Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

weird limbo

We're in the weird house selling limbo these days.  It's spring-ish here and our onions are coming up in the garden and the bulbs we've planted are going to bloom soon.  There are all of these familiar turning season things happening and yet, it already doesn't feel like our house anymore as we anticipate moving on.  We've had quite a few showings which are exciting, disruptive, and just plain weird.  I'm finding shed hair all over our house that certainly isn't ours and our doorknobs have been turned so much that they need tightening all the time!  Luckily we have a small breather in the schedule today and tomorrow.  Since I work at the shop on Thursday afternoons and we have a babysitter we basically said we weren't available, it's just to hectic.  No showings are scheduled today so that means we have 48 hours where no one has to see our house except for us and our babysitter.  When Clara asked me what I wanted to do today I said, "I want to play with toys and make as much mess as we want and not clean anything."  She laughed and said I was weird. 

Oddly, I can't seem to stop cleaning.  It's become such second nature to me at this point to pick up everything, actually it's become all of our nature to pick up everything -- even Clara is joining in and cleaning up things without being asked.  It's bizarre!  So today I bring you our attempts to not clean our house (and a Bob progress report).  For those of you who have been to our house, the funny part is this may be the cleanest you have ever seen it.  ha ha ha

This is my tiny decorating indulgence in our dining room.  I had to keep some knitting books/supplies out because, well, it's my job, and honestly I think I would go crazy if I packed it all!  So I decorated with knitting books, yarn, and other random objects.  All animals pictured are ones that produce yarn... one of the bowls even has a picture of bamboo on it. You'd have to be a fiber geek to get the reference without having it pointed out, but it makes me smile.  I thought the stager was going to take this apart but he said it was great.  woot.

Our living room, with stuff on the floor!  We cover up the chair because it's where Kitten (the cat you will never see) sleeps at night and it gets pretty covered with cat hair and I hate vacuuming it.  The girls playing legos for the first time in at least a week and jackets on the floor!  It's so refreshing to act like we still live here.

Zoë hamming it up for the camera.  She gets more hilarious practically every second.

I can't believe the stager let us keep the yellow lego sculpture that Josh whipped up playing with the girls.  We kind of put it there as a joke. 

Our den completely un-tidied after our previous evenings' entertainment (bills -- me, video games -- josh,  ruffle pillow-- Boodles)  A blanket on the floor and catalogues for yarn and knitterly things on the floor that I need to give to Naomi and bills to be mailed on the coffee table!  Seriously, Boodles really loves that pillow, he growls when any of the other cats come near him. 
Our half bath with toilet paper rolls on the back of the potty so Clara can reach and a hand towel we can actually use!

Our kitchen with a radio on the counter (!) and trash and recycling.  It is so freeing to know that we can generate garbage and recyclables for the next couple of days without worrying about hiding it. 
Our kitchen again with a dish towel we can use (yay!) and Bob in the window.  Oh Bob. 

Bob, and the cats in general, may be the only thing keeping us all sane.  Bob, for those of you keeping up with him, is doing great.  We are totally in love with him.  It's hard to get a picture of him because as soon as you approach he wants pets or to play.  He is insane for plastic bags and beads and marbles so all of us have had to be especially careful to keep these things away from him in case feels like eating them.  This includes me cleaning up a bowl of bead, button, and marble soup that he found at 2 am last night.  Devoted kitty parents!  We're trying to redirect him to other cat appropriate toys, but he just loves the sound of the beads on the kitchen floor and we can't find a toy that makes quite so satisfying a sound. 

He jumps unlike any cat I've ever known, higher and farther with what appears to be no effort whatsoever.  He is so graceful, which I find odd for a cat with half a tail.  He is also our first sink cat -- he loves to sleep in our bathroom sink.  It is too funny.  He also regularly sleeps with the girls.  He loves them just as much as they love him.  I honestly can't imagine why anyone would think he was a bad cat.  He's very much a kitten, with all the play and mischief that implies.  But when he mellows in a few years I see a (hopefully) long life of snuggles and lap time.  He really is one of the most affectionate cats I've had and that is saying something because Boodles and Monkey are pretty notoriously friendly cats.  Kitten is our little freak, which is fine, he hides under the bed until Josh comes home and snuggles him.  But even he loves Bob, they play chase cat with each other and have been known to share the brown chair for snuggles.  I'm glad that Kitten finally has a friend, since he seemed odd man out to Boodles and Monkey who are litter mates.

Bob says, this looks like me but doesn't smell like me at all!

Another funny thing about Bob is he is deeply in love with our real estate agent.  So much so that he has to hang out in the basement during showings because he tries to climb him.  Josh, the agent, and I will be hanging out discussing things -- like when we were signing the listing papers, and he'll just climb into his arms.  It's adorable and crazy.  Lest you think we're abusing him, he loves the basement and now asks to go down there.   I've put another litter box down there and he has lots of soft places to sleep and windows to watch the squirrels.  It's nearly as clean as the rest of the house, so it's perfectly safe for him.  The people seeing the house go into the basement eventually and Bob can come out when they do.  He would just jump everyone for pets the minute they get in otherwise.  Without fail he has smelled like the agent's cologne every time we come home after a showing, so I know he gets some pets from him before he locks up and leaves.

I really don't know how people handle having their house on the market for long periods of time.  All sarcasm about towels we can't use and generating garbage aside, the limbo is kind of getting to me and it's been just over a week since our house went on the market.  We have a pretty good idea of where we want to move and it would be so nice to put an offer on that property and start planning our next step -- instead of just dreaming about it.  We have another showing on Friday morning -- people coming to take a second look.  Please pray that it is beautiful sunny weather with a nice breeze off the river and they adore it and offer us lots of money!  okay?  In the meanwhile I'm going to intentionally leave that milk ring on the counter and maybe pull out a really messy craft project and leave my sewing machine dining room table overnight.  It's wild and crazy over here, let me tell you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

complicated feelings

It's hard for me to describe precisely the mixed feelings I have looking outside and seeing the for sale sign in my front yard.  I am so proud of myself for getting the house ready and looking perfect.  For decluttering and doing the updates that our agent and stager said were most important.  But we have never wanted to leave this house.  If we could pick it up and drive it to Warren and plop it down on a nice lot in the neighborhood that we want to live in, we would be thrilled.  But that can't happen.  So it is also with sadness and regret that we put up that sign. 

We have been living in that place of sadness and regret for the past 24 hours.  When the realtors from our agent's office walked through and our agent took the photos for the web it all kind of smacked us in the head.  As hard as it is for me and Josh to wrap our heads around moving... this place has been the backdrop to most of our marriage, the bad (which is too personal to go into, of course), the good (almost every other moment) and the amazing (the birth of Zoë comes to mind)  While it is nearly impossible for me to imagine *not* living here -- and I have a pretty good imagination -- it is actually impossible for the girls to imagine living somewhere else and they are basically in a state of low grade anxiety to full out panic all the time.

It is real to them now, or as real as something can be when you are 4 or almost 2.  We've been up to our neck in unpleasant and regressive behavior for the past few days and Mommy and Daddy are tired.  We are trying to find a place of calm to honor our own sadness about leaving this place that has been so special to us and at the same time digging deep for the compassion required to manage these unpleasant behaviors. 

It makes me think a lot about stress and how we all -- young and old -- handle tough situations.  The more I think about parenting, the nitty gritty unpleasant stuff, tantrums, sleep training, potty training, all of the difficulties that we parents have to deal with the more I see grown ups having the same issues.  Violent behavior, massive debt, marriage equality, all of these are starting to look like toddler tantrums to me -- We talk about our kids growing out of these things but I don't think we do.  I see adults having temper tantrums all the time! 

People talk about children being mirrors of their parents and if there is one thing that I've learned about myself being a mother is that I have a crappy temper and that I have temper tantrums all the time.  Under normal circumstances I handle them pretty well but when under the stress of parenting -- not so much.  In trying to teach the girls how to manage the day to day suck that we can encounter (no you can't have that new toy, yes you have to share with your sister, no you have to wear pants,etc... ) I have had to learn to actually manage the day to day suck that we all encounter (no you can't have that new toy, yes the first amendment is for everyone not just the people you agree with, no you have to wear pants, etc...)  It's not about suppressing the strong emotions, because really, look where that is getting us as adults.  It's about understanding where those emotions are coming from and either working through them or letting them go because they're stupid/irrational.  One result of Clara asking me "Why?" all the time is I have to think about the whys and often they just don't exist.

We are all trying to manage the difficult (and often contradictory) feelings we have right now.  Which is to say there is also great excitement about our next step -- which may also include some construction.  oy.  It's too soon to really talk about yet, and there are many decisions that need to be made.  But as sad as we are about leaving here, there is a lot of excitement about going there.  In the meanwhile if you know anyone who's looking for a sweet house in a great neighborhood email me and I'll send you the link to our listing.  I still can't believe my house is this clean.