Monday, July 22, 2013

My Worst Nightmare

Goodbye, house!
A couple weeks ago, we decided to sell our house. My parents had some bad news about their health recently so we want to be closer to them, but also we have been wanting a change of pace and we both felt good about our decision. Anyway, we talked to some realtors who live up the street, decided the price they suggested sounded good, and told them we wanted to list it. That was on a Saturday.
Monday I started cleaning my entire house, spurred on by the thought of a professional photographer coming on Thursday to post photos of every corner of my house on the internet for hundreds of strangers to see. Actually photos aren't too bad. At least just the outside of things has to look clean. What really motivated me was the thought of total strangers coming into my house and poking around, starting Friday. It's like my worst nightmare to have someone walk into my bathroom and see how I really live when I haven't cleaned for a few days. Austin didn't really get why the fridge had to be cleaned out and my bathroom drawers cleaned and edited, but I watch HGTV, and I've been house hunting myself. People like to look in the fridge. They like to open bathroom drawers, they like to see what's in the closet. House hunting is an unprecedented opportunity/excuse to see behind the scenes in other people's lives.
When you sell a house, you should sell more than the actual home. You should sell the myth that if you live in this particular house, your fridge and bathroom drawers will be magically clean and organized, there will be no fingerprints on the walls and windows, and because everything is so clean, you will have plenty of time to sit on the artfully staged patio out back. 
In order for me to sell this myth along with our home, I basically ignored my children for four days as I painted the pink room back to the same color as the rest of the house, deep cleaned every corner, obsessively painted over chips in the walls, and packed up a lot of our less-used belongings. With my husband complaining that our house was like a museum where we weren't allowed to touch anything, we took off down to Provo and moved into my parents house while they jetted off on their adventures. It was perfect timing. We stayed there for a week and had a ton of showings back at the house. I didn't have to keep things clean or rush my kids out of the house. We came back Friday, took the best of the offers we received, and moved back in. So awesome.
My favorite moment of this experience came as we were sitting down at our kitchen table to sign our acceptance of an offer. As we were about to sign, we looked out our window and saw two people get out of their car and stand by our sign looking at the house. Our realtor saw them and jumped up and ran outside shouting back over his shoulder "Don't sign that offer yet!"
I think it was meant to be that we move now. Everything came together so nicely. We haven't really figured out what we're doing on the other end yet, but I'll keep you updated!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Way of the Chicken

My parents are very law-abiding people. However, when it comes to chickens their moral fiber turns a bit soluble. The flock has grown to illegal proportions and shows no signs of decreasing.

On Saturday I was shown The Way of the Chicken by my dad as part of my house-sitting duties. We all know I don't get along with chickens, but I felt like I could give it another shot for my parents. They seem to really like these chickens as they keep adding more of the stinky buggers. Anyway, as Dad described it, chicken care seemed fairly straightforward. Water, feed, lock them in coop for the night, let them out in the morning. Repeat for a week as my parents bask on the deck of an Alaskan cruise ship.

On Sunday I woke up with a start to the incessant and uproarious bawking of the massive flock. They also woke my baby sleeping by the window, but I left her crying, threw some clothes on, and dashed out to the backyard. In the midst of putting three kids to bed, I had forgotten all about locking the chickens up the night before and making sure they were fed and watered. Thoughts of wild animals attacking the coop, starving chickens collapsing, and angry neighbors phoning to complain about the noise all ran through my mind. I made it up to the chicken pen, threw open the gate, and....nothing. The chickens magically stopped their fiendish racket and wandered around idyllically scratching in the dirt. I checked their coop. Nothing. I checked their food and water. Full. Annoyed, I threw some grain on the ground for them so I could feel like I had done something. They dutifully ignored it and went back to their chicken business. Apparently they simply desire a human presence at 6 in the morning.*

I wearily went back inside and surveyed my new black flip-flops coated in chicken leavings, thinking about how much cheaper and easier buying free-range chicken, organic, non-muck coated eggs from the store would be then running this chicken coop. Raising your own chickens should be placed in the same category as wearing Spandex, posting about bathroom trips on Facebook, and throwing fruit into green smoothies without peeling it. I call this category, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

*I later confirmed this with my little brother Joseph.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Two Methods of Packing


Last night, Charlotte slept from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the second time this week. If she keeps this up, soon I won't have to choose between sleep and blogging and you'll be hearing more from me. More importantly though, I'll be able to tell other mothers with a smug sense of superiority that my baby sleeps through the night at 3 months old. (I always thought these mothers were lying but it turns out that maybe these mythical babies do exist.)
The girls find wands to play with and bless Charlotte with gifts of beauty, song, etc. 

So in the interest of practicality, I thought I would talk a little bit about travel. We just got back from another fun summer trip to Nana and Poppy's house on the lake, and while there were ups and downs to the traveling process, I would definitely do it again. (Up: Seeing the beautiful mountains near Vail, Colorado for the first time. Down: Austin's incessant quest to kill a bug in the car that woke up my sleeping baby.)
As far as roadtrips go, now that I'm a mom and can't listen to music and sleep the whole time, my favorite part has definitely become packing. I love packing. I like the process of gathering everything together, for a brief time on the road having everything you really need within arm's reach, and the sense of victory when you realize you didn't forget a single thing--one of the true marks of a master packer.
I don't think I've become a master packer yet, but Austin's parents still like to talk about the time Austin and I did Europe with a backpack apiece. Like a school backpack, not a hiking backpack. It's nice to be portable when you travel.
I've decided there are two styles of packing, Kitchen Sink Packing and Survivalist Packing.  
Kitchen Sink Packing: This is where you hold up an item and think, Will I possibly need this on my trip? The answer to this question is usually "Yes." Of course you could possibly use some bandaids and a straightener and your winter coat and that big bottle of lotion and a beach towel, etc. etc. This type of packing results in a lot of luggage. (I call it Kitchen Sink Packing because my dad literally brought a sink with us on one memorable camping trip where the scout motto of "Be Prepared" was taken a little too far.)
Survivalist Packing: This is where you hold up an item and think, Is there any way I can go without this on my trip? The answer to this question is usually "Yes." Do you really need that mini first-aid kit, could you wear your hair in a ponytail instead of straighten it, maybe borrow a jacket from your host if you get cold, run to Walmart if there's not lotion at your hotel, etc. etc. This kind of packing results in a sleek, streamlined bag that is easy to tote around. Unless you have kids, in which case you really do need all that stuff...

Sand is awesome!