Sunday, April 27, 2014

In a Slump

Sometime about the time of clearing up the dishes from Easter dinner, the Slump came on full force. It's been a long, long . . . month? Season? Year? Existence? Anyway, it's been a long, hard push, and I'm tired. And now I have the time to feel tired. Really tired. Tired that creeps out from the deepest places and puts a chokehold on. Tired that spreads like syrup and sticks my fingers together.

When you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done
~Dr. Seuss

I want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head and stay there for two weeks. But the children keep getting hungry and the grass keeps growing and what we really, really need, maybe even more than sleep, is things being Normal. Whatever that is. Meals that taste like real food and not prepackaged from Costco. Lessons that start before 10:30 in the morning. Bedtime that starts before 10:30 at night. (Isn't it weird that the more exhausted you are, the harder it is to get to bed on time? But there's just so much to *do* before bed.)

So I'm trying to take my slump in small doses. Lay in a stock of utterly effortless reads. Play mindless computer games while listening to music on my headphones to block out the noise. (There still is *some* noise from children playing, even in this house.) Take slow walks with the little kids even if I don't feel up to taking runs with the big kids on bikes. Take naps when the children are occupied instead of getting the housework done. Accept that right now, productivity and efficiency are my enemies. And keep hoping that there's another side to this slump, that someday I'll wake up and actually want to get out of bed, that someday the sun shining outside will feel like an invitation and not a taunt.

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.)