Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spring Diary Page

As I write I'm continuing to savor my celebratory Pinot Grigiot from my defense. (There is a story behind it that I will share at the end of this post.) And as I savor I am taking a moment to think back over the spring as I relax in the eye of the storm.Among the things that happened this spring (other than my studies!) was the celebration of my grandfather's 96th birthday. (I caught him, and everyone else, off-guard in this picture, which isn't entirely fair.)Anthony and David took a trip to southern California during spring break to check out colleges. They visited Harvey Mudd and Cal Tech. Anthony would like to major in mathematics (hmm . . . I wonder where he got that from? :-)
Early for class - typical for Anthony!
(I have no idea why this text is underlined.)
I was totally bummed at not being able to go. They did get to sit in on a class - a class taught by Dr. Arthur Benjamin (finite math). I'm continuing to have to work at not being jealous! (I also have no idea why some of that is underlined and some is not, but you should be able to click on his name and get to an Arthur Benjamin Mathemagic link.)
I ALSO have no idea what's up with this decapitated Smurf (although my thesis revisions from the library were all marked in blue ink and looked suspiciously like a Smurf had exploded on my work . . . hmm . . .). This wasn't at CSUS, however, but on the Claremont campuses somewhere. The following picture is of CalTech. I thought I'd put it up since they visited, but Harvey Mudd won Anthony's heart hands down. It sounds like it's either that or Calvin for him.
On the Saturday after my thesis defense I took time to play. Jacob and Anthony and I played Magic (with pre-constructed decks). I creamed them with my Elvish Predation!! You can see all my 1/1 (actually 2/2 because of the properties of another card) elf token creatures at the top of my mat on the left. Look out dudes, or the elves will get you!Anthony and Jacob got to participate together in a math competition on the five-man "Bomb" team and made a good showing (first place).
. . . and we spent some time INSIDE the house . . . . . . OUTSIDE the house . . .
. . . and LOOKING for a house!!!

We looked at 2 today - having looked at about 8 a few days back, which made my head spin! The first today was way too big, way too fancy, and needed WAY too much work and upkeep. But it had a HUGE yard, by standards in our area, something we really want, and a bedroom downstairs that could be used as an office and/or guest room. It was priced REALLY low for its size because it was on a busy, busy street and "needed some love" on the inside - uh - and on the outside.
I fell in love with the second house we looked at even though it was a bit too small to really justify such a drastic change in our lives as moving will be. Among other things, the yard was small, and the house didn't have a room we could use as a guest room for when David's mom or other family members or friends visit - only just enough bedrooms for us if Jacob and Caleb continue to double up, which they're fine with, but if we're moving in order to get more space . . . uh . . .
It did have a loft upstairs that we could use as a game room/office, where the boys could hook up the Wii and where we could do our other gaming, which is such a huge part of our lives. It has two living areas, which we don't need and don't want, but David told me I could use one of the living rooms for a library and line it with bookshelves!! That sold ME on it! But then we found out later this afternoon that someone else's bid late yesterday had been accepted. I put up some pictures of both houses anyway because I'm dreaming. This is something we never thought we'd do.

This house-hunting is really a gut-wrenching process. First you can't find anything that's just right (or even close) - or you find something that IS close to perfect but has a postage-stamp-sized yard or is on a very, very busy street. Then you find something that really speaks to you and find out it's gone.

David and I have said for years that we would never move . . . but . . . well, it's a long story.

So here we are looking. Being the nostalgiac person I am, I thought I'd never be ABLE to bring myself to leave the home my boys were raised in - our first home - with 18 years of memories - pets buried in the yard - a tree planted to honor the birth of our first child - all that sort of stuff. Now that we've started the process I see that it can be pretty exciting to imagine possibilities, but I also feel terrified at the thought of taking care of all the details, repairs, improvements (both to the home we are selling and the home we are buying, which will most likely be a foreclosure) right at a time when I am starting a new and demanding job. ARE WE CRAZY?! I need to be focused on getting tenure - not on packing, home repair, and interior decorating! I also can't imagine moving all our stuff. When we moved into our current house, we had no children. Now we are a family of 5, have accumulated a ton of stuff, and none of us is very good at getting rid of things. I HATE sorting. I HATE garage sales. I HATE painting. (Though I do like rearranging my bookshelves.) I realize people move all the time, but we've been in this house 18 years and never moved out of a house we've owned. I'm really stuck between excitement and horror at the prospect.

Anthony does not want to move. Jacob is torn 50/50. And Caleb can't wait for a new adventure and seemed ready to move into the house with the loft immediately. What does that say about the impact of birth order?

OK - and now forgetting houses and remembering what makes a house a HOME!

Ah . . . much better . . . and I just have to finish with the following picture because I love it :-)
Oh, I was going to tell my story about the first picture. It's actually probably one of those "you had to be there" things, but here goes. Well, actually, I now realize I've given the punch line away already!

Oh well. If you still want to know, read on.

After I gave my thesis defense I needed my committee members to sign my approval page, which will be bound into my thesis. The first said to me, "I have a red pen, does it matter what color we sign in?" I said, "According to the graduate website it has to be blue or black." Immediately the chair of my committee said, "Red or white?" I had no idea why he said that. I thought he was giving me a hard time. I replied, "It has to be blue or black." He said again, "Red or white?" I'm thinking, "What's wrong with this guy? It's white paper; you can't sign in white ink, it would be invisible. Does this mean he isn't passing me?" I repeated, "It has to be blue or black." He asked again, and I finally caught on - red or white WINE! What a sweetheart! That was such a special touch!


Itzme said...

nice writing style and impressive presentation.good too good

Anonymous said...

Moving is the PITS!!! I haven't moved houses a great deal, and the last move was just across the ranch, and actually the worse for I didn't even pack, stuff was just carried over to the new house and dropped while I was at a baby shower...men they can't wait to get in and get the move DONE.

However more space is nice, for then you don't have to get rid of too many "life treasures" and the great part is you actually will now have space to store them! Not only are houses less expensive now, interest is low, and your kids are growing FAST, if you want to enjoy a "family home" with all of them "home" you need to think of jumping now.

Heidi said...

I don't see a signature on the last comment, but I'm guessing Paula, right?

Yeah, you're right about jumping now for family reasons and for financial reasons. Part of me wishes we had come up with this "bright idea" sooner, but part of me is glad I wasn't thinking about this while writing my thesis and interviewing for a job! This way it's more like rippin off a band-aid - hurts but only for a short time!

Our realtor keeps telling us, "Don't settle," and Tim just sent on the advice, "Measure twice, cut once." They're right. I have to say I hope this can happen during this summer. Once the school year starts, I'm not only beginning a new position (and under scrutiny as a "probationary" faculty member - and teaching calculus for the first time) but also taking on co-coordinating CalTeach, which I said "yes" to before a word was breathed of us moving!

David found 3 places on the internet tonight that looked promising - one looked nearly perfect - but when we drove by and checked it out it was apparent that some kind of gang-banger/drug-dealer-types had lived there previously - graffiti on the garage door - house egged - warning on the front door to keep the former residents from entering - and other signs of neglect and abuse. I have to wonder what might "follow" us into that house if we move there, and I have to wonder what else about the house was not taken care of . . .

I was really bummed because that one has an exterior that is very appealing to me, a style that has caught my eye every time we go into that area, and it is in a cul-de-sac and in perfect proximity to school, but it has only 3 bedrooms, and I haven't seen a floor plan, so I don't know what we'd be gaining except a lot of work fixing it up.

The other two he saw were humongous - like 2900 square feet - more than double what we have now. I don't know that I can (or want to) manage/clean (or heat and cool) that much house - could be really nice if it is laid out well with much of that space in a great room and/or a loft, but we don't need 5 or 6 bedrooms or anything like that - nor do we want something that screams "formal dining."

I know it, as all things, is in God's hands. We might not move at all, and that would be fine too (though I sometimes wonder about the direction our current neighborhood is going, and that concerns me). It is my hope, though, that if we do move we can be quite settled in by the beginning of the school year, which doesn't leave us much time!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the "anonymous" was me. Let me offer my two cents. Location, location, location. A lot can be changed, cosmetically regarding a house, but not it's location. The right house will come avaliable and since you are not under pressure to move (forclosure)take your time and the right house is out there waiting for you. Let the realtor earn their keep for doing most of the screening for you, or if Dave enjoys the net search then do that along with the realtor's suggestions.
You really don't want to move for less than 2,000 sq. ft. and I agree anything over 2,800 or so is a lot to clean/cool/heat. However newer homes are more energy wise and the cooling/heating shouldn't be too bad. Surprising the cleaning isn't too bad either, for you have space to put things away. In a small house you spend a lot of time picking up stuff before you can actually clean for you don't have the room to really store it....I've found this out from experience. However a larger floor area is still more to mop/sweep/vac...but isn't that what kids are for? (Ha Ha Ha)

Heidi said...

Yeah - you're right again!

A big factor in location is school district (right now).

I've had the same sense about big, actually, but thought maybe I was just fantasizing. It seems if everything actually had a place to be put in (CD's, DVD's, videos, mail, bills, homework, lesson plans, games, toys, books, magazines, remotes, game controllers, etc., etc., etc.) that it would be EASIER to keep up with. You're so right that the biggest issue with cleaning is picking up the stacks of everything else first. I wouldn't mind vacuuming a huge carpeted room if there was nothing on the carpet to pick up first! No big deal!

We see our realtor again tomorrow.

I know of two places we're looking at for sure (if they are still available). One is 1600 sq. ft., and the other is 2900 sq. ft. - quite a variance!! The smaller one has a yard a bit bigger than ours now and is in an established neighborhood with large trees - nice area too, Sonoma (really good school district - good when we sell again!!). The big one is in a neighborhood filled with monster-big houses all around, which gives the neighborhood a very claustrophobic feel, but I think it has a reasonable, though smaller, yard. The smaller one is miles away from the boys' school; the bigger one is within reasonable walking distance (and the big one has a "retreat" with the master bedroom - ooh - aah! (Not a "need," of course, but it sure would be fun to be "spoiled" like that!)

I could go on and on - and have!

We'll see what comes of this tomorrow.

It's crazy - us just doing this so suddenly is crazy - but also the fact that Tim bought a house this year, and Mike and Amy will be buying a house out here ASAP. They arrive next Friday (though Mike has to leave on business again right away on Sunday - Amy and Sierra will stay with Tim until they find a place). All three of us might be buying homes in the same year - weird!

Anonymous said...

It really is a great time to buy, but you want to wait to get the "right" house. Today's paper stated that a large number of houses should be hitting the market soon, another wave of foreclosures coming in July.

Unseen, I'd go for the 2,900 sq. ft. house for it follows my rules numbered 1, 2 & 3...location, location & location. The school district is a must, especially since this may not be your "forever" home. Maybe in 15 - 20 years when the kids are gone from the nest you'll sell the house, make a nice profit (tax free for you've lived in the house the minimum amount of time required to just cash out and take the money without reinvesting all of it in another house) and then purchase a cute little cottage for just you two love birds....
Oh what fun! Paula