28 May 2007
But really . . .
We made an offer ( or David made the offer) on Friday/Saturday on the house that he liked in Madision. It was a project house but neighborhood was good, house had potential, yada, yada, yada, perfect. The seller in Germany who had trouble opening her email took the other offer. this morning (it was almost evening in Germany) We suspect that the other buyer has a loose timetable and gave her all the time she needed. We did need to get in there.
So we are bummed out today.
Nothing else new has come on the Madison market that is within our favorite neighborhoods and sort of within our price range. IT has been more than a week. I should work out of this slump before I drive up at the end of the week.
We took the day very slow and let Julia play with her clay as long as she wanted. She is still making dinosaurs, with a couple of sea creatures thrown in. The newest favorite is walruses -- we have three giants at the zoo. She makes nests and eggs for the dinos, but today she was making chairs and couches. Right now, she is making a doctor for the baby elephant who is on a couch in the doctor's office and playing with a duck. Sometimes I wonder if she will ever really click in school, but I am sure about about her imagination.
We went to an asian restaurant for lunch and Julia inhalled my seaweed salad, her udon noodle soup, and David's rice. She does love when I feed her with chopsticks. I forget about that at home. Green tea too, even though she doesn't like it when I make it at home.
Cheshire comes home tonight. We've already talked to her by phone from the Boston airport. We pick her up at 8:30. I really can't wait.
27 May 2007
We are probably leaving Indy on June 22. It will be the middle of this week before we work it all out with movers, Buyers and Sellers, but our Buyers should sign our last (and 7th) counteroffer today, our Seller (in Germany) should get our offer today, and our movers will be hearing from me on Tuesday to schedule the pickup, storage, and delivery. We may be in David's apartment for about a month but it is big enough and we will make it a little bit more comfortable with some chairs and a rug or so. Oh, and toys, toys, toys.
I will be up in Madison at the very end of this next week. with Julia and our Cheshire. If we get Commonwealth, I hope to see it. If not, we've got to buy a house next weekend!
By the looks of things, Julia and I will be up in Madison full time on June 23.
23 May 2007
If you take out the vacuum, the floor will be dirty.
Although it is pretty weird welcoming potential buyers to your house and showing them around (or following them around trying to be entertaining. Oh, what a mistake!) when you are doing a FSBO, it is weirder still to be told to vacate you perfectly clean house at a time certain and not even know who is looking at your house.
Contrary to any rational thought, a low bid is a reflection of my housekeeping. (Okay, just a little bit.)
A low bid by a Buyer you’ve never seen plants seeds of contempt, ingratitude, and down right unfairness. And some negative feelings develope. Okay, lots of negative feelings!
The owners of houses we are looking at give us credit for lots of imagination – they have very cluttered homes (who needs three couches in a livingroom?), they don’t clean up the dishes, the sign on their door says not to let the dog out (and who is on the other side of the front door ready to bolt? 65 pounds of golden fur). We, on the other hand, think our potential buyers are stupid. We clean, straighten, fix, declutter, hide books and family pictures, and generally try to make our humble abode into some sort of generic paradise. Who is doing this right?
Should I take down the travel pictures?
Will anyone think I really collect cookie jars and kitchie tea pots?
This would have added another third to the floor space in the house, and they were shocked to learn that such renovation would cost some where between 135,000 and 175,000. Sounded reasonable for all that work.
Anyway, after talking and looking and taking up my time (sorry, I am a little bitter), they decided on the "other" house on our old street in Butler-Tarkington.
Then Monday evening, two potential buyers looked at the house. The feedback was that neither was really interested, but an offer came in on Tuesday. It was really low -- 35000 under our offer price. We countered to see if they are in any way serious. I tried not to be insulted. I tried not to be depressed, but an offer the second day after listing, however low, is not bad.
I've been trying not to write much about housekeeping and selling the house, but I give up right now. I wrote this on Sunday. And then, more to follow.
I showed the house again today. A young 30ish couple coming from Denver and their realtor. He is coming to a research position; she is either pregnant or they are trying. How do I know about her – just a guess, just a guess. They knew about working on houses and gardens and seemed to take their time looking. They are deciding tomorrow and may stop by again. I could hope that they do, but hoping right now is silly. They seem to me the type of people who have some vision, and I guess that is what we have been buying this house and living here. There is a bit more vision needed to complete the house. I do want to tell people looking that this is a good house, filled with really good feelings, good Chi tumbling about not too quick or too slow. But how can you say that to a looker. They have to know these things for themselves.
I have been keeping house. House keeping. Keeping house. The effort of keeping the house ready to show at less than an hour’s notice is a challenge. It generally means vacuuming at least three times a week. Rooms with tile need that to be perfectly clean. Stray dust, dog hair, a few stray feathers, crumbs that the spicy dragon drops – really hardly worth getting the vacuum out under usual conditions, not continually, not on some sort of schedule. I can appreciate those who keep house so well. I don’t remember when my mother or grandmother cleaned when I was too young to have cleaning chore myself, but I am sure that they spent their days doing it. Those houses were always clean – a baby could crawl in white overhalls, food could be picked up off the floor.
I enjoy the knowing of the house as I do right now. We have had no choice but know this house, considering all the work the house has needed, and this is just another way to know walls and ceilings and places where the wood floor is not perfect and doors that don’t close completely, and nooks that attract dust. I have theories of dust and how it gets to where it is going. Great physics experiments would have to be performed to determine whether dust is a sentient species that moved faster than light.
Today was a straightening and vacuuming day to get the house ready for lookers. I didn’t clean the inside of the microwave and the upstairs bathroom that needs doing. Not that they are really dirty, not really, really dirty, just not as clean as they might be, the faucets don’t shine, the tile is soap dulled.
20 May 2007
Julia’s passport arrived in the mail on Saturday, so Julia and I will be traveling to see Cheshire in Bolivia this summer. David too if he can, but I gotta’ see more of my girl than a measly 12 days, so I gotta’ go.
Just to prove that nothing is static, after a weekend of really very good behavior, Julia will not go to sleep tonight. We usually lay in bed with her until she falls asleep but tonight I was there for a very long time and each time she began to fall asleep, she would shake herself awake. I have finally come downstairs to clean up and have a few minutes of grown up time. She is now in my bed still calling now and then to make sure I am here. I guess the good thing is that she is not crying,
Julia’s behavior at the zoo was really pretty good – listening most of the time and being pretty cooperative getting off the train and the merry-go-round at the end of the ride. We saw the usual elephants, lions, giraffes, and dolphins. I thought I’d treat her to a new toy and we stopped at the zoo store just before we were ready to leave. This is the first time Julia and I have tried shopping for a toy together. (We have been practicing going into stores for short shopping trips.) I told her that she could have one thing, and she told me she understood. She did not grab or run around the store which I expected she might do (And what she would have done a few months ago. Instead, she looked at lots of the toys pretty carefully. She considered the stuffed toys – hugging and kissing stuffed lions and dolphins – she considered refrigerator magnets. She wound up picking out a set of little zoo animals and almost patiently waiting on line to pay for it.
She played with the animals tonight and when she was finished, she put them back into the box (with a bit of help) and put the box away. Julia can put away her toys but she rarely does so without reminders. This was such interesting behavior. It seemed that she really liked and appreciated these little animals.
17 May 2007
I showed the house on Tuesday two hours after we arrived home from Madison and again on Wednesday to a Buyer and his Realtor. I see Debbie tomorrow at 8:30 to get us listed. What we need is more people walking through, more people to know about our house to get it sold. People are looking on the internet, not the newspaper. That’s what we are doing.
I am so hopeful for this week, and it is Thursday.
Julia’s behavior improved as we spent time in Madison in general. However, when we visited the Monona school, she was incredibly awful. Laying on the floor, refusing to do as I say, entering a room and immediately pulling on things, and making lots of noise. I am getting better responding to her evenly and without any anger, and forgetting about the behavior as soon as we are out of the situation.
Getting back home, Julia has found some space of calm. She is playing with toys, watching movies, and playing with clay. Her eating is not good right now, and she is not getting to sleep easily, but she is becoming more reasonable about both of these.
Julia refines her language daily. This week she is asking more questions and using the -ing ending more often. She loves her nonfiction dinosaur books and is learning more and more names of dinosaurs. School has a two more weeks and we have no plans for her care. I am hoping that I can have her all day every day and it be good. That we can establish a schedule for her to live with and flourish under. We shall see if I have such patience, and if Julia is willing to spend sooo much time with just me. And we shall see if this is all possible while we are in the transition period.
Yesterday, though an email friend, I showed Julia a sight that played one on the songs that is on the CD from China that we seem to have lost. The song is Mama Hoa, and the web site had just a sample of the song and Julia wanted me to play it over and over. She snuggled close to me and we sang it many times. It was the first time I saw the meaning of the lyrics of a Chinese children's song called Mommy's Best –
Only mommy is the best in th world.
When a child has a mommy, she feels treasured.
When she gets into mommy's arms,
there is endless happiness to enjoy.
When a child does not have a mommy, she is most worried and anxious.
A child without a mommy is like a weed.
Away from mommy’s arms,
where can she find happiness?
Of course, I wonder why you would teach an orphan a song like this.
Now I understand why our guides in China were sure that Julia was singing this when she sang her song over and over, but although she likes this song it is not her first song – Mama dah low yo ho. How I would love to find that song and what it means.
We have allowed Julia’s time listening to Chinese to slip away. She didn’t seem that interested and seemed to be concentrated on English for a few months, but interest is coming back. We need to get that CD that we got in China, and to find other materials about China and in Chinese. Case in point – she loves the Chingtaosaurus – a dinosaur who bones were found in China.
13 May 2007
I have two appointments to show our Indy house this week so I am optimistic there as well. And we sign with a realtor on Friday if those don't work out. Somehow, we are going to be in Madison asap, I am hoping for a June moving.
We are watching the Lilo and Stitch movies with Julia. She likes Stitch more than Lilo. So my spicy dragon wants to ask like a little blue monster. What is a mother to do?
12 May 2007
10 May 2007
Julia and I have had a tough week. Julia's behavior is pretty awful. I know that some, much, or most of it is due to all the transitioning that we are doing, but I think I have also felt a bit too sorry for her and let our discipline lapse.
Last night, I had planned a very nice evening. ShaDiamon was going to come over for dinner and a movie, we were going to have hambergers and corn on the cob, and I rented Cinderella III (Was there a II?). I picked Julia up from school and we went to the post office to get her passport. Julia was not listening to me as well as she should and I just tried to placate her while we waited in line and filled out additional forms and had her picture taken. We then went to the library and found lots of dinosaur books which Julia just loved, but her behavior in the check out line again was not very good.
When we got home, I started dinner and Julia was supposed to play. She wanted to turn on TV and as I wanted to get things done quickly, we put on one of the land before time videos. Before it was time to pick up ShaDiamon, I warned Julia that we would be leaving soon. When itwas time, I told her I was going to turn off the TV and she blew up. Julia screamed and ranted and had a full fledged melt down. She hasn't done this in months but I can see that she has been heading for it. I tried to calm her down, tried holding her, tried to just get her into the car. Nothing worked. I let her go on for a little while and then I put her in her room and called ShaDiamon to cancel the night.
I put Julia in her room so I could make the phone call but she was kinda' sorta' willing to stay there, so I left her there. I made dinner and finally she calmed down. I told her that she could come down for dinner and she did. This time and really for the first time, she knew she had done something I really didn't like. She suggested going to get ShaDiamon but I told her we could not do that now. We had our dinner but I was not my usual chatty mommy self -- but I wasn't angry either. Just stern.
When she finished eating, She put her plate on the counter near the sink and I asked Julia if she wanted to hug and kiss me. She flew into my arms and apologized over and over. I told her that I was very disappointed with her behavior but that I loved her. Then we did not watch movies like we usually do but sat at the table working on her writing and drawing. Later, we took a walk with the dog and we went upstairs to get ready for bed.
I think with all the selling, moving, having David working in Madison tension, I am giving into the easy way out with Julia. And I don't think it is working.
Today, I am packing us up and going to Madison. David can use the break of driving down and back, and Julia and I can use the time to be together and get back into sync.
08 May 2007
This little girl, ZhiLan is her given name, is a little less than a year younger than Julia, and according to Julia's papers, they were best friends and even slept together. When I told Julia that Meow-Meow was going to be adopted, Julia told me that Meow-Meow was "going in fast car" and "crying this morning." When I showed Julia the pictures of her friends new sisters, Julia told me that "Happy so many Jei-Jei."
Julia left for school before Meow-Meow's mom, Mindy, posted pictures of their adoption day, so Julia will have to see them later. Oh, the pictures are wonderful! I can't be happier for this little girl, and I can't wait to meet her in person. Mindy wrote that the doll that we sent (with a copy of the only picture that we have of the two of them together around the dolls neck) was a favorite right away. That doll got a lot of kisses from Julia before it left our house and I am sure the Abby Meow-Meow is catching them.
AND, wonder of wonders, Mindy found out about the girls' pet names!! When we were in China we could not get any information out of Mr. Xiao, the orphanage director who delivered Julia. He said that Julia, or ZhiKuang, had no pet name, although it was obvious that Julia did not answer to ZhiKuang. Julia told our guides that she wanted to be called Bye-Bye and later she identified the picture of her with ZhiLan and Bye-Bye and Meow-Meow. Well, the orphange workers that came to deliver ZhiLan told Mindy that the girls' pet names are Miao Miao, which means slender or thin, and Bai Bai which means swaying or walking (how perfect for my girl who dances and flies around our house). Mindy even posted the Chinese characters for the names. I am so very happy to have this little bit of Julia's past. To have a real name for the little one who is now our Julia is to have a little piece of her past. Something that I will keep so safely in my heart for her.
Mindy also wrote that the orphanage workers were very happy to see the photo album that I sent. Although Mr. Xiao was not very helpful or friendly to us when we were in China, I know that there were people who loved and cared for Julia. She could not have been so willing to love and be a part of our family is she had not known love and belonging in her younger life. I hope that all who loved her get to see it.
The orphanage workers were also happy that our families intent to keep in touch because the girls were such good friends. No question about that now!
This is our white Rhinos at the Indianapolis. I just love this picture! Maybe they are napping, maybe they are doing a Martha Graham dance exercise, maybe they are practicing their sycronized swimming moves, maybe they are just beat after being friendly and helpful to people coming to watch them run around their pen. I am so very sure they are thinkig deeply, taking cleansing breaths, and sending out joy to the universe. Tee-hee.
By five when we closed up shop, I was exhausted by . . . being so nice and helpful for three hours??? LOL.
The woman, Cheryl, who returned on Monday came with a realtor (she had asked me about this prior to her coming) and they went over things with a fine tooth comb. Lots of relevant good questions and also lots of oohs and ahs. Cheryl’s timetable is perfect. She has sold her house and is in an month-to-month apartment right now. She is down to 2 houses that she likes and ours is one.
Oh, St. Joseph make it happen.
So I can breathe out after weeks of cleaning, fixing and worrying. I have been so tense that if I let me shoulders really drop my ears will get frost bite. No, it is beautiful spring right now and the outside really looks good. I am so grateful that I am seeing the garden for the last time in the spring, but it makes it harder to leave. Perennials that I've nursed along for years now look good! And there actually looks like there is some plan to my plantings. Colors are meshing together and giving each other room to shine. I feel both very attached to every plant and blade of grass and ready to separate from it. I have the idea that it is time to leave this work-intensive private garden and be more active in a community. I am not sure what that means.
Julia had a hard week last week and so I had a hard week. Think she is picking up on the tension in the house? If she isn't, she has rhino hide! Our 10 year old friend, Matthew, was with us for part of last week and at one point he told me that my job as Julia's mother was really hard and he felt sorry for me. Last week, he was right on. (I wondered what Julia was thinking, with the tension in the house, the constant cleaning, Daddy gone, and Matthew staying with us -- how confusing is all of that?)
Her behavior in school is better if you consider compliance better than fighting the system, but I don’t think she is learning much right now. There are less than three weeks of school and I have been so busy and pre-occupied that I haven't done much about it, but I plan to try home schooling this summer to the extent that I can. She is learning the names of some of her favorite dinosaurs – big favorites are duckbills right now, Maisaurus, Parasaurolophus, and Chingtaosaurus – the last was found in China which Julia seems to be very proud of. She is just starting to show some connection to China these days, very slight interest, but some. I figure I will use dinos as a jumping off place to work on numbers (she is counting! -- really counting, not just reciting numbers), colors, and her letters.
I have my CLE (continuing education for law) to catch up on and I have to do it before leaving for Wisconsin and I can do a bit of garden work just to keep it up even if the house is sold. But I want to have some fun this summer too -- traveling to see Ches who will be in Bolivia and visiting the east coast, getting Julia and a new house ready for living longterm, and swimming. Julia remembers the Florida beach very well and talks about it all the time. I hope the Wisconsin lakes satisfy her.
David is still loving Madison -- so great!!! Yes, we are very grateful that we are moving to this very cool town, but housing is more expensive than Indy and we are looking at smaller homes and smaller lots. I am over any regret about this and hope it is okay for Julia and the dog.
I hope that we can drive up and be with David for the weekend coming up. I hate seeing him do the 5 hour trip every week. And then last week, he took a wrong turn and put an extra hour on his trip. As I said before, last week was a tough week.
05 May 2007
Any extra prayers, good wishes, magical spells, or extravagant thoughts? Please send them our way.
01 May 2007
Free fall from Indy to Madison. The sideways move west and north.
After weeks and weeks of cleaning and fixing and weeding and mulching, we finally put the For Sale sign in the yard last Sunday. Of course, Julia had to make sure that the sign worked, and that anyone could take a flyer. No kid proof lock on the "infor-tube" but those are clearly meant to keep only the grownups out. In the last three days, people have taken about 25 flyers. We have gotten two calls for appointments on Saturday. We are doing an open house on Sunday and St. Joseph does his work, we will have an offer by the end of the weekend.
On other fronts, Julia is doing her part to find us a new home. She considered something like what her Aunt Barbara is building. Julia likes those plastic logs and the built-in table.
Another option is something much more traditional. The shutters really turn her on.
Julia is having a bit of a hard time without Daddy being home. She had trouble getting into her classroom and once again has trouble with transitions.
Julia's firsts for the week are -- she dressed herself the other day. I've known that she could do this but she hasn't volunteered. She likes the attention and the personal care. I don't mind giving her this. She will decide to be independent when she is ready. Julia also has been going through the word books that we have. It is amazing how many nouns she knows. She is still have lots of trouble with prepositions.