Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Home Staging - really?

We are moving. We are building a new house. It's not our dream house, but it's a beautiful house on a big lot with all the upgrades....well, a lot of upgrades, like granite counters, all wood cabinets, iron balusters, nice stuff. Great, huh, only this house has not sold. We are practically giving it away at this price and still not selling...not only not selling, but not even any showings. Some of you have been here...it's a nice house. Over 4300 Sq. Ft., huge family room huge kitchen...what the hell is wrong with people? I know what it is. It's HGTV. That's what's wrong with people. HGTV has trained us that everything has to be perfect. We have to totally flip this house before it will sell. HGTV has told us sellers that we need to put in all the upgrades before we have a buyer because they will expect to see granite counters and travertine floors and pretty artwork everywhere. What they have failed to do is remind people that many times when people upgrade a house, they do it for themselves; they don't plan to pour money into houses to sell. Sure some people do, they are the flippers. I'm not a flipping flipper! I'm a mom trying to move my family into a new house.

HGTV has also trained us into believing we have to have a model home staged for our potential buyers' viewing pleasure. I try to stage underwear on the floor for viewing pleasure, but it's not working. What the hell do you mean I have to rent furniture to make my living room look like a living room? My couch and huge TV don't scream "TV Viewing area?" You need some shiny elephant on an art deco table sitting next to some fancy fake tropical tree before anyone realizes it's a living room? Pack up my kids toys? Are home buyers not aware that children are still allowed to be seen and heard and in my house they are also allowed to play with toys! Well, OK, I'll confine the toys to the playroom and their bedrooms. That's not really too much to ask. But the bitch stager that came to my house and turned it on its roof with nothing sticking to the ceiling before she left, told me that my playroom loft would be better served as a sitting room because you want to potential buyers to imagine they are in a sitting room. Well, grab a fucking chair from the doll house, pick up Green Eggs and Ham and fucking sit, why don't you? Why don't you imagine an office here, or a spa, or a salon, or a place where you fucking stuff dead animals because you see when you live here and I no longer live here, my shit won't be here anymore so you can make this room whatever the hell you want. Imagine buying this house and filling it with whatever you want. You see if it's a doll house or a big TV and couch or even a pretty purple elephant sitting on an art deco coffee table with a coffee table book about pretty purple elephants sitting in staged homes with beautiful fake tropical trees, it doesn't matter because unless you own the same stuff, I am certain it will appear just a little different after you move in.

Do we not have an imagination anymore? You see when I bought the house, the previous owners were in the process of moving out. But I was so lucky I am married to a professor. Between the two of us, we figured out that the room with the two sinks and the stove was the kitchen and for the past four years we've used it as such. And we figured out that the room with the two sinks and the tub was the bathroom and we've used it as such. It's worked out great for us. I did get confused for about a year or so there. I had Arwen in the room on the right, but I later realized that her room was the one the left and Zoe's room was the one on the right. But it didn't all click for me until I became pregnant with Zoe. You see, the previous owners had it set up as a guest room on the left, so of course we did that too, and the room on the right was sewing room when we first looked at the house, but since I don't sew, we couldn't do that. I did buy a sewing machine, but I just couldn't make it look like the older retired woman that lived here before me. And being pregnant with Arwen and all really confused us because there was no nursery here. So we had to improvise and hmmm, think outside the box. After nine long months, we came to the conclusion that that room on the right didn't have to be a sitting room; it could be a nursery after all. It took a lot of talking out loud and personal growth, but we did it. Fuck! Do you really believe that we are that stupid as a society that we have to be shown that same cool headboard we see Cater Oosterhouse making in the bedroom before we know a certain room is actually a bedroom?

So back to the bitching. I think I am the only one that understands what this whole thing is doing to me and my kids. And frankly, I am so tired of it. Our house has been on the market for six months. Many times this summer I was late to things, yep I know you had to wait for me several times, because I had to stop and clean the house before leaving it in case someone wanted to come look at it. No one came. No one ever comes. So my house sat for six months, always clean…OK, well mostly clean. And it has not sold. Now about three weeks from the end of our contract and the end of any possibility of any commission, our realtor has had our house staged at her expense and tomorrow she is having our house cleaned at her expense. This is all fine and dandy, but as I stated above, the stager was great until she tore the house apart and then left. It took me days to get breakables off the floor and away from my small children. It will take us days to move the furniture she wants us to move. And guess what? We move in about thirty days. So someone please tell me what the point is in making it all look pretty when soon we will have boxes everywhere. Maybe I'll leave the boxes in the room where they are packed with a big note that says the name of the room, so people that and come a look aren't confused. "well, I thought this was the garage, but that box there says kitchen, so let me know when you find the dishwasher, Myrtle." I can hear it now. "I was sure it had a kitchen, but I'll be damned if I can find any boxes in here pointing the way to a kitchen. We best go look somewhere else, there's bound to be a house with a kitchen somewhere in Longmont. Let's go back to that one with the purple elephant, I liked that purple elephant. It'll look so good with this little purple Easter Eggs I put out in the Spring time."

So cleaning lady comes tomorrow. I know I am not alone in wanting to "clean before the cleaner". You know…you have to remove your toothbrush from the bathroom counter (that's the room with the tub) or else she may take it for the toilet brush. You have to remove the toys from the bathtub because, well, you don't want to have to admit to wanting to sink the battleship in real water every now and then. You have to remove all the toys from the floor so she has a surface to actually clean. This whole process takes hours to do and I'm starting to think it's not worth it….wanna know why? Because I'm moving in less than thirty days!! Come clean my new house after I've been there two weeks. Now that would help!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Word Evolution

I can remember those days when Arwen first started to talk. It's funny that even now she says some really cute things. She started Gymnastics a few weeks ago and every time she talks about it, she says, "Mash Sticks" or "Mashed Kiss Class"

I was moving some old things I wrote around (from an old blog to my PC) and found this....funny that two years later, I am still giggling and how words evolve from a little one.

Words should be taught by children
Why bother teaching children the proper way of saying a word. Personally, I'd prefer to wake up in the morning and have a big cup of "fawkey" to wake me up before I start the day. Arwen is starting to put real words into sentences now, but I miss the days, you know last month, when potatoes were "Toe Pees" and coffee was "fawkey".

She still says down-da when she no longer wants to be in her highchair and she says climb me when she wants me to pick her up, but lately her cutest thing is saying
"Ein tine" when you draw a picture of a face with hair sticking straight up. This of course is from the Baby Einstein videos. I wonder if she will be disappointed when she discovers Einstein was not just a stick figure's face on a children's video.

So I say grab a cup of fawkey and learn a few things from your children for a change.

I can't wait for Zoe to say more than "Hi Key" - even with her, I'm not sure if she is saying "Hi, Kitty" or if she thinks that animal's name is Hikey....who knows. But it's damn cute!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It ate my words

• I hate the internet. I hate Al Gore and everything he "invented"! Republicans are rolling; democrats, scratching their heads. So I had this great blog typed up and internet ate it. Someone please create the site of lost words. So many times I tell myself I need to type something in word and copy and paste it into the page on the web because nine times out of ten, my words disappear. This happens here, this happens on different message boards. There has to be a place where these words go. It must be the same place where lost socks go after entering the dryer but never come out. Somewhere out there in the World Wide Web or the third dimension three feet from you, are millions of socks and words that belong elsewhere. There are enough socks to clothe Africa or free all the elves of the wizarding community and enough words to teach every child to read. Let's ban together to fight this. We can't waste words like this. Bill Gates needs to stop his charity work and come back to Microsoft, create the magic white box for word imputation that won't take and take and take and then swallow before you can hit post. It can't be that hard to do. I trust MS Word. It has never failed me. And because everything today has the look and feel of Windows, we trust these little white boxes that in reality should come with a warning that says: I am probably made in China, be forewarned. I will probably spit lead paint down your children's throats or strangle them while they are sleeping. Or if you are lucky, when you are done typing, I will make you think I'm going to post your words for the world to see, but in fact I am going to eat them myself and then shit them into the third dimension to live with all the lost socks of the land. Sure, you will feel the need to use MS Word for everything you write for a while, but like Americans do, you will become lax again and put your little cursor in my box. I will oblige for a while, but one day when you are least expecting it, I will take your words again. But that's such a long warning. We can't keep our children safe; then I can't expect us to be able to keep our words safe either. So I will use the internet because it's here. But I still say if Al Gore hadn't bothered inventing this little evil, our planet wouldn't be dying the slow death he is claiming. Al, you could have spent your time saving the world. Or do you have the save the cheerleader to do that? Shit I am confused!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

My little blue pill

• Oh, the things Tylenol PM does to me. Not the same as old boyfriends, but still it puts me in a haze and makes me wonder if I'm addicted since I seem to have to take it every night in order to sleep and since I only have headaches when I am breathing, the Tylenol part helps too! Much like old boyfriends...see the connection? Haze, addiction and headahces. Ahh, now it's all coming together. Or maybe you should take some too and it will all make more sense. Take some and come back in an hour to finish reading this blog.
Are you back? OK, I'll wait.
Since becoming a mom twice now, I can't sleep. Or maybe it has nothing to do with being a mom twice but more to do with having to wake up to help one to the potty twice a night and nurse the other about three times a night. By the third time I am up, my body is convinced the sun is up and it's time to run. And I'm not even sure why it's thinking that because it doesn't remember how to run, only faint memories of what running might feel like and that just makes me nauseous, so I try not to even think of it. So here's where the PM part of the Tylenol come in handy. Not only does it stop crazy thoughts like running at 3am, but I can help a small child to the potty, stop to pee myself, nurse and put everyone back to bed in my sleep! And when I get back into bed, my soft pillow just grabs at my head and pulls me down in the Alice's hole....or was it the rabbit's hole, shit better put that in the kid movie list. Note to self, better take different drugs while watching that movie.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mommy's milk

• As of next month I will have been pregnant or breastfeeding for four years now. Tonight as I was nursing my walking and talking (well if you count "Hiiiiii" and "MomMommeeee", which I do because I am MomMomeeee and I like to be greeted) almost 12 month old, I started thinking about when I will stop nursing. I'm not sure. If she is my last baby, I'd like to continue for a while. If she is not my last baby, I may get to go on this joyous ride again. Or maybe I will line up twenty bottles a day and let Daddy be the sole source of food for a good year. He hasn't known the joy of waking up twenty minutes after you've fallen asleep by a baby screaming in your ear or waking up five times a night to care for someone that doesn't even know your name. All this because he doesn't lactate. And really, it would never be the same unless he had a baby attached to his nipples all night long and the only way he could get some sleep was with his right arm up above his head long asleep before the rest of his body and little suckling here and there with a huge tug as the baby tries to roll over with said nipple still in mouth.
Anyway, these thoughts were really about lessons, not bitching that I am the only one that lactates in this house. I am all for nursing. But here are some things I have learned. Not only will your body never be the same after pregnancy, your boobs become totally separate beings. Sure they are still attached to you and people will stare because your cute little Bs are now huge Ds, but they are not Pam Anderson Ds. They are Grandma May's Ds. Mine rest comfortably on my stomach, which will also never be the same, but I'm sure if I had another baby and nursed instead of forcing my husband to lactate, they would be down to my knees. When you first start nursing, people all over recommend a nursing pillow. I bought a Boppy. I loved it, it's was soft, it was comfortable, and I took it everywhere we went. When I had Zoe I couldn't wait to use it again. I put it in my lap, wrapped it around my belly, put Zoe on it and tried to nurse. This worked for about a week. Then it became incredibly uncomfortable. For some reason it was just easier to nurse her without the Boppy Pillow. For a while I just assumed it was because I was now a pro at this nursing thing since I nursed Arwen for fifteen months. But no, I soon realized it's because my boobs sit so much lower than they did after my first pregnancy, so Zoe could just lay down low in my lap and still reach my boobs. Boob texture is also something to think about before diving into the joys of nursing. Those cute and firm Bs I had when my husband first married me have turned into soft, sagging, lumpy sacks of milk. Before when I would lay on my back they would point to the ceiling screaming touch me touch me! Now they look left and right and if you were to come near them, you may just get sprayed in the face. My husband can attest to that. And today when I dared to put on a bathing suit, I noticed they have started to gently wrap around to my side and are nestled comfortably in my armpit. Not the whole of them, but a nice boob tire, if you will.
So if I were to meet a new mother today I would advocate breastfeeding, it really is a wonderful experience, really because most if it is done when you are half asleep and you don't remember much of it because you're in that Mommy haze anyway. Much like childbirth, which is why so many women keep doing it; they forget how bad it really is until they go into labor and oh shit, it's too late now! But I would also warn moms that you will never be the same. Your husband's mouth on your nipples is never quite the same because you just fed a small child just moments ago and it seems large enough to feed a small village. Or your husband is afraid to play anymore because he doesn't like his coffee that sweet even though he says he does. But most of all, it's really expensive to put them back into place. I do have a paypal account, and I'm willing to set up a Put Stephanie's Boobs Back In Place fund. This is probably my last child, unless I can talk my husband into putting up with me pregnant again and another year of no sleep. I guess I'm a bit of a bitch when I am pregnant, but I wouldn't remember, because like many mothers, I only hold onto the joys of motherhood. Such as cuddling with my babies all night long when everyone else is asleep; are you familiar with Art Bells' radio show, yea thought not because it's on from 1am to 5am! Oh, and being MomMomeeee!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Toy guns and toddlers

I know parents talk about this stuff all the time, but I still need to do it myself.

So I've had a bad day and needed a time waster, so I called a friend whose husband is out of town and asked if she wanted to head to McDonald's to let the kids burn off some energy. A little playtime at McD's shouldn't hurt.

So we ate, then we let the kids play. They are all playing so well, and this playplace is great because it's all music stuff and brand new. They even have baby sized stuff for my little one to climb on. She was having a blast. So the first thing that happened was a big kid (like 8 or 9) kept climbing on the baby/toddler stuff and knocking Zoe over. His father said something to him once and that one time I notice his dad signing to him, so I didn't know if I should say something or not. I know a little bit of sign language, but I don't know "tell your kid to get the fuck off mine" in sign, so I didn't say anything at all.

Anyway...not the point at all, but speaking of point.... Two boys, about 5 and 7 came along one wearing toy handcuffs on his wrist and both carrying toy guns. They were very plastic looking, one bright orange and one silver. One walked right up to my 12 month old and pointed it in her face and said "bang bang" Now neither of my kids know what that means, but shit! Effing freaked me out. I told Arwen two more minutes, mumbled something like, "no, please don't do that" to the kid with the toy gun and moved Zoe to another area. After coaxing my three year old down from the slide area, one of the kids walked by me and pushed me to get by - I was half was in the play structure getting her to come down. I said, excuse me in a really rude fashion and then said that wasn't very nice. Now it's not usually my style to correct other kids, but this was pissing me off! So then the one that didn't push me said sorry and I thanked him for saying it. They went up, and came down the slide, I was getting my daughter's shoes on and the one that pushed came around pointing that gun at everyone. No one said a word. Until he got to me and pointed it at Arwen. I looked at him and said "Stop, get away from us, I don't like you pointing guns at my kids. Let us move out of the way and you can play, but not with us"
I was so pissed.

So here's the question. Do you let your kids play with toy guns? If you do, do they just do it at home or do you let them take them out in public? If you're not at that age yet, do you think it is right for parents to allow these kinds of toys in a public play area? I know they are just toys, but I feel that parents should respect that many kids might be frightened my them or many parents might feel uncomfortable and they should leave them at home and only play with them when they are around they friends that allow them, but not in a playplace for goodness sakes. We are Columbine....how many times a day do I see that on bumper stickers, license plates and other things living here.... what are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Puke Fest!

No, not some great college band festival, but two weekends now of my kids throwing up on me every time I come near them. Now, when you are a puking toddler or a puking baby, you seem to want Mommy even more than normal. Who knew that was possible? But when Mommy comes near, you have that strong urge to purge. I am hoping not to pass the flu bug along to anyone else this week. I thought we all got lucky after last weekend when only my oldest had it. It seems the baby's strange diapers I've been talking about all week were a sign of another pass of the flu bug tearing up her tummy. All is good now, well....another bad diaper this morning, but all is good enough for now. I just hope my husband doesn't suddenly get the urge to purge on the flight to Georgia this morning! Boy that would suck!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Time - faster than the speed of light

• Zoe started walking this past Monday. I was so lucky to catch it on video. Arwen started walking around the same age, and that was two years ago! I brought up all of Arwen’s 12 month fall/winter clothes for Zoe to wear this fall and as I was looking through them, I just knew Arwen had worn them last year and there was no way they would fit Zoe. After scrapbooking last night, I started looking through those pictures for the pages I have coming up and there was my little toddler, having just learned to walk wearing those clothes I had just brought up from the basement. No, it was last year that she had worn those clothes; it was in fact two years ago. Now what has happened to the last year? As Jeff and I have always done in our marriage, we managed to make it a hectic and busy year. At the first of the year, we had a three month old, we potty trained a toddler, we decided in the spring to build a new house, suddenly summer hit and we had a three year old just like that, now it's fall and that little three month old that was just learning to coo yesterday is walking. It's taken me all year to get used to having two kids. Now I know they are mine and I am used to having both of them attached to me all the time, I just don't know where the last year went. And some of you do this almost every year! WOW~

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Sweetest Little Girl

Tonight I had a few friends over to scrapbook and Arwen had a tough time going to bed. She wanted to read lots of books and wanted to know what I was going to be doing downstairs with the other Mommies. About ten minutes after putting her down, lighting her stars, turning on her moon and leaving her room, she comes downstairs with one Minnie Mouse slipper on one foot and tells me she needs her other slipper before she can go to bed. The two of us go upstairs together and find her other slipper in bed hidden beneath a princess blanket. I bid her goodnight again and head back downstairs to work on the scrapbook I haven't seen in well over a year. I look at the pictures of her from two years ago and wonder with a small tear in my eye who that little girl is in that picture. Before I can recover from the emotion a three year old walking into the kitchen brings me back to the present. She looks around at the faces around here. Faces that she sees a lot, but is probably unsure of since they do not have toddlers attached to them at the moment. She finds my face and says, "I have to go potty" So we head upstairs together again. Now as soon as we get into the bathroom, she tells me she is bothering me, so I have to stand out in the hallway.(Yep, she is bothering me) I peek at her through the door – you can do this with your own three year old – and wait until she's done, pretend like I'm just checking on her, knock on the door and come back in. I ask if she went potty; like I didn't know from peeking, and then we head off into her bedroom. Now you may ask what makes all this so sweet…besides the fact that it is all really sweet. When we get to her room, she tells me "I was looking for a present for you everywhere. In the play room, in your room, in the bathroom, and I can't find a present for you." Now I'm starting to think to myself, as us parents do too often, you are just trying to keep me here a little longer because there are people downstairs. And though I'm not showing it yet, I am starting to feel that little sense of impatience coming on. She continues telling me that she wanted to find a really special present for me but couldn't find one in all the places she looked. Then she grabs Pablo off her bed and says "Here, you can have Pablo." She is the sweetest girl I could ask for. Sure she wanted a little extra attention because she knew I had some extra to give since I was giving it to others that were downstairs. But I got a very special gift, not just Pablo, but a sweet thought from my little girl that my pictures are showing is growing too fast! Now Pablo and I must head to bed – I do fear a small meltdown if he is not found in bed with me in the morning!