Liveblogging the {PANIC!} Move: Part IV

Today was a bust. I’m trying so hard not to panic, but the icy fingers of things spinning out of control are tickling the edges of my heart. Everything— absolutely everything— is happening at once.

For my school: Finals, tests, labs, makeups, computer problems, lost assignments, unexpected bills from the school, deadlines, graduation. Graduating and taking college finals for four classes is a fulltime job.

My kids: All have their end of schools stuff, ceremonies, presentations, parties, playdates, field trips, overnight campouts, culmination projects, awareness that they only have two weeks with their favorite friends. Times three. Three kids as a solo parent is a fulltime job.

The House: Trying to pack and pack and pack. Sorting is a must, because I don’t want to pack junk or outgrown clothes or stuff I don’t want. There is trash and junk and the disaster that is the garage still to be dealt with. The Yard Sale is Saturday. I’m so not ready, but put the ad on Craigslist anyway. I hate having a garage sale, but I need the money for the move. Badly. Packing a house is a fulltime job.

Notice anything? Can you feel the panic? Does it feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest too? How the hell am I going to pull all this off? I have TWO WEEKS to do this. I have two weeks to pack this whole house, take four finals, straighten out financial aid with the college, finish coordinating this move, have a garage sale, and sort the garage.


Thursday I take my last final. Friday my kids finish school. All three get out at noon. Family and loved ones arrive Friday afternoon. Saturday at 9 am I graduate. Sunday morning, my kids leave for California to spend time with my family while I move us. Monday I pick up the truck. Tuesday, we’re outa here. BOOM BOOM BOOM.

Tell me I can do this… Please.

(while typing I remember that I have to make it to the district offices to request in writing Bean’s IEP and SpEd records so I can hand carry them to the new schools, the kids all have to go to the dentist, I need a haircut, I have two camping-trips’ worth of laundry to do before I sell the washer and dryer and I have to find a home for the bird.) Anyone need a frontloading Maytag washer and dryer set?

*help* eep….

LTM: Cardboard Part III

Everywhere I look, I’m drowning in corrugation. Not to be confused with correlation. Or Causation…

This is the box of sewing notions and bits I’ve sorted for the yard sale- and bear in mind this is just the first wave. I admit I had a habit..

The photo below is my Happy Place for the day. As a packed up my loved books, I realized I had an entire box of books written by people who are my friends. The books cross genres, subjects and interest barriers, from romance to Oxford Press offerings. It makes me feel more like a grown up than anything else has. Ever.

Liveblogging The Move Part II

Introducing my new china! I did two loads of dishes last night, and I’m packing the mismatched set of breakables today as soon as the kids are off to school. Speaking of school… finals are coming up. Gulp.

This has been our kitchen table here at Little House since we moved in and it was painfully clear the giant farmhouse beast of a table from the House of Broken Dreams would not fit. I picked it up on Craigslist, it has served faithfully and well, and has seen more hours of homework that I care to log. It’s yard sale bound. We shall be picnicking with our new fine china. On the floor.

Somewhere under there is Jeffrey. Bean and Abby are already up (it’s not even 7 am yet) and at the neighbor’s house playing with and feeding their cats. They’ve taken their task of caring for them while the neighbor’s are away VERY seriously. Bean thinks if the cats are not fed by sun-up, they’ll die, like strange anti-vampire felines. Whatevs- gets him up and dressed and happy. I may ask them to let him keep feeding them until we move.

The odd assortment of crap that has accumulated on my dresser as I pack my room. I really hope there’s nothing embarrassing there. Doesn’t every mother have ear-care solution, superglue, oak-gall ink, a jar of teeth, a philips-head screwdriver and an old butter crock full of rocks on her dresser? Yes, I always keep my screwdrivers in a Sephora bag. Don’t you? All is well in Zion.

Liveblogging The Move Part I

T-Minus three weeks. Well, here goes nothing…Or everything depending on where you’re sitting. THREE WEEKS… OMG THREE WEEKS PEOPLE!

The living room is chaos central. Half the stuff is for the yard sale, the other half is precious treasure. I’m the only one who knows the difference… bwahahaha!

There are twelve curling/flat irons in that basket, much to my embarrassment. I went through the bathroom this morning and HOLY HELL I HAVE A HAIR PROBLEM! Intervention, anyone? I’m keeping five, getting rid of a dozen.  I need help… And Virginia is going to take me to the woodshed on thinking I have any control anyway. Or so says EVERYONE. Sigh.

My fingers hurt. The entire weekend, the kids and I have spent sorting their Lego. We have Lego EVERYWHERE and my kids were grounded from all electronics until they went forth and gathered, sorted, culled and chipped teeth trying to get all bricks segregated into the proper bins. Then I will duct tape the bins closed, knowing the sorted perfection is illusory, but oh so satisfying:

So so pretty… NO YOU CANNOT PLAY LEGO BEAN! DONT EVEN ASK!They’re in quarantine now until we get to Virginia. Yes, I’m the meanest mother in the world. You’ll get over it.

Jeffrey is now enjoying an electronic break after the two solid days of Lego torture.

Unclear yet if I can fit the lovely custom-made island counter behind Jeffrey in the moving truck, or if I have to find it a new home. It’s one of my single favorite pieces, and I really want to bring it- but it’s huge, heavy and custom. Will it fit in the townhouse? Will it be an albatross? Must I let go of all remnants? Time will tell.

The staging, wavering and sorting continues. The cake stands are already culled and decided- and despite what appears to be 100’s of cookie cutters in that bin, it’s the distillation of my favorites, and the rest are in the yard sale pile. Because every gluten-free mama needs 100 cookie cutters. Right? RIGHT.

Random Crap: Ramping Up

So the kindergarten campout was an unqualified success. Other than coming home with a slight croupy cough, Abby had a blast, and I have a dozen new pinecone, rock and finger-pained pieces of art for my fridge. And a very pleased girl.

My HT took the kids fishing on Saturday, and my ex even opted to tag along. It’s been a long slow slog, but he’s been a more viable part of the kids’ lives lately, and I’m happy for them all. I also recently read that it can take up to two years for the long-term effects of severe drug abuse to run its course, and we’re just past that mark. I’d like to read more about it sometime when I’m not reading textbooks.

Today’s nail polish color: Opi ‘California Mango’. Tomorrow? Essie ‘Jamaica Me Crazy’. Frivolous, yes. But it makes me happy.

Cover story in the NYT on Mormonism on Sunday. Then another in USA Today Monday. Both were done quiet well, I thought. Stephen Prothero’s in USAT was particularly fair. I know the scrutiny is going to get more intense as the election nears, but I can’t help but think this is a good thing for us- sunshine, even if it hurts the eyes at first, allows everyone to see better.

I’ve really been feeling the urge to cook lately, but I lack both the time and the kitchen utensils- half my kitchen is packed now! Gulp… it’s really happening. You’d think the graduation gown hanging in my room would remind me of that, but it’s really the growing pile of cardboard boxes that raises the lump in my throat.

As this event zooms up on me even quicker, I’m starting to feel quite emotional about this move. It’s true I never chose to live here, but ten years is a substantial investment in community. I have a tremendous pool of incredible friends, two of my three children were born here, and I walked through hell and came out the other side here. I know it’s time to move, but I’m watching it with a mix of excitement and muted honoring of what came before. I believe the word might be ‘melancholy”.

With Mo’s visit last weekend, we are now lighter Fakey Fakerson, the mahogany desk at which most of the first five years of Dandelion was written, my apple-green antique desk chair, and three bicycles. Good thing our kids match up in age and gender.

I had prints made of the portrait of the kids and I, and when I went to pick them up, Costco had printed them vertically instead of horizontally. Bean and I were only half in the frame. Who does that? Who doesn’t notice that’s probably not kosher?

Courtesy of my HT, I took the boys to see The Avengers the other night- it’s rare we get to the movies, and even more rare when I only have two of my three kids. I didn’t tell them where we were going, and the poor kids are so deprived, even when we were standing in line, Bean still wasn’t sure where we were. I had to direct him to the movie poster before he got it. They were thrilled. It’s really a great adaptation. Joss… well done.

So I signed a lease on a place in Virginia. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

It looks like I’ve found a family to take over Little House from us. No, that’s not my responsibility, but my landlord is also my friend and stake member, and he said if I knew anyone, he’d be grateful. There is another single mom in the stake who would love to be in this ward, and she came by a few days ago and we’re quite enthusiastically campaigning for her. She’s also got a son on the spectrum, and the fenced yard and Bean’s climbing ropes would be put to good use. And my landlord wouldn’t have to do a darn thing. Win for everyone.

Have another midterm this Friday, then… only three more weeks of school. Holy. Crap.

Kindergarten Campout

At ten o’clock tonight, I realized Abby has the annual Kindergarten Campout tomorrow. That means her entire kindergarten is heading to an overnight at the state park just over in Idaho. I’m nervous but that’s irrelevant. That also meant I had to dig through the chaos of packing up our house to find the supply list, and have spent the last two and a half hours pulling everything from the four corners. Sometimes homework— and even sleep— has to take a backseat to this:

First Ever Family Photo Shoot

Sometimes I think I’ve dropped the ball on some of the most basic things most mom’s do with their kids. Like this, for example. Until yesterday, we had never had a family picture taken. Ever. But yesterday evening, my wonderful and talented friend took us out in her back forty and filled two SD cards with me and the monkeys. Here are few of my favorites…. It’s like we’re a real family now!

And what may be my favorite photograph of Bean. Ever:

Time Marches On

Twenty to midnight Sunday night. Just threw a load of laundry in, and am fighting my eyes being heavy and begging to be taken to rest. I haven’t been writing, and it hurts my peace of mind to not write— yet I am so weary, I fear just stringing words together is betraying my history and my desire to be considered a writer, regardless of caliber.

My house is coming down. The boxes are gathering in larger piles each day, and there is less and less to mark this building as our home. It’s not necessary to claim again what this Little House has meant to me, despite my frustration at time; it’s all documented. Just like almost everything. I am, as I cull and sort and the yard-sale pile grows, realizing I am leaving the known world, and jumping off into the great unknown.

This weekend, Mo and her crew came over to visit and to take some belongings she had dibs on before they went to the garage sale. Fakey Fakerson is now hers, as well as the giant mahogany desk at which the first 5 years of Dandelion were written and the apple-green antique swivel desk chair that was once my favorite seat. I’m glad they now belong to her. It was an emotion-laden visit, and I’m exhausted.

The culling continues.

Sets of dishes, pots and pans, appliances, bicycles, furniture… it goes on. I quietly try and chip away at it each evening after homework, after the kids are asleep, and before sleep finally overcomes me. Some nights I am successful. Some nights not.

The garage is finally drying out, as we have gone from interminable winter now straight into nearly summer heat. I have flung the doors open and the neighborhood cats have cleaned out the mice, and I am starting to try and see what I can salvage. The photo albums were a win; the kids’ baby books, much to my teary dismay, were a loss. Ditto the box of all my yearbooks. All of them.

Cake plates. How many cake plates does a woman need? I, apparently, needed at least a dozen. That number must be culled to at least half that— especially if you factor in the moratorium on gluten, and the severe lack of cake-making I do anymore.

Up this week: School, school, school, packing, algebra, algebra, algebra, packing, scouts, packing, haircuts for the kids, family pictures for grad announcements, packing, homework… and finally… picking up my graduation robes, cap, tassel and honors cords. Wow. It’s really happening.

Magic Math Wand Wanted

I always knew this would be my Appomattox. For twenty-plus years, I’ve put it off, and the day of reckoning has come. I’m in my first algebra class in more than two decades. This class is why I didn’t finish my AA so many years ago, and why I was always afraid to go back to school. I’ve been telling myself I can do this- untold numbers of people have passed this class to graduate from college, and I have to as well.

It doesn’t matter than it has no practical application in my life or in my field. It doesn’t matter if it’s hard for me, or if I don’t want to do it- the fact is, it’s what stands between me and my degree. I keep telling myself I can do it.

This week, I finally sat myself down and started to work. The part for me that is still confounding is my inability to associate the work with anything relatable. I remember things by applying it to meaningful areas of my life- but this these crazy quadratic equations and square roots of fractions and factoring polynomials, even when I grasp it long enough to do a problem, it’s gone again when I go to do the next one a day later.

I spent two hours tonight on nine problems. They were harder than anything I remember from my high school algebra- cube roots of fractions, synthetic division, things that simply finally made me close the book and shut the window, because even with the prompts, it was making no sense.

This terrifies me, because if I don’t pass this class, I don’t get my degree, and I could lose my spot at George Washington in the fall. Failure is simply not an option. It doesn’t matter one damn iota if this is hard. I have to do it, and I have to pass.

I have a midterm in my lab science today- and it’s feels like a breath of cool calm air after putting away the algebra book to pick up my lab notes on orthoclases, plagioclases and silica tetrahedrons. My lab science was too old (had to be within the last three years) so the University is making me take another one. I actually enjoy it- other than the cost and time. I got a 90% on my CIS midterm last week, so that’s one down.

If anyone has any brilliant ideas for getting this algebra to finally stick in my head and give me the boost I need to finally slay this dragon, I’m all ears. I know, one way or another, I will find a way. I just would like it to be with as little blood and tears as possible. It’s not like I have anything else going on…

Because I’m packing my house, planning a 2500 mile move, family is coming for my graduation, I’m looking for work, and I have three kids. Alone. Live, without a net, folks. Prayers, advice and magic math-wands are welcome. I’m here all night.