Before and After: New Townhouse!

So I’ve got one of those long skinny townhouses so popular in the DC area. The good news is, we’re on the end, so we have a few extra windows instead of just the ones in the front. Yay for us! I’m still unpacking, but it’s becoming home-ish.

Living room, before:

Living room, after. Sofas are from the thrift store! And I finally have a place for my big farm table again- albeit tight. Happy dance!

Looking towards the kitchen, before:

Living room, looking toward kitchen, after: (Bean is eating— wait for it— peanut butter toast!)

(Can you believe those are thrift store couches?! Me either!!)Hideous sky-blue kitchen, before:

Ahhhhhh…. much better! I can almost ignore the blue counters now!

The aqua-room, before:

The Aqua Room, now. Very pleased with this photo array, btw:

Loft at the top of the stairs, which will become the play room— they really liked that sky blue paint…

The play loft now, peopled by Jeffrey and Abby, noses in their screens

My room— spectacular shade of pale lavender with pink curtains, before:

My room now— Montpelier Grey, with cream curtains brought from Little House.

It’s good what a little paint and some sweat will do. Still have a few boxes to unpack, but we’re just about ready to call it home.

More Observations

  • Pictures are coming, I swear- I just can’t find my camera. Still unpacking and digging out. Anyone in the NoVA area want moving boxes and packing paper?
  • Folks here just don’t hurry. Not over anything. And they look at me like I’m a Crazy Person when I’m not willing to mosey wherever it is I’m going. Odd.
  • Had a great dinner with The Wiz from Mormon Mommy Wars the other night. She was in the area with her daughter for a few days, and we hit Cafe Rio, then came and hung out amid the chaos and boxes at my place. It was lovely.
  • I’m heading to the DMV today. *gulp*
  • Still cannot get used to rain when it’s so mother-of-hell hot. Folks are telling me this is not usual, and I picked the worst week ever to move. Of course I did. Because if there’s a harder way to do something, I shall find it!
  • We finally got the Wii hooked up and the children love me again. 
  • Still no fireflies. Maybe it’s too hot for them?
  • Been invited to two barbecues already and a pool party. Folks are nice.
  • First Sunday in our new ward yesterday. Experienced having our records read-in for the first time, and the kids stood with me. They were even reasonably good. Bean lasted most of the way through Primary, and the boys have been invited to Scout camp this coming week. Playing that one by ear.
  • Just as soon as I get this place knocked into shape, I’m going to post before and after pics, so you can marvel at the horrendous previous paint.
  • I scored the best deal at my local thrift store!! None of my couches fit in the Tardis Moving Truck, so we had nowhere to sit. I walked into the tiny place right around the corner, after hitting every furniture place I could find (um… NO, I can’t pay $1k for a set of couches!) and I found a perfect, tan cheneille sofa and loveseat, and a side chair. All for under $200. Exactly what I needed, and I ran to Lowes and picked up their $19 truck and Jeffrey and I moved the beasts. We now not only have somewhere to sit, but they’re comfortable too! I set my standards high, what can I say?

A Few Observation on Virginia

  • While the humidity is making a monster out of my hair (embrace it, I know!- it’s just hard to embrace something this big) that same humidity is working wonders on the skin. Bean’s itchy eczema is nearly gone, and I feel like a baby. Someone told me that would happen, but as a child of the west, I was skeptical. Color me convinced.
  • It’s hot. It’s damn hot. It’s completely weird having it be so hot, then get overcast and pour rain. But the thunder and lightning are fantastic.
  • It’s really really green here. It’s a different green than the northwest, but it’s nice.
  • My neighbors, despite the warnings about folks being more aloof, are quite nice and people have been very friendly. 
  • Sorry folks, but y’all just don’t know how to drive. This California girl was trained in a stick-shift on the hills of San Francisco and my first merge ever was on 101 north. The southern charm thing is nice, but seriously- learn how to merge and which pedal is the accelerator. 
  • Grocery stores are a bit different. Prices are comparable on most things. Milk is more expensive, they don’t have Tillamook cheese (*weeping*) or Darigold butter (*wailing*) but I’m sure I’ll ferret out some decent options. It’s also the first time I’ve lived on the Helmans side of the mountains, instead of the Best Foods side. 
  • I love the international feel of the neighborhood. Within a few blocks, I have every option conceivable for food and shopping. There’s a giant grocery store that is all variety of foreign foods that I can’t wait to hit.
  • Fireworks are legal here, and my kids and I took full advantage of it last night, watching the neighbors blow up several loud things, and lighting our own case of sparklers with much glee. Until the storm blew in and we had to go back inside. Then we just stuck our sparklers in a piece of cake and called it good.
  • I will never, ever, ever again refer to the first and second Battles of Manassas as the first and second Battles of Bull Run. Lesson learned.
  • I must brave the DMV and the DOL for my driver’s license and my car registration next week. I hope it’s better than CA, but I know it won’t be as easy as WA. Hoping for somewhere in the middle.
  • Have yet to see any fireflies. The kids are sorely disappointed, but have found one very interesting little centipede looking thing that brought great consternation to the masses. 
  • Hail is fun.
  • Do not get Gorilla Glue on your while trying to fix a table that broke in the move. Do not get it on your favorite purple skirt, and then, especially, do not attempt to wash Gorilla Glue off with water from your skin. Turns out Gorilla Glue likes water. 
  • More Later. 

LBM: Leaving California

Deeply slanted rays of the setting sun reflect in from both sides of the airplane as it sinks into the western horizon somewhere behind us. Clouds have covered most of the plains; no landmarks give lay to where we actually are, but I imagine us somewhere over Missouri or Illinois, maybe even further east. The hazy faded blue curve of the sky looks hot, even from this altitude.

The kids have done amazingly well. Right now, Abby is next to me giggling as she pencils in a MadLibs with her version of six-year old naughty words that will make her brothers laugh- most of which are “poop”. Jeffrey, once again, is stepping up to the plate to help manage his brother, and they have been trading off on the laptop playing some sort of polar-bear bowling game. Bowling is very popular these days. Bean, with Jeffrey’s willingness to humor him, is doing surprisingly well, not even considering we’re four hours into his longest plane trip ever. Headphones help immensely, as does his squeezy-ball, absently but constantly clutched in his hand.

This morning, as we waited to see if United was going to actually pull through and get us on a flight, we poked around in the tide pools exposed by the early morning low-tide, and Bean found a crab. He found a snail last night that captivated him for a good solid hour. Where we used to live, there were no snails- too cold- and he laid the length of himself with great care next to the snail in the evening twilight and marveled at the tiny creature’s progress.

While Bean lay in the flower beds watching his gastropod, Jeffrey and Abby were hopping from pier to pier down by the briny San Francisco bay, the water sparkling deep gold and shadow in the setting sun. The fog was rolling over the San Mateo hills in a thick white bank and the airplanes traced their lights across the deepening sky as they approached the airport. It’s one of the most beautiful approaches imaginable, if you like to fly. The fire in the firepit danced in blue and orange patterns, endlessly fascinating, the heat tossed in gusts by the wind off the water. The kids’ laughter floated over the currents, and I leaned back into the striped cushion of the deck chair, more content than I remember being in perhaps years.

The lessons of the last two days are reflected in the last two weeks, months, and years. The best-laid plans are just that- plans. Be flexible. Don’t panic. Often what at first seems like a wreck is actually a path being cleared for something better. Things are going to be hard, and it’s going to hurt. So what. Keep going anyway. Do the best you can. Err on the side of love and forgiveness. Always.

Had we not had our entire flight and return-home plans changed by an airline snafu, none of us would have had that idyllic final night in California. I was able to share with my children, via direct experience and not just my words, exactly why and what I love best about the region that formed me. Clinging desperately to what I had originally wanted would have shut the door on what was actually waiting for us- and I’m pretty sure that can be applied to larger and grander windows of time than I can comprehend or my poor power to perceive.

The trick now is remembering that…

LBM: Fits and Delays

Not happy. I’m still in California. At this moment, the kids and I are supposed to be on a flight out of Denver headed home. We did everything we were supposed to do- including getting to the airport at 5 am this morning (yes, I hauled all three kids up, packed and got ready that early, and even checked the United website before we left- all systems go). When we got to the airport, it was a madhouse, lines out the door, and our flight was, at that time (20 minutes after I checked at home), delayed over five hours.

That meant we’d miss our connection in Denver. When I asked the attendant what to do, she said “Call reservations and see if you can find another flight. Sorry.” Really? 5am on a Sunday and it’s that screwed up already?? Keeping in mind I have three kids with me, and one doesn’t travel well. At all…

United is willing to get me from the Bay Area to Denver, or to Houston. But they cannot find me a single flight today with four seats on it that will get me to Dulles. Not one. Overbooking much, United? I fly a fair amount- and you know what? I know this happens on all carriers, but for me, it happens every time I fly United.

Not happy.

Tried, dragging three kids, and NOT HAPPY. Thankfully, I got my step-dad on the phone before he’d returned home from dropping us off, and he looped back around and came in while I was on hold with Reservations for a long time. They got us on a flight tomorrow with four seats, and I packed the kids back into the car. No offer of voucher, credit or hotel. Just “Oops, sorry.” Not happy.

I happen to have friends and family in the area that makes this not-catastrophic, but what about the folks that don’t? What a nightmare. What I do have a special-needs child who has been counting the hours until he gets to see his new room and two more kids who have been in limbo for two weeks now. They know their home in Washington state doesn’t exist anymore, and they have yet to see their new home in Virginia.

Railing and kicking does nothing, I know that. I’m just so damn tired and ready to be home, too. I know it will all be okay, and maybe there is even a reason this happened that is simply not yet visible. But that’s a leap of faith I might just be too tired to make today. Maybe tomorrow…