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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time Flies (aka the year in review)

I was late to jump onto the blog bandwagon. I regret that I didn't start when we found out about this move. It would have been fun to have chronicled the experience and look back on everything that has transpired. So, I thought I'd post some of the things that didn't get included:

Getting on the Plane
When I think of the move to North Carolina one of my most vivid memories is driving to the airport, and getting on the plane. Our best friends (and their kids) drove us. The kids were cranky. We tried to push a lifetime of fun into the last weeks that we were in California. It was amazing, but everyone was exhausted. I spent the entire trip telling the kids stories about my childhood pets (the gerbil that got sucked up the vacuum cleaner, the parakeet we found in a bush, the grey cheeked parrot that left a scar on my neck - I have some good pet stories.) to keep them from fussing and pestering each other. The trip seemed to take hours and yet, I can recall each minute with precise clarity.

Once our friends left us and we were boarding the plane the reality of the circumstances hit Rachel like a hammer. She did not want to get on the plane. I thought we were going to have to drag her. When we finally got her seated other passengers gave us odd looks as they passed. Rach was in a state. She had tears and boogers literally flowing from her and, of course, not a Kleenex in sight. And we're taxiing down the runway. Pat ended up lifting his shirt and stretching out his undershirt to get her cleaned up. I'll have to ask him if he changed out of that booger-y undershirt, or if he kept it on for the whole trip!

Ready for takeoff!

The First Day of School
When we arrived in NC our house wouldn't be ready for nearly three weeks. We were living in a hotel about 30 minutes from school. The weather was obscenely hot and humid. As we left for school it was already miserable to be outside. We cranked the a/c until we were frosty-cool, and headed for the school.

When we arrived at the school we herded the kids towards the entrance for the requisite picture. Pat removed the lens cap and snapped the first picture, but got a surprise when he checked the results. It was so stinking hot that the lens had fogged. Welcome to humidity!!
Humidity at it's finest!

The Poof!
The builder got us into our new home as quickly as he could. We were frantic to get out of that hotel room. It was a long three weeks. The main living areas were mostly finished, but there was still a lot of touch-up work being done. Additionally, we decided to finish the basement. Banging and hammering became the music of our life.

Work was proceeding as planned, and everyone learned to go about their business and mostly ignore the construction. The kids were at school and Pat was busily working in his office in the attic when I noticed what appeared to be thick, white, billowing smoke. As I stared, temporarily frozen in shock, the smoke alarm began to blare. I died a little inside. We were newly out of the %&*@!# hotel and now the house was going to burn down. I began running from room to room in search of the fire. Pat was simultaneously performing the same search upstairs. We met on the second floor landing, and then ran for the basement.

But when we got down there everyone else was calm. Sigh. It seems that in order to move plumbing encased in concrete you need a (wait for it...) concrete saw. A concrete saw needs to be used with water, or bad things happen. The person using the saw was, apparently, unaware of this. What we thought was smoke was actually a massive plume of concrete dust. This dust was so fine that it actually hung in the air like smoke. The good news was that the house didn't burn down. Yeah! The bad news was that the dust got everywhere. Even upstairs. Talk about a cleaning nightmare.

Basement construction begins. Pre-poof!

The Terrorist
Soon after we moved in a juvenile snake got into the garage and decided to make it home. We discovered him when my (then) 5 year old was putting on her shoes and said, "Mommy look at that cute little snake hiding in daddy's shoe." We were in a hurry and I was grumpy. I was giving her grief and telling her it was just a shoelace when I nudged the shoe in question only to find a snake. I shepherded the kids to the side, and summoned Pat. He tried to shoo it out of the garage but, instead, the snake hid in a crack behind a built-in shelf. Unsatisfactory. In an effort to please me Pat proceeded to nail a piece of wood over the crack where the snake entered. Trapped! I figured we might get a bad smell for awhile when the snake started to decompose, but considered that to be a fair price to be rid of the snake.

Pat left the next morning on a business trip and things pretty much deteriorated from there. From that point forward every time I went into the garage the little bugger either popped out of a shoe, or zipped right across my path. Going into the garage had become a nerve wracking experience. After having most of our shoes held hostage by the snake (you know I was not about to pick up any of the shoes that were in the garage to see if he was in there -- those shoes were dead to us), the final straw came when I drove my car into the garage and nearly put my foot on top of him as I was stepping out. The snake coiled himself and gave me a menacing hiss. I screamed like a bad actress in a cheesy horror flick. Of course, my four kids were in the car with me because there always has to be a witness when mom comes unglued. I explained the problem and sent them inside (via the opposite side of the car, of course) while I got rid of the snake. I wish I had the next 20 minutes on tape. Completely fed up with being terrorized by this snake continually popping out at me, I decided to reclaim my territory (and more importantly the shoes). I got a broom and valiantly tried to sweep him out of the garage. This did not work at all. I thought he would see the broom and go the opposite direction. Nope. He attacked the broom and did a lot of hissing. I kept sweeping, the snake kept hissing, and a lot of screaming, colorful language, and dancing around like a moron followed. Thank God the kids were in the house. This was not one of my finer moments.

Ultimately, I failed. The snake inserted himself into a seam between the concrete and a baseboard and refused to budge. I put the garage on lock down and waited for Pat to come home. I know when to throw in the towel. Pat arrived home to an unstable wife, and was barely afforded the luxury of changing out of his suit before being dispatched to snake hunting. Ultimately he was able to kill the snake, and it seems to have been a constant parade of reptiles, snakes, frogs, and insects ever since.

This construction shot of the garage shows the built-in where the snake initially hid.

As I sit writing this I keep thinking of more fun memories. I'll have to save them for the next anniversary edition. This has gotten entirely too long! Did anybody out there make it all the way to the end?!


Leslie M said...

I did! I did!

Ken said...

Hi, I made it to the end too. Enjoy reading your posts. And today, packing an old printer to take back I came across about 15 sheets of paper from last year, when you were in Canada, with lots of notes and pictures of potential houses and school options. I remembered how stressful things were for you, those papers and your blog filled in more detail. Now that the move is over, it appears to be successful, another chapter in your book of life, Ken

Anonymous said...

UUmm...yeah I made it...but the bug posts need to end! If my dad gets a hint of this there is NO WAY he will enter the state of NC! Have you ever seen a 55yr old 250lb man walk in mid-air? You will if my dad sees a snake anything in resemblance of one! Ha! Love you, and your posts! Michelle