Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beating the Heat(ers)

It's hot.  
 It's been over 100 all week, and finally cooled off a bit today (whew!).
And our A/C doesn't work.
We've been hitting low 90's in the house.

But when we first got here it was cold.  We were trying to figure out this house and all it's quirks (like the millions of light switches to who-knows-what.  I am convinced that somewhere in the neighborhood there is a homeowner who keeps wondering why their porch light keeps turning on and off).  In that process, and because we were cold, we tried the heater, pellet stove, wood stove and a few space heaters to warm the joint up.

Did I say few?  I meant 4.

Getting our first electric bill was beyond shocking! 
 It was more than the cost of:
My first semester tuition in college
My wedding band
The birth of our first child

Yah, so I got home to see "a look" on my husband's face that frightened me.  He showed me the bill, we freaked out together, and, yada yada yada plus a day later, we figured out about the cause of it.  Space heaters and a very inefficient water heater adding to the electric strain.  

We knew it would be something, though.  
You don't buy a 45 year old house and not have a few surprises.  So after we had our jaws surgically re-attached to our faces, we set about making plans to solve the problem(s).  I'm not sure yet what we will be doing to fix the house heat, but we have ideas in the works, and a few months to figure it out.  God took care of it for now by sending volcanic heat to the area, eliminating our need for plug-in solutions.  And a new water heater is DEFINITELY on the docket.

A day or so after the PG&E shock-by-mail, as I sat at the computer learning about energy-star rated heat-pumps, cute hubby walks through the room with our large laundry bucket (small tangent: Marcy and Kindel Morris, if you are reading this, the bucket was part of your wedding present to us, and it will likely still be here in another 22 years!  Great choice!).  A few minutes later he returns with a call out that everyone needs to meet him in the driveway.

I was... reluctant? no, reserved? Nah, I'll admit, I was grumpy.  Water heaters and heat pumps are not my favorite things AT ALL.  If I made a list of things I like, water heaters wouldn't even make the top one thousand (I can say that now, because it's been over 100 degrees all week).  And now he was interrupting my grump-fest, and I HAD to join what ever craz-o-rama he had planned cuz' apparently, when I gave birth half a dozen times, I signed up for this whole support-ma'-hubby thing, grump or no grump.

So, we all made our way out the front door.....


Water gun to the face!

One thing I love about Guy (I love more than one thing.  Like at least four...)
is that he can sometimes shake off the blues and just cut loose.  But it is random, so you don't see it coming (I usually can't do that so well, cuz I am a crabby-cake.  Though I am working on it.  Just last night I turned a "They're-all-fussy-and-no-body-is-listening" Family Night into a Mouths-only marshmallow-catching contest.  It was Mallow-geddon up in here) 

  (what was I saying?  Oh, yah, water gun...)
TO THE FACE!   Bam!  (well, not bam. Splat?)

He had the wedding bucket full of water and a variety of squirty-thingies, loaded and ready.  We ran around blasting each other for a good half hour.  It was awesome. 

Natalie thought it was hilarious to shoot people in the "booty", eye level.  Jonah stayed out of range.  Adam got cold before we had even soaked him all that well (no meat on 'dem bones).  Tessa and Ellie were ruthless, and I was arbitrarily making up rules to avoid getting drenched.  No one listened.

Guy was a rock-star-cowboy, water guns blazing.

Soon a truce was called and weapons were stowed.  As I walked up the front steps, my gaze followed my feet as they squished on each stair, clean, wet toes sprinkled with driveway sand and itty-bitty pebbles.  I thought how just half a sunset ago I was all Oscar the Grouch.  I know that in life I am not supposed to let the situation dictate my mood, that I am the captain of my own ship and all that happy-crap, but this time it was a very good thing that I let Guy take the rudder.  Dis' here boat was beached on a sand bar, and it took a little water to shake it loose. 

Fun things we have learned about the house/area
 (because it ain't all bad):

The acoustics in the living room are AWESOME, 
making Sunday night piano-sing-alongs better than ever.
Baby deer make a cute squeeky sound, like a dog toy.
Sometimes I forget there is a creek outside, and I think someone left the water running.  When I realize it's the creek, it makes me smile.
If enough bugs get in the house, at a certain point you just decide to co-exsist.
There is something empowering about being able to pee WHENEVER you feel like it, 
and to have three toilets to choose from, no waiting.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

You are here. Deal.

Well, we moved.

I had thought I'd be able to write about it along the way, starting with the light switch covers and ending here, today.  But it was a tornado inside a tsunami inside a hurricane (kind of like a Turduken; that turkey-duck-chicken monstrosity), and it's hard to type in a Tor-nami-cane.

Fast forward a few months.

We are sort of unpacked.  As in, "I found the Christmas ornaments and briquettes, but I have no idea where my bra is".  The kids are pretty well settled.  Guy loves it here.  I... um... I am adjusting.  This change has been huge, and, well...


I could pretend I am doing super great, for the sake if this post.  But that would be silly and unrealistic.  I'm doing better.  Better than I was the first week, when I cried most mornings asking "what have we done?", and the second, when my stomach was one giant knot.  Sometime in the third week (after I came home from the church in tears from listening to wild local tales of bears, mountain lions and forest fires), my hubby firmly counseled, "We live here now.  You need to deal with it."

So I'm trying to "deal".  But this has been a very different move for me.  It's hard to explain this place, but I'll try.

First, understand that we moved from a series of 5 apartments to our little house in Rancho Cordova, where we could hear our neighbors cough and flush their toilets (and they, ours... Hi Betty and Denise!).  The sky was wide and usually blue, the land flat and cluttered with the residue of humanity.  The streets were busy; the people, too.  It was the only house most of our kiddos could remember, three of them having been born since we lived there, and two of them born right in it.

It was a habit.  It was our routine.  It was... familiar.

The drive to our new house winds through rolling, golden hills dappled with oak trees and dairy cows, traced here and there by unhurried streams. Soon the terrain becomes steeper, the road windier, the trees closer together.  Our little town of 2,310... make that 2,319, has a post office, a burger joint, two vet clinics, two yarn shops, and an actual video rental store (yes, 1987 called.  It wants me to rent Sixteen Candles).  Our little town does NOT, however, have a stop light.

As the highway bends through town, it climbs uphill, and just on the outer edge of town, there is a street that leads to a road that leads to a lane that turns down a gravel drive.  That drive plunges down through the trees that arch over it in a shadowy tunnel, and spills you out into a small clearing.  And there it is, a towering chalet-like house framed by what I call "the big, green cage"- sky-scraping pines, broad-armed oaks and shimmery, broad-leafed trees that I can't identify.

 The house, a split level complete with 3 stories, an attic and mysterious storage areas that have already been named "The Dungeon", "The Chokey" and "Chokey Junior", sits in a cleft; a shady ravine along side a chattering creek.

A stone's throw from the house there on the 1.3 acre property is a cabin warmed by a wood stove, and a trail behind the house marked by a handmade wooden sign that points the way to Mt. Zion State Park.  The woods.

We bought a house in the woods.

My brain vibrates again with the refrain, what were we thinking?

This house, this place, has a certain magic about it.  It is a place that makes you catch your breath and whisper "wow" in a sort of reverent, if not slightly overcome way.  It's big and green and beautiful.  It's also a place that plunges into darkness as the sun disappears behind the ridge, and that comes alive in the dark with the calls of unseen critters. 

It's a place that wakes well before dawn, every bird in the forest gathering almost on my windowsill in a bellowing clamor to see if they can out-chirp each other before the first light of day.  The mosquitoes are plentiful and ravenous, the neighbors quiet and hidden away in the trees.  The sky, most mornings, is a little angry and grey.  Though technically "up", the sun doesn't peek over the eastern hillside until about 9:30 in the morning.  And that brooding sky isn't kidding either.  Since moving here a month ago there have been several rainy days, and just this past Saturday, in early June, it rained, thundered, lightning-ed, hailed and then... snowed.  Briefly.  But still!!!

We left our home of 14 years.
Our charter school, our friends, our church family.
Our yard.
Our sky.
Our trees.

Change is hard.

And I'm a bit of a wimp.

But I'm "adjusting".

And I have to because

We Are Here.