Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Walt Disney Meets the New Testament

Rant of the Week
Last night Sarah wanted to tell me a story. I always love her stories. She may simply recount of the days events or weave an elaborate tale full of fantasy and adventure - you never know what you're going to get.

And so she began with one from the Disney vaults...or so I thought.

"Once upon a time, there was a royal family. There was a king, a queeen, a princess, and a baby princess. Mommy, this was just like our family, except they wore tiaras (it's her story not mine, no need to correct on the whole crown thing). One day, the queen-mommy and the king-daddy went out. The two princesses were home alone. Then, the door bell rang. The big 4-year-old princess knew she wasn't allowed to open the door. She gets in trouble for opening the door without 'mission,' but she did it anyways. Jesus was at the door."

Yes, that is right. Sarah just mixed Jesus right into her fairy princess story. I fell down on the ground laughing. Not almost fell on the ground, actually fell on the ground.

My only response , "If Jesus knocks on our door, you can open it without permission."

This story definitely proves that we did not go to church this weekend. Since Sarah knows of Jesus, it also proves that we do go to church sometimes. As for how much, I will leave it as more than only Christmas and Easter and less than every week.

Life in the Stroller Lane

This week was full of lots of fun stuff.
  • As an Earth Day follow on, I just found out my friends from GT, Chrissy and Rob Bramhall, bought a Prius. They give me and my green ways something to which to aspire.
  • Thursday, I turned one undisclosed year older. Stephanie had us over for a wonderful birthday dinner that involved (too much) wine. I decided not to pity being a year older, so I found ways to Cure the Common Birthday.
  • Friday, the girls and I picked a mountain of strawberries at the local farm. Our fingers are still stained red and when it wears off we plan to go and pick some more.
  • Saturday morning, Sarah and I ran in the Angels Among Us 5K. Sarah ran about a mile of the race; I was so proud of her. I brought the jogging stroller as a back up and pushed her the rest of the way. We both got great workouts and supported a great cause.
  • Saturday night, Scott and I had a birthday feast at the Carolina Inn. Only I would turn charity into a discount. Through a charity auction, we won a certificate for dinner at the Carolina Inn with a $51 bid. The charity stated the value at $50. When we arrived at the restaurant they let us know the value was actually $100. Lucky us. We totally indulged. It was delicious and the service was impeccable.
In between all that fun and celebrating, we worked with our noses to the grindstone, too. Scott is working a ton - late nights and weekends. I am working on the final details for the closing at one of the rentals. The repairs are finished and just a few more lose ends need to be tied. I am trying every creative way I can think of to find a buyer for the other house. In the last 8 days their have been 9 showings and really good feedback. So we just need "the one" to walk through the door. If you are curious what this homes look like, check it out at: 113 Love Valley Drive. Around the house, I am on a mission to unclutter. Six years, two kids, and a tons of stuff later, this house needs to be cleared out. You may even be able to hang things in the closets when I'm done.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Doesn't Hurt to Be Green

Rant of the Week
In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share a few green thoughts.

I fall on the high end of average on the Green spectrum. I aggressively recycle, but I still use disposable diapers. I swapped out to almost all fluorescent light bulbs, but I still use wrinkle-lessening, power-wasting incandescents in the bathrooms. I bring my own bags to the grocery store, but don't usually go to farmer's markets to buy local. We drive cars that get 20+ mpg, but didn't choose a hybrid because we "needed" extra space. I set the thermostats to freeze in the winter and melt in the summer, but, honestly, that is more to save cash than the environment.

Basically, when Oprah or Al Gore give a their quick list of things to do to make the planet a better place, I do all (most) of them. When I talk to someone who is really green, I am not even in the running.

Sometimes, I wonder is the environment's situation really all that dire? You can't always trust the popular press, since they latch onto a topic and don't let go until it is dead. Is the environment the 2000's "topic du jour" like the Japanese were in the 1980's and the Internet was in the 1990's?

I also wonder are my tiny contributions are worth the effort? There are over 6 billion people in the world. How can my choice to not use a plastic bag make any difference, if the guy behind me in line uses one?

But recently I decided that the answers to those questions really don't matter. Even if the environment isn't in major trouble and even if my contributions aren't big enough to make a difference, it doesn't matter. Doing green things doesn't hurt. I don't hurt anyone by walking up to the grocery store instead of driving. I don't hurt anyone when I hand pick the weeds instead of using RoundUp. I don't hurt anyone when I use my refillable water bottle instead of a throw-away one.

It is kind of like the lesson I teach the girls. It is important to try and be nice to everyone. I figure I am just trying to be a little nice to world. Even if the world doesn't need it, I'm not making the world any worse. Plus, if it turns out that my questions about the environment are true, I figure I have done a small part in helping instead of hindering.

Life in the Stroller Lane
We have been the regular amount of busy around here. Unfortunately, Grandpa Perry's visit was canceled. He got a stomach virus the night before his visit and had to postpone. We are hoping he can reschedule for the end of May.

Scott was in California from Sun-Fri last week. While he was away, the girls and I enjoyed the nice weather. We went to the NC Museum of Life and Science. We toured the butterfly house and hung out with the bears. It was an intimate day that we shared between us and over 40 elementary groups there on field trips. Sarah thought she was in kid heaven; I was a bit overwhelmed.

Over the weekend we went to see UNC Baseball play. Their stadium is being renovated, so this season the are playing at the USA Baseball Fields - which lucky for us are about 2 miles from our house. The weather was warm and the popcorn was salty - a perfect evening for college baseball. We also went to an Earth Day festival at the art museum. There was story time and pottery making for the kids. I don't know if we learned many lessons about the Earth, but it was a nice afternoon.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Which Century Am I In?

Life in the Stroller Lane
Yesterday, Sarah informed me that her teacher's [cell] phone had letters in it and opened like a book.

She asked, "Why don't you have a phone like that?"

I replied, "I don't text."

She replied, "Why not!" Trust me it was an imperative exclamation, not a question.

I got out of Georgia Tech as an engineer and worked in the high-tech sector for almost my entire corporate career (Intel, Nortel Networks, and Cisco). Yet, I am so behind the times that my four-year old is schooling me on "the coolest" technologies.

After that conversation, I felt completely behind on the technology curve. However, I am much too cheap (From my earlier post I mean too frugal) to add the data plan to my cell phone contract. Therefore, I dug into this blog and decided it was time for some "techy" improvements.

What is new? I thought you would never ask.
  • Top Middle - A shameless plug and Link to the Triangle Mom 2 Mom site
  • Left Side -
    • A Favorite Picture
    • Updates to the "About Me" section
    • Two ways to "Subscribe to Stroller Lane"
      • Bookmarks - Bookmark this site and see a live links icon when new stories are posted
      • Email - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Enter your email address and you will receive a personally delivered note when a new story is posted
    • New place, but same info in the "Blog Archives"
    • Relevant "Google Ads" - Just letting you know they are there in case something strikes your fancy
    • Combined list of "Great Blogs from Family, Friends, & Other Moms"
    • Check out how many (or few) folks are checking this site at "Site Meter"
If you want to discuss these changes feel free to email me, call me, comment on the blog, utilize the US postal service, or send a carrier pigeon, just don't send any text messages. I won't join that revolution until Sarah & Jaley show me how.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of Love.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend Roller Coaster

Life in the Stroller Lane

This weekend was a roller coaster ride. Like all roller coaster rides, there were highs and lows, but we finished up at the same place we started. Scott, I and the girls were over at the remaining rental house unloading a bunch of "stuff." And by "stuff," I mean most anything that is decorative in our house. I stole most of wall hangings, floral arrangements, lamps, towels, kitchen decor, and furniture from our own house to stage up the rental. Who cares if our house is barren, as long as that one looks warm and inviting. We want to show a buyer what a great home it is. We were finishing up when an agent and her buyers walk up. I know from the agent's name that it is a second showing from the day before. The buyers ask me a million questions while we are loading the car to leave (up we go).

Within the hour, the agent calls to say they are writing an offer (up to the top). I receive the offer and it sucks (down we go). They make a second offer and it is in the ballpark, but low (still it's an up). Going through the standard house buying process, we counter their offer (still an up). They come back and say money is tight, what can we do? We say, let's meet in the middle (now were headed down). It is already into the evening; they decide to sleep on it. In the morning, they say it is still too much for them (still headed down). Their second offer was lower than we hoped, but we decide to make the best of it, and agree to their terms (on an up swing). They respond that they changed their mind entirely and withdraw their offer (down, down, down and the ride is over).

The buyers' agent gave the “reason” that the couple needed to talk with family to come up with more money. When I pressed harder, she said they went looking at more houses yesterday (while they were in the middle of negotiating with me) and they have their eye on one of those. Also, according to their agent they are coming in tomorrow night to “discuss” those houses further (which I am sure means write another offer). What they did was totally legal, but not very considerate. If you really want a house, you don't go shopping for more while an offer is on the table.

In short, this roller coaster ride wasted most of the day Saturday and a bunch of emotion, but we exited right where we started. That said, if this is the type of folks with which I was dealing; it would have been a long road to closing. And they may have tried to weasel out of their contract anyhow. They were already trying to discuss home inspector topics before they even had a home inspector at the house.

It will all work out for the best. It is a great house and will be even better tomorrow when all of the decorations are in place. I have had one offer and another person who came for 3 showings (we ended up #2 for him) in the last 8 days. The house looks better than any I have seen in the neighborhood, PLUS it is a very good price.

That was more info than you probably wanted/needed, but I feel better getting it off my chest
. I’ll pay you for the counseling session later.

As for the rest of life. It's cruising along nicely. Over the weekend we went to Duke gardens to admire the spring flowers. We stumbled across an outdoor brunch for Duke alumni. We tried to blend in and score free food and mimosas. Apparently the "no free lunch" clause applies to brunch, too. Scott was wearing a Georgia Tech t-shirt. Our plan was foiled.

Speaking of Scott, he left for California yesterday. As usual, he is gone all week. I treated the girls and took them to a jumpy place this morning. After all that jumping, Sarah is lounging on the couch and Jaley is napping soundly. I guess it ended up being a treat for me, too. On Wednesday, Grandpa Perry is arriving. I am not sure who is more excited the girls or my dad. Either way, we are looking forward to a good visit.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but it helps if I add a few explanations. Jaley accomplished this feat unassisted. This climb officially means no child proof spots remain in our house. Yes, that is a small oven, a toaster and knives behind them. Yes, I'm glad they chose the band-aids over the myriad of dangerous items. No, I don't know what I am going to do now.

That is life in the Stroller Lane. Lots of love.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Word of the Day - Contract

Life in the Stroller Lane
According to Dictionary.com, Contract is a noun meaning:
1.an agreement between two or more parties for the doing or not doing of something specified.
2.an agreement enforceable by law.

And with that simple word, one of our rental houses is no longer for sale. We verbally agreed to the terms, are signing the contract tonight, and the closing is tentatively scheduled for May 9, 2008. Was is last week's new flooring, yard work, or replaced lock? Who knows, who cares. The house is now under contract and no longer up for sale. The buyers saw what we already knew, we were selling a great house in a great location with great public schools at a great price. And since, I feel like saying great just one more time, this contract is great news.

With a contract, I can focus on more important things, like play dates. That is just what I did. I invited the neighbors over on Monday afternoon. However, with only children of the girls variety our toy selection leans heavily to the female side of things. The neighbor's sons were forced to make due with Sarah's dress up collection. I extend my apologies now for any embarrassment these pictures cause in the future, but these pictures were just too hard to resist.

Now the disclaimer. If you read last week's update you are definitely wondering about the new blog on the new site. Technical delays abounded and the launch was delayed. However, I just received word that the site is up and running. Check out Triangle Mom 2 Mom (www.trianglemom2mom.com/).

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of Love.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

It's Live

Life in the Stroller Lane
Any comments about things being live, probably makes you worry. What's in that Tupperware at the back of my fridge? How long has the milk been fermenting in that sippy cup under our couch? Why is Orkin on our speed dial? While all legitimate questions, live this time means something completely harmless.

The new Triangle Mom 2 Mom website is Live. It went live today and my first blog post is on Friday. Yes, look for fun and frolic each and every Friday. If you like what you see, please write the editor and let her know.

Although I have spent plenty of time reading about all the happenings for Moms in the Triangle at the new website. In between, we plug through our regular routine here. Scott's in town; Sarah has been extra sweet; Jaley is enjoying her Easter candy; and I have been working at the rentals. Yard work (by me), new flooring (by professionals), and one new door lock (by me, the old one broke). Lots of showing, but no buyers - YET. We will decide our next step at the end of April. Will we re-rent one or both of them? Better yet, we will do neither if buyers arrive. Time will tell.

That is life in the stroller lane. Lots of love.