Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day Off

We took a day off. 

Hubs gets one day off almost every week and instead of tiling floors or wiring outlets, we went hiking.  It was an ambitious hike for the kids, but they did really well, for the most part.  Little Lady was not happy in the Ergo.  It was too hot and squished and she couldn't see around me and was super frustrated about all of it.  I see an upgrade to a Kelty pack in the near future.  But I digress. She wanted to walk a lot, which was slow going for us.  Little Man was okay with that; he rocked the hike, but it was exhausting for him.  It was a round trip 5.2 mile hike with 2500+ elevation rise.  So proud of him for making it!  The views were spectacular and well worth the effort.  We could see mountain ranges, the Columbia River Gorge, abundant flora and fauna.  We were particularly taken with a phantom orchid, but the poison oak really got our attention.  It was everywhere, but we were careful.  No itchies here, Praise Jesus.

It was such a good reset to hava a day away from the house and the work, to relax and get to know our new state.  And it was awesome to go on a real mountain hike.  

And now it is all back to business.  I'm sitting at the computer reviewing instructional information on projects, looking over Pinterest for the billionth time, cruising around on Craigslist looking for steals.  

Does anyone else think Craigslist is hilarious?  The things people post on there!  And the way they advertise them!  Come on!  My favorite posting was listed as a "Space Couch."  Maybe you are wondering just what a space couch is?  Maybe you're thinking it's a super high tech frame, with sleek lines and extreme comfort.  Well, you'd be wrong.  A space couch is a cushioned bench.  I kid you not, it is an airport bench.  Looks just like one I slept on in Seattle's airport 5 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant with Jameson.  It is just ridiculous the way people advertise.   As if anyone looking for a couch is going to see that and think "Yes!  This is the couch I have been waiting for!"  People and their silly false advertising.

Luckily for us, Craigslist isn't the only thing around here with some false advertising.  Our friendly oregano-borrowing neighbors just happen to be a contractor and architect.  They came and checked out our wall that we want to tear down and said it is not a load bearing wall, even though they put in some crazy studs.  So we are back on track to rip it down....sometime.  We are in slow mode, but that is okay.  I know it will all get done at some point.  The only problem with having an architect and contractor walk through your home offering suggestions and help is that they tend to give all kinds of good advice.  So we are also taking out a few more walls and maybe a closet or two.  Nothing like adding more to the already heaping plate.  BUT, the good news is that there really is no rush.  The cat pee is gone, the really broken things are fixed, and the rest can just be a little ugly until we get to it. 

So if you come over to our ugly house, feel free to tease us about everything but the dining room lamp.  Because I'm seriously keeping this bad boy. 

I thought it was hideous when we bought the house, but it has grown on me and I've kind of fallen for it.  It suits me and my quirkiness. 

Now if only I could find that orange leather couch to go with it.  I was cruising Craigslist before we moved to see what kind of couch options we'd be able to find on our budget and someone was selling this beautiful sleek, modern, orange! leather sectional and I've never wanted anything so badly.  Of course it sold in about two seconds and I've been ruined.  Everything else from here on out will be settling.  Alas, the dangers of of window shopping.  For now, the bright red futon will have to do. 

My children are still sleeping.  We moved to the West Coast and I naturally thought we'd take up earlier bedtimes.  But no.  We have all become night owls.  Little Lady won't go to sleep before 9 pm and she sleeps til around 10am.  This is very, very strange.  Little Man is about the same.  I no longer have the ability to sleep in; too many years of adulthood and motherhood have trained me and my internal alarm clock goes off between 5 and 7 every day, no matter how late I was up knocking down lava rock fireplaces the night before.  At least I have time to get some stuff done in the mornings! 

And get things done, I should.   I hope you all have a lovely day.  We are in a heatwave out here.  Our house has no A/C, so we bought a kiddie pool and have beach days planned! 

Just for fun, here are pictures of the fireplace demolition!  I really got to get my aggressions out on this project!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Crazy. Busy. Both.

Wow have we been crazy.  And busy.  But mostly crazy. 

We've moved to Oregon.  It took three days to drive out here.   Hubs drove the huge U-haul with the dogs in the cab and towed one car.  I drove the other car with the kids.  The trip was long, but everyone did well and we survived.  Little Lady's favorite past time in the car was to tattoo her body with markers. The first night when we rolled into the hotel at midnight, she was covered head to toe in blue marker.  After her morning bath it looked like she was bruised everywhere.  But it kept her happy, so I was totally cool with it. 

We arrived at our new house around 10 pm two weeks ago and crashed hard core.  The next day we explored our new space.  It is awesome.  We are on this hilly, quiet road, with trees and blackberry bushes and birds.  And at night we can hear a pack of coyotes howl. It is so cool. 

The house itself is a bit of a fixer upper.  Blue carpet everywhere.  Well, not anymore.  We already ripped it out of the bathrooms...can I get a huge EWWW for that one?!  Yeah.  And then we discovered the nightmare.  Cat pee.  In the closets.  In our bedroom.  The staircase.  The basement storage space.  It has been terrible dealing with cat pee!  We've had to rip out carpets and walls and subfloors and insulation.  And nothing cleans it.  My gut desire was to dip my entire house in bleach.  And then I read that cat pee is full of ammonia and mixed with bleach can produce mustard gas.  Nice.  And sanitizing the areas doesn't get rid of the smell.  We tried so many enzyme cleaners people swear by.  They either don't have good noses or they didn't just buy a house with a 20 year string of peeing cats.  The only think that worked was literally ripping everything out and then kilzing the area.  I love Kilz.  Love.  Can't say I feel the same about felines.  Trying really hard to not loathe the entire cat population of the world, but right now, I'm on the fence.  Sorry if you are a cat person. 

Our house is a construction zone and complete chaos.  We are living on sub floors, the fridge is in the middle of the kitchen while Hubs repairs the sub floor behind that.  One bathroom has been gutted and waiting on me to finish painting the cabinets and Hubs to tile the floor before we can reassemble and start on the other one.  We haven't been able to unpack any clothes since all of the closets are recovering cat pee areas.  We ripped down the 15 ft lava rock fireplace yesterday and have exposed cinder block and insulation as our living room view.  We started to take down  a wall in the kitchen, but it turned out to be a load bearing wall, so we are stuck with bare studs until we can come up with a backup plan. There are ladders and shop vacs and hammers and circular saws adorning the tables and counters and hallways.  It is terribly chaotic.  And we are probably in over our heads.  It feels like a young love, two kids just starting out and learning as they go kinda thing, except that we've been married 11 years and there's not much learning going on, just a lot of cursing and head shaking when things go awry.  Well, I suppose we've learned a lot about cat pee.

And Hubs just started working 80+ hour work weeks.  I'm not quite sure what we were thinking taking on such a big project when we have no time to do it ourselves and no money to hire someone else.  At least it is clean.  And I say that subjectively.  Because dealing with all of these projects makes it ridiculously difficult to even thinking about doing normal stuff, like, say, dishes.  Or cooking.  Or remembering that I put a bleach load in the wash three days ago and I might as well just bleach it again since its still there.  And of course there is drywall dust covering all of the unpacked boxes scattered everywhere.  But every surface of this joint has been bleached, santized, Kilzed...  It may be messy and chaotic, but it is clean. 

So that's that.  For the past two weeks, we been crazy busy.  Or just crazy and busy.  I think they probably both work. 

So far the people of Oregon are super friendly.  I've met a few nice ladies at the park and one neighbor who has kids the same age as Little Man has already swapped phone numbers and brought over rice krispie treats.  And tonight they asked to borrow oregano.  I feel honored to be liked enough to share spices.  Plus, now I know who I can borrow a cup of sugar from when I run out.  Another neighbor brought over a book for Little Man and some awesome composting bags for us and wants to have a Welcome to the Neighborhood party for us. Its really awesome.  I've never lived in this friendly of a place before.  I feel very blessed. 

And very tired.  I can't get anything done with Little Lady awake, so project time has been nights until about 2 am.   I am so in love with my coffee maker.  Still. 

Well, I'm running out of gas and I have a few more cabinet doors to sand and wipe down so I can start priming in the morning.  But I'm sure I'll be back soon.  This move has been great, but meeting all new people means a lot of sharing.  Which is good, but hard.  And it makes it feel fresh and raw all over again.  And we all miss our Jameson so much.  More on that later; it is late enough already tonight.   See you soon!

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Pull

It feels like we have been moving for months.  Because for the first time in my existence, I didn't procrastinate.  Instead, I started packing packing us up weeks ago, knowing that it would be much easier this way.  And it is easier now that we're down to the wire, with less than a week until the truck comes.  And I maybe have 6 more boxes that need to get packed.  The last load of rugs is in the wash.  We are down to camping dishware and a suitcase of clothes.  It is nice to not be stressed this week that there is so much to do, because there isn't.

But having everything packed up and living with boxes and ugliness for such a long time takes it toll, too.  Especially at the tail end of school.  Little Man is supposed to bring games to school one day, books another, toys for a classroom garage sale....  At first I would sigh and unpack a few boxes until I could find what he needed, but I drew the line this morning and told him sorry, it's all packed up and I'm sure your teacher will understand.  He is such a good kid and he really does roll with life rather well for such a young man.  But this move is taking its toll on our Little Man.  He's worried about making friends, sad about leaving friends behind, missing his grandparents, sick of having all his stuff packed up.  It's been too much for him, I think. 

Yesterday, we took some old greenware pots that I made years ago on my wheel and never fired, and we threw them in the driveway and watched them shatter.  He threw them with all him might and then went and stomped on all the pieces big enough to break more and ground them into the asphalt.  And then we took the hose and watched the red clay run into the street until it was all clean again. I wish his anxieties and fears could all be broken and washed away that easily.  It was a good release, a good reset for both of us. And it worked in the short term. 

But I can tell he's still hanging by a thread in some ways.  This morning, Little Man was talking about how much he is missing his brother.  He was talking about how awesome Heaven is and what Jameson is probably doing on this fine day.  And then he just threw it out there and took my breath away.  My first grader looked me square in the eye and told me he can't wait to die. 

A part of my heart shattered on the kitchen floor and I had to work hard to keep my cool. He went on to say that he likes Earth and he wants to live long enough to have kids, but he wants to die when his kids are 12 so he can finally be with Jameson again.  Ahhhh. 

We have all been given an amazing gift through losing our Jameson; the three of us he left behind all have our hearts and eyes on Heaven so completely that we long to go there.  And that is a gift!  To see it and want it and know that we will have it someday, that is a gift.  In that sense, the hole in our hearts is a gift. 

But the other side to that coin is the pain and loneliness that comes with that loss.  The pain so great that my seven year old looks forward to dying.  He feels that desire to push the fast forward and just be done with it all just like I do.  Let's just get this part over-with and enjoy eternity and let's just do it now. 

I get him.  My Little Man, who doesn't seem so little when he talks so big.  It's hard to be here.  There is a greater pull, a yearning we cannot ignore.  And it makes it hard.  To just live.  Just to be.