August 2015 - New Life
What can I say? This was one heck of a whirlwind month. Over the course of just a few weeks, they called to tell us they found our moving truck and (surprise!) it's already on its way, so GO MEET IT!
I saw our new house for the very first time in person. It is very...original. Let's put it this way: we will have the option to keep this home very close to its original state. It really is my dream house, though. I'm a romantic sucker for a beautiful, big, old home in need of love & attention to turn it into a Victorian gingerbread house.
It's the perfect house for our family. We'd looked at some others, but I realized quickly that the standard model of central staircase and central downstairs hallway didn't work for our family, because we tend to be together in one room most of the time. We didn't like the separation. I know that's true of many young families, but Geoff and I have always been like this. We simply enjoy each other's company, even if we're doing different things, quietly & independently. We're all just people who need people, what can I say? Our house is a bit eccentric, kind of like we are. It was, when it was built in 1918, ahead of its time as well as romantically looking toward the past. It has (what was at the time) modern-reaching features such as a (formerly, but now enclosed) cantilevered porch off the back, Craftsman geometric influence (squares abound in many ways, including proportions), and an in-house living space for the (former) help. Yet it longs for the past with its whimsical Victorian touches - the feminine door handle plates, detailed nooks & crannies, and stained glass. I feel the same way - at once looking toward the future and embracing necessary changes, while looking back and preserving pieces of the past (including this house). This home spoke to me when I first saw its beautiful photographs, and again when I found it photographed and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. I love the story of the five families who've lived here before us in its 98-year history. It has often been home to thinking people - academics, ministers, writers...and usually at least three children! It's a wonderful, warm home, and despite its need for a whole lot of TLC, I love it very much.
Meanwhile, the moving truck arrived. We were able to take turns supervising the children while directing the movers. We discovered our house had some electrical hazards, and, we were pretty sure, lead paint. One thing was clear - I was going to need childcare for a few days while we identified and controlled the dangers and unpacked the basic living needs. The first night, 9 PM came and still no beds, so one more night in the hotel it was. Geoff stayed behind and waded through the sea of our washed up life, looking or sheets, kitchen supplies, and trying to get the applicances to work. He had to do things like figure out if we had air conditioning or not, and if so, how to get that to work, too. (Answer: fridge kaput, expensive repairman, no air conditioning, just a few units and some ceiling fans.)
So, the following day, I put the kids in the car and drove them all over this new place via Google Maps on my phone, to every daycare I could find that didn't skeeve me out. Full, full, waiting list, full, full, nope. That was Day 1.
Day 2: same song, second verse. Five more daycares.
Day 3: a callback from another location at one of the chain daycares we'd visited. They would accept my kids for one week. If they had shot records.
Day 4: We got that shot record amended with a shot and a lot of ice cream. I have a whole new level of respect for public health workers.
Day 5: Weekend again. No daycare. Survive. Survive. You can do this. At least the electrical hazards won't kill the kids now. We finally slept on beds, on bare mattresses, covered in beach towels. No hot water yet, so we joined the YMCA and showered there.
Day 6: Hallelujah. Day care. My kids are safe and entertained and fed a warm meal. Right then, that was more than I could do. I worked as hard as I could, uper-human, nesting-pregnant-lady speed and concentration.
Day 7: I took myself a mostly-guilt-free break for about twenty minutes. On the way back from the Home Depot, I stopped in a thrift store. I found a *beautiful* Moses basket for our new baby. I bought it, for $9.
Day 8: More moving. Day care. Blur.
Day 9: Same, but I picked them up early
Day 10: I forfeited my last day care day. I missed them, and although it would be a struggle, the urgency and immediacy was gone. We had found clothing, food, and cleared a table & chairs. Still nowhere near a washer & dryer, but that's a whole other saga.
Day 11: Washer & dryer arrive! They're the WRONG SIZE. I have a mountain of laundry. But at least - doughnuts! We are very near a Krispy Kreme.
Day 12: Blur. At some point, Geoff's dad gave us his old van (score! FREEDOM! And also...being able to drive with all the kids in one car when I have this baby in a few months!)
Day 13: Oh! Oh! Guess what! It's almost time for Cannon's first day of Kindergarten! We attend his "Meet & Greet." My brief time on social media brims with photos of similar events from friends I know, kids looking all clean & well-dressed. I'm not even sure any of us had on chonies. And I had no clue where the kids' nail clipper(s) were. On the way over there, Gracy found a water bottle in the hot van, except it wasn't full of water. It was full of milk from our doughnut day! She SPEWED it EVERYWHERE. It smelled atrocious, especially to my pregnant nose and Geoff's low-vomit-tolerance. I wanted to roll down the window, but couldn't, because the window did not roll down anymore in this old van. So we drove to the private school kindergarten with me holding the door open. We really know how to make a first impression.
Day 14: The night before Cannon's first day of Kindergarten. On an evening walk, Gracy finds a penny on the street and eats it. I spent the night in the emergency room with her until giving up on waiting at 3 a.m. and returning home. Geoff was going to have to *miss* taking our first child to his first day of Kindergarten, because he had a mandatory new employee training. So to make up for his feeling terrible about having to miss this, he wakes up early to cook a big, beautiful breakfast for the whole family. Except we're out of eggs. So he drives to the store at like 6 a.m., but we're new here, so he gets lost and long story short, he came home with the famous $6 carton of eggs from a gas station. He made breakfast, I dropped the kids off at the preschool, and goshdarnit I did not cry at all. I did not pass Go, I did not Collect $200. I kissed them goodbye, went straight out to the parking lot, and fell asleep in the car, right there on the old van steering wheel. WHEW! And just like that - our new life began. (You think maybe I can go see a midwife now and check on this baby? Yeah, I think I should!) Will pick up the story on the next blog post. Meanwhile....
This is what I saw.