Friday, August 22, 2014

The highs and lows

On Tuesday morning, you may recall our family room looked like this:


Yesterday, I tackled it.  I worked long and hard, I unpacked and moved stuff and made decisions and was excited to have it in shape by the time the kids got home from school.  They would be so surprised!

It looked like this when they got home:


Braeden came in and plunked himself down on the couch that was in a completely different spot than where it had been that morning.

He.

Didn't.

Notice.

A.

Difference.

I pointed it out to him and he said, "Oh, wow.  Good job, Mom."

Then he started looking at his phone.

All that work in the family room made me exhausted.  I thought this move would be easier because I don't have to stop and take care of little children during the day.

Maybe it would be easier if I had to stop and take care of little children during the day.  I'm tired.  I do force myself to take breaks to do things like prepare for school for Mark.  I'm still tired.  Maybe I'm old...

In addition to feeling tired, I was feeling anxiety of one kind and another.  I had tried to keep it from Adam because with starting a new job, I didn't think he should have to deal with me too.  (That never works, I don't know why I try.  Adam can tell I'm anxious and he can handle it.  I still continue to be delusional at times...)

Tabor called yesterday afternoon.  He was on his way to Tooele for a horse sale.  (Tooele is about an hour from my house.)  I started telling him about Things and I started crying and then his phone cut out because he lost reception on his drive.  He said later that he was glad he wasn't on the phone with his wife in that scenario.

I forgave Tabor for hanging up on me in my distress though.  He called back.

He had to get his animals attended to and called about 8:00.  He said, "Be brutally honest with me.  Is it too late to come over?"

I told him to come.  We'd have root beer floats.  (I'd bought the stuff for root beer floats to celebrate the first day of school but we were all too tired for celebrating.)  I called Ammon and invited them as well.  Their children were asleep so Melanee stayed home but Ammon said he'd come over later.

A while later, Mark told me he had a surprise for me.  He told me to close my eyes and I didn't trust him completely but I sort of squinted my eyes shut and followed him to the front door.  He flung it open and there stood Marianne and her four girls!

I said, "You heard we were having root beer floats!"

I had forgotten that they were in Utah for an orthodontist appointment.  Marianne had said they wouldn't have time to come to my house but they would come on Sunday when she takes Clarissa to BYU.

It was a lovely surprise!  I kept waiting for Enoch and Olivia to show up but they never did.

Tabor took longer than expected to come so I called him.  He said that he'd gone a different way.  He said it was a way that would have been faster if he'd been on horseback.   Also, Tabor needed directions to my house.  I don't really know how to do it yet.  I use my phone to guide me but I was using my phone to talk to Tabor.  Tabor said, "Is there a grown-up I can talk to?"  I got Adam's phone and did a terrible job directing him (it didn't help that he was making me laugh so much that I'd get distracted) but he finally made it here.

Happiness is sitting around my family room with my...family.  I've never had that many siblings in my house at one time.

Adam snapped a picture because he said I looked so happy.

clockwise from top:  Clarissa, Liberty (who has pants on, they are light colored), Deseret, Emma (who doesn't have pants on--she was in her pjs when they all came), Tabor (eating his dinner), Ammon, Mark, Marianne, Braeden and me.  Carolina is the adorable centerpiece.

I looked sort of bedraggled but I'm glad I looked happy too.

Because I was.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yesterday

Yesterday:

1- Adam woke me up at 4:00 a.m. because it was raining and our windows were open.  When it rains here, it is less like the gentle Pacific Northwest misting and more like the rain is angry and seeking revenge.  Adam and I mopped up the school room and rescued things from the rain.  (Everything dries really fast.)  Adam had checked on the kids but Mark's door was locked.  Our kids have never had locking bedroom doors and apparently Mark likes the feature.  We tried to get it open with a paper clip and banged on the door and he finally heard us.

2- We told Mark not to sleep with his door locked.

3-Melanee and Katie and their kids stopped by for a grand tour of the box maze.  As a bonus, they brought their cute kids.  As an extra bonus, they took Mark with them to the museum.  He had the time of his life and is already planning a return trip.

4-I made a bit of progress and talked on the phone and had an AC repairman come.  He fixed us up!  Also, he cost us money!  Also, he gave us the happy news that our AC is about at its life expectancy so start saving up!

5- I picked Braeden and Emma up from school.  The bus doesn't come to our house and we got rid of Adam's Saturn.  Did I tell you that?  I don't know if it's more amazing that that car lasted 19 years or that Adam finally gave it away.  He is going to buy a new car eventually (like after our Washington house sells...) but in the meantime, he has commandeered Braeden's car.  Which puts me squarely into chauffeur capacity.

6- Why won't the bus come to our house?

7- When I picked them up, Emma was happy.  She had connected with a few of the girls from church, she loved chemistry (whose child is that?  Adam's, I guess) and she liked all of her classes except computers.  She and Braeden can start a support group:  People That Have to Retake a Computer Class Because UT Won't Recognize the WA Class.   PTHtRaCCBUWRtWC.  A nice succinct acronym.

8- When I picked them up, Braeden was OVER THE MOON.  He had had his drama productions class.  The other drama kids pulled him into their circle like I knew they would.  He had stars in his eyes about everything drama related.

9- We went to Target for school supplies.

10- We met the aunts and cousins at Chik-fil-a and admired their cuteness and took Mark back home with us.

11- Adam came home from his first day at his new job.  He seemed to like it.  He also said it felt like drinking out of a fire hose.  I have full confidence he'll get a handle on it soon.

12- The big kids had an activity with their church group.  They made more friends and came home happy.

13- The rest of us did some errands and were caught in a terrific lightening storm. 

14- Lightening scares me.  Something about it striking my biggest little brother when he was eleven and it starting fires.

15- Adam and Mark thought the lightening was the bees knees.  


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

First day of school

...with pictures even.
Here they are in front of the fireplace.  I felt like the chaos really captured the day.  Plus Horace is in the shot.  (Braeden found Horace fairly quickly when we started unpacking.  He was concerned about our little guy.)

Here they are on our deck.  I thought it would provide a backdrop that is a little more serene.  It was cloudy and rainy which I think was a gift for my Northwest children.
If we hadn't just uprooted ourselves, I would be obsessing about it being the first day of Braeden's senior year. 

I have bigger fish to fry/obsess about.  Things like will my children have someone to sit by at lunch.  (Neither of them did but they have set up a meeting place today--by the intimidating girl Viking painting--so they can eat lunch with each other.)

We slogged along at home while they were away.  I finished our bedroom and our living room.  Here's the living room:


It's pretty empty because the accessories are who knows where but it's nice to have a place to retreat to where there isn't a box.

Braeden and Emma returned from school unscathed.  Braeden was enthusiastic about his AP government/politics class (who didn't see that coming) and he seemed to more or less like his other classes too.  Emma was bored to tears by syllabus explaining (Braeden's teachers seemed to dive right in and hers...didn't).  She was lonely and looking forward to making friends. 

We went to Ammon and Melanee's for dinner (delicious!  Melanee is a great cook and Ammon is a great sous chef) and Katie and her girls were there.  I looked down the long table and saw all those faces I love and felt happy.

Braeden and Emma hugged and snuggled and played with their little cousins and I think it was the perfect tonic for a stressful school day.


Monday, August 18, 2014

This is not for sissies

Yesterday afternoon a bird hit the window above our front door with a loud whap! and died on the doorstep.

It felt like a metaphor for our life.

We're all a little war torn.  Our house is a wreck.  We are wading in boxes and can't get our air conditioning figured out.

Our kids start school tomorrow and they're nervous.  Their nervousness manifests itself in surliness mostly.  And then there was the deer in the headlights look Emma gave me when I left her at orientation today.  It is physically painful to have sad/nervous/anxious children and not be able to fix everything.

We're not used to the heat, altitude or dry climate.  Mark left sacrament meeting with a bloody nose yesterday.

It's all been really lovely.

There are bright spots though.  Quite a few.  First and foremost are Ammon and Melanee.  They have treated us to their adorable children which we have loved.  Also, they have been superhumanly helpful.  Ammon and Melanee were here ALL day on Saturday, the day our stuff arrived (except for when Melanee took her little ones home for a nap).  Melanee brought us food and made us lunch and dinner and then dinner the next day as well.  She helped me decide where to put things in my kitchen and she unpacked boxes.  Ammon unpacked and carried and unpacked and carried and unpacked.  He reached the tall shelves and then went about fixing things.  He looked for things that needed repairing and then did just that.  He is amiable and generous and incredibly good at fixing things.  I can't believe how lucky I am to be living near them.  I need to quickly get some talents so I can repay them.

Our house--once we get it a little less like a tornado, and figure out the AC--will be lovely.  The view knocks me flat.  I love it.  I love the mountains and the sunshine.  We've had a few neighbors stop by with gifts of bread.  Everyone at church was really kind. 

We will keep buggering on.  And we will get this figured out.  Fingers crossed.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Good morning sunshine

I was awake at 5:30.  My mind didn't care that it was 4:30 Pacific time.  It was ready to go.  I took a bath and checked my email and Facebook.  I watched a mind numbing morning news show about how denim may be on the way out.  Apparently people are preferring yoga pants.  Finally at 8:30, I was beyond bored and didn't want to wait on my sleeping children any longer.  I opened doors and started playing music on my phone. 

Braeden started singing along to the Beach Boys.  He goes straight from sleeping to singing.  He's always been that way.

Emma slept through several songs.  I gently shook her shoulder and she slept on.  I shook a little more enthusiastically.  She groaned and rolled over.  She's always been that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The first day of the rest of our lives

Well.

We are on our way.

Yesterday the movers moved us and Geri, my visiting teacher, Keri, and Stephanie and I cleaned the house.  Janet came with brooms and enthusiasm to help but we were done.  (Not her fault.  She had a busy day and the cleaning went faster than expected.)

We stood around and cried and then the kids and I went in the empty house and cried and said good-bye to our beloved little house.

Then we had dinner at Geri's and said more good-byes and cried some more.

This morning, Braeden and Emma and I said a tearful good-bye to Grandma Geri and away we went.  (Adam and Mark will join us on Saturday.) In the van we wiped our tears and muttered KBO to each other which Braeden has been telling me often lately, quoting Winston Churchill.

Keep Buggering On.

I fully anticipated enjoying my drive with my children and those two don't disappoint.  Geri bought Emma a new book for the trip so it was mostly Braeden entertaining me.  We listened to music and sang and he caught me up on world events because he reads The New York Times like it's his job.

We stopped in Ellensburg for "first lunch" at Taco Del Mar.  (When you are a seventeen year old boy, first lunch and second lunch are a thing.) We'll be far from the mar in Utah so we wanted to enjoy one last time. 

We stopped in Pendleton at the Safeway where we always stop.  We lost Emma in Safeway.  Braeden said, "You stay here and I'll go find her."  Emma wandered up to me and I was on the hunt for wasabi almonds which it turns out are good for keeping you awake if you're drowsy.  I texted Braeden that I'd found Emma.  I texted him when we were in aisle 6, looking at nuts.  I texted him when we'd moved on to look at the soda choices.  I kept texting him and texting him and finally we found him.

His phone was in the van the whole time.

Braeden was ready for second lunch.  He got corn dogs which I wouldn't abide in the van so he had to stand outside and eat them.  He said the whole time he was leaning against the van, eating his corn dog, he was thinking about what a crazy mother he had.

Sorry buddy.  Corn dogs = gag reflex.

Braeden drove in Oregon, where the speed limit is 65.  Somehow that feels better than letting him drive when the speed limit is 80, like it is in parts of Idaho and Utah.  He did perfectly well and I could actually relax which is a huge difference from two summers ago and last summer too.  The only problem is that he had no sympathy for girls that needed a rest stop.  He told us that our inferior bladders were not his problem.  He said it with a smile as he pulled off the freeway though.

At the rest stop, there was a van full of people dressed in overalls and dresses.  The women had bonnets and the men had beards.  Mennonites?  I don't know enough to know.  The van pulled away and there was a loud shriek and a young woman and a young man came tearing out from behind the building and chased after the van, which had left them.  Finally the van turned around for them.

I was wondering if we were going to need to offer them a ride.

Once in Idaho, when I was driving and we were contemplating dinner at Cracker Barrel in Boise, I said, "I can't remember, is it exit 50A or 50B?"

Braeden said, "I got you, Girl."  He pulled out his phone to ask Siri.

Right then, I saw a billboard for Cracker Barrel.  Exit 50B.  I told Braeden Idaho predates Siri.  Ask Idaho a question, and a billboard will answer.

Emma considered that maybe Siri knows the answer to our questions because she asks Idaho.

Maybe.

At Cracker Barrel:

--Our waiter was named Clifford but unfortunately he wasn't a big red dog like Braeden and Emma were hoping.  He was a short round little bearded man who Braeden said looked like a watchmaker.  (He did.  Geppetto.)

--We all three ordered French Toast which is so delicious and addictive we think it probably puts the crack in Cracker Barrel.
--Emma obsessively arranged the pegs in the peg game so the colors were symmetrical.  Mark would have been happy because he has to do the same thing.
--More Mennonites (?) arrived.  Different than the other group.  An older couple came inside and ate at a table full of decidedly un-Mennonite people (among them a girl with spiked hair and short shorts) while about 10-15 young adults, dressed plainly, stood around in the parking lot by their vehicles, eating a picnic.  Braeden was incredibly curious and wanted to understand what they were doing and why they weren't all eating together.  Emma said maybe it was Amish Con 2014.  We'll never know.

I thought I knew how to get to our hotel but I handed Braeden my phone and told him to make sure I was heading the right way.  He kept getting distracted and telling me wrong directions.  I said, "You're really terrible at this."

He said, "That's what my friends always tell me."

We found the hotel and I turned when I shouldn't have and so missed the entrance.  "I should have gone that way." I said, "Why did I turn?" 

At the same time Emma said, "Because you're a stuuuuuupid woman," while Braeden said, "Maybe you're afraid of success on some level."

Ha ha.

They wondered what we were going to do in our hotel.  Watch Netflix?

I said no.  I said it is time for me to be an introvert.  Adam, because he's Adam, got us a two bedroom hotel. Emma is watching HGTV in the living room, Braeden is watching news in his room and I'm in the silence of my room.

We will keep buggering on.

And see what tomorrow brings.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Moms

Yesterday morning, we were in utter chaos, trying to separate what was supposed to be packed and what was not going to be packed.  I was trying to get children moving in the directions I wanted them to be going in and it was a mess.  Geri showed up with a sackful of Egg McMuffins and a box of donuts.  She set up breakfast on the front porch.  She took our laundry to her house and washed and folded it.  She brought back the towels so we could get them packed.  For not the first time in our lives, she was the calm in the storm.

We stayed at her house last night.  She gave Adam and me her bedroom; she slept in the guest room.  She said, "Make yourself at home," and we did. 

Sometimes you need a mom.

This morning, I crept away from Geri's house early while everyone was still asleep.  I came over to our house that is quiet and echo-y and full of boxes.  I started doing a few last minute tasks to prepare for the final part: the movers loading the truck.  I decided to call my mom while I worked.  She said, "Are you OK?  You don't sound OK."

And I really thought I was OK, but when I heard my mom's voice I started to cry. 

I told her about being in my weird house that is our house still but doesn't feel like it.  I told her I was sad.  She said, "Of course you are sad."  She said she would be disappointed if I weren't sad.  She said she's glad our family has been so happy here and are sad to leave.  "It's better than being eager to go because you hate it there," she pointed out.

And she was right.

She made me feel better.  She said to just enjoy the sadness.  Then we talked about other things, among them the time she'll be in Utah in a few weeks and will come and see us.  That's something to be cheerful about.

Sometimes you need a mom.

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