Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

The Incredibly Funny Story of How We Sold Our House, Part II

Just another spring day in Edmonton!

Well, maybe not incredibly funny, but still worth a chuckle.  Hey, usually Real Estate reduces people to tears, not laughter, so you’ve got to take what you can get, okay?

To pick up where I left off last time, (if you missed it here is The Incredibly Funny Story of How We Sold Our House, Part I) it was the middle of an official Snow Fall Warning – Winter Storm, and the entire city was covering in at least 2 feet of snow.  The roads were treacherous, my Sweetheart had shovelled at least twice between 9 pm Friday night and 8:30 am Saturday morning, and it was still coming down.  On any normal snowed in Saturday, we would have turned on the Netflix, made some hot cocoa and rode it out.  But this wasn’t a normal Saturday because we were trying to sell our house and we had 2 – two – showings, Girls’ Engineering Club, no groceries, a Girl Guide cheque to drop off for signature, and supper at friend’s house to get through, and oh, did I mention that it was snow-aggedon out there?   So, I took off with two girls, Sweetheart took the little kids and we agreed to meet back at home with a) everyone, b) groceries, and c) take out lunch, so that we could be out the door by 2 pm when our second showing was due to arrive.  All this would have to be accomplished sometime after 10:30 am when the first showing was booked.  No problem, right?

Both vehicles arrived at the same (late) time, and we dashed in the door, piling snowsuits at the back mat and started stuffing french fries in any mouth we could see.  The added wrinkle in our very rushed lunch was that we had to feed 7 people (one kid was away at camp,) and unload 9 bags of groceries in under 1 hour while keeping the house in show home condition.  Which leads me to my tile.

Straight men can't pick tile.

My Sweetheart and I often quip that the finishes in this house were picked out by heterosexual men in a building supply warehouse.   By this we mean that they are most impractical choices you could possible make — every so slightly off white carpet, easy scratch light stain hardwood, and this dark brown tile with “Creme” coloured grout.  Now, just like Granny doesn’t drive a black car because it shows the dirt, guess what happens to that lovely expanse of chocolate brown ceramic?  Like my husband says, “Looks great unless you walk on it.”  Which was what I was doing with my soaking bootcut jeans, leaving water marks all over.  I looked at what I was wearing and realized that my long t-shirt and cardigan actually covered me like a mini-skirt, so in the interest of maximizing my Real Estate dollar, I whipped off my jeans and tossed them on top of the snowsuits.

With 30 minutes to departure, we were right on track.  Sweetheart was outside shovelling one more time, and I was helping the little ones in the washroom.  As I pumped liquid soap on Big Boy’s hands, their was a knock on the bathroom door.

“Mom!”  It was Tall Girl.  “The Realtor is here.  He’s early.  Can he come it or should they come back?”

My mind raced.  They was the pivotal word — should potential house buyers come in or come bak.  If we turn them away in this snow, would they even come back?  What the heck, we were almost ready to leave…

“Tell him that we need 15 minutes and they can come in.”  She turned and began to sprint to the door.

“WAIT!”   I opened the bathroom a crack, stuck my hand out toward the pile of sopping clothes on the mat and hoarse whispered as loud as I could: “HAND ME MY PANTS!”

Next time – Part III, Was it serendipity or was it fate?


The Blog is Back

A bunkbed, a bedroom and sound proofing all in one. It's a home run!

And….we’re back.  Sorry, folks I was offline for so long there, but I’m glad to be back.  Though I hadn’t realized that I was gone to long.  Time flies when you are dealing with Real Estate.

Which is where I was:  in the unreal land of Real Estate,  dealing with Realtors (I didn’t know that was supposed to be capitalized.  You don’t capitalize doctor, or mother, but you do Realtor.  Well, I capitalize Mother, but that’s another story.)  So, this blog post with be a sort of update on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  Unfortunately, it is profoundly un-profound.  After the last 10 weeks of cleaning and showing and viewing and fretting, I really don’t have anything grand about the universe to tell you.

But I sure have some funny stories, so let’s go with that.

The Story of How We Sold Our House

We were selling our house because a) we needed to either renovate or move and it was cheaper to move, and b) we lived on a busy street without a driveway and we needed a driveway.  The listing was about a week and a half old, and we were settling in for the long haul.   You know — showing after showing with comments like “It’s on a busy street,”  and “The backsplash is too dark.”  It was a grey thursday, and as I pattered downstairs and peeked out the window, I smiled:  Snow.  A couple of lovely white inches were covering all the brown grass and dead perennials.  And then I stopped smiling:  Tracks.  Little bunny tracks all around the yard leading right under our back deck.  No!  When we said “Move in ready” and “Perfect for the growing family” we did not mean rabbits!   After a quick critter check, the weather warmed up enough for my husband to cut and screw some 2 x 6 all around the base of the deck, keeping Mr. Hop-on-Outta-Here away.

However, the warm weather was a portent for something else.  A major snow storm was brewing, as in Environment Canada Weather Warning – Heavy Snowfall snow storm.  Having lived in a few parts of Canada, I’m no stranger to snow.   But this snow, which began it’s accumulation on Friday night, was one of those Northern Alberta doozies that would shut down any other civilized Canadian city.   At least 2 feet must have fallen in about 36 hours.  And it was blowing and drifting and generally travel preventing.  It was call in the Armed Forces weather.   (Sorry for the Toronto dig.  Bad habit.)  When you were stopped at an intersection, you couldn’t see on the other side of the traffic lights.  In order to keep our walk clear, we had to shovel every two hours.  We really didn’t need to worry about the bunny, because it was impossible to tell where the deck actually ended, there was so much snow.  Our backyard just looked like someone threw a white sheet over an unmade bed.

Luckily, we here in God’s Country are a hardy bunch.  We had two house showings booked, and everyone showed up.  Early.

Next time…Part 2: “Hand Me My Pants!”

Sorry, Mom. Your story isn't working for me.

Why Introverts Don’t Have Lots of Kids

Just a nice quiet day around here

I am an Introvert.  I prefer to think things through, to have deep one-on-one conversations, to really delve into the philosophy of something rather than just skimming the surface of a lot of topics.  And sometimes my kids make me feel like I have a ringing alarm clock strapped to my head.

I am reading (or trying to at least) a fascinating book by Susan Cain called Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In it she discusses fascinating research into personality and neurology, that aims to figure out why some of us draw our energy from being outgoing and interacting with others, while others (like myself, my husband and a bunch of the kids) draw their energy from being solitary and really thinking deeply about things.  Breadth versus depth, warrior commanders versus philosopher kings, you get the idea.

So a book like this is right up my alley.  Each page is more fascinating than the last. Until I actually tried to steal a few quiet minutes to read it.  As I bent my head over the page…..


Baby started screaming and hysterically laughing, while banging the side of the tub.  Yes, I was trying to read a few pages as I sat next to Art Girl and Baby in the bathtub.  Art Girl’s new Allergist recommended daily baths to help her eczema.   (By daily, he meant up to three times daily.  It’s hard enough for me to remember to remind her to brush her teeth, so I am really hoping that her skin is dramatically improved by her trips of the Upstairs Main Bath Spa.)

Art Girl was oblivious to all this.  She was busy squirting water with a latex rubber octopus all over the floor and walls.

“Mom, look!  The Octopus has to go to the doctor!”

At this she piled poor, sickly Octopus into a floating bucket (why is that in there?) filled it with water and proceeded to dump it all over Baby’s head.

Baby is not amused.  She now starts crying while trying to climb out of the tub, splashing water and furiously clutching for my dear, neglected book that I am holding over my head as I try to find a place that hasn’t been covered with 3mm of water from all the flaying and squirting.

“Stop it!  Hold on!  Wait a sec!” I cry.  Then….

“Ring. Ring. Mommy.  Ring. Ring. Mommy.”

I grit my teeth at another interruption.  Princess, who was banished from the bathroom 2 minutes ago for encouraging Baby to climb out of the tub, is back.  She is standing on the other side of the closed bathroom door, calling me on her imaginary cell phone, which is really her fist put up to her ear.  For some reason, this always compels me to put my fist to my ear and answer her.

“Yes, Mommy here.  I’m really busy and I have to call you back.”

No!! You don’t know who this is yet, Mommy.  We have to start over.  Ring. Ring. Mommy….”

“Helllo-who-is-this?” I interrupt trying to answer my hand while towelling a wriggling 10 month old with the other.

“Hi, Mommy. It’s me. I’m sending you a letter. Are you having a nice day?”

“Yeah.  It’s great.  Bye”  I say in my “I don’t want to be remembered as the 21st Century’s Mommy Dearest” fake nice voice.  By now, Baby is dry and I am wrestling her into a diaper, and then sleeper.  I open the door and ask the nearest older girl to play with for 5 minutes while I help Art Girl with all her medicated creams and ointments.  As I walk past my book, my dear abandoned book, it reminds me of the deep thoughts I was going to have.  Something about personality and kids and….

Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  “Mail delivery for Mommy!  Mail delivery for…YOU SQUIRTED WATER ALL OVER MY LETTER!!  MOMMMY!!”

One day I’ll finish that book.  It will be a good day, a very good day.

Happy 5th Birthday Princess!

5 pictures for 5 big years!

Art Princess
Little Mommy Princess
Princess Babushka
Take My Picture Princess
Princess of my Heart

We can’t believe our lucky stars so have such as sweet, charming, and gentle hearted little girl. You are gracious and kind, and light up our days with your happy face. We love you very much and are so glad you are here! We can’t wait to see what the next 5 years bring.

You go, Princess!

Hello Puberty!

Somethings in parenting slowly creep up on you, like Princess turning into a little lady, and you barely notice the change until suddenly it’s too late.  Other times, you hit up against it like backing into a telephone pole behind your bumper.  Or last week when Tall Girl decided, at least intellectually, to enter puberty.

Okay, okay.  I know it didn’t happen overnight, but it felt like it to me.  It was during the half hour before school.  I was corralling the the kids to make their Scholastic book order choices, so I could write a cheque and send it off.  Tall Girl wanted something whose title sounded like A Bieberful of Bieberness all about, you guessed it, Justin Bieber.  While I have no problem with this so far clean cut kid from small town Ontario, locally he has become a lodestone of derision in the Grade 4 and 5 classes.  And since the book order was being sent through Sweetie Pie’s Grade 4 class, I nixed that idea.

“Nope.”  I said.  “Sweetie Pie will never hear the end of teasing, and she doesn’t even like Justin Bieber.  Pick something else this time.”

I thought I was reasonable.  I said it nicely.  I was even smiling.  But when I looked up from my cheque book, I saw two red rimmed eyes, and a quivering lip.

“Honey, you could get a Gallagher Girls book.  Don’t you want to see how things go at the spy academy?  How about more Goddess Girls?”  I blathered trying to cheer her up.  No success.  She just started crying and crying.  I chased her around the kitchen, proffering Kleenexes and begging her to tell me what was wrong.

“But I don’t know why I’m crying, Mom.”

Oh.  Hi, Puberty.  I wondered when you would get here.

Since then, I’ve seen other signs:  hair smoothed in mirrors when she thinks no one is looking, unmentionables are starting to be hidden away instead of left on the floor in front of her bed, a desire to tackle Romeo and Juliet, phone calls that last 40 minutes.

“I know.”  I overhear he declare to her friend.  “That’s exactly what I thought.”  Finally, someone who understands.  Someone who isn’t her family.  The beginning of bonds cemented all her own.

I can feel and see it already, ever so slightly, the pulling away of this time of her life.  The time when she establishes herself as forever part of this family, but somehow separate from it.  When she begins to reflect on how she was fed, clothed, raised, and taught, and realizes that these were our choices.  And they do not necessarily have to be her choices.   Critical eyes rolling behind my back.  “Why not??” pleaded at the dinner table, proceeding exasperated sighs.  “It’s not fair!”

Maybe not, sweetheart.  Especially not for me, as I have to patiently watch as I lose my child, to gain a young woman.  Good luck to both of us.

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