Interstellar Adventures

December 15, 2008

Nothing like a party to make a house a home

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa,Mr. Wonderful,Texas Life,Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 12:40 am

I finally got around to having a “Housewarming Party” nearly six months after we moved in. Which is exactly what I needed to get touch-ups done and pictures hung on the wall. I’m not proclaiming that all boxes are unpacked. No, in fact, quite a few got stuffed into closets. But the walls have less spackle-patches and paint splotches, and there are pictures on the walls.

Nick let out his inner decorating diva and made the place all Christmassy. Except for the tree, the majority of the decorating was done by him, with some suggestions (and some nixing of ideas) from me. His favorite idea took a while to come by, and also conquered one of our decorating challenges – the stairwell landing wall. Going through a bunch of crap at my mom’s house this fall, I came upon a bunch of old LPs. Which I greedily took and didn’t offer to share with my sibs. I’ve picked up a few more LPs at a discount book store, and bought a turn table. So we picked our favorites of some album artwork and used LP frames to make art!

Saturday I roasted and turkey and warmed up a ham, and my friends brought over side-dishes and desserts, and we had an in-law-less Christmas dinner. ALL contributions to the dinner were excellent, including some perfectly spicy jalapeno au gratin potatoes, and some beyond delicious creamed brussel sprouts. My friend Steph also brought me some beautiful flowers and champagne, which I will soon enjoy in some mimosas.

I also made Christmas sugar cookies with royal icing. Not something I will sanely choose to do again. It took me forever to get the cookies rolled out and cut. The recipe I found called for the dough to be chilled. My friend that makes the most beautiful decorated cookies told me I had the wrong recipe – hers don’t get chilled. Then, the icing. Everywhere. What a mess! I didn’t even decorate all the ones I baked, and I was exhausted. So much so that I forgot to make my cranberry sauce and only had jellied sauce. So now I have two bags of cranberries. They’ll get used though, so no worries. No one stayed too late. Mostly because I now live in BFE, and I know that it took some people about 45 minutes at least to get home.

I love my house. Just sometimes I wish I could pick it up and land, Dorothy-style, somewhere else. Except I love driving up the two-lane, tree-lined asphalt road to get home some days. For about 45 seconds I don’t feel like I live in one of the largets metropolitain areas in the nation. I like the ranch that I drive by on my way to work every day. And it tickled me to no end to see them harvesting crops at the end of the summer. But all around are new subdivisions (yes, the builders are actually still building, though not as fast), and the roads are scheduled to be widened, and then I will have to move somewhere else in 10 years to get away from it.

I can’t wait to have more parties at my house. Good thing I have so many beds! My friends can all stay the night if they decide they don’t want to drive all those miles back home.

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December 10, 2008

Still Kickin’ It

I’m sure this place barely has a pulse. And this is probably a lame attempt at CPR. But, nonetheless, here I am. My friend Ben decided to check up on me and pushed me just enough to get me to post. I like it when people care. 🙂

Since we moved, Pop passed away, the kids started new schools, Nick went back to school, and work started kicking my ass, I haven’t been inspired to post much. Many of my thoughts made me sound like a whiney-ass bitch, and though I am, I still don’t want to sound like it.

Elle’s birthday came and went and we had a slumber party with 10+ 9-10 year olds. I realized several things that night. First, Elle has some serious bossiness issues, and I (privately) told her she was acting like a brat at her own party. Second, I wanted to tell about 5 other girls at the parties that I thought they were being bratty, but they were not my kids, so I just reminded them to play nice. Thirdly, I wished I could tell 5 other parents that their preshus babees are brats, but they are soccer parents and we have to play nice. Fourth, I hoped that Elle never acts the way these girls did when I’m not around. Fifth, it will be a long time before I have another slumber party for little girls.

Zed nearly failed algebra (8th grade honors math) last six weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever really had to ride him about his grades. He has taken on a lot more school work this year, with 3 honors classes, and he has been involved in athletics, which takes extra time. But he also lazes around a lot. Mostly he’s been a great teenager though. So far. Knock on wood. He picked it up, and we haven’t had any issues since. I know it will make you all jealous, but the worst problem I have with him is that he leaves his bike in the driveway. I know, I know. He’s too good!

Nick has been having some health issues, and near the end of the summer was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. Basically my baby is Iron Man. Literally. He retains high levels of iron in his blood, which is extremely toxic, and can cause life-threatening side effects and diseases if not treated. Fortuately his diagnosis was made very early (I can be very persuasive) and tests revealed no damage to organs commonly affected. He has visisted a stream of doctors as a result, and we are still trying to get everything into balance through regular treatment. But he is still plagued by some of the side effects of the disorder, but is actually getting better, though some days it doesn’t seem that way. He has also gone back to school, and is working on finishing his associates before transferring to a four-year program.

And I have been working my tail off. And staying at very nice hotels when traveling. And meeting really cool people while I’m on the road. I’ve been sticking my neck out into some uncomfortable territory, creating a role, and lining myself up to be promoted into it. Which, as brave as I appear to be on the outside, I am really a scared little chicken-shit on the inside. The first time I gave my pitch I finished with a very wet shirt back and waistband. I hate it when I get all nervous and my voice wavers and my hands shake. I can do this dammit!

My birthday has come and gone as well. I’m now in my “mid-thirties” and I think I’m starting to show my age. Seems like the skin on the cheeks isn’t as smooth and shiney as it used to be. And my hands are starting to look old too. I’m moisturizing like a mad woman, trying to get back that baby smooth feel.

So all in all, yes Ben, I’m OK. Just busy living, turning my new house into a home, trying to bring home more bacon, and loving my family more and more every day. I’ll try to do a better job of being around. Things are staring to get interesting again, and I’m feeling pretty good after this post. Mwah!

July 28, 2008

Feels like…what?

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:28 pm

We’ve been in the new house for 6 weeks now. Well, one month and seven days anyway. And it still doesn’t feel like home yet. I mean sure, there’s the unfolded laundry on the bed, the dishes in the sink, and who knows what the kids’ rooms look like. But the feeling of ‘home’ eludes me still.

I haven’t gotten to my routine of grocery shopping and cooking yet, meaning we’ve been eating out way too much. I have made a few meals here on my new gas stove. And the gas stove still frightens me. Especially when I use the oven. I know the inspector inspected it and gave it all thumbs up (heated to a perfect 350F when set at 350F), but the on and off noises freak me out. And things cook faster, and handles get hotter. I still haven’t rearranged the kitchen from when my sister-in-law helpfully unpacked.

Our bedroom is done, for now. I have a drapery issue to overcome. But the painting and furniture is done. The new living room furniture is all here now. The backordered ottoman/coffee table arrived last week. The kids rooms are 80% unpacked. Nick’s office is shaping up nicely. My office has picture frames and books on the floor still. I’ll move my mom’s dining room furniture in the next week or so. The guest/craft room upstairs will continue to have it’s door closed. The guest/storage room upstairs will continue to wait on Nick to find the bed frame screws. I have about a hundred billion spackle spots to sand down (and then paint) on all the walls in this house. And I still have screws to pull from the high spots on the stairwell landing.

I will continue to look at my yard and it’s complete lack of landscaping, combined with it’s pleothora of weeds and cringe at the thought of trying to do even a little yard work in our sweltering 100+F degree days. Mowing is a pre-dawn activity around here. And the neighbors don’t get mad, because they’re all up doing their own yards. I continue to look at my back yard and laugh at myself that I thought I was going to get a garden planted back there next spring. I’d better start saving my sheckles.

Maybe it will start to feel more like home when the kids come back next week. July has alternately dragged and sped by. They’re staying a couple of extra days since we needed to juggle the weekend visitation schedule so they’re with their dad the weekend he gets married. Am I the only one that thinks 13 and 9 are too old for a ring bearer and flower girl? Not my event though, so I bit my tongue at that news.

I’m not sure what to do ‘next’ on the list. It all seems to happen on a whim. I’ll walk in the door from work, get an urge to hang a picture, get tired of looking for the hammer, grab my sanding block and sand a few spackle spots until my arm is tired, and then move a box from one room to another before sitting down, exhausted and go to bed watch a few episodes of Deadliest Catch off my DVR. (Sig & Phil are my favorites. Sig’s brother Edgar is totally insane, but is the closest person I can think of to a real-life MacGyver.)

It will all get done over time, I know. But my perfectionist ‘get it done right now!’ attitude is irritating me. And if I can’t make it perfect, I’m not going to bother to do it at all. Yeah, I know. I’ve got a sickness. And it wasn’t even all my years of therapy that helped me figure that out.

July 19, 2008

Flashback

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:12 pm

So, my mom is moving soon, and all four of us kids still have stuff at her house. I went over today to help throw old stuff away, and find anything remaining that might be mine. I didn’t find much, but what I did find put me in the Way Back Machine.

When I was a wee Lass, I read voraciously. Seriously. I read all the time. Nick doesn’t believe me, because nowadays, if I read a book a year, it’s a miracle. It’s not that I don’t like to read anymore, but time is precious and my attention span has withered. But when I was a girl, I would read 3 or 4 books a week, depending on how long they were.

So today, when I opened a box and found these, I jumped up and down like a little kid at Christmas and yelled “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. For reals y’all.

The Sunfire Romance series. Distributed by Scholastic books, written by four or five of the same authors, and all about as formulaic as you can get. Young girl in historical time period falls in love with two guys, has to figure out which one is the right one for her. And I fell for them hook, line and sinker. Sad, pathetic, but I.LOVED.THEM. (No, I will not give back my Bachelor’s in English with a Concentration in British Literature, thankyouverymuch.)

I have several favorites. Kathleen, Caroline, Joanna, Roxanne. Some of the girls were like my best friends. They were all smart, stood up for themselves, and made their way in the world. All of the books have dog-eared covers, creased spines, and were read more than once. I thought I had them all, but it seems I stopped at book 27. I will be buying the last five in the series. Also, I am missing book 4. I know I had it, but I wonder if it fell out of the box at some point on the way home. I will have to look in the car tomorrow.

I found some other nostalgia today too, like a pair of my pointe shoes from my ballet days, and a few photos – like one of me and my first boyfriend. I also scored a box of vinyl albums that my step-dad didn’t take when he and my mom divorced. Lots of Willie Nelson, some Led Zepplin, Bee Gees, Elton John, etc. Nick like those best.

Our unpacking is coming along. Last week one of Nick’s friends (and some of his friends) came over to help us move some big stuff around that we didn’t figure out what to do with until after the movers were long gone. There are still a few boxes, and the kids’ rooms need LOTS of work. The rest is just organizing stuff that isn’t used everyday, so of course that will go on for some time to come.

Nick is just back from Target, with lots of picture frames for pictures we need to hang, and a new turntable (Zed has one on his stereo in his room, but that’s upstairs and it’s old and doesn’t work well) so we can listen to the vinyl.

Anyone else come across something lately from the way back yesteryears?

July 2, 2008

Still unpacking

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:50 pm

Yesterday I had my suit pants and jacket. I couldn’t find the top. I dug in a box that seemed right. Found it at the bottom. *sigh* There are professional packers. Aren’t there professional unpackers?

I’m taking a four day weekend. Still going to a work-related happy hour tomorrow. Hey, free booze.

I’ll be finishing my bedroom paiting this weekend too. I’ve come to loathe painting.

The kids have gone to their dad’s for the month. Missing them and Pop sent me into some slightly moist eyes in the middle of Ikea earlier.

Nick and I are readjusting to alone time. We haven’t had a night out in over a year where we didn’t feel we had to rush back home. I feel guilty for liking that a little.

June 23, 2008

Quick Update

Filed under: Family & Friends,Interstellar Casa — by InterstellarLass @ 12:58 pm

The move took forever, but it is done. Nothing is unpacked.

Pop has hours remaining. We have said our good-byes. Please pray that his passing is swift and peaceful.

June 19, 2008

We closed, eventually

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 2:45 pm

Oh dear lordy. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach and a pain in my head. Today was closing day. The day we’d both been waiting for and dreading, equally. Waiting for this to be over. Dreading the issues we knew were bound to pop up.

We got to the title company early, and we signed our selling paperwork first. That was easy, and I ended up with a few more dollars (nothing to write home about) than I thought. Yay. The title company we selected for our sale rocks. As does our realtor. They are awesome, awesome people.

The title company we were forced to use for our purchase doesn’t so much rock. We were doing a ‘courtesy close’ at the same title company we used for our sale, and when they received the paperwork, they sighed and rolled their eyes and shrugged their shoulders. NOTHING was marked for signature. Thankfully our notary was a professional and she knew exactly what to do.

Then when we got to a couple of biggie documents, I nearly flipped my lid. Nick’s sister’s name was on several of the documents. She’s been difficult to work with on a couple of things lately, and I couldn’t figure out how her name got on our housing paperwork. WTF?!? So, I called my lender immediately and got voicemail. Left message. Commenced internal freak-out, meanwhile skipping those papers and continuing on. Called the lender again after about 15-20 minutes and this time she answered. Had to quick explain to her what was going on and who Nick’s sister was. She is on one of Pop’s joint accounts, and the ‘assumed’ she was Ed’s wife. Yeah, not so much. So, we had to wait for the lender to re-draw several documents and route through the other title agency.

Over three hours and two bouts of writers cramp later, we were done with our closing. We got a copy of our key, and went to the Home Depot to 1) analyze the layout to familarize ourselves with our new home away from home, and 2) make a new key. We decided we’d better change the locks on the doors after we move in, so we didn’t go hog wild with the key copies.

Tomorrow I am meeting a slew of service persons at the new home, starting bright and early at 8 am. Cleaners, fixers, and installers are my new best friends. Saturday the big moving van shows up, and we truck all our stuff 11 miles up the road. Seriously, we still live just off one of the same main roads, just north, and in another city. I now live further north of the DFW metroplex than I ever though I would, but the home is great.

Wish me luck with the movers and the weather. We can pay the movers to do a good job, but are at the mercy of the weather gods.

June 5, 2008

Out of One Option, Into Another

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass,Texas Life — by InterstellarLass @ 11:01 pm

We and our buyer finally came to terms on her 11th hour laundry list of repairs. Mostly piddly things, but a few that could have been significant. She got another few dollars out of our wallet, but it could have been worse. I’ve got a couple of shingles to replace, some flashing to add to eaves, and several GFCI outlets to install. No biggie.

We had our inspection today on the house we made an offer on. The inspection took FOR.EVER. Thankfully the inspector was a really nice guy, dealt with me following him around a lot, asking questions. But heck, I was paying him $400 for the afternoon. (That could be read the wrong way I suppose, but it was kind of fun to say.) Part of the reason it took so long is that the house is either a 5BR/4BA/3LA/2DA/study or a 6BR/4BA/3LA/2DA. Glass half-full, glass half-empty kind of view. Either way, we are more than doubling our square footage. Seriously. If I don’t want to see Nick for a whole week, I just send him to the Gameroom/Media Room/Man Room thingy upstairs and say ‘stay there’. Because there is a full bath for him to use up there. The kids will have their own living room upstairs too. Pop will have his own room and bathroom, and that’s downstairs. But I never get mad at him, so he can be downstairs with me.

Wrigley & Tori will love the large back yard. And they can be downstairs with me too. Because Nick will be upstairs, and he won’t get to complain that Wrigley has just stunk up the living room with one of her atrocious farts. Or that Tori is sitting too close to him and staring.

One of the things we love about the house is, that except for the master bed room, all the colors used on the walls are colors we like. We aren’t likely to change any color except for the baby poop brown and faux finished (yes, two different colors/finishes on 2 each of the 4 walls) master walls. And touching up the ceiling line in the bathroom where the tiny people (at least that’s how I imagine them) couldn’t reach, even on the tallest ladder, to get to the ceiling line to finish painting. And you know what is funny about the fact that we like all the colors they used? They left all the paint cans in the garage (fortunately) and they were all $5.00 ‘Oops’ cans from Home Depot. Not one was a color they ‘chose’. They just went through the $5 pile and took a rainbow home. And it looks great!

So after we figure out how to take care of the 2 Big Things that showed up on the inspection (no hot water in the showers of two bathrooms – but hot water in the sinks of said bathrooms – and a freon leak upstairs that didn’t allow the upstairs to cool below 80o) we will be out of our option. I’m ready to move. NOW. Forget waiting on loan approval and clear title and surveys and all that crap. Just give me the house already! I’m antsy. Two weeks from today is closing. I wish I could wake up two weeks from now and have it all go fine. Perfectly fine with no issues.

Except this is my life. I have to have issues. It’s just me. Like, for instance, such as, my motor burning out on my A/C compressor Tuesday night. (For those of you counting, it is now Thursday night.) I have no A/C. It’s been in the 90s all week. Nick is about to murder someone, and I’m pretty damn grumpy. At least I get to go to an air conditioned workplace during the day. Nick, the kids and Pop are home. We have all fans running, and have bought two oscillating fans, two box fans, and a personal portable evap cooler unit. On the bright side (yes, there is one) the A/C outage is covered by the home warranty contract we have on our home during the listing period. The whole fixing up thing is going to only cost me $60. That is, if the guy shows up at 10 tomorrow like he said. Otherwise it will cost me my husband, because he will hunt down the technician that has been dodging our calls since yesterday morning and rip the guy a new one.

Happy end-of-school to all you moms out there. Bring on the summer and the insanity.

May 1, 2008

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 10:21 pm

Yesterday, we ACTUALLY listed our house for sale. I can’t remember how many times I thought I was *thiiiiis close* to being “done”, but by this last weekend, we were ‘done enough’ to get photos taken and the listing made. There are still a few nails to counter-sink, and some paint touch-ups to make, but all of the major components are in place.

I thought that would be a relief. But not so much. Because of course, every day in the news the stories about the housing market decline get worse and more depressing. And my mom works for a realtor continuing education company. The news she hears there is depressing too. So, of course, NOW I’m worried about how long it is going to take to actually SELL the house.

Of course, a miracle could happen, and it could sell this weekend. But I’m not going to try to hold my breath as long as David Blaine waiting for that to happen.

Today, Nick had a dental appointment. A big one. So I took a half day off and went to the dentist with him to hold his hand. He HATES having dental work done. I seriously considered taking him to a sedation dentist. But with the help of about 7 vials of numbing agent, a raquet ball, and some Sinatra, he made it through the 2.5 hour appointment.

I also had my running class tonight. We’re on week 4 I think. And since the 3rd night, I have been struggling. That 3rd night I had a GREAT run. Everything felt wonderful, in place, moving as it should. And then BAM! I’ve been in pain ever since. My hip, my knee, my ankles, my calves. They are not cooperating AT.ALL. In fact, I think they are in a conspiracy against me. Well, I’m not giving in. I’ll move slower, at a walk if I have to, but I am not giving up.

Tomorrow, Iron Man comes out. I’m taking the day off and Nick and I are going to the first showing. We’ve been waiting for this since someone used their iPhone to pirate a copy of the trailer shown at the Comicon in San Diego last year. I love Jon Favreau, and of course, Robert Downey, Jr. Hottttiie!!! And then I plan to just chill.

Actually, I’ll probably try to do some of the aforementioned painting touch ups, but then again, maybe not.

April 16, 2008

Green N’ Spring

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Interstellar Casa,Mom Life — by InterstellarLass @ 10:41 pm

Despite the frequent storms we’ve had, overall its been a lovely spring.

A couple of weeks ago we sodded our back yard. No grass has existed in mass quantity in that back yard in quite some time. (That was a lot of in’s!) Part of it is the big tree, part of it was the dogs, part of it was that the yard is 35 years old. So Nick rented a tiller (which I know he enjoyed…using semi-heavy equipment), tilled up the dirt, we evened it out (mostely), and then ordered 1800 sq ft of Bermuda sod.

Then it rained. And rained some more. And we had a swamp. And then it dried out a little. So we laid some sod. All by ourselves. Nick, me, Zed & Elle. Yes, even Elle helped as much as she could. Zed was the hero though. That boy worked! I was super proud. The four of us laid the sod in about 5 hours. And we crashed.

We’ve been watering it religiously, and the yard is now GREEN! And beautiful! And soft! The grass is knitting together nicely, and we’ve even had to mow it already.

We have also de-leafed our yard (although the high winds and storms have put a lot back), planted some new annuals – pansies, marigolds, vinca, and something else I can’t remember, and my hostas and lillies are coming back in. I think the hostas doubled in size from last year. Sadly, the lillies aren’t coming back even. My bulbs on one side of the bed are doing much better than the other side. I can’t feed the small side enough to counteract the side that has the sewer cleanout though.

Our crown is in, our baseboards are down, trim is painted. A few touch-ups and a good house-cleaning and I’m ready to sign the listing papers. I’m soooo tired of spending money on this house (although it was the sales tax paid on all the building materials that pushed us into the refund category on our taxes – we’re getting $12 back – don’t everyone expect me to pick up the tab at once).

By next Tuesday the Spring soccer season will be over. Elle’s rec team is 7-1. I think we’re about even on wins and losses for our club team. Our rec team will most likely get 2nd place (again – the 1st place team has had 2 goals allowed on them all season long, 1 scored by us). Then, after a couple of weeks break, we’ll jump back into Summer Indoor soccer.

Zed’s new basketball team is 3-0. He’s learning a lot, and is finally being ‘coached’. His last team lost frequently (i.e. won 1 game) and lost big. After his first win on the new team, I asked him how he liked winning. He said ‘It’s better than losing!’. I’m super proud of him, because he’s practicing and playing hard. He wants to make the school team this fall, and is putting the effort forward.

48 days until I lose my baby boy and gain a teenager. Every day my heart breaks a little more…

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