Tuesday, June 29

One more day here, and a product recommendation

We have most everything moved out of here, waiting in a storage unit until our new apartment is ready. Last night, my father-in-law came over after work to help us move all the big things - beds, couch, chairs and lots of boxes full of clothes and blankets - in his truck, then took the kids home with him so we could move the rest of our things in the car. As of today, we only need to make another trip or two for the last few things that we need until tomorrow, and we have a lot of cleaning to do.

The very last thing we will unplug and clean out
to store is our water pot. I cannot tell you how much
<---- I
<---- love
<---- this
<---- guy.
We've been using it daily for about 5 years now, often refilling once during the day and using it some more! It does hold 3 litres of water; I drink a whole lot of hot tea all year long, the kids have a cup of hot Chamomile tea with or right after dinner, Poseidon drinks a few cups of coffee in a day, and during winter the kids use it for hot chocolate too. In this house we have very little counter space - this fits in one spot right next to the kitchen sink *extremely* well, and it's convenient for refilling anytime. We have tried to get something smaller a few times, but those never held enough water and I would have to refill 8-10 times daily. None of the others had a timer either. This pot can be set to reboil 7 hours later - so, like an automatic coffeemaker, the water is ready for use in the mornings. I do have to be sure to turn it 'off' by 10 or 11 p.m. if I want the water ready by 6 a.m. (By 'off', I mean that it is set for a 7-hour sleep; to turn it totally off, just unplug it from the wall or the pot itself. When plugged back in, it boils the water again.) The timer is probably my favorite feature. It only takes about 10 minutes to boil 3 litres, then it will keep the water at 208 deg F until it's turned off, turned down, or unplugged.
There are three temperature settings - 208, 190, and 170 degrees F - though we very rarely use the lower settings. And very handily for households with little ones, you must first push "unlock" before the "dispense" button for the water to flow - no automatic burns if you hit the wrong button. Of course, keeping it flush against the wall means littles can't reach either button; Mister Twister is just now 5 feet tall and has only been able to reach and correctly operate the water pot for about 2 years. It only needs cleaning about every other month, and that's very easy to do as well. The packets of cleaning powder only cost about a dollar each, and some stores do carry it on their shelves. If you like to have plenty of boiled water at the ready - for cooking or drinking - the Zojirushi water boiler is the way to go.

Poseidon found this product, and it is probably the best purchase we have made in our 8 years of marriage! By Saturday, he will tell you about the process he uses to make the best cup of coffee. He's the sole coffee drinker here and has perfected the art for making coffee at home short of using a Chemex Brewer (he will talk about that as well).

Off to cleaning for today! Have a great week everyone :D

Saturday, June 26

You know we're indecisive, right?

Ugh. Again, we are putting it off. I know that's disappointing - we're both disapppointed in ourselves for rushing ourselves (we didn't quite move our butts enough in the last year, if we'd really wanted to get there) and had been discussing and kicking ourselves and going back and forth all week on it, up until the other night when we finally decided that right now, it probably is best to stay here another year. We also decided to stick with the June 30 moving-from-here date and found a different apartment in town, and still in the same schools.

Believe me when I tell you, I still want to move so badly, and I just really still have a good feeling that if we moved out there everything would work out and we would be fine. Maybe it's the Bob Marley-isms coursing through my mind all the time :) You know, it's one thing to follow your heart, but it's another to follow your heart and know logically that everything *will* be okay. Does that make sense? I almost want to bang my head, but at the same time I have to believe that we're doing the right thing, the right way, and we have a better finish line for the goal so to speak. Tonight we truly made the most difficult decision of our lives in deciding to stay here again. There is also a chance that our tickets cannot be refunded, and I'll find out Monday; if they cannot, we may try to change the itinerary and take the kids for a visit.

Bottom line - we do still want to, and will, move to the west coast. Portland is at the top of the list, Seattle would be a close second as I have a cousin stationed nearby. This last year, since last June actually, we only wanted to do it and didn't have a fire under either of us to make it feasible. The night we made this decision, I sat down with pen and paper and wrote 'this is the what, how, and when for me' and left space for Poseidon to do the same on that paper. He is looking at going back to school here, which was an option we had in Portland as well; I think maybe we're both more scared than driven and we have to think about how the kids would live and the possibility of having to come back here with our tails tucked between our legs, having failed - you know?

Today I'm going to go to the library and see if I can have my same library reactivated. Earlier this year I asked them to cut me off in mid-June, but I do have about sixty cents in fees to pay (late books a while back) so I may be able to use the same account/card. The rest of this weekend will be spent packing the few things we have, deciding what still needs to be sold, and more cleaning. The kids have now enjoyed a solid week of being allowed to play video games all day - keeping them from being underfoot so we can get the big stuff done. Next week we'll have family and friends swoop in with us to get things moved. We are also taking a week or two to visit some family we don't often see, then I'm off to a job hunt. Luckily I do have three places at the top of my list, and they all are hiring! Cross your fingers for me - I've been a stay-at-home mom for the last 7 years... I love my kids, but I think I am ready to be around grown ups again!


Thursday, June 24

If you don't use it, you lose it!

I'm sure most of you have heard that phrase - meaning if one has learned something, it can be easily forgotten if one doesn't put it to use.

Back in high school I chose Spanish to fulfill my foreign language elective; my adopted grandmother is the grandchild of Spaniards, and to this day she is fluent in both languages. So I heard it a bit while growing up, and a few of us grandkids opted to learn it in school so we could help Mama keep up her Spanish skills. Two of my younger cousins work as translators! I've never had any trouble comprehending Spanish spoken to or around me; I seem to be able to translate it in my head fairly quickly and can follow a conversation. Participating, however, wasn't so easy just a few years after graduation (1995!) and it's only gotten worse from there...
With an impending move to a new city, I thought something 'easy' for me to do would be brushing up my speaking skills. I'm surfing online right now to find some free lessons - there are a few here and there - and am taking notes on what I find.

It is something I could use anywhere, with Spanish being the second most-spoken language in the U.S these days. There are books in libraries, and for sale at every turn.

About 9 years ago, I bought a novel written in Spanish and used to read it during my lunch breaks at work. That book is long lost, but it's a good place to restart, right?


Unrelated: a friend from high school just birthed her firstborn today, a little girl. I am so excited for her!! Everyone is healthy and doing well! <3


Monday, June 21

Ever been robbed?

Our car was broken into last night, and we are now short one car stereo and an iPod charger/connection cable that goes with it. We really did not need this now.
Our neighbour has a friend visiting from Colorado - and his car was also broken into, but he also has a busted window from the deal. Missing a couple things himself. Now that totally sucks.
This has been a really good neighbourhood, apparently for decades, but definitely since we moved in 7 years ago. Last year we noticed that someone had rifled through our glovebox, but nothing came up missing that time. We don't keep important things in the car - anything over $50 comes inside if it ever went out to the car in the first place.
Back in 2006 or 2007, a different neighbour had someone try to break in to his house *during the day* - and he is a retired police officer! Nothing was stolen, I think the theif chickened out or something (the details were never really clear to me) and the wife told us that he was arrested a little later that day, because he *did* get into someone else's house and was caught red-handed. Those two incidents have been the only incidents that we know of, and are the only ones any older neighbours have seen in at least 10 years prior to us moving in.

I am so very ready to move. Not that moving will solve all our problems, but at least when we get out there we won't have a car for someone to break into or steal! Oh, but I am also going to post somewhere on Craigslist about this - an open letter to the theif. If s/he never sees it, oh well - but it will surely make me feel better. I'd like to use my most colorful language, though I probably will just call him/her a coward. It's the nicest insult I can think of publishing.

Criminy. :/

Saturday, June 19

T minus 16 days!

Today, it is 17 days until our flight out! Very early flight, leaving the gate around 7:30 a.m. We are stoked!!

So, yesterday we had a yard sale to shed off some of the furniture, and the other stuff that we accumulated over the last 7 years. Those garage sale early birds sure do come out early! We planned (and stated in the paper and online ads) to start at 7, so we could start setting up at 5:30. Our first visitor showed up just after 6, and that guy bought a lot of shelving and some office stuff. Probably $50 just from him - and he had to take it in two trips, but was happy to do so! Then a few more people came by even while we were still setting up and putting things out, but no one seemed to mind picking through boxes and patiently waiting while we worked around them a bit. It was probably 8 before we had most everything out and ready, although due to space issues we didn't even bring the clothes out (and there was a TON) until right after noon. Because of that, we did actually have a couple people looking for clothes earlier who came back again and looked through the kids' clothes. Our sweet neighbour even called all of her daughters - who have daughters of their own - to come by and see what they could get!
The only snafu from yesterday was my jewelry box - a few years ago, Poseidon and the kids bought me a very lovely jewelry box for either Mother's Day or my birthday. Both are in May so it could have been either, all I remember is Miss Hurricane was pretty young at the time! I had decided to sell it a couple months ago, so I went through it and bagged up the jewelry I was also going to sell, and dropped that baggie in the necklace holding area. Yesterday morning, I did so much so early that I didn't even think to look inside again (solid wood - no glass to see through), and I'm pretty sure the lady who bought it late that morning was super excited when she found that little surprise! I do remember that she paid the full $5 I asked, and had I remembered about the jewelry, that really would have only added about another $5 to it and I'd have sold it all together anyway (I know I put the hemp necklaces and bracelets that I made in there). Fortunately, I know (and double checked last night!) that I did indeed keep every bit of jewelry I wanted to keep, so I lost nothing important to me. But I didn't remember anything about jewelry until the afternoon, at which time I frantically tried to imagine what was in the bags! I was pretty sure I hadn't just given away something important - I have my wedding bands and a couple others that were special, I have a couple necklaces (one of which I wear almost daily), a few bracelets and some earrings - and when I checked later, I did still have all those pieces. Whew :)
Besides that incident, the day went very well and we managed to sell off everything except the bulk of the clothing, the toys, and some kitschy stuff that everyone has at yard sales. I did get sunburnt on my back, but it isn't too bad; our friends let us borrow their tent that they use to sell tie dyes at festivals and craft fairs, so we kept a lot of things in the shade and ourselves inside the house whenever possible!
Today we are going through what's left and taking pictures of what still in good sellable condition - the rest will probably go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. This week we will be attempting to sell our bed, the couch, the washer/dryer set we bought for the house (unless the landlady wants to buy them?), and our small appliances that we're still using for a bit. The last three days of the month will be for cleaning an empty house, and hopefully one more playdate with Miss Hurricane's good friend and birthday buddy from school; I love her mom too, and we've been able to chat more this past school year, even though we met when our boys were in elementary and the girls were just wee nurslings!

Time to get super busy now... we have storms here now and it's supposed to rain all day so it's a 'work inside' day for us. Feed the kids, make more coffee, and off we go! Have a great week everyone, and many blessings your way!! :-)


Friday, June 11

What's going on around here.....

Okay, I know it's been a few weeks, so I thought I should write a little update for those of you following along at home:

The kids have been with my in-laws this week; it's VBS week at their church, and the kids have really enjoyed it in years past. I'm sure I'll get pictures soon! :)

We are almost ready for the yard sale, which will be a week from today. I really had NO IDEA how much *stuff* we had here! We seriously have two piles (which seem to breed when we're not looking!) that go almost to the ceiling... we hadn't sold or given away much of anything in the last few years, so it is a truly ridiculous amount of stuff.

Last night we started scanning in old pictures. I have had this fancy shoebox for about 15 years in which I've kept mine, and Poseidon has his own similar box of pictures going back about 20 years. All our married life, we have shuffled these boxes around - in closets, under the desks, in the kids' room, everywhere - always intending to "someday" scan them onto a hard drive. We are finally doing that! He started Wednesday night, worked on it a little yesterday afternoon, and all day today... in just my photo box, we so far have almost 1,000 pictures. Yes, one thousand!! And, because he was born in 1998, over half the pictures are of Mister Twister!! (He was born a few years before we owned a digital camera LOL) We will sort them out and put them up on our Flickr as soon as we can. I am so glad for some great advice at my first baby shower - "take lots and lots of pictures, they grow up way too fast!" - absolutely I did, and soon I will share them with you. It's had me tearing up a bit to remember some of those days, especially now that he's almost 12 years old - turning into a young man on me. *sniff*

To finish out the week with no kids, we will be doing some cleaning here too. We will turn in our keys on the 30th, and cleaning a little at a time will make everything easier on us. All that's really left will be to hand the utilities back over into the landlord's name and to pack everything up!

Back to the scanning... I will certainly come back with a link once we have the pix ready! Have a great week everyone :D