Sunday, July 8, 2018

Sleeping in Aldie

Tonight, Nick and Buddy and I are spending the night in our new house in Aldie, Virginia.  Kind of cool since I had never even seen it after dark before.

It is a very large house with a very small amount of furniture   There is one bed- a king size one- in the downstairs guest room.

We sat on the deck this evening and enjoyed the dark night and all the stars we can see.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

First world problems, but they stress me nonetheless

Here's a recap. We put money down on our new house in February. Since the house was being used as a model home and office for the builders, we knew we wouldn't be able to move in until late June.

Meanwhile, we hired a realtor to help us "stage" our current house in Reston so we could put it on the market.

We have put about half of our furniture into storage with a storage and moving company.  Nick rented a storage locker to put the rest of our "stuff" in to.  We have tossed around three truck loads of stuff- old broken deck chairs, thousands of books and who knows what else.

So much to go through.   What should we keep.  What should we donate?  What should we toss.   And of course, no help but each other.  I should say Nick actually since he has done most of the physical work.  There was a time when I would have helped, but I just cannot now. I am in almost constant pain from the arthritis in my knees.   We couldn't hire anyone to help because all of this is our stuff.  Personal decisions need to be made.

There are boxes with five children's worth of report cards, school work, drawings, stories.   School pictures.   What should I save, what should I discard.     There was also a completely full, large Rubbermaid bin full of my college notes.  Why on earth did I save that stuff.  (I guess I was so pleased with myself that I actually finished college that I wanted to save proof of how hard I worked).   I tossed all of that.

Nick carried everything upstairs and either took it to our storage locker or threw it out.  Well, most of it.  At one point it was so overwhelming that we had the Got Junk people haul the trash up from the basement and out of the garage as well.

This next picture was taken after Nick has started to move things out of the storage locker, put them into a rental truck, and drive to the new house 30 minutes away. 

  The weather was really hot with a heat index of over 100 degrees.  I was really worried about Nick.  In face at one point Nick called me to pick him up because he needed a break, a nap, shower, food and water.  Then he went back to work.

We might have been able to hire some day workers, but I'm not sure that would have worked.  What do you do with them when you need a break.   How do you tell them what to put where when it's all personal, family stuff.

So, Nick put everything into the garage in the new house.  By himself.  Everything still needs to be moved into the house.  The boxes are clearly marked "basement bedroom", "Master bedroom'  Kitchen"   At least now the new house is ours, so we can take our time.  Not that we enjoy having a garage full of stuff.

We weren't able to spend the night at the new house because the air conditioning in the main floor master (guest room) wasn't working.  When we bought the house, even though it was a model home, it didn't come with furniture.  I arranged to but some of the furniture.  But not much.  All of the other rooms in the house are empty and will be until we sell the old house- then we can move our stuff to the new house.

Friday, June 29, 2018

we did it!

Today Nick and I signed the papers and got the keys to our new house.  We now own two houses. How did that happen?

We had thought of spending the night in the new house, but we didn't.  An appointment I thought that I had scheduled for next Friday was actually today.  That and the fact that the closing was changed from this morning to this afternoon made us decide to stay home tonight.

Actually, after coming home- to Reston- I stayed home with Buddy and Nick went back to take some tings to the new house.

Buddy is a pretty neurotic dog anyway, but he has been really stressed lately with all of the comings and goings- electricians, painters, roofers.  Nick gone for five weeks.  I was tired and wanted to rest.  We decided that Buddy would appreciate some time at home with one of us.  Tomorrow we will take him to his new home.  And ours.

There's not much furniture in the house. It was a furnished model home when we decided to buy it.  I bought some of the pieces that just seemed to fit.  So we have a place to sit in the sun room off the kitchen.  Also a kitchen table and chairs.  We got all of the furniture in the main floor master bedroom, and some of the furniture in the basement family room.

We are leaving much of our furniture in the Reston house for the time being so we can show it to sell.

So many feelings.  It doesn't seem like we really own a new house.  We have moved and lived all over the world.  We've had homes in each place we've lived.  Some nicer than others.  But each home we lived in overseas we knew was temporary.  We have always had this house in Reston, to come home to.

I remember having the kids say goodbye to their rooms and to the house whenever we moved away.  Now we, the grown ups, the parents, have to say goodbye.

That assumes the house actually sells.

Not the most exciting or insightful blog post of mine.  But, it is what it is.

Oh, and it's just over seven months since I had brain surgery.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Where did the last two months go?

I was just checking in and see that I haven't posted anything here since March, and now it's the end of May.

Well, in April, the ,movers came to give us an estimate.  Then the house inspector to tell us what needs to be attended to.  I  Went to the orthodontist for a braces check.  Actually I have invisalign braces.  Yes I am getting my teeth straightened again.  I had braces as a teen and now I feel that I need them again.

I got an estimate on getting a new roof, painting the interior of the house,  repairing the deck and also the windows that need fixing.  Now, mind you, all of these things have needed to be done for a while.  But, since we are hoping to sell this house, we are now doing everything.   I guess that's what you do when you sell your house.

Nick and Austin went on a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean and then to the UK on a Beatles tour and other great stuff.

Had the sunken front step and the driveway repaired.  Got carpet installed.  Had to appear for jury duty- I didn't get called to be on a jury, but got paid $30.00.  I spoke about breastfeeding at "Love your baby day"

Had a bladder infection and was on antibiotics.  Follow up after the antibiotics found me with chest pain and six or seven hours in the ER.  Followed by more doctor visits and a day full of  cardiac tests.

Oh yeah, the other day I had a laser procedure on my right eye to zap the "floaters" that came after my brain surgery.

In between those things, I was feted for my birthday, first by my sister and her granddaughters, them with my women's group.

The weekly breastfeeding cafe' drop in gatherings at Starbucks  continue on Tuesdays.  I missed a few times because of various medical things.

There's been rain rain rain this month.  Fortunately, there has been no water in the basement.  Austin's cat, "Cat", is staying with us while the traveling is going on.

Nick got home yesterday.  Minus his and Austin's luggage.   Austin has gone on to Norway for a week.

A part of me knows that I would have really enjoyed the traveling that  Nick and Austin have done for the last five weeks.  But, I have enjoyed the emails and pictures and hearing about the things seen, done and experienced.    How often does a father get to spend time like that with his adult child.

Courtney has bought a new house in Portland, Oregon.  Morgan has bought a piece of land in California.   Darcy and Jody are in Portland, Austin and Chance's residences are in Richmond.

Whew.  I feel like I just wrote a Christmas letter!

Today we went to our new house to pick out some of the furniture we want to buy (it's a furnished, model home).  It's funny to see the house we will live in soon and then come home to our current house.

Now to watch Judge Judy and think about what to fix for dinner,

Monday, March 26, 2018

I guess we are really moving!

I lose sleep thinking about moving out of this house and into a new, huge house.   Of course, I lose sleep about everything!

I make lists and follow through.  Painter lined up?  check.    Carpet lined up.  check.  Inspection lined up.  check.

Packing stuff to unpack on the other end.  Putting things into a storage locker so we can "depersonalize" the house.  So someone looking at it can picture themselves having a life here.

Nick rented a storage locker, and yesterday he showed it to me.  We put a few things in it, and he is there right now putting more boxed and "stuff" into it .

Nick is putting something into the corner. 

I have been emptying my shelves of books and packing them up (to go into the storage locker).

Saturday, March 17, 2018


What are friends?  That sounds like an age old philosophical question.

What prompted me to write is this;  I have a friend named Ann.  She is my nail lady- the person who does my manicures and pedicures.   We met when I went into the shop about ten years or more ago.   She is from Vietnam, a place I have been close to, but have never actually been there.

We have lived in South East Asia for almost 6 years.  Four years in Thailand in two year stints.  A year in Taiwan. And, we expected to live in China for a few years, but our preemie baby who needed medical care changed all that.

I recognize that there are big cultural differences between those places, but there is still something that makes me identify.  In Australia, the Asian moms (parents of the kids where my boys went to school) and the "white" Australians didn't click.  There wasn't any animosity, just, didn't click.  Then, somehow, I became an "honorary Asian" and got to have the best of both worlds.  Friends!

When we first went to Thailand, in 1976, Nick went to work every day, and I tried to figure out what I was supposed to do.  I had been fortunate enough to study Thai at FSI (the Foreign Service Institute) along side Nick, for ten months.  And, being someone who likes to talk anyway, my spoken Thai was pretty darn good.

I was all of 22 years old when we first went abroad.   I didn't really feel like I fit into the Embassy community.   People thought I was someone's daughter who was on break from college.

But, I had Ampai.  She was our maid, but we spent hours and hours together.  We went shopping in the  "fresh" everything market- meat, fish, live eels and frogs as well as flowers and clothing.  We took a boat up the river to who knows where and had a blast!  Somewhere I have the pictures to prove it!

Ampia was a maid, and we did pay her to work for us.  But she was also my best friend.  We really loved each other!  In 1978, when we left Bangkok, we left Ampai.  She and I hugged and cried.  And, all these years later, we keep in touch.  That's what a friend is.

All of the places we lived I had friends.  Or at least I tried.   I get too lonely and sad if I don't have a woman friend, or a bunch of women friends.  Some come into and out of your life.  Some, you never hear from again.  And some seem to be forever.

Don't get the idea that it has been easy.  When we arrived in Taiwan, all of the kids got chicken pox, so I missed all of the meet and greet activities.   I didn't know anyone.   So, I invited everyone with little kids to our house for Darcy's birthday party.  It wasn't about getting presents, it was about meeting people.   I didn't become friends with all of those people- or even most of them, but I did meet a few who I hung out with.

 Sometimes I have tried to get into a conversation only to be ignored by the others- the people who are already talking to each another.  Sometimes they don't even realize that they are ignoring me.  Sometimes they are really shits who I wouldn't want to be friends with anyway.

In October of this last year I made a trip to San Diego.  It was a La Leche League Alumni trip.  My second.  Some of the women I know only by name- having seen their names in print somewhere- in a newsletter or something.  And at least one of them and I met for the first time in October, and we "clicked".  Not sure what or why it happened, but we seem to share the same empathy for the same things  Also, while on that trip, I met with a friend who I have kept in touch with, but had not seen in over 40 years!  It felt like we picked up right where we left off!

In 2014 when I found out that I had a brain tumor, Ann was so very worried about me.  She called my house to see how I was, but Nick didn't understand who she was.
And now, back to Ann, my nail lady.   We have a friendship that is almost impossible to explain.  Her English is not always easy for me to understand, and I don't speak a word of Vietnamese.    But we matter to each other.  She tells me about her husband and their travels.  I tell her about my children.   Sometimes we don't talk at all, and sometimes we get the silly laughs.

All of the people I consider my friends, aside from my sister, are people that I had to make some effort to get to know.   By effort, I don't mean it was hard work.  But I did have to be a part of the conversation if I wanted to be in it.  When I finally was able to go back to the nail salon, Ann jumped up to great me.  We both stood there bawling like babies.

Then, in November 2017 I had another brain surgery.  Ann knew about it.  Turns out, my next door neighbor goes to Ann too.  So Kathy has kept Ann up to date.   Ann gave Kathy a Buddha to give to me.  She believes it will help me stay healthier and recover faster.    The Buddha is very tiny.  I think I will try to figure out how to make it into a necklace.

Yesterday I went to the nail salon and saw Ann for the first time in around four months.  We hugged and cried.  She wept like a baby.   It is friendship.  It is love.  It is wonderful.  It takes work to maintain, but it is worth it.

My tiny Buddha, a gift from Ann