30 June 2007

Julia's room

Working on Julia’s room today. She is on the floor playing with her clay and I open the boxes that I have found with toys and winter clothes and games and dolls. She plays quietly and comments only on what she is making with the clay, but she is watching the rug go down and the furniture and shelves be moved around. Toys that she has not seen (and has not missed or asked for) that have been packed away for three months now emerge. Rose the bear! The old cabbage patch dolls! Puzzles! And the pound a peg! She finishes playing with the clay, washes her hands, after three reminders, and revels in the old, now new stuff.

I am making a list – again, with the lists! – of what there is to do in each room. From painting and replacing a window pane to getting light installed in the closets and a few spots out of Julia’s rug. I’ll do the same for each room and then have a whole list of projects to work on. I do have to find a handyman. Oh, and we have California closet units in each of our tiny closets. I was not too impressed at first, but working with Julia’s stuff, I am finding the units and moveable shelves to be quite useful and easy.

Better check on my spicy dragon who has been washing her hands too quietly for a LONG time.

27 June 2007

Our crayon box

Here is the new house. When Cheshire saw the house, she said it looked like a crayon box, and the name is appropriate.

This is the front of the house and the deck. There is a built in bench and we put our outdoor table and chairs. It is shady in the morning which is great for sitting and drinking that hot morning drink.
This is a garden bed between the sidewalk and the street. There are a few of these in Indy but Madison seems to have a few on every block.
This garden bed looks better up close than it does in the picture. There are some weeds but there is also lots and lots of interesting plants to work with. There are also two terraces that can't be seen right now. This is going to be a fun garden to work on. I am going to give it time to grow to just see what it is like. I don't intend to do much this year and even next apart from weeding and mulching.

Of course, I can't be held to that.
The front door is where the crayon effect is the plainest. I admit that it is growing on me. I was thinking yesterday that the light above the door does not do the painting justice.

A contractor came over yesterday. He is looking at our bathroom and our kitchen to figure out what to do with these rooms. We are planning to redo both of these rooms within a year (with the assumption that I will be working before the end of the year).

He also took some molding off a door way so that we could fit our frig into its space.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday morning

Waking up this morning after two nights of sleeping in the new house had a lovely familiar feel. This is not home yet, but this is a good house with a gentle spirit. Also, a good air conditioning system! It was 91 and sweltering yesterday and we expect more heat today.

The move was good but moving into a smaller house sucks. We seem to have too much of everything. Of course, there are piles of boxes everywhere which makes the house even smaller. Hopefully, once I start putting things away, I will see how stuff will fit in. We’ve already rearranged the living room twice trying to make space for bookcases and shelves for our "collections."

The local guys who unloaded us were interesting and very friendly. All three had spent time in prison and were delighted to meet a lawyer who did the kind of work that I did for the court. Ah, my guys! One of them might do some handyman work for us -- like cleaning gutters.

Oh, our frig doesn't fit and so it is sitting sort of in the middle of the room right now. I am not sure if just taking off door molding will give us the room to fit in where it belongs. The other option is to cut the counter, but that sound really messy and I have no idea how much storage space I will lose. We are planning to redo the kitchen soon, this may just push us into sooner. Also, I have a call into a plumber to hook up our stove, washer, and drier. I need to get cookin' and washin'.

Julia has been a great kid the last few days. Talk about rising to the occasion. On moving day, she played on the swing set in the back yard in the morning, went on a quick bank, grocery, mcDs for the crew run with me, and then later in the day, she went with Tanya (the realtor) and her daughter to a park. Yesterday, she sat with the realtor during closing, drawing on little pads and letting us pay attention to the closer. All the time, she was patient and undemanding. Maybe it is the air here, maybe she senses that mom needs this behavior. What ever it is, it was great.

The closing was a bit anticlimatic. The sellers (MJ and Nick) had pre-signed their documents. We signed document after document and we caught mistakes in some which meant changes and more signing, and adjustments to final figures. And then our lender did not wire the money and there were no checks to give out. But we are in and finished. Money will be distributed today. Much more like a business deal than a house sale which was really fine. It was rather interesting to find out that the realtor for this house lives a few houses down, and our realtor is looking at houses in this neighborhood.

We met MJ on Sunday before we moved in when we came to look at the house empty (David saw it this way before he made the offer). We surprised MJ as she was trying to take the hardware she uses to put her canoe up in the garage. She wants to divide some of the perennials in the fall and I was very happy to agree. I have ideas for the garden beds here bit there is lots to start with and so I will let them play out just weeding for awhile.

Our neighbor, Maria, came over to introduce herself last night. She brought a vase of flowers from her garden, not knowing what a perfect gift that is for me. She is a kindergarten teacher and gave us some hints about shopping in Madison. Although there is a supermarket, Copps, close by, it is less than adequate. Okay for staples, but unexciting in any other way.
To anyone who is reading this who doesn’t know, we are keeping our email and cell phone numbers the same for awhile. Also, if you call our Indy phone number, you will get our home number here.

24 June 2007

Saturday at the Madison Farmers' Market

We are in Madison!

The moving van pulled away from our Indy house on Thursday at about 4:30, leaving us with an empty house and waiting for a plumber – foibles of the movers which felt huge when it happened and now just a blip to the day. It was a very long day. The promised half day of getting our household stuff on the truck stretched into an entire day – 9 to 4:30 – now, tell me they get paid by the hour! We were their only pick up and transport for this trip to Madison, and I think they wanted to get a full day of work in.

The Indy house looked lovely stripped of all our things. I have spent five months de-cluttering and putting stuff in storage, and then packing to observe the house being washed of our presence. It has been. Not our spirits completely – there is paint on walls, finishing on cabinets, tile on walls and floors, all those plants, and our fish. We are still in the air. I could not take the fish – some were born in that pond and have no recollection of being cheap feeder fish awaiting death. They are wild and free – to the extend that a 6 x12 pond is the wild and free. I have no asked and the new owners have no said if they will keep the pond or fill it in, but I have to leave my wild gold fish to their fate.

Suffice it to say that we staggered (by car of course) to Marcia's house for a glass of wine, take out chinese and ice cream. Then we fell into our beds and slept heavy and deep, even the spicy dragon.

On Friday morning, David went to the Indiana State House to meet with his old cronies, and Julia and I stayed at Marcia’s house packing up the car and readying ourselves for the closing at 3. The plan was to leave from the closing around 4 and start driving to Madison if all went quickly and well. We were armed with a back up plan of spending another night if there were some other blips which by this time we have gotten very accustomed to on this move.

Ach! The closing. I am SO judgmental! I didn’t like our buyers. I wonder if we would have been able to sell the house to these people without an agent. There was a lot of hand holding that their agent was doing with them and lots of solicitous behavior from our agent. I thought they were foolish and arrogant -- they were young but youth has nothing to do with their stance, I expect they will be the same at 70. They had a first and second mortgage on their first house and took the same on our house. They used a balloon first mortgage that has gotten so many into trouble this year. I wonder if our house will be on the market again within a year or two. They may just be investing and fixing up for re-sale. I have to grudgingly admire their nerve in this market if that is their plan. If they are just stretching themselves very thin, I see them as only foolish.

Something that distressed me was that they asked nothing about the house – its history, who lived there before we did, what we did, what others did, questions about the garden. Is it my own longing for history and roots that extend further than I can know, or some form of ego? To be able to explain all of our work, or how the garden developed for me. I don’t really know. But it saddened that the young family moving into our beloved house would have no stories to pass on. Then again, most developers pass on nothing about the corn field that they turned into a neighborhood. Our neighbor, Katherine, said, after I explained some of our dealings and bargainings, that this new family does not sound like they will fit into an old house. Possibly. But it is done.

Something I discovered only after we were a day in Madison — I forgot to dig up St. Joseph. I intended to and intended to bring him to Madison, but maybe he has work to do in Indy. Still, I felt like there was a promise broken. Sorry, St. Joe.

We drove up to Madison after the closing. It was the easiest six hours I’ve spent in a car in a long time. Fueled by adrenalin, we practically flew up – not fast, but it was a pretty easy ride even through Chicago.

And here we are! Madison. We all slept hard and long. We had a very slow day on Saturday and I expect that we will have another one Sunday. I grieve a little bit about the dear friends left in Indy. I hope to be in touch. Email and cell phones are wonderful at that.

18 June 2007

Monnday before the move

Just a note before bed. Just exhausted.

House report: Our offer was accepted on our back-up house -- funky brown, red, orange, and purple house. We had an inspection today that revealed a few problems, but you know, there is no old house that is perfect. I hope the owners will fix or credit us. We'll see in another day or two. We are still under contract for the first house, but our notice expires on thursday.

Julia report: Another clue or hint about Julia's past life. On Saturday, Julia and I were at the JCC in the handicapped accessible stall in the bathroom. While I used the facilities, Julia put one hand on the grab bar and put herself is a rough ballet first position, and did a rough preparation for a plie. She plied and rose to her toes. Then, she put one leg on the bar, put an arm above her head, and bent at the waist. She told me, "Mommy, I do dance." She has not seen a ballet barre with me. Did she go to a ballet class in China, or did she watch one?

Shadiamon is coming over each day this week to be a mother's helper. She came today in the early afternoon today and she and Julia played in and outside. They rode bikes, played on the computer, dressed bears and pigs, and took a bath. Later, we had a few minutes at the zoo. I hope that tomorrow I can stop working sooner and we can all do something together.

15 June 2007

the morning report

Julia at her school library on the last day of school.
Today, Cheshire leaves for Bolivia. I am so happy for her and her adventures but I love having her home so much and miss her when she is gone. Still, we've have a wonderful two weeks. She has caught us up on her life -- not the facts of course, but oh, emotional catch up, something you can only get in person, over tea, or dinner, or during a walk. She has felt that the family's life is changing and she is not a part of it at times. I hope these weeks together have helped her feel more connected -- or maybe, that our crazy lives are not that great to be connected to. LOL. Next time she comes home, it will be in Madison.

Julia stayed with Marcia last night and I went to meet my book club buddies. I am going to miss those women! Lots of talking and laughing and and admiring of Toby and Kelly's kids. This group has evolved over the last 4 years, thanks to Toby, and I so appreciate the friendships. This is what makes Indy hard to leave.

A week from today we close on this house. All is fine with that. Financing is in place and our furnace was cleaned and given the okay. We still dither in Madison. The brick house people have not responded to our Amendment (which has epired), our Notice, or our mutual cancelation form. The sellers' agent is an ass leaving us in limbo for so long. There is no way I want that house now, and I just pray that we can get out of it. We should -- the Notice says that they must cure or we are out -- the problem is that it is a 10 day notice. This is day 5.

The sellers of our backup house have countered and we will counter again today. I am hoping that the deal is done sometime today.

Julia's behavior has been a bit better. She listens to Cheshire and is playing with her toys again (she seemed to stop for awhile). Her clay work continues to get more creative and she is making rocks, nests, and water for her creatures to play in and on. She still asks me to make the eggs, but the other day she made a creature coming out of an egg.

I think we have topped out on stress, at least I may have. Most stuff is packed and I don't feel the impossibility of it. I am sure it will get done now. Now to get up to Madison.

12 June 2007


Need to start with a picture of my people from last week in Madison.

We are on the waiting track again. When will I learn patience. We are waiting for the owners of the little brick house to either reject our Amendment asking them to abate the price a whole lot, sign the Mutual Cancelation, and/or acknowledge our Notice that says to perform or we walk. The trouble is that the only one they have to acknowledge is the Notice and they have 10 days (by law?) to do that. This puts us in limbo -- they might wait out the ten days to see if another offer comes in, they might try an amendment of their own and start that negotiation up. And their realtor -- known in our house as Mr. Nasty -- will not give our realtor any clue to what is going on. And we are waiting. I have no place to tell our movers to go. Worse, if this deal falls apart, it gets more and more doubtful each day that we will avoid storing all our stuff for at least a months or so. Sometimes I think that we will be moving to the little brick and sometimes I am sure we will not. Just makes me grumpy.

Packing art and the garden shed today. I dug up one of each kind of hosta that I have raised -- nine plants -- and a fern and some lily of the valley. I am also bringing my geods. How do I pack rocks?

St. Joe?

11 June 2007

social weekend

First, a picture of my two beautiful girls. They were riding a fish at the kids museum in Madison.

We came home from Madison on Wednesday evening and we saw lots of friends this weekend. On Friday, Julia and I went to the Indy kids musuem with a few of our China friends. Jen and Marin, and Angie, Lindsey, and Chloe met us and it was great to see the girls. Marin and Chloe have grown so much, Lindsey was lovely, and it was great trading stories with Jen and Angie. I look forward to seeing more of our China families at the July reunion.

Robin and kids were also in town and we go to see them twice during the week. This will probably be our last convenient visit. Robin comes to visit family and we usually get to do some visiting as well. From now on, trips to see eachother will need to be made.

On Saturday, Marcia had us and the Manns over, and then on Sunday, she hosted a party for us. We got to see people that are so dear to us and that we will miss so much. I am so grateful that Marcia did this because I don't know whether we would have seen everyone before we left.

On the home front, the deal with our house is finally done. We close on the 22nd. We are still waiting to find out what will happen with the little brick house in Madison. We sent a response to the inspection report that we expect them to reject. There is too much work to be done in the house -- on the outside of the house -- for the price we have offered. We want them to lower the price or let us out of the agreement. I hope we reach the conclusion quickly, so we can move or move on.

I decided to grow out Julia's bangs. It is time to cut them and I pulled them back one day after a bath. It was sweet to see her forehead. Julia still loves her clips and pigtail holders, and I will use plenty this summer.

Julia is spreading out her toys all over the living room as I try packing up and putting some order in to all of our stuff. Is she trying to fill the holes, shore up the emptiness that I am creating? Behavior is not always good. We've had to bring the naughty chair up to the kitchen. She shows her temper, she doesn't listen. I try to keep her on some schedule and try to keep her in line, but I understand how hard the transition is for her.

On Friday, before we went to the kids museum, I explained to her that we were going to see some of our China friends. Julia grabbed my arm and said, "Mommy, I not go China." My baby is scared. I reassure her all I can. This time will pass, and I hope we are stronger for it.
Posted by Picasa

07 June 2007

First game

Amidst the stress of real estate deals and moving, I have been worrying about Julia. She made great progress in school this year but did not come away with much that she needs to be successful in kindergarten. Working together two days ago and using some 3.5" disks that were on the table, I laid out five of different colors, went over the colors with Julia, and then asked her to pick up a specific colored disk. It took her a long time to do what I asked. It was as if she had no idea of what to do. We worked slowly and sometimes needed cherries as a reward for doing what I asked.

This became our first game and I will use it often now as we work to cement what she knows of colors and work on numbers.

05 June 2007

Home Sweet Home, we think

The sellers accepted our offer at a few minutes before 5 on Monday, and we had the house inspected today. . inside of the house is in good shape, but the outside has some problems -- the roof is shot, many of the window frames are rotted, and some of the brick needs repair and repointing. We are going to get estimates and see if there is some negotiation that we can do. I did not expect to do this kind of work on this house. I'd like to spend some money redoing the kitchen, not really on roof and windows.

On the Indy home front, we have the list of fixes the buyers want us to do, and oh, I am so unwilling. We listed some of the defects they wanted corrected in our disclosures. I expect we will come to come agreement.

And then there is the count down to moving. We leave Madison tomorrow and packing begins in earnst on Thursday.

04 June 2007

patiently waiting . . . .

Okay, I am waiting patiently. I am pantiently waiting. Patiently, I am waiting. Waiting, I am patient. Waiting patiently I am. Am waiting, I patient. AAaaaaah!

Yeah, no patience at all. And it is raining, hard, and the kind of rain that is all day. Julia is playing with her blue clay, only asking me to make what she is not sure of. "Mommy make a yak." When I finish it, she improves it. Sometimes she doesn't wait for me to finish her assignment, she takes it from my hands and does a better job. She is so much more three dimentional than I am. It is nice of her to include me in her work. Do yaks have tails?

Oh, we were all so grumpy this weekend. It was not easy halting our search for that exciting home that we thought we could spend our lives in, and look for what would do and what was a good investment, AND stay within the school district that we like. This is the first house hunt in which our offers have been rejected and we've lost houses, so the getting back on the horse stuff is challenging. I am proud of all of us for making it through, but whew! I am glad it is over.

Over. Well, I hope so.

Also, waiting for the inspection on the Indy house. I am so hoping that our Buyers don't demand us to fix anything major or pull our price down.

Yes, stress has gotten to me.

03 June 2007

Another offer

We wandered around Madison this weekend like homeless ducklings -- no, more like grumpy geese. Our hope rose with each possibility, and sunk again as we examined each house. So, no, we did not find the house of our dreams. Nothing that we saw has the promise and the interest of our Indy house. Nothing spoke to us.

But we needed to find a place to live and find a place we have. We've made an offer on a lovely little brick that has many features we like. The fireplace is of the type that we had on Kenwood in Indy. The house has a very nice flow and we think that even if the market tumbles further, this house will hold its value.

Livingroom: good wood work and bright room. Closets in the foyer and good wood doors.
Kitchen: Well, we like old but . . . The room is useable but will need updating. The tile is kind of cool but it is not a good use of the space. I have to live in it a little bit before we make changes -- maybe some of the flavor ???
The bathroom is a little move crumbly than can be seen in this picture, but the basket weave floor and black and white tile are terrific. This sink is set in a wooden cabinent that I'd like to change. Something all white on a pedestal. Some more interesting painting on the walls and some B&W drawings.

We made the offer tonight and gave them until tomorrow at 5 to respond. We asked for a closing on June 27.

Now, we wait.
Posted by Picasa