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. 

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