Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day One of House Hunting

Wow. That picture I posted in the last blog is extremely unflattering. Poop. I just broke one of my new rules. I can't talk bad about myself, no scale, and say "thank you" after a compliment instead of ungraciously ripping it to shreds. Number two is going great because there is no scale in the corporate apartment I'm at this week. It's making me quite crazy really. How can I possibly decide how I feel about myself today? Ha! Actually, my mind is very much occupied with other things other then how fat my face is getting. This is another bonus to moving.

Yesterday a.m. I arrived in Denver. The corporate apartments Aaron is staying in our so daddy! I'm lovin' it! Exposed brick wall and air conditioning ducts, hardwood floors, beautiful kitchen and bath, a fireplace that turns on by a switch in the wall and a welcoming basket of cheese, crackers, wine and milano cookies. How do they know me so well? So my freakishly blessed life continues. (That matter is a whole other blog.) So, I spent the morning enjoying the temporary digs and finished my Stephanie Meyers book that I had started on the plane.

The house hunt began at 2. Loaded up with waters, fliers and my camera we set out for the foothills.  The FH will be a bit of a commute for Aaron but no worse then the one he has now. In fact nothing could get much worse then that. We are also hoping that we can keep this house if we return to Texas as a vacation home. So option 1 is to find a mountain retreat. Option 2 is to rent a house in Castle Rock where we already have a couple of old friends. We would rent until we find our dream house.

There were two houses we saw yesterday that we liked. One Aaron had seen on a previous outing before I arrived. The location is great, the property is beautiful, the house...meh. Needs a lot of updating and I mean a kitchen update which is the most expensive remodel one can do in a house. The house was built in the 70s and so there were some railings and things that were also in need of repair/update. The home was endearing though. Based on their decor we could tell they were in about the same place in life we were when we sold our first house. There is also no air conditioning. I think it would only be hot for a little while during the summer days but Aaron was pretty uncomfortable. The home was updated as far as you can on a limited budget. There was a toddler bed with a train table in one room and a nursery in another. I have to separate the nostalgia from the home.

The other home we liked is way up there. We could make the drive but we are wondering how a moving truck would.... Though it's in a mountain (well, what we call a mountain and they call a hill) it is also apart of a neighborhood. The hood had a lot of signs that there were young children about. Tricycles and toys were out. Not messy though, which is nice. The property is only about a 1/4 of an acre and that is a sloped lot. Not really a backyard to play in. That's OK because the house has plenty of room! The main part of the house is less then 2000 sf but with the basement...whew! Big-un. The home is new construction and so no updating is needed. There is not a nice big deck for outdoor entertaining but there are balconettes off of three of the 4 bedrooms. Well, 5 beds if you count the one in the basement. It was a really cool house and I think we would have the best of both worlds: mountain living with out being too isolated. I do want the kids to live too far from other little ankle biters. The house would have plenty of room for the guests that we are hoping/banking on coming out for visits. It was not far from a lake that had a beach off of it and lots of boats. The realtor said in the winter a large portion of the lake is roped off for ice skating.

The absolute worst house we saw deserves some mention because it was so darn funny! These little rough-ones are always what makes the house hunting fun. It sounded awesome on paper and the photos posted were strategic. Kudos to their Realtor. This home had the most awful lay out I have ever seen! The kitchen was huge and had plenty of work space and storage but the lay out had terrible flow. The three point kitchen arrangement was not there. To top it all off the walls of the kitchen were painted a delicate....PINK! The trim through out the house was all different. Different wood and different designs. There was a bathroom that it appears some renovation was started on. Very nice sinks and slate tile through out. Above the sinks were three different mirrors, Hollywood lighting, and....wait for walls. I went to catch up with Aaron in the Master Suite. The wood floors were lovely and there were lots of windows, one of which had a window seat. Then I turned my view to the right and....

"There it is!" Aaron laughed. He had been waiting for me to turn and see this....

...a bathtub right there in the room.

"Why is this not heart shaped?" I asked.

Oh my lands people! There was a tub in the room. A fairly nice tub with pretty tiling, I mean it was on purpose. There is no wall for privacy and try as we may we could not figure out how to add a wall to fix it. No matter how you figured it you would block half a window or create a very acute corner in the room that would just be wasted space. To highlight this feature they painted the walls mint green. Not a soft, cool mint but a neon type of mint. We laughed so hard. There was way too much work to be done in this house. I have only told you the half of it. Oh my gosh...I'm just remembering some of the other weird things about this place. We gave it a generous rating of a 3 on a scale of 1-10 and we've named it the Crazy Carnival Fun House. That is exactly how you felt walking through that house. We kept waiting for something to jump out from behind the corner or for a room of those funky mirrors that make you look all crazy. Well...there was that bathroom with three different! It's really too bad because the property was lovely and had a pretty nice view of the mountains. So sad for that house!

We will head out for more today. I'm hoping we can find The One this week. I'm missing my sons and they are really tired of Daddy only being home on the weekends. This has been especially hard on Drew. Oh and he has two loose teeth. His first. They are very loose and I'm so afraid he'll lose them while I'm here and miss his first ones!! He promised not to wiggle them while I'm gone. Precious boy! Gabriel sent us off with instructions to find him a three story house in the mountains. On it sir! *salute*

The other thing I'm learning about CO is that the pace is slower. After our time out our realtor said she would spend the morning researching other homes and making appointments for us to come out the next afternoon. This sort of suprised me. Our realtor back home would've done all of this last night or had her people get it arranged and off we would go the next morning. Aaron said the pace is just slower here. No one has that kind of urgency. So I'm going to relax this morning, have a little time with Jesus out on the balcony, maybe check out a little Hulu...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer: Part 2

I know what you are thinking... Really? She is blogging twice in one day? The answer is obviously, YES. Do you know why? 'Cause I can! I have the time to and the creative notion to.

While we were in New Mexico I found myself wishing that I had some sort of pocket journal to write some of my thoughts down in. The natural landscape there inspires. I wanted to either have the chance to write or paint. Maybe it wasn't all just the landscape. I'm sure the romance of travel and being in my birthplace had something to do with it as well. I only lived there for the first 5 years of my life but I always feel a strong sense of home when I am near the Sandia Mountains.

The mountain views begged to be painted and the way the take off in the plane gave life to the anticipation of our travels made me itch for pen and paper.

The visit was wonderful. Grandma's party went very well. It was fun to see so many familiar faces even when I was not quite sure why they were familiar. Some of these people I had not seen since I was about 11 years old. Everyone thuroughly enjoyed themselves; especially Grandma. One "plus" of our move to Denver is that I will be closer to my cousins. I hope we can all get together more during our time there.

The weekend ended with the boys staying with my Aunt and Uncle and Aaron and I getting little time alone before he headed back to Denver. We shared a delicious lunch together at a restraunt in Old Town Albuquerque. I always love that place! We dined next door (across the street) from the oldest Catholic church in Alb. I believe my mother was baptized there. The sopapillas at this place were perfection!! Perfectly square, perfectly golden, perfectly in tact. Not to mention perfectly delicious!!! I have to try my hand at those... The carne adavada was fabulous as well. A fried egg on top made it all as it should be. PERFECT!!!

On the flight home I wondered how being home alone for 4 days would be. Let me tell has been fantastico! I don't know why I felt the need to add an "o" to the end of that there but "fantastic" was not enough.

My precious friend, Lesley, met me at home and we headed out for College Station. We checked into a Hilton and then had a fun night at The Chicken. We shared a pitcher, chatted, and counted roaches. Big giant tree roaches kept coming in the front door. I was sure one was going to start up a game of dominoes any minute. As I do when around insects, large or small, I squealed and even danced around a bit. Luckily, not to many frequent The Chicken on a Sunday night in the summer so there were other tables to move to. Tables that were a little farther away from the swinging doors of the saloon.

The next morning we gave our selves a little tour of the campus. It was hot and so we took a rest under the vast shade provided by The Century Tree. It's of course named this because it is over 100 years old. Her branches bow out until the tips touch the ground creating a dome effect. Someone even crafted a crutch of sorts for her heavy, tired limbs.

The tour made us hungry and we headed for a delicious little place called Cafe Excell. Yum-oh, people! We took our desserts to go and headed for Messina Hof winery. The winery was kind enough to store our desserts in a cooler for us while we took our tour.

The tour was hot, fun and educational. The tasting was even better. ;) We learned to trill our whites and cluck our reds. Rather we learned to trill and tried to cluck. Clucking requires clicking your tongue on the roof of your mouth with your mouth closed and with wine in there too. I felt like I was drowning. I think the problem was that it required me to close my mouth. (Ba boom ching!) When the tour was over we came for our desserts.

"Oh good! You're still here!" said the gal at the front desk. "We thought you had left and forgotten your dessert." Apparently they did indeed think so. When we got home, fork in hand, ready to dig in we found that someone else had already had a taste or two. Or three. :/

Tuesday it was just me in my house. I cleaned and did some laundry and then I went for a facial in the afternoon. The facial left me feeling quite relaxed. (They really should offer a cab service after spa treatments.) I drove home in a thunderstorm. I couldn't wait to get home, not to get out of the rain but to take advantage of an empty house and storm! I filled the tub with a hot bubble bath. I thought of wine but opted instead for a bar of chocolate. This was excellente!

Bath over I put on a bath robe, got a hot mug of water, and put on a movie. I stayed in my robe all evening. The whole day was quite decadant!

Today I slept in until 8 a.m! Yes, I did! And this was uninterupted sleep, mind you. No one was kicking me or waking me to help them with a bloody nose. Yea me! I met with a girlfriend at a cozy little coffee house and then took my car to be inspected. I dropped off the car and then walked across to the Target shopping center. I went on beyond that to the Home Depot. I just wanted to walk and sweat.

So this being alone thing has been pretty nice. I have not even turned on my Music Maker (iPod) or made tons of phone calls. It's been quiet and I have been quiet. Just me with my thoughts and prayers. The kids come home tomorrow evening and the scene will change. I feel recharged and ready for their antics.

Summer: Part 1

Well, I survived a week alone with the boys. It's been a long time since Aaron travelled. It was a well practiced routine for us back then. Gabriel was a toddler and Drew was just a baby. This time around Drew could not seem to get why dad was not coming home at night. He asked almost every day when he was coming home. I felt bad!

The real pathetic part was the creeps I would get after the boys would go to bed. I thought about having them sleep in bed with me but couldn't figure out how they would keep me safe when the Boogey Man came.

One night I woke up because I could hear something...I don't know the house or just very near? I grabbed the Louisville Slugger to go and investigate. As I was creeping through the house I was remembering that I read that often a persons weapon is turned on them by home intruders. This gave me pause. I really did not like the idea of being pummelled to death by a baseball bat. The pause also gave me time to identify the sound as a lone frog on my front porch. I headed back to bed, running fast when I had to pass the black hole in the wall that was the laundry room and leaping into bed a good 2 feet out so that whatever is hiding under my bed could not grab my feet.

The next night went much better but I did wake up to hear another creepy sound. Deciding to use a little more common sense, I layed there and waited for the goo of sleep to leave my mind before acting on anything. Eventually I was able to recognize the sound as an owl and went back to sleep.

The last night we were to leave for New Mexico in the morning for my Grandmother's 80th birthday party. Drew was so excited he couldn't sleep. He woke me up with his hair going every which way. Clutching his stuffed bear he asked, "Is it morning now mom?"

The bathroom was glowing behind him from the moonlight that was coming in from the window above my tub. It fooled me for a minute into thinking that we needed to get up and head to the airport. I looked at the clock. 2:23.

"Yes, son it's morning, but it's not time to get up."

I opened the covers and he nuzzled into me for what seemed like a great night of sleep for him. I however, was kicked in the gut and later my back.

The boys are great travellers and everything went great at the airport. They carried their bags and hustled thru like pros. We flew out on one of those crappy little jets that only seat two people on one side of the aisle and one on the other. Our seats were separate. Two together one in front. I thought I could sit in front of them. Maybe I'd be able to read with out them interrupting to ask for something every 5 minutes. During the loading the boys started arguing. Drew was trying to act like he was afraid to fly and wanted the window closed. Gabriel wanted it open.

"I'm nervous!" Drew said

"No you're not. You always love to fly!" I argued. I wondered if he even knew what "nervous" meant.

"It means you are kind of scared and excited both." he answered.

Poop. He is nervous. I sat down in front of the boys with a man with the WORST case of BO I have ever encountered. Across the aisle was another man who was sweating the courage he had to drink before getting on the plane. The combo of the BO and alcohol sweat was fabulous. I mean, I was so glad that we were on the smallest plane in the world with these two guys. The boys kept arguing until BO man offered to let one of the boys sit next to him and I behind him with the other. I jumped all over the offer! No more stinky men and the boys would not argue. Drew was happy to make the switch.

I later questioned my wisdom in letting my son sit alone with a total stranger. A man who was all too willing to offer to sit with a young boy and who does not have the mind to use deodorant when he will be in close quarters with people. Well, there are other people on the plane, I thought. BO man is not going to do anything to Drew when there is that other guy sitting right across the aisle. But the other guy was out cold, sleeping in a marinade of cocktails.

Drew did great though. He charmed the whole plane with a count down to "blast off." BO man had a map that he shared with Drew as they looked for all of the different places that they had visited. I always give the boys Blo Pops when we fly for lift off and landing. Helps with the pressure in the ears. Drew shared a Blo Pop with BO man. (Whose real name, Drew discovered, was Mike.) Upon landing Drew said goodbye and I thanked BO Mike for switching seats. Another passenger approached me, pointed at Drew and said "That boy is going to be president of the United States one day!" Drew shouted "NO WAY! I'm going to be a Chef!" Atta boy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Chapter 34: Moving to Denver

"When a chapter of your Life Book is complete, your spirit knows it's time to turn the page so a new chapter can begin. Even when you're scared or think you're not ready, your spirit knows you are." ~ Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

So the day I returned from selling all of those cupcakes, I walk into my room and found Aaron laying in bed reading. Exhausted from selling the cupcakes and the emotional roller coaster of having the rug pulled out from underneath me, I crashed next to him.

"What are you reading?" I mumbled into his chest.

"A job offer."

This woke me up.

The day the company Aaron had been working for announced the huge cut backs they were going to be making (we are talking laying off 30% of their work force) he got a call from another company asking him to come out to Denver for an interview. Though he felt about 70% secure in his job, he figured it couldn't hurt and he would score a trip to Denver out of it. Unbeknownst to friends and family, Aaron slipped out of Texas, interviewed in CO and returned home all in the same day.

It was so fun having a secret with him again! It reminded me of the first time I was pregnant. No one in the whole world knew but the two of us! They are the warmest of secrets.

The offer was dizzying. I really did not know what to think. It was a huge leap in his career but we were both very torn about leaving our family, friends and home state. We've left before but longed for Texas the whole time we were away. We've only been home for about 3 years and I was just really starting to feel settled again. Both of our parents have moved closer to us since our return. I felt bad about having to tell them that we were leaving but there was also some wicked pleasure in reminding them all again that we are our own.

I've been moved (shocked) by our friends response to our leaving. It feels good to know how much our family means to everyone. It's been very hard on Aaron. He feels so responsible for everyones tears, especially his sons! But there have been many promises of visits and we are really counting on that! We want to see everyone! Come ski, hike, fish and shop!

Aaron leaves this afternoon and starts work there tomorrow. He will come back for Father's Day weekend. I don't know when I get to join him for some house hunting. I don't know when we will be officially moving. This is the nasty part of it all. I like details and I like a plan and I am having to try and let all of that go right now. I keep telling myself to enjoy the ride. As my sister said, God's plan has always been perfect for our family and in the right seasons. So I'm lacing my fingers behind my head and trying to just lay back into them and into the knowledge that He has all the details figured out. He keeps saying "Relax and have fun! Please let me give you some suprises and adventure. I promise to reveal it all to you but let's peel back the wrapping a little at a time..." Oh you are a fun God. Teaching me patience and trust all the while bleesing my socks off. :P

And I know it's not the end of us in Texas or with our relationships here. It's "bye for now." "See you soon."

"I felt the flutter of a page turn deep within me as a chapter in my Life Book came to a close." ~ Saving CeeCee Honeycutt