Friday, November 30, 2007

Cold, colds and closings

It's been a cold week, venturing up into the 40s a couple of days, but otherwise staying in the 30s. Which was okay, I guess, as I had caught the kids' virus Monday and wasn't up for much of anything outside for most of the week. The kids are getting over their colds, with some residual coughing at night. Not exactly hitting the ground running here in Colorado, but it gives us time to settle into our new house. Harry and I are struggling with some homesickness, not so much Maddie and Steve. It'll help when we're all well and can socialize with some friends here.

We're getting ready to head on over to the escrow office to close our house sale. As of 5 p.m. this afternoon, this house will be ours! Feels good and weird at the same time. I'll be glad to get through this transition time. I heard from my Mom that there's a big rainstorm in SoCal right now, and it made me homesick! We have a 40 percent chance of some snow tonight, so maybe that'll help me get over it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Very local weather

We met another of our new neighbors this afternoon. He waved from across the street and introduced himself. Doug just returned from a surfing trip to southern Mexico and was surprised to find new neighbors. Maddie and I had been looking at a whirling thingamajig on his roof for a while, which I figured was a weather station.

Turns out Doug is a hydrologist specializing in snowpack consulting. His weather station is part of Weather Underground, so if you want to know what the temperature and windspeed is just across the street from us, you can always click here.

The funny thing is, Doug looks *way* more like a Californian than any of my California neighbors ever did, blond hair, deep tan, puka shell necklace, tres surfer dude, yet he's a Minnesota native who's lived in Colorado for 11 years now. Treats himself to a surf vacation every year, he said.

So far, we've got Joe and Vivian who live across the street and down a house. Joe has worked in the Budweiser plant a couple of miles away for many years. Jean lives to our south and used to have a daycare in her house, but I think is retired now. Tom lives to our north, with his 18-year-old son (Michael?) who likes reggae and some rather more urban music (I'm not up on my pop music enough to name the style) and plays it rather loudly when he drives up or away.

We hope to meet more folks, but with the weather chilly as it is, it may be a while before we do...

A few notes on our new home...

We've been in the new house a week now, and are greatly enjoying just being in such a different place. The scenery and climate are so different, and oddly enough, the people are just much nicer than folks are in SoCal. I can't quite figure out why it is, but I notice it everywhere in little ways.

The house is bigger than our Murrieta house, with more light and more openness, and that's very pleasing. It needs a lot of work, and that's daunting. We had to call out an appliance repair guy yesterday when I discovered that the oven wouldn't work after I'd already made dough for a loaf of bread. I suppose we should have waited and bought a new stove, as the repair cost $184 and it wasn't a pretty stove to begin with, but with any luck our sellers will reimburse us for the cost of the repair, and if not, well, it was a very tasty $184 loaf of bread. (Actually, the reason I didn't just buy a new stove is that I want a gas stove to cook on eventually, and that requires replumbing, which we can't do until we actually own the house. Which will hopefully be at the end of this week, though I haven't heard from our loan officer since we moved. I need to unpack her number and call her!)

Steve went out yesterday afternoon and painted a scene along the irrigation canal. I'll try to remember to ask him to post it here. Yesterday was as warm as it's been since the snowfall Tuessday night; I'd guess it got into the low 40s. It's supposed to hit the low 50s today before returning to 30s/40s for the rest of the week, so we'll dig out some Christmas decorations and get them up. It's actually quite pleasant as long as the temperature is above freezing. I sat on the back deck with a book and a cup of tea yesterday, and I plan to do it again today!

Our solar blower does a nice job of heating the house, though it can't get it above 66 on the colder days and of course, after about 3:30 pm it goes off because the temperature in the collector gets too cool. I think we could heat the house entirely with the blower and a good wood stove, just waiting for close of escrow for that as well.

The kids have been plagued with horrible coughs, Harry even more so than Maddie; if it doesn't improve significantly by tomorrow, we'll take them in to a doctor. They have energy enough during the day, but are racked all evening and night by terrible, unproductive coughing. And Maddie got hit with an epic nosebleed on our way to town to run some errands last Wednesday, and has been worried about a repeat ever since.

I find it ironic that our fish made it through the move just fine and even spent a week in tiny tanks before we finally got them set up in the right size for them, but our kids have been hammered by the change.

Maggie, our 15-year-old dog, has taken to this move much better than I though she would. The back porch steps are a bit of a challenge for her, but she's making it up and down them and she dances at the front door for a walk every morning. Sunny seems to get very charged up by the snow (too much so, sometimes -- when we were exploring the fabulous play structure at the elementary school outside our back fence yesterday morning, she was tearing around in circles and decided to bite Harry on the calf for no particular reason!) She isn't really up for the long walks I want to do, as the snow get clotted in her paws. Maybe I need to get her booties.

We have a (red fox?) squirrel that lives in one of our cottonwood trees out front, a male, as Maddie pointed out. The kids have named him Cherry after watching him scamper to our (chokecherry?) tree and breakfast on its fruits. (I need to acquaint myself with the local flora and fauna better. We had a fabulous view of a gorgeous Northern flicker on the cottonwood yesterday morning and after looking it up in the bird book decided it was a red-shafted Northern flicker.)

The upper half of the house is pretty well unpacked and I've set up a little meditation/yoga corner in our great room. Maddie's asked to do yoga in it each of the last few mornings. I'd love to make that a habit (in fact, I'm going to suggest a yoga session as soon as I'm done with this post.)

The lower level is a jumble of boxes and I'm reluctant to do much unpacking there because I want to replace the carpeting ASAP and can't find the enthusiasm to set up, move and reset up the kids toys and craft areas. Have to wait to get carpeting in as well, though, and Steve's willing to just live with the old carpet for a while.

Now that I've got an urge to do some yoga, I'd better go off and get to it before it wanes. Steve should be back soon from church; he headed out to the 9 am service of Foothills UU Church, a huge, exciting Unitarian church here (the kids are too cough-y to go today.)

A late first snow

According to the Coloradoan, last week's 4 or so inches was one of the latest first snows in more than a century. I guess the snow gods were waiting for us to arrive. After unloading in sunny 70-degree weather for several days, Tuesday night it began to snow. The kids have been sick with cough/colds, so they didn't get out and do some real snowplay until yesterday (Sat) when it warmed up enough that the snow could be packed.

Here's some photos of us moving in with our cousins helping to rake up a huge pile of leaves, the first day of the snow, and yesterday's sledding...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our last week

Last Monday, we were packing up our house with our friend Laurie.

On Tuesday, we went to Disneyland (which turned out to be a bit more than the kids could handle, as they were either coming down with a cold before they got there or picked one up at the park, and wanted to go home by about 3 p.m.)

On Wednesday, we loaded the van and said goodbye to Laurie in the evening.

Thursday around noon, my folks came down and, seeing our panicked faces, agreed to load their truck with as much of our remaining stuff that wasn't fitting in the van as possible. Then around 2:30 p.m., Steve headed out to a U-Haul place to rent a pull-behind trailer, which we packed up with the last of our stuff, including the keys to the Penske moving van. So we unpacked the U-Haul about halfway til we found the keys, repacked it, and finally rolled out of town, frazzled and four hours behind schedule.

As I had foolishly made a non-refundable room reservation in Cedar City for Thursday night (it would have been so much better to go stay the night with my folks and take off the following morning), we drove from 4:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. and rolled into bed at 3 a.m. local time. Four hours later, Harry awoke us all with the croup, though he refused offers of walking and being held and chose to take a shower by himself instead, which worked wonders and he was able to get back to sleep about an hour later. Not me, however.

We made an on-the-fly decision to not push through to Fort Collins on Friday (I was stressed enough about driving a van with the U-haul trailer -- I'd read a piece in the Times a while back about the terrible accidents that occur when trailers were pulled faster than 45 mph, which I was definitely doing).

We made reservations instead for Glenwood Springs, where, to our delight, our new friends Jill and her son Lucas, met us and stayed overnight as well. Why would an unschooling family from Fort Collins drive four hours to see us on our drive east (aside from a general sense that life is an adventure)? Because we were transporting a puppy from Jill's sister (a dog rescuer in San Diego) for them. Little Spanky was a godsend on the drive, keeping the kids diverted.

After another night of disrupted sleep because of poor Harry not feeling well, we got up and walked dogs and played in the hotel pool with Luke, then took off around noon.

We rolled into our new home shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday, in time to unpack a mattress and a few kitchen essentials.

Maddie woke up Sunday morning with a fever, and slept most of the day. Jill came over Sunday afternoon and helped us unload ridiculously heavy furniture, and Cindi, Chelo, Chelo's mom, Alicia, and Nic and Owen came over yesterday and raked a season's worth of leaves up, helped us move the rest of the furniture from garage to house and toted boxes hither and yon as well. The kids weren't up for playing with their cousins much yesterday, unfortunately, but we'll see them at Thanksgiving.

Today, they're definitely feeling better. Except for the pinkeye. We've never had this before and the kids are finding it so unpleasant they're actually willing to do the eyewashing and soaking.I feel terrible that they've been sick and now infected -- moving has proved a much greater stress on them than I expected.

All in all, though, we're excited to be here. The kids miss my Mom and Dad (and Fang), their friends Joseph, Robbie, Spenser, Luna and Solie, and our old house, but they're having fun in the new one and in that sense, seem immensely adaptable (I don't know how much to blame somatasized stress for their illnesses, or whether it's just coincidence that they're getting sick now.) They're very excited about tonight's forecast of 2-4 inches of snow (we had lovely, 70-degree weather since our arrival, but that's all to change today).

I'm going to wrap up this post and start putting rooms back together. I'll post photos once we get our internet service (I'm poaching off a neighbor's wireless at the moment, and I don't want to slow their service down too much.)

It seems like an insane thing that we just did, but it's also exciting to be exploring a new area and a new climate. I reserve the right to fly back to SoCal frequently in the next year, though, to stay in contact with everyone we've left behind!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Goodbye, Good Tern

Well, it's come to this: I'm considering the fate of the Good Tern, my handbuilt wooden boat. Lots of sentimental value - and a sound vessel - but after the kids came along, I just didn't find myself out sailing that much, and after several years of neglect she needs a bit of work that I just might not be up for.
There's a lake near our new Colorado house - perfect for the canoes, certainly - but I might rather sail in a borrowed boat, or find a sailing club once we're there, or perhaps not sail at all, rather than bring this old girl along.
The large photo is the Good Tern moored at Lake Perris in her glory days a few years back; the other photos show her in her current state: great lines, but lots of chipped paint and faded varnish. No metaphors about my own or anyone else's aging - just decisions, decisions...


Okay, we're packing. We're running down details of two escrows. We had to take Sunny to the vets over the weekend because she charged our neighbor's enormous akitas and got chomped on the leg for her attempts to prove her 21 pounds of dominance (she's doing well now). I'm lining up the cheapest moving van. We're visiting with friends. Wrapping up responsibilities at the UU chuch. I'm trying to fit in a few final clients. I'm freaking out.

How do you process stress, fear, excitement and grief while remaining functional? I'm relying on chinese herbs and, sigh, Coke. We've gone through two two-liter bottles in the last week. We hide it from the kids, of course, sneaking it in opaque plastic cups. I'm worried about getting addicted. Colorado's a healthy state though, I'm sure I'll find plenty of help in getting off the stuff once I get out there, right?