moving on (in so many ways)

I cannot even begin to thank y’all for all of the kind and supportive words on that last post. So many people also reached out on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and I’m just overwhelmed. This whole situation is so awful, but I also feel so blessed to have such an amazing support system around me, both online and in real-life.

Yesterday, I met with our realtor. We’re going to be listing our house on the market soon. I can’t afford the mortgage by myself, and it’s too big for just me and the girls. I feel the need to downsize and simplify our lives as much as possible. I think I want to rent a house for a while. I like the idea that if something breaks, someone else has to pay for it and fix it.

It’s sad because this place was my dream house, but now I’ll forever think of it as the house where my marriage fell apart.

The weird part? We bought this house from a couple that was divorcing. You know that horror movie cliche where the haunted house turns out to be built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground? I think this house was built on top of the graves of a really bitter and angry married couple. I even burned sage when we moved in, to get rid of any bad juju lingering around. Fat lot of good that did me.

Overall, I think I’m coping ok. Like I said, I have a pretty fantastic support system around me, and I’m so, so grateful for that.

But if you don’t hear from me much over the next few weeks, it’s probably because I’m going to be frantically de-cluttering and reorganizing this entire house to get it in “showable” condition. That should be… fun?

I’ll also be spending as much time as I possibly can hugging these faces.

Hard to get mad at these faces when they wake me up on Saturday morning.

Mostly successful, only slightly uneven bang trim. Yay, I'm improving!

You sure can't tell that she's sick.

Can’t really blame me for that one. They’re pretty darn huggable.

the trip home, part 2

Sorry for the delay in getting all this written down, I’m unpacking like a maniac and I’m actually having a hard time making myself sit down at my computer, which is freakishly rare for me.

SO! We spent the night at Cat & Tony’s house, and the next morning we all loaded up our respective children into various cars and went our separate ways. I dropped Catie off at daycare, and went to check out the new house. Still no power or water. I checked on the cats, dropped off our suitcases, and went to run a couple of errands. Came back to the house, and got to work setting up Catie’s room. I wanted the new house to make a good impression on her, so I figured that making sure her room looked like “hers” was a good place to start.

The utilities finally got turned on around 3:00. I was elated. I drove back to Cat & Tony’s house to retrieve our fridge & freezer food that we had stashed at their house. Came back, and picked up Catie from daycare. Dave got home a few minutes before we did, so we both got to witness Catie’s first reaction to the house. She seemed to like it, she was very excited to see a lot of her toys that she hadn’t seen in over a week. She kept saying, “Wow! Hey! Where’d that come from?” Like she couldn’t fathom how her stuff all magically got transported from the old house to the new house.

She’s had a couple of meltdowns since then, where she cries, “I no like new house! I wan’ go home!” Which stinks, and I hate it for her, but I think that once we get this place feeling a little more like a home and a little less like a box factory, she’ll start to like it more. Last night was rough, I found her standing in the dark hallway screaming her head off because she was scared and didn’t know where she was. (There are nightlights in both her bedroom and the hall, but it didn’t seem to make her feel less freaked out.) I’ve been trying to get things set up quickly to help her relax. The kitchen is almost done, then the family room is next on my agenda. I’m so focused on trying to ease Catie through this transition, I have a feeling that I won’t get Dave’s or my stuff unpacked until last. Oh well.

So. The transition is sucking, but we’re here. And this house is still beautiful and perfect and the absolute house of my dreams. So we’re good.

the trip home, part 1

Yesterday was one of those travel days where it was almost comical how horribly awry everything went. Or rather, it would’ve been funny if it happened to someone else. Like maybe someone I despised. Let’s recap, shall we?

* Up at 5 a.m., so we could leave the house by 6:45 for our 8:25 flight. Catie didn’t get enough sleep and had a huge screaming meltdown before leaving my parents’ house. Fun!

* Got to the airport, got checked in, everything ready to go… then no plane. Or rather, no boarding onto the plane that was sitting at the gate. Turns out there was a mechanical problem, so our 8:25 flight was delayed until 11:00. That means that Catie & I both could’ve had an extra couple of hours’ sleep if we’d known in advance. The ticket agent got us rebooked on the next flight, so we actually left Jackson at 9:40.

Side note to American Airlines: please find the guy who was working at Gate 4 at Jackson International Airport on September 15th, and give that man a raise. I don’t know his name, he’s a thin young white guy with a little beard stubble and almost too-pretty eyes. He was fantastic, he was very fast at getting everyone taken care of, he remembered my name, and he made sure that my 2 year-old and I had seats adjacent to each other (something another ticket agent apparently didn’t think was necessary).

* While waiting to board our first flight, Catie cried, “Mooommy, I go hooome. I see Mimi & Pop-Pop.” I reminded her that we were going home to Daddy and the new house. She replied, “No, no Daddy and no house. I jus’ go hooooome.” Yeah, you & me both, kiddo.

* High point of the day #1: Catie slept the entire flight from Jackson to Dallas. Halle-freaking-lujah.
what she looked like 5 minutes before our plane landed.
Ok, this picture is actually from the flight there & not the flight home. Still, it’s a pretty accurate representation of the moment.

* Got to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport about 10 minutes after our connecting flight had departed. Sigh. We were rebooked on a later flight, and then had three hours to kill until the next plane left. Fabulous.

* High point of the day #2: We found the children’s play area at DFW and Catie had a blast running around playing with the other kids there. Way to burn off the energy, kid. But really, she was very sweet and nice during the entire layover, no meltdowns at all. I could hardly believe it. Lord knows I wanted to throw myself on the ground and scream for a good long while.
revisiting the Dallas/Forth Worth airport children's play area

* Finally got on the 2:25 flight to Raleigh. (Irony: if we’d made our original connection, we would’ve already been home for an hour by the time this plane departed. Sigh.) Oh, but first we had to stand on the jetway for 20 minutes in 90-degree heat because maintenance had to replace a seat cushion. WTF?

* I got us both seated on the plane, then called Dave to let him know we were finally on our way home. Turns out, he had left his office a little early to meet the cable guy at our house. He got to the new house, only to learn that we had no electricity. Freaking fabulous.

* Highlight of the day #3: Catie and I both slept most of the way to Raleigh. I can almost never sleep on planes, but I bought some Dramamine at the airport, which helped a lot. Poor Catie just sacked out for the whole trip.

* We got to Raleigh. Finally. Oh, and American Airlines, seriously? I had a 3-hour layover in Dallas and you STILL managed to lose one of my two suitcases? Are you kidding me??? (They found it later & delivered it, thankfully. But still. ARGH!)

* I called Dave again. He found out out that our utility company had orders to set up our new utilities on the 17th, not the 11th (clearly a typo). So they shut off our utilities, thinking it was the previous owners’ that they were shutting off, not the new residents. No electricity might’ve been manageable – we have a generator, and it’s not insanely hot right now. But we also had no water. So, no. Not staying there. The utility company said the soonest they could get out to turn our utilities on was at 1 p.m. today (Wednesday).

* I called Cat & Tony, made hasty change of plans to instead go to their house to crash for the night. Called Dave, told him to bring the cold food from the fridge & freezer (so it wouldn’t rot), and meet me there.

* Highlight of the day #4: the bath that Catie and her cousin Elizabeth took together. Freaking hilarious.
Catie & Elizabeth in the tub

* We all crashed for the night, prepared to take on the day tomorrow, blah blah blah.

More about the big “new house” reveal later. I’m tired. Will update with pics soon, too.

catching up

I finally got the wireless set up at my parents’ house, so I can actually blog now that I can use my laptop. (My parents’ computer is not conducive for writing.) I don’t know where to start on the recap of this week, but here goes. Brace yourselves, this might get long:

1.) The flight to Mississippi was amazingly easy. Catie was an absolute angel, she had a minor meltdown on one of the three (THREE!) planes we had to take to get here, but overall, she was fun and delightful and just a complete breeze. I can only hope our return flight is as easy.

2.) The only bad part of the flight was that the airline lost our suitcases, so we panicked and ran to Wal-Mart to buy emergency supplies – pajamas for Catie, underwear and deodorant for me, etc. But the suitcases were found and delivered to my parents’ house by around 10 p.m. that night, so I returned most of the stuff that we bought.

3.) The funeral for my dad’s cousin was yesterday. It was great to see all of my cousins who I haven’t seen since my grandmother died in 1996. It’s odd because we’ve all reconnected through Facebook, so we keep up with each other and see pictures of each other’s kids, and it felt like getting to see old friends, which was fantastic. At the same time, it sucks that it takes something like a death in the family in order to bring us all together.

After the funeral, we all went to my cousin Suzette’s house for food and conversation – because, you know, that’s how we roll in the Deep South. They don’t call it comfort food for nothing, right? And all of my cousins’ babies were there, so Catie got to play with a bunch of other kids, and she had an absolute BLAST. In fact, she had so much fun that she completely wore herself out and she slept the two-hour drive back to my parents’ house. Nice.

4.) One thing that came up in the last few days that I haven’t mentioned, is that there was a remote possibility that our money issues were going to get straightened out, and that we’d be able to close on our house on schedule. So, before I left for Mississippi, I ran to the escrow attorney’s office to sign a document giving Dave power of attorney for me**, so he could close on the house without me, just in case the money came through on time. Turns out, the money DID come through on time, and Dave closed on the house today. The movers are unloading our belongings at our new house as I type this.

So, when Catie & I get home, we will be going straight from the airport to our brand-new house. My mind = BLOWN. It feels so weird that I’m not there for the move, but since Dave is calm about moving and I tend to freak out, it’s probably better to have me gone and let him handle it on his own. I’m sure he’s happier that I’m not there nagging at him about every tiny detail, but still, he is racking up the Good Husband points like you have no idea.

5.) One bit of bad news: when the movers came to pack up our stuff yesterday, they had both the front and garage doors open, and somehow Beaumont got outside. Dave has searched everywhere and hasn’t been able to find him. Our neighbors are all on the lookout, and I’ve posted a “lost cat” ad on craigslist, but I’m sick with worry. He hasn’t been an outdoor cat for a long time, and even when he was, we lived in the sticks. The street behind our house is very busy (with a 45 mph speed limit), and I’m freaked out that he could’ve gotten hit by a car. Or that he’s hiding in the woods, terrified. I hope he turns up. He’s a pain in the ass, but he’s ours and we love him. Please come home, Mr. B.

** For the record, the power of attorney document only applies to this one real estate transaction. It does not give Dave the right to have me committed to a loony bin. I sure hope he realizes that.

EDITED TO ADD: Beaumont has been found. Apparently he was hiding from the movers inside our box spring (there’s a tear in the fabric on the bottom, he hides in there a lot), and so he got loaded onto the moving van & spent the night there. He’s completely freaked out, but ok. I’m saying a prayer of thanks that we closed today and didn’t have our stuff sitting on the moving van for a week!

of course, the perk of having a cold is that I can't smell the litter box

When I got home from Chicago on Sunday, Dave was running late to pick me up at the airport. I got my bags and met him outside baggage claim. I gave him a big hug & kiss, and climbed into the backseat to sit with Catie for the ride home. I noticed that her voice seemed a little raspy, but didn’t think much of it. When we got home, she wanted me to carry into the house, which I was happy to do after not seeing her for 3 days. That’s when I noticed she was (very mildly) wheezing. Dave admitted that she’d come down with a cold over the weekend, but he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to freak out and fly home early. What can I say, the man knows me well.

(In my defense, a normal kid’s cold is not something to freak out about, and I know that. But for Catie, colds usually lead to asthma attacks, and after landing in the ER twice, I tend to be a little panicky. So there’s that.)

And really, her cold didn’t seem too bad. We had to give her albuterol a few times, but she seems mostly better now. Yesterday when we were playing, she threw her head back and laughed, and I noticed that her top two eye teeth (the “fangs”) are just barely poking through her gums. I figured, oh well, that’s what it is, then. It’s not a cold at all, she’s just congested because she’s teething again. No worries.

Then I woke up today and realized that she definitely did have a cold. And I know because I now have it too. Sore throat, runny nose, the whole nine. Now I’m just hoping that my cold passes as quickly as Catie’s did. Because I really don’t need to be sick right now.

In moving news, I spoke with our landlady about whether or not she’ll let us stay here for the month of August, since our closing date on our house has been bumped. Have I mentioned how horrible our landlady is? Oh yes, I have. First, she started in on me that a couple of people have complained about “a very strong cat odor” in the house. Well, yes, we have two cats. I try to keep the litter boxes scooped, especially when we have a house showing, but what can I do? Sometimes you still catch a whiff of them. I can’t believe her rudeness in trying to essentially blame me for the fact that the house hasn’t been rented yet. She even issued a mild threat by saying, “Well, if they’ve had accidents on the carpet, I don’t know what I’m going to tell the owners…” Um, well, you don’t have to tell them anything, because they haven’t had accidents on the carpet. (Admittedly, Teenie has had a couple of accidents on the hardwood floors, which I’ve cleaned immediately. So no worries there.) I reassured her that the cat odor will be gone as soon as we move out, then tried to ask again about whether or not we can stay. She’s impossible to pin down with a definite yes or no answer, so finally I just said, “Ok, how about if I bring you a check for the month of August, and then you can pro-rate a refund based on the day we move out?” She seemed satisfied with that.

So yeah. Apparently we won’t have to move twice. I guess. (I hope?) Oy. Such a pain. Now to figure out when we’re getting our money and can close on the new house. Good times.

moving makes me crabby

So, the house thing. God, where do I start? Ok, I mentioned this earlier, but basically, our down payment is coming from the UK. Dave, his mom and his brother own a couple of vacation cottages in Scotland. They’re taking out a business loan against the value of the properties, and our portion of that loan will be our down payment. Which is awesome, because when it’s all said and done, we’ll own a house here in North Carolina, plus we’ll be part owners of a couple of vacation cottages in Scotland.

Speaking of the cottages in Scotland, want to see them? Here’s one and here’s the other. I know, the view is totally hideous, right? Gah. I can’t wait to go visit there, but someone *cough*Dave*cough* needs to get his passport renewed before we can go anywhere.

So, yeah. The loan. It seems that the bureaucracy involved in getting a loan is just as tedious in the UK as it is here. So there’s a couple of little things that need to be done before the loan funds can be released, but those little things are expected to take at least two to four weeks. Why? I really couldn’t say.

Meanwhile, our closing date was supposed to be on July 21st. As in six days from now. Obviously that won’t be happening. The sellers have agreed to an extension, but if we don’t have the money by August 31st, they can walk from the deal. Hopefully it won’t come to that, we should have our loan money long before that date.

BUT. Our lease expires on July 31st. So what happens if we don’t have our loan funds by then? There are a few possible scenarios:

1. The sellers could let us go ahead and move into the house and rent it for the month of August. That was our hope, and it would’ve been ideal, as it would’ve meant that we only had to move once. But they said no – I’m not really sure why, I think they’re just being overly cautious about any potential risk for them. (Or it could be the way our realtor called it, which was, “They’re just being turds.” I love her.)

2. We could extend our lease by a month on this house (or even just a couple of weeks), which would give us enough time to secure our funds, close, and move. Again, that would be mean that we only have to move once, so yay, right? I called our landlady to ask for an extension. She said that while nobody has rented this place yet, “if somebody wants the house, I gotta give ’em the house.” Um, thanks for the loyalty to your current tenants, bitch.

The thing is, I totally get her reasoning: in this type of neighborhood, most likely the new tenants will be a family with kids, and they’ll want to move in August so they’ll be in the district before the school year starts. So she’s worried that if she extends the lease for us, it might cause her to lose a potential new tenant. But does she have to be so rude about it? Everything is such a headache with that woman.

Anyway, we won’t know whether or not we can stay here until a couple of days before our lease expires. And since I’m a chronic planner, the idea of putting it off that long (and then possibly having to scramble to find movers at the last minute, which will be impossible at the end of the month) makes my stomach cramp with anxiety.

3. We move out on July 31st, load all of our stuff up into PODs, board the cats, and find temporary housing. Maybe we shack up with Cat and Tony, maybe we find a short-term furnished apartment or an extended-stay hotel. This is seriously the least desirable outcome for me, since it means two moving days rather than one, plus dealing with the aftermath of a seriously stressed-out toddler. Catie doesn’t do well sleeping in new places, and the transition to a new house was going to be bad enough. But if we’re staying someplace for a couple of weeks and then moving to the new house? God. She’s going to be sleeping in our bed every night until her 3rd birthday. Ugh.

So yeah, I’m stressed. And I’m pretty horrible when I’m like this, I feel so irritable and mad all the time, and I’ve been snapping at both Dave and Catie. (Twice now I’ve yelled at Catie to just be quiet when all she wanted was my attention. And I made her cry. Mommy FAIL.) I just don’t know what to do, and not having a solid plan in place makes me feel like I’m going crazy. I hate it. But I continue to pack boxes anyway, because what else can I do?

random Wednesday stuff

1. It looks like we’ll be staying pretty busy with company for a while. My brother spent Saturday night with us, and shortly after he left on Sunday afternoon, Brittany came to visit. (Which, if you read her blog, you probably know exactly why she came on Sunday instead of on Thursday, which had been her original plan.) On Sunday night, my sister called – she had travel plans for this weekend that fell through, and she was wondering if she could change her plane ticket and come to Raleigh instead. Sure, why not! So we’ll have a continuous stream of visitors for over a week, which is actually kind of cool. Especially since it distracts me from the fact that…

2. Our house closing date is going to get changed. The closing depends on us receiving some funds from the UK (we’re taking out a business loan against a couple of pieces of property that Dave and his mom and brother own together), and we just found out from my mother-in-law today that it’s going to take longer than we thought, due to the fact that we have to wait for lawyers and surveyors and all sorts of legal mumbo-jumbo to finish up. And you know, that’d be fine, if it wasn’t for the fact that we have to be out of this house on July 31st, and if we can’t close by then, we’ll have nowhere to live.

So, we’re asking the sellers if we can rent the new house for the month of August (along with a letter from the bank in the UK promising that the funds are, in fact, on their way… at some point). And I’m crossing my fingers and praying that they say ok and don’t decide to walk.

3. In other real estate news, for the past two days I’ve been trying to help Brittany find an apartment in the Raleigh area. It’s been fun – her arm is all banged up and she’s taking Vicodin for the pain, so she’s been very giggly and stoned through the whole process. I’ve been her designated driver, and I’ve been taking lots of pictures of all of the apartments because I wasn’t sure she would remember anything that we saw. But we’ve found a few apartments that she likes, now we just need to narrow it down and pick one.

4. Today’s date is 07-08-09. Funny.