Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Schizophrenic Gardening

One of the hardest things for me to leave behind (besides family and friends, obviously) is my garden. Every house that Dear Hubby and I have owned, excluding this house, has been new construction. That means landscaping from scratch. I get to decide what the lay out will be, what plants and trees I want in my yard. It's all very fun...and as Hubby would point out...also time consuming and expensive!

I know I should never do this...but I will go back to my old houses and see what the new owners have done with the yard. I know what will happen when I get there and look...it always upsets me..."what happened to my Hosta collection?" ...."Where did my Peonies go?"...."Why did they mow down my cutting garden?". Even worse, I'll talk to my old neighbors (who know how much time, energy, and love I put into my gardens)..."They just dug up your Hybiscus and threw it away!!" Oh the pain! Why do I do this to my self? It's like getting on the scale after the holidays...you know it's not going to be good news....it's only gonna depress you...but you just have to know!

So gardening in this house will be a new experience for me and my gardening venture. The house is a couple years old, and we were told by the realtor that the previous owner liked to garden. Even though we looked at the house during the winter months, I could tell that the sellers were my kind of people....she had pictures of her landscaping laid out for us to see. And even more exciting was the fact that the guy across the street owns his own little perennial business (who, as rumor has it, gives free gardening advice). I could see it now (cue the dream sequence music)...me digging in the garden...and deciding on a whim, "I think I'll put some Coreopsis here"...standing up and brushing the sweet, soft perennial blend off my hands and marching across the street...grabbing my new potted baby...waving to "Perennial Pete" *names have been changed to protect the innocent*...and saying "Just put it on my account Pete"...because of course I'll have an account.

Ahhh, but that dream was shattered on our first day here. Remember when I talked about how friendly everyone was here except for the crazy guy across the street? Well, that was my "Perennial Pete". (Don't worry, I'm sure the chances of him ever reading my blog are about as good as him coming over and apologizing....sigh).

Let me tell you about our experience with "Perennial Pete" so far.
Day One: Move in day....It is pouring rain when the moving semi pulls up. Our street is very narrow. Hubby and the moving guys do their best to position the truck on our side of the street with in our postage stamp sized lot lines..."Perennial Pete" calls the Sheriff on us....for blocking the streets.
Day One: One hour later..."Perennial Pete" comes out and yells at Hubby...because obviously he didn't get the results he wanted by calling the police....
Day One: Two hours later..."Perennial Pete" comes out and yells at Mac and her girlfriend for turning around in his driveway...
Day One: Minutes later..."Perennial Pete" comes out and yells at Bud for parking on "his side" of the street...
Day Two: The next door neighbor comes over telling us their "Perennial Pete" story...when they came to look at the lot to build their house..."Perennial Pete" tells them about all the lots being in a flood zone...about how he's planning "to raise himself some chickens" and build a "giant chicken coop" on the edge of his property....
Day Three: The stories from other neighbors just keep coming...apparently they all witnessed and cringed when they saw the Sheriff and our moving van...cuz they knew it was coming...."Perennial Pete" pulled a fast one last year on the city and had out street rezoned and made it so there would be no parking on either side of the street....had signs posted and tickets handed out and everything....that took months of city meetings and arguing to get that mess all straightened out.
Heard enough? Yes I could go on and on....

The point of all this? Yesterday the weather was beautiful. I'd had enough unpacking of boxes. I decided to get my hands dirty and just pull a couple of weeds. Well, one thing lead to another, and when I finished with the weeds I decided I didn't like the Creeping Myrtle that was around one of the trees out front. I think Creeping Myrtle is nasty stuff. It is a bully of a plant...takes over everything....choking the life out of other plants. As I stood there debating on yanking these plants out of the ground, I thought about how I feel when I see the changes the new owners have made to my gardens. Will the previous owners drive by and cry out "Why, oh why, did she do that to the poor Myrtle?" Even more gardening schizophrenic thoughts....I wondered if "Perennial Pete" would call the Sheriff on me....

I decided to yank away...and proudly, I only looked over my shoulder across the street a few dozen times.

Monday, June 29, 2009

trash talk via the welcome wagon lady

The Welcome Wagon Lady stopped by a few days ago. I didn't know they even existed anymore. In all our moves (which isn't a lot mind you), I've never had one stop by before. I knew there was such a thing because my step mom, Ann, was one way back in the 80's.

But it was great. She came in with this big basket of brochures and advice....
And she looked so "chicagoie"! She was an older retired woman. Beautifully dressed in a satiny sundress. When she wasn't out "welcoming" she must have been at the gym working out. Her hair was perfect, her nails were perfect, her jewelry coordinated perfect....nothing like me...i kinda hated her....just kidding! (ok maybe a little)

And I did have lots of questions.... Things are done a little differently around here, I could see that already.

First there was the trash issue. Back in Kalamazoo, you called one of the two trash removal companies when you moved in, they brought you a "herbie curbie", you put your garbage in it, they picked it up every Wednesday, you paid you bill monthly, the end.

Hubby and I noticed some of the neighbors had "herbies", but driving around you could also see hundreds of different "trash receptacles" (we live in a HUGE neighborhood...biggest in the state of IL...just a little factoid for you). And then we noticed these strange stickers on everyone's garbage. So I was confused, and ready to get my garbage removal services underway....considering I was up to my neck in it already!

And Hubby was obviously ready to get on with it too. He kept "reminding me" to ask one of the neighbors about the trash. There in lies another one of my "issues"....which will have to be a whole other blog entry....let's just say that I didn't do it. It slipped my mind (yeah, that's what I'll say)

So as the Welcome Wagon Lady is going through her "spiel" she pulls out a brochure on trash pick up. And I say "Oh good, I was wondering how this all works....my husband and I have some questions....." She politely interrupts and sweetly says "just read the brochure....it will explain it all...." Then she looks me in the eye, pauses and smiles and moves onto the next brochure and professionally continues with her "welcoming spiel".

I close my half open mouth like a chastised child and feel myself blush (yes! blush!) Like talking about trash is a dirty thing or something. Is talking about trash a taboo here?

It must be, because she elaborated extensively on many other non-trash topics. Don't get me wrong...it was a great visit and I learned a lot about living in the area....just nothing on trash.

So the minute she walks out the door, I grab that brochure and sit down and read it. This must be a chicagoland conspiracy....now I'm even more confused! This stupid brochure doesn't explain a thing! I bet that W.W. Lady was laughing in her little BMW as she drove away "Ha ha another sucker! Let her try and figure our trash pick up system out" I know, now I'm sounding pyschotic....I'm sure she didn't do that....

So I call the number on the brochure and speak to a professionally trained trash talker....
And she does a good job explaining it all to me. It only takes twice for me to get it....
I won't bore you with all the "trashy" details (sorry-heehee). But I will say I opted for the easy route of trash pick up...even though it costs a small fortune....my life is too complicated for weighing my trash and buying silly stickers for certain "types" of trash...

It's all garbage to me.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mike's "midlife whatever" ?

The signs are all there.....

First he bought "me" this

see the smile on his face?

That's pure joy. He's been treating "her" like a baby.

The kids are getting jealous. Mac said just last weekend "you like that car more than you like me!"

Then he turned the big 4....0.....

and his "knee gave out" while we were loading boxes. Mac was quick to point out in a sing song kinda way (while laughing hysterically) that now he's 40 and old!!!

so that same day what does he go out and do?

he goes out and gets friendly with this guy....

Hey! Get your hands off my husband!!!

Oh here we go...

anyone notice anything wrong with this picture?

yes Tony's name is spelled wrong and it almost wasn't caught

(thank you Mac....who sat proudly and documented the whole process with pictures)

Checking to make sure it's straight

Mac had two things she wanted to capture with pictures

1. blood

2. pain on Hubby's face

this is as close as she could get.

The finished product
I think it's very nice!!!

...that's all I'm gonna say about that.

I'll just begin by apologizing to all my articulate friends who are writers, English majors, amazing bloggers, ect....

We made our final trip back to Kalamazoo to empty the condo and came back with a full U-Haul.

At least now everything we own is under one roof instead of three.

All I can say is UGHHHH!!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tony's Torment

Poor Tony!!!

Moving when you're 13 years old. Starting a new school when you're going into the 8th grade (I know, I know, "it's the worst grade to move"...we've heard it all before and been through it with our oldest daughter when she entered 8th grade).

And now he is experiencing his first unexplainable moving phenomenon ...the missing box!

See if you can figure out what he is missing from this picture

Not too hard eh?

This is a big deal for Tony! According to him his whole future depends on getting this trampoline set up.

His future popularity...

Not many trampolines in our neighborhood that we've seen

Maybe it's because most back yards are the size of a postage stamp....

His future as a professional basketball player....

He sets the hoop up next to it and practices his dunks

His future health.....

If he doesn't find it soon he may just DIE!!!!

Oh the drama!

As for me, I've experienced my own share of unexplainable moving phenomenon.

there's the multiplying Tupperware phenomenon.....

I swear I don't know where it all came from!

and I have my own missing box issues....I spent hours cutting open boxes and searchin for this....I'm looking for those little "hook thingies" to hang your shower curtain.

this is driving me crazy cuz until I find this little item the kids have been showering in my bathroom and making a mess. And I know what some of you are saying...."just go buy some new ones already!!!" But next to my obsessiveness to order and cleanliness is my cheapness...I won't go out and buy something I know is around here somewhere! even if it's only a couple of bucks! Hey! I was raised in Holland, MI (and that should explain a lot...thank you very much!)

but you know what is even more frustrating?

finding that item in the temporary housing you've been living in for the last 4 months.....duhhhh!

I guess this wasn't so much an unexplainable moving phenomenon. Just my airheadedness.

I guess I'll go help Tony cut open a few more hundred boxes....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

boxes, boxes, ahhhhh

boxes are everywhere.

only three left in this room...but they are full of stuff that I don't know where to put it.

so if I don't know where to put the stuff....i procrastinate! So they may be there another 3 months...

Some rooms are finished...like the kitchen.

I had to do that or I might go insane. And that might be ugly if mom goes insane.

This is our bedroom and this is driving me a "little insane"--most of those boxes are Hubby's clothes--(he has way more clothes than I do which is weird if you ask me)

but if you get a little closer you can see a little bit of sanity for me...

This is my little reading and writing area where I can reclaim my sanity...because orderliness and cleanliness equal sanity in my world....I think that's why I love libraries....

I have to have places of sanity scattered around the house because otherwise....

this would push me over the edge....

and this....

and this...

and don't let me even get started on this....

Mac's room. I can't even get the door open....and remember what I said about her not being home?....

OH! but look at this...a little bit of sanity? Yes this is Tony's room! One of my four offspring has my orderliness and cleanliness gene...he has his room all unpacked and organized (sigh...I'm so proud...sniff, sniff)

Yes that's him still sleeping...poor thing is having a hard time adjusting to the time zone change....i know, i know, it's only an hour but that's his claim!

and one more thing to show you... just so you can see my level of obsessiveness....these are my "junk" drawers....Oh aren't they lovely!! This makes me all warm and peaceful inside.....ahhhhh!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

unpacking and settling

The unpacking continues...
*Bud is still bored to death and counts the minutes till he can return home to see his girlfriend back in Kalamazoo (...I got a girl...in kalamazoo....).
*Mac is off with new friends more than she is here (I still don't know how I feel about all that). Dear Hubby and I are adjusting to our youngest daughter starting the dating game (curfews, not to mention a whole new group of teens that we don't know).
*Tony is busy hanging out with some of the neighborhood boys.
We've all been amazed at the friendliness of everyone we've encountered (except for the crazy guy across the street but I'll save that story for a latter date). Neighbors coming over and offering anything we may need, Dylan coming over and knocking on the door and asking Tony to play the second day we were here, moms bringing over treats and flowers.
Tonight we head to the Swedish Days Festival in downtown. They are celebrating 60 years this year and from everyone we talk to it's a must see event here in our new small town...