes. It took me a while. And then I grabbed a robe, a big blankie, a box of Kleenex, and my Bible, and cuddled up on the couch after turning the fireplace on.

As an adult, I see more and more why this passage contains my mother's favorite verse:

Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night, my heart instructs me.
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because You will not abandon me to the grave,
nor will You let Your Holy One see decay
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.
Psalm 16: 5-11

Mom's favorite is the first paragraph. I'm focusing on it today, and I lifted up many of my friends in prayer, whose lives and hurts are far more pressing than mine. My goal today is to love OTHERS better, through patience towards my son, less cussing, and the acute reminder that I do not want to get in Jesus' way when it comes to loving others... May my life not be a stumbling block for you to know Him.

Monday, January 18, 2010

buggy jell-o and pseudoephedrine make my world go 'round

I love my family. Got to chat with my mother today, who had read most of my blog, but not this morning's post. When I wailed to her about my pink-eye, she laughed and tutted sympathetically, and said, "For Heaven's sake, don't post about that. People will wonder why God's giving you guys the stink eye."

Ahh, too late, Momica. I usually blog about something before I realize that it might be best not to, and I have at least a few friends whom I suspect of coolness towards me for such slips on my part.

And while it does feel like God's been flicking boogers at us, I have taken comfort in the small amount of pseudoephedrine I was able to buy. It dries boogies right up.

Joy: I couldn't get both the Mucinex AND the Sudafed. Montana's laws are such that to get both put me over the monthly maximum milligrams for pseudoephedrine because of stupid meth heads. So I got the Sudafed, and my whole face feels better. Thanks for the free tip!

We've had some visitors at the feeder lately:

Chickadee number one.

Chickadee number two! And I had to snap these through the kitchen window. Also, chickadees do not hold still. Ever.

Saw this little guy right after the pair flew off. I was surprisingly not filled with revulsion and the need to rain death upon its head. I am a sworn enemy of rodents, but this act of courage (coming out in the day) spoke to me of hard times on a little mousey tummy, and I was happy that he - and maybe his family - was getting fed. I was even happier that my crawlspace is mouse-tight and dotted with traps... just in case.

We revisited buggy Jell-O with the recent tonsillitis. These guys are pretty sanguine about being drowned in sugar water... imagine that!


I woke up this morning with pink-eye, and my cold has morphed into a nasty sinus infection.


I am sorry, but I have the hardest time being rational when I'm so miserable... and I feel like a little old lady, sharing the intimate details of her health with whomever will listen. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

being sick sucks

This week has been a rough one on the ol' family. Blake's had a bit of a cold, and I've developed one myself. He's also pretty much refused to nap all week, getting out of bed to very quietly play with his little action figure guns or something equally distracting.

Now, I know that he's growing out of his nap. It is clear he doesn't need one every day, but when he also refuses to go to sleep at night until 9:00 or later (despite being in bed by about 8:00), there are obvious signs to me that he has not, in fact, outgrown it all the way. Exhibit A: the 5:00 meltdowns. Exhibit B: him displaying the attitude that life's just handed him a poopy-flavored lollipop. Exhibit C: I need that quiet time myself! We've been adapting to a mid-day rest, where he can read quietly, but this week, it was just so EVIDENT that naps were needed. And yet, my ornery, stubborn-ass kid (where DOES he get it?) was non-compliant.

On Thursday night, I heard him crying - the lament we call "the beluga whale" for its sing-song quality - at 9:30 pm. I went in to talk to him about what on earth was wrong, and he mumbled something so disoriented and unintelligible that I assumed he was delirious with exhaustion and still fighting it, and I crisply told him "If you can't tell me clearly why you are crying, you're going to have to just work it out. Good night, Blake," and left the room. At 11:30, as we were getting ready for bed, he tuned up again, and when I went in, bewildered by this, he was fevered and trembling in a way that made me wonder"did he just have a seizure?"

Upon getting some ibuprofen in him for the fever, he began wailing in earnest and practically drooled it all out on me and down his face and jammies, and I was flummoxed. He wasn't speaking, so I asked him to point to where it hurt, and he finally pointed to his throat. I peered in with a flashlight and saw two enormous tonsils, spotted with large white patches, looking AWFUL and PAINFUL, and I died inside. Rob took one look and went off to look up tonsillitis while I soothed B as best I could with ice water and a cold pack on his neck. I stroked his head and he conked out cold within moments.

The nurses and doc exclaimed in pity at the sight of his poor throat the next day, it turned out to be viral tonsillitis (noncontagious, but no antibiotics to make it better), and my claim on the "Mother of the Year" award was hotly contested by our nurse, who regaled me with a story of her own, making me feel moderately better about my initial response to his tears.

Nothing's really improved except that his body appears to have claimed martial law today, in essence saying: "HEY, Mr. No-Sleep! You cannot be trusted to take care of me. YOU ARE FIRED!" He decided to take a rest at 3:30, declined my offer of reading books and passed out, refused to be woken at 5:00, and finally stumbled out for dinner at 8:00.

Also, he has the cutest throaty voice as a result of his vocal chords being squeezed to a bloody pulp. Now if he could just sleep through the night again - I'm being woken once or twice nightly to replenish his body's supply of Tylenol or ibuprofen, which is really helping my cold in its efforts to set up exploratory colonies in my sinuses and start up a little viral Industrial Revolution.

I think I just choked on the stick of my poopy-flavored lollipop, but I get to go see Travis tomorrow. He'll adjust my back, not my attitude, but that attitude is what all the coffee is for!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


We've accepted an offer on the Spokane house! Now our prayers are for a good inspection and for everything else to go smoothly and quickly. I won't breathe a sigh of relief until all the papers are signed, but this a is a glorious first step for which I'm praising God.

Rob's been given a trial-period change in schedule at work that gives him THREE DAYS OFF... IN A ROW! And they are the slowest days, so he hopefully won't miss much in terms of sales. He's also excited about this coming week, where they'll send him to Seattle for training in Apple (as in Macintosh) certification. I'm thrilled for the time off - we might get to leave town now! Or at least I can leave town and he can actually come with me! - and for the Apple stuff, because if you know my husband, you know he's an Apple junkie. I think he'd like me even more if I had a bunch of cool, cheap apps to go with my other wifey skills... also, I'd probably need a touchscreen installed somewhere.

Thanks for your faithfulness in thought, word, and deed - we continue to covet your prayers as we move forward, believing in God's goodness even when it looks an awful lot like God is crazy.

Maybe that's where I get MY crazy?

Friday, January 15, 2010

things i'm loving right now

I need a post like this, to remember what I have that's wonderfully awesome and makes me happy. You need a post like this, so you know that, regardless of how hard a time I have been having the last two months, I am not remotely close to suicide, murder, anorexia, or coloring my hair all by myself.

Seriously, there should be a law that forbids the sale of do-it-yourself hair dye after 9:00 pm, because you KNOW that's not going to end well.
  • Polkabats and Octopus Slacks, by Calef Brown. We read this at bed or nap time, and the words this guy strings together are adorably nonsensical and almost tongue-twisting, but you can find the cadence and read it aloud and it's mesmerizing. I enjoy it almost as much as Blake does, because who doesn't love a poem called the "Kansas City Octopus" about a guy with four arms and legs and seventies disco glasses?
  • The meal-planning recipe guide by my friend. I got it over a year ago and am JUST giving it a try, but they are simple, nutritious, and FAST. My house is full of the smell of fresh rosemary and fresh bread, and I love it. I only worry that getting everything for seven days' of home-cooked meals is too much for my small family to eat, and I'll just have to tailor down the fresh ingredients so they don't go bad before we get to them (one week of meals will take us through about ten days).
  • Artisan bread in five minutes a day. I got the recipe from a friend and the whole book from my mom, and I have baked bread ALL BY MYSELF for three months now. Haven't had anything store-bought other than for sammies. Also, I made the caramel rolls that were insanely delicious and not good for you at all, but done to a turn and easily released from my
  • DeMarle pan. Because it is AWESOME.
  • Psych.
  • Friends who tell me it's going to be okay, even as they tell me they're not sure what that will look like. Sometimes I just need the reminder!
  • Sweet kisses from sweet boys: husband, son, nephews.
  • Rob being willing to make some sacrifices to be here for me right now, because he knows I need it.
  • Crossword puzzles.
  • Jigsaw puzzles.
  • Parties 'R' Us with Blake and lots of our friends and their kids.
  • Gym and swim Fridays (partnered with the Daily Coffee shop gift card I got for Christmas!).
  • Losing ten pounds since September, thanks to Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred, even though she has a bit of the "crazy eyes" going on there.
  • Blake sounding out words and wanting to be called "Shock" for his beat-boxing skills, all because of The Electric Company.
  • Blake being careful to leave the table during meals in order to toot - so as not to offend my delicate sensibilities - and inadvertently having them be monster-sized rippers. It's so disorienting, and I can't help but laugh.
  • Cheese. Beer. Wine. Buffalo wing potato chips.
  • Getting creative in the kitchen and discovering I can make tasty meals out of what was in my fridge and head - no recipe required.
  • Queen's Fat-Bottomed Girls. I think I'll crank it now and finish my ironing.

Doesn't that just make you smile?! Don't you want to come over and iron for me? Not even Queen can make me actually LIKE ironing. I mean... it's still ironing. Blerg.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

a hard truth that i can't sugarcoat right now... but i will probably try to later

We've engaged in a little back-and-forth with a couple that is interested in the Spokane house. Their initial offer wasn't good, and we gave them our absolute rock-bottom price, hoping they would take it and we'd be done. Our realtor would be making far less than usual, we'd get just enough to cover the loan and closing costs, and that's it. We honestly cannot go lower.

They lowballed us again. Our kind realtor told them that, by law, he was required to inform us of their offer, but that he knew we couldn't accept it, explaining that we would not be making any money on the house at the price we were asking - we were merely covering costs and getting it sold. He then said that he'd be filling it with renters one way or another - for us or for them - that would take good care of it because the renters would be Moody students and would have a very strict code of conduct that forbids alcohol. He told them that, should they take it at our price, he would personally see to it that they would be able to rent it until their son could move in (about a year and a half away).

"Sounds good," they said. "Let us talk it over and run the numbers on our end. We will let you know by Saturday."

Our realtor is cautiously optimistic, and when Rob relayed all this information to me last night, immediately after he got off the phone, I sat down, put my head in my hands, and burst into tears. I don't dare hope, and yet I don't dare embrace cynicism in this latest go-round.

I've been a bit of a mess this week (for a bunch of reasons, all too dull or personal to go into here), but my response still surprised me. I didn't realize I was so emotionally caught up in this place, but it makes sense. Until that house is dealt with (sold or rented), we won't be able to move ahead with selling the condo. Until the condo is gone and we've found someplace else we'd like to live with slightly more room and - dare I hope? - a yard and figured out the financing, we can't really think about adding to our family. And while babies aren't all that I think about, I worry that I am running out the time on the famous "Myers Girls' Fertility," that Blake will be so old he'll miss out on the companionship that siblings can bring and just be relegated to babysitter, that we'll only be able to afford a home if I continue to work (or even work more) after having kids.

For me and my heart, it is all revolving around this one house and how, no matter how scrupulously I try not to make eye-contact with the fact, my life looks so very differently than I ever imagined.

Rob still handles me well, still carries on with grace and humor and "Dear Lord, what did I get myself into?!" We're doing our very best, and while I know that God's promise of abundance for my future did not begin and end with a husband after big Blake died, I feel like I'm back in survival mode, just getting by. It is hard not to be discouraged.*

*As I proof this, Blake is in his room, watching Looney Tunes on his little DVD player and giggling a bunch... So there's a bright spot for us. I am in love with that boy far more than I ever experienced during my last survival mode when he was first born. He is a joy, except when he's got a case of the grumples.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"mom, this is not great news..."

Toilet water is one step above fecal matter when it comes to things I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ON THE BATHROOM FLOOR!!! No really! NOT EVER! I mean it this time!

And yet, due to the magic of an almost-five-year-old, I have gotten to see first one, then the other! On subsequent nights!

I suppose the upside is that the floor in there hasn't been so clean since it was installed. The downside is that I now have to burn the skin off my hands (and feet! and knees!) with carbolic acid. And burn some throw rugs and the odd article of clothing. It's just this thing I have, I don't know - maybe you share it?

I DON'T "TOUCH POOP" AND "DEAL WELL." Not at the same time, anyway.

because arson is right up my alley!

I have a friend who is very good to me. She managed to caulk most of the house in Spokane, single-fingered. She got a blister on that finger, she caulked that much (if you read this aloud or aloud in your head, do not forget to pronounce the "l" in caulk!). She is a caulking FOOL.

And she laughs at my jokes, which I like rather a lot.

This friend is a self-professed fan of tequila. So much so that, when me and both our husbands were slumming with beer (a micro-brew, but still) after working on the Spokane house, she mixed herself a margarita with the goods she'd brought from home. It made me happy in a way that only someone else for whom alcohol is important enough to take seriously, but not so important that fun cannot be had without it, can do. She and I take our booze seriously, except that we totally don't. Because I will get frustrated at work, at home, while running errands, or blinking and declare to anyone in earshot that I'm about to start drinking heavily.

It is funny only because I never actually do this.

Well, almost never.

Anyway! Back to my friend!

I was so grateful for all her help that I made her a CD. It had a theme that began with the Barenaked Ladies' Alcohol and ran through every song in my playlist that had the word "tequila" in it. Otherwise, there was no rhyme nor reason, and I didn't tell her the theme, only that there was one.

She figured it out. I got a CD entitled "Songs of 924 E. Illinois" that mystified me. Was it songs we'd listened to while painting and caulking? DEAR LORD, THE CAULKING! Was it a play on that? Would I have to listen to it alone so Blake wouldn't pick up on any new bad words?

Track One
Track Two Lyrics: I live all alone in a little blue house by the side of the road / Look in the window and you'll see me crying in that little blue house of mine / Nobody comes to visit me. It's like the blues is a fatal disease / I spend my time just cryin' and moanin' in that little blue house, oh!
Track Three

And so on. It kind of made my day. L, I miss you!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

my fancy mover

The thing with Queen is that they cannot go uncelebrated in our home. Ever. Fat Bottomed Girls is my particular favorite, and I taught Blake well.

To show how far he's come:

my face-washing friends

There's something about people laughing at my jokes that makes me funnier. I am convinced of this. If you roll your eyes or just patiently endure my mania, I calm right down and get less exuberant, more serious, more socially appropriate. You know... BORING.

Two former roomies and I got to go out together the other night (one lives far, far away, which is sad, but her being in town is an event to celebrate, so we do!), and while our living together was not always harmonious because that is how girls roll, our not living together and being grown-ups in three very different life situations makes for some great conversation. Sometimes it's achingly funny, sometimes it just aches - like life - but we always leave happier for our time together.

Also, now that they don't have to live with me, they choose not to rein in my crazy. The ensuing chaos (I am a loud laugher - did you know?) probably disrupts most of the people around us, but at least we keep the inappropriate parts of the conversation quiet for their sake (Right, K & J? I wasn't TOO loudly explicit?). I am so blessed and cheered to have women in my life who know me and like me anyway. Coming together to love on each other and deepen relationships is one of the joys of friendships - because we pull no punches. The three of us have each weathered some pretty shitty stuff, and we are brutally real about life with each other, even when it is less perfect than we'd like.

We are the face-washing friends. They get to see me without my makeup, without my hair styled, without my glossed over, fit to be seen in public veneer. Granted, they got to see that when they lived with me, when J taught me the expression "My eyes look like two pee-holes in a snowbank" upon seeing her bleary reflection in the wee hours of the morning, and when K and I had cats that would NOT get along. It was harder to be face-washing friends then, because they had to put up with me a LOT MORE. But now, the foundation has been laid, and we get to just jump right into each other's lives and love one another there. In the mud and the muck.

In the reality.

These are friends who come from afar for a wedding, a funeral, another wedding. These are friends I call at 1:00 a.m. with a devastated heart who drive right over to hear me weep and shake my fist at God. These are friends who cat-call me in church and make time for me whenever they can. These are friends who laugh at my jokes and make me feel witty, engaging, and loved. I am enormously fond of them as well.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

that's what he said

B: I have a pretty bad cough. I should have the medicine that makes those green blobs go away.
A: Green blobs? Like mucus?
B: Yeah, like mucus in my tummy.
A: Well, it's actually in your throat and maybe lungs, but we only have cough syrup.
B: Do we have that medicine that makes the green blobs float away?
A: Mucinex?
B: Yes. That one. And they float away out of my mouth.

B: I drew a onety-one!
A: That's an eleven.
B: Same thing!

(because he chose shorts for his clothing that day, I overheard this while he was eating breakfast)
My legs are freaking freezing.

(as I sat down on the edge of his bed to get him up and at 'em, I see he's awake and tightly wrapped in his blanket)
B: I'm a taco! You can eat me now.
A: NOM NOM NOM NOM! MMM, delicious!
B: That's because I put sauce on me. Someone made this taco and made a kid taco! There's no meat, just a kid and sauce! (lifts his head) SEE? That's a KID HEAD!

Monday, January 4, 2010

honeysuckle, riotous color in the flowerpots, hot days, and cursing out grasshoppers and slugs

It's now January. That means I'm ready for spring. Springy-spring-spring. There's nothing good left of winter now that Christmas is over, so let's get straight to the thawing wonderfulness of bulbs poking through the ground and the glory of an aggressive clematis vine right out my back door.

In fact, as I noted on Facebook, I got porn in the mail on Saturday. GIRL PORN. I lusted after things within the glossy pages and have yet to really sit down and give it my full, undivided, drooly attention.

It was the Burpee seed catalog.