Saturday, June 17, 2006

Tell me: Who here likes irony? I've got a good one...

We give up the fight, and sign on to live in Bob's house for another 4 months. After 3 months of futile searching for a rental, we quit, and enjoy our first day free of classified ads. There is a house for rent across the street; it's available for immediate occupancy, as of last night. Okay. I'm done.

We saw the Pixar movie "Cars" last night. We laughed. NASCAR is a foreign country to me, but Pixar animation, story writing and humor is universal. We all loved it. Vrrrmmm Vrrrmmm

You might not think Geoff is working as much as he is, because of how much fun we've been having lately. He's only home 12-15 hours per week, but we have been making the most of his time. Today we were at Legoland (I can hear my cousin Steve: 'I read Chickenblog... you guys go to Legoland a lot, don't you?') Legoland is awesome. Geoff and I were always Lego fans, and now we have three boys that are practically engineers and a daughter that is definitely interested in sorting and stacking, so let's face it, we belong at Legoland! They are opening a new theme area... Lego's founder acknowledged that Lego bricks were only the third favorite plaything of children; balls and water are the second and first favorite playthings of children. Last summer the park opened mini-golf, and today they introduced a pirate themed water park. If water is your favorite thing to play with, then you would love the splashing, soaking, run around, creative activities we saw today. Next time I go, I'll be in my board shorts...

Every boat equipped with 4 water canons: Sweet!

There was no way to stay dry… water was pouring, spraying, sloshing and soaking everywhere. It was beautiful to hear and fascinating to witness. Everyone wore expressions of surprise and delight.

Even little mateys were welcome to soak up the fun. This cushiony area was loaded with squirters and pools, fountains, and even bouncing swings to sit in and ride over the puddles.

This may be the beginning of a beautiful relationship: Alex introduced himself to Legoland’s president, and Max did too. Alex and Max were completely thrilled; they thanked John for the new rides and for special treats, they told him all about their favorite themes and what they like to do with their Legos; their designs and creations. John asked them questions, shared his favorite themes, and finished by giving Alex his business card, saying “My email is right here. Write to me anytime.” Very nice.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Here are Gretchen and Hans at the end of a very hilly 53 mile ride to Bridgeport. They were in Mammoth a couple of weeks ago. Don't they make it look easy?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Everyday I check three different sources for available homes. Everyday I make phone calls, leave messages, send emails and wait for replies from prospective landlords. Because I am an emotional person all of this involves anticipation, anxiety, tension, a sense of hope, followed by disappointment. I mentally move in to every house that seems remotely like our future home; I calculate all the pluses and minuses and sum up our projected contentedness. It is too consuming, and try as I might I can’t seem to do it any other way.

But there is a new way… I mustered the nerve to call Bob and ask about yesterday’s mystery guest, the guy I assumed was an architect. I was reluctant to talk to Bob, because I was not prepared to hear that he was ready for us to move out a.s.a.p.

1. The mystery guy is an electrician
2. Bob was meeting him to check the power panel on the back of the house
3. Bob was delayed
4. They are meeting here tomorrow; it shouldn’t require coming in to the house
5. Everything is going v e r y s l o w l y with the plans and the city
6. Bob can’t believe it’s almost July
7. I can’t believe it’s almost July
8. We agree we would all be relieved to extend the lease through September!
9. After September we may stay month to month

Here I will insert a quote that Janece shared today; it’s fitting:

“Make it a rule of life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, you can’t build on it, it’s only good for wallowing in.” Katherine Mansfield.

So never mind I thought we would be out of here by now. Never mind that I wasted a lot of time and energy on house hunting. Let’s look forward with our new circumstances in mind:

1. We like it here
2. We can enjoy another summer of apricots, then plums and finally apples
3. I can shift my energy from searching to everything else (cleaning, packing, teaching, nursing, reading The Hobbit aloud in the tent in the yard…)
4. We can replace light bulbs (we’ve been such short-timers we haven’t been replacing difficult to access recessed light bulbs; it’s been getting quite dark in some rooms)
5. We can make the most of our proximity to Tamsyn, Adam, Jacob, MNO, this, that and the other
6. Enough time may pass that the universe will smile on us and direct us to an ideal home

Thank you Janece… things are opening up for us in unexpected ways.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Welcome... please come in... I was just meditating...

Did you hear knocking? We all heard knocking, from downstairs. The doorbell went out ages ago, so you have to knock and hard to be heard over our daily din.
Our front door is all glass, and there are large sidelights on either side, so going downstairs is a risk and commitment. You will not get even half way down the stairs unseen by anyone at the front door. Cleaning up breakfast in pigtails, pajama bottoms and a freshly tie-dyed sports bra, I was in no state to be greeting whoever it was. It was too late to sit quietly as though no one were home. All the windows are open to breeze the early heat, so the knocker surely heard dishes clattering, laughter and "Is someone knocking?" I stood mouth agape: "O-h my Gawd," I scrambled around looking for jeans, a blouse, a hairbrush. Nothing. My jeans are downstairs in the basket of clean laundry. The hairbrush must be in the car. I pulled on a T-shirt and went to the window, just as the gentleman knocked even harder.

He's looking for Bob the landlord. They're supposed to meet. He has files or plans, something. He looks like an architect. He studied his watch, turned over his cell phone. He said Bob was going to meet him here...

Are you feeling my panic? Okay, I admit it: The house is a mess. I jack-up all trades and master none. Oh, let's be fair... I've been packing, teaching, cooking, nursing, and did I mention the tie-dye? Why is Bob meeting him here? Is it a mix-up? Are they coming back later? Should I leave town for a few days? Should I quit blogging and clean like crazy (That is crazy. I know futility when I meet it.) We all agree, don't we, Bob should have called 72 hours in advance? And what about the greater implications, not just of my immediate shame and domestic embarrassment, but does this visit mean that Bob's permits are granted? Does this mean our moving day is really and truly looming? Are you feeling my panic now?

And where are we on house hunting? Answer: Square 1. We may apply for a place north of here, which means a longer commute for Geoff. He went to Ikea and bought two beanbags, which he keeps under the desk in his cubicle, so he can work his 19 hour shift then pass out.

Let's sum up... I am in a state of simultaneous embarrassment, shock, despair, denial and reality overload. Our tie-dyed T-shirts came out really neat. I'm running low on moving boxes. Any questions, suggestions and/or prescriptions can be sent to our forwarding address... eventually.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

We were with Deanne and James, and little Sam. Max is seen warming up their new mini-bouncer. Alex, Max and Maria had a blast loosening its springs; I hope they didn't wear it out. Geoff and I had a blast inhaling Deanne's mango margaritas... those go down a little too easy! It was a Sunday afternoon that gently slipped in to evening, everything relaxed and with a beautiful sunset to keep all mellow and warm... or was that those margaritas?... it was all good.

Sam. Isn't he a charmer? You should see him in action. He's all affection and enthusiasm and everyone loves him.

And here are the Amazing Bouncers!
Technically it's still spring, but I can feel summer coming.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sing "Happy Birthday" to Alex. He's 12 today.
He likes Lego bricks, robots, frogs, drawing, cooking, body surfing, riding his bicycle, reading, playing Oblivion, guavas, gardening, and camping. He lost two teeth this week. He wants to go to Monterey Bay this summer, see the movies "Cars" and "Pirates," and read more books like, Eragon, by Christopher Paolini and The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. His favorite color is blue, like the ocean in Hawaii. His favorite food is still stuffed French toast, "It hasn't changed." He likes Legoland, building towers from blocks, and sleeping outside. He wants to take more cooking classes.

He's fun to be with; his attitude is bright and caring. He helps and inspires. He is dedicated, responsible and considerate. His humor is spontaneous and intelligent. We love this wonderful boy.

Here's the first Soquel baby... baby George lives with Bill and Alison, and I have the feeling he'll be in for a rude awakening when his baby brother is born in September.

He looks like a big honey of a cat. I look forward to meeting him someday.

June is a birthday month. 3 birthdays were being celebrated this weekend, when Bill, Alison, Gretchen and Hans went to Oregon and saw Delia and Ron. Looks as though they had a good time. Happy birthdays Mom, Hans and Bill!

This morning on the phone:
Dave (prospective landlord): What can I tell you?
Me: Can we bring pets?
Dave: What do you have?
Me (lying): We have a rabbit and a cat.
Dave: No. No. A rabbit will eat all of my flowers. The whole garden will be destroyed.
Me: Actually, he's in a cage.
Dave: What else?
Me: The cat.
Dave: Are you interested in getting rid of it?
Me: No... I think we'll look elsewhere... thanks...
Dave: How about more rent?
Me: Raise the rent month to month for 1 cat?!
Dave: Yes.
Me: No. We'll find something else. Thank you. Good-bye.
Dave: Well, I have to tell you: You are not what we are looking for. You are not a good fit.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Wild Day

Friday was a busy day, a *Wild* day.
"Wild" was the aptly chosen theme of Alex's 12th birthday celebration. We started with a breakfast out with Geoff, then we sent him to work and we went to the vet with Benjamin F. Thunder Cat. Kitty checked out well and survived his booster shot. Our next stop was at Daniel's for Alex's haircut. Max was going to have his haircut too, but when he described the kind of cut he wanted ("I don't want it to have a shape, and I want it to stay the exact same length it is now,") Daniel wisely suggested a no-cut haircut. While Alex's hair was cut, Max sang and Maria danced.

When we got home we prepared for the evening's festivities by baking a wild chocolate-raspberry cake, and cooking enchiladas. There was also a little cleaning to do, naturally. Let's cut to the good part: Tamysn, Nicholas, Adam and Jacob came to our house to meet Ben the radical reptile dude. Ben is an old friend of my brother Bill, and he LOVES creepers, crawlers, slitherers, hoppers and other atypical pets. He brought some of his special collection, including hissing roaches, a hedgehog, a huge scorpion, a tarantula and several snakes. We got to hold, or pet or observe all of the above and more. It was Wild!

Alex actually turns twelve tomorrow. It never hurts to start the celebrating early.

Max did not shy away from any of the creatures that came to visit. He even held giant cock-a-roaches, and this boa-constrictor.

We didn't skip school, we just shifted it to an evening class and invited a guest speaker. I think we all learned some interesting new facts.

I think there were more volunteers to hold the big snake than anything else. But the tarantula, for me, was the most surprising discovery. The tarantula felt light and delicate, like barely being brushed by a downy feather. I even convinced Anne to let the hairy, eight legged beast crawl across her hands... I think she agreed: It's not as bad as you might imagine.

The Wild theme was for fun and amusement. We had crazy straws and pop rocks, paper crowns and a cake that looked like it was tossed by monkeys. Alex may be a year older but he's just as sweet and bright as ever. He was eager to see all his friends and to share a good time with everyone. He put a lot of thought in to the details of the party. He had a very good time. He hopes his friends had fun too.

After everyone left, when leftovers were stored and the house was quiet, Alex, Max, William and Geoff dragged pillows and blankets out to the screened tent in the yard. They took a flashlight and "The Hobbit." Maria and I stretched out on the sofa, near the garden door, where we fell asleep listening to crickets and night birds, and Geoff reading aloud. The wild day was through... do you want to see more pictures?