Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 27-May 30 - The weekend of the move from heck

"Where are the kids?"
-Doug, Saturday upon realizing they weren't up in our grill the whole day because they were in their own rooms...

Due to lack of internet connectivity for the entire weekend, I present to you May 27-May 30.


May 27, 2006, 11:00pm
The 48 hours I just lived through, I would honestly like to take back.

I want a do-over. I want to do things better, and do them right. I want to be more of a shrieking Cassandra at my daughter and husband. I want to just make the past two days, past few weeks even, totally different.

We left the house in kind of a wreck, more than kind of. Sad but true. Embarrassingly so.

There was more junk in the basement than we realized, and more stuff that we were just throwing out as we went along. Stuff that we should have gone through weeks ago. Stuff that I should have forced Doug and Jess to deal with. Stuff I should have dealt with too.

While we were supposed to be unloading a U-haul, we were still cleaning and packing, and it turned into a major, ugly, production.

Yes, we should have planned better. We really needed the entire weekend, not just Friday morning until noon to get out of the house. I should have negotiated that we'd have until the 31st to be cleaned out. Things would have been much better then. I doubt though that neighbor cousin would have even considered that.

The neighbor cousin was understandably rather upset with us for not having cleaned up as well as we should have.

But if you tell me you are going to "gut the place" why should I scrub the toilet and tub upon leaving? Really. What difference does it make in the end.

The basement? Yes. The carpet smelling like a dog? No.

So, Doug went up this morning and "made it right" by giving him some cash in the end (far, far too much in my opinion) and we're done.

We're done -- it's over, we're out of there. We're in here, and already it is so much more organized and easy to deal with that I can't believe I lived in that other house as long as I did.

Even though I'd like that do-over, I can't really believe how much happier I am already.

The truck had to be returned to U-Haul by 7am this morning. We lost all of our help on Friday around 5pm. Jess' friend Lizzy showed up and helped us unload the truck in the pouring rain. POURING effin' rain.

I ran to the hardware store at 6pm and got the last three of their 17 x 20 tarps. We unloaded the truck onto the lawn. We covered all our belongings and prayed that our little town didn't have people living in it that would untarp and take all of our stuff. Anything valuable came inside. What sat out there was large furniture, books, books, books, bags of clothing, more books. All our kitchen stuff. More books.

I think if Lizzy hadn't come by to help, we wouldn't have been able to finish the job. Thank God for Lizzy and for all of the other little blessings and tiny miracles that I have probably overlooked.

Our mattress ended up in the livingroom, and we didn't even attempt to bring it up the stairs. We crashed hard and landed on the bed after the children were in their own beds. We both quickly realized that while we were dying to fall asleep, neither of us were able. The bodies were immobile, but the brains kept spinning.

At about 10pm he whispers "Do you want to take the truck back now? It has to be back by 7am, and that way we won't have to get up at 6 to do so."

Sure. Why not. I managed to lift my unbelievably pained body up out of the bed, found a pair of Jess' flip flops and some dorm pants, and got ready to get out the door.

We woke Jess up to tell her that we were leaving, just in case she or her brother woke up and found us missing I didn't want either of them to freak.

I followed Doug up to drop the truck off. We were back in the house by 11, in bed again by midnight, and I fell asleep around 2am.

Jack went nuts at 4am and started barking at everything. I guess Jess got up to go to the bathroom, and he just wasn't used to any noises or activity like that over his head. He finally settled down after pacing and panting in my face, and then Geoff was up at 5:50 looking for breakfast.


I took him to the donut store, got coffee and a dozen fresh-out-of-the-oven baked treats, and we went home to contemplate our next move.

I had my major melt down shortly thereafter. As if you didn't see it coming.

I blew up at Doug, probably for the first time in many, many years. I really let my feelings out, let him know that I was so unhappy with the fact that he spent a few days reading papers he'd written in 1987 instead of throwing stuff out or taking trips to the dump or whatever... the planning ahead factor for both my daughter and husband didn't exist.

And it proved to overwhelm me in the end.

I knew he was overwhelmed and surprised too, I knew this hit him hard and broadsided him and made him so realize how not prepared he really was, and he was very sorry. I felt badly for blowing up at him, and apologized, and he held me around the shoulders and told me that it's over, it's done, we're here and...

Now we get on with the next chapter in our lives.

Many lessons have been learned these past few days.

First of all, I am never moving again.
Second, if for any reason I ever HAVE to move again, I will hire a company.
Third, Carrie is the greatest.
Fourth, if you need help with anything, putting an ad up at Gordon College really pays off. They have an online job posting board, so kids all over the place check the jobs and were willing to come from as far away as Boston or Concord NH to help us out. We ended up with two kids... and they were astounding, helpful, mind-blowingly awesome, and I love them both dearly. So if you live in Greater Boston and you need help with something... they're checking the board for jobs. I can tell you that.
Fifth, if you think you are all set with two kids from a college, you're not. Hire Ten. You need ten. Not two.
Sixth, my daughter has some really kick-ass friends. Lizzy and Kayla especially. Thank you girls.
Seventh, my friends Mr. and Mrs. Kayla's Mom and Dad rule just as much as Carrie. Suzanne came and stood over me and yelled at me to throw things out that we will never ever ever need again. She gave me her laundry baskets to use for unloading the fridge... that was awesome. Gerry came over this morning and helped Doug move all the boxes and bureaus and bookcases into the house. My back hurts so badly that I can't lift anything up a flight of stairs that is any heavier than a bottle of beer, so having him here was such a blessing.
Eighth, always know where your razor is packed so you can shave your legs. Similarly, always know where the coffee and coffeemaker are packed. Similarly, know which box you put your son's breakfast cereal in (you planned well -- you put the box of cereal in with a bowl and a spoon. You really did -- you knew he'd be hungry and be up at 5:50... so you planned ahead) and know where it is (the garage is not a good place for that item. No. It is not. Make sure it makes it into the kitchen and is sitting there labeled "Geoff's Cereal and bowl and spoon. Open, combine, add milk.").
Ninth, no matter how nice you are to someone sometimes they can turn out to be kind of super shitty in the end. And to be honest, throwing money at them to tell them to shut the hell up is the best option. Even if it is more money than you ever thought the person deserved, just do it and get on with your life.

So Doug and I totally agreed that this entire experience of moving sucked long and hard, that we're never moving again (see point 1) and if we do, see point 2 above.

Free advice for you kids -- when the Comcast guy is here, and he hooks up your cable TV and internet, do NOT let him leave until after you've hooked up the PC and tested it.

At 1pm on Friday, the Comcast guy came and hooked up the service. We put a splitter on the line for the TV to get a feed and for the modem to get a feed. The computer was sitting here, I had just brought everything over with me from the old house. We hit the hookup on the TV and fired it up and everything worked.

Mr. Comcast says... "Well, looks like you're juiced and all set. Plug in your PC and you should be running just fine."

Big Fat Liar.

I didn't get around to plugging in the PC until very late on Saturday night due to all the work we had been doing.

I know... where are my priorities.

So I got everything set up, plugged in, and there was no Internet Nothing. Tech support was helpful, confirmed I'd hooked everything up just right... so there has to be a problem on the pole.

Lesson learned. Next time dude says "you're all set" and goes to leave, you be sure to say, "Um, No. Not until I put everything together and test it. Would you like an iced tea while I find my cables and monitor? Have a seat."

Someone is coming on Tuesday afternoon between 1 and 3pm to fix whatever needs to be fixed. Jerks.

Sunday May 28, 2006, 10:00am
Sunday morning, I'm sick and tired of boxes, tape, and unpacking, I thought I'd take a second to mind dump again.

The thing that amazes me the most is that I haven't blown up at Jessica. I want to. I really do. A lot of our unpreparedness comes from her unpreparedness, and how her room was in such a state when it came time to leave that it monkeywrenched everything.

I told her that NOTHING goes in a closet here for "saving." If she doesn't need it, or if she needs ME to evaluate it to see if it is a keeper, I will.

I am a sentimental person, and sometimes I keep peculiar mementos of life. But...

The morning of the move she was throwing out books of poetry and art she'd done in Elementary School (she knows I keep all this) but she kept the one Garfield Slipper that she had from when she was like six. The mate is long gone.




Doug busted her on the thrown out school work, and I busted her on the slipper.

I said to her "Why didn't you throw this out? Why are we moving this to the new house in a moving truck?"

"I couldn't throw it out. It would be wasteful."

No -- it would be wasteful to throw it out if you had a mate for it and we knew of a little girl or boy who NEEDED a cozy pair of Garfield Slippers. This is not wasteful. Throw the shit out!

She is UNREAL. The stuff she saves -- she puts her dad to shame. Totally. And I'm going to go through that room when she is done and I'm throwing everything out. Gone. One thing at a time over the course of the next year... and she'll never ever notice.

Ha. (I know she's reading this too. so. --shakes fist at girl).

As for Geoff, he made my life easy. Bet you never ever thought I'd say those words. Let it soak in. Let that phrase wash over you. It amazes me to this moment.

Geoff. Made. My. Life. Easy.

Because of his learning disability, because of his anxiety surrounding change, I started working with him on this whole process back in February. He threw out a whole bunch of stuff. Gave away a whole bunch of "baby toys" that he will never need again. I gave him ownership of his own packing. Even if he put only ONE thing in EACH box, he had control over the situation and he did it satisfactorily.

Before he'd close a box, he'd ask me to look in and make sure it was full enough. And then I'd let him tape it, even if he used 90 pieces of tape. It was his. He did it -- done.

He and I boxed up all his books pretty much immediately. He put one truck in each box and taped them shut so in the end he had 10,000 boxes but all his stuff was fully packed, except for laundry and some stray toys on the floor that Carrie (see point 3 above) threw into trash bags and set aside for him the night before we moved.

He was done, ready to move, ready to go. And he really was the only one.

Yesterday morning we sat on his bed and unpacked. We went through some of his stuff and I asked him "Do you REALLY need this?" And he would evaluate it, and say yes or no... or, "Why don't I think about this one for the summer, and if I don't use it by the end of the summer it's gone."

I love my son.

Monday May 29, 2006, 5:15pm
I feel badly for people who have to work on a holiday. So I was sure to thank the employees of Demoula's Market Basket profusely when I went there this morning. Yes, it sucks to work on the holiday but dude -- thank you for being here.

No one really cared that I was thanking them... but I personally felt they deserved it. Especially because it meant that we could eat something other than Wendy's today.

Yesterday my neighbor Nancy came over and helped me clean the kitchen thoroughly. What a blessing -- the place was a filthy because I don't think the former owner ever used his kitchen at all.

So we scrubbed the cabinets, and I bet they could use a scrubbing again or a layer of contact paper. I don't have time nor patience for that noise though. The scrubbing made a world of difference.

We unpacked everything and I'm amazed beyond belief at the amount of stuff I had in the smaller house in the smaller kitchen. No wonder I never could find anything -- it was always buried in the back of a cabinet or closet. Now, everything is easily found. I'm so psyched.

For the first time in 15 (almost) years of marriage I have china in a china cabinet. Doug's dad passed us on some Noritake that he got in the 60s, and now it is all arranged beautifully in a cabinet. Where it belongs. Not in a box at the base of a closet.

I'm actually pretty psyched about that one little fact. I feel like a grown up now.

By the time we were finished cleaning the kitchen and unpacking the boxes, the market was closed. So the ready-to-be-stocked cabinets had to stay empty for another few hours and we got takeout, again.

This morning, I went to the market and for the first time in my life I bought dishwasher stuff.

Dude, I have a dishwasher. And it rocks.

I washed our first load of dishes, and while they were washing I unloaded our cookbooks and books about cooking for our bookcase IN THE KITCHEN (hot damn yes baby). And it was a productive hour of my life -- not one that I spent washing the dishes.

Now to get someone else to unload it.

The only things left to do really are:

-Find my car keys. Yes, Abbey, I did pack them. Actually, it wasn't me. They were on top of the dog kennel in the living room one minute, and then Doug broke down the dog kennel and ... well, he has no idea where they are. So. They have GOT to be somewhere. It is just a matter of figuring out where. In the meantime, I have his set of truck keys... and I have to find the keys to give neighbor cousin the one key I have to the house. Lovely.

-Get our bureaus and mattress/boxspring up onto the second floor. Those are all still in the "pink" sitting room. We're actually going to hire someone to do that. We tried to move them. We can't.

-Write thank you notes to everyone who helped. And buy gifts. Lots of gifts.

-Finish unpacking boxes.

-Get a hugely awesome comfy couch for the front room where the first TV is going. A huge couch and loveseat. NO SECTIONALS. No. Never again.

-Get a couple of wicked huge comfy chairs for the pink room and a table to go between them.

-Get more bookcases. Nice ones. I want the pink room to be the cool library with a big fishtank and to be just a quiet little place to sit and read and talk.

-Sweep and mop/scrub the floors. The wood floors are dirty -- and so are our feet. Our bathroom floor is a mess whenever anyone goes in there barefoot or gets out of the shower. It's annoying me.

-Set up the futon in this room (the "office") so we have an extra place to plop down.

-Trip to the dump. All those box runs we made, all of the boxes that we got, are all just carcasses now. In my driveway. They must be removed.

-Buy speakers for the flat screen TV that has been standing in the corner of our livingroom since Christmas.

-Find clothes to wear to work tomorrow. I have several dozen huge black bags of stuff from our room. Initially our plan was to pull the bureau drawers out and ride them up here in the car. Well. Our bureau drawers do NOT come out of the bureau. At. All. So on Friday when I should have been doing something else I was cramming clothes into black bags with my girl Julie (I love you Julie!) just to get them out so Doug and Leon (I love you Leon!) could get the bureaus into the truck. So somewhere in the 900 plastic bags are a pair of khaki pants and a purple golf shirt that will make me very happy tomorrow.

So much to do.

Tuesday May 30, 2006, 9:00am
I did find clothes to wear to work. Huzzah.

I am home, waiting for DirectTV to come hook us up. TV. Teacher, mother, secret lover (quote then cite: Homer Simpson).

Yesterday we made a lot of progress. Doug went to Home Despot and got a whole ton of stuff to kill the carpenter bees in the garage. Man, they were everywhere! We knew coming in that they were there, the home inspector showed me the damage and let me know that by the time we moved in they'd be busy as, well, bees. He was totally right.

We were ready to call an exterminator and Mr. Kayla's Dad recommended some stuff to do it ourselves. It worked, but it probably will require a yearly dose until we replace the wood in the garage with treated/painted wood that they won't eat. That'll come later.

What else -- we had a barbecue last night, and really relaxed and started talking about yard and garden. There is a lovely perennial garden here, and I think that as time goes by over the summer many different things will reveal themselves to us. Next year we'll know exactly where everything is.

Our old neighbors came over yesterday to visit. She had been dying to see the house, and I wanted him to see the house because I wanted to talk chimney repointing and possible reopening of the upstairs fireplace in our bedroom, and the fireplaces on the first floor. They had fun touring the house, and he as an expert mason went through things with Doug and talked about what should be done sooner than later, and what could wait.

My husband has done more helpful things in the last 2 days than I think he's done in the last four years. I'm not sure, but maybe I should melt down more often.

I have to make a trip to the dump today to ditch all the garbage and box carcasses. And later today after Comcast arrives to fix this Internet situation I get to go to my office. Believe it or not, I'm actually looking forward to getting back to work. The relative peace of the office will be a welcome change.

Anyway -- I guess this entry has gone on long enough... if you've made it to this point, I'm proud of you. Here's a cookie.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Moving Weekend, Part Two

Thanks to the reminder of Mikey, yesterday was indeed Towel Day. And I didn't forget my towel.

Both closings went off okay but not without difficulty. On the first one, the closing attorney made a check out to me and my husband and told us to go to her bank to change it to a bank check for our attorney for the purchase.

I said to her, "but we don't have an account there."

She says, "That's okay. It's a check from my firm and we have an account there. Just go up and say "I need to turn this into a bank check."

Well, you know what happens, right? They, the bank, refused.

The girl starts with "because of the patriot act..." and starts going on and on and on about us not having an account and they don't know us and yadda yadda.

Doug and I are all like "Patriot Act? !!! WTF!?" And they told us that if we open an account with them they can deposit the check and we can get the bank check.

"I can do that at my own bank. Why the heck would I want to do that. My bank will put at two day hold on it, so we can't buy a bank check. Do you guys put a two day hold on the check?"

"Well, yeah! Of course we do."

"So what would be the point in me opening an account with you..."

"Well, due to the Patriot Act..."

Shut up.

I called the closing attorney, she hightailed it to the bank, voided the check, wrote a check for cash, bought a bank check, and we were done. And it was retarded. Patriot Act my ass.

Patriot Act has become the HIPPA excuse for not getting anything done for anyone outside the medical or HR fields. If you work in either of them, you know exactly what a pain in the ass HIPPA can be. So you can relate.

"Well, because of HIPPA I can't..."

As for the check situation, Doug was pissed because it's what the lawyer should have done in the first place... so she only ended up doing her job. But gah.

That out of the way we went to our purchase and it went very smoothly. And we got presents from our mortgage guy and our buyer's broker, and they're very very nice... so. Yay.

We start to move into the new place at 9am today.

The new owner of our house will be here at 8:30am which pisses me off to unimaginable ends because I told him we needed until NOON to finish getting everything out.

What part of noon has 8:30 in the middle of it.

I'll be relieved when this is done and I don't have to deal with him. Jerk couldn't wait until noon. No. He's coming at 8:30, so I told him he's working OUTSIDE of this unit while we finish getting out.

The Livingroom is done, the boy's room is done, the kitchen is just about done. This room, the old Clayton Kitchen, is just about done... I just need to pack up some CDs and the PC here.

Jess' room is the challenge.

She didn't finish packing, and so she's staying home today to help. She's still in bed even though I've yelled at her to get up. Geoff is jealous that she's staying home but to be honest I cannot even consider keeping him here today because he will just be in my way and make me mental. So he's off to school in 1 hour.

The towel for towel day came in very handy at the end of the day. I want to thank Leon and Julie for coming up from the college and helping. I want to thank Carrie for all she did yesterday in the afternoon. Liquor Box runs are always fun.

Our phone is turned off which means the internet is not long behind -- so... I hope to have connectivity tonight. Pictures are in flickr, just a few... but... Never forget your towel.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Soon, I will be able to talk about something other than boxes and liquor booty. Today we close on our houses. At noon we sell this house, and at 4pm we buy the next house. I may have carpal tunnel by the time I'm done, or I may be crippled entirely. Who knows.

Today we move boxes into the truck. Boxes and couches and beds and clothing. Tomorrow, we unload said truck sometime after 9am, and we settle into our next house. We hired some students from the college to come help out. About 15 of them responded to my advertisement on the school website. I have extra phone numbers to call people if we need reinforcements. I think it will be okay though. We should be able to do everything we need to do today without difficulty.

Tomorrow, after everything is out, I will go through and clean everything and we'll be done by noon. That's my plan. That's my plan.

It seems really surreal as I look around. We aren't fully packed, but can't really pack more until some of this stuff is out of the way. So getting boxes and couches and end tables and bureaus into the truck will give us elbow room for more boxes to put stuff in. It'll all come together nicely.

Our internet gets turned off in the morning so, anyway kids... this is it.

I'll post from amidst the unpacking of boxes and the styrofoam peanuts later.

Thanks for all your love and support. This lady needed it. And on that note, where's my coffee?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sunrise strikes too soon...

The title is a blatant rip-off of Ellis Paul, but instead of the burning sense of Cinderella, early 30s regret, Manhattan, midnight, starlight and satellites, my angle is more of a desire for more sleep, more rest, less work, more time and the fact that I'd love to sleep in just a little later each day.

Last night, I slept like the dead. I woke only when the alarm made me, and my bladder bothered me to rise and take care of business. But I spent an additional hour hugging the dog, who very patiently waits for me to take him out to do his thing each morning, and tolerates my petting and cuddling as I slowly get to the point where I really, really need to pee.

I always take care of my needs first, Jack waits by the front door for me without a sound, a whine, a whimper. Both my other dogs were very vocal, and would let me know they were growing impatient with me. Jack is just quiet. We get my shoes and we go out, he does his thing and I fill the bird feeder if it is in need.

Sometimes we come back in and get back into bed.

Lately though, the boxes call me names because they are hungry and need to be fed. They need moved around and piled up on one another. They point out that there are plates not yet inside them, or glasses, or piles of paper which I am reluctant to commit to their cardbordiness lest I need them again later.

Sunrise strikes too soon for me, and my day has me exhausted by the time we need to go out to the bus. All the things I need to remember to do, all the things I fear I may forget, all of the weight of what is about to happen in less than 48 hours bears down on me.

Sunday night I had a classic (a)musings moment.

All weekend long I didn't know where my wallet was. I thought it was on the front seat of the truck. Nope. I thought it fell onto the floor. Nope again. Then I said "well, I used it on Friday, so I had it on Friday, so where did I put it?"

I borrowed Doug's ATM card on Saturday to go buy a gift for Jess' friend and didn't tell him why I needed it... He may have gotten mad at me because I am notorious for misplacing things.

By Sunday afternoon I was pretty stressed out about it.

I retraced my steps. I checked my clothing and the laundry. I thought maybe, just maybe it fell into the trash. But. There were 100 boxes and bags of trash seeing as we'd spent the entire weekend purging crap.

So by Sunday night, I was a wreck. I fell asleep at about 10 but woke up at 12:30, and spent the next four hours in a complete state of apoplexy. I could feel my heart beating, and it was beating fast and I was aware of how hard it was beating and thought "gee, am I having a heart attack?" No. I was hyperventilating and freaking out because I didn't know where my wallet was.

I realized that I would need the stupid thing on Thursday, because my license was in it, and I would have to produce said license in front of lawyers to prove who I am. And I got pissed because it is a stupid piece of plastic and I am who I am and I have been for almost 40 years and goddamnit if I'm not going to close on the house without that thing and...

I paced around the livingroom for a half hour, trying to catch my breath. I took the dog for a walk. He was confused, but willing. I finally fell asleep at 4:30am. Woke with a start at 7, realizing that Geoff needed to get ready for school, and I still. didn't. know. where. my. wallet. was.

The wallet? It was on my desk. At my office. I left it there when I left on Friday afternoon.

I told you. Classic (a)musings moment.

I think of this process as similar to that of having a baby. Dear readers, you've been with me during the relatively short "gestation" period that we have had here since the decision to sell the house and get moving. But we are in the pushing and delivery mode now... Rebecca, are you listening? But we can't exceed our due date of May 25th. No we cannot.

Anyway -- right now I need to go and screw in some CO detector action because firefighter inspection man is coming tomorrow morning.

We're almost done here kids. We're almost done. Pray for us to not lose our sanity or our patience. Pray for us to just have our acts together and to not forget paperwork.

Or lose a license.

Thursday will strike too soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Please be sure to keep the Tiger and Lion away from the Unicorn on my ark, thank you

Yes, I know it rains elsewhere in the country, but damn -- around here what's happening now is a big deal. A big major deal. This is EPIC. This is just all kinds of wow. This is like getting the Blizzard of 78 in liquid form, not snow, and watching it all unfold and fearing the worse for people all around the region is just overwhelming.

For the record, I did a "Day in the life of" Flickr set yesterday, and if you'd like to see it, it is over here. Click to view the set. It's fun. It started out with breakfast in bed and ended with a bottle of wine and the news that school would be closed today. Go, enjoy and come back to read the rest.

We had some crazy rain back in October. And back in 1996 we had a huge storm. But this, my friends, this is truly the mother humper of all storms. And I'm living it.

I am now thinking we should have passed papers on the house a week ago and gotten out of here just a little bit faster.

Is God punishing us for being slothful and lazy? Or is God punishing us ALL because Jo put her patio furniture out? I'm not sure. Only he can truly know.

In my last entry three days ago I griped about the rain. And it has not stopped. Our normally placid little creekling is now a fully engorged and raging river. Our pond is filling up faster than I've ever seen it. Our road was closed last night due to fears that it would cave in up the way about 1/2 mile. That was kind of awesome because there was absolutely no traffic and all you could hear was the constant roar of the Niagara-like creek.

We went out yesterday for Mother's Day (Happy belated to all you moms and moms to be out there) and got Indian Food at the Bollywood Grill in N. Andover. It was awesome and tasty and good and fun, and we drove around gawking at the flooding and splashing the big truck through all the water. We got home and made our obligatory mother's day calls, and then our neighbor came over to check on us and make sure we were doing alright. He's a nice guy like that. I guess his basement is flooding -- the sump pump is working overtime.

I wonder how the sump pump in our new house is doing... I should call the seller and just check up on him.

Anyway -- this morning came and the kids had school canceled. I guess it's a good thing because if I had even tried to get to Marblehead I wouldn't have been able to make it easily. Downtown Peabody is totally flooded. Normally it gets flooded if it just drizzles, so you can imagine what 10 inches of rain has done to the place. It's been all over the news. It's insane.

Well, I oughta go and check on the creek. Check on my basement and make sure it isn't totally flooded. Check on the pond. Fret.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Raining, pouring, snoring

So last Tuesday it started raining. And honey, I don't think it has stopped since. It either is pouring like the deluge Noah dealt with, or it just gently mists piss at you all day. Either way, it is no fun to be outside. And that's kind of good, because this weekend and next weekend we have to pack and be done.

Oh yes, the packing. You know. I'm all about the packing. Blah blah blah packing, work, BNL, packing, boxes, bottle of wine, packing, blah blah blah. I too wish I was a little more interesting. I'm truly sorry. Blah blah blah packing. Blah blah.

Rant alert.

The other day I had to go to what Mikey lovingly refers to as "The Crack House." AKA Lowes (or Home Depot).

This state has a brand new law that requires homes with fossil burning fuels (aka EVERY house in the commonwealth) to have CO detectors installed. Landlords are required to put them into apartments. Homeowners are required to put them in their homes.

The law grew out of the fact that a 7 year old little girl unfortunately died after becoming poisoned by carbon monoxide in her family home. Their vent for the propane heater was blocked. And she and her family succumbed to the gas, and she died.

That's really sad. But do we really need laws for common sense? (that's rhetorical. You know that most laws are passed because people do not have the sense that God gave geese).

Instead of having a law or recommendations which:

a) require people to go clear off their vents for their heating systems, or
b) require home builders to not build hermetically sealed (aka energy efficient) homes where no fresh air can ever get INTO the building through cracks or gaps under the door or whatever, or
c) require home builders to put heating system vents 10 ft up in the air on the side of the house instead of like 1 foot off the ground so snow can pile up on it and block the damn thing

now everyone is required to go out and buy CO detectors. And First Alert and the other companies that make the damn things make a shitton of money.

Her dad should have known where the vent was, and if it was new construction should have demanded the builder of their house put it up higher. Or, her dad should have built a protective frame around the vent, if it was too low to the ground.

After all, we're in New England, and once in a while we get more than a foot of snow.

Fire departments come in and inspect that you have them, and you have to PAY for a certificate, which is good for 30 days, to prove you are in compliance with the law. You cannot sell your house without one of these certificates.

I think it is a pantload of crap that personal responsibility for not having the common sense to go make sure your vent isn't blocked has to impact me and every other citizen of this state. It's crap.

But. It's the law so I grudgingly have to go buy the stupid things.

And damn if they aren't freaking EXPENSIVE. They were like fifty bucks. And I needed one for each bedroom. Holy crap.

That's five of these damn things.

I called my fire department to make sure I was doing everything right, because like MOST state laws they've left it up to the individual fire chiefs to determin how they will enforce this.

Isn't that just a kick in the pants. Let's make a law, but in one town this chief will do this, and in another it will be this, and who the hell cares. Just don't require us to have some uniform STANDARD where every single town is the same.

I heard from someone that they HAD to be hard-wired into an alarm system. Who has the money to do that? And then someone else told me that you can buy the combo CO-Smoke detectors, but then someone else told me that the CO detectors HAD to go in the bedrooms, and the smoke detectors have to be 10 ft away from bedroom doors.

What the?

So I'm standing there, confused as all hell. I asked the inspector if I could buy the dual detectors, smoke and CO. He said no. Unless they are voice alarms which say which offensive item is being detected.

Which is so damn stupid.

In my opinion, if I'm hearing an alarm my ass is getting out the damn house. I don't need to know WHICH bad thing is being detected, I'm hearing beep beep beep and running out the door.

After I grab the kids, of course.

And he also said that it isn't a good idea to buy the voice alarms overall, because "you may have a tenant who doesn't speak English well in your house, and they won't know what the alarm is telling them."

Well, they should learn English then if they want to live. Right? Holy cow. This is now pissing me off.

I could buy the dual alarm voice thingie or the dual beeper thingie for forty bucks, OR I can buy individual alarms for 20 to 59 dollars each. I picked out what I thought would do the job, but I probably got it all wrong. And I won't pass my inspection. Which, if it were in the interest of public safety, should be FREE TO ME. No charge. Whatsoever.




I hate this state sometimes.

So overall, I didn't enjoy my visit to the Crack House the way I usually do, because I left there feeling like my wallet had been raped by bureaucracy. Next time I go to the crack house though, it will be for gardening supplies and plants, and I'll have a much better feeling deep down. I'm sure.

I haven't felt like geocaching lately, due to high anxiety and worrying about being ready for the move. But today, man -- today I could use a hike. And I can't go really, unless I want to be soaked to the very core of my being.

It's God's way of keeping me inside, this stupid pouring rain. Doug too. Doug has no excuses now... and he is actually really doing a tremendous job with the packing and purging and cleaning. He's going through his grad school papers and books and deciding what to keep.

"I read a few of my papers," he said to me, "and man to they suck!"

Dude graduated with honors. And thinks his papers suck.


I gave an upstairs apartment key to the future owner of this house. He's been up there since 10am painting and working. He and his employees from his job (they don't work if it rains, which should give you an idea that they are outdoor day laborer types) have been here since Wednesday, which should tell you that it has indeed done nothing but rain. They are pretty quiet, but I forgot what it was like to have people walking around upstairs above me. When my tenants moved out (remember, it was like I set them on fire and I was confused by their speediness) it suddenly got incredibly quiet here.

Now there are walkers above me, and I miss the quiet.

In the cleaning and the packing, I'm finding some truly fun and cool stuff. I found this picture of Jessica and me from when she was about 3.

photobooth 1995
click for the larger version

I think we're at the Salem Willows, in the photo booth there... we never use these things, but I think she was just so gung ho and excited that I succumbed to her cuteness and we went in. I used photoshop to make it horizontal. I've got mad skillz, yo.

This morning I noticed that the orioles were back in the apple tree. Usually I have two males and a female. So far only one male is here. He's huge and VERY orange.

I'm going to miss the cardinal family and the annual orioles. I hope that the bird feeder and tree in our new yard host some interesting birds.

I'm going to miss the creek and the sound it makes. Normally by this time in the year we're sleeping with our windows open and enjoying the sounds of the water rushing along. This year, it's been cold and, aforementionedly, raining. I hope for a couple good comfortable nights so I can once again, one more time, enjoy one of the reasons I bought this place.

Well, I'd better get back to it. You know, blah blah blah packing.

More later.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The great guinea pig escape of 2006

this morning I had to take 20 minutes out of my life to find the guinea pig. Geoff decided to put him on the livingroom floor so he could run around a little bit. Then, he left the room to go get a tissue.

I asked him (well, more like YELLED at him) what he was thinking. He said "I left Jackie in charge of him."

Yeah. The dog isn't a guinea pig watch dog. And how would he stop the guinea pig, or alert us that there is a problem?

Sometimes, that boy don't think past his belly, I tell you what.

A guinea pig is like a prison convict waiting for opportunity. The guard is down, the jig is up, the chase begins. Weeks of planning all lead up to that one moment when eyes and expectations are different.

Dude took off and ended up hiding under the couch.

We have a sectional, and I was afraid of moving one of the pieces and having him run under another... and I was afraid of moving a piece and crushing him to death. I was also afraid that he was eating candy wrappers and dust bunnies... both of which seem to end up between, beneath, behind the sections of this couch.

Parents -- here's a free tip for you... never buy a sectional. Your kids will tuck candy wrappers between the sections rather than walk them to the trash. And you will yell at them for years. And they will STILL do it.

I hate this couch, and want to get rid of it. But that's a rant for another day.

Luckily, I figured out a way to trap him and Doug pulled up on the recliner section. I was able to get him out in front of the couch and stopped him with the side of my giant foot, thus preventing him from tearing under the next sectional piece.

The Gordon Show ended early today. I have not had enough coffee to do this.

Geoff is upset that I'm not going to let him get his own guinea pig now. He is on the couch crying now. "I let the pig get away and now I'll never get my own.. Curses! Curse the way I do things and my irresponsibility!" (yes, that is exactly what he is saying. I'm typing as he's crying. It's funny and sad at the same time).

I had promised him once we got to the next house and got settled that we'd get him his own pet, because he's done such a good job of taking care of Gordon. He plays with him much more than Jess does. He feeds him, he sings to him. The pig likes him... and I think this one incident won't ruin that for him. I'll let him suffer for a little while, and then go talk to him.

While we are on the topic of Geoff...

On Thursday of last week he got into a spot of trouble at school. Lately, Geoff has been swearing a lot. The boys like to get him started, and then they go tell on him. Which is fantastic. This happens when they are playing at cub scouts, or on the playground at recess. They'll come up to me and say "Geoff just said H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!"

Yeah. Like you never say hell, you little angel. You probably said "Hey Geoff, say HELL!"

So anyway, Thursday he gets caught saying the F word. Yes, the Queen Mother of all Swear Words. F dash dash dash. His special ed aide catches him and takes him to the assistant principal, with whom Geoff has a very good relationship and a nice bond.

She says to the AP, "We seem to be swearing a lot lately on the playground."

Geoff says "WHO IS THIS WE?!?!" and with the WE he puts giant quotation marks up around his head and bends his fingers. "WE (does the quotation marks thing again) are not swearing. You didn't swear on the play ground. I am the on swearing on the playground! You didn't do ANYTHING."

Gotta love Mister Literal.

So he got a talking to and a day's recess suspension. He said to the AP "I have an addiction. A bad habit. And it's hard to break a habit, you know."

So my son has admitted his addiction to swearing. Intervention and rehab start now.

I told him that he can 'beep' himself the way that they do on TV when people swear. He can say "What the 'beeeeeep!'" and I won't get mad. He can't spell it (he spells Damn as "D A M M!" which cracks me up). He can beep or he can say nothing.

We'll see if this works.

So the guy who is buying our house (neighbor cousin) is coming by today to start painting and doing rehab work in the upstairs apartment.

His crew is rained out at work, and he figured in order to get it rentable by June 1 he'd want to do the paint and paper and stuff all before then. We gave him permission, and he's going to come up today and tomorrow. I'm meeting him to give him the keys today.

The reality of everything has swooped down on me this week. I feel like my head is going to explode. We move in just a couple of weeks. And it seems that I'm the only one really taking the packing seriously.

I had my first bad dream about the move (I will have many more, rest assured) the other day.

There I am -- knee deep in toys and kitchen items, boxes of food, books, and all kinds of detritus... wading through the house calling out for anyone to come help me pack. I'm calling out for boxes. Anyone! Where's Doug! And I look out the window and he's by the fire pit. He has a garbage truck -- a huge yellow garbage truck -- parked beside him. And he is shoveling out garbage and putting it on the burn pile. I'm all like "That isn't our trash! Why is he spending time doing THAT!?! I need him in here! Packing Stuff!" and I start pounding on the window, yelling and calling him in the house. But he plods along slowly, pulling out a scoop of garbage, and dumping it on the fire.

It is a very telling dream.

Anyway -- We'll be alright. I figure this weekend I will really put the heat on and start yelling at people. We have a list of things that MUST BE DONE! and papers from a lawyer, and all kinds of things to take care of.

Hopefully no more guinea pig incidents will get in the way.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Karaoke Geoff

Here is a picture of my son losing his Karaoke Virginity Sunday at S & E's wedding reception at the ripe young age of nine:

geoff lost his karaoke virginity at age 9

check out how he rocks the mic, yo. Special thanks to Mr. N's mom,
whom I believe took the shot.

Not much to report. Work has been crazy busy this week. I think I haven't left before 6pm any day this week. Not like me... I am usually gone by 5. Tomorrow I have a meeting with Geoff's special ed team. So I'll be leaving work at 2 to head home. That'll be a welcome change. To get home and still have energy to do something.

On Friday, Geoff crashed his bike. Right into the side of the dumpster. He wasn't hurt, but the damage to the bike was terminal. Prognosis Negative! It is in the dumpster now. We're going to go buy him a new one, because he's gotten so good at riding. The only reason why he crashed is the hand brake cable was broken, and he had been simply using his feet to slow and stop (not too bright) even though I taught him how to use the foot brake.

Lucky for him the dumpster was there. Otherwise -- he would have gone off the drop (for those who know our house, you know where this is) at the side of our drive that plummets to the creek 8 feet below. He would have been damaged for sure.

Thank you, God and Dumpster.

BNL - EMC World Boston

Jess has gone with her school to Washington DC and I miss her horribly. I pine for her. Pine, I tells ya.

So in the meantime, I will crank up the BNL and I will gaze upon the flickr set of pictures taken by Mr. Rick Harris (oh, they're nice, see to the left for a sampling) and I will try and miss her less. She'll be home on Sunday morning, and I hope she has a really nice time with her roommates, and that it doesn't rain the entire time as it is forecasted to do.

Not much else to report. Guess that's about it folks. Move along now, nothing to see here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Nice Reliant Automobile

I thought I'd take the opportunity for a quick second before Geoff needs to get his bus to do an entry. This was a busy week and weekend, and I feel like a need a weekend from my weekend.

Friday night we had cub scouts and a barbecue. It was fun and I really like the other parents in the den. I worry a little too much about Geoff and how he handles how the other boys treat him. That's something I need to let him work out. It doesn't seem to bother him, he fights back, and then they eat food. I guess that's a boy thing that I don't quite wrap my head around. I guess when he's sick of it, he'll stop playing with them.

Until then, I can just be sure that when one of them takes a fist to the teeth they'll cry and come to me and say "Geoff punched me in the face!"

I'll say "Well, you had him pinned down and you were bouncing up and down on top of him. And earlier you deliberately threw a soccer ball at his head. What did you expect, honey? Here, have an ice pack. Don't do it again and he won't hit you in the face, got it?"

And the other parents of these same boys agree. Nodding head in agreement, sometimes they realize it will take their kids getting a square chuck to the nose to get them to listen. Until then, we let it play out.

Saturday we burned things all day. We drank beer and burned what was left in the basement. The man who used to own this house kept EVERYTHING. He added an addition to the house, and kept the exterior frame and clap boards to the house in the basement.

Like he'd USE it again or something.

Holy crap.

Seven straight hours of burning. Now just a few more items into the dumpster, and we're done with the basement. Hallelujah, amen.

Sunday we went to Mr. and Mrs. N's wedding reception. It was a lot of fun. It was great to see people I hadn't seen in 15 or 20 years really. We had a blast. Mr. N and I were in college together, and Mrs. N was friends with Michelle, so there are two whole entire circles of friends that overlap in my life. That was kind of funny. Worlds collided.

And, they're both into karaoke, so they had a mess of karaoke action going on. We jokingly suggested that Geoff get up and sing "Back in Black" by AC/DC. Mr. N and I decided that his entire contingency may just get up and walk out if something like that happened. Geoff was enthralled with the idea that you could get up and sing a song after one of the guests did a Cake song, "Short Skirt, Long Jacket." Jess and I sang back up from our chairs across the room and people thought it was a riot. "Hey! Ho! Na na na na na na!"

Then Geoff started looking through the book and I, of course, turned to Barenaked Ladies. I wanted to sing "When I fall" by myself but wasn't drunk enough to get up and do it. So Geoff said "Let's sing Million Dollars!"

And he was serious.

And we did.

And it was funny.

I'm glad we did it. He was thrilled with all the attention and applause, and would have gone back for more if I didn't show mercy unto my husband who is not a big fan of karaoke and didn't want to stay too long for that.

So we went home laughing. And long before I was drunk enough to get up and sing solo.

Anyway. It was a good and fun weekend. It is now May 1 and I have 25 days to pack for the move. Pray for us.

Enjoy your Monday in all you do.