Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Dental Visits & Ashes

There were a lot of forgettable parts of today. I didn't make a dent in my laundry. I yelled too much. Coffee + fasting = jitters by late afternoon. And I'm just plain tired.

But I hope I remember the sight of my four year-old John sitting in the middle of the very back seat of our van watching a Larry Boy DVD. I kept looking in the rear view mirror as we drove to the dentist appointment and he was as quiet as could be. We brought along his stuffed Shamu, but he had no need for it. On the way home, after having an extra adult tooth extracted, I kept looking in the rear view mirror again - this time to watch for excessive bleeding on the 25-minute drive home. But again, he didn't move a muscle. Just sat there with his prized orange balloon tied to his little wrist. Thank God for Larry Boy. And thank God for a wonderful pediatric dentist and his assistant; thank you, God for friends who pray for me; thank you, God for the example of the saints and for guardian angels to look to for comfort.

I got to hold John's hand all through the 20-minute procedure. He was cool as a cucumber. And I got to snuggle with him at home on the couch while we watched more Larry Boy until the bleeding subsided. And a little over an hour later, he felt good enough to make it to Mass for Ash Wednesday.

Tonight I went to kiss Bethanie good night and she said, "Mommy, you look so pretty in your ashes." That sweet comment melted my heart. I don't know if we're supposed to look good in ashes, but I have a feeling there would be a poem there if I contemplated ashes and mothers and beauty for just a few minutes. Unfortunately, I do not have a few minutes, because I am completely exhausted. Think I'll go cuddle up with Shamu and be glad this day is done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Sale, Finally Sold

My brother says that this will make a good story for my grandchildren. When the subject of the "Recession of the 2000s" comes up, it will be my "war story."

I think differently. I would like to write about it here and then never speak of it again. Deal?

We moved to Yucaipa in September of 2004. We bought a house. Why did we buy a house? We had bought a house in Hanford and it went wonderfully. But a lot of things went wonderfully in Hanford that didn't go so great in Yucaipa. Moral of this story: Just because things go well in Hanford doesn't mean they will go well in Yucaipa. Go jot that in your diary.

Eighteen months passed, Kevin's job was completed, and it became time to move. We treated the back fence with Thompson's Water Seal to make it look shiny new, then ceremoniously sledgehammered our "For Sale By Owner" sign into the front lawn.

If I call the ensuing months the "dark days of my soul," you should really kick me in the shins, because that's a tad over-dramatic. But at the very least, they sucked. I had three pre-school-aged children; I had to keep my house show-ready every day "just in case" even though we never had a showing; and my husband was traveling four or five days out of every week to Las Vegas. I think I owe my remaining sanity to the mothering website/chat room that kept me company, the Starbucks down the road that had a little "kids' area" next to a comfy couch, and my friend Magan who called me every single day. Kevin might have been paying her, I'm not sure. If so, it was worth every dime.

Here are some of the photos of the house. For my therapy, let's discuss what feelings they evoke.
There it is! Our little treasure just off the 10 freeway in sweet, hilly, little Yucaipa. I know what you're thinking: "Why, that looks perfectly nice! Why didn't it sell?" I KNOW! I've wondered the same thing myself, thousands upon thousands of times. Never mind its extreme proximity to the San Andreas fault. Ignore the disclosure statement we had to sign that shows surrounding area as "extreme fire danger" zone - after all, we bought it, didn't we? Certainly we aren't the only dumb-dumbs in the universe.

The quaint backyard, complete with handcrafted-by-Kevin playhouse/fort/slide, gas firepit perfect for roasting marshmallows, (which we did numerous times), and a pond and waterfall. I fondly recall Easter-egg hunts, inflatable kiddie pools, lots of friends over, and probably a thousand snails. But the snails don't show up on the photo - so why wouldn't anyone want to own this property?

Let me remind you: THREE young children. Three. And a mom with no place to go, aside from the grocery store. And this is how I kept the house the majority of the time. I am wiser now, of course. If I could travel back in time, I would tell Yucaipa Teri to relax on the housecleaning. Heck, I've since looked at houses for sale with roaches flitting about. But I cannot travel back in time and so this was the standard for the house-showings-that-never-were.
Made my bed, every day for fifteen months. Happily, this became a habit which has served me well in years since. At the time, though, it seemed grueling. I believe I became grouchy fairly quickly into the "for-sale-but-not-selling" months.
Meticulously clean. It is not lost on me that this house sold just days ago, no longer anywhere NEAR as neat and clean as it was during my residence. Yes, even I can detect the bitterness in my voice. I will work on letting it go. God was in control and still is. I am happy to report that now I hardly ever clean my bathroom. Call it post-traumatic stress.

A timeline:
Purchase house in Yucaipa - September, 2004
Give birth to Bethanie in house in Yucaipa - March, 2005
Celebrate Kevin's 30th in house in Yucaipa - complete with sumo wrestling and catered Italian (we are nothing if not diverse) - March, 2006
Put house up for sale by owner - April, 2006
Get nervous and list with realtor - December, 2006
Positive pregnancy test - 4th child! - January, 2007
Find rental house in Vegas, where Kevin is now working - July, 2007 - Kevin's company graciously and generously helps us with rent in Vegas for one year.
Realtor finds renter for Yucaipa house - August, 2007
Rental payment is $900.00 less than our mortgage payment. Hemorrhage money for three years and two months.
Various changes of tenants, problems showing the house, tremendous weariness with realtors.
Stop paying house payment and list as short sale - October, 2010 - Guilt and regret are enormous.
Fifteen months, two failed escrows, and many many minor heart-attacks later - SOLD!