Monday, August 22, 2011

Surprising Things About Contemplating a Move

It looks as though the Coopers are moving. Our house is under contract and we have found a really nice rental house. We're just trying to lock in all of the details and timing, but we hope to be moved by the time the girls start school on September 8. Which is very soon, but I would start moving right this very second if we could. Our lease doesn't start until September 1, though, so I'm just accumulating boxes in my living room.

This is a difficult time for me.  I think maybe the in-between time of a move--where everything is all about waiting and getting ready-- is difficult for me because I'm an Army brat and there is a certain post-traumatic-stress shimmer to these days. When we moved in my childhood, a move meant a complete upheaval of life as we knew it--new city, new house, new friends, new school.  That's not the case now, since we're just moving a few miles away, but try telling that to the little girl who lives in my head.

Anyway, as I contemplate leaving behind this house that has been our home for the past three-and-a-half years, one of the most surprising things is how completely UNemotionally attached I am to it. Don't get me wrong, I've really enjoyed living in this house. It's the fanciest house I've ever lived in. I guess I'm just not that fancy of a person, though, because I've always felt more at home in houses that were a little quirky. The rental house is both fancy AND quirky, so I already feel at home in it.

I believe that houses have their own personalities, in a way. Those are probably informed by the events that go on while we're living in them, and as such, this hasn't been the happiest house for the Coopers. The transition from Texas to New York was pretty brutal--kind of like suddenly moving to Mars.  When you combine culture shock with a dose of chronic pain and the inevitable losses when children start growing up --well, I'm really hopeful that the rental house is going to be a happier house than this one. Maybe our my growing pains will be less overwhelming.

The thing I'm going to miss most about living in THIS house is that the property backs to a large county park --which has nothing to do with the house itself. I'm going to miss the splendor of the seasons played out in those woods. I'm going to miss the wild, unbridled joy of my dogs as they raced along the trails.

Looking forward, I took some pictures of the new house the last time we visited. (As always, you can click to embiggen.)
This is the kitchen.  Need I say more?
Well, actually, that is ONE of the kitchens. It turns out that the cabana has a kitchen, too.
Coop standing in the cabana kitchen, which is almost as nice as my current kitchen!
Because, yes, the new house has a pool and a cabana.  We haven't actually seen the pool yet because it's covered and looks like this:
Part of the pool and the cabana.
But it's the real reason we're renting this house. Because we're from Texas and in denial of the fact that one month after the lease starts, we will no longer be able to swim because it's NOT HEATED. Coop is researching a work-around.

In the event that he is unable to find one, we have another option. The rental house has a hot tub. I mean, it has a hot tub inside of it. Look:
(Hot tub to the left of Jane, (10.) Jane is to the left of Ana, (13.)
See? It's a little quirky. Most houses don't have a hot tub right off of the kitchen. 

So, now the work begins. We're packing up and trying to cull through our possessions, as the new house doesn't have as much storage as our current house. It's a good, if painful, exercise in downsizing.

And we're waiting.

Which, as you all know, I really, really, really LOVE and am really, really, really good at.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

These are Interesting Times

Okay, so, given the number of e-mails I got correctly guessing my "big" news, I guess I wasn't as subtle as I thought I was.  Y'all don't seem shocked at all.

I'm freaking the frak out.

Because you know that curse, "May you live in interesting times"?

Apparently, someone cursed us with it.

This is my life and as is usually the way things happen in it, our house, which was not on the market, is now under contract for sale.

A realtor, who had shown our house several times when it was on the market, knocked on our door two weeks ago (when Coop was out of town, of course) and said she had the perfect buyer.  So, what the heck, I let her show it on Saturday, he brought some family back on Sunday and then put in an offer on Monday. The inspection was Wednesday and, although we won't really know for sure until the appraisal comes back, it looks like everything is a go. (That appraisal number is a big deal because if it comes back low, the buyer is going to ask us to lower the price further and I have seen that look in my husband's eye a time or two and I can tell you right now, it's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  Might as well give up and go buy someone else's house and save yourself a lot of time and effort.)

Anyway, if the house does sell, it would be a blessing because, although we are losing a lot of money, we can finally stop worrying about selling it in this economy.

BUT... (there's always a big but, isn't there?)

BUT, now we have to make plans for the future.

That's a big but.

We are still committed to giving our daughters at least one year at an academically advanced private school, the tuition for which we just paid. Plus, Coop's job is here and it's a really good job in this, the worst economy of our lives.

SO, I immediately started searching for rental properties. Traditionally, there hasn't been a large supply of rental properties in this area, but the economy has everything topsy-turvy and a lot of people with big houses they can't sell are now renting them out. I went to see a house on Thursday, loved it so much I took the girls back to see it that night, and took Coop to see it Friday evening after he returned to town.  He really liked it.

(Oddly enough, when I found our beloved house in Austin, Coop was also out of town. We were so happy in that house in Austin --it kind of makes me feel like this is a good omen.) (I'm sorry that the print on that page is really small. I would fix it but it's been so long since I updated that website, I no longer remember my password. Just a technological MARVEL-- that's me.)

We met with the landlord on Sunday, who turned out to be this delightful guy now living out of state, with whom we had an instant rapport. The house is his baby so he's pretty picky to whom he will rent it, but I think he liked us, too.  The girls were on their best behavior, which may or may not have been influenced by promises of potential ice cream.

Now, assuming the appraisal comes back at a number we can all live with, a hundred things have to come together and the planets must align and fairies need to sprinkle magic pixie dust over us while house elves magically pack all of our stuff into boxes. Ideally, I want to be moved by the time the girls start school on September 8, which means that we have to assume the house sale is going to close, sign the lease on the rental, and get packing and moving.

Only what if it doesn't close? It wasn't until I started thinking about this that I realized how 
cynical living in New York has made me. I can just see us packing up and committing to the rental and then having the deal fall through. I am refusing to pack even one box until we hear about the appraisal.

Waiting is not what I do best.

It's a little stressful.

Which is why I'm up at 3:00 in the morning doing laundry.

Um...Magic Fairies? Hello?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Some Big News

I have really big news that is just burning a hole in my pocket, but I can't share it yet because I am weirdly superstitious and everything could still fall through and then I will look even more like an idiot than I usually do.


Instead, I give you the other big news of this summer, which is that our garden is kind of a bust this year.

Well, that's not totally accurate.

It's just a very, very different year for us in terms of the garden.

LAST year, I deemed the summer the Summer of the Garden. If you click on that link (I know you won't but if you DO), you will see a mountain of tomatoes and masses and masses of cucumbers.  We called it Mount Cucumber. This year we got ONE full-sized cucumber.

Jane (10) is very enthusiastic about this cucumber grown in her garden.
We ate it.

It was great.

We had more corn this year and the tomatoes are FINALLY coming in.

Beef(steak). It's what's for dinner.
But the really, really big crop this year is peppers.  Peppers of all kinds.
A portion of the jalapeno crop
Very fun purple bell peppers
Including these little bitty adorable red peppers that look like tiny bell peppers (my favorite) but (and don't ask me how I know this) if you bite into one, the FIRES OF HELL appear in your mouth.
Look how adorable!  Until it tries to kill you.
I don't even know what they are--I THOUGHT I was planting red bell peppers, as I do every year.

After I salvaged whatever remaining skin I had on the roof of my mouth, I drank milk and ate a piece of bread and hopped around my kitchen saying almost-curses ("Oh, MARTHA!"), much to the hilarity of my children.

And then I rubbed my eye.

Which was just incredibly stupid. I don't want to discuss it.

There was only one way to assuage my pain.