The closest to Normal (Illinois) that I've ever been.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Incriminating photos

As part of our downsizing operation, Danny and I have managed to compress 10 years of college and graduate school nostalgia into a single file box. I have unearthed various treasures including the contact sheets from my various art school photography classes. Recognize anyone?

In other moving-related news, Danny has been logging lots of time on ebay and Craigslist. He has managed to sell two old laptops, Ivy's old crate, and the kids' beds (they are now sleeping on mattresses on the floor until we can get to IKEA).

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This week Danny and I have been downsizing our possessions. Our new house is about 2/3 the size of our current house, which is not so bad. However, the new place has no garage and no basement. We got rid of loads of stuff when we moved here from CA. But this recent downsizing is pretty extreme.

Some of the stuff that we are getting rid of we will likely have to buy again in the future. (But it would be cheaper to do that than rent a storage unit.) We have been selling off furniture on Craigslist, and the kids will be getting a more space-efficient bunk bed. We have also had to get rid of all sorts of nostalgic stuff. However, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I have been trying to convince the kids to part with various large and bulky toys, but I have had little luck. I have no idea how we are going to fit their stuff into this house. So, to the viewing audience and all ships at sea, I implore you not to give us anything large. Also, if you have ever admired anything in our house, ask us--it may be up for grabs...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Straightening things out

Today we went to discuss Sam's teeth with an orthodontist. As you might have noticed, Sam has some dental issues. He has an underbite, which needs to be corrected now to (hopefully) avoid a surgical correction as a teenager. He will have to wear this bizarre headgear 14 hours a day (at home) for six months.

Sam also has a narrow upper jaw that has to be corrected with one of these racheting expanders.

And by the way, none of this will correct his crookedy teeth. He will need braces again when he is 15. On the plus side, the orthodontist seems like a good guy with a much more professional practice than the disorganized and haphazard dental school where I had my orthodontic work done. Also on the plus side, we have dental insurance.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Not a renter's market

This has been a long weekend. We have to move out of our current house by May 8, and we have had little luck with finding a new place. We can afford a big, nice place, but oddly enough, although we have been looking since December, there is nothing big, nice and allowing kids and dogs. However, going into the weekend, we had two leads on available rentals.

House #1
It is tiny, near some questionable apartments, and the train tracks run directly behind the back yard. But it is within Sam's school district. There is a for rent sign on the lawn and we have been calling and calling for 4 weeks. The landlord calls us back about once a week and tells us that his wife will call us to set up an appointment to show us the house. And then she doesn't. Finally on Saturday we saw the house. It was reasonably clean but extremely small, with no closets at all and a leaky basement. The landlord's son who showed us the house denied that there was a leak, although I showed him where water was dripping out of an overhead pipe. The landlord said that he would drop an application in our mailbox on Saturday afternoon, but it is now Sunday night and no application has appeared. The house is so small, that even with our recently downsized possessions, we would have to get rid of or store half of our stuff.

The second house is in a quiet neighborhood, but is exactly one block outside of Sam's school district. We have the option of applying for a variance to allow Sam to continue at his school, but he would be ineligible for the bus, and we would have to drive him every day. On Saturday we were supposed to see the house, but the landlord forgot out appointment and we ended up standing around outside the house for 30 minutes for nothing. He called us back on Sunday, and we had to leave family swim early to meet him. The house is decent. The landlord is a nice guy who lives nearby and only owns the one rental. The house has a very odd layout, but is clean and larger than the first place. There was no basement or garage, so we would still have to out some of our stuff into storage.

And the winner... House #2. We sign the lease tomorrow. Sigh...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today is Danny and my 19th dating anniversary! Sooo old...

Sam's bad day

Sam had a day of bad surprises yesterday.
A few days ago, Sam was really excited that we actually had snowman weather--usually it's too cold around here to make snowmen because snow tends to be powdery. Last week Sam made an awesome mutant snow goon with three arms, three eyes, horns and fangs. He was very proud of it. As I sat at my desk facing the front window, I saw several people walking by smile at the weirdness of this snowman. And yesterday some a-hole kicked it down.

Especially irritating is that we are the only people on the block who shovel the sidewalk so that the little special snowflakes can walk safely to school (and home from the bars). So whoever knocked over the snowman was walking along the path that we shoveled when they decided to cross our lawn to assert their a-holery.

Also, because our landlord has decided to sell our house, we have been looking for a new place to live. We have mentioned this a few times to Sam, but apparently he has not been paying attention. Joseph has helped me look at a few potential rentals and has been much more engaged in the house-hunting process. So, I think that Joseph mentioned moving to his teacher. And when Sam and Danny came to pick up Joseph from school yesterday, Joseph's teacher asked Sam if he was excited about moving. Sam did not take this well, and cried when he got home. He seems better about it now: I think that Sam was just taken by surprise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Skating and suppositories

Today I took the afternoon off to accompany Joseph on a field trip. His school got to skate with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder in the hockey arena. The kids had a great time, and the hockey players helped teach kids how to skate. By the end of the time, most kids were able to shuffle around at least a little bit. Joseph wore his helmet and practiced both skating and pratfalls. The hockey players brought out a bunch of chairs for the non-skating kids to push around.

However, when we got home, we had to tackle the issue of Joseph's uncooperative bowels. He has been complaining about stomach pains at home and school for at least two days, assuredly because he has not had a bowel movement for several days. He generally eats an "intestinally-friendly" diet with lots of veggies, fruit and fiber. For the last few days, we had been trying him on laxatives and stool softeners, but not luck.

So today Danny went out and got glycerine suppositories. Believe me, Joseph was not a willing participant in the application of said medication. Yesterday NPR had a story about boys molested within the Hasidic Jewish organization. I fear that one day Joseph will recall the glycerine suppository incident, and we will get a call from his lawyer. On the positive side, the suppository worked almost immediately, and he feels 100% better. The poor child was attempting to pass something so dense and unflushable that we ended up having to dispose of it by bagging it in a dog poop bag and taking it out to the trash can.

Sunday, February 1, 2009