Perpetual Plan B

Monday, January 31, 2011


I now have a name for it.

I've never had bronchitis before and, to be honest, if you asked me what it feels like or what the symptoms are or what the cough sounds like I don't think I could even tell you. I just knew it wasn't pneumonia or a sinus infection, just a bad cold that kept changing and getting worse and a cough that wouldn't go away for almost 3 weeks.

So, after a trip to the doctor, medicine that is finally starting to help after 5 days and a steroid breathing treatment that I finally started today and think I did wrong, I think I may start to feel better tomorrow.

I hope. (At least the cough is getting a little better, though my ears still hurt.)

Anyway, in other news:

I am standing by for the phone call to go sign the papers to FINALLY relinquish the ownership of our other house from us to the new buyers. (I met them last week. They are young and cute and seem like they will be nice neighbors. Whew!) We've all been basically sitting around waiting since last Thursday. Stupid banks and their dumb paperwork. Why does it take so long anyway? I really wanted to tell them to just go ahead and start moving stuff in over the weekend, though I guess technically that would be a bad idea. Or illegal. I can't remember which thing the realtors said it was, but I guess we can keep following the rules and play nice.

Even if we think the rules are stupid.

The end.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Side Effects That Can Happen When You Have A Bad Cold/Cough:

I've caught Austin's cold. Not the sinus infection part, mine has been more in my chest/lungs and throat (oh, and ears too). I've also lost my voice off and on for the last week. My kids haven't been too sad about that part.

This cold has been paired with an especially brutal cough. The kind that makes you cough so hard that it hurts and also annoys pretty much everyone in the same room, plus the next two rooms over.

Here are some of the bad side effects of coughing really hard, listed in the order in which I noticed them:

1. You can get a really bad headache. More than once (a day) I've worried about the risk of stroke or aneurysm happening as a direct result of my cough, that's how bad it's been. Along with my antibiotics, I am now taking low-dose aspirin religiously, along with any migraine meds that may be necessary at the time.

2. You can feel like you have given yourself a hernia. Or a double hernia.

3. You can feel like you have cracked a rib (or two, or three).

4. You can feel like you have constant heartburn in your throat from the constant, raspy coughing.

5. It can keep you awake all night, which causes other issues, which are not fun.

6. At night in bed, while you can't sleep, if you turn your head sideways while coughing, you can feel like you cracked your larynx, which is not to be confused with your coccyx, which I actually did break when one of my children was born. It took almost a whole year to mend on its own. Just thought you might like to know that, in case you ever break your own coccyx.

7. You can feel like your lungs are burning so badly it feels like they are on fire and one of them might seriously rupture. (Don't you like my use medical terminology? I'm glad all those medical shows I like to watch are paying off somewhere.)

8. You can get a really bad headache along WITH any/all of the above, which actually happened today.

9. I won't talk about the mucous. You're welcome.

Another strange thing that has happened with this crazy cold is that last week, of course on the day I made the best chicken soup ever - despite feeling really lousy, I lost both my sense of taste and smell. It is not fun. I literally forget to eat or just don't feel like eating. I also forget to fix food for my family, which they have not been too thrilled about.

Even worse, my sense of smell is coming back, but I can only smell things which give me a severe headache, like certain lotions my girls have, some candles, the smell of something in the automotive department at WalMart, etc. Most of the 5 or 6 things I can smell now make me literally sick to my stomach. Doesn't that sound fun?

Ok, I'll stop whining now. Just thought I'd check in before I go take another migraine pill.

So remember, wash your hands! You do not want to get this from me or anyone else. Believe me, I really am trying to stay home as much as possible.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Awkward Family Situation #537

Ok, so it's no secret, Austin is obsessed with Harry Potter.

My mom, out of the goodness of her heart, bought him a Harry Potter shirt - he's never, ever had one - at Hot Topic, because they were going out of business and the shirt was dirt cheap. It was also kind of in his favorite color, kind of an orangish red.

She was excited to give it to him. He was excited to receive it.

The problem?

She brought it over (and she did warn me ahead of time that it was "a little big"), he put it on and then came the part where I didn't know what to do......

It is OBVIOUSLY a WOMAN'S t-shirt. It has a girly neckline and an hourglass shape and slinky-ish fabric. Luckily, since it has short sleeves, we have talked him into only wearing it for pajamas, but come spring it may have to disappear.

(Did I mention, it is OBVIOUSLY a woman's shirt?)

We did finally try to tell Austin it is a woman's shirt, but he will NOT listen. I think I just need to get online and find him a boy's Harry Potter shirt, even if it costs me a lot.

(I don't think I will post a photo, because I don't want it to come back and haunt him when he grows up and is a brilliant politician or something. He might get accused of "cross dressing, even from a young age".)

And really, should I say anything to my mom?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weird Medical Fact Of The Day:

(I hope you're not eating right now. If so, you may want to read this later.)

Did you know that:

If you get a sinus infection and it gets bad enough, the mucous will start to come out of your EYES?

It's true. It happened to Austin, who will not allow me to post a photo as evidence.

I thought he had a cold, along with pinkeye. I was very relieved to find out from the doctor that it was "only" a sinus infection and that I wasn't going to have to wash virtually everything in my house.


Well, I am pretty sure we have definitely sold our home.

We haven't signed on the final dotted line yet, though we have signed and initialed many, many papers in the last couple of weeks, each one getting us closer to our common goal, transferring ownership from us to them. So, I guess technically it could still fall through, though I know that we and the (potential) buyers are all very serious about it - not that we have been able to meet them yet. The realtors have done a really good job of keeping us separated, as if they are afraid we will strike up a deal behind their backs and cut them out.

I do like what I know of them so far. A young couple, no kids yet - just like Hal and I were when we first bought the house. (I don't really feel like I can call it "our" house any more. I now think of it as "the" house, or even "their" house. I think that's a good sign.) The first offer was respectful, not the 30 or 40 thousand below asking price that I've heard some buyers are trying to pull. They asked for about ten thousand below asking, with closing costs. We countered back with four thousand below and six thousand in closing costs, keeping into consideration that we would still have to pay for the new furnace and air conditioning unit that will be necessary. After the cold winter we had last year with a furnace that only barely worked, I wouldn't feel good about selling it unless we made it right. I won't even go into how sweltering the last few summers were with a swamp cooler that either was on and leaked, or I kept off. It had to be replaced, no question.

So, we had a deal. Or so we all thought.

Then the appraisal came in.

Fifteen thousand below asking price, eleven thousand LESS than what we had agreed on.


Not only were we upset, they were upset also. They were still willing to pay what we had agreed on, even said they thought it was worth it (according to our realtor). The only problem is that the bank didn't see it that way at all. Not at all. And, to add insult to injury, the appraisal will stay on record, making it impossible for any appraisal to come in higher for 6 months. (Thank you President Obama, for the mess and the new guidelines that made this whole thing possible. None of us had any say over the appraiser. Now the bank orders whoever they want AND it was someone who is not even from around here. He told our realtor he was having trouble finding comps, which is basically where the final numbers came from.)

I am not willing to hang in there for 6 more months. Time to cut our losses and walk away. The stress of keeping two houses is too much, especially with warm weather and two yards to keep up. I don't really love yard work. Hal really likes it, but I thought last summer was going to stretch him to the breaking point with everything else he has going on right now.

I guess we are lucky because, according to our realtor, a lot of buyers walk away if a house doesn't appraise for more than they pay, so they feel like they are getting a good deal.

And, (according to our realtor again) we should take comfort in the fact that all houses are coming in way low these days. The only problem is that we bought the house we are in before all the houses were being appraised way low. Basically we're just out of luck.

So, we were back to the drawing board with the offer. Back and forth on the phone from them to their realtor, to our realtor, and back to each of us; Hal on his cell phone and me at home with a sick kid. I kept saying, "Can't we just sit down with them and hash it out in person?" Of course my realtor refused. She is pretty firm on this "no personal contact" idea. My main concern was that our intentions or the tone of our voices might get lost in translation somewhere down the line as we were trying to respectfully negotiate. I was pretty sure that we all had the same final goal, so I don't really feel that the deal was at stake, which was helpful. My stress level was already pretty high at that point.

So, back and forth it went all day. Negotiating and then renegotiating closing cost percentages, who will fix what, what can wait, etc. The final price was pretty much non-negotiable, it was the appraisal price (thank you again, President Obama). Even our realtor said she wouldn't tell a client to pay over the appraisal price.

But, we signed the final offer this morning. Two things for us to fix and a few more things to move out of the house. The tool shed is a whole different story, but one way or another it will get done.

We will move forward. Work on the remodeling here a little slower. Maybe take a little longer to get this house paid off. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. We are still where we want to be. We're still going to Disneyland as planned in the spring because I booked the tickets right after the first offer was agreed upon and before the appraisal messed everything up (I knew there was a chance things could fall through). Non-refundable tickets. I don't care. My kids haven't had a vacation for 2 years and I promised they would get one when we sold the house - remember, I called it our "vacation home" because as long as we owned it, we were not going to get a vacation. Austin has only been to Disneyland as a baby, so he doesn't remember it. (Of course he wishes it were Harry Potter World, but I keep reminding him he's not tall enough yet for the big ride. That still buys some time.) I'm excited to go and see him experience it for the first time (that he can remember).

(I guess I really have been stressing out about this more than I have consciously felt. My face has broken out in big boils, like I've only seen one other time - when Hal was put in as Bishop and we knew for two weeks before we could tell anyone. Now THAT was stressful. Not a fun secret to keep.)

I'm extremely glad the problems were with the appraisal and not negotiating back and forth with the new people. This way I'm really only annoyed with some anonymous institution and not my new neighbors, so it isn't personal. I am curious about how much their realtor has told them about US. (If he's like our realtor, they probably know nothing, except for our names.) I hope they don't have any negative preconceptions about us because of the trouble we had coming up with a final agreement.

That could make things rather awkward when we show up on their doorstep with cookies and introduce ourselves as their new neighbors.

Pillar of Salt

Well, it looks like we may have finally sold our home. The feelings are very bittersweet.

I hadn't really missed the other house one bit, hadn't really thought about it at all.

Until I needed to go over there for one reason or another.

I'd just figured that since I like our situation here better I wouldn't look back. I'm not sentimental like my husband or kids. I wonder if it's because I moved so much as a kid. Or the fact that most of my memories of the house I spent the longest time in growing up, and where my parents still live, aren't that great. (Don't get me wrong, I wasn't horribly abused or anything, we were just not a family that spent much time together so, being the only girl in a house full of boys and with parents who were occupied with other things, it was quite lonely most of the time. Thank heavens I knew how to read!)

Actually, now that I think about it, the house we are selling WAS the house that I've spent the longest time in, 19 years. That is more than double the time I spent in my parents' house, I lived there about 8 years.

Anyway, the last few times I've been over to our old house I've just felt a little sad to leave it. I wanted to stay and just look around in every room. There are so many strong memories that were made there. We brought all 4 babies home to that house. One of my babies took his last breaths on my bed in that house, while my husband and I held him. Not the best memory, but I'm so glad we were able to be with him and knew ahead of time that it was inevitable. Some people questioned our decision to bring him home to die, but I'm so glad we did. Our other kids ran, giggling, up and down the hallway between the kitchen and the bedrooms in that house for years. We've planted trees in their honor there. They started their first days of school since 1999 in that house, celebrated their first birthdays, their first missing teeth (the girls anyway, Austin is still waiting), their first baths and many, many more firsts. There was also some heartbreak in that house, many years of infertility treatments and disappointments and other things I'm happy to leave behind (like the memories of putting the play yard set together), but when I am over there I only remember the good times. I think I still like that kitchen better, even though it is a lot smaller than the one here. I miss the one long area of counter space where the kids and I rolled out countless cookies, or Hal made his apple pies and everything just made sense where it would go. Sometimes you really don't know what you will miss until you don't have it. There were a lot of good times in that kitchen.

But, when I'm not there I'm here, and I'm happy. Very happy. And I'm busy, which is good. Busy planning and doing and creating and living the many, many memories that I hope to have in this home.

This week we will be cleaning out the last of our things and getting ready for the new owners to move in. We are fixing up a couple of things. (Did you know that things break almost more easily in a home that is vacant? Who knew you should run the dishwasher once in a while so the seal won't dry out and crack.) We will be taking the last of our books out of the shelves that Hal built himself. We will be bringing them to this house, where we have plans for Hal to build more shelves for our many, many volumes of books. We are looking ahead and getting started on some of the remodeling that we had to wait on for the other house to sell. (I might actually get rid of the racing stripes in my kitchen after all!) We are looking ahead and feeling good. There is most likely new insulation and most definitely new windows in our future. Plus some new brick and some kind of new siding for the outside to make it more our style. A bathroom to repaint and remodel. And so the list goes on. There is a lot to do and it will most likely be stressful, but it will also be fun to see the progress as we make this into OUR home. The hardest thing for me will be to be patient. The numbers didn't come in well at all for our sale, so we will have to move a little slower than we had originally planned.

It will be interesting to see what changes the new owners will make in the other house. After all the work we've done here, I am curious to see what they will do to make it theirs.

Even though I am looking ahead and very satisfied with where we are right now and where we are headed, I have much more empathy for Lot's wife. It's going to be really hard not to look back, especially when you know that you are there for the very last time.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Last year was the most emotionally exhausting, physically taxing and financially draining year we've had in a long time.

It was also one of the best.

Seriously, how does that even work?

Most years I'm just glad to be done and move on and hope things get better.

This is the first time in a very long time that I can look back and say, "That was a pretty good year." I can finally see some progress toward a couple of my major goals. (And yes, one of my major goals was to get ALL the kids in school all day. Now I can really enjoy them when they come home. And yes again, if you know me well you will know I was itching to get into a better house for our family. We had outgrown the other one about 7 years ago. We moved into it as a starter home with no kids, thinking we'd live there for 2 years and then find something we really liked, with a better floor plan. 19 years later, we finally made the change. Now I finally feel like I'm at home. AND we can all sit comfortably in the family room, which is a big plus.)

With that said, I'm excited to see what 2011 has in store for us here.