What is New?

KimboBimbo LIVES!!!!

Oh.My.God. It has been 3 months? Really? 3 months since I have posted a blog update?

Oops.

I confess I am a terrible terrible blogger.. I didn't warn everyone I was going to go off the grid.. I kinda just fell off. In all honesty, life knocked me off.

I do have an excuse. I swear.

So here is the dealio.. 3 months summarized in 4 lines:
  • The lab family moved out of our temporary housing and into our new house, lovingly known as "the money pit" (Oh, I promise to share all sorts of great stories about the money pit!)
  • During the move I apparently caught whooping cough (PSA: Get a booster.. Seriously folks, pertussis SUCKS)
  • The untreated Pertussis spun off into a killer TWELVE WEEK case of pneumonia (that ordeal is a story for another post.)
  • We then found out (3 months TO THE DAY) of purchasing the money pit, that we are being relocated nearly 3000 miles away in the next 6 months. The money pit needs to go back on the market, NOW.

Crap.

So that is where I have been.. That is what is new in my life. (See, that seems like a pretty valid excuse or 10.)

I hope to get back to my regularly scheduled blogging. I have tons of great stories from the last three months to share. Great stories from the money pit, great pertussis stories (yes, there are great pertussis stories), and I even have a few thoughts on science that have been spinning around in my head.

I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me, via email, on twitter and elsewhere. It is glad to know I was missed. I missed ya'all too!

The House Hunt: An Update. Good news for a change!

It has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I have updated you about our  house hunting adventure. In case you don't even remember what I am talking about, we began looking for a house back in May when we moved to our new city. Yes MAY! (more than 4 months ago)

After a horrendous moving adventure and getting settled into a temporary apartment we had nothing but trouble finding a house.

The last time I left you, it was July 10 and we had just lost out on our offer to buy a single family home by a mere $30,000.00. At that point I quit blogging about it. It was only depressing me. However the hunt DID continue.

After the July rejection we put an additional 2 offers on 2 more properties, and lost both of those. We were about to throw in the towel and just survive in our teenie rental apartment. (That would have sucked) Instead we gave it one last push and decided we would look at condos instead of single family homes.

Now, I NEVER wanted to live in a condo. I don't want to share walls/floors/ceilings with a neighbor. I want my own space. But we were desperate and since we are sharing walls/floors/ceilings right now, it couldn't be much worse.

As luck would have it, the first weekend we began the condo search we found something we liked (enough) and once again jumped in. And (THANK YOU JESUS) this time, we were the top bidders. It looks like the end is near!!

We are supposed to close on our condo (duplex actually) in mid Sept. We hope to move right around that time, because the Princess will be starting preschool that same week.

Fingers crossed that all goes well with our loan. Compared to our last loan (back in 2004) the qualifying process has been 1000x more intense. They practically want pay stubs as far back as my high school McDonalds gig. It is one huge headache.

I couldn't be happier to see this process come to an end.

And finally, a few stats to summarize this house hunting experience:
  • 168: Number of Open Houses Attended
  • 4: Numbers of offers presented
  • 1: Number of offers even considered
  • 18: Number of weekends spent househunting
  • $124,000: Amount of money outbid by on 3 failed offers
  • 2300: Approximate number of miles put on car during open house visits
  • 18: Number of open houses attended with the LabKids
  • 0: Number of open houses I would suggest attending with kids
  • 28: Number of days until we (hopefully) close
  • $263: Amount per square foot we are paying for condo
  • Countless: Amount of hair I have lost fretting about this whole ordeal

Paper Mache Plates: Not As Messy As You Think

We came across this art project in a library book and thought we would give it a shot. We had all the materials on hand, and although I was nervous about what kind of mess we would end up with doing paper mâché, it really wasn't bad at all.

First we wrapped our mold (we decided to make a plate but you also could use a bowl) in plastic wrap. We used the bottom of the plate since it had a raised pedestal that we wanted to show on the surface of our paper plate.
Normally paper mâché is made of recycled newsprint, however we didn't have any newspapers lying around so instead we used old office paper. We used about 20 sheets cut into small strips and squares.We then mixed 1 part water with 2-3 parts school glue. ThePrincess was NOT happy about getting her fingers dirty so she used a paintbrush to brush the glue mixture onto the strips while I dipped them by hand. You need to get them pretty wet, so the paintbrush alone would not have been effective.
We layered the strips onto the mold until they were 5-8 layers thick making sure we allowed plenty of overlap on the edges. We placed the plate on a coffee mug and allowed it to dry. This took 48 hours. I think it would have been faster if we had used newsprint, but the office paper took quite a while to dry.
After drying the plastic wrap made it simple to remove the plate from the mold.
We then trimmed the excess paper from the edges to make the plate perfectly round.
ThePrincess decided she wanted a pink plate (of course) so using tempura paints we painted both sides completely
and allowed that to dry overnight.The final step was to decoupage the top of the plate with tissue paper. We used solid pink and floral which is what we had on hand. Multiple colors of tissue would give you a fantastic stained glass effect but we didn't have any other colors. We just placed the tissue paper squares on the plate and painted over it with undiltued school glue.

We completely covered the top of the plate and left the bottom plain pink. This took (yet another) night to dry.
So finally 4 days later we eneded up with our final product. A paper mâché decoupaged plate:
All things considered it was a relatively easy project, and not too messy. It did take a lot of time, but that worked out pretty well since a four year old's attention span couldn't handle doing all the steps back-to-back.

We are now looking forward to making a bowl. Who knows? At this rate we end up with an entire service for 12.

It wasn't meant to be

So, based on the title of this post, you can clearly tell we didn't get the house.
We were in the top 3 offers (we were quite a bit over asking), but the next two were $30,000 (yes, $30,000) higher than ours.

I'm okay. There were things about the house that weren't "perfect" but it was the best we had seen so far. Hopefully something even better will be coming down the pipeline.

Already lined up to see 5 more open houses this weekend (numbers 75-80). At least we can keep renting if we have to. We won't be homeless.

House Hunt Update: We are jumping in!

Looks like we are going to put an offer on a house. I don't think we have a decent shot at it. It has been on the market 2 days and they are entertaining offers tomorrow (day 3.) No open houses, no nothing.

Right now it looks like they will have at least TEN, yes TEN offers. Not great odds for us. We scheduled a viewing with our realtor and there were at least a dozen other buyers there in our mere 30 minute window. I can only imagine how many people have looked at it in the past 48 hours.

And, to make it more depressing, my realtor told me her client lost out on a house last week even though they offered more than 15% over asking price. That doesn't bode well with us, since the list price is already close to the top of our budget.

Just keeping my fingers crossed. Maybe they will like my handwriting on the offer to purchase and choose us.

Love, Loss and Happily Ever After: A Lovey Adventure

What is true love?
What a complicated question to answer. There are so many ways of looking at it, so many ways of defining it.

Well, unless you are four, then it is easy:

True love is having someone who is by your side day or night, who is always willing to sit at your tea parties, accompany you to the playground and listen to you read Goodnight Moon 10,000 times. True love is patient, doesn't judge, and doesn't mind if you don't feel like sharing today.

True love allows you to tolerate the dirt, grime and stench from going unwashed for weeks at a time, and true love looks past the fact you are falling apart at the seams and have seen better days.

True love only sees the inner beauty, the comfort and joy of an old friend.

To the rest of the world, true love may be unrecognizable.. but when you are four true love is obvious:
True love is your lovey.

For E, true love has taken the form of "TigerKitty", an orange bean bag tabby cat that she has loved for as long as I can remember. My mother-in-law gave it to her when she was an infant and for whatever reason, she has bonded with it like no other toy. They are inseperable.

In fact TigerKitty is such a big part of our lives that I even had E professionally photographed holding it, since one day when she is all grown up I want to look back on those pictures of her and remember her exactly how she was.. and of course that includes TigerKitty clutched in her little arms.





Believe it or not, that ratty creature used to look like this:

So why am I writing about TigerKitty you ask? Well, because tonight a near tragedy struck our household. We almost lost TigerKitty.

After attending a house showing an hour and a half away from our apartment we decided to grab some dinner before heading home. We were all tired and cranky from the long ride up in rush hour traffic, the house showing and tracking down a place we all could agree on. Eventually we made it though and after our bellies were full with spareribs, steak and mac & cheese (I'll let you venture a guess on who ordered what) we hopped into the mini-van and headed home.

By the time we got home it was time to head to bed, so PJs went on, teeth were brushed and we settled into the bedtime story routine. It was only at this point when we realized that somethign was terribly wrong. TigerKitty was NOWHERE to be seen.

Hubs recalled seeing the little guy in E's arms at the house, but after that recollection was fuzzy. ThePrincess reassured us that she had brought TigerKitty back to the car but she was nowhere to be found. This only left us with a few possibilities: She was somewhere at the property or she was at the restaurant.

A frantic phone call, a plethora of tears, lots of prolonged silence, and then finally the good news: TigerKitty was safe. She had fallen down behind the booth which is where the lovely hostess at Applebees found her.

HORRAAYY!!

This did mean another 3 hour car ride back up though the city and home again for me, but in the end it was all worth it.

I was willing to do it in the name of true love and (hopefully) happily ever after:

My life as a Full-Time Work Ouside the Home Mom: A retrospective

Life as I know it has evolved. There aren't many more 180 degree turns you can make in life like the one I just chose. Full-time, outside of the home, kids in daycare, 9-5 Monday to Friday working mom to 24-7, car-pool driving, playdate attending, mini-van sporting Stay-at-home mom.

There are so many misconceptions and generalizations about both of these roles, and now that I have experienced them both, I have never been more secure in my choices. I am right where I need to be right now and (all things considered) I am pretty happy.

Giving it all up has really made me take a long hard look at what kind of mother, wife, employee, friend, and woman I had been. It is reassuring actually, looking back.

Often, as a full-time working mom, you are find yourself questioning if you are doing a good job.

"Am I a good mom?"
"Am I a good employee?"
"Am I sacrificing too much?"
"Am I not sacrificing enough?"

I often found myself wondering what it would be like if you weren't working.

"Would things be easier?"
"Would my kids be happier?"
"Would I be happier?"

And now I can say:

"I know for sure."

I have seen both sides of the coin and I don't need to wonder. I was a GREAT mom. My kids were happy and well-adjusted. They had a great life with people who loved them, they had balance, routine and support. They thrived.

I was a GOOD employee. Maybe not great, but I did a damn good job. My boss was happy, my co-workers were (at least mostly) happy, my work got done and I supported my family.

Win-win.

Was I always happy? No. Did I sometimes question what I was doing it for? Sure. But that was mostly my insecurity talking.

If I knew then what I know now (like the tears and leg-clinging when I dropped off my 2 year old wouldn't scar her for life, or that the numerous sick days you accumulate with a germ-attracting toddler would not affect your work productively that much) maybe my happiness wouldn't have been a problem either.

So, how am I adjusting to my new found role of Stay-at-home-mom?

All things considered, great really. I am getting to do things I haven't been able to do before, like taking my kids to the local storytime at the library, spending all day in my pajamas, surprising daddy with a picnic lunch, or playing dress-up for hours on end. My weekends are no longer jammed full of family time on top of errands and chores. The pace of life has definitely slowed down. And that is okay with me.

Do I miss my life as a working mom? Sure. There are parts that I definitely miss. But am I unhappy as a Stay-at-home mom? No. Am I happier? Not really. It is different not necessarily better or worse.

But now that I have stepped away from it I realize that when and/or if I return to being a working mom, I can give myself a break. I am a good mom no matter what career path I choose. And this just happens to be the right path for me right now. I would let go of the guilt and ignore other people's judgment (both real and self-perceived.)

It is easy to condemn working moms for 'choosing their career at the expense of their family', when in fact they can have both without losing out on much of anything. It really is true that you can give 100% to both. It is possible.

And it is easy to dismiss stay-at-home moms as taking the 'easy way out' when in reality they are far from spending their days lounging around. Being at home all day can be isolating and lonely. Being with your kids 24-7 can be a draining experience that nobody should readily dismiss as having time 'to yourself.' Nothing is much further from the truth. Those kind of assumptions are a disservice to the profession of motherhood.

It is ironic that as mothers some of our toughest critics are often other mothers and even ourselves. Some of the nastiest, most judgmental comments I have heard about the choices I have made have come from my fellow mothers. (Frequently from those who have chosen one path and have never veered from it.) It is hard to not take those sentiments to heart, when in reality they are untrue and usually born from their own insecurity and self-doubt. I now believe it is easy to lose perspective when you haven't seen the other side.

So I will defend every mother's right to choose which path is right for her family. Working or staying at home. As long as you are making the choice out of love for your family, it will be the right one. Neither choice is wrong or right.

I should know, I've made both.

Lost: 1 Sewing Machine. Continued fallout from our moving disaster

Ack. The hell that is the result of moving continues..

I just realized I cannot find my sewing machine. Well, one of my 6 sewing machines. (Clearly I have a slight addiction to sewing machines, but that is a discussion for another time.)

The one I am specifically talking about my fancy-smancy Pfaff Quilting Sewing Machine. The one I use 99% of the time.

I have searched everywhere.. she (because the gender of sewing machines is clearly feminine) is missing. I'm so depressed. So if anyone sees a cute little purple Pfaff.. please send her home. I miss her.

House-hunting we will go.. House-hunting we will go...

Yep, we are still at it. On the quest for the perfect house.
This marks the 2 month mark and we may as well have started tomorrow for as far as we have gotten.

At this point I am mostly attending open houses, since the market here is so hot, that the way it works is:
1) Listing added to market on Tuesday or Wednesday
2) Following Sunday is Open House
3) 50 people attend and multiple offers are put down
4) House is sold

(At least the decent houses have all gone this way.)

So, I have been dilligently attending open houses. Unfortanately we haven't gotten past the first half of Step 3. I am one of the 50 attendees but never one of the people making an offer.

All in all it has been pretty depressing. We have a pretty high budget (at least relative to what we sold our last house for) and don't have many requirements other than the house needs 3 bedrooms and must be inhabitable by humans.

So, here is what I looked at (IN PERSON) so far.

Budget/Bed/Bath/SqFt: Why it sucked
  1. 100%/3/1.5/1420: On a busy street, steep lot
  2. 95%/3/1/1660: Needed a new kitchen and baths (1940s)
  3. 94%/3/2/1728: No parking AT ALL, Climb 20 stairs to enter front door
  4. 114%/3/2/1937: Second bath was in basement, over budget
  5. 84%/3/1/1500: Water in basement, overlooked freeway
  6. 100%/4/2/1838: Top floor CONDO, lots of stairs, no garage, busy street
  7. 80%/3/2/2200: CONDO, in need of repairs, no garage, dining room converted to bedroom
  8. 80%/4/2/1867: Busy street, old duplex converted to single family (two kitchens, two living rooms)
  9. 105%3/1/1134: Distant location, small, over budget
  10. 82%/4/2.5/2055: Steep lot, lots of steep stairs, overlooked lumber yard
  11. 96%/2/1/1094: Not enough bedrooms, shared driveway, tiny
  12. 100%/3/2/1547: Needs repairs including new kitchen (1950s)
  13. 80%/3/1/2012: Foreclosure, in terrible shape, no garage
  14. 100%/3/1.5/1625: Dumpy, needs lots of work
  15. 72%/3/1/5/1450: Foreclosure, 1980s house, needs lots of work, shared steep driveway
  16. 105%/3/2/1400: Tiny living area, no garage, over budget
  17. 80%/3/2/2396: Square footage included basement, on busy highway, steep lot
  18. 97%/3/2/1417: Distant location, needs new kitchen (1930s), no garage
  19. 100%/3/2.5/1984: CONDO, busy street, overlooks cemetery on 2 sides
  20. 98%/4/2/1900: In disrepair, walk-through master, needs new kitchen/baths (1950s)
  21. 95%/3/2/1628: Business converted to house, weird layout, no garage, tiny kitchen
  22. 84%/3/2/1810: In bad shape, no garage, horrible bathroom in basement
  23. 82%/3/1.5/1490: Busy street, in disrepair, needs new kitchen/baths (1950s)
  24. 97%/3/2.5/1522: CONDO, 3-stories, tiny winding staircase, between school and grocery store
  25. 81%/3/1.5/1490: On busy street, steep lot, needs work
  26. 90%/3/3/1803: CONDO, in downtown area, no lot, no parking
  27. 77%3/1/1210: In terrible shape, bad neighborhood, no garage
There were a couple more, but if they were truly dreadful I didn't even record the information about them. All but about 4-5 of those are not currently under contract. (Mostly the ones which need major renovations.) I am not surprised since the open houses are always a mob scene. You never would have thought there was 'a recession' going on with the number of people house hunting around here.

It is all so daunting. This weekend I have 7 more on my list to check out. Hopefully we will just get lucky, although I fear that even if we find something we like, and want to buy, that we will end up competing with a bunch of other people who feel the same way. Yuck.

That is what I have up to.

I also have an update about the job search, but I'll save that for another day. Enough depressing news for now.

Moving Update: You don't wanna know

I have been avoiding blogging about the move since, well, it has gone so completely disastrously**.

The last time I blogged about our moving status we had already run into a snag, but that was only the tip of the iceberg:
Yes, the movers showed up 6 hours late on moving day.
Yes, the truck broke down after is was only half loaded.
Yes, they temporarily loaded our crap onto a rental truck.
Yes, we left our house at nearly midnight and stayed with my parents while our stuff was in transit.
NO, IT DID NOT END THERE.

The idea was that the movers were going to move our stuff from the rental truck onto a repaired semi and (although delayed 3 days) it was going to come straight to our apartment. Since our mini-van didn't fit on the rental truck, they were going to come back and pick it up before they left... Oh you see where this is going don't you?!!

Well, clearly it wasn't that simple. They ended up off-loading our stuff from the rental truck onto the semi and get this: IT WASN'T REPAIRED! Once they moved our stuff to the semi, it wouldn't start. (Don't you think they would check that before moving 18,000 pounds of housewares? Guess not!) Our shit sat on the side of the road in a semi trailer for a few days before being loaded onto yet ANOTHER rental truck and then onto a NEW semi.

Yes.. Count it: That was loaded/unloaded 6 times at this point! (Naaaw, our stuff isn't getting at ALL beat up by this man-handling. Never.)

Almost 8 days later our stuff shows up at our new apartment. But guess what DOESN'T show up? Hmm.. What were they supposed to go back and get? Yep, the mini-van!

Their response: "Ooops! Slipped our minds! We'll send it down with the next trip."

W.
T.
F?!

Well, nothing I can do about it at this point. Just focus on unpacking. Now that the stuff has arrived it should be smooth sailing right?

Of course not! We don't have enough space in our apartment for all our stuff. In case I never mentioned it before, we are staying in a 2 bedroom 1100 sq. ft apartment. We have relocated from a 4 bedroom 1800 sq. ft house (with a garage and yard.) We have LOTS of stuff. (In fact, we have 9 TONS of stuff.. literally.)

We aren't stupid. We knew we needed to store some of it and so we had rented a storage unit based on the measurements the movers gave us we got a 10x10 foot unit. Well, not even 10 minutes into unpacking I have the horrid realization that it isn't going to fit in our rental unit. We need more than space. A LOT more.

Turns out we needed an additional 2 units (thus tripling our monthly rental space costs! Yay.) At least we have all the stuff off the truck right? Well, except the missing mini-van.

I spend the next 72 hours unpacking. I just white-knuckled it through. Everything in the apartment was out of boxes within the first 3 days. And THEN the mini-van shows up.. Duh-duh-duh-duuuuuhhh..... *queue ominous music*

Of course, both the front and back bumpers are badly damaged. It appears they scraped it when rolling it onto and off of the truck. ARGH!

But that isn't the sum total of the damage. So far (and mind you I have only unpacked one third of our things. My good china and other valuables are still wrapped up in storage. We won't know about any of those until we move into our permanent home. This is only based on our bare essentials that have been unpacked for our tiny apartment.)

Collateral Damages:
*Almost half of my stemware was shattered (6 of 14 wine glasses)
*The handle was broken off my toolbox
*Lost the shelves off one bookcase, completely LOST second (matching bookcase)
*They dropped the TV on our hardwood floor denting it
*Stainless steel kitchen trashcan is now flat so the lid will not shut
*My daughter's play-kitchen door was ripped off and the pegs that hold it together were sheared off
*Hardware to assemble the crib went missing. Crib=Useless
*Lid to cooler was crushed
*A bottle of mouthwash was shattered and they packed it in a box of books ruining all of them. (Unless you enjoy minty-fresh books)

And don't forget: I need two new car bumpers.

Oh god I don't want to think about what is left in storage and I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to do this again. It is also at that point I will discover what else is missing. Right now I am assuming I just can't find things but I fear we lost a lot of stuff in the shuffle. What a nightmare!

Hell, we are already 2 months into our lease. Only 4 months to go and we get another shot at it.

I need a drink. (Too bad I don't have many wine glasses left!)



**See Titanic if you would like further examples.

Moving Update: Welcome to Purgatory! Enjoy your stay.

Yes, that is what I would call it. Purgatory, the in-between, limbo. We haven't yet arrived in our new city, but we are no longer living in our house. Instead we are staying with my parents until our crap arrives at our rental apartment.

To add some fun to the adventure, our moving truck broke down before they had a chance to load it. The result was that we actually didn't get to leave our house until late into the night (while they finished loading our stuff onto a rental truck) which was lovely with two kids and no toys, no furniture, no TV, no nothing. This also means that our new delivery date is 3 days later than originally scheduled. Yay.

Therefore I think that Purgatory is exactly the way I would describe where we are right now. I can't decide exactly which location is Heaven and which is Hell however. That still remains to be seen, since we may have just jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Three Days Until Departure

We are down to the final days. The movers come to take all of our crap away in three short days. It will be a full 7 days from now until our stuff arrives in our new apartment, and then the rubber hits the road. I have to start making some tough decisions. It is at that point I have to decide who I want to follow up with for in person interviews and who I want to dismiss or if I want to blow off the job search entirely. That is starting to be within the realm of possibility.

I will confess that I am beginning to find my stride with this whole "Stay at home mom who is stuck with her kids 24/7" thing. There are so many aspects that are different about it, things I never realized and didn't expect. I have a lot of thoughts on the whole debate about which is harder: SAHM or WOHM and I *must* share them, but I really want to take some time and focus on that post to make sure I can get my point across just so, therefore I will save that for another night.

As for the big move, I guess I am ready. I am going to make one final trip into lab to say goodbye. I am also having a few last hurrahs with my local friends. Friends that go back a good long time. Friends I have memories of playing beer pong with and staying out way too late with laughing our asses off at the boys from Thunder from Down Under. It is strange thinking that these are the last of my friends who will have known me BK (before kids). Anyone I meet in our new city, will only know me as a mom.

And the friends I have made here since having kids are equally special. They have given me support when I needed it, laughter when I needed it and a kick in the ass when I needed it. It seems so scary and foreign to have to do this on my own, since I can't remember what it is like to be a mom without them.

Hopefully I can hold myself together as I watch all our stuff get loaded onto those trucks. I am trying to block out all those thoughts about leaving my friends and support network, avoiding the memories that this is the home where my children were born, the place they took their first steps and said their first words. It is the place they unknowingly hugged their nana goodbye for the last time, right there, on that front doorstep. There are so many memories here, so much I don't want to forget. And I know I am leaving a little part of me, and them, behind.

I guess that is par for the course. This will be our third move in 10 years, but it only feels like it is getting harder.

Striving to be happier, since Happy is a dwarf.

It seems like everywhere I go I just can't get away from people discussing if you can ever really achieve true happiness. Topics like: What makes you happy? How do you define happiness? Can one be truly happy or do you always have to make at least some concessions in your life?

It was the focus of today's sermon at church, my mom brought up the topic on her latest visit, and I feel like lately I have seen discussions of happiness mentioned on TV in everything from talk shows to sitcoms. Maybe it is just timely for me since it is a subject that I have been reflecting on a lot lately and so I just have been noticing it more. (Just like you see everyone else driving the car you just bought.) Or maybe it is a result of the tough economy and people grasping at happiness in non-traditional ways.

In any case, it is something that I wanted to blog about since it has become a small obsession for me as of late: What exactly will make me happy?

Amazingly I think I discovered the answer.

Recently I was in my car listening to a Manic Mommies podcast which featured Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. I was struck by her assertion that we shouldn't strive to achieve "happiness" or to be "happy" but rather strive to be "happier" since one's definition of happiness is often so abstract and fantasy-like that it becomes unobtainable.

AHHH.. Finally some advice I can sink my teeth into!

I completely understood what she was talking about. Let's call it the "happily ever after" hypothesis. When you hear talk of achieving happiness you (at least I) often think of unicorns and rainbows and utopia. Cinderella and Prince Charming. Life is good, there is no pain, everything is going according to plan. But of course that isn't realistic. (Since we all know eventually Cinderella had a fight with good ol' P.C. about leaving his dirty socks on the floor just inches from the laundry basket!)

In order to enjoy happiness or to feel happy, you have to experience the fear, hurt, frustration, anger as well. You need to have a frame of reference. Happiness, even ultimate happiness is relative. It isn't an endpoint, but rather an ever-shifting perspective on the things going on around you.

That realization has greatly changed my attitude and perspective on this upcoming move and the big changes that lie ahead for me. I was putting too much pressure on myself and my decisions, trying to make them the "right" ones. As if the answers were clearly black and white.

Town A or Town B?
Stay at home or go back to work?
Industry or Academia?
Daycare of Nanny?
Short commute or nice house?

Choose the right path and find happiness, or make the wrong decision and end up in a pit of despair. Oh the pressure! I mean, this is my and my family's ultimate happiness on the line!!

But is it really?

The truth is that neither (or both) of the choices will wind up offering happiness. Maybe not the same amount, but I can always find a way to make either choice work. And if the choice I make ends up not offering up as much happiness as the alternative, it doesn't mean I'll be miserable either. There is no rule to say that I can never be happy again, or that I can't go back and make a new choice. Just like my golf game, I can allow for the occasional mulligan.

The bottom line is nobody can be 100% happy, 100% of the time. But can you be happy most of the time? Or at least happier? Sure. Do your choices help shape that perspective? Of course. But there is no 'happily ever after' and your happiness doesn't depend solely on the choice that you make, but rather the way you look at the outcome of that choice.

So moving forward I am changing the way I am asking the questions.

No more am I asking: "Which of these choices will make me happy?"

Now it is: "Which of these choices will make me happier, at least right now?" and "What can I do to make myself happier about the result of the choices I have made?"

It is time to control my own destiny! Take control of my own happiness! Since in reality my Prince Charming's socks will never make it to the laundry basket and that is okay.

Top 5 reasons my life is slightly shorter after today

1. ThePrincess has learned how to ride her bike at break-neck speeds but lacks the ability to stop, or even slow down. Tonite, this skill set resulted in her nearly decapitating herself on the open tailgate of pickup truck.

2. ThePeanut has discovered her ability to climb stairs. I almost went into cardiac arrest when I glanced over and saw her teetering on the fifth step. Our house is not (and will not be) baby proofed before we move, and so I can see this is going to be a problem.

3. I had a near breakdown today trying to parallel park my ginormous mini-van on the main drag (think bars/restaurants/lots of students on the street) of the University on a Saturday night. There is nothing worse then holding up traffic while you inch into a spot, all while listening t0 your back up alarm alternate on and off.

4. I will never again try to make it home on mere fumes because my kids are cranky. Here is a tip: When your 'low fuel' light has been on for a good 30 miles, you should stop and get gas. Don't put it off, no matter who much whining and crying you have to put up with.

5. If you have a large object (say a freezer or large shelving unit) which has been stored in your garage for years and years, you may want to prepare yourself for what you may find when you move it, since those critters haven't seen daylight in a long time, and they won't be happy when you let the sun shine in. And I don't mean:

2 weeks blog free.. because life is pain! (a la The Princess Bride)

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
It has been 2 weeks since I have blogged. I have a multitude of reasons. Most of them are draining my will to live. I will only touch on the highlights, since the minutia of my everyday life is not interesting to read about, let along write about!

Inigo Montoya: Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
The house deal fell though. Our buyers didn't want to compromise so we called their bluff and canceled the sale. Our house went back on market and less than 24 hours later the original buyers came back with our original compromised offer. We accepted and are back under contract. Then we were left dealing with inspections, surveys, repairs and relocation mumbo-jumbo for the past few weeks.

Prince Humperdinck: Surrender?
Westley: You mean you wish to surrender to me? Very well, I accept.
Hubs has moved out of town and has begun to work at his new gig. I am now a single mom. ThePrincess and ThePeanut were still in daycare, but that ended today. I will admit I teared up when I had to pick them up for the last time. Part of me is mourning the loss of that extended part of our 'family.' We loved our teachers and they loved our kids and it is so hard to think we will never see them again.
Prince Humperdinck: You truly love each other and so you might have been truly happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the story books say.
The packing process will begin this weekend. The movers are coming and I need to go through and designate stuff to be sent either to our small rental apartment, or to long term storage. That should be a blast with both girls underfoot.

I also have started interviewing up in our new city. Thankfully, I am batting close to 1000. Almost every resume I sent out has come back with a request to interview. But now I am getting cold feet. I am not sure what I want to do, stay in academia or move to industry. I am not sure if I want to focus on animal models or move to more clinical work. Big lab or small lab? Male or female PI? Private research institution or state uni? AHHH.. I can't decide. At least I have chioces!

Inigo Montoya: Is very strange. I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life.
Westley: Have you ever considered piracy? You'd make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.
I also am dreading (with a capital D) finding a new daycare and reestablishing life in our new city. There is so much to do, and until I get this house sold, move up there and can really get my bearings, I can't really do anything but fret!

Fezzik: You just shook your head... doesn't that make you happy?
Westley: My brains, his steel, and your strength against sixty men, and you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy?
Hopefully the coming chaos will be kept to a minimum (eh, who am I kidding, of course it won't!) and I can get back to my regularly scheduled blogging. I am going to get through this.. right?
Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

Damn you Recession!

So close, yet so far...

That is how I feel about this whole house contract. This deal has officially gone off track. Not just off track, it is pretty much completely in the ditch. Our house didn't appraise high enough for our buyer's offer. But their offer is inflated since they couldn't afford closing costs so they rolled them into their mortgage.

Well, in this financial atmosphere, there is NO wiggle room in the appraisals. You can't roll jack squat into your mortgage.

Soooo... We are at a standstill. They don't have the money for closing and we aren't going to suck it up and pay it for them. It looks like the offer is going to fall though.

Great. Just great.

Since I wanted to start over from square one.. It was clearly so much fun the first go-round.

I'm alive!!! Big Annoucements.

I know it has been more than a week since my last post. It is crazy here, but most of the developments are good ones.

1) We were traveling last week. We went to visit our new hometown. It was exciting and scary all at the same time. It is becoming more and more real and I am frequently asking myself "What did I get myself into?" but I know it will all work out in the end. We have a new place to live (at least temporarily) and that is a big load off my mind.

2) We are UNDER CONTRACT! Have been for a while now (after 14 days on the market), and it is pretty much official now. Our relocation company will go though our closing for us, so we are almost completely uninvolved from here on out. Whoo hoo.

Hopefully you can forgive me for being absent of late. Pretty soon it appears I will have a bunch of extra free time on my hands, at least I hope so.

Saturday Suckitude

Today sucked on so many levels, I don't even know where to begin. Let me make a list:

1) Realtor calls last night, says "Definite offer on the house will be coming in tomorrow. Wait by the phone."
Today: NO CALL. No offer. Thanks for that false hope.

2) Had a showing this afternoon (number 23 for those of you keeping score) and the feedback is that they love the house, but the bedrooms are too small. Another waste of a showing (and BTW buyer: The freakin' dimensions of the bedrooms are listed on the MLS so don't waste my time if you know you need rooms of X size!)

3) While killing time during the aforementioned pointless showing, our car dies. Yep. Just sputters to a stop in the McDonald's drive thru and won't turn over. Dead car is now sitting in the parking lot waiting for our service shop to open on monday so I can have it towed. It isn't something simple like the battery, it is something wrong with the fuel intake. Great. Just great.

4) We have an Open House tomorrow, but LabDad has a big experiment, and we are down to one car (as described in suckitude number 3). Wonderful. Looks like we will be either dropping him off so we can have the car, or walking around the neighborhood in circles in order to not be home for the open house.

5) Found out our relocation company will only store our crapola for 30 days. There is no way we will be able to find, buy and close on a house in 30 days. The selection is just too scarce. Looks like we are going to be sucking up a HUGE storage bill or else having our crap delivered and pay for an intertown move. Yay! Add that to the huge stack of bills. Lovely.

Anyhow.. I am glad this whole day is coming to an end. Sunday has to be better. Maybe our open house will change our luck! Fingers crossed.

Evolution of a house sale..

So our house is finally listed on the market!

My life has gone from this:

to this:


and frequently a whole lot of this (which is actually where I sit right now):


Hopefully soon we will see this:

Since I can't take living this way for too long.

Light at the end of the tunnel

We are almost ready to actually put the house on the market. It can't come too soon, since this whole house prep thing is really cutting into my blogging time.

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