Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Ongoing Saga of Golden Manor - At least the knick knacks are all perfectly lined up on the mantel

And so the settling in to the new home continues. We're up, we're down. We're stabbing things with carving knives. You could say it's a smorgasbord of laughs, or an unidentifiable pain in your eye. Either way - we definitely packed The Crazy into the one of those big boxes and brought it with us.

Okay - so it's not horrible. I can rattle off a list of pros and cons with the old house versus the new house pretty easily. May I start with DSL? What a beautiful thing it is, too. We've been so long in the wilderness, that I forget that I can now upload photos to flickr, delight in all sorts of jackassery on You Tube, indulge in a few "after hours" of private video, download itunes updates and still not blow the bandwidth. It's like seeing light for the first time or something.

And there's the crown molding, the chair rail in the office, the dogwood trees blooming in the front and back yards! And don't forget the Love Tub. Which warrants its own damn post. If ever we get some bubble bath. Although, MathMan nixed my idea to live blog from the tub with webcam.......

MathMan and The Spawn are on spring break. I made the mistake of working from home yesterday. While I attempted to do summary of some new FTC rules that I have to distribute to the organization's members, the madness went on around me like a maelstrom. Let us review:

(1) The Dancer learned that she wouldn't receive a much hoped for scholarship from the University she really, really, really wants to attend. I am not so hard hearted that I can't understand the resulting tears, but the gloom that descended upon my darling girl did not dissipate the whole day. By 9:30 p.m., I had announced that if anyone sat down in the chair opposite from me and dare to do anything other than smile and giggle, I would commit some horrendous act of violence.

I am now in the process of writing a groveling email, asking the University's admissions office if they can see any way around the out of state fees. After all, MathMan and I are alumni of said University and we still have plenty of relatives - like my parents and siblings - living in that particular state. (Thank you in advance to those who will suggest that The Dancer take a year off, live in that state and work and then go to school. It's been discussed. We fear that if she does that, she'll lose the other scholarship money she's been offered.) She does have other options. I'm simply indulging her desire that we exhaust all possible methods before chucking the idea of attending that school. It's all I can do since MathMan and I have not saved the money necessary to allow her to go to school anywhere she damn well pleases.

(2) Garbo has decided that she wants to move back to the old house. I don't know what else to say about this except "change is hard." She tosses out barbed statements about the new place. She cries bitter tears of sadness. She threatens to run away "back home." I try to comfort her while firmly reassuring her that this will eventually feel like "home." But this is a kid who refused to rearrange her room back at the old place. Change? Let's just say we'll have her talk to her therapist about it. In the meantime, I've offered my lap, hugs, to check out a book about moving from the library and a trip back to the other house, now standing empty and full of echoes of our time there. Nothing will solve this. And she can't have her way.

My sympathies for both girls will be short-lived, I fear. At some point, soon, I will be telling The Dancer to buck up and carry on with one of her many other options. I'll be offering to pack Garbo's suitcase. As their mother, I see my role to offer comfort, yes, but I will not lie to them. The whole "life's not fair" thing is a painful thing to learn.

(3) Humming to myself because my work day was done, I opened the drawer that holds our kitchen utensils. My nonchalance came to an abrupt halt as I spotted something skittering around and screamed. I grabbed a carving knife and started waving it around, thinking I would stab whatever it was running about in the drawer. I actually thought it was a little mouse.

Upon further examination, and with two alarmed Spawn peering over my shoulder, I poked around in the drawer with the end of the knife blade. Discovering that the massive creature inhabiting the drawer was a roach, I did the only thing I could do besides faint. I uttered the magic words...."get Daddy."

(4) Because tears, madness, and a cockroach the size of a chihuahua aren't enough, we also learned that the lovely patch of winter rye growing at the far end of our new back yard is a restoration project being managed by our neighbor. A very nice man in a corporate logo shirt brought a nicely typed letter in an envelope with a stamp* on it to the door and explained that there was an ash escape a few months ago and they were finishing up the restoration after clean up.

Huh. Well, then I guess we won't be planting vegetables in that raised bed right next to where that ash went sluicing down the little creek bed behind the house......

Always looking at the bright side, I am. I mentioned to MathMan that perhaps we could solve all our problems at once. We could abandon the new, arsenic contaminated place, move in with my parents, send The Dancer to that school she wants to go to and tell Garbo that she may be losing her old home, but she's gaining grandparents and wouldn't that be nice for a change!

MathMan looked at me as if he were glad I'd put down that carving knife.

Later it occurred to me that when The Actor appears to be the most sane person in our household, we're lurching about on some pretty shaky ground. Oh, sure, we'll get through it. Compared to many, we have precious little to whine about, but the challenges of the last week and the ones that lay before us have me feeling a tad anxious.

I know we're all feeling it and we'll each process the anxiety in our own way. Some of us mope, others cling, still others yell and behave manically. There will be tears, flattening of tires, food fights, short-sheeting of beds, defiant stares, hidden television remotes, ignored orders, accelerated consumption of sweets, threats, excessive fluffing of throw pillows and more than our share of slammed doors.

For my part, I've noticed my OCD kicking back up again. You want to set off a neat freak? Move her. Oh, yes, that's the trick.

Just today, as I stood at the copier in my office, waiting for it to warm up, I noticed that a couple of adding machines, abandonded to the bottom storage shelf were quite dusty. I took off my shoe and dusted the display of an adding machine with my stocking-clad toe. Then I saw the crooked stack envelope boxes, the slightly off center painting of the Georgia State Capitol, the not quite lined up logo on the water cooler, the flecks of dust on the copier display.......

*Note to self - pry off that uncancelled stamp


  1. I think you're right lying to the girls would be bad. At least the dancer left the house to go eat lunch with her friend. As far as the other stuff... coal burning bastards... all about the money.

  2. Oh the joys... powdered sugar and boric acid.. won't hurt the kitties and will get rid of the roaches.. especially in the drawers they are drawn to the sweet and eat the acid and can't burp it.. at least that's what I am told.. but it does work.

    Hope all works out well.

  3. Holy fuckamoly..roaches????

    My sympathies..those little bastards will rue the day they set up house in YOUR drawer..I hope. ;p

    Which is worse..the roaches or living next to a belching coal plant?

  4. .
    "Always look on the bright side of life"

    If anyone sung that little ditty to me when I was feeling shitty I'd brain them with a cast iron skillet.

    Well since Garbo hates change, she won't want to spend her summers here organizing the mob of children into a proper gang. Oh well.

    When you get through organizing everything in your life, how about coming here and straightening out my life. I am the very antithesis of OCD. Dang. Too bad I didn't get a little of that.

  5. I will be writing my version of this post in about 6 months. You give me courage that all will be well - my kids will be just as crazy and dramatic as ever.

  6. Forget the powdered sugar.
    Boric acid dust gets on their hard shells and suffocates the little roachy bastards.
    What I do is pour a pile into every drawer, spread it around and cover it with shelf paper.
    It's non toxic and the cucarachas hate it.
    I also sprinkle it into all my cabinet corners and edges.
    And I use it as apres shower talc. And as a substitute for cake flour.
    And I rub it into my cats' fur because they're all too fat and lazy to catch bugs.
    HAHAHA Just kiddin'.
    Your OCD excites me.
    I have whatever the opposite of that is. NoCD, I guess you'd call it.
    Do you do windows?

  7. Now that menopause is in full swing, I can sympathize with Garbo and the Dancer.

    Lisa, I think of you so often and sincerely admire your attitude. You're undaunted. No one would begrudge you some OCD with all you're going through. You've earned it; you deserve it.

  8. LMFAO KZ!! And that's one of the many reasons why I love you woman. ;)

  9. Just a great post.

    It's nice getting everything perfect just once so you can spend the next ten years striving for that eternally unattainable ideal.

    Second choice colleges yield plenty of happy results. Post-move children figure out the new social network and assimilate within six months. Coal ash is certainly a bummer. Cockroaches never come down from a boric acid trip. And liveblogging from the tub likely could cure everything.

    well, everything that really matters.

  10. What University did she want to attend?

    I have to admit I read things like that and feel kind of well, jealous, actually. I was so ill and in and out of hospitals my senior year that I pretty much had to take whatever I could get by way of universities who accepted me.

  11. Sorry about the vermin....they are the worst... fuckers! and the landlord too for not being truthful.....

    Lemme talk to the Dancer... we'll be home this weekend.... Lemme tell her how wonderful small liberal arts schools are... just lemme!!

  12. So, you're saying that life is back to normal around the 'ol homestead.

    I'm sorry about the scholarship and the others will adjust in time.

    Change is always hard.

  13. You do have a lot of stuff on your plate at this time. The roaches, ugh. But it can be overcome. The coal plants--mercury, so be careful. Oh hell, what can you do? That is the worst thing alright. Nothing you can do except move again. The Dancer, a smaller school is probably better. Too much partying down there is what I think. It is an artistic haven though so I can see why she'd like it. Doesn't she like Georgia? I'd be going that route. Anyway, OCD can sometimes be a friend!

  14. In California spring is marked by swallows returning to Capistrano, here in Georgia it's roaches crawling out of hibernation. We've been dealing with them lately, too. Ortho has a new organic, nontoxic to mammals (people and pets) bug killer -- active ingredient is soy oil -- that you can spray on the wee (or not so wee) beasties when you spot them crawling in drawers or cabinets without worrying about poisoning yourself, too.

    Hope you succeed in getting some money out of the Dancer's first choice school.

  15. I just knew you'd open a drawer and SOMETHING would be living in there!!! It's like it always has to happen...oh well, a little OCD will take care of that in no time flat, right? ;)

    I am feeling for the girls but some hard lessons have come their way and no amount of parent cajoling is going to change to ignore it for the most part, I think, although I feel for you and them...especially garbo, who seems to struggle so and yet is so angry...she worries me just a little, seriously...the actor is VERY quiet, hmmm....maybe he's one of those that when you least expect it, he will emerge horrific and ugly! One of my kids just up and refused to finish their senior year of high school and proceeded to have a mini-breakdown I did NOT see coming...I guess that's a warning you don't want to hear, sorry dear lisa...another one waited until the third month of stuff!

    keep the vision of the garden alive and it will will do it and have flowers and then, things will feel better! and call an exterminator pronto!

  16. Clip those roaches and light them up...

  17. I WANT VIDEO FROM THE "LOVE TUB!" We need a little excitement around here. Roaches...I have a serious problem with that, but I'm sure you will handle the situation. We won't even discuss OCD. Have fun!

  18. Great post Lisa. More love tub news please.

  19. Why must creatures invade our spaces? that goes for children, too.

  20. Rasta beat me to it... I was gonna say something about not all roaches being gross. But then, I live in Mendocino.

  21. similarly situated here,
    The details are different, but the mindset.

  22. Chiming in on the boric acid for the roaches, although you should keep it away from pets on general principle. (New York City apartment. 'Nuff said.)

  23. At least the roach was only chihuahua-sized. In Annie Hall, Woody Allen spotted one the size of a Buick.

  24. Yet another vote for boric acid.

    I had to move when I was a kid. First from NY to FL, then FL to CT. It sucked. Tell Garbo that short moves like the one you just did are nothing (We lived in 3 separate houses in our 4 FL years). Interstate moves are hard. Try saying goodbye to all your friends, knowing you'll never see them again. Twice! Though I'm sure there are others here who've moved more than me.

  25. i find short sheeting beds a great way to release some tension!

  26. Hell. I didn't live longer than four years in one place until I was 40. I've now been in the Hovel for nearly seven years.

    I call it that because it is a 1br and I have more shit than I have places to put it....

  27. Please tell me that Mathman did his husbandly duty and killed the roach. I had a huge one scurry in my place over a year ago. I'm phobic about them, but a little less after I killed it. Hate them. And I second the boric acid. I heard it dries them out and kills them. Them their family member and friends eat them and they die too. It's a beautiful thing.

  28. Whoa...sorry about the repo man, Lisa, and the cock-a-roach. My sisters swear by the boric-acid-sugar-and-onion-juice paste in bottle caps trick. Killz 'em dead forever!

    Works on ants, too, once they come into the house.

  29. freaking out is entirely normal after an unplanned move. We both did it two years ago when we had to do an emergency move into a 'darling little '50's bungalow' so we could stay in the neighborhood until some good apartments became available. There's a medical school so that always happens in spring. The toilet in the place was so big my feet dangled when I sat on it. I felt like I was four again.

  30. only the size of a chihuahua? shit, the roaches down here have chihuahuas as jockeys!

  31. MathMan and I have not saved the money necessary to allow her to go to school anywhere she damn well pleases.

    Have you two thought about a life of crime, a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde? Big bucks to be made in the underworld.

    And sure, you guys can't plant veggies, but think of all the lovely ash bushes, ash shrubs, ash trees and ash grass you're now privileged to observe. Plus, all that ash hides roaches, so fewer scares.

  32. "And don't forget the Love Tub. Which warrants its own damn post. If ever we get some bubble bath. Although, MathMan nixed my idea to live blog from the tub with webcam......." Spoilsport!!

  33. I can sympathize with all family members. I've never been good with change myself (there's a reason I lived at home till I was 29, and DH and I have lived in the same house now for 22 years - and he's still at the same company he joined when he got out of college and I've been at mine for 30 years). But I have learned that when I do make a change it usually ends up being great in the end so I'm sure everyone will adjust.

    Roaches? Combat. We had them when we first moved into our house and got rid of them with a determined effort involving fogging the whole basement (so it went up into the walls of the house) and putting out Combat. (Nothing is so gross as a roach, don't know why; must be some deep psychological thing).

    As for the veggies, how about some raised beds with really good topsoil put into them?

    Hang in there, it is getting better!

  34. Keep the faith. I can imagine the suck, but believe there's something new and shiny about any change, even if it includes icky roaches.

    Y'all'r in my thoughts.

  35. I would think that the roach would set off your OCD like nothing else...yikes!! Now I'm all itchy over here--thanks! :) (I'm not so fond of any bugs--least of all roaches!)

  36. Forget the stamp. I wanna hear more about the cockroach!

  37. that is one bigass roach- get clogs- they can kill anything...almost....

    ( shit I hate anything that comes squirming out of anywhere unexpectantly...) you too are getting hit with this crunch....your children that you love dearly- they need to hear the are helping them grow up with honesty and clarity...rosey colored glasses and repainting the picture is not going to help with this situation did the right thing- hang in teaching them how to be strong , resourceful and how to adapt in the face of change....and how to do it with some dignity and some grace....

    ( and I had to sit down with 6-6 and let him know that we need to put off college for a year- it was the worst conversation ever.....but he said he knew it was coming- he understood....I about had a'll be okay....think on this- our granparents all turned out okay....and got through tough times...we can all do this...)


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