Perpetual Plan B

Monday, June 21, 2010

Things Are Not Always As They Seem, Part 2

This is not a continuation from the last installment but another episode that happened to me the other day.

Hal bought some ice cream the other night and Ally, as usual, has worked her way through it pretty handily. Morgan was especially bummed that Ally had eaten most of the chocolate chip ice cream before Morgan had even realize that we had chocolate chip ice cream.

Anyway, the other day I walked to our old house to check my e-mail and get phone messages. I was pretty ticked off because there was lots of chocolate chip ice cream all over the countertop by the computer. First of all, I was mad because that meant that Ally had dished it up at our new house and then walked over to the old house to eat it. Second, I was ticked off because she didn’t have the decency to clean it up off the counter and hide the evidence.

Of course, I hate to let some good chocolate go to waste, so I was about to lick it off the counter when something stopped me. I might have been thinking of the fact that I hadn’t cleaned that countertop myself in well over a week. Also, it did look kind of funny. Plus, I didn’t know how long it had been there. It kind of looked like bird poop, though it was smaller than any bird droppings I’d ever seen. Also, I hadn’t eaten anything else yet that day, even though it was probably well after ten o’clock. If I eat sweet things, especially chocolate, on an empty stomach it’s an instant migraine for me and my blood sugar goes nuts. And last, but not least, I did think that it would be stooping to an all new low to be licking someone else’s leftovers off of the countertop, even if it were clean to begin with. So, no matter what the reason, I didn’t lick it off.

I went upstairs to get the vacuum to take to the other house and when I came down there was a strange dark shadow on the dining room fan.

Upon further inspection I realize that it was a BIRD, right there inside my house. It was one of those really pretty yellow, red and black Western (something or other, I can’t remember the name) birds that are here in the valley right now, but are usually up in the mountains but it has been too cold this year. I have no idea how long it had been in there but I’m sure with all the moving and doors being left open for hours at a time it could have been there for a while, maybe even days.

All of a sudden it dawned on me that it wasn’t chocolate chip ice cream on the countertop. I am SO GLAD I didn’t lick off that countertop. (I was just thinking of the “ick” factor. My dad later reminded me that I could have gotten salmonella or some other disgusing side effect from the bird droppings.)

So anyway, I opened the back door and luckily I knew exactly where a butterfly net was. I went out and got it and tried to gently guide the bird out the door. He flew all around the room, leaving still more evidence to prove that it was indeed NOT chocolate chip ice cream that was on my countertop.

I was finally able to get him out and all was right with the world again for a little bit.

Later that day I was in the house and a bird with a red head was sitting on the outside of one of our big living room windows tapping with his beak, as if he wanted to get in. (Hal later said he saw the same thing happen.) I have no idea if it was the same bird or not, but maybe he told all his friends about how much fun he had making himself at home.

This next story is not really related, though kind of the same idea:

I finally made it to get groceries this afternoon. Grocery shopping is always a nightmare, especially if you need EVERYTHING, plus in the middle of a Saturday afternoon when everyone else seems to be there. Yeah, not my idea of fun.

When I got home Hal and a bunch of our neighbors, ward members, and assorted nieces, nephews and Hal’s brother had all shown up to help move the big pavilion from our old back yard to the new one. I ran out to help and then a couple of hours later I realized that I hadn’t put away one of the big containers of yogurt. I wanted to put it in the front of the other one so it would get eaten up first.

Somehow in the process of juggling both yogurts and various other containers I dropped one of the yogurts and it splatted on the floor and basically exploded.

It just made me sick to see that whole container of yogurt wasted so I grabbed a spoon and started eating the top layer, being careful not to scrape all the way to the floor. (Because at this point, my kitchen floor is NOT fit to eat off of.)

Hal walked in as I was crouched on the floor eating the yogurt off of it. I assured him that yes, I had sunk to a new low and that he was witnessing it. I also told him to just go about his business forget that he had seen anything. He complied and just walked right back out. I’m sure it’s not the craziest thing I’ve done in the last few weeks, not to mention the last 20 years of our lives together.

Oh yes, one more story.

The girls and I came home tonight from cleaning the old house and our new house smelled really strongly of gas. I ran to the stove and one of the burners was set on “light”. (I’ve never had a gas stove before, I’ve always been kind of afraid of them. This is one of the reasons why.)

I had the girls hurry and open all the windows and then we got the heck out of there. Someone must have been leaning against the stove and accidently turned the knob just enough to put it in that position. We had been over at the other house for at least two hours so it had been on for at least that long. Also, it could have been any one of the 25 people who came over today to move the pavilion in the back yard.

It would have kind of ruined my day if we would have blown up our new house, after all the hard work we have put into it.

Have you missed hearing about our exciting lives here?

I’ve missed writing about it.

The End.

Edited to add: A bird flew into our new house the other day too. Austin and his friend left the back door open and a bird flew into our dining room. We had to trap it in a laundry basket to get it out. The girls say it's because I have ceramic birds all over the house.

Things That Are Stressful:

Here are a few things, off the top of my head, and in no particular order, that are stressful:

Buying a house: stressful.

Finding out some of the appliances in your new house don’t work: stressful.

Finding out the hinges on most of the cupboard doors are broken in your new house: stressful.

Selling a house: stressful.

Fixing up a house to sell: stressful.

Getting all the new carpet, air conditioning, tile, etc. (that you always wanted while you actually lived there) put in before you sell the house: stressful and some other adjective that I can’t think of right now.

Remodeling a whole house before you move in: stressful (and smart, I think).

Picking out new paint, moldings, fixtures, hardware, carpet, tile, etc. within a few days: sounds fun, but in reality is pretty stressful.

Putting together light fixtures that were made in China and don’t have the holes drilled in the right place: annoying and stressful.

Packing: stressful.

Moving: stressful.

Having two different doctor appointments for two different kids scheduled for moving day: stressful.

Having the doors open so much from moving that the kids now forget to close them on a regular basis: stressful.

Flies as a result of the doors not being closed on a regular basis: stressful.

Having birds fly into your house: stressful and messy.

Having other people help move your stuff: stressful.

Having everything arranged in your new house and going back to the old one and realizing that you still have over half your stuff there and nowhere to put it: stressful.

Carrying two mortgages: very stressful.

Carrying two mortgages while paying for remodeling and a new washer and dryer (and water softener, which is very necessary here): extremely stressful.

Running out of money, so needing to keep the dark teal kitchen countertop with a white racing stripe and pink laundry room countertop: stressful.

Arguing with the painter about what color to paint your kitchen because the color you have your heart set on clashes quite terribly with your dark teal kitchen countertop with the white racing stripe: stressful.

Driving to your old house to do laundry every day because your new washer and dryer won’t be in for two weeks: stressful.

Showing a house where your cat still lives to people who are allergic to cats: stressful.

Trying to move your cat to a house around the corner: stressful.

Taking care of two yards: stressful.

Picking a phone company: stressful.

Picking an internet provider: stressful.

Picking a t.v. service provider: stressful.

Deciding to bundle: not so stressful.

Deciding who to bundle with: stressful.

Having people come and go to and from both houses at all hours of the day and night: stressful.

Not knowing when to take a shower because you never know when someone will show up: stressful.

Waiting a long time for people to show up (or sometimes not show up): stressful.

Needing to get a pedicure (though I haven’t had a real one in over two years), and not having time: stressful.

Needing to get a haircut and not having time: stressful.

Needing to get a life and not having time: stressful.

Not having a regular routine for meals, etc.: stressful.

Having a husband who works long hours that vary from day to day: stressful.

Having a husband who is on the phone 24/7 so I can’t have an uninterrupted conversation with him: stressful.

Having a husband who is caring for our two yards AND his mom’s yard that is 30 miles away (each one over ½ acre): stressful.

Having a husband who is bishop, while doing all of the above: stressful.

Having a husband who is doing all of the above, when you are trying to remodel a house and need his input to help make some of the decisions: stressful.

Teaching a 15 year old daughter to drive: stressful.

Teaching a 15 year old daughter to drive in a car you really like, that is your first new car in over 15 years: very stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who doesn’t like to work: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who acts extremely unpleasant when you are trying to get her to work: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who thinks she’s 18 and should have all the freedom in the world: stressful.

Having a 12 year old daughter who thinks you’re an idiot, and so do her friends: stressful.

Leaving your 12 year old daughter and her 11 year old cousin “in charge” while you take your 15 year old daughter out driving and coming home to find every breakable cup in your house in the back yard full of milk, peanut butter, granola bars and unidentified “potions”, also finding out they had made a volcano and “goop” while you were gone, using all your vinegar, baking soda and cornstarch: stressful.

Having a five year old son who has run wild and basically been an orphan for the last five weeks, so he now thinks it’s normal: stressful.

Having a five year old son who hasn’t taken a bath in over three of those last five weeks: stinky.

Being the designated driver for all your childrens' friends: stressful (where ARE their parents?).

Not eating well because you are too busy: stressful.

Going to the store to buy food, but forgetting to buy actual food and instead come home with more items to decorate your new home: stressful.

Not sleeping well because you are up all night, itching, because you are allergic to something in either your new house or yard: stressful.

Not being able to sleep in the next morning because workers need to show up early to finish up some work: stressful.

Waiting for carpet to be delivered for 3 extra weeks, when everything else is ready for you to move in: stressful.

Having your carpet finally delivered and installed in the pouring rain: stressful and soggy.

Having workers in your home while you are trying to put stuff away: stressful.

Waiting for workers show up when you need to go do other things and run errands (like buy food): stressful.

Still not being able to take a shower because you never know when a worker might drop by to finish something: stressful.

Having your child in summer Driver’s Ed. the week you are trying to move and having to drop everything twice a day to drop her off and pick her up: stressful.

Having your child in the Nibley City play the week you are trying to move: stressful.

Pulling your child out of the Nibley City play because you are too busy and the time conflicts with your other child’s summer Driver’s Ed. Then feeling guilty because they don’t have enough help so you say you will still help, so they give you 12 Indian costumes to unfray the fringe on, which take over 2 hours each: stressful.

Bribing your mom (by mowing her lawn) to help unfray the fringe on Indian costumes while she watches t.v.: brilliant (she had them done in two days, I was done in two hours.).

Also agreeing to help do the Nibley City play blog, even though my child is still not in the play: stressful.

Feeling guilty that I haven’t helped more and am letting people down: stressful.

Having people show up to “help you move” that bring lots of little kids: stressful.

Having people drop in to see your new house, when you still have a million boxes lying around to unpack: stressful.

Showing your neighbor the big drawer for dirty laundry and then realizing your underwear is right on top: embarrassing and stressful.

Having people try to help you unpack: stressful.

Moving a pool table from one basement to another, almost killing my husband in the process: stressful. (I was standing at the bottom of the stairs watching it head down and about crush him. I was literally weighing my options of whether I should jump in to help, with the possibility of having it kill both of us, making my children orphans in the process, or if I should stay away, thus ensuring them at least one parent. As you can tell, I’m still around, though I did talk encouragingly to him from a safe distance.)

Moving a 2000 pound structure from one back yard to another with about 25 people to help: stressful, but satisfying.

Freaking out in front of my neighbor when the girls told me that Hal had told a lady she could come see our old house in one hour, when we had just started moving out and it was a wreck: stressful.

Feeling like you now “owe” at least 100 people who have helped you in one way or another over the last few weeks; moving our things, feeding us, etc: stressful and grateful.

Feeling like I should apologize to at least half of those people for my behavior: stressful.

Helpful people moving our piano, not waiting for Hal to get there to supervise, and having it get lots of scrapes on it and the walls and chips broken out of it in the process: stressful and sad.

Still needing to move our entertainment center that I really like: stressful.

Really needing to go to bed, but feeling like I really want to catch up the blog: stressful.

Still trying to keep our other house presentable to show during all this chaos: stressful.

Deciding which realtor to go with once we list the house when we get our new carpet in: stressful.

Realizing we have ticked off ALL our realtor friends/relatives/neighbors who have come to give us a sales pitch, that we will not hire: stressful.

Dealing with any realtors at all: stressful (no offense intended to anyone who may be a realtor, it just has been really stressful).

Wanting to go to the home show this week and not having time: stressful.

Leaving my five year old with a neighbor, unsupervised (I thought there was an adult there), and finding out that they have gotten into the Otter Pops and gotten the entire kitchen and the new living room carpet sticky: stressful.

Hiding the box of Otter Pops and having my 5 year old and his little friend find the box in the garage and drinking the liquid out of the entire box of Otter Pops: stressful and disgusting.

Realizing that I have a good enough reason to never buy Otter Pops again: liberating.

Waking up on Father’s Day and realizing I’ve forgotten to do anything for either my husband or my father: stressful.

Sluffing Sunday School to just sit down by myself for a few minutes to do nothing: honestly, very relaxing.

Trying to scare up a nice Father’s Day meal and realizing that I still don’t have anything in the house to fix a decent meal with: stressful.

Trying to decide which is worse, making your child wash off the Harry Potter scar tattoo so he can go to church or letting him show up at church with the tattoo and making your husband (the bishop) unhappy: stressful.

Having my son's speech therapist finally call to make a summer appointment and having her insist on the one time my daughter is scheduled to have some suspicious moles removed (I've had melanoma): stressful.

Trying to reschedule, but the phone is here and the calendar is there: stressful.

Driving back and forth for to do laundry because we live in one house, but the washer and dryer are at the other house: stressful.

Catching your son guzzling water out of a 10 year old jug of distilled water that has been in your garage: stressful.

Still not finding my camera and missing lots of great photo ops in the last few weeks: stressful!

Having all of the above happen within a one month time period, give or take a few days: DEATH DEFYING.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Carpet was (finally!) installed all day Friday and Saturday in the pouring rain. It was quite soggy. Not exactly a great beginning, but it is in, just the same.

We moved some stuff late last night and had our first meal there, including running back and forth for all the missing ingredients, pans, etc. It was kind of fun, especially since I can hand Morgan the keys and have her run for me. She is getting a lot of experience driving around the corner and back.

This morning it was not so amusing when Morgan wanted some toast and all the jam had been moved to the new house. It was even less amusing that the second she drove away I realized that there was no milk here for our breakfast and I had no way to contact her over there. I had hoped that she would figure it out and bring the milk anyway, but no such luck. As soon as she got back I jumped into the car, wet hair and all and brought back some milk and butter. (She said SHE didn't need milk for breakfast so she didn't really think about bringing any back.)

The carpet fumes are quite strong so I got a headache this afternoon when we were there because it was pretty cold so we left the windows shut. Hal and I opened them before we came home to air the place out. Seriously, this cold weather in the middle of June is starting to get old, though it's better than being too hot to be moving all our stuff. (But the rain has seriously put a damper on things, pardon the pun.)

It about killed me that today was Sunday, so we couldn't really officially move stuff in today. Tomorrow, in between an orthodontist appointment for one kid and a doctor appointment for another kid, we will be moving in our beds, at least. I can't wait!

I'll wait to post some "after" photos (until after we move in, obviously), but I was going to post some "before" shots and I can't find my camera.

Wish us luck for a productive day tomorrow! Good night.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There Is A Light....

at the end

of the tunnel.

(I think.)

The carpet that was scheduled for May 24th,

and then June 4th,

and then the 8th

is on a truck

headed to Utah.

(So they say.)


we are scheduled for carpet to be installed

on Friday

and Saturday.


we can move in.


life can move on.

(I hope.)

p.s. living in limbo is not fun.

Monday, June 7, 2010


I'm trying to let go of them.

It's hard.

BUT, I've finally figured something out. Our blue bathroom here helped me do it.

When I first painted our bathroom blue in this house I was upset with the result. It was not the blue I had pictured in my head. It was way brighter, way more "in your face" than I had wanted. I had envisioned a nice, calm, "beachy" blue. Instead I got a bright, happy, almost turquoise blue.

I really wanted to change it but I had painted during Austin's naptimes on the last week of school and school was ending, so I was running out of kid-free blocks of time.

Plus, the kids liked it.

So I kept it "just for now".

Well now, I've realized that I will really miss that bright blue bathroom. Someone told me it looks like a spa. Honestly, it's the closest that I think I'll ever get to a real spa, unless I win a contest, but I can kind of see what they mean. It's kind of soothing, in a bright, cheery sort of way.

Once I released the expectation of what I thought I wanted and accepted what I ended up with, I realized that I liked it.

Same with our new house. The paint colors that I used that I already had here, I am happy with, because they turned out just as I had expected. Some of the others are good and I'm happy with them, but there are a couple that I am not thrilled about. They are just so not what I had expected.

But really, thinking it through rationally, I think it's the same thing. If I can just let go of what I thought I wanted, or what I had pictured, they might turn out to be good colors. They are just darker or brighter than I had expected.

It's hard to let go of expectations, especially for a control freak like me.

I think it's the same with my kids and their personalities.

Once I can let go of the expectations I have for them, and how I think they should turn out (or even the fact that I expect them to turn out somewhat the same as each other), maybe then I can just let them turn into who they really are and accept it and figure out that maybe I really do like these unique little individuals and their different personalities, crazy quirks and all. They just may not be the sweet, docile little children I had pictured in my head before I had children.

Wow, from paint to children. Maybe all the paint fumes have finally gone to my head. That was deep, even for me, don't you think?


I've just decided I'm all for it.

In some cases anyway. Or at least a good filter or editing tool. Kind of like the VCRs that screen out stuff you don't want your kids to see. I'm on the verge of getting one of those too.

Lately I haven't had as much time to read. In fact, I've renewed my current library books no fewer than 5 times. Mostly they are just home idea books, but I haven't had time to even look at some of them because I've been working on the real deal.

The library called last week and told me that two of the books I'd requested for them to order had come in. I was thrilled, though the timing wasn't great. They were autobiographies of Andre Agassi and Craig Ferguson.

I love a good autobiography.

Not a biography, because anyone can say anything they want about somebody else. You still take an autobiography with a grain of salt but at least it's the version of the truth that the person themself wants you to know.

The last autobiography I read before these two was Home, by Julie Andrews. It was good, though somewhat depressing. It was sad how she was raised and the adults in her life, at least her mom and step-father, lived off of the money she brought in. So much, in fact, that she felt fully responsible for the livelihood of her whole family from a really young age and worked herself into the ground on many occasions, even through serious illnesses.

I started the Craig Ferguson autobiography, American on Purpose. And then I stopped. Now I realize that he's Scottish and all, but in the first two chapters he'd used the f-word twice. I decided to shelf the book while I decided whether to continue or not. Really, if I would have thought about it, I should have known it would be like that.

So, on to Agassi's book, Open. It was fascinating. He started out describing a tennis match at the end of his career and what his body had to go through just to get on the court. He really is a good writer. I was hooked, I couldn't put it down.

But then he started describing his childhood and how his father had tormented him and talked to him. F-words all over the place. I tried to cover them with my fingers as I read, but then on some pages I ran out of fingers. The language in his head and out of his mouth was no better during tennis matches. I left the book feeling disappointed and sad for him and his crazy childhood, or lack of it. It actually reminded me of Julie Andrews' childhood, the pressure to make money to support the family.

I don't suppose there is anywhere they have an "edited" version of books, is there? I don't dare go back to Craig Ferguson.

These are stories I really want to read, but I really don't want the garbage left in my head. I wouldn't say I have a photographic memory by any means, but I do know that I can remember things better if I see them. If I needed to study for a test in school I would do a lot better if I would write out what I needed to remember first.

Now I need to go back to a nice, happy, cute book again to rid my head of what was in it last. Any suggestions?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Comfort Food These Days

I've gone back to one of my old standby comfort foods, Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. Good stuff.

I've even found a hiding place that the kids haven't discovered yet, so this last big box has been totally mine.

There's nothing better to eat at the end of a long day than a nice bowl of Peanut Butter Crunch. Don't tell, but I actually always eat four bowls of it. I fill the first bowl of it and when it's gone there is always a lot of milk left. So, since I hate to waste, I put more cereal in the bowl and eat it up. After that, I realize that I'm still a little hungry, so I fix one more bowl of cereal with fresh milk and, once again, that milk needs to be used up so I pour in more cereal. This is exactly what I get mad at the kids for, but since I paid for the cereal, I figure I'm allowed. Did your mom ever use the line "I won't buy good cereal (or whatever) because you'll just eat it up."? I always thought that was a dumb thing to say, but now that I have kids I know what she meant (although it kills me to admit it).

It has been a stressful month, full of surprises, most of them not good so maybe it's just the routine of sitting down with a bowl of cereal and watching Frasier with Hal after the kids are in bed that is so comforting.


Morgan is in the middle of summer Driver's Ed. at the school. It has been a little nerve wracking.

I was under the mistaken impression that all kids were like I was and had "borrowed" their parents' - or someone else's - vehicle to practice on by this time. (I did already tell that story, didn't I? It's not pretty. My parents' neighbor still hasn't forgiven me and that was 30 years ago.)

Who knew I would be blessed with such an obedient child? I was literally shocked the first time we went out driving and I realized that she really didn't know what to do because she had never done it before.

We've gone out a few times now and today was the first time on the highway. Even though I'm not Catholic there were a couple of times I almost said a Hail Mary under my breath and crossed myself. I wish we still had our old Blazer back so she could learn in that and have it for her car. It's big enough to keep her safe in case someone else runs into her, which is my biggest fear. She's a good kid and I know she'll be a safe, conscientious driver.

It's just hard watching her learn in MY car.

Our Little Casanova

Ally had a couple of friends over the other night. One of them said or did something to make him think that she likes Harry Potter almost as much as he does. Now he is smitten.

I drove the girls somewhere and the one in the middle of the backseat had to get out. The other one (the one Austin likes) got back in the car and stayed by the door, opposite Austin.

He gave her a look, patted the seat next to him and said, "You can scoot a little closer."

On the way home, after dropping off all the girls Austin asked me which one of Ally's friends was my favorite. I said I didn't know. Then I asked him which one was HIS favorite.

He said, "Casadie. We have a lot more in common than the others."

Whoever thought a five-year-old could be so romantic?