Saturday, March 31, 2012

Close Call & Answered Prayers

It’s funny how you sometimes you don’t notice in your day to day life what something is really looking like.  You may look at it every day, but you see almost without seeing.  I think this isn’t all bad—how could we survive live every day if we were always aware of how imperfect everything around us was?  On the other hand, it does make for a lot of intense work once the goal is to sell the house rather than to live in it.

A couple of years ago Russ built some shelves in the corner of the school room (aka dining room) to hold all of the school books.  We have loved these shelves and used them every day.  Not only have we used them to hold books, paper, wallets, and other personal paraphernalia, I can now tell you that some parts have been favored with lovely stickers and other parts wear the remnants of spilled glitter.

All of which is fine when we’re living, but not fine when we’re selling.  Especially as this must now function in a dining room setting rather than a school room.


I have been dreading tackling these shelves, and I have put it off repeatedly.  Earlier this week when I had the caulk gun out for something else I finally decided it was time to caulk the shelves.  Places that had been caulked were in need of repair, and many places hadn’t been caulked the first time around.  Since I am now the queen of the caulk gun (that’s in addition to my title as queen of google) I got to work and fixed it all up.  It took a LONG time.


Friday afternoon we got a call that our house was supposed to show today between 1:45 and 2:45.  The kids and I did some cleaning Friday evening, but since I had to take them to a girl scout activity at 6:30 Saturday morning I decided that rather than work late into the night I would go to bed (relatively) early, get up and take them, and then start working on the house as soon as I got back.

My plan went like clockwork.  Right until I got back from taking the girls and climbed into bed and slept until 9AM.  (What can I say, except that the allergy medicine is killing me.  Because otherwise you know I’d be up at the crack of dawn…)

I got up at 9, made breakfast, then surveyed the house.  I had told the boys that there would be lots of work to do, and so I started them vacuuming the stairs and mopping floors while I tackled the built in shelves again.  First I went out into the garage and quickly swiped a coat of white paint on one side of each shelf.  I knew I didn’t really have enough time to get everything done, so the whole time I was praying that Heavenly Father would help me work more quickly.

When the shelves were done I came in and straightened up the laundry room and stashed the clean laundry in my closet to be folded tomorrow during conference.  Then I came back downstairs and realized my next task was to put the stop molding in the last few windows so that the air compressor could go back out in the garage. 

As soon as that was done I brought the paint in and started painting the carcass of the built in shelves.  It took a LONG time—so much wood that had not been painted in so many years, plus having to paint around all of the hardware.  I painted, listened to conference, and prayed that I would finish enough of it in time.

About 30 minutes before conference was over I got one last chore out of each of the boys and then sent them off to a movie so that they would be out of the house.  Then I went back to work.  At that point I had entered the time frame that the realtor had given me for coming to see the house, but I figured that they weren’t likely to be there right away (and hopefully not early again!) and so I had a little longer. 

After I’d gotten the top half of everything painted I brought back in the stop shelves and reinstalled them.  I stopped and looked and decided that I could probably get away with bringing in the bottom shelves (which were freshly painted) and just painting the few places that would be visible if you walked by.  (The back of the shelving unit wouldn’t show on the bottom, for example, unless you bent down to look at it.  And most of the sides wouldn’t show either.)  I did that last bit of painting, then cleaned up all of the paint supplies and put them out in the garage.

I brought the bottom shelves in, two at a time, quickly figuring out where the pins needed to go to keep the shelves all flat and even.  I got the second to last shelf in, and then put in the first 2 pins for the last shelf.  I realized that I was 2 pins short (and the other pins were out in the garage) right as I saw a car drive into the driveway out of the corner of my eye.  Quickly I grabbed a pin off out from under one of the other shelves and stuck it on the side that was missing pins.  I figured that for a little while, it wouldn’t matter if the shelves weren’t supported on all 4 corners.

Then I grabbed my stuff and snuck out the back door and ran over to the neighbor’s house.

As I sat there waiting for them to be done looking, I realized that my day-long prayer really had been answered.  I didn’t finish the project, but I did get just enough done, plus everything cleaned up and put away, and just in the nick of time.



When I saw that the car was gone I came back and spoonful after spoonful of nutella like a crazed person.  At that point I really didn’t care how much sugar was in it, I just needed some chocolate.

Then I ate my very late lunch, got everything out and started painting again.  This particular paint isn’t going on really well so everything that had already been painted really needed a 2nd coat, and there was still the bottom half that didn’t even have a first coat.  I painted through the afternoon session of conference, took the girls to their friend’s house, persuaded Josh to go to the priesthood session, put another coat of paint on the inside of the front door and then started painting the shelves yet again.  I painted while I skyped with Russ, painted while I talked on the phone with Cindy Lynn, painted while I talked for a few minutes with a friend, then started the afternoon session of conference again and listened to all of it except for that first 15 minutes that’s business.  When it finished a few minutes ago I decided that was my sign that I, too, was done for the night.  It was 10PM, after all…(there are still a few places that haven’t had a second coat, but it’s looking much better.)


I will not list out what painting there is left to do in the house because there’s still enough to make me either overwhelmed or depressed.  Instead I will focus on how grateful I am that this big project is almost done, and that the timing worked so well (if a little closely) today.


PS—Wouldn’t it be such a nice cozy ending to the story if I could tell you that all of that work paid off and they made an offer on the spot?  Except that then it would be a fairy tale, and not real life.  And in real life, yet again, the buyers decided that they wanted a newer house.  Actually that doesn’t make me too crazy—because it’s not like I could make the house younger if I worked harder, so I’m off the hook there.  I know that the right buyer is out there, somewhere.  I’m just praying that it’s sooner rather than later…

Friday, March 30, 2012

Anatomy of an Addiction

Actually I don’t know what the anatomy of an addiction is.  Or how I would tell you about it.  That just sounded like a very profound title.  But what I do know is that I’ve been (mostly) off of sugar for 2 weeks.  And I am realizing that this is just NOT a good time in my life to give up sugar, people.  Seriously—if there every was a time that almost necessitated cookies and ice cream and daily doses of dove chocolates, well this is it.

But no.

I’m off of sugar.


Which is why I was doing this at 11 last night.



PS—I know I said I wasn’t going to do it, Amy. But then I got to Kroger and they had some decent apples for 99 cents a pound.  And even though my dehydrator was already in storage, Jenn was right next door with hers, and she even sent it over with one of her kids!  I mean really…it was obviously meant to be…

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too much help???

I’ve been switching over to gmail for my email for the last few months.  I’ve noticed something new recently.  Now, when I am writing an email, gmail often gives me advice. 

Like this:



I had written an email the other day and accidentally chose the wrong Nancy to send it too.  This is what popped up.

gmail 2


Well yes, I did.  But how did you know that?!?


I’m not sure if I appreciate this….

or if I’m just a little creeped out by it…..

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I tell him goodbye and we end our nightly skype conversation.   I say that I’m going to get ready for bed, and maybe write for a few minutes.  Sometimes I don’t have the energy, physical or mental, to actually do it.  But regardless, I always feel awkward, pretentious even, when I say it.

I could call it journaling, I guess.  In many ways that would be a more accurate descriptor, except that when I finish I plan to publish whatever I’ve written to my blog, a place where theoretically anyone in the world can read what I’ve written, though in reality it is my family members and a few close friends who do.  So journaling doesn’t seem quite the right word either.

I am surprised every time by how cathartic the writing experience is.  Surprised that when writing, like teaching or bearing testimony, the spirit is able to teach me new things.  Surprised that the process of identifying and expressing what I’m feeling and thinking in that moment so precisely is often exactly what I need to move past it.

In Sunday School this week the lesson was the first few chapters of Jacob.

And if there were preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake and for the sake of the people.  Jacob 1:4

The comment was made that Jacob must have felt such a responsibility about what he wrote, knowing that it would be for the benefit of not only his family and their descendants, but also for us in our day.


I thought about that comment the rest of the day.  In a small way (tiny, miniscule, infinitesimal) I realized that I feel a similar responsibility.  Sure, I write this blog so that I will be able to remember what fun things we’ve done and my children will too.  But I also write for a much more serious reason.  I write because I want them to know about my dealings with the Lord—that I had them.  I want them to know that I had plenty of experiences that were really hard, and that sometimes I was angry with God.  And then I want them to know that I worked to get through these feelings, that I worked to first develop and then nourish the faith to be able to believe that God’s plan is the best plan for all of us.  I may never walk across the plains, (here’s hoping) but I hope that my children, grandchildren, and whoever comes after will know that I believed, and that it will strengthen them as well.

Isn’t this BEYOND Ironic??? (for me, anyway)

Smooth Sea

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Sometimes I’m doing ok…but that’s probably because I’m asleep, or because I’m too busy (probably using my awesome nail gun) to think much.  A lot of the time I feel like I am on the verge of tears.  Thinking about the reality, the fact that four weeks from tomorrow the moving van will load up—that’s rough.  The calendar is filling up with all of the things that we need & want to squeeze in before we leave.  And every time I think about leaving, about really and truly leaving, well then I do cry.

Quite often I realize that I’m still…well not quite mad at God—but almost.  I have been frustrated with my lack of ability to move past this feeling like He has caused this all, that His plan is the source of my unhappiness.  The thing is, I do feel like He caused it, and that it certainly is His plan.  But I want to feel that way with gratitude, with awe that He has a hand in our lives, that He is directing our paths this carefully.  Not with anger.

Tonight while I was driving to my last presidency meeting (more tears) I had a thought.  And that thought was that I was feeling entitled.

Entitled to live in the place I love.
Entitled to live in the home I love.
Entitled to live with the people I love.
Entitled to live near the ocean I love.
Entitled to have what I want, where I want it, essentially.

I realized as I was thinking about it how wrong all of those thoughts are.  God gave us this house.  He gave us the job that Russ had up until October.  I say “God gave us xyz” about many things in a generic sense, but that is not what I mean in these instances.  I mean He literally and specifically provided these things for us, in a way that was unmistakable—divine signatures.  As far as that goes, He must have brought us to Durham in the first place.  What are the odds that a head hunter from North Carolina would call a kid in Idaho to see if he wanted a job?  How many hundreds of people in the United States could have fit the requirements for that job, and yet the head hunter called Russ.  His boss never interviewed anyone else for the job—just Russ.  So yes, North Carolina too has been a gift from God.

And when I reframe it that way, I am again brought to tears.  But this time tears of gratitude.  And humility, that the Lord is so good to me when I am so stupid and stubborn.  But mostly gratitude, that we have been blessed by living here more than I can possibly express. 

When I had this realization earlier, the scripture came to mind:

…I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come… Mosiah 4:11


I think I will have to remain watchful.  It’s way too easy to spin to the dark side on this—the side where I feel entitled to live my life the way I want to.  The side where I feel irritated with God for messing up my comfortable life. 

I hope I can remember this moment, and this understanding.  That instead I can spin this my interpretation of this situation towards truths; the truths that God has given us everything that we have, that He loves us more than we understand, that His plan is what we truly want, and that we would be lost without Him. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hear Me Roar

I’m a girl who likes a good project.  I’m more than happy to paint, garden, even run the table saw from time to time.  But this being here without Russ is putting me in the situation where I have to step up and handle things that I normally would have passed off to him.  I’ve paid a handyman to take care of  some things—things that are truly outside of my skill-set or require a long ladder on a high roof.  Others I’ve done on my own and I’m proud of it. 

Item #1—the dvd cabinet.

Our dvd cabinet isn’t fine furniture, but it is functional and we already own it.  (It will also need to be painted now that someone put a sticker on the front of it…but that’s a different conversation.)  As we were moving things around in the early packing stage we realized that the screws on one side of the bottom support had ripped out.  Russ helped me turn it upside down but he just never got around to fixing it before he left.  I’d like you to know that I glued it up and attached the new braces (the silver ones), and all without going outside to get the drill.  (I’m trying to make that sound more like noble and less like lazy!)


Item #2—the toilet.

Russ hadn’t been airborne for longer than 20 seconds when the toilet started making a dripping noise.  Drip, drip, drip.  Morning, noon, and night.  It was making me crazy, and I didn’t figure that it would make a great impression on a potential buyer.  My handy neighbor tried bending a piece but that only helped for a few hours, then the drip was back. So I fixed it.  Myself!  I replaced the guts of the toilet.  I’m still kind of impressed.  This was more than a step above brackets and screws.  And not a drip since.  (This is the new toilet guts.)


#3—window molding.

Our house had shutters when we moved in.  Every window in the front of the house and all of the kitchen windows too.  For the most part we took them down fairly soon—they were all very off-white and I wanted to paint the trim white, and I knew (accurately) that they wouldn’t survive our house full of kids.  Here’s a picture of Alisyn & Rachel with  shutters in the background.


We had taken the shutters out a long time ago, but there were still some pieces of the shutter assembly left in the windows.  I made sure that Russ took them all out before he left because I knew I was going to be painting the windows.

One day the handyman pulled me aside.  Did I know, he asked, that my windows were all missing the stop molding?

Since I had no clue what stop molding was, it was easy for me to express complete and total ignorance.

It turns out that on the inside of a house, windows are held in place by what is called stop molding.  Except that some of our windows didn’t have any stop molding—the exact windows that had had the shutters.  I realized that the shutters had served 2 functions—they covered the windows, but they were also holding the windows in place in the frames.  Sure enough, I could see that it would have been pretty easy to pull the windows right out of place.  When I was painting the windows I had been surprised at how raw and unfinished this part of the window was.  I didn’t have time to sand it down nicely, so I just painted it white.  But now I knew—there was supposed to be some molding there.

stop molding

I asked the handyman about fixing it.  Because I am already sensitive to the fact that we have old windows, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they would look better with this molding on them.  He told me he could do the front 4 windows for $100.




Over the next few days I thought about it and thought about it.  I figured that if I could make a picture frame, I could surely cut some molding to fit into these window frames.  I tracked down the right kind of molding –thankfully the guy at Home Depot sent me over to the local lumber yard, an amazing place.  And I bought enough stop molding to fix ALL 14 of the molding-less windows for less than $100.

They’re not all done yet.  It took me a while to figure out exactly which way to cut the miters.  But I have the windows in the front of the house done, and I’m working on the rest.  Me and my chop saw and my air compressor and my brad gun.  (Sorry, Russ, they can be yours when you and they share a residence again.  Until then, I’ve got custody.)  Lots more fun than mopping the floor.

stop molding (2)

#4—toe kick molding

While I was at the lumber yard getting my stop molding, I was waiting and looking at their molding display.  I saw the little quarter round stuff and right next to it something called “toe molding” and it brought another thought to the forefront of my mind.  A couple of years ago when we had carpet installed we had new vinyl put in the laundry room.  I’d noticed the day I was cleaning it out before it was painted just how bad the vinyl looked around the edges—it had nothing holding it down but glue, I guess, and around the edges it had all curled up.


Sure, it wasn’t something that would probably catch someone’s first glance.  But if it caught their 2nd, it would look pretty bad.  So I decided right then and there that it couldn’t be too hard to put in some toe molding to hold those vinyl edges down, and I ordered 4 8’ pieces.  (A total guess which turned out to be remarkably close, with only a few feet left over.)

If anyone had been watching me cut the molding in the garage they would have laughed.  I had a little diagram of the room with measurements on it, and as I prepared to cut each piece I would hold my arm in the direction the cut needed to go, then move the chop saw blade to that angle.  It was very effective—I think that out of all the cuts (and it’s a room with a lot of corners) I only miscut one.  I ended up needing to shorten most of the pieces about 3/8”, so I still have some things about molding to figure out, but I consider it a great success.

Here is how it looked after I nailed the molding in,



And then after the caulking.  Doesn’t it look great!


Here’s a before & after:



Tonight I changed the water filters under the house.  In the crawlspace.  Me.  They were all wet and very gross, and there are no pictures.  But I did it.


The truth of the matter is that I’ve done far more whimpering, whining, and flat-out sobbing than roaring in the last few weeks.  I offer a  heartfelt thanks to everyone who has listened without telling me to get over myself and pull it together.  This post will help me to remember that I had at least a few “roaring” moments too.

Peeps Cake

2012-03-25_17-13-41_983I saw a picture of a cake in Reader’s Digest recently and decided that I had to make it—it was very cute and at the same time not too difficult.  When I heard that our ward was having a break-the-fast potluck last night I decided that the time had come.  I forgot to take a picture, so all I have is one taken with a cell phone. 

exps39605_TH1193306D67Here is a picture from online that shows the details better.  As you can see mine is taller, but I think that next time I would do the bigger layers & just do 2 of them.  Although a 3 layer cake always feels so elegant to me.  Though now that I’ve typed that I can see that perhaps I shouldn’t be using the words “peeps” and “elegant” in the same description, anyway…

I was going to use a cake mix, but didn’t have one in the pantry like I thought I did.  (I guess I could have combined the 1/2 box of strawberry cake mix with the 1/2 box of funfetti cake mix…it could have been interesting and we would have called it strawfetti.)  Instead I made a cake from Allrecipes, with a few modifications.

4 Egg Yellow Cake

½ cup shortening
½ cup butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9 x 13 inch pan.

2. Cream together shortening and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan.

4. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool.

I baked my 8.5” rounds for about 30-35 minutes.


For the frosting I was just going to use the recipe on the powdered sugar bag, until I saw that it had both shortening and butter in it.  Yuck.  Shortening in the cake is one thing, it’s going to get all baked in with everything else.  But shortening in the frosting just seems…sub-optimal.  So instead I used another recipe modified from Allrecipes. 

Rich Chocolate Frosting

1 c. butter, softened
4 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 c. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk

In a bowl cream butter.  Gradually add in powdered sugar, cocoa, and vanilla.  Add milk last, adding extra if you need more for the right consistency. 


The cake was a big hit, especially with my Peeps-loving kids!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Just in case you need to make a quick getaway??




Saturday I went on a 5 mile hike with Jared.  We had a great time enjoying the beauties of spring, but when we got back into the van I was less enthused to discover that 2 of the beauties of spring had attached themselves to my shorts—tiny bright green inchworms, probably not more than a centimeter long and certainly less than a millimeter thick.  Their smallness almost made them more disturbing, because there was no way to know they were there other than happening to see them.

Yesterday I went to get my hair cut.  I was getting ready to walk under the small roof overhang and into the salon when I noticed what at first appeared to be tiny bright green caterpillars floating in the air in front of me.  When I stopped and looked more closely, I could see that each caterpillar was hanging from it’s own thread—some threads shining when the sun caught them, some threads almost invisible.  I also realized that I could already feel threads on me—like I had walked into the thread of a spider’s web without realizing it.

I’m sure that from the inside of the salon if anyone was watching me I looked a sight.  First brushing myself off furiously, then searching the parking lot until I found a stick, which I then used to clear a web/caterpillar free path into the salon. 

I mentioned the caterpillars to one of the hairdressers and she said that they’d put a broom outside to clear away the caterpillars & their strings, and had done it several times already that day.  When I left I grabbed the broom from it’s place and swept it back and forth in the air below the roof overhang to get rid of the caterpillars that had appeared in the hour I’d been inside.

Then I got to my car and saw that criss-crossing between my car and the next car there were MANY of these threads, shining in the sun, each holding it’s own mini inchworm.  If I wanted to get into my car without wearing all of the inchworms I would have had to do it like this: Cat burglar negotiating laser beam alarm system

Instead I went and got the broom and cleared them all away.  I hoped that by driving for a few minutes I would lose any of the caterpillars that were on my van, but no such luck.  When I got to Costco a few minutes later I counted 26 (26!!!) on just one side of the van.

Which is why I went from Costco straight to the carwash—something I am normally too cheap to do.  But yesterday I was more than happy to hand over my $5 in order to have a van free of inchworms. 

Up here in Bahama we’re a few days behind Durham seasonally—I think the altitude is a little higher.  So it could be that this is coming here in the next day or two.  But I’m hoping that whatever freak event of nature this infestation is that it will skip us—I might never be able to leave my house again!


PS—Someone at Costco said the little caterpillars have to do with the oak trees blooming.  This is my 16th spring in Durham and I’ve never noticed this happen before—so I appreciate all of the years that the oaks were able to bloom without the accompaniment of miniature inchworms. 

PPS—I tried looking for a picture online, but nothing I did turned up anything resembling these tiny creatures.

PPPS—Russ & I were actually singing the inchworm song recently.  Remember, from your childhood—

Inchworm, inchworm
Measuring the marigold
You and your arithmatic
You'll probably go far

Now I think I’m a little creeped out by it…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

PTMD (post traumatic moving disorder)


Moving (especially an unwanted relocation) is stressful enough.  But I think I actually have PTMD, which is making it even harder.  Wouldn’t you with this in your past???


Good thing they were so cute!


Camera Fun

It's always fun when I download the pictures from my camera and find something I wasn't expecting. It's even more fun when I find something like this...

But shhhh...don't tell him that I found his video, or what I did with it!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What Might Have Been…

Our neighbors own an unfinished home in our development.  It has a walkout basement (unusual in our land of high water tables and heavy clay soil) that wasn’t waterproofed properly.  In order to make the house habitable they need to dig down 10 feet to the foundation—by hand, since it would be too easy to damage the foundation using power equipment.


Last fall they hired Josh to do the job.  For days and days he dug after school and on Saturdays.  Much of the time it was a 2 steps forward, 1 step back process.  He would dig one day and it would rain the next, carrying more dirt into the hole.  If it rained he would have to wait a few days before he dug again because the wet clay was too heavy to work with. 

One night I was kneeling to say my prayers and I had the unexpected image of Josh digging in the hole, which by that time was over 6 feet deep.  I had a worried feeling that his hole was too narrow, but no more than that.  The next day I told Josh about my feeling and asked him to widen the hole—even though that would add so much more to the job.  He agreed without any fuss. (Much to my surprise.) Later I asked him why he had, and he told me that he had made a decision at EFY that if anyone ever told him that they’d had a prompting about him, he would follow it.

Russ also had Josh brace the walls of his hole as he dug deeper.  At one point he had a small part of the wall cave in and Russ had him brace the walls even more.  Sometimes he complained about it, but he still did what Russ asked.

In the beginning Jared helped Josh dig.


Eventually Josh decided that he was going to do it on his own because I told him he was going to have to pay Jared a significant amount of money for all of that hard work.  So for most of the time, Josh was there digging alone.  In the back of my mind I was always concerned for his safety, even though he was certain he would be fine.


Josh has been really busy with lacrosse practice for the last couple of months and so hasn’t done any digging.  Last week the neighbors told him that her brother was going to finish the job.  I think Josh was sad not to be able to earn the rest of the money, but maybe a little relieved too.


This evening my neighbor called.  She explained quickly that her brother and his friend had been over there digging (after a night of torrential rain) and the wall had collapsed on them, trapping the friend.  She was still in town and wondered if Josh could go over and help dig the friend out.  Josh was great—he knew how dangerous it was and left immediately.  He returned about an hour later.  I assumed that that meant the guy was out of the hole, but he said no.  He had been helping to dig him out when the fire department arrived.  According to Rachel & Jenna, who were playing at a friend’s house nearby, there were 5 fire trucks, 3 ambulances, and 3 sheriff cars.  (And an undetermined number of volunteer fire department cars as well.)  It must have been a slow night, because everyone came.  They pulled out all of their rescue equipment and spent a long time stabilizing the situation.  (Josh’s opinion is that given a few more minutes he would have had the guy out of the hole, but we’ll never know.)  The firemen didn’t get the guy out of the hole for 3 hours, and then it took them another hour to pack their equipment all away again. 

Josh said that the two men had just finished digging the hole when it collapsed—so they were ten feet down.  Initially the guy had been buried up to his chest in the heavy wet clay.  All I could think was how grateful I was that Josh was safe while he was digging there alone.  I’m grateful that he was careful in what he did and I’m grateful that he listened when we asked him to take even more precautions.  Tonight I’m just grateful all around…


Here is a link to the news story, which is about half accurate!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Freshened Up


“Freshened Up.”  You have no idea how much those words have bothered me in the last week since I saw our MLS listing.  Freshened Up.  Other houses say “Pristine Condition” or “Beautifully Elegant.”  Ours just says “Freshened Up.”

There is no way to describe the amount of time, energy, and money that have gone into getting our home ready to sell, and it is discouraging to me that this is the best way it can be described.

The reality is, though, that for 10 years we have lived in this house FULL TIME.  We are not a family who gets up in the morning, eats, dresses, and leaves for the day while our pristine house sits empty and untouched during the day.  We are a family who lives here, 24/7.  We have cleaned and painted and repaired and cleaned and painted some more, but there is no way to change the fact that this house has been lived in, and then some.  It is almost 30 years old.  It wasn’t new or pristine when we moved in, and it certainly isn’t now!

Understanding that has helped me have peace about this process.  Our house is not the right house for someone looking for pristine.  Our house is not the right place for someone looking for new.

But it will be the right place for someone, and I just have to keep trusting that at the right time, that someone will come along.  Someone who will want the huge kitchen and enormous rooms.  Someone who will be so lucky to inherit our great neighbors.  Someone who will be able to appreciate that we have, indeed, “Freshened Up.”

Friday, March 16, 2012

It HAS to go up from here…


Today we had our first showing.


But there was so much work to be done.  I know you think that it was already beautiful since you saw all of those fabulous pictures last week.  But there was still miles of trim to paint (either trim that was still off white and needed to be white, or trim that now had wall-paint on it and needed to be repainted, or trim that someone’s messy kids had touched with dirty fingers that needed to be washed and then repainted), still a bunch of boxes to pack, and a handful of other projects.

I have worked almost all day every day this week.  I did escape to the grocery store for a few minutes one day, and helped my awesome home teachers take a huge van-load of boxes to our new storage unit last night.  But then I came back home and started working again.  I even worked (washing shelves) while I skyped with Russ last night.  At midnight I gave up, but I set the alarm and was working by 8AM again this morning.

The kids and I worked ALL morning.  Seriously—this is like the project that never ends.  It feels like the more we do, the more there is to do.  Anyway, we worked and worked and worked.  Our friend Erin came over around 11:30 and she (new hip and all) worked too. 

Then right at 12:00 noon on the dot I got a tickle in my throat.  It was bad.  I coughed and coughed and coughed.  I couldn’t stop.  I tried to drink some water but I couldn’t stop coughing.  I couldn’t even get a cough drop into my mouth because I was coughing so much.  After a few minutes I could fell my gag reflex kicking in and so I took my poor (still coughing) self into the bathroom.  Sure enough, (sorry for gross detail but this is my life history—my posterity need to know these things!) I coughed so hard that I would have thrown up if I’d had anything in my stomach.  And still I coughed and coughed.  It didn’t start to calm down for 15 minutes.  So at 12:15 I finally left the bathroom, glancing into the mirror first.  I was a wreck.  My hair was all disheveled from all of the coughing, my eyes red and runny, and my face was bright red. 

I checked the clock and realized that I had only 15 minutes to finish whatever was going to be done before the people came to look at the house.  I walked to the top of the stairs where I had all of the bits of my last project (air compressor, molding, paint, etc) and much to my surprise I saw people on my front walk!!   15 minutes early!!!

I shooed the kids out the back door to the neighbor’s house, where we’d already arranged to spend our time.  Then I answered the front door as calmly as I could (in all of my red eyed, red faced, messy haired glory), laughed with the realtor when she apologized for being early, apologized myself for the air compressor at the top of the stairs, and then took myself and my magazine to the screened in porch next door. 

Russ & I probably looked at 40 houses the week I was in Oregon.  I think I have a pretty good feel for how long people look at different types of houses.  We spent less than 5 minutes in some houses, and as many as 15 minutes in others.

These people were in the house today for almost half an hour.  Maybe it’s a good sign?

Or maybe they were just checking out the awesome air compressor…


Here’s hoping that the next time we show the house A)there is no coughing/vomiting before hand, and B)we actually get out before they get here!DSC_3289

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I’m looking for encouragement in all the wrong places…

Have I mentioned lately that I am overwhelmed?  I may not have told you, but I’m sure that I haven’t stopped telling Russ.  Every day he reassures me that I will, indeed, be able to get through this.  That I will eventually have all of the trim painted, all of the things checked off of my to-do list.  Talking to Russ and getting a good night’s sleep (preferably not interrupted by an hour of coughing) always help me feel better.

Yesterday Ann came over to pick up a book.  When I started coughing and grabbed another cough drop she asked, “oh, are those the cough drops with the little sayings on them?”  I had no idea what she was talking about, so I grabbed one and looked at it.

Who knew?  Who knew that I had been missing out on


brought to me by the fine folks at Halls.

So from here on out when I’m sucking furiously on my latest cough drop, I’ll also be savoring the tiny (slightly wrinkled) messages of hope on the wrappers. 



Maybe that will be enough to get me through this next week!


PS—my list is actually not a “to-do” list, it’s a “ta-da” list.  I needed a place to keep track of all of the lists in my head, and this is working great!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I’m having problems proving I’m not a robot.

Lots of blogs seem to have these little word verification things these days.  I appreciate the concept—to keep spam comments or evil robot comments off of your blog.  And I used not to mind it too much.  Back when it was easy to prove I wasn’t a robot. 

But then something changed.  And I want the old word verification back.  Because nine times of of ten, I fail with these new ones.  Every now and then I get one that doesn’t cause me too much difficulty.

robot 1

But I can never relax, because this is always what’s coming the next time.

robot 2

Hello?  I have NO CLUE what that says!  I mean I get the fuzzy “this,” which doesn’t take a rocket scientist.  But the other word, with it’s combination of fuzzy and misshapen and dark blotch behind?  I stand zero chance of getting that one.

And if I don’t get it right (and how on earth would I know what is right and what is not, it’s all gibberish anyway!) then they put up another.  And another. 

You know how sometimes when you’re trying to log online to your credit card account to pay your bill you can’t quite remember your password, and you’re just too lazy to get up and go find where you’ve written it down, and so you guess, and guess, and guess again?  And then an announcement pops up onto the screen that says that you’ve exceeded your maximum number of guesses and now your account is locked and you will have to call and talk to a real human being to sort things out?

Well, I’m afraid a similar thing is going to happen to me with the word verification nonsense.  Only the pop-up is going to announce that the software has proven conclusively that I am a robot.  And that I am now blocked from commenting on any more blogs. 

So I just want to say, in advance, that should I stop commenting on your blog, it’s because I’ve been tried in the court of word verification law, been found guilty of being a robot, and been sentenced to  life without comments.

robot 3

I rest my case…

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why can’t my mechanic be more like a woman???

Josh’s car broke down last Friday afternoon and we had it towed off to the mechanic.  I really expected to hear something sometime Monday, and had braced myself for bad car news.  Instead, I heard…absolutely nothing.

Finally on Tuesday in the midst of my frantic cleaning and packing and painting (last minute preparation for the realtor’s visit on Wednesday) I texted Russ and asked him to please call the mechanic—I just couldn’t deal with one more thing.  And he did.  And he has every day since, including today when he told me that the problem appears not to have been a major disaster and that the car would be ready tomorrow evening.

And then, when I was complaining about this mechanic never calling to give us any information, he pointed out that he’d always had to call our previous mechanic too to find out what was going on. 

At which point I said, why can’t the mechanic be a little more like a woman???

Have you ever been in church when a bishopric member announces the birth of so & so’s baby?  He says, “we’d like to congratulate the Smith family on the birth of their baby.”  Period.  Seriously.  Sometimes he’ll include the gender of the baby, but that’s really it.  Now on the other hand when you hear this announcement in Relief Society it is usually quite a different announcement. 

“We’d like to congratulate Molly Smith on the birth of her bouncing baby boy yesterday morning at 8:11.  He is named Joe Henry, was 19” long, weighed 13 lbs and from the sounds of it everyone is doing great.  They’ll be coming home from the hospital tomorrow night and we’re going to be arranging dinners for 3 nights.”

You see my point, right?

But this is making me wonder—how often am I upset at someone because I am wanting something from them that is actually completely foreign to them?  How often do I want the men in my life to function just a little bit like the women in my life?  On the flip side, I’m sure I annoy plenty of people with my definitely-female-responses to life’s situations.  But if I want them to be ok dealing with me as-I-am, perhaps I need to do a better job of not expecting them to be different than they naturally are.

Just a thought…

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

More Extreme Home Makeover Pictures

Now I want to say up front that some of these pictures resemble less Extreme Home Makeover and more Home Minimalist Today.  But apparently that look is all the rage in the multiple listing system circles, and it is their approval (and $$$) we covet.  So here you are…


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

My Commercial

I bought the coolest things this week.  I have no idea what they’re called, but you really need some.  Everyone needs some.  These go right up there with the special jack-o-lantern carving knives and the Christmas light checker.  And if you’re getting ready to move, like I am, this is way more important than either of those things.  (Though they’ll have their moment to shine again…but those moments are both months and miles away.)

These things are round discs with a smooth bottom, filled with a dense rubber.  I cannot tell you what they’re called, but I can supply you with a picture.


What, you may ask, is the function of these curious things?  Are they small weighted frisbees?  And I would tell you, Nay.  For what use would a woman about to move have for small weighted frisbees???

They are for moving furniture.  You put one of them under each corner/leg of your piece of furniture, and what was previously unmovable (except for by Hercules) you can now push with one pinky finger. 

Seriously amazing.

You can see them right here under this chest, normally heavy and unwieldy.  But using my small weighted frisbees (sorry, I was getting tired of calling them things) the chest moved effortlessly.


I was able to move all sorts of things by myself that normally I could hardly move with someone’s help!  Now it is true that four of my small weighted frisbees are currently stuck under the entertainment center…because while I could move it into it’s new location, I could not remove them by myself.  But hey, the package had 8 so it’s not like those can’t live there for a few days until someone helps me remove them, right?!?

Run, do not walk, to Home Depot and buy yourself some things.  Small weighted frisbees.  Whatever you want to call them.  And then call me and tell me all about the fun you’ve had moving your furniture all over your house.


PS—The package specifically said not for use on hard wood floors.  I am pretty sure there would be a way to use them, combined with cleaning rags, and both move your furniture and buff your floors at the same time.

PPS—because I do have some reputation to uphold as the queen of Google, I exercised my talent and can now tell you that this product is sold under different names: EZ Moves (sorry, sounds a little like a medical product I don’t want to get better acquainted with) or furniture sliders.  Home Depot does not admit to selling them on their website, but they did have them in their brick & mortar store. 

PPPS—it is quite clearly time for me to take myself to bed…

PPPPS—if you can’t find your small weighted frisbees, check to see which things in your home are moving more than they normally do.