Sunday, April 13, 2014

Actual Pictures!

Not *too* tidied up, because then you would not ever see them. And not of everywhere, because some places are not even tidyable enough for this. (The master bedroom still needs drywall, and texture, and paint, and . . . ) And there is still a great lack of Things On The Wall and color in genera. But there's enough to get the idea.

Kid desk area in the playroom

Girls' Bedroom. They have, unfairly, more pillows than anyone else.

Playroom. Still needs more bookshelves.

Boys' Bedroom. The most presentable angle.

Living/dining room. (A child is in MY chair!)

Back entry and piano. This is right opposite the kitchen.

Kitchen. Even messy it's still pretty roomy.

Schoolroom. It's honey, not cantaloupe
Backyard. This is the view from the kitchen window. There's a pond down there, with a rowboat and ducks.

Back deck and ramp. So far DOB has not driven off the edge, but it would be nice to get the rail up.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Slow Takes

Because it's been a long time since Friday. But there might be more than seven.

On Friday I decided I had better file the tax extension. (The thing about filing a tax extension is that it's almost as hard as filing taxes, because you have to estimate if you owe any taxes, but you don't have to actually be able to find the paperwork to prove it. Since the filing cabinet only arrived yesterday and the files are still all out in the garage, this was looking like the better option.)

I couldn't put my hands on the kids' social security numbers, but I plugged all the other numbers and a wild estimate on medical fees into the software. To my horror, it showed us owing thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes. I emailed DOB to see if this was correct, but he was out of the office most of the day. When he was around later in the afternoon, I messaged him and we both freaked out for awhile. I remembered that I had a digital copy of last year's tax return, so I pulled it up for comparison to see if I could find my error.

Aha! There were the kids' social security numbers. Might as well plug those in while I was at it. As I did it, I noticed our owed taxes melting away. Pretty soon it was replaced with a modest refund. Apparently the software calculated the children as dependents for a modest tax reduction based on just their birthdates, but we had to enter social security numbers for the full Child Tax Credit.



In addition to moving in over here, we're still working on getting my grandparents' house ready for the market. I'm about cleaned and organized out. On the plus side, I got me a comfy old recliner which is *my* chair and no child is allowed to touch. (This is horribly cruel, in their estimation.) And a nice end table next to it which is now full of books and notebooks and pens and a spot for a tea mug. It's next to the heater for winter and the window for summer. I am very happy about this.

On Wednesday Rocketboy brought the truck to the cedar lumberyard and we got the wood for the rail around the ramp. (A large part of everybody's life lately seems to be calling up Rocketboy and saying, "Hey, can you bring the truck over for . . . " But he has started actual college classes now, in addition to baking his own casseroles, so we are trying to tone it down.) Nothing in the world smells as good as a cedar lumberyad. (At least, nothing without calories.)

We still don't have it up, though, so DOB continues to risk life and limb on the ramp. But hopefully we are at least past the last frost.

The new house setup is amazingly better on game nights. Before, we had eight people eating in a very small kitchen, and then all cleanup and setup for the game had to happen in the same kitchen (where every dish in and out of the cupboard required rearranging half the chairs) and then seven people all trying to fit around the same small table to actually play. Now the kids eat at the kitchen bar, the grownups eat in the living/dining room, and then kitchen cleanup can go on without having to move anyone's chair. And some people can even sit on the couch. It's a whole new world, and none of us have yet died of the disease that turned everyone to flourescent green goo.

It's time to get back to normal life. Which means we need to start school on Monday. I am so not ready for this. I did spend a couple of afternoons last week planning school. (This was because I sat down and discovered I was too tired to get up again, and it felt more productive than playing Faster Than Light.) But that was for next term, and we still have nearly three weeks left of this term, and I have *no idea* where we were. Better find out tonight. At least I can do it without tripping over everyone!

I may be speaking too soon. But so far the neighborhood seems very nice. There's a boy next door who plays very well with the ducklings, and his mom is very friendly and reasonable and even though last week was spring break things fell into a nice reasonable pattern of playtime a couple of hours every afternoon, mostly outside when it wasn't pouring down rain. There are a lot of teenagers in the neighborhood at large, but so far as I can tell they mostly engage in Wholesome Recreations like walking the dog and tossing footballs and digging in the garden, and not in Obnoxious Pastimes like revving cars blaring loud music at ungodly hours of the night. And there's a teenage girl just up the road who has horses that she has invited Duchess to come and help her curry tomorrow.

Deux probably hates moving the most, as he always has. (For some time after we moved from Cincinnati when he was 5 he insisted that his real family had died and though he was grateful to us for taking him in, it wasn't quite the same.) However, the availability of a room on which he can set up a game and leave it out all weekend (or all spring break) is beginning to bring him around. The twins seem to be adjusting pretty well, and Dash is even having a few less irrational food aversions. Duchess, of course, is totally thrilled.

The piano tuner's appointment software messed up and so he did not come last week, but he is coming on Tuesday, and thereafter I can hopefully start teaching the kids music at last. (We've had the piano for some time, but it was out in an outbuilding. Now it's in the entry.) I have actually started on rhythm. As I feared, they have little more aptitude for it than I, but I persevere.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


We made it in! And although everything was not done before we did it, and there was still a lot of dust causing DOB to spend the first two days sneezing, still here we are and getting unpacked. It doesn't quite feel like home yet, but it does feel like a particularly nice and spacious vacation place. With a few stray boxes.

Since moving in, we have added the ramp, and doorknobs to the two most critical doors (thanks to His Majesty discovering that two of the old doors had lever handles and not the nasty bumpy round ones.) And I've hung some things, mostly crooked. And cleaned out the garage, so DOB can park there.

For the first few days, you aren't really unpacking so much as questing for one item after another to conduct the most basic tasks. Then you can start really digging into the piles and feel like you are Accomplishing Something. I've given myself the rest of this week to get as settled in as I can manage. Because at some point you have to return to normal life and figure the rest will get sorted out someday. Which most of it does, except for the last few boxes that never get unpacked and will be found either in your next move or by your heirs. (Apparently one of *those* contains Rocketboy's sunglasses, which I was keeping a close eye on where he had left them right until the moment when they disappeared.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

From the backseat: A lesson in patience

Deux: Arrrghhh!

Duchess: Stop that, Deux! You are so picky!

Deux: I can't help it, Dash is being so annoying!

QOC: What are you doing, Dash?

Dash: I'm putting on my coat.

QOC: Well, Deux, if someone is not trying to bother you and it won't cause you permanent harm, it's best to just ignore it. Life is much smoother that way.

Deux: I can't ignore it when it bothers me!

QOC: The trick is to think about something else. Like how many prime numbers there are smaller than 100.

Deux: How many prime numbers smaller than 100 . . . most odd numbers are primes . . . except the ones that end in five, like 15, 25, 35, 45 . . . .

Duchess: Arrrrrgh!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Boxed In

The house is full of boxes. Empty boxes. It should be full of full boxes, but I have been over at the other house painting.

The twins helped me pick out the color for the library. (It was going to be the schoolroom, but doesn't library sound better? Besides, I don't think the piano is going down that hall, so we're going to have to have most of the bookcases in there.) We took a curtain to the hardware store to match. I kept being timid and picking the lighter versions, but they insisted on the more intense. I wanted something warm and honey-colored and so finally I just went with them.

Then I started putting it up on the walls. Against the existing ice blue. It didn't looked honey-colored. It looked orange. (This, by the way, is why I don't bother buying a sample and painting it on the walls. I *still* can't be sure what it will feel like.) I was terrified, but I painted grimly on. I finally got to the rolling part, in which the ducklings gleefully participated (only later did I reflect on just how many tiny spatters I would be scraping off the laminate flooring, but then, they probably weren't any messier than I would have been solo). And behold! When it covered the wall entirely, it was honey-colored and all was well.

Although with that color and the name library, I'm thinking the room really needs a walnut table and some wing-backed leather chairs. But I have a feeling that I'll have to settle for a folding table and chairs for a good long while.

Then I did DOB's new alcove, for which he chose chocolate brown and light gray. It's a bit gloomy, but the brown really is tasty looking. Especially on the trim, which looks pretty much exactly like a very long chocolate bar.

Anyway, it's all mostly done now. At least the part that might be covered up by furniture. Flooring is going down and new wider doors are going in (and I'm sure I won't get *those* painted, but then, they'll never have furniture in the way of painting them).

And now I've really, really got to finish packing. According to the plan, we'll be in the new house by this time next week. I don't see how it will all happen. But it needs to happen.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

A Sense of Closure

This is the week in which we had Better Close, Or Else. We have permission to stay in this house until the end of the month, but there are several modifications that must be made to the new house before we can move in (ramp, wider doorways, hard flooring). So we need time, and help. And then we have to move itself. This is the first time we have bought and sold all at once and the back-to-back remodeling is grueling.

While waiting around I have been trying to pack, with Rocketboy's help when I can get him. (Wondergirl is also moving this month. And then he's moving after her. And then he starts school.) Progress is slow and boxes are elusive, though family members and friends in distant parts of the country have volunteered them if we come pick them up.

Anyway, we did manage to get documents signed and our current house sold. Right after it closed, the sink clogged completely during the dinner dishes. A late night trip to Walmart for Draino had no effect, other than making the house smell like bleach and shining up the sink.

In the morning His Majesty came and disassembled the plumbing to disclose a mysterious white spongy substance blocking the entire pipe. Then I helped him load the truck to go to the dump. Then I started in on the belated supper and breakfast dishes and started the dishwasher.

Finally we sat down to start school (yes, we're plowing on with school, partly because I'm stubborn that way and partly because it's rainy so what else will keep them out of trouble?) and just as we got some momentum going, the dishwasher started spewing white suds all over the floor. I shoved some towels underneath and we carried on.

Then DOB called to let me know it was time to sign documents for the new house. So I fed the kids a quick lunch and we dashed off and signed away. We returned home and I disassembled the dishwasher enough to clean out the clogged drain and started in on the rest of the dishes. We had snack and story and the kids were settled down to computer time and I was starting supper when I happened to glance at my phone and see I had missed a call much earlier in the afternoon..

I checked my voice mail and it was the title agent. She had skipped having me sign one document. Could I come in and sign it by five? I looked at the clock--it was 4:50. I told the kids to pause everything and get in the car. We zipped out, took the long way around to avoid the left turn of doom at rush hour, and pulled into the title agency with three minutes to spare. The agent had left but someone else found the paper for me.

Then we finally went home again, and found I had even remembered to turn off the stove.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Presidents and Denim

We've been working on taking President's Day Weekend as a weekend getaway, thanks to Their Majesties (possibly assisted by Walt Disney and Maxwell Smart). We've done it three years running now, which is pretty impressive. It's a better time than our anniversary, which is in early September, a time when whole-family trips to the beach sound like a good idea. In February, cabin fever makes everyone happier with a break from each other.

It's always been President's Day Weekend with us, back to when we were first courting. We don't do that mushy Valentine stuff. We sit around and talk about dead presidents, as we have done from the first. Indeed, I am reminded of a chat early in our acquaintance. I forget how the topic came up, but DOB asserted that he had learned valuable lessons from each and every president.

"Oh, really?" I replied, "So what did you learn from William Henry Harrison?"

"Don't make a speech in the rain without your hat," he replied.

This year we didn't actually go anywhere--we stayed home and bought flooring while it was on sale at Costco. And we went to used bookstores and I found the entire Kristin Lavransdattr trilogy for $6 and a beautiful copy of Robin Hood and many other fun things.

DOB decided he had better stick to his usual exercise schedule, so while he was at the Y on Monday morning I went to Target and decided to spend some time learning how to find jeans that fit. Someone recently posted a link on how not to buy mom jeans, which I read without much enlightenment. Since I wore grandma jeans as a pre-teen (technically my great-aunt's, but I think that counts), just wearing mom jeans is fashion progress for me. Still, I tried a number of different ones on to see if it would enlighten me.

What I have found is jeans in two categories: the ones that seem to fit OK in the dressing room, but are pinching unpleasantly by the end of the day, or the ones that seem to fit OK in the dressing room, but are sliding down awkwardly by the end of the day (and usually finding somewhere to pinch along the way). Trying on a dozen or so did not reveal any that seemed likely to defy this categorization, but I did definitively decide that jeggings are not for me. (Duchess looks quite good in leggings and long tops, but then, she is nine and streamlined and I am neither.)

Anyway, after all that trying I didn't buy anything, but later we went to the thrift store and I found two pairs of jeans that seemed to work pretty well. One of them pinches a bit at the end of the day and the other one slides down a bit at the end of the day, but they will do. They may or may not be mom jeans. I'm still fuzzy on that concept.