Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Green House

We've bit the bullet and put "our green house" on the FSBO market this past Wednesday and who knew how much it would take get a condo in "open house ready" condition.

Air Boss and I would have good laughs at how last minute our preparations would be. Yes, we stayed up until well past midnight painting the ceiling the night before the open house. The next morning, we realized the ceiling had streaks! The second coat of paint was finished with an hour to spare before the private showing. Yes, the paint smell was something to contend with but othing open windows on a cold winter day and pear-scented candles couldn't take care of.

On the emotional front, I've been so caught up with the busyness of getting things ready to market one's house for a sale that I haven't really processed what it all means to move across the country. I was on the phone with a friend and surprised myself (and probably my friend, too) by breaking down crying. I hadn't fully realized how I was going to miss my friends, my family, my way of life here on the East Coast.

In some sort of desperate attempt to hold onto things truly New England, I pulled the blue sled out of our closet (nicely hidden for those house showings) and for the first time EVER, took the kids sledding in our backyard. They had a blast! In fact, they were angry at me as I cut short their fun as I tried to get them in the car to drive 'Shroom to preschool.

Lolli and I returned home and continued to play in the backyard (45 degrees, sunny, and great snowball packing snow - couldn't get any better than that!). We built our first snowman of the season (complete with smile and spikey hair made up of tiny twigs). Lolli finally agreed to go inside for lunch only after yelling to 'snowmanboy', "eat lots of snow and you'll grow big and strong!"

We ARE going to miss our green house . . . and our lives as we know it here in New England. I wonder if the kids will remember their early years on the East Coast. I, on the other hand, will have a hard time forgetting.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Homeschooling--Not For Me

I've just spent the past 45 minutes teaching 'Shroom what I thought would be a rather basic skill for a 4+ year old. Who would have thought that pointing to objects lined up and counting how many items there are would take so long—I sure didn’t. What an utterly frustrating and hair-ripping experience. Sad to say, this has not been the first painful attempt to teach 'Shroom.

I can't believe I even entertained the thought of homeschooling him. At least today, neither one of us broke down crying which isn't usually the case. I am so angry at him and his seemingly un-teachable persona. I know he’s not stupid but why does it take so much energy, grief, and brain-wracking attempts to find yet-another-way-to-teach out of me? Am I the stupid one? How difficult should it be teach a 4 yr old how to learn three letters (C, K, and E were the letter for today) and to count 12 objects lined up in a row?

When I was in high school, I tutored other high school students in math. In college, I led a Bible study small group (well, if you could say 28 students made a small group) and was told on several occasions that I had a knack for teaching. I even applied to grad school to pursue a Masters in Education! . . .

. . . and yet I can’t even teach my own child that the number 10 comes after 9.

It’s a good thing Harvard never accepted me into their program. I would probably be over $50K in debt and unemployed. After all, who would want to hire a person who couldn’t even teach a 4 yr old an basic age-appropriate skill?

Homeshooling? No way. I am hoping that it’s my poor teaching skill that is the problem and not the student. I’m hoping that the public LA school system will come through for ‘Shroom because I certainly don’t know how to teach him.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Somehow knowing that I'll be leaving the East Coast and spending the rest of my winters (at least indefinitely) in a much warmer climate, I've become "wuss-ified." In case you were wondering, the official definition of this word is:

Main Entry: wuss - ee - fye (v.)
Pronunciation: WUSS - i - fie
Function: transitive verb
Inflected form(s): -fied; -fy-ing
1. to make into a wuss
2. to erradicate any trace of courage, boldness, strength, or stamina

This lastest snow storm (which was not much snow by New England terms) was somehow a royal pain in my behind. I think I would much rather prefer two feet of the fluffy white stuff to the 5 inch thick continental glacier on our driveway and front walkway. The ice is beyond chipping away, much less shoveling away with a mere shovel. I've tried every tool in the gardening shed (well, if we HAD a gardening shed) including the curved claw of a hammer.

The cold gets to me more, the ice annoys the heck out of me, and I've experienced increased dread over taking the kids out in the slippery slope of a driveway to our igloo-on-wheels (a.k.a. the family mini-van). Am I just getting old and less able to function in extreme temperatures? or is it the mindset of anticipating the warm LA sunshine? or perhaps something else?!

Needless to say, I've felt convicted to be more thankful and appreciative of living life in the now. So my last blog was my Top 10 list of reasons why I won't miss living in NE. Perhaps I need to cherish these distinct moments of living in Northeast U.S.A.

Well, here is my lame--but genuine--attempt to appreciating life here in NE while still living in NE.

I'm thankful for . . .

- the stuck-on ice on the driveway, on the cars, on the front door steps, and every other square inch that is exposed to the outdoor elements because it means that I have been blessed with a house with a driveway and a car to park on the driveway

- the fact that 'Shroom missed a day of school not because of a snow day but because I couldn't get the car out of the frozen driveway. It means that in addition to the aforementioned blessings, 'Shroom is getting an education and making friends (at least on days I can drive him to school)

- my kids who complain about the cold and not wanting to go outside because it means that I have been given two wonderful kids who know what they like and don't like

- the extreme cold temperatures that freezes my legs in my jeans and my freshly-washed hair because it means that my body is still healthy to feel the cold and that I am privileged enough to take a shower and wash my hair whenever I want

- Home Depot running out of rock salt and all other ice-melt solutions because it meant that I could spend an hour a day slamming the ice chopper and getting a great workout--all without having to pay hefty membership fees at a local gym

Okay, I'm beginning to feel a lot better about the ice. Yeah, it's all in the attitude. Trust me, I would know a thing or two about attitude!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Top 10 Things I Won't Miss . . .

. . . About Living in New England
(once I move out to sunny L.A.)

10. the frigid cold that freezes up my jeans in a short 5 second walk to my car

9. slipping and sliding (with an occasional (foul?!) exclamation) my way to the car on the driveway, to the grocery store from my icebox of a car, to 'Shroom's bus, and essentially to any destination outside of my house

8. reducing my already low MPG (miles per gallon) by 87% simply by letting the car idle on the driveway so the kids don't complain about how cold they are in the car

7. detaching the garden hose from the backyard water nozzle and seeing (alas, I'm too late) that the hose is filled with ice (are you sensing a "theme" to this Top 10 list?!)

6. chipping ice from the driveway to prevent skidding and smashing into my neighbor's car (but missing the ice and whanging my big toe)

5. spending 10 minutes to warm up the car, 10-30 minutes scraping the car free of ice and snow (and occasionally another 10 minutes more to chip the ice that's frozen the sliding doors of the minivan in place), 15 minutes dressing the kids to go outside, another 10 minutes undressing them and redressing them after slathering lotion on them to apease their whines of itchy dry skin (it takes less time the second time around simply because I say "screw it!" with the mittens and hat), 5 minutes to gingerly walk across our skating rink of a driveway to our car . . . all for a 3 minute ride to drop off 'Shroom at school

4. ice, cold, windchill (did I mention any of these yet?!)

3. monthly heating bills of over $400

2. the desire to hibernate for 25% of the year and do nothing but drink lots of hot syrupy sweet drinks that don't get burned off because I'm too cold to go to a gym, go to my car to drive to the gym, go outside to get to my car to drive to the gym

and the #1 thing I won't miss about living in New England,

duh . . . the cold.

[stay tuned for my next Top 10 list, "Top 10 Things I Miss About Living in New England (now that I'm here in L.A.)" - most likely to be out in 6 months or so when the temps hit the 3 digit mark]

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The Frenzy Has Begun

Now that we're a month into 2007 and the New England real estate market will heat up in the next month or so, Air Boss and I have started the whole home selling process. Before we really even started, I began feeling the anxiety level in me rising.

"Okay, what do we need to do?" I would ask myself and Air Boss as if we're in a weekly department meeting. "How are we tracking against our schedule? Are we meeting our critical milestones?"

Interview realtors and their agencies: check
At least three: check
Pick seller broker: nope (I hate telling people bad news)
Determine list price: check---weellll, almost check
Clean and organize basement: check
Purge house of "stuff": in progress (just donated close to 100 books to Salvation Army)
Stage house for photos: in progress (trying to beg, borrow and steal needed pieces of furniture)
Tell kids we're moving: check ('Shroom and Lolli are excited)
Tell kids someone will be buying our house: check (Lolli almost started crying at the thought of leaving "my green house" . . . a surprisingly sad moment)

Anyway, the list goes on and on. I am quickly learning what it takes to get an asbestos abatement team to remove all traces of asbestos in our basement (gotta love these old turn-of-the-century New England homes) and smash and remove our "snowman" (for those of you with nice modern forced hot-air furnaces or even hot water boilers, a snowman looks like an asbestos-wrapped igloo - much like a half-melted snowman).

No doubt - I'll be learning a lot in this whole process. I'll check back in with next week's department meeting "progress report."