Friday, October 19, 2007

i am not going to talk about moving, except to say that we may have a tenant, thanks to my sis-in-law Luanna. i am on pins & needles waiting for them to call me.

no, what i am going to talk about is that today i did not drive the car. anywhere. i walked Paul to school. then Eli and i walked to the farmer's market at the Laguna Hills Mall. then we walked home, walked to get Paul at school, i attended a Spanish for Parents class at school (remember, Paul goes to Kinder in Spanish), then we walked home. that is the sum total of our away-from-home adventures for today. i feel so crunchy and green. now if i could just find a secondhand bathroom cabinet on craigslist, i would be an enviro-saint. ha.

Dan is gone tonight, an unfortunate result of his being our ward's Scoutmaster. on these nights i hate the BSA and fantasize about desecrating the grave of Lord Baden-Powell. they are ocean fishing tonight and tomorrow morning. i'm half whining because *I* want to go!!

since i'm talking about church callings, i think i mentioned that i am Primary Chorister. all of my LDS friends can please stop laughing now. for my non-LDS friends, this means that i lead the children's singing time at church. the annual Primary Program is coming up on October 28th and i have blissfully decided to totally stop worrying about it. i have taught the kids the songs; either they sing them or they don't. i'm not going to waste another minute worrying about it. i have had this calling for a year now and although i was stricken with horror when they first asked me i have actually come to like it. there's only one colossal snot; the other snots are nothing but show and pretense - they secretly like me. i don't talk down to them, i try to make them laugh, and i think they respond to honesty very well.

we had our first program rehearsal last Sunday, when the younger and older kids sang together for the first time, and i was pleasantly surprised at how well they did. i have told them that i expect them to act like a choir should and many of them are responding to that. it'll all be fine.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

moving is hell and i don't recommend it to anyone. no matter how bad your house is, no matter how many inconveniences you must endure to live in it, it is better than moving. maybe, maybe, MAYBE lead paint or poison drinking water might make moving a good idea. but at least with poison water you could just get Sparkletts delivered.

i alternate between believing i am an idiot or a genius. the "new" house, as we have lapsed into calling it, is a work in progress. we could have rented a perfectly maintained house for $2500 a month and not have had to deal with all this crap (dirty house, wild yard, a dumpster's worth of abandoned junk). But i figure that in another month most of this will be cleaned up and then we will still be paying only $2k a month. that's $6k a year we save by enduring a little bit of aggravation.

the "old" house is getting patched up and painted. we have not listed it for rent yet but that should happen within the next few days. we still have crap shoved into the closets, which is endlessly depressing to me. we own WAAAAY too much junk and i am almost powerless to chuck it. i am the child of two pack rats and i am genetically and emotionally programmed to hoard. seriously, getting rid of things is painful and overwhelming to me, but i do feel liberated and slightly exhilarated when i do say "this thing is leaving me now." i feel weighed down by my possessions. i hope this move will help me purge.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Friday, October 5th, my baby sister Christine gave birth to her second child, Samuel Thompson. I realize now that I never asked what his middle name is. She went out to Kaiser in Fontana for her weekly checkup and was dilated to 6 already, so they admitted her even though she couldn't even feel her contractions. She stuck at 6 for a few hours and they finally put her on a Pitocin drip, mainly because it was Friday night and she didn't want to drive all the way back to Chino to wait it out and then end up having the baby in the car in Friday night traffic. Funny thing is, once real labor struck she moved along so quickly there was no time for an epidural and she unintentionally gave birth without one. She said it hurt like crazy.

as for us, we're moving. packing, folding, sorting, chucking, sweating, occasionally cursing. fun!

complicating matters, Paul woke up this morning vomiting. now i have to keep him and Eli segregated, keep packing, and get a few carloads over to the new house. This will unfortunately involve lots of television. The boys like to watch Thomas the Tank Engine videos, which thankfully I find very sweet and gentle and entirely appropriate for their ages. Eli in particular is obsessed with trains and insists on carrying them everywhere he goes. Eli is extremely talkative for his age, 27 months, and argues with me and attempts to put me in time out when I do something he considers naughty. My naughtiness usually involves telling him no, or punishing him for bad behaviour. "Don't you dare, Mama Clemens!" He will say, and wiggle his finger at me. "That's not funny, you naughty Mama!"

Dad is coming down to help me today. I've found a nice stove on Craigslist that I'm going to buy to replace the grotty old stove in the Baja House, which is what I'm calling it. I know he's going to think the house is horrible, but he doesn't have to live in it. I think he may bring his chainsaw to help me hack out the Rosebush That Would Eat The World. That's in The backyard of the Baja House. It will probably fill 20+ lawn bags.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

holyfreakingcow. last night we were arguing gently about the rental house (well, i admit i was kind of steamed), and to bolster my argument that most houses are quite expensive to rent, i picked up the Pennysaver and began reading out rental ads. I admit that I am not always convinced that God is an interventionist, but there was an ad in there for a 3/2/2 for $2k a month. So of course I called. I got Jeff The Landlord on the phone and it turned out he was at the house last night and the location is close to where we want to be, so we popped in the car and went over to check it out.

Wow, what a house. The outgoing tenants had at least three large dogs, possibly four, so the house had that sort of unkept doggy aura that makes everything seem just a bit dingy. However, we could overlook that for the highly unusual layout of the main portion of the house. It was one big room, with the open kitchen smack dab in the middle of everything. The floor is saltillo tile. The whole feel of the place is "American expatriate in Baja." The kitchen window is a french door flipped on its side and hinged at the top so it can open up (there's a hook to hold it open). There's a tiled shelf/bar outside the window. The cabinets are louvered pine - again sort of that rustic Mexican look.

One "bedroom" is really only suitable for use as an office, which is fine because that's what it's going to be. It's small and has double french doors that open out into the main living space. The total effect is LOTS of open interior space. Arranging the furniture is going to be challenging.

The master bedroom has one extremely strange wall. It's Flintstones-esque in that it sort of looks like it was made from large flat rocks that were then painted over. But there's a great bay window with a very slight view of the Saddleback (which is what Modjeska peak & Santiago peak are referred to as), and the closets take up one entire wall from floor to ceiling. They're frigging huge. There is an en-suite bathroom which is small, but since we have no master bath in our current home it's an improvement.

The smaller bedroom is un-noteworthy, with a good-sized closet and a parquet floor. There is another small bathroom outside of it, and it looks as though the previous tenants mostly took showers - I swear there was a cobweb in it. The bathrooms also have that rustic mexican look - kind of like a bathroom at an El Torito, but not quite as flashy.

The lot is triangular and the house is set so that it kind of bisects the back yard into a side yard and a true back yard. The side yard is mostly a big concrete slab, which will be excellent for parties. The yard backs onto the Aliso Creek channel, but the side yard is not fenced yet. Jeff swears it will be fenced within one month, and has agreed to put up a temporary barricade to keep the boys from getting over there.

So today I went back and looked at it in daylight and we're going to go for it. I gave him the security deposit and we are tentatively scheduled to start moving in on Saturday. I am in barely contained panic mode right now, since we've given him money. I have an irrational fear that he's a scam artist and doesn't really own the house and we just gave him $2000 that we'll never see again, but I know that's just my innate tendency towards paranoia. There's nothing that would indicate that's the case. And yet I feel like I'm going to throw up.

I should stop blogging and start packing. It seems we're going to move!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Last week was crazy-busy. HOA meeting Monday , Boy Scouts Tuesday , baby shower Wednesday, guitar class Thursday, then Dan & I had one of our semiannual mini-vacations. Mom took the boys for Friday & Saturday night.

My guitar classes are fun. The teacher is a nice, vaguely hippie grandmother who was born in England but has somewhat lost the dialect, causing her current way of speaking to be non-American, but not terribly British either. She's very relaxing and makes me feel at ease and not at all stupid, which is very good. The pink electric guitar finally hit a price point I was comfortable with, so I bought it as a Christmas present to myself. Paul revealed it to Dan last night, but I don't feel very guilty about it because Dan just bought himself a laptop that cost WAAAY more than my piddling little Target guitar.

Friday night we went to Knotts Halloween Haunt, which we hadn't been to since before we had kidlets. I used to work Haunt years ago, and all going to it did was make me want to go back and work it again. Gads, it's so much more fun to be a monster. It's still early in the Haunt and either the mazes are understaffed this year or the monsters just haven't figured out the best scaring strategies. The creepiest maze was probably the one based on The Grudge (a movie i'll never see), but the Doll Factory was a pretty close second. The Grudge maze had hairy faceless creatures and for some reason that really creeped me out. Plus i'm a total Japanophile. The Doll Factory had this one girl dressed as a rag doll - she had in black contact lenses and she moved like a clockwork toy and was most wonderfully creepy. I give her the gold medal for Best Haunt Performance of the night.

We got the hotel package for Haunt and so we stayed at the Knotts Resort Hotel. NOT RECOMMENDED. First, they put us in the kid/family wing without bothering to tell us. Our room's walls were covered with Snoopy & Woodstock. If Charlie Brown had been on the walls I would have asked for our money back. The room was OK, but the bathtub drain wouldn't close and the showerhead was, um, multi-directional. In not all the right directions. The hotel restaurant is called Amber Waves (as in "amber waves of grain), but their oatmeal was the most awful stuff I've ever had. It was like oatmeal soup. I complained very politely and sent it back, and got my cocoa for free also.

Once Dan finally woke up we checked out and got breakfast at Po'Folks. Fan-fugu-tastic. Their biscuits are freakin' huge and crumbly, and my veggie omelet was delicious. We ate like gluttons and then decided not to go to Catalina Island but instead to go to the climbing gym for a few hours, rent some movies and just stay home. Which we did. Man, my forearms still hurt. We rented an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Stranger Than Fiction, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. We really, really enjoyed Stranger Than Fiction and didn't get around to Super Ex.

This morning we looked at the rental house. It's sub-optimal, but then i've already blogged about what you get when you rent cheap. However, the rent seems to be flexible and we are tempted to say if they'll drop it by $100 a month then we'll move in ASAP. Again, it's the kind of landlord who won't bother to come and fix a busted drawer, but we are welcome to plant trees, have a vegetable garden, and probably paint the fugly kitchen cabinets. I think I want it just because I am so danged sick of talking about renting a house but then never doing it.