The Month of June

I’m not going to lie, June was a pretty rough month.  June was the month where we began our task of getting adjusted and settled in our house.  We still had a ton of boxes to unpack and a large quantity of stuff to find places for.  Which you wouldn’t think would be a hard project since we bought a house of similar size.  The biggest dilemma is we no longer had a gorgeous crawl space to store misc. things and the one place where we have room to store all the storage stuff is our attic, which is not somewhere you want to put anything that can melt, become brittle or rendered inoperable by extreme heat or be eaten by rodents/silverfish/rats and whatever other stupid critters exist in this area.  That pretty much narrows down to everything we own that would need a storage spot.  The garage is also out because that is the one area we did downsize from Kenai and it was so full of boxes and large equipment that there wasn’t even room for Steve to unpack his stuff.  At one point our neighbor informed us even paint couldn’t be stored in the garage if we ever wanted to be able to use it for touch-ups which just meant finding room to park more stuff in the house.

And I, for some reason, have an organization deficiency.  And Steve does too to exasperate the matter.  The two of us combined are like human tornados if things don’t have a clear spot.  Our method of organizing is to just move things from one spot to another spot that is out of the way at the time and then move it again when it becomes in the way again.  I blame this all on the fact that I never in my life had to move.  My room was my room for my whole life growing up, I never had to rearrange or find places for anything.  The real example that I always go back to in my mind was the day I attempted to move in at college.  This is a daunting task to start because the rooms are always super small and you are sharing them with someone else.  Luckily my sister was there.  I remember standing in the room, looking around having no clue where to start, feeling frustrated and my sister just started putting things away for me.  She unpacked me and organized it all.  I can maintain organization once in place and even make modifications but when I have to start from scratch; it either never gets done or never works out.

And take the kitchen for instance.  This is really the first main area of concern whenever we move.  I have yet to move myself into a kitchen that isn’t rearranged at some point by our Mothers.  I remember in Findlay the first time my Mother and Steve’s Mother were in the house at the same time all they could talk about was how the function in the kitchen was all off.  I was like, go ahead, make it how you think it should be.  I knew it was terrible and didn’t know how to fix it.  I think I improved some with the kitchen in Kenai, but one of the Mothers’s spent some time rearranging.  I should have been getting better by this move, but the issues were I was going from a beautiful large kitchen with tons of cabinet space, plus a wet bar area with more cabinet space to a much smaller kitchen here and a pantry which I have never had before.  I’ve always dreamed of a nicely organized large pantry but when finally presented with one I had no idea where to start.

I spent the first two weeks of June basically digging through a giant box of kitchen utensils (some of them sharp) every time I needed a spatula or a serving spoon or something.  I had pretty much just found a spot for the dishes, cups and silverware and everything else was still in their boxes.  We were literally pulling it out of the dishwasher and putting the dried items back in the boxes.  It also didn’t help that the movers’ labeling of the boxes was horrible.  Seriously, have I complained about this in a previous post?  When I went to look for cups, I found dishes in the box labeled glasses and when I went for plates I found pots in the box marked dishes, it was crazy.  There were many, many times in the few weeks I couldn’t find something and had to improvise yet I still did nothing about it.  I just dealt with it.  It was easier that way.  (did I talk about the day I finally had a can I had to open and I couldn’t find the can opener so I googled how to open a can without a can opener?  It took me 20 minutes to get the stupid cans open)

The kids finally had the chance to have a steady schedule without giant interruptions which was supposed to help with their transition and it didn’t at all.  Gretchen started doing okay but Wes was horrible.  He was biting again, having tons of potty accidents, not listening to his teachers, breaking toys.  It got to the point where I didn’t even want to pick him up because the teacher never had anything good to say about him and I swear when they would tell me whatever they would bore their eyes into me like I was supposed to impose some punishment on him on the spot.  But really, it’s beyond the point now, if you dealt with it at the time and if you’re consistent, he’ll improve, I promise.  It got to the point that we couldn’t drop off without one of the kids flipping out.  They always took turns.  There were some mornings I left Gretchen and the lady was holding her down while she was flailing in the chair.  It was pretty awful.  I started considering other daycares thinking maybe this just wasn’t the right place but I was so hesitant to move Gretchen when she was just going to be going to Kindergarten soon and this daycare was SO convenient it is literally located right next to her school.   This issue spanned several months, it wasn’t just June.  I honestly don’t remember what month it all got better, but it did, not to spoil the ending, but who knows when I’ll get the subsequent months posted anyway.  Plus at this point all the summer months ran together.  I’m thinking things improved when Wes transitioned into the Primary class which is structured like a preschool and the real root of the Montessori program when they start to work with the learning toys and do more structured learning.  I think for him it was a cross between his need to test authority and being bored.  We have the same issues at home, we try to anticipate when he’s getting bored (indicated by either throwing things, beating up Gretchen, tackling the dogs or in general being a crazy boy) and changing the scenery whether it’s taking him outside or giving him something else to concentrate on.  I think once he started being challenged during the day he got better.

Then there was the traffic and the heat.  I think June was the hottest month.  It could have been because this was a serious adjustment month but we had about two weeks where I swear it didn’t get below 100.  It was awful.

June 29th

Our first disappointment was pool temperatures went up with the heat too.  The pools, even though they were fairly big, felt just as hot as the air.  We couldn’t even go to the pool and cool down.  This, of course, spoiled the kids and later in the summer when the temps actually cooled down they would complain getting in even though the water temperature was probably still about 85.  But we had fun exploring the pools in our area.  Our Home Owners Association has 10 pools to pick from.  We quickly found out the awesome pool by our house with the lazy river and huge slide was always super crowded.  We started going to a cute little kiddie pool early in the mornings on Saturday and it was pretty fun.

The kids liked that one, it was shallow, had a mushroom and a slide Gretchen could go down herself.  We also bought a cheap blow-up pool and started enjoying that in our driveway.  One nice thing about Texas is the water isn’t real cold from the hose so we could fill up the pool and have instant relief instead of having to wait for the sun to warm it up enough to not feel like you’re getting hypothermia soaking in the pool.

Steve on Father’s day:

And for a quick fix (or the redneck way, whatever you want to call it), there’s always the wonderful in lawn sprinklers, no set-up no tear down, just flip the switch and let them run around.

But wait there’s more…I was pregnant.  This is all public knowledge now, I wouldn’t have blogged about it then, but every night, after dealing with traffic, formal office life, Hellish heat, the inquisition at daycare, attempting to generate a meal in an inefficient kitchen and getting the kids in bed, all I had the energy for was sitting on the couch dreaming about a nicely unpacked house.  At first I thought it was the heat, because the heat just totally zaps me, but then I realized this was a special exhaustion.  And finally I thought, I haven’t been this exhausted since I didn’t know I was pregnant with Wes.  That also happened soon after we had moved in in Kenai, though I don’t remember unpacking in Kenai being this horrible.  Granted we only had one child, a 15 month old and had doubled our square footage in the house and had a crawl space.

Compound all that together with two adults who are not quite motivated and two kids who can’t keep their LITTLE HANDS off anything and break things or move things so you can’t find them as you are unpacking and what you get is a house that never got organized.  (For a side story on that that spans a few months and is actually still ongoing….we have a desk, it’s pretty big and we don’t think it really fits in our house and will want to get rid of it but decided to get it set up so we can at least get the desk items organized and put in a spot and we’ll move them around when we find a different solution.  We get all the pieces out and can’t find the hardware.  We searched and searched because the movers for this move were so lousy, the movers in Findlay had a box and they put ALL the hardware for everything in the box and it was the last box loaded and the first box off and we set that box in a special place and found everything we needed when we needed it.  Not the Kenai movers, the hardware ended up wherever.  It was very frustrating.  A month goes by, at some point the kids started playing with the pieces of the desk, using a cabinet door as a shield, and Wes started using the two legs as swords/weapons causing harm so I had to take them away and put them somewhere up high out of his reach which was not with the rest of our desk.  At some still later date we randomly find the hardware for the desk (I was actually within inches of calling the manufacturer to buy the hardware).  I get super excited and Steve goes to put the desk together and we can’t find the two STINKING legs.  They are NO WHERE to be found.  We still have not found them to this day.  I think my “out of the way spot” was an open box we were stuffing trash paper in and we accidentally just pushed a ton of paper on top, smashed it down and because that stuff packs so tightly had no clue we were smashing in the legs.  That is my only explanation.  So we still have pieces of a desk, hardware and boxes of unorganized desk items.  I have to dig every time I need the stapler, tape, push pins, elastics, paper clips…etc.  It’s pretty frustrating)

Our VERY first weekend back (as in the day I got back with the kids, two days after getting out of the RV) we had our first run-in with a snake in our backyard.  Steve found it.  It was about 9pm at night, under the backyard lights, he went to roll up the hose or pull out the hose I can’t remember and the snake was apparently right underneath the hose, it totally blended in until it moved and Steve was pretty much right on top of it.  It freaked us out.  Unfortunately, our patio was super crowded with furniture because we didn’t have everything set up yet and the snake slithered behind the furniture up against our house.  We exposed the snake and spent maybe the next 30 minutes debating what to do about it.  I was ready to bash its head in with a shovel but we were both worried about how close we could really get to it.  Not really having any dealings with snakes at all we had no idea how far it could strike.  My next suggestion was to pummel it with bricks but Steve vetoed that because there was no way we weren’t going to take out a window in the process.  Eventually I called a pest service and decided to have someone come out and remove it.  It took about 45 minutes for him to show up, we sat there the whole time watching it to make sure it didn’t move.  It curled up right next to the door to our bedroom.  Steve said he wouldn’t be able to sleep if it wasn’t removed.  The guy shows up and attempts to bag it because they are supposed to take them alive but the thing wasn’t cooperating and that paired with the fact that it had very similar markings to a water moccasin which is one of the four common poisonous snakes in the area, he ended up having to take it out to the street and bash it’s head in anyway.  As it turned out when the expert looked at the dead body a few days later it was a diamonded back water snake (nonvenomous but aggressive).  But when you look at the pictures of that snake that is not what it looked like.  It looked like a water Moccasin.  Five hundred dollars later, the cost of a house call after hours for snake removal, at 11:15pm we were able to go to bed.

Then the next day I was coming home from an errand and Steve called, there is another snake in the yard.  This time under our grill cover.

It was Sunday afternoon, we had the pool on the patio, the kids were playing in it and Indigo found it and chased it under the pool the kids were playing in and underneath the grill cover.  Steve told the kids to get in the house while he rounded up the dogs.  Apparently Gretchen was like “Daddy what is it?  Is it a bear?”  “No, it’s not a bear.”  “Is it a moose?”  “No it’s not a moose?”  “What is it?”  hehe…  No, it’s just an itty bitty snake.  I got home and was on the phone with the pest control when the snake popped its head out and began to move on.  We decided it wasn’t worth another $500.  When it moved out into the yard I took matters into my own hands and started with plan B from the night before and pummeled it with landscaping rocks.  Steve, Mr. Skeptical didn’t think it would work but my first one hit square on.  I hit it a few times before Steve decided to try and he got a direct hit to the head and put it out of its misery.  I honestly felt bad.  I don’t really like to kill anything especially since I knew with a degree of certainty that this snake wasn’t venomous.  It turned out to be a broad striped water snake and a pretty common snake.  That was the weekend of the snakes.  We have since paid someone to spray our yard with snake repellent and found some to buy online and plan to spray in the spring and fall when the snakes supposedly come to the house to get warmth from the foundation.

Since then the only snake we have seen was a baby one that somehow got in our house.  Not as scary.  I don’t remember what month that was but I had some towels on the kitchen floor to wipe the dogs’ paws off and I moved them to vacuum and when I picked them up I startled because the little snake started wiggling around.  I believe it was just a green striped garter snake and I was very tempted to just pick it up with my hands, and it would have been an easy kill but I scooped it up with a bucket and sent it sailing over our fence.  I told it not to press its luck by coming back.

I guess the good news of the month; we had a short notice, surprise visit from our neighbors from Findlay.  They passed through literally three days after we got back from our RV trek.  We got an email from them about a week before saying they were coming through Houston on their way to New Mexico and Colorado.  It was comically coincidental because at the time we were getting ready to drive through Colorado and New Mexico on our way to Houston, I think we got the email in Montana.  It was really great to see them, we hadn’t seen them is a couple years.  It was a really nice surprise and gave us something to look forward to when we returned to our house of disaster.

With Cathy and Lee

My Mother came specifically to help with the kitchen because I needed a Mother to help.  She was able to get me over my barrier and sort through the rest of the boxes and get them put away.  She started getting contact paper in and reworked the already disorganized pantry.  I can’t say that I continued the progress forward after she left, which kind of was the intent, but I haven’t regressed either.  It definitely helped a lot.  She was also there for our anniversary so Steve and I were able to go out and have a small date which was nice.

And after research and debates and decisions Steve finally picked a replacement for his truck (which we sold in Kenai), a Nissan Leaf, a fully electric car.  We got a two year lease, for a couple of reasons, one is the technology changes so fast and Steve LOVES to have the latest and greatest, and it is still pretty untried, no one really knows how long the battery lasts and the long term maintenance on one.  The price was right and we knew with pretty good certainty that we were going to have three kids in the near future and it’s a small car and may only work for a short time.  We’re hoping in two years they’ll have an electric minivan which can get at least 100 miles on a charge.  It’s a pretty neat car.  We’re actually enjoying it.  It is SO quiet and it gets us to and from work with no issues.  And the nicest thing…is not having to get gas.  Seriously, I never thought this would be a luxury but the few times I’ve had to get gas for my highlander has been a disaster.  The gas stations aren’t convenient and they are always crowded.  The first time I went to the Kroger gas station to get my fifty cent a gallon discount and it felt a bit like black Friday at Walmart trying to get a pump.

The kids have dubbed it the “mini car” it’s hilarious.  Wes was the one that named it.  After a few corrections that it wasn’t really a “mini” we realized we weren’t going to win.  From his perspective going from a giant truck to a little coupe…it is a mini car.  Wes still makes comments from time to time about not having a truck, which does make us sad.  But right now, we don’t need a truck; we really wouldn’t have any use.

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