Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To Show A House

"Let me in. I forgot to put up the decorative towels!"

Morning Readers,

OK, that's a lie. I'm actually typing this in the dead of night because daytime around here has been closer to insanity than I'm comfortable with.

That's saying a lot. We wade so deeply into that grey area, most of you are probably just saying, "Mmmhmm."

*Insert knowing nod here*

Last week was a rough one. I could sugar coat it and expound on the glories of not having running water, but I smelled bad and the dishwasher smelled bad, and the kids started smelling really bad, so I had to take them to their Grandma's to bathe, and I'm pretty sure if I'd been born a pioneer, a deer would've eaten me out of spite for my poor survival skills. 

The good news is the main drain is working. Praise Jesus. Seriously, I owe the Lord a Lemon Poppy Seed cake or something. But it'll have to be boxed because He gave me skills, but that comes down to being able to juggle and not bake.

Moving on.

Although the Split level may have been out of commission in the waterworks area, it didn't stop the Kellermans from showing the house and explaining that, yes, the toilets don't work, but that buyers could still buy this house for the low low price of my tears and a stick of gum. Thankfully, we've had quite a few interested parties. Unfortunately, they're parties who want to throw a party without us and not buy the house.

"Keep your strong face. Never let them see you cry." I whispered to the four donuts I ate of frustration on Saturday. 

Not unlike my experience with various leg waxes, this process of hope and rejection is a little harder to bear than I thought. Do you know how difficult it is to keep a house perfectly clean all the time, when you have kids living there? Do you know how hard it is to keep a house perfectly clean when I'm living there?

Fortunately,  I've managed to skim a few notes off the top of this whole fiasco.


How To Show A House So You Almost Sell It

1.) Don't let your baby pull the keys off your laptop. This makes emergency emails to your agent look like, "Hlp! Drain brok n' toilt wonT floosh! Not so gr8t."

2.) Make sure everything is staged appropriately. Broken blinds rolled up. Barbeque grill positioned as if you use it. Couch angled in a jaunty way that doesn't advertise a toddler used it for base jumping at noon. 

Wait.. 

Did you remember to laugh hysterically while organizing the coats by size and color?

3.) Wipe everything down. No, really wipe it. That half-assed thing you do where you chip half that piece of macaroni off the table and call it good won't work. Get out the Clorox wipes and earn your keep. 

4.) Start throwing everything on your counter into the cabinets. Lettuce with the wine glasses, coffee pot next to the trash bags, cats on top of dogs. Really, this part is madness. The people coming to view the house will also view you as someone who keeps that screw-off bottle of wine in the medicine cabinet, but at least it looks tidy.

5.) Shout at the kids to help you.

6.) Suddenly remember your kids are at an age where they still think artfully placing a Pillow Pet on the porch will draw in potential buyers. Run around screaming, "Who hid the dust pan?" instead.

7.) Make the beds, wash the windows, scrub the toilets, mop the floors, and vacuum like your life depends on it. Didn't Disney promise you birds at this point in your life? Where are the squirrels who are supposed to be sandblasting the tub with Scrubbing Bubbles?

8.) Re-examine everything that's wrong with your house. Is thirty minutes enough to renovate the kitchen?

9.) Turn all the lights on. Turn them on again after the kids walk behind you turning them off. Repeat this step three times.

10.) Pack all the kids in the van and hope for the best. Receive following text message from spouse:

"Did you know you left one of the toilet seats up and a kid pooped in it?"


So yeah, we should be out of here by 2017. Plenty of time to enjoy our brand new drain.  Plenty of time.


Until Next Time, Readers!

***
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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bad Things Happen In Twenties: A Tale of Horror

Homeownership, as I see it.

Morning Readers,

(Disclaimer: In order to properly express my feelings, I'll be telling my story in more pictures than usual today.)

I don't think we, as a people, give coffee enough credit. To the innocent, uncaffeinated bystander, it's merely a drink, a few ground up beans whose significance is lost because that steaming cup is simply a drink.

But no.

As it turns out, coffee is the only thing standing between me and a padded cell. And to that I say. "A tip of the cap to you, Folgers commercials."

"Smells like I'm not gonna tell mom and dad I was in jail last night."



As I've written about our experience with the Split level, there have been many times I've stopped and wondered whether you guys think the calamities which have befallen our home can happen to anyone besides Tom Hanks in Money Pit. "Maybe they think I'm making it up. Can this many things actually go wrong with a house before you sell?" I ask myself. Please look me deep in the eyes, Readers, and nod slowly along as I say...

At this point, I wish I were lying.

Things were on a roll. We had showings. Other people, strangers, wanted to see the house, and Husband I had permanently taken up residence on cloud nine.


Husband I watched Poltergiest over the weekend, and I couldn't help feeling for Craig T. Nelson and Jobeth Williams as they battled to save their home and also anymore china from being thrown against the walls. And then, right as they think the house is clean, spoiler alert, their big, brass bed gets sucked into another dimension.

Paige, did one of your kids get pulled into the flat screen? Is that what you're trying to tell us?

Thankfully, no. It was more like things being spit back at us.

Husband: OK, I hate to tell you this, but this, but the drain is backing up in the basement.
Me: How bad is it?
Husband: You may want to go look and judge for yourself.

A rough description of what I saw
We needed to have the main drain run. No big deal. In the past, this has been a quick job, a little bit of money, but the show needed to get back on the road. After all, someone was coming to look at the house at 5pm.

Me: Hi, plumber. Can you have the drain run and everything cleared up this morning?

Plumber: I sure can. That'll be ninety-nine dollars.

Me: Great!

*Time lapse of an hour*

Plumber: So, I can't get through at seventy feet and I'm pulling out mud.

Me:...

Plumber: That's pretty bad. I'm sending a guy out with a camera and we'll figure out what's going on.

Me:...
My face

By this point in the house game, my spider sense is well honed in the area of disaster. From the kitchen, the checkbook had started emitting a high-pitched warning signal only I could hear. I retrieved more coffee for myself, retrieved the toddler from trying to run in the street, and waited.

Camera Man: Sorry I took so long.

Me: It's ok. I'm not the biggest fan of rushing to impending doom.

Camera Man: So what I'm doing is running this wire down the drain and it'll let us see what's down there. All right, so you see how there's roots everywhere? Uh huh. And if we keep going down the line... there. Right there. A wall of mud.

Me: The kind we can just clear out and use as facials?

Camera Man: I'll head out to the yard and see where it's at. This is bad.

Me: I expect nothing less. They made a movie in the 80's based on this house.

Camera Man: Ok, mam. The spot here by your fence is where the drain's collapsed.

Me: Collapsed? As in "no longer bearing its own weight" collapsed?

Camera man: Twelve feet down, this giant tree's roots have finally smashed through the drain. We'll have to bring in a backhoe, dig down, put in a new pipe all the way to the house, and close everything up. Should cost six.

Me: Dollars?

Camera Man: Six Thousand.

Me:....

What to do?

We did the only thing we could, signed the papers, got the credit card at the ready and scheduled everything for 8:30am.

But it's raining today. And it's October. It rains a lot in October.

Halloween come early this year, and it ain't filled with candy corn, children. I don't know how this is all going to end, my friends, but all I can say is...

Someone get me more coffee.

Until Next Time, Readers!


 ***

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Today's Forecast Predicts Rain In the Garage

We're going to the Kellerman's house. I hear it rains in the garage and beer flows out of the faucets."

Afternoon Readers,

The sign is up.

That's right, people. The Split level hits the market in just a couple days, and the most interesting thing about that is the event's timing matches up perfectly with my sanity running out.

No, no, it's sweet you think I'm sane, but the reality is I'm sitting her in a raggedy t-shirt, jean shorts with a broken zipper, and boots up to my knee, drinking cold coffee that has McDonald's Monopoly pieces floating in it. Shortly before writing this, I went out in public that way. Your call.

We have two categories of information today.

The Good:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Crossing the Finish Line

"If you buy our house, it comes with a really fun hat."

Afternoon Readers,

I'm not sure if you've ever read the Shirley Jackson story, The Haunting of Hill House, but, in short, it's about a woman who basically has a nervous breakdown because a house falls in love with her, traps her forever, and convinces her what she'd really like to spend her time doing is wondering up and down the halls, in her nightgown, twirling like an idiot.

So that's basically how things are going around here.

(Ok, she also ends up dying, but it hasn't gotten to that point. Yet.)

Times I've gotten dressed in the last eight weeks: 2
Times I've gone out and done anything fun with adults: 0
Times I've stayed up wondering if we'll sell the house: 523
Times I've touched up paint, scrubbed floors, staged furniture, had carpets cleaned, scrubbed sinks, hung furniture, cried myself to sleep, and cut down a very small tree: 7358

Yes, most of the time a nervous breakdown sneaks up on a person, but I feel lucky because I can fully prepare for the one barreling down the tracks of my sanity. Should give me time to rend my garments in a manor I'm accustomed to.

If you've never sold a house, don't. If you're looking for a an exciting change of pace, try base jumping.

Coming in at just under a year, the Kellermans are finally ready to put the Split level on the market. Things are done. Pictures are being taken on Sunday. I might drink until I don't remember who anyone is, out of pure elation.  And don't you worry, as soon as we find a buyer, I think a visual tour for you guys is the least I can do for listening to me complain for a full 365 days. (I wanted to buy you each a pair of designer boots, but, budgetary concerns.)

And now, we wait.

Who will be brave enough to buy all the history we've made here?
Who will be ok we used the back deck for a bohemian art studio?
Who will look at the sink in the bathroom and think, "Hmm, seashell-shaped. I've always wanted one of those."?

Oh, brave soul, who art thee?

And, whoever you are, please come with pre-approved financing. If we have to back out of a deal last minute, I may just turn the deck back into a studio, change my name to River, and crochet socks for gerbils until I go completely insane. 

So, the moral of the story here is good things hopefully come to those who've used approximately
twenty-five paint brushes and most of their presence of mind. I just have keep the house clean every hour of the day from here on out. Simple enough. Read more accurately as: Not simple at all.

And while we're on the subject, have any of you considered moving to Kansas? It's lovely and only has one crazy lady wondering around in a nightgown ....that I know of.


Until Next Time, Readers!


 ***

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Monday, September 15, 2014

How About A Great Giveaway Instead of Me Rambling?

Morning Readers,

This weekend I couldn't help thinking, "You know what, Paige? Your Readers have been really patient, putting up with all your rambling about house stuff and mortgage hodge podge and the now unbelievable fact we just put seven hundred dollars into the air conditioner, even though we were pretty sure nothing else would break. They deserve something for their good will."

Don't even get me started on the air conditioner. But for anyone who's interested in writing an unauthorized biography about me, please title it, "All Her Things Broke. And Then She Was Broke."

So, great news. Instead of whining about the house, today we're going to do an awesome giveaway. Even better, there are lots and lots of chances to win.

See? No house rambling. Stupid air conditioner. 

myCharge Giveaway The kids are back to school, but Moms know that's only the beginning! Now that the school year is in full swing, there's no slowing down. In fact, things can start getting pretty hectic this time of year between your work and your kid's homework, after-school clubs and sports, music lessons and carpools, birthday parties and play dates...the list goes on and on! Even the most organized Mom will tell you things can change at the last minute, and Moms of all people can't afford to run out of power...we mean for your phone or tablet, of course! myCharge knows how important it is for you to stay charged and connected all day - and all school year - long, so they're giving the gift of portable power so you're never left in the red! To keep you charged and connected myCharge is giving 3 lucky winners each an iPad mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger! The amazingly compact Hub 6000 features built-in cables and connectors for smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Get up to 27 hours of additional talk time for your devices, as well as integrated, quick-charge wall prongs. The Hub series is commonly known as the “Swiss Army Knife of portable power devices.myCharge HUB6000 Additionally, 40 winners will each receive an Energy Shot compact portable charger for their smartphones that delivers an additional boost when you need it most. They come in a variety of styles and can give you up to 10 hours of talk time! (Please note, smart phone not included in giveaway). myCharge Energy ShotSo Moms, stay out of the red this school year! myCharge is here to keep you charged and connected! For more information on products visit the myCharge website or follow them on Facebook. You can find myCharge products available at retailers such as Target and Kohl's. Fill out the entry form below September 15, 2014 - October 15, 2014 for your chance to be one of 40 winners to receive an Energy Shot Charger (10 winners randomly selected each week) and one of 3 grand prize winners randomly selected on October 15, 2014 to receive one iPad Mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age or older, must live in the United States and have a valid shipping address. See giveaway form for complete list of rules and details. a Rafflecopter giveaway This is a sponsored post from myCharge.

Until Next Time, Readers! 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Fair Folk

"Ok, I've got my tuxedo on. Let's go destroy some funnel cake."

Afternoon Readers,

By now, you probably think the only thing the Kellermans are good at is taking an entire year to get a house ready to put on the market, but you'd be slightly off because...

a.) It's only been eleven months.

and

b.) We do surprisingly well at street fairs.

Ahh, festivals, the sticky, cotton candy-covered spice of life. I love them, truly. Town fairs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when ours sets up camp every September, I look forward to wandering through rows of street vendors and alleyways made entirely of funnel cake and regret.

"Well, I don't usually eat three pounds of grease and syrup, but when's the next time I'll be able to find sugar in America?"

The smell alone is enough to lure me out of my house and to the first person selling an eight dollar plate of nachos, the heat of the plastic container swirling and dancing delicately through air with the sounds of people accusing other people of stealing their spot on the grass.

Last Saturday had been yet another long day of painting, cleaning and trying to figure out how we managed to spill all our food under the drawers in the refrigerator. (Turns out, we live like absolute animals.) The kids have put up with my neurotic house preparations enough, the minute I remembered the fair was coming to town, the thought of making it up to them had instant appeal.

"Who wants to go make memories with mommy and daddy so you don't hold weeks of neglect against them later on in life?"

"We do! We do!" the children chorused.

And so, I threw on my fanciest sweatshirt and jean shorts and Husband and I hauled our offspring in the direction of music and no parking. Ok, I take that back, the parking miraculously sorted itself out.

"Are you sure we can park here?"

"I guess we'll know if our car's gone when we get back."

"You're a true testament to optimism and the indomitable human spirit."

The first thing we did was feed the children. Leaving the house to do anything is completely pointless if you have hungry children who ladle on the guilt they're two steps away from starving to death. The next thing we did was process the astronomical price of corn dogs and sausage.

"Here's the food!"

"Awesome. Smells lovely. Where's the change?"

"There was none. Oh, and I had to take a second mortgage on the house to get you those extra fries, so bon appetit."

The great thing about eating overpriced food at a fair or carnival is the unique opportunity to truly people watch. The teenagers, hipper than everyone else, are wearing things you don't recognize, bringing on a sudden, uncomfortable bout of mid, quarter, or end-of-life crisis to go along with your nachos. The people who dress only in leather goods have made an appearance to testify for the Hell's Angels, the moms from the 10am beauty contest are still chasing their children, trying to Aqua Net their curls into place, and then there's you being verbally abused by your own children. They just noticed every other kid in the place has a balloon and they want one too.

"Where do you think they're giving out the balloons?"

"I don't know. I'm still finishing my twenty dollar fries."

I'm a sucker for buying frivolous items out of tents. If I had a dollar for every time I'd talked myself into a scented candle or a bracelet woven out of premium yak hair, I'd have a lot more money and no items made out of yak hair. Still, we couldn't resist the urge to pay the three dollars to let Sundance have her hair spray painted pink and doused liberally with glitter.

Still on the balloon search, the other two children were a little put out they'd received nothing except a thirty dollar soda, so we made our last stop.

"How much?"

There's highway robbery, and then there's the price of rides at a fair. Why people don't use that as a metaphor more often, I'll never know.

There are three stages of ride guilt:

1.) Seeing the price of tickets and deciding not to buy them.
2.) Looking at your children's dashed hopes and devastated faces.
3.) Buying them anyway.

"Ok, I got tickets."

"How much did you spend?"

"Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to."

I ended up taking Sundance and Doc on the merry-go-round, while Husband took Butch on the Ferris wheel. No baby merry-go-round for my oldest boy. He craves the thrill of adventure and an unsettling rocking feeling of a structure that looks like it was last maintenanced in 1930.

And if you're wondering, yes, I enjoyed the ride very much. I just wish Doc had let me ride the giant moose and he had stood guard, instead of the other way around.

The fair won't be back for another year, but that's ok. I now have three-hundred-sixty-five days to digest those fries, and pay off this second mortgage.

Who knows, maybe we'll even have the house on the market by then.


Until Next Time, Readers!

 ***

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ain't No Party Like A Gravy Party, Cause A Gravy Party Don't Stop

"Always bike to a biscuits and gravy party. Your hips will thank you later."

Morning Readers,

People often ask, but, over the weekend, Husband and I were finally able to tally all the things that make us super cool:

3 Discussions about our favorite George Micheal songs and compiled playlist
1 Saved By the Bell unauthorized biography watched on Lifetime
2 cans of gravy

The gravy needs an explanation. First, I think it's extremely important to mention that, if your can opener happens to break and you get frustrated and throw it in the trash, necessity dictates you buy a new one. Otherwise, this is what happens.

"So you know how I was going to make breakfast for dinner in honor of Labor Day? Eggs, cheese, biscuits and gravy, all in the name of hard working people of this great nation?"

Husband nodded, clearly just as concerned with the fantasy football draft he was entrenched in as my dinner update and patriotism.

"Brace yourself, but I think I threw out the can opener and can't open the canned gravy I lovingly bought you and the children."

"No gravy?

"No gravy."

Now, Husband and I don't agree on everything in this life, but one thing that helps bind our souls together is a mutual love of biscuits and gravy. So much so, I can confidently say that, if we ever find ourselves in marriage counseling, it will have one hundred percent nothing to do with biscuits or gravy. He sprung into action.

"What are you doing?"

He opened a new tab on the laptop and nodded towards the screen. "Ok, there's no way we're not having gravy, so if anyone knows how to get those cans open, it'll be the internet. Hmm, this one looks good."

For the next few moments, we watched two Russians give us our options....

"First, no throw can opener away."
"Second, find nice, big piece of concrete."
"Third, take can and beat against concrete."
"Can open."

Honestly, I really liked Ivan Drago's plan. Simple, straight forward, only required a driveway. Just in case, we checked out any other options we had and assessed a plan of action. "It looks like we can either poke them with a spoon really hard or set them up on a date with the garage floor." Feeding off Husband's look of determination, I continued, "But I'll leave it to your discretion."

He grabbed both cans, a spoon and some optimism and set to work. I took a timeout from pulling biscuits out of an off-brand tube, intent on watching my love poke some Campbells repeatedly with a serving spoon.

"This isn't working."

I'd been so enthralled with watching Husband "tap, tap, tap" in somewhat of a futile effort, I hadn't realized a personal vendetta had begun to be forged in depths of his soul. "You headed to the garage?"

"This is useless."

"So we're not having gravy?"

"Oh, we're having gravy."

"Godspeed."

While I scrambled a dozen eggs, one for everyone and eight for myself, strange scraping sounds wafted from the garage, a true tribute to determination and a dinner with so many carbs, it pushed the bounds of propriety. Finally, steps thudded up the stairs and the door swung open. Two, empty cans were thrust threw the doorway. "Done."

I clapped my hands. "It's just like Christmas. And not just because we also have biscuits and gravy on Christmas."

Victoriously, Husband plopped the gravy in the pan and turned it on.

"I knew there was a reason I married you." Smiling, I set about popping biscuits into the oven and sprinkling cheese on eggs. "You're getting extra imitation sausage on your plate tonight!"

Labor Day dinner had been saved. It had only taken three Youtube videos, two Russians, and some concrete to make it happen. And if you're wondering, no, the gravy didn't taste like garage floor. It was delicious and the perfect precursor to the cheesecake decorated like an American flag I'd bought for desert.


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And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on: