Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nothing Yet. No Really, NOTHING.

No answer about the house. I may send her a followup letter in November, just to settle my mind.

No news about the takeover. We're actually still cool about it, it's only the limbo that bugs me.

Have I mentioned we are still in escrow? After two months? I'd like to slash somebody's tires, I just don't know whose. The buyer's bank just keeps delaying, and delaying, and delaying. We had to get ANOTHER grant deed notarized today because the bank wanted the names in a different order. I want to scream. Our realtor was talking about getting a retroactive per diem penalty paid to us, but I'll believe it when I see it. At this point, I believe nothing anybody says to me. I'll believe when I have that check in my hot little hands.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mailed It!

I mailed the letter - it went out on Wednesday. It should arrive in Michigan today or tomorrow, right? I will try not to be on tenterhooks - the lady may just throw it in the trash and never contact me. I worry that my offer was a little too low, but then maybe she's out of touch with local rent rates? $18,000 a year with no effort on her part isn't too bad, though. She could get much more in rent if she wanted, but then she'd have to arrange for contractors and such long-distance. I should neaten up the front yard, just in case she still has friends in the neighborhood and sends them over to spy on us. I just planted collard greens in the front yard boxes, but the yard is still empty. With the watering restrictions, I didn't bother doing anything in the front yard after the first crops failed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ohhhh yessssss

Dan says he can't seriously consider quitting his job to go vagabond right now. He's right, we would be better served to keep squirreling away our cash for a bit longer. BUT he says if he gets laid off it's a whole other story. So that's what I need to be prepared for.

If it happens? Ohhhh, the world is such a wonderful, delightful, mysterious place. And the internet is the best, just the best. WWOOF (world wide opportunities on organic farms) coordinates farm owners/operators with volunteers who work on the farms in exchange for lodging and food from the farm. There are eight pages of farms in California alone who will accept families with children. I think hippie farming communes are in our future.

EDIT: It seems not as many farms are kid-friendly as I thought. But there are enough. Still keeping this one in our back pocket.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Odd Anniversaries

We've been in this house for two years now. I'm over it. I need to mail off that letter to the lady who owns the empty house down the street, to see if she'd be willing to rent to us. I'm offering below-market rent in exchange for her having to do nothing at all. The house has been vacant a few years and I'm sure there are lots of little fixes required to make it livable. I'm good at that.

Dan and I have been together for fifteen years. FIFTEEN. We are so very old. I've known him for almost seventeen years. It's kind of mind-blowing. I've known my husband for half of my life now.

Which reminds me, fifteen years deserves a big ol' whopping party. I'm thinking April 16th or 17th next year. What say you - Friday or Saturday? Even if we go vagabond, we'll come back to CA and have a blowout. Should I make it kids-welcome, or should I make it a chance for us to party like grownups? I was thinking of making it grownups only and then offering limited babysitting for people who have absolutely no other option, but then we'd have to have it at the church instead of in our yard, so we can keep the kids contained in the nursery room. I want pretty lights and dancing. Do we all still love to dance?

Cat in the Coop

At roughly 3:50 this morning, Paul came into our bedroom and said "What's going on with the chickens? They're making a bunch of noise." Of course I thought: "raccoons!" Since I fell asleep still dressed (I was exhausted!), I jumped out of bed and ran as fast as I could (which was pretty impressive, since my ankle still ain't right). The girls were clucking and I could hear a lot of rushing and thumping going on inside. The door to the coop was ajar by less than 2 inches (that's what I get for trusting the boys to close up), so I wrestled it open and immediately two chickens ran out. I was armed with an old, dried out palm frond I had scooped up off the ground, so when a small light-colored cat darted out, my swing at him/her had no effect. If I didn't know better, I'd be suspicious that it was Blondie in there, although I haven't seen how fast he can move with that paralyzed arm (he can still get over the walls and onto the roof). It was too dark and too fast to know for sure.

Six of the girls escaped while I was futilely running after the would-be assassin, and Dan came out with a flashlight and we hunted them down in the backyard. Poor baby girls - they laid seven eggs yesterday, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get nothing tomorrow (no, wait, today). They took a while to calm down. We'll check for injuries when the sun comes up, but they all seemed whole when we did cursory exams by flashlight.

This is a lesson to us that we have become too casual about closing the girls up for the night. And that the door to the coop kinda sucks. Another project. Sigh.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


A little ol' trailer like this...

plus a truck like this...

If you're on Facebook with me, you might have noticed my post this morning about dropping out of "society" and becoming vagabonds for a year or so.

I don't know how serious we are. Dan is desperately unhappy at work. He's been engineering for 10 years now and while he likes what he does, he has only had one job that he really enjoyed - and alas, they were sold and everything changed. There's a kind of hostile takeover bid going on with his current work, a certain somebody there is driving him up the wall, and I think we've both kind of hit that point in our lives when we ask ourselves "This is it? This is all there is?"

It's escapism, to a point. And I have been making a real effort to appreciate the glorious, wonderful life that I was lucky/blessed enough to be born into. I have a home, I'm never hungry, my children are healthy, my husband has a good-paying job, we are not in debt and in fact have a decent safety cushion in the bank. We are very safe and we have always been very safe.

And sometimes safe is very boring, unchallenging, and unfulfilling. Aside from Dan's mission to Washington and my brief 4th-grade stint in SE Arizona, we've never lived anywhere other than southern California. We have never really been risky in any way. In a way, we live in fear - my compulsive terror of poverty, which I somehow must have picked up from my parents' occasional economic disasters during my childhood.

So I think to myself: Why not do this? Why not do something, even if we start out and say it's only for a year? What if we just dedicate 2010 to being together as a family all the time, goofing off and camping and visiting friends and trying new places? We could easily get a truck and a camper or a trailer for less than $10k, possibly a lot less. I finally listed the Suburban for sale. We would sell the furniture (the antique mahogany pieces would probably fetch a few thousand), the other cars, the music, the books, give away anything not worth trying to sell. Stephen, I've already started a kitchenware pile for you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Cleaning, Part Deux

It's no secret to anybody who comes over that I am a REALLY bad housekeeper. I can make excuses, I can make jokes, I can claim that it's just messy but not filthy... but the truth is that the place always looks awful and I'm always brushing it off.

I don't think I'm ever going to become a neat freak, a cleanaholic, but I am really tired of myself. So the next purge-a-thon is ON. I'm stuffing bags with ill-considered clothing purchases (only paying a dollar or two for something makes it easier to give away), books (as painful as that is), and toys. I'm making giveaway piles for housewares. After all that, I'll move on to actually putting stuff on eBay. Or wherever it is the people are selling stuff these days.

If I don't update about my progress, nag me. Please. I need it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mommy Guilt, part CCXXXVI

Paul is struggling at school. My smart, sweet, good-hearted boy is refusing to finish work in class and his teacher has described him as occasionally "defiant." I can't deny that I'm seeing some of this at home, too. We've been trying daily behavior contracts, tied rewards to the results - and yet last week was the worst yet. Paul was promising me his end-of-week report would have an "O" on it, but instead it was the dreaded "U." The biggest problem is that Paul can't seem to work independently. He daydreams and fidgets, and then when the time is up he whines that he wasn't given enough time. He tells me his teacher is mean to him and doesn't listen to him. His teacher seems firm, but frankly I think a firm hand is good for Paul. There's usually another mother in the class, too, so I think I'd hear about it if she really was "mean." We're just going to keep trying until another idea presents itself.

And then there's Eli. His behaviour is just getting worse and worse. He's belligerent, argumentative, brazenly defiant, transparently manipulative. I hope against all hope that this is a phase. I've tried time outs, toy confiscation, rewarding good behaviour, and corporal punishment. Nothing makes a dent, and I suspect corporal punishment makes him feel like he has a license to hit everybody, which he does with abandon (although never at school, thank heavens). he likes to kick and choke, too. He's really wearing me out and I don't know what to do next.

His school teacher has recommended a parenting class offered through the district. There's a waiting list, but I'm going to sign up for it tonight before I go to my guitar class.

The two F's

Flu and fibroids.

I'm not sure if this is my annual massive allergy attack or the flu. Either way, I am a miserable woman. Meds aren't helping. And yesterday my doctor (Dr. House, if you can believe that - I have never made a single joke!) confirmed what I have suspected for a while - I have a "substantial" uterine fibroid. Lucky me, I get tests and an ultrasound. I'm fairly certain this explains why I have felt awful in my abdomen for the last month or so. I've been able to feel the fibroid by external palpation for a while now, but I think the sucker is growing fast. It's way too early to know what will be done about it, but a couple of the treatment options would mean officially closing the door on my fertility. Which, even though I have already chosen to have no more kidlets for many, many reasons, still feels strange.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall Cleaning

Today I stripped out the eggplants and most of the tomatoes. The Cherokee Purple had a few more lovelies that need another week or so to turn ripe, so it was given a brief reprieve. I left the shiso, the basil, and the parsley standing for now, but I really need to pluck some flower stalks off the shiso and see if I can save any seeds.

I strung up a batch of Anaheim chiles on a strand of yarn and they are now hanging from the patio rafters to dry. I have 10 or more fat pumpkins (Caspers and Jarrahdale Blues) curing on the patio wall, and two more Jarrahdales on the vine. I've pulled out the melon vines, and found a volunteer cantaloupe hiding amongst the tomatoes (I used to have a free-form compost pile over there).

Today I went to three different places and bought seeds and winter crop seedlings - cabbage, cauliflower, brocoli, bok choi. And a box of high-phosphorous bone meal, because I bought two short-season tomato plants and this summer has taught me that while I am overflowing with nitrogen, our soil is phos-deficient in places - many of my tomatoes never set fruit. At least they were excellent hornworm host plants, which made my chickens very happy! I planted the tomatoes today in the box that held my cantaloupes and watermelons - there's an eggplant in there that I planted very late in the summer and it is doing so well I am optimistic for my 'maters.

Another momentous event occurred today, about which I am really divided. Daniel ordered a snazzy new flat television and it arrived this afternoon. Part of me feels the giddy excitement of new, cool technology, and part of me feels wasteful and frivolous and not at all certain that we needed a TV anyway. The old one still worked, although not all buttons were functional and the remote was required to operate it. I'm definitely conflicted about this.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Don't Get All Huffy

And yet I AM huffy!

It's busy times, my friends. Through the generosity of Daniel's mother I was able to go to Dizzyland twice this week - once with Paul and once with Daniel. That's right, I spent ALL DAY with Daniel and NO KIDS. I love the boys, but man! It was awesome. We hung out with similarly irresponsible friends, made out on the Haunted Mansion, and hit all the rides we wanted to. It was like we were early 20-somethings again. Oh, and I sat behind Weird Al and his family in the Tiki Room. My first Dizzyland celebrity sighting. Awwwww.

On the farm: Seven eggs in one day today. I foresee many quiches in our future.