The Things They Said Today

October 30, 2012

Blue: I have two hundred girlfriends at school.
Me: Goodness! How do you keep track of them all?
Blue: Their names.

Red: If you’ll look closely at my school photo you’ll see what I mean about needing to change my name.
Me: I’m not sure. All I see is a really handsome boy.
Red: Well I know that. That’s why my name should be different. Something like a Jay, or a Fred. Can you please change my name before the end of the year?


The Good, The Bad and The Strange

October 14, 2012

The Good:
4 bedrooms 2 baths, good layout and flow, good natural separation from living and sleeping areas, shady backyard, nice neighbours…

The Bad:
No gas on property so we will have to save up a significant amount to run a line and upgrade our appliances. Also some of the bedrooms are small (better suited for a piano room than bedroom!)

The Strange:
Tall toilets. Both of them. There are other quirks but the toilets require the biggest adjustment from all of us.

New Ward

October 14, 2012

Today is our family’s first Sunday in the new ward. Apart from the encounters we’ve already had with a member of the stake presidency who is in our ward, his wife the RS president and her first counsellor, and emails with the primary president this’ll be our first real meeting with our new extended family.

I guess that’s not entirely true. The boys attended the practice yesterday for today’s primary program and we meet a few people yesterday morning at the building cleanup. (Feeling pretty good about three cleaning assignments in the past year, one for each building in which we’ve worshiped.

So far everyone has seemed really nice. Not crazy but we will love them over time, and not pinwheel-eyed nice, but nice.

But I have pushed myself to the limits since we moved here and my body has finally had enough. I have not slept well, i have not eaten well, and i have worked at a frenetic pace for too long. Paul and the boys will attend our first Sunday while I stay home sick. Next week is stake conference so I guess it’ll be another two weeks before I meet people.

I Awake from Dreams of Moving

October 7, 2012

I’d like to say I don’t understand why I keep having dreams about moving, packing, boxes, and being unprepared, but I know exactly why. After living longer in that “temporary” apartment in California than I have ever lived in one place, we’ve moved twice in six months. Frankly I’m a little tired. Since we are still in boxes in this here house, I’m not surprised that my subconscious is still in the transition stage. We are not settled. Not yet, and not for a little bit. There’s too much to do before then.

Getting here was an adventure I’d better write before I forget.

We started our house hunt the first weekend we were in Texas. We didn’t want to get too comfortable in our luxurious apartment. We also knew that we have many options in North Texas and we had to narrow them down. Our realtor was incredibly patient and helpful and we are so grateful to have worked with her. It took us a couple of months to settle on the city. It was Father’s Day when we drove through a certain neighbourhood in a certain city and felt overwhelmingly that we had found the city in which our family would thrive, in which we could contribute to the community and our needs would also be met. It was powerful and we returned often over the next couple of months to “test” that feeling, to be sure.

Naturally we chose the area with a higher price per square foot than other cities we had considered, partnered with higher property taxes. No matter to us; we didn’t want a big cheap house, we wanted a small house, the right house. We wanted a small house with big trees and we found it.

We are two blocks from where we first had the impression that we had found the right city, and next year our children will be walking to the neighbourhood school. It’s everything we wanted. (Well, about as close as possible, I guess nothing is ever exactly perfect.)

When we returned from our trip to Canada in August and re-toured the homes we had been considering. When the time was right it was clear this was the house we wanted, and we got it, and the seller’s asked for a closing date that worked perfectly with the end of our apartment lease. During the inspection we sat in the shady backyard and I felt so calm about the place. It was a good place and it would be good for us.

I didn’t feel ready to start packing up the apartment and I told only a few people that we were under contract. I felt like it would not be real until the papers were signed. It didn’t seem real and I didn’t want to get my hopes set up for disappointment.

A week and a half before our scheduled closing date I received word from our lender that there was a problem: when they received our transcripts from the IRS our 2010 return was missing. As far as the IRS was concerned we had not filed tax returns for that year and as far as the underwriters were concerned that is reason to not approve a loan. I was able to pinpoint the problem and called the IRS only to find out that the solution would take 6-8 weeks of processing, but that since it isn’t really busy season I could try following up in 4 weeks. My heart sank. We were a week and a half from closing. I thought we had lost the house. (And was also glad that I hadn’t started packing.)

Our loan officer was definitely a superstar and he went to bat for us, negotiated with the underwriters and was able to get us a band-aid solution that would allow the process to continue. The weekend before our closing we were in California for 48 hours for an abbreviated family reunion. When we landed in Santa Ana on Friday morning we got an email from the loan processor that we were good to go. What a relief!

I finally told our realtor during our final walk through the day before closing our harrowing tale of woe and she was incredulous that our mortgage guy had been able to make that happen. Even the next morning at closing we all kept saying how we could hardly believe we were there.

But we made it to closing. That afternoon the sellers signed their parts. An hour later the escrow company called me and said we were missing another piece of paper, which, thanks to the miracle of modern technology we were able to get signed and dated while Paul was at work, I was at the apartment, and the escrow company was in a third city. At 5pm she called back and told me the loan had been funded and I could pick up my keys.

Six days later we were in the house. A couple of days after that I turned in the keys to our immaculate apartment and felt myself officially transition to the house.

The boys are not at the neighbourhood school. Red is #17 on the waiting list for third grade at the local school so we have been bumped to another school that is almost as close. The staff is very friendly and the children have been kind. Red is on his fourth teacher in 2012 but both boys are adjusting well. (I adored Blue’s kindergarten teacher in the other school but this new one seems really nice, too.) I had considered that maybe we would elect to stay at this school instead of trying to get into our home school next year to put an end to all this disruption but our neighbourhood is full of kids (and some teachers) at the local school and I want my boys going to school with the neighbourhood. The neighbours are great. The woman across the street came by to meet us while the movers were unloading our stuff. She is very kind without being pushy or nosy and I have seen her out and about several times since then. Last Tuesday night was National Night Out and we went to the block party and met many more neighbours. They are all as warm and open and kind as everyone else we’ve met since moving here. I just can’t believe we live in this great house in this great neighbourhood in this great city.

As for church we are in the same stake as our previous ward. We stayed in the other ward for the September 30th primary program, a lovely book end to our time there. This week is conference and next week is the primary program for the new ward; I have already communicated with the new primary president and the boys have parts and will be participating in that program as well. The RS president and her first counsellor have already been by the house to introduce themselves. Her husband, part of the stake presidency, met Paul and the boys last Saturday night at McDonald’s while I attended the women’s broadcast.

So why am I still having stressful dreams about moving? The answer is simple: there are boxes everywhere. Since moving in I have cleaned and painted the laundry room (it was gross and there was no way I was going to clean my clothes in there!) which I was able to get done before the new appliances arrived. I have also painted the pantry. Both of those projects I was able to do with leftover paint I found in the garage. Then after some hemming and hawing I found the perfect colour for our kitchen and painted it. (I am not ungrateful to the previous owners: I may not have liked the colour they chose for the kitchen, but only weeks before we put in our offer they took down the wallpaper that was up previously. I happen to enjoy painting but I do not like stripping wallpaper.) All that remains is painting the family room and then we can begin the true task of unpacking, organizing, and getting settled. Hopefully then the dreams can stop. In the meantime my days are full, happy, creative, and content. We waited thirteen years to buy and I can’t think of a more perfect place for our first home. It’s cozy on the inside and surrounded by trees and kind neighbours on the outside. And it is ours.