Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, forward march. We found our prayers for a quick sale immediately turning to prayers for us to find our next home. We prayed that all would go well with our Buyer and the inspection. It went very well, and Buyer waived her option period allowing us to make an offer on a home right away in hopes of having a loan in place by closing.
Thursday saw another string of homes for sale. These were either too pricey, backed up to Wal-Mart or 7-11, or were in awful condition. Some of them had the trifecta of crap possessing all three of those flaws. (Awesome.) Anything that did not fall into those categories sold before we could even see it, much less make an offer.
Becoming increasingly discouraged, I went with the realtor to see one last home that the mister and I had generally ruled out already. It did have the benefits of allowing the kids to stay in their current schools, and it was the same floor plan that recurred in half of our top four home choices. It was within walking distance of our current house and neighbors, and had a nice community pool and playground with reasonable dues.
The home was the very same floor plan we had offered on in the beginning with some key differences. This one was not what the mister bluntly referred to as, "a dump". Neither was it a showplace that would present challenges to live in and maintain. There was a covered over-sized patio with electric ceiling fans and lighting, a shed for storage to free up the garage for cars, a study with wood floor, the Boy's room featured its own full bathroom, a giant kitchen, a half bath for visitors, two sinks in the bathroom to be shared by the girls, and it was generally up-to-date with an overall warm, homey feeling. Hmmm.
Realtor Jeannie and I picked up the mister and the kids while scheduling a second showing. The mister commented that the house felt like home, and that he could see us there in a decade. I fretted and cringed over the price working and reworking the estimated budget that would leave us feeling house poor based solely on the mister's primary income. The reality was that the home met every single stated need on our list, and all but one want. (That want is not to be found in any of the home we saw. We avoid carpet like the plague.) The mister made the final decision to make an offer.
We had dinner that night in the same kitchen, but at a different home. Walker and her family live in the same floor plan. We failed to find a single thing at Walker's house we did not admire, and she dispelled much of my budget worry by confirming that the allowances made for utilities were on par with her actual bills. We waited to hear the Seller's response.
Saturday morning the word came of a counter offer. We expected Sellers to give either the price or the closing costs asked for, but they came back with most of both requests. The house would also receive a new roof. We stopped by our realtor's house to sign the contract. Walker commented that we would be house twins. (We already have a host of other similarities. Why not houses?) Our loan officer came to our house that evening to have us sign all the loan paperwork.
Now, we wait for inspection on New House in two days, and appraisals on both Old House and New House while hoping to have all the details wrapped up before Katie and I leave for our time in Honduras. March looks like it will be no less the whirlwind than February. Whee.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Dinner time and the menu features the highly kid-friendly fish stick entree.
Middle Child, age late pre-K: Mmmm... Pish Ticks! I wub pish ticks!
Unthinking Parent: That's funny since you don't like fish.
Middle Child: eh?
Still Clueless Parent: Fish. It's odd that you say you don't like fish, but you love fish sticks.
Middle Child, beginning to connect the dots: Why?
Going-to-regret-this Parent: Fish sticks are made of fish.
Middle Child with horror: What?! Dey don't wook wike pish!
Parent beginning to recognize error, but knowing it's too late to turn back now: Fish sticks are made of fish, Peanut. They are made of minced fish. That means it's cut up in teensy pieces.

Middle Child never, ever touched another fish stick. She does find this story funny now.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


This morning as the blow dryer shot hot air at my upside-down head, I paused to admire the shiny silver strands primarily visible only upside down or when in an up-do. Those much-desired bits of grey refuse to come in on top. Or maybe it's friend D's fault for pulling out every single one she saw crop up framing my face or poking up on top of my head?! Slapping her hand every time this occurred eventually put the practice to rest, but all the lovely greys seemed to have fled down under by that time.
There are those grey hairs that have an oddly yellow tint, and in my youth I sincerely hoped not to have those crop up. Middle Child found it entirely odd when she noticed Mom's [finally] visible greys to have a Hallelujah chorus sung in response to her offhand comment that Mom had silver on the tree. Because it is, in fact the entirely desirable silver strands rather than the acceptable ivory or white, or the disagreeable yellow which is ever-so-slowly replacing the dark strands. It's not as if one may choose which of these shades will remain when the pigment in one's hair departs.
There is an undeniable bias in society against women aging. Men become "distinguished" while women have "fading beauty". Really, people?! Sharing some of these preferences for the elastic skin and large eyes of youth, it was not with pleasure that I remarked on the appearance of the dreaded parenthesis drawn alongside my nose and mouth. Or the first tiny crinkles outlining my eyes. Or... well, Gentle Reader no doubt gets the picture. Yet, this silly prejudice against the appearance of time mapping itself across the planes and angles of my face does not extend to grey hair.
At least not in this mind or to these eyes. This sign of aging has a beauty appreciated and welcomed. The light glinting off silver highlights brings a smile to this face. Walker once remarked in regard to this perhaps odd delight at finding another bit of grey that her colorist told her that silver is one color that cannot be recreated via chemical. Maybe the appeal is in the inability of man to imitate nature in this small thing? Or perhaps the perception of beauty that can only be won through experience, wisdom, and living that shine through the mask of age is what is desired?
The lines and furrows that brought a frown (until I realized that such expressions will, in fact, stick!) to this face, are entirely admired on the faces of others. At least, the really good ones that create interest and reveal years of life, laughter, sorrow, and every possible emotion one has experienced over time. As a child, I would sit on my grandmother's lap as she watched her "stories" tracing the creases on her beloved face framed by a salt-and-pepper sprinkle. That salt-and-pepper faded to grey as the lines increased in number and depth while her grandchildren outgrew her lap only to be replaced with proudly presented great grandchildren who lay cradled in the same arms staring up in sweet baby wonder at the further furrowed face. One can only hope to have such a life that it will one day result in the so-called ravages of time that are in themselves marks of beauty not spent, but well spent.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Say What

I remember being told that we were expecting The Boy. I especially remember my pique on discovery that babies take 40 weeks to gestate. How exactly does the popular 9 month myth manage to survive when women have been producing offspring since the dawn of time? It's generally a bit late to back out by the time that news is sprung for the first time.

I'm feeling about like that tonight. Saturday's showings were honored despite the offer, and had there been any already set for Sunday, then they would also have been honored. Today the assorted parties completed the execution of the contract to sell our existing home, scheduled the inspection for tomorrow afternoon, and the mister and I decided on which house we would place an offer this evening. I could not understand why realtors continued to book showings, and was none too accommodating, though still willing to let the property be visited. The lack of accommodation resulted in the showing service calling our still out-of-town, due-at-an-awards-program (where she was receiving an honor) realtor. She called us, and the announcement that we still need to keep showing until Buyer is through her 7 day option period. Just in case. She also attempted to soothe the "What?! Why?! Who sees a house that's not available?! Isn't this stupid?!" She pointed out that everything is moving very quickly. After all, the house sold in one day. How often does that happen?
So. Tomorrow morning we have back-to-back showings of our house that is not for sale, and three hours when we need to be gone so it can be inspected in the afternoon.
These are good things. Inconvenient, but good.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Picture Post: Staged

In the words of a friend, "Your house cleans up good!" With the saga posted earlier today, it seemed fitting to produce a picture post.


Huh. We started to seriously consider selling our home the first week in January. The decision to sell our existing home before purchasing a new one quickly followed the rejection of an offer another house. Having decided to sell, we took a variety of bids on assorted projects. The contractors all had opportunity to complete their jobs on our home sooner than expected allowing us to list just in time for our realtor to head to a conference in New Orleans and my mister to leave for a men's retreat this weekend.
My crazy knew no bounds. Middle Child got in trouble for using the restroom just as we needed to leave for a scheduled showing. Seriously. I raced in to clean the potty again while sniping about waiting ten minutes to use a public potty. I put on my belt, shoes, watch, and outer layers of clothing standing in the driveway and in the car so we were out in time. There was some substantial griping and whining verbal processing. (I'll spare Gentle Reader the details.) Our friends who took our dogs in, walked through with feedback, cleaned, helped stage, and prayed were the best of both support and encouragement. Walker even stepped in to wipe down the master bath counter in the frenzy before the very first showing that came earlier than expected.
Much earlier. The house went on the MLS Thursday night at 8ish. There was immediately a request to show the following morning right after the usual time Walker and I make our Friday morning circuit. Perfect. Except Erin woke up complaining of sore throat and running a fever. Uh-oh. In one of those not stellar Mommy Moments, I passed on the 10-something appointment at the pediatrician in favor of one that would coincide with the showing time a half hour of sore throat suffering later. While at the doctor, another showing booked. So, we killed a little time at the pharmacy waiting on the antibiotics to treat Strep. My e-mail pinged relentlessly with showings scattered across Saturday, but thankfully most were after the 24 hour period of antibiotic treatment to relieve Erin of her contagion.
The house showed well. Or so the assorted realtors said in their feedback. So well, that the first looker offered our asking price. And we accepted despite rumors of another to come. She wanted to close while KT and I are in Honduras, but accepted the counter offer of the 23rd. Of March. And we were waiting to look for a house until ours' was on the market. And our realtor is in New Orleans. Her husband is going to show us ten properties found by hurried cooperative online MLS searches, texting, e-mail, and phone coordination. As soon as my mister gets back into town to sign the contract and join us in our expedition.
The Lord is good. And He is speedy. Hopefully, all will go well with inspections, appraisals, funding, and house hunting. House hunting that immediately follows a message given at church this morning challenging us to consider our materialism and love of luxury. How timely!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Picture Post: Blanket

Having heard and read of blizzards and massive snow storms elsewhere in the country, there was still surprise to be found in the quantity that has descended on North Texas. Falling unabated throughout the day, the snow could continue all night until our gray, wet, winter landscape is entirely blanketed in white.

Monday, February 8, 2010


There are some friends one can call for anything. This morning, the glass guys were installing the shower surround that we put off until the last dying minute in the master bathroom. (The shower is large enough that we just used it without the enclosure, but I would not expect a buyer to overlook that glaring omission.) In the second bathroom, there were two guys blowing texture on the walls. In case their presence was insufficiently off-putting, the toilet was swathed in layers of plastic sheeting. My interest in the statuses of the two restrooms went from that of a homeowner to that of a somewhat wild-eyed, dancing woman as my morning coffee completed its journey. This is where the friend comes in.
Or rather, where I ascertained that she was out. Recalling a Facebook status update saying that my friend with three bathrooms only a mile from my own doorstep was subbing in middle school, I decided to text to see if her husband was working from home. Nope. They were both out, but I have a key. And the dogs know me. So, I texted my predicament, and then raced to the car with both her blessing and the news that spare toilet paper could be found in the master bath if needed.
Driving over, I hit the only red light between our homes. Sitting in the car listening to the rain fall did not help the increasingly urgent situation. Pulling into the drive, I hurried to the door. Standing with my legs crossed tightly and dancing about, the key was eventually fit into the lock despite fumbling fingers. Slowly opening the door, I reassured all three dogs that I came in pees peace. Pushing past the four-legged, tail-wagging friends, I made a beeline for the hall bath while thinking very, very nice thoughts about friends who really can be called for anything.

And am now realizing that today was only the beginning. Wednesday is going to be the end of days. The glass guys will be back. The painters will still be here. But wait--- there's more! Wednesday is infusion day adding a nurse, an I.V., and Mommy strung out on Benadryl to the mix. In case that's not enough, the children will be released at a half day from Pleasant Suburban schools. I wonder if it is too late to go back and lock myself in my friend's bathroom?

And has anyone else noticed how the number of posts having to do with racing to the restroom increased after that notice about the clinical study on "urgency" came in the mail?

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Yes! The tween has been wanting to see The Lovely Bones. I admit to having read Alice Siebold's book, and consider the storyteller to be brilliant. Peter Jackson is also the most likely fellow to give it the movie treatment worth the ticket price. Our general rule of thumb is that G and PG movies are okay, but that PG-13 is reserved for the 13th birthday and beyond. There are some exceptions, but those are made on a case by case basis. Case by case not meaning a case of murder. Still... I'm not above considering a trip to the theatre to take in the flick myself.
With the content in mind, I offered to take the tween to see the movie. Just the two of us on a Girls' Day Out. She did not leap at the opportunity. Instead, a look of chagrin crossed her face. Oh. Using my slightly faulty Super Mom Perception, or SMP, I asked if the point was less about the movie, and more about going with everybody else. Except the one girl who has spoken out saying she is not interested in going to see a scary movie. We continued to talk, and the mister joined the conversation. We agreed to let her see the film if she really wanted to, but we offered some food for thought. She chewed over the idea that if she really wants to see the movie later, she can. It was also mentioned that once she sees the chilling scenes, she will have those images in her mind's eye whether she wants them or not. Then we left her to marinate overnight.
After school today, she climbed into the car, and I asked about the movie tomorrow. She informed me that The Lovely Bones was off the marquis. Pleased, but curious about the social repercussions, I asked how that went over with her friends. She said that when the subject came up at lunch, she said she was not going even though she had secured parental permission. When asked why, she cited that, "There are some things you just can't unsee." Which cheered the friend who had already decided against the movie. A third piped up that her Mom had said, "No," outright. The fourth joined in solidarity with those not going, and the lone boy in the group determined he would rather hang out with the larger group not going to the movie. Which left the organizer to choose the larger group, and the final holdout finally relented as well. The whole group will instead go see something a bit less harrowing.
I know not every instance of, "... but everybody else is doing it," will work out so well, but it is reassuring to hear that our kid made a decision we hoped for while opting not to make for her. It is doubly so that her circle of friends supported the decision and did not give her a hard time about not quite being ready for some of those things perceived as being more grown-up and mature.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Praying over whether our home was to be purchased by a Potential Buyer (Internally, the voice of my departed grandma repetitively whispers, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!"), or if we were to go through the challenges and expense of preparing to list in order to receive more of our equity from the sale. Thoughts of a previous prayer acknowledging that God is the determination of what is want and what is need entered. With the thought, the recognition that the new home offering a possibility of returning our son to our household, providing separate rooms for the girls and perhaps a work space for the mister is not sought after in frivolity. (The mister and had hoped that our starter home purchased 12 years ago would one day be our retirement home.) The wants are underscored by the perceived need, but, again, God is unfailingly a better judge of what is truly a need.

Having become somewhat peaceful in this comprehension, it was with a measure of amusement that a call came from Potential Buyer's representative saying that the timing was simply not right for the sale. Galvanized by the given direction, there was immediately a communication with our realtor and establishment of a time frame to place the home on the real estate listings as soon as work can be completed. Bids for whole-house painting and a replacement fence were immediately weighed, and one of each accepted. A storage facility was procured, and boxes of all belongings that could be spared packed. Furniture and boxes have been tucked away in storage, and the reorganization and cleaning have begun.

If you are one given to prayer, please keep the speed of and ability to pay up front for the assorted work in your prayers. The current great hope is to have the home ready to list in two weeks before the realtor leaves to attend a professional conference for a week. The future small hope that has taken root, but shies away from pushing up towards sunlight, is that perhaps an acceptable offer could be had in March before too much strain and urgency, or a third month of storage, is upon us.