Friday, December 24, 2010

Merriest Christmas

Plastic sheeting is stapled to the roof - Iris, who has saved me before, brought over her extra-tall ladder and helped me staple it down.  The leak has stopped.

The leaky toilet is repaired, and with a nifty dual-flush mechanism added for fun.  The dishwasher now drains completely.  Dan did both of these repairs, and had to take both the boys to Home Despot with him to get the parts (he wanted sympathy, but I shop with the boys far too often to have much pity).

We're going to the mountains today to search for good snowshoeing fun.  So all in all it's a wonderful time and will hopefully be a bright and clear Christmas, for which I will be grateful. 

Merry, merry, merry Christmas to all of you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Homeownership Rocks!

Dan spent all day Saturday trying to fix a leaky toilet, all to no avail. 

The new dishwasher won't drain completely.  The cause is probably a plumbing problem under the kitchen sink.  I'll have to try to solve it by using a DIY plumbing book, because...

We now have a roof leak over the master bathroom.  WE had to puncture the ceiling and drain it - two stockpots' worth of water.  I can't get up on the roof myself and spread out plastic sheeting, so we're going to have to spring for a roofing contractor.  Sigh. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Another One Bites the Dust

Trig is over - an unbelievable 92% on the final exam kept me at 90% for the class. I am wiped out.

Now on to getting the house in order.  I've rebuilt the raised beds in my wee little yard and filled them with 22 bags of homemade compost and store-bought topsoil.  They are not even halfway full, so I'll have to see where I can source some herbicide-free straw bales to fill them in with.  But first and foremost is getting the dining room/office set up to be useable.

The singing gig is going well so far.  I'm learning the songs and we're starting to gel together and determine a course.  These guys have been playing for years - Dave (the guitarist and male singer) was a professional at one point, but I don;t know about Dan (our bassist) .  They've had a casual cover band going for years, but they wanted to start doing original songs and their current singer isn't interested in pursuing original stuff, so that's why they were shopping for a new singer.  They've also found a drummer who wants to commit and rehearse regularly, so he's getting up to speed now as well. They are shooting for our first gig to be at the end of February, at a local wine bar.  Not too shabby.  I'll let you all know.

I am taking Fundamentals of Music for the spring - an easy refresher class that will allow me some breathing room while we settle in and I focus on the singing for a while.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Trigonometry^100

The house is still mostly all in boxes. Aside from planting peas, I have put nothing else into the ground. December 14th, the final exam, looms.  I am trying to even dream about half-angle identities, but alas no such luck, I only have my waking hours to spend on it.  "Things will be better after December 14th" is my mantra, even though I know that isn't true.  After that comes Christmas, which will draw on every secret thing I've been squirreling away for the boys over the last year.  Thank heavens the boys are already pretty non-materialistic.

Monday, November 29, 2010

It Never Ends

Dan and Eli both got sick last week, so I finished up as much as I could on my own.  I'm hoping I can sneak back over this week and get as much as I can from the yard, but it looked like Mr. Landlord's truck was parked in front of the house today so I just drove on by. 

I have given up on passing my Trig final.  With all the work this move has required, I can't see how I can possibly catch up now.  I'll try to talk with my professor tomorrow and see what my best option is - I would like to be able to re-take the class, maybe next fall.   I have consistently been an A student, so this is a little bit painful for me.

I am slowly getting unpacked, but I really (REALLY) need some better bookcase options.  I am not at all sure I can build them myself, but the off-the-shelf options I've found are disappointing and I'm not finding much on Craigslist besides junky laminate bookcases with saggy shelves.  It's going to take a lot of work to get the sunniest part of the yard prepped for gardening - It's covered in that horrible "landscaping" gravel that seems quite popular with mobile home owners.  I can get most of it off fairly easily (it's on top of heavy-duty landscaping fabric), but there is a fair amount embedded in the dirt underneath so I will have to build a sifting screen to get more of the rocks out.  THEN I have to figure out what on earth I'm going to do with all of that gravel.  Maybe I'll make a "free rocks" sign and cross my fingers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Farewell My Tomato Vine

We are almost done.  We still need to swap out the refrigerators, move the only patio furniture I'm keeping, and get the last dregs of garage stuff.  I've dug up a few plants that I have no intention of leaving, and I may dig up a few more today.  Even if I just give them away, leaving them to be neglected is not acceptable.  I'm going to donate quite a few to the boys' school - the PTA is trying to beautify the grounds.  Maybe they'd like my California natives; I'm worried that if I leave them there the next residents will kill them by watering them at the wrong time.  I dug up the yams I'd planted in the front yard, and I have enough to fill a gallon plant pot - not bad for planting four sad little sprouty yams.  The tomato vines are all pulled out and trashed, the anaheim chiles are pulled up and I may try to hang them somewhere to ripen them and start drying them.  My pasilla bajio chiles refuse to turn brown and I am losing patience! 

Thank goodness other people will be feeding us for Thanksgiving.  Although I am tempted to make some yams...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Still Here

But somehow endless boxing, packing, fixing, cleaning and perpetual fatigue just doesn't seem like scintillating blog material.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

O Frabjous Day

It is only frabjous because last week is over.  Good heavens. 

I have been moving 2-3 Suburban-fulls over to the new place every day, plus vacuuming mice poo out of the kitchen drawers & cabinets, then disinfecting them.  It was so hot last week I ended up with migraines more than once.  Plus I'm still on penicillin for a lovely infection I was lucky enough to develop.  And D was home exactly one night.  It was a crap, crap, crap week.

BUT yesterday we (well, mostly D) pretty much got the living room floor fixed.  The floor is two different colors (we couldn't get a perfect match that would also click in correctly) but it doesn't look terrible and what's much more important is that we got it done way under budget because the new windows are almost certainly going to go way OVER budget.  Yuck.  Dan wants to get as much as possible done before we move in, but I can't see how we can do that without getting ripped off by contractors, who can always sense when you're in a hurry.  I can be patient. 

Once the floor is fixed, we can start moving in furniture.  Tomorrow I'll be building a queen sized bed frame that we can store more stuff underneath.  I want to build loft beds for the boys, but D isn't confident that the walls can support them.  I will ask around and figure out how the interior walls are constructed - if they're framed up like normal house walls then I'm going forward with the loft bed plans. 

The boys are ridiculous monkeys and E has made it very clear to me that he loves Daddy about 10 times more than he loves me - he put it into quantities, even.  P, ever my loving little comforter, assures me that he loves me just as much as he loves Daddy, then whispers to me that at times he does not love E very much.  I told him that sometimes E is very difficult to love, but we have to do it anyway. 

E, who claims he barely loves me, has just climbed into my lap and asked me to cuddle with him.  I was feeling flattered and loved, until I found out that he just finished fighting with Daddy and expects me to be nicer to him.  Sigh.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dear God in Heaven

I am not taking your name in vain, I am serious.

How is it possible to be this tired and still have so much more to do? 

Monday, November 01, 2010

It's Blitz

Get the keys today.  I biked over yesterday morning and measured my dirt - I have close to 400 square feet of usable dirt that gets sunlight.  I'll try to stick to a tightly planned layout a la Square Foot Gardening. 

I have heard absolutely nothing from our landlord.  The rent is due today, but with no evidence that our deposit exists I'm not sure what to do.  I may pedal over to our bank and deposit the rent into an escrow-type account to hold in his name until we see that the deposit exists.

Lots of work to do.  Boring blogging ahead!

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Plate Overfloweth

I'm now officially the new singer for a local band.  We're shooting for rehearsals one night a week. 

I have a Trig exam on Thursday. I'm back to just hoping for a B in the class.

I've agreed to tutor a girl in our ward in Spanish.  Her dad is an electrician so I'm hoping I can barter for electrical services at the new house.

We close in a week.  I need to pick out paint colors (I'm limited to No-VOC palettes, which is good because I'm already overwhelmed).  Everything is going semi-gloss or eggshell for ease of cleaning. 

Paul is improving.  I'm not sure what we're doing right, but we're trying.  Have I ever told you what a sweet, generous, thoughtful boy he is?  I often tell him I'm not sure what I did to deserve a boy as good-hearted as him.

Eli had a great week - only one day of "mal," and four days of "excelente."  He still amazes us with his quick little mind.  He was nagging us yesterday about playing Wii, and I finally told him he wasn't even allowed to say the word "Wii."  So he paused for half a second and then said "What if I'm going down a slide and I say 'Whee?'"  A lawyer for sure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Closing & Opening

We are set to close escrow on November 1st.  Yikes.  I have my second Trig exam next Thursday as well, so you know I'm feeling no stress whatsoever. 

Since we are law-abiding people, we're going to give Mr. Landlord a proper 30-day notice, which means we'll be on the hook for about another month's rent.  I mailed him a letter offering to have carpet installed and to deduct that from the last payment, BUT that I would only do this if I was guaranteed a full return of my deposit.  The tricky thing is that Mr. Landlord has told me that his soon-to-be ex-wife has our deposit.  I hope that she will view us as allies against a common enemy and be gracious about giving us our money.  If I can't get a guarantee about that deposit, I'm going straight to the Orange County Fair Housing Authority and/or my friend Amy (she's a lawyer but she's on maternity leave) and getting a lawyer. 

The sellers counter-offered with a $3000 credit at closing, so if we combine that with the original $1500 credit we'll have $4500 back at closing that we can put toward repairs.  The repairs we had requested actually came in at about $3700, but we're not going to haggle too much over $700.  The floor, dishwasher, plumbing and insulation repairs have to be done first.  Then we'll weigh the windows against the roof (the roof could be patched for now and replaced later) and decide what to do. 

I have my winter seeds all laid out on the kitchen counter, deciding what to get started.  My garden will be much smaller now, but I'll just have to be more selective about what I grow, stricter about plant spacing, and creative about placement.  Peas are the best winter crop of all - they take up practically no ground space and the boys will eat them fresh off the vine.  I love peas.  We are also going to try to find somebody who would be willing to let me grow veggies in their backyard and share the crop with me, and MAYBE even somebody who would host chickens.  We miss fresh guilt-free eggs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trepidation

Major hurdles have been jumped - we have been approved.  The inspection happened this morning, so we began another round of negotiations with the seller.  The roof was replaced about 10 years ago, but it was replaced incorrectly and some parts are now deteriorating.  Rather than patch the roof and maybe coax another year out of it, we'd like to just replace it.  Our realtor tells us that a metal roof on a manufactured home runs about $5k, so we've asked for a credit of $2500 toward replacing the roof.  There's a roofing contractor in our ward and we'll get a quote from him for replacement.  There are about $800 worth of plumbing fixes needed, which we are also negotiating for, plus a few mobile-home specific things like replacing the moisture barrier underneath. We'll have to get quotes for all of this stuff so we know how much of an escrow credit to ask for.  The house belonged to an older lady who has gone to live with her children inland, so they will probably prefer to have us handle the repairs rather than keep coming out here to do it themselves.

Since we'll get some tax credits if we replace the windows before December 31st, the windows and the front-room flooring will be our first priorities.  I'm scared as heck.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let's Get Interactive

It's becoming more and more obvious that in spite of all my de-junking so far, there is still more to be done.  I think I'm going to put some items up for a vote, as some of these decisions are agonizing.  Art supplies, kitchen supplies, household decor and backpacking gear will all have to be winnowed down.  So brace yourselves for having to tell me I'm a ninny and I should just chuck/sell/give away that extra cast iron pot/easel/sleeping bag. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slapdash

My internet has been very wonky this week.  Ultrafast update:

Paid 75% of rent.  Landlord not pleased, threatens legal action.  Not scared, but my stomach doesn't like it anyway.

We're waiting to be approved by the mobile home park, which is incredibly funny to me.  Criminal background check and all that.  Inspection is next week.

Still have not officially canceled the offer on the Silverado house; will do that as soon as we are approved by the park. 

Totally, totally behind on my Trig homework.  Will catch up. Dropped guitar class; I just don't have any evenings to spare right now. 

Paul is still spacy.  His teacher is actually taking it seriously and we will meet with the school psych to try and formulate a more effective plan than behaviour contracts.

Eli is getting bad reports from school - talking, disobeying, hyperactive.  He kicked a kid who was in his way.  We're working on a reward/consequence system. 

I have a new niece!  Violet Dale Thompson.  She's beautiful and once my life calms down I hope to see much more of her. 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I'm Out of Titles For Now

Another mobile home came up for sale on Friday. It's a bit of a fixer - the dishwasher is toast, the laminate flooring in the front room is damaged, it needs baseboards and moulding for every single wall (they put in new flooring and drywalled the ceiling but never installed the trim). But it's on a corner lot so it feels less crowded AND I would actually have quite a bit of dirt to work with, plus an unused strip on my neighbor's lot that I might be able to use (with their permission). We have submitted a full-price offer with a request for $1500 to be credited to us for repairs after close of escrow, and the offer was accepted today. I was pricing trim, flooring and dishwashers at Home Depot today and we'll be able to do all of those repairs within that budget (plus billing for the time we put into it). If anything major turns up in the inspection, of course we will amend the offer.


This one comes with a share as well - no space rent, only HOA dues. We had originally hoped that we might be able to pull off buying both the mobile AND the Silverado house, but Dan's mother has actually agreed to loan us $20k toward purchasing the mobile and we will pay the remainder in cash, which means we will not have enough left to purchase the Silverado house. BUT we'll have that loan paid off in 15 months and then our only monthly housing expenses will be HOA fees and the electric bill. We'll have our initial cash outlay saved up again in less than 4 years if we stick to a firm budget.




The mobile is actually pretty cute and has a nice layout. It's 144o sf, with a large living room, a formal dining room (we'll use it as the office), a decent sized kitchen with room for a small dining table, and two full bathrooms (the master has TWO sinks, I'm in heaven). The master bedroom is 14' x 11.5', which is palatial compared to every house we have ever lived in. You can't see it in the picture above, but the laminate countertop has the cutest blue & white retro "ethnic" pattern on it. I'm already scheming how I'm going to re-tool the kitchen on the ultra-cheap. The cabinets over the cooktop are coming OUT.


Those valances and blinds are OUT OF THERE. I'm a curtains kind of lady. The built-in will be painted and turned into the entertainment center. Eventually we will replace the windows with more energy-efficient windows that will open to allow a cross breeze - this room was the warmest in the house by far, as it has a somewhat western exposure. This room is even bigger than the picture shows. It's great.

This is the formal dining room, which will be our office/workshop. If you look closely, you can see the rough edges of the flooring and the ceilings, where they didn't install any trim. The green room is the master bedroom, which will pretty much be left as is. The master bath needs a makeover badly, but I'm the girl for the job. Those sliding glass doors open out onto the covered front porch, which is shady and nice. I foresee hot summer evenings spent out there.

So there it is. It's not what I dreamed of when I was growing up, but few of us get everything that we want. I can't have a house in the country because of what D does for a living. If we buy a regular house-house, we will never be able to afford things like extracurricular lessons for the boys or time off of work for D so we can go on long backpacking trips. This is a compromise I can live with, so we can have other things that we want.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Undone

I have no solution, and it's driving me batty. I need to solve problems. The boys' room is still not fixed, another month's rent is due tomorrow and I have to decide how much (if any) we will pay. Then we will go through the farce of Landlord Jeff pretending that he will fix the room and wheedling the rent out of me. Thank goodness I wrote our rental contract; I should have altered the language about how quickly he can evict us. Although he'd be a fool to evict us with the room not fixed - how could he get new tenants with the place in this condition?

I have been searching and searching for temporary living quarters, thinking maybe we can just put the non-essentials in storage and wait to hear about the Silverado place.

At this point I am seriously ready to buy an old travel trailer, I just don't know where we could park it and sleep in it. I have an ad on craigslist, looking for a mother-in-law house or a garage apartment, and an email out to our Relief Society seeing if anybody knows anybody who has any ideas or options for us.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

And the Band Played On

Everything is humming along. School is going well for the boys so far. My first impression of Paul's teacher seems unfounded; he is very happy so far, although this morning I discovered his allegedly finished homework was NOT finished. I pay him $1 a week for doing his "job" (school) well, so I deducted 25 cents and told him he would have to face the consequences today at school. Eli is really not having any more adjustment troubles than your average 5-year-old does.

Regarding the house -D and I both have mixed feelings about it - wondering if we jumped on it because it seemed like a strong possibility, not because we love it. Just cold feet, or is it an unconscious sign? I wish, wish, wish it was on the sunny side of the canyon. I'm concerned it will be very cold in winter, and that my garden will be very puny. I reassure myself that if any really awful problems come up during inspection we can always back out, and if we get it and then decide we really aren't ready to be back in the canyons we can always rent it out. We are so indecisive and flip-floppy.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Slightly Different This Time


The front of the house, which is really the back. Canyon houses is nuts. The wee short door on the left opens into the crawlspace.


The seller has accepted our offer on the house. Since this is a short sale, that means now they have to submit the offer to the bank along with proof of hardship & a whole bunch of other nonsense. The window of time for the bank to accept the offer is from now until December 31st, which is bat-doodoo crazy but that's how the game is played. If something better comes up or if Dan becomes unemployed we can rescind our offer.

Since the timing is awful (Eli just started school!), we may do some fix-ups and then rent it out for a year or two. The mortgage payment will be low enough that we could rent it out and even make a modest profit. It was built in 1929 and it's a canyon house, so oddities abound and repairs are necessary. The sub-floors upstairs need to be replaced, at least in most of the rooms, but we can do some of that ourselves. The carpeting needs to come out anyway; it reeks of dog or cat pee. Of course there's termite damage, it just remains to bee seen how bad it is. The "street" it's on isn't even a street - it's a walkway easement that cuts away from the narrow main road. Upstairs, there are French doors that lead to nothingness - a two-story fall to your death. They will be nailed shut until we come up with a plan. There is an honest-to-goodness secret room under one of the bedrooms, with a trap door and a passageway into the garage. The crawlspace has a door and children can stand up in it - the boys already want it for their own. The ceilings in the downstairs rooms are low. We will gradually replace the shingle siding with Hardie board - we have to be fire-aware!


The back of the house, which is really the front. It's also the first floor and the top floor.
To get to the front door from the driveway, you could walk up one of two stone staircases that flank the house. One of the staircases will need re-building.

It's weird and charming, like most canyon houses. Our agent is very confident, but of course I have learned most painfully that hope only leads to disappointment, so I am viewing it strictly as a business opportunity that may or may not happen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Schoolio, Foolio!

Today was the first day back to school. Eli's first day of Kindergarten! Paul's first day of third grade!

Me: "How was Kindergarten?"

Eli: "A little bit bad."

Me: "Why a little bit bad?'

Eli: "Because I didn't know how to act. The teacher told us the rules in Spanish and I don't speak Spanish. I wish Spanish had never been invented."

He is also a little disappointed that everybody wasn't instantly his friend. His teacher (whose name Eli can't pronounce yet) said that he was very good, so I tried to reassure him, but he still insists he was bad. However, once I got him talking about the things they did in class he brightened right up. he'll be OK.

Paul is the one I'm worried about. My first impression is that we have yet another non-nurturing teacher, but first impressions are often wrong. I plan on being in the classroom at least one day a week this year, so we'll see how it goes. I'm prepared to yank Paul out if that becomes necessary.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Deja Vu

There's another house. It's a short sale, so by the time our offer gets approved or denied we may know a wee bit more about our future.

It's in Silverado. It's a funky house, but totally workable for us. I feel very calm, very zen; I'm doing well at suppressing the hopefulness. I'm researching comparable sales to get an idea of what to offer.

Still no news about the mobile home. I'm bummed; that would have been so much more convenient and made such good economic sense for us. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Anticipation

I should file this under "Facebook, how do I love thee?"

Our college crew is having a reunion this month. It's really just a party in Sam's backyard, but I'm more excited about this than I have been about any of my high school reunions (I skipped them all and have no plans to go to any in the future). Not all of our crew will be there (Ben is in Afghanistan, Sean hasn't bothered to tell us what his conflict is), but even incomplete I think this is going to possibly be the best night of 2010 for D & me. I'm bursting at the seams waiting for it. Sam, I know you are too!

All the myriad frustrations of my life right now are viewed through a prism of excitement and anticipation. It makes it all bearable. Yes, I'm angry, a little bit scared, confused, overwhelmed. But I'm going to see some of the best friends of my life soon, almost the whole gang together, and I want to dance like a little girl!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Ad hoc, ad loc and quid pro quo!

So little time, so much to know!

Got into the Trig class. FRANK GONZALEZ IS AWESOME. He lobbied for me and got me a spot. I spent most of yesterday doing catch-up homework and watching Trig lectures at Khan Academy.

Regarding D's job, we are still in a holding pattern. He is not confident, but still does the best he can and we stay hopeful that something good will come our way before they fire him. I am still doing all of the "behind the scene" work that I can. I encourage him to ride his bike and play basketball most mornings, because physical activity is good for mental health.

I might might might have a very part-time job. It's in entertainment (no, I won't have to take off my clothes) so I have to officially audition, but I think the guy I've been emailing with likes me. If I get it I'll fill you in on the goofy details. It should bring in $300-$500 extra a month and be fun, too.

I bought a USB condenser microphone. It was 50% off at Target and came with audio software that I've been trying to figure out in my spare time. The directions that came with it are terrible! When I finally know what I'm doing, I'll record me playing some songs so you can hear that I'm not completely awful. I'm doing it because without fail, when I answer ads on craigslist for people looking for music partners they ALWAYS ask "Do you have a MySpace?" MySpace has become extremely popular for bands & musicians to upload & share their work. So I guess I'll have to get digital if I ever want to find collaborators. Bleh.

My guitar class is good. All guitar teachers I have ever met are strange people - in the good sense of the word. Randy, my new teacher, is no exception. He's good, and his approach to class management is very personal. My only gripe is that I don't really fall in with the beginners, but I'm not ready to sit with the repeat students either. I suspect that I will get what I want out of this class, though - to move past chords and into being able to play very basic music by sight, plus gain a better understanding of the structure of music. Fingers crossed!

Paul started Cub Scouts earlier this year and yesterday he had his first Pack Meeting after taking most of summer off. He earned a bunch of belt loops, some pins and a patch and is pleased as punch about it (did I get enough alliteration into that sentence?). We also got his ^%$#@& standardized test scores last month and as much as I hate the tests I am still really proud of how well he did.

Eli is still challenging, but we're making great strides. He is very excited about Kindergarten but I am heartbroken that Sr. Wright is not teaching morning Kinder anymore, and so Eli won't be in his class.

Still no word on the mobile home, BUT there is a damaged one in the park whose owner isn't paying space rent. The HOA will eventually give him the boot. We might be able to pick up the trailer for next to nothing, fix it up and purchase a share so we won't have to pay rent. It's all a big "maybe" for now.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to Abnormal

D is now refusing to move, because he doesn't want to commit to a lease and then have to break it when he gets fired and we have to relocate to Colorado or wherever on earth he finds a new job. I occasionally feel as if I am losing my mind, but those moments only come when I think too hard about all of this and allow frustration to win the battle against calmness. I stay up late at night and forward job listings to him, but I don't think he's sending resumes. I can only do so much to spur him before it will start backfiring on me. I am back to formulating worst-case scenario backups like I was doing last fall.

On the upside, I have cleaned A LOT of stuff out of the house. I mean a LOT. I have bags and bags under a tarp in the side yard, destined for a yard sale or thrift store donation. I have several boxes full of stuff to sell online. We're streamlining the boys' toy collections (they've grown out of quite a few of them anyway) and the "grow into" clothes for them as well.

Out of all of this chaos, we will make something good. The panic is subsiding and now I am back to a sense of purpose.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

It's Like I've Taken a Verbal Emetic

There is so very much to complain about, and I am going to attempt to write about it all without sounding too shrill or self-pitying. UGH.

Our landlord is broke. Like, living off of loans from his parents broke. The pipes are capped, the water is on, but since the asbestos mitigation people left NOTHING else has been done or fixed. The boys room has no flooring, only concrete, the drywall is off both sides of the wall between their room and the bathroom, so only wall studs provide any sense of separation. He can't get anybody to come and fix anything because he can't promise them he'll pay them if something goes wrong with the insurance claim. I've told him to make sure he includes loss of rent in the claim, because at the MINIMUM we want $500 off of this month's rent. We are screwed, I think.

We are trying to find another house to rent, but stuff in our price range is rare. There are a couple of options up in the canyons that we're going to look at very soon. Of course, that brings up the newfound anxiety about D's job and exactly how much longer he might HAVE a job. Even if the fellow selling that mobile home decides he wants to sell, I don't know if we'd feel safe enough at this point to buy it. Nothing has come from meeting with the headhunter, so either the wheels of hiring turn slow or things are not nearly as rosy as D was led to believe. I'm trying to network for him as best I can.

My college semester started this week. Through a combination of having no internet in Montana, not particularly great registration priority, and an intense amount of student demand, I failed to get into any Trigonometry classes before they were all filled up. I hired a babysitter and went to four different sections to try to add - there were enough people attempting to add that the college could have easily filled another section, but they are on a budget freeze and can't add any new classes. There were THIRTY people trying to add the 7 pm class I went to last night. All this in the middle of a heat wave with no air conditioning. Yeah!

I am not defeated quite yet - my Algebra professor from last semester is going to talk to the woman teaching the 9 am class (the one that would let me be in school while Eli is!) and ask her to add me in if anybody drops in the next two weeks. He tried to get me into the 7 pm class, but that didn't work out. I owe him a box of cookies, at least. He's a pretty great guy and I wouldn't mind having him as a friend outside of school as well, but for now the student/teacher thing is probably still a wee issue. If I have the chance to take him again for another math class, I would definitely do so. The bright side is that by not having to take a nighttime Trig class, I can keep my nighttime guitar class (I wouldn't take two night classes, that's asking too much of my family).

In the area of other small disasters (it's like an aggregate boulder of small disappointments and setbacks), Paul will probably end up needing that chipped front tooth fixed quite a few more times before he is old enough for a more permanent fix. I'm already mentally adding up the expense of fixing it annually for the next 10 years. And yesterday D was rear-ended while driving our Subaru to work - they hit the rear corner of the car and spun him around. It's an inconvenience, but since we were thinking about selling it I'm now kind of hoping our insurance company just declares it totaled (please please please).

Phew. I think I feel better after vomiting all that out.

I am trying to think of any good news to offset all of this with and aside from the platitude of "D still has a job, we are all healthy," I am coming up short. I know we will survive all of this, but my inner Pollyanna is having a tough time of it. Phew!

Tell me a funny story in the comments!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

If You Can't say Anything Nice

Don't say anything at all.

(Don't be too worried. D still has a job. We are all healthy.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Monday To-Do List

1. Schedule dentist appointment for Paul so they can super-glue his tooth back together (Grandparents' concrete driveway + a razor scooter + general kid foolishness).
2. Drive over to Anaheim to get copies of our medical records.
3. Schedule a Dr. appointment for me, ASAP.
4. Arrange for many, many hours of babysitting this week so I can go beg to be allowed into a Trigonometry class.
5. Chuck out more stuff in case everything goes wrong and we have to downsize. Pack, too.
6. Make new copies of the house key, since my landlord has apparently lost his.
7. Attempt to get hold of my landlord and find out when he's coming back to finish the plumbing repairs. His phone will almost certainly go straight to voicemail, and he'll call me when I'm at the medical records office, saying "Where are you? I'm at the house."

Friday, August 20, 2010

I'm Always Optimistic in the Morning

D had an appointment with a head-hunter this morning. He says it went well and that there are options. He has another contact who tells him a company very close by wants to at least talk to him. His old boss, who he'd love to go back to, is out of town this week but he should get D's email soon.

I keep hoping that this will lead us to a job that D loves. I really, really want him to be happy at work again.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are we here again already?

D is certain they are prepping to fire him. He had a scathing review today and he suspects this is the first step towards getting rid of him with all of the legal t's crossed and i's dotted.

When I hoped there was a reason for our continual inability to buy a home, this wasn't the reason I was hoping for. Sigh.

Monday, August 16, 2010

No Mas

No mas complaining. Life is good. Everything will work out. The nice upside of all this disruption and impetus to relocate is that I've been cleaning out more clutter, boxing up things we don't necessarily need, re-organizing, taking inventory. We looked at another rental this weekend; it was very VERY nice and $50 a month less than what we're paying now, but we suspect we'd be going from one extreme (a very lackadaisical landlord) to the other (an extremely uptight landlord), so we're passing on it. I have some other ideas, but I'll wait until we hear yes or no on the mobile home.

My fall semester starts next week. Every section of Trigonometry is full, so I'm only registered for a guitar class, as a placeholder if I can't get into the Trig section I need. I really don't want to take a semester off from math, as I fear my skills will atrophy more and more the longer I'm away from it. I should exercise some self-control and start teaching myself with an old textbook.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Of Course.

I was over the mental hurdle. I kept bicycling through the park at different times, interviewing people about how they like living there (about 5 to 1 in favor, and that 1 was a pretty grumpy guy whose reasons for hating the park were pretty much his own fault). I was planning the decor - I was going to make it sooo modern, I have GREAT ideas! We had an appointment for a second viewing and were going to apply for financing - we had decided to put 50% down to get a better rate and shorter loan terms. We were already planning to take 6 months off in 2015 so we could hike the Pacific Crest Trail with the boys.

And today... the seller decided to take it off the market. Of course! Something about some nonsense with his job - he's supposed to know in the next two weeks whether he's going to list it again. AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH.

But I'm decided. I met the park manager, who lives there and thinks it's great. Her adult son likes it so much he owns a unit in the park, too. I met the HOA president, a smart and friendly guy, and he says he has fantastic neighbors. I met one of those neighbors and she was as friendly as anybody comes and obviously takes great pride in keeping up her home. The Pres says their financial reserves are high, they only have one household that's delinquent in paying their dues/rent (remember we won't have rent, only dues). So the HOA appears to be in good shape, even after a few years of recession. He says they haven't raised the space rent in three years, haven't raised the HOA dues in 6 years, but that in three or four years they might raise them a bit. He says as long as the economy is bad it would be a poor idea to raise any costs.

So I'm pretty much sold now. And so we wait. AGAIN.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

O, Despair!

I am burned out. We have a leak in a pipe in the wall between the bathroom and the boys' room. I have spent eight days being chipper about only being able to turn the water on for ten minutes every day. I've been flushing the toilets with buckets of water from the spa. I've moved everything out of the boys' room and into the living room of our 1350 square foot house. The boys are sleeping on a mattress on the floor, and as I type this the asbestos removal crew is in their room scraping out the flooring and ripping out the drywall. We've managed, and been fairly upbeat through it all, even when you throw car trouble into the mix.

But I am also angry and insulted. Our landlord has lost us, over a 20-minute plumbing repair that he dragged his feet on for eight days. This is why we're looking hard at buying that mobile - I'm sick of living at somebody else's mercy, and I won't make us slaves to a mortgage on a ridiculously overpriced house that stands pretty much zero chance of appreciating any time soon. I talked to my mother-in-law on the phone today and she thinks a mobile is a bad idea, tells me to just keep praying and that a house will come to me on the Lord's time. It was a bad idea to talk to her; she kept making pioneer analogies and told me this is a trial of my faith and that I just needed to focus on making sure my grandchildren were prepared for the Last Days, and that the economy won't get better ever again because this is a sign of The End Times. Sigh.

I do not like it when I start to feel trapped. It makes me afraid, prone to crying, and unpleasant to live with. I wish I had answers to my prayers.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Trailer Trash

We're seriously considering buying a mobile home. It sounds like a joke, but it makes tremendous economic sense.

It's $85k. We'd offer $80 with 30% down ($24k), for a total mortgage of $56k. It's in a co-op, which means no space rent, but which also means the interest rate on the mortgage would be ridiculous (as much as 12%) and the loan terms quite short (10 years or less), BUT that interest is tax-deductible. If we had a 10-year mortgage at 12%, our monthly payments would be $803. If we got the more common 7-year mortgage, our payments would be $988. The HOA dues are $270 a month. Property tax is around $100 a year. So worst case, our monthly costs just to have a roof over our heads would be $1266 a month, with an annual interest deduction of about $6500. Compare that to our current rent of $2k per month, with no tax benefits at all. In seven years it will be paid off and our monthly costs will only be the HOA dues. The co-op expires in 2025, after which it's anybody's guess what will happen to the park, but by 2025 I hope I don't care.

There isn't much dirt for vegetables, but I could have an herb garden. An elderly lady in my ward has offered her backyard for vegetable gardening, which would also get her free veggies. I might be able to find somebody to host a chicken flock if we split the cost of feed with them. There are lots of solutions.

There are drawbacks as well. No garage. No real yard. My own prejudices about what kind of people live in mobile home parks. We stopped one couple walking through the park and asked them how they liked living there, and they couldn't say enough good about it. Renting out your unit is not permitted by the HOA, although the realtor admitted that there are probably a few rule-breakers in the park.

Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Not Even Close

I am not ready. At all.

We survived the Annual Clemens Family Beach Campout, but came home to problems with the drainage pipe from the washing machine. My dear friend Connie let me come over and wash our clothes at her house. I am not packed, the house is a disaster (DISASTER!). I still have flowers to plant before I leave. I have bags and bags of recycling to turn in for pocket change on the trip up.

Monday was Dan's birthday. I let him buy himself a bike - a fairly fancy road bike like he's always wanted. He's very happy, but now he has to have the self-discipline to get up early and ride it. We live right on the Aliso Creek Trail (within spitting distance of pictures 5 and 6), so he has quite a long and safe playground to use it on. It has clip-in pedals, which he's never had before, and he loves it. He also bought me a much less fancy bike that I can use for around-town errands and towing Eli in a trailer. I've been riding a too-small thrift-store mountain bike for years now and the new bike is SOOO nice.

Now we just have to teach Paul to ride. He's really intimidated, but he has to learn.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

OK, This Is the Busytime.

Summer is here, and with it comes summer vacation. I like sleeping in and not fighting with Paul about his homework every bloody night, but this also means that I will almost have no alone time whatsoever until at least August. You Moms know that even our bathroom visits are rarely islands of solitude.

The Annual Clemens Family Beach Campout of Despair is first (I'm joking a little bit, but ye gods I am sick and tired of San Clemente every year), followed by Cub Scout Day Camp, to which I am blissfully only obligated to attend two days out of five. I am a sour old woman, but I know I will probably end up having a good time, unless they make me do physical labor out in the sun, in which case I will rapidly become unpleasant. Immediately following camp, the boys and I depart for Montana. Probably while driving our...

BRAND NEW DIESEL SUBURBAN! Well, it's new to us. It's old to the Los Angeles Fire Department's search & rescue team, which bought it new back in 1997 and recently auctioned it off to a dealer. It has rubber matting instead of carpet, it's fire engine red with matching red rims, and I have to admit it is much nicer than our old beast.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nostalgia, I HATE you!

I am awash in a sea of sentiment.

Thinking about that first love, 20 (20!) years ago, makes me think of our old church building in Chino. I more or less grew up going to church in that building. I met my first love there. I am still friends with so many people who I grew up with there. I met Stephanie there, and I still have some of the ridiculous notes we passed to each other in the halls there.

I had a partner in crime, Jeff, who I met there. Oh, the times I had with Jeff. Our ward (congregation) boundaries got shifted when I was 14 or so and Jeff and I were the youth speakers in Sacrament Meeting on our first or second Sunday with the new ward. We had never met before, but we ended up passing notes (probably mocking everything in view) to each other up on the stand and by the end of it we were fast friends. Actually, for a time Jeff's family was my second family. His sister Rhonda was another great friend. Jeff ran with me and Mr. First Love. We went to church dances together, and after being chided at one for dressing "too casually" we bought formal clothes at thrift shops and went to the next dance in formal attire. That night we drove around in Jeff's parents' van and painted over the "embly" on all the local campaign signs that said "State Assembly." When the police drove by as we were getting out to hit another sign, the guys pretended they were walking me to the door of the house we had stopped at. It worked; the fuzz just drove on by.

There were so many more escapades, including an awful war of toilet papering that escalated and escalated, culminating in my house getting decimated because it had been discovered that I was a double agent. In the back of our yearbook, Rhonda published a "senior message" that included the sentence "and Colleen, come get your clothes out of my brother's backseat!" She knew full well what it sounded like, but we knew the truth and laughed and laughed.

I wrote to Jeff on his mission and we went right back to being great friends after he got back. But then he got engaged and I got dropped. I understand.

That church, that gigantic place where I went to Sunday School, met my first love, met so many beloved friends, doesn't exist anymore. The courtyard with some unknown gigantic tree that dropped messy inedible fruit on the ground every year, with cinderblock walls painted white, is long gone. When I was 16 years old, whoever is in charge of these things decided it would be cheaper to demolish the old building and build a new one instead of rehabbing. So in the spirit of civic duty, they let the fire department burn it down as a training opportunity.

Yes, they BURNED DOWN MY CHILDHOOD CHURCH. It would have been traumatic even if they had just bulldozed it, but I would occasionally make my then-boyfriend park across the street from it at night and watch it smolder. I even went inside one night and watched the embers pulse for a while. Apparently those were still the days when nobody gave much thought to security.

Places have memories. And progress rolls on. But the new building is just like so many others, soulless and mostly void of meaning for me. I have a lot of bad memories associated with the old place too, but visiting my old ward and attending services there means very little to me now. I feel even less moored, even more afloat when I think about it.

First Kiss

In a COMPLETE departure from despair and angst, I was reading a blogggg that mentioned a book filled with stories about people's first kisses. And I thought about my first kiss, and what a shame that it was a mistake, and I realized that I am not 100% sure now what his NAME even was. I think it was John. He was my friend Tisha's older brother, not really much in the intellect department, and he was probably only interested in me because my breasts had made a pretty impressive debut by that point. O, adolescence, you cruel joke.

It was a silly mistake and I think he had cigarette breath and I was so caught off guard by his casual request of a kiss as he was leaving that I kissed him even though I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to. I was in 7th or 8th grade and I kissed him in my parents' driveway. It was just a peck, but a kiss is a kiss and your first kiss only happens once and I threw it away!

I threw away a LOT of kisses; that's the truth. I was a fairly easy gal as far as kisses went - if i was unattached and a guy was cute enough, or smart enough, or strategically advantageous (there's a story in that one!) I'd kiss him. Kisses occasionally got me into trouble, and there were definitely kisses that should not have been given out. Like that first one.

I do remember the first one that counted. Oh, how in love I was. That awful, terrible first love when you think you'll be together for the rest of your lives until - poof - you aren't anymore. Some of you remember that one. We kept in touch sporadically and now we're in touch on Facebook and I'm proud of us both for being able to love each other as old, old friends who have no desire to "rekindle the flame" but just care deeply about how we both turned out. I think I loved him so much then because he really needed somebody to love him that much. I loved quite a few people because they needed to be loved. I didn't save many of them.

I am getting far too sentimental now. I'm going to go kiss D.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I'm over it now.

D is back, I've settled down. I had a good cry, I watched some Masterpiece Theatre-type stuff on Netflix, I've told myself all the usual things I tell myself every time this happens - it's inconvenient to live up in the canyons, it would work out better when the boys are older... and then I try to ignore the counterarguments that my troublesome brain insists on coming up with.

There are bright sides and sad sides to the whole thing. I just have to dwell on the bright sides. I just have to get through summer.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Same Old Song

there are already five offers in, all cash and over list price. I'm glad the boys are both at school, because I feel like saying an awful lot of very filthy words.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Self Injury.

Why, why, why do I torture myself? Another house came up for sale, way way up at the end of Silverado Canyon. It's lovely and I want it and it has probably $50k in termite damage. Ohmygosh it's so pretty and romantic and the creek runs right through it and there's a footbridge you have to cross from the parking area and there are morning glories vining all over it and OH HELL. The price is crazy low and it's going to get snatched up and our realtor wants us to be patient and wait for the termite report and D is out of town but he's given me permission to sign his name on an offer and I'm trying so hard not to get all wound up into a tizzy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oh, that Eli.

Eli thinks everything I say is wrong and must be tested. So yesterday I was on the floor, ironing out the fabric I'm using for Paul's baptism pants. I explicitly told Eli not to touch the iron, that it was hot and would burn him. Remember that he is five years old in one month and completely able to understand everything I told him. I got up and left the room, leaving the iron sitting up next to the fabric, and when I came back the iron was down (luckily it has a safety shutoff). I picked it up, waited for it to re-heat, and began moving the fabric.

Eli walked in, looking very sad and upset, and immediately began harassing me about why I owned an iron. "You shouldn't have bought that thing! What do you need it for? Why do they even exist? Why don't you get rid of it!" I noticed he was cradling his left hand, put that all together with the iron being moved, and asked "Did you touch the iron? Did it burn you?"

With tears in his eyes, he denied it all. A little later I was making him a snack and noticed again how sad he looked and how he was cradling his left hand. I said "Show me your hand," but of course he wouldn't. I finally got him to open it, and of course there's a small burn near the top of his palm. I got him an ice pack and then began interrogating him. Eli has a huge problem with confessing his wrongdoings, so I usually try pretty hard to get it out of him.

"How did you hurt your hand?"

"I was playing outside and I fell and hurt it."

"No you didn't. That's a burn, not a scrape."

"I was playing outside and the sun got so hot it burned my hand."

"No, it didn't. The sun would have burned your whole body, too. Did you touch my iron and get burned?"

"Noooooooooooooo! I don't remember!"

At this point he melted down, crawled into my lap and sobbed. We went and laid down on my bed together until he calmed down.

D was finally able to elicit a very petulant confession much later in the evening. I am going to milk this incident for all I can in terms of reminding him that many times I am correct in what I tell him and that he can potentially get hurt if he disobeys my instructions. This is why he is never taken to the Grand Canyon - can you imagine? "Eli, don't go near that cliff."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yaaawwwwwwn.

I'm tired. Composing anything more than a few sentences exhausts me. yet here I go...

D started the new job. It's fairly fascist in its employee management practices. He's 50/50 on it as of now.

I have 1/3 of the shade trellis built and planted. Since we have no A/C I need to block where the most heat builds up in the house, and in summer the sun just beats through one set of windows. So I'm building fairly cheap trellises and growing runner beans and other climbing crops up in front of them.

We did take advantage of the one-week gap in employment and took a small trip. We went to San Diego, stayed in a HOTEL (not a common vacation practice for us), and went to the Wild Animal Park, the Zoo, Coronado Island and the science museum. There was soooo much more we could have done, but just not enough time. We might do this again, it was so much fun.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Makin' It Work

Unless another job offer pops up by the end of today, D is going to accept the offer. He said it was the weirdest interview process he's ever been through. They wouldn't even tell him what he's going to be doing or who he'll be working with, which makes us think there's ether a BIG SECRET or they just don't have the new hires sorted out yet. Obviously we are hoping for super-interesting top secret amazing fancy-pants new product development, but the more likely scenario is that it will be a little more boring than that. D has talking been on the phone like a teenage girl all weekend - "What did they say to you? Did they say anything about so-and-so? Did they make you an offer? Are you going to take it? What about so-and so, did you talk to him?"

The biggest problem is that the job is twelve miles away. Laughable, I know, but we are spoiled. For the past 8 years, D has always come home for lunch. For five years, we lived TWO miles away from his work - he walked to work when the temperatures were nice. Twelve miles means no more lunches at home. If the job turns out to be something he wants to stay at, we'll consider moving to Santa Ana, where the job is. There's a K-5 school with an immersion program three miles from the new job, and if we could find a decent place to rent in one of Santa Ana's good neighborhoods (I won't lie to you, it has some bad ones) we would have ourselves a new adventure of sorts. But all of that is yet another giant "maybe."

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Incestuous World of Storage

For the last three years D has been working in what's called "storage," meaning data storage and accessibility. It's a small, small world and due to the constant shifting tides of employment pretty much everybody knows and has worked with somebody else at pretty much any other company in the biz. I mentioned that D's soon to be ex-boss has been shopping the team around and she has already lined up a mass interview today at noon. There were 26 people in the email she sent out, so the interviews are going to take all day.

BUT, this is not a company D wants to work for. The scuttlebutt he has heard is that they are a sweatshop, with long overtime hours (unpaid, because he'll be salaried) and frequent weekend sessions (also unpaid). He has also heard that they are cheap in regards to the tools and equipment they will buy (which is probably part of why they work overtime - inefficient tools and not enough to go around). BUT he has no desire to burn bridges and he is open-minded, so he dutifully filled out paperwork last night and went on the prowl for a 24-hour Kinko's so he could fax them in (our scanner is on the blink), and will go to the epic interviews today. We may be saved by the fact that D is a bit expensive, so this company might not want him anyway. OR the scuttle may be all wrong, they may be great and end up a perfect fit. All I know is that I want D to ENJOY what he does again, and I don't want to get too much poorer.

There is another possibility. D immediately contacted his former boss, of whom we are so very very fond, and began networking any paths found there. Then D contacted a sales rep for a company whose products he really enjoyed working with, told him he wanted to work with their stuff again, and did they know anybody using their stuff who was hiring? They were very enthusiastic about passing on D's resume to a local company they had nothing but good to say about, with the promise that they would really talk him up (Like I said, D really liked collaborating with these folks). So something may come of that. Or, he could go work for Intel in Folsom, which would at least be a new place and a bit of an adventure (plus I have family there!). They have a position open that is pretty much a perfect match for him.

Update: The first company made him an offer, good until Monday. No pressure, right? Ha!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Loveliest Love Song

I think I'm in love with Mike & Ruthy. Go to their website and listen to song number two, "All the Time," on the little player at the bottom of the home page:

http://www.mikeandruthy.com/

I want to learn to play it, along with song seven "Beg and Borrow."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's Over. And It's Begun.

D's last day is May 19th. Until then he exists in a weird sort of limbo - no work to do, but he still has to show up. Severance is two months' pay, and COBRA is paid for two months. Right now, for me at least, it just feels like freedom. I'm not scared yet, in fact D has made me feel very safe and confident. Apparently Hitachi hired a billboard truck to cruise up and down the street between his office and Western Digital's local facility, advertising that they are hiring.

D's going to start sending out resumes this week and has even requested a cell phone (he hasn't had once since Paul was born) for the job-searching process. What's nice is that he doesn't have to feel frantic and accept the first job that comes along. If he finds a job he likes, he'll ask to start in two weeks, then we'll pull Paul out of school and have a mini-adventure somewhere. Too bad Mexico just isn't safe; that would be fun.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to Business

D's business, that is.

Today the buyer was announced - it is a competitor who will almost certainly have no need for D's team. We are in good spirits. The sale should be completed in roughly 30 days and then the stock money is ours, plus there is talk that the severance packages may be three months' pay instead of just two. We'll see. There are oodles of local jobs for D, and his current managers are actually collecting the team's resumes, because they have been quietly shopping the entire team around to new employers. Apparently there is quite a bit of interest from the companies they have begun pitching to. So we are just going to ride it out and see what happens.

Our realtor checked out the Modjeska probate house for us and based on her report we aren't going to bother looking at it unless the price continues free-falling. Among its other problems, there is a hostile tenant who will not give up occupancy of the garage. There's a really, really nice house that just came up in Silverado but it's $390k, well above our self-imposed $350k cap AND it's a short sale so they are probably not interested in low offers. As always, anything under the cap is un-financeable, and anything over the cap is simply too much money.

I have my last day of class tomorrow, and my final next week. I really hope he gives us our point totals tomorrow, it would be nice to know if I have a solid A or am in the neighborhood of a B. Oh, the horror.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Well, They Were Funny to Me

Unintentional license plate humor time!

E goes to preschool with the child of a lovely woman who I don't know as well as I should, but I am inclined to like. She runs a kind of recreational day camp for kids. Her car has advertisements on it for her business. Her license plate says:

"FUN4BUX."

It is so openly blunt about the fact that she runs a business for money. I adore it and it makes me chuckle every single time I see it. I would never have a license plate that blunt. I am in awe.

I was behind a truck at a red light. It was a window-washing company truck, covered in graphics and advertising the business' phone # and website. The license plate said:

"IDOWDWS."

Which, to me, does NOT translate to "I do windows." I was glad it was a long red light because the laughing took a while to subside.

Friday, May 07, 2010

More planting, More Time-Wasting.

Moving more seedlings out, planting more seeds. I am a Jenny-come-lately this year. I finally planted the flour corn, some lima beans, chia, and red quinoa. I made a lettuce planter to keep on the back patio, in partial shade, and yesterday I scattered purple carrot and French breakfast radish seeds in the empty spaces.

We're going to look at another house on Monday. It's in Modjeska. It's a probate sale with a reverse mortgage on it, AND it's a fixer so it won't qualify for traditional financing. But it's 1900 sf on an 8k lot, so it's worth at least looking at. The pictures are atrocious. They keep slashing the price and it's down to $299k now, plus they say, "Make us an offer!" right in the listing. However, if they get much lower then the reverse mortgage will render it a short sale. Could it be any more complicated? Soooooo, I am actually not tremendously hopeful about it.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Almost There...

Phew! The worst and busiest part of the spring is over (I hope).

Anniversary Party: Have I already vowed not to throw any more big parties? Because now I solemnly vow. I can't handle it. No more than 20 invites from here on out.

Grand Canyon: several kinds of awesome. We (Me, D, Paul and Carl W) hiked the South Kaibab trail down to Bright Angel campground and slept there the first night. The weather going in was ca-razy, snow and light hail and cooooold wind, but we knew it would warm up as we lost elevation and we had DRIVEN THERE DAGNABBIT so we went in. The light hail kept up on and off, with a few sneaky patches of warm, warm sun that lasted just long enough that we finally removed our jackets, only to have the weather say "Psych!" and switch back to cold and hail again. It rained a bit at Bright Angel but then turned into a very pleasant night. We had awful, awful cocoa at Phantom Ranch and Paul filled out the special Phantom Ranch Junior Ranger booklet, got sworn in as a Junior Ranger and got a super snazzy rattlesnake patch that you can only get down at the bottom of the canyon:
The next day we hiked up to Indian Garden and slept there that night. Paul got a little whiny because it was uphill, but we tried various mind games and were finally able to trick him into beating us all to camp. After setting up camp we hiked out to Plateau Point, which is out on the edge of the Tonto Plateau and offers a mind-blowing view of the inner canyon and the Colorado River. We cooked dinner out there and enjoyed the sunset, which was a little too cloudy to be perfect but still ranked very high on the awesomeness scale.

The hike out was awful but climbing 3000 feet in 4.5 miles usually is! The weather was mostly perfect though, nothing like last year when it rained, hailed and snowed on us for pretty much the whole day. Our Jedi mind tricks worked like a charm on Paul and he was the first to the top, as usual.

I'm so glad Carl was able to come with us. I know the hike was hard, but it was so much fun spending time with him again and I think (hope) he had a great time overall.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Why, oh why am I crazy?

I'm supposed to be getting ready for the big anniversary party this Saturday. You had better be coming, or I will hold a grudge against you for the better part of a day (OK, if you have a good excuse I've forgiven you already). We have mostly cleared the side yard (thank you Stephen!), where the dancing part of the hootenanny will take place. I am struggling with how to light the side yard, but I think a combination of solar LED pathlights, a few borrowed propane lanterns, a bright moon and some white Christmas lights should hopefully do the trick. I still need to figure out where I'm putting the empty water storage barrels that STILL have not been picked up by my forgetful friends. We'll need to borrow a truck and steal tables & chairs from church.

Party eco-ethics are tricky. I want to just make a big ol' pot of cheater posole, but I do not have reusable bowls. I have several dozen reusable plastic plates, but no bowls. I do not want to generate a bunch of trash, so I may have to come up with another idea. Too bad I already bought two 6-lb cans of hominy. Guests will drink out of as many Mason jars as I can drum up, but I will probably have to resort to plastic cups as well. We'll have international sodas & lemonade & water and maybe, just maybe a big batch of sweetened Mugicha (a Japanese drink brewed from roasted barley, WAY tasty). D wants to order samosas as well, but I'm leaving that up to him. Some wonderful people from church are also bringing food, but I have no idea what so it will be a surprise smorgasbord.

And since I tend to cram way too many things into way too little time, we're going to the Grand Canyon next week. We'll need to clean up after the party AND pack before we leave on Wednesday. Plus we're packing extra for our friends that are coming with us. And we need to line up a chicken-sitter.

I bought myself a "new" guitar to take into the canyon. It's an original-model Martin Backpacker. It looks like this:

Even I can't believe how little I paid for it! It's a steel string but it sounded awful so I switched to high-tension nylon strings. You are NOT supposed to put nylons on a steel string because the neck is adjusted for a particular tension, but since the neck and body are all one solid piece on this type of guitar I'm taking my chances. It sounds much nicer now, a quiet guitar sound but with a slight banjo twang. I'm still getting used to it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Kibosh

I told D to stop telling me work rumours. I can't take them anymore.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I'm Chill Again

I did yard work yesterday and that helped to calm me down. We have a bunch of volunteer sunflowers that just popped up wherever they pleased, and I relocated most of them yesterday. They are all rather large and I hope they survive the transplanting.

This week is crazy busy so I hope that will help keep my mind off of the instability. Annemarie's rental house was nice in many ways but I think we will just choose patience. AGAIN.

Hey, you all know about the anniversary party, right? April 24th? If you don't, then I'm a jerk who forgets her friends. If I haven't bothered to invite you let me know in the comments.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What the H-ll should I do?

Annemarie called last night; her tenant has given her notice. We are going to look at the house tonight. D is still deeply reluctant to make any commitments until he knows what is going on with his job; I am sick to death of this limbo and since I have no way of knowing when or if it will ever end (even if the parent company sells, they could always spin off D's division), I am in favor of just living as if it isn't happening. If he gets laid off, he WILL find another job - on Dice, there are two pages of job listings for firmware engineers within 25 miles of where we live.

The pros: $400 less in rent every month. Modjeska is beautiful and quiet.

The cons: Massively inconvenient. We'd have to drive the boys down the hill to school every day - 9.5 miles each way. New church ward, but we'd probably see if we can still attend our current ward.

If I could come up with an idea to bring in about $300 a month, I would feel OK about staying. Our gasoline expenses would probably increase by at least $100 a month if we moved uphill.

D wonders if getting laid off might be the kicker in getting us launched out of southern California. But if we leave, where do we go? We're trapped by D's career - San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle - none of these are any more affordable than where we are. Texas is so very far away, and so very flat. Florida is even worse on both of those counts. Phoenix... I love you Stephanie, but we'd have to be desperate before I would even consider it. Salt Lake City? Ohhhhh no.

It kind of deflates my heart to realize that not all of our dreams will come true. I have to keep working hard to keep gratitude first and foremost in my heart. I *am* grateful. Bitterness is not my friend, though she sure tries to be.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Optimism

I finally put some vegetable plants in the ground, which could be interpreted as a sign of hopefulness. One of the front yard raised beds now has 6 Beefsteak tomato plants. I have about 9 Anaheim chile plants waiting to go in, two "Big Daddy" bell pepper plants, two different eggplants (Millionaire and Baby Blush), 3 Stevia bushes and a bunch of onions.

More than half of the seeds I planted did not sprout, so I'm starting again. I over-watered; some of the beans rotted. Why the chile seeds didn't sprout is a mystery to me, as the tomatoes were very happy to sprout under the same watering conditions.

On to D's work. We have yet another promise of more information coming next week. I hate this.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

HAPPY EASTER

First of all, have a glorious Easter. I am not one for sentiment, but this is my favorite holiday because of the hopefulness of the message of the resurrection. And just typing that took more out of me than you can know. Now, on to lighter fare:

The Menu:

Braised Lamb Shanks with Fennel and Baby Potatoes

Minted Fava Bean, Almond and Parmesan Salad
Green Salad with Cucumbers and Homemade Croutons
Grilled Asparagus
Brown Rice
Silly Molded Raspberry Pudding with fresh fruit

My sister is bringing scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit salad, and Bixby Salad, which is a jello concoction that has pecans, cottage cheese, pineapple, celery and who knows what else in it (a nod to our shamefully caloric and jello-based mid-century Mormon culinary heritage). My in-laws are bringing a Honeybaked ham, because for them it is just not a holiday without a Honeybaked ham. I am a food snob, I freely admit it, but all I can do is smile and sigh inside.

(Sigh)


We made cascarones - confetti-filled eggshells that kids get to crack on each others' heads. Those are for when the cousins come over later - we'll have two egg hunst today. I tricked the boys into staying up late last night so I could hide eggs in the yard at leisure this morning. So I'd better get to work on that and start braising the lamb. Yummers.

Anybody else hosting or cooking a lot? Whatcha cookin'?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

98%

74 points possible, but he graded based on 70. I earned 69 points, mainly because I blanked out on how to graph an unusual set of equations.

Yes, I'm bragging. Now on to Easter preparations. I'm hosting this year and of course the house looks like a hurricane hit. Happy Easter!

Monday, March 29, 2010

I Got Nothin'

The continuing limbo and seemingly endless false alarms are killing my soul. We *might* at least have an answer about who is buying the company by the end of this week, which *might* give us some insight into how safe D's job is.

I have delayed planting anything. I think I will just keep transferring plants to larger containers - that way if all ends up being safe and we then relocate up to the canyons, I'll be able to take my veggies with me and plant them there. Or, if D loses his job I can sell/give away the plants if we end up going vagabond. I doubt I'll have any trouble finding homes for the chickens; many generous friends have already offered to take them.

We might be baptizing Paul on May 29th. I'm going to sew him baptism clothes - just simple drawstring pants and a pullover shirt. Maybe I'll get ambitious and sew some for D as well, but I'm not banking on it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Afoot

Yet another plot is brewing. We're just going to look for a rental up in the canyons, and then invest in property someplace we want to live once we can afford to leave OC. The big problem with buying in the canyons is that anything affordable has an agent that wants all-cash offers. We don't have $175k lying around. Anything in finance-able condition is over our self-imposed cap of $300k. Plus there's a high fire risk and in some cases homes are only insurable through the state insurance programs. Ick. So renting is looking like our best alternative.

I found a very promising 2/1 for $1675 this weekend; Dan will go up and see it at lunch today. We also attended a "Welcome to the World" party for our friends Andrew & Laurel's new baby, Gryphon. While at that party, we started chatting with their friend Annemarie, who owns some rental properties in Modjeska Canyon. See where this is going? Turns out she has a 1000 sf 2-bedroom she rents for $1600 and the tenant is probably going to give notice in the next month or so.

Modjeska Canyon is nice. I wouldn't mind it at all. We'll have to downsize, but we'd have to do that even if we bought a place. And paying less money in rent every month will make it much easier to swing a small payment on whatever faraway property we end up buying, and still keep up with our savings. I feel very peaceful with this idea - the only potential snag would be if Annemarie's tenant decides to stay.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Productivity

I should keep stats on my GDP, but I'd probably just end up mortified at how lazy I actually am.

Today's big project: cutting out dozens of fabric circles, to properly and safely store my beautiful china that I will never use. Well, I might get daring and use it for the adults on Easter. I would like to sew bags for the china as well - a bag for the stacked bowls, a bag for each set of plates, etc.

This is my china (sorry Julia, I know how much you covet it):



It's Royal Doulton's "Desert Star" pattern, from the 1950's. It's one of my greatest thrift store finds, and at $125 it was one of my biggest splurges as well. This picture doesn't even do it justice. I *love* this china. I have eight full settings. I even had the coffeepot and lid, until Eli thought it would be a great idea to kick the box it was in and knock it off the couch. It's a miracle that kid is still alive.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Finally! Planting!

First round of spring seeds went in the mini greenhouses today. Planted:

Scarlet runner beans (to cover the trellises I'm putting in front of the south-facing windows), triomphe de farcy bush beans, soyu cucumbers, pasilla bajio chiles, NuMex Joe Parker chiles, persimmon tomatoes, red & yellow brandywines.

Next round will be: trionfo violetto pole beans (thanks for the tip, Jessica), New Zealand Spinach, "butterbean" soybeans, clary sage, mitsuba, and some herbs yet to be decided upon. And oh! The blue corn needs to get started! I still have all of last summer's harvest saved up.

We are considering making a land purchase in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, outside of Fresno. That way if Dan decides to go back to school we can park a trailer on our acres and live super cheap for a couple of years. No matter what, we could keep it as a retirement property. We're trying to cycle through as many options as we can think up.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh, Even *I* am Sick of Me.

Enough whining!

I am happy tonight because Dan installed a new OS on my com-pooter and it actually WORKS again! I have been conducting my online affairs through the TV in the living room, which mostly stunk except that Dan installed some sweeet speakers and I can listen to purty music out there.

So I cleared out the (I am not kidding) over 600 unread (and unimportant) emails in my inbox, and I am now SITTING IN A CHAIR rather than standing up with my head turned up at an awkward angle. I can catch up on my beloved friends' blogs (the links are all saved here, not on the TV server) and waste time in a different room. Satisfied sigh.

Now I have to go plant some seeds!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's Good Enough!

I cheated, I admit it, but I pared down my time-wasting significantly and that is a win in itself.

I wish I could say that on top of studying algebra like a madwoman and practicing guitar I was also incredibly productive, but the truth is that the house is a disaster, the yard is covered in chicken droppings, almost every article of clothing is dirty and I have my work cut out for me during Spring Break - firewood choppin', new coop-buildin', garden clearin', and . At least I have my mini greenhouse cells filled with soil and most of the seeds picked out, even though I am sooooo late in getting this started.

Yeah, you heard me, I ain't goin' nowhere. I can't think of anybody who can watch Eli for 5 days on what I can afford to offer. It looks like poor Dan will be subjected to the nauseating martyr act several times this summer. It is fundamentally unfair that he can take time off from work and I cannot because I am unpaid labor. I should make a "time off" jar and start filling it in with all the times I have stayed home while he has gone off without me for a re-charge in the mountains. Then I'll cash it all in someday. I could go away all summer long by the time that's an option.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Moratorium

Ze internet, she is a black hole of time for me. I have an al-jibra exam next week, a sort of guitar performance (at E's preschool), and I have to figure out what I'm going to do with my kids so I can go on some sort of vacation for my spring break* - not to mention figuring out what I'm going to DO for said Spring Break. I'm thinking of stringing together a couple of overnight backpacking trips to local areas I haven't made it to yet. It's too cold to head to four corners or the higher local mountains, so I'm thinking the semi-desert ranges.

So adieu for seven days, friends. If you see me on Facebook, slap me (textually).


*I am going off for Spring Break because Dan currently plans to abandon me for 7+ days this summer to do half of the John Muir Trail with a friend. Rather than put on the martyr act, which I am nauseatingly good at, I need to carve out my own opportunities for kid-free recreation.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Spring!

Maybe not technically yet, but it TOTALLY IS. I have two 72-unit plastic mini greenhouses that need to get filled up with soil and seeds! I should have done it last month, but I bought a few tomato seedlings to make up for my laziness. Ohhhhhh tomatoes, how I love thee.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

And More Job Nonsense

The purchase, if it happens, will not be final now until April or May. The buyer has to be publicly announced and then the board must deliberate on it for 45 days, according to law. So we know for sure Dan has a job at least until then. OK, I can be calm about that. Knowing who the buyer is might illuminate whether Dan will be kept or not. If Dan does end up getting laid off, May would be ideal.

Dan's lunch with "Rob" went well. Basically, Rob would love to have him back, and Dan would love to be back. The problems are: the GM may still say no (he intensely disliked Dan 2.5 years ago), it will almost certainly involve a pay cut (the benefits are much better at Dan's current job, so even if they match his salary we will still lose money), and Dan may have to be patient before he can transition into the exact work he wants to be doing.

So we're still going to look at the major fixer today. I don't care if we sleep in the garage all summer long, provided it will work for us.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kickin' Tires

We're going to go look at the water-damaged house tomorrow, just to see if it's remotely suitable for us after repairs. It's going to be a money pit, but we're considering making an offer for not much more than land value *IF* the house layout is semi-acceptable. I don't mind the idea of stripping a house down to the studs and re-doing it. I already know I can live in conditions most people would find deplorable. I can do demolition. I can nail up new siding, I can cut and install styrofoam insulation, I can work around having no kitchen cabinets for quite a while (I just need a stove and a sink to wash the dishes in). I can learn how to lay tile. I can spray boric acid to repel termites. I can't necessarily fix the decks, I can't install drywall or mud it, I can't fix any framing/support problems. I can't re-wire. We would have to get a construction/purchase loan. It's all just smoke for now, anyway.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An Interesting Development

Dan went to lunch with two former co-workers today, we'll call them "the guys." They both still work for the company Dan was with prior to his current job. We'll call it "O'Neal."

Dan was very happy the first few years he worked for O'Neal. He had an awesome boss, "Rob," who took good care of him - it was a mutual appreciation society. But alas, the company was sold and the new overlords insisted on implementing the protocols they were using at another company they owned, mucking it up for everybody, and then Dan clashed with the college-professor-full-of-theories GM the new overlords installed (which is bizarre, because Dan is such a laid-back, likable guy). Finally Dan had enough and left. Rob stayed and suffered, but we were both so fond of him that we've stayed in touch somewhat these past three years - Dan's had lunch with him periodically and they occasionally talk or email. The last company gossip was that the overlords were planning on moving the software/programming department to Florida.

Fast forward to today, lunchtime. Dan's talking with the guys about a backpacking trip, and the conversation eventually swings to work. Dan asks "So is it still looking like you're going to Florida?" The guys give each other a speculative look, then tell Dan that the overlords have finally realized that they were giving O'Neal short shrift, that O'Neal had been better before they mucked with it, and basically that almost everything had changed. Three times, they urged Dan to contact his old boss - Dan had actually been trying to set up a lunch date with him this week anyway. They seemed to imply Dan could be hired back easily. Dan said, "But the GM hates me." The guys just shrugged and said "He's really come around."

Dan's going to try to get Rob out to lunch on Friday or over to dinner on Thursday night. Nothing may come of it, but something might. It wouldn't get me out of Orange County, but I've come to peace with the thought that I might be stuck here forever.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Garage Sold

Garage Sale Wave I is finished. I was absurdly pleased that a really nice couple bought my Kafka anthology. I made $122, and didn't even sell half of what I put out. I'm debating just packing it all off to Goodwill or saving it for Garage Sale Wave II.

Wow, am I tired. This was a rough week. My car was in the shop, Dan got really sick and missed two days of work, I knocked myself out getting stuff sorted, dusted and priced for the sale, and I pitched in and helped with some last-minute costume stuff for Road Show. I took a break this afternoon to sit in the hot tub and I actually fell asleep in it.

I got 88% on the algebra exam - lots of stupid mistakes. I think that might be the worst I've done on an exam since I went back to college. I really love getting A's, but right now I may have to settle for B's.

Did you know I am a reluctant enjoyer of Twilight? It's my secret shame. I dragged my friend Connie to see New Moon at the dollar theatre, and we had a great time. It's so so so cornball and teenage. We sat in front of two young men with Down Syndrome who provided loud running commentary throughout the whole movie and they were AWESOME. I always, always want to see movies with them now. I tell you all this because I liked the New Moon soundtrack enough to actually order the songbook so I could learn some of the songs on guitar. I've been practicing and practicing, like a woman on fire, and although my pinky is still MADDENINGLY clumsy I've actually improved a lot. I won't be playing at church anytime soon, but I'm not embarrassed to play in front of friends now.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just Can't Get Enough

I must be a masochist. The latest canyon cabin of interest was, according to my realtor, "A great little house until we got 13 inches of rain, the deck drains clogged and the downstairs flooded."

Sigh x 1000.

Weighting My Decisions

We're going to look at another house up in the canyons. The price point is attractive; so attractive that we could pay it off in less than 15 years if we so chose. Dan could take a pay cut in exchange for more time off work, which would mean more family vacations.

It's 1,140 square feet, 200 smaller than what we have here, but in all honesty we aren't using all the square footage here, unless you count piling furniture and lesser-used items along one end of the great room. It has a 2-car garage and possibly some driveway as well (it's hard to tell from the pictures).

But the lot is small - 4000 square feet - and sloped, although the pictures show that somebody has already terraced it. It's on the south side, which means it's shadier, although that depends on the slope behind it too. The south side also occasionally has a rock break loose and roll down, although again that depends on the slope - this one might be safer, but I'm going by memory when I say that. It's not on the main road, which means it will be pretty quiet and I can feel reasonably safe letting the boys out to play. We would also be walking distance from our two friends in the canyon, who have kids very close to ours in age.

We would have to homeschool or drive the boys down the hill to school, 16 miles one way. Silverado Elementary was closed due to budget cuts, and I'm not putting my boys on the bus to Orange - AN HOUR AWAY BY SCHOOL BUS! So that would raise our gas costs and our pollution output. But I really like the immersion program and don't want to pull the boys out of it. We could probably still have the chickens, but I might have to find another place to grow my veggies - strike a deal with somebody to share the bounty if I can grow on their land.

Your thoughts? I'm always open to advice.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surprise Middle

Today was shaping up to be a pity party birthday. It's still not all I wanted it to be, but I'll survive.

But today brought a lovely surprise - the chickens have not laid since last month's huge storm system, but today I found three eggs in the coop and three more hidden behind the prehistorically huge Bird of Paradise plant in the side yard. We're back in business and I can delay chopping off their heads!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Leap O' Faith

We're signing Paul up for an eight-week after school chess class. In eight weeks we could still be here with Dan in the same job (with a new employer), still here with Dan in a new job, be packing up to relocate for a job, or preparing to go live in a trailer on my Aunt & Uncle's ranch. And I need to be ready for any and all of those scenarios. While still living a normal day-to-day life. Eek.

This is a 4-day weekend for the school district and I'm tempted to take the boys on a camping trip, but I should probably just keep clearing out unnecessary stuff and have my garage sale this Saturday (if it doesn't RAIN AGAIN). I hate shunting fun.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

AMOS IS IN MISSISSIPPI!!! YAYYYYYYY!

He damaged his old phone and that's why he couldn't return my messages - his new cheapie phone didn't show my number. Now I am happy again.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I'm not procrastinating, I just don't want to do it.

Stephen says I'm always answering "Busy" when he asks how I am. And it's true. I am! But busy is not why I have not yet written any more of dad's "eulogy." I am hyper-emotional right now and I just can't put myself through writing more about Dad for now.

I am probably going to have a hysterectomy this year. I know I have said my uterus was closed for business anyway, but in the back of my brain I knew I could change my mind - even though I knew that would be a very bad idea. But now that option has pretty much been taken away - there will not be one last sweet babe. It's OK, EVERYTHING in the universe has been telling me for a while that there will be no more sweet babes. I thought I was cool with it. But there's been quite a rash of people having babies all around me, and all of a sudden I got baby fever. But my fibroid is basically the size of a newborn baby's head - it's much larger than my uterus. It could cause placental implantation problems, and of course placental abruption is what almost killed me and Paul. I could have the fibroid removed and just know that a c-section would be the only option, which isn't anything awful, but then we come back to the point that I am already functioning on the edge of my capacity and really, honestly should not have another child because I can barely keep the two I have safe, clean, dressed and fed, and with minimal emotional damage inflicted. I feel like I've come out of the fog in the last two years and I don't want to go back in there.

I wish I was different. I wish I wasn't plagued with whatever mental affliction it is that I have. I wish I wasn't so insular and stubborn and had given in years ago and gone on prozac like so many people I know. But that's the past and dwelling on it is pointless. My life is awesome, I'm healthy, I have a wonderful partner, my kids are healthy and smart and sweet (even Eli has his moments of delightfulness!), I have a roof over my head and I never, ever worry about where our next meal will come from. I keep growing and progressing as a person. Really, my life is SWEEEET.

What's also playing into this anguish is that 5+ months of job insecurity is really fraying my nerves. I just saw a 3/1 house for rent up in Trabuco Canyon on an acre with a barn, for only $100 more a month than what we're paying here. But Dan will not even consider it because of his job situation. Some friends of ours are moving and the rent on their house is cheaper than we're paying here, and it's right across the street from the school, but we can't consider it because of the job situation.

I will honestly be OK no matter what. I just want to KNOW. Dan promised that he would start sending out resumes this month, but he wants to gamble that he'll get the stock that will vest fully on the date of the sale - but we don't know when that will be. I keep telling him he has a better chance at getting another job while he still has a job, but still he's resisting. He told me this morning that he'll start next week. I think I'll nag him to start this weekend - after all, nobody will be in the offices until Monday.

I'm trying to be ready for the worst - "Expect the best, be prepared for the worst," right? I have piles and piles of stuff in the garage for a yard sale. I've been putting up craigslist ads right and left. I want stuff gone NOW. I'm saving the good stuff, just in case, but if the worst happens I'll have another sale. If Dan is laid off, I will tolerate one month of unemployment before I start preparing for us to go vagabond. I will not drain our savings to pay rent and utilities while Dan hunts for a job in a 20% unemployment market (remember, the official numbers are just the people on the unemployment rolls - the actual number is higher).

And Amos seems to have gone missing. I haven't heard from him in two weeks. He's not answering my messages. If I can't reach him soon, I'll track down his son in Mississippi. I'm hoping that Amos already went back and is just embarrassed that he didn't say goodbye or give me his things to sell like he said he would. I hope nothing bad happened.

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to.

So my birthday is coming up. I want a pair of Wellington boots. My $1 garage sale Sperry Topsiders are beginning to develop hairline cracks, so I want some Wellies because I have wanted Wellies for YEARS now and they just don't turn up at yard sales or thrift shops here. Nobody in soCal has them in stock. It appears I am forced to buy them online, which is very daunting because now I can get them in about 20 different colors and two different finishes and frankly that's too many choices for me! Do I go for bright obnoxious shiny shades like violet or pea green, or for camouflagey all-purpose shades like dark brown, black or original Scottish green? I imagine insane scenarios wherein a crazy killer is loose in the woods and I either live or die based on whether I am able to hide in the brush. Knee-high violet rubber boots would surely give away my hiding place.

Yes, I am crazy. I just keep a tight lid on it most of the time.