Thursday, February 26, 2009

Selling schmelling

We're done. The pictures have been taken, the contracts with the real estate agent have been signed, we're selling our house! Well, you know, if we can find a buyer.

Little things.

Our first open house is this Sunday, which also happens to be TK's birthday.

Here's how I think it'll go, version ONE:

12:00: Open house begins

12:15: Call from agent: "I can't believe how many people are here!"

12:30: Call from agent: "Oh my, there's a bidding war going on! There are THREE couples all desperate for your house!"

12:45: Call from agent: "A fourth couple just threw their name in the mix!"

2:00: Open house ends. People are still milling around outside, marveling at our house.

5:00: Multiple offers, all above our asking price.

What do you think? Am I going to be disappointed on Sunday?


Here's how I think it'll go, version TWO:

12:00: Open house starts.

2:00 Open house finishes. Agent says: "We got a few looky-loos, but no serious buyers came through. It was a slow day because of x, y, z."

6 months later...

5:00: Finally got an offer, significantly below asking price.

What do you think? Am I going to be pleasantly surprised on Sunday?


Realistically, I think it'll be somewhere in between those two extremes. Or at least I hope. I know open houses rarely sell a house, so I actually don't have big expectations for Sunday. And quite honestly, we haven't seen any houses we like yet, so the thought of our house selling very quickly scares me just as much as it selling very slowly. Ideally, it'll sell on the very day that we find our perfect new house...whenever that day is...

Oh sorry, fell into dream land again!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Recovered (knock wood!)

I think the whole house is healthy at the moment, though I'm still pretty run down and tired out. Not sure if that's leftover from the sickness, or if it's just normal pregnancy tired, or if it's because I've been cleaning/organizing constantly. I swear, I didn't know our house was such a mess and so disorganized! It looked okay...honest! As long as you didn't open any closets or drawers. Or go into the basement. Or the extra bedroom. Or pay too much attention to the piles of crap on the kitchen counters. Okay, I guess it was a mess.

We're getting there, though there's a lot to still do this week. But if everything goes well, our house will be listed this weekend! Yikes!

So, you know how we celebrated Valentine's Day by moving stuff to a storage space? Yesterday, when we were finally all healthy, we celebrated by...moving more stuff to the storage space. Do we know how to party or what? Super glamorous! I did, of course, wear my Oscar-approved gown for all box moving. So at least there was that.

I got nothin' funny today. Yo, I walk the fine line between sanity and...lack there of...on on daily basis as it is. I'm afraid all this moving stuff has pushed me firmly into the "sane" category. I miss the warm happiness of being just a little nuts.

Off to call a mortgage broker now. Think I should try to tap into my crazy first? I'll try to resist, as I'd like to be approved for more than 3 easy payments of $19.95.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'll be back...

I'm still around. Of course I caught the stomach bug making the rounds through the house. Feeling slightly better today, though I think I need to go sleep for another 6 or 7 hours.

Anyway, I'm so far behind on reading/commenting on all your blogs...sorry! On the plus side, I can't wait to have so much to read once I'm feeling better!


And on the other plus side, you do remember Dollhouse is on tonight, right? Yippee!!!

Who's watching with me?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

When Peter Parker confuses his secret identities

Once in a while, Peter Parker mixes up his "Spiderman" and "Ruby the Drag Queen" secret identities:

(Thanks to N-man for creating this awesome Potato Head Spiderman in high heels!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The most (sarcastic) awesome Valentine's Day on record

So, did you all have a nice Valentine's Day? I hope so!

We didn't. Are you ready for a gross story? Here's how mine went:

Well, first I should qualify that I'm not a big fan of the "holiday". We don't really celebrate it. Call us unromantic, but it I'd much rather be kind to one another every day than create some unrealistic demands on a Hallmark holiday.

However, I'd hoped it would go better than this.

We started out our day by...wait for it...renting a storage space. And moving a zillion boxes and furniture! Really, nothing says "Valentine's Day" like a little manual labor.

We got home around lunch time, when B-man started to feel sick. He'd had a stomach bug Thursday night, but hadn't thrown up since then. Turns out he was saving it up for Saturday.

Around dinner time, B-man threw up all over EVERYTHING. I was sitting on the couch with him, and he managed to hit every couch cushion. And a blanket. And me. And N-man. N-man reacted as I wanted to: he ran into the corner, yelling and crying "It's on me! It's on me! Get it OFFFFFFF!" But then running away whenever we tried to get his clothes off.

TK and I started mopping up as best we could the couch and floor, and stripped both boys. TK started a bath and threw the boys in the tub, while I grabbed the blanket, the kids' clothes, and headed down to the laundry. I stripped myself as I was completely covered. I mean, my hair, my shirt, both arms, my watch, my pants, even my socks. It was truly disgusting. I cranked the washer up to hot, and got it going. Then I raced upstairs, completely naked (and still with PUKE in my hair! ACK!)

Now I have a problem, though. What I want more than anything is to turn the shower as hot as it can possibly go, and wash 10,000 times while scalding my skin for about an hour until I finally feel clean. But of course, after the boys' bath, and the hot water washer load, there is almost no hot water left. So I'm forced to shiver in the lukewarm water, desperately washing and washing and washing, hoping frigid water is as good at removing germs as hot.

I went downstairs, and TK and I just stared at the couch. It was pretty disgusting. I finally decided to scrub it with a scrub brush and dishwashing detergent. Probably not the recommended treatment, but it worked.

We got the boys to bed. And that's when TK started to feel sick...

So, I fully realize our Valentine's Day could have been far, far worse. But still, I think that any Valentine's Day that starts out with manual labor and finishes up with half the house covered in vomit deserves a do-over. I hope all of you had a better weekend than we did. And I'm hoping next year we can have a slightly more romantic Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We interrupt this blog... bring you the GREATEST television news of the year. Do you know what this Friday is? It's the premiere of DOLLHOUSE!

What is Dollhouse, you ask? It's the newest show from Joss Whedon. You know, the genius who brought us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel, and Firefly, and Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog.

The show sounds kind of's about a group of women who are routinely reprogrammed to fit the needs of whoever hires them. But really, does it sound any stupider than the premise of a teenage girl who fights vampires? Or a vampire with a soul who fights demons? Or a space-western about outlaws with hearts traveling the solar system? Or a wannabe supervillain falling in love? Boy, Joss Whedon shows don't really condense well to a single sentence!

Dollhouse premieres this Friday, February 13 at 9pm on Fox. You all need to watch it. Seriously. You know how approximately half of my readers have borrowed the DVDs of Firefly from me and loved it? Yeah, well you're all still kind of in trouble for not watching it when it was on TV in the first place. Oh sure, I tried to tell you all how great it was, but did anyone listen? Judging from the ratings it got, I believe TK and I were the only people who watched it back when it was on TV!

So for all of you who missed Firefly, here's your shot at redemption. For those of you not familiar with Joss Whedon shows, they sometimes are a bit of a slow starter. Character development plays heavily in the shows, and you can't get that all out of the way in the first 10 minutes. So don't watch a few minutes and shut it off...give it an episode or two before you make your judgment.

Okay, I'm teasing, you don't *have* to watch it. It'll just make you supercool and really, isn't that what we're all aiming for? Then you can come back here and tell me about how you watched it and I'll love you forever!


Good golly, I'm excited about this show. But if we're being honest, this blog post is spurred by my fear that like Firefly, I'm going to get totally invested and then they'll cancel it after 10 episodes. And six years later, I'll still be mourning the death of the show...

So I'm desperately trying to tell everyone about it, in the hopes it'll get awesome ratings and NOT be canceled immediately as I fear.


As a followup to my post about Sophie Kinsella, of course the next day I got a call from the library saying my book had arrived. So, I picked it up and returned the one I bought. At least I didn't waste any money on this one! I wouldn't say it was awful, but I'll never reread it. I posted a review here, if anyone is interested.

The Fine Art of Compromise

The boys are getting so good at reaching compromises. And as an added bonus, the compromises they reach, that make them so pleased, are usually absolutely hilarious. Here are two conversations we had today:

We were talking about how when the baby comes, there's no place in our house now for the baby to sleep. B-man immediately offered to let the baby sleep in their room. I explained that babies cry a lot and wake up during the night, so while it was really nice of him to offer his room, it would be too annoying for him and N-man to have a baby sleeping in their room. N-man had this awesome solution: "How about we put the baby in the closet?"

Both N-man and B-man think that's the perfect solution. The baby is small...the closet is small. It has a door so they won't hear the crying. I don't know, it's kind of hard to argue with that logic!


Later, I was driving with the boys in the van. They were talking about a new house, asking what color it was going to be. I explained that we won't know until we find our new house. N-man said he wanted it to be yellow. B-man disagreed, demanding blue. The two started arguing back and forth with one another. Finally N-man suggested this awesome compromise: "Okay, B-man, how about the front of the house is blue and the back is yellow?" They both agreed this would work for them.

B-man then asked me what color it makes if you mix yellow and blue. I told him green, so his suggested compromise was a green house. N-man agreed that a green house would be a workable solution.

So I guess we better narrow our search to houses that are either a) green, or b) half blue, half yellow.


I just love this age! Three and a half years old is so fun!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ack! I'm a book snob!

This month, our book group is reading a book called Can You Keep a Secret? Yes, it's a book title that ends in a question mark. It's by someone called Sophia Kinsella. I suspect there are two kinds of people in this world: those of us who say "who the heck is Sophia Kinsella", and those of you who look at us like we have two heads and say "Shopaholic, DUH!" Oh. I think I've heard of that before.

I missed the last book group, so I didn't get to vote on the book we'd read, but I guess it was a somewhat contested choice. Personally, I like book group because it introduces me to books I otherwise wouldn't read, and this book CERTAINLY fits the bill. I can assure you, I would never have picked this up :) So I'm kind of glad this was the choice. At the very least, I now know there's a book called Shopaholic which is apparently kind of well-known.

My problem, however, is that I guess this book is popular. I've had it on request at the library for the past three weeks, and it still hasn't come in. Book group is only a week away, and I still didn't have the book! Kind of snuck up on me!

Gio is always awesome about being willing to loan me book group books, and I bet she would have loaned me this one, too. But, it's already getting really close to book group, and I was right next to the book store. So I figured I'd just go in and buy it. It's been about a month since I've bought any books, so I didn't feel too guilty about the expense.

I went in, and couldn't figure out what section to look in. "Literature" didn't occur to me! But at least according to Borders book store, Can You Keep A Secret? is an example of literature, so once I was directed to the proper section, I picked it up.

And something weird happened: I got SUPER embarrassed. It was embarrassing to have to ask where to find this book. It was embarrassing to walk through the store with it. It was embarrassing to pay for it. I felt like explaining to everyone I saw that it was a book group choice...I wouldn't really have picked it.

This was ridiculous. First of all, I regularly read total crap. I post a record of the garbage I read on the side bar. I obviously have no shame! I've gone into this same Borders and bought Laurell K. Hamilton books, which not only are ridiculous and badly written, but also have extremely embarrassing covers featuring scantily clad women. Now *that* is something to be embarrassed about, yet I do it without batting an eye. Second, I have plenty of friends who read chick lit. I have no problem with their reading selections, and don't judge them for it any more than I'd like to be judged for my geeky addiction to sci-fi and fantasy.

So what's wrong with me? How did I get to be a total book snob? My only slight consolation is that I managed to keep my crazy in check enough that I didn't actually explain to strangers that I wouldn't normally read this book.

Have you ever bought a book that embarrassed you to be seen with it?


How much you bet I read this book and totally love it? It would serve me right. Maybe in the future I can read a whole slew of books with odd punctuation. Got any book suggestions for me where the title ends in an exclamation point? I LOVE exclamation points!!!!!!!!


Random unrelated thought: My food aversions have now expanded to include everything. Except coffee ice cream. So at least I have that...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Missing the point

So, I'm reading Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger. It's about food additives and industrial food. It's not particularly in the "wow, isn't technology amazing" vein, let's just say.

However, whenever I read the book, the only thing I can think is "I need a twinkie". Oh, Polysorbate 60? I want a twinkie. The iron in enriched flour is also a weed killer? I want a twinkie. The cornstarch in a twinkie can also be used to make cardboard? I REALLY want a twinkie!

I've completely missed the point. And now I need to go out and get a twinkie. Or maybe a ho-ho.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Random cuteness

The boys have been pretty darn cute recently, if I do say so myself. I thought I'd share just a few of the things that have made me smile/laugh recently:

We told the boys about the new baby coming one night at dinner while we were having soup. We talked about how mommy had a baby in her tummy, blah, blah, blah. Conversation over, a few minutes go by, and I take another bite of soup. N-man looks at me askew and asks, "Why are you putting soup on the baby's head?"

We had to explain about how I have a stomach for food, and a separate spot called the uterus where the baby grows. Now if I talk about the "baby in my tummy", B-man always corrects me and says, "It's not in your tummy! It's in your UTER!"


We went to an open house last weekend. Not so much with the intent to buy, but to see what was available in our price range. N-man loved it, asking us repeatedly if we could stay there. We had to explain that we'll look at LOTS of houses before we find our house. Not to mention that the house was pretty horrid, so it was especially funny that he loved it!


I've been looking at online house listings as well from time to time. I found a house in our price range that has a library! I mean, absolutely nothing else about the house would meet our needs, but it has a library! With built-in shelves! I've been talking it up and showing the boys and TK the online pictures. Now whenever we see a house online, B-man wants to know if it has a library. Sorry to break it to you, bub, but houses with libraries are right out of our price range, except this one odd ball! I love that he wants a house with a library as much as I do, though I suspect he thinks there will be a pet turtle and story hours, just like at our town library!


Potty training N-man is still completely kicking my butt, but yesterday when he successfully made it to the potty, he invented the pee pee celebration dance. It was pretty hilarious, and looked like something you'd see in a Snoopy movie. I hope we have many more pee pee celebrations in the future!


N-man is super interested in rhyming right now. Everything we say, he rhymes right back to us. "N-man, it's time for dinner," we say. "No it's not," he answers, "it's time for LINNER!" I don't know why, but it cracks us up every time. Which I'm sure is why he keeps it up.


I've been sitting on the couch more than usual, thanks to near constant morning sickness (it's getting better, I HOPE!). The boys will play near me, and I'll interact by talking to them. B-man has started "mommy breaks" where he stops playing and comes over to cuddle with me for a minute or two. He's just the sweetest, cuddliest little kid!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Meeting with real estate agents

We've been interviewing real estate agents, and have gotten a $40k swing in estimates of what we should list our house for. Isn't that crazy? We'll probably pick somewhere in the middle of the high and low estimate. Sorry if I continue to be somewhat sporadic with my posts...we're doing a TON of cleaning up!

Things we've found so far:
  • Two size 18m outfits we were given when the boys were born, tags still on. Hey, maybe we'll have a boy again and can use it!
  • Approximately 12,000 empty shoe boxes and other assorted small containers, because I always think I'm going to use them for something.
  • Bottles we received as a hand-me-down and never used.
  • A bag of VHS tapes (we have no VCR)
  • 1 gazillion books of sheet music. Oh wait, we knew we had that. TK has sheet music for basically every song written between 1970 and 1990. You think I'm exaggerating. I'm not. If it was on the radio, and had any piano or guitar parts, he's got it. It's kind of a joke. In the 16 years we've been together, I don't think I've ever stumped him by asking if he had sheet music from any song from that era. He's got a sizable collection from pre-1970 and post-1990, though not quite as completist.
We've got two closets cleaned out. That's actually a good start...there are only 8 closets in the whole house, and we cleaned out the two biggest/messiest.

We also found a local company with a focus on recycling moving boxes. You buy boxes from them...they're used (if they've got them), or new. Then you give them back when you're done and they reuse them. How cool is that?

I tried freecycle first, as obviously free is best, but since I couldn't get any there, I feel pretty good about this set up.

And I'll leave you with some silly boy stories about things they did while we were trying to talk to different real estate agents:
  • Played the drums
  • Rode a NOISY ride-on fire truck around the table where we were talking
  • Pushed a NOISY car around the table, and then the floor when we made them move
  • Climbed all over TK and I
  • Ran around like crazy men
  • And most importantly, were totally cute and completely adorable, even though they were far, far louder, and far, far more constantly noisy than they've ever been before.
One of the real estate agents said that if we really needed to, we could stay in the house out of the way while people came to see the house. She was trying to say that we didn't have to be completely inconvenienced. As she was telling us, N-man started banging on the drums, and B-man started up one of his music toys. We could barely hear her! I said I thought we'd deal with the inconvenience of leaving the house when people come by.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What's your fortune say?

I made fortune cookies with the boys today. It's been something I've been meaning to do, since we can't eat at Chinese restaurants because of B-man's nut allergies. I never get to eat fortune cookies anymore!

Anyway, I used this recipe (scroll down past the wonton soup recipe), subbing orange and vanilla extracts for lemon and almond. I don't know how it turned out as we won't eat any until after dinner. It only made 9 cookies, and I think I made them too thick since they're kind of doughy in the middles instead of crunchy all the way through. It was pretty easy, though.

But I'm not really writing this to tell you about the cookies. What I want to tell you about are the fortunes. I decided to let the boys write the fortunes. I set up a table in word, then they told me what kind of clip art to add, and what to write. Here are some of the examples:

  • Next to a picture of a dog, "No touching locks".
  • Next to a picture of a horn, "I had a good day".
  • Next to a picture of a soccer ball, "Happy Birthday."
I love how random N-man is. It's no one's birthday. We have no rule about locks, neither pro nor con touching them. While I'm glad he's having a good day, why did he want a picture of a horn next to it? We didn't play with any horns today. He's a lovely mystery!

  • Next to a picture of a beehive, "Don't eat bugs."
  • Next to a picture of a dog, "Don't eat doggies."
  • Next to a picture of a tuba, "Don't drink milk out of a tuba."
I love the really good advice B-man choose to share. He always wrote a "fortune" that was related to the picture he chose. He's much more linear in his thought-process than N-man.

We wrote tons more fortunes. Far more than could fill our nine cookies. I should have doubled up! Or maybe I'll try this recipe again, using less batter for each cookie and spreading it far more thinly to try to get the traditionally thin crunchy cookies.

This was truly a case, though, where it doesn't really matter how the cookies turn out. It was lots of fun making them, and that's good enough for me. Though I hope when we try them after dinner they are yummy!

Monday, February 2, 2009


As if there's not enough going on, what with the pregnancy, this has spurred us to the decision that we need to move. ASAP.

See, we bought our house with the intent that it would be a starter home. We're not in a great school district, we're not in a great area, and the house effectively only has two bedrooms (technically, there's a third on the main floor, but it's small, has virtually no closet space, and currently is our library. Where would we put all our books??)

But on the other hand, our house, especially the kitchen, is really beautiful. We have a beautiful fenced in back yard that's perfect for the boys to play.

Back to the first hand, we're busting out of the house. There's little storage space (no attic, finished basement that we use partially as living space, partially as storage). We're kind of pack rats, so that doesn't work for us.

It's time for us to move, though we'll miss this house.

The housing market is not good. Hmm, can I make a more obvious statement? Of course, the positive side of that is that we're also looking to buy a house, and it's a good time to buy. I just try to remember that if it was a good time to sell our house, it'd be a bad time to buy. We're going to get screwed on one side of the deal! We've interviewed two real estate agents, and both think we'll get more than the number we have in our head as the bear minimum we could afford to sell for. Of course, one agent gave us an estimate very close to the minimum, and the other agent gave us a ridiculously high estimate...makes me wonder if she's even looked at what houses are selling for. Either way, I think we're putting the house on the market, hopefully by the end of the month.

In the mean time, we're boxing up some stuff and moving some extra furniture into storage so our house doesn't look so full. We're freecycling and donating and giving away as much as possible. I've got to go through my overflowing bookshelves and make some tough decisions about books...will I really ever read them again or want to lend them to friends? Because we have FAR too many books in the house!

Anyway, any house selling/buying tips for us? Anyone been through this with kids? B-man is espcially resistant to the idea of moving. Whenever we mention it, he gets upset and says he doesn't want to leave this house.

But we're kind of excited! I'm a little bit addicted to change. We've been in the Boston area longer than we've been anywhere else as adults. I love Massachusetts, and I don't want to leave this general area, but I am kind of excited about even making a small change in locale!