Friday, May 14, 2010

Here Comes the Sun

We found a house that we agreed was perfect. We're renting it, and we're all moved in. In fact, we have been here a month. We have decided that we're living adventure life. Every year when our lease is about to come up, we'll check the realty sites for other interesting places to live. Right now we're in a cute little suburban development. It's a blue collar neighborhood with lots of machinists firing up their grinders during the day, and kids riding around on their mini-bikes and quads and such. We have a caged pool, a big lanai, and Pete has his office. I even have a place for my antique fainting chair where I can mesh the old with the new by lounging and reading my Nook.

There are always downs to the ups, and of course here, too. The drive to my eldest son's school is intolerably long, but that will be over on June 7th, and we'll enroll him somewhere closer next year. The pool isn't heated which means I can only swim in the hottest temperatures. But it looks like it will be a hot summer, so there's that, too. We live further from the Gulf than I could have liked, but we still go on beach picnics for dinner on Fridays so I guess we're not too far away.

Life is getting back to normal. I am doing the food shopping, the cleaning, the homework, the diapers/potty training, and I can sit watch TV without worrying about disturbing the rest of the household. Pete does the earning, the cooking, the laundry and story time. On the weekends, we each do nothing much. And we like it this way. It makes us happy. Sometimes at night we sit around talking about how happy it all makes us. How pleased we are to have found each other, and how lucky we are to have such a fantastic family.

Tomorrow is Lucian's big dance recital and I am SOOO excited. I can't wait to see what his part in the production will be. I know that it's a production of 4 year olds, and I'm not expecting to see Swan Lake or anything, I just - I dunno - I'm excited!

This is the year, people! The year when everything is going to move forward. Val will poop in the potty this year. Lucian will read a book. I will get a dark tan that may last until 2011. Pete will have a 36 inch waist.

Please don't point out that my optimism is coming in May. Perhaps I mean 12 months rather than calendar. Maybe not. But I'm very excited about this year. So far everything has gone according to plan, I foresee it continuing to do so.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What Makes a House a Home?

We have been out searching for a new house to live in. We're renting so the idea of having to find something that we'll be happy in for 30 years isn't really an issue. But we've spent over a year living with Pete's parents and, while they are probably the best in-laws ever, they live differently than we do, so it hasn't always been the most comfortable situation. So there's a little pressure (that we've put on ourselves) to find the "perfect" house.

We have a few musts that we know for sure. Location is a big one. I drive my slowly toning butt to the gym every weekday. Currently, it's a forty minute drive each way. I want it to be less than fifteen. I must have a pool. I have two small children, I live in Florida. If I can't spend my summer days in my back yard watching my kids swim, why did I move to Florida? Also, that pool has to be caged - I hate bugs. Pete needs an office. He works from home and deserves to have a space in the house that he can reasonably expect to be left alone to think and work. The neighborhood needs to be family friendly. Not that it has to have a park within walking distance, or that the development needs to be brand new, but, you know, just... nice. Quiet, even would be good.

After that, it's all gravy. One story, or two? One car garage, or two... or three? Close to the water, or close to the highway? Gated community, or not? Do we care if the neighbor has a boat in his driveway? No. We don't.

I thought we weren't being very picky. I thought we'd be thrilled with the first place we found with our musts. And honestly, we were. But it was a little pricey, and even though I hate to admit this, it was too big for us. We fell in love with a townhouse in a posh development, too. But it was also a bit pricey, and the community pool was a little too far. Now our favorite is an older house, which the owner has renovated, remodeled, added-on, and basically turned it into a one-of-a-kind place with a lot of character. It looks like a jungle in the back yard, in a good way. I kind of expect to find pirate treasure buried back there. And it has a view of the bay from an upstairs wrap-around balcony. The master suite is upstairs, and is HUMONGOUS. Room enough for our king size bed, and a couch and our giant TV, and then the closet is a room big enough to use as a nursery - not that we plan on needing it for that, but you know, it's BIG.... but the master suite is the only thing upstairs. The kids bedroom is downstairs. And that makes us nervous, because we don't like to be that far away from them when we're sleeping.

So we're continuing to look. We're keeping in touch with the owner of the current favorite, thinking we may be able to reconcile ourselves to sleeping a whole floor away from the babies. But we have appointments to see at least four more houses. And now that the new month has started there will be more listings to search through.

But I wonder. Will we find a house that screams our name? One that is cheap enough to afford our lifestyle, and big enough to house our hobbies? Will we find a house that we can agree on that it's perfect? And what makes it perfect anyway? Will we have to compromise on one of our musts to get more of our wants? How much responsibility for our happiness can we reasonably put on a building, or a town? I can't stop wondering if we will ever find a house that we don't feel lukewarm on. I've always been of the opinion that happiness is yours to make and that you can be happy anywhere. But this last year has clouded that opinion. And I feel that if I don't pick the right place, I have a year of awfulness ahead of me. I don't want awfulness. I'm ready to shed all my discontent and bask in the joy my family brings me.

I hope I find the right place... before I sign a lease on somewhere else.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Beginnings

I know my title sounds a bit trite, but I am staring down a LOT of new beginnings right now. Pete and I have begun looking for places to rent. We're checking out houses that we mostly know we don't want just so we can get a feel for the neighborhoods. We're not ready to move until we get a few more things worked out, so the places that are available right now aren't actually the ones we could apply for anyway. But our town is filled with a lot of the same few models for single-family homes, so it's worh knowing that we DO like the Hibiscus II model, but NOT the Matheson model. Even if one isn't open right now.

And the neighborhoods here are wonky. You could be driving down one street looking at mansions with big walls, and gates, and lots of balconies that just make you assume this is the house that hosts Operah's book club. Then you take a side street from there and you think, "There are more teeth in this car than there are on this street!" So we need to look around. Also, I think the more I look, the more I like the townhouses here. A lot of them have fun layouts, and I sort of like the idea of the bedrooms being upstairs, rather than off of the main living space. So we'll see, you know?

Lucian starts school this coming Monday. I can't wait! Not at all in the way I'm supposed to, though. I can't wait, because the wondering will be over. It's like the difference between slowly climbing in to a pool in winter and jumping in. While you're climbing in, you have time to think about how awful it's going to be once you're submerged. But if you jump in, you just have to figure out how to deal with the suck. I'm sure that it will suck. I know every kid (except for home-schoolers, I guess) goes to school. Some like it, some don't. But either way, I lose my little boy. He's going to have friends that I didn't make for him. He's going to have to use what I've taught him to make good decisions. He's going to have to be responsible, and motivated, and honest, and and and... And I'm terrified.

Is this normal? I should probably seek proffessional help, but who has the time?

I feel like I'm embarking on a journey. I hope that it leads to happiness, and contentment. But I fear it's going to lead to the assylum.

2010 has a lot expected of it. I hope it can meet my desires.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 - a breath of fresh air

So, it’s 2010. I think it may have been 2008 the last time I wrote in here. 2009 was a cocksucker of a year, and I don’t think I want to rehash any of it. Well, except to say that Christmas morning was so exciting for my boys that Val actually woke up first! And Lucian was so happy with all the presents he received that he literally couldn’t contain himself (read: He shit his pants! LOL).

So, now that that’s taken care of, let me get on with 2010. This is going to be a banner year for me, I think. We have plans in the works. We have vacations planned, if not actually scheduled. We are going to move back to the part of town that had us feeling like we had reached Nirvana. We’ll both be able to get to the gym regularly, so we’re going to get even MORE sexy than we already are – hard to imagine, I know. And Lucian is starting school. It’s just VPK, which is Pre-Kindergarten for those of you not in the know. It’s a full day 8:30am to 2:30pm from January 25 – May something-or-other. I’m very excited, and I’m very nervous.

Today, Lucian and I went shopping for school supplies. We bought the bookbag, lunch box, folders, a binder, markers, paints and paintbrushes, art smock, pencils, sharpener, crayons, scissors, and um… more stuff. He’ll be going to a school that specializes in performance art, so we also bought ballet shoes and tap shoes. I think I may have to buy some tap shoes for myself; they look like lots of fun! Next pay, I’ll be taking him out to shop for clothes. This is where it starts to get difficult, because here in Florida, winter doesn’t last too long. I don’t want to buy him too many wintery things, but at the same time, I don’t want him going to school in the same outfit day after day for weeks, either. Financially, this shopping trip is difficult too, because his little brother doesn’t really need lots of new clothes like he does, but they like to match when they go out, and Val gets a bit jealous when Lucian gets new things and he doesn’t. I should be saving our money for things like vacations and bunk beds, but I fear my desire to spend it all on consumables. I guess we’ll just have to see.

I think I’m going to try to contain my nervousness until we get closer to the actual first day of school. Otherwise, I may just spin out of control. If you have school age kids, what were your biggest fears, and how did you handle them? If your kids are still too young, what kind of goals do you have for your child(ren) once they are ready for school? Would you choose public or private school? Why?