Friday, July 30, 2010

Our God Rains

We got up early this morning for the final walk through of the house at 8 and then the closing at 9. When we got here yesterday the kids could not really see the mountains because it was clouded over. This morning the sky was really clear and the mountains were the first thing the boys noticed from the window of the apartment. When we walked out I could smell rain on the air, despite the clear skies.

On the drive up here it rained off and on the whole way. It wasn't a problem and in fact made me smile. Every special day in my life it has rained. Prom, graduation, my wedding brought a tropical storm, the birth of my children, and some very special days spent with my dear friend Lesley. Three times she and I have been caught in the rain, two of which were down pours! I have always liked to think that it was God raining his blessings down. So when I smelled the rain in the air this morning I breathed deep and gave God a little wink.

As we headed west towards the mountains the kids took in the sights. They loved seeing the hot air balloons and "check out the lake! Can we fish there?"

"Are we going to live there?" Gabriel sighed pointing to the mountains.

"We are" I told him.

"It's just too beautiful! I can't live there!" he took the words right out of my mouth. I was glad to hear that he loved it as much as me and then he said, "I can't live there. Take me back to Texas." Hmm...

When we got to the house the sellers were still there packing. I was a little concerned. It could possibly make things awkward but instead it was another blessing. They are the greatest couple! Just real good people! They are moving to Boulder. She works for the Humane Society there and has been putting up with the commute because they loved the schools where they were at so much. Her son graduated in May though and so they are ready to move and shorten the commute.

They own 4 dogs who were all over the boys and eager to show them the place! The kids ate it up. The sellers loved that young boys would be running through their house again. Constance, (her name. Can't remember his.) showed me some of the things about the house that she felt I should know. She told me all about her fabulous neighbors who were all there the night before for a big going away party. She left chalk behind for me to use on the chalk board wall and beside that a folder full of warranties and such on appliances. Then she opened a drawer and pulled out a key.

"This is the only key we have. I tried it to make sure it was the one. We've never locked the doors. No one out here does." She went on to tell me they even leave the keys in their cars. I was baffled! This is a whole other way of life out here. I always lock my doors. I had good Houston training!

We then stood out on the deck together and she pointed out towards the end of the property.

"The bus picks the kids up at the bottom of the hill there. You can sit out on the deck and watch them board the bus. The little dirt trail that goes around the house is where our son rode his dirt bike." Her eyes welled up and mine spilled over.

"Oh no!" she cried and put her arm around me. "Are you sad?"

"I don't know what...I feel...overwhelmed I guess. I'm so sorry! I'm so embarrassed that I'm crying. I just feel so blessed!" We wiped our tears away and we finished the walk through.

It was time for us to leave for the closing and so we said our goodbyes. I hugged Constance again.

"Won't you be at the closing?" she asked. I was confused. Well, yeah. That's where we are going!

What Aaron and I did not realize was that we would all be at the closing together; sellers and buyers. It was the strangest thing for us. This is the fourth house we've bought and we've never had the sellers present before. So there we all sat together sipping coffee and eating oatmeal cookies. Constance wrote directions out for me on how to get to the grocery store and anything else she could think of to tell me. I hope they feel good about passing their home on to us! I think we will see them again as she is going to help find a "mountain dog" for us. It was the sweetest closing I've ever sat through!

They were a little behind in getting their movers lined up and so everything was getting moved out today. Our movers won't be here until Tuesday and so it posed as no inconvenience for us. We were going to wait and head out there this evening (because we don't want the pets to ruin the corporate apartment) but as we were packing things up again it started pouring rain. It seems to always rain on the special days in my life...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

She'll be Coming Around the Mountain When She Comes

Monday they packed us. Tuesday they moved it all out....and my in-laws moved all of their stuff in. Yes, the last night in my house I slept in the guest room. Talk about surreal. I woke up disoriented until I realized where I was and that I had to get up and GO!!! We loaded the cars up (the animals in my car and the pets in Aaron's) and started out to swing by my mom's for a quick good bye.

As I'm driving down our street I see a sign: FAREWELL SWEET FRIENDS!

Oh my goodness! Is that for us?

Then another sign: DENVER OR BUST! WE'LL MISS YA'LL!!

"Kids! Did you see those signs?! Some sweet someone left us goodbye signs!" The kids missed them but I promised to go by them again after we said good bye to Nana. I did not want to stop with Aaron right behind me...but..wait...where was he? Turns out he stopped to pull the signs out. Once at mom's I asked him if the signs said who they were from. He could barely tell me that they were from our friends the Morgan's, he was so moved. I have known Aaron my whole life and I've rarely seen him get emotional about anything. Through out this whole move I have caught him getting a little soggy more than once. It's been hard for him to move the kids this time and leave the amazing friends we have back home.

And so began our trip! Way to go Morgan's! We plan on hanging those signs up in our new home. ;)

The kids were great; as were the pets. We had one incident where the cat puked. I text this little bit of adventure to my sister who responded with "let her go." Ha! Theodore barked for about 10 minutes and then just laid down and went to sleep. At least Aaron hoped he was sleeping... ;) The old dog surprised us all. He was a regular Gulliver. Smee Cat stayed in her crate. Sinclaire was the most ridiculous. She had free reign all over. She would sit in Aaron's lap or in the seat next to him. Every time we stopped though she tried to make a break. Then there was our beloved snail, Gary. Gary was the worst of all! He made so much noise and would also try to escape with Sinclaire. I jest...

The boys were even less eventful. In his great wisdom, my husband charged up their PSP's before we left. They played for about 6 hours!! They were thrilled! This is something I would never allow at home. I was diggin' it though. They were quiet the WHOLE time! Thanks Nintendo (or whoever makes those things.)

We stayed the night in Amarillo. Upon our arrival Drew announced that he loves hotels! He walked in and did a Nestea plunge onto the bed.

"Thank you hotel for letting us stay here!" He shouted. He's easy to please. And it was not a hotel. It was a Hampton.

Today's half of the trip was much shorter and more scenic. This is beautiful country! Through the whole drive I have just been thanking God for my friends that we have left behind and for the opportunity we have in Colorado. I also kept feeling more and more in love with my husband. There is something very romantic about gathering up all that you have, family and pets and heading out west together. I will follow this guy anywhere. Of course I don't think you would have to drag anyone kicking and screaming to Colorado. It's not Texas sure is purty!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Goodbye, so long, farewell, via con dios

Well, this is probably my last blog I'll write while in Texas. The packers come tomorrow and my computer will be boxed up. I have to blog on my latest adventure as it was chalk full of "excitement," to say the least.

As a Last Hurrah some friends (Robert, Jennifer, Alice and Jason) planned a trip to Greune, TX to float the Guadalupe and a Roger Creager concert. We stopped in Shiner on the way there for a tour of the brewery, free beer and souvenirs. I've done the tour before and recommend it. It's a great place to stretch your legs on the drive between Houston and San Antone. We had dinner at the Gristmill in Greune which was excellent! I had the best chicken friend steak and tasted the ribs one of our party had ordered. The meat is so tender it just jumps into your mouth as soon as your lips touch it. We called it a night early since we planned to leave for the river early.

Let me preface this story with the fact that I am no fan of natural waters. I'm a weak swimmer and I'm creeped out by the critters that you can/cannot see. I hate to be high-maintenance about these sort of things but there it is. We all have our "thing." Despite this, I have always wanted to float a Texas river. It's something, as a Texan, that just should be done. Like taking pictures in blue bonnets in the Spring, it's a part of Texas culture. Besides, there was that leaf I turned this year to do things that scared me.

Before we even left town I stressed to my husband the importance that he keep his float with mine. At the float rental I wisely chose a float with a bottom attached. I was not going to have a rock up my butt.

When we got to the river, we all got in out tubes and headed off. The river just picked everyone up and sent them down the river. Everyone except me. The river chose to push me off to the side a bit, where it was more shallow, and I ended up beached. I was pissed. I was mad at my husband and friends for floating off with out me. I was mad that the river seemed against me. I was mad and embarrassed that I can't float off with the same ease everyone else had. I mean, there isn't much "skill" to a river float. The river does the work of transporting you down and the tube does the work of keeping you above water. I felt like a tool as I tried to push myself out of the rocks, then with in less then a foot of the last bank, managed to get beached again. I finally get out and am heading down the small rapids the rest of my party had just maneuvered. Oh joy. I get to go down backwards.

Once over this minor hurdle I caught up to my party who is cheering for me. I was not cheering. I was humiliated and did I mention pissed? It was then suggested that we hook on to one anothers floats by hooking our feet under each others tubes. My short legs failed me and could not quite reach. So I had to rely on my friends to anchor me in. Just another bit of control I lost on the river.

After we were all hooked up in our pod of tubes my good husband, who was floating with the cooler, passed down a much needed beer. As the beer took it's effects and the river kindly pushed us along, the river thing started to seem pretty darn good. We waved to campers who were squatting at the river bank. Sometime down the way a camper came to the shore feeling the need to warn us of the doozey of rapids that we would soon be coming upon. He predicted we would lose our cooler. Most of our party laughed. This wasn't their first rodeo! They were sure we would fare fine, thank you very much. I....was not too sure.

We eventually could hear the approaching rapids and it was decided that we should not go down connected. We unhooked and somehow I am leading the pack down the rapids. This was a longer patch of rough waters then the first. With in the first dip I was tipped and under water. I tried to grab my raft but the river yanked it out of my reach with in seconds. I tried to stand up but the waters pulled my feet out from under me and I was down again. In my head I recalled from old westerns that you should just ride the rapids if ever one finds themselves in this predicament. But my body wanted to fight and I kept trying to stand up while my head kept saying "go with the flow." I fought the river and her rocks for a bit as I rode the rapids out with no tube and suddenly was pulled out by Alice, one of our group. I held onto the side of her tube while I continued to fight this bull. She tried to coach me to put my legs out and front and ride it out but for some reason I just couldn't kick my feet up. It seemed like too relaxing a position to assume while trying to keep my head from being gashed open on a rock. Shortly thereafter, Rob came up along side and I held onto both tubes until we came to a smooth part of the river where I could sit on a rock to calm down. It was about this point that I realized that my breathing was a gasping staccato. I caught my breath and assessed my damage. Lot's of bruises and scrapes on my legs and a serious wedgie, otherwise I was fine. Some kayakers had noticed the trouble people were having coming over that part and had been at the end catching tubes and such. I was so relieved to see that they had caught mine.

Another member of our group did not make it over that set of rapids either. Jenn and Aaron had chosen a little bit of a detour that would shorten the rodeo Rob, Alice and I had gone down. Unfortunately this route beached Jenn. She got out to try and free herself but somehow managed to lose her tube that then got taken away by the turbulent waters. She tried to catch it but also got caught up in the racing waters and also rode the rapids bareback for a turn. After getting ping ponged between the rocks a ways, Aaron caught up to her, pulled her into his tube and they rode down together. I have to say that Aaron was a serious River Cowboy. He saved our friend and did not lose the beer or his cowboy hat. ;) I too saved my hat. Well...I had it but it had a much different shape. :/

After retrieving my breath and my tube, the river and I made amends and the remainder of the float was pretty uneventful sans one last rough patch at the very end. Except for scraping my knuckle on something, I came out nearly unscathed.

After the best nap I have ever had we enjoyed a steak dinner and then headed out to Greune hall for the Roger Creager concert. Sadly, Jason was sick and had to go back to the condo. Heat exhaustion? The rest of us sat at the tables lining the outside of Greune hall. We watched the opener from there. Sitting on top of the table, sipping a Shiner, we watched Cody Johnson's performance through chicken wire. It was quintessential. The nearly full moon, Greune water tower above, and live Texas music. I cried. I love this state and hate to leave her. We moved inside for Roger Creager's performance which was STELLAR! The crowd was great! Sweat ran down my legs like my thighs were crying, it was so hot, but it was so worth it!! What a great way to spend our last days in this wonderful state.

The packers are here to preview their job for tomorrow. Drew is following Aaron and the packers through the house and telling them what will go and what will stay.

"Of course our stuffed pets are coming with us." He tells them. Stuffed pets, some furniture, clothes. Not to mention, memories and anticipation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Theodore: The Legend Continues

Last week the boys and I visited some family out of town and so Theodore stayed at my mother's. When we returned and picked him up, he was so excited! His tail was wagging and he ran in circles at our feet. It was sort of curious to me, seeing as how he was originally my mother's dog.

There were a couple of days after that where he had one of his "bad days." These are the days that I think he may finally leave us. He sleeps more. He putters around sort of aimlessly with his tail tucked between his legs, his diaper caddy wampus from the long naps. You can just tell he's not feeling very good. It's those days that I wonder if we are being cruel to keep him alive. He can't see, hear, or control his bladder. Is this a quality life?

Then one morning he will wake up full of life and energy. He will be back to running circles at our feet, tail wagging, chasing the kids, jumping at you to greet you when you come home (if he's awake to smell you walk in.) I watch the kids hug his neck and kiss his head. Those days I think of how Theodore has it pretty darn good. I am some what exasperated these days because he is so smelly and he gets under foot and I'm changing diapers again and he has so much spunk that I'm thinking he has a never ending life.

When we took him in we thought it would only be a few months. Surely he is not going to live much longer. But he is thriving here with the good food and love.

Before Aaron left for Denver he left a bag of clothes for me to take to Goodwill in his closet. At night, Theodore went in to the closet and I could hear the ripping of the bag followed by grunting and wrestling as Theodore pulled each article of clothing out and made himself a nest. Each night he would re-build his nest. When Aaron returned on the weekend he wondered why I had not taken that stuff to Goodwill.

"I just can't. Theodore misses you and he makes this little nest with your stuff. It's so funny to watch him work on it too! It's the fastest you will ever see him move."

Aaron re-bagged everything. In the a.m. he complained that he could not sleep because Theodore was in the closet tearing the bag apart again and rebuilding his nest. Note that Aaron did not bag the things up and take them himself. Nor did he get out of bed and end the dog's nightly ritual. I think he loves the dog a little. I think even he can't bare to take the small pleasures away from that nasty old dog.

He smells. Awful. I was at the computer and this stench wafted up to me.

"Are you breathing?!" I accused. He lifted his tangled chin at me and tried to see me under his tousled hair. I have to get him groomed this week. The other night Aaron tossed the dog a large piece of chicken. Somehow Theodore could not quite get it. He looked up at us with the chicken dangling from the hair on his chin. He eventually got it. I tell you what, I am not looking forward to riding with him in the car with his death breath. The whole car is going to be steamed up with it. Ug.

Sunday a.m. I took him out to do his business and he stood on the sidewalk for a long time. He just stood there. One might think he was staring at something but there was nothing close enough for his poor vision to focus on. Then he started to slowly and painfully(?) walk out into the grass. He stopped and started to heave. Over and over he tried to throw up. I watched the poor little guy with mixed feelings. Worry: is he ok? Hope: maybe this is it? Worry again: oh, the kids are going to be crushed. Hope again: but this would be a good time to go. They aren't home and we are moving in 10 days. Then sadness: he was such a good dog. And finally disgust: Gross! Don't eat it! Aw man! He made it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sex Ed from the Scriptures

Last week I went to a Bible study with a friend. When the class was over we went to pick up our boys from "kids church." They apparently learned a lesson on Joseph and his coat of many colors. They made little paper doll Josephs and he had a coat of colors to wear and a jail outfit. Awww. the boys walked out to us the teacher smiled and said "the boys made very 'boy' Josephs."

I don't remember how I responded. Probably a knowing laugh and nod. As we are leaving the church Drew is showing us how his Joseph's hair was on fire.

And there it is. I thought. There is the "very BOY" part she was warning me about. It was kind of funny. No big deal. It's not the first time that my son was the "freaky violent" kid in class.

Then Drew starts to laugh and takes off Joseph's coat and says, "Now Joseph is naked! Ha ha ha!"

My friend and I laughed too and then we stopped in our tracks and really howled when Drew pointed out...

"And look! I drew him a penis!! Ha ha ha ha!"

OH it was so hilarious! We were standing outside the door of the church and Drew just kept going on and on about Joseph's penis. He drew a pink wanker in the appropriate place. It was awesome!

Then he told me that some of the girls made their Joseph's "Girl Joseph's." Now I was really laughing with wide eyes! Oh my! I wonder if that means that these girls were also trying to make him/her anatomically correct....

The fun never ends! Thanks Drew Bug!

Friday, July 2, 2010

The One

Yesterday Aaron and I went out for the 3rd time with our realtor to walk thru our top 4 one more time. We had them in order of our favorite. It was funny because we were in disagreement on our 3rd and 4th place picks. The more I tried to defend my house for 3rd the more I realized how much I liked it.

We decided that we would be happy in any of the 4. They each had a lot to offer and they each had something that was just not quite to our liking. After the walk thru was over we were able to eliminate 2 of them. Suprisingly it was not our bottom two. Our number one turned out to be the one I was fighting so hard for.

Every time I walked this house it just felt so warm and cozy. The living area has a nice view from it's big open windows. The wood floors are in great shape. The fireplace has nice big stones framing it. I love, love, love the kitchen. The countertops and back spalsh are not Aaron's beloved granite but are of stone tile. There is an island in the middle of the kitchen that I can totally see the boys having their breakfast at. The cabinetry is very nice and has built in shelves for your cookbooks and pretty dishes to display. It has a sliver of wall painted with chalkboard paint. (Something I've always wanted to put in my kitchen!) Off of the kitchen are french doors that take you out on to a flagstone patio.

The basement is large and also has a big stone fireplace. It has a very ski lodge feel down there. There is also a deck off of the basement, a bar, a bedroom, a very cute bathroom with wainscoting, and a mud room with scads of storage for boots and hooks for coats. A bummer: the laundry room is down in the basement. I will be getting my excercise to be sure! Also the laundry room is ugly. Green lanolium floors and floral wallpaper. But it's the laundry room biggie and they are easy fixes if desired.

The bedrooms are a little smaller then our present ones but with the additional room in the basement, that is quite fine. The bathroom upstairs is small but very nicely updated with slate tile on the countertop and in the shower. Here is the big Ug-Oh about this house: this bathroom is the only main floor bathroom. i.e. it is also the master bath. Aaron really is not thrilled about this but again, I reminded, that when vacationing it's no big deal. When you stay at a hotel the whole room shares one bathroom. So, I think we can work around it in our daily routine. The property is very pretty and we love the views!

We met a neighbor who says the hood is very nice and friendly. She lives next to the horse property. Maybe we will get to ride... The road up is paved but the private drive up to the house is dirt. The neighbor said that the county maintains the roads even our dirt road up to the driveway. She said their roads are usually better served then Denver's because they just don't have enough trucks down there to clear the snow off all of the roads. So, we are not too worried about getting snowed in. Though she did say that the roads are sometimes not plowed until around 9or 10 in the a.m. That's fine too. Everyone can just head out a little late those days.

There are two grocery stores near by. The Safeway is about 8 minutes away. We drove by it and it's a really nice shopping center. I was so suprised to see a Safeway because there has not been one in Texas in over 10 years! The other grocery is called....something odd like Soopers or something and it's about 15 minutes away. So we won't be too far away from civilization. Aaron will have about a 35 minute commute into Denver and we will be about an hour and 20 minutes from skiing. The long drive is due to all the winding mountain roads so the trek is beautiful!!

We put our offer in today and now we are just praying that they accept and that some how the inspection and appraisal go smoothly and quickly. The realtor said to expect it all to take 4 weeks to close. This would mean we would move in the first week of August. I'm disappointed by that because school starts August 23 and I was really hoping we could be here for a time to acclimate the kids and I before school starts. A bulk of that time will be spent unpacking instead of getting to know the area and neighbors....poop. We'll see how it all goes. God's timing is always perfect.

Aaron was upset that he forgot his spreadsheet for our final walk thru. So I told him, "Baby, when buying a home it's ok to let yourself make an emotional decision. I understand that practical needs will need to be met but a home can be purchased with the heart. After all "'home is where the heart is.'"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

House Hunt: Day 2

Yesterday went extremely well! We found a lot of houses that we liked and only one that was a major stinker. That poor house...

The neighbor to that house used to be a National Geographic photographer. He and his wife have lived everywhere! Talk about cool neighbors. But that house was in bad, bad shape. It had great bones and was in a beautiful spot but there was too, too much that would need to be done starting with painting the outside, possibly re-siding the whole thing. The basement was weird. Almost creepy. The guest room down there was possibly a former laundry room? We don't know. The bathroom down there was very questionable too. Not to mention all of the industrial carpet every where. Off of the basement was a patio (also covered in industrial carpet) that housed a hot tub. The hot tub patio was glassed in for views of the mountains but one wall was all mirror. Ew.

Upstairs was a very nice living area with wood floors, high ceilings and spectacular views. It had this very gaudy chandelier...from the 60's or 70's maybe. The kitchen was updated in the 80's. I did like it's window box over the sink. Had potential but after seeing so many houses that were really up to date it's kind of a let down. I can't remember if it was on the same floor or the one up, there was a laundry room with a sink and refrigerator. The bedrooms were all over the place and some had the industrial carpet. The IC was also found in some of the bathrooms. All fixtures were brass and tubs needed resurfacing. I mean it was just in bad, bad shape. OH and wallpaper. Old ugly wallpaper EVERYWHERE! If we just had the money, time and will to re-do it, that house would really be amazing. Good bones, with an amazing location. Needs someone with a lot of do-it-yourself know-how.

The rest of the houses we saw were awesome. They were all built in the 70's or 80's but were fully brought up to date by their owners. Saw lots of granite counter tops, stone tiling, plush carpet, gorgeous wood floors and the like. They were all up in the hills (mountains. Their elevation is about 7,000-8,000 ft. up.) The drive up to them was breath taking. Our realtor probably thinks I'm nuts because I would applaud when I saw a really great view and say "Yea God!" or "Bravo" or "Well done God. Well done!" I mean, the guy really knew what He was doing and I can't think He was making it pretty for Him as I'm sure He has the best views in Heaven. He made those gorgeous views for us. For our pleasure people! Anyway, I had to give Him props for it Just wow.

After our marathon day of house hunting, Aaron and I had a lot to talk about. Aaron had been his quiet self the whole outing. Once we were alone he started talking it up. We have a point system when we look at houses. So I averaged his scores with mine. Aaron announced this time he was also going to create a spreadsheet. (Dear God, help me.) We were starved and so went home to change and then to dinner to discuss our options. We decided to privately choose our top 5 and put them in order of best to worst. We would reveal our top 5 over dinner. Aaron made it clear that with out his spreadsheet, his top 5 was purely emotional and therefore was not his true top 5 but it would let us know where we were at. (Seriously God. Are you hearing this?)

Dinner was so fun! We started with my number 5 and then he would reveal his number 5and so on. (This is the same way we chose our kids names BTW. Sans a spreadsheet) Four out of our fives were a match, though some in different order of ranking. Both of our number fives were not on the others so we eliminated them. So now we are down to our favorite four. We re-ranked them over dinner. Aaron announced to me this a.m. that his spreadsheet is changing the order up again but that he still was not finished making it. *sigh*

Today we will walk through our top 4 again to see how we feel about them a second time through and then, hopefully, we can make an offer and get my kids up here with us!