Wednesday, May 22, 2013

California On My Mind

The Harrell posse spent last week exploring California.  It was our official house hunting trip and I wanted to come back and tell you Scott had bought me the most expensive Mother's Day gift ever.  However, finding a house in "The Valley" (as it is called there) is so very difficult, we did not score a home.  We came very close to putting in an offer on a very expensive home that was really just a piece of land, because it was a total tear town.  From the roof to the foundation, there were problems with every part of the house, so we decided to pass - at least for the moment.  That is what many of the houses are like out there - old and in original condition.  Folks buy them for the land, tear them down and start anew.  I think those folks also have an in on the winning lottery numbers, because that is an expensive way to buy a house.

While house hunting was the main purpose of the visit, it was also the kids first time in California.  Per the reputation, the weather was perfect during our entire visit.  While Scott was working hard at Cisco the kids and I checked out the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, visited the Tech Museum in San Jose (no surprise there is a giant technology museum in the heart of Silicon Valley), and built a giant sheet-fort in the hotel room.  We also spent a big chunk of our days working on homework, since this wasn't a spring break at school.  We had to do a book report and a PowerPoint presentation, EOG testing practice and math galore.  I tried to play teacher, but let's just say I don't plan on homeschooling the kids anytime soon.  I personally tip my hat to every teacher who every is, was, or ever will be.  Educating kids is really, really tough - thank you to all the teachers!!!!

Now we are back home.  House hunting is on the back burner as we close out the school year and close out in NC - which is very exciting, scary, and sad - all at the same time.  We have only a couple of weeks left here.  I am presently sorting through what goes with us to temporary housing, what goes to long-term storage, and what is destine for the Goodwill.  I sure wish I had a crystal ball to help me prioritize.  The relocation people will only tell me in broad terms what is in our furnished apartment, such as "a well appointed kitchen." What the heck does that mean?  On the one hand, I don't want to bring duplicates and have no room to store it.  On the other hand, I don't want to have to run to Target and buy a bunch of stuff I already own because it is locked in long-term storage.  And don't even get me started on the the question of whether our current furniture will fit in the California home we have yet to find.  Hence, my desperate need for a crystal ball.

That is life in the stroller lane.  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Kids Will Try Anything Not to Eat Vegetables!

Last week I'm eating lunch with Mick and have the audacity to serve carrots.  You know the cute little baby carrots that all kids like.  Well, that wasn't the case last week.  Here was our conversation.

I said, "Mick, please eat some of your carrots."

He replied, "I don't like carrots."

"Well, you like ranch dip, so have a little of that and eat a few of them, then you can have a treat."  (Aside:  Yes, we have do have a veggies for treats barter system at our house.  And yes, I know it goes against the rules of every parenting book every printed.  The funny thing about parenting books - as soon as you have kids you no longer have any time to read them - so barter veggies for treats it is...)

Mick argues back, "Carrots are grown up food, like sushi."

"No their not, Sarah and Jaley eat carrots."

Mick giggles, "Oops, I meant to say, I'm 'llergic to carrots, I can't eat them."

To which I try to respond with a straight face, "You're not allergic to carrots."  Mostly, I'm trying to stifle a laugh and not pee my pants laughing.

While I never did get Mick to eat his carrots at least I got some other veggies into his belly and decided that the boy has a true future in sales. 

That is life in the stroller lane. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Do I Go With The Honey or The Squeaky Wheel Approach???

This isn't my first rodeo.  I have moved across the country twice before.  But gone are the days, of throw a few things in the box and drive into the sunset.  Moving as newlyweds and moving as a family of five - is like the difference between playing Little League and playing in the Majors.  It is a whole different game.

And every week (or day), it seems like there is some new major issue.  Last week
, it was the repair negotiations.  Monday, it was the due diligence deadline and some problem with a signature.

The rest of this week, it has been the "no room in the inn" debacle.  Despite the earlier information I was given that "there is no problem with temp housing."  There is in fact many problems with temporary housing.  Including the very important fact, that there are often no slots available in the summer.  So as nice as the weather is in California, I didn't want to be living in a tent when we got there.  For the past four months, the relocation company has known the nice, polite, Southern, stay-at-home-mom Gigi.  The one, who remembers that you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.  So far that style has worked very well.

But tell me my family doesn't have a home, and the folks at the relocation company got to meet a whole new Gigi.  The one who used to work in corporate America and managed large teams and big projects.  The one who is Italian, assertive, and outspoken.  I was still polite and professional, but I sure as heck wasn't saying yes to "your family can live in 750 sq ft with a known bed bugs problem and an off the chart crime score."  Guess what!!!  Somehow, they have found us a spot in a three bedroom apartment in a relatively safe area without a reputation for bed bugs.

So lesson learned, always try to go with the honey first.  But if is means being homeless, remember that the squeaky wheel gets oiled.

That is life in the stroller lane. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Jaley Turned 6 3/4 - Of Couse We Had a Birthday Party

Last weekend we had a 6 3/4 Birthday Party for Jaley.  So of course, we had a birthday party for her.  Doesn't everyone celebrate their child's 1/4 birthdays?  Just kidding.  I haven't gotten that over exuberant in celebrating the kids' milestones.  It is just that Jaley will turn 7 soon after we move and a party with friends would be impossible from California.  Hosting it for her 6 3/4 seemed to have a better ring to it, than she'll be 7 soon. So that is just what we did.  

Last Saturday, our giggling, gaggle of 7 year-olds invaded a nail salon to be pampered at a mani-pedi party.  Yes, our kids are spoiled.  We already know this.  Then, we enjoyed a doughnut cake at the Dunkin' Donuts next door.  Jaley asked for this specifically, so I managed to persuade the local Dunkin' Donuts owner to custom decorate a collection of frosted doughnuts.  Everyone was sugared up; Jaley was thrilled; I used a coupon; we were all happy.

On the home front, Scott is home.  He is here for an entire week!!!  Yippee!!!  This is huge, because he has only spent one other week home since January and due to extenuating circumstances he didn't really feel like he was at home that week.

The girls had field day at school this week, though Mother Nature hasn't been very cooperative.  Mick is, well, Mick.  He is back to speaking English again.  Good news there.  He is my go with the flow kid.  Which is such a blessing, because I need go with the flow.

That is life in the stroller lane.