Holiday Prep – Part 1

Let’s face it: We will forever be the family buying the sad Charlie Brown tree on December 23rd, but this year I’m trying.

Winter comes early here and lasts forever, so I wanted something pieces that could bridge November to March, not just the unofficial holiday season.

I went with two themes: cozy and buffalo plaid.

I share this perfectly imperfect shot to showcase the overall effect, but wow! Painful reality. Two kids and a dog seem to continuously rearrange my pillow fort, push apart the sofa sections and make the blinds quite janky.

These cuties are from Crate and Barrel:

The plaid pillow covers are straight off of Amazon. I slipped them over pillows we already had.

Ditto the plaid throw; it’s Amazon:

We have six fireplaces but I don’t decorate all of them. Here’s the start of the mantle in the main floor family room:

Please excuse the tape. This was a trial. That failed. Re-taping subsequently commenced.

I found these two cute garlands at Michael’s, a craft store that overwhelms me and I try to avoid. There was some weird promotion going on and they gave me the nutcracker for free at the checkout.

The candle is from Crate and Barrel and smells wonderfully like winter. I bought several to (hopefully) last until spring.

The last thing I did, for now:

I bought two faux boxwood wreaths at Target last year and I swap out the bows depending on the season. For someone who is generally lazy, this has been a great decorating hack.

But I’m not done! There is more coming. Will keep posting the updates.

Get Me Murray!

**** This is one of my favorite blog memories. It still cracks me up to the extent that I wanted to share it again. For what it’s worth, Trixie is now 10 and occasionally wakes up of her own volition. ****

I was dead serious when I posted last week that getting the children up-and-at-’em is akin to poking two bears.

images-2

Trixie (5) has taken to wearing sunglasses in the A.M, which overall channels a strong 1990s Courtney Love vibe.

Here she is enjoying a nutritious breakfast of Fruity Pebbles, which was immediately preceded by her barking, “Where are my Fruity Pebbles? I ordered Fruity Pebbles! And why isn’t anyone pouring the milk?”

Murray2 Murray4 Murray1

Note that the picture quality is poor since I had to surreptitiously take them to avoid her wrath. Frankly, I’m scared of her.

Spouse has also worked out a whole backstory to her behavior that I find hilarious (and a helpful coping mechanism), namely that she’s an indulged, out-of-control socialite/actress/musician.

He’ll pretend to be Trixie (out of earshot, of course), and routinely provides bon mots like:

  • The sun! It burns!
  • I don’t get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. And I don’t see any bags of cash in your hands.
  • Get the G6 gassed up and ready to go! I’ll be at Teterboro in 20.
  • See you in Ibiza.
  • Where the hell is my agent Murray? He was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago! Murray! Get me Murray!

 

 

 

The One That Got Away

Last week I posted about house hunting.

Spoiler: the search goes on.

Spouse and I have been going back and forth about putting in an offer on a groovy 70s house.

Not this one. Possibly worse looking.

It’s so intimidating, though.

The 70s house needs A LOT of work. The punch list starts with:

  • New master bath
  • Convert an upstairs bedroom into a master closet
  • Re-configure an upstairs hallway bathroom to an en suite with one of the bedrooms
  • New lighting fixtures in the dining room, kitchen and entry
  • New front doors
  • New garage doors
  • De-popcorn ceilings EVERYWHERE

Plus we are without sufficient furniture for at least nine rooms. The 70s house is huge.

Gulp.

We asked our realtor to write an offer on Thursday night, and then like magic! I found a brand new house in our neighborhood that called my name.

We asked him to set up a showing at the new property. This was Friday after work and he had an event to attend. He showed up in a tuxedo.

While the house wasn’t 100% to my taste, it came really close.

The inside was light and bright. The lines were clean.

There were two master bedrooms. The bathrooms were free of popcorn ceilings, tacky gold fixtures and wallpaper.

It smelled NEW.

I even loved the doorknobs.

It had price and location going for it. I loved the design of the interior, not to mention the sound system, energy efficiency and other high tech features.

But the tiny garage – with zero room on the lot to expand – made it a non-starter.

We had to immediately cross it off the list.

I wanted to sob.

Our realtor had brought all of the paperwork for the offer on the 70s house, but I was too sad about losing my dream of a modern house to sign at the moment. The realtor was gracious but I am sure he was not impressed by how wishy washy we (ok, me) were.

Spouse and I spun round and round on Friday night and Saturday morning, trying to decide what to do.

I think I am over-thinking at this point.

Historically, I have viewed the inability to make a decision (a non-decision, if you will) as a decision in itself. Having to hem and haw, and then talk myself into the 70s house probably isn’t the best case scenario.

The search continues.

 

 

 

 

 

House Hunting Update

We’re still looking for a permanent place to live.

The four of us are ready to shed our temporary digs, especially now that we’re squarely stuck in mid-winter and figuratively on top of each other in our tiny rental house.

Weekend days are long.

We dipped our toes into the real estate market about a month ago. We initially planned to start looking for a place to buy in early spring, but an open house in mid-December caught our eye.

I don’t want to post pictures of the house we looked at, but it’s a funky 1970s gem, replete with popcorn ceilings and un-retro-cool brass chandeliers.

It needs some work.

On the other hand, the proximity to work and the school district are perfect. The garage is huge, which is a major deal considering a lot of properties we’ve seen have two or even one car garages. Three is a relative anomaly, but this garage is even bigger. This is a major selling point for Spouse.

The kitchen appears to have been remodeled about ten years ago. It’s definitely not to my style but too nice to rip out.

This house is also spacious, probably to the point of being too big for the four of us. We wouldn’t have enough furniture to fill half of it at this point.

And then there is the pool. While I wouldn’t build a house with a pool (this is Minnesota, after all, and a pool is useful for about ten minutes per year), I have to admit I am intrigued about the possibility of buying a house with one already in place.

We’ve been going around and around about this property, and I’ve been scouring real estate websites for anything and everything that comes on the market. Nothing’s been right so far, even when I dream and stretch our budget beyond what is realistic.

Fortunately, we’ve got 4 1/2 more months on our lease. This sounds like a lot of time but when I do the math, it could easily take a month or two to get an offer accepted and take possession of a house.

And if the house we buy needs some work, that cuts our timeline closer to have it done by the time we need to move in.

Final thought: at least buying a house seems easier than selling a house. Spending money has always been much easier for me than making it.

Fingers crossed to find something that feels like Home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend

A few scenes from the past couple of days:

Spouse and I had a fun night on Thursday, where we went to this show  in Minneapolis.

Dubbed “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Lives,” this show was a mix of comedy and music. The crowd skewed a bit older than we are, but then again, Steve Martin is 71 and Martin Short is 67, so that’s about the right demographic. We loved it.

I dressed casually but was happy with the outfit I wore, a faux suede jacket from Stitch Fix and a graphic tee with jeans:

We ate dinner before the show, which was unbelievably early for us (5:30 PM, yikes, that’s practically a late lunch), but it worked out well since it was a school night and the show didn’t let out until nearly 10 PM. We had sushi that was mostly forgettable, although it did not poison us.

Not exactly a four star review.

The weekend weather is not cooperating at all (temps in the 40s and a steady drizzle), but I was able to score the last treadmill at the gym and get in nearly 5 miles on Saturday morning.

I also picked up this book from the little free library in our neighborhood and hope to dig into it before the weekend’s over:

Hope you’re having a great weekend. 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Recap

I’ll cut to the chase: the end of Mother’s Day found me in my too familiar spot, alone in a hotel room, preparing for a painfully early (6:15 AM) meeting that is a must attend situation.

IMG_1911

I knew I had to go, but I procrastinated as much as possible to spend more time at home before packing up and hitting the road about 5 PM. An 11 mile stretch of road construction also padded my drive by an extra thirty minutes, which soured the experience even more.

The day leading up to that moment wasn’t too bad, though, despite MGM (9) waking me up at 5:45 AM to try and find a lost iPad.

With the crisis averted, I was able to successfully doze until about 8 AM.

Spouse made breakfast tacos while Trixie (8) and I read outside, coffee in hand (me).

Unfortunately, I tweaked a muscle in my left leg on Friday at Orangetheory Fitness, and running – normally a thing I love to do on Mother’s Day (see below) – was out of the question. After breakfast, the whole family went for a walk.

It was a beautiful day but both kids vociferously complained about being outside. The dog quit after about 10 minutes and had to be carried most of the way home. 

For the past three years, I’ve spent Mother’s Day running my favorite race, the RunDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon, which is held in and around Disneyland. I’ve typically gone out to California on a Thursday, checked into my hotel and gone to the race expo, then spent Friday by myself at Disneyland, completing a 10K race Saturday and the half on Sunday, then flying home – renewed and refreshed, plus with new bling – Sunday evening.

With all of the changes this year, being gone even more from the family seemed rude, and frankly, I couldn’t justify the expense of a solo trip to Cali when we are sitting with an unsold house (nearly 50 days on the market and no bites, huge sigh), moving expenses, etc.

Back at the Ranch: Trixie and I read outside some more, I took a nap on the sofa (!!!), we went for another walk, made gluten free chocolate chip cookies, and then I really had to go.

IMG_1908

The kids made crafts at school for me, but Spouse also gifted me with this mantra band:

IMG_1910

Nevertheless, she persisted.

While an obvious nod to current-ish events and Elizabeth Warren, I think this is also appropriate given everything we’ve got going on in our lives right now.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to those who mother – in the broad verb sense of the word – in every possible way.

 

 

Sometimes You Need Bubbles

 

Points of this weekend were too much.

Open House.

No buyers.

Driving three hours round trip for 20 minutes of work (worth it, for the record).

A Sunday night work commitment that is a cool opportunity (guest on a live radio show) but throwing a wrench into the routine here.

Tough decision that I would probably cancel running in my favorite race next month for financial considerations.

Driving around for two hours with dog (and laundry) in car to avoid prospective buyers at open house.

Went for family walk and son (with scooter) had unfortunate direct contact with pavement.

Sigh.

Sometimes you need to blow bubbles. So we did.

(Trixie said I looked like I was smoking here. I am not).

 

 

I hope you’re having a magical weekend.