Friday, August 29, 2014

School, Moving, & Demolition - Summer is Definitely Over

Labor Day is upon us and another summer is drawing to a close.  Though with our lives running on the express track recently, the lazy days of summer are just a speck that is barely visible for the back of our train.  The last two weeks are a whirlwind of activity.

First up is the start of another school year.  Mick is a big-boy now, hanging with his sisters at the elementary school.  He is technically in "transitional kindergarten." However, he is in the same classroom as the older kinders and doing the same lessons, so it most certainly feels like regular kindergartn.  Jaley is in 3rd grade and officially an "older elementary kid," which means access to biggest and most coveted playground.  Sarah is ruling the school in 5th grade. It is her last year before the big transition to middle school and our ONLY YEAR EVER with all of the Harrell kids at one school.  It is already two weeks into school, but we aren't fully in the swing yet.  I have faith by June we will have our school routine perfected.

Next up is the start of our home renovations.  It is time to say good-bye to the atomic ranch and say hello to new plumbing, new electrical, and just about new everything.  Our permits were signed and sealed on Wednesday.  More importantly a Porta-A-Potty arrived today.  Nothing solidifies the start of renovations in the Bay Area more than a Port-A-Potty in your front yard. Construction (or I should say demolition) starts Tuesday.  In just nine short (hoping for short) months, we should be moving back into our home.

Last up is another move.  Yes, we have moved yet again - making a total of 4 addresses in the past 14 months!!!  This was a move into a rental, so we can actually start all those renovations.  Initially, we planned to live through our renovations, then we actually started listening to the advice of those around us.  It turns out it is pretty hard to live without things like plumbing and electricity.  So here we are in another house, this one odder and older than the one we are planning to renovate.  The owners are actually planning to tear down the whole thing when we move out and build something ground-up - that is just how old it is.  But as they say, location, location, location.  And this rental, has an awesome location, right by the school.  Plus, if they are tearing it down, I know the kids and I can't really damage anything.

And since every Harrell move is full of hilarity, I promise to share the trials and tribulations of this last voyage in a post soon.  Until then, know if we look out of sorts it is because we have yet to unpack most of our belongings.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good Bye Buford, We Will Miss You

Today, we had to say good-bye to our fabulous cat, Buford.  We will miss him dearly, because he was one cool cat!

While we hate to see him go, we are enjoying remembering a few of the things that made him more fun and feisty than the average feline.  Buford joined our family way back in 1998 as a pound rescue.  A quick bath surprisingly revealed a rather good-looking, long-haired, red, tabby instead of the matted, grey cat we adopted.  That was just the first of many surprises with Buford.

Always an indoor-outdoor cat, and always super friendly, he was known for visiting the neighbors and "inviting" himself into their homes.  While most folks were kind enough to indulge Buford in his friendly visits, it got him into trouble occasionally, too.  One time he ended up locked in a new home for sale after he followed prospective buyers inside at a showing.  Another time he spent a day and a half in our crawl space when unbeknownst to me he followed me under the house.

Unlike some cats, Buford wasn't much of a hunter, always more of a lover than a fighter.  After he had scratched his way through the back of several couches, we decided his front claws had to go.  On the morning we were taking him to the vet, he showed up with his first (and last) mouse.  I guess he knew it was his final chance at hunting and he seized the opportunity.  The next day he was declawed and continued to be an indoor-outdoor cat until this very day.  Despite the dire warnings of one vet, he never had a problem defending himself without his claws.  Feral cats and neighborhood dogs simply didn't bother him; I guess they knew it was Buford's house and left him alone.  Of course, the lack of claws didn't take away all his spunk.  He managed to feast on a quite a few beta fish fresh from the fish bowl - sorry Mimi and Auntie Em.

And then there were all the moves.  Cats are notoriously bad at moving and travel, but Buford always took it in stride.  He was shipped as cargo, not once, but twice.  And then, there was the infamous move flight last year.  He was trekked in a car on not one, but two three-week odysseys when Scott and I were in grad school and too broke to pay to board him.  He briefly lived with my in-laws three different times and ruled the roost despite the fact they already had two cats and one Golden Retriever (Thanks again, Mimi and Poppa).  All told Buford had 10 different address during his 17+ years, and amazingly never once got lost (something we can't say that about Epy).

Best of all about Buford was his personality.  He never scratched a kid, despite having his ears and tail pulled many, many times.  He was fiesty when he was young and matured into an old cat who just wanted to be held, pet, and loved.  He would sit next to me purring for hours as I studied endlessly in nursing school.  Even when he was sick these last few months, he was still a kitten at heart.  The kids even had him chasing a bit of string last week.  And today, he was purring in my arms right before I took him to the vet.  Like I said, he was one cool cat.  Bye Buford, we will miss you dearly.

That is life in MomZania.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hitting 8 at High Velocity - Happy Birthday, Jaley

Last week, my Baby Girl turned 8!  It was high velocity and high fun.  The only thing slow about Jaley's birthday was my speed in writing this post.  Her high speed birthday started a few days early with a visit to California's Great America with two friends.  A day of giant coasters and spinning adventures left the girls exhilarated and the grown-ups dizzy, but we were all smiling on the drive home.

On Jaley's actual birthday, the high octane fun continued.  We started at K1 Speed Karting.  The girls swung around the track like naturals, beating out the boys.  We may just have the next Danica Patrick in our midst.  Next, we defied gravity at the Sky High Trampoline Park.  In the evening, we finished off a great day at home dinner, dessert, and even a few gifts.  
This week, the girls are away at their very first spend the night camp.  It is an amazing YMCA camp that definitely doesn't herald from my days at camp.  The girls didn't miss a beat when we dropped them off, but honestly, I hated to say good-bye.  It is tough to let your chicks fly from the nest, if only for the week.  

It isn't just birthdays that are high speed these days, regular life is in overdrive as well.  We have been in our house a year this week, so, of course, it is time to move.  Yup, we are packing up and moving once again!!!! No joke, we are headed into temporary housing again!!! This time isn't so we can find a house, it is so we can fix up the one we've got.  We are delivering our 1959 Ranch into the 21st century.  The permits are ready to be issued and we are picking our contractor this week.  Say good-bye to the fuse box and the old pipes; soon say hello to a home that meets code. Now, the house will be my new "baby."  Like a pregnancy the process is sure to lead to a queasy stomach, sleepless nights, and probably a little high blood pressure.  And just like real babies, our home is due to arrive in about 9 months.  Unlike my real babies, I will be totally happy if this "baby" arrives way before her due date.  

 That is life in MomZania.