Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Country Living...the update.

I am sorry to leave you hanging after the way that last post ended. I could have returned and given quite an update. In fact, I got much of the drama on video, and believe me, it is very entertaining. Given our current status, internet-wise, I would not be able to post a video, even if I wanted to. And I don’t. Because it’s embarrassing. 

The gist of the story is this. After my last post, when the little critter had the audacity to run right past me as I typed, Cricket got on the job. I don’t know where Tabu the Mighty Tigress disappeared to right when we needed her. But it didn’t matter because Cricket caught the mouse. That’s right, my lazy fly-hunting house cat was the one who got all the glory. Sort-of. You see, I guided her into our en suite bathroom with her little prize, knowing full well she would likely want to let it go, in the name of entertainment. I didn’t want her taking it under the bed or in my closet. True to my expectations, she released her little victim, which then ran behind the toilet, in a panic. Actually, it did several laps around the toilet in each direction. Cricket probably would have too, but it was a bit of a tight fit back there, so she went back and forth in front of it instead.

Soon, the mouse made a run for it, straight towards the doorway, where I was standing with Jamie. I had blocked a good portion of the doorway with a jumbo package of toilet paper and my plan worked. The mouse was trapped between the cat and the toilet paper. That is, until Jamie decided to help Cricket “find” it and lifted the toilet paper package out of the way. The mouse seized the opportunity and bolted out of the bathroom, under my cedar chest and back under the bed.

Now I have to confess here, we store things under our bed. Things like duffle bags (we don’t have actual suitcases in this family), and a large Dance Dance Revolution dance pad. So there are some nifty places to hide under there. I was not happy. But the mouse did not stay put.

The next half hour or so was a frenzy of a scurrying mouse, scrambling cat, screaming and laughing mother, and excited boys helping locate the escapee. It ran across the hall into the boys’ bedroom and behind their dresser. Cricket ran after it and jammed herself into the space behind the dresser too. Only she didn’t fit. She was wedged there, a little bewildered. Had she really eaten that much extra cat food while we were gone? Yes. Yes, she had. It was not her finest moment. She did not redeem herself either, when she did get out. She never caught the mouse again, and we eventually lost it, somewhere in the boys’ room.

I suppose that would not have been too bad except that we then had to go out. I think I had to drive Jamie to school, so we left, and I was gone over an hour by the time I got home with Micah and Lauren. We have not seen or heard any sign of a mouse since then. The cats were sleeping very contentedly on my bed when we got home. Mike figured that was a sure sign that they had indeed captured and done away with the little creature. He said if it was still on the loose the cats would have been acting jittery and looking for it. I would be lying if I said I was not a little jittery myself when I went to bed that night. But that was on Friday, and it is now Wednesday, so it looks like the rodent wars are over, or at least on a break. And that concludes (hopefully) this episode of Mouse Hunt. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Country Living At Its Finest

Our house needs a lot of work still. The basement, in particular, is nowhere near where it needs to be to keep us warm this winter. Nothing is really sealed. There are plenty of spaces where cold air can seep in, or more accurately, heat can seep out. That's why it was a very good thing when Mike got the remaining gaps boarded up along the top of the basement end wall. Just yesterday I was thinking to myself that it was a miracle we didn't get any mice in the house. And then I thought, no, we have two cats in the house right now. If mice got in, they would take care of them. And then I thought, no, just because there are cats in the house, it doesn't mean mice can't get in. But Mike said he had seen no evidence of mice, so I figured we got very lucky.

I put it out of my mind after that. Until this morning. I put a basket of folded laundry down in the boys' room, to put it away, and momentarily came to my room. I don't know why I did it. I can't remember. What I do remember is seeing both of my cats, acting funny on the floor. And then I saw why. A tiny mouse was running for its life, just inches in front of them. They kept up with it no problem. I mean, it was only about an inch long. I had a momentary panic but then I realized the situation was under control. I had two cats, one of them giant and the other one a good hunter. They would have it in no time. Only they didn't. Tabu, the hunter of the two, was right on its tail, literally, but she let it go. She let it go behind my dresser.

There are two horrifying facts to consider about that particular location. One, the space is extremely small and nothing would be able to go in there after the mouse, especially seeing the dresser is far too heavy for me to move by myself. And two, if the mouse were to find itself trapped back there, it could easily climb into any one of our clothing drawers. That means that either Mike or I could have a mouse in our underwear drawers. If that isn't incentive to go commando, I don't know what is.

To my immense relief, the mouse did emerge from behind the dresser. It was nearly as panicked as I was, and it ducked behind my night table, both cats following closely behind. They couldn't get back there either, so they waited on either side. The mouse came out and went back in several times. Then it ran under my bed. I grabbed my iPhone to video this process. Like a complete idiot, I got down on my hands and knees and aimed my phone under the bed. The mouse chose that moment to exit, running directly at my face. Screaming ensued. And scrambling. There was an excited running commentary from both Jamie and Micah, who were sitting on the bed watching this entire process. It's a wonder the poor little mouse didn't die of a heart attack. I guess it ran right into Cricket under the bed, because she slowly came out after it.

I wish this story had an ending. I really do. But it doesn't, because the cats never found the mouse. That means it is somewhere in my room, perhaps even building a cozy little nest right up in my box springs. I can't begin to tell you how useless my cats are. Cricket is a great hunter of bugs, but she refuses to handle spiders. Useless. Spiders are the most crucial on the killing list. And Tabu is an excellent hunter, but in the house she loses her prey in the name of sport. Useless. Perhaps she wants to secure her future in this house by letting a few vermin get away, so we need hunters. I don't think it's going to work. After all, if she doesn't kill them anyway, what's the point?

I never thought I'd see the day that I would witness a scene like this one in the sanctity of my own bedroom. I really do not know how I will sleep tonight. I wish I had a picture of this mouse to share, but I was so busy--- THIS JUST IN: THE MOUSE JUST RAN PAST MY DRESSER. I REPEAT, IT JUST RAN PAST!!!!! I HAVE TO GO!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life as we know it.

A week has passed since we moved back home and I am happy to report that things are improving here. The stairs and furnace are still as they were, but I am getting used to them and no longer fear for my life every time I go up and down. I fixed the vacuum on Friday, which was an interesting event all on its own. The details shall remain unwritten, at least in here. Suffice it to say, I did at one point pass out and land draped over the vacuum. The bad news? My fixit job did not work after all. The good news? My vacuum and I are much closer now than before. Actually, yesterday I did another desperate fixing attempt and this time it seems like I got to the root of the problem. And so my carpet has been vacuumed properly. As usual, it already needs it again, but I guess I knew that would happen when I gave the boys popcorn for a snack this afternoon.

Yesterday our telephone man came and connected our land line. That was another small victory on the home front. It turns out one of our three portable phones has only enough battery power to last one minute, so I guess we are down to two now. But at least we have a somewhat reliable form of communication. We still have no internet, but I can piggyback my iPhone to do this post. I won't be posting pictures for quite a while though.

Our water is working much better too. I said last time that it was functioning as it should be, but I was wrong. We have had issues with poor flow, and even hot water with cold bursts...never a good thing in the shower. But we seem to have great volume now and the hot water tank is not spazzing out like it was. The basement wall that was slightly bowed has now been fixed, which means the straps attaching it to the upstairs are finally in place, the braces that filled half the basement have been removed and Mike also was able to board up the final holes in the end wall. Technically that means Tabu could be evicted once again, seeing she would no longer be able to just climb in one of the holes. Secretly, I'm kind of hoping we will not have to boot her out. So far she has not done anything bad. Well, other than the barf. But it isn't barf that worries me. Anyway, she is living like royalty, sleeping on our bed during the day and cuddling with Cricket. She is flaked out on the couch right now. I think she's relieved to finally be back inside.

Radar is a little disoriented himself. Never have I heard a dog "talk" as much as he is doing these days, and I'm not talking about barking. I don't even mean whining. Honestly, words can't describe it. It's like he is really talking in full sentences, and it's hilarious. I would love to get it on video, but I have not. For the last two nights we have invited him in to sleep in the basement. We don't want him messing around with our stairs the way they are, so he has a blanket down there to sleep on. He is thrilled. Aw. Aren't we just great dog owners? Actually, compassion was not our motive in letting him in. We just couldn't stand listening to him bark all night anymore. He has a really warm straw bale house outside, which he loves, so he is not suffering out there. But we were. And so we made a bed for him in the basement and he is quite elated.

Our TV is not even plugged in yet, as far as I know. It is very unusual for our TV to be off for this many days in a row. Okay, maybe more like unheard of. I kind of like it. And I kind of don't. Mixed feelings, I guess. I miss watching TV with Mike in the evenings, but he spends his evenings working on the basement. Tonight he went to town to buy more supplies for that very work. In my boredom, I have stooped to cleaning in the evenings. I don't find it overly satisfying, but it has paid off and I have a very, very clean kitchen. There is still some clutter in there, and a lot of clutter everywhere else, but for now there is nothing we can do about that. Once we can use the basement for storage space again, our upstairs will begin to look much better. For now, the kitchen looks wonderful and the rest of the house is just okay. And not okay. Our room is not really okay. It has the bulk of the boxes and stuff that we could not fit anywhere else. Lauren's room is similarly stacked. I'd love to fix it right away, but I just can't until Mike will let me put stuff downstairs once again.

I think that's the bulk of the update. Oh, and we are all sick. Except for Mike. Bad colds and coughs, but no fever so far, and nothing stomach related. I am so thankful for that. Here's hoping we are healthy soon and our house continues to make progress daily. I'm off for now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Home Sweet Home...?

On Wednesday night we moved back home. It was a frenzied day of attempted cleaning and packing, and as you know from my last post, it was one of my difficult days with the boys. I won’t get into details of our frenzied exit from the house. Suffice it to say, it was stressful and very rushed and as it was, we did not get home until well after 8 p.m., which is past the boys’ bedtime, and they did not settle for at least an hour after that. (Have I mentioned that Cody boards the school bus at 7:35 a.m.??)

Arriving home was a bit of a surprise. What I expected: Furniture rearranged in the living room against the wall holding the piano in place, boxes and clutter around that would normally be in the basement, cupboards tied shut, pictures off the walls, and other general cleaning to be done. Would it be a lot of work? Yes. But I was ready to dive in and get it done. You might even say I was excited about it.

What was really there: All of the above, plus sand all over all the floors, two cat litter boxes in our en suite bathroom that not only stunk, but also there was litter all over the floor, (our whole bedroom smelled like cat poop. And yes, the litter had been cleaned throughout the process of this move, but both cats were in the house. Bottom line, it stunk.), there was water all over the laundry room floor due to a plumbing “incident” that Mike had not had time to deal with yet, and to top all this off, when we arrived there was no hot water connected yet. In fact, the toilets were functioning, but neither bathroom had tap water running, nor did the shower work (which I desperately needed), and the laundry was and is unavailable. It was also only 16 degrees in the house, and colder in the kids’ bedrooms. Yikes. Oh, and on the day Mike had brought the boys over here to play while I was at the farm with Lauren, it turns out they found a packet of hot chocolate and took the liberty of opening it and spreading the chocolaty powder all over the kitchen floor. Oh yes, and did I mention the central vac was not (and still is not) connected? We have a spare vacuum, thank goodness. It works, but the beater bar (carpet attachment) does not. Bummer, because Tabu, (our outdoor cat who has found her way back inside for the moment because there are spaces that have not been filled around the top of the basement), was kind enough to leave patches of barf all over the carpet. They are all dried out, but I cannot vacuum them.

If you think all that sounds bad, it pales in comparison to how I feel about the rest of the situation. Here it is. Our new basement is a walk out basement. Because our house is now so high up, we cannot enter or exit other than through the basement door. That is temporary, because in the spring we will build whatever proper decks and landings and stairs we need in order to use those doors again. But for now, we have to enter through the basement and take the inside stairs to get upstairs.

This is a problem for me for two reasons. First, our old basement was an eight foot basement but our new one is a nine foot. That means our old staircase does not fit properly. We are going to use it anyway and put a nice landing at the bottom with a couple more steps off of it. But we don’t have the landing built yet. So the bottom stair ends about two feet off the floor. Hm. Not really cool, but we put a stool at the bottom to step onto for now, and it’s doable. However, there are no walls OR railings on either side of the stairs, so climbing them is somewhat nerve-wracking for me, particularly because every time I go in and out I have to carry Lauren in her car seat, a package that probably weighs somewhere close to twenty pounds, on top of being very awkward. Equally nerve-wracking is watching a three-year-old climb (or worse, descend) those stairs, and a four-year-old maniac too. But, maybe for some moms this is no biggie. Show offs. Let’s up the ante a little bit.

Those same stairs are installed in what I would call a temporary manor. Mike assures me they are secure, but I’m not so sure. Paranoid? Maybe. But underneath them there is only one two by six board bracing them, and the top step is at least an inch lower than it should be. The stairs are not level, so it feels like you are falling forward on your way up the stairs (okay, maybe only for the most sensitive stair-steppers, but that’s how it feels for me), and they creak like nobody’s business. I’m not going to lie. The stairs scare me. Badly. Okay all you non-fraidy-cat moms, how are you feeling now? Nothing? Okay. How about the piece de resistance? (Excuse the lack of accents. Don’t know how to find those here!)

Positioned at the bottom of those same tall, non-railed, slanted, creaky stairs is a furnace. It is leaning diagonally up against them, blowing warm air directly up the stairwell because our duct work is not yet in place. Still not bothered? Perhaps I wouldn’t have been either, but then Mike told me that because it is not yet installed properly, the wires are “exposed”, and if the boys were to touch it, they would die. That’s right, the stairs are now officially a death trap. So when I carry Lauren down in her car seat, I have to hang her over the side so as not to electrocute her. Lovely.

And so, yes, we are home. I am cleaning and organizing to the best of my ability, taking into consideration that Mike doesn’t want anything moved downstairs until things are in their proper state down there. That means lots of clutter up here that cannot be avoided at this time. This morning Cody missed his bus, so I had to take him to school which meant braving the scary stairwell. We all survived, thankfully. But we have to do it again at noon so I can get Jamie to school. Ugh.
Our homecoming did not exactly instill a sigh of relief, but after my initial meltdown, I got back my inspiration and I am steadily picking away at things and making it feel more like a home in here. Sorry for the long update. I hope for another one soon that will be better than this one. Who could have guessed all that would be involved in this move?

Oh, and for the record, the cat litter is now back downstairs where it belongs, our room no longer stinks, the hot water is connected and working, all faucets function as they should including the shower and bathtub and I have swept most of the sand and hot chocolate off the floors. I still have not located a mop, the vacuum is still broken, and the laundry is still unavailable. We have no land lines or internet, and poor cell phone service. Other than that, we are functioning somewhat normally. I’m off for now. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 18 and counting...

I don't have the best update. By that, I mean I'm not even entirely sure what is going on. From what I understand, the work that we needed done today has been done, or is still being done. However, Mike is not finished what he needs to do, so now he is leaning towards staying here another night. Today, I am very discouraged. I am trying to clean up all the mess that has been made in this house, by my boys, and guess what? They won't help me. Nope. Not at all. Despite consequences, lack of rewards...etc., they simply will NOT help. That means on top of doing all the laundry, cleaning both bathrooms, cleaning the floors, vacuuming, and packing all our stuff, I also have to pick up the thousand pieces of lego that are dumped on the floor, and all the other toys that have been tossed all over the place. I find it completely unjust that I should clean up any of their mess, particularly when I have warned them day after day that they would have to do it. I have tried everything to get them to clean up, but nothing has worked. I am very, very angry. So in the end, it will likely fall on this mom yet again to do all their work for them. I am sure this will sound extreme, but I seriously want to cancel Christmas in our house this year. At least one of my boys doesn't seem to care about anybody but himself, and I don't see how heaping a bunch of new toys and belongings on him for Christmas is going to benefit him at all. I hate that the expectation is there.

Anyway, I will stop ranting before I really get going. All I really need to say is that it looks like we are not going home yet, and this desperate house mom is not doing well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Crossing off another day

Our well was put in today. It was a success, and apparently it produces 18 gallons per minute. I don't know what is average, but I'm told they expected to get ten, and this will be more than enough to supply our whole house. I am very excited about that. I can stroke day two off the countdown. Tomorrow is the day that could potentially bring us home. I am anxious about it for reasons I will not get into, but here's hoping tomorrow night I post from the comfort of my own bed. For now, I am in a perpetual state of holding my breath. That's it for tonight.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day Sixteen...The Start of a New Countdown

This week we are still out of our house, but I have started a countdown of sorts. On Friday I mentioned that we decided to put a well in. This is how my countdown is going to go:

 Monday (today) the drillers were supposed to come and do a test drill, or multiple test drills, in preparation to drill the well. Tuesday they are scheduled to come and put in the actual well. Wednesday, one of my brothers-in-law and another guy are scheduled to come and hook up the well to the house.

Now, here's the thing. If everything goes as planned, we should, in theory, be able to move back home on Wednesday night, or at least on Thursday. The problem is, delays happen. I have learned that yet again during this whole process. So my countdown will depend on how each step of the process goes. I have confirmation that the test drill went very well and they plan to be there tomorrow to put in the real well! So I can cross Monday off my list as a successful step toward moving home. Here's hoping Tuesday is equally successful. Incidentally, where they did their test drill, the water was only five feet under the ground. That means that by our old basement, it couldn't be more than a foot under the basement floor. Confirmation that we have made the right choice in moving the house.

That's the update for now. We are making it work here, and we are more relaxed than we were two weeks ago when this whole thing started, but all the same I am anxious to move home. In truth, it will be like moving into a new house. Not brand new, of course, seeing all the same colouring marks and dents and dings will be in the walls, and all our stuff will be in exactly the same places we left it. But it will feel like we have moved to a new place because things will be different. We will not be able to use our front door at first because there is no deck outside which means if you step out that door you're going to drop approximately nine feet to the ground. I am seriously wondering how we will boy-proof that door, but we will. We have to. Our parking will be different and we will have to go in and out the basement door and up the stairs every time we leave or enter the house. Our views will also be different. I am slightly nervous about this. What if I don't like it? What if I miss the old location?

Don't worry, that's all my own paranoia. I know in my head that I will like it. But I'm nervous all the same. I get like this with every huge life change that comes my way. Usually I get over it in a week or less. Just like coming here. It probably took me a whole week to settle in, emotionally speaking. I doubt it will take that long once we get back in our house.

Anyway, I must get ready to pick up my older two boys at school not long from now. Here's hoping I can cross another day off my countdown tomorrow!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day Thirteen

I wish I could tell you we were safe and cozy in our house again, but that is not the case. On Friday, our house did get moved completely onto the basement. On top of that, our electrician came that very afternoon and hooked up our electricity and our furnace, so the house has lights and heat. Next on the agenda was the septic guy, who was scheduled to come on Monday or Tuesday. We settled in for another weekend, Mike still working non-stop to get everything else ready for us. At that time the house was still not completely closed in so the heat was not staying in the basement and it was below zero in there. We found out early this week that our septic guy was delayed but he promised to be here by the end of this week. So Mike got to work trying to set up our sand point.

Many people, myself included, are confused about what the sand point actually is so I looked up definitions online. I'm putting them in here so people know what I'm talking about. And so I know what I'm talking about, which is never a bad thing! This came from the following website:

"A sandpoint well or driven point well consists of a thick-walled pipe installed in ground with mostly sandy soil. The water lies no more than 40 feet underground, according to PlumbingHelp.

The end of the metal pipe has a sharp point and holes allowing water to flow into the pipe. The point is hammered into ground to a depth of 6 to 8 feet. A jet pump at the other end of the pipe brings up the water, according to Inspectapedia."

Now, according to what I have read in other places, the sand point well is not supposed to go deeper than 25 feet. Anyway, you get the idea. As it turns out, Mike worked his butt off all week, and last weekend too, and he has been completely unable to get the sand point functioning. Oh, and I should mention that the septic guy came yesterday, as promised, and finished all his work. So the only thing keeping us out of our home now is that there is no water flowing through the plumbing! It's very frustrating. So, this morning Mike called some drillers and by a miracle, they are coming Monday and Tuesday to put in a proper well for us. Provided all goes well (oh dear, that was an accidental pun and even I am rolling my eyes at myself), we should be able to move home by the end of next week. Any of you who pray, please keep praying that we will get an awesome well with plenty of water and clean for drinking too! 

I guess that's the update for now. The boys are still crazy and making me crazy, but today and yesterday have not been too horrible. We are still exhausted, but not as discouraged now that we have a solid plan for this well. I'm going to sign off for the moment and rest for a few minutes before Lauren wakes up. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day six: It's on!

Yes, I know, the house was already on yesterday. On the ridge, that is. But today at noon this is what I saw:

 You can see in the photo above and the one below that the house was still jacked up with space between the basement and the house.

At 3:10 p.m. the house was completely on the basement, the workers had all left with all their equipment, and our electrician was even there, trying to finish his work before the big blizzard hits tonight!

Here is the view of our bedroom windows, which face down the new driveway.

And above is the view of our house from the road. It is visible, but not bad. Before, you couldn't even tell anyone lived there. 

Anyway, today has been so encouraging, and to top it all off, we are going out on a double date tonight with Mike's brother and his wife, who have sacrificed so much to help us get this project done. I'm going to sign off so I can feed Lauren and get ready to go! And right on cue, she just woke up! Good night everyone.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day Five, part II: A New Altitude

It is 6:34 p.m. as I start this post. Today has been tough. Really tough. But I thought I'd take a moment to update because I have exciting news. First, at lunch time Mike came home from work and went directly to the house. He told me the house was on the beams and off the basement. He sent these pictures.

This panoramic shot is from the back of the house looking out from the ridge area.

When I went to see the house at 3:30 p.m. I was hoping I might actually get to see them moving it. I didn't, but when I got there, this is what I saw.

That's right. It's finally up on the ridge. It is not in place on the basement yet, but it made it up onto the ridge, and that is amazing. There were no real problems. The truck did get stuck once, in the main yard (before going up the hill), but other than that everything went very smoothly. 

Mike and his brother Russell spent the afternoon removing the support beam from the old basement and moving it into place in the new one. Tomorrow, the plan is for the movers to move the house onto the foundation. I don't know how long that will take, but I sure hope it's done by the end of tomorrow because a big blizzard is on the way and our electrician is potentially willing to come on Saturday to hook up our electricity.

That's all for now. We are exhausted. Mike's stress level has decreased significantly. Mine...well, the boys are really reacting to the stress of being away from home and all the other changes that go along with it. The blizzard will add an interesting element too. For me, it will mean being more housebound. For the boys, it might mean a lot of outdoor play, which would be very good for everyone. I'll update again tomorrow.

Day Five

 For some bizarre reason, I thought the boys would behave better here. I was wrong. Very wrong. They don't seem to care anymore about "Gramama's rules", nor does it bother them that they are in someone else's house. They have entered forbidden rooms, stolen food...etc., just like at home. This morning I went into "our" room to settle Lauren for a nap. While she was falling asleep, I made our bed and Micah's and tidied up our clothes. I was in there five or ten minutes. When I came out, Micah was sitting on the basement floor, buck naked. I asked him why he was naked. He said there were no clothes in the boys' room, which was false. I took him by the hand and found him some clothes. Then I had a disturbing thought. I asked him where his pyjamas were. He didn't tell me. I told him to go get them, so he ran off, still only wearing underwear. He returned a few minutes later with his pyjama bottoms, which were dripping wet. I mean, completely drenched. He dropped them on the carpet. I freaked out. I made him put them in the laundry basket and demanded to know what happened to them. He informed me they were wet. No kidding. I thought maybe he had played in the shower or something, because a mere pee accident could not possibly drench a pair of pants that thoroughly. But just to be sure, I asked him if he had peed his pants. He said no. I asked him then how did they get so wet. He just said, "Toilet". Toilet???? I then confirmed with him that he had put his clothes in the toilet. I made him retrieve the pyjama top, which was also wet but not as bad. And there you have it, being away from home has not put any kind of damper on their mad skills.

Anyway, here is a picture of the house on Tuesday, the day the gravel was getting delivered and packed. I'm having a hard time keeping track of what I have already mentioned on here, so bear with me if this is redundant, or repetitive, or I'm saying the same things over and over again. Or redundant.

Not bad, right? I did not get a shot of the driveway, but you'll just have to take my word on how mucky it was. The good news is that later that day, one of the movers came back and was happy with the work that was done with the gravel. It was decided they would go ahead and start the moving process the next day. At the end of my most discouraging day, this was the incredible sunset God blessed me with.

Fast forward to yesterday. The movers spent the whole day jacking the house up. Here it is at around 3:30 p.m. It's not looking so good, cosmetically speaking. You can see the front half is lifted up a little but the back half was not done yet. 

From the front, a different view than the day before.

And here it is by the end of yesterday. You can see the house is completely separated from the basement. 

Apparently the house is on rollers. Don't ask me what that means. In all honesty, I don't see any rollers. I can't picture what they look like or where they are. All I know is, this process is taking a long time. Supposedly today they will be moving it onto the beams. After that, it's just a matter of pulling it up to the new basement and then rolling it on. I am going to stop in there this afternoon and see whether there is any progress or not. If there is, I will take pictures. If there isn't, I will probably just cry. The frustrating part of all this is that they could have done everything they did yesterday, the day before, while the gravel was being moved. We would have been a whole day ahead of where we are now. There is a blizzard coming on Saturday, and I just have my doubts that the house will be secured on the new basement by then. I guess it's just a matter of more waiting to see what will happen. I'm off to hold a fussy baby and try to fold some laundry.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day Three

Today is our third day out of our house, but the second day of the moving process. I'm going to call it day three anyway, because to me our adventure started as soon as we left our place. I wish I had a positive update about the house, but I don't. Not really. Yesterday things did not go well. Apparently they are concerned about the traction or the firmness of the ground, so they asked us to haul even more gravel and pack it down. It also poured all afternoon, so they did not even lift the house onto the beams. It is sitting where it normally sits, and the decks are gone so now you need to use a ladder to get in and out. The new plan is for the gravel people to haul a bunch out today and another guy to spread it and pack it. Then the movers come back tomorrow. If they are happy with things, they will get the house on the beams and do the move tomorrow and Thursday. That doesn't sound too bad for a delay, I suppose. The problem is, we are now expecting freezing rain tomorrow. I am 99% sure that if that happens, they will not move the house tomorrow. And I'm not even sure they'd do it the next day either because the temperatures will remain below zero which means if there is freezing rain, it will not melt, and it will still be too slippery to move. I am praying that the freezing rain will not happen.

I am quite stressed out, though I'm trying not to be. Yesterday was so upsetting because Mike came here at lunch time and said the guys were not sure about this move. Honestly, I thought they were going to say we would have to wait a few months before they moved it, which would mean we would be uprooted for a very long time. (It's not like we can just go home. Everything is disassembled and the water and electricity are disconnected...etc.) But it looks like we will still move now, but it might take much longer than we hoped. The other thing is, we had our electrician booked for Thursday to reconnect us, and now that is impossible. He is horribly busy, so I don't know whether we'll be able to get him on short notice again, which means that once the house is moved, we might still not be able to move back in.

On top of all that, last night Jamie said he needed to barf. I immediately freaked out, as I always do. He did not throw up, and he did go to sleep, and has not said a word about it today. But I am stressed anyway. I feel weird in my stomach so I'm paranoid. To me, the stomach flu would be the worst thing that we could have when we are here. Not only are we away from home, but the rooms we are staying in are quite far from the bathroom, and it would be very ugly. I am praying it does not happen.

Today the sun is shining brightly, so it is at least cheerful in here. Everyone slept all night last night (except for me), so that was good too. And as we drove past our road today on the way to drop Cody off at school, we saw two gravel trucks turn onto our road, on their way to our house. That encouraged me. I hope to have a better update soon, but for now, that is all.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's moving day!

I guess it's more like moving week. On Saturday we found out we would be starting our move today. The weekend was an absolute frenzy of packing and preparing the land and the house. (It seems we keep finding out more things we need to do to be ready.) So yesterday we had to officially move out. We are at Mike's parents' place. My emotions are a bit of a mess. I am happy this is finally happening, but it was so hard to leave our house yesterday. I am more than a little bit stressed out about the move itself, and also about the logistics of dealing with my kids away from home, and arranging things with Cody's transportation to and from school. Last night was especially stressful because the boys would NOT go to sleep. They were up super late, and Mike and I were up even later, unable to sleep with all that is going on. It was past 1 a.m. before we fell asleep, and the boys all got up at 5 a.m. and began playing very, very loudly. I was so mad. Not surprised though. It didn't help that the time change was this weekend. Is there anybody out there who actually likes the time change? When will we come to our senses and vote it out for once and for all?

Today, the forecast is not what they were promising last week. Instead of sunshine and 8 degrees (Celsius), the high is only 4 degrees and they are calling for rain and ridiculous winds. Yes. That's what we want when our house is balanced precariously on a trailer. Our house with everything we own in it. All right, it probably won't be that precarious. But still. And it has to go up a hill. I may be off here, but it seems to me that rain + cold + high winds = slippery. Yikes. There are all sorts of "what ifs" running through my brain. I'm sure it is best not to think about it, but how can I not? Mike is supposed to call me later and let me know when would be a good time to go over there and check out what they are doing. I don't want to drag all the kids over if all we will see is some men walking around the house unscrewing screws and other such exciting events.

So that means right now I don't have an exciting update. If I am able to go there today, I will most certainly be taking my camera with me, and if there is anything to see (or report) I will update this same post later. For now, I'm off to continue battling the insanity here.

Just as an example of what my boys regularly do, less than 24 hours after arriving here, at the farm, they have already lost my flashlight in an impossibly small hole in the basement. It will never be retrieved. Well, maybe not never. I suppose it will be a time capsule of sorts. Years down the road, maybe even decades, someone will renovate that part of the basement and some child will find that shiny red and silver flashlight and be elated. Maybe the battery will even still work. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 version.

It's the last day of October, and that means several things to me. First, Lauren is officially three months old today. Wow. How the time has flown. I know that's cliche, but it's true. I feel like she is only a month old at the most, but she is growing like a little weed. She smiles all the time and even laughs when we're lucky, and now she's trying to talk too. No, she's not a baby genius. She just makes a lot of vocal sounds and you can tell she is trying to communicate. It's truly adorable, and we are loving it. Here she is just a couple of days ago.

Her dress has Minnie Mouse on it and says Miss Fabulous, which she is.

The last day of October also means that fall is over. Okay, that is false, but I don't care. To me, it is true. September and October are the fall months. November is winter, even if technically it is not winter for another several weeks. In fact, not until December 21st. Who determined the start dates of the seasons anyway? Somebody decided that each season was three months long. That person did not live in Manitoba. If I defined the seasons, this is what I would say:

Spring starts right about where they say, on March 20th. (I know it sometimes starts on March 21st, depending on the year, but my older sister was born on March 20th, so to us, her birthday is always the first day of spring.) Yes, some years it comes earlier, like this year, but March 20th is just about right. So we will leave that one alone. 

Summer starts on June 1st. That's right. That's when we start to feel some serious heat. I think it's perfectly reasonable to consider March, April and May to be spring months, but June is definitely summer. Summer includes all of June, all of July, and all of August. 

Fall starts on September 1st. No sooner, no later. Really, this year the change in climate was almost instant at the beginning of September. Fall should be divided into two sections. September is the first part of fall, where the leaves are rich golden hues and the sky is the deepest blue of the year. The temperatures are still warm and the bugs are all gone except for the flies. And there are millions of those. Ick. Anyway, the second part of fall starts about a week into October. Then there are no leaves left on the trees. The temperatures are getting cold. The nights are starting earlier and earlier. And it's rainy. And dark. And gloomy. And windy. 

Here's where my changes become really noticeable. Winter starts on November 1st. Period. Actually, in my memories it often started on October 31st. But that's beside the point. November is a winter month, and so winter starts as soon as November does. That gives us the following:

Spring: March 20th to May 31st. That's just under two and a half months long. 
Summer: June 1st to August 31st. That's exactly three months long. Hm. Not bad. 
Fall, part 1...the good part: September 1st to 30th. One month exactly.
Fall, part 2...the cold and ugly part: October 1st to 31st. One month exactly.
Winter: November 1st to March 19th. That's just under five months. And sometimes it's longer. But if I had to pick dates, those are the ones I would pick. 

And, being that tomorrow is the first day of winter, in my opinion, here's the final thought that has been triggered for me by today's date. We have not moved our house yet. That's right, we were going to move it in the middle of October, but we have not. I expressed some frustration about that in my last post. But on the bright side, there is a possibility that we might move next week. I am desperate to get this over with, but trying not to get my hopes up. Here is a picture of the new basement, waiting for the house to plop down on top of it.

It looks a little different today than it did in that picture, because the ground in front has been landscaped a little more. That's all pure sand, by the way. Softer than many beaches. It's quite amazing. Note all the trees with no leaves in the background.

And, just for fun, here's Radar. Just because he's cute. 

And now I'm off to feed Lauren. Jamie has a stomach bug today, so I'm trying not to think about that because I get very stressed when there is stomach illness around here. So far, he seems to be the only one not feeling well, and so far it has been mild. But I'm stressed all the same. I'm off for now.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Death and Taxes

Life around here has been crazy. Maybe even crazier than usual, which is why I rarely post in here these days. The boys are into so much trouble I couldn't begin to record it all in here. Sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it's downright upsetting and discouraging. If I'm honest, it's more often the second option. But that's not what I'm writing about today.

Maybe you've heard the expression, "There are two things in life that are inevitable; death and taxes". It's a little bit negative, but I suppose it's true. True, but incomplete. I'd like to add a third item to that list, and that is delays. More specifically, delays during construction of a new home, or renovation of a home. I'm not sure which category our situation falls into right now. Construction of a new basement, which will equate renovations of our current home. We built this house starting seven years ago. We dug our basement in August of 2005. At the time, I was pregnant with our first baby, Cody. I thought we would be moved into our new home by Christmas. Some of you might be thinking I was naive and ridiculous to think we could construct the whole house in four months, but I had a reason for believing it. When I was seven years old, my family had a new house built. Construction began in May and we moved in at the beginning of August that same year. That is less than four whole months from start to finish. So you see, I assumed it would be similar or the same for us. I was wrong.

The beginning of such a project always appears to be going quickly. Our house was framed and completely closed in before the snow flew. But then came the delays. Lots of them. Our electrician was by far the worst in that department, but there were many other things that contributed. I had imagined setting up our Christmas tree in our beautiful brand new house. My heart was set on it. But at Christmas, our house looked like this on the outside:

And like this on the inside:

Yep. That's our kitchen there. Clearly not ready for inhabitation. Those pictures were taken on December 30, 2005. We did not move into our house until February 26, 2006, a month before my due date. And even then, our kitchen still looked like this:

And then this:

We had no countertops or sink for a couple of weeks after we moved in. Dishes were washed in the bathroom and meals were mostly made in the microwave. And the bathrooms looked like this:

Cabinets not finished, mirrors and light fixtures not even purchased.

My point? I learned something valuable from that experience that I have tried to share with everyone I have known since that began either a renovation, or construction of a new home. Delays are inevitable. Do NOT let yourself get your hopes up that you will be moved in by a certain date. The only thing certain is that you will be disappointed. Yep. I have passed that bit of wisdom on to many people. And then I fell into the same trap again. Here we are, preparing to move our house, and I knew the process would be a long one. Our original plan was to prepare the land this summer and then build the basement in September or October. Then we would wait until the ground was super frozen and do the move in January. But then the mover told us we could move this fall if we put down a lot of shale and gravel so the heavy trucks would not sink in our sand. So we did. In fact, our basement was built in the first half of September which put us ahead of schedule. This was so encouraging, and we were extremely excited at the prospect of moving before the deep freeze hit. The colder it is, the more complicated this process will be, as we will have to remove everything from our house that might freeze (ie: canned goods, and other food items that are liquid. Maybe even laundry detergent, shampoo...etc. We don't want to have to move all that stuff if we don't have to. I also worry about how my piano will handle the cold.

Anyway, the problem is that despite being ready ahead of schedule, we are now facing those delays that I have told everyone else are inevitable. And it sucks. I was prepared for delays at the onset of this project. But the further ahead of schedule we got, the higher my hopes got that we would be back into our house by mid-November. Now I'm not even sure whether we'll start the move before mid-November. In fact, now I wonder whether we will even make it before Christmas. If we don't move in November, we will have to wait until January. I'm sure of it. Because if we move even on December 1st, there is a chance we will be out of our home over Christmas and I know I will not be able to handle that. So the latest we can move would be mid-November, as far as I am concerned, and that is looking less and less possible. 

After we built our house, I said we would never do it again. Why would we? We loved our place, the house and the location. We had no desire to ever move again. But now we are forced to out of necessity. And again I am thinking, this will be the last time we ever have to do anything like this. I hope this time I am right.