Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Moving Stuff from One Room to the Other

We’ve been busy around here, but when I go to tell someone what we did all day, it ends up being a very short list. Essentially what it boils down to is simply moving stuff from one room to another room. Sometimes we put the stuff in a box and take it elsewhere, sometimes we bring a box of stuff to a room and take everything out of the box. Mostly what we did today was put stuff that was in one box into another box, then take that box to the basement or out to the trash can. We also did a fair amount of sorting stuff that was in a box or a bag into a couple different boxes…

It was really boring.

In somewhat more exciting progress, we finally finished painting in our room so it is totally and completely done! All we need to do is find homes for all the loose stuff [put it in a box?] and then I’ll take a picture of the “after.” Here’s the before:

Our room, almost ready.

Our room, almost ready.

Here the window frames are still waiting for their second coat of paint and the wall sockets are still missing their covers, but you get the idea. I also want to get some curtains to hang with the blinds that are already there, but that is not even close to being a priority.

We also cleared out the room my parents were using as an office. My mom moved her computer downstairs so Jeremy and I can use that room as our own office. We’ll put our computer in there and also our icons and religious images so we can pray our family rosary in there.

We’re going to paint in the office, too, since it’s empty. We have to go pick out a paint color which might be either very easy or very difficult. It has to be something neutral, preferably pale, more on the warm side, and look good with the wood closet doors and hardwood floor. That narrows the field of choices down to about several dozen, so it’s a start.

I’m chomping at the bit to get Stephen’s room finished as well. We did end up arranging his furniture and unpacking all his toys. We couldn’t have him sleeping in a pack-n-play any longer! But we didn’t get a fresh coat of paint up in his room yet, and it really needs a facelift. Hopefully his room won’t be far behind the office. Here’s a picture of Stephen’s room “before”:

Stephen's room, close to being almost ready.

Stephen’s room, close to being almost ready.

You can see he’s still living out of a suitcase at the time this photo was taken last week, and there is still residual “sewing room” stuff to be removed. Stephen’s room looks really nice now that it’s all set up, except for the dingy walls. I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow of his cute little set up, then maybe another photo when everything is done.

Anyway, I won’t say that we’ve been having fun with all this, but we are making visible progress and each day we can feel satisfied with what we’ve accomplished. That’s something, and I’m grateful to have a big project to sink my teeth into, even if it feels overwhelming at times.

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My Baby Boy

Today my baby boy turned two years old! Now we can officially stop counting his age in months. “Oh, how old is your little boy?” people would say. “Um, well…he’s…[counts in head] 22 months,” we would awkwardly respond. Or we would just say, “He’s almost two.” And now we can simply say he’s two. What a relief!

To celebrate his birthday, I baked a cake. We have been running non-stop getting ourselves settled, so in my exhaustion I only managed to put together a sheet cake from a box mix. I figure it’s good enough for a toddler. I did make the frosting from scratch though, because I wanted to do at least a little something special for my big boy’s second birthday. He really loves the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, and the character Brobee in particular. He even says “Brobee” [“boy-ee”] as one of his choice dozen words that he regularly uses. So I managed to decorate his birthday cake with Brobee:

brobee cake 2

I used Stephen’s Brobee toy as a model. I whipped up the frosting and tinted some of it green with food coloring, then I bought a can of red frosting and some black writing gel. The last time I tried to tint frosting red at home, it just got pinker and pinker and never went toward red. So I cheated this time. I used dark green sugar sprinkles to make the stripes. Stephen liked the cake. He definitely recognized the picture and of course he tore into his piece with gusto. I did get pictures of Stephen with his cake, but the cable I need to upload pics from the camera is upstairs and I’m feeling way to lazy to go get it. I will post them soon, I promise. For presents, Stephen got a card full of money from Uncle David, which we took to the toy store and used to buy a fancy toy. I’ll post a picture of that soon, too. We haven’t unwrapped the new toy yet since Stephen needed to be thrown in the bath right away and giving him a new toy right before bath time ranks right up there with Really Bad Ideas.

Stephen is really enjoying hanging out in our new home. He gets to play with two kitties [“Ki-ki”] and Quinn the Dog [“Wouf-wouf”]. He gets to run around in the large yard and feel the grass tickle his ankles. He gets to sprint up and down the driveway and get boo-boos on his chin from tripping and falling. He gets to see Grandma and Grandpa every day and then be very heartbroken when they leave for work in the morning without him.

We are trying to establish a new routine. I do apologize for not keeping up my posting schedule, but it’s being hard enough for me to remember to take my medicine every day and make time in the morning for our family rosary, much less remember to write a blog post in the evening. We have been super productive around the house since the last time I posted, though:

We’ve nearly finished painting our room. All that’s left is the final coat on one of the window frames and the other half of the closet door.

We rehung the closet bar and brought our clothes dressers up to the room. We filled the closet with our clothes, so now we don’t have to live out of suitcases and wear the same outfit three times in one week! Woo-hoo!

We cleaned out Stephen’s room and assembled his crib. We assembled our bed. We laid out area rugs in both our bedrooms.

We unloaded two of our four U-boxes and started replacing the contents with items my parents have consented to sell at a yard sale. Jeremy and I hope to hold the sale Saturday May 18. Sorry, no antiques, just old stuff.

We are well on our way, working furiously. Hopefully after the next couple days we can slow down a little, because, man am I tired!


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Progress is Progressing

We’ve been spending most of our time plugging away at our moving to-do list. The most recent accomplishments are:

1. We cleared out our kitchen of all kinds of glassware, plastic storage tubs, extraneous spoons and gadgets and cutting boards, dry goods we won’t use and half-empty bottles of vinegar, etc. We also identified a few items we want to unload right before we pack up and leave. We’ll need them between now and then, but we won’t need them once we get to Ohio and move in with my gracious parents.

2. Jeremy cleaned the car. Picked out all the trash, dusted and polished the insides, washed the windows inside and out. It looks great and ready to go on a long, muddy, dusty road trip.

3. We decided where we are going to procure moving boxes and packing supplies. We looked at a bunch of different options, but the cheapest one ended up being good ol’ Lowe’s down the street. Their boxes are the least expensive and come in three very useful sizes. We had good forethought and saved all the specialty packing supplies from our last move. That means we won’t have to repurchase bubble sleeves for glassware, lamp boxes, picture boxes, or anything like that. We even saved a big roll of bubble wrap. Go us.

4. I got my medical files faxed over to the practice that will begin seeing me as soon as I get to Ohio, like literally almost the next day. Thanks to my mom for hooking me up with the doc, who just happens to have expertise in high-risk pregnancy. Plus they even accept Medicaid, and will even see me if I’m uninsured (all they want is a deposit that they will refund when I can finally produce proof of coverage).

5. One thing I haven’t done yet that is actually the most important is file an application for Ohio Medicaid. As far as I can see, it’s impossible to do before I actually get to Ohio. The online application they want you to fill out doesn’t leave space for soft answers. “Income: I don’t know? Medical expenses: I don’t know? County of residence: will be Summit county in 3 weeks?” I think I actually have to call and talk to someone and that is frankly a very terrifying prospect. As if it might even be possible to talk to a person at the Medicaid office. So I keep putting it off.

6. We are poised to cross off a few more list items by the end of the week, but we can’t do it quite yet. We are very close to being able to file our tax return. And we’re honing in on travel arrangements for the cat. We also need to hear back from two of our prospective overnight hosts on the road to confirm that we can stay with them. When those things happen, our list will be almost entirely completed!

Not much news from the docs this week. The only new information is that apparently our road trip perfectly coincides with the point in my pregnancy when the doctors will want to start seeing me really often to monitor the baby. So, my primary OB wasn’t too keen to hear that we plan to be on the road for two weeks. It’s also getting close to the crucial time when my docs may induce labor and delivery for the health of the baby. My doc here told me it isn’t likely I’ll carry my little girl past 38 weeks, and it could end much sooner than that if things start to look awful. It all depends on what my next ultrasound reveals. If the baby looks good and is still showing signs of development, we can road trip. If the baby doesn’t look good, they will want to start monitoring about twice a week. Which means I will be making last minute travel arrangements to get my butt to Ohio as soon as possible. That will be very expensive and inconvenient and a big fat bummer, so I hope the baby looks good and my road trip gets the green light. As it is, we’ve already planned to contract the second half of our trip so we get to Ohio sooner. We’ve already booked our trip through Billings, so I really hope we don’t have to alter that part of the trip. Or God forbid, skip the trip altogether.

Hoping, hoping, hoping….


Spring Cleaning?

We are really trying to do away with many things in our home. We made a “dejunking checklist” and put each room down, plus the various closets and sub-areas like the files. Today we were really busy with “dejunking” and we have made some good progress. We have finished with the storage unit, the bookshelves, our walk-in closet, the bedroom except for the file cabinet and office supplies, the closet in Stephen’s room, and…um…that’s it. It seemed like we did a lot but the place still looks super full! That’s the problem we’ve been having, though. We have been super busy getting ready to move this whole week and we can only cross off like two things on our to-do list! We’ve taken two loads of stuff to the Goodwill, as well as thrown away a bunch of stuff that is only good for trash. But we still need to finish the kitchen (a biggie), the bathroom cupboards, the laundry closet, the file cabinet and office supplies, and the hall closet.

We also found a buyer for our piano! That is huge, too, because we really didn’t want to move it across the country again. I’m sad to see it go because I enjoyed having a real piano, but the reality is it will take a ton of real estate in a U-box, plus we have to hire pro piano movers on each end to get it out of our second floor apartment, then into my parent’s split-level. We have decided to wait until we get our own place again before buying another cheap used piano. There are dozens listed on Craigslist all the time, so I don’t think it will be hard to replace when the time comes.

In other news, despite our efforts to get stuff out of our home, we did bring something home today. Stephen has been pining for one of those ride-on plastic car things. Ever since we visited a friends house and Stephen spent practically the entire time there perched on the plastic car, we have known we had to get him one of his own. We went to a second-hand mother-to-be/kids store and I looked for maternity dresses and Jeremy test-drove plastic ride-on cars with Stephen. They picked out a good one; it looks like a bi-plane and has a Mickey Mouse on the front. There are shape sorter holes in the body, but no shapes; that’s fine because we have a shape sorter toy already and I think the shapes will transfer. The lights and sound don’t work because the battery compartment is grody, but Jeremy will clean it at some point and have it working like new. Stephen doesn’t mind; he is happy as a clam with his slightly broken second-hand plastic ride-on Mickey Bi-plane.

We also have the first leg of our road trip confirmed and well on the way with the second leg. It’s going to be awesome!

That’s all the news from the home front for today. Hopefully it wasn’t too boring!

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Lost and Found

My ostensible reason for visiting my parents this week is to help them start cleaning up their house and get rid of a bunch of stuff. No, they aren’t downsizing or looking to move, but they are beginning to think about selling the home down the road. They’ve been doing some much-needed improvements and upgrades and they know it’s time to make a dent in the accumulation of items. My parents have lived in this house since 1997 and both my sister and I are long since moved out. Well, I’ve moved out and my sister is not currently living there since she is living abroad for a few years. Over the years I’ve more or less purged my old room of childhood items, but almost all of my sister’s stuff is still living with my folks, filling her old room and overflowing into my old room! Combine that with my parents’ tendency to hang on to things for sentimental reasons or because it might be useful at some point in the hazy future, and you have a houseful of stuff just taking up space. Don’t get me wrong–this is not a criticism! There is nothing wrong with keeping sentimental items! But there is a point where you just have to discard something.

Enter, moi. When it comes to dejunking, I am ruthless. Oh, is it slightly broken or discolored? Trash! Is it a size too small? Give it to Goodwill! Haven’t read that book in over a year? List it on Amazon! When my family moved away from Billings, we gutted our home so we could move everything in one moving truck. So I have lots of practice.

See, the weird thing is, I actually get a kick out of loading up a garbage bag full of randomĀ  house junk and dumping it in the curbside trash can. It’s very satisfying to have a chest of drawers full of God only knows what, then deal with it, and presto! An empty chest of drawers! Then you get to dust the chest and fill it with things you actually want to have around. Or if one of the drawer pulls is missing and there’s a glittery pony sticker from 15 years ago on the side, you get to throw the chest out too and go buy a new one! Double yay!

It’s been a bit of an adventure, going through my old things and random stuff my parents have stored away in unused rooms. I found lots of little trinkets I used to love as a girl. I found a pink plastic jewelry box full of sea shells and cheap costume jewelry and interesting-looking rocks and tiny carved animals. A little girl’s secret stash. I found old textbooks from college: ear training and music theory, psychology (barf!), statistics (barf x infinity!), a book about drive in movies. I found clothes I haven’t worn since I was 8 or 9. Apparently my mom was saving those in case I had a little girl. I looked her in the eye and said, “I would never dress my little girl in those.” Can you imagine? I was 8 in 1992. Ick. Just ick. “Here honey. Do you want a neon blue scrunchy to go with your stirrup pants and side-knotted t-shirt?” Never in this life.

But by far the most exciting find was my journal I started keeping when I was a freshman in college. I know they say those are the best years of your life, but O Holy Mary, I am so glad those years are behind me! I read a few of the entries and it was just horrible. So horrible. I got a crawly feeling on my skin and I couldn’t keep my face free of scowl. When it got to the point that one more page would cause actual physical pain to read, I chucked the journal in my big garbage bag along with the stupid posters, dried up markers, and partially completed crossword puzzle books.

So, yeah. When I told my aunt I was helping my parents start to clean out their house, she laughed and said, “You’re going to need more than a week!” Yes. That is so true.


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