Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bear With Me, Here --(Love Thursday)

I have things to say today but first I have to ask a knitting question so all of you non-knitters out there? Can you bear with me for a minute or two? Here, I'll give you something funny to look at:
THAT is a stepping stone from the walkway the girls and I made a few years ago. I had done a sort of subtle txture on this one stone and naturally, Scout, being Scout, ran right over and stepped right in the wet cement.

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I am knitting a pair of socks for a friend whose birthday is on Tuesday. I think I can finish a pair by then, even though I'm a slow knitter, because we're going out of town and there won't be a huge amount for me to do. I didn't want to just knit a stockinette sock so I asked for an easy stitch pattern from my sock knitting board. One member suggested THIS pattern, which I love --so easy. So I frogged back the sock--even though I'd almost knitted the whole leg part in stockinette and time is of the essence but there is no excuse for ugly knitting when you can do better --and started knitting the new pattern. My question is: Does this pattern look stupid with the ribbing? The pattern is pretty subtle but it's ribbing, too, and now it sort of looks off-kilter to me when combined with my 2KX2P ribbing. Does it just look like I got off on my ribbing and the new pattern is really just a big mistake? I need help before I go any further, what with having no taste and all.

Because then, a reader sent me a link to THIS pattern, and I think it might look better.

I'm wracked with indecision. What do you think?

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There now, see, that wasn't too painful, huh?

Want to know what I've been doing today? Oh, SURE you do--go on! I know when you're kidding me!

(You ARE kidding, right?)

THIS is what I'm doing:


I'm making stepping stones.

See, the girls and I made this whole walkway of stepping stones a few years ago
and I am taking some of them with us to New York when we move.

(In March. Which is very. Very. Soon.)

(AEIIIII!!!)

(Sorry.)

Ignore the leaf blower sitting on the walk-way but I was taking the picture from our upper deck and it would have been a lot of effort to walk down, put the blower away and go BACK up to take the photo the light was fading so I had to go with what I had.

Anyway, I am making stepping stones so that I can replace the ones we are taking with us. Like this one:



And because I'm taking THAT one, I have to take THIS one, made by Ana in the same vein:
We had lost the "p" stamp when she made this one so she just used a toothpick and wrote the "p's." (Note how I am NOT making a joke about how we found plenty of PEE when we got Scout. Yuk, Yuk...Yuck.)

Obviously, I am taking these two:


And I love these two that Jane made --one for each of our cats.

I love how she made the Edward one have a lion's mane, just like the real Edward.

And how she put the tips on Thomas's ears--just like he really has! They are kind of hard to see in this picture--but they are there. Just these little pointy tufts.
(Jane's very clever, don't you think? She amazes me because for such a little Hurricane, she's very observant. And these were done when she was FIVE so I think that's pretty good.)

And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, we're taking the one that Scout made, too. In fact, if we can figure out how to get his carsick self up to New York, it appears that even HE is moving with us.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Socks


Jane (7) loves her new socks. Here they are: unwashed and unblocked--so they look a little misshapen. That's not Jane's feet, thank goodness. She appears to have inherited her father's feet--may we all bow our heads and say a tiny prayer of thanks.
Lorna's Laces in some flavor I've forgotten. Bamboo stitch for the leg and then regular stockinette.

Of course when I put them on her to wear today, she screamed and said they were itchy so I'm washing them now.

I immediately cast on the new pair in the glorious Claudia Hand Paint called Spring Break. I have a girlfriend with a birthday next week and I'd love to at least give her ONE sock.

The odds are good I can finish the pair because it looks like we're going out of town for the weekend to visit my MIL and I should have a lot of time to knit on the trip, as well as in the house when I'm trying not to drink all the wine in the world. (As an aside, yesterday was my first real day on Weight Watchers. I tracked my points for an entire day--even when I ate stuff like a handful of chocolate chips. I DRANK NO WINE. And I still ate about ten points over my daily allotment. No wonder I'm not making much progress!)

Here's an Ana-ism for you: Yesterday at the breakfast table, Ana (9) ...um... passed some gas. She was sort of proud of herself. I was shocked--you know I feel about that sort of thing. (See 92 and 93.) So I said, "ANA COOPER!" And she said, "What's the point of having a tush if you can't let it rejoice in song?"

Must I be EVERYONE'S straight man?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Extreme Sports

Today I arose with new resolve to really, finally, I'm not kidding this time, start my freaking new Lifestyle (that's for you LaDonna) by beginning my Weight Watchers program. How do I know I'm serious this time?

Well, for one thing, I measured my fat-free half-and-half before I added it to my coffee. One point--go, ME!

For another thing, I decided that I must incorporate some exercise into my daily routine. I had a bit of a moral battle here because what I really wanted to do was cast-on another pair of socks because Jane's socks that I've been working on are nearly completed (still down to the wire as to if I'm going to have enough yarn or not.)

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that I seem to have some sort of aversion to asking the people at the yarn shop to wind my yarn into balls for me. I don't know why this is --I mean, if you are paying $12 a skein, it should come with ball winding, right? I think it's because I'm afraid I don't look like a serious knitter. Because, really, what serious knitter doesn't have her own ball winder? And, you know, I could buy one but I'm trying not to add to the crap--er--necessities I'm going to have to pay someone to move in a few weeks.

Then I was struck by a brilliant idea! Dudes, I could meld the concepts of exercise and ball-winding together! Not only would I get some exercise AND get my skein of yarn wound but I would also be performing a public service for those people who come to read about knitting on my blog and lately have had to slog through pages and pages of moving angst.

I so totally rule.

I dressed in my Elmo t-shirt and borrowed a hair thingy from Jane. Because I felt the need to dress up a bit if I'm going to be looked at online while exercising. Plus, you know, what if this goes VIRAL and I have all these strangers coming to look at my depiction of my fantastic new idea? I thought about putting on some make-up but decided it wouldn't look near authentic enough. (Not to mention that y'all wouldn't recognize me.)

And I commenced to winding.

The idea is to lie on your back with your feet in the air, holding your skein of yarn taut around your ankles while raising each time you need to undo another round. Sit-ups!


And lift and lift. Breathe now. Don't forget to breathe!


Look! If you do it correctly, you can even reach for your toes and work your obliques!


How smart am I??


Apparently, not quite smart enough to put the dogs out first.










Oh well, that kind of laughter is good for the abs, too.

(Thanks to Coop for being photographer. And for putting the camera down when Scout stepped on my face.)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Open House and Omens

On Sunday, before the Open House was to begin, we had a showing at 11:00 to some people who couldn't wait until the Open House. Because I had a migraine, I forgot to put the lock box out. Whoopsie. Not an auspicious beginning. I drove back to make sure they got in and then went to Panera bread and bought a loaf of bread and a coffee and drove to the park with my knitting, taking small bites to try to keep something in my stomach. Whoo-ee, I felt TERRIBLE. Haven't had a migraine like that in a long while.

Anyway, as I parked my car, that eighties song from Madness came on, the one called Our House in the Middle of Our Street? I found a couple of real versions on You Tube but this version made me laugh out loud. ("Sister sagging in her sleep.") I never really thought of the song as a funeral march... (Feel free not to watch the whole thing because it might make you cry.)


At any rate, I thought it was a good omen.

So then I came back and tried to lie down for a bit. Gosh, I felt terrible! I always deny that I ever get stress headaches, you know? Most of my migraines are caused by abrupt shifts in the barometric pressure (no, seriously!) but every once in a while I get one that is so clearly a product of stress that it makes denying the concept sort of ludicrous. This was one of those.

The thing is that the Open House sort of seemed like the climax to months of preparation. And add to that the fact that I BOUGHT this house at an Open House --well, I set myself up.

The house really did look as good as it can look, I think. I even re-organized my pantry.


My Realtor looked at that and said, "Wow, you almost look like one of those scary people with OCD or something."

ME? NAHHHH! Nothing obsessive-compulsive about ME. Nope. Nuh uh. Totally normal and moderate in all things. (Whistles while thanking the heavens for not striking her dead.)

So, then I had to leave. For two hours so that strangers could fill my house and touch my things and pass judgement on how we live, while my Realtor tried to interest them in buying the house. It's a very odd concept, this Open House thing. I don't really understand why they work--but I know they do since that's where I found this house in the first place. Of course, I'm a tad more decisive than most people because I walked in, turned around in a circle and said, "I'll take it." ("I knew the way you know a good melon." --Ei, that's for you!)

(No wonder I'm all upset that the house went on the market last Wednesday and it's now MONDAY and the dang thing hasn't sold yet!)

Luckily for us, Sunday was a spectacular day in Austin. It was 72 degrees and sunny--our house really shows well in the sunshine. I drove around a bit aimlessly and then did the only thing possible in moments of great migraine-y stress --I headed to the yarn store. I believe in the healing powers of yarn fumes.

I wasn't going to buy anything --really, I just wanted to fondle the yarn and then go home. But I needed some cheap metal double-pointed needles because I seem to lose at least one of my bamboo ones with every sock I knit--only to find it later after I've put the sock down for, oh, six weeks or so. So I got those and then I tripped and had a falling down in the sock yarn department.



I can sort of rationalize this by saying that I am really afraid that I'm going to run out of yarn on Jane's socks. This is all the yarn I have left:
I still have to knit almost the whole foot. It's not looking good for having enough. Might ahve to go back to the store... a different store, because I'm wily that way and hokgardner and I have plans to visit another yarn store this week. (Heh heh.)

Whenever I get worried about running out of yarn, I start knitting really fast--as if I can outrun it. AND I've packed my stash, you know, so I needed SOMETHING. (Pay no attention to the yarn that Stef gave me sitting over there here on my desk. It was no match for a Claudia hand-paint named Spring Break.)

After my accident at the yarn store, I drove home through the enormous park by our house. It's hilarious that in Austin, as soon as there is a sunny day, everyone heads to Zilker Park

Here are some pictures. (Remember, there was no festival going on or anything--this is just a crowd of people who love Austin, love Zilker Park and love to get outside for some exercise. I used to be one of them. If my foot ever heals, I hope to be a least a walker again. (Some of these were taken through my (dirty) car windows so they are a little dark.)




Austin has some happy dogs.

Here's one way to outwit the allergens!


Here's a photo I took of a vendor just outside of the yarn store. How much do I wish I'd thought of this concept??


At any rate, it was a gorgeous day and one that made us remember, at least partially, why we love it here so much. My kids were hanging out at a neighbor's house and I decided to go stalk my open house check on them so I drove up my street. I stopped by one neighbor's house. He told me he'd staged a huge fist fight in his front yard with another neighbor to really impress the home shoppers. I told him that it wouldn't have surprised me if one of them had run around banging two pans over his head and shouting, "Oklahoma! Oklahoma!" (THIS is really long and offensive--just a warning. I laughed HARD.)


Then I passed another neighbor who said she was on her way to walk through my house. She promised to tell the little kid out front to quit picking the seeds off the top of my Japanese Aurelia.

And then I got a little further down the street and saw that my girls, and our enterprising neighbor children, had set up a Girl Scout Cookie/ lemonade stand. Judging by the fact that they'd sold $150 worth of Girl scout cookies, I'd say the Open House was a big success.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Open House--to be continued

I had a very bad migraine today that I couldn't shake so unfortunately, instead of writing the blog posts I imagined today in my head, I am succumbing to the migraine and going to bed.

But here. Here's a picture of Edward, obviously feeling my stress.


(Look at those curled feet!)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Motherhood and Guilt

Why, exactly, is it that the possibilities for guilt in motherhood are just endless?

I just returned from taking Ana for her two week check-up on her broken collar bone.

Technically, two weeks would have been last Tuesday but I'll feel guilty about THAT later.

Because the verdict is that her collar bone is NOT healing well. There is no sign of a "big honkin' knob of calcification" according to the doctor and apparently? That big honkin' knob is what we're looking for. (He also said that these knobs remodel themselves, "maybe not in two or three years but at least within four or five." He said that mothers tend to get a little freaked out at sight of those big ole knobs but really, it'll be okay in the end.)

Ana has no big honking knob of anything.

Naturally, I think this is my fault.

Because she's been seeming so fine that I've probably let her over-do. I mean, it's hard to keep a child occupied when all you can offer is television and books. At least if that child is my Ana.

I have mentioned that I have a very high pain tolerance and that it has caused me quite a bit of grief because the body gives normal people pain signals for a very good reason--to get you to do whatever you need to do to stop that pain. So if you don't FEEL that pain, you do a lot of damage. I inherited this trait from my mom and it's very clear that Jane has it, too. (She's all about "It's just a Flesh Wound.") But Ana's always been more of an easier complainer, if you know what I mean, so I just assumed she had a normal pain tolerance.

Well, nope.

She's been doing all kinds of things with her right hand because she doesn't feel the pain in her collar bone that a child with normal pain reception would feel.

I think I should have somehow noticed this. Because she's been my child for every bit of her 9.85 years and shouldn't I just... well, KNOW HER?

The doctor said that she had to come back in two weeks and that she wasn't to lift ANYTHING with that right hand. She can write but she is not to lift one single thing with that hand.

I have no idea how to enforce this. Tonight she was eating a sandwich at dinner and I almost lost my mind when I saw her raising it to her mouth with that right hand. ("I wasn't always malformed! It was a... it was a... it was a SANDWICH that did it!")

So, I think we have to put one of those straitjacket kind of braces on her. But I'm not sure I know where to get one. Can I get one without going BACK to the doctor? Because that was all fun and all (big honkin' fun) but it took us almost two hours. (I did get some knitting done.) Have y'all ever tried to buy a brace like that? Were you successful? Did CPS show up on your doorstep?

Hey there! I'm Back--You Know, Well, Sort Of

I'm really sorry for having been such a whiner lately. And here I think of myself as handling things so well. I sent my Realtor a link to the post about how the OTHER realtor scared the beejeezus out of me and then I went back and reread the past month or so. I owe you guys an apology--it's not very entertaining to hear someone go on and on about paint.

When my mom was here, one of my neighbors told her that she was certainly glad that my mom was visiting, "because Barb just doesn't do very well when Coop isn't here."

I was really crabby when I heard that! I thought that was just the rudest thing. I mean, first of all, how would the neighbor KNOW? And secondly, let's not worry my poor mom who pretty reluctantly lets me keep HER girls anyway.

But I guess maybe it's got a ring of truth. And luckily, Coop is home now and has decided to work from Texas next week, so I should be all well adjusted for at LEAST ten days or so.

And I'm sorry.

In totally different news...

No wait, one more house-related thing. Look what I got to finally do today:


I planted the cyclamens that have been sitting in containers out front, calling my name. Aren't they just so beautiful? And what is it about planting something and getting your hands in dirt that brings you back to center? Well, it does ME anyway. Maybe I should forget this writing thing and become a farmer?

And NOW for something completely different. Really.



Do you know what THAT is? It's my Christmas present from my incredible baby-sitter/friend/ fellow knitting geek Stef. And it came with a note instructing me explicitly to knit a pair of socks FOR MYSELF. Which would be a first for me, actually. I give all my hand-knit socks away. But not these. First of all, it's my favorite yarn (Claudia hand-paint) and second of all, the color is called pistachio. I love it so much I'd like to mix it into ice cream.

Only I won't. Because my friend SuburbanCorrespondent (from the comments and her own hilarious blog) assures me that if one keeps about three projects on the needles, one does a LOT better at Weight Watchers. I hope I can really get going on WW this week, being as how I ate my way through a lot of stress and fright this week. (Well, okay, maybe I would have eaten like a pig all week anyway but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) If I could just not eat all of my points before noon (I'm sort of an over-achiever that way), I think that would be a big help. Not to mention not drinking an extra six points of wine at night...sigh.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to Scare Ten Years Off of the Life of the Average Barb

Okay, Okay, I realize there probably isn't such a thing as an average Barb but dudes... you will NOT believe what just happened.

Okay, so this morning, I got a call from this nice Realtor asking if she could come "preview" my house for a client of hers. She wanted to come later in the morning, which sounded great to me so I turned on all the lights and heat and vacuumed and made all the beds, etc. I locked the dogs down into the yard and packed up my knitting (along with my camera and my diamond--my most valuable possessions, in other words) and went and ran some errands. When I was starving, I came back to the house and groused around a bit because the Realtor hadn't left a card.

Can you tell where this is going?

Anyway, I did my Thursday volunteer stuff and I did a really big grocery shop and I had gotten everything unloaded and unpacked when I heard...well...the call of nature so I went into the restroom. Naturally, I also heard the doorbell at almost that same time. But since I took down the "No Soliciting" sign from outside of my front door, we seem to have had a plague of door-to-door salesman coming by and I just decided to, um, well, not get up.

(I'm really trying hard not to give you all some sort of unwanted visual, not to mention not wanting to say something vulgar. It is surprisingly difficult since, you know, I really was in the potty and it's hard not to resort to potty-talk when you're talking about the potty.)

So, anyway, I finished in the potty and came out and ran smack into this little woman in my hallway.

And screamed a little scream as I felt about ten years of life ebbing from my life.

It was the Realtor from the morning, who hadn't ever made it by and who had used the lock box to come in. I didn't hear her because I was... indisposed.

Now, there are many reasons why she was totally in the wrong. She could have called to tell me she wasn't coming in the morning--which might have been nice since my dogs were locked out in the cold. She could have called to tell me she was coming NOW, which would have been nice because I could have gotten the house all ready instead of rushing around, three feet in front of her, turning on lights and chattering inanely. It was clear she was embarrassed and just wanted to leave.

So she left and I am sitting here, minus a few years of my life, and still feeling badly because she didn't get to see the house in its best light. Which is crazy.

Please no jokes about scaring the... whatever out of someone. Once you've witnessed this first hand, it's just not funny anymore. (Have I told y'all that story? I tried to find it in the blog but couldn't.)

Okay, on to other things.

I am fascinated by Edward's feet.

Look how he curls them.


He does this all the time, even when he's sound asleep.


*I* would get a cramp.

Are you totally fascinated? Edward is.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Unexpected



I didn't think I would feel this sad.


(Although I do realize that if you look at this picture without knowing that we are selling our house, you might think that I want to sell the back end of SCOUT. Which, of course, would definitely be the half of him I'd like to sell most. I might even throw in the front half as a freebie. (But he doesn't really come with a pool.))

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Well, We're as Ready as We're Going to Be

I had the incredible good fortune to be driving back from the kids' school this morning (trash day) in time to see one of our newer neighbors setting out a bazillion boxes for the recycling. She and her husband have lived on our street for more than a year but they have been remodeling which means they only just now unpacked their kitchen. I scored all of these great boxes--with lids (how much do I love those lids!)--and so I set about filling the dang things up in anticipation of our move to Long Island in March. (Well, okay, actually, I was really making a last ditch effort to declutter our house before it goes in the market tomorrow.)

(TOMORROW!)

[Brief Interlude while I do my "oh-please-oh-please-oh-please-let-it-sell-fast-and--for-a-lot-of-money-oh-please-oh-please-oh-please" dance. Join me, won't you?]

I know I have been trying to declutter for about a month or more now but today I unleashed my secret weapon: my mother. Dudes, you just won't even believe it. We worked like freaking bar-backs --I am not even kidding. My injured foot is completely fried and my back hurts. But my mom? She went off to have her hair done. The woman is unstoppable.

I'm so proud of how my house looks right now. I know it's just impossible for us to live this way on a daily basis--especially since I've stashed away the toaster oven and the bread basket and the--HELLO--coffee grinder for these pictures, but honestly, I still think it's the prettiest house. It amazes me that in the 7.6 years we've lived here, I have never for one instant had a sense of buyer's remorse or of anything other than this being HOME. That's a pretty awesome thing, in this day and age.

Okay, pictures. Note the fresh floral arrangements my mom put together. (Click to see larger versions open right up in new windows. Because I ROCK that way.)

Living Room:



Dining Room:


Kitchen:


Den:


I think the biggest difference is in this room because Cynthia told me that my wall of books was way oppressive to people walking into the room. So, although I grumbled about it, I decluttered the freaking Wall of Oppression, muttering to myself the whole time. Just look at how great it looks though, especially after my mom sort of arranged things in that way that only people with real taste can.

I don't know. I think a big part of the lesson I am learning is about holding on to too much STUFF. And I'm learning how much more at peace I am when I'm not surrounded by all of that crap --er--stuff. So, tonight, I think my parents are going to take my kids out to eat and I'm going to sit here in my beautiful house and count my blessings. And maybe I'll watch that HGTV show, "My House is Worth WHAT??"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Send Xanex

Okay, so we've done almost everything we can do to our house to get it ready for sale. Everything is spiffed and shiny (with a few exceptions that will no doubt come together between now and Wednesday when we list the house with a Realtor.)

Except, um, I don't know how to LIVE here without completely losing my mind every time someone uses a pot or pan or rumples a bed or, god for-freaking-bid, takes out a game and leaves it in the middle of the living room floor where it is the first thing a propective buyer will see--DAMN IT--and so what if we have no prospective buyers yet when it's just a matter of DAYS--DAYS, I tell you--until we do and we need to get in the habit of staging this freaking house right NOW!

Oh.

Ahem.

Um, hi there.

As I was saying, I seem to be experiencing a small amount of anxiety.

And this, my friends, is really the answer to how all those Metropolitan Home types have spotless many-shades-of white houses.

No one lives there.

The truth is, you wanna sell your house? You should move the hell out so that when, hypothetically speaking, the realtor turns up her nose at the Love candle your daughter brought home for steak night and suggests that you dispose of it, you don't have to fight the urge to tell her exactly where she should put it.

(That truly really was just hypothetical. Our Realtor hasn't said anything about the Love Candle at all, and it has nothing to do with the look in my eyes. I feel the need to have these mental (and I mean that in every sense of the word) imaginary confrontations with people because I am a youngest child in that way. We youngest kids are always on the look-out for those who would cast aspersions on our grown-uptitude.)

Um.

So, anyway, I guess my point is that I don't know how to both LIVE here with my family and to look like no one of any consequence lives here so that some unimaginative prospective buyer can picture his or herself living here. Does that make sense? (The sentence, I mean. I have no illusions about how much sense the sentiment makes...)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Of Beach Umbrellas in the Gray


It's cold and wet and pretty nasty weather here, for Austin. In the 30's and not moving much. Naturally, the weather forecast did not mention rain (don't get me started) so I didn't bring in our jaunty pool umbrella and it is stationed by the pool, lifting its bedraggled colors in attempt to mitigate all the gray.

I feel sort of gray myself.

We're headed into the last stretch of home improvement/repair before we list our house for sale on Wednesday. I wouldn't say we can see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, but we definitely are past the half-way point. (Hello out there!) While my husband was gone to New York this week, I did a LOT of work. In fact, I probably did a bit too much.

Because last night, when Jane (7) saw the new blinds in the living room? (Dudes, I replaced our disgusting and dated mini-blinds with these fake wood ones that are all the rage. Well, the FAKE ones aren't all the rage but the real ones are and for my purposes and budget, the fake ones looked plenty real enough. Anyway, it looks much nicer. And yes, I DID just illustrate a digression with a photo. Why do you ask?)

Anyway, when Jane saw the new blinds, she burst into tears. "I want the old blinds back! Nothing in here looks like HOME."

So, then later, as she was going to bed, she cried again about the move. She's worried because she won't know anyone and it's not THIS house and she's afraid the kids up there won't like her. It's funny because I'm so confident that Jane will be completely fine that I haven't paid much attention to what are totally natural fears of the unknown on her part. It's just like the rain that sneaked up on me, you know? I should have been more prepared.

I stayed with her and wiped her face and gave her butterfly kisses and told her all about what I knew of the place where we're moving and in the end, her eyes were closing as her tears tapered off and she fell asleep. I stayed there for a bit, watching her sleep and fighting the urge to just call this whole move from Texas to New York off.

I truly believe that it's going to be a great life experience for my kids. I think that in the end it will be one of those defining events --the event where they learn that not everyone sounds the same as their Texas friends. The one where they learn that there is culture bigger than what Austin has to offer. Where they learn what it's like to walk into a classroom full of strangers and walk out with friends.

But as I've been focused on getting this house ready to sell, I've forgotten about preparing the path looking forward to New York for my children --which just seems unforgivably stupid now, in retrospect. Because my kids are THINKERS, and while I've been rushing around like a mad woman assuming that I'll have plenty of time later to prepare them for the move, they've been doing a lot of imagining on their own now. Having moved so often as a kid, I guess I forgot how scary the whole concept is for kids who have NEVER moved. Jane was born in this house, you know? And she is just the brightest, sunniest, sparkliest little kid. It always takes me by surprise when she admits her fears or sensitivities. I'm so very certain that she is going to take Long Island by storm that I forgot that even little Hurricanes get cold and afraid.

I think maybe I lost sight of the fact that, even in Jane's world, sometimes it looks very gray and sometimes she stands there with her colors a bit bedraggled in the face of it.

But it's okay, Janie, because no matter where we are, these gray rainy days never last very long. I love you so much, my little sweetheart. I'll do better from now on not getting caught unaware when a front moves through.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Love (Cynthia) Thursday

I'm sorry I lied.

You know how I said I wouldn't write any more posts about doing all kinds of things to my house to get it ready to list for sale? (Which, by the way, I also lied about inadvertently. We're not listing the house on Monday but on Wednesday. Rita, our Realtor, likes to do new listings in midweek. I'm not sure why but there's a reason she's so successful at selling houses and who knows, this may be it.) (Dudes, that was a digression in the middle of a confession! Followed by an interjection!) (Dang it, now I'm singing Schoolhouse Rock in my head. At 3:00 AM.)(I have insomnia and then there was this cat altercation on my bed and I got up for some water and now here I am at 3:00 in the morning singing Schoolhouse Rock.) (Sigh.)

ANYway, I have to post about my house because something happened yesterday that made this huge difference in how we are "staging" this house to sell before our move to New York. I've been working my hiney off (which is a good thing considering how much Mexican food I ate yesterday) doing things like decluttering and painting and changing out old ugly fixtures for new ones and I had made some really good progress.

But then my friend Cynthia, who is herself a Realtor, came over and spent about half an hour doing a quick walk-through of my house and giving me about fifty small things I could do to make my house more appealing in order to maximize our potential profit. She even rearranged the furniture in my living room.

(And she did all of this in the midst of an emotional crisis, the details of which I can't share but let's just say she has had an incredibly hard couple of years culminating this week in an event of just enormous horribleness. She deserves a vacation and to win the lottery and for the whole world to see how amazingly talented she is. She's a very strong woman but honestly? I'm not sure how much more she can take. I would be in the fetal position on my bathroom floor if even one of the things that has happened to her this past year alone had happened to me. If you're a praying person, would you pray a little prayer for her? Or if you believe in sending good vibes or Karma or something, would you take a few minutes to just send her all the positive energy you can? She's good people. And sometimes life really isn't fair.)

Cynthia is very plain-spoken and totally objective so she said things like, "Lose that dead plant" and that's exactly what I wrote down and that's exactly what I did. I think I needed someone to make me see how NON-objective I am, you know? Like I have this Ficus which has recently fallen on hard times. (Long story which involves some miscommunication between my husband and me about a watering schedule for it.) I've had it for almost 18 years and if I had time, I could rehab it. But I don't have time and I'm not moving it to New York with me so out it goes. It's a plant. It's not like it's a PET or something.

(Okay, okay, having said that, I can't just throw it out so I'm trying to find it a new home. For my other almost dead plants, too --not to mention the new plants that I will try hard to kill before we move. Lisa? Lisa of the Very Green Thumb?)

I have about another full day of doing the things on Cynthia's list and then I'll post pictures. The difference already is AMAZING. She ought to have a service where she goes around staging houses for people --she is so good.

Okay, a big fat orange kitty just returned to bed and crawled into my lap, making typing impossible and sleep finally probable. Time for lights out.

Blessings on you, Cynthia.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Finally Happened

I think I may be too FULL to post.

My friend Sarah came over this evening and we ordered out Mexican food and I ate not wisely, but too well.

I could rest a laptop on my stomach.

Sigh.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Newly Staged, Continued...

The way the system works here, as I understand it, is that first the realtor brings all of her co-workers through the house, looking for feedback.

That happened today.

Then she'll host an open house for all Realtors so that they will know to bring their potential buyers to see it.

Then she'll hold an open house for prospective buyers.

The Realtors from Rita's (that's our realtor) office came through today. Haven't heard anything yet but I had the distinct advantage of being down the street from a smaller house where the owners didn't even bother to make the beds. Rumor has it that there were dishes everywhere and the place needed a good cleaning.

My house needs a lot, mind you, but it was pretty darn spotless. I had all the lights on and those scented airwick things billowing vanilla all over the place. I was playing a very understated classical CD in the background and when the first realtor got here, I high-tailed it out into the woods with the dogs, ostensibly to run them, but really so that the Realtors didn't get a load of my unwashed, paint spattered self, not to mention Scout, the Submissive Urinator. (As an aside, and you knew there would be at least ONE, right? Scout's really alarmed bark? Sounds like a beagle. He BAYS. It makes me want to hit him with a big stick. But I digress.)

They were only here for 15 minutes, tops.

Still, I actually felt proud of my house and my work to get it ready for today.

There are still a few things to do--some cabinets to paint and both the craft room and my husband's studio (from which he moved most of his gear over the weekend) need to be "staged." And it's too bad that it's raining because the house looks a lot better in the sun.

But here are some more pictures.

Here's Jane's room, which used to have a big princess painted on the wall.


Here is the pool area, which used to have this incredibly bright neon yellow wall.


Here's the master bedroom, for which I bought new bedding. Of all the things I did in the house, this one small thing makes me the happiest. I just love my new comforter and sheets!

Here's the spare room (that is not a really furry pillow. That is Edward, who seems to be taking all this frenzied activity in stride.)


Here's the den--look, no bicycle!


Here's the front door:


And here, finally, are the right-side up shutters!


Okay then, this is my last post about selling this house for a while as I am positive you all are quite sick of the whole subject. Tonight I am going to my book club--there is always good blog fodder there!