• BIG news,  Bug,  the sticks,  unpackamania

    Moving along

    my ocean

    I’ve written about a thousand posts in my head. I would have typed them out too but I’ve been so busy with moving I haven’t given myself a chance to sit down and think. If I sat down, I fell asleep. The move has been going really really well. I have felt those prayers more than ever in my life. Thank you prayer warriors, more than you know. And everyone else who was sending me hugs and thinking of me, and sending me kind emails. You must have done the trick because what I thought was going to be deep dark agony has actually been smooth-sailing and at times even filled with bright patches of laughter.

    Texas representin' in the OC

    Heather flew out to help me pack up and move to the sticks and if ever there was a force to be reckoned with, it is OMSH. She has the strength of an Amazon woman and a laugh that expels demons. I swear, her smile lit up my life and everyone around me too. Between Heather and my friend Deb (my neighbor from the beach), I felt like I was sandwiched between two pieces of protective steel bread. They held me up and kept me going. I could not have done it without them.

    We hired some guys to help us move. I’d never done that before and now I doubt I’d ever move without hired help. Those guys worked so hard for so little money. I paid them double in the end because I was so thankful. They carried my boxes down the stairs and right out of my house in about an hour flat. True, I don’t have a whole lot of stuff (I guess that’s debatable; Heather would probably roll her eyes here) but without them, it would have taken me days and probably a trip to the hospital for a broken back. They didn’t speak much English but they were the sweetest guys on the planet. So many times I tried to help and they pushed me back in their broken English telling me they were “trained professionals.” I don’t know what kind of training they had but they were definitely gentlemen.

    A funny thing happened while my U-haul truck was parked by the beach house so we could load it up. It was pretty much parked smack in the middle of the alley because I didn’t want the truck roof to hit the overhang of my old apartment that juts out into the road. (Yes, we live like that at the beach.) There was no room to pass on either side, maybe four feet. Obviously, not enough room to drive a big fat SUV through but you know people…there’s a bimbo airhead born every minute. I heard the men shouting and ran downstairs to see what all the commotion was about. There she was, stuck in her big fat white hybrid SUV between my U-haul truck and the brick wall on the side. She’d cleanly taken off her side mirror and left a nice big black plastic scrape mark on the side of the U-haul. Good thing I decided to spring for that extra insurance.

    Why why why? I waved my arms out beside me in exaggerated motions. Whatever could you be thinking you crazy idiot?!! I mouthed silently as I walked up to the driver’s side window. Her perfume hit me like a mushroom cloud of flowers. At first I thought the smell was alcohol. What else could explain this idiocy? She must be drunk. And then my heart sank when I saw two kids in the backseat in car seats with their eyes as big as saucers. They were so scared. I went from angry to desperate in about two seconds. I have to rescue those kids! I thought. I don’t know what she said to me but I turned and whispered to Heather that she was drunk and we had to get those kids away from her, then ran upstairs to get some paper and a pencil to write down her information. I don’t know what I thought I was going to do but I figured Heather would know what to do while I bought time getting writing utensils.

    By the time I got back downstairs with my paper and pencil, the woman had gotten out of her car and was talking to Heather and the moving guys. Boy was she a sight for sore eyes and believe me, our eyes were soaring. She was dressed in a jersey-knit mini dress, printed with a giant herringbone pattern. It might have come to her thighs but I’m guessing it was shorter than that. Three inches below her dress, her boots started and they were high heels of course. Very high. Her plastic boobs exploded out of the neckline of her skin-tight dress and between them dangled a diamond-encrusted cross. She was a sight.

    Thankfully, it turned out she wasn’t drunk and she was actually very apologetic about the whole mess. That may or may not have been due to the giant guilt trip Heather laid on her about making my already complicated day more complicated. In the end she turned out to be very sweet. She gave us her insurance information and we sent her on her way, to the mall of course. Where else would you be going in such a hurry dressed like that? Sheesh.

    trucker girl

    So that was probably the worst of the whole move. Of course things with Toby were strained. That’s a given. This is a hard time for us, especially for him. But we muddled through the best we could. Then we did a few last-minute errands around town and headed off into the sunset, or rather away from the sunset since I’m moving inland, which is east. But it was sunset time and there I was driving a giant truck that can’t go any faster than 45 miles an hour. It actually got up to 70 on the freeway but it took a while to get there. It was so weird to be driving such a big truck when I’m used to my small sports car. It was scary and monumental, sort of like my life right now.

    she LOVED riding in the front seat packed up and ready to go!

    Bug loved that she got to ride in the front seat with that giant view out the front window. She was laughing and kicking like it was a ride at Disneyland. Of course she doesn’t understand the largeness of this move but I’m thankful for her joy in the small things. She fell asleep probably half an hour into our trip and I was thankful for the peaceful time to just process everything. I really did it. I packed up my life in boxes and I’m forging ahead.

    That night we parked the truck in the driveway of my new place out in the sticks and left it there. When I walked into the mobile home that is my new home, there was a chocolate cake sitting on the counter, freshly iced. I wish I’d taken a picture of it. It was so beautiful and so symbolic of a warm welcome. My sister-in-law had made it for me. I love her. The heat was on, the lights were on and the carpets had been freshly cleaned, thanks to my grandpa.

    When I was last here a month ago, the place was dirty and messy. My mom’s belongings were still strewn about. (She used to live here and has been in the process of moving next door for months.) I thought I would have to clean the place myself and I wasn’t looking forward to it. To be honest, I’d been dreading it for a month. Forcing my mom to get rid of her junk is one of our lifelong battles full of hot buttons and sore spots and you know, all that family kind of stuff. But everything was gone and in its place were clean open rooms. The outside of the mobile home is still stacked with bins and boxes and miscellaneous junk but my mom did her best. Of course the fact that I threatened to throw anything away that was left inside might have helped but really, I was impressed. My family loves me.

    my front door
    (excuse the blurriness, I took this at the crack o’ dawn)

    The next day was a blur of unloading, unpacking and deep cleaning. Heather was a superhero. She wiped down cupboards and laid in contact paper (my least-favorite part). She arranged furniture and counseled me in organization. If you are familiar with her blog and her homeschooling room, you know she’s an expert in organization. I love her minimalistic approach. We made a trip to Target for all those things you need when you are starting your life over.

    my new desk

    I bought this desk for THIRTY DOLLARS (!) at a thrift store. I love it so much. I think I’m going to decorate the rest of my house around this desk. Of course, I don’t really have a budget for decorating at this point but it’ll make its presence known.

    I took a bunch of pictures of my new house in its half-unpacked state.

    site of my new office

    This is my office. PLEASE know that these are BEFORE pictures. I know it’s a trailer and I’m really going to be pushing if I think I can pull off trailer-chic, but I am not going to leave it a mess like this. It has potential.

    I decided to use half of the living room as my office. I like it. Working is a big part of my life right now so it seems appropriate that my office takes the best spot in the house. This room has the best light. Not that Bug is going to be shafted, stuck back in her room. She is part of this office too. In fact, right now she spends more time on my laptop than I do. I think I’m going to set up a little Netflix viewing area (since we don’t have cable or tv now) somewhere so she can be comfy watching movies while I work. I can also watch her playing outside from the big windows. It’s a better setup than being in a back bedroom with no views.

    my living room I took my mirror with me.

    This is the other side of the living room. It has one very sad chair. But don’t worry. That very sad chair has a cover that was in the washing machine when I took this photo. With its cover it is nice and white and happy. I’ll probably get some more furniture in there but for now the chair is fine.

    dining room mess

    This is my dining room. It needs some work. Since I took this photo, I’ve washed and put all my see-through glassware in that built-in hutch. It looks about a thousand times better. Now I just need a real table instead of my old fold-up painting bistro table but I’m not in a hurry. I can save up for a cute little $100 table from Ikea.

    dining room/kitchen

    This is the view of the kitchen from the dining room. It’s small but functional. AND!!! It has a dishwasher! I’ve never had a dishwasher before. It’s so nice. Sometimes you gotta move into a mobile home out in the sticks to get the finer things in life. Funny how that works.

    kitchen looking towards dining room

    Here is Miss Bug eating her breakfast at the little built-in counter bar thing. Please ignore the yellow cast from the awful fluorescent lighting and all the clutter on the counter there. I’m working on it. It is not going to stay like this, no siree.

    living room

    Here is a view from the dining room into the living room and just the edge of my office. Here is also my dog. I HAVE A DOG!!! I’m actually borrowing this dog from my brother who was borrowing it from my mom. Apparently, we share animals in this family. This is a good thing though because I really feel like I need a dog living out here for safety but I’m not really in a position to get a puppy since I don’t know where I’m going to be living in six months. I can’t be tied down to raising a dog right now. I like borrowing dogs and then if it doesn’t work out, I can just give this lovely dog back to it’s loving family. My mom lives next door anyway so in the dog’s eyes it’s probably just like she gained two new pack members.

    Anyway, the dog’s name is Haleakala. She’s named after a volcano in Hawaii. We call her “Holly” for short. She’s old and sweet and perfectly good with kids. I love her already. She doesn’t jump around or lick faces. She just follows me everywhere and when I stop she sleeps at my feet. Right now she’s on the floor by my desk while I type this. I can hear her snoring. She’s the best dog ever. I might have to keep her.

    I have a dog!

    Bug loves her too. I’m sure she’ll be popping up again and again on this blog.

    Bug's room my room

    This is Bug’s room on the left. It’s a mess right now, of course. I’ll take better pictures when we get settled. I’m still trying to figure out where to fit a bed in there since my mom had counters built in for her sewing room and they take up the only wall big enough to put a bed against. We might have to rig up some kind of mini-bed situation, which is fine since Bug sleeps with me most of the time anyway. But it’s fun for her to have her own room. I’m dreaming of painting it pink for her.

    My room on the right is a mess of ripped wallpaper but truthfully, I kind of like it. It feels like a very small apartment in Paris. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Also! I have my own bathroom. Such a luxury. I finally can be one of those girls who leaves her blow dryer and hairspray on the counter. Maybe I’ll actually start doing my hair now that I have a special station just to do it at.

    my bathroom

    See? Hair-doing station. Whoorl would be so proud. I just need to do a bit of an EXTREME makeover on the decor. Just a tiny bit. Heh.

    I have more pictures of the outside and a few other details but Bug has woken up and is demanding my attention so I’ll leave the rest of this post for tomorrow. We have big plans for today: Gymnastics and visiting Daddy. Also, it’s time for breakfast and I need some coffee.

  • Buddies,  coffee!coffee!coffee!,  domesticity,  unpackamania,  Washington D.C.

    Bethany’s House: Done!

    dining room view from living room

    I wish I had taken more “before” pictures but I didn’t. I thought I did but when I went back to look for them, I guess they were in my imagination. So just imagine boxes everywhere. Bethany has some on her flickr stream too which might help for reference.

    This is Bethany’s dining room. I love the wood floors and how the giant sliding-glass door reflects on them. Someday, before I die, I want to live in a house with wood floors. The house I grew up in had them and so they always make me feel sentimental. Also, Bethany has some pretty neat antiques like that old rocking chair. It’s not comfortable to sit in at all but it’s beautiful and memory-filled so they keep it around.

    Notice the latté on the kitchen counter to the right. That would be mine. I’m caffeine-fueled.

    picture wall

    This is Bethany’s living room as viewed from the front door. I LOVE her picture wall. She’s been wanting that for a long time and finally this house had the right wall to do it on. Eventually, she’s going to fill the whole wall with black-framed photos so symmetry wasn’t important. Good thing too! ‘Cause everybody knows I’m terrible at measuring and being exact about things. (Troy is probably rolling his eyes and sighing heavily if he’s reading this.)

    You can also see her new couch here and the IKEA expedit bookcase behind it. We were looking and looking for a small table to go behind the couch and then found that the bookcase she already owned worked perfectly! Even better, it’s a super handy place to stash shoes and purses when you walk in the door. I kinda wish I had this set-up at my house!

    living room

    Here we are walking into the house a bit and standing by the photo wall. I’m not crazy about the fireplace (or the mess of cords! Ack! Ack! Ack!) but when you rent, you have to work with these things. The roof is leaking right over the mantel and until the landlord fixes the leak, we couldn’t move the tv to the center of the mantel. Also, Troy plans on wiring the cords through the wall in some sort of magical way. I can’t wait to see that.

    living room looking towards front door

    Here’s a better view of Bethany’s living room and her new couch from IKEA that I helped pick out. (No, IKEA is not paying me for these links. I wish they were.) It was such a good deal. It has a bed that pulls out that is most excellent for relaxing and watching tv on. I should note that this couch is perfect for watching tv with three people. Something important for, you know, guests like me who like to come over and watch Chuck and Castle.

    That is Bethany’s friend Rebekah there on the right, modeling how comfortable the couch is. She should know since she’s very tall and pregnant. The only thing wrong with this couch is that it attracts lint. Thankfully, that is easily remedied with a lint brush that can be stored in the secret compartment under the sectional on the left! How cool is that?! Not only does this couch turn into a comfortable bed (read: it has nice firm foam with no awful metal beam that sticks you right in the middle of your back like most sofa-beds) but it has a GIANT secret compartment for storing blankets and pillows and whatever else you might need to stash. I love that couch.

    Bethany visiting with Bekah in the living room

    I also love Bethany’s big front window and the new rug. We fretted about that rug a lot and made several trips to IKEA to figure out what would work better. In the end we got used to the shape and now I think it’s perfect. It’s very soft and only moves around minimally when the little kids dance around crazy on it. I know the movement will bug Bethany but I think it’s not that bad.

    built-in bookshelf in the dining room side view of photo wall

    Here is a little built-in bookshelf in the dining room. I love the old-fashioned touches like this in this house. We never really got around to arranging things perfectly in these shelves but I think the randomness befits it. I’m sure things will change over time. I bet Bethany has rearranged the books alphabetically, by subject, or even color order by now. She does that with her books.

    Also, above is another view of the photo wall. I love how some of the frames are thicker than others. It kind of has this 3D texture that makes it more interactive or something. Not like you want to touch them and bump them off the wall or anything but it makes looking at them more interesting from different angles, if you know what I mean. I could just be blathering on…

    coffee nook of kitchen

    Here is a picture of the “Coffee Nook.” Best spot in the house if you’re me!

    I don’t have any photos of the kitchen as a whole because there were dishes on the counter waiting to go into the running dishwasher. I know, everybody has dishes and clutter on their counters but I hate taking pictures of them! Now I wish I would have. Anyway, the kitchen is really small but cute. I love the white wooden cupboards. The combination of small gray and blue square tiles with the mottled countertop is a little crazy on the eyes but you get used to it after you’re there for a while.

    This kitchen was a challenge. Bethany usually unpacks her kitchen by herself because she is the expert chef and baker and has particular places she wants things to go but this kitchen even threw her for a loop. For starters, it was about four times smaller than her last kitchen. It really made her miss the miles and miles of empty cupboards she used to have. She had to downsize a lot and find new and interesting ways of storing things.

    It also had four lazy susan corner cabinets that were murder on unexpecting fingers. YOWZERS! I nearly lost a finger or two. They are a great use of corner space but watch out for your digits!

    I will say, that even though this kitchen is very small, it is functional. Even with two or three bodies in the kitchen, I never found myself waiting terribly long for someone to get out of the way so I could get to the refrigerator or the dishwasher or the sink. I never felt blocked to do one chore or another like I do in my own kitchen. I think a guy designed it (The tile/marble combination and beer-bottle opener attached to the wall was my tip off) and he must have put a lot of thought into the functionality. Or maybe it was a color-blind woman with an expense account at Home Depot…who knows. They did a good job on a small space.

    Annalie's bedroom

    Moving on, here is Annalie’s bedroom. I didn’t take a picture of it completely done (it was a bit messy due to kids playing and you know, my aversion to photographing clutter…) but just imagine one of those neat mosquito nets hanging over her bed and the curtains hung on both sides of the window instead of just slung over one side.

    master bedroom

    And here is Bethany’s room. This poor room is probably the most neglected room in the house but don’t feel too bad for it because Bethany is planning on buying a new bed spread that won’t clash with the Palm Beach Fake Tan wall paint. And, I think Troy is planning on mounting a flat-screen tv somewhere…but we’ll see. I think a new bedspread will make it look 10 million times better. Either that or a gob of brightly-colored throw pillows to blend the vast color difference and some of those hanging Moroccan lamps…but I think Bethany will just go for a new bedspread. She’s not a huge fan of the bed pillows.

    music room looking towards playroom

    Next, we go downstairs to the basement. I like to call this room the Music Room even though it is just one half of the basement. It’s not completely done so you’ll have to ignore the mess of cords (Ack! Ack!) and imagine a piano bench at the piano.

    So get this: Bethany has a full bar in her basement. I’m serious. It’s just like a restaurant. In fact, some kids came over and thought it was a restaurant. It even has a working phone booth too. I didn’t take a picture of it but it’s right there behind the giant elliptical machine.

    playroom and defunct bar

    Here’s a better view of the bar. It’s pretty neat. However, Bethany and Troy aren’t really big drinkers so it’s kind of a waste of space. On more than one occasion, we looked at the beautiful bar and wished the giant elliptical machine could fit in it but it couldn’t. So that’s that.

    The basement is now the playroom and library. I think it’s cozy. It’s also right next to my room! I mean, the guest room. Har har. I do plan on returning so I can sort of call it my room. I didn’t take any pictures of my room because my suitcase crap was all over and the futon bed wasn’t really assembled yet. But you get the idea: a room with some windows and a futon bed couch thingy.

    view from the play room

    From the back of the playroom, looking backwards to the bar you can see…Katy the cat! And a little alcove where we stashed all the ugly plastic play kitchen components. It worked perfectly.

    school room view to left

    On the opposite side of the guest room (where we came down the stairs the first time) is the blue room that we called the School Room. Bethany is homeschooling Annalie so this is where we put all the art supplies and Annalie’s HUGE collection of educational coloring books and stickers etc.

    school room view to right

    Here’s the other side of the school room with the coloring book collection (second shelf up) and the awesome moon chair. I guess it’s called a video chair or something like that from the ’80’s but I’ve been working on Bethany to reupholster it to look like a moon. As you can see, she hasn’t quite bought my idea yet.

    downstairs bathroom peace out bathroom

    Lastly, the bathroom! Peace out man!

    And that concludes my tour of Bethany’s freshly-unpacked house. Obviously, I’ve left out a lot like: the kitchen, the upstairs bathroom, the office, the gun room and the closet where they keep the attack ninja cats…but I don’t want to give any thieves the complete floor-plan so you’ll just have to use your imagination on the rest!

    Edited by Bethany to add: You don’t have to imagine the kitchen any longer! Here is a view from the hallway:

    kitchen view from hall

    I was standing in the tiny square of hallway at the top of the basement stairs, with a pantry closet to my right. Annalie was getting a banana when I took this, which I thought was a nice designer-magazine touch.

    kitchen view from dining room

    Here’s the opposite view, from the dining room. You can see Lily the cat on her way to have a bite or two of kibble, and Annalie peeling her banana. You can also see clutter on the counters and stove, but I’m coming to terms with the fact that clutter in kitchens is just a fact of life. Or at least that’s what I tell myself so I don’t feel guilty about not cleaning it up more often!

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