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4.30.2007

It's Official! I'm Going To Die Here!

Hey, guess what? We got an offer!

(The crowd goes wild.)

For $25,000 less than we're listed!

(Crowd throws popcorn at computer screen and leaves.)

I know! I'm thinking what you're thinking! How can so much awesomeness keep happening to one wee person?

Our realt*r called yesterday and said the four little words that I pray to hear every time the phone rings: "We got an offer". Except, apparently I've been too vague in my prayers. Because in retrospect, I don't JUST want to the realt*r to say she has an offer. After the realt*r says "we got an offer", I then want her to STOP TALKING.

Rather than adding "...but, don't get excited".

The good news is that if there's one thing I can do well, it's contain excitement when I'm royally pissed off.

These, um, what shall we call them? Asshats? These asshats offered us $25,000 less than we're asking and they're contingent (they need to sell their house in Hawaii) and their loan isn't approved and they don't want us monitoring the status of the house they're selling and some other stuff I can't remember, but I think involved me sacrificing a goat.

In retrospect, their realt*r's name really should have tipped us off:

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That is seriously her name.

Go ahead, Google her! And when you find her let her know I'm waving my Number 1 finger at her fax!

So, we spent all weekend counter-offering and laughing at their subsequent offers, which increased by increments of .0001 cent, before finally taking our realt*r's suggestion that we "tell them to go pound sand". (I sort of love her for using that phrase.)

And I'm no longer laughing at my "four apples and a squirrel" comment. Because: $25,000???

P.S. Just wait until you hear who we found out lives on our street. It may be contributing to why I'm eating a freaking sheet cake right now. Maybe.

4.27.2007

And I Don't Even Say "House" Once!

Last night we went out to dinner. For no other reason than that it was 6:00 and Chris and Savannah had materialized at the end of my bed where I sat at my laptop (typing words! all day! worrds!) looking all helpless and miserable and inquiring about dinner.

This is normally where I play a little game I like to call "Oh, I Hadn't Noticed the Time!". (I had.) But, instead I suggested we go out to dinner because "we're out of water" and as everyone knows, a quality meal requires water.

So, I got a night off from the kitchen and a night on at Chili's. And the most fantastic thing happened: I got carded! Like a real carding. Not just a "sympathy card", which I often get when I'm out with my 12-year-old best friend.

And let me tell you, nothing tastes as good as a margarita that required ID. Except maybe the second one.

Anyway, I was feeling especially resourceful last night and at one point while Savannah and I were in the restaurant's bathroom I was getting antsy waiting for her to wash her hands.

Because the washing of the hands takes about 900 years.

She has to smile at herself in the mirror while she runs water over her hands. Then she has to get three full pumps of soap. Then she has to smell the soap. Then she has to make me smell the soap. Then she has to stare at herself a little more in the mirror while she rubs her hands until the soap gets sudsy. Then the thorough rinsing. And then the paper towel dance where she dries her hands with one and turns off the faucet with another.

It's like she's a public restroom sommelier.

You can imagine how I'm normally reacting:

"Hurry up!"

"I smelled my own soap!"

"You're done now!"

"I'll turn the faucet off!"

"They're dry enough! Use your pants!".

(Having me for a mom is eff-you-en!)

But, last night I watched her sweet little face chattering away as she washed and washed and washed and I literally said under my breath "Don't say a word". For just a moment I pretended I was one of those patient, encouraging moms.

And I swear twenty minutes went by. And I started to become nauseas with restraint. But, I kept chatting with her all the way through. ("Yes, the water does splash when you clap your hands!" "Yep, that soap smells like strawberries alright!")

And the most lovely thing happened. She finished washing her hands, grabbed my hand in hers, and skipped alongside me out of the bathroom, chipper and happy.

And I thought "Now, how hard was that?"

Honestly? Pretty. Damn. Hard.

And yet, I know I need to do more of this. I need to step back, take a breath, and relax. And just let her be. Because then everything else falls into place.

4.25.2007

Things the Public School Administrator Said That I Didn't Like

"...not accepting new kindergarten students"

"...overflow school is full..."

"...backup overflow school almost full..."

"...we assigned new students using a lottery"

"...must prove residency with two pieces of mail, signed affidavit..."

"...if you claim you live with your mother, she must sign an affidavit..."

"...penalty of perjury..."

"...matriculation starts next week...hurry"

In other words, the two best public schools in the New City are full, I can't prove I live there, and I need to hurry.

Sweet Moses, this is shaping up as the best goddamn year EVER.

I have no words to express my frustration.

Wasn't it cute on Monday how I was all like "I'm going to have to put Savannah in private school!" and you were all like "You can sign her up late for public school, silly!" and I was like "Oh, good!".

Yeah. No.

Apparently, the concept of "public" is very fluid. Because for all intents and purposes, the public schools are pretty much closed to the public at this point.

Before the second overflow school sent us on to the third overflow school, they kindly informed us that "parents were lined up around the block over a month ago. The schools are filling up fast. But, your daughter will be enrolled ...somewhere."

That's right. SOMEWHERE. Maybe Egypt.

Then they added "Matriculation starts next week. You'll need to have her registered before then".

I explained that we were "in the process of moving" and she replied that that was "unfortunate".

Lady, you're telling me.

And don't even get me started on the private schools. The two we drove by looked like vets' offices.

So, two things need to happen. And they need to happen ...oh, I don't know... like, YESTERDAY. We need to get an offer on this house, sign a lease on a house in the New City, and then I need to run like my face is on fire (not really - don't ever run if your face is on fire) to the last available public school, which I can only imagine will be on the back of a rickshaw, and get this child registered, matriculated, and edumacated.

Only then will I relax.

Because I have twelve new gray hairs. And a girl can only take so much.

Bangs (just for Kristen)

4.23.2007

My Brain Is Spilling All Over the Keyboard

A riddle: If the Start of Kindergarten is on a train traveling south at 100mph to our New City and I'm on a rusty unicycle traveling north at 1mph to our New City, what are the chances that my unicycle and I are going to get there first?

Hmm? Any guesses? I have a guess! And it wakes me up violently in the middle of the night!

Savannah starts kindergarten in August. Well, August is a ways away, you say. Plenty of time to get an offer on your house and move to the new city. But, wait! I need to enroll her NOW. Did you know this? Apparently, there were parents lined up around the block in our New City a month ago to enroll their kids in public school.

While this shocked me when I found out, I tried not to panic. I called the local schools there and was assured a spot for Savannah as soon as I brought in proof of residency. Aha. How about proof of insanity?

Because by my chalk marks, we've been on the market 473,828,945,912 days and counting.

Everything is going awesomely. Thanks for asking.

Right now Chris and I are sitting at the coffee shop down the street from our house having been displaced by yet another Open House. (Or as I like to call it, our Open Ass). Our realt*r arrived this morning with her hopeful grin and her cleavage and her optimistic tray of strawberries and announced "I'm giving out free windmills today!".

Yes, that's what's been missing all along. How foolish of us. I will give you hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I WANT A WINDMILL.

I owe you commenty people a big thank you, though. Because today? Chris and I looked around our house and realized that we've been making a fatal error.

We've been pretending like we live here.

So, we took many of your suggestions to heart. We moved furniture around and cleared off every surface and removed all evidence that there are human beings who do anything here other than move silently and cleanly through the house paying the m*rtgage.

Because apparently buyers are kind of dumb and can't imagine for themselves that there's a wall behind that plant and I need to show them. And look! If I move the chair, there's more floor. And these pictures? They're not staying. They're of me and I'll be taking them with me. Then you can put up pictures of you. I know. Crazy!

Here are our After pictures:

Masta Bed
Master Bedroom sans treadmill aka Pizza Box Holder.
(Cat refuses to compromise.)


Offive
Get out of my offive.

Playaroom

Playroom almost entirely void of toys now. Savannah is displeased with this development. Apparently, she's too good for a corn cob doll and some marbles.

As for the suggestions that we repaint (I know, I know. I specifically asked), I've decided that would be a bad idea. Mainly because while even reading the mere suggestion that I do more painting, my hair starting shooting out in tufts. Plus, I've inhaled so many paint fumes over the last two months that I still occasionally see Care Bears.

With all the changes we've made, I feel like our chances to sell are better than they've ever been. And I am really trying to stay positive. The tequila's helping.

So, now tomorrow I'm going to the New City and enrolling Savannah in private school. Both THERE and HERE. I feel like our hands are tied. Otherwise, she may not be able to get into kindergarten at all if we don't end up selling.

So, now I ask for more advice from the internets. Is there really a disadvantage to enrolling her in public school at the last minute? Will she get the worst teacher? A poor schedule? What is the worst that could happen?

Or should I go ahead and harvest my own organs to pay for two private school tuitions in two different cities just to be assured that she has a spot somewhere at a good school? Is private school that much better? Like, $1,000 a month better?

The good news is that what was gearing up to be an emotional event for me is now overshadowed by the whole "please don't let my daughter start kindergarten in a van down by the river" thing.

And that would be the end of the good news.

4.16.2007

You Will NEVER Guess What I'm Talking About!

I'm so wildly unpredictable!

Remember that scene in American Beauty where realt*r Annette Bening is preparing to show a property and she's scrubbing the counters and cleaning the windows in her slip and repeating "I will sell this house today. I will sell this house today"? And she throws the curtains open and the room is flooded with sunlight and she's so full of hope?

Then she shows a few disinterested couples around.

And then it's dusk.

And you see her dejected form closing up the house and taking down the signs.

And after she carefully closes the blinds, do you remember what she does? She starts to scream and sob and slap herself. And you think "wow, what a hot mess she is".

My how we laughed back in 1999!

When we were renting.

A realt*r called yesterday. At 6:00 on a Sunday evening. The house was a disaster, I had my feet propped up and a glass of wine in my hand, and we were in the last 15 minutes of a fabulous movie. (U-571. Oh, Matthew, how glisteny you are.)

Ring Ring

Hi, we're out IN FRONT OF YOUR HOUSE. CAN WE COME IN?

Wha...?

Being the desperate sellers we are, we asked for five minutes.

Let's just say that you've never seen so many dirty dishes fit inside an oven.

After we raced around, we flew out of the house all sweaty and half-drunk and drove to Starbucks. Where we sat dazed, like a cat just plucked from his warm nap on your bed and dropped on the cold porch.

We hadn't even ordered our coffees yet when our realt*r rings informing us that "she wants a bigger yard - room for a pool and a spa and still have lawn. But, she thought it was cute".

Still panting, Chris and I just looked at each other. And I swear I thought Chris was going to dig a pool right then with his hand shovel and go throw her in it.

We returned home and angrily discussed our back yard.

"It's lovely! It's big enough! What is her f*cking problem?"
"It's just an excuse."
"She interrupts our Sunday at a moment's notice and then pulls this sh*t!"
"Bitch."
Of course, she, like all the others, is not obligated to buy our house just because she displaces us to look at it. And intellectually we know this. It's just that this whole process feels slightly demoralizing. Deflating.

It's like this perpetual interview process. Except you're not allowed to be there. They just want to see your resume. And when they reject you, you don't really know why. And you're not allowed to respond. Or discuss it further.

We've gotten to the point of feeling so helpless in this process that we've taken to spying on prospective buyers from down the street.

This is what it has come to. We sit on our own street like undercover police officers and amuse ourselves with pointless observations.

"She looks like she enjoys her food. She'll be all over the kitchen."

"Foreign car. Way too pretentious for our floorplan."

"Did you see those heels? There go the loose tiles."

"Look at that hair! She needs a roomy bathroom for all that blow-drying."

And we've lowered our price for a twelvteenth time, so now our asking price is "four apples and a squirrel...or best offer".

So.

I want your honest opinion. (Go look at my house.) Do you think the downstairs paint is too dark? Do you think the white painted cabinets clash with the less-white tile? Do you think we should have a mirror over the fireplace?

Do you think if I purchase 300 cans of kerosene, they'll catch me on video tape?

4.14.2007

Maternal Instincts...Are Those Extra?

I keep buying Savannah baby dolls and then playing with them myself. Okay, not playing with them, but there may have been an outfit change. And perhaps one or more babies were burped. In an effort to get her interested, of course.

But, Savannah would much rather play with her eighteen frillion stuffed animals. (That baby is nice and all mom, but it doesn't have soft fur. Or a tail.)

Since this has obviously alarmed me that she may NOT after all want to grow up to be a baby-making machine and perhaps instead a veterinarian, I was thrilled to see that yesterday she brought our her three baby dolls into the living room. Where she fed them, rocked them, laid them under blankets on the couch and then went to color at the kitchen table.

I decided to get all involved and said "Oh, no! Your baby's crying!"

She looks over to where her baby is bundled on the couch and says to it IN THE EXACT SAME VOICE AS I SAY IT "You're fine."

And went back to coloring.

HAHAHAHAHA.

Look for my new parenting book coming out in the Fall "How To Raise Children Who Just Don't Care".

4.12.2007

This May Mean I'll Have To Stop Writing

Did I mention that the water department threatened to turn off our water today? I didn't? Well, I can't imagine why not - that is some excellent blog fodder.

And when I went to pay the two month old bill yesterday I said something to the Water District rep about "selling our house" and "realt*rs coming through all the time at a moment's notice" and "shoving piles of crap in places and then leaving it there because the house looks so clean after, even though there are bills on top of the refrigerator and dishes under the couch".

She admitted that that was a new one (was that an eye roll I saw in the other rep's direction?) and was gracious enough to tell the water-turner-offers to abort their mission. Then she handed Savannah a sheet of Water District Stickers. And therein lies this story.

Some backstory: Savannah is 5 AND A HALF years old. (Death stare to the person who dares to leave off THE HALF.) And she is not reading.

Despite the fact that Chris and I were both early readers (Lena's Mom: Lena was four years old when she read! She was a child prodigy!) and that we both always have our nose buried in books, Savannah seems to have very little patience for learning to read. She likes the idea of reading, but when it comes to the actuality of understanding why "ph" makes an "f" sound or why the "silent e" is "shy when he's at the end of a word", she announces "I'm done" and that is the end of it.

I've just sort of assumed that she would learn in Kindergarten this year and didn't worry about it. But, secretly I was sad because, for an only child, reading is YOUR BEST FRIEND. And I cannot wait for Savannah to discover her escape into books like I did.

And then yesterday she's in the backseat of the car with her Water District stickers - which featured a cartoon turtle in different settings doing his best to conserve water - and she starts reading them out loud!

"Don't waaaaste waaaaterrr"

"Th-th-throooow away t-rraash in the garrbage"

"Taake shorrrter sh-ow-ers"

I started squealing from the front seat "You're reading! That's reading! You're sounding it all out! Yay!".

She was so pleased with herself and excitedly re-read the stickers over and over.

I asked "Why did you decide to read those now?" (What I didn't say: "And NOT your loads of Reader books we buy you?")

And she says "Because they looked important."

Because what's more important than a turtle taking a shower? Nothing.

4.11.2007

Zeta Mom

My God, I hate making dinner. It's as if my soul seeps out of my ears right around 4:00. Everything is going along fine and then I notice the time and I immediately make a small deflated noise and slump forward and maybe even swing my arms around a little to show how wretchedly forlorn I am.

Then I open the freezer door for awhile and afterward lean in the pantry doorway. If nothing immediately jumps out at me (Hi! I'm pasta and all I need is sauce!) then I inevitably end up at the junk drawer poking around at pizza coupons.

Also? There's pretty much a direct correlation between whether I remembered to defrost chicken and the number of complaints I have about my marriage.

"I don't KNOW what's for dinner, Chris. And furthermore, you promised to take me to Europe when we were dating."

And yet...

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102_5827


Why do I have all these damn cookbooks?

I'm the kind of person that requires a lot of direction. And, no, silly, step-by-step recipe instructions are not enough. I think I would prefer it if each cookbook said "Open Me" on their covers and "Buy Me" next to each ingredient. Then perhaps I would go grocery shopping and come back with something more than ice cream and mini waffles.

102_5831
(click to enbiggen)

It wasn't until Chris was eating salami and cheese over the sink and Savannah was heating up her own frozen dinner that I realized how awesome I am at this.

4.06.2007

Mean Girls

Is it frowned upon to slap your neighbor's daughter? Because I swear I almost did tonight.

Let's work backwards.

Savannah had been cooped up in this house for the last three days with her allergies/strep/cold thing. By last night I'm pretty sure we had broken the record for the most consecutively played games of Connect Four, so today we were both aching to get out of the house.

We ended up going to see Meet the Robinsons and when we returned Chris casually mentioned that two hours earlier our neighbor Susan had invited Savannah to come over to her house and play with her daughter - THE Lindsey - and two other neighbor girls.

Lately, we've been letting Lindsey come over every so often to "secret agent babysit", which mainly consists of her eating all my 100 calorie snack pack Doritos while glued to my TV, just so Savannah can have a few precious hours with this girl she adores.

And adore her she does.

Which made the ensuing actions all the more heartwrenching.

So, Savannah catches wind of this missed invite and while it was now nearly six at night, I felt for her lonely little form sitting on the front lawn. So I told her to go ahead and call Susan and ask if it was too late to come over.

She did. And I overheard Susan say "Sure! I'll have Lindsey come get you".

Do you know what my daughter did? She could barely contain her joy. She rushed upstairs and changed into her new skirt and shirt. Then she came rushing down with hair accessories and asked me to do her hair before the girls came by to get her.

And then she waited.

And waited.

All the while I'm assuring her that I'm sure they're on their way over.

And then do you know what happens? They go running by our house, holding hands and giggling. And shushing each other when they see our front door is open. As if to say "don't let her hear us because then she'll want to play".

And we saw it all from the front window.

And my heart broke.

"Mommy", she cried, "Why are they running away?"

I quickly said "Oh, I'm sure they're in a hurry to get to the other neighbor's house for dinner. They just need to change out of their bathing suits. They're...uh..."

Her lip shook. "Do they not want to play with me?"

"Of course they do!" And my hands shook. With rage.

I realized I was going to have to play the bad guy.

"You know what, honey? I'm sure they're running because it's getting dark. And I'm sure they're about to call you. But, you know what? I'm going to have to call Susan and tell her you're not going to be able to come after all because it's gotten too late."

And of course she crumples on the floor sobbing with disappointment. So, while Chris soothed her I took the phone upstairs.

And I laid into our neighbor. I was sure to let her know that it wasn't her fault, but I made damn sure she knew how devastated Savannah was over her snotty little girl's cruelty. I was absolutely shaking with fury. Even her apologies didn't calm me down and I had to hang up on her.

So, when the doorbell rang an hour later and the mean girls were on my doorstep with a letter covered in rainbows and hearts and a big "We're sorry" I could only muster "Yeah, right" as I took it and shut the door in their faces.

The saddest part is I know mean girls are a fact of life. I know this won't be the last time Savannah is crushed by another girl's actions. But, the thing is, she didn't know that yesterday. And today she does.

So, how do you handle these situations? Because I'm guessing a Slam Book passed around the neighborhood is out of the question.

4.02.2007

Unopened House

Yesterday marked our sixth Open House. We have lowered our price to such a point that the only thing we have left to lower is our standards.

You'd like to buy our house for your meth lab? Why, that's just what this neighborhood is missing!

After all the building, painting, digging, planting, and repairing we've done, to say Chris is frustrated would be an understatement. After owning a gazebo for four years this is the month it decides to rip across the top. After living in this house for three years, this is the month the tiles start to crack. And the tree in the back yard? What is it, ten years old? When does it die? Oh that would be now.

So, this exchange yesterday, twenty minutes before our Open House, made me giggle.

I call out from our bedroom closet: "Chris, the light bulb just went out in here!"

And Chris shouts back from the office where he's trying to scrub a brand new carpet stain, in a near hysterical voice: "Of course it's out! Why wouldn't it be out? As a matter of fact I should be asking you 'Is the light bulb out yet in there?'"
So, how did the Open House go, you ask? Let's answer that in pictures and numbers.

60 chicken wings, 40 breadsticks and 2 cases of soda for our Open House: $56.00

Having ONE person come to our Open House: shitastically awesome

Open House Carnage


Open House Carnage


Consuming five breadsticks before this picture was taken while crying: only awesome

Obviously the real estate market wants me to put my head in the oven. But, then of course I'd be the one to clean that too.

Oliver


"At least your litter box doesn't keep disappearing."

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