Friday, August 22, 2014

Welcome to NY!

It has been SOOO long since I've logged anything here, but I swear I have a good excuse.

1) moving
2) moving to a remote place in MA that has no internet reception or cell service
3) moving again, finally to our new home in NY.

I've learned a lot these last few weeks.  A Lot.

Though soo soo grateful to Jay's parents for letting us take over their summer home while we found a place to live, I must admit I was dreading being cut off from the world so thoroughly.  My first Sunday at church, I was slightly relieved that the branch had no nursery so that I could run one for Hazel and finally check my email on my phone.  It was really annoying at first because we kinda needed the internet to figure out where we were going to live, so for awhile, we would drive over to the (tiny) local library and sit in our minivan (oh yeah! we got a minivan) using their wireless.  The kids would watch a movie in the back on their iPads and I would scour craigslist and zillow while Jay would catch up on his gazillion emails he got over the last 2 days.

However, once we knew where we were living I actually really really liked being cut off from the world.  It was very freeing in a way.  I spent a lot more time reading books.  In a way, it felt more indulgent because when you spend time online it feels like I am "working".  Gaining information.  Paying bills.  Unbolding emails.  But reading a book novel is really just blatantly all pleasure.

So it turns out I can live without internet.

The things I missed the most actually turned out to be:
-potable water that comes out of your tap
-climate control
-having more control over the amount of bugs I encounter on a daily basis
-having a closet to hang my clothes in.

I was surprised by how annoyed I got having to dig through a suitcase for my stuff all the time.  Closets ROCK!

Anyway, after nearly buying a house in Poughkeepsie, we realized (i'm feeling very listy today, aren't I?)
-closing on a house takes FOR.E.VER (okay, just 45-60 days) in NY and Jay was going to end up sleeping on the floor of his office for 6 weeks while the rest of us lived in MA and it all just sounded horribly inconvenient.
-the market here is AWESOME for buying a house, but HORRID for selling a house and if we ended up needing to move in a year it could have been really hard to sell and we were purposely buying a fixer-upper which means we had only 1 year to fix everything up.  and learn a new place. and homeschool The Frog. and....

So I chickened out on the house and we are renting instead.

In true Libby fashion, I tried to find the cheapest place possible that had (another list)
-2 car garage
-lots of storage space
-nice neighborhood
-real backyard
-within a 20 minute drive of Vassar
-could move in by the time Jay needed to start showing up at work

We did find a place but it feels SO tiny!  We are losing our office space, our TV room, a bedroom, a food storage room, and my craft room.  (and a bathroom, but I was always secretly annoyed at having to clean 3 bathrooms so for me, that's a good thing.)  BUT there is an attic where we are trying to store as much as we possibly can so that we won't have to repack as much when we move next year.

We decided to put our bed in the smallest bedroom so we could use the master bedroom as a treadmill/TV/craft room.  Our bedroom is SO funny.  I laugh every time I go in there because there is 1 foot on all sides of the bed before you hit wall.  Luckily, our nightstands are really small and they perfectly fit!  :)

The kids are all sharing 1 bedroom smaller than their old one.  We're still trying to decide where will be the least awkward place to put Hazel's crib...  But I think it will provide some real sibling bonding, don't you?

Really, the smallness doesn't bother me that much.  Really what bothers me is HOW MUCH STUFF WE HAVE!  Every time Jay brings in another box that says "Kitchen" or "Craft" I feel myself blushing.  Don't get me wrong... my dessert plates are adorable.  But after going through everything and saying "I can live without this for the next year.  Let's put it in the attic," a small corner of my brain whispers that perhaps I could live without it. period.

We have a LOT of bottled pears from our old pear tree.

Luckily, I don't know where to donate stuff here yet so I'm off the hook for now :)

Now for the real kicker.

I don't mean to complain, but I spent FOUR DAYS deep cleaning this place.  It was FILTHY!  Like no-way-Libby-it-couldn't-be-that-bad-you're-exaggerating bad.

If you have a weak stomach, you should stop reading now.

So the previous owners had 2 cats and lived here for 3 years.  I think they must have been saving up for a third cat and accidentally left it in their CARPET!  Seriously!  I have the picture to prove it!
All of that is CAT. HAIR.  and it all came from the master bedroom ALONE.  It took me 2 HOURS of vacuuming that one room to get it out.

but let me back up.

So I was pleased to hear that the carpets would be professionally cleaned on Monday before we could start getting ready to move in.  My plan was to do the last finishing touch cleaning items before I move my things in like vacuuming out kitchen drawers, etc.  for maybe a day or so and then start unpacking.

I get there on Tuesday and walk in thinking "YIKES!! WHAT IS THAT SMELL!!"

I was trying to be nice and so carried on with the vacuuming of the kitchen drawers and shelves when I noticed this place is coated in colonies of cobwebs. Ok ok, yeah, this is a rental unit with vaulted ceilings so it's not surprising that there would be cobwebs in places that required me to use a step-stool and a long vacuum attachment to get.  That is semi-understandable.  But no, we're talking door frames, walls (even at waste level!), cabinets, every. single. corner.  So now I have to go around the whole house and basically vacuum the walls and corner.  Thank goodness this place is so small!

So then I go to the master bedroom to start putting some of my things away in the closet and I'm sitting on the floor nearly gagging from the horrid wet animal smell.  I look at Jay and say, "do you smell that?"

Jay: *sniff sniff* "no"
me: "what? seriously?  that horrid wet dog smell?  you can't smell that"
Jay: not really.

So now, I'm starting to think I'm just over-reacting.

I go do things in other parts of the house and then go back to the master and MAN!  it stinks!!

So then I get all whiny to Jay and how I'm scared to say something to the landlord because I don't like inconveniencing people, so basically what I'm saying is I make Jay do it.

He and his wife say they can't smell anything but they agree to my proposal to let me rent a steam cleaner with a pet odor treatment from Home Depot to see if I can get it to come out with a bit of work.

We get the thing rented and the lady tells me to be sure an vacuum first.

okay, yeah. good idea.

Unfortunately, my vacuum head that does floors got separated from the rest of my vacuum in the move.  Luckily, this house has a central vacuum, so I decide to use that.  It doesn't have rollers on it, just an attachment lined with stiff bristles.

So I start vacuuming back-and-forth (like anyone would) and I see what looks like a ball of lint or something accumulate.  I figure the head must just be dirty with lint and now it's rubbing off on the carpet.  I'll just get that with the Dyson.

But no. It just keeps happening.  The whole length of the carpet!  I soon realize that I am essentially combing cat hair off of the carpet into little piles.  So I did this very methodically across the whole room and then went back with my Dyson and sucked up the piles.  Then I'd do it again purpendicularly, etc.

I'd be lying if I said that some level of me didn't enjoyit.  I do love getting something really grimy to become clean.  But this quickly got old once I decided to go over the entire carpet until I no longer got hairballs to come out of it.

2 HOURS LATER I finally stopped getting little piles to appear in the Master bedroom.  On to the next room...

I have never EVER sweat so much vacuuming carpet before.

So yeah, looks like I wasn't the crazy smeller of phantom stink after all.  And that also makes me feel pretty good.

I think smelling stinks is one of the super powers all moms get so we can make sure our kids don't get diaper rash.  Unfortunately, it can also be a curse and cause you us to vacuum cat fur for 2 hours.  I had to repeat the same procedure in all the other bedrooms, the hall, and the family/dining room as well.  Luckily, none of the others were even half so bad.

So once that was all done, I used the steamer and went to bed at 1am.  I can't remember now.

The next morning it still smelled bad and so I did it all again.  (though I only vacuumed twice this time)

It still smells and the landlord has graciously agreed to replace the carpet.


However, that means we have to move all our stuff out in a week.  Again.  *sigh*

But it will be sooo worth it.

Well, I was just taking an unpacking break to double-check a youtube video about getting rid of a slow draining sink and am still surrounded by boxes.  I should go.  (really, I should go to bed.  after I fix the sink, I promise!)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

More Moving Details

So, why are we moving again?

The short version is Jay didn't get approved for "continuing faculty status" (their version of "tenure") at BYU.

We were really surprised.

He far surpassed all their outlined requirements but those pesky politics... I think Jay was advocating for too much change too soon, and it didn't sit will with those folks.

Anyway, we lucked out because when Jay started the application process last fall, Vassar was one of his top 2 choices, so we feel extremely blessed.

It felt like SUCH a LONG 7 months of waiting to figure out where we would be going (or if we would be going at all... BYU allows an extra year to find another job before letting you go) and for a long while, I was making plans to move to Moscow, Russia.

For reals.

We waited through agonizing months of getting response emails, phone interviews, flying out interviews, and then a most painful time where we heard NOTHING when we were expecting to have heard SOMETHING... over and over I had to tell concerned neighbors that "there is no update... we're still just waiting to hear back."  Let me tell you, this made the initial shock and sadness about moving away from all we had built here all so so much worse.  Feeling like we'd have nowhere to move to!

And then when we'd almost lost all hope, in mid-May when we assumed all jobs had surely been given away by then, Vassar - Jay's top choice who he never heard a lick from - offered him a 2-year visiting position with an invitation to apply for their tenure-track opening next fall.

Now that all the waiting and mourning is over, I'm pumped and ready to move on.

We're still not sure where we'll be living, despite my countless hours spent perusing homes for sale in Poughkeepsie.  I've finally decided that I just can't make any meaningful decisions until we actually show up there.  Luckily for us, Jay's parents have so generously offered their summer home in central Massachusetts to us to live in until we know what's going on.  It's about 3 hours from Poughkeepsie, so we're hoping that's close enough to make a few day-trips and check out the homes.

Right now, I'm sort of leaning more towards renting for the first year, just to make sure we will actually be staying there (because if it ends up being only a 2-year deal, I don't think real estate will be a good investment) and to make sure what area I want to end up in as well.

It will be an adjustment going from an awesome house with tons of space and storage and a beautiful yard and awesome neighbors (who I know all of because they all go to church with me...) to a small rental home/apt/condo/who knows? surrounded by strangers, but I think it could be really fun too.  (and I will spend a LOT less time cleaning/fixing/weeding/caring for a home)

A nice experiment.  I do love a good experiment...

We will not have as much space, most likely, and will have to sell things/put things in storage.  It will be good to prove I can live more simply with less stuff.

There is a little part of me that wants to try my hand at home renovations.  Our home here had already been fabulously updated and I didn't need to do much more than paint a few things.  (and really I didn't NEED to do that.  I just wanted to...)  I did install 2 faucets (while very pregnant, I might add...) and a built in microwave (while VEEERRRRRYYYYY pregnant.  like T minus 1 week pregnant...) and I must admit there is a corner of me that wants to find an awesome fixer-upper to try and learn how to fix up, hoping that even if we only stay for 2 years, we won't loose money on our investment.  (though, the property taxes are YEEESHly high and that may deter me...)

Anyway, it's weird having no definite plans and knowing I can't make any for almost a month!  I'm trying to throw myself into moving plans, but it's not nearly as fun as house hunting.

I have never had to move anywhere with a lot of furniture because when we moved into this house we were coming from a fully-furnished dorm at Stanford, so this will be my first big-time move.  AND it's slightly complicated because we will be putting almost all of our stuff directly into storage while living at the lake house, and then later will move most of it out, but probably not all...

I guess what I'm saying is, what do you wish you knew before you moved?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Good Excuse

Well, I can finally FINALLY announce why I have been so preoccupied these last many months and not posting very regularly.

We. are. MOVING!

Yes.  It's true.  I never in a million years thought I would ever have to post something like this because I already had my whole life planned out and let me tell you- moving was not part of the plan.

I distinctly remember having this moment last August- just an average, ordinary day- when I looked around and thought to myself, "wow.  my life is perfect.  could it possibly get better than this?"

So, you see, it's my fault we're moving.  I jinxed us.

Sorry, Jay :(

I admit, I was heartbroken at first.  Even now, I'll have occasional sad glimmers in my eyes to leave behind all we have fostered here...  (or maybe that's the exhaustion?)

But I always like a good adventure too, and this will surely be that.

I should really be sleeping right now, so I'm not going to go into the details.


BUT, I just had to get that off my chest.

We're moving, and that's why I'm MIA.  I've been cleaning and packing and posting pictures of the house, and learning about selling a home on my own, and cleaning, and weeding, and climbing trees to saw out dead limbs and not cooking good meals and allowing my kids to spend WAY to much time in front of a screen and, OH, did I mention that Jay has been out of town for most of all this?

Yes.  He has.

Luckily, I have fabulous parents and neighbors and family and I'm doing alright.

In fact, our home is officially under contract as of a few hours ago, pending the sale of their home, so it must have all worked pretty well.

However, in the contract, I am allowed to take other offers and save them until June 23rd, (Jays' birthday!) the date they have to have their home under contract with another buyer for us to honor the contract with them.  So, in the meantime, I must keep up appearances and keep holding open houses until we are goners.  Most likely we'll be completely moved out by June 27th (my brother's birthday!).

Carazy, eh?

Oh, and just so I don't keep y'all (2 of you) hanging, and if you haven't seen on facebook already, we're moving to Poughkeepsie, NY.


Friday, May 16, 2014

A New Low

I've had some pretty low moments as a mom.  I've had my fair share of shameful shouting incidents.

I have officially hit a new low.

I never should have told Jay.  He thinks it's perfect "kid conversation" material.  But this!  no.  This is not a cute snippet to woo future would-be in-laws (while simultaneously embarrassing my kids).  This is one that will terrify them.  About their future mother-in-law.

Anyway, he said if I didn't write it, he would, and if I write it, I can at least keep it charitable.

I have confirmed to myself that I actually have a rather evil corner of my heart because even now, I'm inwardly cackling that I actually said this.  I ACTUALLY said this.

I spend too much time around children.

No no.  I won't put blame on them.  I said it.  ME. **cackling resumes**

It all started when I so innocently, on a completely normal day, in a completely normal way, needed to use the ladies' room.  Don't worry.  No TMI.

at least not yet...

So, as usual, I make my way away from the happily playing children to sneak off to the loo.

After about 1.43 seconds of walking away, there is an eruption of crying coming directly behind me.

Turn around.

The details escape me.  Nothing out of the ordinary happens.  Give it back.  Kindness.  Get off her.  No hitting... something like that.

All is calm.

Ah yes.  I forgot the announcement last time.  Perhaps it will help this time.

"I need to use the bathroom.  Can we all be kind while I'm gone?"


Turn around.

This time, I actually make it all the way to the bathroom, only to discover (TMI warning) someone (else!) didn't quite make it in time and there is poo smeared all over the toilet seat.

By this time, you can guess I really had to go.  Luckily, I've learned to keep clorox wipes within reach no matter what room one might find themselves in, (just about) and so naturally, I had some on hand for just such occasion.  I finally had it cleaned and wiped dry so as to sufficiently satisfy the needs of my clean little behind when their second volcanic eruption occurred.

This time I decided the only way to pee in peace was to separate the offender (which is almost always unclear) and so I grabbed both Peach and The Frog by the wrist and directed them upstairs to their rooms.

I admit, I may have said this next part a bit louder than I care to admit, "Now you can come out of your rooms after I have gone to the bathroom!!"

Did I mention they were both rather upset about this whole thing?  The Frog especially.  He defiantly rushed from his room and very clearly announced that,

"I'm COMING OUT of my room!!"

There may have been some stomping.

Then, with fire that I didn't know existed, I laser beamed him right in the eyes and said,

"If you do not stay in that room, I will POO in  YOUR.  ROOM."

Well there it is.

Needless to say, I finally got to relieve myself.  In a toilet.  (ew)  The look on his face told me I wasn't going to have to prove myself.

and now the cackles return.

what if I he didn't stay in his room?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Grotto Falls

We've been getting sporadic awesome weather lately, and a few Saturdays ago I just got it in my head that we should try to go on a short hike.  A quick google search and the shortest hike I could find that we hadn't done before was Grotto Falls - .25 miles each way.  

That's what I'm talkinbout.

So we headed off to Payson with packed PBJs and apples.  
 Though the weather was perfect, I hadn't anticipated the trail being covered in either snow or mud.  It was SO muddy!! Luckily, there was a big mound of snow near where we parked and we could kinda get most of it off our shoes before getting in the car.  (Our pants, however...)
 We got to cross over this creek many times over these nice log bridges.  At first The Frog was really scared, but as you can see, after a few of them, he eventually did it alone, no problem.
 We made it without any crying or complaints from anyone, and I'm glad it was so short, given all the mud.  Hazel was very content in the carrier too - that had stopped us from hiking when The Frog was young because he was not happy unless he was walking himself.
It looked like it would be really fun to splash around in when the weather is hot, but for now, we would have frozen our buns off if we got in the water.

 Peach was perched on a log to eat our sandwiches, and she got all spazy and posed many ways.  It was hard to narrow it down, but these are my two favs.
I love this shot so much, I've changed her picture on the side (finally!)  She has appeared 2 for two long there...

This was so successful, I think we might just brave another, longer hike! :)  Any suggestions, locals?