Monday, August 18, 2014


My grandma's house had two bedrooms, one bathroom.  She and my pawpaw raised four children in that house.  Someone was always staying there, whether permanently or temporarily, and it always seemed like there were way more people in the house than there was room.  My grandma, however, was known for being a champion housekeeper, and somehow, her tiny house always seemed cozy, always comfortable, always safe.  When I think of that house, the memory that instantly comes to mind is being a little girl tucked into my grandma's giant king-size bed with the windows open to let the breeze float through and the distant murmur of the television or grown-ups talking.  I remember lying in bed waiting for the sound of the train whistle from the tracks at the bottom of my grandma's street.  I would lie there, warm and cozy, and think of the train and where it was going and who was on it and what it was carrying as I drifted off to sleep.  Just as vividly, I remember spending dusk running around the yard trying to catch fireflies with my cousins, cupping them in our hands and peering in to see if they would light up, or putting them in a jar to watch them perform.
What has surprised me most about this new house is how much it reminds me of my grandma's.  The creaky floors, the one bathroom, the small bedrooms, the giant trees all around, the coziness of it.  One of our first nights here, I looked out the bathroom window to see a light show in the backyard.  Hundreds of fireflies blinking and twinkling in the pitch black.  I called Joe and we must have watched them for a solid ten minutes, appreciating the show.  This house also doesn't have air conditioning, which luckily has been fine since we've had an incredibly mild summer this year.  But it means we've been sleeping under a light quilt with the windows open, letting the breeze float through.  More than one night, I've laid awake in bed, feeling safe and cozy and surrounded by fresh air, thinking of my grandma and how familiar this feels.  All that's missing is the train whistle.  Then one night, I heard it.  Off in the distance, unmistakably, there was the train whistle from tracks that are about 5 miles from our house.  Hi, grandma, there you are. 
It feels too perfect.  I get to bring my baby girl home to a house that reminds me so much of the place where I felt safest and the most loved when I was little.  I will get to chase fireflies with her in the backyard and teach her to peer in to her little fist to see them light up.  I will get to put her to bed with the windows open and wonder if she'll listen for the train whistle and wonder about where it is going and who is on it and what it's carrying as she drifts off to sleep.  I get to bring her home to a place where I can feel my grandma all around us. 
Little girl, who will have her name.  And who will grow up over a thousand miles from my grandma's house but will still somehow get to be a part of it. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Other Baby

A few days after we moved in to the new house, and after a few serious thunderstorms, Joe noticed a puddle in the corner of the finished part of the basement.  He cleaned it up, wondering where it had come from.  The next day, another puddle in the same spot.  We couldn't figure it out.  The ceiling and walls weren't wet and had no signs of water damage.  Was it coming from under the baseboards? 
Then, Joe caught Lily peeing in the corner.  Our perfect little almost-3-year-old kitty who has never had an accident in her life, never even had so much as a hairball, and whose only vice has been using our couch as a scratching post, was now inexplicably peeing in the same corner twice a day.  Ok, and as to how we could have been so stupid as to not realize the puddle was cat pee?  Well, the floors down there are dark so you couldn't really tell what color the liquid was and I swear there was no telltale odor. 
She kept marking that same corner in the basement and then she started peeing in every corner of the living room on the hardwood floors.  Cats notoriously hate change, so I figured she was pissed at us for moving her to the new house, or maybe she smelled the old owner's dogs everywhere and was marking her territory, or maybe she didn't like the placement of the litter box.  We tried moving her litter box, buying a new litter box, putting out an extra litter box, nothing worked.  I began to get a little suspicious something more serious was wrong because even before we moved, I noticed she seemed to be peeing more frequently and was licking her naughty bits with increased dedication.  Then one day the pee on the floor was red.
I called and got a vet appointment for the next day.  Her urine sample was red, but the vet was unable to get a very large sample out of her.  What she could get had some bacteria in it.  The vet gave her a prescription for a urinary infection and we made an appointment for two weeks later for a follow up.  Doctor visit, urine analysis, prescription = $168.  The vet explained that she probably stopped peeing in her litter box because she associates it with pain when she pees, which makes sense because she still poops in the right place with no problems. 
Two weeks later, she seemed worse.  More pee on the floor, more frequent attempts to pee with only a little coming out at a time, still red.  Joe took her in for the follow up and she had to stay all day.  More urine samples, blood samples, x-rays = $500. 
They saw a mass in her bladder on the x-ray and the next day the doctor called us and said her blood work was fine, but her urine had tested positive for phosphorous crystals and the mass was likely a large crystal.  The treatment is prescription food which is formulated to break up the crystals and medication to ease inflammation in her bladder, plus pain meds as needed.  The crystal is rather large so it could take months to break up, and if it doesn't start getting smaller or a piece of it breaks off and gets lodged in her urethra, she'll need surgery.  How much would that cost, you ask?  Oh, just $1500.
And her prescription food is $5/can. 
She has another appointment in two weeks for more x-rays to see if the crystal is any smaller. 
I love her.  She's my first sweet little baby girl, but her timing could not be worse.  I have an actual baby on the way and need to be saving for maternity leave and there's that whole mortgage thing and I own a whole house full of empty rooms begging for furniture.  My adorable husband who loves this cat like whoa is all whatever it takes, we will borrow if we have to for the cat, and I'm a little more hey, you know we're having a human baby soon who maybe should come first?  I say that all tough, but in reality, my little Lily-billy will have whatever she needs and we'll just have to figure it out.  If this was inevitably fatal or we were prolonging her discomfort with no cure in sight, it would be a different situation.  Although I might change my mind if the hardwood floors start showing stains.  Just kidding.  Maybe. 
I just want her to be ok.  Preferably before the baby arrives.  And I'd very much like her to stop peeing on the damn floors.  But mostly the just be ok part. 


Monday, July 28, 2014


The same weekend we put the offer in on the new house, we also found out about this:
That is our baby girl! 
She was only 12 weeks along there and already she had her hand to her forehead in dramatic "ugh mom, enough with the pictures already" fashion. 
We're expecting her on November 30th and we're excited and overwhelmed and in awe all at once.
This pregnancy has been blissfully easy-peasy so far.  I never got sick, haven't had any of the fatigue or heartburn or other typical early pregnancy symptoms.  And other than a random two week period where I would have done horrible, inexplicable things to get my hands on some watermelon, I haven't had any cravings.  At this point, I'm two weeks away from the third trimester and feel totally normal.  I'm still only barely showing.  Every time I go to the doctor, I expect them to say "What are you doing here?  We were just kidding!"  But she's in there.  I can feel her now sometimes, wriggling away in there. 
I know she'll be here before we even can believe it, and I at once love and feel a little guilty that so far she's all mine.  It's up to me to keep her healthy and safe, and I get to feel her little movements and talk to her whenever I want - that's the love part.  The slight guilt part comes from Joe being so excited but not really being able to be a part of it yet as intimately as I am.  I'll often announce that she's moving when we're lying in bed at night and he'll reach over as quickly as possible to see if he can feel her.  Without fail, as soon as he puts his hand on my belly, she stops.  He hasn't been able to catch her once yet.  If I didn't know better, I'd think she does it on purpose just to mess with us.  That's my girl!
November 30th seems so far away and right around the corner all at once.  I can't wait, but I'm in no hurry to meet you, little girl.  Keep getting bigger.  And if you could make it so I start looking more pregnant soon, I'd appreciate it.  If only so when I'm at Dairy Queen at night in my pajamas and no make-up, it doesn't seem quite so sad. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

We're In!

One month ago, we closed on our new house!  We're all moved in, which was easy considering we have no furniture.  Our previous apartment was tiny and the few pieces we did have, we sold or gave away.  Most of them were cheap pieces I had collected from Ikea or Craigslist over the years and I decided we should upgrade for the new house.  Except, we can't really afford a houseful of furniture all at once.  So right now our house contains one bed, one couch the previous owners left behind, one chair, one ottoman, one dresser, and a portable camp chair.  That is all. 
A couple weeks ago, I ordered a new couch and a new bed with the upholstered headboard I've always wanted.  Our current bed will furnish the guest bedroom and the new bed will go in the master.  Of course, the fabric I wanted for both pieces had to be special ordered which means neither will be here for 8-10 weeks, so the camp chair it is for now. 
In the meantime, we're taking advantage of all the empty rooms and we painted the living room and the hallway with the master bedroom and the kitchen on deck next.  I can see every room finished in my brain and can't wait until the house actually looks like it does in my head.  It's stressful and overwhelming, but it has also been so fun to pick paint colors and fabrics and choose every detail of my home for the very first time. 
The most surprising part of this whole process has been my father-in-law, who has at once delighted me and driven me crazy.  He's a former contractor and construction foreman and the very first day we moved in, he gave the whole house a once over, pointing out every flaw and potential issue in our 50 year old house.  "Did you know there's a soft spot here in the bathroom floor?"  "What's up with the water pressure?"  "I'm calling Randy, he's a contractor who owes me a favor, about this bathroom floor."  "You know that spigot on the front of the house is leaking."  "You're going to need to get under there with a level."  "I think you're going to need new windows in this room."  "Well, the good news is that the retaining wall should be an easy fix."  WE JUST MOVED IN, GIVE ME A MINUTE. 
In the last few weeks, he has randomly come over with a new spigot pipe, a new dehumidifier for the basement, a new shop vac in case water gets into the basement, a new lawn mower, a new weed whacker, various new tools, mulch, a new tower fan, a new shovel, and a bunch of stuff I have no name for but I think they sell at Home Depot.  He has installed the new pipe and stripped and smoothed a few spots in the walls that appeared to be peeling from ages old painted over wallpaper.  I have come home from work more than once to find that new plants along the walkway leading to the front door had suddenly appeared and plant beds had been laid with fresh mulch.  He insisted on buying all the paint for the new house.  Yesterday he started a sentence with "I was over here watering the plants..." and I pointed out that we could do that, did in fact do that, and he was all "oh, I was just in the neighborhood, so figured I'd do it."  Apparently, there's a lot going on over here while we're at work.  Joe's dad is not an overly demonstrative, affectionate guy so it has been so sweet seeing how proud he is of his boy and his new house and all the ways he's trying to take care of us. 
Although, the other day he was over and Joe poured him a glass of ice water which elicited commentary about why we use tap water to fill the ice trays, and why don't we use the Brita to fill the ice trays, and this ice tastes terrible.  (The ice tastes fine.)  And then conversation about his desire to buy us a $900 water filtration system.  Umm...I have a $30 water filtration system called a Brita and the ice is fine.  Here's the thing - I don't have a dining table, or a coffee table, or a nightstand, or side tables, or dining chairs, or framed pictures, or lamps, or rugs, or bookshelves, or curtains, or curtain rods.  So before we talk about the water filtration system, maybe we could talk about the fact that you're sitting in a camp chair watching a television on the floor. 
I adore him and the delightful ways he drives me crazy with his over-the-top generosity, and vested interest in our house, and his priorities that are so not mine.  But I'm just saying, if you really want to insist on this whole buying us stuff thing, can I interest you in something on one of these tagged pages in this catalog? 
I do love that guy. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Nope, Not Yet

Hey, you know how in 2008 banks apparently passed out mortgages as if they were a free gift with purchase when you opened a checking account?  Yeah, they don't do that anymore.  At least, our bank doesn't.  Holy cripes, this is taking forever.  More documents and more documents and the appraisal has finally been scheduled and we finally got the appraisal back and now we're sending everything to the underwriter and oh, hey, now we need more documents. 
We made the offer on the house 7 weeks ago and according to our contract, we should be closing in two weeks.  The bank is not concerned about this.  We just extended our lease another two weeks until the end of June because, yeah. 
I am not annoyed at all. 
In the meantime, we are slowly but surely organizing and packing and sorting and donating and throwing away.  Oh my goodness, I love love love to get rid of things!  We haven't used this particular cup in the last 3 months, so I'm going to donate it, cool?  Did you just feel the same rush I did?  The utter giddiness of less crap. 
I am also super excited to finally get out of here and actually unpack and use all of our wonderful wedding gifts.  Most of them are still in their boxes, either stacked in the corner of our dining area or in my cousin's basement.  I don't even remember most of what we got.  It's going to be like getting them all over again!  There's been a lot of "should we donate our old dishes since we got all new ones?"  "We got dishes?"  "Yeah.  At least I'm pretty sure we did."  "Did we get new glasses too?"  "Uh...I can't remember." 
There's also been a lot of Joe randomly yelling, "WHEN ARE WE GOING TO CLOSE?" every time this tiny apartment annoys him, which is a lot. 
This process is wearing on him.  I thought I was going nuts living in this apartment, but now that we're finally almost out, Joe is slowly leaking crazy.  He works near the new house and apparently he's been taking an alternate route home occasionally to drive by, just to you know, check on it. 
"The 'for sale' sign is finally down."
"They need to mow the lawn."
"They still need to mow the lawn."
"So how did it look today?"  "Occupied."
In other news, in a couple weeks, I'm going to Ireland with my mom and my cousin Windy as a 60th birthday celebration for my mama.  I'm taking two glorious weeks off work and we'll be gone for 9 days.  My secret wish was that we'd be able to close just before I left and Joe would get stuck moving and painting while I was gone.  Unfortunately, it looks like that won't happen and we'll close after I get back and I will have to help. 
This whole situation is all sorts of bullshit. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pass the Paper Bag, Please

Buying a house involves lots of steps and paperwork and can you prove you were a student in 2011 and do you have any additional liquid assets and I'm sorry?  We have to pay school taxes on top of property taxes?  What the what?  There are two kinds of people in this world: people who know what's involved in home ownership and those who are blissfully ignorant.  I really have taken being the latter for granted. 
Today after another e-mail from the bank requiring more documents, I texted Joe and queried whether we were completely crazy and whether he would like to back out with me.  Maybe?  I'm scared.  And confused.  And I think there is still a lot we don't know.  And this is overwhelming and probably overrated.  Maybe? 
The inspection last week went fine.  There are some things that need to be fixed and some things that need attention, but nothing really major.  The sellers agreed to fix our main concerns so that's all good. 
Now we're waiting to receive the contracts from the sellers' attorney and gathering more documents for the bank.  I have a feeling this is the most prolonged and anxiety-ridden part.  I hope? 
Oh also.  We apparently owe on our taxes this year.  Um...90% of the reason I got married was for the tax benefits.  I feel betrayed.  By the government.  Which is pretty much the most devastating kind of betrayal.  So that with all this down payment and liquid asset talk has me more than a little anxious. 
April just began and I would already like to just get through it. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Apparently, even when you're a big ol' scaredy cat, the currents keep on moving.  The house we're buying has only been on the market for ten days, but has had 3 offers and tons of interest.  We live in a decidedly buyers' market, but a lot of the homes currently on the market are older homes that need a lot of work.  These "done" houses go fast even in this market.
We want to get this thing locked down so the sellers will stop showing the house for "back-up offers" and there's no chance someone swoops in and beats our offer. 
Luckily, the sellers seem to be on the same page with us and they asked us for a quick inspection date.  They want to get this thing locked down too so they can start focusing on buying their new house.
Which means, by some aligning of the stars, the inspection is already happening tomorrow.  Assuming that goes well and there are no issues, we'll move on to the contracts. 
I've been looking around our apartment lately and have realized I want to move almost nothing.  Most of our furniture are Craigslist or thrifted finds or Ikea items bought solely because they were cheap and functional.  They have served their purpose but I'm ready to graduate our taste and create our home with items we truly adore. 
I'm holding myself back from getting too excited and mind-decorating, but despite my best efforts, those rooms are filling my thoughts as I fall asleep.
Let's hear it for no termites!