Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gimme a break, gimme a break...

Break me off a piece of that ***********. What do you think "The Office" fans? A cat food jingle?

Sorry, it's 10:30p.m., we got home about half an hour ago and I'm a little wired tonight. Spending loads of money does that I guess. We joined Cosco. Was I the only one who didnt know they only took American Express? Well, now I know, and now Ian does, and now we have to keep tabs on our American Express card, the one that never gets used. Until Cosco. Which will get quite a bit of business over the next week.

It's hard to remember back to all that's happened in the past week. It's been busy, I know that. How about I just pull from my facebook updates and fill in here and there.
Saturday: had a day of getting up at 5 a.m. to go to a swim meet, which was stormed out before 11 a.m., then painted 2 rooms all afternoon with the help of 4 kids and a mom, had a quick dinner out before going to Home Depot for more Home Depot type stuff... like new toilet seats... and is finally back at the parents' house at 10 p.m.
Sunday: Happy Father's Day! I ordered Omaha Steak foods for both fathers in my life. Now if it would stop raining enough to grill. Oh...and I need to buy a grill. Tack that on to my list of things to buy, like a vacuum. Church, lunch at home, a trip to KMart for new pillows for all of us, a choir music concert in the evening.
Monday: slept in too late, and rushed to get to the house for carpet cleaners at 8:30, who showed at 9:30. Got the kitchen ready for the maid service, taped off another area to paint, put the kids to work washing windows, dusting, cleaning pantry shelves, etc. Finally got through the DMV, and ordered the boys' bunkbeds from the furniture store. Lunch at ChikFilA before 2 libraries, gas, groceries and 3-hr swim.
Monday was a bad day overall. The boys were at each other all day and by 3 p.m. I decided that if they were going to behave like I didn't exist then I would do the same to them. Childish? Absolutely. But it sure felt good.
Tuesday: had the maid service come in and they did a good job on the kitchen and a great job on the bathrooms. Finished some painting, started some new areas. Took the kids to Ruby Tuesday, joined Cosco and shopped until the AmEx bled, unpacked then watched another 3-hour swim. Home at 10. Tomorrow, hopefully storage delivery. And no swimming! Yay!
Hmm, doesn't seem I have too much to add. There have been a number of priceless moments of readjusting for the kids. Nicholas has commented how there's nothing to see out the windows when we drive, and I can't argue there. Cars, houses, clouds. That's about it. No camels, no cows, no refrigerators on the back of motorcycles. No shoe sellers or piles of watermelons. No one peeing on the wall. Boring, and I'll take it. Rebecca has noticed that the radio station they like only plays 5 songs. OK, exaggeration, but you know what I mean. She also thinks the commercials are very strange. Katherine thinks they are hilarious and I have to agree with Katherine. The Maryland Inner Harbour "OH! The dinosaurs and jellyfish!" commercial cracks us up every time. Here's a TV ad, but it's not as funny.

I've been driving alot, Hundreds of miles in the past 2 1/2 weeks. I'm a little offended that even my mom was worried about be getting behind the wheel after so many years away. Sheesh. Like riding a bicycle, people.
OK,11:35 p.m. and I have to sleep. Tomorrow we should have 2740 pounds of who knows what delivered at some point in the day from our storage unit. We'll see what stays and what goes on the curb after 6 years of collecting dust.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


It doesn't get dark in the States. That's one of the first adjustments we had to make over the past week. Not just light but actual sun still shining at 8 p.m.? Weird.

The days are long, and they definitely feel that way. The kids are finally sleeping or laying in bed past 6 a.m. but bedtimes are closer to 9p.m. with the daylight savings and with evening swim practice for Rebecca that runs from 6-8 p.m. She can't eat dinner beforehand unless she eats about 4:30-5 (and then would want to eat afterwards again anyway) so we have a drive-through dinner at 8:30 p.m. That's been all sorts of weird too. I think from here on out we're packing picnics.

So, sleeping, swimming, what else? Shopping and settling.

In one week we've been to IKEA, KMart,Target, BJs, Safeway, Hallmark, Petsmart (3x), Haverty's (2x) and a farmer's market.
For malls we've visited Tysons and Potomac Mills, and Katherine went to Fair Oaks with my mom last Saturday.
We've eaten Taco Bell, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, Fuddruckers, Milwaukee Custard and Baskin Robbins.
The boys got haircuts. We've gone bowling and been to the library. Trekked a bit through the nearby Wakefield park forest, and played frisbee. Gone to 4 evening swim practices and an all Saturday morning swim meet.
And settled on the house.
Today's plan: grocery shopping (since we're eating my mom out of house and home), another walk-through the house at 3, maybe a trip to Home Depot for primer and paint and all the things that go with covering yucky mustard yellow and baby pink wall colors, measuring a room for bunkbeds, arranging for delivery of storage items.... blah blah blah. I should arrange carpet cleaning too. Or maybe I'll just take today off and face all that nonsense tomorrow. Yeah, that sounds more like me.
I have to say that none of this is nearly as much fun without Ian as I have no one to grumble to when making decisions, and I hate making decisions or when something doesn't go according to plan. Like, say, doing the "final" walk-through yesterday before settlement only to pull up to the house and find the family still there, all sorts of stuff still in the living room and basement, and no power in the house an hour before settlement and getting the keys. Can't do a walk-through if you can't turn a light on or check if the fridge still works. Or see the floor. Actually, it was probably better Ian wasn't there. While I'm usually the hot-headed one I'm also avidly non-confrontational.
So we go back today. I did sign all the papers, the house is "ours" though now there's all the other things to do, like get a new driver's license, register the kids for school...more blah blah blah. Since it's just me though all the kids get dragged around for it all too. My mom came yesterday which was wonderful. They didn't have to sit in the waiting room while I signed my and Ian's life away and she got to watch Rebecca swim.
I'm getting a good amount of reading done during swim practice. I'd brought Obama's _Audacity of Hope_, started it and enjoyed it, but during the few days of getting over jetlag I was sucked back into _Twilight_. Surprisingly I'm enjoying it as mindlessly as the first time. Even better though, Rebecca is reading the series. Don't jump on me that I have an 11 year old reading _Twilight_. She's reading, she wants to read, and she's reading fast. Those make up for the content, IMO, because it's teen fluff romance which is neither here nor there when you have someone who last summer took more than 3 months to read _Because of Winn Dixie_ and would find anything else to do when a book was suggested. Now it's been 2+ weeks since she started the first book, and she's 1/3 through _Eclipse_. I got her the Cullen crest keychain in celebration. Now to look for Alice's choker necklace for when she'd finished all four.
That's about it from here. Looking forward to getting items crossed off my ever growing checklist while still keeping the kids happy.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Touchdown! Into the land of excess.

What do:

Potomac Mills*
Tysons Corner
a farmer's market
Home Depot*
and Wendy's, Burger King and Taco Bell

all have in common?

Where the kids and I have gone in the past 4 days.
The ones marked with a (*) is where we didn't actually buy anything.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sudden panic attacks

No, I don't suffer from panic attacks. I've never been incapacitated by anxiety. Sometimes I do get a nervous tic. But what I often get are these sudden crazy, or perhaps not so crazy, thoughts of something like "Where is the car Title?" I know I saw it last week, we needed a copy for Transportation. But since then? Did I put it back in a file somewhere? Is it with my important papers already in the suitcase? I then get fixated on the desire to find the Title. Do I need it? At some point, yes, probably when we want to sell the car. Do I need it right now? No, I don't think so.

But all I can think of is... where is that one single piece of paper?

We're in limbo right now. Surrounded by boxes, yet there are rooms still un-packed. Enough personal items left in the kitchen that we aren't solely using the welcome kit. Items that Ian will keep with him for his own UAB packout on the 26th or for his suitcase. We have nothing planned for Saturday, so it's my last chance to segregate and dispose, then the suitcases get packed and the kids and I depart our house Sunday morning around 5:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Magic Carpet Ride

Carpets. They add such a wonderful depth to a room. We never did get a room sized rug as I'd wanted (a good thing as the rooms in our new house are considerably smaller), but our little assortment suits us just fine. The cats love them too. We have two cheapie carpets from Manila, one expensive silk/silk carpet from here, and two midrange wool/cotton carpets also from here. The cats have mangled the wool ones. I don't know what it was about the carpet content or stitching but the edging from both sides of both rugs have been completely torn off with the cats rough playing with the tassles. Senthil, our driver, said no one in Tamil Nadu could fix them, only those from Gujarat could do so properly. But as we returned home from Citi Centre through Boat Club we passed the regular corner carpet salesman. Senthil pulled over and we struck a bargain. The carpet guy said he could do the work in 3 days though when he came to the house with his cart to negotiate a price he offered an exchange. Now, ours may have had crappy edging but they are wool on cotton and worlds better than the stuff he was selling from his corner cart. I'm not too worried that he'll run off with our carpets because Senthil could snap him in half and has taken full charge of this process, along with the neighbor's driver. It was kind of funny actually how they both jumped into the bargaining and managing of the deal. Senthil also said he'd check the quality of repair work first before Ian even got a look at it. We'll see what happens and whether the carpets do show up in 3 days. Ian sweetened the pot by saying if he did do a great job, we'd get his card and pass his info around the Consulate. Possibilities there.

It's a good thing Ian has roughly 260 pounds for his UAB. He's going to need it with all the stuff we're leaving to the last minute for packing.

In other news, more stuff to keep your kids busy this summer:

The Barnes and Noble summer reading program: Does anyone know if Borders is doing the same thing?

And I know what to get Rebecca this summer: American Girl: Meet Rebecca

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bad cat parents

Day 1 of packout complete. I have to say that as quickly as they did our UAB I expected more progress on the rest of the house. Instead, they haven't finished a room yet.

The kitchen is untouched, the guest bedroom untouched, laundry room untouched, and the entire upstairs? Untouched. The dining/living room is about 2/3 done. And this is all with 7 guys, working 7 hours. I know we have a lot of stuff and they had to build containers for the piano, the bookcase and the new cabinet we bought, but still. Of course, I don't have to do any of this so I really shouldn't complain at all, right?
Fast forward to tonight after another day of Tikka being attached to my leg, to the point of napping in my lap. It was so weird. After dinner Ian asked where Masala was and the last time I'd seen him. Well, last night we moved to the guest room, so no surprise we didn't see him. Today we've had packers from 9:30-5:30 today so I wasn't at all surprised he hadn't shown himself, but it had been a few hours since they'd left and still no sign of him. Usually he'd come out and complain about all the disruption and how we weren't paying attention to him. Nothing. We looked under beds, we listened at all the packed boxes (yes, really), we opened cabinets and checked the pantry, we called over and over.
Outside. Calling, flashlights, more calling. Twenty minutes passed by, Ian remembered that after Thom had his guys pack our stuff into his truck the sunroom door hadn't been locked shut. So actually, over 24 hours had passed by. We figured there was a good chance he hadn't left the compound though. Around the house, around the neighbor houses, checking all the window ledges, where we was the last time he escaped for any length of time. A guard came by knowing we were looking for something and once Ian said cat, he knew which one. Black cat, red collar, in the neighbor's carport, about 30 minutes earlier. Wow. As Ian said it was amazing how quickly he knew what we were looking for, that he was so helpful and the biggest kudo, he was awake. Seriously, getting a guard that's awake is 90% of the battle.
Masala was not in the carport anymore. We circled out further, checked the CGs house and the pool, met back at the middle house and decided to do another circuit there. Calling and calling and more calling.
He's very very dusty and very hungry, but he was back at the middle house sitting on a window ledge behind the wrought iron grill. After a pathetic little meow he came out through the bars and let me carry him home. He doesn't like being carried any distance, but he was OK for the walk and then carefully checked out the destruction in the house.
The balance has returned, but all Ian and I could think was how we are cursed with cats. And how on Earth would we explain losing Masala to the kids??